65 posts tagged "Alber Elbaz"
It was announced today that Lanvin’s visionary creative director, Alber Elbaz, will receive the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund’s Geoffrey Beene Fashion Impact Award—an honor that’s likely especially poignant for the designer, given that he began his career working with Beene. “It was a very beautiful relationship over almost seven years,” Elbaz said of his mentor in a 2005 interview with the International Herald Tribune‘s Suzy Menkes. The YMA foundation, a non-for-profit organization that aids over 100 fashion students with scholarships, internships, mentorships, and career programs each year, will present Elbaz with the award at its annual dinner in New York on January 8.
Fashion-minded visitors at the Biennale des Antiquaires, which opened to the public today in Paris and runs through September 23, tend to beeline to the haute joaillerie. Mere paces away from the Cartier booth, however, a Parisian gallery has put together something genuine fashion wonks might prefer: a re-creation of an installation that Jeanne Lanvin commissioned in 1925.
Lanvin, who loved the theater, had her interior designer, A.A. Rateau, create an Art Deco dressing room for an exhibition that year at the Grand Palais. She also added a live model—wearing Lanvin, naturellement—to the tableau. The owners of Galerie Mathivet didn’t, but they did (somewhat miraculously) manage to get their hands on the dress. According to Céline Mathivet, Alber Elbaz generously let them borrow it after about six months of back-and-forth. The floral metallic number has only been out of the Lanvin archives once in recent history, for an exhibition in 2007 at the city’s Galliera Musée de la Mode.
The Mathivets are displaying the metallic dress behind a Plexiglas screen (pictured)—no touching!—and it’s the one thing in their authentic mock-up that’s not for sale. As historic as it is, the exhibit is a testament to the staying power of Art Deco, particularly at the level at which Mme. Lanvin engaged it. To this day, the house’s signature Arpège fragrance comes in a vessel that’s for all intents and purposes the original “boule noire” Rateau designed in the twenties. And the leopard-print sculpted armchair in the center of the room looks as desirable as ever—especially for anyone suffering from Biennale bling fatigue.
Last week, the first regional winners of the International Woolmark Prize were named in the U.S., Europe, and China; following the upcoming announcements of the Australian and Indian winners, the finalists will compete for the global award at London fashion week. Style.com’s Tim Blanks was on the judging panel of the European edition of the prize; he writes in with notes from the judges’ bench.
“I’m used to being judged, not judging,” sighed Alber Elbaz more than once during Thursday’s European heat of the International Woolmark Prize. The 21 designers from 11 countries that Elbaz and his co-judges—fellow designers Giles Deacon and Dean and Dan Caten; Vogue editors Alexandra Shulman and Christiane Arp; and me as the Sancho Panza of the posse—were assessing represented the usual apples-and-oranges challenge of all such contests, but at least the criteria were crystal clear so it was relatively straightforward to edit them down to a final handful. And then Twelve Angry Men Syndrome kicked in, with occasionally heated debate among jury members. Passionately argued positions dissolved, allegiances shifted, wine flowed (for at least one juror), but it was finally those closely studied criteria that carried Belgium’s Christian Wijnants (left, with Albaz)—at 34, almost a veteran in this context—to the top of the heap with a capsule collection of knit dresses that matched expert technique to an inspired color sense. He’ll face off against Sophie Théallet (U.S.A.), Ban Xiao Xue (China), and yet-to-be-announced designers from Australia and India at the grand finale during London fashion week in February.
For me, the real pleasure of the day was watching Elbaz rise to his responsibilities. Less judge than mentor, he gave all sorts of subtle insights into his own working methods. Turkey’s Ipek Arnas showed a dress with a complex intarsia covering its front. Too in-your-face banal for Elbaz. He advised the designer to reverse the dress, and presto! It took on an entirely different personality. “Now there is a surprise,” he said, satisfied. Elbaz was seduced by the ingenious top half of J.W. Anderson’s outfit, but less taken with the skirt, so he asked to see it just with the underlying crinoline. The result was scarcely as its creator had intended, but that top truly came into its own.
“When you finish a collection, do you love it the next day or hate it?” Elbaz asked a young Italian duo. He was clearly speaking from experience, so it wasn’t surprising that he confessed to being nonplussed by the unambiguously upbeat answers he got to his probing questions, at least in the initial stages of the judging process. “Unhappiness is the motor to move things forward,” Elbaz offered. Take this to heart, designers of the future: Dissatisfaction is an asset.
It’s not very difficult to be mesmerized by supermodel Carmen Kass, but Asa Mader has just made it even easier. The filmmaker cast the face of Chloé, Versace, and Kenzo in his new experimental film Ray of Life, in which Kass (pictured) floats ethereally through the atmosphere in a sequined romper and a feather dress made by Jay Ahr’s artistic director Jonathan Riss. The film is now showing in Florence as part of Pitti Immagine Uomo and Firenze4Ever. [Nowness]
Isaac Mizrahi is also taking his turn in film. The designer will be the first to curate a short for the debut of New York in Film, a series at the W New York Downtown. Mizrahi has chosen Bob Fosse’s Sweet Charity, which will be privately screened at the hotel’s lounge Tuesday night. Spike Lee’s pick will be next. [WWD]
J.W. Anderson and James Long have it coming for them. As the two British names in the running for the International Woolmark Prize, the designers will have to face a panel of judges made up of some major names in fashion, including recently announced addition Alber Elbaz. Lanvin’s creative director will join Dsquared²’s Dean and Dan Caten, Giles Deacon, and Style.com’s own Tim Blanks. [Vogue U.K.]
Is J.Crew headed to London town? It appears that the U.S. label has plans to open up its first store outside of North America. Chairman and chief executive officer Millard “Mickey” Drexler was spotted scouting out locations across the pond while on his way to this week’s Pitti Immagine Uomo in Florence. Stores could reportedly open as early as next year. [WWD]
Director Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden film has been under wraps for what seems like forever. But details are emerging about the cast, which reportedly includes Jessica Chastain and Mark Duplass. The movie will paint a broad picture of the decade-long quest to find bin Laden and the efforts put forth by the intelligence and national security communities. [The Hollywood Reporter]