We retired the “no white after Labor Day” rule long ago, but every September the old adage pops into our heads. Even when you’re breaking a rule, you have to follow a few guidelines. For example, you won’t find us in summery white eyelet post-Labor Day, ditto for crochet or linen. It’s key to pair your whites with the right colors and accessories, too. Subdued neutrals look fresh all through the winter, and with super-sleek gold jewelry, it’s a crisp fall look. Shop our favorite autumn whites from Altuzarra, J.Crew, Anya Hindmarch, and more, below.
1. Petit Bateau cotton-jersey sweater, $135, available at net-a-porter.com
2. J.Crew hinged choker, $98, available at jcrew.com
3. Isabel Marant Adelaide blanket wool-blend skirt, $505, available at forwardforward.com
4. Altuzarra leather mules, $1,100, available at net-a-porter.com
5. Anya Hindmarch Bathurst elaphe-trimmed textured-leather shoulder bag, $1,350, available at net-a-porter.com
While Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s wedding last month may have been an intimate (and secretive) affair, that doesn’t mean the bride skimped on the gown. The actress went for a custom Versace number, which, designed by Donatella Versace and Atelier Versace master tailor Luigi Massi, was surprisingly demure on both the Italian house’s and Jolie’s part. Double thigh-high slits and safety-pinned cutouts were traded for a delicate ruched bust, full skirt, and a train and veil embroidered with colorful doodles drawn by the couple’s six children (awww). “Luigi is like family to me and I couldn’t imagine anyone else making this dress,” Jolie, who frequently dons Versace on the red carpet, told People. As far as accessories went, Jolie kept it simple, wearing a quiet pair of Versace satin pumps.
Richard Saturnino Owens claims one of his favorite combinations is “elegance and depravity.” He’s spent his 20 years in business building a world where the two coexist to stark, uncompromising effect. Which means it’s remarkable that Selfridges, the London department store dubbed the world’s best by industry experts, is devoting a substantial amount of real estate to a month-long Owensfest: expanded boutique areas, store windows and a special curated space, all of it overseen by a giant-size sculpture of Owens’ torso mounted above the main door. Its scale—and the fact it’s carrying a blazing torch—is very much in keeping with the unsettling mood of the designer waxworks its creator Doug Jennings has made for Owens’ stores around the world. “But in this case, the statue was Selfridges’ idea,” Owens says, adding, with typical laconic understatement, “All I wanted was vomiting black blood and glowing eyes.” He is talking about one of the four windows he was given to play with. It features a huge image of a woman with the specified glowing eyes and glossy sludge streaming from her mouth. In her forehead is mounted a small screen playing Alla Nazimova’s silent film of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé. At night, the eeriness of the effect is matched only by the window filled with a fog-shrouded black ziggurat of stairs to nowhere. And these arcane, occult scenarios are being staged on the U.K.’s busiest shopping street!
If this is the sort of darkly provocative spectacle we’ve come to expect from Owens, what’s impressive is Selfridges’ willingness to go all the way with him. Owens credits buying director Sebastian Manes, who insists the store’s huge commitment merely reflects how important the brand is to Selfridges’ business. At the same time, Manes acknowledges that Owens “effortlessly avoids the mainstream,” and that effortlessness is all over the ground-floor space the designer has curated, with the invaluable input of his wife and co-conspirator Michele Lamy. Think of it as a journey round Owens’ mind: from substantial pieces of furniture (I call them chaises, but to Owens and Lamy, they’re “tomb benches,” carved from French elm and adorned with antlers that could equally be Valkyries’ wings) to stunning metal tableware and art nouveau ceramics by Georges Hoentschel, to scented candles (Diptyque’s Myrrh) and DVDs like The Driver’s Seat, one of Elizabeth Taylor’s late-career challenges to conventional good taste. There is also an exclusive capsule collection, with a special label in Selfridges signature yellow (“The least I could do after such a gracious invitation”), and an installation by Japanese sound artist Ryoji Ikeda, which loans a strobe-light flicker to the whole scene.
This grandiose retail recognition seems only right after all the eldritch glamour Owens has been dishing out under his label for the past two decades. The Selfridges extravaganza arrives as a timely reminder of just how weird and wonderful the world of Rick really is.
As if designers aren’t busy enough during the month of September, what with presenting their Spring collections and all, a quintet of fashion’s major names have signed on to create custom costumes for the New York City Ballet’s opening night performances on September 23. Along with Carolina Herrera, Valentino Garavani, Thom Browne, and Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton, London star Mary Katrantzou has crafted spectacular ensembles for the NYCB’s agile performers. Katrantzou worked closely with NYCB resident choreographer Justin Peck to come up with the looks, which play off her lace-centric Resort ’14 collection. “I didn’t want to go costumey,” said Katrantzou of the wares, adding that she aimed to emphasize the dancers’ movements and physiques. “I thought, Why don’t we do something that’s a second skin instead of something with lots of volume or construction? I wanted to do something subtle. Justin’s work is very clean. It evokes a certain emotion, and I wanted the costumes to mimic that.” A sketch of the lace-appliquéd outfits debuts exclusively here.
Katrantzou’s confections are almost entirely nude and sheer. The male dancer’s look is essentially a lace bodysuit, while the ballerina’s costume features an added translucent tulle skirt. The dancers will wear pigmented undergarments for a touch of color, but there’s a heated debate about the final touch—the ballet slippers. “I didn’t know it was controversial to tint the ballet shoe!” laughed Katrantzou, who’s hoping to dye the dancers’ slippers to achieve an extra pop. “You’re so used to seeing them in pink, so we’re going to color them and see how it feels when they’re dancing.”
A few weeks ago, Katrantzou had another Resort-related coup when a very different kind of performer—country singer-turned-pop star Taylor Swift—wore the designer’s typography-embellished jumpsuit to the VMAs. “It was interesting to see her make that choice,” said Katrantzou, who created the romper in a custom colorway for Swift. “We are used to seeing Taylor dress differently, but this had the right level of risk, and, you know, she has incredible legs. I thought she looked amazing, and she had never worn me before, so to see her turn out in Resort in such a big way was a great thing.” Now all Katrantzou needs to do is knock our socks off with her Spring outing, set to debut during London fashion week, and she’ll be able to celebrate a hat trick of successes. No pressure, though.