>> Last night, Vanessa Traina launched her 14-piece capsule collection for the French brand Maje at Barneys, which has the US exclusive. She wore a black tuxedo jacket and pant from the collection, and was joined by her sisters Samantha and Victoria Traina and close designer friends like Alexander Wang, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Joseph Altuzarra, and Proenza Schouler's Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, most of whom followed her to a celebratory dinner down the street at Le Caprice.
The idea for the collection, which ranges from $150 to $490, came about while Traina was in fittings for the brand's campaign (which she's appeared in the past two seasons). She told Vogue.com: "Maje asked me to do their campaign a few seasons ago and we all got along really well. We met the day before the shoot to do fittings, and by the end of it, we’d put together the proposal for a collaboration."
Her ideas for the collection — inspired by "a lot of old '90s editorial," she told us — came easily: "I had a whole folder with me . . . working in the industry and doing consulting quite frequently, I knew what to expect from a design meeting, and I think it really helped Maje understand my vision right from the get-go."
The resultant pieces are simple, primarily silk or lace, and sans color. In fact, minus one white silk maxi dress, they're all in black. "I wear black quite, quite often," Traina explains. "Because this was a one-time collaboration, I really wanted to do something wearable and [focus on] really great separates that fit into your wardrobe. And black goes with everything, so I really just kind of went with that." She told Vogue.com, "Although I must admit, I haven’t worn anything outside of my bedroom yet."
The collection also provided Traina with her first opportunity to design a shoe: "I mean, I've worked with Joseph Altuzarra and people on their collection from head to toe, so I've kind of worked with a shoe, but he [Altuzarra] really does the crux of it, so yeah, it's the first time. It's really cool because we initially started with doing a flat, and then I just thought it would be cool if we stuck a heel on it. So it's just a sandal design."
Even though she now has more extensive design experience, Traina says the collection is a one-time thing: "I really see myself more as a stylist, and I work as a stylist and do consulting. I was really grateful for this opportunity, it was really fun to do something like this, but I think the direction that I'm going in right now with styling is really what I'm passionate about, [and] is really what I love personally."
>> Former W creative director Dennis Freedman, who left the magazine in March after almost 20 years, has been tapped to replace Simon Doonan as creative director at Barneys. He will start at the retailer on Jan 17.
Doonan, whose contract with the retailer is reported to be up in May, and who is rumored to have tense relations with Barneys new CEO Mark Lee, is moving into a new role as creative ambassador-at-large for the retailer, effective immediately. The change in Doonan's position, which the retailer's announcement release frames as a "promotion," will involve him continuing to be "a key media spokesperson for the company," a contributor to "special window projects," a host of "special events with customers and media," and a "roving ambassador with links to all creative and communication areas including social media."
In the statement, Doonan says: “This exciting evolution of my role at Barneys is brilliant. Change has always been integral to the strength and vibrancy of the Barneys brand. I am delighted to be part of this new chapter." And Lee adds: "Simon has been an intrinsic part of the Barneys DNA for close to 25 years. I am thrilled to work with him and to have him continue to bring his unique wit and multifaceted talents to Barneys in this new role of creative ambassador-at-large.”
Freeman, for his part, will be responsible for the "photographic and video images, graphic design, store design and image, and visual merchandising" of Barneys, Co-Op, and Barneys.com, according to the release. He will also engage artists, designers, and creative collaborators — including Doonan — to curate the Barneys New York windows.
Freeman, in the statement, says: "For decades Barneys New York has stood for creative innovation. I am thrilled by the opportunity to creatively lead the company forward. Starting from New York which is the most culturally dynamic city in the world, I will strive to incorporate modern creative energy into the Barneys brand in the years ahead." And Lee adds: "Dennis is a visionary and innovator with great experience and talent across the worlds of fashion, photography, art, design, and architecture. He will bring his tremendous eye and impeccable taste to lead the new creative direction of Barneys New York."
It's our favorite time of year: the holiday season! The festive six weeks are packed with food celebrations, crazy parties, and the annual unveiling of Simon Doonan's iconic and amazingly creative windows for Barneys! This November, Simon was inspired by the food industry to craft "A Foodie Holiday," a display that showcases how fashion and food collide. It features some of our favorite Food Network celebrity chefs — from Rachael Ray to Anthony Bourdain, no culinary personality was overlooked! Plus, we chatted with Jamie Oliver, Paula Deen, Emeril Lagasse and more at the unveiling.
To celebrate, we've teamed up with Barneys and our sister site, ShopStyle, to bring you an awesome giveaway worth $5,000 in prizes! We are giving away the following must haves: a Fornasetti Box of Chocolates Plates, an Editions de Parfums Coffee Society candle, a Jonathan Adler Fondue Set, an Armand Diradourian Out to Lunch Pillow, and an Illy Francis Francis X1 Iper Espresso Machine! That's not all — we're also giving away a grand prize to one very lucky winner: a gorgeous and extravagant Valextra travel bag, handpicked by Simon Doonan himself!
Entering is easy — all you have to do is click through the slideshow, add your email at the end, and you'll be entered to win. Check out the official rules here. Good luck!
>> It sounds like Barneys is searching for a fashion director replacement for Julie Gilhart, after all. The two top contenders CEO Mark Lee is said to be eyeing? Sarah Rutson, Lane Crawford's fashion director in Hong Kong, or Vogue's fashion market/accessories director Virginia Smith.
Rutson could not be reached for comment, and Smith forwarded calls to Vogue's press office, which declined comment; although, word is going around that Smith has turned down the job. If Smith does end up taking the position, however, Fashionista's Lauren Sherman points out that she will follow in a line of departures from the top of Vogue's masthead after Sally Singer and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff: "More than anything, it’s another indication that Anna Wintour’s time as editor-in-chief might be coming to an end sooner than later. As one person told me, 'It’s like she’s strategically placing all of her top people so that they’re better off when she’s gone.'"
As for Barneys' take on the Smith and Rutson candidate reports, a spokeswoman replied: “The search has begun and is ongoing. We intend to meet many candidates but no decisions have been made.” And while Simon Doonan remains in place at the retailer, his current contract reportedly expires in May 2011; the spokeswoman declined comment on that.
>> Julie Gilhart and Judy Collinson are gone from Barneys New York, but what about Simon Doonan, the retailer's creative director? He's currently still with the company, but the New York Post cites a source saying that the retailer's new CEO, Mark Lee, is concerned that Doonan "has used his popularity to promote himself rather than Barneys, and that's going to have to change." A Barneys spokesman declined comment, and Doonan did not respond to a request for comment. [WWD, NY Post]
We chatted with Jamie Oliver, Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, and other popular Food Network chefs to find out how they "have a foodie holiday." Watch our video to find out what cooking tips experts like chocolate master Jacques Torres and Food Revolution's Jamie Oliver swear by and what they really think about this bacon food trend. Plus, Paula Deen, Anne Burrell, and other celebrity chefs tell us what they do for the holidays when they're not slaving away in the kitchen. Looking to win your own Ultimate Foodie Holiday? Click here to find out how to enter our giveaway!
With the holidays right around the corner, we selected 12 fantastic accessories to liven up your wardrobe! For more sartorial inspiration, we're showing you the best ensembles from the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Awards and the MOCA gala. Chanel was definitely the theme this week for red carpet events! Also, we talk to Simon Doonan at the highly anticipated Barney's holiday window unveiling – this year it's foodie-inspired! Plus, find out how to win a custom nameplate necklace from jewelry designer Jennifer Meyer!