NYFW Report: Christian Siriano Stands Up For Bebe Rexha, Shows Bold & Beautiful New Collection

Share Button
Images by Dan Lecca

 

Christian Siriano, famously style collaborator to the glorious Karen O, can do no wrong in our book. After Bebe Rexha made a statement a few weeks back regarding how no designers would lend her dresses for the Grammys due to her being a size 8, Siriano was one of the first to step up and support her with pieces from his collection. While the fashion world continues to place so much emphasis on the number on a tag, Siriano does not see why size, color, or anything else should put rule on what one can wear – designers, please take note!

Siriano’s Fall 2019 collection also debuted at the Top Of The Rock this week, and was inspired by a trip to the future, where we all live as a society in some outer space land. It is a dream fantasy world created for the purpose of escaping to somewhere happy – something proving to be all the more elusive these days. The show, styled by Anna Schilling, featured silver hammered silks, voluminous dresses, quilted jackets and oversized textured evening gowns.

 

 

Siriano describes it thusly: “I wanted the collection to feel bold, powerful and strong, but still feminine and beautiful.”

Just as fun as the looks that came soaring through the runway were the hair and makeup. TRESemmé Global Stylist Justine Marjan gave a little razzle dazzle to the models’ hair by adding in some perfectly placed silver chains. To go along with this rad galaxy glamour, the girls’ faces were adorned with freckle like crystals by Maybelline Global Makeup Artist Erin Parsons.

Sitting pretty were Debra Messing, Mariska Hargitay, Christina Hendricks, Christina Ricci, Coco Rocha, Danielle Brooks, Jessica Jung, Lydia Hearst, Billy Porter and Misshapes’ Leigh Lezark. Along with a high-profile front row of Siriano’s famous friends, Ashley Graham closed the show like the true supermodel she is in a gorgeous, thin, sheer silver gown and matching cap.

 

 

 

 

NYFW Report: Zadig + Voltaire Nods to Basketball + Rock & Roll

Share Button
Images by Dan Lecca

 

Oh, how the style gods are upon us.

New York Fashion Week is here once again, and we have been blessed with some amazing collections this season. To wit, Zadig & Voltaire, after a season of showing in Paris, debuted their latest looks on February 11th at The Tunnel – the iconic Chelsea nightclub that once played host the coolest of the cool ’80s and ’90s Club Kids.

For Fall/Winter 19/20, designer Cecilia Bönström combined the effortless chic of models’ off-duty looks with a sartorial touch. In line with their authentic mood of blending masculine and feminine codes within each piece, this collection featured an awesome and unexpected collaboration with the NBA. With letterman jackets, deconstructed knits, and bedazzled T-shirts sporting (had to) iconography from the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Memphis Grizzlies, it solidified Zadig & Voltaire’s values and Cecilia’s vision of an active, sporty, working woman.

 

 

 

Throughout the collection, Z&V sticks to their vision of a Parisian girl defined by nonchalant sophistication and rock ’n’roll edge. “Chic-destroyed” is the term chosen to describe the season’s ’90s-style no rules, slouchy vibe, wedded to an ultra-cosmopolitan mood. This included plenty of denim, as expected – but the brand continues to push into evening-wear territory, and we are totally here for it. Tuxedo jackets with bow ties and shimmering mini-dresses offset by combat boots are just a glimpse of what we’re looking forward to wearing post Labor Day.

All in all, the collection – which draws inspiration from the King of Pop and his rock star chic, blinged-out tailored looks – houses look after look of pieces we want to party in. And when “Thriller” played to close the show, it was clear the soiree was just getting underway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYFW Report: CHOCHENG Draws Inspiration From the Napoleonic Era to Queen Elizabeth

Share Button

 

Cho Cho Cheng, the man behind CHOCHENG, has been successfully paving his path in the fashion world since launching the brand in 2007. After studying fashion and costume design at Parsons School of Design and working in London’s Savile Row, he opened his first store in 2010 on Madison Avenue, followed by one in Beijing, another in London.

Cheng was introduced to fashion at young age, as his Grandmother, Betty Charnuis, was a noted designer in Hong Kong. Some would run from such an obvious path, but he embraced it, and forged his own.

On the tail end of New York Fashion Week, CHOCHENG debuted its latest collection at Spring Studios yesterday. It was inspired by the Hitchcock film North by Northwest, and encompasses an abundance of strongly tailored pieces, primarily in black and white, with a dash of Prince of Wales checks. CHOCHENG’s strong emphasis on and appreciation for craftsmanship and top notch tailoring lends itself to a sophisticated stylistic manifesto. Not to mention that the runway shows are conceptually amazing – with smartly curated playlists and retro vibes – and always a personal NYFW fave.

BlackBook spoke with Cheng before his NYFW extravaganza, and he filled us in on his inspirations, his favorite part of putting a show together…and he also gave us a sneak peak at the new collection.

 

 

Quickly after graduating from Parsons, you opened your first store on Madison Avenue. 

Just before I graduated, the wonderful Mary McFadden was approaching retirement and generously offered to give me her team of sample makers. It was a great opportunity, so I took the offer. We began operating from the ground floor of my townhouse, I started making suits for Nancy Reagan and soon branched out to other private clients. Joan Rivers lived right next door, she passed by my shop all the time and would buy little gift items just to show support. I would have been quite happy working from my basement, operating on a small scale forever, but Ms. Rivers later told me that people on the block had been complaining about my shop not having a proper retail permit.

What made you decide to secure a permanent location?

With that bit of news, I decided to start looking for an official brick-and-mortar retail space. Steven and Stephanie Solomon – who, at the time, was the Fashion Director of Bloomingdale’s – have always been great supporters of my brand. They managed to convince Vornado Realty, who are quite supportive of young entrepreneurs, to let me have a Madison Avenue retail space right between Cartier and Gucci. Vornado recently decided to close up the whole block for upgrading, so we’re in the process of moving store locations.

To where?

Steven has come through again, convincing the Sherry Netherland [hotel] to lease me a prime retail space on 5th Avenue. I’ll be the first Asian designer label to launch on 5th Avenue, actually. The whole process has been incredible, miraculous.

Season after season, you have captured the art of retro dressing. You must have a favorite time period – if you had a time machine, what year would you go to?

I like the Napoleonic Era and Regency Era, but I wouldn’t want to go back there. I honestly can’t live without modern amenities. I am a pragmatic romantic.

Aside from designing the collection, what is your favorite part of putting together a fashion show? Model casting? Runway playlist? Styling the looks?

My favorite part would be the hair and makeup styling.

What is the philosophy behind CHOCHENG? What defines it as a fashion house?

CHOCHENG is classic, crafty, comfortable, cruelty-free. It’s about conservation of the environment and everything wonderful starting with a ‘C’. I am an egotist with OCD.

What and who are you main inspirations and muses?

Queen Elizabeth II, Margaret Thatcher and Former First Lady, Nancy Reagan.

What is unique about this season’s collection?

Hand-ruched silk tulle, which imitates fur, in order to achieve cruelty-free glamour.

It’s known that your grandmother is a huge inspiration for your career in fashion. What is the best piece of advice she has given you?

Being well-dressed is to charge through life with well-padded shoulders.

 

 

 

 

Sophie Turner, Justin Theroux Star in the New Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon Campaign

Share Button

 

Louis Vuitton has reached across the cultural zeitgeist for the campaign promoting the new Tambour Horizon connected watch. Indeed, it features four talents from four different universes: British Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner; American actor, screenwriter, director, and producer Justin Theroux; Norwegian/Thai model Urassaya Sperbund; and Chinese film star Liu Haoran.

The venerable quartet appear in LV’s stunningly shot print ads, video clips, and a short film, Hero, that focuses on the watches’ greatest feature: connection. While these leading lights come from far and wide, with wildly differing backgrounds and stories, here they are fascinatingly brought together. The film gives the sense of a journey connected both to the outer world and to one’s own inner self, while also forwarding the timeless message that life is meant to be lived to the fullest.

 

 

Vuitton’s latest watch design includes new applications such as “My Travel” for trains, flights and hotels; “Pollution”; and “Agenda” – all intended to keep the wearer organized and “plugged in” each and every day. And with its new interchangeable straps, LV takes functionality and customization even further. To be sure, this timepiece has surpassed just being a useful and very stylish accessory, and become a veritable must-have ally.

The face of the watch is a standard sphere, which is shown as a common theme in the films. Each short plays with the image of an omnipresent circle – consider it to be the co-star of each clip. Thankfully the circle narrative does not play out like The Ring – but it does seemingly stand for the connection all beings have with their own universe, and what gives us all a common ground.

 

How an Upmarket Gym Becomes a Luxury Sleep: Naomi Campbell Stars in the New Equinox Hotels Campaign

Share Button

 

For our part, we never much looked to hotels to take care of our health. Indeed, our biggest concerns were always more like, Can the lobby deftly do double duty as a social space?, and, Can the bar turn out a good dirty martini?

But the priority given over to health and wellness the last 15 years or so cannot be denied. And so it was surely only a matter of time before some or other upscale fitness club slid its brand over to the hospitality biz. To be sure, Equinox Hotels will be launching at New York’s Hudson Yards later in 2019 – though the specific details are still pretty hush hush. (You can safely expect it to, um, have a world class health and fitness facility.)

 

 

To tease the opening, Equinox enlisted her royal supermodelness Naomi Campbell, who at 48, looks fantastically like she spends quite a bit of time at the gym. The short film was shot in equally fantastical fashion by Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio.

“I’ve been a longtime admirer of Equinox,” says Ms. Campbell, “and how they have set up their brand as a lifestyle with immense attention to detail. This is something I can certainly identify with and was proud to be a part of. Hotels are an obvious extension of this brand…”

We’ll certainly report any additional news as the opening gets closer. Until then, here’s the Naomi-starring clip.

 

BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Stunning New Sarah Jaffe Track ‘Dark Energy’

Share Button
Image by Yana Tinker 

 

We’ve long counted Sarah Jaffe amongst our favorites, for her inimitable style, sharp wit and unique ability to dive down deep into the emotional well and come back up seemingly unscathed. And she opens 2019 gloriously, with the stunning new single “Dark Energy,” which BlackBook enthusiastically premieres here.

As ever, it deftly mines disparate genres at once. Indeed, if there was never such a thing as gothic-blues-synth-pop, it’s certainly just been invented – seemingly as if Martin Gore had teamed up with Alison Mosshart. Lyrically, it’s a moving meditation on the persistent struggle for self-possession: “Dark energy / Stay away from me / Wanna be good to myself / Superego, you can go to hell.”

 

Image by Coyia Malone

 

“I think when you go through the harder times in life,” she explains, “it emphasizes time in a certain way…maybe in a divisive way, so you know what to extract from the darkness. For a lot of my close friends, family, and most definitely myself, this last year was a doozy. I wanted to write something that put a new intent/mantra into existence, and also to ward off anything that would distract me. A song to clean the slate.”

With that slate apparently cleaned, she’s also composed the music for New York designer Jonathan Simkhai‘s upcoming New York Fashion Week show, and will be performing live at his presentation this Saturday, the 9th.

“I’m really looking forward to playing for Jonathan again,” she enthuses. “Gonna bust out a few new songs for the event. It has been an absolute honor to continue a collaborative relationship.”

 

The S/S 19 Virgil Abloh Campaign for Louis Vuitton Instills Youth With a Visionary Idea of Beauty

Share Button

 

Leave it to Virgil Abloh to reimagine the very possibilities of fashion advertising. In his first multi-media campaign as Men’s Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton, the Off-White designer created three chapters that investigate “ideas of individual perception and evolvement through lenses of inclusivity.” A heady mission indeed.

The campaign launched this month with “Infancy, Childhood and Adolescence.” Shot by exalted Dutch fashion photogs Inez & Vinoodh, key pieces from Spring-Summer 2019 are worn by boys of various ages and ethnicities. We love the weirdly wonderful, colorful tableaux, bathed in poppy and rainbow motifs central to The Wizard of Oz allegories.

The still and moving imagery invites viewers to experience infancy, pre-teen-hood and teenage life set against abstract and dreamlike landscapes. Challenging our perceptions of the expected is something Abloh is certainly known for, while revealing essential human truths. It’s all pretty trippy, in in the best possible way.

Phase two of the campaign (images have not yet been released for two and three), “The Painter’s Studio”, releasing February 1, was shot by Mohamed Bourouissa, using photography to cleverly recast the 1855 oil-on-canvas work by French realist Gustave Courbet. Notably painted the year after Louis Vuitton established his House, the original depicts Courbet working on a painting, flanked to his left by people from all levels of French society, and to his right by members of high society. The campaign imagery’s contemporary spin shows Abloh fitting a look from Spring-Summer 2019 surrounded by members of his team, social circle, and models, each clad in the collection.

Where Courbet’s painting interpreted the different stratas of French society for the eyes of the cultural elite, Virgil Abloh portrays an all-encompassing exchange that defines his vision for Louis Vuitton: diversity, inclusivity, and unity.

The third and final phase of Abloh’s imaginative campaign, “School Teens,” releases March 22nd. Shot by Raimond Wouda, it depicts the formative communication between teenagers in group situations, nodding to the evolution of boys into men. Students dressed in block-color t-shirts evoke the Spring-Summer 2019 Louis Vuitton show, for which Abloh invited 1500 teens wearing similar garments to form the color spectrum of a rainbow.

A modern take on the schuttersstukken of the Dutch Baroque, the images were photographed around schools in Los Angeles, capturing the nuanced interactions between teenagers. There’s the desire to belong, contrasted by the need for individuality. In this third phase, Abloh’s own brand of constant evolution is front and center. The images work to highlight the tensions between uniformity and diversity, identity and wardrobe, that all at that age experience in the schoolyard, and within the larger culture.

To say Abloh’s first Louis Vuitton campaign is intelligent isn’t doing it justice. Rather, it evokes the most visceral essence of growing up, offering an enlightening look back into what it meant, and still means, to be young in this contemporary world.

 

The New Book ‘Kenzo Takada’ Traces the Revolutionary History of the Legendary Fashion Designer

Share Button
Images by Richard Haughton 

 

There is such a simple pleasure in having the most perfect and well rounded collection of coffee table reads – and we’re always excited to add another fabulous fashion tome. To be sure, we have simply not been able to put down the new Kenzo Takada, from ACC Art Books.

Tracing the legendary namesake designer’s beginnings in the early 1970s, it recalls how he had already started shaking up the fashion world with the opening of his first boutique in Paris, under the name Jungle Jap. He came out swinging, with bold patterns and colors, and collections rooted in ethnic and nomadic influences. His clothing matched the quality of traditional European fashion houses, while still maintaining his connection to Japanese traditions; the garments were joyful and whimsical – challenging the conservatism of the traditional Paris couture houses.

With a signature style and look established, he founded the KENZO label, which conquered the universe of high fashion, while he also led the revolution into the world of mass marketing crossovers. (And where would we be now without H&M’s famous designer collabs?)

 

 

The book, written by Kazuko Masui and Chihiro Masui, shares the story of Takada’s rule-breaking and colorful journey as the force behind KENZO. Accompanying the entertaining text are pages upon pages of stunning photos and hand-colored sketches from the private archives of the designer himself. With images of high-energy runway shows, previously unpublished personal photographs, exclusive sketches, and behind-the-scenes looks at Takada’s grandest creations (that spectacular wedding dress!), the book truly showcases the energy, joy and lively spirit that was and is KENZO.

It’s topped off with a dazzling cover by the now 79-years-young designer, making it a stimulating visual experience from start to finish. To be sure, this is the comprehensive look at his career, creative process, and overall vision we’ve been waiting on for as long as we can remember.

Mr. Takada himself says it best: “For me, to create is to give pleasure and happiness to others, and to me the freedom to be myself.”

 

 

Ethereal New Missoni S/S 19 Campaign Features Gisele Bündchen & Tamino Amir Moharam Fouad

Share Button

 

Sans the lycanthropic howls, Missoni is very much embracing the moonlight with their summer 2019 campaign.

The ethereal images feature that most towering of supermodels, one Gisele Bündchen, as well as Belgian-Egyptian singer Tamino Amir Moharam Fouad. Just released into the universe, they already have us seeing heavenly visions.

Missoni of course are known for their bold, often wild use of color – and the campaign, shot by Harley Weir, takes the us on a magical journey through all the nocturnal twinklings in the sky, with the moon, stars, and planets serving as a backdrop to all the bohemian-chic dazzle of the new summer collection.

 

 

Set in a poetic desert landscape animated by sand dunes, craters, and that aforementioned galactic sky, Gisele and Tamino come across like dreamlike creatures, emerging from the astral beyond. But oh…those clothes. Ms. Bündchen, posed as if in mid-dance, dons dresses emboldened with ruffles and iridescent coordinates in space-dyed lamé (yes, please!). Tamino is in a more meditative stance, wearing loom-knit suits and woven, heavy ribbed fabrics.

The fantastical campaign was shot by Harley Weir under Angela Missoni’s skillful creative direction. As the two protagonists transcend space and time throughout, we’re not uncomfortable saying, we think Missoni’s summer campaign is…out of this world.