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Balenciaga’s Wake Up Call

Nicolas Ghesquière Takes His Exit — On Novemeber 5, 2012 Nicolas Ghesquière took leave of his 15 year reign as creative director for the house of Balenciaga. Founded in 1918 by the Basque designer Cristobal Balenciaga, Balenciaga emerged as one of the great design establishments in the early decades of the twentieth century, and under the auspices of Ghesquière re-emerged as one of the greats of the twenty-first. Last year in San Francisco the de Young Museum mounted an extraordinary exhibition "Balenciaga and Spain" where three decades of sartorial genius were on display, tracing the designer's career as it was inspired and cultivated by Spanish traditions. In his in his introduction to the catalogue Balenciaga and Spain, Vogue's … [Read more...]

Black, White, and Narciso

RTW 2013, New York Fashion Week – Marc Jacobs Marc Jacobs was clearly the master of the change-up at this year's New York Spring 2013 Ready To Wear. Just when I was getting used to all those funny hats and ample bustlines from fall, (which made no sense too me on the runway, but by the time they made their way into their print editions I was completely sold!) he throws us a total curve ball with lean and clean lines reminiscent of a trip to Warhol's Factory where Edie Sedgwick might be holding court. A complete palette cleanser of a show and with a long silhouette executed with the cool clear directive for simplicity. The finale was represented by a series gowns and jumpsuits with exceptional and lavish geometric beading that not … [Read more...]

JPG’s Tour De Force

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, De Young Museum, Herbst Exhibition Galleries – " template="/homepages/38/d268432783/htdocs/wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/products/photocrati_nextgen/modules/ngglegacy/view/gallery.php" order_by="sortorder" order_direction="ASC" returns="included" maximum_entity_count="500"]   In this first Jean Paul Gaultier retrospective, From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, one is thunderstruck by an ambiance of transgressive diversity. These collections embody a cacophony of couture beauty like none other. Sometimes dark outré matter prevails, then sometimes it's just a bit naughty, but any subject matter put to the test is always executed with artistic tour de … [Read more...]

Passionate Pastimes

Rachel Comey, Proenza Schouler and Dolce Gabbana, Spring RTW 2012 – I have to confess that the annual Spring Fashion unavailing escaped my attention this year in favor of another passionate pastime, the Major League Baseball Postseason. The excitement that lead up to the World Series and the subsequent Saint Louis batsmen last minute win, surprisingly overpowered my usual unquenchable sartorial desires. I couldn't get enough of those Cardinals delicately balanced on the bat and felt compelled not to give Rick Perry anything more to look all gloaty about. My rooting was resolute and all consuming. Then emptied, and drained of all baseball input I reached out for more, downloaded Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding and gobbled that … [Read more...]

Hit Hard

Yamamoto, Watanabe and Mikaye, Fall RTW 2011 – Magnitude. I cannot fathom the sheer force unleashed on the Northeast coast of Japan by the largest earthquake ever recorded. I am no stranger to the shakes. The Northridge earthquake of 1994 lasted 20 seconds and the fear of imminent death undermined my core sense of self. Five minutes of a 9.0 is unimaginable. There is no material preparation for the enormity of that kind of impact. There is compassion. There is today. I urge people to put aside their crisis fatigue and continue to donate to the worldwide effort to help the people of Japan sustain, recuperate and rebuild. The Red Cross operates 92 hospitals in Japan, has deployed 700 medical relief volunteers across … [Read more...]

A Considerable Collection

Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915 LACMA Resnick Pavilion, October 2, 2010–March 6, 2011 – Photography by Nancy Baron Fashioning Fashion, one of the inaugural exhibitions of the Renzo Piano designed Lynda and Stewart Resnick Pavilion, is a trove of European clothing that speaks to both the evolution of style and the historical narrative of technical innovation covering a span of more than two hundred years. The show is the culmination of the gift from donors Michael and Ellen Michelson and Suzanne Saperstein, that when integrated with the objects and holdings of the LACMA's Costume and Textile departments, now make Los Angeles a destination of consequence for European costume studies. Stewards Sharon S. … [Read more...]

The Fashionable Mr. Anger

Missoni Fall Campaign 2010, a film by Kenneth Anger Puce Moment (1949), a film by Kenneth Anger – September is here and even though I have thoroughly combed through the collections, I still race to see how the venerable magazine fashion editors piece it all back together. So far I have found the the massive amount of pulp to be fairly prosaic (yes I capitulate there are a few economic restraints to reflect upon), and really, what could possibly compete with Fall 2009's Grace Coddington Little Red Riding Hood spread? This year however, before I could even crack the magazine covers, my fashionista cohorts were directing me towards another venerable artiste who seems to be in vogue once more. Kenneth Anger, the … [Read more...]

Summer Cover

Menswear Spring / Summer 2011 – I have to say that I had a much harder time than I expected trying to narrow the field for Menswear Spring 2011, but my first impulse is to run with what really works. This is how I would have sent David de Rothchild packing for his latest eco-crusade expedition aboard Plaskti, in search of Eastern Garbage Patch, an island of trash twice the size of Texas located in the Pacific Ocean. From creative director Alessandro Sartori of Z Zenga, the fashion forward branch of the 100 year Ermenegildo Zegna family empire, this ultra light, multo functional outwear is just the thing for our fearless adventure ecologist. I think Mr. de Rothchild would also feel comfortable wearing material produced by a company … [Read more...]

Living in The Material World

Be Here Nau – Putting principles into practice for any organization is challenging and in the world of fashion this is no exception. But for the people of the Nau it's all in a days work. Theirs is a green goal, a complete commitment from cradle to grave to sustainable business practices, materials and style. Every garment, every accessory is designed, manufactured and distributed looking at the big picture. Their enthusiasm and eco spirit is infectious. I make a personal commitment to update my wardrobe at least once a year with a piece from Nau and become a bit evangelistic, particularly when I hear of a friend or relative who might be traveling abroad by insisting they consider packing a garment, scarf or satchel on their … [Read more...]

Family Fun

Missoni, Milan RTW Fall 2010 – In a season filled with respectable, rational, dressed offerings, some of which I cannot resist myself (there is a white coat at Gucci that is formidable!), the show that I still return to with relish is Missoni. It was a passionate display of pattern, texture, color, and family fun. Prepped by the ad campaign that featured three generations of Missonis, bathed in zigzags, delighting in one another and mugging for photographer Jurgen Teller, one could not help but succumb to the ebullient clan atmosphere of the collection. The throw pieces pinned at various points of the body come down the runway with a defiant spirit as if to say "clean cut camel...not interested!" Those familiar with the Missoni … [Read more...]