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July 30 2014

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11 posts tagged "Catherine Baba"

The Final Countdown: Style File’s Top Stories of 2013

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Catherine Baba

The fashion biz has had quite a year. 2013 was jam-packed with major designer shakeups, groundbreaking ad campaigns, celebrity collaborations, and pop star performance wardrobes filled with custom-made designer duds. In the final days leading up to 2014, we’re counting down Style File’s most popular twenty stories of the year. So sit back, relax, and relive 2013′s unforgettable moments. Let’s kick things off with numbers twenty through sixteen, below.

20. Rihanna and River Island Take London Fashion Week
Rihanna stirred up some anarchy in the U.K. when she and Adam Selman debuted their risqué River Island collection at London fashion week in February. Style.com had a front-row-seat to the star’s design debut.

19. Maison Kitsuné’s Retro Pop Experience
Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki, the talents behind cult fashion brand-cum-record label Maison Kitsuné, were Pitti W’s Fall ’13 guest designers. And in keeping with their quirky, multidisciplinary roots, the pair put on a riotous musical fashion presentation. Style.com was on the scene to document their sixties-themed extravaganza.

18. Dior Walks the Red Square
Last July, for the second time in history, Dior staged a show in Moscow’s Red Square. As you can imagine, the festivities, which were hosted inside a purpose-built mirrored pavilion, were brimming with glitz and glamour—albeit of Dior’s sleek and tasteful variety. Designer and Style Map contributor Vika Gazinskaya took us inside the memorable affair.

17. Playboy‘s Artist Pals Are Rethinking Sexy—But Is It Porn or Art?
Playboy has had a big year, what with Kate Moss covering its sixtieth anniversary issue and Richard Phillips’ controversial Playboy Marfa installation. Back in May, the magazine’s new director of special projects, curator Neville Wakefield, asked artists Aaron Young, Malerie Marder, and Alex Israel to create works featuring Playmate of the Year Raquel Pomplun. So we asked the question—were the results porn or art?

16. Bike Like Baba
In 2013, just six years after Paris inaugurated its shared vélo program, New York finally caught up and launched its ever-popular Citi Bikes. But traffic-inducing tourists aren’t the only ones using the vehicles—the bicycles were a popular mode of transport at New York fashion week. During the Spring ’14 shows, we talked to eccentric stylist and cyclist extraordinaire Catherine Baba about the dos and don’ts of biking about town.

Photo: Tommy Ton

Bike Like Baba

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Catherine Baba

“Well, congratulations, New York City!” quipped Catherine Baba over the phone when we told her that the Big Apple had finally embraced Citi Bikes. Paris—her city of residence for almost two decades—launched its wildly popular shared vélo program a whopping six years ago.

As we’re sure you’ve noticed while hopping between shows or browsing Tommy Ton’s street-style snaps, cycling is the fashion set’s favorite new mode of transport—but coordinating an outfit that’s both front-row-worthy and ready to pedal across town is no easy task. Mme. Baba, however, has been doing just that for eighteen years—no doubt you’ve seen her, riding through the Tuileries in piles of jewelry, skyscraper heels, her signature turban, and, depending on the season, a kimono or a fur coat. (We have to note that she pulls her eccentric ensembles off with an astonishing level of aplomb.) “I get approached in different cities around the world by people who ask me if I’m the lady who rides the bicycle around Paris,” offered Baba, who, with her dramatic hand gestures and injections of français, is as Parisienne as they come—albeit by way of Sydney.

“I’m very impatient. I need to move, and waiting for le métro is not an option,” Baba told us when asked why cycling is her preferred form of transit. “It’s the best way to see the city. And it’s also environmentally friendly—the more we can remember that, the better.” Here, the singular styliste shares her acquired biking wisdom. Whether pedaling to the shows in Paris or just cruising over the Williamsburg Bridge, we’ll be keeping Baba’s tips in mind—even though some of her most fantastic suggestions may be mildly ill advised.

Do not pose for street-style bloggers while biking:
“Definitely avoid the photographers. That situation is an accident waiting to happen. Just focus and know where you’re going! That’s what’s important.”

Do be a defensive cyclist:
“Defensive, defensive, defensive! You have to have eyes in the back of your head. I am very vigilant, but we can’t be responsible for the rest of the world. I have had incidents, but touch wood, nothing serious.”

Do dress aerodynamically:
“When I get dressed in the morning, it just happens organically. But there is an element of engineering—let’s put it this way: When riding, there needs to be a certain level of aérodynamisme. For Spring/Summer, I love to have my wings, so I wear the kimono, which helps the air circulate. I do a catsuit, too—that’s easy. But it depends on my mood.”

Maybe wear a helmet, but definitely consider a turban. And accessorize aggressively:
“If you feel more secure with a helmet, then put one on. But the fact is, I haven’t myself—I wear a hat instead, purely to avoid the sun. Or a turban always works, darling. I think that’s been my look. I also try and wear gloves as much as possible—in winter or summer—for the grip sensation. And of course, you know, j’adore accessories. J’adore.”

Do listen to music to get the Baba attitude—at your own risk, of course:
“It’s all because of my playlist,” she said when asked how to achieve a Baba-esque air. “I always listen to music, which most people have told me is not advisable. But I’d rather hear music than the traffic around me. I love symphonics. It could be anything from David Bowie to disco. It’s very eclectic—very me.

Do not bring a practical pair of shoes:
“Are you out of your mind? I do not carry a pair of flats. If I can’t walk in the heels, I can’t cycle. Voilà. If I can’t cycle in the heels, I can’t walk in them.”

Photo: Tommy Ton

Catherine Baba Promises Her New Jewelry Collection “Will Make Anyone Look Like A Diva”

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“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!”

Photos: Michele Silvestro

Will You Go Big With Statement Earrings?

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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.

CLICK FOR A SLIDESHOW, and let us know if you’ll be giving your ears a lift with a pair of statement earrings.

Photo: Gianni Pucci / GoRunway.com

The Doctor (And Her Bags) Are In

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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.

Photo: Courtesy of Olympia Le-Tan