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July 28 2014

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150 posts tagged "Balenciaga"

Julien Dossena Talks Paco Rabanne, Atto, and Paris’ Shifting Landscape

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Julien DossenaLVMH Prize finalist. Creative director of Paco Rabanne. Founder of the fledgling label Atto. French designer Julien Dossena is juggling a lot of roles this spring, but he was in New York last week wearing his Paco Rabanne hat. Dossena replaced Manish Arora at Rabanne early last year shortly after leaving Balenciaga, where he worked under Nicolas Ghesquière. By his own account, he has his work cut out for him at Rabanne. Outside of France and fashion circles, the brand is known for little more than perfume and men’s cologne, despite the late designer’s groundbreaking designs of the 1960s. Jane Fonda wouldn’t have been half as convincing as Barbarella without her Rabanne chain mail, and photos of pretty young things in his metal shifts encapsulate the futurism and free love of the era. But the company has floundered in recent years. “The image of the brand before was a bit blurry,” Dossena said. “Now we are taking back the reins.” Over lunch with Style.com, the designer talked Jane Birkin, Françoise Hardy, and why chain mail will always be essential.

How did Paco Rabanne sales go for Fall?We got opinion-leader kind of shops: Corso Como, Maria Luisa, The Webster, Blake, Just One Eye, Dover Street Market in New York and London. It’s a good start. And Barneys for the bags.

Did any piece in particular connect with buyers?We really wanted to emphasize a daywear wardrobe, but—there’s always a but—the stores need a bit of chain mail on the rack. People love it, they buy it. The challenge is to figure out how we can integrate chain mail into a daywear wardrobe.

As you say, the vision of the brand was blurry before. How do you intend to clear it up?
If women have only one Paco Rabanne dress in their closets, the brand isn’t going to develop. So we want to move away from the super-embroidered dresses that were the base of Rabanne before. We want to make it a classic brand for a younger customer. This season, we got the stores we need to deliver that commercial message. Now we’re working on our first pre-collection. We’re going to open our first shop in about a year and a half. Those are the first steps to having a strong brand.

Where will the shop be?
In Paris. Paco Rabanne is a classic from the sixties like Courrèges or Cardin. It can compete now with Balmain, Carven, those kinds of names. Paco Rabanne can be one of them. In France, Paco Rabanne is really deep in the culture. People love the name in France. I don’t know about America.

People who know fashion here know Jane Birkin and Françoise Hardy in the dresses—those cool metal dresses.
That’s what we want to bring back, that coolness that we love from those images. The question is how to translate those images into new product. If there’s a main word that we’re trying to do, it’s effortless.

To be a successful revival brand these days, you can’t just be about the past, right?
It has to be a balance of not losing the signature, but not being impressed by it, either—not being controlled by it. In five, six, seven years, Paco could become a lifestyle brand. Like if you travel, what kind of clothes do you want to wear? If you go to the countryside on the weekend, what do you want to take? I’m super-interested in that aspect and bringing that together with the visual futuristic signature of Paco Rabanne. It’s a good challenge. The good thing, I hope, is that we cleaned the image of the brand quite fast. And now we can move forward.

Paco Rabanne

No one was paying much attention to the label, but very quickly you seem to have caught people’s attention.
I hope. The name deserves it.

Do you think launching your own brand, Atto, at the same time as you signed on at Paco Rabanne has been helpful?
Yes. You learn so much on your own. When you launch your own brand, you have to be super-logical. Basically, it’s either you can do that or you can’t. That’s all. It teaches you not to be afraid to say, “OK, we can’t make a show? Don’t make a show.” But also to find the power in not making a show by really focusing on your products.

That’s what I wanted to do after I left Balenciaga. At Balenciaga I was working on the shows, and when you design clothes for a show it’s totally different than when you design for a customer. Paco Rabanne has taught me that a good basic with a little something more can be super-interesting. Each look has to go on a woman, has to be relevant.

But is it hard to manage two brands?
I just started wondering about that now. It happened randomly that I started Atto and Paco at the same time. I launched Atto in December [2012] just after Balenciaga. Then Paco called me for freelance in mid-January. Now that we’re adding pre-collection in Paco, I wonder what is the best way to keep the balance. At the end, the signature is me. Of course I have the Paco name to hold on to, but in the end, it’s what I think is good.

How is the Paco girl different from the Atto girl?
She’s different, but she’s still my girl. Maybe at Paco she’s more sensual, she’s more rich. At Atto, her look is more sharp, more clean.

Are you going to stick to showing Atto by appointment only during the pre-collections?
Yes, I don’t want it to go too fast or too big. I really want to take my time and enjoy it. To not put pressure on me or the collection. What I’d love to do is co-branding, or collaborations with people who have a specific technique or savoir faire, like Atto Mackintosh, Atto and Charvet shirts. That’s a dream. I love the Comme des Garçons model—you know the way they do those jackets with Barbour. I love that. They keep the essence of Barbour, but they add all their craziness and twists to it.

I’m almost afraid to do a show for Atto because I worry that I will lose the aim of Atto. Doing a show totally transforms your vision of your clothes. It makes you think about the casting, all these kinds of things. When I design Atto now, I say, “OK, is the girl going to be comfortable in that dress? What can she mix it with?” I’m afraid to lose that mix-and-match, modular feeling of Atto.

What about the LVMH award? You’re one of the twelve finalists, for Atto. Congratulations.
I was super-honored and super-happy. You know, in France, there is not much support for young designers and young brands. It’s really hopeful when you see that a big group like LVMH is looking at what young designers are doing. It’s a good thing. It means you are not playing anymore. It’s serious. If Atto doesn’t win, we already won, just to be part of the designer group. It’s quite an eclectic group of finalists. And I’m so happy it’s going on in Paris, you know, finally.

There is something moving. My friends and I are super-happy that J.W. Anderson is coming to Loewe, that Nicolas Ghesquière is coming to Vuitton. You can feel a good energy now in Paris.

Photo: Patrick Demarchelier; InDigital Images 

Elizabeth von Guttman and Alexia Niedzielski Talk Going Green, Ever Manifesto, and That Little Balenciaga Vs. Nicolas Ghesquière Lawsuit

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 Alexia Niedzielski and Elizabeth von Guttman

Editors Elizabeth von Guttman and Alexia Niedzielski are not your typical sustainable-fashion activists. They’re not into hemp, and their vision of eco-clothing is more tailored metallic faux-leather Suno than organic cotton tee. They founded Ever Consulting, their eco-conscious think tank, along with Charlotte Casiraghi in 2009 on the premise that environmental awareness does not necessitate aesthetic or social restriction. Last week, the duo launched a new collaboration with mass retail giant H&M, as well as the latest edition of Ever Manifesto, their free print publication dedicated to thoughtful—and positively charged rather than reprimanding—conversation in eco issues. We caught up with Von Guttman and Niedzielski, who were dialing in from London and Brazil respectively, to talk about the new issue, “Ever Conscious”; what’s next for eco-fashion; and, as co-editors of System magazine, just how they feel about that Nicolas Ghesquière-Balenciaga lawsuit.

Tell us about the new issue.
EVG: This is the third issue. Each time we take a different theme. This one, since it was partnered with H&M, is so much bigger than what we’re used to. Before, we did one with Gucci, which was great, but it was much more exclusive and luxury-oriented. This one was a great opportunity to talk to a bigger audience and also to make sustainable fashion a bit more available and affordable. We collected all these amazing people we had met throughout the years who have inspired us in different regions—fashion, design, activists, celebrities—and gave them a platform to explain all the wonderful things that they’re doing. We included Pharrell Williams, who has a new company called Bionic Yarn that does all this tech stuff with recycled plastic; Elettra [Wiedemann], who is obsessed with food; and Dianna Cohen, who is an activist against plastic.

Ever ManifestoI love the cover.

EVG: It’s kind of funny, no? It’s a little tongue-in-cheek. We wanted to show some humor, too. We always collaborate with different artists, and this one was Carsten Höller, a great contemporary artist. He did the big slide. He’s been obsessed with consciousness. So there’s this thing that you do with chimpanzees, and he actually did it with his newborn baby. You put your baby in front of a mirror with a dot on its forehead and the moment where the child rubs the dot off its forehead, that’s where you realize that they gain consciousness. So this is the inspiration for the cover. It’s about the theme of self-reflection and awareness and consciousness.

I think that’s where this whole project started: around the self-consciousness idea and also the selfie. The selfie was added as a word into the dictionary last year. Selfies are so…everyone in the industry does selfies. It pushes this idea of self-consciousness but not always in a positive way. What we were trying to do was change that idea and to raise the awareness of collective consciousness. We wanted to make a conscious selfie instead of just this or selfish selfie. Through a social media campaign, we want to open it up to the public and ask people to take conscious selfies around the world.

From a sustainability standpoint, how do you feel the industry is changing?
EVG: I think that maybe trying to be a bit more transparent. That was not the case at all a couple years ago. People are starting to open up, and I think this is a good thing because no one should do great things on their own. People are much more educated and they are finally realizing that sustainable fashion is not only about organic cotton. But there’s still so much to do. That’s why it’s so important to keep on persisting and create more awareness and to propose ideas about how to create in better ways and more responsible ways.

AN: I think the customers and the brands have gained more consciousness over the last few years. The customers are demanding more information from the brands. It’s like a few years ago in the food industry—the customers demanded more organic food and now there is. That has to transfer to the fashion industry. If there’s more demand for these kinds of products, I think companies will produce more ethical products and more beautiful clothes.

They have to be desirable, as well as sustainable.
AN: Yes. You don’t want to just go buy something because it’s green. You want to buy it because it’s beautiful and also green. I think there are more and more brands, like Maiyet and Suno, that are doing great things. People are realizing that we can have both. There’s no compromise anymore.

So what are some things that we as consumers can do?
AN: We have a choice every time we purchase. I think they need to show it by buying something that they think is responding to their needs, and being responsible should be one of them. Elizabeth and I—we’ve changed along the way. We’ve consumed more responsibly.

EVG: We can just be a bit more informed. Information is out there now. Take a little bit more time before you purchase. Think twice about it.

I wanted to ask you as well about System, and the process of publishing more intellectual magazines in a climate where everything is about tweet-size consumption and being easily digestible.
EVG: We need content. We need consistency in content. So much of what is out there is a lot of the same, and that’s why we’re always trying to work and make new ways. I think it’s about pushing yourself constantly, about pushing the limits and redefining the limits. That’s what we’re trying to do with all the projects we do.

AN: I think, also, when we print something, we want it to last. We’re obviously against disposable fashion but also disposable printed material. We want to print passionate products—more like objects—and something that you can pick up a year later and it’s still relevant.

What are your thoughts on Balenciaga’s legal action following Nicolas Ghesquière’s words in System? You gave him the space.
EVG: Obviously, this was the kind of hot topic of the season. This is not really what we’re about. We’re not looking for the scoop. We’re just looking for great stories. We turned out to be the scoop of the season. But it’s not what we looked for.

AN: I think [Balenciaga] moved on. Most of us have moved on from the drama and tried to do great things. [Alexander Wang's] first collection was great, and I think there’s so much to look forward to. I just hope everyone has moved on, because it’s a shame to rest on the little quarrels, and I think everyone should be above all of that by now. There are so many other things to focus on for everyone.

Photo: Matthew Stone 

Runway to Red Carpet: The Celeb Circuit Steps Out for Two Blockbuster Press Tours

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Shailene Woodley While much of the Hollywood set tends to enjoy a little break after the awards season finale, the stars of March’s blockbusters have been busy promoting their high-profile flicks. The A-list stars of the biblical epic Noah have been trotting around the world promoting the film, and the picture’s leading ladies have been continually knocking it out of the sartorial ballpark at each premiere. In Madrid, Jennifer Connelly chose a nude Giambattista Valli Spring ’14 Haute Couture frock embroidered with pale leaves and a crystal neckline. Her equally chic costar Emma Watson opted for a black-and-white J. Mendel ensemble, featuring a draped white blouse and tapered black pants fresh off the Fall ’14 runway.

Stateside, the stars of the buzzed-about Divergent have had a busy premiere week of their own. Shailene Woodley, the film’s heroine and a rapidly rising star, stepped out in a black figure-hugging jumpsuit with a sheer detailed bodice from Elie Saab’s Pre-Fall ’13 lineup for a screening in New York on Thursday. In true Hollywood fashion, a bevy of notables turned up for the film’s world premiere in Los Angeles on Tuesday, including Kiernan Shipka, Ellie Goulding, and Zoe Kravitz. Shipka attended the L.A. premiere of Divergent in Valentino’s tulle frock covered with armor-like patchwork from the Spring ’14 runway, while Kravitz turned up in a white off-the-shoulder frock from BFF Alexander Wang’s Spring ’14 Balenciaga collection.

Here, more of this week’s red-carpet highlights.

Photo: Matteo Prandoni / BFAnyc.com

Marina’s Must-Haves: Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière’s Leather Aviator Jacket

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balenciagaIf there is one coat no one should miss for Fall ’14, it’s the big shearling number. Think Prada’s yummy colored furs, Sacai’s eccentric fuzzy coats, Altuzarra’s oversize jackets, and so on. Even in accessories we saw shearling details. Chloé’s cream fuzzy bootie was a total hit on social media. You either wait until August when all these amazing pieces arrive in stores, or you get your hands on the fuzz now—we still have some cold days ahead, right? This Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière aviator jacket (circa 2004) is a rare find, and it’s available now on Resee.fr, a French e-tailer that has incredible fashion finds. The bad news? There’s only one piece.

Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière aviator leather jacket, $2,400. Buy it now

Photos: via resee.com

PFW Was a Modelizer’s Dream

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Louis Vuitton

Just when we thought Paris had maxed out on its supermodel sightings, Freja Beha Erichsen caused us to audibly gasp when she opened Louis Vuitton on the final day of shows. Sure, seeing Gisele Bündchen close Balenciaga and the high-wattage cast at Balmain earlier in the week were definite highlights, but for true model obsessives, it’s difficult to top a surprise appearance by Erichsen, who has been absent from the runways since Spring ’12. Among the other noteworthy ladies in the LV lineup were Liya Kebede, Maggie Rizer, Marte Mei van Haaster (who took a break this season to focus on school), and scads of newcomers including closer Rianne von Rompaey and Julia Bergshoeff. While Bergshoeff also walked Miu Miu later that day, we wish she had done more shows and taken a less exclusive route. Her only other Fall outing was Proenza Schouler.

There were plenty more major modeling moments during the second half of PFW. Miranda Kerr turned up at Sonia Rykiel of all places—the brand stepped things up this time around by enlisting stylist Katie Grand and casting director Anita Bitton. Elsewhere, Sasha Pivovarova made a lovely cameo at Chloé, and Kendall Jenner convinced us to consider her a serious model at Givenchy and Chanel. But even doing those big shows won’t quite earn Jenner a spot on our forthcoming top new models list. The competition in that category is steep, with fresh faces like Lexi Boling, Ola Rudnicka, Waleska Gorczevski, and Harleth Kuusik each walking more than fifty shows. All in all, a very strong season for veterans and promising rookies alike.

Photo: Alesssandro Garofalo / indigitalimages.com