2004 was a special year for the Belgian designer Dries van Noten, it was the year he designed his 50th women’s collection and launched a book commemorating his career. Barneys, being one of the first stores in New York City to carry his line, decided to throw a party in honor of Mr. van Noten and launch his book in the United States. The event took place at Barneys on November 4th, working closely with Julie Gilhart and Simon Doonan, and produced by Dizon Inc.
As you entered the 4th floor of Barney’s, the room was covered in projections from past runway shows, layering over each other, wrapping the architecture and the racks of clothing. The center piece of the room consisted of a massive waterfall of images, pages from the book hung on strips of grosgrain ribbons, creating what now looks remarkably like a tumblr feed of images of his shows throughout the years. The strips, hung at different lengths, spanned a long narrow table displaying the books. Dries van Noten 01-50: A Golden Anniversary included photos of shows and invitations of every show since 1991, artfully chronicling his singular vision.
For more information about Dries van Noten and his close relationship with Barneys, have a look at this article.
Last week some of New York’s most iconic fashion names were heading south to support the 2014 graduation show (have a look at Refinery 29 for a full report) at Savannah College of Art and Design. This season they took the show to the next level by presenting the collections in the SCAD Museum of Art. A beautifully restored building designed by (Christian Sottile). Among the guests were Pat Cleveland and Andre Leon Talley, a long time SCAD supporter, who presented his Lifetime Achievement Award to the acclaimed fashion designer Stephen Burrows, who is the subject of a special exhibition at SCAD through September 15 titled ‘An American Master of Inventive Design.
Guests included J. Alexander, who coached the models on their walks and especially their attitude, Natalie Joos from the vintage fashion blog: Tales of Endearment, among other editors and insiders coming to see what the next generation is up to. The Dizon team was brought in to bring a touch of NY fashion week to the Savannah school.
In honor of J. Alexander, the models created a tribute video of his signature pose.
In case you missed the livestream of the SCAD fashion show, you can re-watch it on their website.
Make-Up by Tracy Alfajora
Hair by Martin Christopher Harper
Images by: TMDJ, Pat Cleveland, Sophie Cutts, Keya and the Dizon Inc. team
I recently had a chance to sneak away and spend a day in San Francisco to see the “Balenciaga and Spain” exhibit at The De Young, curated by Vogue’s Hamish Bowles, and was happily inspired by the museum itself, just as much as the exhibit.
Having grown up in the bay area, going on countless field trips to Golden Gate Park and its museums and gardens, I must admit I had long taken them for granted since moving to New York. Coming upon the grand plaza of the Music Concourse, flanked on either side by The De Young and The California Academy of Sciences I was struck by the fine balance between old and new, nature and architecture.
The Plaza, completed in 1900, lined with neat rows of trees and facing the band shell of the Spreckels Temple of Music has the more formal feel of turn of the century design. Yet somehow, the two highly modern museums that surround it, both redone in the last decade, provide an interesting compliment to the plaza.
Before the recent renovations, both museums had sustained significant damage by earthquakes. The California Academy of Sciences, designed by Renzo Piano, is the world’s greenest museum, garnering the highest possible LEED rating. Its buildings feature a canopy of solar panels, a 2.5-acre living roof covered in native plants, and recycled denim used for insulation among other innovative elements.
The De Young was redesigned by Herzog and De Meuron and opened in 2005. It is wrapped in a warm copper surface that continues to change and shift as the patina develops. Because of the continued risk of earthquakes the museum was built sitting in what amounts to a mote so that it can shift during an earthquake to minimize any damage.
Although the new building cuts a modern geometric figure, they managed to integrate historic elements from the old De Young; including the sphinx sculptures, the Pool of Enchantment, and the original palm trees creating a connection between old and new. While in and around the building I was struck by the strong angles and geometric shapes created in different areas, such as the cantilevered roof over the cafe terrace and sculpture garden.
The De Young’s fashion exhibits have generated some controversy among some purists; however, Cristobol Balenciaga’s work was so connected to the worlds of art and architecture it seems a fitting choice. His approach was highly intellectual and conceptual. By the late 1950’s his clothing involved radical experimentation with form and volume paralleling his increasing engagement with contemporary art. The exhibit highlights these relationships and features a dress whose aerial view was based on a shape from a Joan Miró painting.
Balenciaga’s strong relationships were key in his work for example when he collaborated with The House of Abraham to develop Silk Gazaar, a silk gauze that allowed him to create sculptural pieces with minimal seaming which became a trademark of his work. The exhibit features strong colors and large format photos of his inspirations displayed with the corresponding collections. It was an inspiration to see the footage from Balenciaga shows from the ’50’s and get a glimpse of how simple the shows used to be.
“Fashion, my girl– he decided.”
Wedding Ensemble, 1934
The fashion world is busy fawning over the royal wedding dress, and eagerly awaiting the opening of the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. McQueen was a tremendous talent who designed fantastical, exciting, gorgeously innovative clothes, showcased in wildly theatrical settings and forms. However, extravagance and imagination does not necessarily translate to pragmatic dressing. With the spotlight on this event at the Costume Institute, we are delving into their archives to dig out an often-overlooked American designer from the 1930s: Elizabeth Hawes.
Hawes designed clothing at her own shop in New York on West 56th Street from 1928 to 1940, when she went to work at an aviation factory during World War II. After the war, she designed inconsistently and concentrated on writing, for which she had developed a taste in her seminal memoir/ critique of the fashion industry Fashion is Spinach (1938). In this book, Hawes explores the difference between style and fashion, concluding that fashion is a corruptive, potentially evil force which dictates to women what they should wear for purely commercial goals. Style is a personal expression of taste and imagination.
Elizabeth Hawes was anti-fashion establishment and iconoclastic, not unlike Alexander McQueen. She defied the mainstream fashion industry and remained true to her own values, not allowing herself to be ruled by convention or restrictions. As her biographer Bettina Berch noted, “Elizabeth Hawes left us some very useful ideas—ideas about the links between art and politics, sex and fear, money and beauty.” The designs of her clothing are relevant even today, because they considered the needs of modern woman, who should take her place in society as an ambitious, creative, intellectual force, without sacrificing a love of beauty, whimsy, or charm.
There is a month left of the His & Hers exhibit at the Museum of FIT, a costume show that compares examples men’s and women’s clothes from 1760-2010. It is a small, quiet show that presents the way gender differences were expressed in clothing through several centuries. 18th and 19th century fashions display stark differences, though as the exhibit moves closer to the present, designers begin to subvert conventions. Although there are earlier examples of women appropriating traditional male styling, the designs of Yves Saint Laurent in the 1970s and 80s emerge as a major leap towards the type of androgynous dressing that is accepted in contemporary fashion. His Le Smoking ensemble, first introduced in the mid-1970s, remains an icon of transgressive sexual ambiguity.
Left: Bonnie Cashin Hostess Apron and Necktie
Far Right: Sportsmaker (Tom Brigance) playsuit
Yves Saint Laurent
Center: Le smoking ensemble: jacket, blouse, cummerbund, trousers
Black wool, black silk satin, ivory silk satin
Circa 1982, France
Black and white checkered wool, silk charmeuse.
John Bartlett Mens and Womens Fall 2010
Right picture, pair on left
Burberry Prorsum Mens and Womens Fall 2010
Right picture, pair on right
Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
Seventh Avenue at 27 Street
New York City 10001-5992