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fashion

At Chanel, Le Corbusier Inspires Concrete Couture

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At left, a view of the Paris apartment designed by Le Corbusier that inspired Chanel’s latest haute couture collection and runway show. (Photos from right: © FLC/ADAGP, Olivier Saillant)

chanel fw coutureHaving recently tapped into markets high (fine art) and low (the grocery store) to inspire his collections for the megahouse of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld looked to the work of Le Corbusier to fire up his creativity for the fall couture. With the blessing of the Fondation Le Corbusier, he transformed the Grand Palais to resemble the paradoxical outdoor living room, complete with fireplace, of the long-demolished Champs-Elysées apartment that Corbu designed in 1929 for one Charles de Beistegui. “All white concrete, with some baroque elements,” said Lagerfeld yesterday in a post-show interview, as he described his architectural inspiration.

The modern material found its way into the collection via tiny tiles of gray and white concrete (pink and green are in the works) that Lagerfeld used for elaborate or starkly geometric mosaic-style embroideries that accented bodices, traced hems, and encrusted entire dresses, all shown with flat sandals and hairstyles that evoked plumage—in a nod to the rara avis who is the twenty-first century couture customer. “What I liked about this collection is that it’s really flawless, impeccable shapes,” said Lagerfeld of the 70 looks he sent down the grandly scaled runway. “They’re light, they float, they don’t walk heavily…and I think that makes it more modern.”
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Quote of Note | Thomas Tait

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All in a Delaunay’s work. Looks from the fall 2014 colllection of Thomas Tait, winner of the inaugural LVMH Young Designer Prize.

“It seems fashion may be having a renaissance, where understanding the fragility of creative people in such a high pressure industry is vital to success. Having met some of the strongest designers in the industry through the prize, it’s inspiring and reassuring to see such an impressive assembly of successful creatives. Phoebe Philo who can direct a french fashion house via London whilst raising a young family, or Raf Simons who manages his own brand successfully whilst restoring the house of Christian Dior. To me these are just a couple of the inspiring people who have managed to find a balance at the big breaking point.”

-Fashion designer Thomas Tait in an editorial published this week in the Financial Times

See the World Through Yves Klein-Blue-Colored Lenses

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Having missed their splashy coming-out party at Colette in Paris, we first encountered a pair of Yves Klein Blue sunglasses on the chiseled face of a gentleman at the Munich airport. The stunning ultramarine specs, made by indie eyewear brand Etnia Barcelona, mark the first time that the Yves Klein Archive has authorized a brand to use the exact color patented by the artist as “International Klein Blue.” You can find the aviator-style sunglasses at the New Museum shop and the full collection at Etnia Barcelona. And did we mention the good cause? Royalties from the Klein collection go to OrphanAid, a non-profit organization that develops programs and projects to help vulnerable children and families in Ghana.

Quote of Note | Harold Koda

Charles James ballgown“[A]t the end of his life, if you went down to the street and said, ‘Charles James lives there,’ nobody would care. But think about Anna Piaggi—she had Antonio [Lopez] do all these drawings of his work immediately after he died. The people who were really savvy never forgot him. It’s just that he was never a household name, even when he was at his peak. He was always known as being at the cutting edge of the design world. I think what will happen with this exhibition is that fashionable people will come in, and they’ll be inspired by the colors and the shapes, but they will [translate] them in a more traditional way so that [the clothes] can be easily manufactured. But I think the people who will come away with even more inspiration will be industrial designers, graphic designers, and architects, because you will see such interesting ways of thinking.”

-Curator-in-charge of the Costume Institute Harold Koda, who organized “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” with Jan Glier Reeder. The exhibition is on view through August 10 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Pictured: Clover Leaf Ball Gown designed in 1953 by Charles James

In Which André Leon Talley Fondles Tom Ford’s Waistcoat

Style.com and the rest of the Condé Nast crew elected not to repeat last year’s rather awkward livestreaming of the arrivals at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala, but they did keep a camera trained on the indefatigable André Leon Talley on Monday evening as he held court at the top of the carpeted granite stairs shouting terse greetings (“Instagram! Patricia!”) and complimenting ensembles. The result is a series of very, very short videos such as this one, in which Talley and Tom Ford discuss the work of designer Charles James, the subject of this year’s spring Costume Institute exhibition; the textile of Ford’s own sumptous white waistcoat (spoiler alert: silk!); and the sartorial preferences of Ford’s toddler son.

Advanced Style Goes from Blog to Book to Film

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What began as a blog and became a book—and then a coloring book—has shape-shifted once again. Ari Seth Cohen‘s Advanced Style heads to the big screen via filmmaker Lina Plioplyte, whose documentary follows seven fabulous New Yorkers aged between 62 and 95 as they challenge the stereotypes of beauty and aging with their unique style. Chunky jewelry, statement sunglasses, turbans, magenta, and Iris Apfel all loom large. Advanced Style makes its U.S. debut tomorrow at the Montclair Film Festival in Montclair, New Jersey. The trailer (below) is best enjoyed while wearing a cape and a minimum of eight bangle bracelets.

New Book Explores Essence of Japanese Design

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The Japanese concept of “wa” is one of harmony, gentleness, and peace: qualities embodied in the country’s distinctive design aesthetic. In a book of the same name, new from Phaidon, authors Rossella Menegazzo and Stefania Piotti explore the way in which Japanese design harnesses materials ranging from bamboo to polymer-coated membranes in an elegant balance of tradition and cutting-edge experimentation. Printed on craft paper and bound in the traditional Japanese style, the book opens with an essay by Muji art director Kenya Hara, who muses on how “extreme plainness-emptiness-can invite a variety of interpretations.”

Comme des Garçons Collaborates with Raw Vision Magazine

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raw visionRaw Vision turns 25 this year, and the UK-based outsider art magazine is marking the quarter-century milestone in style: by collaborating with Comme des Garçons. As part of the partnership, which officially kicks off next month at the Outsider Art Fair in New York, Raw Vision has allowed Comme des Garçons to delve into its vast archive of images and layouts to create 20 to 30 mini-magazines that will be dispersed around the globe. Get a first taste of Rei Kawakubo and co’s picks on the Comme des Garçons website, which has been wallpapered with outsider art by the likes of Howard Finster and Anne Grgich.

The Treachery of Sneakers: Opening Ceremony Prints Magritte Paintings on Vans

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As part of their year-long exploration and celebration of all things Belgian, the surrealist gang at Opening Ceremony is plastering the reality-bending works of fresh-from-his-MoMA-restrospective artist René Magritte on instantly collectible goods. First up in this partnership with the Magritte Foundation: Vans. The five sneaker styles, priced at $135 each (a bargain for a Magritte!), include kicked-up canvas versions of Magritte’s Ladder of Fire (1939), The Blow to the Heart (1952), and, for lovers of his bowler-hatted men of mystery, The King’s Museum (1966). The sneakers are available for pre-order through Monday, March 17.

Kvadrat Debuts Raf Simons Collaboration

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A taste of Kvadrat/Raf Simons, which arrives at retail in April. (Photos from left: Anne Collier, Kvadrat)

It’s easy to forget, now that he has ascended to the creative helm of Dior, that Raf Simons began his career as a promising young furniture designer. He returns to his roots with a new range of textiles, cushions, and throws created in collaboration with Kvadrat. Simons looked to his beloved mid-century masters, including Jean Royère, Pierre Jeanneret, Finn Juhl, and Hans Wegner, for textured elements, including a woven mohair reminiscent of sheepskin, speckled boucles, and a fur-like textile. Others reimagine the work of the late Swedish textile designer Fanny Aronsen.

And while Simons used many of the textiles in his fall/winter 2014 menswear collection, for which he teamed with artist Sterling Ruby, the Kvadrat collection was conceived with interiors in mind. “We are making fabrics that are like a blank canvas for designers,” said Simons in a statement issued today. “They are waiting for input from the furniture designers—we don’t control the design they will use the textiles for, so we try to leave it very open; these fabrics should be multifunctional.”

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