8 posts tagged "Michelle Harper"
Entering milliner Heather Huey’s apartment, a fourth-floor walk-up in a heavily graffitied building in Bushwick, is a surreal shock. With rustic dark wood furniture, raw brick walls, and sewing supplies strewn across the center table, her home-cum-studio resembles something from another era. The walls are covered with the designer’s architectural “cage” garments, as well as her fiancé Billy Kidd’s black-and-white photographs. And then, against the back wall, there’s the 6-foot-high cabinet filled with her hats.
Huey makes the most spectacular—often one-of-a-kind—cranial confections. So when she invited me to preview her latest outing, which debuts exclusively here, I jumped at the chance. Fall ’14, the first collection Huey has designed since last year’s Pleated Project, boasts sculptural toppers crafted from manipulated black felt, distorted rosettes, tulle veils, feathers, chiffon-coated crystals, beads, and more. The embellished lineup is a departure for Huey, who usually focuses on form rather than frills. Though, as the designer tells it, “I love looking at old movies from the ’40s and ’50s. I’m such an admirer of the elaborate headpieces you see in them, so I thought I might as well just make my own versions and get that out of my system.” After seeing the results, like a beaded headband befitting a Spanish queen or an origami-ed bow-topped number that ever-so-slightly tilts to cover the forehead, I selfishly hope she hasn’t quenched her craving for such styles. But if this first foray into decoration is, in fact, her last, at least it packs a punch.
“I had accumulated all these random trims that my sister gave me,” Huey continued of the range, which looks like it belongs in a dark, decadent fairy tale—or, as she described it, “Marie Antoinette-meets-Man Ray.” “And they inspired me to start working on something that was a bit more regal. Something that had a little bit more pomp and circumstance.” Huey carefully fastened an abstract fedora—garnished with gauzy blooms and a lone feather—to the left side of her head. “Nothing too extreme, though,” she deadpanned.
In addition to these one-off designs, Huey sells a selection of everyday(ish) toppers, including expertly shaped straw sun hats, critter-inspired fascinators sold at Kiki de Montparnasse, and rhinestone rabbit ears, which I recently purchased for my own collection. It’s Huey’s special concoctions, however, that bring her the most joy. “I was raised in Ridgewood, Queens. Everything was always very low-key,” Huey recalled, while sitting in her living room in loose khaki pants and a faded gray tee. “I love dressing up, but within five minutes of walking out the door, I feel very self-conscious. I wish I were that woman, but in reality, it’s just not me.” She rarely wears her own hats, leaving that pleasure to models, pop stars like Rihanna, and eccentrics like Michelle Harper. But in making them for others, she gets her fix.
For more information, visit heatherhuey.com.
Today, H&M revealed the eight finalists for its Design Award competition, the winner of which will be announced on January 28 during Stockholm fashion week. The top talents were selected from a group of 26 semi-finalists after presenting their collections in London to panel of judges that included Michelle Dockery, Erdem Moralioglu, and street style star Michelle Harper. Harper, who has a flare for outré ensembles, also stars in a lookbook showcasing the finalists’ wares. Lina Michal, Eddy Anemian, Jia Hua (a Parsons alum who made quite an impression with her graduate collection in September), Xiao Li (above), Devon Halfnight, Sophie Sälekari, Camilla Blasé Woodman, and Henriette Tilanuas will all compete for the grand 50,000 euro prize later this month. Check back here on January 28 to catch Style.com’s coverage of the competition.
There’s a trace of irony in the fact that at last night’s CFDA Awards—a ceremony honoring clothing and accessory design—the standout red-carpet wares were those that were barely there. Skin was in, in a very big way—namely via torso and dorsal cutouts (and in one precariously tall model’s case, a seriously plunging halter). Swarovski Award for Womenswear nominees Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs (of Cushnie et Ochs) led the bare-bodied pack, the former arriving in a vermillion gown with an abdominal diamond-shaped cutout, and the latter donning a dress with oblique accenting slashes across the front (naturally, both wore their own designs). “Michelle and I are big fans of the upper midriff, and always have been,” Cushnie told Style.com. “It tends to be an area that a lot of women can feel comfortable showing.” Their date, Karlie Kloss, left little to the imagination—her outfit careened from plexus to navel. All in all, the trio formed a sinewy vision of primary colors, smartly balancing peekaboo highlights with diving cuts.
And while the Cushnie et Ochs train didn’t stop there (Jenné Lombardo also appeared in a hip-bone-underscoring number from the pair’s Spring ’13 collection), a slew of ladies in other labels turned up with their dermises out. Linda Fargo gunned for a racy noir Michael Kors column cut with triangles across the bust and body. Erin Wasson wore a linear, sheer striped Spring ’13 Alexander Wang piece, and Jessica Hart carried a waist-flaunting Rachel Roy frock to fun and flirty effect. Michelle Harper simply chose to eschew midriff dressing entirely—the provocateur pulled off a vintage Yves Saint Laurent look comprising an ornate black skirt and what we can only describe as a glorified collar.
Yaz Kurhan, better known as her nom de jewelry Yazbukey, is not one to hide her light under a bushel. For her “Fabulous African Saga” accessories and new home decor, Kurhan took over Tigersushi in Paris’ Marais neighborhood for a collection launch party with her likeminded friends, including stylists Catherine Baba and Elisa Nalin (above left, with Kurhan), Purple‘s Caroline Gaimari, Lanvin’s Elie Top, Sarah Lerfel from Colette, and Michelle Harper, in town from New York for Couture week. Fancy friends, however, doesn’t make for a stuffy hostess: Kurhan comfortably installed herself on a throne made of plastic grocery-store crates (made for the occasion by Diplomates, the Paris art collective) and greeted her guests.
Kurhan chose Africa as the theme for her Fall collection, based on childhood memories growing up in Saudi Arabia. “My dad was part of the Turkish embassy there and he organized the Islamic conference for many years,” she said. “I remember playing with the children of all the African dignitaries at the conference, and although I’ve never visited Africa, I got a feeling for its diversity from that experience.” Kurhan, who divides her time between Paris and New York (where she dreams up accessories for Zac Posen’s Z Spoke line), continues to work in Plexiglas, creating flattened versions of everyday Africana, including flora, fauna, and everything in between. Case in point: There are tiger’s paw necklaces with scratch-mark traces, snake sunglasses, and banana hair pins—as well as a ghetto blaster bag. And for the first time, plastic wall decals join the wearable offerings, including a portrait of Naomi Campbell and a lion’s head.