Alexis Mabille F/W 2013 inspired by the film, “The Hunger.” #PFW

Alexis Mabille F/W 2013 inspired by the film, “The Hunger.” #PFW

The vampire film, “The Hunger” served as major inspiration for Fall / Winter 2013 collections

Sensuality and mystery took the stage in the vampire themed collections that graced the runways in Paris and Tokyo this past F/W 2013.  Inspired by the 1983 film, “The Hunger” starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon, in what is called perhaps the most luxurious and elegant of all vampire films by Richard Scheib of Moria.

Featured at Alexis Mabille, Roland Mouret, and DressedUndressed were plunging necklines and widely exposed necks.

There were Broad and Sharp shoulders.  Some boxy silhouettes and black tuxedo jackets.

Off center zippers and multiple zipper detailing

Dark and muted colors mixed with vibrant red or purple with animal prints

Blouson sleeves and miniature capes at Alexis Mabille.  V necks and Hoods at DressedUndressed.

Chest baring slits.  Peephole in design at both Mabille and Mouret.

Many Geometric shapes and play on shapes and patterns.  Some fang like in resemblance.

Roland Mouret had a circular collar central to his theme while Mabille showed a similar yet larger design on a couple of his pieces.  Both very nun-like.

What design details would you have included?

Alexis Mabille Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2013

Betsey Johnson speaks to Fern Mallis at the 92Y

Betsey Johnson sat down (or tried to keep sitting) with Fern Mallis, former Executive Director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and creator of New York Fashion Week (NYFW), for a talk on where the designer has been and where she is headed.

Betsey Johnson is as whimsical and vibrant in character as her designs.  She entered the room wearing a pink tutu, did her signature cartwheel and landed in a split. Her acrobatic talent comes from years of cheerleading in high school and college.  She was also an avid dancer, and did so for the escape it provided.  It was her dance teacher who first introduced her to costume design.  She recalled making her first garment, a Scottie printed apron, at age 4.  After a short stint at Pratt, Betsey finished her design education at Syracuse University and graduated with high honors.  In 1964, she was a guest editor at Mademoiselle and it was after this experience that she decided to become a designer.  She spoke of her work with the brand, Paraphernalia, which showcased a group of designers whose take on fashion was lighthearted, fun, and anything but serious.  She used a lot of neon and metallics during that time and dressed icons such as Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol, and The Velvet Underground.

Speaking of style, she said, “When dressing people, you have to become them.”  She became the creative director of the label, Alley Cat, and won a prestigious COTY award at age 29.   She endorsed Bayer aspirin in a commercial filmed in Long Island City in an admittedly selling out point in her life which earned her $10,000.  A Wall Street broker she met at her favorite hangout, Max’s Kansas City, turned her earnings to $60,000, which she used to open her first store in 1978 at 130 Thompson St. in SoHo with friend and former model, Chantal Bacon, after the Rock n’ Roll look was brought back by the punk scene following the Women’s Wear look.

“If it hadn’t been for the Women’s Wear style, I never would have had the time for a kid.” she proclaimed.  As a single mother, she designed clothes with Chantel for the Betsey Johnson brand.  She uses the terms “primitive childlike” and “primal kindergarten” to describe her clothing.  Betsey touts that, “Fashion doesn’t change that much.  I’ve been doing the same thing as I was in the ’60s.”  Her looks (e.g. Rock, Goth, and Space) cycle in repeat performance with slight variations.  Johnson believes that “there are many people packed in one person, and they need to express it.”

In 1999, she won the Timeless Talent award presented to her by then Executive Director of CFDA, Fern Mallis.  Concurrently, Johnson underwent treatment for breast cancer, discovered from a leak in her breast implant.  She has since become an avid supporter of breast cancer awareness.  Financial difficulty ensued, and her company was taken over by Steve Madden in 2010.  Madden took over the loan from equity backers when the company defaulted and went bankrupt.  Johnson did not want to quit and leave the company because she loves what she does.  As the creative director of the new Betsey Johnson brand under Steve Madden, she said that “the clothes won’t be the same as when I was with Chantal.  With licensing [and a new boss], you have to do volume.”  The price of the clothing will range from $99 – $249 and will be sold at Macys.

In addition to her comeback, Betsey will be starring in a new reality show on The Style Network in early April with her daughter, Lulu.  The show aptly called, “Betsey & Lulu, ” follows the mother daughter relationship of the aspiring designer daughter and the legendary fashion mom.  One is elegantly gorgeous while the other is outrageously kooky.  Serious versus fun … Seriously Fun!

Towards the end of the interview, Fern Mallis reminded Betsey that she won’t be in the next NYFW.  What followed was a long pause, the most silent (and still) Betsey had been the whole session.  She then remarked that she’ll be doing a presentation on The Style Network.  When asked if she’ll watch other designers, she said that she doesn’t really follow other designers, but she is impressed by McQueen, Gaultier, and Westwood.  Naturally.  Her advice to new designers was to “Kick Ass!  Just keep on kickin’!”  When asked what’s in her bucket list, she said, “to fall in love.”  She joked about how her eye candy seems to get younger and younger.  As the interview came to a close, Johnson begins to gather pink rose petals from the bouquet left on the table between her and Mallis, and throws them like confetti over Fern then does the same for the audience as Betsey Johnson is always the life of the party.

The 2008 documentary, “Valentino: The Last Emperor,” is an inside look at the life of Valentino Garavani and his partner, Giancarlo Giammetti during the life cycle of the empire they both created. The film also takes a look into the world of Haute Couture, or quality stitching. Revealed is the great artisanship and teamwork of his dressmakers. Every detail is hand made with many team members and no machine provides an explanation of the high cost of couture. The way the fabric is cut, and the certain flow of the garment speak to the high quality of couture. The fine art has been on steep decline and threatened by big business. When the private equity firm, Permira, bought a majority stake of the Valentino fashion house in 2007, the terms of the licensing called for more sales volume, which meant selling more lower priced items, such as accessories, thus cheapening the brand. Remaining true to his artistry and craft, Valentino resigned from his own company refusing the need for anyone to tell him what to sell.

In the film, Valentino admits that the reason for his resignation was because the fashion world is very different now. With the over licensing of brand name items, such as perfume, bags, etc., it becomes difficult to manage the level of quality. Items are rapidly being churned out and becomes fast fashion. The brand loses it’s identity. The essence of fashion turns into beauty/art vs. the bottom line. Fashion becomes simply a label. There has traditionally been a long line of fashion mentorship in couture. According to Cathy Horyn, fashion editor of the New York Times, “the fantastic lineage is being broken.” New designers don’t have the training and skills that have been passed down from generations of skilled artisans. Famed designers from the 1950s, 1920s, and back. Valentino is one of the last as the specialty trade loses to fast fashion. In one of the last scenes of “The Last Emperor,” when Valentino steps down, a reporter says, “No one can replace you.” Valentino responds in terms of fast fashion: “After me, the flood.” 

The Valentino: Master of Couture has been on exhibit from Nov. 29, 2012 - Mar. 3, 2013 at the Somerset House in London. It chronicles 50 years of the designer’s illustrious career in Haute Couture and building his reknowned fashion empire. The exhibit is sectioned into 3 rooms. The first room contains photos and letters written to him by his high profile clientele. The second portion of the exhibit is a runway that visitors walk through and view the over 130 designs from a different angle. The last room takes the guests on a backstage view of the fine detail that goes into making a Valentino gown. It shows how each stitch is sewn and each shape is carefully crafted by hand. There is also an introduction to his latest project, the Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum, an application that showcases most of the designer’s work past and present long after the exhibits have gone. A 360 degree look and close up view of the gowns are available as well as the story behind each dress and photos of the celebrity wearing it.

Museum of Chinese in America Legacy Awards Gala

imageThe Museum of Chinese in America (MoCA) held its 17th annual Legacy Awards Gala on December 3, 2012.  The event was held at Cipriani Wall Street and honored the achievements of some of the design industry’s brightest:  Silas Chou, President of Novel Holdings, Angelica Cheung, Editor in Chief of Vogue China, Calvin Tsao of Tsao & Mckown Architects, and Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, Founders of the brand, Opening Ceremony.

There was not a fashion faux pas in the house.  Most of the dresses that arrived that night were absolutely stunning.  Some heavy hitters of the fashion industry were in attendance such as Vera Wang, Vivienne Tam, Derek Lam, Jason Wu, and Amy Fine Collins, special correspondent of Vanity Fair.  Model Alek Wek and Alexa Chung also graced the scene.

The event, hosted by the playwright David Henry Hwang and the actor BD Wong, celebrated the growth of Novel Holdings under Silas Chou, acquiring stakes in Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger Asia, and Karl Lagerfeld.

The architect, Calvin Tsao, of Tsao & Mckown received recognition for his induction into the Interior Design Hall of Fame and receiving the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Interior Design.  As the Editor in Chief of Vogue China, Angelica Cheung has brought the publication to new heights and international recognition during her seven year reign.

With her college degrees in Law, English, and Literature, it goes to show that fashion greatness isn’t taught in school.  Last but not least the fashion entrepreneurs, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, founders and co-owners of Opening Ceremony, were awarded for the success of the popular retail store launched in New York City in 2002.  Known as a unique marketplace featuring international talent, they have gained notoriety from projects with artists including Spike Jonze and Chloe Sevigny.

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It was no surprise that the founding creative duo received their award from famed fashionista, Alexa Chung.  Auctions were held throughout the night to raise funds for the museum.  Items for sale included bags from Amy Chan, Katherine Kwei, and Derek Lam; dresses from Anna Sui, Melinda Eng, and Thomas Chen of Emmanuelle; baby doll dresses from Angela Gao, and a jacket from Jade Lai of Creatures of Comfort.  Tickets to Vera Wang’s FW2013 show and a presentation by Vivienne Tam were also on auction.

This year the annual Legacy Awards Dinner was themed in fashion to promote the upcoming fashion exhibits set for the Spring of 2013.  Front Row:  Chinese American Designers will feature the work and follow the entrepreneurial rise of seventeen Chinese American Designers who have made New York City the backdrop of their inspiration and have contributed to the New York fashion scene that we know today.  The exhibit takes a look at the experiences that have shaped their careers and how they have created their brands.

Shanghai Glamour:  New Women 1910-40s examines the city’s renown style and range of fashion among the various social scenes of that era.  The presentation will explain how the political and social climate have influenced their dress and identity during the city’s modern movement.  Twelve outfits will be on display among other featured items that will exhibit the influence of Shanghai’s unique style and impression on the world stage.

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oh-so-coco:

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I just posted the behind-the-scenes video yesterday and now here are a few still shots from the shoot. To see the entire finished editorial go HERE.

I LOVE This Haircut!!!!!