Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fashion Stuff...

1) Pierre Hardy is set to design a line of shoes for Gap. Hardy was a shoe designer for Dior in the 1980s and he currently designs jewelry for Hermès and unbelievably amazing shoes for Balenciaga, as well as his own slickly modern eponymous shoe and handbag line. The line debuts in Europe and a few other markets by the end of this year, with the American debut early next year.

2) Roberto Cavalli's designs for the Spice Girls reunion tour have been released. Cavalli did the costumes for J. Lo's pregnant tour and Christina Aguilera's semi-pregnant tour. I wonder if any of the Spice Girls are pregnant...

3) Kirsten Chugnasty Dunst will be the next face of Miu Miu. Total downgrade. The current campaign features the lovely Laetitia Casta, while previous campaigns have featured the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Evan Rachel Wood, Selma Blair, Lou Doillon, Kim Basinger, Ludivine Sagnier, Zhou Xun, and the absolutely stunning Camilla Belle.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hayden Christensen + Awake = Good Trailer

I don't know if I'm even going to watch the movie because it looks creepy and I hate Jessica Alba, but here's the trailer for Awake, the new Hayden Christensen movie that opens this Friday.

Anne Klein - Isabel Toledo = Boring Sportswear

An Anne Klein look by Isabel Toledo, Spring/Summer 2008, which won't hit stores next year

In an effort to update the brand and give the company a stronger, more contemporary image across the board, Anne Klein, a division of Jones Apparel Group Inc., decided a year ago to enter the (already relatively crowded) designer sportswear arena. To fill the role of creative director, the company hired Isabel Toledo, who already had her own eponymous line in the same category and stocked at stores like Nordstrom. The line was meant to compete with other modern American sportswear names, somewhat edgier than Michael Kors, but maybe slightly tamer than Marc Jacobs.

On the runway, there were clear influences of the New York art world in Toledo's use of prints and colors, which is fitting considering that Isabel's husband is none other than Nordstrom fashion illustrator extraordinaire Ruben Toledo. Editors and store buyers loved it, with Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus stocking up on fresh classics, like delectably detailed, printed shirtdresses and crisp white shirts with a gorgeous, feminine tux pleats. The fashion-foward ad campaigns featured Stella Tennant and longtime Anne Klein model Carolyn Murphy in a much more conceptual narrative than any prior campaign.

But, sadly, the designer line is being shuttered in order for the company to focus more on their bridge- and better-priced collections (which have generally been pretty staid and ho-hum for ages). It's too bad because Isabel Toledo was the breath of fresh air Anne Klein, and indeed America's wilting fashion reputation, sorely needed.

The New Versace Man - Dr. McDreamy?

A Versace ad from Spring 2007

Donatella Versace has quite the legacy of employing celebrities for their ad campaigns. On the women's side, everybody from Courtney Love and Christina Aguilera to Halle Berry and Demi Moore has taken a shot at portraying the modern Versace woman. Even Madonna gave it a whirl a few years ago. On the men's side, Tuki Brando (Marlon's grandson) was the face last season, with Jonathan Rhys Meyers filling the slot for the two seasons before that. Now, the word is that Patrick Dempsey, Dr. McDreamy himself, is going to star in the Spring/Summer 2008 campaign. It's certainly a much different image than the one given by 16 year-old, Tahitian-born Tuki. Will all the model-flipping confuse the customer? Probably not. The Versace man is generally really confident in their clothing choices (along the lines of a DSquared2 or Dolce & Gabbana man even) and these ads will probably attract a wider, more traditional client.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gaspard in a Tub

Dans ma Baignoire - Gaspard Ulliel

Why is he in a tub? Who knows! The real question is: why is he in a tub, fully dressed?!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oprah's Favorite Things + Nordstrom

Notice anything particular about the three items featured on the home page? Those Ugg boots, the Clarisonic system, and the Rachel Pally set were all featured on Oprah's Favorite Things episode, which airs today. It's funny how subtle it is, there's no mention of Oprah anywhere. Buy! Buy! Buy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ugh - Downgrade

Simon Pegg, the very ugly star of the very funny Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, is set to play Scotty on the J.J. Abrams' helmed Star Trek movie, due out next year. Previous reports had James McAvoy in the role.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Seattle Art Museum - Oh Lordy!

The Seattle Times is pretty sure that the newly expanded Seattle Art Museum is a lost opportunity and in need of some critical evaluation. Goodness gracious...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Nordstrom - Bellevue vs Seattle

Nordstrom is investing something like $100 million in nationwide store remodels, which is most evident right now in the Downtown Seattle and Bellevue Square stores. Both are among the top Nordstrom stores in the nation (and I bet that if not for the other 4 stores in the greater Seattle area, they'd be #1 and #2). But which one is better? A comparison:

- Nordstrom Seattle has a vastly expanded sunglass shop, while Bellevue's is (at least for now) still in a nook where the concierge used to be.

- Seattle has Chanel RTW and accessories shops, both of which are being renovated. Bellevue has neither.

- Both Bellevue and Seattle have Gucci accessories shops, and when Bellevue finishes renovations, both will have Gucci RTW shops.

- Bellevue is also adding a Dolce & Gabbana shop, which Seattle recently added.

- Bellevue is adding the nation's first (and currently only) Prada shop, whereas Seattle isn't adding Prada, likely because of the current proximity of Prada RTW at both Mario's and Barneys, both within a block (see related post here).

- Bellevue is getting Miu Miu, which only the South Coast Plaza Nordstrom is also getting.

- Seattle is (re)adding an Yves Saint Laurent shop, which Bellevue is not.

- Bellevue is getting Marchesa, whereas Seattle is adding Givenchy. This, more than anything, speaks about the type of designer customer to which each store is catering.

- David Yurman is getting space at Bellevue, whereas Yurman is still part of the Fine Jewelry department in Seattle.

- Seattle has had trunk shows for Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, and Chanel in recent months.

- Seattle's Salon Shoes department carries a wider variety of brands, including Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Giuseppe Zanotti, Chanel, Prada, Miu Miu, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and more. Bellevue has more basic brands, like Burberry and Gucci, with a smattering of more progressive brands, like Dries Van Noten.

- Additional brands Bellevue has carried that Seattle has not: Narciso Rodriguez, Roberto Cavalli, Burbery Prorsum.

- Additional brands Seattle has carried that Bellevue has not: Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, Stella McCartney, Sophia Kokosalaki, Zac Posen, Blumarine, and Chloe.

While not a comprehensive list, the main point is that there's a ton of stuff for any designer-obsessed Seattle shopper at either of these locations. I can't wait to see how the stores look when they're done.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Paris Reviews - Nina Ricci S/S 2008

Magdalena Frackowiak

Olga Sherer

Elsa Sylvan

Irina Kulikova

Kasia Struss

For his latest collection for Nina Ricci, Olivier Theyskens took his signature dark moodiness to the streets of Paris. His jeunes filles looked marvelously disheveled after a long night out on the town. Last season's ethereal, featherlight (and feather-heavy) collection set the tone for the hopelessly romantic Theyskens, and this season he continued his youthful theme with a series of looks that would be perfectly appropriate for the likes of Julia Restoin-Roitfeld (daughter of Vogue Paris editrix Carine Roitfeld) and her European socialite friends. For the girl who loves Giambattista Valli's irreverent-chic party frocks, Theyskens' leggy looks will seem right on target, if slightly more edgy than purely pretty. The silhouette was both lean and languid, with concert-inspired tees flowing with diaphanous chiffon panels attached, paired with pants ranging from cropped, fluid satin to lanky, enviable denim. Incredibly thin leather jackets had an undeniable downtown appeal, while the endless parade of hyper-short dresses (or were they tops?) will fit right into the discotheques of Paris and beyond. One can only hope the heat of spring and summer will keep these girls warm. When the occasion calls for more than just a flirty club outfit, there was an appropriate suit or two for going to the office.

But who says the Nina Ricci girl needs to work under the harsh glare of fluorescent lights? The bulk of the collection focused on evening looks, for the Nina Ricci girl is apparently more comfortable on the red carpet than in a conference call. Building on the success of Reese Witherspoon, whom Theyskens has been dressing in Nina Ricci for the biggest events all year, Theyskens sent out full-length looks not just to end the show, but throughout the whole collection, a less-than-subtle reminder that nighttime is where he (and ultimately his customer) shines. While none of the gowns was entirely challenging or fresh, especially after last season's L'Air du Temps-inspired showstoppers, there were certainly some stunning creations, including a number with the transparency seen on nearly every important runway this season. Theyskens is building a strong, romantic identity quickly at Nina Ricci, so it'll be intriguing to see how he backs these looks up in the stores, especially considering many are either at the upper end of ready-to-wear or are made-to-order, like the demi-couture he favored at Rochas (which has since been closed down). Will there be more of the practical day looks and cozy sweaters in the showroom? Is there a line of high-margin accessories right around the corner? Nina Ricci already has a strong perfume business, and the shoe business has been blooming. Are handbags far behind? Both the boon and the bane of luxury fashion houses in recent years, it would be interesting to see how Theyskens would do it without diluting the house's image.

Nina Ricci is available at Mario's Seattle and Nordstrom Bellevue.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Seen + Heard

Who's interested in useless gossip? I am! Anyways, the word is that for the Spring RTW shows in Paris, someone at Louis Vuitton thought it would be a good idea to fly out the top five Vuitton clients to the show. Apparently, one of these clients was a woman from Seattle, who last year alone spent somewhere around $300,000 on Louis Vuitton clothing. As Vuitton clothing isn't available in the Seattle boutique, she was probably flying to San Francisco (like chic and wealthy Seattleites seem to like) or elsewhere to shop. So LVMH flies her out to Paris and she gets to see the show and meet the people behind the scenes, which sounds like an amazing experience. That is, until LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton head Bernard Arnault asked her about her experience. The woman seemed upset and let Arnault hear about it. Somebody at Vuitton had the audacity to fly her out coach, then put her up in a regular room in a three star hotel, obviously insulting this woman's dignity. She made it clear that if she had known how Vuitton had chosen to accommodate her, she would have chartered her own private jet and booked the penthouse suite of a nicer hotel. And she said this straight in the face of Monsieur Arnault. Keep in mind, Arnault is the richest person in France and 7th richest in the world. He's one of the most influential and powerful forces in fashion. Of course, Arnault was upset with whoever set the woman up with such pitiful travel plans, and I'm betting that person is now out of a job. Sucks for them! Anyways, that's the word...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Paris Reviews - Balenciaga S/S 2008

Natalia Vodianova - It's been far too long!

Kinga Razjak - Just a bit creepy.

Carolina Pantoliano - The new Brazilian that I absolutely love.

Magdalena Frackowiak - Her name is a mouthful.

Nicolas Ghesquière is easily considered one of the greatest designers of our time, and with this latest collection for Balenciaga, he proves he deserves the accolades. What makes him so special is how deft he is at capturing the couture craftsmanship and attention to silhouette that Cristobal Balenciaga was obsessed with, while somehow managing not to dilute his own strong vision of a new woman. This collection was no different. Florals are coming back in a big way for spring, quite literally. The majority of the opening looks consisted of highly sculptural outfits composed of a different hyper-colorful floral pattern. The shoulders were pronounced, and every look was paired with some intensely graphic gladiator boots, courtesy of Pierre Hardy. Midway through the show came some toned-down separates that could actually look right in place on city streets (albeit some extremely chic ones). The commercial quality went right back out the door, though, as the show ended with a series of strong, monochromatic looks in stiff, shimmery, masterfully seamed and darted fabric. This certainly wasn't a collection of pieces meant to sell. There weren't the bevy of kitschy handbags and accessories that have come to make Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton shows such a repetitive spectacle. These were couture-quality clothes made for the ready-to-wear runway, if only to inject a bit of fantasy and a lot of brand identity into a runway season seriously lacking in both. For that, I thank Mr. Ghesquière. And when it comes down to the bottom line, it's shows like this that get women clamoring for those Balenciaga bags in droves.