2017-01-24 19:43People have been documenting the history of clothing for a long time, but the analytical study of fashion as a key sociological phenomenon has only existed for three decades. That it exists at all is mostly thanks to Gilles Lipovetsky, a French philosopher and sociologist whose book The Empire of Fashion: Dressing Modern Democracy (1987) is still the definitive staple if you really want to know what's at stake when you buy a dress.
Lipovetsky, a father of two and author of thirteen books (translated into twenty languages), has stayed away from the cities where fashion is shown, living and teaching at the foot of the French Alps, in the city of Grenoble. Given the opportunity to interview one of the world's most prominent academic specialists in fashion, we didn't want to ask him anything as trivial as who his favorite designer is (OK, it's André Courrèges). We certainly didn't wish to pry into the elements of his personal style (black suit, black shirt, black shoes, if you must know). We even thought it might be a bit banal to inquire as to what has been the most decisive event in the way fashion has come to dominate our lives (that would be the development of mass luxury-inspired brands such as H&M and Zara). Instead, we figured we'd dive right into a discussion of fashion hermeneutics (dictionary apps at the ready).
2017-01-24 19:41This afternoon, the fashion set chowed down on bacon, rigatoni, and cream sauce, which can mean only one thing: the biannual Pitti Immagine Uomo/W luncheon. Held at downtown Italian eatery Da Silvano, the afternoon gathering gave Pitti CEO Raffaello Napoleone the opportunity to speak with press, buyers, and more about the plans for the Spring '15 Florence fashion fair—and boy, are there a lot of them. 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana (essentially the organizing body for all things fashion in Firenze), so in addition to exhibitions and presentations from emerging and established designers, fairgoers will be treated to a three-museum exhibition by Francesco Vezzoli, who will insert his own work among classical paintings, sculptures, etc.; an opening opera starring Andrea Bocelli; an exhibition of Roman costume atelier Sartoria Tirelli's confections; a bevy of film screenings; the debut of Nick Wooster's capsule collection; and more. Also on the docket? Florence-born brands Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Emilio Pucci, and Ermanno Scervino will each host special events.
As reported last month, Z Zegna will be the featured guest menswear designer, but there will be no guest womenswear designer this season due to the many other events on the itinerary. We suppose the abovementioned powerhouses' Florence-centric projects will suffice. "We don't want it to be just another fair," Napoleone told cbamd.com while sipping a glass of vino rosso. "We want to create a cultural experience." Provided the itinerary lives up to expectations, it seems he's done just that.
The overcrowded menswear schedule also came up in discussion this afternoon. If you'll remember, there was a bit of a tiff between Pitti Uomo and the London Collections: Men last season, as the recently founded London shows conflicted with the Florence fair. "There will be no more troubles in 2015," announced Napoleone. While the showcases will once again overlap this time around, next season the calendar for all four cities will shift, allowing London, Florence, Milan, and Paris each to have its fair share of time in the spotlight. (This helps explore the new dates for Paris Couture, too.) "This is better for everyone," asserted Napoleone, telling us that it took one year to reach the final agreement. "Having four menswear events in Europe is a good opportunity because the manufacturers will remain strong and [we] can drive the [menswear] sensibility," he added. It's nice to see all the fashion cities (finally) playing nice.
2017-01-24 19:34Unexpected news comes from the house of Sonia Rykiel today. The brand announced that Julie de Libran has been appointed as artistic director, replacing Geraldo da Conceicao, who spent only five seasons at the helm of the label. Like Da Conceicao, De Libran comes from Louis Vuitton, where she essentially served as Marc Jacobs' right-hand woman during her five years as the house's studio director of women's ready-to-wear. She also headed up Vuitton's Resort and Pre-Fall collections. De Libran, who did stints at Prada, Versace, Gianfranco Ferré, and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac before her Vuitton tenure, departed LV after Nicolas Ghesquière took the reins. Her first collection for Sonia Rykiel—a house best known for its Parisian irreverence and gorgeous but wearable knits—will debut in Paris during the Spring '15 shows.
So why the sudden switch? For starters, De Libran has more experience—and industry clout—than Da Conceicao. She was more or less the face of Vuitton's pre-collections and is familiar with speaking to the press, and designing in line with a particular style or vision. It's worth noting that the house and First Heritage Brands, which acquired an 80 percent stake in Sonia Rykiel in February 2012, have expressed via a release that De Libran's hire is part of a "relaunch strategy and accelerated international development." One might argue that given her name recognition and design track record, De Libran is more qualified than her predecessor to "develop" the label. Furthermore, as Sonia Rykiel's daughter Nathalie states, De Libran is "a woman, a Frenchwoman. An international woman and a talented one. A woman who enjoys dressing herself and designing for other women." While one could, I suppose, make a case for reverse sexism here, the fact that De Libran is a femme française who adores fashion (just take a look at the street-style blogs or her Instagram account for proof) and manages to juggle a career and a family allows her to understand the Sonia Rykiel ethos better than a male designer might. Whatever the reason for her appointment, I look forward to seeing what the designer brings to Rykiel in September.
2017-01-24 18:37Tao Okamoto is a "model" in every sense of the word. Since she began appearing on runways and in glossy editorial spreads fifteen years ago, the Japanese beauty has become one of the industry's most sought-after faces (and helped break down barriers for Asian catwalkers). In recent years, Okamoto has extended her influence beyond fashion. In 2011, she helped raise funds and awareness for victims of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake that rocked her home country. Last summer, Okamoto made her acting debut in the X-Men blockbuster The Wolverine. Keeping up her silver-screen streak, she was cast in the upcoming action flick, out in 2016, Batman vs. Superman, and also made her first TV appearance in the new Japanese miniseries Chi no Wadachi.
Adding to her already-full plate, Okamoto has found time in the past year to do a special series of shoots—commissioned by her New York agency, The Society Management—with fifteen emerging photographers to honor her fifteen-year-long career. The resulting exhibition, Tao Okamoto 15, will be unveiled tonight at Hudson Studios in Manhattan and is open to the public for one day only. On view are unique images lensed by up-and-coming talents including Max Snow, Victor Demarchelier, and Santiago & Mauricio. An exclusive sneak peek of Tim Richardson's portrait debuts here on cbamd.com. Below, we spoke with Okamoto about her latest showcase, balancing acting and modeling, and more.
2017-01-24 21:16Nick Knight and SHOWstudio just launched a series of video interviews called "Subjective" that attempt to tell the history of contemporary fashion photography as seen through the eyes of models.
His first subject: Kate Moss. Moss shares stories with Knight about her early modeling days, living off of fish and chips and Guinness, shooting with Corinne Day, and getting flack for being a heroin-cheeked waif—"I'm a fabulous scapegoat," she says.
The conversation is casual, intimate; Moss is charming and beautiful. What Knight says about her early photos remains true: "It's a very powerful thing to have that honesty and fragility." Head over to SHOWstudio to watch.
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