5 posts tagged "Pamela Golbin"
“Good evening, I’m Iris Apfel, geriatric starlet,” announced said starlet last night at New York’s French Institute/Alliance Française. She was on hand to introduce the speaker for the last of this season’s Fashion Talks, organized by Musée des Arts Décoratifs director Pamela Golbin. Apfel was introducing a designer with whom she’d fallen in love at first sight, a fellow textile obsessive: Dries Van Noten. After they met at a dinner given by Bergdorf Goodman, “I felt that we were transatlantically joined at the hip by an ever-changing bolt of fabric. His clothes are ageless,” she said. “Thank God.”
Van Noten then took the stage for a conversation with Golbin, who was wearing one of the nightscape-printed dresses from the designer’s Spring ’12 collection, which he revealed was one of the most difficult patterns he’s ever had made, given its digital print. He spoke of first finding fashion thanks to his grandfather and father, both retailers, and joining his parents on buying trips to Milan, Paris, and Düsseldorf in the seventies. While his father had hoped that he’d take over the family business, the son found his calling to be more in design than in sales and enrolled at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. It was the era of rules, when propriety reigned and Chanel was thought the ultimate designer, when an imperious professor could opine, as Van Noten remembered, “Knees are the ugliest part of a woman; never show knees. Long hair is untidy. Jeans are for poor people.” Meanwhile, punk was fomenting in the streets. A group of promising young students, later branded the Antwerp Six (because, Van Noten said, of their unpronounceable names), banded together to show their collection in London in the only show space they could afford: As he told it, it turned out to be a back room behind a phalanx of enormous wedding dresses, so secluded the designers had to take to the streets with flyers to attract a crowd. It’s hard to imagine Van Noten or fellow Six-ers like Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck having that problem today.
Van Noten spoke of his process (“I always start with the story,” never the muse, which would be too restricting), his studio (in which patternmakers sit on the same open floor as designers), and the importance, for designers like himself who are punctilious about controlling every detail, of having uncontrollable elements in their lives—in his case, his garden and his dog. In an age when many designers are doing fast-fashion collaborations, he insisted he never would. He described seeing one zippered jacket in a fast-fashion retailer selling for less than the cost of the zippers he’d use to make it. And while retailers clamor for more collections each year and business types for more accessories to bolster the bottom line, Van Noten defended his decision to produce only two collections each year, Spring and Fall, to be able to oversee every detail personally. “Making a collection,” he said, “you have to stay awake till the last moment,” adapting all along the way. “Accessories,” he added, “for me should stay accessory. I don’t want to be a designer whose main business is accessories.”
He fielded questions on opening a New York store (it all depends on finding a space), launching a fragrance (wouldn’t rule it out), and licenses (not worth it to him, in most cases). Golbin was thanking the audience for attending when a shout went up from a woman with a buzz cut and earrings the size of tea saucers. “One more question!” she yelled out, before excusing herself with, “Sorry, I’m Italian.” It turned out not to be a question at all, but a message addressed to the designer: “Thank you for existing.”
This year, Marc Jacobs celebrates 15 years as the creative director of Louis Vuitton. And today in Paris, Louis Vuitton—Marc Jacobs, a comprehensive exhibition that explores two innovators and their roles in Vuitton’s 143-year history, opens to the public at the Louvre’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs. (If you can’t make it to Paris before the September 16 closing date, Rizzoli’s accompanying tome, with historical and critical essays by curator Pamela Golbin and Jo-Ann Furniss, a look back through the collections organized by Jacobs and Katie Grand, and more, arrives in April; it can be preordered here.)
“When we were talking through the project, what came out was we really wanted to portray Louis almost like a black and white picture, whereas Marc is like a Technicolor film,” said curator Pamela Golbin, a celebrated author, fashion historian, and the Chief Curator of Fashion and Textiles at Les Arts Décoratifs. The exhibition is divided between a historical view of founder Louis Vuitton himself and a contemporary view of Jacobs’ creation of the house’s ready-to-wear, which he founded in 1997 and has stewarded since. Here, Style.com talks to Golbin about creating the exhibition and the history of the influential house.
What does this exhibition say about the development of Marc’s career at Vuitton?
First of all, what’s so interesting about this exhibition is that it follows two men, so it’s about Louis and he has a whole floor, and then also a second floor is dedicated to Marc. When it came to Marc, it was important for him to be very involved in the project. I did not want this to be a retrospective; it’s more a celebration of what Marc has done in the last 15 years at Vuitton. And it’s incredible that it has already been 15 years. The exhibition is more about the vision that he created for the brand than anything else. And that vision is quite large. It’s not just about designing clothes. Obviously accessories are important, but so is advertising, his artistic collaborations, and just his overall cultural vision. So Marc’s floor begins with Marc’s World. We essentially opened up his head and we did a self-portrait of Marc through all of the cultural influences that he’s had and that he uses for his design process. So it’s like a giant Tumblr page with still images and video images of everything and anything that has influenced him over the years. It’s not at all chronological. It’s thematic. And he even came up with the titles for each of the cases.
Why did you want to steer away from doing a retrospective?
The idea was by no means to say, “OK, in 1997 he did this and he did that.” His story is not chronological. His story is really about an energy and an attitude. He turned Louis Vuitton from a brand into a house. And so what we tried to get across were the steps that he took to get there and important moments. And more importantly, just really his fashion vision for Louis Vuitton that, when he arrived, was already 143 years old. He really created a fashion entity within a luxury brand. Continue Reading “Where Marc Jacobs And Louis Vuitton Meet” »
With so few pants on the runway and so much leg on view, a tribute to Madeleine Vionnet—the designer who ensured that sexiness need not mean frostbite—is a welcome change from today’s usual eye candy. Madeleine Vionnet, Rizzoli’s latest coffee-table topper, is chockfull of designs replete with sensual draping and subtly suggestive nips and tucks; anything sheer is definitely a trompe l’oeil, but the effect feels supremely fresh. (See more images after the jump.) Famous for introducing the bias cut, Vionnet dressed women like chic goddesses. Fellow designer fans are legion: Karl Lagerfeld, one for whom admiration does not come easily, once declared, “Everybody, whether he likes it or not, is under the influence of Vionnet.” Perhaps even more enamored was Cristobal Balenciaga, who once gushed, “Madame Vionnet is my master.” Continue Reading “Vionnet: First Lady Of Fashion” »
At last night’s opening installment of the French Institute Alliance Française “Fashion Talks” series, Donna Karan, the evening’s featured speaker (Catherine Malandrino and Diane von Furstenberg will round out the cycle), shared a few facts about herself the audience might not have known otherwise. The story of Karan’s first fashion show as a Long Island high schooler is the stuff of fashion lore. The fact that she failed draping class while studying at Parsons? Not common knowledge. But perhaps Karan’s biggest reveal had to do with the lack of a certain signature non-color in her Fall presentation next week. “This season I’m not showing a lot of black,” Karan said. “But,” she paused before reassuring, “everything will be available in black.” Phew. During her conversation with Musée de la Mode curator Pamela Golbin, the designer emphasized the importance of thinking collectively, i.e., not trying to go it all alone as a designer and businesswoman—sage words for young designers facing a troubled economy. Another piece of fashion savvy: Sort your mail. Karan copped to opening every envelope she received with her name on it when her business started—they were addressed to her, after all. But she was careful not to let all the postal service love go to her head. “That’s why I did the ‘New York,’” Karan explained of her designer moniker. “I never wanted it to be about me.”