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July 29 2014

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20 posts tagged "Saks Fifth Avenue"

Guess Who’s Next? Alta Roma Honors Emerging Talent

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Looks from Arthur Arbesser and Esme Vie

Alta Roma, Italy’s answer to haute couture, is currently under way in Rome. And yesterday, the winners of this season’s Who Is On Next design competition were announced. It was judged by an esteemed panel that included Saks Fifth Avenue’s Terron Schaefer, Suzy Menkes, and Harrods’ Marigay McKee. The initiative supports independent designers who produce their labels in Italy. The top talents will receive an area to show their collections to buyers during next September’s Milan fashion week (courtesy of Vogue Italia), and they’ll also create an exclusive look, which will be stocked on Yoox.com.

This year, Arthur Arbesser, a Viennese designer who spent seven years working with Giorgio Armani before launching his own line last fall in Milan, co-won the grand prize. He shared the spotlight with Julia Voitenko and Daria Golveko, the Russian duo behind Esme Vie. Continue Reading “Guess Who’s Next? Alta Roma Honors Emerging Talent” »

Sophie Gimbel: Made to Measure for America

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The couture shows will start in Paris on Monday. But next Tuesday, Parsons will bring the (vintage) haute stuff to New York with its latest exhibition, Sophie Gimbel: Fashioning American Couture. Curated by Beth Dincuff, the show explores the legacy of the late Mrs. Gimbel, a mid-century fashion fixture who designed for, ran, and oversaw the buying for Saks Fifth Avenue’s Salon Moderne—an elite shop within Saks that introduced American clients to couturiers like Chanel, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga and Mainbocher—from 1929 until it closed in 1969. Mrs. Gimbel (who was married to Adam Gimbel, the former president of Saks and the grandson of its founder) smartly showed her made-to-measure gowns during the Salon Moderne’s afternoon fashion shows, alongside looks by her French counterparts. Her clients were icons like Greta Garbo, Édith Piaf, actress Claudette Colbert, and the Duchess of Windsor. She even made Lady Bird Johnson’s suit for her husband’s 1965 inauguration. With that in mind, one has to wonder why most of us aren’t well acquainted with Mrs. Gimbel’s work. “I think that the idea of American made-to-measure, or American couture, has been overshadowed by American sportswear, which is obviously something we do very well,” says Dincuff.

Known for her ultra-feminine designs (think big big skirts, lots of tulle, and demure, romantic silhouettes), Gimbel hit her stride in the forties (a savvy businesswoman, she launched her ready-to-wear range in 1943). When journalists couldn’t travel to Paris during WWII, she was featured in Vogue‘s first September American fashion issue. She championed the sporty American body that was fashionable at the time, and rebelled against Dior’s post-war New Look. “She didn’t like the extremeness of it,” explains Dincuff. “She felt it was impractical.” Rather, she preferred that sartorial extravagances be beautiful and functional, like ornate buttons or luxe cardigans draped over strapless ball gowns. Continue Reading “Sophie Gimbel: Made to Measure for America” »

Nicholas Kirkwood Spring 2013

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Label: Nicholas Kirkwood

Need to know: Crazy colors, wild patterns, and sky-high heels are what we’ve come to expect from London-based shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood. He offered all this and more in his Spring collection, which was inspired by waves. His oceanic theme was apparent in snakeskin gladiator sandals with mirrored resin heels. Instead of going the typical “urban warrior” route, the designer reinterpreted the popular style into something more feminine, using fluid, swirling baroque shapes (not unlike rippling waves) instead of typical straps. Crests splashed over the sides of electric blue, orange, or yellow pumps and sandals in metallic leather and suede. Kirkwood also translated his beachy-inspiration into graphic plastic fan heels, and the metal toecaps on quirky, demure flats mimicked a wave shape. Printed watersnake sandals seemingly inserted into open-toe Mary Janes were a clever take on classic footwear, and the iridescent epoxy resin beads on a range of snakeskin sandals felt particularly aquatic. The designer also introduced a 55mm heel into his collection for the first time, showing it on pointy chevron-printed neon pumps. “It’s a way to get that height that people want without being so mumsy,” explained Kirkwood. “A low heel can still be cool. And it can be young, too.”

He says: “I became a little obsessed with waves this season. We’ve done them in multiple colors and forms. And I was feeling more of a closed-up silhouette, something that’s feminine but not too girly.”

Where to find it: Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue, and in Nicholas Kirkwood stores.

Photo: Courtesy of Nicholas Kirkwood

Out And About On Fashion’s Night Out

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As the first day of shows at Lincoln Center was coming to a close, the FNO festivities uptown were already in full swing. Michael Kors put on his own version of American Idol, turning his Madison Avenue store into a karaoke parlor for amateur contestants and bringing in Kate Upton, Nikki Reed, and Debra Messing to judge. Of FNO, Kors said, “It’s a new holiday. It’s Halloween, it’s New Year’s, and it’s all about style.”

Not far away, a more seasoned performer was taking the stage at Manolo Blahnik: Cyndi Lauper. “It’s kinky boot night!” Lauper said. (Kinky Boots is the name of the new musical she’s developing, about a drag queen and a shoemaker, which will head to Broadway next year; Lauper was wearing a red suede pair by Blahnik for the occasion.) “I love fashion, I’m sorry, I do. I like to give it a twist here and there, a little tug and a pull, deconstruct it a little. I don’t want to look in a magazine and see a 12-year-old in something I’m being pitched to wear.”

At the Calvin Klein store, Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat was signing copies of his new book A Father First, while models including Karen Elson, Hanne Gaby Odiele, and Kasia Struss, fluttered about. “I always like to push the envelope a little bit,” Wade told Style.com as Ryan Lochte walked by. “With athletes the door is open for us in fashion, and we’re getting into it and enjoying it.” One block over at Bergdorf Goodman, Aerin Lauder (who was celebrating the launch of her eponymous cosmetics line) kick-started the retailer’s 111th birthday celebrations, which later in the night included visits from a host of boldface names like Thakoon Panchigul, Bobbi Brown, and Victoria Beckham and various festivities on the different floors. The scene at Saks was also a multi-story party, ranging from Oscar de la Renta signing fragrance bottles to manicures with Rebecca Minkoff to ping-pong with Susan Sarandon. Before her performance on the eighth floor, songstress Vanessa Carlton admitted, “I’ve never played a shoe floor—there’s some really nice shoes here. And, I’ve never played Saks before.”

It was a night of many firsts. At Bottega Veneta, creative director Tomas Maier was enjoying his first-ever FNO in New York, and over at Ferragamo, Miroslava Duma, Elena Perminova, and Anya Ziourova were hosting their first fête at Ferragamo, in honor of the Italian label’s Russian-themed Fall collection. “At first I thought it would be very overwhelming because I’ve never hosted a night before, but now I think it’s amazing,” Ziourova told Style.com while she clutched her Fabergé egg bag. As waiters passed out latkes, borscht tartar, and plenty of vodka, Duma said, “You know, Russians really love toasts. Sometimes there are people in Russia that, when they’re drunk, they’ll go on toasting for 20 or 30 minutes without reason. But tonight we’ll toast by saying good luck to the fashion industry.” A few guests at the Fivestory party, hosted by Olympia Le-Tan, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, and Arielle de Pinto, could have used that luck for the cut-throat game of Pictionary that was taking place. “I lost,” Le-Tan reported. “The first theme was ‘fashion people’ and I drew Donatella Versace. I think I did a good job but then someone on my team had to draw Mad Men and it was terrible so we lost.”

Downtown in Soho, the streets were so packed you could barely move. But the DKNY store, conveniently spacious and air-conditioned, offered some relief. That is, except where model-of-the-moment Karlie Kloss, who just signed with IMG, was standing. A crowd gathered around Kloss, who was holding a tray of Karlie’s Kookies (get the recipe here) made in collaboration with Momofuku Milk Bar. “They are fashion-week approved,” she told Style.com (translation: “There is no butter and no sugar”). And better yet, she swears she eats them. “I have been eating them all day, I just came from the bakery.” There to support a different kind of FEED was Lauren Bush Lauren, hawking her do-gooder bags.

Over on the west side at Balenciaga, the line wrapped around the store for an audience with Grace Coddington, Vogue‘s longtime creative director. She couldn’t take all the credit. Some went to Pumpkin, her beloved tabby, whom she’d illustrated wearing several seasons’ worth of Balenciaga looks for a Steidl book some years back. Her friend Nicolas Ghesquière was so taken with them that the label printed them on limited-edition bags and scarves, which Coddington happily signed for fans at Balenciaga’s West Chelsea store for FNO. What does Pumpkin think of her newfound fame? “She loves it!” Coddington reported, though, a more press-shy starlet than her owner, Pumpkin wasn’t in attendance last night. A few blocks away, black was the color of the evening—as in BLACK, Comme des Garçons’ popup-turned-permanent store on 17th Street. Only a few shoppers at a time could fit into the minuscule store space, but many more made an impromptu block party outside, fueled by ice cream from a Brooklyn churner. Near nine o’clock, the designated cutoff time, there seemed no signs of dispersal—perhaps because the plastic snap-band watches CDG offered gratis as FNO gifts were all showing Japanese time. Diane von Furstenberg, however, was running on Democratic National Convention time last night. “Let’s all meditate,” she commanded at her Meatpacking District space. “Today is a little crazy so I’m going to go upstairs to watch the President.” Cue loud cheers. “I see this is not a Republican crowd,” she quipped. “Good, we have that in common.”

CLICK FOR A SLIDESHOW of photos from the night.

Photo: Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

Whoa, Nellie!

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Now in her fourth full season, Nellie Partow has made a name for herself as a designer who eschews trends in favor of timelessness (give or take a statement jumpsuit). Chalk her straightforward aesthetic up to her ten years working at Calvin Klein before she set out on her own.”You can only be authentic to yourself,” Partow told Style.com this week at a preview of her Spring ’13 lineup. “I’m driven by making interchangeable items that will live in my customers’ closets for years.”

Like her previous collections, the latest features gorgeous silks, wools, and linens sourced entirely from family-operated Italian mills, and was produced in New York’s Garment District. “I fully support local businesses in both countries,” she says, even if that means getting her textile orders in a little early to account for Italy’s famous month-long summer vacations. “I still don’t know anyone who finishes silks like the Italians; it’s in their blood.”

Knits have emerged as a signature. There were several rose gold-colored tanks here that incorporated a variety of cable stitches that “look like pieces of armor on the body,” according to Partow, and took two weeks apiece to hand-knit. Other standouts include tailored jackets with flouncy peplums as well as easy shift dresses trimmed in python-effect nubuck. (Partow, like many of us, is tired of loud prints and prefers playing with subtle textures). The designer herself is a self-described “pants” girl (as an avid boxer, she’s apparently got a bit of a tomboy streak in her) and showed a lipstick red cap-sleeve jumpsuit that will have women forgoing their evening gowns for all-in-one functionality. For Partow, classic shapes plus quality fabrics multiplied by self-confidence equals true style that doesn’t fade. It’s a simple formula that proves difficult for many designers to execute, but considering recent pickups by Saks Fifth Avenue, where she hangs next to labels including Stella McCartney and The Row, and a slew of smaller boutiques, it appears Partow is on the right track.

Photo: Courtesy of Nellie Partow