Friday, May 28, 2021

“It’s Very Simple: People Want To Wear Gaultier.” Meet The Brand’s New Creative Director Florence Tétier

Jean Paul Gaultier, fashion’s beloved provocateur, raised many an eyebrow in his day. The designer took an “épater la bourgeoisie” approach, upending the status quo with subversive notions like skirts for men, cone bras, and cyborg chic. Since Gaultier’s retirement last year the brand has been mostly silent. Then May 22 rolled around, and with just two words posted on its brand page—“The end”—the house of Gaultier got fans buzzing.

No explanations were forthcoming, even as hysteria mounted in the comments section, but there were hints suggesting that all was not lost. Followers have been treated to crumbs of information in the days since, including this intriguing hashtag: #FutureIsCollective.

Jean Paul Gaultier (the brand’s) future will be built on the sturdy foundation of its heritage, says the newly appointed head, Florence Tétier. A 38-year-old graphic designer who cofounded the biannual magazine Novembre, Tétier is also tending to a fledgling, self-named jewelry business. Accessories design is something that the Frenchwoman fell into by accident when creative directing a fashion show. “The girl who was supposed to do the jewelry didn’t do it and I said, ‘Maybe I can try.’ I just picked up stuff I had in my desk and I crafted something and it just happened like that,” Tétier says. “I like that spontaneous and kind of magical process.”

It’s relevant to talk about Tétier’s jewelry project, in part because she’s bringing some of that spontaneity to her work at Gaultier, where she’ll be upcycling concepts and archival signatures, not found objects. A melted and twisted plastic comb that Tétier designed for Charlotte Knowles is a potent visual representation of her overarching belief in the possibility and power of transformation, and of stretching boundaries. She’s put this to practice with Novembre, a magazine she describes as being “about the interaction between art and fashion.”

At Gaultier, Tétier will apply her curation and collaging skills to achieving the main goal: “Keeping Jean Paul’s legacy alive.” Just as the house founder rewrote the fashion rules, his successor intends to take an maverick approach to the system, one that will be independent of fashion schedules and seasons.

This week Tétier is revealing the brand’s first collection, timed to coincide with the arrival Pride Month (Msr. Gaultier is a longtime advocate of LBTGQ+ rights.) The multi-part “summer drop” offers a kaleidoscopic view of the house heritage. It also marks the relaunch of brand’s ready-to-wear collection, creating a full circle moment. When Gaultier presented his last prêt-à-porter show for spring 2015 the press declared it the “end of an era.” Demand inspired the return of the ready-to-wear line: “It’s very simple: People want to wear Gaultier,” says Tétier. The collection is inspired by the archives and designed under Tétier’s direction by the atelier team, many who have worked for the brand for years.

The house remains dedicated to the traditions and schedules of the haute couture, but with a twist. At the time of his retirement, Gaultier, who remains a brand ambassador, announced that he’d hand the keys of the house to a different designer each season. Sacai’s Chitose Abe is the first guest designer who took up the task, and her collection, delayed due to COVID, is scheduled to make its debut in July.

In much the same way, Tétier has chosen to work with a rotating roster of creatives for each themed drop. “The idea was to show how we can be true to Jean Paul’s style, but also how we can translate it with people that are very different from him,” she says. This time around, Tétier has zeroed in on the striped marinère shirt that is so signature to Gaultier’s work—not to mention his own wardrobe.

The six designers (representing five brands) that have iterated on the nautical theme are Ottolinger’s Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient; Alejandro Gómez Palomo of Palomo Spain; Nix Lecourt Mansion, a Parisian transgender designer who has dressed Lady Gaga; Marvin M’Toumo, recipient of the Chloé award at Hyères; and jeweler Alan Cocetti, a Central St Martins and Fashion East alum.

In addition to the ready-to-wear and limited edition collaborations, Gaultier will also offer six one-off marinières created by the couture atelier; and there’s a curation of marine-themed vintage, as well. Tétier isn’t interested in hierarchies. All of the pieces, she explains, will be “mixed together to recreate this very Gaultier universe, where everything is on the same level. The street meets couture is very there.”

“Trash meets flowers,” is how Tétier describes her own “emo, but kind of romantic” personal style. Educated in Switzerland, the creative director was raised in the suburbs of Paris as part of a “a very normal, but not a fashion-driven family.” Her very first exposure to Gaultier was through her grandfather who wore the brand’s Le Male fragrance and proudly displayed the distinctive bottle on his shelf. Tétier remembers that Gaultier regularly appeared on French television and charmed the nation. In this way the designer became an “ally” who helped form a bridge between the poles of parental rectitude and fashion.

It’s now Tétier’s turn to be a connector. She’s responsible for bringing the past into the future, and she aims to do that collaboratively. “Having all kinds of generations and people is a super modern way of thinking,” she says. Her preferred method of recruitment is to look beyond resumes and really listen to her collaborators. She reports that everyone who interacts with the archive sees it differently, and that everyone seems to have a personal story about the brand.

Indeed, Gaultier is a brand that’s always been about more than clothes. The founder, who will forever be known as fashion’s “enfant terrible,” combined great technical skill with social responsibility, rejecting old-fashioned ideas about beauty and gender along the way. Tétier has tasked herself with preserving not only the aesthetic of the brand, but what it stands for: acceptance and inclusion. Hence the diverse group of marinière collaborators who are invited to filter Gaultier through their individual values. “I always loved Jean Paul because he was more than just a fashion designer. He has a lot of things to say,” states Tétier. “We work for a brand that is so connected to people’s lives.”

A Virtual Gucci Bag Sold For More Money On Roblox Than The Actual Bag

Inside Roblox‘s virtual world, a digital-only Gucci bag sold for more money than the bag’s value in the real world.

Available for only one hour on May 17 as part of the Italian House’s virtual Gucci Garden exhibition, a digital iteration of the label’s Dionysus Bag with Bee sold for an original price of 475 Robux (equivalent to $6 USD) on the gaming site. In the sale’s aftermath, however, scalpers began flipping the virtual product for exorbitant prices, and while buyers turned down outrageous six-figure Robux offers, some were willing to cough up sizable sums for the coveted bag. One user paid roughly $4,115 USD, or 350,000 Robux, for the Roblox-only purse — almost $800 USD more than the real Dionysus Bag with Bee, which sells for $3,400 USD.

Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian took to Twitter to share the eye-opening sales numbers, reminding people that the in-game accessory holds no monetary value outside Roblox’s virtual domain. “Remember: this Roblox purse is not an NFT and thus has no value/use/transferability outside the Roblox world — yet it’s worth more than the physical one. Watch this space,” he wrote.

Notably, the average price of the Dionysus Bag has since fallen significantly and the Roblox value has dipped to just under $800 USD. The silhouette first debuted on Gucci’s Fall 2015 runway, creative director Alessandro Michele‘s first collection for the label.

Several other digital Gucci products were sold during the same one-hour window, including a spiked basketball bag, diamond sunglasses and a guitar case, but none gained the same resell traction as the Dionysus Bag with Bee did following the sale.

Jean Paul Gaultier Returns To Ready-To-Wear

The house of Jean Paul Gaultier is sailing back into ready-to-wear — this time with rotating creative crews and a digital-first business model.

The first product volley — a collection devoted to Gaultier’s fetish mariner theme, with a little help from Palomo Spain, Ottolinger and other young fashion talents — is to debut on Friday on the brand’s new e-store and on

It comes 16 months after the acclaimed designer staged his barn-burner of a couture swansang — and six years after France’s beloved “enfant terrible” halted men’s and women’s rtw to focus on high fashions and fragrances.

Consider the rtw comeback the first expression of an overriding strategy “to celebrate Jean Paul Gaultier, its values, its archives and its history,” said Antoine Gagey, general manager of the Puig-owned fashion house.

In an exclusive interview, his first since joining the maison in January 2020, Gagey elaborated on the strategy of serial collaborators, initiated in March 2020 when the house revealed that Sacai’s Chitose Abe would create a one-off couture collection for Jean Paul Gaultier in the wake of his retirement from the runway. Initially scheduled for a July 2020 unveiling, that show has been postponed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic, and should go ahead during the next Paris Couture Week, scheduled for July 5th to 8th.

The guest-designer strategy spills over into the return to rtw, with Gagey describing a freewheeling approach to collection drops that could involve one or several invited creatives, and/or rely on the in-house design team, which includes many seasoned talents who know Gaultier’s oeuvre by heart.

He said the rtw drops will not follow the current seasonal calendar; will vary in size and scale; often incorporate archival styles, vintage or upcyled/customized pieces, and be distributed with a rotating cast of top-tier distribution partners. Gagey envisions about six to 10 drops a year, with the next one likely timed for October.

The debut sailor collection, spanning 75 stock keeping units, includes interpretations of the theme by the design team, “interventions” on sailor tops by the wizards in the haute couture atelier, and a silhouette or accessory each from Ottolinger, Palomo Spain, Nicola Lecourt Mansion, Alan Crocetti and Marvin M’Toumo, although the invitees all compared notes. “It’s really a team — it’s not five designers,” Gagey said, noting that the sailor theme stems from the erotic, disquieting 1982 Fassbinder film “Querelle,” based on the novel by Jean Genet.

The collection arrives just in time for LGBTQ Pride Month and includes audacious mesh T-shirts bearing a 1990 Pierre & Gilles portrait of Gaultier, plus a new graffiti print with racy slogans and references to queer and punk subcultures.

Rtw will retail from 150 euros to 750 euros, a range Gagey characterized as in line with the brand’s legacy of dressing couture ladies and cool kids on the street. Pieces customized by the atelier run up to 1,500 euros.

Gagey noted that Gaultier, who continues under contract with the house as an ambassador, remains involved in the future of the company, including the selection of guest couturiers. “He’s still working with us on different aspects of the brand, but he didn’t want to play that role of designing the collection anymore. He’s still helping us, giving us some direction,” he explained.

To ensure that the various design projects follow an overriding brand or narrative arc, told in a “consistent and interesting way,” the house has also named a creative and brand director, Florence Tétier, who quietly joined last September, Gagey said. Trained as a graphic designer, Tétier is best known for her creative role at Novembre magazine.

At Gaultier, Tétier plays the role of an “editorial director,” overseeing content across the brand’s social channels, and helping to “identify the right talents for the right projects,” Gagey said.

For example: The sailor collection will be backed by a fashion shoot done for social channels, and an influencer campaign hinged on “friends and family” of the house, which includes the likes of model Bella Hadid, whom Gagey boasted has a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the house and who frequently wears vintage Gautlier designers on her Instagram feed.

Seated on a black velvet banquette under the soaring ceilings of the Philippe Starck-designed couture salons, which were perfumed with incense just before a visitor arrived, Gagey noted that the idea of different designers interpreting one couture brand came from Gaultier himself, who alighted upon the idea back in 1987. That year, Jean Patou found itself without a designer when Christian Lacroix, who famously ignited the brand, left to set up his own brand backed by luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. (Gaultier also worked at Patou earlier in his career.)

“This project and this concept would not fit every brand,” said Gagey, a thoughtful and poised executive who lauded Gaultier’s 50 years of avant-garde creation that was prescient in its embrace of gender fluidity, diversity, inclusivity and political activism.

And putting men in skirts, a cone bra on Madonna and regular folks in tattoo print tops was just the tip of the iceberg. “He has done everything,” Gagey enthused, noting Gaulter has designed collections for babies, homewares, denim and even makeup for men over his long career, leaving behind an extensive archive to inspire young creatives.

The rtw relaunch comes amid heightened interest in Gaultier, with prices spiking on a range of resale sites.

According to Vestiaire Collective, searches for vintage Jean Paul Gaultier were up 570 percent in the last six months and sales in the first quarter of 2021 increased by 30 percent, with items like a mesh maxidress from the designer’s Cyberpunk Amazonian fall 1995 collection selling for more than 3,000 pounds.

“We see, today, a huge potential and a huge excitement around Jean Paul Gaultier,” Gagey said, citing a significant and lasting impact from the January 2020 farewell show, an hourlong bonanza of fashion daring and camp humor. “We feel that people are waiting for this moment to see new ready-to-wear come back.”

He noted the brand had successfully trialed rtw via collaborations, including with New York’s Supreme, China’s Bosideng and Japan’s Onward Group, all in 2019. The designer further widened his global reach in recent years via tie-ups with Target in the U.S. and Australia; Lindex in Sweden; OVS in Italy, and Seven and I for Japan.

Fashion exhibitions that have traveled the world have also fanned affection for the brand. “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk,” made its debut at Montreal’s Museum of Fine Art in 2011 and was seen subsequently by 2 million visitors in 12 cities worldwide. An exhibition of wedding gowns recently wound up at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, following showings in Montreal and Buenos Aires.

Gagey said these would continue, disclosing that Jean Paul Gaultier curated an upcoming exhibition at the Cinémathèque Française that explores the role of fashion in film. Gaultier is an avid movie buff and has costumed several films, including “The Fifth Element,” “The City of Lost Children,” “Kika” and “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.”

The designer’s savoir-faire will also be showcased in the France Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020, now scheduled to open later this year and run into 2022.

That said, the new e-store will have a storytelling approach, loads of editorial and an educational component to get consumers up to speed on the designer’s storied fashion career, which included a seven-year stint as the women’s rtw designer of Hermès.

Haute couture remains a bedrock of the house, with Gagey citing “solid” business and positive feedback and curiosity from its clients about the forthcoming collection by Sacai.

“We think that it will give a new mood and a fresh start to the Jean Paul Gaultier house. And I think we will probably be able to leverage a new generation of customers — maybe younger, maybe in other territories,” he said, noting the house does not have so many couture clients in Japan, where Abe is well known, for example.

Gagey declined to say who might be the next guest couturier, citing Gaultier’s wish to keep it confidential until the Jean Paul Gaultier x Sacai collection has been unveiled.

WWD reported on Jan. 15 that Glenn Martens, the Belgian designer behind Paris-based Y/Project and also the new creative director of Diesel, is probably up next. In 2008, Martens staged his graduate show at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts and Gaultier recruited him as junior designer for his women’s pre-collection and the G2 men’s label.

To be sure, it should be an enticing opportunity for any marquee or up-and-coming designer to interpret Gaultier’s vast and eclectic design vocabulary, and to take advantage of his atelier’s know-how with tailoring and elaborately embellished flou.

While Gagey only has purview over the fashion house, he cited close collaboration with his counterpart on the beauty side, and said Puig “wishes to reinforce the collaboration between fragrance and fashion.”

He noted that both sides of the brand are represented on its Instagram account, which counts 2.8 million followers. (Twitter and Facebook each boast about a million followers.)

“We work very closely, we share the same heritage, we share the same DNA, we share the same history,” he said. “We share some teams between fragrance and fashion to make sure that there is this one brand vision that we want to bring to life, while respecting the specificities of each industry.…We are today working on common projects that will be revealed soon.”

Gaultier had previously licensed his rtw to Italian manufacturers Aeffe and Gibò Co. SpA, the designer’s original partner in the ’80s. Like his fashions, Gaultier’s business model went against popular convention, based heavily on licensing, even for core products like rtw and jeans.

One of France’s most iconic fashion figures, Gaultier started his company in 1976, and catapulted the French capital’s reputation for fashion in the Eighties alongside fellow fashion mavericks Claude Montana and Thierry Mugler.

10 Minutes With Supermodel In The Making, Damian Hurley

“It feels strange being referred to as a model,” says Damian Hurley about his venture into the fashion industry. But, of course, as the 19-year-old son of actor – and ’90s style muse – Liz Hurley (that iconic 1994 safety-pin Versace dress springs to mind), he’s no stranger to the spotlight.

Hurley – who stands 6ft 1in tall – signed with prestigious modelling agency IMG earlier this year and has already bagged two campaigns with Pat McGrath’s make-up line. But he’s been making waves on Instagram since he was a teenager. “When I was 17, I got a call saying that [fashion photographer] Steven Meisel wanted me in New York the next day to front a new campaign,” he says. “I’d never modelled before, but in a moment of madness I agreed, flew out, did the shoot and made it back to school in time for my first class on Monday.”

Fashion, as expected, was always on the cards from day one

“Our parents love to say that Brooklyn Beckham and I were caught raiding and trying on our godfather Elton John’s sunglasses when we were extremely young.”

Off-camera, he and his mum like to kick back with zero inhibitions

“Both my mother and I are incredibly scruffy by nature. The second we’re not being photographed, we revert to slobbery with alarming ease.”

The original supermodels are the ultimate inspiration, of course

“Naomi Campbell is a force of nature, I worship her. She went out of her way to look out for me when we worked together last year and I’m always blown away by her professionalism. Helena Christensen is the sexiest woman on the planet.”

Having worked with some of the most notable photographers, there’s bound to be more on the horizon

“I just shot with Mert [Alas] and Marcus [Piggott], part of the team that photographed some of my mum’s coolest editorials, and we’ve wanted to work together for ages. Luigi and Iango were inspiring to work with; they put me completely at ease while controlling every detail.”

He carries the essentials with him at all times, including a mini cologne sample

“My pockets are always overflowing with my phone, wallet and chapsticks. I also carry a tiny test bottle of cologne. Scent is very important – it can instantly wake you up and make you feel sexy.”

For summer 2021’s wardrobe, don’t expect too many clothes

“I spend far too much of the summer naked. I love the sun and hate tan lines. For warm nights, I love all things Jacquemus. Anything light and linen.”

It’s not worth worrying about the glamorous parties anymore – it’s about making time for people

“As things are slowly starting to move again, my friends and I are realising how stressed we used to get about parties and going out. Now, I’m just excited to see humans again and don’t have the energy to worry.”

If you want to be a model, having the right team is absolutely crucial

“It’s important to be at an agency you’re comfortable with. My wonderful agents suffer hours of me stressing without complaint. If you don’t have a supportive team behind you, then it can feel daunting.”

Ahluwalia, Conner Ives & Supriya Lele Among Young London Brands Getting A Major Boost From The BFC

The British Fashion Council provides crucial support and mentorship to the UK’s up and coming designers – more important than ever at a time when the industry is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic. The BFC’s 2021 instalment of grants will benefit 34 emerging brands, as well as a number of students.

“Now, more than ever, it is important to champion talent and to support our emerging and young businesses that lead the way in environmental and community impact while increasing the diversity of the talent pool,” remarks Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council. “The UK has a reputation of having some of the most innovative and creative talent and through the BFC Foundation, our aim is to improve equality, equity, and opportunity so that the fashion industry remains open to all.”

This year, TikTok has joined the BFC’s renowned NEWGEN scheme as a principal partner. Under the sponsorship scheme, 21 emerging brands will benefit from advice, financial support and expertise: Ahluwalia, Richard Quinn, ASAI, Bianca Saunders, Supriya Lele, Art School, Conner Ives, Stefan Cooke, S.S. Daley, Saul Nash, Yuhan Wang, Per Götesson, Robyn Lynch, Roker, Labrum London, Matty Bovan, Eftychia, Feben, Helen Kirkum, Nensi Dojaka and Paolo Carzana. The recipients will also receive pro-bono legal services from DLA Piper, plus tax and accounting support from RSM.

Bianca Saunders, Stefan Cooke and Ahluwalia have also been shortlisted for the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund, along with Feng Chen Wang, Nicholas Daley and Bethany Williams. Williams was unveiled as the winner of the 2021 BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund earlier this month. The recipient of the Menswear Fund will be announced in June ahead of London Fashion Week Men’s.

Both funds were established to foster “creative excellence in business”, while the goal of the BFC Fashion Trust is to “empower growth”. Unlike the other funds, the Fashion Trust grant money is given awarded for a defined project, set to be delivered within a specific time period.

For the very first time, designers across womenswear, menswear and accessories were all considered, crowning Art School, Completedworks, E.L.V. Denim, Halpern, Neous, Nicholas Daley and Wales Bonner as the recipients. Each were invited to articulate and present their concepts, showing the opportunity it could provide for broader business growth.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

A New Modeling Agency Hopes To Empower Indigenous Talent

It’s happened more than once to Indigenous models. When she was modeling back in the early 2000s, Joleen Mitton recalls a time when she was told to swim in chlorine water, so she could be “more pale.” A few years ago, Indigenous model Talaysay Campo was on a photo shoot and she almost didn’t recognize herself in the final images. “They photoshopped me about five shades lighter than my skin tone,” says Campo. The modeling industry has long underrepresented Indigenous faces, and when they have, accounts of racism or mistreatment have been rampant. But a new modeling agency is hoping to change that.

Supernaturals Modelling is the first all-Indigenous modeling agency, officially launched last week. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, the agency is the brainchild of Mitton and her longtime friend Patrick Shannon (a photographer-filmmaker). Together, the Indigenous duo hope to foster a safe space for Indigenous talent, in part by working with clients ahead of jobs to ensure their models are never put in uncomfortable situations like the ones Mitton, Campo, and so many others have experienced on-set. “There’s so little representation [for Indigenous models], and they’re often taken advantage of,” says Shannon. “Traditionally, it has been a very hostile industry for Indigenous people. We're trying to set protocols of how to work with Indigenous models, and to make sure things are being done in a healthy, respectful way.”

While brand new, the agency has already gotten off to a strong start. Through Supernaturals, Campo recently landed a modeling job with Canadian heritage brand Roots. Currently, the agency represents only 8 models, but it has plans to expand its roster to also include Indigenous trans models and elders. “Indigenous people come in all shades,” says Mitton, who is also the founder of Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week (VIFW). “We don't want to have a crazy roster of models, though. We want to be able to focus on people.”

The pair say a big focus of the new agency will be creating a support system for all of its models. It plans to have elders, “on call” so to speak, for models to reach out to in the event of a problem, in addition to hosting regular workshops, and finding free counseling services for models should they need them. “I just want to make sure the girls are safe,” says Mitton. “When I was a model, I was taken advantage of and not treated properly. I wish I had this as a young person.” Shannon adds the agency will help build up young model’s books as well. “We want to provide photography and other things that, otherwise, models might not be able to pursue because of the financial restraints,” he says.

Alicia Hanton, an Indigenous model who has walked the shows at VIFW, says she has already felt the support from the agency. “It’s nice to feel nurtured by Jolene,” says Hanton. “We have complete trust in her and know that we’re never going to be put in a situation where we’re uncomfortable.”

Coming up, the agency hopes to work with a lot of Indigenous-owned brands, further fostering an Indigenous community in the fashion industry. They’ve already begun conversations for their models to walk at the annual Santa Fe Indian Market fashion show. However, since they’re only one week in, Mitton and Shannon say it’s only the beginning of exciting things to come. “There's so much we want to do,” says Shannon. “We’ve come in hot and heavy, and we're really excited for what's going to happen next.”

Do I Have An Aesthetic?

On occasion, I’ll take a look in my closet, my apartment, and my social media accounts and wonder, what does all this add up to? Is there any throughline between the Bed Bath and Beyond beige plates, the Hermès champignons scarf I tracked down on eBay, the nun-shaped candle on my desk, and the crispy oven mitt printed with a 1950s housewife saying “I’ve got a knife”? Is there any visual connection between the table I found on Facebook marketplace and the IKEA Billy bookshelves present in many millennial households? (Mine are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Alligator Alley green). What I’m asking in these moments is, in internet parlance, what is my aesthetic? I’m wondering if I have successfully arranged my life to adhere to some cohesive vision. If I look too long, anxiety sets in. Maybe the answer is no?

I’m suddenly aware of just how many hyper-specific aesthetics with handy, catchy names already exist on the internet. Overtime, “aesthetic” has evolved from an academic word and something utilized by artists and auteurs to something to categorize our own identities by. It can mean both personal style and a vague stand-in for beauty. Aimlessly scrolling on Pinterest a few months ago, I was prompted that I may also enjoy looking at “frat boy aesthetic.” How could that not pique my interest? Frat boy aesthetic turned out to be a scroll of red solo cups, beer pong, irreverent Americana, and, darkly, more than a few photos of people passed out with sharpie on their face.

Pinterest then promoted even more: random aesthetic, aesthetic images, ethereal aesthetic, aesthetic photos, delicate aesthetic, royalty aesthetic, anglecore aesthetic. When I went to search just “aesthetic,” the nonsensical search term “aesthetic girl” popped up. The results are, as you may expect, pretty, thin women ran through a VSCO filter. Pinterest says that there has been a growing interest in aesthetics since 2018, with a “large spike of 60% in searches for simply “core aesthetic” as Pinners discovered different types of aesthetics to shape their identity,” last February. It implies an element of rigor, an ability to control the entire image the way you only can in a painting, a movie, or on social media. You are the master of your canvas, making every decision like Wes Anderson is lining up his shots to get perfect symmetry, a perfectly cohesive color palette. Merely having a sense of style seems so prosaic; wouldn’t you rather an aesthetic?

On TikTok, it’s easy to find “what aesthetic are you?” videos. The opening cut reads, “Ask your best friend which is you.” They flash quickly through photos that tend to follow the same categories. 1. A bucolic field, children with loose curls running around in linen dresses, a goat, a breakfast nook filled with Victoria sponge and jam jars (this is known as cottagecore) 2. A gothic library, pleated skirts, dark hair fastened with a bow, leather bound books, a chess board (Dark Academia) 3. Versailles, blooming roses, pink tulle dresses (royalty aesthetic) 4. Red and white mushroom caps, water lilies, pinched profiles, iridescent wings (fairycore).

The goal implicit in these videos is to live in such a way that all your visuals align and can be clearly described and pinpointed. “Your life is Light Academia” read a comment on a Russian ballerina’s “Day in My Life” TikTok, which showed her alternating between classical dance class and art history notes, with a pause for an apple in between. It’s not limited to Gen-Z. This modern usage has been used on Tumblr at least since the early 2010s. Since then, it’s just become how we talk about visual phenomena encompassing more than just fashion. Rachel Tashijan, a writer for GQ and author of the newsletter Opulent Tips, which champions eclectic, trendless personal taste, wrote in a recent missive, “Close your eyes and you will probably see a ‘cool aesthetic’—which is anathema to cool.” Later, she clarified to me that the “cool aesthetic” she was talking about was the milky pink Instagram visuals utilized by millennial companies to advertise everything from office space to scrubs to erectile dysfunction medication.

It’s similar to how we now talk about individuals as having a personal brand, whether you’re famous or not. Gretchen McCollough, a linguist and author of Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language explained to me over the phone, “When you talk about someone having a personal brand or their brand is strong, you’re getting the metaphor from marketing and branding. Whereas when you talk about someone having an aesthetic or that is or isn't ‘my aesthetic’ then you're getting your metaphor from the world of art.” And on the internet, we do have as much control as an artist to create something so specific and consistent. And many of us have.

The first definition of aesthetic comes from the 1700s, meaning, “the science of sensory perception.” Over time, the definition became more about the appreciation of beauty, where “aesthetic” could be a stand in for visually appealing. In Anne of Green Gables, Anne describes her mother figure Marilla as someone “whose aesthetic sense was not noticeably developed,” for not appreciating the way Anne had decorated her room. “You get this sense of ‘okay, Anne of Green Gables is someone who could be into cottagecore,’” McCollough said.

On Tumblr, users would build their blogs around a particular theme, whether it was cottagecore or a collage of images representing a character from a TV show. These niches have blossomed and expanded. One Tumblr user, who goes by Fairypage, took notice of just how many aesthetics were being defined online, and decided to make the AestheticsWiki. The sheer volume of entries is impressive. You’ll find a long, long list of visual subgroups, what the key elements are, and what someone who fits into this aesthetic would wear. Some are old school—Art Deco is listed along with preppy—others are products of the internet, like e-girls and bubblegum bitch (think: a Bratz doll in marabou feathers).

Fairypage, who is a student in the United Kingdom named Ella, is no longer involved with the Wiki. But she’s no less interested in the visual language of art and internet, and even has her own definition for what an aesthetic is: The stylistically consistent multimodal manifestation of an imagined lifeworld. In other words, “Something is an aesthetic if you can look at an image [or song] and say ‘yeah that belongs there.’” It’s an interesting project, to categorize niche visual cues into endless subcategories. Some of the discussion questions on the Aesthetics Wiki are something along the lines of “I like Doc Martens, Ariana Grande, and anime. What’s my aesthetic?” An impulse I recognize wholly. Ella notes that many of the Wiki’s users are young, and that there’s some conflation between having a consistent aesthetic and a collection of things that are nice to look at, even if they don’t add up. “There are lots of people with a consistent personal style, but they don’t find it by looking through a list of personal styles and picking one. It’s the things that stick through all my reading, the films I watch. If I have [an aesthetic], I want to control it.”

And what is personal style if not just an unnamed aesthetic. In my conversation with Tashijan, she said she thought of aesthetics in two ways. One was the aforementioned Instagram millennial aesthetic, a kind of “photoshopped, buffed basic” resplendent with succulents and pastel pinks and greens. The other is what I think those looking for their style on the AestheticsWiki, and myself staring around my apartment searching for continuity are aspiring to. “It is maybe the more classical sense, which is people who have a very finely tuned appearance and lifestyle that work together as what I would frankly describe as a total work of art,” she says, citing the poet Rachel Rabbit White and her Elizabeth Taylor-ian style as an example, as well as playwright Jeremy O. Harris and his “exuberant, early to mid ’70s glamour.” “Someone who has a really defined aesthetic, it’s someone who has a lot of taste,” she says. “Jeremy and Rachel are examples of people who are always watching movies and reading books and who seem to be discovering new things all the time. But there are also people who are doing that who don’t necessarily have an aesthetic. [Jeremy and Rachel’s] outward appearance is very connected to their interior lives.”

Would she count herself as having a defined aesthetic? “It’s hard because I feel like it’s changing. I would describe it as ’80s SoHo gallerist mixed with ’70s fake British socialite, sort of a scammy one, not a real one,” she says, before asking me if I have one. At the time, I told her I had only become more confused while writing this piece. Though after several more hours of pondering, I got a little bit closer. I liked this idea of finding something so specific, burrowing really deep and adding layer upon layer. It feels like choosing a movie in which to inhabit, rather a goal to aspire to. A personal aesthetic doesn’t have to be a super defined, pre-existing concept like Light Academia. It doesn’t even have to be true.

For this exercise, I sat in my apartment and looked around. My white, wide leg jeans and chunky black belt with a gold buckle and black muscle tee feels very classically American. A little Katharine Hepburn, but let’s put her in Texas, as my ever-present cowboy boots suggest. But I like an element of whimsy, something blobby, like the nun candle or the earrings I wear that I think look like little Brancusis. Flashes of Texan socialite Lynn Wyatt and Marilyn Monroe in The Misfits pinned themselves to my mental moodboard, along with both Hollywood Hepburns (particularly Audrey in Two for the Road), Phoebe Philo’s Céline, Tina Chow in a white, cutout dress, Elsa Peretti at her desk smoking a cigarette with oversized glasses, the elegance of her bone cuffs, Prada’s ’90s cowhide mini skirts, and Tracee Ellis Ross’s madcap devotion to dramatic shapes. Thinking about how these clothes made me feel, rather than any tangible connective tissue, the phrase “wayward West Texas art collector” popped up. I don’t know, what would you call it?

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

What Does A House Designed By Saint Laurent Or Versace Look Like?

High fashion and home decor have always gone hand-in-hand. Those who have a love for high fashion and interior design often hang up prints or paintings of photos from their favorite designer collections, or use fashion coffee table books for decor. In recent years, fashion houses have pivoted to interior design, creating high-end home decor pieces.

So how does a luxury fashion house actually design a house? Let’s take a look at how these luxury fashion brands showed off their interior decorating skills. These are the latest home decor offerings from some of the top fashion houses.

Saint Laurent’s Creative Director, Anthony Vaccarello, chose to collaborate with Memphis, an Italian design and architecture group. Taking inspiration through color, geometric shapes, and checkerboard patterns, this collaboration between Saint Laurent and Memphis is a playful and colorful universe of incredible furniture. Saint Laurent and Memphis will be holding an exhibit to celebrate the collection and the 40th anniversary of Memphis. The exhibit will be held from May 19-June 23 in the Saint Laurent Rive Droite stores in Paris and Los Angeles. The exhibit will feature a large collection of homeware pieces, kitchenware, and textile accessories.

Taking a more elegant and classic approach to interior design is Fendi. The Fendi Casa collection was first launched in 1988 after Alberto Vignatelli and Anna Fendi decided to release a furniture line. Since then, Fendi Casa has represented glamour, elegance, and modernity for those with a love for Fendi and home decor, creating beautiful home goods in minimalistic and neutral colors. Their latest collection is inspired by geometric shapes, with coffee tables, chairs, and beds in colors such as brown, dark green, and dark blue, with marble and leaf designs.

Eat Hermès with the latest tableware pieces to hit their site. The design and artistic ability in Hermès home decor is like no other, with porcelain plates, leaf and floral designs, and colorful bowls, plates, and silverware. Their garden and floral-inspired collections offer an immersion into the beauty of nature and escapism. In addition to dinnerware, they also offer decorative accessories for rooms and offices.

Versace has managed to create a successful home decor line, by combining fashion with relaxation and sleep. Their home collection consists of warm robes, silk sleep masks, pillowcases, comforters, blankets, and more. These items come in classic Versace style, with gold detailing and the Versace logo for you to feel sophisticated while relaxing in the comfort of your own home. In addition to bed and bath accessories, Versace also provides an array of tableware and kitchen pieces along with decor for bedrooms and living rooms.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Alicia Silverstone Is Rodarte’s Latest Muse

Rodarte’s lookbooks never fail to delight. Season after season, designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy make sure the pictures have as much personality as the clothes. Each of the brand’s seasonal photo stories is different, but they’re united by an ethereal sensibility and casts that feature an incredible lineup of celebrities. Fall 2021’s special guest star is Clueless actress Alicia Silverstone, who joins model Heather Kemesky and Brother Vellies designer Aurora James in the series of colorful beachside portraits that capture the cheerful mood of the pieces.

For Silverstone, the opportunity to step into the world of Rodarte was impossible to resist. “We met when Laura reached out to me wanting to show me some of the collection because she had this idea of including me,” says Silverstone. “[I felt] like it would be fun to collaborate on this shoot with these creative women.”

Drawn to the Mulleavys’ designs for their “purity of vision,” Silverstone wanted to ensure that the looks she wore aligned with her ethical standards. “I’m most interested in sustainable clothing. Compassionate choices that don’t hurt animals or the earth when making pretty things,” she explains. “That’s always my first priority when shopping for myself, and of course, I like to look and feel good, and I appreciate beautiful things and the art of fashion.” Rodarte checked both boxes, by keeping Silverstone's looks free of leather, silk, and other materials that come from animals. “None of [Kate and Laura’s] clothes feel like there were compromises made when imagining them, designing them or producing them,” she says. “They were so open, and we had a great conversation about eco-design and making sure anything I wore was vegan.”

On set, the vibe was magical. “It was a beautiful day at the beach, and the clothes and the setting made me feel like something special was happening,” she says. “It was a very creative and inspiring day of art.” Though everything Silverstone wore kept with her style, she couldn’t help but think her famous alter-ego would love Rodarte’s latest wares too. “I think I love the pink dress the most, but all of the clothes felt like such fun artsy dress-up,” she says. “Can’t you see Cher wearing the pink dress?”

IMVU Is Hosting A One Of A Kind Digital Fashion Show

IMVU metaverse is bringing you a fashion show featuring seven emerging fashion designers. The catch? The show is an NFT showcase and will be completely digital.

The show will be a collaboration between IMVU creators and Collina Strada, Mowalola, Gypsy Sport, Freak City, Mimi Wade, My Mum Made It, and BruceGlen that immerses viewers in a virtual runway experience. All of the designers' digital items will be available for purchase by IMVU users starting May 28th. Select pieces will be available for NFT auction on IMVU's OpenSea marketplace. After purchase, the item can be worn by the user's IMVU avatar as a one-of-a-kind item.

The event will also feature custom digital rooms built on the IMVU platform that allow designesr to showcase pieces that could never be made in real life. The show will also feature model Princess Gollum interacting with fans and commenting on the collections.

"We want to show the world that real life fashion drives meaningful connection, creativity and expression in virtual worlds too. At IMVU, we’re proud to be pioneers in digital fashion and we are excited to work with these incredibly talented designers to bring their vision to life for our millions of users around the globe,” said Senior Director of Marketing, Lindsay Anne Aamodt at IMVU.

The IMVU Virtual Fashion Show will be streamed on IMVU’s YouTube channel starting at 1pm PST on Thursday, May 27th and Friday, May 28th.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Fashion Meets Music

Fashion has long used music as a source of inspiration for its changing trends. From the drug-induced UK rave culture of the 1980s – where fashion was as important as the music and quickly spilled over from the clubs to the catwalks – to subcultures that are dictated solely by the music they are aligned with. Their relationship is inescapably intertwined. Now, instead of waiting for these trends to bubble up from the street to the designers, the designers are reaching out directly to the source: the musicians. We compiled a list of our eight favorite fashion and music collaborations, covering original music soundtracks composed for catwalk shows to collaboratively designed capsule collections.

Dior Homme x Justice

Back in 2009, Justice reigned supreme after the release of their debut LP, Cross. For Dior Homme’s Spring/Summer 2009 catwalk show, creative director Kris Van Assche roped them in to produce an exclusive soundtrack to accompany the catwalk show. And that’s not all Van Assche borrowed, referencing the French electronic duo’s distinctive style of fitted leather jackets and skinny jeans, with pops of color and metallic fabrics as a nod to the bold graphic designs of Justice’s music videos.

Maison Kitsuné

The Parisian label Kitsuné was founded in 2002 as the epitome of a fashion and music crossover. Combining a fashion house with a music label allowed them to create a hybrid brand that directly addressed two entwined industries, while using each one to create more buzz around the other. For their 10th anniversary show at Pitti Uomo, they enlisted some of their recently signed acts to perform their upcoming material, all the while wearing clothes from the Maison Kitsune Spring/Summer 2013 collection. Showcasing both their music and fashion talents simultaneously means they can use one platform to market both sides of their business to the same audience.

Saint Laurent Paris x Daft Punk

Ahead of the release of their much-anticipated fourth studio album, Hedi Slimane recruited Daft Punk to produce their take on the American blues musician David “Junior” Kimbrough’s music for his inaugural collection for Saint Laurent Paris. But the collaboration didn’t end there. Shortly after, Daft Punk starred in their very own exclusive Saint Laurent Paris editorial, repping the brand in black, glittery jackets designed by Slimane himself.

Rick Owens x Zebra Katz

Rick Owens and Zebra Katz’s partnership began with the former using his “Ima Read” track for his Fall/Winter 2012 catwalk show – the collection that featured the infamous S&M ripped ski masks – which was the perfect accompaniment to the brutalist vibe of the collection. Since then, Rick Owens has called on Katz again, using the track “How Do You Feel” for his Spring/Summer 2013 show. The partnership didn’t stop there, however, as the short video by Dazed and Confused details the extent of their collaboration.


The modest A.P.C. KANYE collection consisted of jeans, T-shirts and hoodies – staple items essential to any wardrobe. Yeezy already dipped his toe into the fashion industry with two consecutive womenswear catwalk collections back in 2012, but sadly they were panned by critics. He struck up a friendship with Jean Touitou, the founder of contemporary French brand A.P.C., after seeking advice regarding his approach to fashion, and after two years of hanging out they decided to come together for an exclusive collection of their favorite basics.

Alexander Wang x Diplo

Alexander Wang‘s previous campaigns have included promotional videos featuring some of the brightest new stars in music. Azealia Banks and Die Antwoord, for instance, have both provided the soundtrack and visual accompaniment to his past collections. More recently, Wang requested the assistance of Diplo for his Fall/Winter 2012 collection campaign, which consisted of a series of campaign images and video featuring A$AP Rocky.

Vivienne Westwood x Sex Pistols

It may be the least official collaboration on our list, but nevertheless the relationship between Vivienne Westwood and the Sex Pistols was pivotal in laying the foundations for the subculture we now know as punk. Westwood started out making clothes which she sold in Malcolm McLaren’s boutique, SEX, and he just so happened to be managing the upcoming band the Sex Pistols. It was a natural progression for Westwood and McLaren to help style and dress the Sex Pistols, contributing to the band’s overall look, spawning the punk style which carried on throughout the ’70s.

Tom Ford x Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake‘s current style is a far cry from the double-denim of his ‘N Sync days, sporting a more refined look for which we can largely thank Tom Ford. Timberlake enlisted Ford’s help as creative director for his third studio album, The 20/20 Experience. The pair have been working on a series of bespoke tailoring including eveningwear, shoes and accessories, some of which JT can be seen wearing on the cover of and in the video for “Suit & Tie.” It’s a well-balanced collaboration where both parties reap the benefits, with exceptional coverage for Tom Ford and a polished style for Timberlake that appropriately mirrors the progression of his music.

Supermodel Naomi Campbell Reveals She Has Become A Mother

Naomi Campbell has revealed she is now a mother, sharing a touching photograph of her cradling her baby’s feet in the palm of her hand on Instagram. “A beautiful little blessing has chosen me to be her mother,” said the supermodel, 50. “There is no greater love.”

Still one of the biggest names in fashion since she made her runway debut in 1986, Campbell was seen earlier this year leading a stellar cast down the runway for Kim Jones’s inaugural Fendi Haute Couture show. She was joined by Kate and Lila Moss, Christy Turlington and Demi Moore.

Campbell also juggles modelling with significant philanthropic commitments – she has taken her annual Fashion for Relief charity gala to all corners of the globe. For her most recent event before the pandemic, the supermodel brought Fashion for Relief back home to her native London. “I never put expectations on anything,” she told British Vogue at the time, when asked whether she had imagined what the initiative would become when she staged her first runway show in 2005. “I didn’t even think I’d still be modelling now! You never know how something is going to work out.”

Ralph Lauren Launches Made-To-Order Polo Program

Beginning May 18, the American fashion house will host a made-to-order polo program on its e-commerce website, where customers can remaster the brand’s signature silhouette in their own way. While the company already offers packable jackets, sweaters and embroidered polos, this latest foray into customization marks the first time the brand’s entire polo will be knit to order.

“With the Made-to-Order Polo, we’ve taken our most iconic product and are giving the consumer the ability to reinvent it and design a fully custom product from scratch, that will ultimately have unlimited design options,” David Lauren, the company’s chief innovation and branding officer, told WWD.

“Each individual product is more sustainably manufactured-on-demand when the order is placed, and this model is a game changer,” he continued. “It has the potential to really shift the paradigm of what is possible in terms of how product is manufactured, and how we think about inventory as it relates to consumer demand.”

Each polo — crafted with flat-knit technology for a soft texture — is available in six designs that allow for 24 color combinations. The customization page first asks customers to pick their desired polo style, before displaying a vast selection of color combinations on the bottom of the next screen. From there, customers have the option to further customize the polo with text on either the left or right cuff and can also choose the logo’s color and size.

In celebration of the new customization program, the fashion label is launching a global campaign titled “World of Color” that will utilize social media activations, including a Snapchat Snap lens and a program featuring TikTok creators. Additionally, a promotional pop-up will land in key markets around the U.S. within the next few months.

Ralph Lauren’s made-to-order polos will be available exclusively on the brand’s webstore for $168 USD. Customers should receive their orders within two weeks.

Last week, Polo Ralph Lauren teamed up with the MLB for an expansive collection of baseball-inspired pieces. Take a look at the full range, which centers around the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Why The Swagger Of Vivienne Westwood’s 1981 Pirate Collection Resonates 40 Years On

Forty years after Vivienne Westwood and Malcom McLaren staged their first fashion show, full of pirate looks, swagger has returned to the runways. It’s present in Rick Owens’s elegantly tattered dresses (a wink at Schiap’s tear print perhaps) and in Matty Bovan’s high-seas fantasies. Both boast an imperfect glamour that resonates in a time when many are feeling shipwrecked by the pandemic. A little bit of swashbuckling bravado might be just what we need to keep up the fight.

Westwood and McClaren showed Pirates about six months before the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer, and a few months after Adam Ant had hired Malcolm McLaren for a post-punk rebranding. In a 1981 interview the musician recalled that McLaren was then fascinated with the 1980 movie The Island, while Westwood’s focus was on 18th-century dandies and Indigenous Americans. All of these influences came together in a new look for Ant—and in the Pirates collection.

“I’m sick of this new Puritanism there’s been in England since ’76. I think the kids, too, are sick of being thought of as ‘We’re all in the gutter together,’ dressing only in black and gray, being the Blank Generation,” Ant told journalist Michael Watts. “I like a bit of color, a bit of flash, a bit of honor, a bit of dash.” The pop star wasn’t alone in wanting to move on from safety pins and T-shirts. New Romanticism, said Helen Robinson, owner of the famous PX boutique, is “a reaction to the high-tech and hard geometric lines of punk. We’re sick of that.”

In a 1981 piece critic Richard Buckley noted the shift from punk’s “anti-fashion and antiheroes” stance to a more “pro” and lighthearted mood. “The New Order, as it is sometimes called,” he wrote, “reveres fashion and embraces a new set of heroes. Extreme styles, outrageous proportions, and makeup for men and women are all used to strike a new attitude.” And there were plenty of clubs in which to do so. To many it seemed that the youthful energy that had made London the center of Swinging ’60s style had returned. “We’re making people realize that Britain has got something happening again which has been missing, I think anyway,” said Blitz host and Visage singer Steve Strange in 1982.

Worn by men and women alike, there was fluidity to the New Romantic look, which also brought softness back into fashion. “We just spent 10 years re-assimlating the ’30s through the ’70s,” said Westwood at the time. “The ’80s will be a technological age for which we need to equip ourselves with a feeling of human warmth from past ages—of culture taken from the time of pirates and Louis XIV.” New times call for new role models, but the need for connection is as important today as it was four decades ago.

London Fashion Week Adds First Digital Ready-To-Wear Brand To Roster

Auroboros, a London-based fashion brand specialising in physical couture and digital ready-to-wear, will debut its 14-piece virtual collection, titled Biomimicry, in June. The presentation, created in collaboration with XR studio Ryot, will enable viewers to follow a live model dressed in the garments as they transform in real time.

With support from DiscoveryLab in partnership with Tony & Guy and the British Fashion Council, Auroboros will become the first fashion brand to present a solely digital collection at a major international fashion week. The collection will be available to purchase online after the show.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Inside The New Gucci Garden Archetypes Exhibition Celebrating The Brand’s 100th Birthday

A lavish birthday bash is in order for a brand turning 100, but don’t expect anything obvious from Gucci. Glossy coffee table tomes and lofty archival retrospectives are not of interest to Alessandro Michele. The Gucci creative director operates on obsessions and idiosyncrasies. To kick off the company’s centennial festivities, Michele released his Aria collection last month. It was a virtuosic display, merging updates of Tom Ford-era hits and reinterpretations of Balenciaga by Demna Gvasalia looks via a new “hacking lab,” and tapping into both Gucci’s history and its knack for phoenix-like reinvention.

Now comes Archetypes, an immersive, rather wondrous multimedia experience opening today at Gucci Garden in Florence, which recreates the sets of 15 of the most conceptually adventurous and visually impactful advertising campaigns envisioned by Michele in his six and a half years at the helm of the Italian label.

At a socially-distanced press conference held on the Garden’s premises yesterday, Michele described the exhibition as “a playground of emotions.” Indeed, winding through the museum’s labyrinthine rooms, the cinematic installations give an entertaining aperçu of the designer’s unbridled imagination and narrative audacity.

As a sort of amuse-bouche, the stairs leading to the exhibition are wallpapered with hand-painted graffiti reminiscent of Michele’s pre-fall 2018 collection, “Gucci Dans Les Rues,” which was intended as an homage to the Paris riots of May 1968. Moving up to a floor-to-ceiling glass-shelved room, visitors are confronted with Michele’s many passions, represented via the fall 2018 “Gucci Collectors” campaign. A mind-spinning display features 1,400 cased butterflies, 110 period wigs on that would’ve made Marie Antoinette green with envy, 420 pairs of variously embellished sneakers, 182 cuckoo clocks, each one set to a different time, and an enormous number of stuffed toys.

Then there’s a red lacquered bathroom that replicates the one in a Berlin nightclub where the spring 2016 campaign was shot, referencing the ‘Rebellious Romantics’ collection, which was inspired by the German city’s youth subcultures. All in all, it’s an epic, sensory-overload experience, but also a therapeutic one after a year of lockdowns and numbed senses.

“We’ve brought Gucci on a crazy tour into uncharted territories of dream and poetry,” Michele said, crediting CEO Marco Bizzarri, who made an impromptu appearance at the press conference, for all his support. The executive had his own words of praise for Michele: “I’m in love with what Alessandro does, as he keeps surprising me.”

“These past six and a half years have been sort of a psychoanalytic journey,” Michele continued. “It’s been like digging deep, like if I had to investigate the brand’s unconscious extensively but without nostalgia, because there’s always this jolt of unexpected vitality at its core that makes it alive and magical” His gift for tapping into the spirit of the times comes “from the gut, from instinct, and from me being an eclectic who easily falls in love and just as easily gets bored,” he said. “I need to feel constantly challenged and a little uncomfortable. Everything we’ve done wasn’t because we were complacent, it was born out of a sort of discomfort.”

Michele’s campaign storytelling has proved a wide-ranging cultural weapon to reach audiences of all ages, races, and genders: “Probably we helped detonate something really powerful and unconscious that already existed, like in the psychoanalytic process, something that’s already there but you’re not aware of,” he said. “I don’t believe in fashion which speaks of the future, like Pierre Cardin or Paco Rabanne,” he continued. “For me, fashion narrates the exact moment which we’re going through; it obviously contains the seed of the future, because the present is the only possible future we know. The great power of Gucci is that it’s been able to include and channel the emotional point of view of an enormous variety of people. It’s something that’s almost magical.”

A virtual tour of the Archetypes exhibition will be offered from May 17th for two weeks on Roblox, the online platform with which Gucci has partnered on various projects. Visitors will be able to explore a virtual gallery inspired by the advertising campaigns exhibited at Gucci Garden, in which avatars absorb elements of the exhibition to transform into digital artworks.

“It hasn’t been an easy journey,” conceded Michele, “because the beauty and the fashion industries have a tight hold on the rules that make their business operate. But at Gucci we’ve opened the doors, we’ve understood that the street is the new jet-set and that we’re all sharing the power of beauty. We’ve made Gucci excessively eclectic because we live in an excessively eclectic reality. The brand has just soaked it all in.”

Is Foodwear The New Fashion Movement

For many, food is meant to be eaten. But for some, it's a ticket into the world of luxury fashion and a chance to serve up a menu of edible yet sartorial tokens. Welcome to the fashion foodie hub where childhood munchies are turned into rings, artisanal baked bread and stacks of pancakes are turned into It bags, and produce is skillfully carved into chic undergarments.

In the era of social media, photogenic snapshots of the industry's latest items and trends are inevitable, so much so that it might seem boring now. Yet there's a handful of creators spinning that concept on its aesthetic head, bringing craft back to fashion in an appetizing way and pioneering what it means to be a food lover in the fashion world.

Food has always percolated the rings of fashion. It's been planted in fashion week invitations (as seen with Fendi's logo pasta and Jacquemus' bread loaf RSVP), turned fashion presentations into impressionable meal settings à la Simone Rocha, and, in some instances, encompassed by full on runway collections as seen with Jeremy Scott's countless food inspired Moschino pieces.

If not for fashion week, luxury brands like Burberry, Maison Kitsuné, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Dior alongside streetwear collective Kith have taken the experiential route with cafés, restaurants, or, in the case of Prada, century old bakeries, incorporating their stylish savvy into dining interiors and delightful menus.

In a more accessible approach cult-brands like Telfar and Supreme have collaborated with White Castle and Wheaties respectively while heritage house Maison Margiela, in collaboration with Tommy Cash, designed "baguette slippers" and branded ramen that allowed fans to gobble up couture in a new way. CR is also not one to stray away from food's power, accessorizing Cartier jewels with petite sized flight meals that encapsulated tasty, luxurious setting for post-pandemic life for the latest issue AirCR.

Yet, there's something different about foodwear. Its tantalizing and bizarre surrealism collides with a comfortable familiarity and you can't help but become addicted. Whether it's a Shin Ramyun cowboy boot or a bulky croissant headband, it makes us wonder: Is foodwear the latest fashion fusion?

Tyler Mitchell, a New York City-based artist, thinks that it is. Her ability to sculpt a vision into the edible have reserved her multiple pages in Bottega Veneta's first online zine Issue. Although she's no alien to working with food, her sculptures for the Italian house took on a more playful mood, which is a key word she keeps in mind when she crafts.

In the hands of Mitchell, Bottega Veneta purses are molded into dreamy yet eerily translucent gelatine pastel accessories and a bright lemon stomping boot; the house's famed heeled sandals are twisted, carved, and piped into footwear made of candy, banana leaves, and icing; and blinged out, heart shaped candies etched with intricate lining lay out like jewels. Each piece is an invitation to the Bottega Veneta dinner table.

"The process...was incredibly natural, yet pushed me to new limits. Testing out new techniques and ingredients really gave me insight on just how versatile making art with food can be, and how much patience it takes to get the look you’re going for especially while doing it for someone else," Mitchell said of her feature.

Her passion for food stems from an "everlasting love that [she's] had for cooking and food in general since [she] was young". Rather than posting typical foodie content to social media (that is, generic photos of plated meals), she wanted to showcase food's vitality creatively. It's that very ambition and mindset that allows her to find inspiration everywhere. "You know when you see something that you admire, say a nice handbag, and think of how many ways you want to style it?," she explained. "Instead, my mind goes to 'wow, how can I recreate this out of food?' It's just the way I’m wired." Her wondrous way of reinvention can certainly birth anything into something, even a bowl of unfinished popcorn kernels, which Mitchell said she turned into a pair of popcorn panties or "buttery, wearable goodness".

Gab Bois, a Montreal-based artist that specializes in food shaped fashion, also attributes her proclivity towards the niche to her upbringing. "As a child, I would organize the food on my plate to create different scenarios and characters, making the whole eating experience a lot more enjoyable," she said. "It's actually how my parents got me to eat the food I didn't like, which is why I never saw playing with my food as a bad thing."

This path has shaped her work today, which would reveal collaborations with luxury brands including SSENSE and Coach. But the guest of the hour is her Instagram (@gabbois) which has rallied 541K followers ready to devour her quirky, hallucinatory art. Scrolling through her carefully curated feed, one would notice her knack for reimagining accessories and undergarments (alongside the clever, witty monikers she assigns to her projects). There's her "breakfast bras" (a collection of bras made from childhood cereals), the al dente brasagna, (a top layered with strips of lasagna pasta), and the "peppero-knickers"(a greasy, pizza rendition of underwear). Her accessories take on a "classier" appeal because of its elegant subtly, such as her produce and pastry handbags and headwear and shrimp hoops. Nevertheless, whatever piece she creates, her art takes on a strangely realistic structure, design, and silhouette, which accounts not only for her capabilities but also her gravitation towards fashion – "I love food references in fashion, like that 1957 Balenciaga cabbage hat, for example, or the Chanel grocery store fashion show of Fall 2014, and countless Moschino pieces," she said.

"I used to be very inspired by the Kenzo work when I started doing photography. It's always so strange and cool," said Vanessa McKeown, an artist who also refers to fashion when getting inspiration. "I'm really into looking at things from the 80's at the moment." The latter is definitely spotted on her Instagram (@vanessamckeown) which is a profile compacted with eccentric pops of color and spunky yet nostalgic I Spy like imagery. While her pieces are more conceptual and less physically modeled, McKeown believes that "food isn't ever going to out of fashion."

While these artists seem to blur the line between art and reality like magic, their work isn't to be mistaken for a quick brandish of a kitchen utensil. Projects can take up to minutes or hours, even days, depending on the material, the fashion item being replicated, and the type of production.

Mitchell typically takes one to two days, preferring a fast pace so that her ingredients don't go to waste. Some of this time is allotted to trial and error, a process reflected in her Bottega Veneta candy shoes. "I initially used store bought candies to melt down and sculpt the red candy shoe — which is the same technique that I went for when I made another shoe in the past, but it just wasn’t it," she remembered. "I quickly taught myself how to make homemade hard candy... and it came out perfectly."

Bois prefers to work quickly too (her production usually takes a couple of hours) especially when it comes to "leafy ingredients". Yet she's been able to maneuver around expiration dates with techniques that sustain her materials's usage like spraying cold water to solve color absence or positioning ingredients so that the faults are hidden from view.

If luxury's craving and social media's hunger for food content wasn't already notable, 2020 sure made it evident as TikTok became the official forecaster for all things "cool". Alongside style and beauty trends, food became an escapist cure for quarantine woes; people spent minutes whipping up cafe style Dalgona coffees, hours baking bread to mimic the serenity of cottagecore living, and manipulating food into tiny forms for cereal. With minimal accessibility to the outside world, filling the void with kitchen pastimes seemed to be a reliable option. "I feel like a lot of people got onboard during the initial quarantine phase when we were seriously trapped inside of the house and food seemed to be omnipresent – from that creativity started to really spike," noticed Mitchell. Bois also saw this natural peak in kitchen curiosities that occurred not only out of boredom but because of food's relatability and its cathartic association with "emotions, good or bad...".

As much as this foodie fascination is embedded in personal pasts and indicative of the present moment, it also foreshadows the sustainable future fashion can become. Much like the beauty industry's effort to naturalize the space with botanical products, a shift towards nature's goods in fashion also has potential, especially when it comes to material sourcing. "There are already some amazing overlaps like vegan leather made from pineapple, apple, and mycelium (more commonly mushroom leather). I can only see these practices becoming more mainstream with time..." said Bois. Brands like Stella McCartney and Hermès have already hopped on the mushroom trend she's referencing.

"How cool would it be for brands to turn say, a pineapple’s skin, into fabric and start making sustainable clothing from various food derivates?" explained Mitchell. Because a chunk of her work is centered on sustainability and social responsibility as much as it is innovation she believes there are ways that "we as a society can utilize materials that often go to waste and rework in an effort to be resourceful and help save the environment at the same time".

Fashion and food might have more in common than what meets the eye. Yet the movement's kaleidoscopic dimension forces us to take a look at the typical in a new light. "It's incredible to see how something we utilize on a daily basis can be transformed into literal works of art" remarked Mitchell. She's right about that – we may be what we eat, but who says we can't wear it too?

Carolina Herrera Is Bringing A Chocolately Taste Of Paris To Madison Avenue

Anyone who is missing strolling through the Tuileries in Paris with a decadent Angelina hot chocolate in hand can now stroll through Central Park with one.

Carolina Herrera is bringing fashion favorite Angelina Paris to its Madison Avenue flagship beginning Monday in the latest merging of the worlds of style and food.

“We think of our flagship as our home, and this is an extension of that, a place where everyone can come and entertain. And who doesn’t want to be outside, see friends and enjoy the sun and flowers right now?” said Carolina Herrera creative director Wes Gordon of the outdoor bistro set-up. “Our idea was to turn 75th and Madison into a little Angelina Corner.”

The original French tea room, which is a Rue de Rivoli lunch stop during Paris Fashion Week and a tourist hot spot, opened its first U.S. location last year near Bryant Park. The Herrera outpost is the second, and marks the American fashion house’s first foray into food, following a trend that has seen Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Prada, Burberry and others entering the restaurant business, Brunello Cucinelli making olive oil, Fendi sending out logo pasta for a runway show invitation, Telfar designing White Castle staff uniforms and on and on.

Angelina was established in 1903 by confectioner Anton Rumpelmayer with his son René, and named after his daughter-in-law. The Art Nouveau tearoom was designed by Belle Epoque architect Édouard-Jean Niermans, and quickly became a hangout for Paris’ beau monde, including Marcel Proust and Coco Chanel.

Angelina was family-owned until 2005, when it was acquired by French restaurant group Groupe Bertrand, which has been expanding the brand internationally.

Today, the most popular items on the menu are the richer-than-rich l’ancienne L’Africain hot chocolate, which is also served cold for warmer days, and the Mont Blanc pastry, a tiny mountain of meringue and cream.

And Herrera has its own version, with cherry and chestnut cream vermicelli in the house colors pink and red celebrating the brand’s 40th anniversary year. “It’s a little Mont Blanc — not so sweet that you can’t have several,” Gordon said.

Angelina Paris at Carolina Herrera is open until July 31, 954 Madison Avenue, New York, NY, 212-249-6552.

Chanel Unveils Restored Apartment At 31 Rue Cambon

More than a sumptuous place to hang out, Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment on the Rue Cambon is a feast for the eyes, a microcosm of her life — and a teeming petri dish of brand DNA.

Consider the vast suede sofa, quilted like the 2.55 bag and the color of wet sand on the beach at Deauville, France, the resort town where the founder frolicked and set up her second shop in 1913. Or the decorative objects — sheaves of wheat, coromandel screens and a chandelier bearing camellias and double Cs — all of which came through some way in her designs.

Fifty years after her death, the apartment has been officially unveiled after several months of restoration work by French interior designer Jacques Grange. The apartment on the second floor of 31 Rue Cambon was classified as a historical monument by the French Ministry of Culture in 2013.

The study at Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment on 31 Rue Cambon in Paris. François Halard/Courtesy of Chanel.

“Faithful to the spirit of Gabrielle Chanel, the decorator was inspired by the many archive images taken in the apartment — notably those by Robert Doisneau in 1953 — in his restoring of this extraordinary baroque jewel set within the showcase of an eternally modern haute couture house,” according to Chanel, whose founder held the conviction that “an interior is the natural projection of a soul.”

Surrounded by beautiful furnishings and objects from ancient Greece, Egypt, China and Italy, along with her favorite books, the designer repaired to the apartment “to work, read, daydream, rest, lunch and entertain a small circle of close friends” before returning to her room at the Ritz Hotel.

“The apartment, where mademoiselle’s presence still lingers, continues to be an inexhaustible source of inspiration for the creative worlds of Chanel, be it fashion, perfume, beauty, watchmaking or jewelry,” according to the house. “From the colors and atmospheres to objets d’art and furnishings, everything points to the essence of a unique style.”

The founder was frequently photographed in the apartment, and Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin recently brought their cameras to capture looks from the cruise 2022 collection, unveiled online earlier this month.

The salon at Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment on 31 Rue Cambon in Paris. François Halard/Courtesy of Chanel. Earlier this year, Chanel unveiled its revamped haute couture salons, also renovated by Grange, who redesigned the Art Deco-era space and spruced up its famous mirrored staircase.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Essential Halston

“Ewan McGregor is Halston” announces the trailer for the buzzy docuseries about the American design legend debuting this week. It’s a statement that will be put to the test over the course of the show’s five episodes as Halston (né Roy Halston Frowick) was the most elusive of men, despite his fame.

The best description I’ve read of the designer comes from the pen of editor Patricia Bosworth, who found Halston’s “compelling presence” to be “openly sensual but at the same time remote.” Also telling is journalist Angela Taylor’s realization that the designer (who was born in Iowa and grew up in Indiana) was “as starstruck as any teenager eating popcorn at the Bijou movie in a Middle Western town.” What is generally overlooked is that Halston was as in awe of the technical talent of Charles James and the quiet luxury of Mainbocher, both American couturiers, as he was of jetsetters like Elizabeth Taylor and Bianca Jagger.

The salacious gossip that haunts this mercurial designer reveals much about his appetites and little about what drove the man. Think on this: Halston had the books in his Montauk home shelved spine in, resulting in a uniform, and unreadable, wall of white. Some critics found Halston’s designs similarly white-bread. Yet it was reported that the designer labored for two years to get a cashmere sweater dress to hang just right. His “little nothing” evening wraps were made from patterns as pure as the shaped canvas works of Frank Stella or Ellsworth Kelly. “Halston patterns were phenomenal,” says Ena Szkoda Wojciechowski, a curator who worked with the Halston Archive for many years. “‘Experts’ talk about fabrics and drape, but zippo about the cut, the architecture. Hell, Charles James was working for him!”

Halston described his approach to his work as analytical, and one aim of his problem-solving was to create clothing that worked for the everyday lives of American women of all sizes and, through licensing via an ahead-of-its-time deal with JC Penney, means. Whether designing for the runway or the department store, Halston’s pieces belied their artfulness, and that is the designer’s true signature: never-let-them-see-you-sweat glamour with structural integrity. “Halston was not just a stylist,” eulogized the stylist Polly Mellen. “He could drape, he could design, he could cut. He had done his homework. It was instinctive with his hands. From his head to his heart to his woman.”

In advance of the Halston docuseries, this is what you need to know about this proudly American designer.


Born Roy Halston Frowick in Des Moines on April 23. His winning streak starts early: Halston is named the “highest scoring city boy in the class between 24 and 36 months” in the Healthy Baby competition at the Iowa State Fair.


The family moves from Des Moines to Evansville, Indiana. Two years later he’s expelled from high school after escaping to Florida with friends. Works part-time jobs, including as a soda jerk, before reapplying himself to his studies.

Circa 1948 - 1953

Follows his older brother to Indiana University. Transfers to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he does window dressing and starts making hats on the side. These were first sold out of a beauty salon at the Ambassador Hotel. One notable early client was the television actor Fran Allison. Gossip columnist Hedda Hopper was also a client. By 1953 Halston had his own hat shop on Michigan Avenue.


Moves to New York where he works for Lily Daché, a prominent hatmaker.


Leaves Lily Daché to become the in-house milliner at Bergdorf Goodman. “I learned about fashion at Bergdorf’s,” he later told The New York Times. “At the time it was the largest retail outlet for European couture in the country. I went to all the Paris collections and the Italian and the English.” He also made invaluable connections with the best-dressed women of New York and the jet set.


Jacqueline Kennedy sets a trend when she wears a Halston-designed pillbox hat to her husband’s inauguration. “Funny thing about that pillbox hat,” notes Halston in a 1966 interview. “It was made too small for her...but Mrs. Kennedy wore it anyway. When a gust of wind threatened to topple it from her head, she dented it hanging on to the hat. The Seventh Avenue copycat hat makers reproduced the design by the thousands so accurately that each pillbox had a dent in it.”


August: First of many Vogue cover credits. Stylist Polly Mellen would later recall Halston’s interaction with the magazine’s editor thus: “He would have conversations with Mrs. Vreeland, and I would sit there, and they would take off, scream at each other and yell, and throw bolts of fabric across the room, and she would say, ‘Fantastic,’ and he would throw it at her feet and she would pick it up and wind it around herself.” September: Receives first Coty American Fashion Critics’ award; is lauded as “a young man with a purpose…originality plus beauty plus flattery in hat fashion.”


Meets Liza Minnelli, who will become a dear friend and devoted client. July: Starts designing clothes, which sell at Bergdorf’s in the Halston Boutique. “It was a smash,” reported Vogue. “ ‘I have always had ambition. I have always had the energy. I have always had success,’” the designer says. November: Creates many of the dramatic masks worn by guests to Truman Capote’s exclusive Black and White ball.


Goes solo, establishing his business on a multi-floor building on the Upper East Side. His dramatic salon features a tented ceiling, red fabric-covered walls, and dramatic chairs made of horns. Taps Warhol superstar Pat Ast as vendeuse. “The late Babe Paley was his first customer; Jane Engelhard was his second,” reported Vogue.


Champions “the total look,” comprising interchangeable separates and accessories. Halston’s winning formula, observes the Los Angeles Times, is to offer “a variety of simple, of-the-moment clothes that are unlined and essentially unconstructed. ‘The couture concept of one man dressing up one type of woman in one look, while the rest of the world waited breathlessly to follow, ended when Balenciaga retired. No one today can dress everyone.’” November: Receives second Coty Award.


February: “In just one year,” notes Vogue, “Halston has become such a super source of fashion—he seems to know what we want, and should have, to wear.” April: In an article titled “The Halston Cult,” critic Eugenia Sheppard writes: “Unlike many designers who set out to please,” Halston is a steadfast pillar of one kind of tastes—always casual and underdone. September: The Courier Journal & Times reports: “One of the first to show a variety of lengths when it comes to hemlines, Halston says, ‘The point is to be comfortable. If you have nice legs, by damn, you want to show them. We have to abandon the idea we all have to look alike. We have to do what’s best for ourselves. That’s the secret of fashion.” October: “Everything in the collection moves, wraps, and blows,” The Washington Post enthuses. December: Bill Cunningham, writing for The Chicago Tribune, champions Halston’s tie-dye caftans and short shorts and explains that “the personalities in a Halston show are half the excitement. His models—Heidi, Naomi [Sims], Pat [Cleveland], and Marina [Schiano]— each projects her own kind of theater in her interpretation of the clothes she wears, whether naughty shorts or sensual jersey gowns.” (Loulou de la Falaise and Pat Ast had exits in that particular spring show as well.)


March: “As the ’70s unfold, a new crop of fashionables is emerging to replace the Old Guard,” reports critic Marian Christy. “Designer Halston, tall and handsome as a Viking king, is 37 and about to make his first million by catering to his faithful Beautiful People clientele and the New Fashionables who have become the major influences and whose names will eventually become household words.” April: Halston tells The Miami Herald: “I believe in simple, uncluttered, packable, crease-resistant clothes. I stay away from the fancy stuff. There are enough designers who do that kind of thing. Clothes are becoming more tactile. We like them to feel good, as well as look that way.” September: Receives third Coty Award.


February: Opens Madison Avenue boutique. (Stephen Sprouse is part of the Halston team at this point). June: Sly Stone marries Kathy Silva at Madison Square Garden wearing Halston. Writes Detroit Free Press: “Halston’s cashmere sweater dress is symbolic of the casual approach to fashion he finds meaningful now. ‘It makes life simple…you can sit on the floor. It doesn’t look so dressy-uppy.’ Dressy-uppy is his favorite way to describe women who have not found themselves.” August: Tells The Boston Globe: “Good fashion must last for a few years. I know it’s a different school of thought from the French haute couture—but I don’t believe the modern American woman likes the idea of twice-yearly makeovers. Neither do I.” October: Has a smash hit with a $180 Ultrasuede shirtdress that’s described as “the uniform of the moment.” And it remained one. Four years later The New York Times would write: “A Halston Ultrasuede dress is a status security blanket worth every penny of the $360 it sells for these days. And you can wash it. The success of the Ultrasuede shirtdress (42,000 units have been sold) probably tells more about Halston than all the sexy numbers he produces for blade-thin models. As a designer, he is infinitely kind to women—all women. October: Accepts Coty Award with an unsettling “onstage happening” by Andy Warhol, featuring Pat Ast jumping out of a cake and Donna Jordan flashing the crowd.

At the Battle of Versailles, actor Patrick Honoré of the Comédie Française on the Queen’s staircase with models: (from top) Halston’s pale green sequined evening dress with butterfly sleeves; Bill Blass’s grey sequined evening dress bordered in sable; Oscar de la Renta’s bright green charmeuse evening pyjama; Anne Klein’s red silk-jersey evening dress; Stephen Burrows’s red sequined dress and yellow feathered jacket. 


March: The Christian Science Monitor News Service credits Halston with “usher[ing] in the age of serenity.” ‘Halston got rid of the junk,’ ” noted one of their interviewees. “‘He stripped down to the essentials, making clothes seem less important than the woman who is wearing them.’” June: “European designers make fancier clothes for a fancier lifestyle, but the American look has become the most important in the world market today,” Halston tells Vogue. “All of a sudden women are not letting other people tell them what is fashionable; they decide,” he adds. October: Sells business to Norton Simon conglomerate for a purported $16,000,000. “I couldn’t be more pleased and proud of the whole merger,” the designer told The Los Angeles Times. “It’s the first time that a major business (over a billion and a half earnings for the last fiscal year) has been interested in the creative aspects of fashion.” The deal allows Halston names to be licensed but for the designer to approve of its use. December: Halston participates in the Battle of Versailles, a charity fashion show pitting five French designers against five Americans. Each section clearly showed the character and personality of the designers, with both coming through loud and clear in the clothes,” noted an observer at the time. “Bill Blass loving super chic; Oscar de la Renta, warm and sensuous; Anne Klein, USA all the way, commercial and snappy; Halston, super-effort decadence; Stephen Burrows, personality plus.” The overwhelmingly positive reaction to this bunch later confirmed an earlier observation by The Philadelphia Inquirer that “the pendulum seems to be swinging away from the snob appeal of European fashions to the all-American look.”


Purchases Paul Rudolph–designed townhouse on 101 East 63rd Street, which he describes to a reporter as “a New Yorker’s dream.” It also becomes party central for the Halston/Warhol crowd. (In 2019, Tom Ford will buy the midcentury gem for $18 million.) July: The U.S. Olympic Committee announces that Halston and Montgomery Ward will, respectively, design and supply the uniforms for America’s teams competing in the 1975/1976 games. “I guess you’d say I did it for national pride. I thought it would be very important to do a special sports collection for the Bicentennial year,” the designer later says. October: Elected to Coty Hall of Fame.


January: Piques critics and snubs his nose at the longer lengths shown in Paris with the introduction of a short skirt he calls “the skimp.” February: Launches first fragrance in a curvily organic bottle designed by his good friend Elsa Peretti.


Studio 54 opens; Halston will become a regular. “Some trace the beginning of Halston’s fall to the Sunday night in 1977 when he first entered Studio 54,” Lisa Belkin writes in 1987. “Halston met Steve Rubell, the coowner of the discotéque, and told him of a birthday party he was throwing for Bianca Jagger the next day [May 2, 1977]. Halston asked if he could bring some friends to the club afterward; Rubell said Studio 54 was closed on Monday nights. Halston raised one eyebrow and said, ‘Well, open it.’” The designer would later say of the fête that “it made 580 newspapers.”


February: Moves business to the 21st floor of the Olympic Tower. Scented with Rigaud candles, it’s filled with red lacquered furniture and an abundance of orchids. “It’s going to be the greatest workspace in the world,” he tells Vogue, which reports: “Looking out on Rockefeller Center, Saks, St. Patrick’s, the salon has 18-foot-tall ceilings, mirrored walls to reflect Fifth Avenue hustle, Venetian red carpets, and tables.” November: “Elite clientele approach him with the kind of fervor usually associated with Christ rather than clothes. But to understand Halston, you’ve got to understand Halston fashion which is hardly innovative. Halstons are conspicuously wearable, and in this time of fashion theater, wearability is a religion. He reigns supreme when fashion is splintered into too many confusing denominations,” writes Marian Christy. Decrying the “nonsense” coming from Paris, she says, “Halston’s clothes, by comparison, are the voice of reason. He has made simplicity synonymous with chic.”


“America’s top designer dances at Studio 54, but his clothes are for a more conservative crowd,” reports The Daily News in a damning piece that hinted at the designer’s alleged drug abuse. “For Halston, Studio 54 is not a source of fashion, but ‘a theater, a night club, a pretty upbeat place to sit and socialize. It’s a nice place to get away from it all.’ Strong rumor has it that a lot of people get away from it all on cocaine, and an alternative label for what Women’s Wear Daily named High Chic is Coke Clothes.”


Asked to assess his own role in fashion history, in Vogue, Halston says: “I think, probably, it’s that I cleaned up American fashion at a particular point in time—I was actually called Mr. Clean. It was just getting rid of all the extra details that didn’t work—bows that didn’t tie, buttons that didn’t button, zippers that didn’t zip, wrap dresses that didn’t wrap. I’ve always hated things that don’t work.”


Makes a guest appearance on The Love Boat, with Halstonettes in tow.


October: Signs with JC Penney to design clothing and home furnishings in what The Tampa Tribune reported “is being hailed as the most significant licensing-design agreement in the history of the fashion industry.” November: Vogue is enthusiastic about Halston’s higher-end collection, observing: “This is couture, American style—the details, the by-hand craftsmanship, the finely honed sense of quality are all there. But while Halston gives you all the luxury of classic couture, this is a couture ‘relaxed’—drama in a few perfect strokes, purely American in feeling. Here in the cool mirrored heights of Halston’s aerie in Olympic Towers, you get the essence of his mystique: narrowed shapes, moving effortlessly, revealing—and if need be, concealing— the body in sinuous ways.”


July: The high-low concept is yet to catch on in fashion, and his clothes are dropped by high-end retailers, including Bergdorf’s, soon after the JC Penney deal is signed. Many years later the designer would say of that business agreement: “What I always wanted to do was dress America, and being a dreamer, a romantic, in a way, I thought, ‘what a wonderful idea.’” The same month Norton Simon is sold to Esmark, which is soon after taken over by Beatrice.


Beatrice and Halston are incompatible. Halston hoped to buy back his business, but the deal fell through. “The game plans had all changed, and I was invited by them to leave Olympic Towers, so I left,” the designer later told The Sydney Morning Herald.


A team-designed Halston collection is presented in Olympic Towers by Revlon, who had taken over the label from Beatrice. “His spirit hovered over the collection,” Martha’s Lynn Manulis told The New York Times. “But while he haunted the premises, his energy was missing. You can’t reinvent Halston.”


Halston dies of AIDS-related Kaposi’s Sarcoma cancer on March 26 in San Francisco. “He was a man who understood theater. He understood special effects, he understood extravagance. He was never anything but strong. I loved him being opinionated. I loved him being strong,” said Polly Mellon in a eulogy. “His contribution was enormous, and he was an American designer, hooray. He was the first fashion star. Nobody has replaced Halston.”