Thursday, September 30, 2010

PARIS ...Dries van Noten, Zac Posen, Rue de Mail, Gareth Pugh

Dries van Noten, while an acquired taste, delivered a particularly beautiful collection based on ease, comfort and chic. There was something about the jackets that presage a 21st century Annie Hall, a relaxed somewhat androgynous look and with a major concentration on a starched white shirt. They are approachable, understandable, urbane clothes for women who want to look chic and not “done up.” The was even a moment of JEANS, which sure looked like a very desirable, if not preferable, alternative to “jeggings.”
Rue Du Mail, Martine Sitbon, and Mr. Obama have a thing for transparency except that the former favors it when part of a dress. The palette is lively without being overbearing and the silhouettes easy to wear. Keep an eye on the ruffles as they appeared in Milan and they might just turn out to be trend worthy here in Paris
Gareth Pugh turned out, what can only be viewed as variations on a theme rather than a collection of ready to wear. The clothes were disappointingly influenced by McQueen, Mugler, Rick Owens, and possibly even Paco Rabanne. Apart from all the technical innovation of fabric and the craftsmanship involved in constructing the garments in these fabrics, somehow the focus of a collection got lost.
Zac Posen, pauvre Zac, who made his freshman appearance at the Paris collections, and I must say left an unforgettable impression. The clothes reflect an absolute ignorance of design unless he was auditioning for that of costume designer at the Folies Bergere. There were very minor lapses where he showed some promise but then it veered quickly back to the wardrobe call for Irma la Douce 2011. If you are unfamiliar with the plot of the movie, goggle it!! He has single handedly lowered the bar for the Paris week of fashion…….call it Zac’s Folly!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Salvatore Ferragamo, Masamiliano Giornetti, have found a home for each other. Mr. Giornetti had been designing the men’s collection and now he has added women’s to his duties and now the brand finally has something to brag about. The current collection is for the “well heeled” (HA!) lady who wants a clean, stylish, understandable, and understated wardrobe. He has skillfully taken the brand’s DNA and heritage and combined them for an extremely tasteful and salable collection for women of almost any age.

Dolce&Gabbana presented the odd collection of very white, virginal clothes which were awash with broderie anglais and yet managed to work in their signature leopard and boudoir components. The collection was presented without all the usual bells and whistles and yet one more time these guys met a theme and milked it for all it was worth to great result.

Brioni, Allesandro Dell’Aqua, has offered some welcomed new feminine touches for a house which is known for its rigid tailoring and hard lines. The razor sharp edges have been softened and the palette greatly improved. The minimalist roots of the collection have been refined rather than retained and the appeal broadened by doing so.

Dsquared, the Caten boys, presented still one more of their ever perplexing collections; who is their customer and why? It’s a mystery who buys these clothes and why they would be bought other than at Kohl’s or JC Penny prices save for the evening pieces. At any rate, the androgynous and preppy collection did little to disappoint since there is no great level of expectation involved.

Giorgio Armani presented one more of those collections that reminds everyone why he is who is and does what he does. There is no ground breaking news and no radical departure from his MO, but he exhibits a consistency that so many would benefit from if followed. The collection was softer than usual and definitely blue; in its many varieties and shades. As alluded to in the program, the evening clothes were of starry clear glittering nights with no extra bells and whistles. In this business there is something to be said for consistency, especially when it has proven successful for decades.

Roberto Cavalli went to rock star heaven with this collection. The 70’s are alive and well here, just a lot more expensive. The clothes were more fantasy than reality and yet they were exhibits of what factories can do with a few yards of cloth and some leather…..amazing would be a much understated description. Aside from the technical wonders, the collection bears very little relation to any reality other than your “hidden rock star” persona. He and Mr. Dundas, from Pucci, have beaten this to death and it is time to move on!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Blumarine, Anna Molinari, gave retailers a big gift for spring 2011. The brand which Ms. Molinari has built has retained its DNA and rung mental cash registers for those who watched the spectacle of a Blumarine Spring. Of course, the collection is loaded with animal prints and full of color not to mention all the silhouettes that employ the components of the collection. While these clothes are not for the shrinking violets and certainly not for weekly supermarket shopping, they will give the wearers reason to smile and make retailers sing.

Emilio Pucci, Peter Dundas, have taken this collection into the 21st century and left behind the Pucci that your mother loved in the 20th century. Mr. Dundas has extrapolated the DNA and turned into modern rockstar sexy clothes. The prints exist, albeit; just in a very different kind of way and the simple silhouettes have more or less disappeared. The collection is as modern today as the original collection was when it was started by its namesake in the 1950’s.

Jil Sander, Raf Simons, gets a standing ovation, in words, for the brilliant collection that was just shown in Milan for Spring 2011. This is a tour de force of what is possible when there is a new designer for an already established brand. Mr. Simons has done many collections for Jil Sander but this is the culmination and a distilling of his talents and the brand DNA. He has shown that it is indeed possible to retain the original and expand upon it in an astounding way. It might be said that what he has done would never have been accomplished if Ms. Sander had remained with her namesake company. Raf Simons has catapulted the brand into a new dimension that is sure to exponentially grow Jil Sander awareness, distribution and salability beyond anyone’s expectation.

Bottega Veneta, Tomas Maier, took the opportunity to show yet another collection which is long on rhetoric and short on look. With a rather bland palette and rather nondescript shapes, the collection takes on a very ‘earth mother” kind of look which has never been part of the ‘luxury” ready to wear business unless you consider Eskandar. There is no news to report here, other than the fact that the brand had better keep on selling those woven handbags for a very long time.


Versace, Ms. Donatella, delivered a tough as nails collection complete with hard lines and rigid construction as well as “hard geometry.” The clothes seem to be simple but are complicated by the cut outs and the awkward straps, not to mention, the hideously cheap looking prints. There were moments of brief respite with a few peeks into what she is really capable of doing before all the junk gets in the way. This certainly was not a stellar moment for the house of Versace.
Gianfranco Ferre, the Aquilano and Rimondi boys, needs a serious recalibration to get straightened out. Save for a few passages, the clothes remain graceless and reminiscent rather than cutting edge, slick and sophisticated. Where are the tailored components, the precision, the drama and the grand gestures that the namesake made a house staple. These guys need to really examine their ”M.O.” or the new owners will be showing them the door very soon.
Etro is one of those brands which has carved an identity for itself and stuck to its DNA season after season. Here, it is never boring and before you enter you already know that you will witness a full tilt visual assault on your senses. The prints, the mash ups, the silhouettes are all part of the glory of Etro and this season there is a far more approachable outlook. There seems to be just a bit of holding back which has certainly worked to their advantage and certainly plays to the DNA of the brand

Monday, September 27, 2010


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie

“When I’m bored I feel very old, and since I’m extremely bored with you, I’m going to be a thousand years old in five minutes. . . .”

It would be difficult not to fall in love with anyone this honest and this blunt, but these are the “pearls” of wisdom that fell out of the mouth of Gabrielle Chanel. For those who intimately know the business of fashion, it is a fact that along with its cast of players come a large doses of lying or “embroidering the truth,” sarcasm, and bitchiness galore. Mlle. Chanel was by no means immune to any of these attributes.

Justine Picardie has given us new reason to doubt the very origins of the great designing mind of Chanel. Ms. Picardie points out, very assiduously, that Mlle. Chanel had more versions of the truth than any pathological liar could conjure up.

Chanel had a different version of every event, especially of her humble beginnings, and could weave a fairy tale faster than she could sew a button. What remains from all these versions is simply this: No one knows exactly where she came from, how she was raised, who raised her, nor even if she had birthed a child. It seems that Mlle. Chanel had no intention of ever leaving behind the “true” history of her life. What she did leave is a richly embroidered truth from which we can pick and choose regarding her life.

She was most definitely a woman who loved men and in most cases, a woman who felt it was worth it to support these men long after she bedded them. She was attracted to artists, aristocrats, phonies, the rich, the poor, the needy, but she always came away with something from each of them. There were two extremely questionable liaisons with two extremely questionable Germans, pairings that aroused the curiosity of many for many years—but even their stories were “enhanced.”

No matter the topic, no matter the situation, there are several things that one can say about the great Gabrielle Chanel and they are that: she was smart before it was vogue for women to be smart; she was talented before it was chic for a woman to exhibit her talents; she was opinionated, forthright, and painfully honest. Most of all there is the legacy that she left us.

“I’m not sure that I do entirely understand; for so much of Chanel remains enigmatic—the more you run after her, the more elusive her ghost becomes.”

For those who have read other biographies of Mlle. Chanel, this is the one to read since Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life will debunk many of your prior assumptions or at the very least, give you plausible reason to think twice about what you have previously read.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Walter Albini and His Times: All Power to the Imagination by Maria Luisa Frisa and Stefano Tonchi

Rather than a biography, this volume is about Walter Albini, the seer, the prescient man who foresaw the future of fashion way before his untimely demise. Walter Albini and His Times is a paean to the designer, the creator, who envisioned a total look, who envisioned ready to wear for men and women and who, by all accounts, was as prolific as his contemporary Karl Lagerfeld.

Walter Albini was an artist, an illustrator, a textile designer, a pattern maker, an accessory designer, a photographer—a Renaissance man—who was as involved with his designs as he was with his own persona. He was one of the first, if not the first, to be photographed in his own clothes and with his own clothes in magazine editorials and advertising. He saw the unisex trend and embraced it with his influence, which he wielded via the many collections he designed anonymously.

When reading the book, one is rendered slack jawed by the power and imagination that this man had—and yet he never lived to see the seeds that he had sowed.

Even though he barely lived past the age of 40 and died in 1983, Albini had already become the designer that so many of his colleagues would never approach in scope or comprehensiveness. He enjoyed his travels, his homes, and his passions way before Mr. Armani, Monsieur St. Laurent, or Karl Lagerfeld took advantage of their celebrity. In essence, Albini did it all first, saw it all first, took control first, and laid the groundwork for all those who followed.

What is startling about the history of Mr. Albini is that the details of his death are never referenced nor revealed, which is a credit to all who wrote of him and all who were interviewed. Actually, this speaks volumes about Walter Albini, the creator and the human being. There is obviously a great amount of respect involved, and yet there is not a place devoted to him in the annals of popular fashion history. We are told that if not for Walter Albini, there would be no such thing as ready to wear, no such thing as “mass marketing” of Italian designer merchandise, and that the once flourishing “Alta Moda” would have died a horrible death—pretty much resulting in the end of Italian apparel design.

This reviewer is proud to have never forgotten him, nor the Albini clothes that he owned, nor the legacy that the man left behind. It was a privilege to have grown up in this business reading about him, and to have been exposed to and educated by the likes of Walter Albini

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Aghayan, Ray
Albini Walter
Alaia Azzedine
Andre Adeline
Andrevie France
Androver Miguel
Ann, Lucie
Anthony John
Ashpool, John
Aspeci Alberto
Assatly Richard
Atkinson Bill
Audibet Marc
Aurientis Dominique
Ballestra Renato
Balmain Pierre
Banks Jeffrey
Banton Travis
Barocco Rocco
Barretta Anne Marie
Barrie Scott
Barthelemy, Claude
Barthet Jean
Beamon Eric
Beene Geoffrey
Beaudry, Diane
Bennet Russell
Bergere Eric
Biagiotti Laura
Bis Dianne
Body Map
Bohan Marc
Bolan Barbara
Bonavitacola Kenneth
Brevard Lee
Bricjel Vesna
Brooks Donald
Burrows Stephen
Cameron David
Canovas Isabel
Capraro Albert
Cashin Bonnie
Castlebajac John Claude
Chapman Ceil
Cipullo Aldo
Clark Ossie
Cleaver, Alan
Cole, Anne
Colonna Jean
Coreggiari Giorgio
Coringer Cara
Costa Victor
Courreges Andre
Dache Lilly
de Premonville Myrene
de Senneville Elisabeth
Dennis, Pamela
DeRibes Jacqueline
Desses Jean
Dessio Mark
d'Estanville Kim
Dianos Katherine
Dominic D.D.
Dorsey Hebe
Duka John
Eisen Mark
Esterel Jacques
Estrada Angel
Evins David
Feraud Louis
Ferrandis, Phillipe
Feith Tracy
Ferre Gianfranco
Fielden David
Fogarty Ann
Fowler Timney
Fries Diane
Frizon Maude
Galanos James
Gallitzine Irene
George Jennifer
Gernrich Rudi
Ghost/ Sarne Tanya
Gigli Romeo
Go Silk
Guidicelli Tan
Haire Bill & Hazel
Halpern, Joan & David
Hansen Betty
Hardwick Cathy
Harp Holly
Hawes Elizabeth
Hayes David
Head Edith
Hechter Daniel
Heller Nancy
Henderson Gordon
Herman Stan
Hitchcock Jonathan
Horn Carol
Hornby Judy
Howard Chuck
Hyatt Lester
Inaba Yoshi
James Charles
Jean Louis
Jin abe
Jitrois Jean Claude
Joris, Victor
Kelly Patrick
Kelly Orry
Kerr Patt
Khan Emanuelle
Kirk Alexis
Kline Don
Kloss John
Knot Jean Paul
Kobayashi Yukio
Kolodzie Ronald
La Marca Arlene
La Viola Claudio
Lapidus Ted
Laug Andre
LeGaspi Larry
Lempica, Lolita
Leser Tina
Levine Beth
Logan Joshua
Loper Don
Madame Gres
Magid Marion
Masandrea Frank
McFadden, Mary
McCardle Claire
Miller Nolan
Mills Tracy
Miyake Issey
Moises Debra
Montana Claude
Mori Hanae
Morris Bernadine
Mortenson Eric
Mugler Thierry
Muir Jean
Mulqueen Jack
Myles Morton
Neuville Charlotte
Nippon Pearl&Albert
Nivelais Roland
Norell Norman
Nye Matt
Oldfield, Bruce
Oldham Todd
Oliver Andre
Ozbek Rifat
Parnis Mollie
Pasquali Guido
Paulin Guy
Pernet Diane
Perris Bernard
Pfister Andrea
Platos Stanley
Pomodoro Carmelo
Porter Thea
Price Anthony
Pucci Emilio
Quant Mary
Rankin Isaia
Rech Georges
Rhodes Zandra
Ricci Nina
Rochas Helene
Rogers Jackie
Rose Helen
Roth, Christian Frances
Ruffin Clovis
Rykiel Sonia
Sanchez Fernando
Sanchez Rafael
Santos Edwin
Scassi Arnold
Scherrer Jean Louis
Schon Mila
Scott Ken
Shamask Ronaldus
Shariff Irene
Simpson Adele
Smith Willi
Soprani Luciano
Sprouse Stephen
St. Angelo Giorgio
Starr Malcolm
Stein, Frances Patiky
Sung, Alfred
Takahashi, Masako
Tarlazzi ,Angelo
Tassell, Gus
Tatterachi, Marie Pierre
Thomas, Chantal
Tice, Bill
Tiel Vicky
Tiffeau Jacques
Tilley, Monica
Traina Teal
Trell Rosabianco
Trigere, Pauline
Tyler, Richard
Ungaro Emanuel
Valentino, Mario
Van den Akker Koos
Van Wrunkle,Theodora
Venet, Phillipe
von Pier,Andre
Weitz John
Yamomoto Kansai
Yorke & Cole

Friday, September 17, 2010





With more than just a nod to Dior and McQueen, the designing ladies of Marchesa have delivered one more spectacular collection of red carpet and camera ready confections. The trend of folds and the origami aspects have more than been adapted to suit the specifications of the Marchesa look.

Michael Kors

The crown prince of urbane, chic and slick sportswear has presented his take on Spring 2011and he will be keeping his crown yet one more season. Mr. Kors has moments of spectral colors surrounded by whites and neutral that will delight men and women of many age groups. The look is softer than and not as rigid as perhaps his Fall collection but nonetheless ever so divine.

Bill Blass

Jeffrey Monteiro has been assigned the huge task of reviving, yet one more time, the namesake collection. He offers glimmers of hope that he might have an understanding of the DNA of Bill Blass and hopefully he will be showing more and more. Razor sharp edges and impeccable tailoring were always part of the DNA as well as the total look of an outfit. There is a long road ahead if Mr. Monteiro has the ability to restore the luster and the glory of the iconic brand.

Proenza Schouler boys, Jack McCullough and Lazaro Hernandez, delivered a grown up collection without all the gimmicks of over styling. There were great dresses and wonderful 2pc. dressing but when evening approached there were some very dicey moments with transparency. The young look was further thwarted by that awful below the knee hemline which flattters almost no one.
Reed Krakoff is insistent on being a designer entity unto himself despite his success with Coach. In his namesake collection, which is in its second season, the DNA has not yet been fully developed and that's where the issues begin. One can assume that the collection will remain on its minimalist path but when Mr. Krakoff veers off that path, then we see trouble. Again we see the folds and the origami work of so many collections but here we see it become clumsy. Even his use of red jolts us as with his black: they become odious under his hand.
Milly,Michelle Smith. deftly delivers a light hearted , colorful, sophisticated grouping with great patterns and mixes of color. The collection has little age discrimination and offers up cosmoplitan and slightly retro clothes for all ages.
Please consult for thorough coverage of these collections and more

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


CAROLINA HERRERA, “our lady of the sleeves” as dubbed by WWD at the onset of her designing career has come a long way from puffed sleeved luncheon lady dresses a la Imelda Marcos. She skillfully delivers a collection filled with chic, polish, and soigné apparel that will delight women of many ages. While it may not be the end all do all of Spring fashion, what Mrs. Herrera does deliver is flawless execution for women of a particular taste.

MONIQUE LHUILLIER is well known for red carpet confections and bridal gowns, this season she revs it up for those camera ready moments. From cocktails to drop dead evening extravagance, Ms. Lhuillier has kept the bar high for any occasion after 5 PM.

MARC JACOBS has referenced the 70’s yet again, and YSL and Rykiel and Halston and even Missoni with the endless variety of colorful peasant tops, tube tops, caftans, knits, and every know way to drape and shirr a dress. The spectacle cannot be duplicated and the production unparalleled. One can sit back and enjoy it, but this reviewer has always been confused by who buys and wears this collection, NONETHLESS, fascinated.

VERA WANG has been following a trajectory of questionable path. Ms. Wang, long known as the “go to” wedding dress designer, has chosen a very different direction for her ready to wear. This was an odious, brooding, very dark and very Japanesy collection. It makes one really wonder why would a woman, who really knows about her customer, would select these over worked underwhelmingly appealing silhouettes.

BADGELY MISCHKA served up a rather bland presentation that mixed their signature line with their less expensive collection. No matter what, the entire presentation was rather ho hum and certainly not as exciting as past shows. There were the de rigueur gowns of questionable beauty and then a smattering of some very youthful looks which seemed to veer in the polar opposite of their core customer.

RODARTE …. The Mulleavy sisters have taken a turn toward possibly showing a collection that is more commercial than any of their previous outings. Do not think for one second that this means wearable. The collection remains editorial fodder but shows signs that the sisters may have a target of designing a commercially viable collection. It’s nice to see they are evolving but one can’t help but wonder about the emperor's new clothes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


VICTORIA BECKHAM returns for Spring 2011 with a looser, but shapely and still sexy silhouette. There is no mistaking the feminine body conscious shapes that have become her trademark. She has shown us that she is quite capable of producing very alluring and salable collections while sticking to her original design philosophy

DIANE von FURSTENBERG has appeared this season as, if one can believe it, a slightly more restrained personality and not so much the what she couldn’t wear she carried persona of times gone by. The new season brings a new glamour to the collection while still retaining the whimsy and easy dressing which is part of the DVF DNA!

TOM FORD has made a discreet reappearance to the scene with a very hush hush intimate showing at his boutique on Madison Avenue. Since no press was allowed entry, the only images which will be available will be through the house photographer and designer. My take is yada, yada, yada!

HALSTON...the powers that be have finally allowed Marios Schwab to delve into the rich Halston archive and present inspiration mined from the glory days of the house. The history belongs here in the signature collection and not in the dreadfully cheap Heritage group which is headed by the equally inept SJP. Mr. Schwab has definitely found some of the signature shapes but what is lacking here is the weightless and almost ethereal quality that many of the original Halston creations possessed. The slightly heavier hand is easily corrected and hopefully next time out, the prints will be more controlled and less over powering.

REEM ACRA….the collection appeared to be lacking its usual slick controlled look. Ms. Acra says she is now dressing younger starlets and wanted a younger look but, showing less than stellar pieces with flat shoes and with a leather belt does not do the trick. Bring back some of the wonderful appeal that has made the brand a red carpet staple.

DONNA KARAN…another season of languid, drapey almost wispy confections. Where is the slick and chic sportswear from which Ms. Karan built her brand and her reputation. One would have hoped for some sort of reprise of her initial namesake collection, given that it is its 25th anniversary. Ms. Karan has apparently abandoned that customer and now designs as she dresses which therein lays a problem. One must ponder how many of her clientele are multi millionaires with multiple homes and preponderance for travel and Zen philosophy. The collection of almost every shade of beige imaginable is pretty enough with a few rare of moment which harkens back to Ms. Karan’s original roots.

Monday, September 13, 2010


JASON WU presented his ever evolving collection of chic and soigné apparel with great mastery. He has shown us his sure hand in a mix of stripes, prints, and khaki, black and white while incorporating the sophisticated tailoring and soft draping that Mr. Wu has become known for. There is a European sensibility which is most apparent with his ruffles, stripes and crisp organza blouses.

CHRISTIAN SIRIANO delivered a collection of surprising sophistication and even more surprisingly with some very pretty wearable clothes. He has managed to shed his misguided vision of ready to wear and turned it into a viable slick collection that is well suited for the retailers of the world albeit the extreme OOPS at the end of the show.

PRABAL GURUNG presented a vibrant and immensely appealing collection for next Spring. In a very short time, he has managed to exhibit his talents for flawless execution and a taste level that harkens back to the days when shows were all about the clothes and not who wore them and not who sat in the front row. The superb quality of the collection is more than evident and one can only hope that all of these factors will be enough to ensure the longevity of this collection. If you are knowledgeable of your fashion history, you can see the references of some of the past greats, and note to designer, more simple shoes are better

ALTUZARRA needs to rein in the apparent wow factor of the clothes and use his talents toward creating fabulous clothes that can be taken to retail with the confidence of the buyer. There is great talent, great craftsmanship and even great ideas and inspiration, but they all need to be refined in such a way that makes the clothes more approachable and less in your face. The future is bright as, hopefully, this designer will evolve into a first class creator.

ALEXANDER WANG, well, it is much ado about nothing. He is a great stylist but hardly a designer. The glaring references to the Japanese designers and to Helmut Lang can only reinforce that stylist quality. Yeah so it is white and there is no black. It is not as if he is the first or the last to present Spring with a mostly white palette, if he needs to make a point, then present Fall with no black!

Monday, September 6, 2010


The name is Camilla Wellton and her location is the unlikely Stockholm, Sweden. It is not the first place you think of when you think of fashion but as we find come to find out, fashion is alive and well in Scandinavia. Ms. Wellton is quite young by the standards of fashion but mature to enough to render surprisingly sophisticated designs which are both eco-friendly and bespoke.

The clothing reminds one of Balenciaga with the nipped waists, echoes some of the architecture and structure of Montana and the late Ferre and yet retains much of the softness that is Italian in nature. The coats are of extreme proportions and still very elegant while the dresses are clearly for the more body conscious of customers.

The organic shapes within the collection clearly remind us of the art of origami but the clothes are distinctly modern in their line and inspiration. There is great promise here and with continued energy, these clothes will be on the international radar screen as well as on the local Stockholm fashion scene. Keep your eyes open for her and see if you can score a coat or dress by visiting her namesake website as well as

As for me, you can find me at my usual places on Facebook or at Till next time when I will bring news of New York Fashion Week.