5 posts tagged "Elizabeth Saltzman"
One of the few who has dressed both Kate Middleton and Princess Diana, never mind a passel of stars including Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Florence Welch, and more, Brit designer Amanda Wakeley is a twenty-four-year veteran in the business. At her celeb-dense shop opening last night on London’s Albemarle Street, she described how she’s seen the fashion landscape in The Smoke change over the years.
“It is very competitive now, and there is a much greater choice of outstanding products at all levels of the market—plus the customer is far more discerning.” Wakeley also believes designers have stepped up their marketing game. “There is much more awareness of brand DNA—an integral part of building a successful business.”
Despite having a career and longevity most designers could only dream of, Wakeley insists that now is the most exciting time for her, especially with achieving a lifelong ambition of opening a Mayfair shop. This one is even Grade 2 listed, which means, in Brit speak, that it has historical significance. “It is such a privilege to be in a building with such heritage and structure…the staircase was put in by a couturier in the twenties, and I just knew this was the space for us.”
Tracey Emin, Liz Hurley, Elizabeth Saltzman, the BFC’s Caroline Rush, and more crushed into the shop that Wakeley says is representative of the “beginning of a new era for us.” Next on the docket is a return to the London fashion week schedule after a few seasons’ hiatus.
So after dressing the crème de la crème, who is left on her wish list? “Well, I do think Jennifer Lawrence has a wonderful look.” We have a sneaking suspicion the star will be wearing Dior to the Oscars, but who knows what the red carpet may bring.
Before last September, the name Emilia Wickstead was one of those slightly privileged pieces of information passed around amongst the chic set—including Samantha Cameron—in Belgravia, Chelsea and other tony London nabes. But during this past London fashion week, the 28 year-old Central Saint Martins grad went from quietly doing made-to-measure in her three floor atelier on Cadogan Place to a ready-to-wear debut in a full runway show.
“It was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done,” said Wickstead last week over a breakfast of eggs and soldiers at Café Cluny. And this is from a girl who recently not only designed her own gown for her Tuscan wedding—photographed by British Vogue for its November issue—but also custom-designed ten different dresses for her ten bridesmaids. Stress aside, with an exclusive at Matches for her Spring collection, and a late of meetings with stores in New York to lay the groundwork for next Fall, things chez Wickstead are off to a promising start.
Now that edgy London’s much more of a lady’s town (see Erdem, Saunders, Ilincic, Katrantzou), Wickstead’s unadorned brand of elegance fits right in. Still, her clean-lined pieces like sharply pleated skirts and dresses and lantern-sleeved tops and crisp tailored pants aren’t stuffy. Rather they have a delicate but cool romance that recalls Chloé. You can also detect a hint of American and Italian sportswear that’s evidence of Wickstead’s transcontinental resume which includes stints at Proenza Schouler, Narciso Rodriguez, and Giorgio Armani. Fittingly, Wickstead reports that more than half of her client base is made up of New Yorkers, among them ex-pats Elizabeth Saltzman and Lillian von Stauffenberg. For them, she’ll still be running up custom dresses made by her in-house machinists and patternmakers. The ready-to-wear, however, will impressively be made in Italy. “I use Prada’s pleaters,” says Wickstead. Consider our ears perked.
To make a star, or perpetuate one? That was the question the judges of this year’s Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize asked themselves as they deliberated over a list of 77 contending designers at New York’s Le Bernardin on Wednesday afternoon. After two hours of discussion, this year’s panel of judges, which included Calvin Klein’s Francisco Costa (pictured, right), Thom Browne, Marchesa’s Keren Craig, Giovanna Battaglia, Elizabeth Saltzman Walker, Derek Blasberg, Shala Monroque, and Lauren Santo Domingo, had whittled the list down to five names in a miraculously seamless manner.
“Let me tell you, last year it was not that easy—there was definitely shouting,” said Bronwyn Cosgrave of the panel she assembled last year. (The group included the likes of Manolo Blahnik and Daphne Guinness, and gave the top prize to Thomas Tait.) “I’m excited by this year’s list because at the end of the day, I started this project to help young designers get their name out there and to support them.” That mission became a clear group initiative after judges repeatedly brought up familiar names like Cushnie et Ochs, Ohne Titel, and Jen Kao, and then eventually removed them from the running for the $40,000 prize and the opportunity to show during Paris Fashion Week. Instead, the group chose lesser-known names like jewelry label Anndra Neen, Sofia Sizzi’s womenswear line, Giulietta, Siki Im (pictured, left), and Setareh Mohtarez (an unknown who judges repeatedly mentioned for the beautiful sculptural work). The only debatable exception to the rule was the fifth finalist: Julian Louie. “He interned for me at Calvin and he’s extremely talented,” Costa said of the designer. In addition to working with Costa, he’s received guidance from Santo Domingo, and recently finished a shoe collaboration with Aldo. The winner will be announced in late October.