Archive for the ‘Fashion Week’ Category

1/25/17, “Magic”

Posted on January 25, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I apologize for being two days late. I have been plunged in my writing for about ten days, and have done nothing else, glued to my typewriter day and night, with no break and no days off. But it’s Haute Couture fashion week in Paris, and I have seen three great shows. Really interesting contrasts, the three shows I saw were totally different, and I waited until today to write to you so I could tell you about them (I saw the last one four hours ago as I write this).. I had a ball seeing them, and wanted to share them with you.

As you remember, ‘Haute Couture’ is different because you have to order the clothes, can’t just buy them off a rack, and EVERY single stitch in them is hand made. They are made to the client’s exact measurements, and you have two fittings, so they fit perfectly, whatever shape you are. Twice a year, in January and July, they show a fashion show of the samples for the next season, so people go to the fashion shows, and pick what they want to order. Very, very, very few women actually buy them, most people go to the shows for the glamour and excitement. The fashion industry is a BIG deal in Paris, and is kind of an art form. And there are few haute couture clients, and very, very few designers who still do haute couture, and have the trained staff and ability to make those clothes. Working in an haute couture workshop takes a 12 year apprenticeship, before you actually get to make the clothes—–as long as it takes to become a doctor. The main dress houses who still make haute couture are Chanel and Dior. Dior has a new designer, and Chanel is designed by Karl Lagerfeld, a truly brilliant designer.

The Chanel haute couture fashion show is a ‘scene’, as chock full of exciting things happening in the audience as on the stage. It is a major spectacle, a huge show, with about 70 outfits shown, worn by beautiful models. The show this time (for next summer—-all summer clothes) was very lady like, in pale pastel colors, kind of ice cream colors, with tailored belted suits in pale tweeds. The models wore high heeled silver shoes, they could barely walk in them, and each model wore a pearl anklet. (I loved them!! I want one!!!). Each model wore the same hairdo, with their hair smoothed back in a wide flat bun, and the evening dresses had a LOT of sparkle to them. And even when the clothes look simple, they’re not, with embroidery and tiny stiches, beading, and delicate details. The women in the audience wore amazing outfits, VERY extreme. Many of them wore Chanel from previous seasons. One woman wore a floor length white fur coat, huge fur hat, and gold boots. Others wore hats, veils, tons of accessories, it was almost an overload of fashion addicts going wild, and vying for attention, with techno music at the Grand Palais, an antique glass structure. The decor was all mirrored screens and shiny black mirrored floors, people with wild hair does, and men and woman all dressed up for the show. It was very traditional Chanel, nothing startling or unexpected, and the most beautiful dress in the collection was the Grand Finale, a an absolutely gorgeous pale pink wedding dress with huge balloon sleeves, a tiny waist, and an enormous ball gown skirt and train. A knockout for any bride and gorgeous in pink!!!

The second show I saw was DAZZLING!!! It was fashion as art at its finest, designed by an extremely talented designer, John Galliano. He previously designed for Dior, left the fashion scene for a while, and returned to work for Martin Margela. He was previously an haute couture designer, and this was his first couture show for Margela!! It was a MEGA WOW!!! Mr. Galliano is a supremely talented and innovative designer and no one knew what to expect for this first collection for this new house for him. It took my breath away, and in an artistic sense was everything a fashion show should be as an art form. Different, exciting, beautiful, special, creative, fashion forward. Not easy for everyone to wear, but the models were truly beautiful, their hair and makeup was all different and perfect for each outfit. The accessories were just right, the music was touching, the setting was gorgeous. The show was held at The Invalides, an old military fort, and Napoleon’s tomb, an important monument. The show was in a small narrow room, with an exquisitely painted ceiling, and I think that only about 100 people attended, fashion magazine editors, buyers, and international press. ALL of the people who showed up to see it were stylish, interestingly dressed, and wore fabulous shoes (enormous platforms, men in gold shoes, women in very trendy outfits. It was a show for the fashion experts, the select, and people in the know. It was REALLY exciting being there. It felt like history being made. I have rarely seen a show I loved so much.

And the last show was different in its own way too. Shown in a rented hall off the Champs Elysees, when we got there, five models were performing what looked like modern Dance. They came onstage wearing short floaty brown patterned dresses, with enormous brown paper coverings over them and brown paper hats, and they began by stripping the paper way. Eventually, they were only wearing the chiffon dresses, with the paper stripped on the floor. And then they began tearing the paper, and continued dancing. I had another engagement then and had to leave. But it was fun seeing it before I did.

It was a varied and exciting experience. Haute Couture is always special to me because it is such a statement to me about fashion, and such an incredible expression of beauty and art. I had a fantastic time, and now I’m back to writing again. Talk to you next week!!!! Have a great week!

much love, Danielle

3/14/16, Hermes/Chanel

Posted on March 14, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I hope everyone is fine, doing well, and enjoying some decent weather somewhere. I am ready for some warmer spring weather, but not finding it in any of the cities where I live. When is winter going to be over? (I’ve seen snow in Paris twice recently, some big gorgeous lacy snowflakes. And several days of hail!!). Spring soon please!!!

In the meantime, this is the time of year, when I get to indulge my frivolous side with the ready to wear fashion shows. And they are fun!! I reported on the Celine show last week, which was very ‘fashion’, as the French say, much of it oversized and avant garde, which makes it not so easy to wear, but looks great on the right people.

The next fashion show I went to was the Hermes show, a distinguished, very elegant brand, best known for its leather goods: handbags and shoes (they even make gorgeous saddles for horses, and are also famous for their elegant riding gear and equipment). Their handbags are the most coveted and desirable in the world, with their 2 most famous styles of handbags being the Kelly, made famous by Grace Kelly, Princess Grace of Monaco, and the Birkin bag, made famous by the model Jane Birkin. Those two bags are the most desired in the world, sometimes with a very long waiting list to obtain them, and with astounding resale value at auction. Hermes limits the number of bags sold, and people sometimes wait several years for either of those styles in the size or color they want them. They are an enormous status symbol worldwide in the world of luxury goods. An Hermes bag is a sure way to a woman’s heart!!! In addition to their famous bags, they make beautiful silk scarves, men’s and women’s clothing (some incredible alligator coats and jackets). They make household objects as well. And they have had a new women’s clothing designer for the past year. Their fashion show was at the stables of the police cavalry, in a beautiful old building, with the inner space decorated with lacquer stages, with the models walking around them, in simple wool clothing for the most part, in soft neutral colors. It was a very pretty show, attended mostly by the fashion press, and store buyers. Only twenty major clients were invited, among them Kris (Kardashian) Jenner, whom I sat next to, and enjoyed meeting immensely. She is a lovely, warm, very appealing person, and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with her during the show. » read more »

3/7/16, Paris Fashion

Posted on March 7, 2016

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your patience with me, after weeks of writing, (and a few days off for a bad cold), I’ve surfaced and am back in the human race, although not for long. I’m just taking a short break, and then will go back to writing again. But in the meantime, I’ve had some time to enjoy some of my children visiting me. I always feel lucky to share time with them!!!

I got my nose out of my typewriter just in time for Paris Fashion Week: the big ready to wear shows in Paris that highlight fashions for next fall/winter. And the fashion world is buzzing with gossip these days, after a number of recent changes. The House of Dior parted company with their designer recently, and is looking for a new one to design ready to wear and haute couture, that’s a mammoth job, doing both, with several collections a year. Lanvin parted company with their designer too and are also looking for a new one. The designer at Saint Laurent is also leaving. There are rumors that Karl Lagerfeld might retire from Chanel next summer, which will be major fashion news if that happens (I hope it doesn’t!! I want Karl to stay where he is forever. He’s too good to lose!!). And there are always rumors about the other houses and designers, trying to guess who might be leaving. So fashion is a game of musical chairs these days. So this is a slightly unsettled season. It was also the first fashion week since the attacks in Paris last November, and I think many Americans were afraid to come to Paris, because the crowds were a little thinner than usual. But the city put their best foot forward, and there is a great deal of security everywhere in Paris now, at every fashion show, and in every store, bags are opened and the contents checked, wands to check for metal or weapons are in use, and there are a lot of security guards in evidence, which is all a good thing and reassuring.

I began my fashion week at the Celine fashion show in a tennis club in the park, at lunchtime on Sunday. Their show is always held there, and we sat in bleacher rows as all the notables of fashion walked in. The Queen herself: Anna Wintour, the Editor in Chief of Vogue, with her signature bobbed hair, and dark glasses—-looking glamourous and beautifully put together on Sunday morning with sparkles on what she was wearing., Grace Coddington, also an editor of Vogue with her signature mane of flaming red hair, sat down in the same row as Anna Wintour and the American Ambassador to Paris, Jane Hartley, sat a few seats down, with Wendy Murdoch between them. People are there to see what’s coming up in fashion for next season—-the stores then order the clothes in advance and we’ll see them in stores next fall. But first, all the fanfare of the fashion show. The show began with the usual beautiful models (mostly in their late teens) pounding down the runway in flowing but clinging dresses, cocoon shaped jackets and coats, comfortable looking sandals and footwear, some belted coats, some very fluid looking dresses, everything beautifully made, and exciting to see coming down the runway. I will admit that I felt most of it would look great on my daughters, but less so on me. It really wasn’t my look, and was a little more fashion forward than what I can get away with. I tend to wear more classic clothes, and less avant garde. But Phoebe Philo the designer at Celine has a fantastic eye and sense of fashion, and it’s exciting to see what she produces. My daughters went to the show with me and loved it. Lots of whites and earth tones, some gold, and some striking pieces in black. And everyone was talking about how great the collection was when they left. We really enjoyed it, and it’s always an honor to be there, since the event is invitation only, and mostly attended by buyers and the fashion press. With a smattering of celebrities and movie stars thrown in for good measure.

It was all very fun to see, and fashion week isn’t over yet. There will be lots more shows to see and comments to make, and guesses about which designers will be going to work where, and which designer had the best show. The hubbub was tremendous as always, and we all left having gotten a bird’s eye view of what lay ahead. Stay tuned…..more shows to come!!!

love, Danielle

9/28/15 Midnight Musings about Fashion

Posted on September 28, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is going smoothly in your life, and that the Fall is off to a good start, now that it’s officially here.

I was thinking about ‘fashion’ in general and specifically tonight. I write about it often, when I go to fashion shows, or see my daughters’ work. Three of my daughters are professional stylists and design consultants, to a variety of designers. All three of them have the same job, but perform it in very different ways, depending on who they’re working with, and their own individual styles. A design consultant works closely with the designer to develop their next collection, how it should look, what colors are strongest, fabrics, textures, details, and a huge amount of research and collaboration goes into putting the new collection together. They may be inspired by a period in history, a country, a culture, or even world events, or street culture. First they help develop the concept, and then in the case of one of my daughters, she does an immense amount of research, delving back into fashion books, and even looking at vintage pieces, for inspiration. And then the hands on work begins, helping to choose fabrics, seeing how they work, what colors work best with those designs, then they have samples cut and sewn and fit them on models to see how they move and drape, before cutting the actual clothes for the collection. And once the real samples are made, they fit them on the models who will wear them in the fashion show (and pick the models), and then their role as stylists comes in, as they put together each complete look that will be worn by a model on the runway, and the accessories that will help create that look. The tension before a fashion show is enormous, my girls stay at work long after midnight, and are often back at work at 6 or 7 am right before a show. And the day after a show, it’s not over, and then they begin shooting photographs for the “look book”, which buyers can refer to when they order the clothes. And by the time they finish that, a week after the show, they begin work on the next collection. Designers (who actually do the drawing of the designs) and their consultants work closely together, and have to come up with 3 major collections a year: spring, fall, and ‘resort/cruise’, which used to be beachwear people wore to resorts in the winter, and is now essentially an early spring collection. In addition, for spring and fall, they do a “pre-collection”, which is a simpler, more commercial, sometimes slightly less expensive version of what is shown on the runway. So you’re really talking about designing 5 collections a year, with the pre-collections. It’s a stunning amount of work, and that’s true for all brands, whether low, moderate, or high priced. “Fashion Week” happens twice a year, for the spring and fall collections, and is really fashion month. It starts with a week in New York, where American designers show their wares, then on to London for the British designers, Milan for the Italians, and then the grand finale in Paris, for all the French ready to wear designers. It is four intense weeks where magazine editors, the fashion press in general, store buyers, and anyone who follows fashion go from city to city for an exhausting month. It begins in early September in New York and goes into October, showing spring clothes for the stores to order, and then happens again in February, into March, to show the fall collections. One of my daughters actually worked all 4 cities at times, but mostly my daughters work in New York and Paris. All three are talented and work with major designers, and it’s a thrill for me every time to see the collections they worked on, and to see the influence they had, and the results of their hard work. I admire them immensely for how hard they work, and am very proud of the results. (I’m proud of all my kids, who work in very different fields, the eldest is a social worker in pediatric oncology, the youngest has a passion for music, two of my sons work in startups, and another works in the film industry. And my late son Nick was a talented musician, and lyricist, and lead singer in a band. And best of all, each is following their passions and expressing their individual talents.) » read more »

7/13/15, Chanel Did It Again!!

Posted on July 13, 2015

Hi Everyone,
It’s that time of year again, the fashion shows in Paris—-more precisely the Haute Couture shows, the shows of clothing that are not Ready to Wear, but are made to order stitch by stitch to the exact measurements of the lucky person who can buy them (and afford them). Haute Couture has always been the summit of high fashion, the most elite and exclusive, available to only a select few clients who can afford them. The creations are remarkable, the clothes unforgettable, and the piece de resistance at the end of the show is always a bridal gown. All of the clothes can be ordered and take several months to make, and clients have two or three fittings before they’re finished to make sure that they fit impeccably.

You can’t just show up at either a Ready to Wear or an Haute Couture show in Paris, it is by invitation only. And the invitations are much coveted and sought after. In days gone by, the front row of the Haute Couture shows were lined with famously well dressed women, the wives of Presidents and Captains of Industry, famous movie stars, women who were known to be the best dressed in each of their countries. The women were usually of a certain age, and the clothes designed accordingly. Dressing in haute couture was not a young women’s sport, it was SERIOUS fashion business, an important business, and the women who wore them were known for how well dressed they were. Now, everything has changed. Haute Couture is a dying art, there are only two of the old venerable famous dress houses who still make haute couture: Dior and Chanel. The others are mostly newcomers. And all of the old important haute couture houses have faded away and closed. Haute Couture fashion week lasted a full week, with 5 or 6 important shows a day. Now it takes two days. And the famous women who lined the front row, jotting down notes of what they wanted to order have been replaced by faces most of us don’t know: Chinese movie stars, members of the press or in public relations, people who love fashion but don’t wear haute couture and never will. One sees a few well dressed women with no idea who they are, and a great many people in exaggerated costumes, desperate for attention. And in all fairness, the prices of Designer Ready to Wear now is what Haute Couture, handmade clothes cost 20 years ago, and Haute Couture prices are now out in the stratosphere for incredible embroideries, beautiful fabrics, and clothes that very few people can afford.
» read more »

3/16/15, Chanel!!!

Posted on March 16, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is well with you and that a hint of Spring is in the air and just around the corner.

I wanted to give you my last report of Paris fashion week as it draws to a close for this season, and as usual, I wound up my participation with a flourish: the always impressive, dazzling, fantabulous Chanel show. It is always an ASTOUNDING fantastic show, and today was very much in keeping with their ready to wear tradition of gorgeous clothes. One of the most impressive things about the Chanel ready to wear fashion show (as opposed to Haute Couture, which is loftier, more elitist, all made to order and hand made, whereas the ready to wear clothes are mass produced, and Chanel is at the very high end of the ready to wear market)—but one of the things that makes the show special and different is the lengths they go to with the setting and decor. They go ALL OUT and spend millions to make the setting and backdrop of the show an event you will never forget. One year, they had a giant, and I mean GIANT, like 30 feet high maybe, gold lion center stage, with the models coming out of its mouth and onto the runway. The one that I will never forget was when they flew in a small iceberg from Sweden, put it in the middle of the Grand Palais, a fabulous glass palace where they hold their shows—–the models walked around the iceberg, the room was freezing to preserve the iceberg, and after the show, it was flown back to Sweden, and set back down in its natural habitat. Last year, Chanel created a “supermarket”, an extraordinary replica of one, with real food in it, and where the models strode around with shopping carts, wearing gorgeous mostly casual clothes, to show the collection. I was sooooo excited by the fun setting that I hardly noticed the clothes, I wasn’t sure where to look or what to watch, the beautiful clothes, or the amazing setting where the groceries had fun names. This time, the setting was still the Grand Palais, which had been transformed into the Brasserie Gabrielle, —-a brasserie is like a bistro, an informal restaurant, and it looked like a real restaurant. As you entered, there was a bar, where coffee, orange juice and croissants were being served. Then you made your way to your assigned seat (with your name on it). And there were tables set up for both male and female models wearing the collection, on the other side of the runway, while waiters waited to take their ‘orders’, as part of the staging. By comparison, Balenciaga who had one of the most beautiful shows of the season clothes-wise, did their show in a half finished construction site, and Celine did their show on the courts of a tennis club. But Chanel doesn’t do things by half. They go ALLLL OUTTTT, and they sure did with the bistro setting today!!! » read more »

3/9/15, Paris Fashion Week

Posted on March 9, 2015

Hi Everyone!!!

Despite hideous, cold, snowy, awful weather in most of the US, particularly the East, it’s springtime in Paris. It’s almost embarrassing to admit it, sunny, with still a little nip in the air, but beautiful weather, and it feels like spring, with temperatures in the 60’s. And it has been challenging to get to Paris for all the buyers and editors coming from the States. One of my daughters had a 25 hour flight from LA to Paris (normally a 10 or 11 hour flight), with an emergency landing in Boston, and a stop in New York, in a blizzard, and long delays. And many flights were cancelled, while the East of the US was pummeled by snow storms and arctic temperatures—-all of which made arriving in Paris, in the sunshine, with gentle weather, seem even more magical. And it’s that wild, busy, chaotic exciting week in Paris again, with the fashion shows of all the major French designers, packed in day by day for 8 days, while fashion magazine editors, store buyers, designers, stylists, models, international press from all over the world, come to Paris to run from one location to another to see the runway shows of each French designer’s line of women’s clothing for the upcoming fall and winter season. They show the clothes 6 months in advance, so stores can order them, and the manufacturers can make them in time for the fall/winter season. (Spring summer clothes are shown in September, also 6 months in advance of when they’ll be available in stores. Fashion week is an advance look at the next season, for the entire world to observe). And if you can’t get to the shows, you can see them all, listed by designer, on style.com

» read more »