124 posts tagged "Versace"
No one has ever looked as good in their Calvins as Christy Turlington. In this week’s Throwback Thursdays video, Tim Blanks looks back on the supermodel’s trailblazing career and indefinable beauty—and, of course, those sexy Calvin Klein commercials. As one-third of the nineties “trinity” of supermodels (along with Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista), Turlington was, according to Blanks, the “purest beauty” of them all. Was it her slight Latino flavor? Or her versatility, shifting from a Calvin girl one day to a Versace girl the next? More than a decade later, it’s still difficult to put our finger on it. One thing is for sure: Her impact is as strong as ever. You can see the full video here.
“When somebody says the word Versace to you, a very clear image probably forms in your mind,” Tim Blanks says in today’s Throwback Thursday video. He’s right, of course—there’s the gold Medusa logo, the bondage dresses, and the famed seductive vibe. Gianni Versace’s Fall 1992 show was the peak of this “aggressively sexual” aesthetic—he did call it “Miss S&M,” after all—but there was a deeper, less obvious meaning behind the collection. Blanks attests that the clothes are both physically and intellectually provocative; at the time, the AIDS epidemic was in full force, and Versace’s collection called on the audience to consider sexuality in a different way. No one thought the clothes would sell, but to this day they remain some of Versace’s most-coveted pieces. Miley Cyrus wore a vintage Versace ’92 bondage dress last year. How’s that for staying power? Watch the full video here.
When Karl Lagerfeld rounded up the fashion set in Dallas for Chanel’s rodeo of a Métiers d’Arts show back in December, sending all manner of Lone Star-inspired embroideries and fringed suede (not to mention a Chanel No. 5 holster) down the runway, we figured we’d see a Western revival. Just weeks later, both Alexander Wang and Fausto Puglisi featured city-ready cowgirl boots in their respective Pre-Fall lineups. Not long after that, Donatella Versace went maverick with her Fall menswear collection, which boasted updated chaps, bolo ties, and sharp suits embellished with horseshoe, cactus, and sheriff’s badge motifs. And don’t forget Ralph Lauren. An original pioneer of the frontier style, he put his Polo women’s collection on the catwalk for the first time, and trotted out serape blanket coats and prairie skirts. The Americana movement has taken hold in the streets, too, with models such as Hanne Gaby Odiele incorporating old-school bandannas into their off-duty wardrobes. Stetsons and 10-gallon hats, meanwhile, have become a phenomenon in their own right: The wide-brimmed toppers have replaced fedoras as hipsters’ headwear of choice. But fashion isn’t the only industry romanticizing the Wild West. A new wave of Western flicks (including Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman, which debuted at Cannes over the weekend) will hit theaters this year.
This weekend, the Savannah College of Art and Design honored Stephen Burrows with the André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award. His dresses, a huge hit in the 1970s, were able to perfectly capture the zeitgeist of the time: Technicolor jersey designed to dance the night away. We sat down with Burrows to discuss his pivotal appearance in 1973′s now iconic Battle of Versailles, the importance of business savvy, and how he believes that Gianni Versace copied his idea for metal mesh.
You studied at FIT. What was it like there in the 1960s?
It was exciting! I learned a lot there, I met some friends who became part of our group and we went into business together. Everyone would wear my clothes, and we would all go out together, and that’s how we all got recognized.
What is the most important thing you learned in fashion school?
I wish I had been more interested in the business part of it, but they didn’t really teach that at the time. I went into fashion school not really knowing anything about fabrics, the grains, patternmaking, but I learned all of that during my time there. I learned that I prefer to drape. Some people who are better patternmakers can look at a garment and see its flat parts—I always preferred to drape; I find it very relaxing.
Did you have any idea how significant the Versailles show in 1973 would become?
At the time it wasn’t significant to anyone except us. And it was just another benefit! It wasn’t supposed to be this battle they call it now. It just turned into that because the French were just so tacky. We didn’t even have scenery—we had brought some, but we couldn’t use it. It was too small—they measured it in inches instead of meters—so we had to get rid of it! Our stage ended up being bare, which looked incredibly modern. And our show, all five of us lasted half an hour. And the French show lasted for two hours! They had sleighs and reindeer, all these props, and it was just too long. And then we came on, and in half an hour we turned it out, and the crowd was screaming! They threw their programs in the air and were so amazed. But I did meet Saint Laurent that day, and he told me I make beautiful clothes, so I sort of knew that was an iconic moment for me.
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing young designers today?
Finding funding is really hard, especially for minorities. It’s so different today than it was back then. You need so much more money to do anything today, and it’s all about branding. Back then, if you had $50,000, you could start a business. Now today, you need probably $5 million and that maybe lasts a year.
What would you consider your single greatest achievement?
The lettuce edge. It came from a mistake that became this big thing. We were making something, and I stretched the fabric by accident. It’s about pulling the fabric as you’re sewing them, and that became a trademark of mine. And chain mail—I was the first one to do it, before [Gianni] Versace did it. Of course, he saw it in a show we did in Japan called The Best Six, and the next season he happened to have chain mail in his collection.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
I wish I had been more business inclined. And that’s because I hated math—I barely made it out of high school because of math. To me, 2 and 2 is 5, and that’s why I like knits, but for accounting, that doesn’t really work.
Are there any young designers you find particularly exciting right now?
I love Gareth Pugh, when it’s not too costumey. That’s the problem with fashion today, it’s too costumey. Where on earth are you going? In this outfit that costs $9 million! Where are you going!
And are there any other qualms you have with fashion at the moment?
Well, another problem I have is that girls don’t really know how to walk in trains. The train ends up in between their legs, and they’re kicking it in front of them instead of the train being in back where it belongs. They don’t know quite how to kick the train so it follows them instead of coming up between their legs. If you’re going to wear a dress, you need to learn how to carry it.
What advice would you offer young designers?
Learn about the financial side of fashion. That will keep you alive with a healthy business. You need to mix the commercial with what you do. Many young designers fight against that, but that’s what you need to make a healthy business—to learn how to blend the two together.
Unexpected news comes from the house of Sonia Rykiel today. The brand announced that Julie de Libran has been appointed as artistic director, replacing Geraldo da Conceicao, who spent only five seasons at the helm of the label. Like Da Conceicao, De Libran comes from Louis Vuitton, where she essentially served as Marc Jacobs’ right-hand woman during her five years as the house’s studio director of women’s ready-to-wear. She also headed up Vuitton’s Resort and Pre-Fall collections. De Libran, who did stints at Prada, Versace, Gianfranco Ferré, and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac before her Vuitton tenure, departed LV after Nicolas Ghesquière took the reins. Her first collection for Sonia Rykiel—a house best known for its Parisian irreverence and gorgeous but wearable knits—will debut in Paris during the Spring ’15 shows.
So why the sudden switch? For starters, De Libran has more experience—and industry clout—than Da Conceicao. She was more or less the face of Vuitton’s pre-collections and is familiar with speaking to the press, and designing in line with a particular style or vision. It’s worth noting that the house and First Heritage Brands, which acquired an 80 percent stake in Sonia Rykiel in February 2012, have expressed via a release that De Libran’s hire is part of a “relaunch strategy and accelerated international development.” One might argue that given her name recognition and design track record, De Libran is more qualified than her predecessor to “develop” the label. Furthermore, as Sonia Rykiel’s daughter Nathalie states, De Libran is “a woman, a Frenchwoman. An international woman and a talented one. A woman who enjoys dressing herself and designing for other women.” While one could, I suppose, make a case for reverse sexism here, the fact that De Libran is a femme française who adores fashion (just take a look at the street-style blogs or her Instagram account for proof) and manages to juggle a career and a family allows her to understand the Sonia Rykiel ethos better than a male designer might. Whatever the reason for her appointment, I look forward to seeing what the designer brings to Rykiel in September.