Jessica Biel at the L.A. premiere of 'Total Recall'
In a recent piece for the New York Times, Cathy Horyn spoke to Karl Lagerfeld about dressing celebrities in the couture collections. As you'll recall, he made the interesting point that couture 'is not a red-carpet opportunity' and in some cases results in 'clients cancel[ing] an order after seeing their dress on a celebrity.' So with that being said, it's interesting to watch which celebrities Dior have allowed to wear Raf Simons' couture debut on the red carpet.
The latest star to get the opportunity is Jessica Biel, who follows in the footsteps of Marion Cotillard and Rachel Weisz, and the choice is interesting. All three women are major A-listers, which was no doubt was a deliberate step by the brand to avoid the types of problem Lagerfeld noted in the article.
And it's exciting. After the whole John Galliano you were hard pressed to find an A-lister wearing the ready-to-wear collection let alone couture collection on the red carpet besides their spokeswomen like Charlize Theron and Mila Kunis, so it's good to see the brand dominate and absolutely nail it on the red carpet again. And something telling me that after seeing all three actresses wear pieces from the collection, those women with pockets deep enough to pay those heavy prices will be lining up to buy them.
Designers have long dressed celebrities in their ready-to-wear collections for the red carpet and increasingly, we've seen more celebrities wearing couture too (think Emma Stone in Chanel and Katy Perry in Elie Saab couture) but it looks like that's about to change.
Earlier on this week the New York Times' Cathy Horyn wrote a piece discussing the differentiating factors between ready-to-wear and couture. In the piece she spoke to Karl Lagerfeld, who explained that couture is 'not a red-carpet opportunity,' which isn't something particularly new. What was interesting, though, was when he revealed that Chanel have 'had clients cancel an order after seeing their dress on a celebrity.' Thinking about it, you can understand why. Who would want to see a dress they have spent major dollars on splashed across the tabloids and the subject of conversation on Lorraine?
Over the last few months exclusivity has been the buzz word amongst luxury brands trying to tap into the higher echelon of customers while expanding at the same time. If that is going to be the way forward, the world of couture and celebrity aren't necessarily the best bedfellows.
As the picture above shows, when Raf Simons came out to take his bow at the Dior couture show it was a far cry from his final bow at Jil Sander. This time the tears were replaced with a beaming smile and he has every reason to.
Talking to Style.com after the show, he explained that he's tried to change the way people look at couture so that the pieces have longevity rather than being limited to the being seen through the lens of one red carpet moment:
[I am trying] to change the psychology of people who are interested in couture. The way I’ve been looking at it so far is as a still image, something you look at for that moment. I think lots of people see it as a still, an image from the red carpet. I want to make it more dynamic, appeal to a person who has a different energy. A younger person, in mind, not necessarily in age. And I think couture is very much about curating something unique for women. Fashion is so mass-produced now; I hope there will come a refocus on how people see couture. And I would also hope for a new focus on the craft.
His approach has paid off. Everyone from Cathy Horyn to Alber Elbaz have produced complimentary reviews of his debut and if the praise for couture is anything to go by, we have a lot to expect for his debut ready-to-wear collection in October.
This week W magazine editor Stefano Tonchi squashed any hopes that we had that John Galliano would be appointed as creative director of Schiaparelli. When big boss Diego Della Valle was asked about it by Cathy Horyn, he wouldn't talk about it:
Asked if he might consider John Galliano, Mr. Della Valle pulled a good poker face. There have been rumors, he said: “One week it’s Galliano, the next it’s someone else.” He expects to hire someone by September. Finding someone with the skill for Schiaparelli is hard enough, but many designers are used to perks and big budgets, and these don’t seem things they will find in a brand trying to create a new experience.
The brand has made no secret of the fact that they are trying to push forward with something new and who could do that better than Galliano? As The Cut put it, it's unlikely that he will reap the perks that he had at Dior but the opportunity sounds like just what he needs to make a comeback.
The last few months haven't been the easiest for Heidi Klim since the announcement of her split with Seal but it looks like the Danish model is throwing herself into work. Yesterday she announced that she has partnered with Babies 'R' Us on a collection for children. Rather than just focusing on clothes, the collection also features nursery essentials.
'I made beds, curtains, blankets, washcloths, bath toys, wall decals, lamps, rugs, hampers, stuffed animals, security blankets and night lights,' she told WWD. 'If you think about the nursery, I’m doing everything.' Naturally Klum cites her children as the inspiration for the line saying: 'I know a lot about dinosaurs. I’ve tried to come up with really cute magical things, like dinosaur footprints.' She continued: 'I think it’s something that stimulates brain development.'
The announcement ironically came on the same day the Times reported that designer kids clothes are a waste of time. According t Cathy Horyn, despite the prevalence of designer kids' ranges, much of the clothes aren't made well and according to children's wear designer Rachel Ridley, 'some of their fabrics are mediocre.'
At present the prices of Klum's range are unknown but nonetheless, what do you think about designer children's wear? Would you buy it for your nearest and dearest?
Aside from talking briefly to Cathy Horyn after the news of his appointment at Dior was announced, Raf Simons hasn't said much about his new role but today he spoke to WWD. Yesterday reports focused on questioning how Simons' penchant for minimalism would work with the decadence and extravagance of Dior but in the interview Simons confirmed that embracing all of those things won't be a problem.
'I don't think it's wrong to call me a minimalist. It's wrong to call me a minimalist only, he said. 'I am also a romantic person...when I'm married to a house, I will fully embrace its original intention, its heritage and meaning.' The Belgian designer arrives in Paris today to start work on the brand's couture collection, which will be unveiled in Paris in July and made it clear that he intends to work explore Dior's archive. 'I wouldn't go to that place if I only had minimalism in mind. I'm very aware of what the environment is about.'
With the news of Raf Simons' appointment at Dior well and true out and confirmed, the question as The Cut posed is how much Simons knew over these past few months.
It was only in March when the news of his departure (or being forced out as Cathy Horyn put it) from Jil Sander was confirmed that Simons' name was really thrown into the hat of potential candidates to take the reigns at the house so it begs the question; was it only at this stage that the negotiations with Dior began? That conclusion would seem to make sense when you look back at the sequence of events last month. Back in March reports claimed that Simons' had a clash with Dior CEO Sidney Toledano over money yet only a few weeks after the negotiations began the brand announced that the creative director had been secured with an announcement said to come soon. Clearly the negotiations were not as frosty then as the reports had us believe.
According to The Cut, LVMH bosses were concerned about having to compete against Yves Saint Laurent after it was confirmed that Hedi Slimane would replace Stefano Pilati so brought Simons on board to make sure they had a well-celebrated and modern designer on board too. The decision definitely makes sense. Along with Phoebe Philo's work at Celine, Simons is amongst the designers pushing the modern minimalist aesthetic forward, which is something that Slimane has always championed so with all three designers at the helm of such big brands, the competition truly begins.
The speculation and ongoing rumours about who will replace John Galliano as the creative director of Dior is the story that has kept on giving. Every time we thought a candidate was a dead cert to bag the big job, another name was thrown into the hat but thankfully that all came to an end yesterday. The New York Times confirmed that Raf Simons has been appointed as his successor.
'The first time I heard about the Dior position, I thought, 'This feels right,'' he told Cathy Horyn. 'It is one of the ultimate challenges, and a dream to go to a place like Dior, which stands for absolute elegance, incredible femininity and utter luxury.' Although the news about his appointment is everywhere, Horyn and Suzy Menkes have said that the official announcement will not come until at least Tuesday.
In the meantime, though, the response to the news has been good. As you'll recall, Simons departure from Jil Sander last month was emotionally charged as the fashion industry waved him farewell with a long standing ovation at his last show for the house. The news of his return and at a house as big as Dior is exciting with many calling his appointment the start of a new era.
Do you think Simons is the right man for the big job?
Just as the who-will-replace-Galliano-at-Dior speculation finally began to die down, latest rumours have already talking again. The latest name to be thrown into the hat? Marc Jacobs, it seems. This week WWD confirmed that Jacobs' contract at Louis Vuitton is coming to an end and he's allegedly been in "serious" talks with LVMH bosses about jumping ship leaving Phoebe Philo to reportedly take his place at Vuitton.
Although Alber Elbaz, Sarah Burton and Nicholas Ghesquière have confirmed that they're not leaving their jobs, Haider Ackermann and Riccardo Tisci are still in the list of potential replacements. Bill Gaytten - Galliano's former right hand mind - is said to still be in the running for the big job after making it very clear at the brand's couture show that he's gunning for the role. That said, the collection received terrible reviews making his appointment extremely unlikely.
The B.D.L. committee seemed to make an effort to broaden the list, not quite banishing obvious socialites and actresses but nearly so. I was glad to see, among others, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge; Christine Lagarde; Jenson Button; Colin Firth; and Shala Monroque. But Princess Charlene of Monaco was a stretch. Her style to me is something of a flat pancake, despite (or perhaps because of) the effort she applies. It’s hard to say the B.D.L. isn’t relevant in a style-shaping era, but does it ultimately offer us enough information?