154 posts tagged "Proenza Schouler"
“It’s been sort of like a Carven World Tour these days,” laughed Carven‘s creative director, Guillaume Henry, while sitting in the lobby of the Mercer hotel. His description wasn’t hyperbolic in the least. In the last month, Carven has opened two boutiques in Shanghai, its first flagship in London, and now the house is preparing to debut a stateside outpost, in New York. Located at 83 Mercer Street, in Soho (with stores like Chloé, Saint Laurent, and Proenza Schouler just around the corner), the 1,636-square-foot space was designed in collaboration with architect Eric Chevallier. “I didn’t want it to be too impressive, though,” explained Henry. “I prefer places that feel comfortable, familiar, and approachable.” He plans to achieve said ambience by combining luxurious elements—like a black leather bench and marble details—with more industrial ones. “I love the idea of mixing opposites—day and night, sophisticated and casual, sexy and shy. I love two extreme worlds connected.”
The New York flagship will mark Carven’s sixteenth freestanding boutique (though the designer hints that a third Paris shop, outside the Marais, as well as another location in Manhattan, could be on the way). Carven’s investment in new international digs is a testament to Henry’s success at the brand, which, founded in 1943 by a now 104-year-old Carmen de Tommaso, was revived in 2009. Throughout the past five years, Henry has brought the sleeping heritage house back to life with his crisp, clean sense of modernity and his youthful approach to design. Last night, Henry sat down with Style.com (next to a newlywed couple in a bridal gown and a morning suit, oddly enough) to talk Carven’s history, imagined muses, and why real life is the most incredible inspiration.
You’ve been at Carven for five years. What have you learned?
I’m learning new things every single day. It’s completely crazy. We started with a white page, and now the book is starting to fill up. What I love about Carven is, it’s about pleasure, and a challenge, but at the same time the clothes talk to real people. Carven is part dream, part reality. We do a catwalk each season, and we tell the story of a woman, or a man. But then when the show is finished, they’re not my clothes anymore. They’re everyone’s clothes. And I love that they’re going to tell their own story. People are going to bring our clothes into their daily lives, and that’s something I adore.
What does it take to successfully revive a heritage house? Many have tried and failed, but you seem to have a pretty good grip on it.
I’ve been lucky. Carven is an old brand, but I’ve been there for the rebirth. You know, what Mme Carven [Carmen de Tommaso] did in the fifties was good in the fifties, but you have to think about why the brand worked back then. It worked because it was connected to its client. And Mme Carven was dressing cool young girls at that time, so our goal was to dress cool young people. Young is not only a question of age for me—it’s a question of attitude. It’s a question of having a fresh mind.
Do you ever feel beholden to Carven’s history, or to what Carmen de Tommaso would want?
Not really. It’s a very approachable company, and a very approachable brand. Mrs. Carven was a grand couturier, as we call them, but she didn’t reinvent concepts. She was a designer, for sure, but she was really making clothes, and I do believe in that. I’ve met her a few times, and she’s 104 years old, but she’s super young! I think when she decided to sell the brand, she took a stance and separated herself from it. But I always ask myself if she would understand what I’m designing. I’m sure she wouldn’t have done the same things—but would she respect the DNA of the brand? That’s the main thing for me.
What has been your biggest challenge at Carven thus far?
Getting Carven on Mercer Street. Five years ago, when I’d call retailers and say, “OK, we are Carven,” they would hang up the phone. And now, we’re on Mercer Street, which is like, “OK, we did it!” It’s been a fantastic challenge for us, because it was a dream. It wasn’t a question of success or anything like that. I have no idea what success means. Especially in this industry—you never know. But Carven, for me, is fresh. And for people, it’s a new brand. It’s an international brand. It’s not a question of history anymore. And that’s very satisfying. Continue Reading “Guillaume Henry Takes Carven ‘Round The World” »
Footwear designer Sarah Flint may very well be the only 25-year old who can offer this sort of reveal: “at our factory in Vigevano, Italy, they produce Manolo Blahnik, Oscar de la Renta, and Sarah Flint…” Then, she takes a deep breath.
Flint–who launched her eponymous line for Fall ’13 following an education at FIT, an internship at Proenza Schouler, and a technical program at Milan’s Ars Sutoria–is no doubt in good (albeit understandably daunting) company. She wrangled the factory connection through an ex-teacher who once worked as a patternmaker for Blahnik. The old masters certainly rub off on the youngster, too; her shoes are decidedly grown-up and, for the most part, gimmick-free, informed by “the idea of returning to where a design’s basis is the integrity and shape of its materials, rather than the big buckle or the all-over studs.” That focus on form and material is most evident in her charming origami-inspired styles, which feature leather fold-overs along the tips of slippers and peep-toes alike.
Flint also has another big name in her orbit: Heidi Klum. After the designer gifted Klum a pair of booties, the model came back and ordered two more–one in a color not yet in production. “Of course, we made them,” says Flint.
Starting at $545, Sarah Flint is available online at www.sarahflint.com, and at Edon Manor in New York City.
Camouflage is oft associated with burly hunters or members of the armed forces, but after seeing the Fall ’13 collections, it’s become clear that the print is ripe for any occasion. Christopher Kane made our mouths water with his range of luxe camo wares, and thanks to designers like Michael Kors and Tabitha Simmons, the look has spiraled into a full-blown obsession. Don’t blend into the crowd—stand out with our picks from Proenza Schouler, Prism, and more, below.
1. Michael Kors camouflage jacquard and stretch crepe dress, $1,425, available at net-a-porter.com
2. Prism Capri sunglasses, $381, available at matchesfashion.com
3. Christopher Kane wool camo biker jacket, $5,441, available at matchesfashion.com
4. Tabitha Simmons Early camouflage-print suede ankle boots, $1,195, available at net-a-porter.com
5. Proenza Schouler PS11 classic satchel, $2,254, available at farfetch.com