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July 23 2014

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12 posts tagged "Alaia"

Where Are the Clothes Fit for a Queen?

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PrincessPrincess Letizia—i.e., Spain’s answer to Kate Middleton—is going to become queen. The news anchor-turned-royal wed Prince Felipe de Borbon ten years ago, and now that the latter’s father has abdicated the throne, she’ll be getting the crown along with her dashing prince.

The press has dubbed Princess Letizia, 41, one of “Europe’s most glamorous royals.” Sure, she’s drop-dead gorgeous, impossibly elegant, and is blessed with a winning smile, but why are these royals always so afraid to inject a little fun into their wardrobes? The soon-to-be queen seems to favor lacy frocks, mauve hues, and pantsuits, which is all good and fine, but they don’t do her justice. Somebody get this woman in some Delpozo (let’s hear it for nationalism!), Céline, or Alaïa after she takes the throne—something with a little pizzazz! Even if it’s the quiet, sophisticated kind.

And since we’re on the topic, it would be lovely if Kate Middleton could discover her sartorially adventurous side, too. Never has a vibrant Jonathan Saunders coat looked so sad as it did on Ms. Middleton in Scotland last week. Come on, ladies. We appreciate that it’s not so easy being queen, but cheer up! Or at least prescribe your closet a little Prozac.

Photos: Getty Images

What’s Old Is Now: Byronesque Debuts Its Latest Vintage Lineup

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Alaia Alaia“There’s a lot of ugly vintage out there,” said Byronesque founder Gill Linton. “I look at some vintage stores, and I’m like, ‘This is trash. It’s not fashion. There’s no story behind it. And you’re giving it such a bad name.’” You won’t find any of that rubbish on Linton’s website, which she launched in 2012 with the help of Marvin Traub Associates and Theory’s Andrew Rosen. As a die-hard vintage addict (and frequent Byronesque browser), I can personally attest to the fact that Linton only sells the crème de la crème of previously loved designer clothes and that Byronesque is the prime source of authentic vintage—i.e., clothes over twenty years old—on the Web. Byronesque is a veritable vault of lust-worthy vintage wares by the likes of Azzedine Alaïa, Vivienne Westwood, Pierre Cardin, Thierry Mugler, and more. So naturally, when Linton invited me to a private viewing of the latest additions to the site—which will be available to stylists for shoots for the first time—last week, I scurried on over.

Buyers from the Met had beat me to the event and scooped up an original 1920s frock, an authentic 1980s Yohji Yamamoto bustle coat (famously snapped by Nick Knight), a rare white crucifix-embellished Alaïa, and a sculptural black-and-white Issey Miyake gown. “I do love when they go to good homes,” Linton said of the museum’s purchases. The Met’s interest in Linton’s finds is a testament to her well-trained eye and standout merchandise. And despite the museum’s informed acquisitions, there was still much in the collection to gawk at. A custom-made Alexander McQueen three-piece men’s suit (complete with his signature lock of hair), an almost uptown-apropos lemon Galliano frock (“Though you wouldn’t see quite this much fashion tit on the Upper East Side,” laughed Linton), and a 1990s warrior-inspired Comme des Garçons ensemble comprise just a sampling of what’s available. “This is what we call contemporary vintage,” explained Linton. “It’s different from being classic—classic is safe. But it’s relevant and wearable today, and nobody’s going to say you look like an extra in Downton Abbey or an Austin Powers movie.” To wit, one of Linton’s colleagues turned up to the soiree wearing shorts by Rick Owens, which were the spitting image of the vintage Armani “Wigger Shorts” that hung on the rack next to him.

Issey MiyakeChanel

Many of the most covetable pieces, like a serious supermodel-era neon tweed bra, shorts, and jacket by Chanel; the abovementioned Issey Miyake look; a cracked leather McQueen coat; a sea foam tulle Yves Saint Laurent dress; and an iconic leopard-print Alaïa frock, are courtesy of two singular women: model Irina Pantaeva and pop star Cristina Monet. The former was a muse to Miyake, and was actually photographed by Irving Penn wearing the gown purchased by the Met. The latter was a post-punk music maven with a miniature waist and impeccable taste. Their clothes have stories behind them—not only because they were designed by icons, but because of the life these women gave them. And that life, along with the garments’ superior aesthetic and quality, is what Linton is selling. “I really want people to feel excited about these clothes and their past,” Linton told us. After thumbing through this selection, it’s hard not to be.

Byronesque’s latest offering will be available on the website next week, but to reserve your favorite piece ahead of the pack, e-mail personalshopper@byronesque.com.

Photo: Courtesy of Byronesque 

Shop The Look: Eyelet Awakening

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Eyelet

Though we’re hesitant to use the word “normcore,” our summer shopping list consists of pure, easy basics. Think straight-leg white jeans, crisp popover shirts, and the perfect flat sandal. Simplicity is the move. However, we’re also the first to admit that summer presents an opportunity to have fun with your wardrobe—who can say no to the bold colors, lush prints, and embellished bags to accent those sleek warm weather wares? Everyone needs balance in their lives, so for simple basics with a little something extra, we’re inspired by girly, retro eyelet styles. From a navy broderie skirt to a must-have laser-cut bag, the sweet design is a fun and youthful departure from the expected. Shop our favorite eyelet pieces by Alaia, MICHAEL Michael Kors, Madewell, and more, below.

1. MICHAEL Michael Kors eyelet-cotton top, $100, available at net-a-porter.com

2. Madewell oversized Hepcat shades, $55, available at madewell.com

3. Alexander McQueen bonded laser-cut cotton skirt, $4,088, available at matchesfashion.com

4. Tabitha Simmons floral Leticia sandal, $695, available at editorialist.com

5. Alaïa New Vienne laser-cut leather bucket bag, $1,365, available at matchesfashion.com

Photo: Courtesy Photo

Chez Alaïa: Low Fuss, High Impact

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Alaia

Only when Paris fashion week winds down—and the exodus of editors, photo bloggers, and pretty young things is nearly complete—does an e-mail arrive from the Azzedine Alaïa press office informing those who remain about a series of intimate presentations to showcase the latest collection. Inviting a small number of media and friends (spotted: Jean-Paul Goude) to the showroom while buyers place their orders has become the unofficial protocol chez Alaïa, and it works because you can touch and feel the collection with the same unhurried focus as, say, Ken Downing from Neiman Marcus, who seemed noticeably impressed with some of the new techniques Monsieur Alaïa introduced for Fall.

This is the first collection to follow the Alaïa retrospective that recently ran its course at the reopened Palais Galliera in Paris. Was there a correlation between that survey of his career and the openwork polka-dot dresses or double-face gabardine coats? Hard to say without word from the designer. But one look at the construction of a stunning cape-backed bolero, or some of the knit patterning, and you sensed a certain engineering imperative—that he set out to push himself a bit further this time around.

Alaia

To be sure, nothing was radically different. Mainly, Alaïa stuck to subtle silhouette updates, offering a roomier V-neck jumper and adding a rectangular fringe—occasionally knotted—to the edge of his skirts to give them a fresh swish in place of his typical flounce. A technique he dubbed “Religieuse” combined larger organ pleats with interior accordion pleats, and on a floor-grazing skirt or a truncated cape, the result was something akin to seeing Sister in the corner office. Indeed, with the recurrence of all those starched white poplin shirts, Alaïa further confirmed how his view of femininity has shifted since his heyday of cleavage-bearing necklines.

However, that’s not to suggest he’s repressed the sexiness: Witness the jagged booties, cut like leather spikes, and bicolor biker gloves. Body-skimming dresses benefitted from body-contouring jacquards so that waists seemed corseted by knit striping. If anything, he simply determined that the cues need not be as obvious. There were a few other dramatic—or better, dynamic—additions this season, namely the calf-hair pieces that had been striped with a slick lacquer and a grouping of wool suits in champagne and teal covered in a tonal coiled pattern. Metallic yarn reappeared this season, this time as a pixelated pattern and as a larger amorphous one. He also revisited the dimensional lantern-effect knits, in one example applying the dimensional technique around the bust of a cropped jacket that closed the show. The workmanship on these final looks was so deceivingly complex that it qualified as couture.

Alaia

And that’s the thing about Alaïa, the couturier-architect whose clothes are so seriously and rigorously crafted that he can’t help but be diametrically less serious about everything else. Regulars to these intimate rendezvous would not have been surprised by the nostalgic, bossa-nova-style hits “Mambo Italiano” and “Quando Quando Quando” that accompanied the show. Swishy music for studied fashion: Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?

Photos: Courtesy Photos 

Naomi Campbell on Career, Children, and That Ring of Fire

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Naomi Campbell

“You know what? I’m blessed: I’ve been working with people who I’ve been working with since I was 16. Why would they want me still?” exhaled Naomi Campbell at SiriusXM’s midtown center yesterday afternoon. She was talking with her longtime friend and mentor Diane von Furstenberg, who was quick to reply, “One of the reasons they want you is precisely that you are the woman that you were.” There’s no denying that at the age of 43, after twenty-seven years in the business, Campbell is (and always has been) exactly what she represents herself to be—no apologies, no facades. Her reality-TV project, The Face, returns to Oxygen tonight (the reason for the radio time), and in the midst of all the press and ongoing paparazzi chaos, she continues to serve as an advocate through her work with Diversity Coalition, Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, and others. Of course, Campbell still hits select runways and pages—experiences she draws upon as she coaches the young models of The Face. Of her most recent FW14 appearance at Philipp Plein’s flame-engulfed, cowboy-themed show, Campbell told Style.com, “I saw backstage how the safety people were there, so I understood they had it all worked out—but to feel that heat…I’ve done a few [risky things for fashion], like being on a crane. [But this time], I was more worried about the audience: Are they going to get up and run?”

The conversation with Von Furstenberg touched on everything from Campbell’s early ambitions (“I wanted to be a dancer and travel the world. I wanted it to be spontaneous—I was 6.”) to the state of diversity in the industry (“Are we making progress? We’re definitely making progress on the ad campaigns. On the shows, especially in England, it could be a lot better. We do not want it to be a trend. We want it to be consistent.”). She discussed what’s left to be done: more advocacy, Saturday Night Live, and a child (“With or without a man! I’m gonna damn well try,” exclaimed Campbell.). And she related what keeps her going: “I do pray. And I am nervous, because I don’t ever want to feel like, I am the best. I can do it with my eyes closed,” she said. “I think my nervousness and my fear are what keep pushing me to strive to be better as a person in what I do—that’s why I still enjoy what I do.”

After the show, Campbell revealed a few Fall ’14 thoughts to Style.com. “I loved the new Alaïa presentation. Miu Miu was great,” she said. “And I loved Dolce & Gabbana—the fantasy of Little Red Riding Hood. I loved it! I think everybody’s going back to doing their fantasies. I love fantasies. It’s nice to dream.”

Photo: Courtesy of Sirius XM