10 posts tagged "The Gap"
“I was looking to speak to the street,” said Brooklyn-based artist Roman Grandinetti of the point of direction for his new murals. Currently on display on Kenmare Street and Ludlow Street, the works were commissioned by Vice and the Gap for Gap’s Art of Blue project—the visual street component of Gap’s just-launched denim-heavy Back to Blue campaign. “The concept of the wall is about different tones of blue being thrown together—it’s not so directed, kind of like how downtown is,” explained Grandinetti, who grew up in New York, moonlights as a deejay, and is a largely self-trained. “On top of that design, I injected how downtown is becoming a tad more organized and a little more fine-tuned with numbers. Saint Laurent is now downtown. Balenciaga is now downtown. The newcomers are kind of making it streamlined,” he added.
The two murals—which Grandinetti will complete today using a paint-filled fire extinguisher—are an ode to today’s downtown New York. The walls are splashed with chaotically strewn shades of ultramarine and cerulean, which are overlaid with bold, printed numbers—including a very prominent 1969—stamped in Gap-denim blue. “It was a way to tie all my favorite places that are influenced by art or that attach themselves to art in one way, shape, or form,” explained the artist of the numbers (which refer to phone numbers in downtown Manhattan). “And [to convey] that blue has a feeling.”
Grandinetti, who got his start in the music industry and just recently put up a mural on Ludlow commemorating A$AP Ferg’s debut album release, is one of five artists to leave their vision in blue for the Gap. “There’s one in London. One in Paris. I’m super psyched [to be a part of this],” says Grandinetti. “It’s an amazing feeling to have something in the street and have people live with it.”
Patrick Robinson’s had a big couple of weeks. Last Thursday, the former Gap designer announced his new urban sportswear line, PASHKO, via a Kickstarter campaign (he’s 2K and change away from having enough funding to get the project rolling). Yesterday, Robinson was named the new creative director of Armani Exchange, and today, we can reveal that (drumroll please…) Robinson is designing the uniforms for Chelsea’s swank new High Line Hotel, which, located at 180 tenth avenue, is scheduled to soft-open in April. Naturally, Robinson didn’t create just any old outfits; rather, he’s imagined wares that are functional, cool, comfortable, and approachable (“People are more approachable when they’re comfortable,” he said). “I start every project by thinking about how people are going to connect with it,” Robinson told Style.com, adding that he was intrigued and inspired by the building itself—a former seminary built in 1895. He got a “collegiate” vibe from the space, and translated this into black, burgundy, and white uniforms that offer a contemporary take on a prep school aesthetic. For starters, everyone gets a cardigan. The housekeeping crew will receive an “elongated” look via black trousers and a long, fluid, jersey shirt with three-quarter sleeves. For the bellmen, the designer is making twist neck t-shirts and sophisticated slacks with six pockets (but they are not cargo pants, he insists), and hostesses will wear soft knit tunics and peg-leg pants. “I feel like women in hotels always get stuck wearing dresses, and I don’t feel like that’s modern,” he explained. His uniforms, however, seem very modern, and even covetable, as you might be able to tell from the five exclusive sketches Robinson sent us (above).
When asked about the new A/X gig, Robinson remained tight lipped, but he did tell us that his simultaneous trio of new projects is not part of a calculated comeback. “Are you kidding me? I’m not that smart,” he laughed. “I couldn’t have planned it this well.” Planned or no, Robinson’s return looks pretty promising.
There’s another seat open at the designer fashion table. News broke today that Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi (above), creative directors of Gianfranco Ferré, are out at the Italian house (no word on their namesake collection, which presumably will continue for the present). Reports blame dwindling sales for the duo’s departure. But they’re only the latest in a string of designers who have left or been ousted from their positions at major European labels: Milan Vukmirovic at Trussardi 1911; Clare Waight Keller at Pringle of Scotland; Vanessa Seward at Azzaro. (Christophe Decarnin is out at Balmain, though under murkier circumstances; and of course, John Galliano has been let go from both Christian Dior and his namesake label. Although Chloé’s Hannah MacGibbon has been signed for another season, some industry observers are speculating that her time at the label is nearing a close—a speculation not necessarily refuted by the terse statements label CEO Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye has been giving the press.)
No one would argue that getting fired is fun. But it’s worth remembering that, in fashion at least, many of those who have been removed from their posts—either gently (with contracts not renewed) or not so gently—have gone on to bigger and better. The classic example is Yves Saint Laurent. The young designer took the top spot at Christian Dior when Dior himself died suddenly in 1957. Saint Laurent created a few headline-making shows, but soon after ran afoul of the management and was summarily dismissed. The result? His own label, founded in 1961. The rest, as they say, is history.
In more recent years, there’s the famous story of Marc Jacobs, fired from Perry Ellis after his seminal Spring ’93 grunge collection—too hot for the American label’s taste, but seen in retrospect as enduringly influential. (Patrick Robinson also got the axe at Perry Ellis before landing at another American sportswear legend: The Gap.) Both Peter Dundas and Giambattista Valli exited the house of Ungaro under dark clouds; today, their collections (for Emilio Pucci and for Valli’s namesake line) are among the most admired in fashion. Olivier Theyskens has gone from Rochas to Nina Ricci to current acclaim at Theory, and Alessandra Facchinetti, formerly of Gucci and Valentino, has found new life working on Tom Ford’s womenswear. As for Ford, he has seen both sides: famously losing his Gucci crown before starting his own empire, while also electing not to retain Alber Elbaz at YSL in the late nineties. “From every place or everything you do, you learn what to do and also you learn what not to do,” Elbaz told Style.com of the experience in an interview last year. “I would not change anything if you would ask me. I would still go through the experience I went through. I learned a lot from it. I went through a certain experience that wasn’t easy, but guess what? Nothing is easy anyway, so I’m fine with that.” As the creative director of Lanvin, Elbaz has brought the label back to relevance and racked up success after success; it may not be easy, but he sure makes it look that way.
What will the future hold for Aquilano and Rimondi, Decarnin, or even Galliano (whose own rather more complicated situation is discussed at length in WWD today)? Too soon to tell. Some will argue that in today’s economic climate opportunities will be fewer and corporate titans more inclined to pick low key, perhaps unknown designers. But to judge from the past, fashion is a merry go-round (or should that be rollercoaster?), and for some of these designers at least, it’s entirely possible that the best is yet to come.
“We built this store for people to interact,” Patrick Robinson says of The Gap’s new 1969 shop in Soho, the retailer’s second standalone boutique (following an L.A. store) for its premium denim line. “The dressing rooms face each other, because customers are networking while they try on jeans. They want someone to tell them their ass looks great.”
If it does, it’s largely thanks to Robinson’s efforts over the last few seasons to modernize and update his denim offerings, creating new styles and hunting for premium fabrics to use exclusively in the 1969 range. For Spring, that includes high-rise trouser jeans and bootcut styles for women, and some seriously skinny pants for men, all priced—understandably enough—around $69. The look is a little more forward than The Gap’s standard collection. “There’s just a little bit of separation here with special fits and new ideas for the denim crazy people,” Robinson explains. The store will stock jeans previously only available in Europe and Japan, and up next, accessories, sexy blouses, and leather pieces. Woman cannot live on denim alone.
As for those store-sponsored interactions—they don’t stop at the dressing rooms (or at the ass). The 1969 shop will have an iPad station for customers to get styling ideas for their new jeans or update their Twitter status.
The Gap’s 1969 Soho store is now open at 513 Broadway, NYC, (212) 431-2686.
2010 may go down in fashion history as the year we reclaimed our gym clothes. Designers embraced the mélange sweatshirt, which almost immediately became the piece to have. In Europe, Dries Van Noten kicked off the trend with his elegantly urbane Fall ’10 show. So did Isabel Marant, a longtime sweatshirt enthusiast, who gussied hers up with disco sparkle. In New York, the Marc Jacobs opened with a sleeveless sweatshirt on his then-new discovery Tati Cotliar, and Alexander Wang sent out plenty of big-shouldered versions at his football-themed Fall show.
Since then, the fever has raged on. While girls on a budget have discovered that The Gap makes a pretty serviceable version, big spenders went wild for Bally’s three-figure version, one of the new ideas from the label’s new designers, Graeme Fidler and Michael Herz, who showed them for Spring. And just yesterday, in his pre-fall collection, Phillip Lim debuted his own new take (left)—one that was inspired by the slouchy sweats his assistants were wearing to the office. His model comes embellished with crystals for a piece that’ll play anywhere. “Smart move,” wrote Nicole Phelps. With its new glamour, it’s as ready for the office as the after-party—and officially emancipated from the gym.