11 posts tagged "Valerie Steele"
Preen by Thornton Bregazzi is headed back to London. After showing in New York for five years, the label’s co-founder Justin Thornton feels the time is right. “We originally left for New York because we wanted to expand the business and grow internationally,” he said. “Today, London is a very different fashion week to what it once was, and it’s a great place for us to show.” [WWD]
Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince of the Kills are looking back on ten years of touring. To mark the occasion, they have reinterpreted the Fleetwood Mac classic “Dreams” for their new album Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac. Catch a decade of photos accompanied by the duo’s rendition of the song on Nowness.com today. [Nowness]
Care to see the results of Swedish electronic king Avicii’s collaboration with Denim and Supply? Ralph Lauren has finally released images of his first-ever ad campaign, which was shot in New York by Mark Seliger. Avicii is front-and-center showing off the collection’s earthy palette of flannel and leather. [Rolling Stone]
Valerie Steele is toasting gay fashion designers. The Museum at FIT director has announced plans for her latest exhibition, entitled Queer Style: From the Closet to the Catwalk, which will highlight gay designers and their influence on the industry. Dior, Saint Laurent, and Versace are just a few names on Steele’s list to be included in the showcase that is slated to open next year. [Vogue U.K.]
When we set out to tell the story of 2011 by the numbers, one loomed especially large: 661,509, the record-breaking number of visitors who lined up, often for hours at a time, to see the Costume Institute’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (left) at the Met.
But it wasn’t just a banner year for the Met and the late, great McQueen; designers and museums forged a strong bond this year, one that looks likely to continue well into the next. Museums across the globe invited designers into their halls and the results have made for some of the best exhibitions in memory.
During Couture week, Hussein Chalayan opened a retrospective at Paris’ Musée des Arts Decoratifs, where next year, Marc Jacobs and his work for Louis Vuitton will take up residence. The City of Light also played host to Ralph Lauren and his collection of automobiles (it also now boasts an enormous new RL store and restaurant, one of the town’s new favorite spots for burgers). And Florence is the new home of the Museo Gucci, opened during Milan’s Spring 2012 week with all due fanfare, and a Blondie performance to boot.
In America, socials flocked to San Francisco for the opening of Balenciaga and Spain (which also traveled to New York) and to Dallas for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, which debuted earlier this year at Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts. Just this month, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte opened RODARTE: Fra Angelico, a show of the dresses their created for their June presentation at Pitti, at L.A.’s LACMA.
Farther afield, Dior went to Russia, where house jewelry designer Camille Micelli sent us this postcard, for Inspiration Dior, attended, naturally, by a lavish party. And the Netherlands continues to be a slightly off-the-radar destination for fashion’s cultural tourists. A retrospective of the work of Azzedine Alaïa is now on view in Gronningen, outside Amsterdam, and the capital’s contemporary-photo museum, FOAM, which hosted the likes of Jefferson Hack for a panel on What’s Next, which followed a retrospective of work by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin—one which eventually became the germ of their new career-spanning anthology, Pretty Much Everything.
Here in New York, the more traditional homes of fashion, like FIT’s Fashion Museum, were busy, too. The museum recently opened the first part of The Great Designers, including Armani, Dior, Givenchy, and McQueen, and plans to open part two in March. Chief curator and museum director Valerie Steele also worked with clotheshorse and collector Daphne Guinness on an exhibition of her own holdings—which, it turns out, Guinness keeps organized via computer database.
Next year, all eyes will be on Miuccia Prada for the next Costume Institute exhibition, Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada on Fashion. But before then, there’s a Louboutin retrospective in London to look forward to, on the heels of the shoemaker’s victory-lap 20th anniversary year. And WWD reports today that several fashion labels are taking a renewed interest in their own histories, too. Balmain is ramping up its archival holdings, and Chloé recently brought on an in-house archivist, in anticipation of a retrospective planned for its 60th anniversary next year.
In Manhattan, where a walk-in closet is a covetable luxury, finding the space to house over 50,000 garments and accessories is no small feat. Over the course of several years, that’s exactly what the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) has managed to do. Now, a hand-picked selection of looks are coming out of storage for two consecutive exhibitions, The Great Designers: Part One (opened yesterday) and Part Two, along with a pair of books to match (due out next year).
“For the general public it’s going to be the big names—Armani, Chanel, Dior—that are the attraction, but personally, I’m really excited about the opportunity it gave us to build out our contemporary collection,” Valerie Steele, the museum’s director and chief curator, said at the press preview of the Part One exhibition (co-curated by Jennifer Farley and Colleen Hill) this morning. Of the tomes, highlighting 500 looks by 100 designers from the twentieth century onward, Steele added, “I have wanted to do a book for the museum with Taschen for a long time, ever since they did a fantastic publication for the Kyoto Costume Institute.”
Both the exhibitions and books gave Steele a fun excuse to “shop”—two of the most exciting purchases are a black wool coat with delicate gold embroidery from Alexander McQueen’s Fall 1997 collection for Givenchy and a liquid silver Thierry Mugler mermaid dress from 1987. Part One features approximately 50 garments from several generations of designers. It was surprising to see how easily current looks by designers like Prada (a black and baby blue guipure lace and cotton frock from the memorable Fall 2008 collection) blended with early-twentieth-century pieces. The black Paul Poiret silk faille coat from 1908, trimmed with fine black and gold fringe that doubled for fur at a distance, is great for today’s pelt-wary. An Elsa Schiaparelli gown in black rayon, cut on the bias and with a swirling flower print, had an asymmetrical shoulder seen on many of the gowns in recent runway seasons.
The Great Designers, Part One at the Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27th Street. On view November 29 to May 8, 2012.
“What was it like to go through Daphne Guinness’ closet?” someone asked Valerie Steele at the Museum at FIT Friday morning, minutes before Daphne Guinness, the exhibit, opened its doors.
“Closets—not closet,” Steele, who curated the exhibit, corrected. “It truly was every girl’s dream.” Standing next to Steele was Guinness herself, immaculately dressed in one of her signature more-is-more outfits, complete with heel-less black claw shoes. The duo spent months sifting through Guinness’ extensive collection of one-of-kind McQueen, Givenchy, and Rick Owens pieces in London and New York, eventually narrowing it down to 100 items for display. What stands out about Guinness, through the exhibit, and conversation, is her profound appreciation for the art of fashion that extends far beyond most peoples’, fashion insiders included. For Guinness, every intricate stitch and button detail provides a visual fixation, a tool for performance art (“sometimes it’s just the only way to deal with things”), and, at times, a shield of sorts.
“I used to use [fashion] as a defense, in a way,” Guinness tells the audience. “It was a protective tool, and now it’s not.” Guinness and Steele sat down with Style.com to talk about how they managed to work through Guinness’ collection of over 2,500 garments, why chic is no longer an armor, and what they learned through the process.
How did you pick out the pieces for the exhibit? It must have been pretty tough to narrow it down.
VS: Daphne is so organized, she has a computer database on all of the clothes. First thing we did, I went through and circled all the ones we wanted and Daphne went through that list. Then, we kept looking in the closets in New York, her apartment in London, and finding more things. Just a week and a half ago, Daphne found in a box in London—it was a McQueen for Givenchy cape that had been lost and she called me to put it in the show, so we did.
DG: It’s the only organized thing I did in the last three years. Yes, the cape had been split apart from the dress that went with it.
Daphne, it must have been tough to part with some of these pieces, right?
DG: I got Lee [McQueen] to make the black cape in that transparent material and I was like, “Oh, I really love it, I don’t know if I can part with it for the exhibit.” Then I thought, “OK, I signed up for this and it’s got to mean something here, so I will include it.” Also, it was really important for me to be here and be a part of putting all of this together. You can’t style it like it was on the runway because that was the artist’s vision, but it’s not necessarily how I would do it. Or, how I would wear it on a different day, in fact.
VS: At one point, Daphne even asked me, “Do I style it like I would now or at that time when I got it?” I told her to style it like she would now. We thought it would take days and days to style it, but it was really fast.
Daphne, when you look through it today, do you already want to change how it’s styled in the exhibit?
DG: No, I’m really comfortable and happy with it. It all makes sense now and really puts it into context. Valerie has done a great job of putting it into the context of why I have certain things. For example, David LaChapelle, he was always the best at lending things. Also, he gave me a couple of pieces, which no one ever does, ever. I have never been given anything in my life actually.
DG: Yeah, really. It’s so unfair—no, you know what’s good about it? I think that’s why I had close relationships with these people; it’s because I wasn’t trying to use them. It was an equal thing. They knew I was in it for the right reasons and I knew they were in it for the right reasons. And, when you are a designer, a lot of these people don’t have any money. People think because they have a name that they have money, but they don’t. They put their heart and soul into it. They really do. A lot of people feel entitled about it and like they don’t have to give back. I find that so disrespectful to someone’s art, especially knowing how many hours of work they have put into it. Continue Reading “Daphne Guinness, Undressed” »
The New York Times devoted an impressive number of online inches to tackling the thorny questions of whether to wear high heels or not, asking a varied crew—a podiatrist, fashion historian Valerie Steele, a London fashion blogger—to sound off on the issue. Just to clarify, I’m not being sarcastic. It’s impressive because wearing high heels is a real and nuanced issue with which many women grapple, but it’s also one of those of debates that can be easily dismissed as fluff. Sure, there are those glamorous girls who claim that they’re unaffected by a day in nose-bleed stilettos, but I don’t fully buy it. I know how I feel after hours of running around in four-inchers, and yet I do still wear them.
Although, talk to any doctor about what very high heels do to your back, knees, and feet, and you’ll wish you never asked. Of course, high heels are also incredibly chic and make women feel not only stylish but more powerful—especially in the workplace. Still, recently in the U.K., there were unions calling to ban heels for workers with the backing of the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists. We did see some kinder, gentler shoes for Spring but what mostly seems to catch our collective eye is footwear that can be described as “sick” and “killer.” (See what makes the cut in our tireless street style photoblogger Tommy Ton’s beautiful pics.) How do you feel about the issue? Do you wear your Kirkwoods and Louboutins with abandon? Are you worried about the future of your feet? Let us know below.