Tag Archives: Fashion History

DESIGNER OF THE MONTH: PHILLIP LIM

1 Sep

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Designer, Phillip Lim had no idea how big his name was going to be when he debuted his first fall collection in February 2005. Fast- forward to 2013 and 3.1 Phillip Lim is seen on the bodies of celebrities, in countless issues of Vogue, and on September 15, the clothing racks of Target.

Born in Thailand in 1973, Lim had no idea that designing was his calling. “I never equated the love of clothes with being a fashion designer. In fact, being a fashion designer was not in my universe, it was only about how clothes made me feel and the potential I saw in changing the clothes I owned. I can remember as early as 8 years old, picking out my own clothes, asking my mother to alter the clothes I had, and the passion I felt when I would have the perfect outfit.” That passion led him to become the creative genius that singlehandedly transformed the world of fashion by offering designer quality pieces at contemporary prices.

PhillipLim

Lim took on an internship at Katayone Adeli which, later, turned into a job as a design assistant. From there he went on to design for Paul Frank Industries before launching Development in 2000 with business partners Andy Crane and Stuart Gaddis. Development was a small label created for the girl in her twenties who appreciates a more simple design with easy shapes and basic colors. Lim spent his weekends working out of a garage to build the line he helped create, the first collection brought in six figures worth of orders, a definite premonition of the many successes to come.

4 years and some creative differences later, Lim had ended his tenure with Development. He was unemployed for a mere 24 hours when he received a call and plane ticket to New York from longtime friend, and CEO of a textile manufacturing company that worked with Development, Wen Zhou. 3 days, a taxi cab, and $750,000 later 3.1 Phillip Lim was born, the 3.1 symbolized their age at the time.

Wen Zhou and Phillip Lim

Wen Zhou and Phillip Lim

3.1 Phillip Lim debuted in February 2005, showcasing a fall collection that instantly won over journalists and buyers alike. After the success of the fall line, Lim created an accessories collection in September of the same year. From that point on the successes were one after another for the label, with Lim collecting countless awards. Buyers were filling up boutiques and department stores, within six months,sales reached $2.8 million, everyone wanted a piece of his “classic, but twisted” style. Along with the womenswear and accessories line, he also launched menswear, childrenswear, swimwear, lingerie, and even an organic clothing line aptly titled, Go Green Go.

3.1 Phillip Lim Spring/Summer Childrenswear 2008

3.1 Phillip Lim Spring/Summer Childrenswear 2008

A look at 3.1 Phillip Lim Resort 2010.

A look at 3.1 Phillip Lim Resort 2010.

Today, 3.1 Phillip Lim is one of the most celebrated and coveted labels of our time, known in over 45 countries and over 400 boutiques, the world is simply in love with Mr. Lim. Target has recently joined in on the fun, with a long awaited collaboration, 5 years in the making. 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target is set to debut September 15, and the line is already predicted to be a sell out. Which should come as no surprise for the modest, and stylish visionary that is Phillip Lim.

3.1 Phillip Lim Pre-Fall 2013

3.1 Phillip Lim Pre-Fall 2013

Some stylish offerings from Phillip Lim for Target, debuting September 15th.

Some stylish offerings from Phillip Lim for Target, debuting September 15th.

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DESIGNER OF THE MONTH: BALMAIN

8 Aug

Balmain logo

One of my favorite fashion brands is BALMAIN, so it is only fitting that the Parisian fashion house be the first designer featured in the newest segment called Designer Of The Month

Pierre Balmain

Balmain wasn’t always the edgy, rocker chic fashion house that we have grown to love, long before the embellished blazers, Pierre Balmain, along with Christian Dior and Cristobal Balenciaga, had been credited with reinventing haute couture after World War II. The Parisian prodigy once said that “dressmaking is the architecture of movement”, which comes as no surprise being that his elegantly, feminine looks were fashion favorites among European royalty and Hollywood’s A-list.

pierre balmain designs

Taken in 1956. Model is seen wearing an embroidered French lace strapless sheath dress with taffeta sash. The lace lined mink stole adds a stylish touch to the elegant dress.

Taken in 1954, a model poses in double-breasted suit, tie, and wide brimmed hat by Balmain.

Taken in 1954, a model poses in double-breasted suit, tie, and wide brimmed hat by Balmain.

Opening his first fashion house was a no brainer for “The King of French Fashion”, Balmain started in 1945 showcasing long, bell shaped skirts with small waists. In the 1950’s Balmain became a brand people were familiar with and with good reason, the Parisian label started popping up in the U.S. with his ready to wear collections, and Mr. Balmain had singlehandedly transformed the stole into a trendy piece for day and evening wear. Balmain had gained a reputation that he could design anything from tailored suits and elegant evening gowns to perfumes.

pierre balmain designs 3

Looks from the Balmain Spring Summer 1983 collection.

Mr. Balmain at work.

Mr. Balmain at work.

Erik Mortenson took over the house in 1982 after the death of Mr. Balmain, and by the early nineties Oscar de la Renta lent his creative abilities, keeping the tradition of Balmain’s classic, luxuriously elegant designs alive. The start of the new millennium brought new changes to the legendary house, one was with a new creative director and the other was the new vision the director brought along. Christophe Decarnin led Balmain to the modern, edgier path we now know it for. Taking over in 2005, Decarnin reinvented the French fashion house, introducing it to a much younger audience that became infatuated with the designer’s chic futuristic vision. Even with the hefty price tags, $6,000 for select jeans and $2,000 for a t-shirt with holes, BALMAINIA had struck amongst young, rich fashionistas proving to be more than just a fashion fad.

Embellished jackets became a Balmain staple when Christophe Decarnin took over. Balmain jackets were a key player that made fashionistas catch  Balmainia fever!

Embellished jackets became a Balmain staple when Christophe Decarnin took over. These jackets were a key player that made fashionistas catch Balmainia fever!

Christophe Decarnin for Balmain Fall 2010

Christophe Decarnin for Balmain Fall 2010

Christophe Decarnin for Balmain Fall 2010

Christophe Decarnin for Balmain Fall 2010

Olivier Rousteing, after working with Decarnin, took over the ranks in 2011. There was much skepticism regarding Rousteing, people feared he wouldn’t be able to achieve the success that the label had with Decarnin. However, his first collection, Resort 2011, showed critics that Rousteing was no Decarnin, and by the spring that theory was further proven. In just the span of 2 collections, Rousteing had successfully managed to run a legendary label, putting his own spin on designs while never forgetting the history of the house.

Posing with one of his creations.

Mr. Rousteing posing with one of his creations.

Olivier Rousteing for Balmain Fall 2012. Mr. Rousteing has stated that he was inspired by a Faberge egg for the collection.

Olivier Rousteing for Balmain Fall 2012. Mr. Rousteing has stated that he was inspired by a Faberge egg for the collection.

Balmain Today. A look  from the Resort 2014 collection.

Balmain Today. A look from the Resort 2014 collection.

Rousteing has a magical of way of incorporating class and timelessness back into the brand, while at the same time still having an edgy look. He is a master at catering to the many characteristics of a woman. “I think “classic” is the right word. I want to go to something more timeless. Something that goes for the future. What I love from the old French house, it’s not seasonal. It’s something that stays. That’s my goal for Balmain. Keeping the sexiness but a bit dressier. For a woman who’s more chic, [to] expand from the woman who was before”. And that’s exactly what he’s doing.

Olivier Rousteing Quote: http://www.style.com/stylefile/2011/12/more-flash-than-trash-olivier-rousteing-at-balmain/

SUPERMODEL FLASHBACK: DONYALE LUNA

6 Jun

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She was declared the “reincarnation of Nefertiti” by Salvador Dali. She partied with the best of them at Studio 54. She appeared in several films produced by Andy Warhol and obtained a one year contract to be photographed by Richard Avedon. She was the first black model to grace the cover of Harper’s Bazaar and British Vogue. Donyale Luna took the fashion industry by storm, and although it was brief, her legacy of exotic features and quirky personality transcends for generations.

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luna1

Born in Detroit as Peggy Anne Freeman,  Luna was known to stand apart amongst her peers, in looks and attitude. She created her own world, a new name and a different race and heritage to go along with it. Her new persona brought her fame and fortune fast. Discovered in 1964 by photographer David McCabe, she left Detroit for New York. While in New York, McCabe introduced her to Nancy White. White was so stunned by her look she had Luna sketched immediately, and that illustration landed on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar in January 1965.

The January 1965 cover.

The January 1965 cover.

Luna’s name and face had catapulted her into “IT” girl status very quickly. After the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, Luna was given a one-year contract with Bazaar’s staff photographer, Richard Avedon. The first pictures of Luna debuted in a historic six-page spread in the April 1965 edition of the magazine. Time magazine had also begun to take notice of Luna, by publishing an article titled, ‘The Luna Year’. The article described, the blue, sometimes, green- eyed contact lenses and blonde wig wearing model as “a new heavenly body who, because of her striking singularity, promises to remain on high for many a season. Donyale Luna, as she calls herself, is unquestionably the hottest model in Europe at the moment. She is only 20, a Negro, hails from Detroit, and is not to be missed.”

Shot by Richard Avedon.

Shot by Richard Avedon.

Shot by Richard Avedon.

Shot by Richard Avedon.

Just like Pat Cleveland, racism in America was starting to catch up with Luna. Avedon’s photos of Luna had prompted southern states to pull their advertising in Bazaar, readers had cancelled subscriptions, and even the owner of Bazaar, William Randolph Hearst did not approve, Avedon “was never permitted to photograph her for publication again”. So she fled to London, where she received even more success than she had in the states. Soon photographers were lining up to get a shot of the exotic beauty. The March 1966 cover of British Vogue was a turning point in the fashion world. Shot by David Bailey it featured Luna, the first black model to ever grace the cover of Vogue.

A Picasso-influenced composition shot by David Bailey.

A Picasso-influenced composition shot by David Bailey.

Drugs are what ultimately led to Luna’s demise in the fashion world and eventually in her life. She partied tremendously and found a love for LSD. She became unreliable and hard to work with. Her unprofessional behavior, prompted fellow black model Beverley Johnson to complain by saying ” “[she] doesn’t wear shoes winter or summer. Ask her where she’s from — Mars? She went up and down the runways on her hands and knees. She didn’t show up for bookings. She didn’t have a hard time, she made it hard for herself.”

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Donyale Luna. There are still very many holes in her biography, such as, her heritage. Luna tried  her best to not be seen as black and even though she clearly suffered insecurity issues, I still have admiration.  Her meteoric rise to the top of the fashion world is very inspirational and her inevitable fall is a cautionary tale that needs to be told.  She is largely forgotten in the fashion world and that is not fair. Even though her career was brief, she still made a name for herself and cemented historic moments in fashion and black history, all of which deserves to be recognized.

SUPERMODEL FLASHBACK: PAT CLEVELAND

30 May

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In this week’s edition of SUPERMODEL FLASHBACK, we take a look back at the internationally acclaimed and legendary supermodel,  Pat Cleveland. Discovered in 1967, Cleveland had no desire to be a model, her passion was fashion design. Although, her designs got her featured in Vogue, it was her look that had Ebony magazine wanting her for their national runway tour, Fashion Fair.

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Cleveland was definitely a sight to see on the 60’s and 70’s modeling scene. Entering an industry that showcased mostly white models, Pat stood out like a sore thumb. Born with an African American, Native American, Swedish and Irish ancestry, there were very few women who looked like her at that time. She was light-skinned, tall and slender, with black wavy hair that she often referred to as her “magic carpet”.

pat clevelandDespite success in America, Cleveland became tired of being singled out due to racism. So she left for Paris vowing never to return until US VOGUE printed a black model on the cover. While in Paris she modeled for the world’s top designers such as Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Yves Saint Laurent, Thierry Mugler and Christian Dior. On the runways is where she really shined, her appearances were like theatrical performances, her walk and presentation of the clothing was something that could never be duplicated.  “When she moved, she painted the air around her with the clothes,”- Janice Dickinson.

pat cleveland

pat cleveland

Pat Cleveland delivered something the fashion industry had never seen at that time. She was different and because of her perseverance she introduced the world to a look that is now celebrated. She changed the game for models past and present. Pat Cleveland, a supermodel for the ages!

pat cleveland

pat cleveland

Enjoy!

SUPERMODEL FLASHBACK: NASTASSIA KINSKI FOR US VOGUE MAY 1981

23 May

This past week, I watched a documentary on the fashion editors of VOGUE, aptly titled IN VOGUE: THE EDITOR’S EYE. I was amazed at how each editor featured, from Babs Simpson to Grace Coddington, brought their own eye for style and fashion to the legendary magazine over the course of 50 years. It was definitely an educational eye opener for me that I thoroughly enjoyed!

There were a slew of pictures that were featured in the magazine over the years, but only a few stood out for me. These photos of actress, Nastassia Kinski were taken by the talented, legend Richard Avedon. Let’s take a look at some of the awe-inspiring photos that inspired today’s flashback.

EVE& THE SERPENT: starring Kinski and a flirtatious python.

Eve and The Serpent

This outstanding picture was created when fashion editor, Polly Mellen, learned that Kinski liked snakes because they are “exciting when they move.”Mellen rushed  to Avedon and insisted that the team “must send out for a snake!” The result was Vogue history!

“You couldn’t imagine being there. I mean, the snake kissed her! The snake wound up her little naked body and put its tongue in her ear, and the picture was done. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The snake had been defanged, so there was no worry on that stance.” Polly Mellen

RICHARD AVEDON. PLUS. POLLY MELLEN. PLUS. NASTASSIA KINSKI. EQUALS. AMAZING!!

Enjoy!

SPOTLIGHT: Fashion Illustrations: Hayden Williams

17 Oct

What I really love at the moment is fashion illustrations. Obviously I am obsessed just look to the left and you’ll see why. There’s such simplicity and elegance to the art of the illustration, a legacy that has left an impression for nearly 500 years. Wikipedia defines fashion illustration as ‘a form of communication of fashion that originates with illustration, drawing and painting. In other words these illustrations are a form of art, an art that exudes class, style, design, and vintage all at the same time.

Watercolor Fashion Illustration

Sadly, what once played a major role on the covers of magazines is
practically nonexistent today. Fashion illustrations have been on a decline since the
late 1930’s when Vogue began to replace the illustrated covers with
photographic images. Now in the present day, publications like Vogue, Harper’s
Bazaar, and InStyle use actual photographs, of celebrities no less. (Side note:
what happened to the Supermodels? That’s a post for another time).

It is always
refreshing to see illustrations, makes me wonder why publications refuse to use
them. With all the photo shopping that is constantly being done, they may as
well use a drawing, it would definitely save the magazines money and save
millions of women from the  insecurities
of not looking like the women that are featured on the covers, who don’t even
look like that themselves.  Fashion illustrations,
brings back a time when fashion was classy, when there was only high fashion. A
sense of elegance and intrigue all brought on by a drawing. And I want to see
more of it.

Vintage Harper’s Bazaar July 1950

Hayden Williams aka “Stylish Prodigy”

One illustrator that has granted my wish and left a major impression on me is Hayden Williams. Williams, a 21 year old British designer and illustrator is known for his drawings. He showcases a variety of his awe inspiring work on his Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram pages. He has drawn everyone from singers such as Beyonce and Rihanna, to celebrities, magazine covers, and models. His most recent work consist of the Disney Princess characters, appropriately titled ‘Disney Divas Collection’, his work is being viewed by fashion lovers, art enthusiasts, and people who are just pegged by curiosity. Williams hopes to “conquer the world one fashion sketch at a time”, and with talent and a name that is memorable, it is easy to see that his dream is quickly becoming a reality.

This month’s SPOTLIGHT shines brightly on Mr. Hayden Williams, and the many talented illustrators before him. Thank you for bringing the high back in high fashion, and for giving me yet another to reason to love fashion and the many aspects that make up this fabulous industry!

One look and you’re hooked! Check out Mr. Williams Tumblr page: haydenwilliamsillustrations.tumblr.com  

‘Disney Divas Collections’

Rihanna ‘Diamonds’