30 posts tagged "Suzy Menkes"
Thanks to Suzy Menkes’ recent T magazine article “The Circus of Fashion,” and the mobs of shutterbugs outside the Fall ’13 runway shows, the hysteria that is street-style culture was a hot topic this fashion month. What’s the obsession? How did we get here? And how is it affecting, and indicative of, the state of the fashion industry? In a new film titled Take My Picture, Dasha Zhukova’s Garage magazine examines all this and more. Through footage of the ever-growing sea of bloggers at fashion week, and commentary from the likes of Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, Susie Bubble, Phil Oh (who describes street-style snapping as “trench warfare”), and Style.com’s own Tim Blanks, Garage dissects what makes bloggers, and their increasingly wildly dressed subjects, tick. The mini-doc debuts exclusively above, and will be up on GarageMag.com this weekend.
Front-row fashion-watchers tend to be in one season, out the next, but one woman is a fixture: Suzy Menkes. Anyone who’s been to a show has likely seen the International Herald Tribune‘s critic, her bangs flipped into that signature top-roll, typing away on her mini computer (long before any blogger picked up on the trend, it should be noted). She’s written over 1.7 million words for the Trib, where she’s served as fashion editor since 1988. She’s both a tough critic and a nurturing presence—or, to put it more bluntly, as Kate Moss did when speaking to the New Yorker, she’s “like a slightly mad auntie.” During the upcoming menswear shows at Pitti Uomo, Menkes will be awarded the Fiorino d’Oro, an honor given by the Municipality of Florence to individuals who have greatly contributed to social and cultural development. For anyone in need of a primer on Menkesism, a few key moments in her rise and illustrious career:
—Menkes attended her fist couture show—Nina Ricci—while living in Paris and studying dressmaking during her gap year between high school and university.
—While at university, Menkes would sneak into the Paris show venues at 5 a.m. and hide under the stage until she could creep out and watch the collections walk down the runway.
—In 1991, during a Michael Kors show in an apparently derelict loft, a piece of the ceiling fell on Ms. Menkes’ head. The mishap caused her to deem New York fashion week “second rate.” But there was a silver lining—the incident caused New York’s designers to show their future collections in a single, less dilapidated, location—Bryant Park.
—In the nineties, Menkes prompted what was, perhaps, one of fashion journalism’s earliest open letters when she declared that the classic quilted Chanel bag was “over.” The house took out a full-page ad in the Tribune in protest.
—In 2007, perturbed by Marc Jacobs’ infamously tardy Spring 2008 show (it began two hours late), and unimpressed with his collection, Menkes wrote a review titled “Marc Jacobs Disappoints With a Freak Show.” Naturally, a fashion feud ensued. Jacobs eventually attempted to make amends by leaving a Marc Jacobs T-shirt on Menkes’ seat at that season’s Vuitton show. The shirt featured a drawing of the designer and critic side by side, as well as a “love note.” The note she may have appreciated; the gift, maybe not. She famously refuses all gifts, saying, “I was brought up to believe a girl should never accept anything but flowers and chocolates.”
—In 2012, Menkes reached her latest pinnacle: animation. Disney artists created a cartoon Suzy to sit front-row for the festivities surrounding the Barneys New York and Disney holiday windows.
By now, Alexander Wang’s appointment at Balenciaga is old news, but the question of why he was chosen still has the industry buzzing. One argument runs that he’s got a hip young international following and that his contemporary-cool approach to dressing could prove an interesting new direction for the super-luxury brand. (His proven ability to create It bags doesn’t hurt, either.) Another, espoused by Suzy Menkes in the IHT and propelled by Karl Lagerfeld’s recent endorsement, puts the California-born Taiwanese designer’s roots in China at the center of the dialogue.
Should they be? Given luxury fashion’s rapidly expanding consumer base in China, it’s not surprising that many have gravitated toward the latter argument. But that it’s not surprising doesn’t mean that it’s especially logical or fair. Last night, PPR CEO and chairman François-Henri Pinault had his say, in an interview with CBS’ Rebecca Jarvis. “Alexander Wang is young and he has a very universal culture. He is American with Chinese roots. His family is based in Shanghai. He has a very strong talent not only when it comes to accessible product, but his talent could also be adapted for couture at Balenciaga,” he said. When asked if Wang’s family ties were a key factor, he responded with a definitive “No.” “It is a mixture of value that Alexander will bring. It was really [a matter of] let’s find the right talent, the right skills, the right profile for the reality of the brand.”
To see Alexander Wang’s Pre-Fall 2013 collection, new on Style.com today, click here.
It was announced today that Lanvin’s visionary creative director, Alber Elbaz, will receive the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund’s Geoffrey Beene Fashion Impact Award—an honor that’s likely especially poignant for the designer, given that he began his career working with Beene. “It was a very beautiful relationship over almost seven years,” Elbaz said of his mentor in a 2005 interview with the International Herald Tribune‘s Suzy Menkes. The YMA foundation, a non-for-profit organization that aids over 100 fashion students with scholarships, internships, mentorships, and career programs each year, will present Elbaz with the award at its annual dinner in New York on January 8.