A L’Wren Scott event is one of the most eagerly awaited presentations of the week. Undoubtedly, it’s the winning combination of the perfectly executed lunch, a quick fashion show that starts on time and star wattage without the fanfare. Dustin and Lisa Hoffman, Kyra Sedgwick, Scott’s boyfriend, Mick Jagger, and son, Gabriel, were all sitting front row to see her lineup of unapologetically body-conscious coats and sheaths or severely cut suits in leather, silk or wool, inspired, explained the designer, by “the changing leaves and bare trees that I see outside the window from my Paris office.” Her palette of dark greens and blacks, spiked with red, did indeed reflect the designer’s ideas for fall, as did the sensual and sinuous lines of the clothes. But she generously made room for body types other than her own with more fluid long coats and even a shirtdress or two.
Tag Archives: Fashion Designer
The mastermind behind “Lorick” is Abigail Lorick. Born on Amelia Island, Florida, Abigail knew the South couldn’t contain her. At the age of 18, she moved to Paris and Milan to model for designers such as Alberta Ferretti and Mossimo while appearing in acclaimed magazines French C’osmopolitan, American Elle and American Harper’s Bazaar. Working as a model only enhanced her love of fashion and led her to move in 2003, to New York City to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology while working simultaneously at T.S. Dixin. By 2004, Abigail was designing T.S. Dixin’s entire collection. After proving her vision over a few seasons, Abigail’s production manager in India, Verma Singh, approached her to createa collection of her own. Quickly thereafter in the Spring of 2007, she conceptualized and launched the Lorick brand.
You’ve probably seen Abigail Lorick’s designs on Gossip Girl. When the model turned fashion designer started her line, the producers for the show quickly grabbed the attention of the new and fresh collection. They were looking for a real line to dub as the Eleanor Waldorf Collection- for the fictional character/designer Eleanor Waldorf. The designer even got the chance to play Eleanor’s assistant in the series. Where do we sign up for that life?! Blair (Leighton Meester) wears a lot of Lorick designs, and there are scenes where she gives away Lorick clothes to Jenny (Taylor Momsen) as hand-me-downs. Most of her pieces are classic and timeless, but there’s always a twist to them, like the backless dresses that Serena and Blair wore in the park. From the front it’s a classic and then from the back it’s sexy. She really finds that line — keeping that timelessness but being sexy, fun and quirky at the same time.
“I’m hoping to inspire women to dress-up again, to wake up in the morning and throw the scarf on, wear gloves in the summer or pair a T-shirt with a full skirt. Women today don’t embrace that excitement.” –Abigail Lorick
Manolo Blahnik is a name that has become synonymous with mainstream high fashion footwear since the late nineties. In 30 years, the Manolo brand has surpassed all ideas applicable to luxury footwear and continues to establish itself as a stylish art form, revered by all fashionistas, trend setters, and worldly critics. The aura has been exacerbated by such popular culture acts ranging from Sex and the City to Jay-Z. And now, he has created some of the most exquisite shoes that the fashion world has ever seen.
Mr. Blahnik’s origins, however, are far from the world’s fashion centers of New York, Paris, and Milan. This gentleman is of mixed descent, born in 1942 to a Czech father and Spanish mother on a Canary Island banana plantation. The family frequently traveled to Madrid and Paris in order to purchase clothing. Young Manolo remained captivated by his mother’s fashion magazines and learned the craft of shoe making by observing the woman construct her own footwear from ribbon and lace.
Originally, Manolo’s parents envisioned a career as a diplomat for the youngster and he acquiesced, enrolling at The University of Geneva to study politics and law. However, Blahnik quickly rejected the coursework in favor of literature and architecture after one semester. He then relocated to Paris to study stage design at The Louvre Art School. Manolo moved to London in 1970, following his father’s advice that he improve his English. He was employed as a photographer for The Sunday Times and thereafter became a staple of the jet setting art design community.
Manolo Blahnik attributes his status as a leading authority of style to serendipity. In 1971, Diana Vreeland, editor of Vogue stumbled onto his portfolio of drawings and set designs while Blahnik was on assignment in New York City. Vreeland encouraged Manolo Blahnik to dedicate his life to making shoes, rather than garments.
Among the key designers who made a bold and lasting impression on women’s fashion in the 20th century, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel deserves special recognition. Born in Saumur, in the Loire Valley of France, Chanel survived an impoverished childhood and strict convent education. The difficulties of her early life inspired her to pursue a very different lifestyle, first on the stage, where she acquired the nickname “Coco,” and then as a milliner.With the help of one of the male admirers who would provide key financial assistance and social connections over the course of her career, Chanel opened her first shop in Paris in 1913, followed by another in the resort town of Deauville. Selling hats and a limited line of garments, Chanel’s shops developed dedicated customers who quickly made her practical sportswear a great success. Much of Chanel’s clothing was made of jersey (which is a tough medium to start out with in the sewing world), a choice of fabric both unusual and inspired. Until the designer began to work with it, jersey was more commonly used for men’s underwear. With her financial situation precarious in the early years of her design career, Chanel purchased jersey primarily for its low cost. The qualities of the fabric, however, ensured that the designer would continue to use it long after her business became profitable. The fabric draped well and suited Chanel’s designs, which were simple, practical, and often inspired by men’s wear, especially the uniforms prevalent when World War I broke out in 1914.
Chanel’s uncluttered styles, with their boxy lines and shortened skirts, allowed women to leave their corsets behind and freed them for the practical activities made necessary by the war. Elements of these early designs became the trademark of the Chanel look. Chanel took great pride as a woman in designing for other women, and by 1919, at the age of thirty-two, she enjoyed huge success, with clients around the world. Soon after, she relocated her couture house in Paris to 31 Rue Cambon, which remains the center of operations for the House of Chanel today.
Following Chanel’s death in 1971, several of her assistants designed the couture and ready-to-wear lines until Karl Lagerfeld took over the haute couture design in 1983 and ready-to-wear in 1984. Lagerfeld, like Chanel at the time of her comeback, looked to past designs for the secret to his success. His designs incorporated signature Chanel details, tweed fabrics, colors, gold chains, quilt-stitched leather, and the famous linked “CC” logo. In later collections, Lagerfeld became more irreverent, deconstructing some of the ladylike polish of Chanel’s 1960s looks. Playing with the fact that Chanel’s favorite jersey fabric had been used for men’s underwear at the turn of the twentieth century, Lagerfeld even incorporated men’s T-shirts and briefs into his designs.Nonetheless, Lagerfeld’s ability to continuously mine the Chanel archive for inspiration testifies to the importance of Gabrielle Chanel’s contributions to women’s fashion in the twentieth century. Still today Chanel is up and running with the most timeless garments yet.
Minutes before Jason Wu was to become famous as the 26-year-old designer of Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown, he ordered a pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Domino’s at his apartment in Midtown, then sat down with his boyfriend and a neighbor to watch the festivities on television.
Like the rest of the world, Mr. Wu had no idea what the new first lady would wear on Tuesday night. He had never met her, nor did he know that the design he had submitted to Mrs. Obama, last November, was being seriously considered. At first he wasn’t even positive that the white chiffon dress she wore, which went by in a blur, was his until the phone began ringing and ringing and ringing.
“It’s difficult to describe,” Mr. Wu said the next afternoon, after appearing on the morning shows and talking endlessly about the symbolism of the dress, the color and the selection of a designer barely known outside the fashion beltway. “I was over the moon. I know I am an unusual choice for a first lady. I didn’t think it was my turn yet.”
In his small studio on West 37th Street, Mr. Wu, with close-cropped hair and a lineless face, wore a cardigan and a necktie and looked like a truant from boarding school. His work space is spotless, with a big rustic slab of wood as a table, which is precisely where the thousands of organza flowers and crystals had been hand-sewn to Mrs. Obama’s dress over many late nights by Mr. Wu and his staff of four.
Between interviews, Mr. Wu was working on samples for his fall collection, which will be shown next month.
Although he was already something of a “fashion darling” — Anna Wintour attended his last show, when he was a finalist for Vogue’s annual prizes for emerging designers — he is expecting a crush of new attention. On Wednesday, Diane Von Furstenberg sent him a congratulatory note, and Parsons the New School for Design issued a press release boasting that Mr. Wu, Isabel Toledo and Narciso Rodriguez, all designers of clothes worn by Mrs. Obama last week, had once studied there (though it did not note that none of them graduated).
“No doubt, this is going to give the business a boost,” he said.
Mr. Wu started the label in 2006 with money from his family and his savings from a job he has held since he was 16, as a freelance designer, and now creative director, for a line of designer dolls called Fashion Royalty and manufactured by Integrity Toys in Chesapeake City, Md. His dolls ($70 to $400) are sold at F. A. O. Schwarz. His evening dresses ($2,990 to $4,700) are sold at Bergdorf Goodman. The word “prodigy” comes to mind when Mr. Wu mentions that his collection is expected to have sales of $4 million this year.
Even when he was 5, growing up in Taipei, Taiwan, his parents, who operate an import-export business, recognized his creative ambitions. His mother sometimes drove him to bridal stores so he could make sketches of the gowns in the windows. When he was 9, the family moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where, like many future designers, he began experimenting with fashion by using dolls as mannequins.
He carried on with his hobby as a student at Eaglebrook School in Deerfield, Mass., and at the prep school Loomis Chaffee in Windsor, Conn., during a senior year in France and then for three-and-a-half years at Parsons until he left to intern for Mr. Rodriguez.
Mr. Wu’s clothes are most often described as ladylike and seem to belong to an earlier era, meaning polished jackets, flower prints and dresses with nipped waists and teacup skirts. He spends a lot of time at stores around the country, at Satine in Los Angeles, Jeffrey in Atlanta and Ikram in Chicago, developing ideas for specific customers and climates.
It was Ikram Goldman, who has played a behind-the-scenes role in connecting designers with the first lady, who introduced Mr. Wu’s designs to Mrs. Obama. (She had previously worn one of his dresses for an interview with Barbara Walters; she bought it at cost — for a little less than $1,000 — through Ikram, he said.) After the election, Mr. Wu immediately sent sketches to Ms. Goldman.
Two days later, Mr. Wu recalled, Ms. Goldman asked him to make the white dress. It was ready by Thanksgiving, when Mr. Wu, who is 5-foot-7, flew to Chicago, carrying the floor-length gown in a garment bag on his lap and hand-delivered it to Ms. Goldman. He was not paid for that dress or two more colorful designs he submitted later, he said, but made them with the understanding that if Mrs. Obama should end up wearing one, the dress would be donated to the Smithsonian Institution.
“It’s priceless to be a part of history,” Mr. Wu said.
The symbolism of Mrs. Obama’s choice of such a young American designer is invigorating for the fashion industry, especially at a moment when new companies are facing tight odds of survival.
Kate Spade has a fabulous new creative director, who starred in Harper’s Bazaar’s February 2009 magazine.
Former Banana Republic executive vice president of product design and development, Deborah Lloyd was named creative director and co-president of Kate Spade in July, when Kate and her husband, Andy Spade, stepped down from their namesake brand to take care of their family. Although they are handing the company over, they both plan on staying in as board members of Kate Spade.
Prior to Banana Republic, Lloyd, whose expertise is rooted in sportswear, worked as vice president of design for Burberry London for five years.
This all goes hand in hand with a plan to expand the brand’s product categories, which will eventually include Kate Spade apparel. (Which I think, in about 5 years, will be all the rage!)