It’s no secret that hip-hop star (and Style Map contributor) Theophilus London is a favorite of the fashion set. He’s performed for Karl Lagerfeld and amfAR alike, and pals around with boldfaced names like Cara Delevingne and Rita Ora. When not making music, London serves as the creative director of LVRS, his line that counts Surface to Air and SpongeBob SquarePants among its collaborators. Later this year he’ll debut his second full-length album, VIBES!, an eagerly anticipated follow-up to 2011′s Timez Are Weird These Days. But in the meantime, fans can whet their appetites with Lovers Holiday II, an EP poised for digital release on February 12 and London’s first foray into producing. We spoke with him about the story behind “Take a Look,” one of the album’s tracks, and the decidedly esoteric inspiration behind it. “In late November, Kanye sent me a folder of music to inspire me, with a bunch of really obscure oldies. ["Take a Look"] is an interpretation of another song that came out in, like, 1981, by a group called Martin Dupont from Marseille, France. I was working on my new album, and Kanye said, ‘You should cover or reinterpret some very obscure songs, with their melodies and with your bass lines.’” When Kanye gives musical advice, you’d better take it. And London did just that. Listen to the song’s exclusive debut on Style.com (and download it for free, below.
Fun fact: Carine Roitfeld’s favorite fairy tale is E.T. “It’s not a traditional fairy tale, but I love E.T. because it combines science fiction and fantasy with a touch of sadness. All of the best fairy tales have that—something dark with something light,” the editor told Style.com. Why on earth would we be speaking with Mlle. Roitfeld about extraterrestrial eighties flicks, you ask? Because “fairy tales” happens to be the concept behind the latest edition of CR Fashion Book, which hits newsstands on February 25.
Considering Roitfeld has facilitated a few fashion Cinderella stories since launching her zine in 2012, “fairy tales” seems a fitting theme for issue four. The editor’s choice to put Kim Kardashian on the cover of issue three helped convince the industry’s elite to (kind of) embrace the reality-TV star. And Kate Upton’s issue one cover made readers recognize that she could be an all-American bombshell and a high-fashion model, too. (For the record, a Brigitte Niedermair pointe shoe and Ukrainian ballet dancer Sergei Polunin covered issue two, but that’s not terribly pertinent here.) Roitfeld’s latest princess-in-the-making? Nineteen-year-old Gigi Hadid, whose Bruce Weber-lensed cover (right) debut exclusively here, alongside a second E.T. themed cover featuring Lindsey Wixson, shot by Sebastian Faena (left). “Gigi is next in the line of athletic, voluptuous babes who transition to high-fashion success,” said CR Fashion Book design director Stephen Gan. Not unlike Kim K., Hadid also happens to be on reality TV—she’s best known for her role on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (as a daughter, not a housewife). “It may be a cliché, but this is a girl who lights up a room. When I met her, I immediately sensed her star quality—it was only days later that I found out she was already a reality-TV star,” Gan continued. Did we ever in a million years think Roitfeld would fall for not one, but two reality darlings in the span of six months? No. But we’re inclined to trust her judgment. After all, she did introduce the world to Lara Stone.
Last night, journalist Lynn Yaeger celebrated the launch of A Life Adorned: Lavish Accessories, an antique accessories exhibition at New York’s Doyle & Doyle shop. A curious collector of Bécassine dolls, Georgian rings (her stockpiled jewelry remains secret, mostly for fear of burglars), and reindeer sweaters, Yaeger seemed the perfect cocurator for the show, which is part of the store’s ongoing Vault series. But she was hard-pressed to pick her favorite vintage treasures. “I love all our little friends,” said Yaeger rather diplomatically at yesterday’s press preview. Although, she later conceded, “The magnifying glass with the little diamond handle is very fetching.”
Together with the shop’s owners Elizabeth and Irene Pamela Doyle, Yaeger amassed quite a selection of ornate perfume bottles, jewel-encrusted pillboxes, sterling-silver telephone dialers, and other luxurious finds dating from the Victorian era to the seventies. While a few items are up for sale, the purpose of the largely privately owned selection is to engage and inspire. And for Yaeger, the joy was in playing detective. For instance, she was trying to determine the reason for a hidden mirror inside a Victorian parasol handle. Why is it there if women didn’t use makeup? “Not sure!” Yaeger admitted. Sometimes, the mystery’s half the fun.
A Life Adorned: Lavish Accessories opens today and runs until February 14 at the Doyle & Doyle shop, located at 412 West 13th Street in New York.
“It actually started with my godmother,” explained Pratt Institute fashion professor and curator Adrienne Jones. “She has been collecting information on black designers—she’s 85 now—forever. And one day I was talking to her and I said, ‘You know what? The information is not out there—and it needs to be out there.’”
Five years later, Jones is presenting Black Dress: Ten Contemporary Fashion Designers, an exhibition that opens at Pratt Manhattan Gallery this Friday and showcases the works of contemporary black designers. Jones has brought together a diverse range of today’s African-American talent—artists such as menswear fur pioneer Jeffrey Banks, ready-to-wear designer Tracy Reese, and the iconic Stephen Burrows, as well as newer designers including Michael Jerome Francis, known for his hyper eco-conscious designs, Queens-based body-con aficionado LaQuan Smith, and former Project Runway star Rodney Epperson (above). Photographer and mixed-media artist Carrie Mae Weems has also contributed an original film for the project.
“We wanted to show the huge span [of talent] that we have,” related Jones. “I talk to my undergraduates and say, ‘Who’s your favorite designer?’ And they name the designer or designers that they like. And whether [the students] are black or white, they never know any black designers. So this was an opportunity for me to not only teach them, but [all the others] who don’t know that this collection of people, this collection of talent, exists.”
“This is an honor,” said Smith, in front of his three chosen designs in the gallery (set up to mimic a series of Madison Avenue-esque storefront windows). “If anything, it’s a celebration for us as African-American designers to be able to show our work in such a prestigious spotlight with Pratt, alongside legends like Stephen Burrows, and to be able to say, ‘This is our message.’”
Black Dress: Ten Contemporary Fashion Designers will be on view from February 7 to April 26. Jones hopes to take it nationwide, as well as translate the research into a Black Dress book in the future.
News broke this morning that Cathy Horyn — the New York Times‘ inimitable fashion critic of fifteen years—has resigned. The decision was due to her desire to spend more time with her partner, Art Ortenberg. This is just one of the recent shake-ups at the Times: Eric Wilson left his post for InStyle back in November, and was replaced with new hires John Koblin and, starting Monday, former Style.com deputy editor Matthew Schneier. This is a markedly new era for the Times‘ historically fierce fashion coverage, and industry insiders no doubt have a lot of questions about the future of the paper’s fashion department — the least of which is to whom should we address our open letters now?