Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mouret at the Gap

I'm counting the days until the Roland Mouret collection goes on sale at the Gap - mark Nov. 7 in your diary! I've finally had a sneak preview of the dresses, courtesy of French Elle.
Models present the outfits at a press breakfast

Consisting mainly of tunics, they are not quite as exciting as I expected, but then they chose to photograph the clothes on models who are prancing around, so it's hard to tell how they fall. There is one sharp-shouldered number very much in the spirit of the Galaxy that is definitely worth a snoop.
The Galaxy dress

The Mouret collection features 10 dresses, ranging in price from $85 to $150. It will be sold at 160 Gaps in the U.K., Ireland and France and should hit the New York stores a few weeks later. I have found this season's offerings from Gap really disappointing, except for the stretch jersey polonecks which I have bought in black and grey (they look really great layered under a short-sleeved dress or with an oversized V-neck sweater with cropped sleeves). This could have a similar effect for the chain as the Karl Lagerfeld collection for H&M. In addition, part of the profits will go to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, so you don't even have to feel guilty.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Get in the Saddle

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of John Galliano at Christian Dior, trendy Parisian multibrand store Colette will sell exclusive limited edition Saddle bags starting on Dec. 4. This should be only the start of a series of celebrations at Dior in 2007!
Dior Saddle

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Karl's tunes

If you feel the urge to vogue around your living room, order the world's most fashionable soundtrack now courtesy of Karl Lagerfeld...
Karl CD

The designer, who famously owns more than 70 iPods, highlights his favorite tracks from Stravinsky to the Pipettes.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Real beauty

This one has been doing the rounds. It is quite impressive!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Kylie Darling!

Finally, the name of Kylie Minogue's scent has been unveiled - in true showbiz fashion, it will be called Darling. The fragrance, which will launch in Britain next month, is described as a "chypre-floriental" perfume. It features top notes of passion fruit, freesia and lychee, heart notes of lily and boronia and base notes including sandalwood, amber wood and vanilla.

"Having your own fragrance is like a dream for a woman," Kylie was quoted as saying in Women's Wear Daily. "I use ‘darling' a lot. My mother calls me darling. I call my friends darling. It's almost so old-fashioned it has come around again. It's sweet, personal, loving and affectionate. It's a term you can use for anyone — it's not just for your lover or your child, you can use it for everybody. And it's a little showbiz."

The scent is a democratic one. The eau de toilette will be available in a tiny 15-ml size that will be priced at 15 euros in Europe, about $19 at current exchange rates - perfect for a young girl buying her first perfume. Like many girls of my generation, I started out with Cacharel's Anais Anais. Even now, the smell of it brings back a wealth of memories.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Diana Vreeland

Oh, I couldn't resist!
Kate Moss

I have become slightly hooked on You Tube. Like everyone, I enjoyed watching the video of the man who fell through the glass while trying to photocopy his bottom at the office...but I still prefer these semi-artsy movies by fashion photographer Nick Knight...

The Beckham effect

I must confess to a guilty fascination moment during fashion week. New pals Victoria Beckham and Katie Holmes caused a sensation by appearing together at shows including Chanel, Giambattista Valli and Yves Saint Laurent.
Victoria & Katie
(Photo Greg Kessler/Style.com)

It was day six of the ready-to-wear shows and I must confess to feeling somewhat jaded, having interviewed Kanye West, Lenny Kravitz and Dita Von Teese and spotted Janet Jackson, Monica Bellucci and the Olsen twins, to name but a few. So I was surprised when I could not peel my eyes off the tiny Demoiselle Beckham, wearing skinny jeans and a black cape with gold embroidery, standing in the cordoned-off VIP section after Stefano Pilati's show for YSL. With her sleek bob and pert little nose, she is ultra recognizable and - dare I say it - has star quality. OK, I hang my head in shame. Those who want to check out the Beckham effect in the flesh can join several hundred other fans at her book signing at London department store Selfridges on Monday.


"We've had an unprecedented number of enquiries about Victoria's appearance at the Selfridges Oxford Street store. Judging by the huge amount of people wanting to be here for Victoria's visit on Monday, I think That Extra Half An Inch will be in a lot of Christmas stockings this year – it's obviously going to be a best seller," store director Tracey Mann was quoted as saying on vogue.co.uk.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Gucci iPod

Talk about exclusive! To celebrate the opening of its new flagship store in Tokyo, Gucci has come up with the ultimate party favor. Guests and press attending a celebration dinner on Nov. 2 will walk away with an iPod engraved with the Gucci logo and cased in a silver logo-embossed leather holder.
The Gucci iPod

Gucci is only producing 1,100 of the iPods, which are designed as luxury press kits. They will contain a press release about the new store in the trendy Ginza neighborhood, as well as images from catwalk shows. Owners of the iPod will be able to download a custom-made playlist by R&B singer Mary J. Blige, who is slated to sing at the reception. This one has "beg, steal or borrow" written all over it!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Magic McQueen

The show of Paris fashion week, for me, was Alexander McQueen. We arrived after dark in a heavy downpour at the Cirque d'Hiver, a 19th century circus venue. But any feelings of tiredness or hunger were quickly forgotten as we settled expectantly into balcony seats rising around a circular wooden stage, over which hung a chandelier.
The musicians at Alexander McQueen's show

A chamber ensemble from London's famed Academy of St. Martin in the Fields - the women dressed in elegant lilac gowns - joined a harpsichord to play Haendel's "Sarabande" (which was used on the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick's movie "Barry Lyndon") as the chandelier pulsated light and rose into the rafters. Models emerged in dresses merging the influences of the 18th century (with Lyndon-esque jackets in pastel tapestry florals), the Edwardian era and characters as diverse as Vegas showgirls and the infamous Marchesa Luisa Casati. The last dress, made entirely from fresh pink blooms, shed petals in the model's wake.
A dress with padded hips

Too much choice! (Photos: Joelle Diderich)

McQueen's shows are more like happenings, in the sense that they straddle the border between fashion and art. It's difficult to imagine buying this kind of dress off the rack, but there were also some great trouser suits and beautifully fitted jackets that can make the transition from boardroom to chic soirée. And McQueen recently expanded his offering with a denim-based diffusion line, McQ.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Low-fat Lagerfeld

As predicted, I couldn't keep up the posting during Fashion Week! So here are some belated goodies. After seeing Karl Lagerfeld's show, I could not resist asking him about the skinny models debate (I mean, have you see the arms on Irina Lazareanu, his latest favorite?). Well, he waded right in there. Offensive doesn't begin to cover it. But then, ever since his diet, Karl is unapologetically rude about overweight people.

Skinny fashion muses Lily Donaldson and Irina Lazareanu

Karl "Lose Weight Now, Ask Me How" Lagerfeld (Photos: Joelle Diderich)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Dior goes sober

It was the usual madness at Christian Dior, with a guestlist including Janet Jackson, Kanye West, Lenny Kravitz, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (who did that weird staring thing) and Monica Bellucci (a.k.a. the face of Dior Rouge lipstick). Jackson has the biggest bodyguard I have ever seen. That man just ploughs through a crowd. In fact, I believe he could part the Red Sea. Also there was the lovely Dita Von Teese, who has the most flawless porcelain skin I have ever seen. She is truly charming and smart.
Dita Von Teese
Dita Von Teese advertising campaign for Vivienne Westwood - the perfect mariage of beauty and fashion

Venue - equally spectacular.
Grand Palais
I rest my case (Photo: Charles Platiau/Reuters)

Now, the clothes. Hm. Ah. What to say? Gray. Joan of Arc. Calf-length skirts. OK, I'm being unfair. There were some beautiful dresses. But what is up with the new sobriety? John Galliano scared the life out of me by taking his bow with no pyrotechnics, no astronaut suit, no mohawk...but in a gray suit. Yikes!!! Is this the end of fashion as we know it?
Some lovely red carpet numbers and a sensible Galliano (Photos: Remy de la Mauviniere/AP, Charles Platiau/Reuters)

Us leaving the show...!

(Photo: Charles Platiau/Reuters)

Take that, skinny models!

Loots of kookiness today with shows by Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood. Gaultier shot the whole skinny models debate straight out of the water by doing a show on the theme of aerobics, and then sending out an oversized model to illustrate it. Ahaha, those crazy French! You gotta love them!
A model at the Jean Paul Gaultier show (Photo: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)

The audience went wild, though you wonder how most of these people would react if the same woman showed up at a fashion magazine or department store applying for a job. Still, kudos to JPG for the statement. The French designer plans a big party on Saturday night to celebrate 30 years in business. Women's Wear Daily reports that leading fashion editors will do magic tricks (this I'll pay to see). Anna Piaggi, the grande dame of Italian fashion, voiced some concerns about her turn as she congratulated Gaultier backstage, but he was egging her on with encouragements. Good thing she already wears a magician's cape!
Anna Piaggi
Anna Piaggi of Italian Vogue

Vivienne Westwood was in fine form with a collection labeled "I Am Expensiv" (sic). She said it was a reaction to logo-driven consumerism. I asked her about an interview from 1987 in which she criticized the fashion for "asexual bodies". I thought it was interesting given the current debate on skinny models, but she denied ever making the comment. When I said the quote was taken from the catalogue of her retrospective at the Victoria & Albert museum, she went into a rambling critique of the book's author, Claire Wilcox. To me, it's one thing to change your mind about something you once said, but it's another to deny you ever said it. Still, Westwood is her own mistress and she has genius enough to make you pardon a few inconsistencies. The best thing about this show was the catwalk comeback of Sarah Stockbridge, Westwood muse extraordinaire from the 1980s.
Sarah StockbridgeSarah Stockbridge
Sarah Stockbridge, then and now (Photo on right: Jacques Brinon/AP)

I told her that I remembered seeing her on the King's Road in the 1980s and being just blown away. Those were the days of the mini crini and rocking horse shoes. Sarah told me she now has kids but still works as a fittings model for Westwood. She didn't know she would be in the show until this morning, but said she couldn't refuse because her 8-year-old daughter would never have forgiven her. Sometimes, it's great to be reminded just why I wanted to work in this industry. Sarah Stockbridge is one of the reasons.

Yohji and Elvis = bliss

The Yohji Yamamoto show was my favorite so far this season. Although the chairs are always incredibly small and uncomfortable (designed for Japanese derrieres, it seems), the decor was stunning - the main amphitheatre of the Sorbonne university. This is a new setting for shows in Paris and will also host Karl Lagerfeld's show on Wednesday. The clothes were beautiful: lots of men's morning coats, some accessorized with monocles, worn over crisp white shirts with high collars. This very androgynous look was counterbalanced by some black silk bustier dresses with basket skirts. Think Morticia goes to the prom. Best of all, though, was the soundtrack of Elvis Presley tunes. His voice positively reverberated off those old French walls. The effect was so eerie, it gave me goosebumps, especially on "Crying In The Chapel," which is a personal favorite.
(Photo Pierre Verdy/AFP)

Viktor & Rolf

Viktor & Rolf wowed the fashion crowd by transforming their show venue into a retro ballroom with champagne, ringside tables for top editors and crystal chandeliers. A couple opened the show with a display of ballroom dancing, which set the theme for a show heavy on flesh-colored bodystockings and diamante trim. Rufus Wainwright and a string orchestra provided live accompaniment. I'm a big fan of V&R, but this time I thought the theatrics outweighed the clothes. There was none of the virtuosity of last season's debutante gowns dipped in silver. That's the danger with gleaning style tips from ballroom dancers, I guess.
Viktor & Rolf

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Paris kicks off fashion week

Paris fashion week has officially begun, and I can already report the first celebrity sighting. Lenny Kravitz took in the Balmain show, and I have a feeling we will be seeing plenty more of him this week. "I love Paris and so I'm here with my daughter, just taking her around to a couple of shows," he told reporters.
Balmain's spring-summer collection (Photos: Remy de la Mauvienire/AP)

Kravitz's former costume designer Laurent Mercier - known to friends as the cross-dressing Lola - used to design for Balmain. His replacement, Christophe Decarnin, is doing a pretty good job of reviving the brand with super sexy little dresses that have already been picked up by Audrey Tautou and Sofia Coppola.
Audrey Tautou rocking a Balmain look at Cannes (Photo: Karwai Tang/Alpha/Globe Photos via Style.com)

No sign of a ban on skinny models here (the show featured Australian model Gemma Ward, a.k.a. The Alien). It was a totally different scene at Martin Margiela, who traditionally uses non-professional models. The draped white set created a seating conundrum for the dozens of standing-room guests.
The Margiela set at the Fine Arts school in Paris (Photos: Joelle Diderich)

The collection was based on nude bodystockings which served as the basis for tailored suits with extra-long legs (don't try to run for a taxi in these) and a deconstructed stars-and-stripes motif (stars on one side, stripes on the other).
(Photos: Joelle Diderich)

Things are going to get pretty manic in the next few days, so I can't promise I will post every day, but I will do my best to keep you up to date!