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5 posts tagged "Geoffrey Beene"

Alber Elbaz And Geoffrey Beene, Reunited (Sort Of)


It was announced today that Lanvin’s visionary creative director, Alber Elbaz, will receive the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund’s Geoffrey Beene Fashion Impact Award—an honor that’s likely especially poignant for the designer, given that he began his career working with Beene. “It was a very beautiful relationship over almost seven years,” Elbaz said of his mentor in a 2005 interview with the International Herald Tribune‘s Suzy Menkes. The YMA foundation, a non-for-profit organization that aids over 100 fashion students with scholarships, internships, mentorships, and career programs each year, will present Elbaz with the award at its annual dinner in New York on January 8.

Wu Season


“Growing up, I always admired Yves Saint Laurent because he never cared about what was in fashion,” Jason Wu said last night, at the Waldorf Astoria, of the masterful designer who served as inspiration to him in the early days of his career. “He was fashion,” Wu added before heading to the stage to accept his YMA Future of Fashion Award.

As he stood in front of a crowd of 850 people, a group that included Yigal Azrouël, Iris Apfel, Sophie Théallet, and Alina Cho (the host for the evening), he had 126 college students (recipients of Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards—”the Super Bowl of fashion scholarships,” as Cho put it) in the room who were looking to him for words of wisdom. Wu confessed, the path to success was not as easy, or glamorous, as he had imagined. “In the early days, I wore many hats: ‘designer,’ ‘shipping manager,’ and ‘sales rep,’ ” he said. Motioning a fake telephone call with his hands, he joked, ” ‘Hello, you have reached the Jason Wu studio, how may I help you? No, sorry, that’s currently not available, sorry.’ ” On a more serious note, he thanked Michelle Obama for being one of his greatest supporters, and Anja Rubik and Karlie Kloss (both in attendance), “for always making my clothes look good.”

Kloss, who was there (wearing Wu, of course) as the designer’s arm candy for the night, gushed over some of her favorite Wu pieces. “I wore this huge gown made from, like, 30 pounds of tulle that I closed the show in one season and it was seriously the definition of a showstopper,” Kloss told “It collected everything in its path—dogs, children, or dirt, they all ended up in the middle of this dress.” Enough about the big dress, how about Kloss’ big year? “2011 was a fun one, but 2012, it’s happening, baby,” she said with an ear-to-ear smile. Though she had her lips sealed on the details of her upcoming projects, she said, “Especially if the world is going to end, you better make it a good one.”

Photo: David X. Prutting /

School Ties


For every fashion student toughing it out in the university, take hope: You may just find your future collaborator in the trenches. “We met in a college dorm,” Visionaire‘s James Kaliardos said of meeting his magazine’s co-founders, Stephen Gan and Cecilia Dean (left), during their Parsons days. “Stephen needed my food card to eat back then in the cafeteria.” Twenty years later, the trio is still raising eyebrows with their evocative flagship publication and receiving accolades too; they took home the first ever Future of Fashion Award at the 45th Annual YMA FSF Geoffrey Beene National Awards dinner last night.

Despite a Northeast snowstorm warning, a bevy of Visionaire admirers and original supporters (including Diane von Furstenberg, Italo Zucchelli, and Milk Studios’ Mazdack Rassi) turned out anyway. “I feel like we’re the grandpa and grandma of the publication,” Isabel Toledo said of her and husband Ruben’s involvement. “We used to put together the issues in our kitchen and it was the second issue where I literally bound each magazine with thread.”

Needle and thread will always have their place in fashion (and maybe even in publishing), but the business proposals of last night’s newly-anointed Geoffrey Beene scholars, who took home $25,000 scholarships for their work, ranged from tech-oriented to Web 3.0. But if online offers instant gratification, print still has the potential for shelf life. “I have this edition of Visionaire that I kept from the nineties,” Calvin Klein’s Zucchelli said. “It’s about birth and religion and all these different visual ideas. It’s old now, but it’s still really special.”

The Future Of Fashion, Part Six: Alber Elbaz


As we enter a new decade, the fashion business, like the rest of the world, is encountering significant economic and technological change. In this series,’s editor in chief, Dirk Standen, talks to a number of leading industry figures about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
When Alber Elbaz phoned me from Paris, it was 8 p.m. there. The end of a long workday? No, he said, he was planning on spending a couple more hours in the studio after we finished. The word poetic invariably attaches itself to descriptions of the clothes Elbaz designs for Lanvin, but you get the feeling that behind the famous floppy bow tie, there is a hard-won sense of resolve. During our conversation, somewhat condensed here, he spoke frankly about the problems the industry faces, his observations frequently punctuated by bursts of humor.
I’ve been asking everyone this question, but I’m particularly interested in your perspective as a designer. What role does a fashion show still play in delivering your message?
It’s almost like asking someone what is the role of a table if you want to serve dinner. Of course you can have some dinner in bed and you can have it also on a plate and just on the floor, but I think that when you put it on the table, it’s the most pragmatic. There are certain things that I guess are essential and this is one of them.
There’s been a lot of talk about doing shows on film, but it sounds like the live experience and a live audience are still very important to you.
Maybe I’m kind of an old fashioned guy, I don’t know. I think that if you want to pass emotion you have to write a letter. Emotions do not pass in SMS or in e-mail. I think that you have to be there, you have to feel it…I know that now with Facebook, some people tell me, “Oh, I have 700 friends.” Another person tells me, “I have 3,000 friends.” And I tell them I have only two friends. So now who has more friends? They do or I do? And how do you actually value it, by number or quality? I believe that we have to go forward and I believe that we have to go with change, but there are certain things that are beautiful to leave as they are. And fashion is not always about what’s new, it’s also about what’s good. And I think if you need to see what’s good, you have to be there.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been, but I’ve been surprised by how passionate people are about this. Buyers, critics, designers, they all still feel that, despite the overscheduling, live fashion shows are important.
I think the problem is that we all feel we have too many of those. I think this is the major problem that we are all feeling and experiencing. And I always say that doing a collection is almost like writing a book or making a movie, and I don’t know any other industry that can produce six movies a year by the same director. That’s the thing. You cannot write six books a year. You cannot produce six movies. You can’t do six collections a year. And I think this is actually what is making fashion be the way it is today. I know a lot of people complain that there is not enough change and that fashion in the past was much more creative than today, and I think a big part of this phenomenon is that we don’t have the time to think, we don’t have the time to project, we don’t have the time to digest. I’m not talking about, like, “Oh, we need to travel for inspiration,” because I do in fact believe that the best traveling you do is from your couch while you eat potato chips. But I think we just need the time to think and to look at it again and to have another perspective. Continue Reading “The Future Of Fashion, Part Six: Alber Elbaz” »

celebrating the original mr. beene


Nearly 25 years after launching Paper magazine from her Greenwich Village apartment, Kim Hastreiter continues to wield major influence on the New York scene, and her knack for sussing out talent shows little sign of waning. But that first fan missive from a certain big-name designer was a little disconcerting. “Geoffrey Beene wrote us a letter saying ‘Oh, I love your magazine,’” Hastreiter recalled at last night’s party celebrating the publication of her new book, Geoffrey Beene: An American Fashion Rebel, at Diane von Furstenberg‘s Meatpacking District boutique. “Meanwhile, he was a famous guy and we were doing it out of my house for no money, it was a black and white foldout, and he just kept writing me letters, deciding he loved Paper for some reason.” After being introduced, Hastreiter and Beene became fast friends, with a standing monthly lunch date for the next 20 years. “He was a very eccentric, odd man while he was alive and he was a genius designer whom we all bowed down to and admired and loved,” Hastreiter said in between non-stop book-signing duties. Judging by the evening’s turnout—Doo-Ri Chung, Erin Fetherston, Narciso Rodriguez, and the Threeasfour crew all attended—a few people clearly like Hastreiter, too.