>> In the wake of yesterday's Armani Prive show, Derek Blasberg Tweeted: "Armani couture has gone all Sci-Fi on me. Pierre Cardin-esque shapes, iridescent fabrics and flying saucers hats. Is that the Gaga effect?" Cathy Horyn Tweeted similarly: "Did Lady Gaga influence Armani's super-future lines and curves in startling collection of synthetic/metallic shine and enamel-like color?" And Vogue's Mark Holgate wrote, "Clearly, Armani is gaga for Gaga. How else does one explain that shiny molded techno-fabric that looked like it was specially created for Tron?" But despite all of those conclusions and the fact that Gaga and Armani have a multimillion dollar partnership, when Horyn approached Armani about it, she writes: "Afterward I asked him if he had been at all influenced by Lady Gaga, for whom he has made some clothes, and he shook his head firmly. Well, I wonder." [On the Runway]
>> Earlier this week, Cathy Horyn revealed that in preparation for his first show as Thierry Mugler creative director next week, Nicola Formichetti was in Montreal photographing his "muse," Rick Genest, who has his entire body tattooed to resemble a skeleton. Formichetti found Rico, as he is known, on Facebook.
Now we have a visual to go with that inspiration. Mugler just released the official image below from Formichetti's "Anatomy of Change"-themed collection — debuting on Jan. 19 during the Paris men's shows — and promises that in the lead-up to the show next Wednesday, more will be released on the Mugler website.
>> There's been a lot of talk recently about how boring red carpet fashion has gotten, but in the mind of Cathy Horyn, fashion in general is experiencing a lull in creativity. "For now, fashion has nothing significant to say," she writes. And Pascal Dangin, who retouches images for Patrick Demarchelier, Steven Meisel, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, as well as the pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, agrees: “We live in a rather dull moment in fashion.”
It seems that in the time of "timid magazine editors" and "mediocre" content, as Horyn puts it, many — designers, stylists, photographers, editors — are turning to sex to make up the difference. Dangin points out: “We still have some big taboos about sex.” And Horyn writes: "It is easy to see why sexuality is such a hot button. Things are a bit frozen. Many of the designers who could truly communicate ideas — , , — are gone from the scene."
Thus, Horyn writes, we have the likes of Riccardo Tisci casting transgender model Lea T in his Givenchy campaigns. But even "the focus on sexuality reflects the fairly narrow thinking of designers and photographers (or, possibly, of editors and advertising agency art directors)" currently going on, she notes. Case in point: photographer Daniel Sannwald was told by a British magazine editor that his futuristic-like images were too extreme. "He quickly countered by producing some very old issues of Vogue," Horyn reports, "But those pictures were deemed too risky to use today." "It was unbelievable," Sannwald said. "Everybody is concerned about pleasing the advertisers, and it’s not just the big magazines.”
Will Awards Season Red Carpet Dressing Finally Get More Interesting in 2011? Celebrity Stylists Think So
>> Will the impending red carpet awards season finally take things up a notch? Last year's Golden Globes saw Cathy Horyn bemoaning the "soggy n’ safe red carpet," and decreeing: "Most of the dresses last night offered little more than a paper-doll variation on styles of the past few years."
It seems that celebrity stylists agree, according to articles published in both the New York Times and WWD yesterday, and are ready to switch things up. Jeanne Yang, who has three 2011 Golden Globe nominees among her clients, told WWD: "The days of the beaded, silvery, gown-y thing are kind of done. I don't see anyone wanting that." And stylist Robert Verdi noted: "Women were so safe on the red carpet that it looked more like a Miss America contest. They were always one wave away from having a sash on.”
Stylist Jessica Paster, who pointed to Dior and Dolce & Gabbana as examples of where she sees the red carpet looks going, added: "A lot of the spring collections had vibrant, beautiful colors. Hopefully we will see a lot of that, plus softer silhouettes." In other words, out with the neutral-colored, strapless, body-hugging gowns of red carpets past.
The Times highlighted Kate Bosworth's recent Spring 2011 Jil Sander look of white tee and long green skirt and Elle Fanning's choice of Rodarte earlier this week as indicators of the tides of change. But stylists aside, maybe Christian Siriano put it best on why things are bound to change: "Everybody got so bored that nobody cares about being on the worst-dressed list. The attention span is so much shorter that even if someone does wear something over the top, everybody forgets two days later — which is bad for us designers, but good for them.”
Givenchy Tried to Cast Adriana Lima for Runway Show at Four Months Pregnant; Roland Mouret "Would Never Do a Diffusion Line"
- Givenchy called Adriana Lima when she was four months pregnant to walk in their Spring 2010 show, she says: "They take my measurements and I’m like, 'Oh my God, oh my God, I'm big!' And then they say, 'You’re not big enough!' Because they wanted to see the belly." [The Cut]
- Roland Mouret is anti-diffusion line: “I would never do a diffusion line. I don’t think the future is that. People mix brands all the time already, so you need to do something else. We are living in a different fashion world now.” [Style File]
- Karlie Kloss and Jourdan Dunn spent some quality time together yesterday, Kloss Tweeted: "Lovely day in London w/bff ms.dunn...lunch at Claridges, shopping at Selfridges, and now off to the eurostar...goodbye london hello paris!" [@karlie_kloss]
- Street style favorite and Harper's Bazaar senior fashion market editor Joanna Hillman is documenting her style daily during December for the magazine's blog [Harper's Bazaar]
- Gap's Spring 2011 faces include Anja Rubik, Liu Wen, Anais Mali, Carolyn Murphy, Karmen Pedaru, and Monika "Jac" Jagaciak [TFS]
- Talon cuff fans: Pamela Love just launched an online store [Pamela Love]
- Peek Naty Chabanenko in Cushnie et Ochs's new Spring 2011 lookbook (pictured) [Refinery29]
- Cathy Horyn takes an in-depth look at Chinese couturier Guo Pei as part of Sally Singer's first issue of T, which is slowing leaking online [T]
>> Another Gucci alum is joining Barneys — Charlotte Blechman, who was VP of public relations at Gucci from 2004 through 2009, has been named SVP of marketing and communications at the retailer. She joins Barneys CEO Mark Lee, a former Gucci CEO, and former Gucci North America president Daniella Vitale, who was named Barneys chief merchant and EVP on Monday, right after Barneys veterans Julie Gilhart and Judy Collinson were dismissed without warning, Cathy Horyn reports.
Barneys is expected to go more mainstream under its new management — whereas Collinson and Gilhart were "not afraid to go against the grain," according to Maria Borromeo, a one-time Barneys buying assistant who is now CEO of Thakoon, Cathy Horyn points out: "Increasing Barneys’ profitability was a prime objective in hiring [Lee]. The recession forced retailers to become leaner and more competitive, in particular with online sales, and that urgency will be critical to Barneys’ cool."
>> Cathy Horyn is known for her acerbic take on fashion — in her review of Alexander Wang's Spring 2011 collection, she set tongues wagging after pronouncing: "Mr. Wang is not a great designer, though he probably would be happy to accept any laurels that people want to toss him, but he is clearly a shrewd guy . . . The designs were cool, but they didn’t have to stand up to much scrutiny — hey, didn’t Marni do those pants last season? — so long as the stuff was widely and easily available. Mr. Wang doesn’t really have courage in the traditional sense of trying something new and difficult, but he does have China. Nearly all of his clothing is now produced there."
Horyn more recently spent time at Azzedine Alaia's boutique during Paris Fashion Week — Wang also happened to be there, although no word on whether there was any interaction — and she explained to The Daily Beast that her goal is to bring a critical eye to those admired uncritically: "With Alexander, he's a smart kid, I admire the business that he's built, but you have to be critical of what he's done. You can't just say 'Oh well, he's young and he's working hard, he's putting a product on the runway.' I found that show boring. I may not have found other shows boring, but I found that one boring."
She's also critical of Fashion's Night Out: "I hope it doesn't go on. I don't want it to continue . . . You know, we're a nation of shoppers. That's how people spend their time, shopping online, shopping in stores, acquiring. And I feel like we perpetuate that with Fashion's Night Out. What are you really celebrating? Not art or great books. You're celebrating shopping."
Horyn sums up her critical approach as thus: "[I] want people to be better. [I] have standards. [I] want people to be not just good but very good. And I can be tough on people, sometimes too tough, especially with the most creative. I once called one of Tom Ford's collections freakish and ugly."
For all of Horyn's words logged on designers, however, The Daily Beast had trouble getting anyone to speak about Horyn: "During Fashion Week, I went from show to show, and party to party, asking about Horyn. Almost everyone declined comment or claimed that they don't actually read her reviews." A few did speak, however. "I prefer to look at beautiful pictures in magazines like American Vogue and French Vogue by editors like Anna Wintour and Carine Roitfeld," Karl Lagerfeld said. "I don't think reviews really matter anymore," Carolina Herrera said. Donna Karan admitted, meanwhile, that getting swiped by Horyn "still hurts. You can agree or disagree with her, but it's definitely passionate. She's not neutered, let's put it that way."
Giles Deacon's First Emanuel Ungaro Collection — for Spring 2011— Involved Anna Dello Russo Modeling a Sheep Purse
>> Giles Deacon is the sixth designer to try his hand at Emanuel Ungaro since the founder retired in 2004, and, as Suzy Menkes noted, he "was brought in to stabilize the brand, rather than rev it up with a grand show in his first season."
Hence, a presentation on an indoor patch of grass, the clothes modeled by “women with character and personality” in a range of ages, including Anna Dello Russo — who held a sheep handbag she named "Funbongo," French actress Joana Preiss, Querelle Jansen — who was coaxed out of modeling retirement — plus several models from the '90s: 37-year-old Claudia Mason, 35-year-old French model Caroline de Maigret, 33-year-old Brazilian model Shirley Mallmann, and 35-year-old South African model Georgina Grenville.
"I went through all the archives, from the '60s all the way through, in order to understand the feeling, the subtlety, the softness of the Ungaro heritage," Deacon explained of his collection. "I wanted the collection to be super-sophisticated, gorgeous, vivacious, sensual — really, just beautiful clothes." WWD noted that the pieces, many crafted by couture methods, "will be expensive to produce and buy," but signified what "looked like a real investment in the label."
Critics in general seemed encouraged by the collection, but not entirely sold. Style.com's Tim Blanks wrote: "You could picture the professional party girls in [the dresses] already, and on that level, the collection was a TKO. But where other women fit into the new Ungaro equation will be the challenge Deacon has to deal with in the months to come." And Cathy Horyn added: "If you consider how much time Phoebe Philo had to rethink Celine before she showed anything, Mr. Deacon needed more time to develop his ideas. Maybe Ungaro can’t wait, though . . . On the whole, the clothes looked French, the Ungaro ruching and draping was kept to a cautious minimum, and the skirts needed more design attention. The collection was certainly pitched to a young woman. Mr. Deacon’s next step is to remove himself a little more from the archive and develop his own fabrics and ideas."
>> Raf Simons seems to hold the honor of electrifying the fashion audience the most thus far this Spring 2011 season. Suzy Menkes wrote of his Jil Sander collection: "This was a show that projected fashion into this new decade." Vogue UK lauded: "And in the space of 15 minutes, Raf Simons stole the show. The Jil Sander collection this afternoon did just what he does so well: make everybody forget everything they’ve seen before by giving them brilliantly conceived, complete distraction."
Joe Zee Tweeted: "I think Raf Simons has officially made me a color convert with his Jil Sander collection. So incredibly major! With a capital M," later replying "COSIGN" to Kelly Cutrone's Tweet: "Fashion Prediction: Raf for Jill Sander - show stopper - Takes the season." The Los Angeles Times's Booth Moore agreed: "At Jil Sander, designer Raf Simons' extreme color story packed more of a punch than almost anything else we'd seen so far this season."
WWD called the collection "extraordinary" and "fantastic," and Cathy Horyn wrote: "Mr. Simons has shown some exceptional collections at Jil in the past five years, but in this one he dealt more assuredly with the fundamentals of fashion — shape, volume, proportion, new materials — and pushed past the old frontiers to create a new example of minimalist dressing . . . Reaction to the show seemed very enthusiastic, with an immediate burst of applause at the end."
Are Christopher Bailey and Burberry Becoming Too Concerned with Their Online Push to Concentrate on the Clothes?
After last season's hit collection, Cathy Horyn writes of Bailey's Spring 2011 offering: "This was not Christopher Bailey’s best collection." She continues: "I also kept thinking that the collection lacked feeling — unless you count the pain of the models who cast off their raunchy heels on the runway. The last model toppled over a few yards from the backstage area and had to scramble back up. When I think of all the great collections that Mr. Bailey has done for Burberry, they’ve all been characterized by a sense of emotion that he was willing to put out there. It wasn’t all crass e-commerce." The Spring 2011 show was screened in real time at 25 Burberry stores, livestreamed online and selected outerwear and handbags were made simultaneously available on in-store iPads for purchase, with orders to be delivered in seven weeks time.
WWD agreed with Horyn: "Bailey skidded, at times, into dangerous territory. The biker jackets paved with spikes and studs were overwrought, and there was nothing elegant or fresh about those flashes of python on trousers, dresses, and jackets."