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8 posts tagged "Didier Ludot"

Claude Montana, Fashion Radical, Resurfaces

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It’s been nearly two decades since the fashion world has caught a glimpse of Claude Montana. But the reclusive designer showed up and lingered last night at Didier Ludot’s cocktail party in the Palais Royal, where the vintage guru is now displaying his private stash of Montana pieces. The idea to showcase Montana came naturally, Ludot noted. “He lives in the neighborhood so I see him every day, and it occurred to me that it would be an interesting switch from what I usually show—the Dior, Balenciaga, and Schiaparelli.” Montana’s recasting of sporty pieces in hyper-luxury materials was revolutionary at the time, he added, recalling a purple mink tracksuit from one show. Among Ludot’s treasures: a one-off absinthe and mustard-colored mink coat Montana designed for his late wife Wallis, a be-gloved and be-feathered black bodysuit, and a short, Lesage-embroidered couture dress from his controversial stint at Lanvin in the early nineties, a piece that Ludot scored only last Friday.

Montana, who recently published a retrospective of his career, recalled the agony of designing that couture dress: “The studio director didn’t understand what I wanted, so there was lots of back and forth,” he said. “There are so many memories in these windows, it’s touching.” Ludot concluded, “I think of Montana’s place in fashion as a bit like what Hervé Van der Straeten is to design now—extremely refined but also modern.” As to potential Montana heirs among fashion’s current crop, Ludot said, “I’m keeping an eye on Alexandre Vauthier and Maxime Simoens because they have the sensibility and they can do couture. And I saw something by Gareth Pugh the other day and I thought, ‘That could have been Montana.’ “

Photo: François Gozé

Fashion Week, Seen By A Slightly Jaundiced Eye

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Season in, season out, vintage couture dealer Didier Ludot creates a fashion week happening by displaying selected couture pieces in his Palais Royal shop windows, often highlighting a young designer’s work along the way. This season, the vintage guru takes a slightly different tack, rifling through the work of artist Thierry Bruet for a selection of paintings of fashion’s demimonde, rendered with a slightly cynical edge and a knowing wink. No surprise here; Bruet modeled for Saint Laurent back in the day, so he’s met a character or two.

“I love Thierry’s work—it’s so caustic and insolent,” says Ludot, who owns several pieces. Together, the two assembled a collection of art and fashion to go with it: sky blue and almond green Dior couture pieces from 1968 offset the painting Fashion Week (pictured), and a 1966 Chanel couture suit with a grosgrain bustier keeps company with a portrait of Mademoiselle Chanel at a certain age. An eclectic quartet—a 1937 silk velvet dress by Lanvin, a 1959 tulle dress by Saint Laurent for Dior, a 1963 Balenciaga dress in red gazar with matching cape, and a 1970 orange dress by Courrèges—stand before the artist’s sly ode to vanity, a portraitist rendering a lady in red much younger and more beautiful than she is. Part of the game is recognizing characters drawn from real life (legendary Bazaar editor Carmel Snow, for example), but even the sharpest eyes may not register that Bruet’s work crops up all over town: His bestiaries regularly grace the windows of the Hermès flagship, and selected portraits hang in the bar of the Shangri-La and the spa at the Bristol.

Illustration: Thierry Bruet

Kruger, Brody, Deneuve, And More Wish
The Jaeger Reverso A Bon Anniversaire

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As 80th birthday parties go, few we’ve heard of were better attended than the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso’s. Clever staging, involving displays of 50 movements used for the watch, a gallery of exceptional timepieces, and artisans demonstrating their craft, were all on view for guests, but they were slightly overshadowed however by the arrival of megawatt fans like Clive Owen, Adrien Brody, Catherine Deneuve, and brand ambassadress Diane Kruger.

For the fashion crowd, the evening offered a break from Couture preparations. What to expect from the haute week? The hints they provided point to a sassy revision of the classics. Maxime Simoens, for one, is tackling vampires—Nosferatu, to be precise. Alexis Mabille said he was polishing a sartorial take on beloved French verses and compiling a collection of ten L.B.D.s’ for Guerlain’s rollout of La Petite Robe Noire fragrance this fall.

Speaking of which, vintage guru Didier Ludot, the owner of a boutique specializing in the L.B.D., is putting the final touches on his traditional windows, which are unveiled at an event at the Palais Royal on Sunday. But this time it’s not exactly about a couturier; it’s about the first of the truly great French chefs, François Vatel, who served Louis XIV. Still, the Couture connection is there: For one thing, Christian Dior once penned a book called La Cuisine Cousu-Main (“Handsewn Cuisine”), inspired by his fascination with eighteenth-century gastronomy. “The gestures are the same, and the desire to astonish is the same,” explained Ludot. “Louis XIV consumed 8,000 calories a day, so there was a real mise-en-scène, with fireworks and sprays of water.” The display features five exceptional Dior dresses from Ludot’s collection alongside Ladurée pastries created especially in the spirit of each one—interestingly, not a single macaron among them.

Photo: Courtesy of Jaeger LeCoultre

A New Lease On Life For A Fifties Frock

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Of all the revivals currently playing on the fashion landscape, Carven is relishing un certain succès. By 8 p.m. on Monday, several of Guillaume Henry’s jackets for the label for Fall—notably a black one with shaved fur trim and a slim wraparound belt—had already blown out of the brand’s pop-up shop inside the Didier Ludot boutique at the Palais Royal. The designer himself was on hand—alongside a few Carven-clad models, a slew of Parisian fashion plates, and the ubiquitous Jared Leto—for public conversation with Ludot (above right, with the designer), with whom he created a limited-edition L.B.D. for summer, based on an archival Carven piece of the couture historian’s.

“We called it a ‘conversation’ about a dress, because it’s about old and new, but without pretension or being stuck in the past—it’s really easy, like Champagne,” said Henry. Of the original model, a pleated, draped 1956 dress in less-than-mint condition, Ludot added, “Now this was a dress that lived!” Together, the designers revisited the original idea in technical organza, belting it for a sporty, modern twist (middle), Henry explained. Displayed front and center in Ludot’s shop window, the two dresses are backed up by a handful of vintage numbers—a red bustier dress, a simple dress in precious lace, a summery yellow and orange print—topped with current Carven creations, like a capelet or a leather jacket, for example. Back in the garden, a model wore this summer’s L.B.D. with towering silver pumps. “Already in the fifties, Carven did not differentiate enormously between day and night,” noted Henry. “Even when she used precious materials, she kept it simple. For me, that’s modernity.”


Models in Carven.

Photos: Julio Piatti

Window Shopping With The King Of Paris Vintage

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Vintage couture dealer Didier Ludot is the de facto king of the Palais Royal, so when he decides to dress windows, pop a cork, and stay open late, many of his fashionable neighbors—Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, and Acne among them—follow suit. That’s what happened last night as he ushered in fashion week with Infidèles, an in-window exhibition of vintage clothes shown alongside furniture by sculptor Maryam Mahdavi (pictured, with Ludot). An exquisite 1923 “Nuits de Chine” embroidered dress by Patou, a 1990 Dior gown by Ferré, a 2006 Marc Jacobs jacket, and a 1960 black Balenciaga gown surrounded the artist’s red lacquered “Chair de Poule” (literally, “goosebumps”) table with a black coral-like sculpture fanning out from its top. In the next window, Mahdavi’s gold-tipped “Arbre aux désirs” kept company with a stunning 1967 Féraud fishnet chain dress decked out in medallions and lockets. “I bought that years ago from the daughter of a jeweler who made the dress for Féraud,” Ludot explained. Would he sell it? Oui, but not to just anybody. In fact, next to it stands a gold leather and grosgrain jacket by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel from 1991 that had sold just that afternoon—to Danielle Steel. (The ’55 Dior gown that Reese Witherspoon wore to the 2006 Academy Awards was a Ludot buy, too.) Next door at Marc Jacobs, meanwhile, the Champagne flowed and windows were toasted, too. Jacobs filled his with ballet slippers on loan from the Paris Opéra Ballet, a dance inspiration of the current collection.

Photo: Courtesy of Didier Ludot