Fashion Flashback: Max Azria

Image courtesy of thenewyorktimes.com

If you not familiar with the bandage dress, you should pull your head out the sand!! The late, great Max Azria acquired Herve Leger, the company that created the bandage dress/bodycon dress in 1988. And though Max didn’t create the bandage dress, he is credited with his acquisition of Herve Leger of bringing new attention to and popularizing the bandage dress.

Image courtesy of fashiongonerogue.com

Interestingly, Max Azria and Herve Leger died within two years of each other. And it almost impossible to separate one from the other; particularly if you are a consumer.

Image courtesy of retaildetail.com

The Tunisian-born Max Azria moved to Paris with his family in 1963, working with his brother on women’s clothing lines, Joie, Equipment, and Current/Elliot. In 1981 Max Azria moved to California and opened Jess, a chain of fashion boutiques with the concept of quality, luxury fabrics at affordable prices.

Max Azria carried this concept into his groundbreaking women’s wear brand BCBG Max Azria, which was launched in Los Angeles in 1989. BCBG stands for bon chic, bon genre which French translates to mean good style, good attitude. “I was wondering why designers were selling products at $1,000 that we can make a good profit and good living by selling at $500,” Mr. Azria told The Los Angeles Times in 2014. “I wanted to give fashion to more people.”

And that is just what he did. Though celebrities have worn BCBG Max Azria, the bulk of sales have been with everyday consumers. By the late 90s, Max Azria had opened hundreds of stores in Europe and the US, at its peak 550 stores globally with retail sales exceeding $1 billion.

Additionally, Max Azria was a consistent presenter during New York Fashion (NYFW), presenting since 1996. Max Azria is given little credit for being one the first commercial brands to present during NYFW, opening the doors for other commercial brands to present.

Images courtesy of red-carpetfashion.com

After acquiring Herve Leger in 1998, Max Azria launched BCBGenerations and Max Azria Atelier in the 2000s. Even doing a collaboration with Miley Cyrus for H&M in 2009.

With the advent of fast fashion stores like Zara and H&M crowding and saturating the market, by the 2010s, Max Azria’s company found itself $400 million in debt. The many acquisitions of the company helped facilitate this debt. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2017, closing 120 stores. Marquee Brands bought the company in late 2017 for $100 million dollars.

Image courtesy of zimbio.com

Max Azria died from lung cancer on May 6 in Houston, Texas. He is survived by his wife Lubov and their daughter.

Staff

Fashion Flashback: Karl Lagerfeld

Image courtesy of themirror.com

When a fashion icon dies, not only does the fashion community morn the loss, the entire global community experiences the loss and separation. Everyone reflects on the genius and great collections of the fashion designer, and immediately following their death retrospectives are organized as the fashion community gathers to remember the designer’s contributions.With Karl Lagerfeld’s transition, the fashion industry has lost a fashion designer that helped to redefine luxury fashion and the luxury’s transition from couture to ready-to-wear. When Lagerfeld took over the helm of Chanel in 1983, he singlehandedly transformed Chanel from its former glory to a relevant brand that could appeal to a younger consumer. Lagerfeld went against the grain, not focusing his first collection for Chanel on the brand’s historic comeback in the 1950s but conjuring up images of the brand’s heyday in the 1920s and 30s.

“A very static image has emerged based on Chanel’s last years,” Lagerfeld explains as detailed in a wwd.com article, “so I’ve looked over her whole career and found something much more interesting.” This was a huge risk for the brand and Lagerfeld was heavily criticized for this direction. Still, Lagerfeld, over time, managed to harness a group of influential fashion industry professionals who grew to admire his work.

When Lagerfeld first came to the House of Chanel, he was already the creative director of Chloe and Fendi. Before his directorships at Chanel, Lagerfeld had worked as a design assistant at Balmain, served as creative director at Jean Patou, and freelanced at Krizia, Valentino, Charles Jourdan, and Chloe, as well as doing private label work at a slew of German department stores.

Image courtesy of everythingzoomer.com

In 1984, Lagerfeld established his own eponymous line, Karl Lagerfeld. Lagerfeld said that his own brand would bring “intellectual sexiness” back to fashion. In 2002, Renzo Russo of Diesel said, “I am honored to have met this fashion icon of our time. Karl represents creativity, tradition and challenge, and the fact that he thought of Diesel for this collaboration is a great gift and acknowledgement of our reputation as the prêt-à-porter of casual wear.”What many may not realize about Lagerfeld is that he instituted the fashion industry’s obsession with collaborations. Back in 2004, Lagerfeld was the first fashion designer to collaborate with H&M which turned into a popular collaboration series. Since that first collaboration, Lagerfeld has collaborated with Moschino, Stella McCartney, Comme des Garcons, and Kenzo. At the time of his death, Lagerfeld had continued to collaborate with Fossil watches, the department store Macy’s, makeup brand Shu Uemura and even drinks giant Coca Cola.

Lagerfeld slender frame was recognized by his powder white hair, shades, fingerless gloves, and highly starched, detachable collars, However, earlier in Lagerfeld’s life he had been quite large. Lagerfeld lost over 93 lbs over a thirteen-month period in 2001. He explained: “I suddenly wanted to dress differently, to wear clothes designed by Hedi Slimane … But these fashions, modeled by very, very slim boys—and not men my age—required me to lose at least 40 kg. It took me exactly 13 months.”

Over his lifespan, Karl Lagerfeld was the focus of several controversies. Lagerfeld has been accused of being racist, homophobic, fatphobic, Islamophobic, and critical of the Me Too movement. His biggest controversy involved the misuse of a verse from the Qur’an in Chanel’s spring 1994 couture collection. The Indonesian Muslim Scholars of Jakarta called for a boycott. Lagerfeld explained the misuse of the Qur’an verse, thinking it was a poem from the Taj Mahal and not from the holy Muslim text.

Lagerfeld has been critical of many feminine icons, calling supermodel Heidi Klum to fat to be a supermodel, criticizing Pippa Middleton’s looks, and calling pop sensation Adele fat. Critical of PETA, Lagerfeld had always been a fan of natural pelts; however, Lagerfeld used fake fur in Chanel’s 2010 collection.

In 2007, a full-length documentary, “Lagerfeld Confidential” was made by Vogue. In 2013, he directed the short film “Once Upon a Time…” in the Cité du Cinéma, Saint-Denis, by Luc Besson, featuring Keira Knightley in the role of Coco Chanel and Clotilde Hesme as her aunt Adrienne Chanel.

Karl Lagerfeld died from complications to pancreatic cancer on February 19, 2019. He asked to be cremated and buried next to his mother and his late partner, Jacques de Bascher. Karl Lagerfeld was 85 years old.

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Flashback: Barbara Karinska

Image courtesy of flickr.com

As we move into Nutcracker season, Fashion Reverie looks back at costume designer Barbara Karinska, known for creating iconic stage costumes for the New York City Ballet, the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and Hollywood films of the 1940s and 1950s.

Born Varvara Andreevna Jmoudsky in Krakhov, Ukraine to a successful textile family, Barbara Karinska as a child was exposed to the arts and a wealth of beautiful Ukrainian embroidery; however, she opted not to follow in her father’s footsteps, studying law at the University of Kharkov. After her first husband, industrialist Alexander Moissenko died in 1909, Karinska married Nicholas Karinsky, a successful lawyer whose law practice was in Moscow, prompting Karinska and her children from her previous marriage to move to Moscow in 1916. Karinska also practiced law during this time in addition to hosting salon nights in the family’s spacious apartment after nights of theater and ballet.

Karinska’s salon became very popular and she began exhibiting her paintings of ballet scenes in a Moscow exhibit  with her painting gaining critical and financial success. After Czar Nicholas abdicated in 1917, Karinska’s husband was appointed Attorney General and Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals of the District of St. Petersburg. After the Bolshevik Revolution, Karinska’s husband became a marked man by the Red forces, causing him to flee to Russia, eventually settling in New York City.

After her husband escaped to the US, Karinska maintained a successful embroidery school in Russia during the reign of Lenin. After Lenin’s death and the Stalinists began to come to power, Karinska escaped Russia with the family jewels hidden in her daughter’s chapeau.

Marlene Dietrich in “Kismet” and Alicia Markova in “The Nutcracker”

First settling in Paris, Karinska after exhausting the family fortune found work creating costumes for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. This is where Karinska first worked with George Balanchine. Karinska quickly became a sought-after costume designer for in Paris, collaborating with Jean Cocteau, Berard, Derain, Cassandre, Balthus, Miro, Balanchine and others.After moving to London, Karinska began a long collaborative relationship with Cecil Beaton while costuming ballet, cinema, and musical revues. She also began experimenting with new fabrics and materials never before used in theatre.

Karinska with Lincoln Kirstein image courtesy of pinterest.com and Gypsy Rose Lee image courtesy of Louise Dahl-Wolfe

Karinska finally settled in New York City in 1939 before World War II broke out in Europe, reconnecting with Balanchine who had founded the School of American in New York City. Karinska immediately began costuming with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Comfortably settled in New York City, Karinska established her company KARINSKA Stage and Art Inc. where Karinska created costumes for film, stage, theater, ballet, and Sonja Henie’s ice shows.Karinska along with Dorothy Jeakins won an Oscar for the 1948 “Joan of Arc” and was nominated for an Oscar for “Hans Christian Anderson.” Other Hollywood films include “The Pirate,” and “Blue Skies.”

Karinska costumes for the New York City Ballet’s courtesy of pinterest.com

Perhaps, Karinska was important contribution to stage costumes was her ‘powder puff’ tutu. Before Karinska, tutus traditionally looked like pie plates and in ballets that had a large female corps de ballet these pie plate tutus inhibited large-scale movement with female dancers’ tutus bobbing up and down after the dancing had stopped. Karinska came up with the shorter tutu skirt composed of six or seven layers of gathered net, each layer a half inch longer than the preceding layer. The layers were tacked together for a fluffier, looser appearance.Karinska’s ‘powder puff’ tutu was first used in Balanchine’s “Symphony in C,” and became popular in Balanchine’s 1954 “Nutcracker.” “ I attribute to [Karinska] fifty percent of the success of my ballets to those that she dressed,” explained Balanchine. The ‘powder puff’ tutu prototype is now commonly used in most ballet companies around the world.

Karinska’s costumes for George Balanchine’s “Jewels”

Karinska collaborated with Balanchine in over 75 ballets. The last ballet costumes that Karinska designed for the New York City Ballet were the costumes used in Balanchine’s 1977 “Vienna Waltzes.”Barbara Karinska died in 1983, months after Balanchine’s death. In 1999 she was posthumously inducted into the National Museum of Dance’s Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame.

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Flashback: Heidi Morawetz

The fashion industry mourns the death of famed makeup artist Heidi Morawetz. Heidi Morawetz conceived some of Chanel’s best-known beauty products—The Rouge Blanc and Le Blanc de Chanel—directing Chanel’s makeup division with Dominique Moncourtois for over two decades. Morawetz retired from Chanel in January 2008.“Besides being an amazing makeup artist and makeup creator, she was the most beautiful person inside and out … when I did my first steps in makeup creation, she took me under her wings and I couldn’t have wished for a better mentor,” said Peter Philips, Chanel’s makeup director in a wwd.com interview.

                 Heid Morawetz’s Chanel iconic campaigns

Morawetz was a graduate of the School of Art and Design and the School of Fashion Design in Vienna. After graduation, Morawetz worked for such iconic fashion photographers as Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, and Patrick Demarchelier as a makeup artist on fashion and beauty campaigns. Before being employed at Chanel, Morawetz worked with Yves Saint Laurent, helping to create YSL’s first makeup line. This led to working with Chanel in 1980 with Chanel’s international beauty director, Dominique Moncourtois. Quickly, Morawetz became the director of Chanel’s makeup creation studio.In an Interview magazine article, Philips detailed that Morawetz, “pioneered the idea that cosmetics could be just as fashionable as clothes.” “In the process, they masterminded some of Chanel’s most memorable products, among them Rouge Noir, released in the [US] as Vamp, which was invented on the fly backstage before the 1994 autumn ready-to-wear collection, a story that has become the stuff of love.”

                   Images courtesy of twitter.com

In a 1992 New York Times article, Heidi Morawetz in response to the beauty trend at the time of a dark, red stained vampy mouth, smoky eyes, and plucked arched eyebrows concedes, “Fashion is one thing, but personality is quite another. A woman must always adapt makeup and trends to her own personality and use them to be more herself.”Heidi Morawetz passed away on August 9. A private funeral will take place on August 21.

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Flashback: Brigitte Bardot and the Modern Bikini

                  Images courtesy of nyform.au, captial.com, and popsugar.com, respectively

If you are of a certain age, Brigitte Bardot and the modern bikini goes hand and hand. If you are not of a certain age and knowledge, you probably do not know that Bardot freed the modern bikini from being a symbol of carnal lust and societal degradation.Created in 1946 by designer Louis Reard and modeled by a dancer from the Casino de Paris—no runway model would wear it—the modern bikini was named after the Bikini Atoll, where the first public test of a nuclear bomb had taken place. The bikini was slow to gain acceptance because it exposed a woman’s midriff, and particularly after Pope XII banned the bikini in 1951 after Kiki Hakansson was crowned Miss World while wearing a modern bikini.

  Brigitte Bardot in Cannes image courtesy of vintageeveryday.com

In 1952, young French film actress Brigitte Bardot wore a modern bikini in the film, “Manina, the Girl in a Bikini.” (Bardot was 17-years old at the time of the film’s release.) This was one of the first times a bikini was worn by an actress in a film. Bardot also wore a bikini at the 1953 Cannes International Film Festival, and also donned a bikini in the 1956 film “And God Created Woman.” Taking advantage of the bikini controversy, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Tina Louise, Betty Grable, Ava Gardner, and Esther Williams and other actresses wore modern bikinis in photographs and pin-ups.

                                          Images courtesy of pinterest.com

Brigitte Bardot alone helped make the modern bikini popular and acceptable in Europe. The US slowly caught on with the help of Ursula Andress and Raquel Welch wearing bikinis in 1960s films “Dr. No.” and “One Million Years B.C.,” respectively. Still, it was Bardot, with her unique beauty and brave spirit, which set the course for the bikinis ultimate popularity.—William S. Gooch

Fashion Flashback: Judith Leiber

                             Image courtesy of huffingtonpost.com

If anyone conjures up images of handbags as objets d’art, Judith Leiber does. Judith Leiber’s Hungarian parents never imagined that their daughter, Judith Marianne Peto, would become an iconic handbag designer. Wanting their daughter to become a chemist, like a successful relative who had invented a complexion cream, Judith was sent to England to pursue a scientific career. However, WWII happened and Judith moved back to Budapest and enrolled in an artisan guild. Leiber often said,“Hitler put me in the handbag business.” After her guild training, Leiber started making handbags for family and friends from whatever materials she could find, later selling handbags to American soldiers stationed in Hungary. After marrying Gerson Leiber, an American Army Signals Corp sergeant stationed in Hungary, the couple moved to the New York City in 1947.

After working in New York City for a number of handbag brands, Leiber launched her own handbag line in 1963. Leiber’s handbags were so unique that initially department stores were reluctant to sell her bags. Over time, Leiber would have pop-up stores and her own boutiques in department stores after celebrities and first ladies starting flaunting her bags. First ladies Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush and Hilary Clinton have work Judith Leiber bags, as well as, Queen Elizabeth II, Diana Ross, Greta Garbo, Raisa Gorbachev, opera diva Joan Sutherland, Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Lopez, Viola Davis, and many others. Ms. Leiber would create five collections a year, creating over 100 bags in the process. Leiber’s glittering evening bags were created to hold a small amount of things, mostly lipstick, a handkerchief, and some large bills. And her bag come in the shape of almost anything, due to the fact that Leiber was inspired by nature, paintings, museum pieces, and a variety of objects.

         Images courtesy of bagbliss.com, popsugar.com and vogue.com, respectively

After selling her business in the late 90s, Leiber and her husband dedicated their time to hosting exhibitions of her handbags at museums and their own museum in the Hamptons. Leiber’s handbag exhibitions have been held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution and the Chicago Historical Society. Stella Blum, former curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art called Leiber as “a little like calling Louis Comfort Tiffany a designer of lighting fixtures.”Judith Leiber and her husband Gerson Leiber, a painter, lithographer, and sculptor, died within hours of each other of heart attacks at their home in East Hampton on Saturday. Judith Leiber was 97 years old.

—Staff

 

 

Fashion Flashback: Amber Valletta

Images courtesy of pinterest.com, twitter.com, green4ema.org, and youtube.com, respectively

If you are deeply embedded in the fashion industry, you probably know by now that supermodel Amber Valletta is the new face of Blumarine’s spring 2018 campaign. Amber Valletta was one of those blond model goddesses of the 1990s that set fashion runways ablaze with her sassy strut and sexy visage. After a hiatus of over ten years from fashion, and some notable film appearances, Amber has gone back to her first love, fashion. Then again, she never really left. Fashion Reverie looks back at the career of Amber Valletta.Amber Valletta fits comfortably in that pantheon of 90s supermodels that include Eva Herzigova, Shalom Harlow, Kate Moss, and Carolyn Murphy. Born in Phoenix, Arizona, and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Amber Valletta began modeling at the age of 15, and landed her first Vogue cover just a year later, continuing to appear on the cover of American Vogue 12 more times. In the same year Amber appeared on the cover of Vogue for the first time, she was signed as the face of Calvin Klein’s Eternity fragrance. Moving to Europe by the age of 17, early on Amber Valletta graced to covers French Vogue and Elle Italia.

   Images courtesy of interview.com, porter.com, vogue.com, harpersbazaar.es, respectively

Known for chameleon-like, transformative abilities, Jason Wu has said of Amber, “Amber has the ability to transform beautifully into any role. Her charisma and timelessness maker her such an inspiration.” In her over two decades in the fashion industry, Amber has appeared in the campaigns of Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Versace, Elizabeth Arden, Prada, Calvin Klein, and Fendi. In the 1990s Ambers signed multi-million cosmetics contracts with Calvin Klein and Elizabeth Arden.In the late 90s, Amber began to seek out a career in film. “It was hard to be taken seriously. I needed to work on my acting chops. There are so few parts available that are good for women … I feel like I’ve gotten whatever was meant to come to me and I feel really blessed,” said Amber in and Interview magazine article.

Amber in Vogue 1993. InStyle October 2016, Vogue Ukraine 2017, and Vogue 2014

In 1995 with supermodel Shalom Harlow, Amber Valletta was the host of MTV’s “House of Style.” Later Amber appeared in “What Lies Beneath,” “Hitch,” “ Dead Silence,” “Transporter 2,” ”Gamer,” “The Spy Next Door,” and on television in “Revenge,” and “Blood & Oil.”Amber Valletta has been very candid about her drug and alcohol abuse issues, speaking out publicly about her addictions in 2014. Amber married Olympic volleyball player Chip McGraw in 2003. Their union produced a son, Auden. They couple divorced in 2015.

—William S. Gooch

 

Fashion Flashback: Bruce Weber

                                 Image courtesy of photographermagazine.net

Fashion Reverie looks back on the career of iconic fashion photographer Bruce Weber. In the last two weeks, Bruce Weber has been accused of sexual misconduct with two male models. The verdict is still out on these allegations; whatever the final outcome around the sexual misconduct allegations, the result will not diminish the incredible genius of Bruce Weber and how Weber has almost singlehandedly elevated, through his photography, the status of the male fashion model. For the past four decades, Bruce Weber’s fashion imagery has appeared in Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Vogue Italia, Life, Elle, Interview, Rolling Stones magazine, and campaigns for Versace, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Abercrombie & Fitch, Revlon, and a host of other fashion brands.Born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania Bruce Weber studied film at New York University and after briefly working as a model for Francesco Scavullo and Richard Avedon, Weber was encouraged by his wife-to-be Nan Bush and Richard Avedon to study photography with Lisette Model. His photographic images first appeared in GQ in the late 1970s. And though Weber continued to work as a fashion and celebrity photographer throughout most of the 1980s, Weber came to be known to the general public in the late 80s by shooting Calvin Klein campaigns.

                        Images courtesy of vanityfairitalia.it and fashionweekdaily.com

Weber established his signature style of black and white images of sexualized athletic male models by shooting his subjects in some state of undress. Weber’s image of supermodel Marcus Schenkenberg in a shower with a bare jeans barely covering up his private parts established Weber photographic style and catapulted him to national prominence.

               Images courtesy of phaidon.com, CR-Fashion Book 9, and v-man.com

Weber also caused a scandal in 1980 by shooting Abercrombie & Fitch’s catalogue stocked full of revealing images of male models in various states of undress. Additionally, Weber shot the early images of Richard Gere and Mike Tyson.

Images courtesy of clockwise portermagazine.com, thefashionspot.com, fashiongonerogue.com

In the early 1990’s Weber went back to his film roots by shooting music videos for The Pet Shop Boys, Chet Baker, Will Young and Chris Isaak’s Blue Spanish Sky video. And in 2001 Bruce Weber filmed Chop Suey, a film about wrestler Peter Johnson who he had photographed for four years, and in 2008, filmed Nice Girls Don’t Stay For Breakfast with the actor Robert Mitchum.Weber has had more than a two-decade relationship with Versace and his campaigns for Versace have been considered masterpieces of fashion photography. Weber has also authored several books of photography that include Looking Good: A Guide for Men (1978), Bruce Weber (1983), Photographs of Athletes (1983), O Rio De Janeiro (1986), The Andy Book (1987), Bear Pond (1990), Pirelli Calendar (1997), The Chop Suey Club (1998) Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Fashion (2005), Roberto Bolle: An Athlete in Tights (2009), and Standing Tall: Portraits of the Haitian Community in Miami, 2003–2010 (2010).—William S. Gooch

Fashion Flashback: Azzedine Alaia

                                          Image courtesy of jakpost.com

Fashion Reverie looks back at the life and career of Azzedine Alaia. Azzedine Alaia is thought of as having paved the way from iconic black fashion models—and in particular Naomi Campbell early in her career—going against the tide of using more than one or two models in collection. However, using models of color wasn’t the only thing that Azzedine Alaia rallied for. Alaia believed that time was a fashion designer’s friend and that the crunch schedule that major designers are forced to create collections against stifles creativity and does not give consumers adequate time to digest collections. In response to that perspective, Alaia would show collection on his own time schedule, often showing after the fashion calendar or some seasons not showing all. Azzedine Alaia presented his collections when the clothes were ready, on his own time schedule.This tradeoff was very frustrating for the fashion community and his loyal fans, and Azzedine Alaia paid a heavy price for his obstinacy. Though he was financially comfortable, had he acquiesced and played by the fashion rules, he could have been wealthy. Still, Azzedine Alaia’s creative freedom was more important to him than great wealth.

Born to humble farmers in Tunis, Tunisia, Azzedine Alaia was inspired by his glamorous sister and enrolled at the School of Fine Arts in Tunis against his father’s will. While a student, Azzedine found a job in a small dress shop. “The owner was looking for someone to finish up the dresses,” he said. “My sister had learned sewing with the nuns, and she had a notebook with all the basics. That was my first real experience with fashion, and while I was in the shop, I improved dramatically,” as detailed in a nytimes.com article.

      Images courtesy of theguardian.co.uk, pinterest.com, and nymag.com, respectively

“Close to the boutique, there was a beautiful palace where two wealthy girls spent their days looking out the balcony. They saw me going in and out of the shop with cartons and fabrics, and finally, one day after school, they came up to question me about my work and invited me to their house that same night.” Through these connections, Azzedine acquired a job with Christian Dior in 1957.

                   Azzedine Alaia Couture fall 2011 image courtesy of wgsn.com

Making clothing on the side for influential Parisians, word quickly spread that Alaia was a great talent, opening his own design house in 1979. Alaia launched his first ready-to-wear collection in 1980 and was immediately declared the “king of cling” by the French press. In actuality, Alaia’s designs were made to empower women and celebrate the feminine silhouette without exploiting a woman’s curves. Alaia became known for deceptively weaving embellishments and patterns seamlessly into the weft of the garment.Though Azzedine Alaia’s design aesthetic fell out of fashion in the 1990s, Lady Gaga and other celebrities, as well as an injection of investment money from Compagnie Financiere Richemont, the company that owns Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier, in 2007 allowed Alaia to design collection at his own pace with his particular creativity. Azzedine Alaia returned to the fashion calendar last July after a six-year absence, demonstrating that his collections are timeless.

                            Azzedine Alaia spring 2017 images courtesy of vogue.com

Azzedine Alaia died from an apparent heart attack on Saturday, November 18, 2017.—William S. Gooch

 

Fashion Flashback: Herve L. Leroux

                             Image courtesy of harpersbazaar.com/Getty Images

Fashion Reverie looks back at Herve L.Leroux. Herve L. Leroux passed away at the age of 60 on October 9, 2017. Herve L. Leroux became a household for creating the ‘bandage’ dress which was worn in the early 90s and through out his fashion career by celebrities ranging from Beyonce, Rihanna, Serena Williams, and Carmen Electra to Kim Kardashian, Victoria Justice, and Paris Hilton. Additionally, a slew of models from Jessica White, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to Miranda Kerr, Karen Mulder, and Kate Upton have donned the ‘bandage’ dress.Born in the northern French town of Bapaume, Herve Peugnet started his career as a hairdresser doing hair backstage for Chloe fashion shows in the late 1970s. Leger started his fashion career making handbags and hats for Tan Giudicelli. Later, Leger secured an assistant designer job with Karl Lagerfeld for Chloe, and later at Chanel. Leger also worked as a freelance designer for Lanvin and Diane von Furstenberg, as well as designing accessories for Daniel Swarovski and shoes at Charles Jourdan.

Herver Leger launched his label in 1985, creating the iconic ‘bandage’ dress in 1990. Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune called Herve Leger’s early collections a “recipe for the Nineties.” And that Leger “molded his fabric to the female form, rather than draping and cutting it.”

                                                      Images courtesy of lollipuff.com

“The story of the dress is a very simple one,” Mr. Leroux said in a New York Times article. “Before I started making clothes, I was a hairdresser, then a hat maker. One day in a factory I found some bands that were headed for the garbage. They gave me the idea of taking those bands and putting them next to one another as one does making a hat.”In 1998, Leger’s company was acquired by Los Angeles–based company BCBG Max Azria. Leger lost control of his company and the commercial use of his name in the late 1990s and founded his independently owned couture house, Herve L. Leroux in 2000 with his atelier still located at the Rue de Jacob in Paris.

                            2013 Herve Leger Paris exhibit courtesy of nytimes.com

There has been much debate over Leger creating the ‘bandage’ dress with Herve Leger giving credit to American ex-patriate Charles James creating the first commercially manufactured ‘bandage’ in the early 1950s. Leger claimed that the ‘bandage’ dress goes back to antiquity with Cleopatra wearing one of the first ‘bandage’ dress.From 2004–2006 Herve Leger was the creative director of the French couture house Guy Laroche, dressing Hilary Swank for the 2005 Academy Awards Hilary Swank in a memorable backless midnight-blue jersey gown. Leger showed his collection in 2013 during the Paris couture shows after a 12-year absence.

Herve L. Leroux apparently died from a brain aneurysm.

—Staff

 

 

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