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Carlos Falchi

By modernguise · September 11, 2008 · 0 Comments ·

Carlos Falchi has changed the landscape of accessory design. For more than three decades, he has earned international acclaim as an innovative designer of modern, cutting-edge handbags and accessories. A master leathersmith, Falchi applies the highest quality workmanship to his designs, and uses the finest leathers and skins.

Falchi – whose legion of fans includes the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Tina Turner, Madonna, Cher and Nancy Reagan – has been a staple on the American handbag scene. His designs have appeared in numerous films and television shows including The Way We Were, Convoy, As Good As It Gets, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Honeymoon in Vegas and “Sex in the City.”

His celebrity fan base now encompasses a new generation, with a throng of young, Hollywood “It” girls - Sienna Miller, Jessica Simpson and Eva Longoria –toting his bags.

Falchi, a native of Brazil, moved to New York City in 1964 and began working as night manager at legendary rock and roll hangout Max’s Kansas City. The club afforded him invaluable access to the elite underground. Falchi’s creative home-sewn outfits turned heads and it was not long before he began designing stage costumes for the likes of Miles Davis, Mick Jagger, Elvis Presley and Tina Turner. It was a stroke of fate when musician Herbie Hancock’s wife pressured him to show samples to Geraldine Stutz, then buyer for Henri Bendel. More impressed by the satchel in which he carried his samples, she ordered bags on the spot and thus his accessories collection was conceived.

Today, Falchi’s products lines range from handbags and belts to evening bags, jewelry and ready-to-wear.

Falchi draws inspiration from several arenas and has maintained full creative control of his brand. “For me, there is something magical about the creative process…I blend art and design to produce a dramatic and fresh take on the leather product,” he said. Falchi’s signature look of vivid color combinations and unusual patterns and textures is achieved by unique leather treatments and a passionate involvement with the distinctive design of each skin.

For spring 2006, Falchi presents his largest and most luxurious collection to date, utilizing exotic materials from around the world; deerskin, alligator, crocodiles, python, and goatskin hand-dyed in colors ranging from pastels to jewel tones to neutrals. His handbags are available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, and Henri Bendel.

In 1983, Falchi received a Coty Award for accessories design and he has been twice nominated (2003 and 2004) for CFDA's Accessory Designer of the Year Award.

In 2004, he was honored with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Accessories Council.

Several of Falchi's designs have been placed in the permanent collection of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Filed in: designers
Tagged with: carlos-falchi, about


By modernguise · September 1, 2008 · 0 Comments ·

Veronique Nichanian

Hermes is one of the grandest houses in the lexicon of luxury goods. Established in 1837 by Thierry Hermes as a fine harness-making business and today world-renowned for its handcrafted, exceptionally desirable (and expensive) leather goods, most notably its Kelly and Birkin handbags, in recent years Hermes has also become a major player in ready-to-wear fashion.

Since 2004, Jean Paul Gaultier has designed the brand's womenswear collections (he succeeded Martin Margiela, who was appointed in 1998) while Hermes' mens wear designer Veronique Nichanian has designed sophisticated 'clothing objects' for the company since 1988.

The company first created clothing in the '20s: sportswear that was intended to complement the accessories. However it wasn't until the '50s that Hermes won a wider male audience for its clothes, when it first launched its printed silk ties.

Nichanian, who is based in a studio on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore in Paris, has made Hermes synonymous with menswear pieces so luxurious that they quickly attain an iconic status among men of a certain income. Formal tailoring is always exquisite; casual clothing is no less luxurious, yet often offered in luscious colour combinations and given subtly ironic details. Nichanian has impeccable credentials, graduating from the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, followed by a period working for Cerruti. Her very first collection for Hermes won her the City of Paris Grand Prix of Creative Art prize. "I am lucky to have been able to use the most exceptional materials for Hermes," says Nichanian, who has maintained a discreet personal profile during her time at the house, "It is essential for me to work with the know-how of traditional craftsmanship, combined with the latest technological advances."

Filed in: About
Tagged with: veronique-nichanian, biography, Hermes


By modernguise · August 29, 2008 · 0 Comments ·
Guess? is known for its sexy jeans - and its equally sexy advertising campaigns. Established in 1980, Guess? is a family business headed up by Paul and Maurice Marciano, who share titles as joint Chairmen and CEOs of the company. Paul is the brains behind the company's iconic advertising, which takes its stylistic cues from the archetypal '50s sex-kitten actresses including Brigitte Bardot. He's picked up Clio and Design and Art Directors awards for his campaigns - which are often shot by Ellen Von Unwerth - and has established the Guess Girl as a symbol of American pop culture. Iconic models, actresses and all-round sex-bombs, including Claudia Schiffer, Eva Herzigova, Laetitia Casta, Drew Barrymore, Anna Nicole Smith and, in 2005, Paris Hilton, have pouted and preened on Californian beaches for Guess?.

Meanwhile Paul's brother Maurice has overseen design direction and has also led the company's commercial expansion since 1982. In 2003 Guess? registered a net revenue of about $636.6 million and sells in 36 countries worldwide.

Filed in: About
Tagged with: guess


By modernguise · August 29, 2008 · 0 Comments ·

When the great Cristobal Balenciaga closed the doors of his couture house in 1968 he lamented, "There is no one left worth dressing." For decades the house lay dormant until 26-year-old Frenchman Nicolas Ghesquiere was appointed creative director of Balenciaga in 1997 after the departure of Josephus Thimister.

Since 1995, Ghesquiere had quietly freelanced for Balenciaga's licences. Three years later, Ghesquiere won the Vogue/VHl Avant Garde Designer of the Year Award, followed by the CFDA womenswear Designer of the Year title in 2001. Suzy Menkes of The International Herald Tribune called him "the most intriguing and original designer of his generation". Though relatively unknown when he was appointed to Balenciaga, Ghesquiere's is a life in fashion. He won work placements at agnes b. and Corinne Cobson while still at school in Loudon, central France. At 19, he became an assistant designer to Gaultier and then Mugler, before a brief tenure as head designer at Trussardi. But his great achievement has been his revival of Balenciaga. His green silk crop combat pants for spring/summer 2002 were the most copied garment of the season and Neoprene mini skirts and dresses for spring/summer 2003 kept Balenciaga on the edge, creatively and commercially.

In 2002 a menswear line was launched, a year after the house of Balenciaga was bought by the Gucci Group. For autumn/winter 2005 he showed A-line leather dresses trimmed with pale ostrich feathers and sleek tailoring fitted with chrome fastenings. Former Gucci CEO Domenico De Sole has said: 'Balenciaga has one fantastic asset. He's called Nicolas Ghesquiere'

Filed in: About
Tagged with: biography, Balenciaga

Anna Sui

By modernguise · August 29, 2008 · 0 Comments ·
Anna Sui's singularity lies in her ability to weave her own passions into her work. Her creations are intricate pastiches of vintage eras and knowing nods to music and popular culture - from '60s Portobello to downtown rockers and B-Boys. Her love of fashion began early. Growing up in a sleepy suburb of Detroit, Sui (born 1955) spent her days styling her dolls and collating her 'genius files', a source book of magazine clippings that she continues to reference today.

In 1972, she began studying at Parsons School of Design in New York, where she became a regular on the underground punk scene and where she met photographer Steven Meisel, a long-time friend and collaborator. Sui spent the remainder of the '70s designing for a string of sportswear companies. Then, in 1980, she presented a six-piece collection at the Boutique Show, receiving an immediate order from Macy's.

Sui made her runway debut proper in 1991; the collection was a critically-acclaimed homage to her heroine, Coco Chanel. And by the early '90s, her self-consciously maximalist look was helping to pave the way for designers like Marc Jacobs, sparking a revival in the New York fashion scene. In 1993, she won the CFDA Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent. Sui encapsulated the grunge spirit of the times, with Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha - a close friend - appearing in her winter 1995 'California Dreaming' show, and Courtney Love famously adopting Sui's classic baby-doll dresses.

Nowadays, Sui has stores in New York, LA, Tokyo and Osaka, and has added denim, sportswear, shoes and accessories to her brand. Her kitsch cosmetics and best-selling fragrances, with distinctive rose-embossed packaging, have all helped to establish her as an important designer and shrewd business woman with an eccentric spirit and limitless sense of fun.

Filed in: About
Tagged with: biography, anna-sui


By modernguise · August 29, 2008 · 0 Comments ·
Rossella Tarabini (born 1968), daughter of the Blumarine designer Anna Molinari and designer of the collection that takes her mother's name, has an affinity with London. Its street life, the punks on the Kings Road in the '70s, and glamorous Mayfair nights all served as inspiration for her autumn/winter 2005 collection.

Tarabini's creations are a mirror to her interests and experiences, and each of her collections tells a story, whether it be of a Russian princess or a rock singer. Her designs range from flirty florals to sophisticated chic - sometimes laced with a darker edge - in chiffon, ruching and lace. Overall, the line has a more eclectic and experimental feel in comparison to the more established Blumarine label.

Born in Carpi, Italy, Tarabini is the eldest daughter of Anna Molinari and her husband Gianpaolo Tarabini. When she was nine years old, her mother and father started Blumarine. Raised in the world of fashion, it was only natural that she should follow in her mother's footsteps.

Tarabini studied arts at Modena's Liceo Linguistico before going to Bologna University. In 1994, after a stay in London, she started working on the Blumarine ad campaigns as an art director. The following year, aged just 26, she began to design a new collection for the family-run fashion house, named Anna Molinari. Recently, Tarabini has resumed her former role as art director of the Blumarine campaigns, while continuing to work on Anna Molinari and another of the company's ultra-feminine brands, Blugirl.

Filed in: About
Tagged with: anna-molinari, biography


By modernguise · August 28, 2008 · 0 Comments ·
The Gothic sensibility of a Brothers Grimm fairytale is closer in spirit to Alexander McQueen's clothing - than the fetish, gore and misogyny he's been accused of promoting. However dark McQueen's design, it still achieves a femininity that has seduced everyone from Bjork to the Duchess of Westminster.

McQueen's rise to power is a fashion fairytale all of its own. The East End taxi driver's son, born in 1969, is apprenticed to the Prince of Wales' tailor Anderson & Sheppard on Savile Row where he infamously scrawls obscenities into the linings of HRH's suits. He works with Romeo Gigli, theatrical costumers Angels & Bermans and Koji Tatsuno before Central Saint Martins MA course director Bobby Hilson suggests he enrol.

His 1992 'Jack the Ripper' graduation collection thrills members of the British fashion press, none more so than Isabella Blow who buys the entire collection and adopts McQueen as one of her proteges. McQueen's bloodline of angular, aggressive tailoring is inherited from MGM costume designer Adrian, Christian Dior and Thierry Mugler.

His 'Highland Rape' and 'The Birds' collections used Mr Pearl corsetry to draw in the waist and exaggerate square shoulders and sharp pencil skirts. Brutality tempered by a lyricism characterises the McQueen style. By 1996 he was named British Designer of the Year.

1996 also saw McQueen replace John Galliano as head of Givenchy haute couture. But by 2001 the Gucci Group had acquired a controlling stake in McQueen's own label and the designer left both Givenchy and LVMH. Since then, McQueen's eponymous label has dazzled Paris with bittersweet theatrical presentations. 2003 saw the launch of his first perfume, Kingdom, and a bespoke menswear collection produced by Savile Row tailor Huntsman; in 2004 his men's ready-to-wear was shown in Milan for the first time.

Filed in: About
Tagged with: biography, alexander-mcqueen


By modernguise · August 27, 2008 · 0 Comments ·
In March 2005 Frida Giannini was charged with pushing Gucci, one of the most recognisable status labels of the late 20th century, into a new era. She is responsible for its high-profile accessories and womenswear collections, which has become synonymous with figure-hugging pencil skirts, glamorous sportswear and vixen-ish eveningwear, a look established by Gucci's former designer, Tom Ford, during the '90s.

Established in 1931 by Guccio Gucci as a saddlery shop in Florence, the company had been a traditional family-run Italian business until Guccio's grandson Maurizio sold his final share of the brand in 1993. It was Guccio who first intertwined his initials to create the iconic logo. Yet until Tom Ford came along in the mid-'90s, the brand's image was lacklustre; from autumn/winter 1995, Ford designed full womenswear collections for Gucci, supported by slick advertising campaigns often shot by Mario Testino and a diehard following among celebrities.

In 2004, Ford exited Gucci and its parent company, the Gucci Group (which also controls brands such as Stella McCartney, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen), and new management filled Ford's position not with a single designer but with a team of three, all of whom were promoted internally: John Ray, for menswear, Alessandra Facchinetti for womenswear and Frida Giannini for accessories.

In March 2005 Facchinetti also departed Gucci, and Giannini, who lives in a 15th century apartment in Florence and owns 7000 vinyl records, is now also responsible for women's clothing collections. Born in Rome in 1972, Giannini studied at the city's Fashion Academy; in 1997 she landed a job as ready-to-wear designer at Fendi, before first joining Gucci in 2002. Her 'Flora' collection of flowery-printed accessories was the commercial hit of 2004, and, at the time of writing, her first ready-to-wear collection was scheduled for autumn/winter 2005.

Filed in: About
Tagged with: biography, frida-giannini, Gucci


By modernguise · August 27, 2008 · 0 Comments ·
French fashion House Givenchy for more then 50 years dictates and sets new trends in high fashion. Today, Givenchy is an international luxury brand, known worldwide for its Haute Couture and ready-to-wear collections for men and women, fashion accessories and famous Givenchy perfume. Givenchy House embodies daintiness of haute couture and pure French elegance. Since 1988, Givenchy belongs to the LVMH group.

American film star Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) once commented: 'Givenchy is far more than a couturier: he creates personalities'. Fashion Designer Hubert de Givenchy was born to a wealthy family in France, 1927. At age 10, after visiting the World's Fair in Paris, he’s set up his mind: he would be a fashion designer. At 17, after finishing the school of Art in Paris, Givenchy was apprenticed to Parisian designer Jacques Fath and spent eight years working for other designers, including Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior. In 1952, with opening his own couture house in Paris, Givenchy earned instant acclaim for his simple, reasonably priced mix-and-match blouses, skirts, and slacks. He was noted for his embroidered and printed fabrics and his imaginative use of accessories. With his collections, the world of haute couture got a breath of fresh air, as he managed to adapt traditional garments to the new requirements of the elegant traveling woman.

The year of 1953 became a turning point, as the young designer meets Audrey Hepburn, the incarnation of his ideal of femininity - inspired and assisted by Hepburn, Givenchy achieved a huge popularity by furnishing Hollywood movie stars. Those days, another event brought global attention to Givenchy dresses: when John F.Kennedy was assassinated, the world witnessed a mourning Kennedy family all dressed in Givenchy clothes. A pioneer in many fields, Givenchy was the first designer to present a luxury collection of women's ready-to-wear (1954) and the first couturier to introduce short skirts (1958) so that women could show their knees for the first time since the 1920s. His work, combining elegance and classicism with audacity and modernity, is noted for separate skirts and tops; unusual embroidered and printed fabrics; tubular evening dresses; sumptuous ball gowns; jeweled headbands; shawls; the princess silhouette; sleeveless coats; funnel necklines; and his perfumes.

As time goes by, the Givenchy brand diversified its activities. 1973 is a milestone year, as Givenchy enters the realm of menswear, with the launch of the "Gentleman Givenchy" line. The brand also expands its distribution network internationally to many countries, in particular to the Far East and to the United States.

In 1988, Hubert de Givenchy, faced with a problem of personal funds and sold his company to the LVMH Group (Dior, Christian Lacroix, Celine, Kenzo). In 1995, Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH, hired the famously flamboyant fashion designer John Galliano (voted the best British designer of the year) to bring Givenchy into the modern era. The appointment of Galliano, known as “the turbulent dandy” utterly shocked many observers, as well as the sixty-eight-year-old Givenchy, who learned about it when he read a news release issued by his own press office! Galliano’s first collection for Givenchy (1996) combined his extravagant evening dresses with the elegant restraint of Givenchy. In October 1996 Galliano suddenly switch to Dior, taking the vacant position of Gianfranco Ferre. In the future, design will be executed by another Englishman, 27 year old Alexander McQueen, who received the "Designer of the Year" award for 1996 of the British Fashion Award council.

Filed in: About
Tagged with: hubert-de-givenchy, biograhy, Givenchy


By modernguise · August 27, 2008 · 0 Comments ·
Now in his fifth decade working in fashion, Giorgio Armani is more than just a designer - he's an institution, an icon and a multinational, billion-dollar brand.

Armani the man was born in 1934 in Piacenza, northern Italy. He spent his formative years not in fashion but studying medicine at university and completing his national service. After working as a buyer for Milanese department store La Rinascente, he scored his first break in 1964, when he was hired by Nino Cerruti to design a menswear line, Hitman. Several years as a successful freelance designer followed, but it was in 1975 that the Giorgio Armani label was set up, with the help of his then business partner Sergio Galeotti.

Armani's signature 'unstructured' jackets for both men and women (a womenswear line was established in 1976), knocked the stuffing out of traditional tailoring and from the late '70s, his clothes became a uniform for the upwardly mobile. Men loved his relaxed suits and muted colour palette of neutral beiges and greys. His designs for women, meanwhile, were admired for an androgynous and modern elegance. Richard Gere's suits in American Gigolo' (1980) were a landmark for the designer, as was the cover of Time magazine in 1983.

The brand now encompasses six major fashion lines and has diversified into bedlinen, chocolates and even hotels. Armani has won countless awards, including an Honorary Doctorate from the RCA in 1991; from 2000 his designs have been exhibited in a major retrospective show that has travelled worldwide. Armani has also picked up a dedicated Hollywood following, and January 2005 saw the launch in Paris of 'Giorgio Armani Prive', an haute couture-like collection.

Filed in: About
Tagged with: biography, giorgio-armani

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