Saturday, February 28, 2009

80's Rule

The Oscars were last Sunday and there were some phenomenal films presented.  Best picture went to Slumdog Millionaire and best achievement in costume design went to Michael O'Connor for his beautiful work in The Duchess.  What the Oscars missed was an award for most stylish and directional film for fashion of the year.  Had that been the case, We Own the Night (even though it's from 2007) would have taken home the statue.  Seeing Eva Mendes rock a look from 1988 and the vibe that director James Gray created is driving us to crimp our hair and pull out the miniskirts, sheer black tights (leg look du jour), and big hoop earrings.  Kate Moss, the trendsetting goddess, was photographed last week at Another Magazine's dinner during London Fashion Week dressed in an 80's state of mind (see for photos).  There are still another two weeks left of the catwalks, but one thing's for sure after reviewing the fashion shows from New York, London, and Milan......  the 80's craze is in full swing.  It's a great time to get excited about style.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Yves Saint Laurent et Pierre Berge'

Yves Saint Laurent
Pierre Berge'

Paris 23,24, 25
February 2009

Today marks the most valuable art auction session in European history thanks to the Yves Saint Laurent/Pierre Berge' art collection on sale from February 23rd to the 25th at Christie's Auction House in Paris.  World records were set for Giorgio de Chirico, Matisse, Mondrian, Duchamp, and Brancusi.  YSL and Berge' were great art connoisseurs using passion as their approach to their choices.  They were open to all different art forms and eras and never placed a stronger emphasis on one over the other.  The collection of art they acquired is a work of art in itself.  This is clearly being recognized by the world today, and surely will continue in the next two days to follow.  As seen above, Matisse's "Les coucous, tapis bleu et rose" from 1911 (a YSL favorite) sold for 35 million Euro  and Mondrian's "Composition avec bleu, rouge, jaune et noir" from 1922 (the inspiration for YSL's famous 1965 shift dress) sold for 21.5 million Euro.  Thank you both Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge' for sharing such exquisite taste with the world.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Motorcycle Jacket

With impeccable fit and the highest attention to detail, motorcycle jackets must be custom made in order to allow it's wearer the freedom and protection that these pleasure seekers need to achieve comfort and speed while on the open road.  These jackets that represented rebellious youth in America in the 1950's and 60's are not only a means of protection from serious injury, but a fashion statement as well.  They have been a constant inspiration for designers from the high street to haute couture.  While designing menswear in Florence, Italy, I would often reference these jackets to create cool looks.  Because of their visual message of risk, speed, and dangerous activities, icons have been made.

Short, fitted black leather jackets starting becoming popular during World War I when they were worn by aviators.   They represented speed and adventure.  After WWI, leather jackets were inspired by the military wear of soldiers and pilots.  They emulated the A-1 jacket used by the Army Air Corp and were styled with a mandarin collar and button front closure.  This 1920's silhouette was adopted by motorcyclists.  In 1928 Schott Bros of New York designed the first double style leather motorcycle jacket with a zipper up the front and named it Perfecto after the designer's favorite cigar.

In 1947, Ross Langlitz of Langlitz Leathers in Portland, Oregon developed the "classic" rocker style jacket that was similar to Perfecto (you can still get these bespoke pieces today).  In the 1950's and 60's the rocker jacket became the uniform of the unconventional wild ones.  This was epitomized by Hollywood first in the 1953 movie The Wild One starring Marlon Brando who portrayed Johnny Strabler, a young gang leader who wore a cool leather jacket and rode a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird 6T, and then by James Dean in the 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause.  Because of the nonconformist ideals that these Hollywood icons represented, the motorcycle jacket created a stir in society that made a timeless statement about it's symbolism of youth and change.  

The motorcycle jacket has proven its staying power as a source of inspiration for artists and designers alike.