Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Harbingers of Design... Vito Emanuele NEW YORK

This series will spotlight global innovators who are original, known, lesser known and some perchance even already highly regarded and respected within their areas of expertise.  The common thread is style and fashion; whether it takes its form in interiors, apparel, accessories, retail, photography or any of the related professions that surround fashion and style.  

There is a cry often heard when walking through stores full of women’s apparel and that is “there is nothing here I want” or “I can’t find a dress to wear for …”  it is for these reasons that women are turning to made to measure designers rather than scoping out still another uninteresting retail emporium.

Vito Emanuele cut his chops at Halston while working side by side with the late designer.  In a matter of speaking, Mr. Emanuele has carried the torch into the 21st century ever since starting his own business.  In my estimation, Vito Emanuele is a one stop shop fest for the sartorially inclined. 
His collections, which run parallel to Haute Couture rather than ready to wear, are made up of clothes for real women who prefer to dress in flattering, tasteful and chic garments that are made with the same care, skill and detail as the great couturiers of Paris.  Most women, regardless of age have an Achilles heel when it comes to their bodies and many many times it’s their arms that drive them to distraction.  I defy any female shopper to walk the floors of any top shelf retailer and find 5 dresses that have sleeves, and that is with no regard to price or look.

The scenario above is a reason for the growing popularity of bespoke wardrobing for women.  For a designer such as Mr. Emanuele, it is a god send that the “flavors of the week” or month do not heed the call of their actual clients but only those of their ideal or imaginary customers.  Media and magazines no longer trumpet clothes that are wearable but rather the clothes that are designed by those who represent the lion’s share of advertising or who are under the thrall of a certain editor!  Enter Mr. Emanuele!!

In the end, would you rather buy a dress that you settle for and pay top dollar or do you want a dress you love and adore and cherish?  If there is no joy in shopping then why bother??

Friday, July 26, 2013

Olaf Hajek... A Harbinger of Design

This series will spotlight global innovators who are original, known, lesser known and some perchance even already highly regarded and respected within their areas of expertise.  The common thread is style and fashion; whether it takes its form in interiors, apparel, accessories, retail, photography or any of the related professions that surround fashion and style.


One cannot deny the visual and visceral reactions that are caused by seeing the work of this brilliant artist/illustrator.  What really attracted me to his work is this series of portraits or “Antoinettes” as they are so aptly named.  If you cannot comprehend this, then you must see the comparison to many portraits of Marie Antoinette and in general many 18th century French women of a certain social station.


Mr. Hajek is totally 21st century in his approach as well as having the unique ability to blend elements of Rousseau, American Folk Art, the Dutch masters, and classical 18th century portraiture into one finished masterpiece!  For me there is this na├»ve quality all blended together which climaxes in his arresting body of work.



We, in the states, always believe we have the best of everything and that we are so enlightened and exposed and indeed to a certain extent we are, but when one comes across an artist of this caliber, we are reminded of what we lack on a cultural level.  We are also somewhat careless about the images we might see every day as is evidenced by the client list that Mr. Hajek includes on his resume; whether it be Macy’s or Montblanc, we have seen his work  before!



The slideshow is just an amusing way of being able to compare the work of Olaf Hajek to classical art of the 18th century.  Please enjoy it and share it and know that now when you see his work, it will be very recognizable and familiar to you.


P.S. take note that the Height is definitely in the Hair and not in the Heels!!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Harbingers of Design… Steven Oo

The Harbingers of Design… Steven Oo

This series spotlights global innovators who are original, known, lesser known and some perchance even already highly regarded and respected within their areas of expertise.  The common thread is style and fashion; whether it takes its form in interiors, apparel, accessories, retail, photography or any of the related professions that surround fashion and style.  Please note that some of my “cast members” have chosen to follow a path than includes utilizing the “tools” of the past thereby rendering a new and modern vision for today’s climate of fashion and style. These “createurs” are at the vanguard of design and style … in my opinion, of course

Today in the blistering heat of New York City this writer was reminded that true, original and astounding talent lives!!!  Years ago Steven Oo came to my attention very soon after his graduation from the Academy of Art University in san Francisco and he has never left my sight… and with good reason.  There is a word that comes to mind, and it is a word that is not tossed around lightly on my pages and that word is BRILLIANT!

This is all about talent meeting technology in the most creative way possible.  This is about vision and believing that there are no limits and that everything can be done.  The proof is here and even in oven like heat, one cannot resist in touching and fondling the most precious of cashmere which has taken the form of knitwear that we have not yet seen in this millennium… or for that matter in the last one either!  In very plain simple terms... these is not Granny’s knit one, purl 2 and drop a stitch!!!

Have a look and let me know what you think!!!!

P.S. you might  want to conjure the spirits of John Ashpool and Laura Biagiotti

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Alexis Mabille & Zuhair Murad resort 2014

Holiday/Resort, as it was once called, is a season that allows some designers to test the waters as well as show off their multifaceted designing skills.  Traditionally, the season was aimed at those women who traveled and needed clothes to wear on their vacations and also for clothes that might be worn for those special holiday occasions.  All that has changed, especially for the European market that never really treated the season as necessary to their businesses; now Resort has taken on a full-fledged moniker as a season on the fashion calendar and for some designers has become a more wear it now focus.

Alexis Mabille showed a playful side to his world with his first ever resort collection.  Mr. Mabille also showed, almost simultaneously his Fall Haute Couture collection and the difference is more in tone than in DNA.  He has always shown his playful or more relaxed side in his past Spring collections by using some cottons but the effect was sort of missed due to the general direction of these collections.  By that I mean to say that Mr. Mabille tends to focus on dressier clothes, more formal, rather than  just a cotton dress or cotton pant look, none of which is a negative.  With this collection he focuses on the more daytime aspects and still infuses the Mabille vocabulary with each look.  Looks of note are the flounced cut away rain coat and the quite simple little navy bow dress which is just perfection.  My big criticism is the head gear which did nothing to enhance the collection. Nevertheless as they say in French...felicitations!

Zuhair Murad strikes a decidedly different tone with his resort collection as opposed to his spectacle of Haute Couture.  What strikes me most is that he  and Elie Saab have similar ideas or paths  on how to differentiate their ready to wear collections from their Haute Couture and by that I mean that it is just not about petit mains versus ready to wear manufacture.  Mr. Murad injects the Resort collection with what he considers to be day looks and cocktails dresses as well as evening pieces.  All of it is impeccably made and all of it retains the DNA that has become Mr. Murad’s stock in trade and that would be glamour... in varying degrees.  Overall, this is all pretty damned tasty looking and more commercial that the Haute Couture but do not confuse my choice of words to mean dull, boring or common.  The clothes are … perhaps one might say… more discreet rather than overt!  The other thing that strikes me is the enhanced color palette which is very very appealing and suits the clothes quite well. 

So …  Now it is your turn to have a look and decide what you think about these collections.  It is sad that mainstream fashion media tends to overlook beautiful clothes rather than report or opine on them!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Haute Bouillabaisse...Haute couture Fall 2013

Within this minute and very specific area of fashion lies many who might be overlooked or some who might not really have a clear concept of what haute couture really means or exactly what makes it emblematic of being the epitome of fashion design and manufacture.  Today is about a mixture of all different calibers of design … so maybe it should be the Couture Stew or Haute Bouillabaisse!

Viktor and Rolfe certainly know what it means or takes to produce in the ways of the Haute Couture as they practice so much of it within their regular ready to wear collections.  Twice a year they usually take the mechanics of the couture and bring it to dizzying heights but such was not the case this season.  For fall 2013 apparently, they opted to pay homage to Rei K and Yohji Y and yet still impart their flawless workmanship but in the most discreet of ways.  One looks to them for the fantasy that is always part and parcel of the Haute Couture, so this season’s decidedly Zen like mode is something of a shock.

Elie Saab is a pro when it comes to showing off his talents especially during the week of Haute Couture.  He is all about beaded and embroidered and unapologetically so.  So, the collection comes as nothing short of business as usual at the House of Saab.  Don’t misread this as unattractive or not exciting, it is just that this is what he does and he does it with few competitors or deviation.  The clothes are decadently opulent, luxe, riche and well designed for the ladies of Saab!

Vionnet … depending on how you look at it, this collection might rank right up there with the desecration of the YSL name.  As far as can be seen, there was absolutely not one good reason to make a fuss over 12 ill-conceived garments that bear no DNA or resemblance of the namesake designer.  To add insult to injury, the garments are poorly executed ala Project Runway which holds no fascination in the world of Haute Couture!  One more reimagining gone awry!

Alexandre Vaulthier is a fixture of the Haute Couture and yet he is not the run of the mill designer who adheres to classically designed clothes.  The collections are edgy, modern and possibly over the top to some viewers.  One must assume that the customer is there or else why go through the expense of it.  In my estimation this season the collection “out Balmains Balmain” and that might be saying something!  The clothes are dangerously sexy and sit on the border of trashy but no matter; these clothes are the result of a well thought out collection that has limited appeal, even within the already limited world of Haute Couture!

Giambattista Valli delivers collection after collection that speaks to his ladies… of any age.  The clothes are wildly feminine as well as frilly, flowery and girly … not one of those said in a pejorative way.  The clothes speak in the vocabulary of the brand and no one can argue that.  He clearly reveres and utilizes the petit mains that make the Haute Couture a land of endless possibility for any designer who is fluent in that dialect of fashion speak!  It is clear that Mr. Valli is a linguist…if you catch my drift