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3 posts tagged "Alexandra Shulman"

Dissatisfaction Is An Asset, And More Woolmark Wisdom From Alber Elbaz

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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.

Photo: Courtesy of Woolmarkprize.com

BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund Shortlist Announced, Dita Von Teese To Appear In “Sleep No More,” Agyness Deyn’s Loft For Sale , And More…

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This year’s shortlist of designers for the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund 2012 was announced today by the British Fashion Council. The nine designers—Jonathan Saunders, Marios Schwab, Mary Katrantzou, Meadham Kirchhoff, Nicholas Kirkwood, Peter Pilotto, Richard Nicoll, Roksanda Ilincic, and Zoe Jordan—will present their collections and future plans before a panel of judges chaired by British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman. [British Fashion Council]

For its first time ever, Levi’s is planning to show its core collection during New York fashion week in February. The “big-budget presentation in Soho” will show off its Levi’s Red Tab, Levi’s Vintage Collection, and Made & Crafted lines. [WWD]

Dita Von Teese will reportedly join the cast of “Sleep No More” in New York for a special New Year’s Eve show. The burlesque queen’s role in the show has not been revealed yet. [Page Six]

Model Agyness Deyn’s Williamsburg apartment is on the market for $2.5 million dollars. However, the 2,911-square-foot apartment’s baby blue rococo kitchen and leopard-print carpets might put off a few potential buyers. [Telegraph]

Photo: Carly Otness / BFAnyc.com

Tait Takes the Dorchester

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Thomas Tait and models

Thomas Tait and models

“I can’t afford to go home,” designer Thomas Tait admitted yesterday at the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize awards in London, referring to the cost of a return flight to his native Montreal. Not to worry. A few minutes later, Tait received the evening’s top honors and his ticket, as it were: the £25,000 inaugural prize—bestowed by an industry who’s-who of judges including Manolo Blahnik, Bronwyn Cosgrave, Giles Deacon, and Daphne Guinness—and a chance to stage an event (and presumably, order room service) at the Dorchester Collection hotel of his choice. While Tait and his fellow finalists, Louise Goldin, Mary Katrantzou, Hermione de Paula, and Chau Har Lee, all share a penchant for craftsmanship, British Vogue‘s Alexandra Shulman, another judge, stressed that function was as critical as form when it came to picking a winner. “There is no point making precious objects that nobody can do anything with,” she said of the possibility of rewarding a collection for its sheer artistry. Tait, who trained with Montreal design darling Denis Gagnon, keeps a utilitarian edge to his careful cutting, creating a compelling tension between the body and the forms enveloping it. (In a nice bit of symmetry, Gagnon celebrated his ten-year anniversary yesterday with an exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.) Juror Yasmin LeBon was particularly gushy over Tait’s work: “It is gorgeous and brilliant to wear,” she said definitively. “I want more.”

Photo: Ian Gavan / Getty Images