August 28 2014

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14 posts tagged "Hamish Bowles"

Cristobal Balenciaga’s Cat Couture


To put it one way, Cristobal Balenciaga’s first model was rather feline: “At age six, Balenciaga cut his first coat,” Vogue‘s Hamish Bowles informed an intimate group at the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute in New York last night. “For his cat.” Not your typical first fitting, but a pivotal one nonetheless. “The cat kept moving and he got frustrated,” Bowles said of Balenciaga and his erstwhile muse. “Which is, perhaps, why he always thought about moveability and comfort in his designs later on.” The audience taking note at last night’s bash—a who’s who of CFDA designers, from Francisco Costa to Tory Burch and Marcus Wainwright—were gathered to take in Balenciaga: Spanish Master, an exhibit of the late Basque designer’s work curated by Bowles, himself an avid Balenciaga collector.

Oscar de la Renta, the evening’s co-host and the institute’s chairman, had a personal take on the show. As a young apprentice to the famously private designer, de la Renta recalled with a laugh, “When people ask how it was working in his atelier, I always tell them, ‘I was picking pins off the floor.’ I was terrified of him. He worked with only a small group of people, and he never gave an interview. He was very protective; I would say even suspicious.” If Balenciaga were alive today—his 116th birthday is this Friday, January 21—he most likely would have been appalled by the rash of celebrity-driven lines and Twitter devotees, but it seems even the master had a weak spot. “Balenciaga wasn’t a great sketcher,” de la Renta divulged. “But he was great with his hands.”

Photo: Billy Farrell /

First College, Now Spring Break


Today I’m in sunny Saint-Tropez for Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel Resort show, but last Thursday I was in hot and balmy Savannah at the city’s College of Art and Design for a panel discussion with Ruffian’s Brian Wolk and Claude Morais (that’s us onstage). Sandwiched between Keegan Singh’s talk on styling and Hamish Bowles’ lecture on collecting couture, my Ruffian pals and I spoke about the relationship between designers and critics. The students had plenty of tough questions: What do you base your reviews on (for my part, it’s primarily about how the current collection compares to the designers’ previous work, and secondly, how it fits within the context of the season), are you easier on young designers than more established ones (constructive criticism is our specialty), and, for the Ruffians, how do reviews affect what you do the next season? Apropos of that, on a tour of Flannery O’Connor’s modest childhood home, the guide told us O’Connor’s collected Complete Stories won the National Book Award in 1972, eight years after her death. Brian and Claude joked that it was a good lesson to remember when the tough reviews come in.

Photo: Courtesy of SCAD

Burberry Enters The Next Dimension


Given Hollywood’s embrace of 3-D, it seemed only a matter of time before the fashion world caved to the hype and gave the format a whirl. Burberry got there first today, broadcasting its new Fall runway show live, in 3-D, from London to a handful of cities around the world. And so select groups of armchair critics in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Dubai, and Los Angeles (where the show was broadcast on tape delay, lest editors be forced into gear at 8 a.m.) found Christopher Bailey’s latest handiwork coming literally straight at them.

Apart from the obvious discrepancies in texture and perspective, the major difference between the virtual experience and the real one may be the pre-show: In New York, at least, the audience (which included Virginia Smith, Glenda Bailey, and Cathy Horyn) sipped morning mimosas and parked themselves quietly on leather seats to watch the sort of airy TV interviews with front-row notables that they’re probably more used to ignoring (or taking part in).

Safe to say it’s more of a breakthrough for less jaded fashion followers. “I think it’s very exciting for people who wouldn’t normally go to a fashion show,” offered Hamish Bowles after the New York broadcast at Skylight Studios. “I don’t know if the technology’s quite there to entirely simulate the feeling for an editor.” In other words, Bowles and his fellow editors won’t be canceling Paris trips anytime soon. On the plus side, the sleek wraparounds were definitely a step up from the glasses you normally get at the multiplex.

Photo: Neil Rasmus/

Blasblog: DVF’s Family Ties


Fashion schedules notwithstanding, Sunday night was, in fact, Valentine’s Day. And even with her fashion show the same day, Diane von Furstenberg was celebrating love as much as clothing, parading around her studio and fielding well-wishes and cards from huband Barry Diller, her grandchildren, and her various next of kin. “Tonight is all about family,” the DVF said. “But not just blood. My family goes beyond blood.”

She wasn’t kidding: Working the room of the second floor of her 14th Street store and studio, she played host to a whole slew of von Furstenberg royalists. As the designer pointed out, there was real family, like her son Alexander von Furstenberg and his children; fashion family, in the form of Ahn Duong, Hamish Bowles and Francesco Clemente; and “my baby,” as Diane von Furstenberg said, pointing toward recent CFDA inductee Phillip Crangi. “It can get very complicated,” said Coco Brandolini, who tried to explain her own heritage to von Furstenberg. Turns out Brancolini is second cousins with Alex, and also Lapo Elkann.

Photo: Sherly Rabbani and Josephine Solimene

The Bum-rush


Fashion is as much about taking clothes off as putting them on—recall Coco Chanel’s famous diktat to remove one item before leaving the house—and two parties last night paid tribute to stylish undress. They may own The Smile, but Carlos Quirarte and Matt Kliegman opted to rent out the West Side Gentlemen’s Club, on a particularly unpicturesque strip of the West Side Highway, for their Valentine’s Day party. (They co-hosted the fête with nouveau smut mag Jacques and Evisu, where Quirarte is advising the creative director, his friend and former Earnest Sewn compatriot Scott Morrison.) They’d flown in a couple of strippers from Tampa—don’t ask us why that particular metropolis—who performed on the pole for the viewing pleasure of Waris Ahluwalia, Jared Leto, and Mary-Kate Olsen. The music came courtesy of DJs Nate Lowman and Cassie Coane, and the emceeing, courtesy of Justin Theroux, who had a particular knack for shot-calling, it turned out. (“That is some Sarah Lawrence shit!” he boomed during one particularly advanced-studies move.) “I think it was when Justin started announcing ‘Amateur Night’ that things went overboard,” mused Quirarte early this morning, on his way to bed. “But that’s just me.”

Meanwhile, those of a different persuasion were heading to the Chelsea nightclub Rush for Butt magazine’s 28th issue party, hosted by Lorenzo Martone and Keke Okereke. Bring on the go-go boys! Those boys brought boys like Hamish Bowles, Michael Stipe, video artist Kalup Linzy, and Bravo’s Andy Cohen. They were rumored to be luring the week’s prize catch, too: Lady Gaga, who was said to be coming on the arm of Terence Koh. “I’ve been in this city for 20 years hearing rumors that Madonna was going to show up to every other party,” Cohen told us. “Now it’s Gaga’s turn to give the false alarm.” The Lady never showed, but no matter. It was more of a gentlemen’s evening.

Photo: Zach Hyman/Patrick McMullan