>> For the better part of a year, rumors of Martin Margiela's withdrawal from his label have plagued the industry. In October, majority owner Renzo Rosso finally confirmed that Margiela was no longer involved in design and later said he was about to name a replacement.
It seems Rosso has changed his mind: Giovanni Pungetti, chief executive of Maison Martin Margiela, said today that the designer has quietly left the comapny and will not be replaced. The fashion house, which had in the past offered his job to Haider Ackermann and Raf Simons, will continue to operate with the creative staff, 28-strong, that Margiela developed over his 20-year stint. According to Pungetti: “It would have been very simple to hire someone else, and we evaluated that option, but in the end, what is important is the taste of designer."
>> Kate Moss, who attended Yves Saint Laurent a couple of days ago, was in the house for Miu Miu — as were Baz Luhrmann and Renee Zellweger. Miuccia Prada took one of her favorite themes — "pretty perversity," as Suzy Menkes describes it — and sent out a trail of looks mixing prints of cats, swallows, or reclining nudes. Daisy fasteners were affixed on clutch bags.
“It is fresh — about how innocence can survive in this world,” Prada said of the collection, which juxtaposed sweet skirts and schoolgirl collars with bra-like cut-outs and harnesses; Prada exclusive Lindsay Wixson closed, wearing a crystal "rib-lace" — a harness-like necklace that passed beneath the bra.
Interesting side-note — apparently Miu Miu has departed from a number of US department stores after a disagreement over how it should be displayed, writes the Wall Street Journal: "the company wanted their own store-in-stores, while the stores wanted to mix Miu Miu in with the other bags, according to a person familiar with the company."
>> Finally Confirmed: Martin Margiela Not Involved in Designing Maison —Just a year ago for the Spring 2009 season, Maison Martin Margiela celebrated its twentieth anniversary with a retrospective show — around that time, rumors began to circulate that the designer left the brand, since bolstered by tepid reviews for the house's Fall 2009 ready-to-wear and couture collections, and most recently, Spring 2010, which Suzy Menkes called "tragic." Over the weekend, Margiela majority stakeholder Renzo Rosso finally confirmed: "Martin has not been there for a long time. He is here but not here. We have a new fresh design team on board. We are focusing on young, realistic energy for the future; this is really Margiela for the year 2015." Also confirmed: the fact that Haider Ackermann was offered creative directorship, but turned it down — likely because the brand refuses to publicize the head designer; it's said that the house is contractually obligated to permanently list Margiela as creative director. [Vogue UK, FWD]
>> For her first runway show since leaving Chloe in 2006 to focus on motherhood, Phoebe Philo sent out a fast-marching group of models swaddled in earth tones, clunky wood wedges, modified trenches, military details, lots of leather, and curiously few handbags, despite Celine's accessory-brand heritage. Bound inspiration books from Philo, containing photos of Kurt Cobain, disco balls, and work by David Sims and Helmut Newton were placed on every seat.
The mood of the collection, one of the season's most anticipated, Philo described as “purposeful and positive.” Backstage, while holding her five-year-old daughter, Maya, who attended the show with Philo's husband, she went on: "I wanted to clean it up, refocus, and present a strong, powerful woman." And of all the expectation: "It's just the beginning. It felt like, just take it easy, just start easy. It's nice to have the bubble of expectations burst. That feels good. Sometimes what people get into their head is unachievable."
In the front row were top photographers David Sims, Mario Testino, Craig McDean; Pucci designer Peter Dundas, who called the collection "wonderful"; and top LVMH brass, including Bernard Arnault, who stood to applaud Philo afterward. As Suzy Menkes put it, "This was an important exercise in making Celine fashion credible. And that was mission accomplished."
Lindsay Lohan and Estrella Archs's First Emanuel Ungaro Collection for Spring 2010: The Reviews Are In (And Not Pretty)
>> Three weeks after they were tasked with designing the Spring 2010 Emanuel Ungaro collection, Estrella Archs and artistic advisor Lindsay Lohan took their runway bow — the former dragging the teary latter by the hand — yesterday to a beefed-up photographer's pit and an audience, many of whom just came because of the expected spectacle.
The result wasn't pretty: the collection's super-short minidresses and heart-shaped pasties peeking out of blazers and on the models' foreheads were ruled "a bad joke of a fashion show" by Style.com. Lohan's involvement was compared to "a McDonald’s fry cook taking the reins of a three-star Michelin restaurant" by the New York Times's Eric Wilson. Fabien Baron's take? "Call the fashion police!” And Harper's Bazaar's Glenda Bailey wouldn't even comment: “You know, if you don’t mind, I have to run out the door.” Even Dree Hemingway weighed in: "the first half might as well be alex wang last spring and i did see [Lohan] sporting that hot pink blazer of his..."
Lohan, who is reportedly being paid millions by Ungaro, called the show "the hardest thing I've ever done." Beforehand, she selected $150,000 worth of Ungaro clothes at the Paris flagship with CEO Mounir Moufarrige's blessing, supposedly cancelling an interview with Suzy Menkes. Some expect her to be gone before next season — even though she already said she was sketching for the next collection — but her contract is multiyear, and Moufarrige said his main goal in hiring her was to generate publicity, noting that he was suprised criticism hasn't been more negative. And even after the wave of bad reviews came out yeseterday, Ungaro's owner Asim Abdullah was defiant that either Lohan reignites the long-struggling Ungaro, or “we go down in a blaze of glory. Or unglory."
>> To an audience of only 75, Peter Copping sent out his first runway show at Nina Ricci in the salon above the brand's Paris store. Copping, who spent the past twelve years at Louis Vuitton, took Ricci to a much more feminine, commercial place than previous Ricci designer Olivier Theyskens. “I like wearable clothes,” he told WWD. “I’m not necessarily into being too avant-garde . . . whenever we did more feminine-based collections [at Vuitton], the sales were always incredible in the stores as opposed to the more austere or hard-edged things."
The Spring 2010 show was about all about the house’s “signature codes” — bows, lingerie, lace — Copping said, and he's keen to add capsule lines of lingerie and wedding dresses soon. So what's his verdict? Hilary Alexander called the collection "charming," T staffers were fans — Anne Christensen deemed it "very pretty" and Armand Limnander "lovely" — and Elle's Joe Zee, too, was won over: "I'm not usually a fan of romance (clothes that is) but Peter Copping's Ricci debut was a slamdunk in romance. Sweet but not saccharin."
Some, however, seemed more hung up on the switch to commerciality: Los Angeles Times's Booth Moore noted, "Olivier Theyskens' Nina Ricci was all vision; Peter Copping's is all saleable product." Suzy Menkes commented: "[It] is not necessarily a bad thing for a house [to be very commercial] . . . but Mr. Copping, having staked out his pretty girl territory, needs to take her to a newer place." And Style.com's Sarah Mower is holding judgment: "At first sight Ricci is now in a safe pair of hands but the jury's still out till next season."
>> In the space behind a record store in London this morning, Anna Wintour stopped by for a preview, and Peter Pilotto and design partner Christopher De Vos sent out their trademark watercolor prints atop sculptured and draped minidresses. The collection inspired quite the impulse gushing from Another Magazine ("Peter Pilotto — show of the week so far."), Vogue UK ("The Pilotto show has been one of our FAVOURITE shows yet") and Los Angeles Times's Booth Moore ("Peter Pilotto is next big thing out of London."). Wintour's bouncers were so energized by the show, they apparently almost knocked Suzy Menkes over as they rushed Anna out.