August 21 2014

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12 posts tagged "Michael Roberts"

Happy Birthday, Dear Joseph


Joseph Window

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, 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 World Is Flat


An afternoon diversion: The Spring ’13 Icons collection paper dolls Louis Vuitton quietly introduced late last month. Ladies, have you met the Michael Roberts-penned paper dolls in Spring ’13 ready to wear from 02 (below)?

Illustrations: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton / Michael Roberts

On Our Radar: Michael Roberts Does Swim


For my swimwear, I usually like to go subtle—blacks, nudes, navies, and grays. But with all the bright colors we’ve been seeing and wearing this season—not to mention my beloved Prada banana skirt—it feels like the right time to go a little wild. I love the chic swimwear that editor and illustrator Michael Roberts has designed for the Brazilian line Skinbiquini. Sometimes printed swimwear can look childish, but there’s nothing kiddie about Michael’s, which take the same collage style as the books he’s been creating for years. They’re available now at the London boutique Ninivah, owned by Roberts’ friend Ninivah Khomo (she liberally decorates with his prints) as well as direct from Skinbiquini in São Paulo. And if you’re not in either of those two metropoles, you can always ring the London shop at 33-020-7584-1411 or drop a line to

Photo: Courtesy of Skinbiquini

We Ask The Brits:
How Would You Rate Kate?


Kate Middleton wed Prince William this morning in what you’d have to describe as a fairy-tale wedding—and wearing what you’d have to describe as a fairy-tale dress. (More on the dress here.) In that, industry insiders say, she did a notch better than her predecessor at the last royal wedding of this size, Princess Diana. “The idea behind Diana’s was kind of fairy-tale, but the reality was more nightmare,” said Vanity Fair‘s Michael Roberts, reached by phone in Paris, “because when that dress emerged from the coach it was completely crumpled, there was just too much fabric. Whereas this was not too much fabric and manageable.”

The white and ivory dress, in satin gazar, was designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, reportedly in consultation with Middleton herself. Roberts, like all the experts we surveyed, was complimentary—”I thought she looked great,” he said. “Karl Lagerfeld was commentating [on French TV], and he’s a very severe critic normally, but he was taken by it,” Roberts added. “Very elegant. He was impressed by the amount of work behind it—and on the behind.”

Was the dress very McQueen? Opinions differed. “I think it had much more to do with traditional royal dressing than with McQueen, frankly. I think it had not very much of him, at all,” Roberts said. But Barneys creative ambassador at large Simon Doonan, a fellow Brit, caught a glimpse of the late designer in it. “McQueen had a great interest in history,” he said. “This is a dress that’s created through the lens of history rather than through the lens of Hollywood. It somehow resonates a bit with Elizabeth I, because of the tight bodice. It was heavenly.” And English stylist Annabel Tollman conceded that while it wasn’t the most McQueen-ish creation in the world, nor could it be. “It’s McQueen doing royal wedding,” she said. “It’s not runway. But can you imagine if it had [been]? It would not have been a great start. The fashion industry would love it, but…this is not the Grand Palais. It’s Royalty. You don’t really want her turning up in look 12.”

Whether or not the dress screams Lee McQueen’s own name, all were glad with the bride’s choice. “I met Sarah Burton at a reception at 10 Downing Street, during the last fashion week,” Doonan remembered. “She told me all about the process of taking over, and how reticent she was, and how scary it was for her to step into Alexander’s shoes…it’s wonderful to see her put center stage like this. It’s like when Isabel Toledo did the inauguration outfit, seeing somebody really great who had a certain humility but was very creative put center stage.”

(Would McQueen himself have been pleased? “He’d find it kind of amusing that he’s been accepted by the establishment,” Roberts thought. “This plus the Met—I think that he’s kind of laughing at them down there, or wherever he is.”)

Much has been made of Middleton as a fashion icon in the making. Does the princess’ canny choice signal another step in that direction? Maybe—and then again, maybe not. Roberts was skeptical. “I think she can be made into a fashion icon by being talked up as such by the press, but if you are in London at all and have any idea what London girls look like, she pretty much conforms to a whole chunk of Sloane-y girls who look almost identical to her,” he said. Doonan, for his part, noted one area where Middleton might be influential. “Her natural bosom looks so fabulous in that dress, I think she’s going to become such an instant style icon,” he said. “I’m wondering if she’s going to depopularize the trend for fake boobs, because her natural bosom looks so perfect in this dress. I think maybe a lot of girls might reconsider that boob job.”

Tollman picked a less likely candidate for her style icon: her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. “I love the Queen,” she said. “Head-to-toe one color, basically been wearing the same thing for the past 70 years. That’s her. Who else can pull off head-to-toe single shade?”

Photo: Dan Kitwood /Getty Images

Loree Rodkin Designs For The Cause, Vacations With Cher


Loree Rodkin’s client base includes names big and bigger, but for her latest piece, the jewelry designer committed herself to giving back. She flew into London last night for the launch of “Rocks, Stones, and Metals” at Joseph, where she—along with Stephen Webster, Delfina Delettrez, Katie Hillier, and Hannah Martin—collaborated with the retailer on a curated collection sold to benefit UNICEF.

She joined a crowd that included Daphne Guinness, Alexandra Shulman, Ozwald Boateng, and Charlotte Dellal, whose mom, Andrea, was on hosting duties with Michael Roberts. The guest list might’ve wowed a lesser designer, but Rodkin is used to keeping famous company—she counts Elton John, Courtney Love, and Cher among her friends and clients. (Here in the U.S., she’s best known for designing Michelle Obama’s inauguration gems, but her first client was no slouch, either: Elizabeth Taylor.)

At the cocktail party, Rodkin (left, with Andrea Dellal) revealed that she’s been experimenting with restaurant design (with Luau in Beverly Hills), eyeglasses (“Elton’s got hundreds!”), perfumes, and candles. While in London, she tells, she’ll be “shopping at Browns, Feathers, and of course Joseph, trying to manage a facial at Harrods, and finally trying to get some rest. Last, I’m meeting my friend Cher for her London premiere of Burlesque on Monday. Then we are going on to Hawaii to switch off from all our respective traveling!” Travels with a diva? We can only imagine what bedazzled inspiration will come out of that one.

Photo: Courtesy of Joseph