Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Uniform Franck Ford & Seven Loy..Designing Minds

In today’s world of fashion, we are faced with many types of designers who offer us their interpretation of what they think you should be wearing.  The business of fashion is populated with its fair share of those who possess a modicum of talent.  On the flip side there is a rare segment that can be considered to be the true and genuine designers as they truly and genuinely design with their own point of view and not a version of someone else’s.  UNIFORM UNION falls into the latter, more elite group, without a doubt. 

Franck Ford and Seven Loy are fiercely devoted to the art, craft and business of fashion.  These are designers who should be recognized for their design prowess, work ethic, technical abilities and their perseverance in delivering the absolutely best quality product to only those appreciate their output.  All you need do is ask their devoted clients:  Maxfield in Los Angeles, Ikram in Chicago, A’maree’s in Newport Beach or Montaigne Market in Paris and a select few more internationally.


Here, we get the opportunity to get inside the heads of these two very talented men by means of a few questions that expose their thoughts  on a cross section of topics , but always with the common thread (pun intended) of fashion.  Franck Ford speaks for them both mostly…. Enjoy the conversation …

1- What are your most prized possessions?

  F ~my diamonds, a valium pill made by Philip Crangi and 2 cowboys at the adductor muscle area on the upper inside of my legs.  

   S~My artwork by David Hockney and Andy Warhol


2-If you could come back in the next life, who or what would you like to be ?

   F~again ?  ok I do it as a sheikh 



3-Can you define or describe who your ideal customer would be?

  Would be or is ?  It is a modern woman with taste and no instruction menu made by the press; and a name would be Liliane Jossua owner of Montagine Market in her high heels on a hardcore Triumph bike cruising the Avenue Montainge in Paris. 
4-If you were not designers, what would you have chosen as a profession and why?

  F~ … an architect... I don’t like power outlets and doors.

  S~ … a painter because he loves it, it is his passion

5-When you prepare for a new collection, what is the process? Do you do mood boards with fabric swatches, sketches and color preferences? Can you describe the progression?

  It starts with conversations, drawing, photos and moods from any time and everywhere.  We have an archive of over a million ideas/images and we study them to see if there is a theme waiting to be used.   In the end, we order many fabrics and then we move into draping, shaping and returning to the archive and then mood board at this stage could be a piece of art for the Tate museum .We go insane at least twice and then minimalize our  styles to make it salable  .  We keep a few over the top styles and add basics … at the end we have a small strong collection of 30 looks ... the day when it’s done we wish we could do better but we don’t have the Alexander McQueen team .... . It’s about fabrics and the patternmakers and seamstresses.  

 6-If you could invite 4 people, dead or alive, to dinner who would they be and why?

  F~ Valentino and Grace Jones! I wear yellow …

  S~ David Hockney and Petra von Kant  


7- If you could be wardrobing a celebrity for the stage who would you select and why?

  Courtney Love in size 6  . why?...  She is Courtney Love and not a joke pop star, but as twisted as we are, we would also do Madonna a favor and get rid of spikes .    

8-What is the ultimate goal for Uniform Union?

   A team of seamstress, patternmakers and production partners who can do it with us  .also the ultimate goal is to stay as we are and grow into the top 50 doors around the world.  For the other 2000 doors we can do a diffusion line today !!!!  a perfume and shoes etc;  … all the USA

9-Being based in California, do you feel that you are missing out or do you think that fashion is so international today that it doesn’t matter where you are based as long as you are visible?

  Where we  are based is even worse, we are in Palm Springs  away from all of it  and that’s  perfect because we travel and inhale all the fashion inspirations and do our social contacts and exhale our art and craft in a design studio.  Next, a quick jump in the pool and mountain views with an amazing green wicked garden and no one can bother us .

 We drive once a week to LA for production and manage all business on Skype and emails .  One thing further to say is Franck Ford flies for a day to Paris to fix a string on a dress and we are not afraid of distance and travels.  Last week was China for 3 days and next week is India for a few days and then Paris.  Our base is like a vase, the vase from a genie in the bottle.  One click and we are somewhere else again .

10-What would you like to people to think or say when they hear the name Uniform Union?

 Last week in China they love the name. In L’Officiel yesterday, they just use UU as credit and we LOVE that.  People should think they are part of our UNION, family,  and our Uniform is our look.  An army of pearls and beads;   they should think I want to be a member on the front and in the front row!


11-What are your personal pet peeves?

  99%  .. If we see high waisted camel toe denim short we run into our oasis and wish for less of that  . We really don’t like open toe shoes.  Show people who namedrop are the worst and we don’t like fashion editors who don’t write about us … haha .  We are not crazy about tourists wherever and practical polyester pants with zipper on the knee that convert  them into cargos should be forbidden by law.  

12-what makes you happiest?

LOVE & LACE and people who believe in our work because we believe in others and support everyone we like in their craft or talent. We never go by trend or who it is.  AND THAT WE WANT TO SEE ALL AS OUR FAMILY …. UNIFORM UNION MAKES US HAPPY

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Jeffrey Felner Interview with Ilia Sybil Sdralli

Jeffrey Felner’s short bio in popular news platform ‘‘’‘ describes him as ” a dedicated participant and well informed historian in the businesses of fashion and style. Decades of experience allow him to pursue almost any topic relating to fashion and style with unique insight and unrivaled acumen.”.
Allow me to add his vast knowledge of fashion history plus his overall personality as a journalist, constantly showcasing the difference between a real ”fashion journalist” (in the old-fashioned yet accurate way), from a random fashion blogger. Book reviews in ”New York Journal Of Books” are also another chapter.
I have been happy to get acquainted with as I have discovered great publications referring to fashion history ,fashion semiotics and the culture of apparel in general. His writing represents exactly what’s missing in today’s fashion commentary as he is not afraid to tell a spade, a spade.
Mr. Jeffrey Felner I salute you.” Fashionphiles”,do start taking notes!
by Marc Antoine Coulon

~What attracted you in the fashion world at first place?
I think I always set my sights on fashion as it was always of interest to me. I am lucky enough to have been part of fashion from every conceivable aspect from fabric design to many facets of product design and even retail and wholesale. Fashion remains a never ending source of attraction and fascination.
~With your years of fashion expertise, would you say that certain myths regarding fashion became less intriguing for you?
I think that the absolute hugest myth about the business of fashion is that it is glamorous. When I first began my journey, it was certainly more fabulous than it is today. Fashion magazines were really all about fashion and not advertising and editorials were about fantasy and selling clothes. Today it is very much about dollars cents and the barometer of what is considered successful has been irrevocably altered and damaged by the entrance of corporations who have taken fashion/designers under their awnings.
Today there is a myth about luxury that it is so exclusive which it is not. As far as I am concerned it is far too “democratic” and too easy to find, too accessible to too many people. When there was only a single outpost for a brand, then you had exclusivity and you had luxury.
by Jaff Noel Seijas

~What inspires you? Fashion history, music, images..?
I am inspired everyday by those around me who constantly remind me that fashion changes and that one must be open and accepting of the evolution of fashion. As a book critic, I am always astounded by how much I don’t know about this world that I have been part of for so many years. I am always watching and looking and reading as much as I can wherever I may be. I am blessed with friends who share their talents with me and lead me to others who have great promise. One of the greatest inspirations for me is to find designers who understand the heritage of fashion and utilize the art of fashion in their own particular worlds of fashion

~Which is your personal definition of haute couture? Are there great couture designers nowadays to the height of Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, etc?
For me, Haute Couture is all about the first the design and then it is all about the “petit mains” or those who make the art of Haute Couture possible. To me, a great designer of the Couture is like a conductor who knows how to lead his orchestra for if the designer has no sense of that, it is possible that he has no vision for the Couture. Couture remains at the mercy of the consumer, not the stores; these ladies dictate the success of any designer. Haute Couture is usually associated with Paris, but I have come to learn that this lost art is present in the United States as well as so many other countries around the world.
 by Tim Otte

~Could you define’’ beauty’’ or ‘’style’’ in your very own terms?
I believe that one of the greatest sources on the topic was the late Diana Vreeland; to me she was utterly brilliant with what popped out of her mouth. She was outrageous and absolutely brilliant when it came to matters of both style and fashion as she made it perfectly clear that they were 2 separate entities and are rarely combined in everyday life. I have read countless books about her and I am always enlightened and amazed at how she conducted her life, her vision and her observations, no matter how outrageous.
Style is a very personal matter and is clearly dependent on the possessor. Fashion, in my mind, tends to be of the moment and fleeting. Wearing the latest shoe from Chanel does not make you stylish! Fashion can be bought but I do believe that style comes from within.

~Do you think that street style influences fashion or rather, fashion trends advertised create followers, fashionistas?
I believe that part of what ails the business of fashion is the media. There are far too many unqualified and uneducated “critics” of fashion. Street fashion is always a fascination for designers but it is the translation of it and the interpretation of it that makes it a trend. A very select few like Mr. Lagerfeld can exercise a huge influence in this arena, he is a zeitgeist of fashion and he is an astute observer of life. I prefer to call those who are immersed in fashion… “Fashionphiles” as I find the term fashionista very tired and overused. What bothers me most about the new generation of fashionphiles is their lack of education on the subject and the apparent lack of interest about the history of fashion.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

the Fashion Diaries; Chengdu Odyssey Uniform Union

The Fashion Diaries; Operation Chengdu...
There isn’t a designer out there that doesn’t want a full-fledged runway show, unless of course they are not telling the truth.  It is a milestone in the life of a designer/brand.  So, keeping this in mind, imagine what happens when you are invited as the headlining fashion designer/brand and all expenses are paid for by the event organizers!  The catch here is that you have less than 2 weeks to get it all organized, pack it up and fly most of the way around the world to Chengdu Fashion Week.
The following is the accounting of that time period as told by half of the design team of Seven Loy and Franck Ford; the brand is Uniform Union.  The result of the scenario is fascinating, amusing, enlightening, educational and amazingly successful… read it and let’s hear what you think. .. In the words of Franck Ford, here is a quick journal of a whirlwind trip….……

 Almost thinking there is a free week to be at the pool looking into the aqua blue sparking water, the “new mail” sound “noir" goes on and yes the aqua blue sparking lace dress will be the opening piece for the Chengdu Fashion Week runway show

 The first thing I do is changing the new mail sound to “news flash “. That is the China sound and news is needed at UU.

After the fall delivery and a pre spring production running we had that week planned out in our Palm Springs home to draw Spring 14 finals.

UU founded in 2012 and all goes so well at Maxfield, Montaigne Market and a handful more! ...... But does it really go so well!?

It is a new brand and a new loving passion of 2 designers who had great success before but not the press. LOYANDFORD sold so well one point they could have bought the press but did not go that road or the other was we kiss a lot of you know what!

So why not do the show in China? 6 DAYS to make 30 looks and 3 days dim sum and maybe press! 

…   first look... A hand beaded leather jacket with feather sleeves and black pearl strings, underneath a blush striped beaded lace tunica, pleaded charmeuse skirt. The first China look is born. Next 5 " vacation days " are pattern, sewing, draping, shaping, beading and speeding to get 30 looks ....but not in a rush!!!!

Let’s rush to China. Maserati out of the garage, dogs a kiss, PALM SPRINGS - LAX, checking in, wardrobe fine, denim and a white tee and a tea in Chengdu 18 hours later.
A new metropolis with 35 million people, glasshouse bathtub and so tired. WHAT A RUSH TO GET HERE!!
Looking from the 19th floor over the city and all what’s in mind is “UNPACK THEM NOW “by 10 pm the racks are full and the hotel suite does not look any different that any other day in our design studio 
Day 2 
8 - 9 eat and meet crew
9 -12 meetings 
12 -3 pm hair and make-up test
3 - 4 pm meeting 
5 till 9 pm fitting 
9 till 10 pm no food - a cake on floor 4 

DAY 3 
Where, what, when, who, why?
No music no shoes ...  it was not in the contact but there was a minute of thinking about it a week ago in Palm Springs.
No YouTube?  we want aphex twins ' WINDOWLICKER " , kraftwerk TRANS EUROPE EXPRESS ... sound lap and of course " OVERPOWERED " BY roisin murphy ...  we need 20 minutes sound
Calling William in London and Elizabeth in New York  
Dropbox me a.s.a.p.....  2 hours later all done and yes we love our friends 

9am meeting Mr. Yang.  Buying uniform union. Opening store, were
what, where, when, who, why? Great meeting done and NO we can’t deliver in 2 weeks but let’s email after China

11.30 Loy is at the noodle stand outside and I am looking in the mirror and think… “So far so good. It is really beautiful where we are and it’s a short trip and that the dresses will be even shorter on the runway tonight.”

12.30 At the event, 30 helpers and we feel like we are in a mall… It is a mall. A luxury mall and runway next to Dior and Vuitton store and our logo in neon blue. Not that we care but there is no forever 21 and no free tooth bleaching booth… So it’s chic. Later we learn that’s where it’s all happening. Behind walls in malls! 

1pm till 3.30 test run. We really need 20 more models and better shoes. No way but we work it.

3.30 till 6pm hair and make-up....a wet Elvis Presley beehive and 3 lashes on top of each other. Please keep it simple. Just a wet Asian Elvis to the '”windowlicker" track 
7.30 stand by
8. pm show 
Loy and Ford doing there little runway walk like its nr 1000... (Its nr 1). A few interviews and they like our name UNIFORM UNION. We love it too

Day 4     
7 am Air China - Palm Springs.  Kissing the dogs at the pool  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Happy Birthday Yves St Laurent

Today marks what would have been the 77th birthday of one of the 20th century’s greatest and most enduring fashion personalities.  He was emblematic of the 70’s in every way and there shall never be another who will breathe what he did into the business of fashion.  So, in celebration of his life and in remembrance of someone with whom I have always had some odd affinity for, I give you my “impossible conversation” with Yves…

Finallement, I am at peace, no nervous breakdowns, all the cigarettes I can smoke and one of my dearest friends has just arrived to stay with me
Je suis desole... it is such a terrible thing that is going on...I was criticized to be too original and maintenant we have fools who copy and make bad clothes, ugly clothes, clothes for women with no taste.  Too many people make fairy tales of their associations with me and other deceased designers so they can be famous ..BAH!.. they probably picked up pins at fittings!!

Oui, I had Zizi, and Catherine and so many, but they had style not like today. Today with these big breasts and big derrieres, too much maquillage and these so ugly shoes…like the shoes of Frankenstein and they cannot walk in them
Reality stars for me were Lou Lou, Nan, and Betty and Marina, and Clara ..these girls…  they worked and they had taste and they had style and panache. Already, this is very different from today with ugly women such as the Kar…Karcas….merde…Kardashians! Ooh la la quelle monstres! Quelle horreurs! Comme les prostitu√©es.. mmmm  vaches!

I am sorry not to have seen Alber have his signature known to the world, I saw the best, I worked amongst the best couturiers in the world … I miss my ateliers, “mes femmes” ah yes Monsieur McQueen..pauvre  jeune homme
Observe all around you, find peace, find your look and fit, be the best you can be and do not worry like I worried all the time
When I met Pierre and it was he who made my glorious life possible, all the riches, all the objets, the travel, my homes and then I say my talent was my best friend and my worst enemy. Rive Gauche, Opium, couture, le smoking tous mes amies
I would have hoped to be less anxious, less nervous and more strong…not so much as a sick little boy who had to always have a protector mais un reve….but peut etre, then maybe I would not have had Pierre, so maybe I change nothing
J’adore Dior, Balenciaga,   mais Cristobal and Christian, and some Armani un peu…Alexander McQueen, he was fearless in his design
I want to be with Pierre again and Lou Lou, who has already arrived, and Betty , Nan, Marina, Clara, Thadee, Francois and Madame Vreeland ,who is running around painting everything red, and then I must locate Monsieurs Dior et Balenciaga, and maybe Karl and I will be friends again as we once were. Quel soiree!

The American boy, Michael Kors, he has a good touch, he understands elegance and chic and sometimes, I even like that Marc Jacobs boy mais only a moment or two.. So many decided that what I did belonged to them ..mais non!
Alexis Mabille, le garcon from Paris. Je pense que he have something that needs to be shaped and made perfect, right now he is sampling ..testing
La mode is very serious…much money is spent in its creation and by those who wear it…I am sorry that so many “createurs” need so many words to explain the clothes...Pourquoi  les mots? …the clothes should speak and the designer speak through the clothes not with a book ,Fashion is a business and an art

Je deteste Tom Ford, the gauche Caten twins, the D Squared reines, all these designers who are not designers but media makes them famous and they have no talent …there are beaucoup! Je pense that now Raf Simons may join the group