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July 29 2014

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10 posts tagged "Iris Apfel"

Ushering in a New Era of The Fashion Book

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The Fashion Book

Fifteen years ago, Phaidon published The Fashion Book. As its title suggests, the book quickly became the definitive resource for the fashion curious and industry mainstay alike—an A-to-Z guide to the field’s central influencers, with pages devoted to everyone from Vivienne Westwood and Helmut Newton to Oscar Wilde. Last night at Topshop in Soho, Phaidon celebrated the release of an updated version of The Fashion Book. The tome features seventy-two fresh entries (Style.com among them), and boasts pages devoted to individuals such as Nicolas Ghesquière, Tilda Swinton, and others.

The fete’s main event was a panel discussion moderated by Parsons the New School for Design’s dean, Simon Collins. It included Vera Wang, Iris Apfel, and our very own Dirk Standen. The group focused on what it means to be iconic (“Being an icon implies a very distinct point of view, which is rather rare today,” said Apfel), the figures who inspire them (“It’s people who never really sold out, someone like Peter Saville,” said Standen), and, in reference to Rick Owens’ recent statement-making show, what it means for an icon to change and evolve. On that topic, Wang offered, “Mr. Lagerfeld said to me once, ‘Vera, if you really can’t change and you can’t go with the times and you can’t realize how the world is becoming a different place, then it’s time for you to leave.’ So it’s somewhere between that fine line of adapting every decade and sticking to what you believe in and furthering your craft.” It was an honest and up-front dialogue about the connotations of holding influence in the industry today—a fitting prelude to The Fashion Book of the millennial era.

The Fashion Book New Edition, $59.95, will be available from Phaidon beginning October 14.

Photo: Courtesy of Phaidon Press

Phaidon’s The Fashion Book Gets an Update

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The Fashion Book New Edition

It’s no secret that Phaidon’s epic The Fashion Book, first released in 1998, is an authoritative resource for industry insiders and fans alike. Now the coffee-table tome has been given new life with a definitive updated addition. Among the seventy-two new entries are Style.com and sartorial luminaries like Bill Cunningham, Nicolas Ghesquière, and Tilda Swinton. To fete the book’s release, Phaidon will be hosting a panel discussion at Topshop’s Soho outpost on Thursday, October 10, at 6 p.m. Iris Apfel, Vera Wang, and Style.com’s own Dirk Standen will be on hand to talk fashion history and the new guard of style alongside moderator Simon Collins, dean of fashion at Parsons the New School for Design. Need another reason to turn out? You’ll have a chance to pick up the new book (as well as a limited edition tote bag and a signed print by cover illustrator Mats Gustafson) four days in advance of its official release.

The Fashion Book New Edition, $59.95, will be available from Phaidon beginning October 14.

Photo: Courtesy of Phaidon Press

Anna Bauer Goes Backstage

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Kate Moss by Anna Bauer

In the fall of 2007—long before backstage was a thing and the flash of a camera was as ubiquitous behind the scenes as it is on the runway—German photographer Anna Bauer received an assignment from The Daily and road-tripped her way from London to Milan to Paris, shooting models, stylists, and a host of other fashion types along the way. She used a large-format Polaroid camera and captured the industry’s central figures in spontaneous form—flagging down designers such as Raf Simons and models like Kate Moss (above) and Raquel Zimmermann (below) during quiet moments and approaching them with boldness, trepidation, and sometimes total naiveté. “When I shot David Sims, I didn’t know who he was,” she recalled at the launch of her book, Backstage, last February. The results are eye-catching—a collection of raw, oft-revealing black-and-white portraits of the people who make the shows run.

This Thursday, Bauer will show the Polaroids—many of which first debuted in Backstage—en masse for the first time at the Loewe store in Madrid. “It’s a selection of about eighty,” said Bauer of the images, which include stills of everyone from Alber Elbaz to Iris Apfel to Juergen Teller. “I’m really happy because the show is going to give them another life,” she added. The earliest Polaroids on view were taken when the project began in 2007 (a young Agyness Deyn, a sunglasses-clad Karl Lagerfeld), while the most recent, Olivier Rousteing’s, for instance (“He doesn’t know he’s in there, because I didn’t know how to get in touch with him!” exclaimed Bauer), were taken just over a year ago.

Raquel Zimmermann by Anna Bauer

Bauer said she has thought about shooting another group of people, like musicians or athletes (“just another extreme kind of group,” she mused) in the same style. But, she reasoned, “It could never be like this. I think that’s part of the interesting thing about the project—the condensed nature of the industry. We all go to the same four fashion weeks and the amount of people is limited. It’s a very close-knit circle of people.”

Anna Bauer’s Polaroids will be on view from September 5 to November 3 at the Loewe store, located at Calle Serrano, 26, Madrid, Spain.

Photos: Anna Bauer

Chic In The Twenty-First Century

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Around the Style.com offices and among most fashion circles, being described as “chic” might be the ultimate compliment. But what does the term really mean these days? As part of the Met’s ongoing “Good Taste/Bad Taste: The Evolution of Contemporary Chic” discussion series, 16-year-old blogger Tavi Gevinson (pictured, left) and 90-year-old style icon Iris Apfel (pictured, right) took a stab at defining it in their own terms yesterday afternoon. The word itself was used sparsely during the hour-long conversation, which was moderated by New York writer Judith Thurman. Instead the teen wunderkind blogger and the self-described “geriatric starlet” approached the concept by offering their thoughts on personal style, fashion as performance art, and fashion’s evolving concept of beauty.

Step number one to becoming fashion’s latest pop star: “It’s important not to give a damn about what anyone else thinks,” offered Apfel. “Personal style is something you have to evolve for yourself, and trying to find out who you are is like putting yourself on a psychiatric couch.” And sometimes, as Gevinson pointed out, fashion is about creating a persona because you don’t always want to be yourself. “It’s true, good fashion is good performance art,” said Apfel. And oftentimes, those characters they assume aren’t about being aesthetically pleasing. “Sometimes, I don’t care about being attractive,” said Gevinson, referring to the Rei Kawakubo or the Alexander McQueen school of fashion, where the unconventional silhouettes aren’t often intended to make their wearers look beautiful in the standard sense of the word. To that point, Apfel disagreed: “The first object is that it’s practical. I see no sense to pay a fortune and end up looming like a freak,” she said. “Having bumps all over is not the loveliest look. I can look ugly on my own and it won’t cost me a penny.”

Both of them, with perhaps equally quirky styles of dressing, were eager to discuss alternative beauty and defining it for oneself. “I was probably the oldest living broad that was allowed to be the face of a cosmetic company [with MAC]. I think things are changing and there is an undercover revolution that will break out pretty soon,” said Apfel. “Why be stopped because of number?” At that, the audience showed its approval with a big round of applause. Although the two speakers have decades separating them, it was certainly a cry that Gevinson could understand from the opposite end of the age spectrum. At 16, she hasn’t let her young age stop her from catching the attention of some fashion’s highest powers. “Iris has been the subject of many exhibition and you are a little young for a retrospective just yet, but it appears you are certainly on your way,” said Thurman. “If you were asked to do a Costume Institute exhibit, what would it be?” Gevinson’s response: “I am a big fan of the blog Advanced Style and I would like to do something celebrating getting older—women are so upset about that these days.” For her part, Apfel was ready to sign on the dotted line. Is 90 the new 20?

Photo: Rookie Mag

NYC, Meet DVN

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“Good evening, I’m Iris Apfel, geriatric starlet,” announced said starlet last night at New York’s French Institute/Alliance Française. She was on hand to introduce the speaker for the last of this season’s Fashion Talks, organized by Musée des Arts Décoratifs director Pamela Golbin. Apfel was introducing a designer with whom she’d fallen in love at first sight, a fellow textile obsessive: Dries Van Noten. After they met at a dinner given by Bergdorf Goodman, “I felt that we were transatlantically joined at the hip by an ever-changing bolt of fabric. His clothes are ageless,” she said. “Thank God.”

Van Noten then took the stage for a conversation with Golbin, who was wearing one of the nightscape-printed dresses from the designer’s Spring ’12 collection, which he revealed was one of the most difficult patterns he’s ever had made, given its digital print. He spoke of first finding fashion thanks to his grandfather and father, both retailers, and joining his parents on buying trips to Milan, Paris, and Düsseldorf in the seventies. While his father had hoped that he’d take over the family business, the son found his calling to be more in design than in sales and enrolled at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. It was the era of rules, when propriety reigned and Chanel was thought the ultimate designer, when an imperious professor could opine, as Van Noten remembered, “Knees are the ugliest part of a woman; never show knees. Long hair is untidy. Jeans are for poor people.” Meanwhile, punk was fomenting in the streets. A group of promising young students, later branded the Antwerp Six (because, Van Noten said, of their unpronounceable names), banded together to show their collection in London in the only show space they could afford: As he told it, it turned out to be a back room behind a phalanx of enormous wedding dresses, so secluded the designers had to take to the streets with flyers to attract a crowd. It’s hard to imagine Van Noten or fellow Six-ers like Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck having that problem today.

Van Noten spoke of his process (“I always start with the story,” never the muse, which would be too restricting), his studio (in which patternmakers sit on the same open floor as designers), and the importance, for designers like himself who are punctilious about controlling every detail, of having uncontrollable elements in their lives—in his case, his garden and his dog. In an age when many designers are doing fast-fashion collaborations, he insisted he never would. He described seeing one zippered jacket in a fast-fashion retailer selling for less than the cost of the zippers he’d use to make it. And while retailers clamor for more collections each year and business types for more accessories to bolster the bottom line, Van Noten defended his decision to produce only two collections each year, Spring and Fall, to be able to oversee every detail personally. “Making a collection,” he said, “you have to stay awake till the last moment,” adapting all along the way. “Accessories,” he added, “for me should stay accessory. I don’t want to be a designer whose main business is accessories.”

He fielded questions on opening a New York store (it all depends on finding a space), launching a fragrance (wouldn’t rule it out), and licenses (not worth it to him, in most cases). Golbin was thanking the audience for attending when a shout went up from a woman with a buzz cut and earrings the size of tea saucers. “One more question!” she yelled out, before excusing herself with, “Sorry, I’m Italian.” It turned out not to be a question at all, but a message addressed to the designer: “Thank you for existing.”

Photo: Junenoire Mitchell