Fratelli Rossetti’s boutique in Via Montenapoleone, Milan, was the Italian footwear label’s very first home. On Saturday, over a half century since the shop opened, Fratelli Rossetti will fête the time-honored store’s new facelift. Of note is the second floor, which now houses the “Su Misura Uomo” project—a new tailor-made service FR is offering to its demanding clientele. Also, in celebration of the revamped store, they created a limited-edition patent leather loafer. Style.com has the exclusive first look at the Milano lace-up (€300, or around $400), offered in an array of bright colors, including green and pink, here. The bad news: You will have to make a trip to Milan to get your hands on a pair of these.
Lucas Ossendrijver (pictured), Lanvin’s menswear designer, was in town from Paris today to walk a handful of editors and buyers through key looks from his Fall ’12 collection. There was plenty to ogle as Ossendrijver ticked off the fine points of the pieces, including details too subtle to be seen on the Paris runways: the silicone injections that—à la plastic surgery—gave knits roundness and volume; lapels half shorn off and then reattached askew; the overcoats whose sloped-forward shape was achieved by hand-sewing chains into the sides for a toothlike grip; jackets with sleeves so slimmed they required darts. There was a new silhouette to attempt if you dare—a high-waisted flare that at least one female editor in the room murmured she’d have no problem wearing if her male compatriots were too timid—and a parade of Frankensteined outerwear, with puffer pieces sewn on cabans and greatcoats, or a leather moto jacket whose pieces were bonded to boiled wool, which peeked out through the segments of skin. But the news of the day was the details Ossendrijver shared on the forthcoming Lanvin men’s store on Madison Avenue, just a block south of where the women’s store now stands. “I’m really excited,” he said. “It’s going to be almost a replication of the Paris store.” Three floors’ worth of menswear will arrive when the store opens this Fall, including clothes, shoes (a new graphic series of sneakers in stamped croc, some with neon details on the soles), bags (a leather sac designed to be either slung over the shoulder or worn around the waist), and jewelry.
“Good evening, I’m Iris Apfel, geriatric starlet,” announced said starlet last night at New York’s French Institute/Alliance Française. She was on hand to introduce the speaker for the last of this season’s Fashion Talks, organized by Musée des Arts Décoratifs director Pamela Golbin. Apfel was introducing a designer with whom she’d fallen in love at first sight, a fellow textile obsessive: Dries Van Noten. After they met at a dinner given by Bergdorf Goodman, “I felt that we were transatlantically joined at the hip by an ever-changing bolt of fabric. His clothes are ageless,” she said. “Thank God.”
Van Noten then took the stage for a conversation with Golbin, who was wearing one of the nightscape-printed dresses from the designer’s Spring ’12 collection, which he revealed was one of the most difficult patterns he’s ever had made, given its digital print. He spoke of first finding fashion thanks to his grandfather and father, both retailers, and joining his parents on buying trips to Milan, Paris, and Düsseldorf in the seventies. While his father had hoped that he’d take over the family business, the son found his calling to be more in design than in sales and enrolled at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. It was the era of rules, when propriety reigned and Chanel was thought the ultimate designer, when an imperious professor could opine, as Van Noten remembered, “Knees are the ugliest part of a woman; never show knees. Long hair is untidy. Jeans are for poor people.” Meanwhile, punk was fomenting in the streets. A group of promising young students, later branded the Antwerp Six (because, Van Noten said, of their unpronounceable names), banded together to show their collection in London in the only show space they could afford: As he told it, it turned out to be a back room behind a phalanx of enormous wedding dresses, so secluded the designers had to take to the streets with flyers to attract a crowd. It’s hard to imagine Van Noten or fellow Six-ers like Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck having that problem today.
Van Noten spoke of his process (“I always start with the story,” never the muse, which would be too restricting), his studio (in which patternmakers sit on the same open floor as designers), and the importance, for designers like himself who are punctilious about controlling every detail, of having uncontrollable elements in their lives—in his case, his garden and his dog. In an age when many designers are doing fast-fashion collaborations, he insisted he never would. He described seeing one zippered jacket in a fast-fashion retailer selling for less than the cost of the zippers he’d use to make it. And while retailers clamor for more collections each year and business types for more accessories to bolster the bottom line, Van Noten defended his decision to produce only two collections each year, Spring and Fall, to be able to oversee every detail personally. “Making a collection,” he said, “you have to stay awake till the last moment,” adapting all along the way. “Accessories,” he added, “for me should stay accessory. I don’t want to be a designer whose main business is accessories.”
He fielded questions on opening a New York store (it all depends on finding a space), launching a fragrance (wouldn’t rule it out), and licenses (not worth it to him, in most cases). Golbin was thanking the audience for attending when a shout went up from a woman with a buzz cut and earrings the size of tea saucers. “One more question!” she yelled out, before excusing herself with, “Sorry, I’m Italian.” It turned out not to be a question at all, but a message addressed to the designer: “Thank you for existing.”
Emilio Pucci vice president and image director Laudomia Pucci (left) is set to be named a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Art et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by French culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand today. In a statement, Pucci says, “I’m really happy to receive this award, which for me represents a big stimulus.” [WWD]
How mini is too mini? Although Indonesia is still establishing the criteria for what constitutes “porn crime,” Indonesian religious affairs minister Suryadharma Ali has dubbed miniskirts as pornographic and proposed a ban on them. [Vogue U.K.]
Speaking of dress code regulation, The Wall Street Journal reports that high schools in the U.S. are increasingly saying “no” to prom dresses their students are picking out. Reportedly, schools around the country are rolling out “elaborate dress codes” in an effort to cut out the plunging necklines and hiked-up hems they find inappropriate for a school dance. [WSJ]
Gucci has accused Guess of infringing on its G designs. The infringement claim was reportedly taken up in court today in New York, and Gucci is seeking over $124 million in damages for the imitations of its trademarks by Guess. [Telegraph]