9 posts tagged "Elettra Wiedemann"
“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.
“[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.
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.
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.