Thursday, June 18, 2020

BALMAIN Resort 2021


If there was ever a moment when a designer and brand expose themselves as tone-deaf ... well, then this might be its nuclear flash!  After living through one of the darkest eras of humanity and still living through it, this designer and brand decided that it was business as usual and that the past three months can be erased and/or forgotten …. WRONG!
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  Firstly, Balmain is not on the level of CHANEL that has a network of retail outlets that need to be filled on a regular basis and secondly if, as the designer claims that Instagram is his runway … well, then I  hope that all of his so-called followers have black American Express cards and attend clandestine/underground galas where some of these frocks can be worn.
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As for the so-called daywear consisting of torn jeans and a jacket or some pastel confection … who cares… as for the party dresses ... where are the parties other than in front of your full-length mirror and thirdly even if we could erase all of what’s happened in 2020… where exactly are you wearing these clothes, who dresses like this anymore?
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Yes, there are a few standouts and some of them smart of Lacroix’s beginnings, Emanuel Ungaro and of course, CHANEL while others are just excess and grand gestures for the sake of showmanship. For a designer who was bemoaning his roots not that long ago, he certainly doesn’t show any regard for the times we live in.
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Fashion and life, in general, will never be the same on any continent or in any city and to make believe that they will just might amount to be one huge tragic flaw or error in judgement for the brand and designer. Designers are supposed to be somewhat clairvoyant as to what the future will hold and I can say this … Rousteing’s crystal ball must have been malfunctioning.
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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

CHANEL resort 2021


With everything that is going on in the world today, writing this review feels oddly out of synch with the times. Chanel unquestionably is one of the few brands that can actually thumb their nose at everyone and everything that surrounds them in the business of fashion. In keeping with that mindset, Virginie Viard showed a somewhat smaller Resort collection and showed it virtually as it was supposed to have been staged in Capri.
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The biggest sticking point in this collection is that it looks like Chanel Lite of Chanel 2.0…  it skews younger, highly commercialized and not exactly what one might call exciting. Let’s face it, we have all been spoiled by Karl who made every season a season to remember for one reason or another and Ms. Viard obviously has a very different vision for the brand. To me, that she has more or less given up on the cap toe shoe is a HUGE error and yet she sticks to the quilted bag and a myriad of accessories.
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Rarely do I read a Vogue review before I write mine but I felt that there was something to be learned that I wouldn’t be able to see just by looking at the clothes and I WAS RIGHT! All the fabrics and trims and accessories already existed and were in stock thusly allowing a simpler smoother path to finished product.
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What I object to is not even so much the denim, which I actually found a few pieces I thought made sense, but that the models should have been far better groomed as the clothes were not strong enough to overshadow the models. 
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Yes, lots of wearable clothes but don’t be looking for any Chanel revelations innovations as much of what we see is really quite generic or been there done that!
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Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of Chanelisms in play but as a whole it’s just a collection without any spark or invention.

Monday, June 1, 2020

meet Javier Hernandez & STONE Model Management


Fashion is something that triggers many things to many people as it engenders and almost demands opinions. The real question is what is the source of that opinion. Mine comes from decades of working in the trenches at every level whether it be out in front or in the background, in men’s or women’s, in actual clothing or accessories and finally as a store buyer or as a voracious consumer.
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“Like minds” on the subject seem to be somewhat generational and in these times I can say  with almost  100% certainty that the majority of opinions come from those who have never spent a day in the business of fashion nor have any concept of just how expensive the clothes that they “critique.”


It is a rare moment when you find an individual, who is not my peer in age, who agrees with me about fashion in the broader perspective. There was a time when all models were individuals and had character rather than models who look like they were punched out of a cookie cutter. The raison d’etre and the modus operandi of a modeling agency was to pair models with designers who complement each other. In other words, the model was a representation of what the designer/brand imagined their ideal client might look like. As you have seen, that rarely happens these days when you see barely pubescent boys wearing $5,000 suits and nubile young girls looking like they wearing mommy’s clothes…. whether on the runway or in print.
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Enter Javier Hernandez and STONE Model Management. When you train with some of the best that a business can offer and you adopt their mindsets … well, then you have match made in heaven. In the times to come, I  feel that  much of the business will be based on relationships and trust; Javier is one of those who actually reaches for a phone instead of a keyboard or wireless device  to  build his friendships and relationships with  both  models and clients and that is what sets him apart from the herd.


Today it is all about his business, himself, his past and present. I tip my hat to a man who understands that the personal touch can go a long way and also for building an agency that is not filled with interchangeable bodies and faces. He has assembled an agency that harkens back to when models had personalities and individuality and that for me is primo in these days of “me too” especially when it comes to looks!
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Jeffrey Felner: What does Stone model management stand for in the fashion and how did you get into it and why?



Javier Hernandez: The reason I named my company STONE is because there are a lot of beautiful undiscovered gems that are hidden in this world and it takes an agent (jeweler of sorts) to locate them, polish them, market them and steer their careers.

I just wish that fashion was what it used to be. I consider myself one of the last old school agents. In this industry, I was taught by some of the most legendary agents in the industry and I had the privilege of representing some modeling’s superstars (think Janice Dickinson of then) as well as discovering the next wave and now trying to launch a division for some of the greats .. think Beverly Peele and the like.
 The reason I’m in this business is that I want to create and nurture careers. (as an FYI, I was a behind the scenes advisor on America's Next  Top Model)

This is what I will tell you when I started STONE model management three years ago, I never thought that I would advance to this point.  I’m grateful for the people who have taught me how to be a good agent and a respectful one. I’ve learned how to respect those whose futures are in my hands!  I learned the hard way and I always thought why are they picking on me but it wasn’t that they were picking on me it was because they wanted me to have tough skin; I remember the first booking and  that I was ecstatic but a lot of my booking skills I owe to Gaspard Lukali Lakote ,Michele Pommier ,Myrna Salazar and in no small measure because I worked very hard and I was driven. 
                       
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I RESPECT my models I want nothing but the best for them right now. This industry is very fickle but I will never give up on my models and I show due respect for everybody…. casting directors, producers. designers etc.
My models have been seen on the pages of top fashion publications such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Numéro, Italian Vogue, Paris Vogue, DNR, V-Man, Flaunt, Out, Details, Seventeen, Teen Vogue, Zink, Tétu, Vogue Mexico, GQ and others. They are also being cast for the runways of Prada, Calvin Klein, YSL, Y-3, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy. Armani, KITH, KENZO, Ermenegildo Zegna, Salvatore Ferragamo, Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana and others.
   
JF: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why


JH: 1. Anna Wintour so I could tell her to bring fashion models back to the covers of American Vogue instead of actors and celebrities.
Richard Avedon since he was at the vanguard of fashion photography and was discovered by Diana Vreeland and I'd want to know how that affected his life's work. 
Karl Lagerfeld because he was who he was and did what he did and he was a brilliant wit and conversationalist.
Steven Meisel because he was the next wave of photographers after Avedon and I'd want to know what inspired him.  
Lastly, John Casablancas as he was the one who took on Eileen  Ford and led the charge for how a new kind of model agency would be perceived
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 I just wish that fashion was what it used to be because I miss the old school ways… Picking up the phone and contacting your clients and creating a more “intimate” relationship just by asking how are you …  I’ve always been a very hands-on person. I miss the contact sheets and looking at them with a magnifying glass. I miss Polaroids, go-sees, sending books and the overall interactions that led to a booking. 
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 JF: What value do you place on social media like Instagram where anyone who has ever had their picture taken now thinks they are a model


JH: To be honest with you I’m not a big fan of social media as I prefer that the models meet their clients in person. I know that there’s a lot of companies that take advantage of aspiring models and offer them $200, $300 when they should actually be getting paid $5 to $10 k for their image.  Now on social media like never before you see male models posting provocative images just to get a like which translates to nothing. As an agent, I think everybody’s extremely beautiful, but they should have self-respect.
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