Hedi Slimane to Design YSL from LA

Now that it has been speculated and confirmed that former Dior Homme designer turned renowned fashion photographer Hedi Slimane will indeed succeed Stefano Pilati’s role as YSL creative director, everyone wants to know where he’ll make the magic happen. Will he stick to tradition and work out of YSL’s Parisian headquarters or will he switch the game up and design from his homebase since 2007, Los Angeles?  Ever the rebel, Slimane chose the latter. 

According to British Vogue, although Slimane will maintain the design reins from his West Coast studio, "fittings will still take place in Paris and YSL ateliers will continue to work from the label’s Avenue George V offices." They also note that London-based Phoebe Philo of Céline is the only other creative director of a French fashion house to go against the grain and work elsewhere. 

While Philo’s relocation definitely worked out for her (I’m pretty sure some Philophiles have physical shrines dedicated to Céline), I’m curious to see how the notoriously laidback LA will affect YSL’s European sensibility. Slimane’s first YSL collection as creative director is expected to drop this month.

On another note, Vena Cava now has a studio in LA, Vera Wang bought a home in LA, Céline is re-opening their Rodeo Drive boutique and Isabel Marant is setting up shop in West Hollywood—I suspect the grooming of a West Coast fashion capital. 

Vena Cava’s New E-Shop Features Brilliant Bric-a-Brac

Fans of Vena Cava can now experience the label like never before. In addition to their inspirational blog, designers Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock recently revamped their brand’s website to host tons of new treats for their loyal followers. Although the debut of an e-shop featuring covetable clothing and accessories straight from their spring 2011 collection is enough to rejoice over, there’s another key feature that we can’t get enough of.

Inducing the same excitement as your favorite sidewalk rummage sale, the “Garage Sale” section includes a plethora of miscellaneous items handpicked by Buhai and Mayock, like paperweights and vintage magazines. Each item in this section is reasonably priced (the tote above goes for $35), so anyone can have a piece of Vena Cava’s world without too much sacrifice. And if you’re wondering what to do with your newfound miscellany, the girls have enlisted a few friends to model the goods in the “Vibes” section. With themes like “Mexican summer” and “soccer mom chic,” each look is designed to inspire new ways to mix their higher-end items with your own vintage flair.

Enjoy the new site and get to shopping here.

Clothes To Hide Your Slovenly Ways

Whether you’re spending Thanksgiving at home with your family, or dining with the in-laws, or even at an amazing prix fixe at a fancy restaurant, one thing is certain: there will be lots of food. We strongly advise pants with an elastic waist (if you must wear pants at all), and a bold, loose shirt that will hide any gravy or sauce drippings. It may require a special wardrobe, but I think we all agree that this meal is worth it. After the jump, check out our picks for the best tops to hide the bulge and mess of Thanksgiving, while still looking like a million bucks.

Clockwise from top left: Audrey Cantwell tie-dye tank, $35; Vena Cava cap sleeve top, $112.50; Rachel Comey detached neck cardigan, $233.80; Aiko flutter sleeve sweatshirt, $99; Society for Rational Dress silk dress, $198.80; No. 6 black trim top, $187.60.

Rag & Bone, Vena Cava, & Marc Jacobs Expand

With fashion week right around the bend, Rag & Bone, Vena Cava, and Marc Jacobs are all announcing plans for expansion. Following in the footsteps of their Nolita store opening, Rag & Bone’s David Neville and Marcus Waingwright finally launched an online store today, granting fans across the country easy access to their fall knits, leathers, and signature layered looks. Meanwhile, the Vena Cava girls are adding accessories to their repertoire. Having already expanded into a lower-priced line (Viva Vena), the Brooklyn-based label is introducing a line of handbags on the heels of their second-ever shoe collaboration. “Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai, who both hail from Los Angeles, have paired up with LA boutique TenOverSix for shoes, which will debut on Thursday during Vena Cava’s Spring 2011 presentation.” As for bags, those will hit along with the FW11 collection, says Fashionista.

“They’re going to be mostly structured pieces in the $700 price range. There’s nothing else out there at that price point except for Alexander Wang. We’re also doing some small leather goods like wallets and evening bag type styles,” the designers said of “the Vena Cava empire” they hope to build. If it worked for Wang…

Also, Racked is reporting that Marc Jacobs is adding to his own empire with a cafe. “This tidbit of fresh and piping hot information is something we gleaned from a conversation with Robert Duffy, longtime business partner and friend of Marc Jacobs, who also happens to be president of the company. Duffy, notorious for his spill-all attitude on Twitter, was tight-lipped when we inquired about the possibilities of an MJ Cafe in New York, but he did confirm to us that yes, it is in the works and no, it will not be on Bleecker,” wrote Racked today. While a specific location hasn’t been confirmed, Duffy said that the eatery (Jacobs’ second—the first opened in Milan) would be housed Uptown. With his just-opened book shop, Bookmarc, on Bleeker Street, it looks like Jacobs isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

First Look: Vena Cava for Aqua

Vena Cava is continuing its push into more affordable markets with its latest expansion, a capsule collection for Bloomingdale’s in-house line, Aqua. Fashionista has a first look at the line, which includes a black-and-white print silk tee, a double-breasted and belted black sweater coat, and a gray tee with a see-through back. The small but solid collection is slated to hit racks in September and its price point is, surprisingly, said to be less than that of Vena Cava’s other lower-priced line, Viva Vena. The good news for Vena Cava fans not residing in major fashion capitals: the collection will retail both at Bloomingdale’s and at Bloomingdales.com come fall.

In other lower-priced news, Scott Sternberg’s Band of Outsiders is launching another collection under its well-tailored umbrella. The latest addition to the BoO family is girl, an “entry-level womenswear line,” according to Business of Fashion. Expect a lot more specifics to drop sometime around NYFW.

The Resort Report: Bandeaus & Nipple Baring

‘Tis Resort (or Cruise, or Pre-Spring, depending on what you prefer to call it) season, which means fashion houses are highlighting soon-to-ship deliveries of late-summer appropriate styles. While most designers—save for the likes of Galliano for Dior, de la Renta, and Lagerfeld for Chanel—tend to avoid runway productions for this in-between season, sites like Style.com and Coutorture have taken to publishing Resort look books, putting the mini-collections nearly on par with Spring and Fall. In reality, most Pre-Spring collections are a continuation of fall trends, though in some cases they can shed light on what consumers can expect for Spring. While Alexander Wang went for suburban chic, many other designers, like Christopher Bailey for Burberry Prosum, have debuted decidedly urban, sleek resort wear for 2011.

Meanwhile, far less sidewalk-ready were the bandeau tops and bare midriffs at Zero + Maria Cornejo and YSL (the latter topped looks off with demure black turbans). Vena Cava opted for a similarly flesh-friendly approach with a mesh tank styled with nothing underneath. As I’ve noted in the past, this doesn’t necessarily mean Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai are embracing nipples for mid-season. Rather, as Evianna Hartman of Bodkin clarified back at SS10 fashion week, most often exposed nipples on a runway are there merely to highlight the garment, not to sanction going sans bra.

Henry Holland’s New Line

Diffusion lines are no longer just for big-name designers and internationally recognized fashion houses. In fact, lower-priced lines are fast becoming as essential for budding designers as independently run e-commerce sites. Zac Posen launched his, Z Spoke, just last year, while Alexander Wang has not one but two lower-priced brand extensions. Vena Cava is following suit with a t-shirt-centric line for FW10 called Viva Vena. Rad Hourani has had the same idea too. Now, news has it London-based designer and sometimes television host Henry Holland is expanding his namesake brand in the same way.

Elle.com reports that come fall 2010 Holland will unleash a lower-priced collection called H! by Henry Holland. The only catch: so far it will be sold solely at UK department store Debenhams (which keeps in the same vein as Z Spoke, which is available exclusively at Saks). “The line offers floral leggings, cropped denim jackets, and this ‘Bagazine’ pop-art clutch, which he gave as a gift to every front-row fashionista at his fall 2010 show in London,” says Elle, which describing the line as decidedly “younger” (although, how much younger remains unclear). Whether or not this means feverish House of Holland fans will be disappointed in the designer’s attempt at appeasing a more budget-conscious crowd remains to be seen. But, given the fact that everyone from Madonna to the Olsens have recently signed on for tween fashion lines, it wouldn’t be the first time twenty-and-thirty-somethings find themselves shopping the juniors section.

Vena Cava Pulls an Alexander Wang

These days you’re not a burgeoning brand if you haven’t inked a deal for a designer collaboration or a diffusion line. Zac Posen, Proenza Schouler, Thakoon, Alexander Wang and Henry Holland have all done it. Now it’s Vena Cava’s turn. The graphically oriented women’s line from Brooklyn by way of Los Angeles designers Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock is expanding this year. Just in time for fall, the Vogue and CFDA-approved brand will be serving up lower-priced “organic cotton and jersey Ts, tanks and dresses,” which are all manufactured in their native LA says Women’s Wear Daily. Sound familiar? It is: Alexander Wang’s diffusion line–T by Alexander Wang–is pretty much identical in terms of what the collection entails.

Called Viva Vena, nothing in the line will retail for above $200. And, offering something a bit more ornate than your average Hanes (or Wangs, for that matter), Buhai and Mayock’s tees will incorporate the duo’s photo collages and hand-drawn prints. Look for them in stores like Barneys, Saks and La Garconne come July.

Top 3: Vena Cava

You already know Lisa Mayok and Sophie Buhai for their award-winning brand Vena Cava. They met at age 17 in California, prior to attending Parsons School of Design in New York. Three weeks after graduating from Parsons in 2003, they started the first Vena Cava collection on their living room floor. They debuted their line in Spring 2004 and hit the road to find prospective buyers to keep the business afloat. What started as a whisper quickly became a roar in the fashion community, receiving praise for their fresh, versatile aesthetic and unique, hand-crafted details. Not only have the girls been able to keep the business running, but they’ve taken the brand to the next level of exposure, teaming up with mass-media retailer the Gap on a wallet-friendly line earlier this year and collaborating with Italian shoe giant Via Spiga on a capsule footwear collection. So, what’s next? “We have plans to make rad organic printed t-shirts that cost less,” say the girls. “Or Vena Cava sweat suits, anyone?”

What you may not know about Lisa and Sophie is that their ability to consistently deliver inspiring collections and land exciting collaborations has much to do with their genuine passion for discovering the unknown. For example, rather than look to trends to influence designs for a new collection, they explore history. “Vena Cava hearts the public library in a major way,” they say, “We go there separately at the beginning of every season and always leave very inspired with armfuls of amazing photocopies.” You might see some of these photocopies posted on their own blog, Viva Vena Cava, where they document just about anything that sparks their interest, from avant-garde artwork, to oddly fascinating films, to bizarre blogs they manage to dig up on the internet. “Obscure niche blogs by anonymous people makes us love the internet,” they say. Check out a few of their current favorites, with commentary: Weird Friends (“This one has amazing textiles, animal pictures, and occult imagery”); Acknowledged Classic (“This is my friend Billy’s music blog. He’s deep into music no one has ever heard of. I find out about a lot of things from him … like Popol Vuh, Bobby Beausoleil, and other new age sounding beats”); Unchanging Window (“This is our friend Mary’s blog. She takes the most beautiful snap shots of everyday details, and her friends. This one is always visually dreamlike and inspiring”). Judging their proven ability to discover the unknown cool of the internet, I asked them to share a few of their current favorite purchases for fellow explorers and Vena Cava fans alike.

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1. Unearthen – Large Silver Watch “We love Gia Bahm of Unearthen’s pyramid watches. They’re half thrift store, half Hermes — in the most beautiful way. Plus, she’s awesome.”

2. Etten Eller – Jewelry “Amazing jewelry made from old watch parts. Delicate, unusual, and handmade.”

3. Etsy – Childbirth Education Doll Pattern “One of our very own VC team members just had a baby six weeks ago! Love the idea of making this crochet mom and baby doll to remind everyone of the miracle of childbirth. Just tie it on to your fannypack and sport it around town.”