Monday, 21 March 2011

Model of the moment: Arizona Muse

Fashion weeks are over, brands are fĂȘting their praise of the industry (chez Prada, Alexander McQueen, Fendi, Haider Ackermann et al), are licking their wounds if their efforts have not been appreciated ( Maison Martin Margiela) or are busy resolving scandals and their effects (Dior).

Meanwhile there is plenty of time to take a closer look at the model that emerges on the top of the list after the fashion week marathon and whose name is on everyones' lips: Arizona Muse.
How can you not become famous with a name like that?!
Obviously, it does help if you have the abstract beauty, expressive wide-set eyes, strong eyebrows that make Muse's recognition value and being absolutely ubiquitous during New York and Paris Fashion Week does help to push a career as well.
The 20-year old American who was born in Arizona - hence her name - was discovered in 2008 already, as she had a baby break, she stopped modelling for 1.5 years, only to return to modelling in 2010 and take off after the A/W 2011 shows.
During her second season, the 5'10'' tall Arizona already scored all major designers and could be spotted during every big name's show. Galliano, Dior, Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton, YSL, Versace, Burberry...the list is endless. Despite the numerous catwalks the American beauty scored, she is also featured in two major campaigns this season: Prada's adorable colourful spring/summer campaign, which was photographed by Steven Meisel and which truly unfurls its full good-mood effect in its appendant campaign film.
Furthermore, Arizona Muse ran off Daria Werbowy as the face of YSL's current print campaign and was also selected for the spring/summer campaign film under the creative direction of Stefano Pilati, which was shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin in Marrakech.
Being a relative newcomer, it is quite remarkable that Arizona is ranked 23rd on Counting Vogue covers, a 60-pages fashion editorial as well as four different covers of the March issue of Dazed & Confused magazine, it is pretty obvious, that the fashion industry has found the face that we can expect to see a lot more of in the not so distant future.


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Thursday, 10 March 2011

Doing her mentor proud - Sarah Burton shines with her Alexander McQueen fall 2011 RTW collection

“The Ice Queen and Her Court” was the magical title of Alexander McQueen's fall 2011 collection and the show did not fall short of giving us every single ounce of drama we have been craving to see on the catwalks of this year's fashion weeks and instead got so plenty adjacent to them.

Sarah Burton combined the duality of Romanticism - the delicate, light and fragile world of beauty and innocence with the dark, twisted and dangerous side of mysticism.
The venue of the show was La Conciergerie, former royal palace - and prison of crowned heads like Marie Antoinette before her execution- whose gloomy medieval halls had already hosted one of Alexander McQueen's spectacular shows in 2002.

Classic McQueen silhouettes - which Sarah Burton called the "heritage silhouettes" of the brand dominated the collection, yet, their execution was exquisite and had plenty of nouveau elements.
Inuit influenced fur details in stone grey or black that were sewn along hems and cowls, numerous zippers that were carefully integrated into the structure of garments, or alternatively lacing that was enhancing both the cut as well as catering as eye catchers.
Flowy dresses paired with leather harnesses that reminded of a Viking goddess and various types of fur and feathers combined to a harmonious structure of a dress.

The real spectacle of the show however were the skillful honeycomb structures that had been carefully crafted of organza and silk, forming exquisite flouncy skirts and dresses. Another ravishing detail were the elaborate fitted bodices made of mosaic china fragments.

The intricate fabrics and  the blending of soft and hard textures - leather elements were combined with feathers or fur, chiffon was ornated with rivets and a stiff surface of china fragments was combined with the most fragile looking trail of tulle and silk.

The styling comprised of a mixture between Tilda Swinton's appearance as Jadis, the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia with her mythical and theatrical beauty and a modern day warrior, which was complemented by the up-does that looked like a helmet formed of barrettes.
Chokers, collars and over knee laced platform boots mitigated the delicate look and gave it some edge of the real world.
A collection that would be fit for a costume designer and one that convinced the last skeptic that Sarah Burton was an excellent choice to perpetuate the challenge in succeeding Alexander Lee McQueen's reign at his eponymous brand.

The exquisite garments with their dark romantic touch that would have done Hans Christian Andersen - author of the fairy tale "The Snow Queen" proud.


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Friday, 4 March 2011

The Gaga Show - Nichola Formichetti's debut at Mugler

March 2nd 2011, from 9pm onwards, one could witness Nichola Formichetti's debut as creative director at Mugler via live stream on facebook.
The Mugler A/W 2011 RTW collection surely was one of the most anticipated events of Paris Fashion Week after Nichola Formichetti -  Lady Gaga's acclaimed stylist, fashion director of Vogue Japan, fashion director of Uniqlo and creative director of Dazed and Confused Magazine had been named creative director of  Mugler next to also newly appointed designer, Sebastien PeignĂ©.

 After some additional Twitter frenzy over Lady Gaga walking Formichetti's show, quite a number of people logged on to facebook to watch the Mugler A/W 2011 RTW show live. Over 40 mins, one could peek behind the stage and watch numerous activities previous to the show from various camera angles. Admission, make-up, models, Lady Gaga, friend, muse and favorite pet of the stylist getting ready and practicing her last moves. Two of the titbits - may they have been spontaneous or rehearsed - were Lady Gaga announcing laconically that it would be even good press if she would vomit on stage and secondly that she just wants the public to say that she is a beautiful woman after the show (oh come on - still not over the polemic, are we?!).

The scenery for the runway was a mixture of an enchanted forest and a gothic cathedral, which set the stage for a show that ressembled a mixture between fashion, Lady Gaga self-promotion and a chaotic hide-and-seek game in dim flickering disco light. The models were half strutting, half stumbling on the platform wedges (the only one who mastered them effortlessly was Gaga) putting on a show that was composed of clutching along the pillars, lip synching a medley of Lady Gaga's latest album - featuring her "Born this Way" anthem- clenching their teeth, displaying their figurative claws and striking a vamp-y pose for the photographers. Check the official directors cut here.

Many of the garments of the show called “Anatomy of Change Femme – Mode Sans Frontiers,” featured Thierry Mugler's signature giant epaulettes, which had made the designer famous in the 80ies. Otherwise, the clothes featured a lot of sheer tops, or tops with sheer cut-outs revealing the bust or tiny synthetic bustiers. Skin tight membrane-looking clothes took turns with avant-gard garments which seemed futuristic and outlandish. Glossy elements were combined with natural textures - creating a look that made me think of the Borg of Starship enterprise - a fictive civilisation, which strives to be a superior race by sometimes brutally assimilating nature with technology. An association which might also be explicable by the fact that the Nichola Formichetti named Rick Genest aka "Zombie Boy"as his latest inspiration at the brand Mugler.

Nichola Formichetti, darling du jour of the industry surely gained some more momentum by this fabulous show and may just have promoted his vision of outlandish and eccentric beauty (I actually really think the time has come to pass the word gaga-esque as part of our vocabulary) a little more. Also, he managed to communicate his vision of the future of fashion brands, which is a seemless blending of showmanship, media communication, fashion, lifestyle and a sentiment, attitude and atmosphere at the same time.
The showmanship of the event was surely convincing and could live up to the hype. The limelight however was rather on Lady Gaga and the overall show elements than on the clothes. Also, the lighting, the labyrinthine scenery and extrovert posing and lip synching of the models was that much input that it took away attention from - what used to be- the actual core of the show: the collection.

All in all a successful publicity stunt that surely brought Lady Gaga, Nichola Formichetti and the label Mugler into many headlines. (One of the first headlines after the show being that Lady Gaga, already "bought" the entire collection ...surprised anybody?!)


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Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Filling a void - Dior's bird of paradise ousted

After John Galliano's rapid layoff at Dior on the eve of Paris Fashion Week following a line of unpardonable and allegations of racism and anti-Semitism, the fashion industry is holding its breath and standing as curious onlookers waiting to watch how a former golden child is falling from grace.
Luxury conglomerate LVMH rapidly executed its zero tolerance policy and suspended the couturier from his post as creative director at Dior on Friday, 25th of February 2011.
After cumulative accusations, which have peaked in the release of a rather shocking video on youtube, where the obviously intoxicated couturier is mumbling Nazi sympathatic remarks as well as anti-Semtitic abuses, he was finally let go of his position at Dior on February 28th.
Natalie Portman, newly crowned Academy Award winner, Dior ambassadress and new face for Miss Dior Cherie who in a strong official statement distanced herself instantly from John Galliano and declared that she "is proud to be Jewish" and "...shocked and disgusted..." by the designer's action and wishes to disassociate herself clearly from his persona.
How quickly the public distanced itself from designer extraordinaire was also reflected by how few celebrities sported the brand Dior on the red carpet of the Academy Awards this sunday - only Nicole Kidman and Sharon Stone adhered to their robes designed by John Galliano.

Finally today, Wednesday 2nd, John Galliano's much anticipated statement was released by law firm Harbottle & Lewis:

“I was subjected to verbal harassment and an unprovoked assault when an individual tried to hit me with a chair having taken violent exception to my look and my clothing. For these reasons I have commenced proceedings for defamation and the threats made against me,” Galliano said in the statement. “However, I fully accept that the accusations made against me have greatly shocked and upset people.”he also said that he''ll take full responsibility for the “circumstances in which I found myself and for allowing myself to be seen to be behaving in the worst possible light. I only have myself to blame and I know that I must face up to my own failures and that I must work hard to gain people's understanding and compassion." 
"I have fought my entire life against prejudice, intolerance and discrimination having been subjected to it myself,” he further stated. “In all my work my inspiration has been to unite people of every race, creed, religion and sexuality by celebrating their cultural and ethnic diversity through fashion. That remains my guiding light.”

Fellow couturier icon Karl Lagerfeld added fuel to the facts of the case stating the following to WWD: "I’m furious that it could happen, because the question is no longer even whether he really said it. The image has gone around the world. It’s a horrible image for fashion...". Also, Lagerfeld pointed out that fashion is "...a business world where, especially today, with the Internet, one has to be more careful than ever....". He ranted on to be furious with Galliano for being ungrateful and having seriously harmed CEO Bernard Arnault's pet label of conglomerate LVMH.

Irrespective of the negative short term ramifications this incident and subsequent media pandemonium will have on Dior, the long term impact of Galliano's departure on the legacy of couture house Dior remains to be seen.
Having been in charge of Dior since 1996, John Galliano unmistakably left his signature fingerprint and fused his creative genius and showmanship with the brand. The fashion world is already starting to speculate who might be capable of stepping into John Galliano's larger-than-life creative footprints at Dior who bestowed some of the most dramatic, memorable and remarkable couture moments on us during his 14 years of creative reign at Dior.


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