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14 posts tagged "Philip Treacy"

Isabella Blow: Beyond the Eccentric


2. Isabella Blow, 2002 (c) Diego UchitelCurator Alistair O’Neill only met the late Isabella Blow once. He was at an art opening with designer Julien Macdonald, one of the late, great Blow’s charges, whom he studied with at the Royal College of Art. “Isabella was wearing a famous Philip Treacy hat, which is in the exhibition. It had feathers around the eyes, which covered her nose and her mouth and her forehead,” he recalled. “I spent the evening talking to her and was completely fascinated. But all that I could concentrate on were her eyes, because I couldn’t really see her mouth. I could only just about listen to what she was saying, and I was just mesmerized by this image of these eyes being framed by the feathers. The combination of her intelligence and her laughing was really intoxicating,” he continued. “I’ve never forgotten that.”

On November 20, O’Neill, along with Shonagh Marshall and Central Saint Martins, will aim to bring the editor, patron, and muse’s work and wardrobe to life with the opening of Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! at the Somerset House in London. Before her tragic suicide, in 2007, Blow was a pillar of London’s emerging fashion community. Having worked everywhere—from British and American Vogue to The Sunday Times to Tatler—Blow is credited with discovering such designers as Alexander McQueen (as the story goes, she bought his entire graduate collection after it walked down the Central Saint Martins Runway in 1992), milliner Philip Treacy, Jeremy Scott, and Hussein Chalayan, as well as models Sophie Dahl (whom she once described as a “blow-up doll with brains”) and Stella Tennant.

Alexander McQueen and Isabella blow

Aside from being a steadfast supporter of young talents (Treacy and McQueen both lived with her at one point, and she not only gave the designers financial and editorial support but also fed them ideas from her wealth of historical knowledge—fashion and otherwise), Blow, who came from a complicated aristocratic background, was known as a great eccentric—both in her behavior and her dress. Her infamous wardrobe comprised the most extreme pieces by all of the conceptual up-and-comers she helped along the way. And, of course, Treacy’s hats were her screaming signature. Following her death, her sartorial collection was to be sold at Christie’s to settle her estate, but Blow’s friend Daphne Guinness swooped in at the last minute and purchased every piece, because that’s how Isabella—or Issy, as she was known—would have wanted it.

O’Neill, however, did not want to simply paint Blow as an eccentric. “I thought it was important to distance Isabella from those literary ideas of the English eccentric, because they’re often quite tragic,” he explained. “And I’m not sure Isabella was fully tragic—she was quite brave, and very funny. She had a very bored and black humor.” Furthermore, Blow always wore her outfits—whether it be a metallic McQueen corset or an ensemble crafted from brightly hued garbage bags—in a deeply considered manner. “Isabella used her clothes, her hats, and her accessories as a means to modify and transform herself,” said O’Neill. “She had a great eye for silhouette, and her hats were almost a means of plastic surgery for her face, without going under the knife,” added Marshall. “She said they can lift you, they can make you look different, and I think that was something that she really indulged in.” Continue Reading “Isabella Blow: Beyond the Eccentric” »

The Online Community Doesn’t Understand Hats


Philip Treacy and Isabella Blow“The world of fashion has changed,” milliner Philip Treacy told The Telegraph this weekend. His statement was in response to a slew of cruel remarks that online commenters made about a hat he recently crafted for Dita Von Teese. “The power is with the consumer, which is not a bad thing, but hats are different. Hats are really for ultimate occasions, so when I make one, I try to do something different, something noticeable. Hats make people feel good, and that’s the point of them,” he continued.

The interview was conducted as a preview, of sorts, to the Isabella Blow exhibition that will open later this month at the Somerset House, in London. And online disapproval was not the only thing that rubbed the milliner—a protégé and great friend of the late fashion eccentric—the wrong way. “She thought she no longer mattered,” said Treacy of Blow, who before her suicide worried that fashion was for the young and that her unique and exceptional point of view was no longer relevant. “It’s all very well, them feting her now and going on about how wonderful and brilliant she was,” he told the newspaper. “There will be people at that exhibition who laughed at her when she was alive. They’re hypocrites, and they make my blood boil!”

Photo: Getty Images

The Next Big Thing: Maiko Takeda, Spring ‘14


Everyone knows their Marcs from their Calvins. But as fashion month kicks into gear, we’ll be spotlighting the up-and-coming designers and indie brands whose names you’ll want to remember.

Maiko Takeda, Spring '14

Label: Maiko Takeda

Need to know: Tokyo-born, London-based designer Maiko Takeda already has a leg up in the competitive young fashion racket: celebrity endorsement. Her biggest fan? None other than the sartorially scrutinized Björk, who noticed Takeda’s Royal College of Art graduation show (she matriculated just this past summer, with a focus on millinery) on a design blog and commissioned pieces for her 2013 Biophilia Tour. Not bad for a newbie. Following that coup, the British Fashion Council came knocking, asking Takeda to develop her spacey and aural headpieces into a full Spring ‘14 collection that the designer has dubbed Atmospheric Reentry. Hand-composed of thousands of printed-acetate wedges and acrylic disks, Takeda’s snoodlike caps are certainly statement makers, and they embrace the U.K.’s millinery heritage: She’s worked under such greats as Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy.

She says: “I wanted to create something like a cloud on the head. I saw this opera called Einstein on the Beach from 1976 at the Barbican. The whole mood and sound and imagery of it was very futuristic and minimal.”

Where to find it: Maiko Takeda online

Photos: Courtesy of Makio Takeda

Tip of the Hat


Thanks to European labels like Saint Laurent, Acne Studios, and Costume National, hats—mainly casual versions with wide brims—are a well-established Spring ’13 trend. But here in the USA, it’s National Hat Day. And while milliners across the pond (like Stephen Jones, Philip Treacy, Piers Atkinson, and Maison Michel) get lots of love from the fashion set, we’d like to use the holiday to tip our toppers to homegrown headgear talent. Take CFDA winner Eugenia Kim, for instance. Her sweet kitten-ear felt caps were a big hit this fall, and her bright feather-embellished fedoras can be worn with most anything. Satya Twena crafts everything from easy-to-wear fedoras to out-there studded fascinators, and Jason Wu included floppy feminine hats in his debut Miss Wu collection. On the more eccentric side, we have milliner Heather Huey, whose conceptual chapeaux (left)—which range from bejeweled bunny ears to sculpted, twisted takes on more traditional styles—have appeared in magazines such as Vogue, W, and Interview . Whether or not you deem yourself a “hat person,” National Hat Day is the perfect excuse to experiment with topping off your look. And, considering each of the designers above is based in New York, you won’t have to go too far to do so.

Photo: Courtesy of

A Couture Comeback For YSL? And More Of Today’s Top Stories


Could Yves Saint Laurent return to the world of couture? Hedi Slimane (pictured) says maybe. The new creative director revealed that haute couture is a possibility for the house, although not its primary concern. “The priority today is to revamp and redeploy the luxury ready-to-wear,” Slimane says in a recent interview. [Vogue Paris]

Christmas in July? Since it’s never too early to start thinking about the holidays, eBay has just announced plans for a limited-edition gift collection of men’s and women’s apparel, jewelry, electronics, and home decor, crafted by designers including Billy Reid, Chris Benz, and Steven Alan. [WWD]

He’s back—following a 12-year hiatus, Irish milliner Philip Treacy is making his return to the catwalk. The name behind the head-turning hats seen on British royalty will be showing at 2013 London fashion week alongside Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Anya Hindmarch, Richard Nicoll, and more. [Telegraph]

The latest incarnation of Batman’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne, may be his most fashionable yet. In Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises, the iconic character’s wardrobe will consist of Giorgio Armani bespoke tailoring made specially for the film. Armani worked with costume designer Lindy Hemming on two suits, both of which have a customized label. [Vogue U.K.]

The second season of “Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis” is already in the works. Diane von Furstenberg will be the first in the hot seat on September 12, right in the midst of fashion week. Following von Furstenberg will be Marc Jacobs, stylist Polly Mellen, and Betsey Johnson. [WWD]

Photo: Rex USA