Last year, Gill Linton launched Byronesque.com, a comprehensive Web site that, backed by Andrew Rosen and the late Marvin Traub, offers high-end vintage wares and sharp editorials. The online platform boasts a veritable treasure trove of rare, authenticated vintage designs, like an azure Jean Paul Gaultier frock, an asymmetrical Yohji Yamamoto dress, and a bevy of Thierry Mugler and Alaïa. And while it all looks spectacular in one’s browser, Linton felt she should create an IRL experience with the digital destination’s best stock.
Enter the site’s first brick-and-mortar venture, Byronesque.com//Offline, an exhibition and boutique housed in the dilapidated annex of the James A. Farley Post Office in New York City. Offline is complete with video installations, melancholic wall art by Craig Ward, and a vault of approximately forty impeccably dressed mannequins. Yesterday evening, insiders gathered to fete the project, which was punctuated with a live Polaroid photography session by the inimitable Michèle Lamy. “It’s difficult to [decide] what is mainstream or not…but being here feels real, and what they are trying to do is very important,” Lamy said of the site.
“There’s so much potential in vintage fashion,” said Linton. “It’s made better, there’s a story behind it, and there’s a history behind it. The way I merchandise the store is through storytelling—there’s a curve of Vivienne Westwood from Pirate to Seditionaries, for example—but it’s not that it has to be a linear progression. It’s about the energy of stuff.”
The stuff on display includes a 1984 John Galliano men’s kimono coat from his graduate Central Saint Martins collection, Les Incroyables (not for sale); a burlap Alexander McQueen look from F/W ’02; a 1986 Azzedine Alaïa leather zip dress donated by Iman; and a Katharine Hamnett allover marijuana-leaf-print bodysuit.
Glenn O’Brien lent his support by co-hosting the affair. “Everybody mixes vintage in,” he said, “I can’t tell you how long I’ve had this Kilgour, French, & Stanbury coat; it must be twenty years since I bought it at Barneys. Vintage is kind of where the next ideas come from. You can be a step ahead by wearing something that’s so out that it’s just about ready to come back.”
Byronesque.com//Offline will open to the public on December 12 and run through the 15th. Located at the James A. Farley Post Office on Eighth Avenue at West 31st Street, the show will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Last night at Prada’s Soho store, for an all-too-brief eight minutes, industry insiders sipped cucumber gimlets and disappeared into the wondrous world of Wes Anderson’s latest vision. The downtown fete celebrated the premiere of Anderson’s short film, Castello Cavalcanti, a playful, darkly saturated jaunt that casts Jason Schwartzman as a fifties Prada-outfitted race car driver. Italian actress and director Giada Colagrande stars alongside Schwartzman in the flick, which originally debuted at the Rome Film Festival in November.
“Wes is a very precise, clear-minded director—you can tell from his movies!” commented Colgrande from the stairs of Prada’s rather impressive in-store screening room. “So it was great fun. He tells you exactly what to do, how to do it, and I found myself copying him exactly.”
It seems that copying Anderson (who, it should be noted, collaborated with Prada and Roman Coppola earlier this year on a short for the brand’s Candy L’Eau perfume, which starred Léa Seydoux) served the cast well. The audience consensus was that the oh-so-short film was just that—quite quick and a tease for more, not to mention an enticing complement to Miuccia’s jewel-toned, street art-heavy Spring ’14 collection, whose arrival we look forward to just as much as Anderson’s next project, the forthcoming full-length The Grand Budapest Hotel. “Prada and Miu Miu really marry [their] ideas with those of the author—or in this case, the director,” concluded Colagrande. “I think that’s why they make such wonderful projects all the time.”
As a designer who has known both success and failure in the fashion industry, Miguel Adrover is the kind of mentor many students should hear from, and very few do. So when Adrover was in town from his native Majorca to speak at the Initiatives in Art and Culture’s fifteenth annual fashion conference, Extraordinary: Icons, Iconoclasm, and Innovation, the Pratt Institute’s Fashion Department Chair Jennifer Minniti took advantage of the opportunity and invited him to critique the school’s graduating class of designers. “Miguel has had an incredible influence on the culture of fashion,” explained Minniti. “There’s so much commentary in his work, and it’s critical for students to understand it, so that they can understand their own vision, the practice, and the future.”
Adrover’s name is not as familiar to young fashion students as it once was. He broke onto the scene in 2000, with a critically adored collection that comprised repurposed Burberry trenchcoats and Louis Vuitton bags—a comment on luxury logo mania and consumerism. He was an early proponent of sustainable fashion (many of his garments were made from recycled clothing) and pushed the envelope in terms of fashion as social commentary. But following two Middle Eastern-inspired collections in 2001 that received mixed reviews, and his failure to turn strong profits at retail, Adrover lost the backing of his investors, and closed his namesake house. He returned to Majorca and began designing small collections for the German eco-line Hessnatur that, while well received, failed to bring the designer back to the spotlight.
His experience, hard-won, is part of what’s not taught in fashion schools. “It’s important to teach the students how this business works,” he said. “Students have an illusion of how the industry is set up…It’s all about big corporations, but I think there are a lot of people looking for an alternative to that road—because it’s a big road with lots of glamour and bling-bling. And when you get to the end of it, you die.”
Despite a comeback show in 2012, Adrover has yet to relaunch his eponymous range. (It’s not out of the question though—the designer reasons that he still has a lot to say.) However, he knows how he’d present it. “If I were showing, I’d do it in a really small place. These big runway events, with all these celebrities in the front row, it’s like [houses] need to do it to get people to respect them. And the clothing is so uninteresting these days—it speaks so little to society,” he said. “To change that, it’s a matter of these young people here.”
He seemed heartened by the students’ work that was well constructed and well conceptualized. He praised handmade fabrics like plastic chainmail and rubber-embellished jersey, and stressed the importance of pristine finishings. “They’re very individual,” he said approvingly. “They stand up for their own thing and their own techniques. They want to be authentic and create their own statement. And that’s important because it hardly happens now.”
“You need to play the game,” he conceded. “I don’t want to say names, but you need to have the top people open the doors for you. It’s hard to create a business if you don’t have the support of a big company.”
“But,” he added, “it depends on your definition of ‘making it.’ You could make things by hand, have a little store, and be happy with that. There’s no need to be everywhere.”
In a Chelsea photo studio last month, the scene was a jungle of sorts. Nothing as literal as palm-frond props—but there was a baby tiger and toxic ooze seeping out of jumbo Polaroids that Peter Beard had laid on the floor. Beard’s friend/muse/producer, Natalie White, warned no one in particular: “Don’t step in the goo! You’ll burn your feet off!”
Beard, naturally, was braving the terrain in socks. Now in his seventies, the man famous for his adventures in Africa seems as dismissive as ever of caution or over-planning. Beard made his way through the chaos in sweatpants, a wet paintbrush in hand. “I try and make it messy,” he said. “We don’t like chic.”
That “we” includes Raphael Mazzucco, the photographer Beard partnered with for the four-day shoot. White (who’s also worked with Olivier Zahm and Will Cotton) made it happen, but the two photographers are friends from Montauk, where both have houses. Another thing they’ve got in common: a portfolio full of beauties. Beard’s contains everything from Veruschka for Vogue in the seventies to the 2009 Pirelli calendar; Mazzucco’s, the stacked rosters of Sports Illustrated and Victoria’s Secret. They were working separately, thus offering Angela Lindvall, Noot Seear, Pamela Anderson, and the other models who came by the opportunity to do a two-for-one. And each was flexing his own style: Beard double-exposing images of African wildlife over models and Mazzucco experimenting with baby powder and colored gels.
Both were happy to leave a lot of the process up to chance, and neither had any particular plans for the images. “London would be good,” was as specific as Mazzucco got. For the time being, the only place to see them is Style.com.
Achtung-Mode—Germany’s pioneering indie fashion and culture magazine—is debuting its Bauhaus-themed tenth anniversary issue tomorrow. And to celebrate the decade milestone, founder Markus Ebner decided he wanted to offer up a little something special. “When magazines turn ten, or twenty, or whatever, there’s not that much you can do,” he told Style.com. “I mean, you can do ten covers, you can ask designers to write letters saying, ‘Dear Whoever, Happy Tenth Anniversary!’, but I wanted to do something not like that.” His answer? A capsule collection of ten special-edition items crafted—and photographed—by some of the most exciting German, Austrian, and Swiss brands and talents. For instance, there’s a luxe leather bag by Akris (snapped by Sandra Semburg), a suit by Regent that was handmade in Germany (shot by Michael Mann, below, left), a crisp white shirt by the legendary Jil Sander (lensed by Mary Scherpe, below, right), an amulet by Tomas Maier (shot by Oliver Helbig), a parka by Kostas Murkudis (captured by Jork Weismann) and some cashmere Agnona socks by honorary German, Stefano Pilati (photographed in a field by Debora Mittelstaedt). “He’s been living in Berlin for the last year and a half, and he’s such an important designer, and he’s opening a studio there and hiring people, so that’s exciting for us,” offered Ebner.
The items will be available at Andreas Murkudis’ Berlin concept store, which Ebner describes as the “Colette of Germany.” As for the editorial photographs of the anniversary merch, they’ll not only be included in the new issue, but displayed alongside their corresponding products Murkudis’ store. If you’re lusting over these creations, you’d better scoot to Berlin quickly as quantities are limited. Fittingly, only ten editions of each product were produced.