9 posts tagged "Mel Ottenberg"
“It’s so naked,” said Mel Ottenberg while en route to the CFDA Awards with Rihanna, the 2014 Fashion Icon of the Year. “I don’t know if it’s shocking—I’m with her all the time, so my shock gauge is off, but I told her that I thought she was ready for this dress a while ago, and that I wasn’t. I’m the prude, and I’m just catching up.”
Naturally, Ottenberg was referring to RiRi’s translucent CFDA gown—a mesh number smattered with more than 230,000 Swarovski crystals. Designed by the star’s collaborator (and Ottenberg’s boyfriend), Adam Selman, the look leaves little to the imagination. So if Instagram explodes tonight, it’s Rihanna’s fault. “We definitely wanted to make it a little bit scandalous,” Selman told Style.com right after the chanteuse walked out the door. “The dress is just fishnet and crystals and a couple of fingers crossed. But fashion is about beauty, and the [female] body is part of that.”
“So many people didn’t sleep last night,” admitted Ottenberg. “I would say at least eight people worked nonstop from 8 p.m. last night to 3 p.m. today putting on the finishing touches.” Equal parts Deco showgirl and Hollywood glam, the gown was conceived last month in L.A., while Selman and Ottenberg were dressing Rihanna for the MTV Movie Awards. “We started talking about it, and I sketched it shortly after,” said Selman, noting it was a heavily collaborative process. In fact, the matching do-rag was all Rih’s idea. “It brings such a Rihanna feel to the whole thing,” said Selman. “It seals the deal.” Selman’s initial sketches of the outfit debut exclusively here.
Further accessorized with a pink Pologeorgis fur stole, Manolo Blahnik heels, a ring and earrings by Paul Morelli, and a pinky ring by Jacob, the look is decidedly less tame than what we’re used to seeing at the CFDAs. Gasps and whispers no doubt echoed throughout Alice Tully Hall. But did you really expect the pop princess—who was recently banned from Instagram for her nip-pics—to turn up in a standard DVF wrap dress?
Seeing as Rihanna’s every move is photographed ad nauseam, one would imagine that designers were chomping at the bit to dress her for the Oscars of fashion. So why did she go with Selman? “We wanted to do an American designer, and he was just the right choice,” explained Ottenberg. “He’s worked so closely with us, and so hard for us. He’s turned it out for her so many times, and we were excited to do this with him.”
Selman, who has not only crafted custom tour costumes for Rihanna since 2011 but also co-designed her River Island capsule, was touched by the choice. “She could have had any designer make any dress, so for me it’s an exciting statement that she chose to wear me on such a big night of fashion. She has really put me in the spotlight.” Selman won’t be attending the ceremony with Mme. Rih (“I’m having a cocktail instead,” he laughed), but he’ll be meeting up with the singer for dinner to celebrate their sartorial coup.
“I did this look for her so she’d have a good time,” offered Ottenberg when asked what he was going for. “This was the perfect night do to something fun, and I wanted her to have something great that you couldn’t find anywhere else in the world.” To that point, it’s doubtful that anyone else on the planet could have pulled off the ensemble—which, for the record, I’d have to say she did. “She’s daring, she’s bold, and she’s not afraid of fashion. She doesn’t let fashion overcome her,” said Selman of the Bad Gal’s icon status. “She embraces it and makes everything she puts on her own. Not many people do that.”
Instagram has dubbed Paris fashion week #PaRih. Why? Because while trotting from one show to the next, the pop sensation has completely stolen the style spotlight. That sophisticated gray look she wore to Lanvin? That sheer fishnet number she rocked post-Balmain? The cherry red fur she donned at Dior? We’ll go so far as to say she’s been flawless through and through. Team Style.com’s favorite outfit, however, was the one she sported to Comme des Garçons. It was a mash-up of wares by three emerging talents: Adam Selman (her River Island co-designer), Melitta Baumeister, and Hyein Seo. The latter two were featured in the VFiles Made Fashion show in February, and Riri’s choice to wear Baumeister’s oversize pleather jacket and Seo’s faux-fur “Fear” stole will no doubt help catapult these up-and-comers to stardom. “I think it was our best look of the week,” Rihanna’s stylist, Mel Ottenberg, told Style.com. “Melitta’s coat was one of the greatest coats of the season, even if a lot of people haven’t heard of her yet. That whole collection blew my mind. And Hyein Seo; I was flipping through Style.com, showed Rihanna pictures, and she loved it. She was totally amazed and wanted to wear the fur with a look from Adam [Selman]‘s collection.”
Naturally, the designers are over the moon about bad gal Riri scooping up their Fall ’14 styles. “It’s a reassurance that you’re doing something that people are reacting to,” said Baumeister, who has also dressed Lady Gaga. “And Rihanna is such a great star to wear it. It really proves that the collection is relevant to what’s going on right now.”
VFiles founder and CEO Julie Anne Quay shared Baumeister’s excitement—after all, she helped select Baumeister and Seo for the fashion platform’s Fall runway romp. “Rihanna wearing those designers shows that she believes in the next generation and the future of fashion,” Quay said. “And the fact that she would go to a Comme des Garçons show in that, where everyone around her is wearing Comme or Chanel, I mean, that’s a statement.”
When asked if that statement was intentional, Ottenberg offered, “When there’s a great moment to chose something unknown, it makes us really happy for the designer. It’s fun to do something that not everybody else is doing. Comme des Garçons is a huge supporter of young talent, and it felt right. It was one of those chances to do whatever we wanted.”
As for the future plans of Riri’s rising stars, Selman is storming the fashion sphere after his breakout sophomore presentation last month; Seo is wrapping up her master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp; and Baumeister is aiming to hold her debut solo show next New York fashion week. “I hope it will be possible. I’m just going to have to make it happen somehow,” said the Parsons M.A. fashion grad. We have a feeling that she’ll persevere.
The fashion biz has had quite a year. 2013 was jam-packed with major designer shake-ups, groundbreaking ad campaigns, celebrity collaborations, and pop-star performance wardrobes filled with custom-made designer duds. In the final days leading up to 2014, we’re counting down Style File’s most popular twenty stories of the past year. So sit back, relax, and relive 2013′s unforgettable moments. Read our top five stories, below. To see all of our most popular posts from 2013, click here.
5. Diamond Girl: Behind the Scenes of Rihanna’s World Tour Wardrobe
Rihanna had a banner year when it came to fashion, culminating in becoming the face of Balmain’s Spring ’14 campaign. Back in March, the star kicked off her Diamonds world tour, and thanks to her stylist, Mel Ottenberg, her onstage wardrobe, which was comprised of mega-watt looks by Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci, Dior’s Raf Simons, Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz, and her River Island co-designer, Adam Selman, had just as much sparkle as the tour’s title would suggest. Style.com’s Katharine K. Zarrella spoke to Ottenberg about all seven of the singer’s custom costumes and what it takes to dress the pop-culture force that is RiRi.
4. Marc Jacobs Bids Adieu to Louis Vuitton
After sixteen years at the helm of Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs stepped down from his post as creative director following his Spring ’14 show for the storied house. Following his epic Spring presentation, whose all-black set incorporated pieces from his most memorable shows (remember the escalator? that carousel? the baroque elevator? they were all there), LVMH announced that Nicolas Ghesquière will be filling his shoes come Fall ’14. Jacobs, in turn, will be taking his eponymous company public and further expanding the MJ empire. As the news of his departure broke, Style.com took a look back at Jacobs’ greatest hits for Vuitton.
3. A.P.C.’s Jean Touitou on His New Collaboration With Kanye West
What a year it has been for Kanye West—a new album, a baby, a fiancée, a cornucopia of Margiela masks…but his most notable contribution to the fashion biz in 2013 was no doubt his collaboration with cult favorite French label A.P.C. The range of sweatshirts, tees, and denim sold out in a matter of hours and caused a veritable frenzy of discussion on the Internet. Style.com’s Matthew Schneier broke the news of the team-up in July and interviewed A.P.C. founder Jean Touitou about working with Yeezy and the “Kingdom of Dopeness.”
2. Roller Girl
In May, L.A.-based jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth enlisted actress Alison Brie—of Mad Men and Community fame—to put on some roller skates and show off her bohemian-luxe wares in a short film. Shot in a roller rink in New Jersey, the flick features a cameo from the designer (who admitted that her skating skills are a little shaky) as well as an original song by electro-pop trio Au Revoir Simone. The video debuted exclusively on Style.com.
And the number-one story of 2013 is…
1. Erykah Badu Fronts Givenchy’s New Campaign
Riccardo Tisci surprised and pleased us all when he chose neo-soul singer Erykah Badu to front his Mert & Marcus-lensed Spring ’14 Givenchy campaign, which debuted exclusively on Style.com. Matthew Schneier spoke to Tisci about the new ads, why Badu is “an icon,” and the presence of women of color in fashion.
“It was heaven,” said Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing of shooting with Rihanna. The pop star is the face of the house’s Spring ’14 campaign, two images of which debut exclusively here. But Rousteing, who spoke to Style.com from Paris this morning, insists the ads weren’t the result of a PR push or a marketing strategy—rather, they were the product of he and Riri’s budding friendship. “I met her six months ago, when she came to the studio during her Diamonds Tour, and I just loved her,” the designer recalls. “She invited me to her concert, and I invited her to my show, and she started to become a good friend of mine. Obviously, we text all the time, and at one point, when I was working on the Spring collection, I told her she was the inspiration and that I wanted her in the campaign. It all started like that.”
Styled by Rihanna’s own stylist Mel Ottenberg and lensed by Inez & Vinoodh, the ads, which will hit magazines in January, were apparently shot to the tunes of Prince. “We listened to it super loud, and she was dancing in the clothes—but she really owned them. She tweaked everything. She chose what she wanted to wear, she had a great vision, and that’s what I love about her,” Rousteing said, stressing that he feels Rihanna is the ultimate icon for this generation. “I wanted the campaign to be about Balmain, but I didn’t just want a model—I wanted a strong, real woman in the clothes. For me, Rihanna is a power. And she pushes boundaries on everything.
“Sometimes,” Rousteing added, “fashion is all about a big machine. And we forget about emotions, and realness, and dreams. But dreams do come true, and this came from something really simple, and easygoing, and real.”
So what’s Rousteing’s favorite Riri song? “I have to be honest. I love the new one, “Monster,” but I think “Stay” is one of the best songs ever. I fell in love listening to this song. And that’s something I’ll always remember.”