Private No More: Giancarlo Giammetti on Life With Valentino, Elizabeth Taylor’s Expensive Taste, and Lauren Hutton’s Tantrums
Many of fashion’s great performers have benefited from great showrunners—those unsung partners who protect and guide from offstage. The line you hear about Giancarlo Giammetti, then, is that he allows Valentino to be Valentino. What that means exactly can be hard to explain. Suffice it to say that what began as a mutual attraction turned into one of the most fruitful collaborations the fashion world has ever seen. In helping to build up the legendary label, Giammetti also laid the groundwork for the industry as it is today. His relationship with his partner is as moving as it is complicated—or so it appears in Valentino: The Last Emperor, the acclaimed documentary that ushered Valentino vividly back into the spotlight in 2008, at a time when the pair behind the famous name might have retreated into relative (but impossibly opulent) obscurity. Now, with Private: Giancarlo Giammetti, Giammetti offers another peek into the Valentino world. Published by Assouline, the twelve-pound tome is a compendium of reflections and photos, nearly all of them snapped by Giammetti himself, of the long, enviable life he’s led—one that has contained so many royals, Hollywood idols, and pharaonic fashion types that it more or less functions as an illustrated social history of the latter half of the twentieth century. Giammetti spoke with Style.com about fashion then and now, the glamorous “tribe” with which he’s always traveled, and the “diva fits” he’s come to take in stride.
In his foreword to the book, Valentino writes that he learned some things about you that he did not know before. Is that even possible?
It’s true. Everybody has secrets, no? It was easier to tell them to the book than to him! He would have reacted, probably. At least the book was silent.
The Last Emperor made your life public in a way that it never had been before. Could you have done this book without that movie?
You’d always guarded your privacy. Tell me about how the movie changed that.
The movie was a surprise. The first time we went to see it, we came out of the room so shocked that I called the lawyers. I felt so violated. I expected a documentary about fashion, the beautiful girls, the runways, the parties. I didn’t expect to feel so naked. Continue Reading “Private No More: Giancarlo Giammetti on Life With Valentino, Elizabeth Taylor’s Expensive Taste, and Lauren Hutton’s Tantrums” »
If you’ve picked up an issue of W, Vogue Italia, or Vanity Fair in the last thirty-five years, you’ve probably seen the work of Lori Goldstein. Famed for her expertly piled-on, more-is-more aesthetic (with the exception of that iconic Demi Moore cover, on which the actress appeared nude, pregnant, and accessorized only with diamonds), Goldstein has collaborated with all the greats—from Donatella Versace to Annie Leibovitz to Mario Testino. On November 1, the New York-based stylist (along with Harpers Design) will release Style Is Instinct, a retrospective tome comprising her most memorable photographs, with a heartfelt introduction from close friend Steven Meisel. “It’s kind of the crescendo of my styling career,” offered Goldstein, who currently serves as the editor at large at Elle and designs her own line for QVC. While sitting in her closet, which Goldstein told us is filled with “every Proenza tie-dye shirt, Dries Van Noten’s entire Fall collection, and plenty of print and embellishment,” the image-maker talks the art of styling, how the industry has changed, and why, “after 400 years” in the biz, she’s still excited.
In Steven Meisel’s introduction to the book, he calls you an artist. Do you feel that styling is an art?
You know, if you had asked me that ten years ago, I probably would have laughed. I do, and honestly, not to use that term loosely, but I think that I’ve learned that when you follow your heart and you do something that you love and you’re creative, that you have an artist’s mind, and that your lifestyle is very different. I think tapping into that for all of us is so important. So today, I have to say, yes.
The title of the book is Style Is Instinct. When did you first realize that you had the instinct for style? When I was born. That’s been my gift through life. I’ve just always loved beautiful things; I was always attracted to putting things together; I always loved playing with clothes; I loved, loved, loved clothes. I didn’t even call it “fashion,” because that’s a whole other thing. I was drawn to sparkly, gorgeous things. I was born in Ohio, and somehow I just saw the beauty in it all, thank God.
How do you feel that the role of the stylist has changed throughout the course of your career?
That’s one of the reasons I wanted to do the book. We all know how it’s changed—it’s become much more of a business. When I started going to shows, it was like Helmut Lang and Ann Demeulemeester, and this really organic, just awesome creative time; I was so lucky. I worked at Allure. We did Vogue Italia. And there was really no such thing as credits. We just did whatever we wanted, which was amazing. But I love the time now because I also love a challenge. Today there are parameters and there are rules, but within that, you’ve got to make something incredible. Continue Reading “Thirty-Five Years Later, Lori Goldstein Is Still Excited” »
Moschino, which celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in Milan last month, has hired Jeremy Scott to be its new creative director. The 39-year-old L.A.-based designer replaces Rossella Jardini, who has headed up the label since 1994, when the house founder, Franco Moschino, died. Scott will make his runway debut at Moschino’s Fall 2014 show in February next year. In an e-mail, Aeffe chairman Massimo Ferretti said, “I am enthusiastic about this significant change, as our goal is to inject new energy into our Group in keeping with the changes already in place with other Aeffe brands such as Philosophy, Emanuel Ungaro, Pollini, and Cédric Charlier.” Scott will continue to design his own label, which he launched in 1997. With a rebellious streak at least a mile wide—at one of his early shows, he tossed coins printed with his face at the audience—Scott is a savvy match for Moschino, a label known for its irony and irreverence. “It’s the closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new one,” he said via phone this morning. Here, the Missouri farm boy who Karl Lagerfeld once took under wing discusses his plans for Moschino as he ushers it into its fourth decade.
There are so many synergies between you and the Moschino brand. How did you feel when you were approached?
I was really excited. For me, one of the key elements of Moschino is humor. It’s one of the few houses that has humor, and it’s the same thing for me. Another one of the bonding elements is their written messages that express thoughts and twist ideas. We share an obsession with poking fun at fashion. Whimsy, also.
Were you a Moschino fan before this offer came through?
I was. The ironic thing is, during my last year of college, when I was at Pratt, I interned for the Moschino press office, for Michelle Stein here in New York. Yeah, it’s kind of a fairy-tale story. I was the intern, and now I’m running the company.
You once said you turned down job offers from Pucci, Versace, Paco Rabanne, and Chloé. Why did you say yes to this one?
It’s two things. At the beginning of my career, I felt it was really important to establish my own name. I feel like my own brand, my own DNA, is created and solid now, and I’ve built a global fan base. I don’t have that fear I used to have of the possibility of me getting lost in someone else’s house. On the one hand, I’m different now; the other has to do with the brand. It’s hand in glove. When I heard it, it was like, “Oh my God, yeah, of course.” This is so natural for me; I can take this so many different ways.
When did Moschino come to you?
I was contacted in July. It was very effortless, actually. I feel like they were pretty fixated on the idea and certain about me being the right person. I’ll continue to do my own line, as well as my Adidas collaboration. I’ve been working very vigorously to be ahead of my normal procrastinated self in anticipation of having a larger workload.
Have you been spending time in Italy?
Not yet. Other than meeting them in July, I’ve gone to Milan maybe two or three times. I’m not very familiar with the city, so that in itself will be an adventure for me. I literally don’t even know where to get toothpaste.
I’m going to be there the entire month of November—to understand how they work and to meet my design team, which is already in place. But I’m a very modern boy. I work a lot through the Internet. That’s one of the reasons I moved from Paris to Los Angeles in the first place, actually. Nothing was being made in Paris except the things in my own studio. I could be anywhere. Now that’s even more the case with iPhones and gadgets. But at the same time, I want to see the archives, to learn the house, and to be physically there, as well. We’ll see. Whatever it’s going to take for it to feel right, that’s all I’m concerned about. I want to do a good job.
How does it feel to be headed back to Europe?
I started my career in Paris, so it feels like home. I’m excited about learning more about Milan, Milan life, and Italian style. I’ve only been to Rome once, when Karl [Lagerfeld] brought me. The proximity of everything—I mean, Italy is the size of California, I can spend the weekends sightseeing. I’ve never been to Venice…I’ve always wanted to go, and now I have the perfect opportunity.
On the other hand, California, where you currently work, seems to be having a moment. Does it feel like there’s something going on there?
I am the pioneer, I got here first. I even remember Tom [Ford] saying to me, “I can’t believe you’re moving there, I wish I could do it.” I love it here. I feel inspired, it’s a wonderful way of creating for me—it just feels really good. I don’t really think about how [it's having a moment], but I realize it through other people’s eyes. All the stories about [the new boutique] Just One Eye, all the attention they’re getting. Other people are focusing here. The only thing I can think of that’s different now than when I first moved here is that there’s a younger generation that’s come up, that has become part of the look of the city. There’s been so much more enthusiasm about fashion and style from this new generation of kids. Continue Reading “Jeremy Scott: The New Man At Moschino” »
Though perhaps an enfant no more, Jean Paul Gaultier’s long-standing reputation as one of fashion’s enfants terribles hardly jives with the concept of a traditional museum retrospective. In fact, Gaultier himself finds it hard to imagine his designs in such a setting. “I am from the generation where, when I saw an exhibition of someone’s work, they were dead!” he told us. “I think I am still alive, and I never in my dreams thought that a museum could be interested in the work I’m doing.”
However, judging by the buzz around The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, both museums and the masses are keen on a comprehensive showcase of the designer’s work. And, having bowed in 2011 at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, this traveling exhibition is, of course, anything but ordinary. Set to make its East Coast debut at the Brooklyn Museum this Friday, the Thierry-Maxime Loriot-curated show offers a look at Gaultier’s career through the lens of his fixations, from punk rock to corsetry to his many muses. Animated faces (including the visage of Gaultier himself, which is paired with his signature Breton shirt) are projected on many of the show’s mannequins. Elsewhere, S&M-inspired gear is shown in stacked booths reminiscent of a red light district. Ahead of the New York opening, Style.com caught up with the master himself to talk reality television, haute couture, and his career as an accidental provocateur.
When you were initially approached about having an exhibition, did you ever feel any reluctance?
At the beginning, yes. I refused. For me, it was truly for dead people. But after meeting the team at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, I thought, “Ah! Maybe we can do something that is not dead.” It’s nice because it’s a new adventure and it’s not one fixed, chronological exhibition. I did not want it by color or year. I prefer to group the clothes by the things that I’m obsessed with, or the things that are important to me, with different periods mixed together.
Your Spring ’14 runway show took inspiration from both Dancing With the Stars and Grease. Has your relationship with pop culture changed over the years?
I have always been impressed by rock culture, rock shows, people like Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and the New York Dolls—all that influenced me. I look a lot at TV, even trashy programs, reality TV sometimes, and love the contests like Dancing With the Stars. I think I am a little American that way! It’s super interesting, psychologically, and I love performance. Continue Reading “Jean Paul Gaultier: “My Purpose Is Not To Shock”” »
Lagos, Nigeria—an oil-rich port city with an estimated population of 21 million people—is globally recognized as a fast-growing financial hub. However, it’s emerging as a cultural hotbed, too, with fashion at its forefront. Much of that is thanks to Omoyemi Akerele, founder of Style House Files—an on-site agency founded to “tirelessly position Lagos and Nigeria on the international fashion map.” In an exclusive interview, Akerele offered, “Nigerian fashion stands out. It tells a story of a diverse and dynamic culture, of historical references, and ultimately, commercial viability. It’s about trade, not aid.” Ahead of the city’s third annual Fashion and Design week, which begins on Wednesday, Akerele speaks to Style.com about the challenges facing local designers, the region’s immense untapped market, and what it means to not only advance but define Nigerian creativity as the country inches toward its remarkable potential.
How did you become Nigerian fashion’s mouthpiece?
My career in fashion started about eleven years ago, in styling and image consulting. Over time, I realized that there was room for a platform to act as a catalyst on the scene, to spearhead change and work toward positioning fashion as business in Nigeria—this is how Style House Files was born. We see our role as agents of change determined to make an impact, change the mind-set of people, and create opportunities where there might seem to be none.
Why might one think that opportunities aren’t present or viable?
Well, in a country with an estimated 150 to 160 million people, it surprises me to no end that no entrepreneur has seen the need to invest in a garment manufacturing company that can cater not just to fashion designers, but create opportunities for creating our own bigger retail brands in Nigeria. The traders and business scions in Aba—a local garment district in the southeast of the country—remain at the forefront of benefiting from this industry, but there’s got to be a re-engineering of people’s outlooks: for people to design and manufacture garments by us for our consumption. Continue Reading “Omoyemi Akerele Puts Nigerian Fashion In The Spotlight” »