cait +tiff


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C / designer uniform

karl

As a new designer, I am constantly looking at the pros to see what they do. I read interviews about managing time, the creative process, and what kind of team it takes to put together a solid collection. I am getting a small collection together right now, and a few people have asked me what I will wear to the show. To be very honest, I hadn’t even thought about it. It feels like I have too much going on to figure that out. I sort of thought I would just be able to “Wizard of Oz” the whole thing, and stay hidden behind the curtain the whole time. Then I realized there isn’t going to be a curtain.

Anyway, I looked into what designers wear to their own shows, and was pleased to find that many of them wear the same thing basically all the time. It’s usually a mix of black, white, and grey, and always super comfortable. The pros below have a zillion years of experience and can make most anything look put-together, but it’s good to know I have a sartorial pass for the show.

LANVIN

alber

Alber Elbaz is responsible for the brand overhaul of Lanvin, and has brought incredible color and depth to the line. But I love that he is basically in fancy jammies on the runway. I love the contrast with the super glam designs.

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VERA WANG

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The rise of the leggings can probably be attributed to Vera Wang. She has been wearing them on the runway long before the “are leggings pants?” argument started. (To settle that argument, no, they are not. But I’m not going to stop treating them as such.) If a lady in leggings can change the way people get married, think what I can do if I don’t put pants on ever. On second thought, probably don’t. Just look at a few of her always-elegant creations.

Vera-collection

ALEXANDER WANG

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Always in black or grey, always in cool sneaks, Alexander Wang is all smiles and all kinds of comfy at every show. His models look slightly less so. It’s because they need a snack.

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CÉLINE

phoebe

Pheobe Philo is sort of my hero. I have had a crush on this lady for years, and am eternally grateful for her leading the charge on bringing back the sneaker. You can see her personal stamp on a lot of her pieces, and unlike a lot of other designers, I can see her wearing the clothes she designs. With sneakers.

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MARY KATRANTZOU

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Mary Katrantzou designs clothes from another planet. Her wild prints have lead the “clash revolution” and it’s rare to see a piece of hers with less that 5 things going on. Yet she wears all black, all the time. I love that her stuff is so unexpected.

katranzou

So now I figure out my uniform. I am not sure what it will be yet, but I am guessing it will include the white Brooke Brothers shirt I have been wearing non-stop since Christmas.

caitsig


 

Cover photo by Candid.

Other photos by Lanvin, Alexander Wang, Vera WangCéline, Mary Katrantzou


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C / sweet alber

alber-elbaz-best-quipsI saw Alber Elbaz walking on the Seine when I was in Paris a few months ago. He was wearing all black, had his glasses on, and was unmistakably…him. I stopped and just sort of slowly turned around with my dumb mouth open, as he walked passed me and my parents. He was in a hurry, and probably didn’t recognize me. I giggled the rest of the day.

Yesterday, after 14 years as the lead designer/creative director for the iconic French designer, Lanvin, Alber Elbaz has been dismissed.

karlie

Karlie Kloss, killing it. Spring 2011

I’m not a fashion critic, and I can’t claim to understand the inner-workings of the industry. It’s a gigantic, complicated beast and the details of what exactly happened aren’t exactly public information. But from what I can tell, this is pretty messed up. Elbaz seems like one of the good ones to me, and I have always followed his work. I confess that I often forge imaginary relationships with people I admire, and in the same way that I feel like I would be really good friends with Kristen Wiig, I think Elbaz and I could really vibe.

However it went down, it’s a damn shame. Elbaz created some of the most elegant, interesting, and innovative designs I have seen, and he’s been a constant force of inspiration in my life. In his time at Lanvin, he was dedicated to making clothes for actual women, and not just the size zeros of the world. He wanted to make fashion accessible without compromising taste and quality. He pumped new creative life into a brand running on fumes and brought Lanvin back into the mainstream with collaborations and humor. Maybe most importantly, he was kind. He would often send other designers flowers before their shows, and was constantly grateful for his life as a designer.

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Linda Evangelista, being my hero. Spring 2004

A lot of big houses are losing their leads; Raf Simons just left Dior, and Alexander Wang is out of Balenciaga. Everyone is being polite, and no one is publicly trashing their former employers, but it feels like the corporate, icky, money-grubbing side of fashion is pushing out the talent. This is from the NYT piece on Elbaz’s departure, and really resonated with me:

“That is, the current situation in which brands treat designers as “work for hire” — stewards that set a course for a style ship for a time, but who can be replaced as necessary while the ship itself sails on — and its inevitable corollary: that designers start to see themselves the same way. The result transforms the relationship from that of a marriage, where you pledge to love and care for each other through sickness and in health, into a dispassionate contract-to-contract arrangement.”

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Alek Wek, straight up glowing. Spring 2015

There many people who can write better than I can about this lovely man, and Sarah Mower, who I really respect, wrote a great piece for Vogue Runway. She has known him through his tenure at Lanvin, and it’s worth a read. I am sure he will go on to do more in the fashion world and he doesn’t honestly need a house like Lanvin to back him. He’ll be just fine.

Have some wine, sleep in, and plot your next amazing thing, sweet man. I can’t wait to see what you do.

All photos by IMG and Lanvin

caitsig