>> In a room strewn with moss and wildflowers deep inside J.Crew HQ earlier today, Madewell presented a collection of highly covetable separates and want-now accessories for Spring 2012. Though denim is still a major focus for the brand — chambray shirts and a new line of workwear-inspired heritage jeans were on display — the real draw for the coming season are the ultra-wearable tops, jackets, skirts, and dresses that effortlessly walk the line between downtown and down home. Silhouettes were straightforward and drawn from a palette of earthy solids, washed-out primaries, graphic stripes, and easy prints. Accessories, too, were super appealing — and a bit more grownup than in seasons past: Candy-hued flats were pointy toed, and there were even peekaboo pumps and refined ankle booties in richly colored suede. An up-close look at Spring 2012 presentation, here in the slideshow.
Posts for October 2011
>> Activewear that hits a highly feminized note is a big story for next season — and Loeffler Randall's Spring 2012 collection manages to strike that sporty-pretty balance perfectly. Here, designer Jessie Randall has mixed tech fabrics like Velcro, mesh, and wetsuit neoprene with natural materials like raffia, leather, and canvas — all in a Fragonard-inspired palette of Popsicle pinks, delicate nudes, and Springtime greens. Silhouettes are easy going with plenty of appeal; amidst Randall's signature twist-knot flats, there are also chunky platforms and high-rise pumps as well as a new round-peg heel shape. Also in the mix: metallic polka-dots, textural snakeskin, and a nice dose of contrast neon. Click through to see the whole collection, now.
>> Fresh off dressing Michelle Obama for a state dinner with South Korea's president and first lady last Thursday, Doo-Ri Chung has been signed for an upcoming Macy's collaboration.
Chung's collection, which hits Macy's for eight weeks starting Feb. 15, will include her signature draped jersey, knitwear, and art-inspired prints on short- and maxi-length dresses, leggings, blouses, and trench coats, priced $39 to $159. “The customer is very different from whom we’ve catered to before, but I really didn’t have to adapt. Macy’s wanted to keep the design level high. I didn’t feel the challenge was very different,” Chung said.
Chung is the fifth designer to collaborate with Macy's; although, the retailer would not disclose any designer it is working with past Chung, officials did note the series is resonating and will continue through at least 2012 with other designers.
>> It's no secret that Waris Ahluwalia is into craftsmanship. The jewelry in his House of Waris line has always been made using traditional techniques, with everything — right down to the chains on the pendants — fashioned completely by hand. It should come as no surprise then, that Ahluwalia's debut scarf collection employs that same dedication to history and artisanal techniques. Superfine cashmere is hand-loomed and hand-embroidered in a precise honeycomb "Kundun" pattern, handwoven silks and gauzy silk-cotton are batik-dyed, block-printed, hand-dyed, or silk-screened, and hems are all neatly finished by hand. It's not just the attention to detail or the heirloom fabrics that make this new collection of scarves so appealing, however — it's also the gorgeous color combinations and striking graphic patterns. Though meant to be unisex (or, as Waris says, "We don't believe in unisex, just more sex"), it's easy to imagine these pretty prints and super-soft fabrics evolving into a collection of dresses, skirts, and blouses. Waris's next project, perhaps? It's a suggestion the designer seems to have heard before, but if it's in the works, he's not talking. When pressed, his answer is a shrug, a wry smile, and a quiet: "I hope not."
Click through the slideshow for an up-close look at the first season of House of Waris scarves, available online now at Barneys.com, as well as at Barneys New York, Beverly Hills, Dover Street Market, and Colette. Plus, a look at the House of Waris Fall 2011 jewelry.
>> In the vein of Seamless, Vogue is documenting this year's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition amongst the 10 nominees: a.a., Altuzarra, Carlos Campos, Creatures of the Wind, Cushnie et Ochs, Finn Jewelry, Fenton/Fallon, Ohne Titel, Pamela Love, and Suno. The most recent video, below, follows each designer as they present before a judge panel that includes Anna Wintour, Jenna Lyons, Reed Krakoff, Proenza Schouler, and Andrew Rosen. [Vogue.com]
>> Harper’s Bazaar Russia tapped 15 designers to do special-edition covers for its November 2011 issue, in honor of the magazine's 15th anniversary. Karl Lagerfeld sketched Natasha Poly, Jean Paul Gaultier used Russia as his collage cover's inspiration, and Dolce & Gabbana spattered leopard, lace, and stars amongst images of Poly, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Candice Swanepoel. See all 15 covers in the slideshow.
>> Calvin Klein, who rarely gives an interview these days, sat down last night at the 92nd Street Y in New York to give his thoughts on everything from addiction to the current state of the brand he founded.
Topics of discussion ranged from the serious to the humorous. Klein, who has struggled with addiction in the past, says that he doesn't believe the "excuse" that the fashion industry makes one more susceptible to addiction: “I don’t think addiction is caused by stress on the job. It has more to do with childhood issues or other things; people in the industry use their work, but it's not that.” He also regaled the audience with an anecdote about his daughter, Marci, who during an interview several years ago apparently joked, "‘Every time I go to bed with some guy I’m looking at my dad’s underwear.'" Klein's response? “I said to my psychiatrist at the time, ‘I don’t think that’s very funny.’ He said ‘lighten up.’”
When asked about checking off the contents of his bucket list, Klein referred to his on-off boyfriend, 21-year-old Nick Gruber, who was in the audience: “I fell in love with a wonderful young man, and we recently went paragliding off Aspen Mountain.”
And as for how he feels about Calvin Klein the brand these days, he replied: "Sometimes when I see the visuals, I think if I were doing that I would do it differently — but I'm not. If I can't control it, why get upset about it?"
>> Preview the best of Tom Ford's debut beauty collection, now available online for preorder. The 130-product collection, which features a full range of everything from nail lacquer ($30) to lip color ($45 to $48) to eyeshadow ($78) to brushes ($50 to $110), won't be available in stores until Nov. 1, but Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus are both offering exclusive presales of the entire selection now. Though most of the products sport pretty standard color names ("Tawny Pink," "Peach" — the line is owned by Estée Lauder, after all), a few were christened with some racier, Ford-esque monikers. “One of the nail colors was first called Bitter Chocolate, and it is such a dark, dramatic shade that I changed it to Bitter B*tch. My favorite is Lost Cherry [a lip color]. If you wear it, and you haven’t, then you just might,” Ford told Allure in its October issue. Click through to see the best colors from the collection, here, in the slideshow.
At left, a campaign image featuring Lara Stone.
>> Carine Roitfeld has confirmed that she's working on a new magazine, and hints that the imagery may be different than the vampy irreverence she was associated with at Vogue Paris: "I will always be irreverent in my own way, but I will try to use new approaches. I've used a lot of cigarettes, a lot of sexy pictures, a lot of naked girls. I will try to do something totally different now, because I don't want to get bored of myself or to bore my readers. So, if I learn something new today, I will use it. I have to reinvent myself." She continues: "I want to see a link between the catwalk and reality. It's difficult for the woman to understand how to wear the clothes she is seeing on the catwalk. Maybe I can find a new way of thinking and a totally different way to express myself."
When asked what she thinks of Vogue Paris under Emmanuelle Alt, meanwhile, Roitfeld is dismissive: "I am very happy with what is happening to me today. I am focusing on the future, new challenges, and projects. I am not really looking to the past or what others are doing."
Banks, who early next year will complete the owner/president/manager program at Harvard Business School, tells the Wall Street Journal the classes have helped with the direction of her business: "Professors explained to me that focus is great. Being the biggest and having your foot in a bunch of things is not necessarily the best thing. So I came back and focused the message of my company ... I said, "If it's not about expanding the definition of beauty and making women feel physically and emotionally better about themselves, then we're not doing it." We put away ideas to produce food. I've been approached to do real estate with homes geared toward first-time women buyers, spas, all kind of stuff, and we put those ideas away, too."
She also seemed to be fully comfortable with her career growth: "I've found that I enjoy being at a business meeting more than I enjoy being on a photo shoot. And I can lead a meeting better."