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Entries in Chanel (4)

Tuesday
Feb232016

CHANEL CHANGED EVERYTHING

I've always known, but this video really spells it all out.  In fashion - BC (before CHANEL) is really the dark ages.. AC (After Coco) is the modern world.   This legendary house upholds these standards and ideals every day, around the world.  Wherever you see the CC logo - luxury lives.

 

Explore “The Vocabulary of Fashion,” Chapter 14 of Inside CHANEL.inside-chanel.com

Posted by CHANEL on Monday, February 22, 2016

 

Saturday
Dec042010

KARL'S HEIR APPARENT?

KARL LAGERFELDMr. CHANEL himself -Karl Lagerfeld seems to have an idea for the future of the house that tweed built.   Recently,HAIDER ACKERMANN when pressed to name a designer who should succeed the him at CHANEL, Karl named Belgian designer Haider Ackermann as the man for the job.   Not that Mr. Ackermann should start sketching tweed ensembles too quickly, after all - Karl has a contract for life.   Even though the German born designer is nearing 80, there is no stopping him.  Lagerfeld has no plans to retire.  (Marc Jacobs must have winced when he read this).  Furthermore, just because Karl thinks Ackermann should take the reigns one day - doesn't mean it will happen.   Remember, Coco Chanel herself said she thought Yves Saint Laurent was the most talented young designer in France at the time and should take over for her someday.  Never Happened!  

 

Saturday
Mar202010

DOUBLE TAKE - FERRAGAMO - MURKUDIS

SALVATORE FERRAGAMO - 1938"Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery", or so the saying goes.  Actually, an English cleric and writer - Charles Caleb Colton, known for his eccentricities, coined the phrase in the early 1800's.   While the sentiment of the expression still rings true, you have to ask yourself - when does flattery cross the line to copying?  

Some designers have made their fortune by "borrowing" ideas from others.   Jackie O. made Oleg Cassini world famous after her savvy move to bring her designer tastes state side.   Jackie loved Givenchy in Paris, and Mr. Cassini "interpreted" many a look from the French fashion house.  Ironic because Cassini was French born - but based in U.S. - so they were "American designs".   MURKUDIS & "HIS" FLIP FLOP - MARCH ELLE 2010

American designers have been notorious in the past for tweaking their own collections before fashion week, after seeing what was on the runway in Milan & Paris.  This all changed when New York started showing before the Europeans.   (Thank Helmut Lang for that move).   While the move does ruin many a fashion employees last weekends of summer, it did force designers to take a stand, trends of Europe be damned!

Coco Chanel never minded copycats.  She famously quoted Mr. Colton when asked about her feelings on the matter.   Chanel's key rival - Elsa Schiaparelli  (excellent website!) took Coco's opinion as an opportunity to flatter her own creations.     When the press asked Schiaparelli how she felt about copies compared to Coco Chanel's opinion, Schiaparelli replied - "my designs are inimitable".   Which really was a mouthful - considering how intricate and colorful her designs were.  It was an obvious slap at Chanel. 

The whole matter is on my mind because of a shoe design I saw when thumbing through the latest edition of one of my favorite magazines.   I did a double take when I saw a Berlin based designer who "created" a colorful platform sandal.    Kostas Murkudis says this "flip flop" was inspired by "Chinese Imperial boots" from the 19th century.   Hmmm.   strange because to me they look like they were inspired by Salvatore Ferragamo's mulit-colored platform sandals from 1938.    

Even in Mr. Murkudis was inspired by the Chinese, once someone as famous as Ferragamo has created a shoe before you and has been known globally for it - you just shouldn't go there.   To me, that would be like creating a dance song today about voguing.   Madonna didn't invent voguing, but she damn well did put it on the map globally -so why would you ever go there?

So why would you Mr. Murkudis?  

Tuesday
Feb092010

ST. JOHN - 2010 BRAND (R)EVOLUTION

ST. JOHN COLLECTION - FEATURING KAREN ELSONST. JOHN is legendary in the American fashion and textile industry.   As the leading Knitwear company in the world, you'd be hard pressed to find another American brand as involved in the production of their collection as St. John.   Every detail is precise.  Their patented Santana knit, created by spinning the finest wool with rayon,  has a global following of women who appreciate the comfort and elegance of a St. John wardrobe. 

The company was founded in 1962 by the husband and wife team Robert and Marie  Gray.   Inspired by a knitting machine, the SJK story reads like those you hear all the time from Italy or France.   The DNA of fashion's most iconic houses like Chanel or Missoni are not so ST. JOHN - EXCLUSIVE ABSTRACT PRINT JACKET - $1,295.00different from that of St. John's.   Based in Southern California, the story is one that reminds you of good old American know how.   The company incubated at a time when "Made In America" was a symbol of quality around the world.   The Grays took that concept and watched their dream grow.   ( I only wish more fashion companies would have invested in America and kept production state side as well).

It is hard not to think of CHANEL when you see the formula that the Grays followed.   The attention to details, the quality of raw materials, the innovation of new technology.  The concept of staple pieces in a wardrobe is also a common theme to both collections, making them timeless.   The decision to produce their own fabrics to increase quality control and delivery timing also made those fabrics exclusive to the company.

ST. JOHN - ICONIC IN BLACK & WHITEAmazingly,  50 years later  the company is more dynamic than ever.   Reacting to the global downturn, changing the way they do business, continuing the quest for innovation, and basically - evolving the brand.   That might seem like a basic concept, but beleive me - it is no small task to keep a brand relevant and reactive to the changing tide of the fashion industry.   Every major fashion house has ebbs and flows of popularity.   The real challenge is to know how to navigate through the slower periods, and how not to bastardize the brand during the boom times.

The business that St. John carved out in American Sportswear puts them on a very short list.   For several decades, the collection has been a staple and a cash cow for major department stores like Saks 5th Avenue and Neiman Marcus.   The genius of the knitwear items that are timeless and season-less - and most importantly : are of the highest quality, are aspirational, and can fit women well outside the ever shrinking "sample size" of most runway ideals.   ( I can remember being in Saks 5th Avenue stores around the country in the mid 90's and literally seeing rooms full of St. John options).ST. JOHN - LITTLE BLACK -GOWN - $1,595.00

For 2010, the brand continues to evolve.   The latest ad campaign features exotic beauty Karen Elson.  Her Crimson hair and ivory skin are captivating.   Elson looks like she walked out of a Victorian dream.   Several shots from the campaign feature Elson in black evening options that are stunning!  The ads are impossible to miss, as they are sensual and chic.  The art direction feels like a cross between Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" and a red carpet event.   The colors are that rich.   GORGEOUS!

TIM BURTON'S QUEEN OF HEARTSThe use of black could be a nod to the company's recently launched Caviar Collection.   The concept was to dedicate a newly formulated dye to achieve a true black standard as a core reference for the collection.    The items are a must for any international travelers wardrobe.    With St. John now distributed in 45 countries, the brand is about as international as it gets!

Browse the newly re-launched website and read more about the legacy of ST. JOHN - and shop the new ad campaign.