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the Valentino Garavani Archives

20 Dec

A lot of things have happened in fashion recently that lie outside of the typical runway and financial aspects one generally hears about. As a fash-o-phile, I downloaded Valentino’s archives the second they were available. It’s been a little less than two weeks since the debut and I’ve analyzed every corner. This is a wild feat and really revolutionizes fashion and the documentation of its history. There are 300 dresses in the archives, each accompanied by the designer’s sketch and any other material there could be — such as editorials and party photos. Most galleries are organized with a theme which creates a gorgeous atmosphere in the stunningly architected Palazzo.

Since admission to the WWD archives is pretty expensive and doesn’t reach as far back and with such depth as the Valentino Archives, this definitely will be something that other fashion houses will definitely hop onto.

DEFINITELY DOWNLOAD THE APP! It’s so worth it, the link is here: Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum

Credit: nymag/valentionarchives

Valentino Spring 2012

Valentino Spring Couture 2011

Valentino Fall 2011


Goodbye, Christophe Decarnin. Hello, Olivier Rousteing

26 Apr

It’s official today — this morning, Balmain announced Christophe Decarnin’s replacement. Olivier Rousteing worked with Decarnin for the head of womens wear design studio for Balmain since 2009. That’s pretty much all we know about him right now. His resume states that he graduated in 2003 from the École Supérieure Des Arts Et Techniques De La Mode in Paris and then went off to Roberto Cavalli where he worked for five years before moving to Balmain. Rousteing is described as “a young and promising creative dynamo,” so I, along with the rest of the fashion world, am eager to say what he does for the upcoming season.

Rousteing’s gorgeous — I just really had to throw that out there. Male designers, in general, aren’t that hot in my opinion. They’re chic and have a je ne sais quoi, but Rousteing’s dynamite.

This is only step one in the replacements for lost designers in the Spring season — of which there were more than usual…I see Rousteing having enormous potential and cannot wait to see his creativity in action. And more photos of him. Just sayin’.

Credit: Balmain

Balmain Fall 2011

Balmain Spring 2011

Kate Beckinsdale in Balmain

Anna Dello Russo: An Introduction

11 Apr

As my friends can tell you, I admire Dello Russo to such an amazing extent. There is no one quite like her when it comes to fashion because she embodies it. She doesn’t admire it and critique it, she wears it. I’ve worked for a few days (in the midst of attempting to reassemble my academic career before the end of the semester) on assembling an ode to Anna Dello Russo for both your benefit and my own. While stumbling through now ancient pictures of the editor, I realized that if you scroll back to the very beginning of the 3 thread long Dello Russo TFS thread (which dates back to early 2008) she wasn’t half as inspirational a sartorialist as she is now. Whether this is on account of a change of fashion or she became more daring I don’t know…the things she wore in 2008 that may have been deemed risky (I was not as obsessed with her then as I am now so I do not know) are easy today — an ostrich feather skirt and a turtleneck? Honey I have that in my closet. Anyways…here’s a glimpse since I won’t be putting these up later. Dello Russo from early 2008:

Credit: TFS

Review: “Valentino: The Last Emperor”

16 Mar

I am by no means a film critic, but an avid lover of cinema and literature alike. I watched this documentary, eager to learn more about one of my favorite fashion houses and designers. I was very surprised by my reactions. I’m going to start by saying this is definitely a movie to see. It doesn’t provide as much of a glimpse into the world of fashion as other documentaries do but it is really enlightening in terms of learning about Valentino and what kind of man he is. As a psych major, I was really interested in his narcissism and the unusual way it manifested itself. Garavani is so consumed with his work this amazing life and force in the world of fashion that he has built. The way he shoves aside any contradictory opinion and says that he is right when — as the movie proves — he is not unless it is a matter of fashion, is fascinating. His entire world revolves around beauty, I couldn’t even fathom the amount of times he said the word “Beautiful” in the film. It is sheer luck that the documentary was made at this time — documenting the last year of Valentino’s career before it was known to be his last year. With all the turmoil surrounding the business, I found Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti’s relationship to be the most endearing and interesting. These men work together and love each other day in and day out and getting this glimpse into their lives was really eye-opening. It’s such a difficult business — one that I am killing myself to enter.

Also, the beginning with the puppies? My favorite part. Scratch that. Any part with the puppies. And seeing Lagerfeld animated the way he was…I see him as such a caricature in such a phenomenal way.

Caroline Brasch Nielson

14 Mar

It’s been almost a week since fashion week ended and it has taken almost that long to recover. One thing I have never really covered on my blog but have always been tempted too is models. I was recently asked who my style icon was and really stumped as to how to respond. I always look through street style  photographs and love the art and intricacy in these photos…yet I have never really taken note of the names and true character of these people. These are the women who embody the clothing we dream about — we subject them to endless criticism yet completely idolize them anyway. It’s a completely hypocritical relationship. With the ending of fashion week, why not start with one of the absolute top models walking this season — Nielson walked a stunning 71 shows this month. She’s seventeen and ranked #39 and only entered the business last spring for Paris’ fall collections.

For a perverse reason, I was curious about all the shows Nielson walked in –and it was a lot. For such a newbie, she opened and closed quite a few and some pretty big venues such as D&G. The long list is as follows: Acne, Alexander Wang, Altuzarra, Anna Sui, Anteprima, BCBG Max Azria, Balenciaga, Bill Blass (Open), Bottega Veneta, Burberry Prorsum, Chanel, Christopher Kane, Christian Dior, Chloe, D&G (Open), Daks (Open), Derek Lam, Diane Von Furstenberg, Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karan, Edun, Emanuel Ungaro, Emilio Pucci, Etro, Fendi, Gianfranco Ferre, Giambattista Valli, Giles, Gucci, Hakaan, Herve Leger, Iceberg, Isaac Mizrahi, J. Mendel, J.W. Anderson, Jason Wu, Jill Stuart, Jonathan Saunders, Kenzo, Lanvin, Loewe, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Marc Jacobs, Marni, Matthew Williamson (Open + Close), Michael Kors, Missoni, Moschino, No. 21, Narciso Rodriguez, Nina Ricci, Oscar de la Renta, Paul & Joe, Pedro Lourenco, Prabal Gurung, Preen, Proenza Schouler, Rick Owens, Richard Chai, Rochas, Roberto Cavalli, Rue du Mail, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sass & Bide (Open), Sonia Rykiel, Sportmax, Tommy Hilfiger, Topshop Unique, Valentino, Vera Wang, Viktor & Rolf.

Nielson really made a splash when she entered the business — and Valentino saw her potential immediately. The same season she walked in her first show — Dries van Noten — she opens for Valentino (also for Balenciaga, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel). She was then mentioned in The Cut’s top 10 newcomers and there we have the astonishing start to her career. She has either opened or closed for Valentino each season since her debut and is also the face of Valentino (and Marc Jacobs).

Nielson has an utterly spot on sense of style — I love the combination of polka dots and cheetah print, it’s really bold but really beautiful. They are so similar yet combine to such a strong look. I read an interview with her where she mentioned her favorite designer is Alexander Wang and she loves Miu Miu wedges — but really, who doesn’t?


Marc Jacobs

21 Dec

Jacobs, from Teaneck, New Jersey, began his fashion career by working retail at age 15 in New York City. From there he attended The New School to study fashion, winning the Perry Ellis Gold Thimble Award, the Chester Weinberg Gold Thimble Award and the Design Student of the Year Award in 1984. While in school he designed and marketed his first line of sweaters for Reuben Thomas, Inc. He then began to design for Perry Ellis, creating the signature grunge attitude while working for Ellis. Unfortunately this innovative line lead to his dismissal from the company. In 1986, Jacobs designed his first line under the label “Marc Jacobs.” The next year, Jaobs became the youngest designer to win the most prestigious award in fashion, the Council of Fashion Designers (CFDA) Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent (1987). In 1992, the CFDA awarded Jacobs with another award: the Women’s Designer of the year. Jacobs became a celebrity himself based on his fashion empire. For each collection he draws inspiration mainly from past decades.

In addition to his self-titled line, in 1997 Jacobs was given the position of creative director of luxury for French luxury line, Louis Vuitton. Here he created the first ready-to-wear line for the brand.

Marc Jacobs is truly an inspiration.

Designer Profile: Alice + Olivia

18 Nov

One of my all-time favorite lines by Stacey Bendet was launched at Barney’s in 2002. In only six years it has flourished into a really, impressively huge brand. Stacey herself has been on the Vanity Fair Best Dressed list for two years. She went into the business with her Penn classmate, Rebecca Matchett with their first collection being solely pants that they called “Staceypants.” True to the brand’s style, these were not your average pants. Bendet split from Matchett in 2003 and since then has expanded the pants line to a multi-million dollar franchise. In addition to the women’s contemporary line, Alice + Olivia as well as the childrens wear line she has Anthony + Mo for men and an exercise clothing line. At this point, it is hard to find a store of quality that does not carry this brand. From the beginning, Bendet pushed the limits of fashion in a way that is different but not intimidating.

Designer Profile: Elizabeth & James

4 Nov

For the longest time I was absolutely in the dark that this phenomenal fashion company (in my top five that I buy from) was that of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. They launched this line of contemporary fashion in 2007, simultaneously with the higher end line called The Row. The line is named after their two siblings, Elizabeth and James…obviously. This line is a perfect manifestation of the Olsen’s effortlessly look that combines different cuts (both masculine and feminine) and their boho “homeless” chic look they are so well known for. While there are no runway shows as of yet, here are my samples (all of which I would buy right this instant if I had the cash) of the best of their fall line…

  1. “Mason Platform Pumps” -$375 [On Sale at Bloomingdales]
  2. “Soma Ruched Tulle Dress” -$445 at Net-A-Porter
  3. “Lee Print Silk-Georgette Skirt” -$245 at Net-A-Porter
  4. “New Belle de Jour Dress” -$365 at
  5. “Washed Satin Bustier Dress” -$395 at Net-A-Porter
  6. “Belinda Shredded Sweater” -$295
  7. “Tank Shift Dress” -$465 at Bergdorf Goodman


Designer Profile: 3.1 Phillip Lim

27 Oct
The Thai designer stumbled from behind the runway assistant status to dominating the American fashion scene essentially overnight in 2005 when he launched 3.1 Phillip Lim. He’s been growing in popularity and influence ever since, winning the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Emerging Talent in Womenswear award for his self-named label. Lim describes his designs as “Classic with a sense of madness.” In 2008, Lim both expanded his line from just womens designs to include designs for children and men as well as opening two new boutiques, expanding himself from Manhattan to also include L.A. and Tokyo. His inspiration comes from New York City and the individuality and femininity of style there.
Season Timeline:
2006 (designs, had yet to go to the runway)- Laid back yet stylish, is described as incorporating “street elegance” into his designs
Spring/Summer 2007– A very romantic feel with a lot of white present in the designs. This was his first runway show and made a huge splash  or his effortless combination of casual and chic.
Fall/Winter 2007- Inspired by the socialite Edith Beale. This line embodied “pedigree minus prudence” –Phillip Lim. A lot of schoolgirl style plaid present in this show as well as socialite/debutante style dresses.
Spring/Summer 2008– This show was based on voyaging. Transitioned from simple to more exotic with the theme of travelling throughout. This show was not a huge hit. Some of the pieces were reviewed as unoriginal while the runway caused some structural issues and the models got confused and photographers had issues photographing because of the oddly spherical runway.
Fall/Winter 2008- This show displayed a different side of 3.1. Rather than the playful attitude previously, it represents more maturity. This reflects the trouble of the time and the economic issues.
Spring/Summer 2009- Huge influence from Spain with flamenco skirts and Spanish designs and color schemes permeating this show.
Fall/WInter 2009- Inspired by the 60’s in England, the “youthquake.” A large emphasis on coats in this season as well as bohemian dresses and other 60’s vintage looks!
Spring/Summer 2010- This phenomenal show was inspired by Picasso, and Lim’s visit to the exhibit at the Gagosian in New York titled “Picasso: Mosqueteros.” Had a very rock ‘n roll vibe. Lots of bright, bold reds from the runway itself to lipstick on the models.

Fall/Winter 2010- Seventies influence. Lim exemplified what he does best yet again in this show, his power piece: outerwear. From shearling and tweed combinations to fur, fur, fur and the staple of the season, Camel Coats, Lim is a master with making unusual yet practical coats.