70 posts tagged "Nicolas Ghesquiere"
Unexpected news comes from the house of Sonia Rykiel today. The brand announced that Julie de Libran has been appointed as artistic director, replacing Geraldo da Conceicao, who spent only five seasons at the helm of the label. Like Da Conceicao, De Libran comes from Louis Vuitton, where she essentially served as Marc Jacobs’ right-hand woman during her five years as the house’s studio director of women’s ready-to-wear. She also headed up Vuitton’s Resort and Pre-Fall collections. De Libran, who did stints at Prada, Versace, Gianfranco Ferré, and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac before her Vuitton tenure, departed LV after Nicolas Ghesquière took the reins. Her first collection for Sonia Rykiel—a house best known for its Parisian irreverence and gorgeous but wearable knits—will debut in Paris during the Spring ’15 shows.
So why the sudden switch? For starters, De Libran has more experience—and industry clout—than Da Conceicao. She was more or less the face of Vuitton’s pre-collections and is familiar with speaking to the press, and designing in line with a particular style or vision. It’s worth noting that the house and First Heritage Brands, which acquired an 80 percent stake in Sonia Rykiel in February 2012, have expressed via a release that De Libran’s hire is part of a “relaunch strategy and accelerated international development.” One might argue that given her name recognition and design track record, De Libran is more qualified than her predecessor to “develop” the label. Furthermore, as Sonia Rykiel’s daughter Nathalie states, De Libran is “a woman, a Frenchwoman. An international woman and a talented one. A woman who enjoys dressing herself and designing for other women.” While one could, I suppose, make a case for reverse sexism here, the fact that De Libran is a femme française who adores fashion (just take a look at the street-style blogs or her Instagram account for proof) and manages to juggle a career and a family allows her to understand the Sonia Rykiel ethos better than a male designer might. Whatever the reason for her appointment, I look forward to seeing what the designer brings to Rykiel in September.
Nicolas Ghesquière continues to mold his vision for Vuitton today. WWD reports that the designer has tapped not one, but three leading photographers—Bruce Weber, Annie Leibovitz, and Juergen Teller—to lens his first campaign for the house. Marc Jacobs often worked with Steven Meisel during his reign at Vuitton, so it will be interesting to see how Ghesquière’s creative relationship with the above bold-faced names develops—if you’ll remember, he tapped Teller to shoot the conceptual Fall ’14 lookbook images (left), which debuted exclusively on Style.com the day of the runway show. Ghesquière’s Fall campaign will feature Liya Kebede (left) and Freja Beha Erichsen (both of whom walked in his Fall show), as well as actress Charlotte Gainsbourg. This move further proves that Ghesquière at Vuitton is a defining force to be reckoned with—as if there was ever any doubt.
Think fashion illustration is a thing of the past? Think again. “I love photography—however, sometimes it’s a little too obvious,” said Paris-based artist Cédric Rivrain when asked about imagery in the digital age. “But fashion illustration, it has poetry. And it helps express the essence of the clothing—both visual and emotional.”
Rivrain’s career is proof enough that designers, insiders, and fashion enthusiasts alike have a hankering for illustration. He’s lent his talents to Lanvin, Hermès, John Galliano (he was the in-house illustrator at Dior), Maison Michel, Martine Sitbon, and more, and has contributed visions to such publications as AnOther, Dazed & Confused, and Numero. Since launching his career in 2001, Rivrain has become one of the most in-demand artists in the biz, and now he’ll be creating exclusive, weekly illustrations for Style.com. Without further ado, we bring you the first installment of “Through Cédric’s Eyes.”
Liya Kebede in Louis Vuitton by Nicolas Ghesquière, Fall 2014
“Sans makeup, sans styled hair, just a natural beauty in a beautiful dress. Very French…very chic.” —Cédric Rivrain
It’s a funny thing, the connection between protection and clothing. On the most basic level, jackets, trousers, glasses, hats, et al. defend us from the elements. But sometimes, it’s the most superfluous accouterment that can make us feel invincible. Such is the case, to some extent, with V. Stiviano, the mistress of disgraced racist Clippers owner Donald Sterling, and her iridescent visors. No doubt you’ve seen photographs of her donning the accessory out and about in L.A. following the scandal in which Sterling forbade her from publicizing her friendships with black people. In a recent interview with Barbara Walters, Stiviano conceded that the full-face visors, which she owns in a myriad of hues, make it “easier to mask the pain.” Fair enough. And it’s not as though she’s the first visible public figure to hide behind headgear—you’d be hard-pressed to find a celebrity, mid-scandal or not, who hasn’t shielded themselves from prying eyes via giant sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, hooded sweatshirts, or the like. But visage-enveloping visors are indeed an extreme—second only, perhaps, to the deeply bizarre black mask Leonardo DiCaprio sported at last year’s Venice Biennale. (Nothing says “under-the-radar” like channeling Darth Vader.)
“In the past, wearing things like visors or veils was more out of modesty, or maybe a sense of propriety,” explained The Museum at FIT’s associate curator of accessories, Colleen Hill. She cites the large-brimmed “poke” bonnets of the 1830s as an example. “In my opinion, they were an item of propriety. Not only did they shield the woman’s face from the sun, but they also provided a sense of security,” she told Style.com. “Today, [something like a visor], for celebrities in particular, acts as a psychological veil. Even if it’s something that’s transparent, it does create that little bit of a barrier. Making eye contact is such a personal thing, I think that is part of [face coverings'] appeal.”
Thanks to her shield, Stiviano has essentially been hiding from swarms of paparazzi in plain sight. But what’s funny is that while she’s sporting these visors as an invisibility cloak of sorts, they only make her more conspicuous. To wit, she’s more infamous now than before she broke out the accessory. And apparently, her Daft Punkian method of pseudo-protection has ignited somewhat of a visor boom. “We sold out this morning, and we’re waiting on a new shipment,” offered Gingie McLeod, the founder of Tribeca’s SaintChic store and label, which produces and carries Stiviano’s new staple, aptly dubbed the Paparazzi Visor. “They’re actually designed for tennis and hiking—for function. But people have been calling nonstop asking if this is the V. Stiviano visor and if it will cover their whole face or if anyone will be able to see them.” Before the craze began, McLeod had sold only four of the accessories.
Surely, Stiviano wasn’t aiming to start a trend with her quasi-disguise (or heck, maybe she was, though I seriously considered shelving my Chanel 2.55 after seeing a photo of her carrying a similar style). And certainly, part of this newfound visor obsession is in jest. (McLeod told us she just got a call from someone throwing a Stiviano-themed party.) But in truth, this perplexing “don’t look at me but do” mode of dressing has deep roots. Investigating visors alone, you might look back to Pierre Cardin or Paco Rabanne’s futuristic plastic shields from the 1960s, featured in numerous fashion shoots. More recently, there was Nicolas Ghesquière for Balenciaga’s giant Spring ’12 visor (inspired by an archival 1967 Balenciaga wedding hat), which completely covered the face and eyes. However, those who wore it, like Anna Dello Russo, attracted hoards of street-style paps. Same goes for Alexander McQueen’s mammoth Fall ’12 shades. Maison Martin Margiela’s couture masks should also be considered here: On the runway, they create a sense of uniform anonymity, yet on the street, they allow one to hide in style. But do MMM mask fans like Lady Gaga or Kanye West really want us to look away from their haute veils? Unlikely, particularly since West often wears his onstage. More than a striking visual, it has been interpreted as his commentary on fame, and it seems apt for someone who is both more open and uncensored than most celebrities and yet also a man of mystery.
Perhaps the trend is a sign of the times—not unlike our social media avatars, these outré shields afford us the opportunity to put ourselves out there without any risk of full-frontal exposure. They’re a superficial cushion—a buffer between the wearer and the outside world. Or maybe they’re just an ever-so-slightly less obvious plea for attention than the selfie. If that’s the case, let’s hope for a total transition—I’d rather look at an off-the-wall mask than an ill-angled iPhone snap any day.
This week Christopher Bailey officially assumed his joint position as both chief creative and chief executive officer of Burberry. The move has been hailed as revolutionary in some quarters. It’s rare for someone from the design side of things to be given so much responsibility for business decisions. But in fact this turn of events speaks more to evolution than revolution. It’s a reflection of the way that the role of the creative director has changed in the last decade. The notion of the designer as an artistic genius who spins brilliant collections from his own turbulent emotions and who flourishes best with a fierce protector at his side (Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé being the obvious paradigm) exists only in the memory. Or on the screen—two new YSL biopics are being released this year.
Today, fashion is big business on such a global scale that creative directors are expected to have as much of a grasp of the bottom line as of a hemline. Bailey, a talented designer who also happens to be levelheaded and exceptionally well-organized, is more in the mold of a Ralph Lauren, less focused on inventing a new silhouette than in keeping a brand both consistent and constantly refreshed. It’s not that monumental a leap for him to take control of the balance sheets. In other words, there are no more ivory towers. Hedi Slimane, to my mind an artist, is also incredibly disciplined and clear-eyed about the strategic direction of Saint Laurent as a whole. Nicolas Ghesquière’s debut at Louis Vuitton, meanwhile, seemed to suggest he has an eye on reality as well as experimentation. One of the reasons the young New York designers who emerged in the last five years have stolen a march on their contemporaries in Europe is that they have a well-defined sense of where they fit in the commercial space. But even in London, once the bastion of wayward visionaries and even more wayward bank balances, the talk is of how fledgling labels are setting themselves up to succeed as real businesses. When Natalie Massenet took over as chairman of the British Fashion Council, one of her first acts, I’ve been told, was to limit the champagne intake at the London Showrooms event in Paris. At this seasonal showcase, which allows a group of emerging British designers to present their wares to visiting press and buyers, it used to be that the bubbly would start pouring at 10 a.m. and by noon the process of writing down orders had become somewhat hazy. These days they wait till 5 p.m. to pop the cork.
That represents progress of a sort, I suppose. And yet, as the Met gets ready to commemorate Charles James, a designer who had little interest in commercial obligations but made a couple of indelible contributions to fashion history, it’s hard not to be a little nostalgic for the mad, bad creators of yore. After all, can you really come up with the next big idea if you have one eye on how it will play from Dallas to Dubai? Much of the commentary around Bailey’s appointment has centered on whether he has the chops to handle the business complexities, but going forward, his bigger challenge may be deciding when to pursue a design impulse just because it feels right rather than appears to make immediate sense for shareholders. How he negotiates that balance will ultimately dictate the success or failure of his intriguing new role.