10 posts tagged "Catherine Baba"
“It’s a fantasy, darling!” sang Catherine Baba, eccentric stylist and tastemaker extraordinaire, from her desk at the Gripoix glass workshop. Tomorrow, Baba will debut her first ever jewelry collection, a collaboration with Maison Gripoix, which, established in 1868, is most famous for its early work with Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Elsa Schiaparelli.
Baba, who’s renowned for her styling work with Givenchy, Balmain, Dazed & Confused, and Vanity Fair (just to name a few), her glamorous vintage aesthetic, and her ability to pedal her bike around Paris in sky-high stilettos, has been working on the 12-piece collection since January. “It’s been a difficult birth,” says Baba, explaining that the jewelry is inspired by her own extensive vintage collection and the Romantic and Decadent periods. The works of Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Lord Byron, and illustrator Aubrey Beardsley are infused in each plated-gold and glass bauble.
“She will make anyone look like a diva,” says Baba, gesturing to a blue, red, and absinthe green (“it’s the color of the poets’ drug”) harness-cum-belt she calls the Phoenix. And when the jewelry is worn as intended—that is, piled on—it could make anyone seem like Baba reincarnated. The designer wears her creations just so while gliding around the stone studio, where her Salomé headpiece, named after a work Wilde wrote for Sarah Bernhardt, is being finished with a blowtorch. Her 1920′s silk peignoir, which she describes as her “workwear,” is cinched with the collection’s winged belt. Peacock-inspired blue earrings dangle around her painted face, and her Dragon pendant, finished with a tassel (“we love a pompom!”), completes her decadent look. Her left hand boasts the Vanity ring, a functional accoutrement that cleverly opens to reveal a mirror. “This collection is for my life. I can’t put everything in my little clutch, so it would be nice to wear some of my makeup,” she says, pulling out the Venus cuff, which doubles as a powder compact. The Geisha necklace, made of chain-mail gold with a red glass teardrop, also has a function—it’s an ever elegant lipstick holder. But Baba, who proudly admits she’s designed the collection for herself, asserts, “These pieces are playful but they’re not just gadgets. They’re couture, darling!”
Earrings made a big comeback—”big” in both size and scope—at the Spring shows. Marni‘s Consuelo Castiglioni led the way, accessorizing her Fall collection with door knocker-sized baubles and making ear candy in the form of mod, colorful hoops a big part of her story this season. Boho glam chandeliers punctuated every look at Oscar de la Renta and Emilio Pucci, while Dolce & Gabbana and Missoni turned up the kitsch factor with garden vegetables and gilded critters, respectively. Needless to say, street-style darlings like Shala Monroque, Anna Dello Russo, and Miroslava Duma kept up with the runways, showing off their jumbo-sized earrings in many a front row. But we’ve got to give props to stylist Catherine Baba, whose rotating collection of shoulder-scrapers is arguably as signature as her ubiquitous two-speed bike.
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For her latest collection, Olympia Le-Tan checked herself into Paris’ Museum of the History of Medicine, a nineteenth-century gem tucked upstairs at the Descartes Medical School in Saint-Germain, the site of her presentation Thursday night. It was a telling venue. “People around me were taking strange medications and I sensed a disease vibe in the air,” Le-Tan said. So she and her team set to work assembling first-aid-kit carrying cases, and copying classic-edition covers of psychology tomes and the great novels of madness, drugs, and disease, including Wuthering Heights, Mrs. Dalloway, Valley of the Dolls, and Erich Segal’s tearjerker, Love Story. She called the collection Still Ill, after a song by her beloved Smiths. But if she lamented the persistence of sickness, she offered a few palliatives, too. There were pillbox clutches of “Brozac” (“Which will help your friends put up with you,” she wrote in a collection statement) and “Wiagra” (you can imagine), as well as for Olympia-brand petroleum jelly. And she couldn’t resist styling a few syringe hair clips and nurse uniforms her first foray into clothing. (Her sister, Cleo Le-Tan, modeled one.) These were tucked in between the antique scalpels and other strange tools of medicine’s past in the museum’s display cases as André Saraiva, Olivier Zahm, Garance Doré, and Catherine Baba nibbled Red Cross cupcakes and took each other’s temperatures.
Yaz Kurhan, better known as her nom de jewelry Yazbukey, is not one to hide her light under a bushel. For her “Fabulous African Saga” accessories and new home decor, Kurhan took over Tigersushi in Paris’ Marais neighborhood for a collection launch party with her likeminded friends, including stylists Catherine Baba and Elisa Nalin (above left, with Kurhan), Purple‘s Caroline Gaimari, Lanvin’s Elie Top, Sarah Lerfel from Colette, and Michelle Harper, in town from New York for Couture week. Fancy friends, however, doesn’t make for a stuffy hostess: Kurhan comfortably installed herself on a throne made of plastic grocery-store crates (made for the occasion by Diplomates, the Paris art collective) and greeted her guests.
Kurhan chose Africa as the theme for her Fall collection, based on childhood memories growing up in Saudi Arabia. “My dad was part of the Turkish embassy there and he organized the Islamic conference for many years,” she said. “I remember playing with the children of all the African dignitaries at the conference, and although I’ve never visited Africa, I got a feeling for its diversity from that experience.” Kurhan, who divides her time between Paris and New York (where she dreams up accessories for Zac Posen’s Z Spoke line), continues to work in Plexiglas, creating flattened versions of everyday Africana, including flora, fauna, and everything in between. Case in point: There are tiger’s paw necklaces with scratch-mark traces, snake sunglasses, and banana hair pins—as well as a ghetto blaster bag. And for the first time, plastic wall decals join the wearable offerings, including a portrait of Naomi Campbell and a lion’s head.