Posts for October 2011
>> Yesterday, Opening Ceremony's Humberto Leon and Carol Lim welcomed editors and buyers to view their first, contemporary-slanted Kenzo collection — for Spring 2012 — at company headquarters. Giant, brightly-colored block K, E, N, Z, and O letters were lying about, a remix of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was playing on the loudspeaker, and their friend Chloe Sevigny closed the parade of models in a blue jumpsuit.
“We kind of put our feelers out that we were available to do something,” Leon said of how they got the job — they were two of 30 candidates interviewed. “We wanted to do a big project that felt ——” “—— creative and exciting,” said Lim, finishing his sentence.
And it seems that they succeeded, according to Style.com: "Reactions at the presentation and afterward leaned toward raves." Added WWD: "The knowingly hip outfits probably missed the duo’s ambition of designing for 'all different types of bodies and ages,' as Leon said, but they delivered enough of a jolt to successfully reposition Kenzo as a more accessible contemporary label." Most of all, sounds like Lim and Leon will be sticking around a while — LVMH executive Pierre-Yves Roussel, who interviewed all 30 Kenzo candidates, noted of the collection: "It was exactly what we wanted."
>> The new Pierre Balmain diffusion line launched Sunday in Paris, bringing with it lots of easy-wearing rock-tinged classics — moto jackets, skinny jeans — for Spring 2012. Priced from $172 (for tops) to $1,300 (for eveningwear), the collection is much more accessibly-priced than the main line — a Balmain T-shirt costs around $1,500 — and includes clothing for both men and women. Also accompanying the launch of the collection is a third — and final — Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin-directed video, which features a grunged-up Abbey Lee Kershaw on the run around Manhattan with her band, Our Mountain. See the video below, then click through for a peek at the entire Pierre Balmain collection, hitting stores in December.
>> Who scored a coveted spot on Givenchy's always well-curated roster this season? Big names like Karolina Kurkova, Erin Wasson (in her first appearance since New York this season); plus Frankie Rayder, Mariacarla Boscono, and Natalia Vodianova — the show's opener — all popped up on the runway for the first time this season. Heather Marks made a return as exclusive, and there were also a number of newcomer exclusives like Henrietta Hellberg and Anna-Maria Nemetz. But perhaps creating the most buzz? The show's closer, Gisele Bundchen, who is already assumed to be a shoe-in for next season's campaign. See them all in the slideshow.
>> Even the critically-infallible designers are taking a jab or two this season. First Tom Ford, and now Phoebe Philo. Cathy Horyn writes of the Spring 2012 Celine show: "Phoebe Philo knows how to put a statement on the Celine runway. Everyone knows that by now. But the collection she offered on Sunday was a club sandwich of cleverly reworked ideas, with some others that didn’t have a particular urgency. My main problem was that her military-style jackets with wide belts and matching skirts were derivative of old-school Yohji Yamamoto, as were cropped, wide-leg trousers with oversized black leather jackets. Also, if you recall, Miuccia Prada opened her fall 2011 show with rounded jackets; she, too, had wide belts dropped on the hips. It was only a year ago that Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons showed black fake-leather dresses with extra-wide belts. Maybe fashion goes by so quickly today that everything becomes an unrecognizable blur, and maybe a new generation of shoppers is indifferent to this kind of debate, but Ms. Philo’s reputation is based on being her own person, so you expect more from her." [On the Runway]
>> Kanye West debuted his womenswear collection in Paris Saturday, in front of an audience that included the designers Azzedine Alaia, Joseph Altuzarra, Alexander Wang, Dean and Dan Caten, Olivier Theyskens, Jeremy Scott, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, plus Anna Wintour.
During his after-party that evening at Club Silencio, West grabbed the microphone to make the following speech: “Thank you for anybody that didn’t believe, because they motivated us to break our boundaries. We don’t know what the reviews will be, we don’t know what they will say, but I got a chance to go to Italy and feel those fabrics. I begged Louis Vuitton to let me do more shoes after my shoes sold out in two weeks, and they did not. I begged Nike, I begged this company to let me do it. And I took out motherf*cking loans to get the best models, to get the best designers, to get the best venue. I gave you everything that I had."
He continued: "This is my first collection. Please be easy. Please give me a chance to grow. This is not some celebrity sh*t. I don’t f*ck with celebrities. I f*ck with the creatives in this room, the amazing people who spend every day of their life trying to make the world a more beautiful place. The amount of people that tried to get me a celebrity f*cking deal. They said, ‘You need to do boot-cut jeans, or you won’t sell.’ Shut the f*ck up ! Or Hedi Slimane in the motherf*cking Mercer, sitting with me, saying, ‘Stop giving them your ideas, Kanye. Do your own thing.’ Hedi Slimane! To feel so frustrated. And I thank anybody who came to this party, everybody who supported, everybody who believed, because people thought it was a joke, and maybe people still do, but I can only grow from this point.”
The reviews came in later, and there were some criticisms. Suzy Menkes noted: "Mr. West followed the sexual energy of the Balmain style, with well-made clothes in fine fabrics. But a celebrity tag and a lively audience filled with music-business friends, does not cut it in Paris." WWD wrote: "A white dress with a strip of a racer back and a pair of colorful leather pants were nice. But in general the leathers and cuts were too clunky. The rest of the collection cribbed from the work of the designers he admires, many of whom were sitting in the audience, and whose ranks he intends to join." The New York Times's Eric Wilson blogged: "There was one good-looking pair of color-blocked pants in blue and coral, but it was obvious that most of the clothes suffered from a poor fit." And from The Wall Street Journal: "A vast quantity of luxury materials can’t blind people to a lack of creative marksmanship."
Cathy Horyn writes that the day after the show, West acknowledged criticism like the poor fit and the casting, and: "He was completely open about the learning-curve problems and indicated that he planned to deal with them."
>> Jason Wu has partnered with Target on a collection hitting stores and online Feb. 5, 2012. "My collection for Target embodies my signature aesthetic of feminine sophistication, with a mischievous nod to the 1960s," says Wu. "I've had an incredible experience partnering with Target, and I am looking forward to bringing these affordable designs to women across the country." He has designed apparel, handbags, and scarves, which will range from $20 to $60, for the occasion.
See a sketch and a swatch of fabric from the line, plus Wu's muse for the collection, in the slideshow. A preview video, below.