Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I always wonder about well-placed leaks in the press, even well before Karl Rove's little tete-a-tetes with Judith Miller (and we all know what happened to her.)

So this latest rumor about Alessandra Facchinetti getting the boot, the very stylish and well-heeled one at least, at Valentino has me wondering. Not that I didn't wonder way back when her appointment was first announced. I mean, coming from Gucci, she wasn't the most obvious fit.

So does it make sense that Giambattista Valli's name is being uttered among those-in-the-know as Facchinetti's replacement? Actually, yes.

Since he's been garnering more of a following in the past few seasons, it does seem to make sense that he should go to Valentino. Valentino's is a house with such history that it needs a designer who has already staked out a name of his own, lest he be swallowed up by the very brand he is trying to helm.

What I'd like to know is, how long has Valli's ascension to Valentino been in the works? Or was it just coincidence that he ended his Spring 2009 collection with a swathe of Valentino-esque red?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Apparently buyers are not so happy with Olivier Theyskens at Nina Ricci. His high priced red carpet stunners are reportedly tough numbers to sell.

But who cares, really? His Spring 2009 collection was so wildly romantic and breathtaking, a visual and aesthetic delight. It was one of those very few collections that makes you want to say "aha!" out loud, even though there is no one else in the room to hear you.

I once read of him that he used to play dress up as a child. Rather than scolding him, his parents let his imagination roam. Thank goodness for that, because Theyskens' designs have retained a sort of innocence that only a child could posess. They are pure romance, the kind of stuff where you half expect a prince to ride out on horseback and whisk the girl away.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I wanted to share this website I came across in this economic situation we find ourselves in, with stores doing some crazy things out there in these trying retail times.

If you are an emerging designer like I am, where every account counts, where do you go to to find a bit of background info when your factor tells you that the boutique that's placed a five digit order has politely declined to be set up for factoring? I'll tell you where to start, at least...retaildish.com.

Ok, so there will always be some snarky mean-spirited people out there who will always hash about other people. But the site was set up under a code of honesty and simply asks that whatever you post is as factually accurate as possible. So far, I've posted reviews about every single account I've had, from the very bad, to the very very good. So I'd like to think that while my comments have been honest, others' have been too.

So if you had questions about that store in Washington with susceptible credit, look it up on retaildish.com. And if you find out that they've shafted designers from here to Nova Scotia, then you decide whether to cut those 29 dresses, or walk away and save yourself some cash for your next order.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sometimes I feel like I live in the center of the universe here in New York. So I usually welcome opportunities to learn how the rest of the world sees, well, not just us New Yorkers, but us Americans, especially when it comes to politics.

Of course when I saw this nicely mapped diagram of fashion editorial royalty in La Repubblica's Velvet Magazine (which, I have to say, seems to be getting better and better), I was a bit perplexed. Aside from the iconic Anna Wintour, Voguettes and Voguesters dominated the page. Granted, they were of varying nationalities, but predominately English speaking. And if you took away the token celebrity stylists and the very high browed fashion critics of broadsheet newspapers, you were left with Michael Roberts of Vanity Fair, Jefferson Hack of Dazed & Confused and Babette Dijan of Numero.

Maybe all the tumult at Elle made it too risky to include a name and title since who knew who was going to stay where by the time this edition came out. But where's Glenda Baily? Ahn Duong? Alex White? Cecilia Dean?

Or maybe, as Velvet's view of the world seems to be suggesting, there is no life outside of Vogue? At least, not a very fashionable life that is.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I have to say I'm a little stumped. Not that I shouldn't have expected a 180 degree U-turn from Miuccia Prada, because that's the only thing you can rely on from her. But just the precise direction she took.

Primitive and archaic is the direction she says she wanted to go in, and I think in that she succeeded, especially with her use of rumpled textiles. And to give her fair credit, there were a couple of looks which I thought hit the mark, and which any woman with a couple thousand euros to sling around will want to have in her closet. (Witness those I post here.)

While hers is one of the shows I often look to to get a sense of the direction of fashion, this time it did all make me wonder whether Prada is one of those businesses that can really just rest on the massive sales of its shoes and handbags to fuel the rest of the business.

I imagine that could be a very liberating position to be in creatively. But on the flip side, wouldn't you want women to wear the clothes as well?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

See Shoes

This will probably be news of the week for me. See by Chloé is going into shoes for Spring 2009.

I have to 'fess up here and say that I was a little underwhelmed by their recent hand at bags, which hit retailers this fall. But since the diffusion line will retail at prices beginning at a very affordable $120 (and up to $500), I'm sure I'll find something that I'll just have to buy.

If there's anything close to these must-haves in the collection line, I'm sure to be walking in my own affordable pair of Chloé shoes come Spring.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Juliette Pt 2.

Girlfriend can sing! And doesn't she looks divine in that outfit?

Who knew Juliette Lewis was up to so much? The multi-talented personality walked the runway in Milan for Miss Bikini Luxe while her new single "Hot Kiss" opened the show.

New single, you ask? Yes, new single. One of the reasons Lewis has not been seen on the silver screen of late is because she's been touring the globe with her band, Juliette and the Licks, which is set to release its third album.

Fret not, though, thesbian fans. She's currently filming "Whip It", Drew Barrymore's directorial debut where Lewis will star as a roller skating champ named Dynamite.

Get an entertaining update on what Lewis has been doing in her V-log. Gotta' love a girl who doesn't shy away from breaking out some serious 80s dance moves and showing how messy her house is for all the digital world to see.

Friday, September 19, 2008

So despite news that Kate Moss sat front row at Vivienne Westwood's, I find it more interesting that LVMH has confirmed Norwegian designer Peter Dundas will take up the reigns at Pucci when Matthew Williamson's contract expires soon.

This isn't headline breaking news, but I guess it does make me wonder about some things. First, how well must Williamson be doing with his own house to refuse the big bucks, or rather, euros, that a huge conglomerate-owned label like Pucci is paying? Pretty darn well, I'd say. Again, not a big surprise there either, since Williamson's is the sort of line starlets will don for the red carpet, and more importantly, women will buy in droves.

And secondly, is Dundas a little nervous at the prospect of having to fill in Williamson well shod shoes? Williamson did do a pretty fabulous job at reviving Pucci, even on the heels of the venerable Christian Lacroix, who headed up the label before him.

Not that Dundas hasn't done this before, follow in the footsteps of great designers that is. I mean, he is currently at Revillon, which Rick Owens put back on the map a couple of years ago. But who can tell if he's doing a great job there, since he only joined the furrier earlier this year?

And even though LVHM is hailing him as "one of the most promising designers of his generation" does anyone remember his work at Emanuel Ungaro, where Dundas designed for a brief 3 seasons? The biggest news about that brand in recent years cropped up when the house named Dundas' successor, the very photogenic but rather inexperienced Esteban Cortazar.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Right as we gear up for Fashion Week in Paris in a couple of weeks, a new documentary on the Karlmeister will hit the small screen. The 52 minute made for television project will air on France 5 on October 3, with an English subtitled version available later.

Even though "Karl Lagerfeld, Un Roi Seul" (A Lone King) touches on Herr Lagerfeld's battles with drugs, depression, and his falling out with the late Yves Saint Laurent, the preview in Paris had its audience roaring with laughter.

According to WWD, Karl is reported to have said, “I hate to see myself, but it’s part of the job. I had an overdose of me.”

Honestly, now, what could be more endearing than a talented designer with a sense of humour?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What's to happen to London Fashion Week come next season, since New York has announced it will move back its shows and Milan refuses to accommodate for any changes in schedule? Will designers like one of my favorites Aquascutum, flee to Paris, or try to squeeze into one of the 4 days that are left in London?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

To Show or Not To Show

It's an interesting debate, one that I've had myself: to show or not to show. For an emerging designer, of course the prohibitive costs are the primary variable in the formula of deciding whether and how to show. Especially for a designer of a contemporary label where wearability is more the concern, rather a high end designer who can justify over-the-top show pieces with 5, or even 6, digit price tags.

Which makes it so interesting that Viktor & Rolf has decided not to show. Well, let me clarify, the label has decided to show off-calendar, and rather than stage one of their extravagant numbers with live band performances and 50 models, they'll be showing on-line.

Is it coincidence that this change in format comes following the company's recent buyout by Renzo Rosso? No, probably not. Despite the fact that V&R puts on one of the best conceptual shows in Paris, the deal probably meant that someone has gone through the company's books and determined that another show extravaganza is not in the cards.

And what more interesting solution could the team have come up with than a virtual one? It's a pretty ingenious idea really, though not entirely original. But for such an established brand as theirs, it does bring out this theme of where fashion is headed in the future. I mean, with Vogue's advertising slipping, and Elle's on the rise, there is evidence enough that old schools are necessarily finding ways to embrace new schools.

Vogue is just now trying to get into the game in a more dignified, albeit late, way with its Model Live venture which, though it's virtual as well, is probably more real than any reality tv on real tv. It's a baby step, but I just wish Anna Wintour would see that America, deep America and high society alike, would want nothing more than to watch her every week on national tv.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Now that Fashion Week is over, and I've taken a look at most of the collections, it's making me wonder if I've missed something here. There was still such a strong 80's vibe going on, from the heavy hitting Proenza Schouler boys to up-and-comer Rag & Bone, from Vogue favorite Thakoon and new designer-to-watch Richard Chai to veteran DKNY, which celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Fall 08 was so entrenched in this decade, with the clean lines and polished looks. It surprised me to see so many peg legs back on the runway, matched with sleeveless jackets, and yes, the retail illusive zouave pants (which I happen to love but have the tendency to look like adult diapers with legs.)

Not that I'm the type that has to feel like I'm always in the middle of the fold to be secure. Because that's kind of the great thing about fashion, and one of the complicated aspects a designer has to juggle: how to dress her girl.

That may sound easy at first, but what girl isn't a little complicated? One day she wakes up feeling sexy, another subdued, the next a coquette, and the next maybe a little bohemian.

Bohemian was how I felt next spring, if you haven't already seen. Not just because it seemed like the obvious progression from the clean lines of Fall, but because of everything that's happening right now. I do try my darnedest to veer away from the political on the blog, but now that everyone from here to Alaska is uttering the word change, maybe it got to me.

Oh trust me, it's not that I still won't be loving 80s come next Spring. Here are some looks from Phi, which I think translated that vibe best.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Nothing like some friends in town to distract you away from work. So I hope this explains why I've been so delinquent these past few days in writing.

At least now the weekend is upon us, and I'll get a chance to look at shots from all the New York shows, and maybe write about them next week.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This whole debate I may have touched on before about New York's place in the world of fashion, well, it's really not anything new. Americans are best at commodifying things, going for what works, what sells. We're far less adept at accepting the conceptual, which the French seem to have a talent of embracing.

So while we don't have a river of innovation coursing down 7th Ave, there are pockets here and there. The Mulleavy sisters who, ironically enough, hail from California, probably possess a big hand bag's supply worth of that illusive stuff rather than a humble pocketful.

But of course, when the price tags of your dresses can only be given up "upon request", it gives you free license to have all the luxury you would want in a frock. Oh, and what luxury. I love how they've moved on from those looks that almost became their signature when they first started out. Remember them? When they used wave upon wave of circular fabric with absolute reckless abandon.

Their girls now are more sexy, more tough, and dare I say, like the Mulleavys, perhaps a little more smart and grown up,

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

More shots from Spring 09. To see the full collection, you can go to my website: www.nabeny.com.

Monday, September 8, 2008

While there's still a full week left of New York Fashion Week, my own little fashion week is nearly done, now that I've shot my Spring 09 lookbook over the weekend.

Here are some early shots...

Friday, September 5, 2008

An LBD from LDN

If the Little Black Dress is seeing a revival this season, I hope that means some kaching! kaching! in Hannah Marshall's exquisitely tailored pockets.

This talented Brit designer has some serious experience under her patent leather belt, since she's cut her sartorial teeth with the likes of Jonathan Saunders (who, by the way will make his wares available stateside in Target across the nation, and a month early in New York in the store's pop up here!) And I have to say, while London is known for embracing the avant garde, every one of her designs is still entirely wearable. What a novel thought, fashion forward yet still fashionable.

I know that New York Fashion Week has just barely begun. But Hannah Marshall is another reason to look forward to what's to come out of Europe.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Philo Finish

With Fashion Week just touching off here in New York, I'm already looking to next season, since Phoebe Philo has been confirmed to head up Celine and will present the house's first collection in Paris next March.

And it's not just that I'm trying to calculate how long it will take her to revive a brand that many see as stodgy. I'm also trying to figure out whether it's in her master plan to ever design under her own name.

She certainly has the star power and the track record to prove she could turn any label to gold. So I'm surprised that the suits at LVMH (which owns Celine and just about every other luxury brand under the sun) hasn't thrown trunkcases of euros at her stilettoed feet to do just that?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

If You Can't Go To Paris

La grande rentrée is happening now in France, when millions of city dwellers return to work en masse after a good month of legally sanctioned vacation along the coast or dans la campagne. It's probably one of the worst times to visit Paris, and with Colette's pop-up store in New York launching this week, that gives us one less reason to want to travel there.

Do you know Colette? The Parisian store has long been hailed as one of the pioneers in concept retail, and deservedly so. It's one of the few retail outlets in the world that I know of where you can buy Comme des Garcons, an Arabian Prince CD, and a Hello Kitty watch under one roof. Now, for nearly a full month beginning this week, all these wares will be available stateside, thanks to some smart thinking by Patrick Robinson at the Gap.

What to buy there? (There, being next to Gap's flagship at 5th and 54th.) Limited edition tees designed by none other than the inimitable fashion illustrator and resident New Yorker Ruben Toledo, as well as denim jackets from Luxemburger Anne-Marie Herckes. That's right, this project will not only bring some smart retailing to American soil, it will also enlighten us about art from that little known tax haven haven in Northern Europe known as Luxembourg!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fashion Week Can Be Free

New York Fashion Week is coming up, and while its impossible to get tickets to most events, even if you could pay for them, here's a list of things you can get, for free:

Club Monaco: Look out for Smart Cars emblazoned with the store's logos. They'll be zipping around the city. SoHo and the Meatpacking District on Sept. 7, Times Square and Wall Street on Sept. 8 and Bryant and Madison Square Parks on Sept. 9. What goodies will a limited number of lucky passerbys score? Cashmere scarves, leather gloves, jewelry and sunglasses from the brand's fall line.

Cole Haan Car Service: To fete its 80th anniversary, taxis around the city with a "Lucky You" logo are free. The service begins Sept. 5. Out of towners staying at select hotels in Midtown may also benefit from free upgrades, spa services and meals.

And the biggest giveaway of all? Yves Saint Laurent totes, thousands of them on Sept 6. Limited edition cotton bags designed by none other than the houses's Stefano Pilati will be used as luxe carrying cases to hold YSL's "Manifesto" catalogue. It's a double giveaway, since the edition will feature Naomi Campbell sporting the fall collection designs, and shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.