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August 28 2014

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13 posts tagged "Harvey Weinstein"

Harvey Weinstein Confirms Revival of Charles James

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Charles James After Monday night’s Met Gala, rumors broke that Harvey Weinstein—media mogul and husband to Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman—was in talks to revive the Charles James label, whose founding designer is, of course, the subject of this year’s Costume Institute exhibition, Charles James: Beyond Fashion, opening on May 8. I had hoped the rumors were just that, and that James’ artistic legacy would not be muddied by modern interpretations and production pressures. However, Weinstein has now confirmed that he has inked a deal to license the house with the option to buy. “Charles James was one of the most incredible couturiers in the history of fashion, and this label deserves to be a household name in the same ranks as Chanel, Dior, and Oscar de la Renta,” he said in a statement. Ms. Chapman and her brother, Marchesa CEO Edward Chapman, will serve as creative consultants.

No doubt, it will be interesting to see where the trio takes the label, but the revival won’t be easy. In order to honor James’ vision, the new designs will need to be thoroughly forward-thinking, impeccably handcrafted, and not overtly referential. After all, James was obsessed with the future and disapproved of nostalgia. “There is no going back,” he’s quoted as saying. “Study the past to know why, not what, and from the why, dream and do.” Weinstein and the Chapmans will need to heed these words if they’re to bring the brand back with integrity. Here’s hoping the revival succeeds in making James a household name for the right reasons.

Photo: Cecil Beaton, courtesy of the Met

Dear Harvey Weinstein: Please Don’t Bring Back Charles James

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Harvey WeinsteinI sincerely hope the rumors that broke today about Harvey Weinstein’s plans to revive the house of Charles James are just rumors. According to Page Six, the movie mogul is in talks with James’ children to buy and “breathe new life into the Charles James name.” If the publication’s unnamed sources are to be believed, Weinstein aims to create an “exclusive couture house,” and will bring his wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, on as a “creative consultant.” At press time, Weinstein could not be reached for comment.

No one is more thrilled than I that last night’s Met Gala and the Charles James: Beyond Fashion exhibition have helped the public to discover the late great couturier, and given him the recognition he so deserves. And my reservations have nothing to do with Chapman’s skill as a designer—everyone she dressed for the Met bash looked lovely. Rather, my concern is that this will not celebrate, but muddy James’ legacy. James was of a certain era, and if some of the throwback styles we saw on the red carpet yesterday evening are any indication, his aesthetic does not easily translate to modern day. His gowns were works of sculpture, and I fear that if someone were to re-create them—or create wares “inspired” by them—the results will be cartoonish (or worse, mediocre) rather than respectful.

Look at Halston, which was also revived by Weinstein. (He invested in the brand along with Sarah Jessica Parker, but sold his share back in 2011.) Once the go-to label for the crème de la crème of New York’s seventies party scene, Halston’s new age incarnation is but a mid-market mockery of its former glory. Please, Mr. Weinstein, don’t let the same thing happen to James. Allow his brilliant, singular designs to be appreciated for the works of art that they truly are, and don’t attempt to transform his revolutionary mid-century vision into a 21st-century cash cow.

Photo: FilmMagic 

Georgina Chapman Gets Behind the Camera

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Georgina ChapmanMarchesa’s Georgina Chapman is the latest designer to get behind a movie camera—in her case, with a bit of mentoring from Hollywood veteran Ron Howard. She premiered the resulting sixteen-minute film, A Dream of Flying, last night at the Crosby Street Hotel.

Chapman’s directorial debut is part of Project Imagination, a new initiative from Canon (with help from Howard) that aims to make filmmakers out of everyone. For the moment, the camera company has outsourced the task to five celebrities—Jamie Foxx, Eva Longoria, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, and Twitter’s Biz Stone in addition to Chapman—in order to get the ball rolling. The whole batch will have a glitzy premiere next week, with the films going live on the Internet next Friday.

Chapman’s little advance-sneak drew the likes of Rachel Roy and Chapman’s husband, Harvey Weinstein, who offered her tips of his own throughout the process. Her film is a fantastical parable about a little girl (played at one point by Dree Hemingway) who spends an entire lifetime resisting a suitor desperate to have her take to the skies with him.

She used her favorite costume designers as reference points, Chapman said—among them Martin Scorsese go-to Sandy Powell and Milena Canonera, whose credits range all the way from A Clockwork Orange (1971) to Wes Anderson’s upcoming film, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Of course, for this job, the designer couldn’t focus on the clothes alone. “There are so many components you have to think about,” Chapman remarked. “Not only are you doing the visual, but you also have to do the emotional, and have a business mind, and put together all the other parts.” Might she take on the role again—for an upcoming Marchesa campaign, say? “I had a really amazing time with this,” Chapman said. “You know, we’ll see.”

Photo: Jemal Countess / Getty Images

Marchesa’s Bon Voyage

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Keren Craig and Georgina ChapmanEven those lucky ladies leading the most charmed of lives—filled with cocktail parties and red-carpet events every night of the week—have their dressed-down moments. And now, designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig are addressing their glamorous customers’ day-to-day needs with a new contemporary collection, Marchesa Voyage, which they officially launched last night with a celebration on the Gramercy Park Hotel rooftop. “We always wanted Marchesa to be a lifestyle brand,” Chapman told Style.com. Craig added, “For us, Voyage is all about creating clothes for the global-minded woman and the global-minded traveler, whether she’s going somewhere exotic or just venturing to the office.” The designers mingled with a posh crowd, including Courtney Love, Sami Gayle, Michele Hicks, Rachel Roy, and Lorraine Schwartz, all of whom sipped cocktails and checked out select looks from the premiere Fall and Resort ’14 collections. Many of the wares, like the sequined shift Chapman herself was wearing, are arriving in stores such as Saks, Bloomingdale’s, and Neiman Marcus this week (prices will range from $260 to $1,000). Other highlights displayed on mannequins included a cool biker jacket and matching kilt skirt with allover artisanal embroidery, as well as a bohemian pleated silk maxi dress, printed with celestial moons and stars, paired with a tailored tuxedo jacket. Chapman’s jovial studio-exec hubby Harvey Weinstein also made the rounds. “I actually inspired the entire collection,” he joked, adding, “I love seeing Georgina being able to finally do the kinds of clothes she really wears most of the time.”

Photo: BFAnyc.com/David X Prutting

Georgina Chapman, From Designer To Director

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Georgina Chapman’s connection to the film indsutry is no secret, but Harvey Weinstein’s better half (pictured) has yet to take a turn in the director’s chair—until now. The Marchesa designer is reportedly starting small with a short film collaboration with Canon as part of its Project Imagination program, in which she will create a movie based upon photos submitted by Canon users. She follows in the footsteps of actor and director Ron Howard, who also collaborated with Canon on a film, which was later shown at Sundance and the Tribeca Film Festival. (Howard will serve as Chapman’s mentor on the project.) Perhaps Chapman will be on the red carpet at the next round of film festivals making her debut as a director.

Photo: Julian Mackler / BFAnyc.com