The Timless Elegance of Madame Grès

Paris loves to put on a great show. And what better way to show off French savoir-faire than by providing visitors to the French Capital a glimpse of its illustrious High Fashion tradition. Palais Galliera is kicking off its new season with a glorious exhibition honoring Madame Gres housed at the Musee Bourdelle through July 24, 2011. The museum, situated in the vicinity of the Montparnasse Tower, is the former atelier of Antoine Bourdelle, a former student of Rodin. Its rooms and courtyard are chocked full of massive bronze statues and equestrian figures, busts and reliefs. So, you might wonder, what does a sculptor museum have in common with a high fashion designer? Continue reading “The Timless Elegance of Madame Grès”

Valentino, Best of Italian Design

Valentino collection haute couture, autumn-winter 2007-2008, photo Jean Tholance

In the more than two decades of reporting on fashion collections, I have noticed that the most successful designers are those who turn a deaf ear to the ramblings of the press (both good and bad reviews),  while remaining faithful to the aesthetic needs and tastes of his clientele. This is especially true in the world of Haute Couture where the clothes cost a fortune and the number of women affording them a scant few. This also applies to a man whose name is synonymous with high fashion, a man who, for 45 years, embodies all that is great with Italian design….Valentino. Continue reading “Valentino, Best of Italian Design”

Homage to Yves Saint Laurent

The French press paid homage to the king of style with cover stories

Adieu to the King of Style —For many of us in fashion, today marks the end of an era. Yves Saint Laurent, the undisputed king of fashion, has been laid to rest and I, like many other style mavens on this planet, mourn the lost of this great fashion legend. Long before there were rebels like Jean Paul Gaultier with his signature conical bras, or innovators like Issey Miyake who transformed objet d’art into sculpted metal bustiers or even Phat Farm’s gritty, hip-hop, “streetwear, there was Yves Saint Laurent who introduced all of this and more to the world of high fashion. “I participated in the transformation of my era. I did it with clothes, which is surely less important than music, architecture, painting … but whatever it’s worth I did it,” the designer said in 2002 upon his retirement. Continue reading “Homage to Yves Saint Laurent”

Shopping Parisian Style

Susan Tabak

Imagine a custom just-for-you shopping trip to Paris, following an elegant and chic woman dashing through the Paris streets, expertly guiding you and finding and navigating the most unusual, exclusive shops and greeting friends on every corner. You might imagine this woman a chic Parisian but actually she is what her Parisian friends call her “une personage”, she is American Susan Tabak, personal shopper and author of CHIC IN PARIS, Style Secrets & Best Addresses, which profiles eight of Paris’ most chic, iconic women such as Ines de la Fressange and  Loulou de la Falaise. Continue reading “Shopping Parisian Style”

Cristobal Balenciaga… Master of Style

Ruby-pearled tulle bolero, 1962 DR

For the past two seasons, the biggest trends to march down the catwalks from Paris to Hollywood have been elegant and sophisticated. It’s the kind of look inspired by Alfred Hitchcock divas like Kim Novak or Grace Kelly, more than a half century ago. Back then, the designers who epitomized French couture were Dior, Balmain and Givenchy. However, the man considered to be the master in this domain was Cristobal Balenciaga. Continue reading “Cristobal Balenciaga… Master of Style”

Marc Jacobs

 “The most Parisian of American designers”

Marc Jacobs © Bob Bishop

With his first Paris boutique opening this fall, Marc Jacobs will be the toast of this October’s “Fashion Week.” Paris’ Bon Marché department store tributes this key American fashion designer, as the guest of honor for its current thematic expo dedicated to New York. A sampling of 21 exclusive garments from his eponymous collection is presented within a spectacular “room,” with anthracite walls, barren branches and spotlights. Continue reading “Marc Jacobs”

Yohji Yamamoto’s “Intellectual Fashion”

Yamamoto Spring ‘98 © Monica Feudi

In 1981, Yohji Yamamoto was part of a small group of Japanese designers who defied traditional modes of fashion by introducing androgynous frocks to the runways of Paris. This “intellectual fashion,” as it was called, replaced frills, bows and silks with sober materials and experimental cutting and draping, much of which shared a base of Japanese industrial uniforms. A graduate of the famed Bunka Gakuen college in Tokyo in 1969, Yohji launched a label called “Y’s” in 1972. Continue reading “Yohji Yamamoto’s “Intellectual Fashion””