>> Some rumors have the Dior job signed and sealed — with Riccardo Tisci at the helm — but according to LVMH head Bernard Arnault, as of this morning, no decision had been made about John Galliano's replacement. “We’re thinking,” he said at the Louis Vuitton show. Suzy Menkes reports: "People close to LVMH who chose not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject say [Marc] Jacobs is a possible candidate, but he does the Vuitton thing so well that it would be a risk to move him." When asked whether he had designs on the Dior position, Jacobs replied: "No! I haven’t been asked.” [IHT]
>> Of Nicola Formichetti's debut Mugler collection on Wednesday, Suzy Menkes pondered, "But did those outfits really make their mark on fashion?" And Style.com noted of the debut: "It didn't blow you away, either in its affinities to Thierry Mugler's originals or with its future vision." But according to Formichetti, neither are important: “I just wanted to bring the fun back. It’s not so much about the clothes.” [IHT]
>> Earlier in the week, a spokesman for John Galliano's namesake label confirmed that their Sunday show would go on as usual, but now it sounds like there has been a change of plans, after all. A couple of reports have popped up on Twitter that the Galliano show has been canceled, while a spokesperson for the brand told FashionEtc. that the show will go on as scheduled March 6, but "the format has yet to be determined," which makes it sound like the planned runway show has been canceled and will instead be a presentation or showroom visits by appointment.
As Suzy Menkes writes, "The future of the John Galliano brand, which is underwritten by Dior, relies on licenses and barely breaks even financially, is complex. Executives will have to see whether those external partners still want to be associated with a designer whose name has been globally smirched." And the Wall Street Journal adds: "Mr. Galliano's smaller line that carries his own name has remained a small business that depends largely on licenses for such products as perfumes and sunglasses for its sales."
UPDATE: There will be an informal presentation for the Galliano brand on Sunday, consisting of 30 looks that were already completed. “We just felt it wasn’t appropriate to do a classic fashion show,” says Galliano’s spokesman, Alexandre Malgouyres. “But we’re doing John’s collection, for John, so that he returns quickly.” [WSJ]
>> The International Herald Tribune is hosting its 10th annual luxury conference in London, where Suzy Menkes grilled Karl Lagerfeld earlier today on his thoughts of himself, his fellow designers, and his legacy. A few highlights, below.
On who the real Karl Lagerfeld is: "I am a cocktail."
On designing: "I love my job. I have no idea of what it means to take yourself seriously. You have to be detached."
On ego: "People think I'm on an ego trip, but I'm not. I can get out of people what they want to express but can't."
On how he embraces the digital world: "If you are against 'digital' in the world of today, you are lost . . . I don't use computers so much — they do what your brain is meant to do. But they are beautiful."
On taking from the past to translate for the future: "if you want to revive something you can't do it with respect. That's the kiss of death . . . you can only build if you destroy . . . I have no archives, I keep nothing. Other people can do that for me. I like now."
On his longevity: "I never think of what's going on after me. I never think of what's next. I only think of the moment."
On the recent onslaught of Chanel films: "I don't like the movies about Coco Chanel."
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."
>> Carine Roitfeld's masquerade ball last night, celebrating 90 years of Vogue Paris and loosely Eyes Wide Shut-themed, meant lots of sheer gowns, and lots of show attendees preoccupied with finding a mask yesterday. Anna Dello Russo, inspired by Lady Gaga, paired a Gareth Pugh headpiece with her custom Emilio Pucci gown. Jean Paul Gaultier designed a metal mask for himself adorned with long feathers: "Yes, they're giant eyelashes, acting like hair -- since I'm missing some as you can see — so instead I've gone for this black plume."
Tyra Banks made do with cut up fishnets, Sasha Pivovarova got her mask "from a sex shop," and Lily Donaldson wore a red tulle veil to match her Christian Dior gown: “I made it myself. I went all the way up to the fabric district in Montmartre today.” Stephen Jones made Karlie Kloss's star spangled mask to go with her Christian Dior gown, and Riccardo Tisci did Mariacarla Boscono's over the top feathered hat, while he looked to Philip Treacy to custom make his mask.
While there was plenty of mask ogling, Carine Roitfeld was more preoccupied with other thoughts. “Oh my goodness, even the models are eating, it’s amazing!” she laughed, as Lily Donaldson took a leaf from a chocolate cabbage.
Gareth Pugh's Surprise Spring 2011 Video Presentation Left Many Wishing They Could Have Seen the Clothes Better
>> Yesterday, just like he did for Fall 2009, Gareth Pugh surprised press and retailers with a film in place of a runway show. Pugh, who collaborated again with Ruth Hogben on the 11-minute film featuring Kristen McMenamy, said that he was searching for a runway alternative because: “With a show, a lot rides on that very small amount of time and the whole thing comes down to image. If a model trips or has a problem with shoes, that is the thing that endures. It is liberating for a designer not to have to worry about a show. You can get the models to be even more expressive and do it all in a more concise way.”
Suzy Menkes notes that "the feeling persists that backing off from a runway show is a cop-out or a sign of weakness." Pugh says he is aware of "the perception . . . that people aren’t willing to accept something else [besides a runway show],” and distributed a lookbook of the clothes at the end of the presentation as “a way not to scare people off."
The lack in ability to see the clothes at the presentation was a complaint from a number of attendees, however. WWD wrote: "The film wasn’t really a presentation of Pugh’s clothes, but a presentation of his presentation . . . The imagery was heavily manipulated, so judgment on the clothes was withheld until the classic runway shots arrived, showing what looked like a great collection with a lot to offer commercially." The Los Angeles Times's Booth Moore Tweeted: "Why do we watch runway shows live? Because you can't see the clothes on film. Sorry Gareth, that didn't cut it." The International Herald Tribune's Jessica Michault Tweeted: "Is it just me or did that Gareth Pugh video look just like the last one he did a year ago?" And the Wall Street Journal's Christina Binkley Tweeted: Gareth pugh is a film. Beyond art house. Can't see much of the clothes, but it's sterile and dark."
Style.com's Tim Blanks didn't seem to mind the format, however: "What Hogben's film highlighted was the fluidity and movement inherent in Pugh's clothing. A runway could never have done that—nor could the lookbook images that were circulated after the screening."
>> 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."
>> Josephus Thimister, Balenciaga's designer in the '90s, pre-Nicolas Ghesquiere, is back designing after an eight year hiatus from fashion. The designer, who a decade ago was classed among then-up-and-comers like Hedi Slimane and Veronique Branquinho, lost commercial favor and designship at Balenciaga in 1997.
Now poised for a comeback at 47, he "poured all [his] savings" into a collection inspired by "the military and Russian influence — 1915 was a time of bloodshed and opulence, and I’m convinced that all of today’s problems are the conclusion of that period." And he was invited to help fill the hole in couture week left by Christian Lacroix.
Today, "like someone who has woken up from a nine-year-long beauty sleep," as he put it, Josephus showed that collection, which has been runway-ready since October. Suzy Menkes approved: "[Thimister] made a good job of this comeback because he used his cutting skills to make ... the clothes look convincing — as fashion, if not couture." As did Cathy Horyn: "Fascinating Thimister show, quite clear in military shapes and broken elegance." But WWD, no so much: "The finale frocks . . . rang a little poor in terms of substance." Does Thimister plan to continue? "One never knows," he told Horyn.
>> Suzy Menkes Highlights Why Fashion Brands Are Afraid of the Internet —Suzy Menkes spoke in a video presented yesterday along with the PREMIUM Exhibitions fashion blogger panel in Berlin, providing some insight into why the Internet is so "terrifying" for brands: "I think with big fashion brands it's all about control. They have done so much over the years and sometimes it's a hundred years to build up this whole image of themselves and being in control of everything — chosing the pages in the magazine where they're going to go, what they're going to be adjacent to, where they're going to put up their ads in a city, you know, micromanaging this. And then, along comes Twitter, and all of a sudden someone walks out of a . . . what shall we say . . . Louis Vuitton show and says, 'That show sucked. I hated it, and I've always hated Louis Vuitton.' You know, just a completely banal, stupid comment. But that can go viral and other people can answer this . . . suddenly you're faced with 3 million people saying negative things. It's really terrifying for these brand managers." [@naominevitt]