13 posts tagged "Valerie Steele"
“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.
We could probably all use a story about a job interview gone right, and Francisco Costa was happy to provide one at FIT on Monday night. During a Q&A session with Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Calvin Klein womenswear creative director remembered interviewing with Tom Ford at Gucci earlier in his career. Lacking a proper portfolio, he stayed up all night sketching prior to the meeting. Those must have been some sketches because according to Costa, they prompted the following exchange:
Ford: Get a lawyer.
Costa: Why do I need a lawyer?
Ford: I want you to come work for me.
Proof that even before he turned his attention to directing movies, TF had a way with snappy dialogue.