Herve Leger by Max Azria Spring/Summer 2013 CollectionSeptember 9, 2012
Aside from possibly Louis Vuitton, Herve Leger is possibly one of the most imitated brands in fashion. There are a multitude of reasons for this, one of the most prominent being that the fit of a Leger dress is nearly unmatched. It can be imitated, but its hard to really be Herve Leger. It seems this season Max Azria went all out to show why that is the case. He continued the theme we saw in his namesake line, using geometric shapes in print, but also turned it a bit on its ear by adding a kaleidoscope effect with the colors. What you find in the Spring/Summer 2013 Herve Leger collection is a multitude of triangular shapes all placed in varied positions creating a patterned effect. In a word, the collection is simply mesmerizing as a result. Don’t wear these dresses near someone who has taken some sort of hallucinogenic, they will trip out. The effect is a collection whose individual pieces are strong and as a whole is great to look at and even better to wear.Davina Rodriguez
HolyGrace vs HolyGrapie Commes des Garcons Dukes it out in ScentsJune 23, 2010
Jun Takashi must be up there in the imaginary lists of hardest working people in fashion, beauty and perfume. HolyGrace and Holy Grapie are two complimentary perfumes launched with Commes des Garcons during Paris Fashion Week earlier this year and finally available as of this writing. Here’s a cut to the chase moment. The press release stated that HolyGraphie smells like “babies and sensuality”. The two don’t really go together unless you’re thinking a soft scent that doesn’t ignite the olfactory senses. The complement to the HolyGrapie scent is the parent scent called HolyGrace. This one has a searing hint of ginger and pimento a very slight cinnamon air and just a note of vanilla.
Both scents marry the Commes des Garcons lifestyle with a softer edge than previous releases and is softer still than the newest fragrance, Wonderwood.
Of the two the Papierdoll recommendation is HolyGraphie because of the lighter scent, though either will do.Davina Rodriguez
The SeanceSeptember 2, 2008
Photography: Anne-Marie Michel
Styling: Aradia Crockett
Hair: Daminie Hutton at Ash Salon, Covent Garden
Model: Sarah Arnold from Bookings Models
Fashion is haunted by trends of seasons past. Normally you’ll find yourself wincing at old photos from an earlier decade when shoulder pads were in. Bell bottoms are now the thing as illustrated by our retro article this month. Photographer Anne-Marie Michel delves into a sort of 3-d mystical look at this season’s fall fashions with a host of international designers. No red/blue glasses necessary, just enjoy the effect.Davina Rodriguez
The Bell Bottom ReturnsSeptember 2, 2008
If anyone were to doubt the cyclical nature of fashion look no further than the resurgent bell bottom pants as a harbinger of déjà vu nature of fashion. The bell bottom pant slash sailor trousers (Britain) are back in a major way. They were absent in the 80s as they took a hiatus from their long worn out welcome in the 60s and 70s.
Back then bell bottoms were relegated to hippies and youth counterculture of the 60s. Sure they were around before that (worn by sailors), but hippies “owned” the style in the 60s. The fashions were paired with tie-dye shirts, love beads and long hairdos. Bell bottoms were easy to wear, fit comfortably at the top and were a marked departure from the baggy trend of the 20s and 30s.
The bell bottoms even branched off into loon pants territory. Loon pants are an abbreviation for the term “balloon pants” but the two were cousins of each other if not closer relatives. By the time the 80s came the bell bottom pants had disappeared for what some though would be forever. The fashion forward chucked their bell bottoms for tighter pants, pro-keds and ripped t-shirts. The age of electronic rock and synthesizers brought crazy colors and lacy frilly feminine gloves.
Bell Bottoms would not see a resurgence again until the early 2000s when bootcut jeans became all the rage. The bootcut phenomena led the fashion industry to creating even more flared out jeans, but what was known all along was that these jeans were bell bottoms. There was no hiding that fact and the flared out jeans have once again made a return.
From the styling’s of Just Cavalli down to the Gap, Bell Bottoms are back in a big way, but while memories may be short, the source of these jeans are lie in the past. The cyclical nature of fashion has shown it’s true face with the return of these stalwarts.Davina Rodriguez
Givenchy's Phenomen'Eyes and MatissmeAugust 2, 2008
Can someone tell makeup companies that even the most jaded beauty writer will swoon and gush like a teen in front of a boy band if they come up with creative packaging? Forget the efficacy of whatever the product might be. Is it a lip gloss that kind of works? Is it wrapped in some sort of contraption doubling as marketing package? Sure, send it this way. Is it eyeliner that makes everyone wonder exactly how to use it? Absolutely, put it in the mail. Yes the review will be reflective of a bad product, but for the most part, a shiny package goes at least part of the way in assessing an overall product’s success with writers but more importantly the public at large.
This is why Givenchy’s new Phemonen’Eyes mascara product strikes a wonderful even balance between function and medieval art. Combine that with the Matissime collection fronted by Liv Tyler and there’s a winning combination in this pot of makeup gold.
Why not create mascara that’s a bit tough to understand? Is it a torture device or is it something that gives you long, lovely lashes for hours? Ding, Ding, Ding!! Correct, it’s both. Givenchy creates a look for fall that makes a wearer wonder whether this is a dangerous weapon or something very special. The weapon part of this formula is that it doesn’t follow normal beauty conventions. Traditionally, mascara comes to the eyes in an elongated brush that, if done correctly, will lengthen the entire eye line. Phenomen’ Eyes is a long candlestick-like product with a pointed edge resembling mace, but no less effective than it’s linear brethren. Does it work? In a word, the smoky look will be accomplished in spades no matter what your complexion. And while you will need to give the product a little something to work with, in the form of generous lashes, once it is applied, you will want for nothing. The Phenomen’ Eyes product is part of Givenchy’s Fall Dandy collection coming to a store near you this August.
If Liv Tyler is fronting your beauty campaign; you are going to sell like hotcakes. A sidebar: do hotcakes really sell? And if they do, what do they sell like? Hotcakes? I digress. Forget the full lips of Angelina Jolie, Liv’s are shapely with form. Combine that with a great complexion that can use but a splash of color and voila! You have Matissime. This powder foundation with Matte finish provides an heir of invincibility. It promises to provide long lasting relief compared to the foundations that tend to cake up and abandon at the entirely wrong moment. According to the product’s packaging, Matissime is supposed to have an “exceptional capacity to absorb sebum and humidity.” The foundation essentially allows the skin to breathe. No more pore-covering beauty that ends up causing pimples instead of helping avoid them. Does it work? After seven days of using it, without equivocation, it can be said that Matissime is a different type of makeup product. It bodes well for all possibly ushering in a new era for foundation.
These two products, Phenomen’Eyes and Matissime may be Givenchy’s way of laying down the gauntlet. So-so makeup beware, there’s a new sheriff in town.
online: Givenchy Make up websiteDavina Rodriguez
London Fashion Week Fall 2008 : Pierre GaroudiFebruary 20, 2008
Pierre Garoudi went dark for his fall collection. While never known for using a myriad of colors, Garoudi’s collection stayed away from the external distractions that multiple colors could bring and focused more on structural shapes and actual fabrics. A ruffle-necked tan dress was a highlight because of it’s aesthetic but also because it was easily wearable. An asymmetrical gray dress with floral accent near the shoulders was sexy and also easily wearable. This wearable theme played well with Garoudi’s collection in total. This definitely a collection to covet for the Fall.Davina Rodriguez
New York Fashion Week Fall 2008 : Yigal AzrouëlFebruary 2, 2008
The Yigal Azrouël collection was hauntingly beautiful. Using a palate of deeply rich and dark colors, Azrouel for 15 minutes had the audience looking pleased if not somewhat puzzled. There was this intentional disjointedness within the line that Azrouel stated was done for effect. Each piece, he surmised, was meant to stand alone. There was no doubting that the designer crafted and honed his art. He knew what he was going for and found it. If that seems somewhat nebulous it again, was intentionally so. Stand out, stand alone pieces from the collection include a light and free flowing dress embroidered with feathers, a set of dresses in asymmetrical shapes and a feathered dress that moved only through the material effect. If the collection looked rough around the edges, it again, was intentionally so, that gruff effect (and like the seasons before) was obvious to the point that it brilliantly made sense.Davina Rodriguez
Interview: Christine RheeFebruary 1, 2008
Christine Rhee went from being an architectural design student to a full blown fashion designer. After seeing a preview of her fall 2008 collection, we’re convinced that no wardrobe will be complete with something from this new talent. Christine Rhee is one to watch.
Tell us about your design philosophy, looking at your line you definitely have one.
Sure. I firmly believe in clothes as symbols of what the wearer wishes to express. For me, it has a lot to do with the kind of woman that I would like to be viewed as/ aspire to be. For CRHEE, those qualities are specifically strength, intelligence, complexity, modernity, and a bit of an unruly mind. So I go into designing the collections with those qualities in mind.
Explain how an architecture major gets into fashion design. Shouldn’t you be off creating buildings?
That’s funny. I ended up really loving my architecture education but started to realize that I did not love buildings enough to continue to do architecture. I just really loved design and wanted to do as much of it as possible. I really wanted to try to design something that I really love and I’ve always loved fashion. I think almost every term paper I wrote for every class was about the relationship between fashion and architecture. I think I’ve written about 5 papers on fashion and architecture during my time in college.
You stated you had a false start earlier what was that about?
I did a mini scarf collection for my very first attempt at doing anything fashion related my first year out of school. I definitely had a bit of a pause because I wasn’t entirely sure as to whether or not I wanted to try the fashion thing or go back to architecture. It’s the whole issue of the known being less frightening than the unknown.
What stores do you see your collections fitting snugly into?
That’s tough. There are so many great stores in New York. I don’t know about fitting in well, but there are several stores that I would really like to be carried in. I love Seven New York in Soho. They carry three of my favorite designers, Haider Ackermann, Preen, and Raf Simons, so that would be amazing to be in the same store as them. I like Eva as well, and the big stores like Barneys are also such a dream.
Are you and artist, designer, architect or a bit of all three?
Wow. That’s a big question. It would be great if people saw elements of all three in my work. I would love to be able to say all three but I would have to say that designer. I think I know what an architect is and I’m not that. I’m not sure what it would be to be an artist, so through process of elimination, I’m going to stick with designer.
What does Christine Rhee want to get out of fashion?
In terms of specific goals, it changes so much depending on so many different factors. The one constant is that I just want to design as much as possible for as long as possible. It sounds deceptively simple. I’ve loved fashion for as long as I can remember. I’m from a small town in Ohio. We didn’t have access to a lot of fashion magazines. Fashion definitely seemed like something that only other people got to do or participate in. I can’t even honestly say that designing clothes was a dream for me because it was so out of the realm of possibilities when I was growing up. To be doing it now, feels like, beyond a dream to me. It’s enough to just be doing it, right now.
We see brooding elements of Calvin Klein in your fall collection are we wrong? You can totally tell us.
Wow. That’s so nice. I never really thought of that. It wasn’t a reference or intentional but I can see where you get that. I like that phrase “brooding elements.” The “brooding” aspect of the collection though is intentional. I kind of imagined everything within the context of a solitary existence and really tried to infuse as much of myself into the collection as possible.
When not designing, what do you have time for.
I’m having a real science fiction moment right now, books and movies. I have to admit though, that aside from hanging out with friends, almost everything that I do in my free time is geared towards designing the current collection or the next one.
Pick a city, New York, Paris, Milan, London, where would you want to hold your next runway collection?
I would love to show in New York because that’s my home now. It takes so many people to make a collection, the people who work on it directly, and then the people who just keep you sane! It’s really important to me to be able to show them exactly what they’ve helped me make.
What do your friends think about your designing path in life.
Some people asked me “what took you so long?” I got some “I always thought you should do that.” Those were the nice responses. My friends are great.
What did you take away from working with Mary Ping?
So many things. Mary was such a great person to work for and especially as my introduction to the fashion world. She works so hard and really does everything. She’s so talented. So you definitely get to see a lot of different things and get a realistic idea of how hard you’re going to have to work. The most important thing that I learned from her was when she told me that, I’m paraphrasing, if you create something emotional and really put yourself into it then you’ll create something really strong.
You tend to use solid colors no mish-mash, usually one uniform color throughout why is that?
Personal preference. I love layered monochromes. I love white on white. Restraint and discipline are concepts that I’m very interested in exploring in terms of design. For the way that I design, I think it’s a lot about balancing things out. Being very controlled in terms of color palette gives me more freedom in terms of design. With my aesthetic, that is a compromise that I am more than willing to make, right now at least.
Each season from your collections has a name. Are you mulling over names for the Fall 2008 collection or have you picked one out already?
I already have a name. The name of the collection is “Isolator.” This collection was really meant as a flipside to the last collection “the Collector.” I liked the symmetry between the words (both ending in “tor”), and it makes for a very good contrast between the two. “The Collector” was designed within the frame of an office environment, which had to do a lot with dealing with other people and dealing with people’s perceptions (breaking rules, etc.). “Isolator” strips that all away and is more emotional and deals with the framework of one’s self-perception.
What’s next for Christine Rhee?
Hopefully another collection! I’ve got a few things brewing that I’d love to try out for Spring Summer 2009, (which already has a name). There are so many things I’d love to do. I’d love to do a second line, specifically a men’s oxford shirt line.
Realistically though, I think it’s updating my website and cleaning my studio.
Valentino Fall 2001January 2, 2008
Never let it be said that Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani fails to make an impression. The designer that the fashion world has come to know simply as Valentino is set to retire after his January 2008 couture show. But during his fall 2001 show, Valentino celebrated his 40th year in the fashion industry by creating a collection that celebrated the individual.
Indeed, in his Fall 2001 program notes, Valentino stated that he is “…inspired by clothes that are worn not because they are in fashion, but because they make women feel unique and confident.”
Perhaps that’s why the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, Merle Oberon and others wore his pieces as if they were the only women that could ever wear what he designed for them. Imitations of his dresses for the stars would come and go, but the individual original pieces could only be worn by their owners.
His 2001 collection was as much a statement for the time as it was for the future. Rummaging through the that season’s photos can paint the picture of the man and his creative thought and focus on the individual. The collection could be worn today as if it were created for this time. Nothing is dated. Everything is apropos for this generation and will most likely be the same 20 years from now.
From the evening gowns to the pinstripe trousers and everything in between (the georgette shirts are a particular favorite). Valentino’s Fall 2001 collection celebrated 40 his 40 years in the business and of making women beautiful.
view the complete Fall 2001 collection here (style.com)Davina Rodriguez
Simone Williams InterviewDecember 4, 2007
Simone Williams is a new breed of designer that bucks trends and creates pieces for her clients. Born and raised in East London, Williams learned at a young age from family members that designing can be a labor of love. Since that time, Williams has grown into a top emerging designer, recently showing at the Kulture 2 Couture series of shows that highlight the works of black designers. She’ll have you know though that her background is only part of the story, she’s more interested in the future.
Tell us about Simone Williams the designer
I’m 26 years old, born and raised in East London. I studied in Hackney Community college and City & Islington College. My granny and auntie also design and make clothes, I used to watch them make garments growing up and it inspired me. I used to design draw clothes all the time, and made my own doll’s clothes from an early age. I have always been extremely passionate about my craft I decided I wanted to be a designer from a young age. My love for it led me into the business.
Your myspace profile says beautiful ladieswear for beautiful ladies. Who is a beautiful lady?
A beautiful lady is a woman secure in herself; she is not afraid to let her inner diva be expressed in the world. A beautiful lady is a woman who is confident in her shape and physical appearance even if it doesnt follow society’s norm of “perfection”. A beautiful lady is a woman who can be fully self expressed through her fashion and her personality.
The models for your collection are prevalently black, there’s been a lot of controversy in the diversity space, was your choice deliberate? If so why?
To be completely honest our choice was based primarily on the quality of the models. We were looking for individuals with strong looks and who wore the garments well – this was not based on race. We think its important to highlight the use of models in fashion really needs to become a lot more flexible and open minded – we have used white models, asian models and mixed race models for shoots all based on quality and the feel of the shoot at the time. If any statement is to be made here is that race should cease to being an issue in the fashion industry…in an ideal world…in reality we are aware of it and simply acknowledge it existence.
What do you want “beautiful ladies” to take away from your collection?
We want them to take away the fact that they can wear classic, gorgeous garments created with love and care to fit their unique and wonderful figures!!!
Where do you see yourself in relation to other British designers?
I feel excited to be surrounded by so much great talent in Britain. Its a great place to be right now. In relation to others I can only state that I know where I am capable of taking this brand alongside my business partner, Ronke Lawal. We’re looking to be more than just another label we want to represent high class fashion on an international level.
What designer are you drawn to most?
If we were to get into your mind while you were designing what would we see throughout the process?
I get inspiration for anything and everything – this keeps my creative vision alive and fresh. It would be a keilidooscope (sp?!) of ideas.
What is your personal satifaction once the piece is finished?
To see my creative vision come to life – its excites me every time – I particularly adore seeing the garments on a satisfied client.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you?
The biggest challenge has promoting the brand – with the help of my partner it has become a lot easier and we can really see how things are developing.
What do you think of show’s like Project Catwalk?
Its good practice & good exposure for new talent – It also allows those who have an interest in the industry to see some of the processes that they need to go through.
What do you do for pleasure?
Dine out with friends, social when I get a chance
Apart from the ones related to fashion, what are your aspirations?
Happiness, nice home, nice family (one day).
If you had to do the last 3 years (from graduating, to launching your line and each consecutive season) what (if anything), would you do differently?
Get more business advice! Simple as that
What’s next for Simone Williams?
To develop the brand on a global level – its going to be an exciting phase as we aim to become internationally recognised.