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April 20 2014

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9 posts tagged "Elettra Wiedemann"

Was Charles James More Radical Than Punks? A Look Into the Upcoming Met Exhibition

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Charles James

“It’s an opportunity to blow everyone’s minds,” grinned Costume Institute curator Harold Koda at the new (and very much so, as the paint was still drying) Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art yesterday morning. Koda was referring not just to the physical space, but the forthcoming inaugural exhibition, Charles James: Beyond Fashion. “He is generally acknowledged to be one of a handful of designers to have changed the métier of design,” said Koda of the innovative couturier. “Christian Dior has credited James with inspiring his New Look. And Balenciaga said, ‘James is not America’s best couturier; he is simply the world’s best.’ When you have the two perhaps most important male designers of the mid-20th century endorsing you, you can understand that it’s something of a lack that the general public is not aware of this man’s work.”

Yesterday’s press conference provided a small window into what to expect in May’s exhibition. There was a curated collection of James’ original pieces on display: The deep red, seamlessly movable silk taffeta Tree dress he created for Marietta Peabody Tree (Penelope’s mother) in 1955 and the renowned Four-Leaf Clover ball gown, made for Austine Hearst and worn with a live-gardenia-covered jacket in 1953, were two. The jacket was re-created with the tech-ready help of architecture firm DRS. Elettra Wiedemann slipped into the 10-pound, strapless, curve-highlighting creation to give the attendees a sense of its ballroom twirl.

Costume Institute Presentation on Upcoming Charles James: Beyond Fashion Exhibition“[James was the] originator of the spiral-cut taxi dress. Advocator of the strapless. Inventor of the figure-eight shirt and puffer jacket. A waist that expanded after a meal. The no-cup bra,” asserted Koda, later telling Style.com, “[He] was really radical. He was an early proponent at a point where he made something that was difficult to understand very desirable. He treated the creation of clothing as an art. Even some of the greatest designers have said, ‘Oh, this is not an art. It’s a craft.’ Vionnet said, ‘I’m a dressmaker.’ Balenciaga, who used conventional tailoring and pushed it to the extreme, was still reliant on history. James wasn’t like that at all.”

The exhibition will open May 8 and run through August 10. It’s a move away from recent mass read, overtly pop culture, sexy Costume Institute shows—punk, the model, the supermodel, etc. A lesson in the underappreciated, indeed.

Photos: Joe Schildhorn / BFAnyc.com

Destination: Iman

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Iman can truly do it all. The supermodel, who practically invented the “model-slash” moniker, is CEO of her eponymous makeup label, regularly hawks her Global Chic fashion and accessories collections on HSN, runs a home decor line—and now you can tack on editor in chief to Mrs. Bowie’s ever-growing résumé. Destination Iman, which launched last night with a fête at the Dream Downtown’s Electric Room and drew the likes of Karen Elson, Joan Smalls, Coco Rocha, and Elettra Wiedemann, is the style icon’s first online magazine dedicated to her jet-setting lifestyle, fashion tips, and beauty advice.

“Twenty-year-olds would stop me on the street and say, ‘How do you take care of your skin? How do you look like this?’” the 57-year-old told Style.com, clad in a figure-flaunting Hérve Léger dress. Such run-ins led the beauty maven to write a blog post about aging chicly,which she e-mailed to girlfriend Arianna Huffington, who immediately wanted a monthly column. Soon after, the concept for Destination Iman was born. Last night’s party theme? “Paris: Noir et Blanc,” based on the freshman issue’s focus on the City of Light, which covers everything from Iman’s favorite hangouts (404 and Raspoutine) to what cookies she brings her daughter’s teacher (William Greenberg’s Black & White). “I was going to wear this vintage black and white YSL tonight,” Iman admitted. “But it needed space and there’s not much room here. That would be a disservice to Saint Laurent.”

Each month, readers can expect a column penned by Iman dubbed Ageless Chic, which speaks to the over-40 crowd—just don’t call her outlook aging gracefully. “That’s giving up,” Iman deadpanned. “Women have to pull it together. For fashion, you suffer.”

Photo: Jesse Lirola / BFAnyc.com

A Bid To Save The Earth, Powered By Stella McCartney

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Last year, Christie’s brought in $1.36 million with its annual Bid to Save the Earth live auction in New York, where attendees bid on airplane rides with Harrison Ford and a day with Bill Clinton. The auction house has equally exciting items and experiences lined up for this year’s April 11 gala (Anna and Graydon Carter, Salma Hayek and François-Henri Pinault, and Susan and David Rockefeller are among the co-chairs), but ahead of the big event, Christie’s launches an online auction this morning, powered by Charitybuzz. Tea with model Elettra Wiedemann, a limited-edition reissued vintage Fendi Baguette handbag, and an afternoon of shopping with Simon Doonan (along with $2,500 to spend at Barneys) are all in the loot, but Style.com has its eye on the six bespoke Stella McCartney bags going up for auction today. McCartney, a dedicated green activist, teamed up with five artists to create one-of-a-kind bags for the auction. Style.com has the exclusive first look at the bags, featuring art by the likes of Mr. Brainwash (pictured, above), Bunta Inoue (pictured, below), and Peter Tunney, here. The bags will be for sale this morning through April 19 on Charitybuzz.com.

Photos: Courtesy Photos

A Healthy Breakfast

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On the ride up to the seventh floor of the Museum of Arts and Design today, Arianna Huffington and Maria Cornejo chatted on the need for coffee and other morning matters. It was half past 8 a.m. after all, and Huffington was a panel member for the CFDA Health Initiative’s “A Well-Balanced Life” discussion. (The news magnate was joined by other busy ladies: Elettra Wiedemann, Monique Péan, Karolina Kurkova, and moderator Alina Cho, who brightened the room in a sunny yellow print frock.) The conversation covered practical tips. Huffington, for one, sang the praises of getting a full night’s sleep. “For me, there is nothing more healing,” she told the audience that included Francisco Costa, Joseph Altuzarra, Prabal Gurung, and Olivier Theyskens. She also touched on something she nattily called “GPS for the soul,” which includes activities that keep people centered (read: weekend yoga). Wiedemann, meanwhile, recommended self-development, such as enrolling in graduate classes. And Péan, a former Wall Street banker turned jewelry designer, advised carrying on-the-go protein during fashion week.

With focus turning to the show season and tough casting decisions, the mood veered in a more serious direction. Kurkova related the pressures models face with body weight and image. In her successful career, she has dealt with health issues, she said, and teared up when mentioning her husband’s devout support throughout that rough patch. Huffington talked about her youngest daughter Isabella, who battled an eating disorder at age 12. But if there was one takeaway from the morning go-around, it was that mentors help light the way. Wiedemann said her father was her rock. For example, when she had to wear a back brace as a young teen (“it was real-life Romy and Michele,” she said), he steered her toward swimming. He was also a former model and he met her mother, Isabella Rossellini, on the set of a Calvin Klein shoot. To which Wiedemann cheered to Costa, “Thanks, Francisco!”

Photo: Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc.com

One To Watch: Ylias Nacer

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When the invitation landed for the debut collection by Ylias Nacer, presented at Boucheron on the Place Vendôme, we thought we were going to see a jewelry collection. Not quite. The clothes in this capsule line may be jewel-like in their details, but they are made in Parisian couture ateliers incorporating exotic fabrics and local crafts from faraway lands. This is perhaps only natural, given Nacer’s Ethiopian, Yemenite, and Moroccan roots, and the fact that this idea took shape as he was reading Laurence Benaïm’s biography of Yves Saint Laurent.

“I really wanted to find a way to incorporate artisanal work from all over the world into fashions produced in Paris,” the designer tells Style.com. The result: ten looks, including a long black veil of a dress with hand-crocheted motifs, a gold-beaded Moroccan passementerie, and traditional fabrics worked into a very Parisian silhouette (pictured), which his longtime friend and muse Elettra Wiedemann wore to the Bal des Vampires.

Such an exercise in bridging cultures turned out to pack unexpected lessons: “Fashion tastes are just not the same everywhere and artisans are true artists—when they embroidered on looks they didn’t like, it just didn’t work,” Nacer recounts. “We had to take everything apart, let them do their work, and then reassemble it. I learned never to show anyone anything before it was really done,” he says.

Photo: Myriam Roehri