Louis Vuitton’s New Unisex ‘Les Colognes’ Are an Homage to ‘Le California’

 

 

Considering what an all encompassing lifestyle one is able to be immersed in by becoming a devotee of Louis Vuitton, it seems odd to think that their first men’s fragrance range was launched only last year – with the five scents making up the Les Parfums collection, bottles by Marc Newson.

Now they’re going unisex, with the equally concisely titled collection Les Colognes – and curiously enough for the French luxury house, the inspiration is, well…California. In which case the timing could not be more perfect; after all, with spring in full bloom, no one really wants to smell like a pine forest or a pile of dry firewood, do they?

Rather, we get such optimistically monikered fragrances – by LV’s Master Perfumer Jacques Cavalier Belletrud – as Sun Song, Cactus Garden and Afternoon Swim. The scents evoke the endless sky and sun, the wide open desert, and the all around ineffable pleasures of nature in the great Golden State.

All three come in stark but cool, almost apothecary like bottles, with the blue, green and yellow fragrances contained within aesthetically distinguishing each. Vivacious packaging is by L.A. multimedia artist Alex Israel. In fact, it’s all so cheerful, it might even inspire your average Francophile to the occasional sunny disposition.

 

First Images: Chanel’s Annual Saint-Tropez Boutique is a Study in Chic Understatement

Images by Marie Liskay 

 

If you’re summering in Saint-Tropez in 2019, you may very well be the sort who, having dropped your bags (or had someone drop them for you), begins immediately searching for the nearest Chanel boutique.

The exalted fashion house, now tragically minus godhead Karl Lagerfeld (who passed away suddenly in February), actually well knows that the French Riviera is a part time proposition (we don’t know anyone who winters there) – and so actually sets up a new seasonal boutique each year. Slotted into the historic La Mistralée, a private mansion, the surroundings are lush, nay jaw-droppingly beautiful, with sumptuous flora, a swimming pool for lounging by – please don’t dive in with your new fancy new togs – and ethereal views stretching to the Mediterranean.

 

 

Each year’s design pays homage to the heritage of the mansion itself – but Chanel this year has modded-up the proceedings a bit, with more contemporary furnishings and fixtures. The accessories conservatory (yes, it’s a conservatory) is especially striking, where two large cabinets encourage playful discovery, and watches are tucked away in alcoves.

Of course, nothing will ever be the same without the overlordship of the late Herr Lagerfeld. But la vie à Saint-Tropez must go on – and he is surely nodding approvingly from the Great Beyond at Chanel’s latest masterstroke of modern style.

 

After Lagerfeld: Chanel Opens Stunning New Boutique in Seoul

Images by Tim Franco

 

Things will obviously never be the same at Chanel, since the shocking passing of Karl Lagerfeld just last month. But, of course, the house must go on.

To that end, Chanel has just opened its first new boutique since Herr Lagerfeld’s death, its tenth in South Korea. Of course, we have been known to visit for the K-Pop and the bibimpap, but a visit to this luxurious new Seoul flagship – located in the prestigious Cheongdam-dong neighborhood – will now be de rigueur.

From the imagination of New York architect, visual provocateur and long-time Chanel collaborator Peter Marino, the newly-built seven-story structure is encased in sleek black glass and lava stone. Seemingly impenetrable by light, the exterior imitates the glossy surface of a coveted Chanel shopping bag, while the interior holds all of its delights.

 

 

Once inside, sunlight floods the bright white and ivory space, which spectacularly frames the exquisite creations on display. The three lower floors are dedicated to ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, costume jewelry and eyewear – along with a selection of fragrances and a dedicated space for watches and fine jewelry. The fourth floor is reserved for private receptions, and the two upper floors and an outdoor terrace are for special events and exhibitions.

In the Chanel tradition, art plays a vital role in defining the aesthetic. Thirty-one works by high-profile contemporary artists were selected by Marino to underline the boutique’s design manifesto, including pieces by Pablo Reinoso and Paola Pivi commissioned specifically for the project. Celebrated Korean artists Lee Bul, Ik-Joong Kang and Lee Ufan are also notably represented.

 

Radical Chic: Dazzling Thierry Mugler Exhibition Opens in Montreal

 

When we think of Thierry Mugler, we immediately think of Beyoncé’s 2009 “I Am…” world tour, and that amazing motorcycle bodysuit armor. However, there is so much more to the exalted designer – and it’s all about to be on display. Indeed, Thierry Mugler: Couturissime opens this month at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) – and it’s utterly jaw-dropping.

Mugler has done it all: couturier, director, photographer, and perfumer. And the MMFA will be displaying it in all its glory, exhibiting more than 130 perception-challenging designs created between 1973 and 2001. Most have not been shown previously. Along with the threads, many unseen archive documents and photos by notorious collaborators will also be on show.

The expansive survey will reveal the multiple universes of Mugler, particularly the ready to-wear and haute couture creations with morphological and futuristic cuts; glamorous, sculptural and elegant silhouettes with super-heroine shoulders; and a corseted waist dressing a sublime, sensual and powerful woman in constant metamorphosis.

 

 

Indeed, he has created some of the most dazzling fashion spectacles throughout his career, including costuming of Shakespeare’s Macbeth by the Comédie Française at the Festival d’Avignon, and the Zumanity show by the Cirque du Soleil. His celebrity client roster reads like a register of entertainment royalty: Diana Ross, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Liza Minelli, Céline Dion, and of course, Queen B(eyoncé).

But even beyond fashion and design, Mugler applied his magic to photography and film. He helmed the iconic 1990 video Too Funky by the late George Michael, as well as short films starring the considerable likes of Isabelle Huppert and Juliette Binoche. All will be showcased at the MMFA.

The exhibition is a tribute to Thierry Mugler in every sense of his singular being and unparalleled accomplishments. It all comes courtesy of curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot (who also organized the initial 2011 Gaultier exhibit), under the direction of Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. For fashion fans, it’s absolutely unmissable.

Thierry Mugler: Couturissime will run from March 2 – September 8, 2019.

 

Dior Unveils Striking New Boutique at the Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo

 

Despite its miniscule proportions (only Vatican City is smaller), Monaco boasts a pretty impressive GDP, due to its $161,000 per capita income. So splashy new places to drop that cash can seem almost matter-of-fact.

But the new three-story Dior Monte Carlo boutique (inaugurated this month in the company of Prince Albert and Princess Charlène) is anything but just another standard issue luxury emporium. First, it’s slotted into the arguably legendary Belle Epoque Hôtel de Paris, on the glittering Place du Casino. But perhaps most significantly, the interiors were designed by none-other than that irreverent aesthetic provocateur himself, Peter Marino, in all its phenomenal pinkness. (Marino is apparently very into pink these days.)

 

 

Indeed, pink settees, curtains and, well, shoes, embolden an otherwise subdued, mostly white-and-grey color scheme. The late Monsieur Dior himself called it, “the color of happiness and femininity.” Even a Martin Kline painting is splashed with the pink.

Elsewhere, well-chosen pieces like the original Pierre Paulin chairs, and a Hubert de Gall Frissons Tornade coffee table, give the whole space an elegant, understated eclecticism. The boutique carries a full complement of both the Dior women’s and men’s collections.

Après shopping, pop up to the hotel’s brand new ÔMER restaurant, overseen by Alain Ducasse, for a creative, Mediterranean inspired lunch or dinner, with heart-racing views of the sea of the same name.

 

 

BlackBook Interview: Yigal Azrouël on His Architecturally Inspired Fall 2019 Collection

Images by Robyn Dutra

 

We couldn’t have dreamed up a more inspired creative union than that between womenswear designer Yigal Azrouël and the late starchitect Zaha Hadid. And indeed, during this most recent New York Fashion Week, the former previewed his latest collection for Fall Winter 19 in Hadid’s striking new West Chelsea residential building. Located in Manhattan’s once-gritty-gone-glam neighborhood, abutting the Highline, its organic forms and graceful curves provided the perfect backdrop for Azrouël’s architecturally inspired collection.

The Israeli-American designer chose to showcase his work in a gallery setting, a stripped down presentation with no runway and no live models. Uniform racks of gorgeously modern clothes were accompanied by still photography (“…taken behind the scenes in my studio,” Azrouël reveals, when we catch up with him for a recent interview) and video projections that were shot during castings and fittings.

“I always like to take pictures, why not show the process, as part of the inspiration?,” he says of the films, adding that they are about “watching her movement, going from one frame to another, creating a vision. Not about showing a lot, but purely about the minimalism in the collection.”

This refreshingly laid back approach lent an air of timelessness to both the surroundings and the clothes at his NYFW show.

And to be sure, citing “the process” as his guide, Azrouël’s own organic tendencies – like Hadid’s – have guided his design work over a remarkable twenty-year career. “I’m not sure what I like, what I don’t like,” he confesses.

Judging from the receptivity of the crowd that gathered on a very cold, windswept evening, they too were letting the emotion of the clothes, paired with the intimate presentation, envelop them in a fantastical fashionable embrace.

We ran our fingers across creamy, chunky knits and geometric wool plaid (our personal favorite), deconstructed black leather and electric blue oversized corduroy. Unique palettes and the mixing of masculine and feminine design elements (much of it handmade) were all trademark Azrouël.

Unexpected combinations – think: tops and bottoms meant to be worn together or separate – all highlighted his talent for precision tailoring, sophisticated use of luxurious fabrics and excellent draping, making for a compelling presentation. One particularly exquisite jacket was constructed of leather with a sweater backing, allowing the shape of the bonded knit to show through, and creating a subtle reptilian effect. Overall the collection is entirely wearable, while enduringly elegant. Yigal Azrouël has again achieved such a fine balance that is sure to make well shod women swoon.

“By releasing control, trusting the energy,” he insists, “it feels much more real to me, more emotional.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Milan Fashion Week: ‘Stranger Things’ Stars Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton Attend Ferragamo Runway Show

Natalia Dyer (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for Salvatore Ferragamo)

 

As expected, Ferragamo pulled out all the stops for their Autumn / Winter 2019 Milan Fashion Week runway show, where Paul Andrew and Guillaume Meilland presented the latest Women’s and Men’s collections. And with a front row crowd including Michelle Monaghan, Jeremy Irvine, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Suki Waterhouse, and Olivia Culpo, the clothes were not the only thing to gawk at (Hi, Stranger Things reunion!).

The newest collection was inspired by “generation.” After all, the brand does grip a strong emphasis on family – which they define as, “the cultural continuity between generations, and power.” Andrew, who has been a part of the Ferragamo family since 2016 as the brand’s first Women’s Footwear Design Director, was recently appointed Creative Director, and boy did he deliver with his first show at the helm.

Knowing his background with footwear, it is no surprise that as he points to a jewel-tone, suede patchwork wedge from the ’30s he declares, “everything begins with this shoe.” With this, he is reminded that Salvatore Ferragamo was ahead of his time, and treated shoes as works of art – a mindset with which Andrew used to deliver this strong collection, drawn from Ferragamo’s vast archive.

As we work our way up from the shoes to the clothing and accessories, the inspiration provided by the legendary wedge is clear. Patchworks of suede, nappa, snake and lizard are echoed though the runway designs, along with fringed cashmere blanket coats, sensual leather robes, sportswear in Japanese technical wool and hand-knit textured sweaters.

Shifting gears to the men’s side, tailored garments are imagined with an outdoor notion. A slew of offbeat textures and fabrics made their way down the runway – deerskin, corduroy and technical wool gabardine.

And of course, where would Ferragamo be without the anchor of their collection, shoes? And those showcased in this runway collection ranged from sculptural heels in bright suedes, to nipped-point toe stilettos in satin with hand encrusted rhinestone straps, and pull-on boots in butter calfskin. For men, Nubuck trekking boots and a new take on the beloved, classic loafer.

With fresh, new creative direction, Ferragamo is beginning to forward a renewed commitment to crafting innovative products, while still sticking to their roots and staying true to the design elements passed down from generation to generation.

 

MILAN, ITALY – FEBRUARY 23: Lottie Moss attend the Salvatore Ferragamo show during Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019/20 on February 23, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for Salvatore Ferragamo)

 

MILAN, ITALY – FEBRUARY 23: Lady Amelia Windsor attend the Salvatore Ferragamo show during Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019/20 on February 23, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for Salvatore Ferragamo)

 

MILAN, ITALY – FEBRUARY 23: Joe Keery attend the Salvatore Ferragamo show during Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019/20 on February 23, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for Salvatore Ferragamo)

 

MILAN, ITALY – FEBRUARY 23: Charlie Heaton attend the Salvatore Ferragamo show during Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019/20 on February 23, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for Salvatore Ferragamo)

 

 

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

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

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.