>> Frida Giannini's runway-clothes-as-merchandise concept for Gucci may be selling well, but it's still not sitting well with critics. Last season, her collection was likened to Zara, and this season her Fall 2009 collection earned another mall-brand comparison: Bebe.
Cathy Horyn and Suzy Menkes, neither of whom are afraid to be blunt, seemed indifferent to criticizing the collection — both just focused on Frida's decision to channel sex. But Christina Binkley of The Wall Street Journal got more pointed, going so far to ask "Who is the Gucci woman?": "[Frida] seems to develop a startling new personality each season, leaving last season’s clothes lost in relation to the new collection. Last season, she was globetrotting with flower children. This season, she’s shaking it in sequined leggings and a sparkling tunic at Studio 54."
There's no doubt Valentino is one of the greatest designers in fashion history. In fact, it took three authors to collaborate on Valentino ($44), a book celebrating the designer's achievements throughout his years at the fashion house. Co-authored by International Herald Tribune fashion editor Suzy Menkes, highly acclaimed art director Armando Chitolina, and Vanity Fair special correspondent Matt Tyrnauer, Valentino is a trifecta of outstanding photographs, editorials, and art.
My favorite section has to be Matt Tyrnauer's one-on-one interviews with Valentino's closest confidants and companions. After reading this book, it's easy to see why he is so loved and respected in the fashion industry.
>> What did Miuccia Prada have in mind for this sober season? Another look at her favorite urban warrior. After the audience crowded onto double-assigned bleacher-style seating, Prada sent out leather gladiator dresses, studded shoes with Trojan helmet-like fringed comb on the back, thigh-high loose fisherman boots held up by garters, and more fur than you could ever want. Plus, according to Suzy Menkes, "the best coats and suits of this Milan season" — even though Miuccia says she hasn't worn a suit herself in six years. Ymre Stiekema finally showed up this season — so it looks like Prada kept her exclusive — but there doesn't look to be any models of color, not even Jourdan Dunn. For the finale, instead of the regular tour, all the models crowded into a group in the center of the boxing ring-type arena setting.
>> Easily the hottest ticket at London Fashion Week, Christopher Kane brought out the masses earlier today. But those expecting a colorful outings like seasons past are in for a surprise — as guests were served carrot and coriander soup, Kane sent out pieces in largely black and neutral shades — Hilary Alexander likened the geometric patterns to the stroke of a black marker on a white sheet of paper. Men's brogues covered feet — that or crushed purple and gold velvet high heels that models were warned about before the show — apparently the heels were fragile. All in all, definitely a toned down version of classics compared to what Kane has done in the past, but still impressive enough to keep the critics happy; as Suzy Menkes put it, "Everything was subtle, sensitive and just right, showing Kane as a fast-growing talent."
*image: source, source
>> Last night marked the opening of Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld's Louis Vuitton-sponsored, curated exhibit of three photographers and close friends of his — PC Valmorbida (boyfriend of Theodora Richards), David Mushegain and Salim Langatta. Both the party and after-party at Indochine (a Roitfeld favorite) were super crowded — the latter hit capacity and saw Carine Roitfeld dancing on the restaurant's banquettes. Sister Julia, girlfriend Lily Donaldson, and godfather Mario Testino were all in attendance, as were a number of other fashion folk — Lara Stone, Erin Wasson, Gisele Bundchen. And Carine was proud of her son's current career choice — according to Vladimir, it was his parents who pushed him to move to the US — "I don't know if he will do more shows or film, but when you try to produce things, it's a hard hard job, and I'm very proud of him. I'll be very happy if he becomes successful."
*image: source, source, filmmagic
Last night we attended the opening of the Armani/5th Avenue flagship store--in short, the multi-story flagship has a glass facade with a winding design-staircase floating in the middle of the space. When we entered, we were so visually stimulated--was that a window, a mirror, or thin-air?--we nearly knocked into Anne Slowey while catching the elevator. When we arrived at the top floor we stepped out to find Andre Leon Talley sitting behind a receptionist desk, talking on his cell phone. Then came more stairs, bellinis, Suzy Menkes, and rumors of Mayor Bloomberg and Giorgio Armani talking about a one million dollar donation (but just where, we couldn't tell). If a successful mega-flagship is one where real life ceases to exist completely, then Armani's nailed it.