4 posts tagged "Joseph Ettedgui"
Joseph turned 25 this year (check out the famed Fulham Road store’s celebratory Michael Roberts-designed windows, which went up in September, if you missed them). To mark the quarter-century milestone, the brand will hold its first runway show on London fashion week’s official schedule this February. And for a special twist, Joseph, which was founded by the late, and much adored Joseph Ettedgui (left) has asked its creative director, Louise Trotter, as well as brands like Jil Sander, Balmain, and Giles, to design exclusive pieces, all of which will be on sale the very same day they head down the catwalk. We have to say this is our favorite type of birthday—the kind where everyone can get a present.
There are only a handful of shops worldwide as iconic as the Joseph on 77 Fulham Road, or known in the fashion world simply as 77. With a prized position in the heart of South Kensington, Joseph is flanked on both sides by some other icons: Daphne’s, Princess Diana’s favorite restaurant; Boujis, her son Harry’s current nightclub of choice; and, of course, Bibendum in the Michelin House, where loyal customers have been enjoying oysters and champagne for generations. That was where yours truly first met the late, great Joseph Ettedgui in 2003, sipping his espresso and puffing a cigar, those eyes squinting behind his trademark round glasses in the glorious October sun, as he put his paper down to fill me in on details of the project at that moment in his life—the renovation of his home. During our many conversations, a constant stream of people was always stopping to say hello. Joseph Ettedgui was the most popular guy in the hood, his charms and charisma irresistible.
September 14 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of 77, and celebrations are afoot for the man who brought Kenzo, Castelbajac, Alaïa, and Yamamoto to the world and who basically created the mold for concept stores like Colette and Dover Street Market. Celebrations start by revealing twenty-five quotes from Joseph’s nearest and dearest, like Naomi Campbell, Katie Grand, and Alexandra Shulman, and they’ll live on the Joseph Web site during London fashion week.
There will also be a window during LFW designed by Vanity Fair‘s Michael Roberts, a great friend and confidante of Joseph’s who, back in the day, worked as a stylist and was all but Joseph’s “right-hand man.” The window is inspired by one of Joseph’s only fashion shows, held around twenty-five years ago, styled by Roberts, where body mapping was somewhat of a thing. Louise Trotter, Joseph’s creative director, has also created a Haring jacquard jumper, inspired by the same fashion show, which will hit the shops September 14. On the eve of the anniversary, Style.com sat down with Roberts to discuss Mr. Ettedgui, who died from cancer in 2010, at age 74.
What are your fondest memories of both Josephs—the man and the brand?
I would see Joseph with a cigar and a coffee, listening attentively, and then motivating you to just “do it.” He was a doer, making sure that things got done. There would be one central meeting, then he would spring into action. Once you had done what it was you set out to do, he would become almost childlike, exclaiming and jumping up and down in celebration and excitement. Continue Reading “Happy Birthday, Dear Joseph” »
The obituaries have already distilled the career to its essence. Joseph Ettedgui, who died yesterday at the age of 74, transformed the international fashion landscape. But what makes his story truly unique was that the grandiosity of such an achievement was underpinned by a nature so humble and unassuming it was easy to forget that the little guy in the corner with the thick French accent, the owlish glasses, the fluff of hair, and the stubble was actually the most powerful man in the room. Although the big cigar might have been a giveaway.
One epochal day in 1972, the little guy was stacking striped sweaters in the window of his hairdressing salon on King’s Road when Michael Roberts noticed him. Then fashion editor of The Sunday Times, Roberts liked the sweaters, used them in a shoot that appeared (obviously) on a Sunday. By Monday afternoon, the entire stock had sold out. And thus was Joseph Ettedgui launched on a Britain that had no idea its appetite for adventurously minimal European style was about to be stimulated. As much as what he sold (those striped sweaters were by Kenzo—he would also introduce everyone from Azzedine Alaïa to Helmut Lang to Martin Margiela to local aficionados), it was the way Joseph sold it, in high-tech, chrome-and-glass stores that had the streamlined ambience of an Art Deco cruise ship. The look may be a retail cliché now, but Joseph pioneered it, as he did the starchitect collaboration (Norman Foster designed his first Sloane Street outlet in 1979) and the in-store café. “He made you feel enthusiastic about fashion,” says Roberts, who remembers Joseph driving around late at night in his Rolls-Royce checking out the window displays in rival stores. “This huge car would come down the street, looking like a runaway Rolls with no one at the wheel. Then you’d see the top of his head and the puff of cigar smoke.”
Roberts went on to create memorable ad campaigns for Joseph. What he misses most is the complete freedom he was given, as though Joseph were the most visionary patron. “It was a Medici kind of thing to be given that kind of treatment,” he says. “It never happens anymore.” Like the best patrons, Joseph was an ardent champion of the new and the young. And he had a fruitful kinship with designers that others found tricky to work with, Alaïa in particular. Katharine Hamnett looks back on “a fantastic working relationship,” which began when Joseph rescued her from penury after a French company she was working for left her high and dry with a bagful of samples. He bought the lot on a sale-and-return basis. “And that was the beginning of one of the happiest times in my career,” Hamnett says. “He enabled things, he trusted his instincts, he loved what he did—and he was very good at it.”
London girls have always known about Joseph—since the seventies, it’s been the brand they’ve raided their mothers’ closets for, poaching the great fur accessories, slouchy knits, and signature form-fitting trousers. The label—and its attendant store, founded by retail legend Joseph Ettedgui, which also stocks sharp picks from Alexander Wang, Alaïa, Proenza Schouler, and Givenchy—has maintained a steady client base over the years but fallen largely off the radar of the young and acquisitive. With new owners (the Japanese retail giant Onward Kashiyama, which also owns Jil Sander) and the guiding direction of artistic director Alain Snege (formerly a buyer for Colette and mastermind behind of-the-moment collaborations with the likes of Seven for All Mankind and LD Tuttle), Joseph is gaining traction anew. Longstanding clients Claudia Schiffer, Elle Macpherson, and Liz Hurley—meet Alison Mosshart and Poppy Delevingne.
The Joseph look—designed by Louise Trotter, with input from Snege—includes a few girly party dresses (Gwyneth Paltrow recently snapped up a lacy gold frock), but for Fall, it’s got more than a little of the hard-edged, hell-bent-for-leather look popularized by Carine Roitfeld. (No surprise, a friend of Snege’s.) And in keeping with tradition, the fur accents are still liberally dispensed. U.S. fans can find the label at Intermix, Net-a-Porter, and Shopbop, as well as at the label’s Madison Avenue flagship store.