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30-04-2005
  31
Unveil Yourself....
 
Mr-Dale's Avatar
 
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Hmm very interesting article. It was fun to read and those six would not all have been my choices, but I don't think that they're bad choices. And softgrey, a bit of-topic perhaps, but as brian asked before: did you even see John's latest collections?

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30-04-2005
  32
flaunt the imperfection
 
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mr dale..i responded to that in my last post...

stale...imo...old fashioned and boring...completely uninteresting to me...
just 'too much'...ott...

and i am obviously not the only one who thinks so......
i'd say the only thing he's good for is black tie at this point...
and how many serrious black tie events does the average customer really attend?...

i guess it might be good for a stage costume as well...or maybe if you're marrying a rockstar or a billiionaire...

but he's not designing for 'real' women...
that's what i mean by he needs to come back to earth...to reality...
galliano is definitely not 'cool'...from my standpoint...or in my circle...

especially when compared to the names in this article...
these are the 'cool kids'...this is what everyone loves and is excited about...
they have 'buzz'...

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30-04-2005
  33
V.I.P.
 
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softgrey... you're judging galliano strictly by what you see on the catwalk... have you ever even been to his boutique or a location that sells his clothes? they're hardly what you see on the catwalk, and indeed are more 'down to earth' ...

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30-04-2005
  34
Stitch:the Hand
 
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More to the point,the hype machine surrounding JG has got stale. I mean,if we've seen one circus we've seen them all from him by now.

You're argument that he might belong here...well as Softie said,CD-and even Galliano's own line-relies heavily on the accessories and cosmetics and frankly I don't think that's enough to put him into this category. At least not when you talk of Elbaz,Philo and Theyskens who actually make covetable clothes as a whole. Unlike JG.

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30-04-2005
  35
Stitch:the Hand
 
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And Balenciaga...sorry.

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04-05-2005
  36
trendsetter
 
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The Paris 6
April 28, 2005

The Paris 6

By CATHY HORYN


ATE last February, over lunch in a Paris restaurant, Stefano Pilati, the new designer at Yves Saint Laurent, offered a surprising motive for putting modern-thinking women in tulip skirts and high-necked polka-dot blouses, things that had struck critics as repressively feminine. "My aim was to say, 'We're a fashion elite here,' " Mr. Pilati said. And he is determined to lead. "We should. We're supposed to."

You don't have to be a fan of the reality show "Project Runway" to appreciate that fashion has become more and more populist. This is the age, after all, of the adolescent designer, the celebrity designer, the hip-hop designer, and the claimants have been as varied as Sean Combs and Esteban Cortazar, who was 18 when he held his first show.

And though fashion, like politics, is still an insider's game, with its own addicts and agenda-setting editors, nothing, it seems, can compete with the authentic judgment of bloggers and Web viewers. Ask yourself: How elitist can fashion be when the 20 most popular fall 2005 collections on Style.com received a total of 22 million hits in 12 days?

Nevertheless, by the end of the fall shows in March, Mr. Pilati's assertion had been borne out. On the strength of an exceptional series of Paris collections, a new elite had emerged, and with it a sense that every choice these designers made, every proportion and fabric chosen or rejected, represented a superior judgment. They were acting like designers, not stylists or vintage-shop pickers. Retailers, starved for direction, saw the shows as a breakthrough. In New York, despite an influx of new talent, only Marc Jacobs had the power to influence the industry, whether an editor at Condé Nast or the owner of an illicit handbag palace on Canal Street. Milan had Miuccia Prada. In Paris there were six.

Insiders may debate who belongs in this elite class, but they don't dispute the authority of Mr. Pilati, Olivier Theyskens at Rochas, Nicolas Ghesquiere at Balenciaga, Alber Elbaz at Lanvin, Phoebe Philo at Chloé and Mr. Jacobs, who designs his own line and another for Louis Vuitton.

Even fashion industry analysts, who tend to be skeptical of the pronouncements of editors, acknowledge the influence of these designers, whose average age is 35. David Wolfe, the creative director of Doneger Group, which forecasts trends for stores like Nordstrom and Wal-Mart, compares it to that of the Antwerp Six, a group that included Dries van Noten and Martin Margiela, in the early 90's. "They feel the pulse of their times the same way the Belgians did," he said. "And they have the same problem. Everybody feeds off them, except now there's an expectation that your company has to be as big as General Motors. Or Tom Ford."

Is it the air, the Gallic water, les girls? What unites these six designers, only one of whom can claim French birth, and why now? The answer, as simple as it sounds, is fashion.

For several years now, the business has followed a different set of imperatives: fashion as lifestyle, fashion as art, fashion as a spree of casual Fridays. Twenty or 30 years ago, when the Japanese avant-garde designers arrived in Paris, and before that, when Yves Saint Laurent and Kenzo were telling everyone how to dress - well, back then it was only fashion as fashion.

Gradually, though, it wasn't cool to be a dictator. And anyway, designers didn't have time. They had empires of licenses to manage, yachts to squeegee. By the time Ms. Prada and Mr. Ford exploded, in the mid-1990's, nobody except a few couturiers at the top knew about hidden seams and hand-frayed edges. And if one may say so, the whole picture of dress had degenerated to a logo bag and a pierced navel.

Nowadays people are dressing better. It's as if the entire industry has been squeezed upward. As Mr. Wolfe put it, "Even the bottom feeders of the fashion food chain have Champagne tastes." Everyone wants to look posh.

Like most mainstream trends this one started with an extreme gesture, a squawk (the sound of editors' mouths popping open) at the beginning of the fashion grapevine. You can almost pinpoint the moment: Paris, March 2003, when Mr. Theyskens, a Belgian designer then just 26, showed a weird humpback dress in French lace. Weird or not, it telegraphed a message to the rest of the industry: clothes would involve more form, and more savoir-faire.

And Mr. Theyskens wasn't alone. "They're the most daring group of designers we've seen in a long while," said Julie Gilhart, the fashion director of Barneys New York. "Alber dared to be pretty, and with clothes that a lot of women can wear. Olivier changed the way we look at luxury, by focusing on extreme proportions and beautiful craft. It's now bye-bye, bling. Nicolas has influenced the street. Look at his cargo pants. People were, like, 'Baggy pants in pink and green - what?' But those pants and their copies made stores millions of dollars."

WHAT unites these designers is that they are using details and craft, often involving old modes of construction, to make an original statement. Ronnie Cooke Newhouse, an influential art director whose clients include Lanvin, says there is a dual advantage in using couture effects like draping. It makes the clothes harder to copy, and it distances them that much further from superficial, Star magazine type of fashion. "If a dress has volume, it's because Alber found a real dressmaking solution," Ms. Newhouse said. And he is thinking how to do it in a light, modern way. "It's about both form and function," Mr. Elbaz said.

Yet each designer has a highly individual look. There is no mistaking Ms. Philo's loose, romantic dresses for Mr. Theyskens's icy towers of ruffles, or Mr. Pilati's clerical references for Mr. Ghesquiere's starved-to-near-perfection silhouette. "It's not like Nouvelle Vague in the movies in the 60's," said Mr. Ghesquiere, who was born in France. "We're all different."

Mr. Pilati, a former assistant to Mr. Ford, is the least known of the group, but before fashion magazine editors could recover from the shock last fall of seeing tulip skirts, other designers had adapted his waist-defining look for the next season. Bergdorf Goodman is eager to introduce him to customers. "I'll offer him anything - lunch, a cocktail party, the windows," Robert Burke, the store's fashion director, said.

Although one can point to designers who have achieved empire without a loss of prestige among insiders - Karl Lagerfeld and Ms. Prada for sure - and to others who have remained influential through innovation, like Rei Kawakubo and Azzedine Alaïa, members of the new group have come to the fore because their influence has derived from clothes. Not marketing campaigns, accessories or chatty celebrities, but clothes. This represents an ideological break from the late 90's, and the business model of Mr. Ford and Gucci.

"I don't want a career that's like another designer's," said Mr. Ghesquiere, who took over Balenciaga in 1997. "I think I can say we have idols but no models to follow. You have to define your own model."

Not everyone has always understood him; he was fired after his first collection, but then the buzz started, and he was rehired. And though his Princess Leia look of the late 90's set off a wave of imitations, as did his anti-luxe bags with studded straps, Mr. Ghesquiere has stubbornly avoided being predictable, even conventionally pretty. (One may recall the media bashing that Jennifer Connelly received when she wore a drab beige gown of his to the Oscars.) Still, his below-the-radar approach is paying off. Balenciaga, which is part of Gucci Group, expects to be profitable within 18 months.

Making money is still a problem for most of these brands, and the media attention they receive, while deserved, can overstate the true picture. "Selling 50 pieces at Barneys is fine, but it's not a business," Ralph Toledano, the chief executive of Chloé, said, adding that a problem for small houses like Rochas and Lanvin is that they rely too heavily on the creativity of their designers. "From a company point of view, that's totally unhealthy," Mr. Toledano said. You also need managers who can take a creative idea and turn it into a string of products.

In another sense, though, Mr. Theyskens, who showed his first Rochas collection in 2003, was probably smart to position the line at a superhigh level, with dresses that can cost $5,000. With luxury brands pushing from the top and mass merchants from the bottom, it's tough to have a business in the middle. Mr. Wolfe said there is little future in lower-priced diffusion lines because of how easily they are knocked off. Exaggerating to make his point, he said, "Marc Jacobs's diffusion line is Wal-Mart."

Few designers of his generation have understood the consumer and her impulsiveness better than Mr. Jacobs. It's a reason his look changes frequently, now a riff on Thatcherite ruffles, now an ode to Japanese volumes. In the past women stuck with the same two or three designers most of their lives. Now they simply want what's new.

The young women who work in his Paris studio are a lesson to him in this respect. "They're such shopaholics," he said. "They're into Lanvin, because it's new. This last season the one thing they wanted was YSL." Mr. Jacobs laughed. "I said, 'What happened to Alber?' "

YET while he has gained in prominence by working for Vuitton - its parent, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, owns one-third of Mr. Jacobs's company and has helped it expand into accessories - his partner, Robert Duffy, points out proudly that ready-to-wear is still the mainspring of the company, outselling shoes and bags. And despite the popularity of its Mouse shoe (150 pairs sold each week), he and Mr. Jacobs sensed the market was tapped out, at least for them. "We were, like, 'Stop with the Mouse shoe,' " Mr. Duffy said wearily.

"It takes lots and lots of slow steps," Ms. Philo conceded, talking about the process that has made Chloé one of the most imitated labels in the business. (Derek Lam is one designer who ought to pay royalties this spring to both Chloé and Lanvin.) Through the efforts of Mr. Toledano, the company is now set to add lingerie and children's wear, and will open 30 new stores over the next three years, he said. Sales for the most recent fiscal year increased 60 percent.

But as Ms. Philo said: "If the clothes don't look good, then you haven't got anything. My focus is totally on the runway."

And in Paris or wherever talent presumes to be taken seriously, the runway never lies.

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04-05-2005
  37
etre soi-meme
 
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this article has been already posted -and discussed- stylegurl

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04-05-2005
  38
trendsetter
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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oops sorry...I guess I missed it because I a not here that often lately.
Could someone please provide a link?

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04-05-2005
  39
etre soi-meme
 
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http://www.thefashionspot.com/forums...ad.php?t=25727

voila.. i'll merge very soon

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06-05-2005
  40
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Thank you Lena!

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