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August 20 2014

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70 posts tagged "Donna Karan"

The Split-Second Preview: DKNY

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The Spring ’15 menswear collections kick off in London on Sunday, and will be followed by the shows at Florence’s Pitti Uomo, in Milan, and in Paris. Before the new clothes hit the runway, we’ve asked some of the most anticipated names to offer a sneak peek. Per usual, it’s a busy time for all—designers and fashion followers alike—so we’re continuing our split-second previews: tweet-length previews at 140 characters or less. Our entire collection of Spring ’15 previews is available here.

DKNY

WHO: DKNY, designed by Donna Karan

WHERE: London

WHEN: Sunday, June 15

WHAT:A taxi cab yellow raincoat and urban black bonded jersey with white piping—two essential pieces for the urban man on-the-go.”—Donna Karan. The designer sent us a Spring ’15 detail shot, above.

Photo: Courtesy of DKNY

Donna Karan Speaks Candidly About LVMH

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Donna KaranAll marriages have their difficulties, and Donna Karan isn’t afraid to talk about them. In an interview with The New York Times, the veteran designer, who sold her company to LVMH in 2001, said her relationship with the French fashion company (which also owns Céline, Dior, Marc Jacobs, and, of course, Louis Vuitton) has been a little chilly. “Vuitton runs their businesses separately,” she said. “I would love to work more with them, but Vuitton has given me the cold shoulder.” Specifically, Karan notes that LVMH has not been as supportive as she’d hoped in the often-lucrative accessories business. “We were the first one to get into the alligator bags. One of the appeals of the sale to LVMH is that they would have been the perfect partner in handbags, but instead they saw me as a fashion designer.” Sure, everyone bashes their boss behind closed doors, but it’s rare for a designer to air her displeasure with a company as powerful as LVMH so publicly. To be continued, as they say.

Photo: Yannis Vlamos/ Indigitalimages.com

Jason Wu Curates for a Cause

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Bruce Weber

On June 11, Jason Wu will merge good art with a good cause when he hosts the Second Annual Young Friends of ACRIA Summer Soirée. But his involvement with the AIDS research and education foundation goes far beyond turning up at the benefit and smiling for Billy Farrell. “I want to help pave the way for my generation to get involved,” said Wu, who sits on ACRIA’s board. “I love what ACRIA does, and it’s great for me to be able to work with people I admire, like Francisco Costa and Donna Karan.”

In order to help raise funds for the organization, the designer has put together an extensive auction of photographs (fashion and otherwise), the proceeds from which will naturally go to ACRIA. “Last year I collaborated with artist Nate Lowman on T-shirts, and I wanted to continue the art-and-fashion element,” said Wu. “So I thought it would be nice to curate a collection of photographs by young and established photographers that I admire.”

Inez & Vinoodh; Herb Ritts

Open for bidding now on paddle8.com, the auction includes Inez & Vinoodh’s Guinevere Descending a Staircase; Herb Ritts’ 1991 portrait of a pensive Karl Lagerfeld; and Bruce Weber’s erotic snap Gregory and Sacha, Nantucket, Mass, 2012, as well as works by up-and-comers, like Kevin Tachman’s moody shot from Rick Owens’ Fall ’13 show, Kelly Klein’s punk-tinged image, and Gregory Harris’ uplifting 2008 photograph New Hope.

Rick Owens“I’d like the younger generation of creative people to be able to afford and have these things,” offered Wu. To wit, starting bids range from $400 (for Simon Burstall’s grayscale image) to $6,000 (for a Weber or Steven Meisel). Sure, it’s no small investment, but these are pretty appealing prices when it comes to big-name photographers. “This is a great way for people who are really interested in collecting to get an incredible work that most people in their 20s and 30s wouldn’t be able to buy.” A collector as well as a philanthropist (his latest acquisition was an Inez & Vinoodh-lensed print of his Spring ’14 campaign with Karen Elson), Wu places himself in this category. “I’ll definitely be bidding on everything!” he laughed. Why not join him?

Photos: Bruce Weber, Inez & Vinoodh, Herb Ritts; Kevin Tachman; all courtesy of paddle8.com

Calendar Girl: Fashion Veteran Ruth Finley Puts Down Her Pink NYFW Schedule to Pick Up the CFDA’s Board of Directors’ Tribute Award

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Ruth Finley

A new accolade will be bestowed at the CFDA Awards next week when a social-media-savvy individual picks up the inaugural Fashion Instagrammer of the Year Award. There’s no arguing with Instagram’s influence, but will it be as indispensable nearly seventy years from now as Ruth Finley’s Fashion Calendar is today? As a co-ed at Simmons College in the 1940s, Finley envisioned an industry clearinghouse. The mimeograph machine on which it was originally printed has long since been retired and her typist, Everybody Loves Raymond‘s Doris Roberts, has moved on, but Finley’s pink-sheeted biweekly calendar is going strong. Without it, how could insiders ever navigate New York fashion week’s 400-plus events?

These days, the octogenarian spends as much time with her charities—she’s raised more than $2 million for Citymeals-on-Wheels—as she does negotiating scheduling changes, but when Marc Jacobs wants to shift his time slot, his people still call Finley’s people. She took a break from booking the Spring 2015 shows—yes, the Fashion Calendar team works as far in advance as designers do—to talk to Style.com.

How did you get your start?
I met [the fashion publicist] Eleanor Lambert while I was at college. I was her Girl Friday for a huge fashion show she was doing at the Hotel Astor, which no longer exists, for the Red Cross. I had to stay at the Astor in a suite where the clothes were to make sure nobody stole anything. There was a song at the time, “She Had to Go and Lose It at the Astor,” and when my mother heard that, she was going to come and bring me right home. She didn’t understand the whole thing.

And you got the Fashion Calendar off the ground while you were still at college?
I met with two women in fashion, and they were complaining that Bergdorf’s and Saks were doing two shows—same day, same time. It gave me the idea that fashion needed a clearinghouse to avoid that kind of thing happening. I was doing that even before I graduated. Then I came to New York and I took an apartment on 52nd Street, right across from the 21 Club. Fifty-five dollars a month, two bedrooms, but bedbugs! I lived there with my secretary. At night we used to go out to the theater and usher to make extra money. She and I were selling a service, which is a difficult thing—we had to prove how important it was to become part of the Fashion Calendar. At that time, most of the shows were in the department stores. There were at least fifty retailers: Arnold Constable, Franklin Simon, Best, Ohrbach’s—an amazing number of stores. Of course, no designers’ names were published, that came later on. If you were buying a Bill Blass, you would get a Saks Fifth Avenue one.

When did that change happen?
That happened in the fifties, after World War II, when American designers here were becoming more important. During World War II, nobody could go to Paris to buy clothes; that was helpful for us. Gradually the stores began promoting the designers. Eleanor Lambert was important in pushing that, in realizing that designers needed to have the credit that they deserved. American fashion has become more and more important over the years. We were very insignificant back in the forties; we were belittled by Paris. We’re certainly on their level now.

Do you have a favorite decade in American fashion?
I like the fifties a lot. Pauline Trigère and I became quite close. She was sensational. I think she lived until about 92. She was a real designer, you know? She did the cutting and everything herself. My first wholesale dress was Trigère, I was so excited to have a designer dress. I was at that time probably 25. I wish I had kept it. A beautiful green cotton dress.

Did you know Charles James, the subject of the current exhibition at the Costume Institute?
I did. I liked him a lot. We became good friends. Of course, he never made much money, but he was such a talent. I had one of his outfits once. Another designer whom I was really close to was Norman Norell. I liked him a lot. One time he ran into a terrible conflict on his show. After that he never let his secretary call me—he picked up the phone and called me himself to set his dates.

You’ve seen so much fashion over your sixty-plus years in the business. What stands out?
It’s interesting to see even today how Marc Jacobs changes each season and does this fabulous extravaganza. You ask yourself, How is he going to outdo himself again? And every single time he keeps doing it. As you know, Marc Jacobs once kept people waiting two hours, and everybody stayed, nobody left, and of course there were a lot of complaints the next day. And since then, he is the only designer who starts right at the appointed time of 8, and you’re out by 8:10. The first year he did that, I arrived at 8 and I couldn’t get in. Now, if he can do that, why can’t others do it?

Marc has always been until a couple of years ago on Monday night. Recently he’s changed to Thursday, but he never told us he was changing until a month before. Now it looks like he is [officially] changing. So, several designers want 8 p.m. on Monday. Last season Donna Karan took it and it worked out. Who’s going to get it this season remains to be seen.

And that decision is up to you?
Well, most likely. I thought Donna might want to come back and keep it, but so far she hasn’t. We’ll just wait and see. We’ll know in a couple of weeks.

How do you keep it all straight?
We have grown from, let’s say, one hundred shows a year—or fifty shows a season, which was the case in the forties—to this past season, in February, we had about four hundred, which is really huge and too many. But what are you going to do? I can’t tell you as a young designer you can’t show. That’s when I’ll try to talk them into doing a presentation.

So you don’t think there should be a barrier to entry, some sort of approval process?
How can you tell a young designer, “You can’t do it”? Sometimes I’ll tell a designer to wait until next season when [they're] better known or selling more to stores, especially if they don’t have much money. Even to do a show at a small place, it costs so much money. I try to guide them, and very often they listen to me, but sometimes they don’t. My personal relationships are what kept the business going. I showed no prejudice.

No favorite designers?
No, absolutely not. I scheduled shows in the order in which they contacted me, that’s the way it was done. And I watched them grow. I knew Marc Jacobs before he had a partner, when he was carrying his clothes around in a suitcase. And Diane von Furstenberg, I met her over the phone. When she showed her clothes to [Vogue editor in chief] Diana Vreeland, she called me from the hotel to say, “Diana [Vreeland] walked out and said, ‘Beautiful, these are great,’” and Diane [von Furstenberg] turned to the secretary and said, “What do I do now?” And she said, “Call Ruth Finley.” So she called me and remembers it very well. I suggested she contact editors and stores and take appointments—I think it was at the Hotel Gotham.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced over the years?
A problem I used to have with some people is their superstitions. One designer would never take a date with a four in it because that was a bad omen. Another designer, Arnold Scaasi, would not confirm his date until he consulted his numerologist, so I called him and said, “Let me have the number of your numerologist, I’ll solve this.” He refused. You just had to be patient. Another time, Oscar de la Renta was just so upset because he had booked a theater for a Monday night fashion show and found out that Bill Blass was showing that night. So he said, “Ruth, can you just call Bill and see what you can work out for me? I’ve already put my deposit down.” Bill, who was great to work with and whom I was friendly with, we went back and forth, I changed Bill’s date, and they both had successful shows and it worked out fine. Luckily, Bill Blass was not a difficult person. Anybody else might have been more of a problem.

Any examples when designers didn’t budge?
Oh, yes, I tried to change Tommy Hilfiger when he moved to 11 a.m. on Monday, knowing how it was going to affect Carolina Herrera’s models and makeup people and all that. Herrera has shown at 10 a.m. on Monday for at least twenty years. I offered him a couple of really good times, but no, they set themselves down, it was going to be 11. They’re there to stay. It’s much harder work today. Every season I say this is the worst season we’ve had, because it just gets worse all the time.

But you’ve never been tempted to retire?
No, not yet. Too young.

Photo: Neil Rasmus / BFAnyc.com 

Grads Show Promise at the Annual Parsons Fashion Show

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Parsons

“You never leave Parsons,” Simon Collins said from his perch onstage at Wednesday’s fourth annual Parsons Fashion Show. His statement rang true, because yesterday’s show was just as much about the Parsons family as it was about showing off the graduating seniors’ final collections. Editors, photographers, and an endless wave of students crowded into the school’s state-of-the-art University Center at 63 Fifth Avenue, where Milk Studios’ Mazdack Rassi and Parsons alum Chris Benz spoke about their experiences with the school, the importance of having a point of view, and how the brand-new facilities are far superior to the “dump” Parsons used to occupy in Midtown. A series of videos also played in between mini fashion shows, with cameos from Donna Karan, Anna Sui, and Style.com’s Dirk Standen.

“Parsons is all about collaborating,” Collins said. He was referring to the school’s own collaborations, which range from an Allen Edmonds capsule collection to the Parsons/Kering “Empowering Imagination” Competition, which is featured on Style.com this week. “If you’re a brand or you work for a brand, you know you can’t really guarantee being on the homepage of Style.com,” Collins said. “But Parsons can.” You could tell that these BFA students are born collaborators, too. They showed a firm grasp of the current market, sending out boxy coats à la Proenza Schouler; layered knits that called to mind Burberry’s Fall ’14 show; and even Fendi-inspired luxe fur accents, like those on Wenqi Wu’s covetable sheared tunic. We would wear those pieces tomorrow. Each student had a defined point of view—Ximon Lee cites the clothes of Russian street children as his starting point—but at the same time, the show felt cohesive. Not an easy feat. These students spent four years (or more) playing off of each others’ ideas and aesthetics to finish with a range of high-quality, very impressive final projects. You could picture them being an asset to any design team—although many dream of becoming the next Marc Jacobs, Jason Wu, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, or Anna Sui, all Parsons alums who are still very connected to the school. Following the students’ upcoming graduation, we can see why they won’t want to leave the clan.

Photo: Courtesy of Parsons the New School for Design