13 posts tagged "Harvey Weinstein"
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.
I 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.
Even 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.”