“It was heaven,” said Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing of shooting with Rihanna. The pop star is the face of the house’s Spring ’14 campaign, two images of which debut exclusively here. But Rousteing, who spoke to Style.com from Paris this morning, insists the ads weren’t the result of a PR push or a marketing strategy—rather, they were the product of he and Riri’s budding friendship. “I met her six months ago, when she came to the studio during her Diamonds Tour, and I just loved her,” the designer recalls. “She invited me to her concert, and I invited her to my show, and she started to become a good friend of mine. Obviously, we text all the time, and at one point, when I was working on the Spring collection, I told her she was the inspiration and that I wanted her in the campaign. It all started like that.”
Styled by Rihanna’s own stylist Mel Ottenberg and lensed by Inez & Vinoodh, the ads, which will hit magazines in January, were apparently shot to the tunes of Prince. “We listened to it super loud, and she was dancing in the clothes—but she really owned them. She tweaked everything. She chose what she wanted to wear, she had a great vision, and that’s what I love about her,” Rousteing said, stressing that he feels Rihanna is the ultimate icon for this generation. “I wanted the campaign to be about Balmain, but I didn’t just want a model—I wanted a strong, real woman in the clothes. For me, Rihanna is a power. And she pushes boundaries on everything.
“Sometimes,” Rousteing added, “fashion is all about a big machine. And we forget about emotions, and realness, and dreams. But dreams do come true, and this came from something really simple, and easygoing, and real.”
So what’s Rousteing’s favorite Riri song? “I have to be honest. I love the new one, “Monster,” but I think “Stay” is one of the best songs ever. I fell in love listening to this song. And that’s something I’ll always remember.”
Although “festive dressing” doesn’t typically appear in our sartorial repertoire, we’re guilty of making exceptions for truly great finds. It would be wrong not to add a jingle-bell pump or tinsel-covered clutch to your party ensemble. Ditto for the perfect crimson circle skirt or timeless fir-green lace blouse. Our tip for staying chic throughout the holiday season? Maintain a touch of irony; anything too precious runs the risk of looking like a Christmas ornament. Shop our favorite festive pieces by Charlotte Olympia, Valentino, Tibi, and more, below.
1. Henri Bendel crystal-spike stud earrings, $48, available at henribendel.com.
2. Kotur Margo bell-embellished clutch, $450, available at net-a-porter.com.
3. Tibi pleated silk faille skirt, $525, available at net-a-porter.com.
4. Valentino Chantilly-lace blouse, $1,980, available at mytheresa.com.
5. Charlotte Olympia Jingle Bell Dolly velvet platform pumps, $945, available at net-a-porter.com.
Fashion folk are a curious bunch, and we’ve found that they tend to collect equally curious things. In our “Take Five” feature, we get the lowdown on our favorite industry personalities’ most treasured trinkets.
There won’t be enough sun-filled English days in this lifetime for Tracy Sedino to wear each pair of vintage shades in the Linda Farrow archive. “Oh, my god, I must have thousands,” she said last week at a dinner in New York. Sedino was behind the revival of the Linda Farrow brand, whose namesake designer worked with houses such as Yves Saint Laurent and Emilio Pucci to create glasses in the seventies and eighties. Farrow closed her business to start a family in the late eighties, and her crates of luxurious lenses were stored away in a London warehouse.
Over a decade later, Sedino—then a student at the London College of Fashion—began dating (and has since married) Farrow’s son, Simon Jablon. “His father had some warehouses,” Sedino recalled. “And he asked Simon to get rid of all the stock, because they were getting turned into residential properties. So I went with him, and we found original Pucci and YSL sunglasses piled three-floors high.” Obviously, their discovery couldn’t go to waste, so she and Jablon used it as a jumping-off point and rebooted the house of Linda Farrow. They sold some of the vintage styles but, more notably, began partnering with young talents to turn out glamorous—and often outrageous—designs. (Remember those Jeremy Scott Minnie Mouse shades? That was their doing). Today, the husband-and-wife team continues the company in Farrow’s spirit and makes glasses for everyone from Dries Van Noten, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Suno to Alexander Wang, Peter Pilotto, and The Row. “We thought there was a massive gap in the market,” said Sedino of her and Jablon’s decision to relaunch Linda Farrow. “You have these big luxury houses that sign licensing deals, but other designers, like Dries, will never do that, because they value their brands too much. We wanted to reinforce what Simon’s mother did in the seventies by working with designers to create eyewear as a fashion accessory, rather than a licensed product.”
Sedino and Jablon celebrated their company’s (and their relationship’s) tenth anniversary this year. And to mark the milestone, the duo have not only offered up a ten-year capsule collection but also opened a pop-up shop in collaboration with BOFFO, right here in NYC. The store, which is located at the Chelsea SuperPier, and open through December 24, boasts a bevy of Linda Farrow’s most covetable products. As for that archive of vintage sunnies, Sedino told us that it’s a constant point of reference. “We don’t want our collections to be too vintage, so we take inspiration from the vintage styles, and incorporate new technology and materials,” she said. Here, Sedino talks us through her five favorite pairs of old-school Linda Farrow frames.
1. “These are acetate Linda Farrow glasses from the eighties. They’re my holiday pair. I love them because the idea and design are fun, and they’re quite comfortable on my face. Ironically, it’s hard for me to find sunglasses that fit—for Asians, it’s difficult to find pairs that sit on the nose bridge. I’ve been wearing these for the last two years, and I’m particularly inspired their shape, because they’re almost like a big chunky Wayfarer. You can really wear them whenever.”
2. “These are Yves Saint Laurent glasses from the early seventies. They’re kind of a round Jackie O style. They’re handmade in acetate, with metal arms. This pair is a one-off, so we don’t have stock anymore. They’re one of my favorite styles, because they’re the perfect size. But I don’t really wear them, because I’m afraid of losing them.”
3. “These are Linda Farrow glasses from the eighties, and they were kind of inspired by Lolita. Whenever stylists call in for Lolita-style frames, we send them these. I wear them all the time in the summer.”
4. “These are amazing. This is another YSL pair from the seventies. They’re not one-of-a-kind—we still have a few—but not many. The lenses are polarized, and because of the orange, they’re my autumn glasses.”
5. “This is the most iconic Linda Farrow style. I love how the sides are beveled. We’ve actually launched a fine-jewelry collection of 18-karat-gold-and-diamond sunglasses, and this is one of the styles we used.”