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13 posts tagged "Cristobal Balenciaga"

Alexander Wang Takes Balenciaga to Beijing



Cristóbal Balenciaga reputedly made only three journeys afield in his lifetime and certainly never traveled anywhere as far-flung as Asia. However, forty-odd years after his passing, the house of Balenciaga, with Alexander Wang at the helm, staged its own intrepid China expedition, bringing forty-eight archive pieces to Beijing.

Handpicked by Wang, the selection from Cristóbal Balenciaga’s Parisian years (1937 to 1968) highlighted the key pieces in his oeuvre. “I think it would be doing an injustice for everybody not to see it,” Wang explained. Enshrined at the center of the exhibition, therefore, was the famous Infanta dress (1949), which shows the unremitting influence of Balenciaga’s Spanish heritage on his work; the Babydoll dress of 1958; and the famed wedding dress from his last collection presented in 1967.

Though he epitomized that old world of couture, Balenciaga was the greatest pioneer of them all. Blockbuster pieces aside, the Fishnet dress (1964), an overlay of net upon a black sheath inspired by the fishermen in his hometown of Getaria, and a reversible fur-lined silk-nylon coat (1959) were just a few examples of the utterly modern. A little-known fact about the famously reticent designer was his penchant for filming his presentations in the last decade of his career, and the videos provided illuminating glimpses of “the master of us all” at work. A suit worn by Marlene Dietrich in the 1950s and the Sari dress, a design owned by Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor, and Dodie Rosekrans, also served as a reminder of his legendary clientele.

The venue, the China Academy of Oil Painting, was chosen for the church-like structure in its midst (actually the school’s lecture hall), where Balenciaga’s SS’14 collection was presented. “We could have easily shown the Fall collection,” Wang explained before the show, “but I wanted something that would penetrate immediately.” Along with the existing outfits, therefore, the models (Shu Pei, Ming Xi, Xiao Wen Ju, Hanne Gaby Odiele, et al.) sported fifteen new looks from a capsule collection released exclusively in Balenciaga’s China stores immediately following the show.

Click for a slideshow of Balenciaga’s extensive Beijing exhibition.

Photo: Courtesy Photos

Did You Get The Memo? Diana Vreeland In Her Own Words


Memos: The Vogue Years

“Our cover situation is drastic…We are on the verge of a drastic emergency.” So reads the first entry in the latest Diana Vreeland tome, Memos: The Vogue Years. Compiled by Vreeland’s grandson Alexander (the husband of Lisa Immordino Vreeland, who directed The Eye Has to Travel), the book features more than 250 of Vreeland’s infamous notes from her time at Vogue, which she’d dictate over the phone to her secretary while puffing on cigarettes in a wicker chair in the bathroom of her Park Avenue apartment. This, Alexander told us, was her preferred mode of communication. “She didn’t believe in meetings,” he said. His assertion is backed up by Diana’s memo to the Vogue team on page fifty-nine, in which she considers holding a meeting about the “controversial” topic of dress lengths, but resolves, “Usually, when we have meetings, we don’t get ideas and views from people.”

But it wasn’t just her staff whom she’d confront about everything from the importance of pearls and bangles to her annoyance with the mistreatment of her initials in her editor’s letter (above), to the necessity that Vogue‘s spreads “never, ever copy…any kind of coiffure that is reminiscent of the 30s, 40s, 50s,” via her rapier dictations. The book—which is available now from Rizzoli—also includes her correspondences with the likes of Richard (or Dick, as she called him) Avedon, Irving Penn (to whom she complains about lackluster tulips), Cecil Beaton, Cristobal Balenciaga (above), Halston, Veruschka, and beyond. Continue Reading “Did You Get The Memo? Diana Vreeland In Her Own Words” »

Aitor Throup’s “Deeply Charged Art” Is Coming to a Store Near You


Aitor Throup's "On the Effect of Ethnic Stereotyping"
It’s been seven years since he graduated from the Royal College of Art—seven years of mind-bending manifestos, endless obsessive sampling, teasers, feints, and false starts, and God knows there were times when it seemed like the day would never come. But at last it’s here. On Thursday, Aitor Throup, the philosopher king of London menswear, released his first complete collection to a handful of stores around the world: Dover Street Market in London and Tokyo, Atelier in New York, H. Lorenzo in Los Angeles, I.T. in Hong Kong and Beijing, and Rail in Brescia, Italy. In typical Throup style, leaving nothing to chance, the launch is supported by a full platform of explanatory visuals, exclusively revealed here on

It’s probably fairer to call New Object Research a project rather than a collection, although it does in fact collate items from the four concepts Throup has been evolving over the years—like the Skanda jacket from When Football Hooligans Become Hindu Gods, or the riding jacket from Mongolia, or the Saxophone shirt from The Funeral of New Orleans—into one seamless group. “Evolution” is an appropriate catchall. “Even since we showed in January, we’ve taken it to another level with production,” the designer enthused the other day in an East End studio teeming with assistants packing up clothes for shipment.

But nestled inside his evolution is a revolution in construction and fabrication, all of it produced right downstairs in that teeming studio (which is remarkable enough itself, given that some of the fabrics sound like purest science). To see it all, he’s worked with a design firm to create rotating, 360-degree views of the pieces on his Web site, like the one below. And what to see? There’s a new zipper system, new buttonhole technology, the signature trousers that don’t finish where the ankles finish, seams like you’ve never seen before, and, my personal favorites, Throup’s ergonomic sleeves, which have an internal elastic articulation that anticipates movement. However it works, it feels better than any sleeve I’ve ever had on my arm. Cristobal Balenciaga, fashion’s most famous sleeve-obsessive, would be green with envy. Continue Reading “Aitor Throup’s “Deeply Charged Art” Is Coming to a Store Near You” »

Guess Who’s Next? Alta Roma Honors Emerging Talent


Looks from Arthur Arbesser and Esme Vie

Alta Roma, Italy’s answer to haute couture, is currently under way in Rome. And yesterday, the winners of this season’s Who Is On Next design competition were announced. It was judged by an esteemed panel that included Saks Fifth Avenue’s Terron Schaefer, Suzy Menkes, and Harrods’ Marigay McKee. The initiative supports independent designers who produce their labels in Italy. The top talents will receive an area to show their collections to buyers during next September’s Milan fashion week (courtesy of Vogue Italia), and they’ll also create an exclusive look, which will be stocked on

This year, Arthur Arbesser, a Viennese designer who spent seven years working with Giorgio Armani before launching his own line last fall in Milan, co-won the grand prize. He shared the spotlight with Julia Voitenko and Daria Golveko, the Russian duo behind Esme Vie. Continue Reading “Guess Who’s Next? Alta Roma Honors Emerging Talent” »

Goossens Goes Back To The Classics


Robert Goossens launched his jewelry house in 1950 and was quickly tapped to create couture fashion jewelry for Paris’ biggest houses. Cristobal Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Yves Saint Laurent all enlisted Goossens’ talents, although his most famous works are easily the gilded bronze and rock crystal sautoirs, large Byzantine cuffs, and pearl brooches he created for Chanel. “The house was always a bit atypical. My father and Mademoiselle Chanel really created the concept of vrai/faux fashion jewelry together,” explained the house’s current creative director, Robert Goossens’ son, Patrick. (Patrick’s sister, Martine, is the hand behind the furniture and other decorative objects you see in Chanel’s flagship stores.) “The thing about [our approach to jewelry] is that it’s not a matter of price: you can go to the Place Vendome and see not-so-great expensive things, or you might find something fabulous at Monoprix,” he adds.

This season, Goossens has decided to reimagine some of its iconic styles (think braided metal belts, triple-strand necklaces with semiprecious stones, and chain-link chokers), and offer them at approachable prices (about $200 for a ring, up to about $1,300 for a heavy stone and pearl piece). “I want to make sure the Goossens signature is recognizable,” said Patrick. “Both for customers now, but also for customers’ granddaughters one day.”

Goossens’ Fall 2013 collection will be available at the house’s Paris flagship at 42 avenue George V, and online at

Photos: Courtesy of Goossens