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3 posts tagged "Carmen Dell’Orefice"

The Seven-Thousand-Hour Dress, And More From China’s Most Extravagant Couturier

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Guo Pei is China’s answer to haute couture. The last time she showed her collection, she sent Carmen Dell’Orefice out in an embroidered, fur-trimmed cape so heavy it took four men to help the legendary model make it down the runway. So expectations were high earlier this week when Guo, whose sculptural, over-the-top creations have drawn admirers including Lady Gaga, mounted her first fashion presentation in more than two years, in Beijing.

In the second of two showings in a soaring industrial space, visitors on Monday entered via a blacked-out exhibition displaying Guo’s 30 startlingly handcrafted takes on traditional Chinese wedding dresses: sunburst collars, acres of silk, and more hand embroidery than you could shake a needle at. According to the punctilious wall texts, one dress took 7,412 hours to make; another incorporated 465,756 pearls. And the show hadn’t even started yet.

Once it did, it was an immaculately constructed dark fairy tale of dragon manes, impossibly high wedges, vertiginous headpieces, and ballet dancers, all under the rubric “Legend of the Dragon,” and all slowly paced, shown one at a time. With arguably her country’s most high-wattage client list, Guo in many ways represents China’s new Gilded Age. But her true message was rather more understated: “My goal was to let more people see beautiful things, especially beautiful handicrafts,” she said. “We want to inspire a greater appreciation for traditional crafts, so that they can continue.”

Photo: AFP / Getty Images

The Many Faces Of Delvaux

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Delvaux, the Belgian luxury goods house, was all but an insider’s secret until Barneys began carrying the line last fall. Since then, its brand of subtle, sophisticated luxury has been gaining ground as a new favorite among those who prefer to take their luxe logo-less. But Delvaux isn’t new. The house was founded in 1829 and has been the Official Purveyor to the Court of Belgium since 1883—a fact that could fly under the radar if you’re not tracking the comings and goings of Crown Princess Mathilde with the same zeal as, say, of Alexa Chung.

Heritage and craftsmanship are Delvaux’s buzzwords, which helps to explain why the 15,000 bags it makes a year all come out of its Brussels atelier, L’Arsenal, a former military arsenal from the turn of the century, each one produced start to finish by a single artisan and his two apprentices. The styles, too, are classic: The Delvaux Brillant dates from 1958, and the Tempête, from 1967. (Colors keep the offerings current; the Brillant will arrive in emerald green this spring, as do special editions: The Brillant GM Souple was developed especially for Barneys.)

With its emphasis on history—and its four-figure price tags—Delvaux tends to attract an older consumer. But as the label hopes to show in a new series of videos by director and videographer Jake Davis, they work just as well on aristocratic ladies of a certain age, like legendary model Carmen Dell’Orefice (above), as on younger socials like Zani Gugelmann (below) and even bohemiennes like perfumer, hotelier, and scarf designer Francesca Bonato (bottom), who with her model husband, Nicolas Malleville, runs fashion’s favorite hideaway: Coqui Coqui in Tulum, Mexico. Continue Reading “The Many Faces Of Delvaux” »

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