Like Helen of Troy, it’s ‘the face to launch a thousand ships!’

 

PAOLO Riversi believes that ‘photography is the revelation of another dimension’. His skills at devising a myriad of shots over decades is celebrated during an exhibition in Milan today.

“I am not interested in the everyday or the commonplace. They carry no emotions for me,” Roversi ‘master of the dreamy, the fantastic and the ethereal,’ tells The Business of Fashion.

“Paolo Roversi, Stories” is the main exhibition in the stunning Appartamenti del Principe on the top floor of Milan’s Palazzo Reale for the Vogue Photo Festival, curated by Alessia Glaviano, current photo editor of Italian Vogue

Among the intricate tapestries, gilded stuccoes and marble floors, are photographic selections, including a full series of unpublished portraits of Rihanna, outtakes from an album cover shoot.

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Whether the styling is eclectic, decadent, or divine the focus is always the face.

If for Fashion or the Music industry Roversi wants each carefully crafted image to tell a story.

“It is about fantasy, fabric, invention. In order to work, however, a fashion photograph must function in two ways: it has to be the portrait of a woman wearing a dress, but also the portrait of a dress worn by a woman.”

Vivienne Westwood interpreting her own creations, discussing her own work, explains, “The  silhouette looks like an ant on stilts, the head comes out looking more important, and with the shoes, forming a pedestal to give particular power and expression to the most erotic part of the person, the face.”

The Fashion geniuses  Roversi and Westwood are artists who pay homage to the Renaissance painters whose portraits make up the stories of  earlier lives, loves and eternal emotions.

 

The death of maestro Azzedine Alaïa

¨ Fashion will last forever. It will exist always. It will exist in its own way in each era. I live in the moment. It’s interesting to know the old methods. But you have to live in the present moment. ¨Azzedine Alaia

Alaïa, the French Tunisian artist has died at his home in Paris. He is thought of as a sculptor rather than a designer, although his muse and inspiration came from a lasting love of Fashion.

He was enchanted by the way clothes looked, reading ‘Vogue’ as a boy. By pretending to be older than he was, he attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Tunis, where he studied sculpture, and began working as a dressmaker before moving to Paris in 1957, at first as a tailleur for Dior, then with Guy Laroche and later Thierry Mugler.

Writing of his death, at the age of 77, the French weekly, Le Point, tells of his ‘prodigious talent,’ and Fashion’s ‘insatiable appetite for his designs;’ making him popular for decades. And how his skills at cutting allowed ‘idiosyncratic takes on classic silhouettes,’ for his designs to become the ‘aspirational zenith for many’.

He opened his first atelier in his Rue de Bellechasse apartment in the late 1970s, from which he dressed his private clientele, which included Marie-Hélène de Rothschild, Louise Lévêque de Vilmorin and Greta Garbo.

In 1980 he produced his first ready-to-wear collection, which was championed by the then doyennes of fashion, Melka Tréanton of Depeche Mode and Nicole Crassat of French Elle, who both regularly featured his work in their respective magazines.

By 1988 there were Alaïa boutiques in Beverly Hills and New York. He was dubbed the “King of Cling” by Suzy Menkes! During the mid-’90s Alaïa partially retired from the fashion scene  after the death of his twin sister. He continued to cater for a private clientele and enjoyed success with his ready-to-wear lines.

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Seen holding his two Yorkshire terriers, Patapouf and Wabo, Alaia  is pictured walking in a Paris street with model Frederique van der Wal, wearing his creation, a black leather zippered dress.  (Don’t you adore her see-through pumps?)

Alaïa was the subject of a major retrospective at Rome’s illustrious Villa Borghese, Couture/Sculpture in 2015.  Three decades of his gowns were shown with masterpieces by respected artists, Raphael, Caravaggio, and Titian. He is celebrated as the inventor of ‘body-con,’ and his work does not suffer from being compared to these earlier Italian masters.

Strictly Chicago!

IT’s tricky not letting addictive ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ become the thrill of the week. But yesterday I found the antidote! I watched the full length dance movie, Chicago (2001). It’s  still sensational with the genius dance moves of director and choreographer Rob Marshall.

With music by Kander and Ebb, the team behind ‘Cabaret,’ Chicago won six academy awards in 2003 and was the first musical to win Best Picture, since ‘Oliver’ in 1968.

Nightclub sensation Velma (Catherine Zeta-Jones) murders her philandering husband, and Chicago’s slickest lawyer, Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), is set to defend her. But when aspiring star Roxie (Renée Zellweger) also winds up in prison, Billy also takes on her case. They turn the 1920s ‘Windy City’ into a media circus. Neither will be outdone in her fight for fame and celebrity.

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Here Collen Atwood’s costume designs appear in court as Roxie, performs as the innocent victim; killing in self-defence, begging for the life of her (fictional) unborn child, for Billy Flynn, the blindingly corrupt, ‘razzle dazzle,’ lawyer.

Influences around the time of Miccuia Prada’s S/S 2001 collection seem to have inspired both the svelte stage outfits and clothes for prison and street scenes in the movie, don’t  you think?

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Music for China’s ‘Emerging Affluents?’

COULD ‘new solutions’, worldwide Politics needs, come from within the Fashion industry itself?

Chinese-born media magnate and  journalist, Madame Shaw-Lan Wang, has taken over the reins of the major French Fashion house ‘Lanvin.’  Will China’s, America’s and Europe’s ‘new affluents’ be ready to buy into the dreams of creative internationalism, this inspired move represents?

Madame Wang, a Taiwanese businesswoman and publisher of United Daily News, owns 75 percent of Lanvin and will put more money in; to back future projects and help reposition the company.

“Madame Shaw-Lan Wang has always believed in Lanvin and sees a future in its talented teams,” Lanvin explains. The label, which dates back to 1889, named after couturier Jeanne Lanvin, has long been synonymous with Parisian chic. It enjoyed a revival in the noughties, under former star designer Alber Elbaz, famed for his 2001 collaboration with H&M.

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Nicolas Druz, a close advisor of Madame Wang’s, who has been appointed deputy managing director, says Lanvin was looking at branching into new avenues such as “art of living” concepts. Hotel projects might be launched under the Lanvin name.

Lanvin is on its second designer since Elbaz.  Olivier Lapidus, a one-time menswear designer for Balmain,  known for experimenting with technology and clothes took on the role in July.  A renowned Modernist,  Lapidus, son of Ted, is transforming the oldest Fashion house in the world, under the influence of sophisticated, timeless, classical civilisation from the East.

In the mid-1920’s, the design house had recruited expert “nose,” André Fraysse, and launched an impressive spate of Lanvin perfumes and scents: Arpège, Niv Nal, Irise, Kara – Djenoun, Le Sillon, Chypre, Comme-Ci Comme-Ca, Lajea, J’En Raffole, La Dogaresse, Ou Fleurit L’oranger, and  among others, Mon Peche/My Sin.  Recently scents d’Eclat d’Arpege, Lanvin Man and Lanvin Vetyver have been trialed.

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21st century scents of success!

Madame Wang  and her team should have fun testing out the markets for their innovative creations from among  Mexican Luxurians, Gen Viz, New Indian Tastemakers, FABs, Amortals and Hajibistas, Athena Women and Lagonistas!

 

 

A day in the year of a ‘Lifelong Learner!’

NEED an autumn break more than ever, but bothered about the planet. A vegan lifestyle may be the way forward but perhaps I should reconsider whether cruising around the globe for my next voyage is strictly ballroom!

Today I’m running ‘Cospa Gee’ in Akihabara for my friend. She’s a geek but a clever organised otaku. Her followers often create wardrobes from scratch, but  ‘Cospa Gee’s off-the-rack costumes, ranging from Sailor Moon to Final Fantasy fare, accessories and wigs are here for me to sell until it’s night-time in Tokyo.

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To keep me relaxed, as I dress for the day, I recall with utter mindfulness the moment I saw the coat which will take me from shopping mall to gorgeous city bar.

There it was among the cherubs, the gilding, the giant chandeliers, in the Paris neo-Renaissance Hôtel de Ville worlds away from the modern techniques long part of Issey Miyake’s output. Block-coloured red and yellow lights illuminated the balcony where sound artist EiWada manipulated radio frequencies for a live soundtrack.

Creative director,  Yoshiyuki Miyamae, took colours from the Aurora Borealis, northern lights, together with the ‘Pleats, Please’ legacy developed by the house. And for their AW /17 collection Miyake, collaborating with Dutch shoe label United Nude, kitted out models in bootie trainers with white corrugated soles, and ankle strap flats with chamelon-like soles that change colour from different angles.

This should take me from work to play, seamlessly, from demented shop keeper to ‘Silver Bullet’ sipping sophisticat at the ‘Oribe.’

 

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A day in the life of an ‘Elite Athlete!’

LOVED my breakfast –  homemade smoothie with frozen strawberries, natural yoghurt, oats, honey, frozen banana, protein powder and a scoop of creatine. It took so long I don’t think I’ll make it through the traffic! My gym is in Canary Wharf and I need to get across town.

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Not to worry! Put on my trusty Nike; bike across, work out with their anti gravity treadmill.  Consult with exercise medics, specialist physiothereapists  and their divine super conditioning coach.  He’ll love this look.

At Third Space I’ll unwind on their sprint tracks, and try out the aromatic juniper log glass saunas and hot yoga studios. Shall it be Tower Bridge, Soho, Marylebone?  Must check with Tony to see where we’ll meet for healthy low alcohol cocktails, later!

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Today I’m for complete total toning so I can escape to heaven in my JW Anderson collection! These Laboutins work best with toned legs and taut/toned core and don’t I know it!

All that effort for hours of controlled torture and lashings of Paparazzi!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The little singing milliner’s latest looks!

SOMETIMES a look is so subtly suggestive of a label’s legend that it’s difficult to spot the brand at first. Not this time, however! Even dressing transparently leaves no room for doubt.  This can’t be anything but Chanel!

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From the label’s 2018 Spring collection, the hat reflects designs based on simple styles and shapes from housekeepers, nannies and nurses uniforms of the times. Gabrielle Chanel saw the looks as more chic and flattering than the fussy overdecorated chapeaux worn by 1920s middle class conventional women.

Chanel experimented with textiles. Using transparent plastics and acrylics echoes the founder’s practice. Tweedy texture of the jacket continues a tradition based on Coco’s connections to English and Scottish aristocrats.

I love the way Lagerfeld and his team enchant us with new ways of seeing Fashion without losing sight of their original inspirations.