Miller, 30, and her fiancé, Tom Sturridge, 26, named the baby Marlow. The new mother and father have been in a relationship for over a year and revealed that they were expecting a baby in January. Miller was spotted sporting an engagement ring in February.
Steele dropped out of high school when she was 15, then attended Dartmouth for undergrad and Yale for her doctoral studies in modern European cultural and intellectual history. In her first semester there, a classmate's paper on the Victorian corset led Steele to an epiphany: she wanted to study fashion.
"It was just like a lightbulb went on," Steele said. "All of my courses, after that, whatever the assignment was, I would write about the history of fashion."
Her professors balked when she presented the idea of a doctoral dissertation "on the erotic aspects of Victorian fashion," but Steele pressed ahead and wrote it anyway. "I'm nothing if not stubborn, and I was convinced that they would realize eventually that of course fashion was a perfectly valid field to go into."
Nevertheless, Steele says she was "completely unemployable" for years after she graduated and ended up as an adjunct professor of fashion history at NYU, Columbia, Parsons, and FIT. She didn't have a "real full-time job" until she was named the chief curator at the Museum at FIT in 1997. She was named its director in 2003.
Since getting that first job, Steele has written books about shoes and the intersection of Eastern and Western modes of dressing and founded the scholarly journal Fashion Theory. At the museum, Steele has curated exhibits on everything from corsets to Japanese fashion. The exhibit she has planned for next year, called Queer Style: From the Closet to the Catwalk, will focus on gay designers.
"I think that's kind of one of the most important and fascinating shows that I've ever worked on because it makes you look at the whole history of modern fashion from a new angle," Steele said. "Everybody knows that there's lots of gay people in fashion, and there have been lots of gay designers: Dior, Saint Laurent, Versace, et cetera. But nobody's ever really thought consciously to put the gayness back into fashion history and say, 'Why are there so many gay people in fashion?' and 'Is there a gay aesthetic?' and 'What have been the influences of having so many gay people in fashion?'"
"When I saw that Raf was going to be at Dior, I was just like 'Yay!'" she said. "Dior was someone who really experimented with silhouettes and line and Raf's perfect for that. And then with Hedi Slimane, that sort of androgynous sexiness is in a way an important part of the Saint Laurent DNA."
Both designers have graduated to new heights in their professions. But in a way, Steele founded her field via her own will and determination. She said that's the key to being successful in any area of fashion: keeping at it.
"Once I knew I wanted to do fashion I just did it — even though I wasn't making any money at it," Steele said. "And I think that if you do love fashion and you want to go into fashion, you have to be immensely self-directed and just do it. I think that's the main thing."
Photo: Valerie Steele photographed by Aaron Cobbett.
Those stories and more in our daily news roundup.
- The company that owns Valentino is selling the Italian fashion house, and the royal family of Qatar is rumored to be the frontrunner in the bidding war. Not true, says Valentino CEO Stefano Sassi. "As previously stated, Valentino has seen increasing interest from a number of potential buyers." [Elle UK]
- Sophie Theallet won the US division of the International Woolmark Prize, which honors emerging talent in fashion design. The prize money totals $100,000, and Theallet could win another $100,000 when she competes with other regional winners from around the world in February. [The Cut]
- Chloe Moretz has been named the newest brand ambassador for Aéropostale. [Styleite]
- Paper editorial director Mickey Boardman says that if he were a rapper, then his name would be Chunky D. [Fashionista]
- Lulu Kennedy may have helped start the careers of Gareth Pugh, Roksanda Ilincic, and Jonathan Saunders through her Fashion East initiative, but she would like to clarify that she's not a genie. "I can't grant them wishes," she says of the designers she works with. "They make things happen. They've got to put the work in." [The Guardian]
- Karl Lagerfeld's masstige line Karl will be available at Selfridges by the end of the month. [Vogue UK]
- The Museum at FIT has relaunched its online platform, the Museum at FIT Online Collections, which allows users to digitally view some 600 pieces in the museum's possession. [UnBeige]
Huntington-Whiteley would have replaced Angela Lindvall, who left the host's chair after one season without explanation. Now Carolyn Murphy, whose last television appearance was a segment of The Tonight Show With Jay Leno in 2005, has been selected for the hosting job — but that didn't happen before The Weinstein Company hastily auditioned her, Karolina Kurkova, Hilary Rhoda, Elaine Irwin, and Rachel Roy for the position.
A friend of Huntington-Whiteley's insists she was "never fully committed to the project and there was no signed contract." The model may not be the host of the show, but it is believed that she will come back as a guest judge. Nevertheless, another source claims her departure caused a big fuss.
"Literally days before filming, the show suddenly had no host," a source said. "Rosie had been pushing really hard for the job. She'd charmed everyone. But then with less than three weeks to go, Rosie pulled out to do Mad Max, creating a huge drama. It put the production in a terrible position, and the Weinstein Co. even threatened to sue Rosie."
Filming on Project Runway: All Stars began early last month and features Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi as judges. Marie Claire editor in chief Joanna Coles will mentor the designers on the show, and so far guest judges have included Katie Holmes and Kylie Minogue.
Huntington-Whiteley will star in Mad Max: Fury Road alongside fellow model Abbey Lee Kershaw, Charlize Theron, and Zoe Kravitz. Last year she starred in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Murphy had a small role in the 1999 film Liberty Heights.
Marc Jacobs will continue his series of artist collaborations by working with Yayoi Kusama, the Japanese artist known for her whimsical dot motif.
On Tuesday, two days before a retrospective of Kusama's work opens at the Whitney Museum in New York, Louis Vuitton will deliver a collection informed by her signature decoration to its stores in the United States. It will be in stores around the world on July 19. Kusama's signature dots will appear on everything from trench coats to pajamas and jewelry. Another assortment of products, combining Vuitton's monogram leather goods and Kusama's "nerves" design, will arrive in October.
Jacobs met Kusama in Tokyo in 2006. Their relationship led to Louis Vuitton providing financial backing for a retrospective of her work at London's Tate Modern museum earlier this year. Jacobs called the collaboration an extension of that support.
"Her energy is just endless," Jacobs said. "For many people who don't look at art or go to galleries, or maybe they're not aware of Kusama's work, there will be a new venue, a new place to see this work and to come to appreciate it through the eyes of Louis Vuitton."
The last time Jacobs worked with an artist for Louis Vuitton was his collaboration with Takashi Murakami in 2003. He also worked with Stephen Sprouse in 2001.
Kusama's influence can already be seen in Jacobs's work — his newest fragrance, after all, is called Dot. Take a look at his collaboration with Kusama — and Kusama's own work — here in the gallery.
From Chanel's Resort 2013 show to all the romantic editorials that have been staged there, the Palace of Versailles is having a moment. And now, Le Grand Divertissement à Versailles — the 1973 fashion face-off between five American designers and five French couturiers — is the subject of the new film Versailles '73: American Runway Revolution.
The event was staged by Eleanor Lambert, creator of Vanity Fair's International Best Dressed List, who invited Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Anne Klein, and Stephen Burrows to represent America. The French team included Yves Saint Laurent, Dior's Marc Bohan, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, and Emanuel Ungaro.
Director Riley Draper said she created the film, which will premiere during New York Fashion Week in September, to remember an evening that had a profound impact on the American fashion and modeling industries.
Riley's research found that the American designers took their positions as underdogs very seriously. "When you look at the documents, they were like, 'We're going to war,'" she said. That may explain their groundbreaking decision to cast black models for their portion of the show.
"To actually have an exhibition with 12 African-American models at one time, in one show, in a palace in France, representing the United States and representing our fashion industry, is legendary — it's historical," said Riley.
The documentary features interviews with some of those models, including Pat Cleveland and Alva Chinn, as well as former Vogue editor Grace Mirabella and several fashion historians. Cameron Silver of the vintage store Decades narrates the film, which Riley screened at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. She'll also screen the film in Los Angeles and Atlanta before bringing it to New York City. A glimpse of the film in the trailer below.
Riccardo Tisci fused Hubert de Givenchy's clean-lined '60s silhouettes with an eclectic, bohemian gypsy vibe when he created his Fall 2012 Couture collection for Givenchy. The 10-look offering is as much a "collision of contradiction," as the house called it, as it is a study in how to take luxurious materials out of their own comfort zones. Nappa leather, for example, was cut into a fringe that got bonded back together to form the bodice and sleeves of one dress. The same fringe was also used to create a floor-length cape. When they were done cutting leather into strips, workers in Tisci's atelier turned their attention to creating a sort of mink lace — pieces of the fur were shaved away to allow for beadwork to shine through, then formed into coats with short kimono sleeves. Another cape spun from a red-and-black beaded fringe only displays its intricate pattern when it stands still. And that's where the contradiction in this collection is at play: the dresses that rely on movement and color to make statements blend perfectly well with beige wool column dresses that look forceful and powerful when they stand completely still.
Milla Jovovich, Sofia Coppola, Caroline Sieber, Clémence Poésy, Lou Doillon, and so many more — this season's batch of couture attendees was so chic that we had no choice but to devote the week's entire Best Dressed to the stellar looks spotted front row and outside the shows. From Michelle Harper's amazing plays on proportion to Anna Dello Russo's nonstop ensemble rotation (our favorite by far is the pink ball gown she wore while hanging around the Place Vendome) to Diane Kruger's perfect baby-blue French-girl redux — plus Alber Elbaz's superdapper suit, Marc Jacobs's red-soled shoes, Karl Lagerfeld's bejeweled brooch, and more — they're all right here, in the slideshow.
Though they were by turns intricately embroidered and heavily beaded, many of the Turkish-inspired garments in Elie Saab's Fall 2012 Couture offering looked light as air when they came down the runway in Paris this week. Saab said he focused on "infusing the collection with imperial splendor," so all 46 looks were of the same high-glamour, sparkly ilk that has made Saab a red-carpet staple. The almost ephemeral quality of many of these dresses and gowns came from their materials: sheer fabrics played host to rich embellishments, like Ottoman Empire motifs and fabric treatments that looked like gold leaf from afar. But Saab brought the collection back down to the ground with dresses in solid fabrics, too, which he decorated with the same expert hand he applied to the other breezy fabrics that floated down the runway.
Maison Martin Margiela's "artisanal"-themed Fall 2012 Couture collection combined found materials in exquisite handcrafted pieces that made perhaps the most avant-garde statement in Paris this week. The 15-piece collection included such items as an overcoat made from a windsurf sail, a jacket composed of baseball mitts, and a sleeveless jacket that used a crystal doorknob found in New York City as its fastener. Raf Simons, who started the week with his debut Couture collection for Dior, was seated in the front row at the show, leading many in the audience to believe that Margiela himself would make an appearance (the two are said to be good friends). But Margiela never showed his face . . . nor did the models who walked the runway, with their heads obscured by crystal-studded masks. The high-concept design in this collection stayed — literally — close to head and heart. Below the waist, most of the models wore pants cut from raw cotton or simple lace.