Archive for November, 2010

A Troubled Fashion Icon

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

In death as in life, fashion editor and muse Isabella Blow continues to fascinate. (In The Daily Beast, I reviewed) two new biographies of her unusual and exotic life.

Isabella Blow in 1999 courtesy of Bill Cunningham, The New York Times

British fashion editor Isabella Blow did everything in extremes. When she wanted to liven up a party, she’d flash her ample bosom. When she wanted to do a fantastic magazine shoot, she’d run up impressive expenses—she once submitted a £50,000 ($78,000) bill “for a very small ruin that really was a must,” a Condé Nast record. (She was not reimbursed). When she got married, to British socialite Detmar Blow, she wore a purple medieval gown, an elaborate maharajah-like necklace, and a gold crown headdress with lace filigree by a then-unknown millinery student named Philip Treacy.

Longer and stronger

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Cynthia Rowley in a December look, courtesy of Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

It has nothing to do with the economy anymore,” says Ed Burstell, managing director of Liberty of London, of the sudden rise of the long skirt. Long, lean and fitted, in fluid fabrics such as jersey and satin, the skirt is being celebrated everywhere from Michael Kors to Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Erdem and Marc Jacobs. “Long skirts can be contemporary, they’re so right now, on a lot of different levels,” says Burstell.

Bag Wars

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Bernard Arnault seated at LVMH during Paris Fashion Week

LVMH’s Bernard Arnault has an insatiable appetite for luxury brands. Now the ‘wolf in cashmere’ is licking his chops over one of the last family-controlled companies in the business: Hermès. Will he win, and turn class to mass?

In the plush, cut-throat world of luxury fashion, French tycoon Bernard Arnault is known as the “wolf in cashmere.” That’s because he has guzzled down one high-end brand after another like so much Dom Pérignon champagne (which, by the way, he also happens to own). Louis Vuitton. Givenchy. Marc Jacobs. Fendi. All these and more are part of LVMH Moët Hennessy–Louis Vuitton, the French conglomerate that Arnault assembled on his way to becoming the seventh-richest man on the planet (net worth: $27.5 billion and counting). Now he’s poised to consume one of the last family-controlled brands in the business: Hermès, whose Kelly handbags and colorful silk scarves are required wear for the wealthy and those who aspire to be.