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April 21 2014

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14 posts tagged "Hamish Bowles"

At Pratt, an Award for Thom Browne, and a Stage for New Talents

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Little-known fact: Pratt Institute boasts America’s longest-running fashion-education program. With alums such as Betsey Johnson and Jeremy Scott, Pratt reps a unique vanguard in the world of design—and last night, at its 114th annual senior fashion show, some talented new names were added to its stable.

Pratt headlines its yearly runways with the bestowal of its Visionary Award—an accolade honoring fashion-world luminaries, who needn’t be directly linked to the school. Last night’s recipient? The singular Thom Browne. “It’s overwhelming,” Browne told Style.com, “when you get to do what you do, and have an important institution, with such a strong reputation in the world of design, recognize it, it’s…it’s humbling.” Presenting the award, Hamish Bowles teased his friend. Referring to Browne’s growth over the aughts, he said, “Thom became something of a performance piece himself, a one-man Gilbert & George, in his stiff, tailored buttoned-up suits with the odd proportions.” Expect to see the designer in exactly this silhouette at the Costume Institute’s upcoming Met Ball—though likely with a punk twist. “I’m going with Taylor Tomasi Hill,” Browne revealed with a smile.

After the ceremony, it was on to the show, where front-rowers, including Fern Mallis, Bill Cunningham, and Bibhu Mohapatra, were treated to a lineup heavy on digital prints, washed-out pastels, a lot of white, and ultra-long silhouettes. Two designers stood out in particular: Raya Kassisieh (above, left), with her sometimes soft, sometimes sharp Brave New World brides (“It’s kind of like nouveau Mugler,” whispered Patrick McMullan), and Madeline Gruen (above, right), with her indigo colonial toile prints and glittering embroideries that blended humor with notes of Alexander McQueen and Liberace. Gruen won the night’s other big prize—a $25,000 grant funded by the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation.

Photos: Patrick McMullan

Le-Tan’s Library

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“I like being obsessed,” said Olympia Le-Tan on Thursday night as she welcomed visitors to the special project she had created for Pitti in Florence. And with an opening line like that, it was almost impossible to resist the web that Le-Tan had woven in the Museo Bellini, yet another of the jaw-droppingly beautiful Renaissance venues that seem to be ten-a-penny in Florence. When the Pitti organizers invited her to participate in this year’s event, it took Le-Tan mere minutes to decide that she would celebrate her favorite Italian films and books and, by extension, their directors and authors in the idiosyncratic medium that she has made her own—immaculately embroidered “books” that are actually handbags. The museum was draped in red silk curtains with the OLT logo, pink roses trailed over banisters, candles flared in the dusty air…atmosphere for days. Every shadowy room had vitrines displaying Le-Tan’s chosen 36 titles, precisely duplicated in thread as they would have appeared on the original book cover or movie poster. They covered a very comfortable waterfront from Visconti, Fellini, and Antonioni (her favorite of favorites) to Moravia, Machiavelli, and Pirandello.

But Le-Tan’s stroke of genius—as far as the Pitti exhibition went—was to persuade a game handful of friends to be photographed by Max Farago as a character from each of the 36. Olympia herself was the apogee of lush sensuality, posed as Silvana Mangano from a 1949 movie called Riso Amaro. Jennifer Eymere, editor of Jalouse magazine, made a very convincing Giulietta Masina from Fellini’s La Strada. Nightclub impresario André Saraiva was a plausibly penitent Jean-Louis Trintignant from The Conformist. As for Victoire de Castellane as Anita Ekberg in full clerical garb from La Dolce Vita? The success of that image was in inverse proportion to its unlikeliness. Poles apart were Hamish Bowles as Martin von Essenbeck, the cross-dressing Nazi from Visconti’s La Caduta Degli Dei (more familiar to English-speaking aficionados of early-seventies cinematic decadence as The Damned) and the ubiquitous Olivier Zahm, posed stark raving naked as a misbegotten extra from Pasolini’s terrifyingly transgressive Salò.

Later that same night, a handful of Le-Tan’s cast of characters regrouped on the Borgo San Jacopo to reflect on their re-conceptualisation of Italian culture. Most of them were French. You can imagine what they talked about.

Photos: Courtesy of Olympia Le-Tan

Abercrombie & Fitch Tries To Handle A Situation, Moët & Chandon Raises A Glass To Testino, Counterfeit Luxury Shopping Bags, And More…

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Abercrombie & Fitch has quite a situation on its hands. The teen retailer has offered the Jersey Shore cast member Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino a deal to stop wearing its clothes. “We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino’s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image. We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans,” A&F says. [WWD]

Moët & Chandon will toast Mario Testino and his legendary photography career with a ceremony, hosted by Lady Amanda Harlech, Vogue‘s Lucinda Chambers, and Hamish Bowles on September 19. He will receive the first Moët & Chandon Etoile Award during London fashion week. [Vogue U.K.]

London has just surpassed New York “as the fashion place people all over the world like the best,” according to Grazia Daily. Based on several different statistics gathered by the Global Language Monitor, tracking “the frequency of words and phrases in print, electronic and social media,” London is now the global fashion capital. [Grazia Daily]

How much would you fork over for a brand-name luxury paper bag? In Korea, apparently it’s a trend, and women are forking over $30 a pop on Chanel and Burberry branded shopping bags. They are in such high demand that people are even making counterfeit paper bags seriously. [WSJ]

Photo: Neil Rasmus / BFAnyc.com

Hamish Bowles, Designer? Just Ask DVF

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The graduating fashion students of Pratt Institute lived out every young designer’s dream last night at the school’s annual fashion show, where they had the opportunity to show their collections in front of an audience that included Diane von Furstenberg and Hamish Bowles.

DVF, a former Pratt Institute Fashion Icon Award winner, was on hand at the Metropolitan Pavilion to bestow the same honor on the Vogue European editor at large. Before leaving the stage, DVF admitted, “Since I have known him, I have wanted to say this to him, but I actually never have—I hope, Hamish, that some day you will be a designer.”

Bowles—who seemed leery of launching a design career of his own—was eager to direct attention to the 18 budding designers eagerly waiting in the wings. He did allow, though, that a recent trip to the Pratt campus had led to a moment of introspection. “It reminded me of my own misspent years as an art student at Saint Martins in London,” said Bowles (left, with Daphne Guinness), whose college contemporaries included the late John Flett and John Galliano. “While I’m afraid I may have spent more time concocting ever more outlandish nightclub garb, and indeed frolicking in said garb, it was of course profoundly inspiring to have spent time in the company of such astonishing creative talents.”

The collections from Pratt’s young designers ran the gamut, from JiHye Wang’s camel-colored sportswear accented with pops of acid orange and Sarah Lind’s gold lamé bodysuit (that noticeably resembled the leggings of audience member Guinness) to Dara N. Rosen’s beautifully detailed wedding gowns (maybe she’s the undisclosed designer of the Royal Dress?) and Elishah Rho’s elegant eveningwear, which had deservedly earned the closing spot.

“I was very struck by how pragmatic it was,” Bowles told Style.com after the show. “I sometimes anticipate crazy runway fantasies with a student runway show, but I thought it was very interesting that they were really thinking about the future and beyond their runway show.”

Photo: Will Ragozzino / Patrick McMullan

Meet Me—And The Best Of Balenciaga—In San Francisco

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Cameron Silver, owner of L.A.’s vintage couture mecca Decades, knows his way around an original Balenciaga. He had plenty to ogle at the opening of Balenciaga and Spain at San Francisco’s de Young Museum this week. Silver headed to the City by the Bay for the opening fête; read on for his report on the star-studded evening.


Although my flight to San Francisco was delayed three hours due to the rain (not from Spain!), I managed to throw on my tux in the car and make it to the de Young Museum in time for the exhilarating opening of Balenciaga and Spain, curated by Hamish Bowles. The show features a breathtaking collection of the master’s work, including dresses worn by Ava Gardner and Mona Bismarck.

The dress code of the evening, no surprise, skewed toward Balenciaga, both vintage and from the current Ghesquière era. Google’s Marissa Meyer was in a vintage sea foam Balenciaga gown from Decades. Maria Bello looked fabulous in original Cristobal, too, and Suzy Dominik scored an even bigger coup—a vintage gown that was also featured in the show. (Sloan Barnett wore Lacroix but asked the curator the question everyone was thinking: “You have so many gowns—can’t I have one?”) On the contemporary end, Miranda Kerr (left, with husband Orlando Bloom in tow), Katie Schwab, and Lawren Howell all chose Ghesquière designs; Angelique Griepp and Katie Traina scored Edition pieces.

If the clothes were terrific, the guest list was nothing to scoff at, either. Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy, Mia Wasikowska (in Balenciaga with an Edition necklace), Balthazar and Rosetta Getty, Maggie Rizer, and Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom all were there, and even Gwyneth Paltrow made a brief appearance. Hubert de Givenchy wasn’t able to attend, alas, but sent a message recalling advice given to him by Balenciaga himself: “Success is not prestige—success is temporary. Prestige remains.” The show was sewn proof.

Photo: Drew Altizer Photography