Category Archives: Exhibits

NEED TO KNOW Designers from Festival Hyères

This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to attend Festival Hyères for my second time. In case you’re not familiar, it’s a ma-jor international fashion and photography competition that happens annually in the town of Hyères on the French Riviera (I finally escaped the rain in Paris). But an end-of-the-year student show this is not. Unless your school discovered Viktor & Rolf, Gaspard Yurkievich, Felipe Oliveira Baptista and Henrik Vibskov (to name a few) or had Yohji Yamamoto as the President of the Jury (for real). There’s a lot to talk about but right now I’m going to focus on the 10 designers featured in the fashion competition. The photos featured below are all my own and were taken at the fashion show and showroom presentations. Look for more coming soon on Fashion Snoops!

Lucas Sponchiado
Lucas Sponchiado graduated in 2011 from the École supérieure de La Cambre in Brussels and has worked with Balmain and Gaspard Yurkievitch. His collection “Out of Vacuum” is very much about metamorphosis in the sense that inspiration is taken from traditional English references and colonial India. The sheer lingerie aspect which appears on eveningwear happened entirely organically. Intricate embellishment on items like leggings make certain looks appear warrior-like while intricate pieced construction and cutouts appear on jackets. **Lucas Sponchiado is the recipient of the Public Prize from Palais du Tokyo and Villa Noailles.

Narelle Dore
Astrallian designer Narelle Dore lives in Antwerp and graduated in 2008 from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Her collection “Women at Sitting Rock” emulates a synthesis between nature, crystals and feminine energy. Her mostly handmade garments feature woven threads, crocheted lace and macrame which are only enhansed by a beautiful color palette reflected throughout the collection and even on colored hair extensions.

Daniel Hurlin
Daniel Hurlin is completing his studies at the Institut Français de la Mode in Paris, and has already worked in diverse environments from Raf Simons to supermarket Tesco. Inspiration for “Perfect Blue Tamara” comes from the painter Tamara de Lempicka and the animated film Perfect Blue from Satoshi Kon. Classic menswear silhouettes are deconstructed with daring cuts (often on the backside) while highly charged prints take center stage, often as fragmented screens.

Paula Selby Avellaneda
Argentinian designer Paula Selby Avellaneda is a graduate from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and Institut Français de la Mode in Paris. The concept for her collection is based on the ability to control seasons and a resulting iceberg in Mongolia. Performance materials take center stage including plastic, rubber, quick-dry and reflective lycra. Couture-like quality remains alongside this futuristic collection with highlights including scale-like sequins and a holographic dress.

Jasmina Barshovi
Jasmina Barshovi is a graduate from HEAD in Geneva, Switzerland. Her collection “The Birds are silent” features a new sensual side to menswear, often involving transparency in the form of cotton voile and silk muslin. Shadowy prints in grey also add to the lightness of the collection. Active elements are also apparent from modified sweatshirts and tanks to must-have parkas.

Maxime Rappaz
Maxime Rappaz graduated in 2011 from HEAD in Geneva, Switzerland. This year he is currently working for Roberto Cavalli in Florence. His collection is a study in purity and takes inspiration from his own photographic research which identifies lines and monochrome surfaces. Minimalist neutral colors are enlivened with shocking neons and transparency while boxy accessories add a dose of irony on the runway. Up close, the garments feature intricate folds.

Ragne Kikas
Estonian designer Ragne Kikas is in the process of completing her university education in Hamburg. Her collection “Dress Code Defensive” takes inspiration from 15th and 16th Century armor which is translated into knitted garments. Set to an almost all-black palette, the garments are equally as striking on the body as they are close up. Intricate items are smocked, pleated and patterned bringing a truly new dimension to knitwear. **Ragne Kikas is the recipient of the Premiere Vision prize and the public prize from the city of Hyères.

Siiri Raasakka, Tiia Siren and Elina Laitinen
Siiri Raasakka, Tiia Siren and Elina Laitinen make up the design trio from Finland who met at Aalto
University of Art and Design in Helsinki. The vision for their men’s collection comes from a tribe of “urban nomads, living in a utopian society of the future”. What results is an assortment of menswear destined for a rave in acid colors and asymmetrical shapes with elements of folk craft fringe and glowsticks. All prints are produced in-house. **Siiri Raasakka, Tiia Siren and Elina Laitinen are the recipients of the Grand Prize of the Jury.

Steven Tai
Canadian Steven Tai recently completed his studies at Central Saint Martin, and has already worked as an assistant for Bless, Viktor & Rolf and Stella McCartney. His collection is destined for bookworms with classical elements including button-down blouses met with exaggerated round waistbands that appear as sculptural appendages. Master craftsmanship comes through best with piles of fabrics that emulate stacks of books. **Steven Tai is the recipient of the Chloe Prize (more on that later)!

Kim Choong-Wilkins
Kim Choong-Wilkins is a graduate of the Royal College of Art and resides in London. His menswear collection “Dystopia” is defined as the opposite of Utopia and features a twist on classics, such as argyle patterns reinterpreted in metallic studs. Science fiction reference also makes an appearance with plastic overlays and chainmail knits.

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Fashion’s Night Out: MOSCOW Edition!

привет from Moscow! I’m here all week doing seminars as part of the launch of Fashion Snoops in Russia. Exciting stuff AND I just so happened to be here for Fashion’s Night Out Moscow, which was held Tuesday September 6, 2011.

This is the second time Moscow is participating in the global event which is FNO, and since I’m already familiar with NYC and Paris editions, I couldn’t wait to check out Moscow.

For the event, supermodel Natasha Poly partnered with VOGUE magazine to create 1,500 tote bags with her image on it. The tote bags were sold along with Russian VOGUE for 2,000 Rubles (about $65) with proceeds going to the “Who if not I” charity. Although I would never buy FNO NYC or Paris gear, I felt compelled to be a part of this event because it was my first time in Moscow and in general I applaud the FNO efforts to get people shopping.

First stop was department store TsUM, where I purchased my tote bag and Russian VOGUE at a FNO kiosk. The store drew quite a fashion crowd (as well as a personal appearance of Natasha Poly later in the evening) and congregated on the first floor in the midst of Russian designer clothing and sea of beauty counters and free champagne. The well-heeled elitist crowd mingled and interviews were hosted. I found it kind of ironic, though telling, that the crowd was dressed head-to-toe in international non-Russian designers. Labels like Balenciaga and Chloe offered special gifts with purchase, as a FNO incentive.

Next stop was GUM, the stunning luxury shopping mall in Red Square with illuminated exterior (and intriguing history). All the usual luxury brands were present on the ground level including Louis Vuitton, Etro, Dior and Hermes. There was a FNO kiosk in the middle of the mall, however the limited-edition products and/or gifts seemed to be absent from most retailers with the exception of a special Moschino bag and Etro t-shirt for FNO. The mall environment – while spectacular in general – seemed to draw less foot traffic and even though many designer stores served snacks and drinks, the energy was just not there. However, Louis Vuitton featured a fun board cutout of the illustrated F12 collection which I convinced Julia, my FNO partner in crime, to pose for with me. Photos at FNO in front of logo-clad backdrops are fun but I much prefer props like the LV cutout or the double G’s at Gucci in Paris last year.

Unfortunately I think I was a little more excited about FNO Moscow than the event itself, however I was happy to experience another FNO city. In retrospect, NYC is still the ultimate event. Last year I thought the event was too exclusive in Paris (it was invitation only, and only designer stores on 1 street participated). In comparison, Moscow attracted a similar crowd as Paris, though the atmosphere was less enticing. Being a New Yorker I am a strong believer in the democratization of fashion, which I think should be encouraged in major cities. But then again I remind myself that Anna Wintour of Vogue in NY created FNO and each Vogue editor is responsible for the execution of the event in their city. Of course there’s no place like New York, but when it comes to getting people excited and into stores, market expansion beyond luxury brands goes a long way.

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A Cultural History of Louis Vuitton Trunks

In case you haven’t noticed, I tend to catch museum exhibits at the last minute. Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Voyage en Capitale: Louis Vuitton & Paris. But this isn’t really about clothes. It’s about Vuittons’ behind the Vuitton. You know, the ones who established those heritage trunks. And I’m not really one for monograms, though I would gladly make an exception for any one of the magnificent trunks featured in the show. The exhibit starts out in the 1850s and progresses through the centuries to current day artistic collaborations. It’s a cultural history that touches upon each and every tailor-made trunk from Jeanne Lanvin to Damien Hirst, doll and Red Cross pharmacy cases. I left the exhibition inspired, and wondering why in this day in age luggage companies don’t take a cue from exquisite compartmentalized Vuitton trunks. Anyone in Paris should surely make their best effort to get there this weekend. For more information, visit the website.

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HEADS UP: London Holiday Windows

This week at Fashion Snoops, we’re posing our annual Holiday Window report. We already gave you sneak previews of New York and Paris, and now here’s a look at London’s leading department stores.. a few of which featured a recurring “head” theme.

We first spy a “head” theme happening at Harrods, where large alien-meets-cartoon heads are featured upon mannequins. However comical, the heads used in this setting deflect interest back to the actual clothing on the mannequins, without comprimising on glimmering holiday backdrops of garland.

Selfridges also takes on the head theme with female mannequins sporting cartoonish heads and plastic-y bodies. The men’s displays feature Gumby-like characters and a bold colorful background keeps the childish playful notion going.

Harrods goes the more traditional route with a familiar fairy tale – Peter Pan. The hair and beauty styling impress, while monochromatic window schemes are also enticing.

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When Pop Art Meets Versailles: Murakami

Admittedly, I am one of the last to have seen the magnificent Murakami Versailles exhibit. Indeed it ends tomorrow (Sunday, December 12th), and let it be known that this was certainly not my first attempt to see it; though it was the only successful one (why can’t every museum be open until midnight?). Any Parisians (or visitors) who have yet to see it, best get there ASAP.

A total of 22 works of art (and 11 pieces produced specifically for the exhibit) range from sculptures to paintings and even carpeting, shown in the King Louis XIV apartments and the Hall of Mirrors. While the naysayers argue that Murakami’s pop art takes away from the grand Château experience, I think that part of what makes the exhibit so incredible is the ironic fact that it features perhaps the greatest pop artist of our time set to such a magnificant baroque setting. For me, walking down Hall of Mirrors, seeing a Murakami sculpture down in the garden and then coming upon the Flower Matango sculpture was the most powerful take-away from the exhibit.

Overall I LOVED Murakami Versailles, though I did leave with one question. Recent Murakami exhibits like the retrospective at MOCA and the Brooklyn Museum both featured Louis Vuitton pop-up shops featuring products from the famed Louis Vuitton and Murakami collaboration. Why, in the capital of LV, would a collaboration (during such a grand exhibition) be ignored? Perhaps the space for a temporary pop-up shop was limited inside Versailles, but I would have loved to see some sort of tie-in between LV and the Murakami exhibit.. perhaps in the LV flagship on the Champs-Élysées.

However, perhaps most fitting to sum up the exhibit is Takashi Murakami’s own words, “I am the cheshire cat that welcomes Alice In Wonderland with its diabolic smile, and chatters away as she wanders around the Château.”


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PARIS: Les Vitrines de Noël

The holiday season is upon us, and that means, HOLIDAY WINDOWS! We already gave you a preview of New York City, and now here’s a look at boulevard Haussmann’s famed department stores, Printemps and Galeries Lafayette.


First things first. If you’re still coming off of the high that was Lanvin’s collection for H&M, you’ll want to make Printemps your first stop, where Alber Elbaz designed the window displays. Noël au Château is all about luxury, featuring mannequins dripping in glamorous evening attire, surrounded by chandeliers and classical backdrops. Of course dear Alber adds his own personal touch with adorable dancing marionettes named Mister and Miss Lanvin.

Galeries Lafayette

Across the boulevard, Galeries Lafayette kind of goes the way of Barney’s New York by celebrating pop culture (albeit with Christmas still in the title and very a very Christmas-y outcome). Called Snow Chaud Noël, the windows feature various musicals set to an underlying show-biz theme. Hairspray and Mamma Mia are expressed with spirited mannequins while Soldat Rose appeals to les enfants with toys and teddy bears.

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Ralph Lauren’s 4-D Experience, Beyond Fireworks

You absolutely NEED to take 8 minutes out of your day to watch this video. It is AH-mazing. It is WOW and then some.

In celebration of Ralph Lauren’s 10 years of, last night the Ralph Lauren flagships in New York and London held identical 4-dimensional installations on the facades of each store, featuring total groundbreaking technology that is nothing short of spectacular. You do not need to be a Ralph Lauren fan to appreciate this.

I am still in awe of just how beautiful this installation was, and I didn’t even see it in person. The techno mastery is beyond my comprehension and puts any and every other light show to shame.

First off, transforming any facade into a Beaux Arts building is nothing short of an architectural masterpiece, not to mention the glorious chandeliers that staged a brief runway show.

I liked the buildings “wrapped up” in a RL horseshoe belt or dripping in ties.

And then the polo players that phased into the logo.

The triumphant soundtrack was all the more fitting particularly at the end with a rolling collage of Ralph Lauren brand imagery.

The cameo of Ralph waving out the window at the end was a little cheeky, but ultimately the show was spectacular beyond belief. It’s impossible to watch something like that and not come away with appreciation for what is one of the world’s most successful brands. Ralph Lauren has always been at the forefront of technology and I look forward to seeing his universe evolve into the next decade of digital mastery.

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INCing A New Kind of Press Preview

Macy’s in-house brand INC Men’s featured an original press preview for its Spring 11 collection. They teamed up with Richard Haines from the What I Saw Today blog and held a live sketching session, where models stood next to their illustrations and look book clips.

As designers and brands continue to seek out new ways to present their collections, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more “live” experiences like INC’s novel preview.

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Karl Behind the Lens

Two weekends ago I went to Karl Lagerfeld’s newest museum exhibit at Paris’ Maison Européenne de la Photographie which chronicles his career in photography. Yes dear Karl has practically tried his hand and extended his influence to everything from short film making to photography to endorsing Diet Coke, never mind his iconic designer status at the biggest luxury houses. But believe me when I say that this is one exhibit you don’t want to miss.

The exhibit is titled Parcours de travail (Work history) and features over 300 photographs taken from the Kaiser’s first photography stint back in 1987 to present. The exhibit starts out with photographs of Versailles followed by New York City buildings and fire escapes along with some landscapes – interesting enough but where’s the fashion? And then.. voila! Rows upon rows of photo spreads from black-and-white images to Polaroid transfers and campaigns shot for Fendi and Chanel strike viewers in a way that you can’t help but be amazed by the sheer depth of great moments and famous faces Karl has captured. If you thought photography was just another one of Karl’s hobbies, think again. The man’s greatness extends well beyond the realm of design and into capturing the spirit of a moment, person or place.

Parcours de travial
runs at Paris’ Maison Européenne de la Photographie until October 31st.

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Happy Fashion’s Night Out, NY!

Count ’em – 1,000 retailers participating in this year’s Fashion’s Night Out event in NYC! Ah-mazing to say the least, and not a bad kick-off earlier this week with the biggest public fashion show ever. Oh Anna, how you continue to outdo yourself! Anyway, here’s a list of some fabulous NYC events tonight to get this party started right.. wish I was there!

1. BARNEYS because Simon Doonan has EVERYONE here.. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and Proenza Shouler’s Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough will judge a karaoke contest. Singing not your thing? Try ping pong with the guys from Rag & Bone or Shipley & Halmos. Or get a glamour shot of Daphne Guinness in Comme des Garçons fragrances.

2. BLOOMIES with plenty of personal appearances from Michael Kors, Lela Rose, Kay Unger, Carmen Marc Valvo and Milly. They also have ping pong (perhaps the industry’s newest obsession after cats).

3. BERGDORF GOODMAN for another karaoke party hosted by Patrick McMullan with expected attendees including Nicole Richie, Nicholas Kirkwood, Cynthia Rowley and Norma Kamali. Oh and Victoria Beckham is doing some sort of meet-and-greet too. As if that’s not enough, Bergdorf’s is THE dog-lover destination and there will be a dog fashion show with designers Reem Acra, James Mischka and Thakoon strutting down the runway with their pets.

4. WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND to get chummy with designers from Gilded Age, Thread Social and Pamela Love. 351 West Broadway .

5. OPENING CEREMONY IN THE ACE HOTEL because they’re setting up a French flea market in the lobby! AND, Alexander Wang, the Rodarte sisters and Joseph Altuzarra will all be there. 20 West 29th Street.

6. BALENCIAGA in Chelsea with Nicolas Ghesquière and a photography exhibit of Cindy Sherman’s Untitled (Balenciaga) Series. Karen Elson will also be signing copies her debut album. 542 West 22 Street bt 10th and 11th Aves.

7. HELMUT LANG with a block party. Mark the Cobrasnake will be there (hey wait, shouldn’t he be in LA for THEIR FNO).. anyway, this is your hipster destination of the night. 819 Washington Street.

8. MONCLER because they’re celebrating the opening of their first U.S. store on FNO! 90 Prince Street.

9. ELIZABETH & JAMES pop up Shop co-hosted by Fab and PopSugar. First time all Elizabeth & James lines (ladies, men’s, jewelry, shoes, Textile denim) will be sold in 1 space. 632 Hudson Street. In case you don’t make it there tonight, the pop-up runs Sept. 10-16 and there’s a party on Sunday from 2-4 p.m.

**BONUS – if you’re in the MPD, do the Foursquare Scavenger Hunt and check into stores for a chance to win a $5,000 shopping spree and a stay at The Standard. To be entered just include the store’s twitter alias and the hashtag #FNOmeat wherever you check in to be entered.

For more info and ALL event listings, consult the Fashion’s Night Out website.

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