tisdag 11 december 2007

2007 this year in fashion

  1. Baby, It's a Wild WorldWe think the fashion world was a bit off-kilter in 2007, but don't take our word for it. Sitting down to lunch with the Financial Times earlier this year, François-Henri Pinault got out his crystal ball. "We are entering what I think is an age of irrationality and return to fantasy—and luxury is a part of that," said the chief executive of PPR, whose holdings include the Gucci Group. "We are at the beginning of a social trend, change in values that could go on for years—the age of rationalisation, after all, lasted for more than a century." Monsieur Pinault knows from fantasy. This year he achieved a quintessential male one, becoming engaged to one of the world's most beautiful movie stars, Salma Hayek. The couple welcomed their first child, Valentina Paloma, in September.

  2. Ceci N'est Pas un StilettoWhere better to begin a return to fantasy than with a return to surrealism? From Miu Miu's teacup handle-heel shoes to Sonia Rykiel's trompe l'oeil sweater dresses to Marc Jacobs' "too small" slip-on pumps, designers took their cues from Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, and Meret Oppenheim during the last round of shows. Why the sudden convergence? We're not sure, but conspiracy theorists might check the attendance records at the Victoria and Albert Museum's influential spring exhibition, Surreal Things: Surrealism and Design.

  3. Sixty Is the New HundredFashion is in the grip of anniversary fever. 2006 had Gucci's 85th and Coach's 65th. 2007, meanwhile, came to a close with Ennio Capasa's L.A.-to-Shanghai book tour, marking Costume National's 21st year. In between, the big boys pulled out all the stops: Ralph Lauren celebrated his 40th anniversary with that exquisitely art-directed show and dinner in New York's Central Park Conservatory Garden; Valentino took over all of Rome for his 45th; and at Dior's 60th bash at Versailles, John Galliano said, "Let them eat paella," from pans the size of bathtubs. Who cares about the old anniversary math—you know, 25, 50, 100—when you're having this much fun?

  4. 150K? I'll Take TwoNobody thought that the golden C-3PO leggings on Nicolas Ghesquière's Spring '07 Balenciaga runway were going to be cheap, but $159,000? The demands of the money-is-no-object set have sent prices for ready-to-wear up, up, and away into haute couture territory—especially if you have to cash your checks in that bargain-basement currency, the U.S. dollar. Accessories, too, have gone through the roof. Bottega Veneta has a bag for $78,000, but the brand has nothing on Hermès, which made a pair of crocodile Birkins with pavé diamonds earlier this year and priced them at $148,000. What were they thinking? Couldn't they see they were underestimating the market? Both bags sold, and Hermès whipped up two more for the holidays.

  5. Diamond GeezerPerhaps taking his cue from luxury retailers, Damien Hirst swapped dead sharks for precious stones this year, encrusting a life-size cast of a human skull in 8,601 diamonds. When the blinged-out head sold for a reported $122 million to an anonymous investment group, the British artist's genius for the grand gesture was confirmed (he later told Paradis magazine that his business manager felt they should have asked for twice as much). Hirst himself is said to be one of the investors, but there's no word on whether Kimora Lee Simmons is involved.
  6. Overscheduled Much?"Help, we're drowning in a sea of shows," screamed The New York Times in February, citing the 221 designers on New York's Fall 2007 schedule. By the time the Spring '08 collections rolled around in September, designers, editors, and retailers were ready to go off the deep end. A too-early, Tuesday-after-Labor Day kickoff meant that in their minds, everyone was still at the beach, where it would presumably have been 20 degrees cooler than under the tents. (No wonder things got a little heated between Marc Jacobs and Suzy Menkes on the topic of timing.) Throw in a truncated Milan schedule and an endless eight-day week in Paris, and the fashion calendar seemed as unpredictable as runway show start times. Oh, and by the way, Fall starts early next year, as in February 1.

  7. Crimes of FashionThe latest trend in London? Ram-raiding. That's the term used to describe the smash-and-grab tactics employed by the moped-riding, sledgehammer-wielding thieves who have been targeting the city's fashion boutiques. More than ten stores, including Luella, Sonia Rykiel, and FrostFrench, were hit within the space of a few weeks, and Christopher Kane had most of his Spring collection stolen from his studio just days before he was due to show. The loss of thousands of pounds' worth of merchandise is clearly no joke for these designers, but now that the Westminster Crime Squad has reportedly arrested seven men on suspicion of some of these raids, you have to wonder what took them so long: How hard is it to track down a stolen Christopher Kane frock? Did they try Boombox?

  8. Off the WallA $10 million Western fashion spectacle staged on the most recognizable landmark in the world's largest Communist country? But of course. Given China's rapid emergence as an economic power over the last decade, it was only a matter of time before someone like Fendi decided to mount a runway show, complete with fur-clad socialites flown in from New York, on the Great Wall. Karl Lagerfeld, the brand's designer, was quick to point out the historical inevitability. "The wall is built to be a runway, huh?" he shrugged. "They don't have to use it for fighting Mongolians anymore; now they can use it for fashion."

  9. Welcome Back, LoveThe tabloids have Britney; the tattooed have Amy Winehouse. But the fashion world will always have a special place in its heart for Lagerfeld BFF Courtney Love. Though the rehabbed rocker isn't, we're happy to be informed, drinking anything stronger than Ensure these days, Love caused a splash when she showed up in the front row at Lanvin, Chloé, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, and Marc Jacobs, where her electric-blue contacts and chiffon cape gave people something to talk about during the lengthy wait. Who knows, maybe she'll even get around to releasing that long-gestating new album in 2008.

  10. It's a Walk-Off!The Council of Fashion Designers of America's annual awards dinner isn't known for its surprises, but this year produced a doozy. As Ellen Barkin called Oscar de la Renta to the stage to receive the gong for womenswear designer of the year, the CFDA's executive director, Steven Kolb, hoofed it to the dais to point out that the results, calculated by Ernst & Young, actually showed a tie with Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez. Gracious reactions from de la Renta and the Proenza Schouler boys turned an awkward moment into one of the evening's most charming interludes.

  11. Backward LogicMarc Jacobs' backward Spring '08 show racked up column inches, but credit must be given where it's due—and for the record, the Dutch duo Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren did it first, starting their Spring '06 collection with their bow and carrying on from there. "Fashion is running out of time. We are going too fast. Originality and patience is the only way to go forward," said Snoeren at the time. Jacobs, characteristically, issued no explanations of his own.

  12. Hitting It BigAs debates over too-skinny models and BMIs continued to rage, Beth Ditto, center, the larger-than-life 26-year-old Arkansan lead singer of the Gossip, emerged as fashion's unlikeliest muse. Über-stylist Katie Grand cast Ditto in her magazine, Pop. Topshop was less lucky. When the high-street chain approached the Gossip to play in-store, Ditto turned them down, saying, "Give me the job. I want to design. I want you to make clothes for big girls—big boys. I want you to make big sizes." There was no design gig in the offing, but the rocker did land her own column. "What Would Beth Ditto Do?" appears every other Friday in the U.K. paper the Guardian.

  13. It's Not Easy…If, as F. Scott Fitzgerald asserted, "the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function," then 2007 is the year we all became super-smart in the fashion industry. That's because we had to reconcile the growing desire to go green with being part of a system that by its nature relies on rabid consumerism (not to mention a steady supply of town cars and lattes). At her Spring '08 show, for example, Vivienne Westwood left an anti-consumerist screed on showgoers' chairs—next to a promotional bottle of perfume. The contradictions will only increase as everyone tries to find their own path through the conundrum.

  14. Extreme FashionFall's form-obscuring sweaters and scarves (Giles, left), komondor-breed coats (MaxMara), and 50-centimeter shoulders (Maison Martin Margiela) have been replaced for Spring by transparent clothes (Jil Sander, right; Louis Vuitton; Dolce & Gabbana—the list goes on) that leave far less to the imagination. The one thing these designs have in common? Well, it ain't wearability. While part of us wants to applaud this sartorial experimentation, it remains to be seen if customers will embrace it.

  15. The Marc Jacobs ShowWe're sure Jacobs didn't spend his time in rehab working on a plan for world domination, but since emerging from treatment tan, buff, and diamond-studded earlier this summer, the designer has been on a tear. Whether he was launching a MySpace page, starting his Spring '08 show two hours late, breaking up and making up with boyfriend Jason Preston, breaking up and making up with critic Suzy Menkes, making faces on the Vuitton runway, or dyeing his hair blue, his every move was tracked in the fashion press. More importantly, he produced a thought-provoking Marc Jacobs collection that some hated but others (including us) loved, as well as a Louis Vuitton bag collaboration with artist Richard Prince that everyone seems to think will be a best seller. He ended the year by saying he'd like to have his own reality show—though this time, perhaps, his tongue was in his cheek.

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