Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld Dies

Image result for Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld DiesFashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died at the age of 85. He was Chanel’s creative director for decades, and he was a symbol of fashion itself with his signature fingerless gloves and other bold gestures. Lagerfeld balanced the luxury brand’s tradition with the excitement of the future. NPR’s Andrew Limbong has this appreciation.

ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: Karl Lagerfeld always wanted to be a grown-up. He was born in Hamburg, Germany. And he was always very cagey about telling people when, but most reports say 1933. Here’s what he said about being a kid in a 2017 CNBC interview.

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KARL LAGERFELD: I hated to be a child. That’s why I could speak English, German and French when I was 6. I never played with children. I only was sketching and reading.

LIMBONG: He took that drive to Paris, where he began working in the fashion industry as an assistant. And in 1954, he saw something that would stick with him for decades – Coco Chanel’s postwar fashion show, her first in over a decade. Here’s how Lagerfeld described it to NPR in 2005.

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LAGERFELD: I liked it because for me, it was an evocation of something I had missed – life from before World War II and all that.

LIMBONG: It was a moment that inspired him so much that he wrote and directed a short film about it in 2013 called “The Return.” It reveals how Lagerfeld presents Coco Chanel as both ambitious and frustrated, here played by Geraldine Chaplin.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “THE RETURN”)

GERALDINE CHAPLIN: (As Coco Chanel) This collection is not about fun. It’s about giving a new, modern look to fashion.

LIMBONG: Giving fashion new and modern looks is what Karl Lagerfeld was all about, says fashion historian Valerie Steele. She is the director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

VALERIE STEELE: He was like a chameleon. His style changed according to who he was designing for and when.

LIMBONG: Steele says that by the time Karl Lagerfeld became creative director for Chanel in 1983, it was in dire need of its own comeback.

STEELE: He was like an emergency doctor who applied, you know, electric shock to this corpse and suddenly brought it back to life and made it super exciting and fashionable so that instead of, you know, just a handful of leftover – old ladies wearing it, all kinds of young women suddenly thought, whoa. Chanel is cool again.

LIMBONG: Karl Lagerfeld worked relentlessly not just at Chanel, but as the creative director for Fendi, as well as his own label. Benoit Peverelli is a fashion photographer who shot for Lagerfeld for the past 10 years.

BENOIT PEVERELLI: He was very impressive in that sense that he could talk to – and I went to a sitting next to him – and at the same time, with a laser light eye, modify a silhouette by a few inches there or the shoulder or the length of a skirt.

LIMBONG: But Lagerfeld was not without controversy. For example, he recently dismissed models complaining of being groped while at work, telling them to, quote, “join a nunnery.” That said, he’s still remembered fondly by peers and colleagues – competitors, even. It was Bernard Arnault from the luxury conglomerate LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton, who said, quote, “We loved and admired him deeply. Fashion and culture has lost a great inspiration.” Andrew Limbong, NPR News.

 

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Designer Profile: Lowell Strauss of Amalfi West

Despite his penchant for building multimillion-dollar dream estates, Lowell Strauss likes to keep a low profile. The business he runs with his wife, Jacqueline, Amalfi West, has no website, and Strauss sidesteps social media.

“In a past life, I was a software architect, so I am supposed to love technology,” he said. “The truth is I don’t. I would prefer to live a more holistic life without social media and the like.”

Strauss hails from Waterloo, an Ontario town about 90 minutes from Toronto. He worked in construction during high school and college and grew up in a house his father designed. Strauss’ father ultimately became a commercial real estate developer and builder, after dropping out of high school to run his parent’s press shop.

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That connection to nature and the elements drives his design philosophy.

He credits this appreciation to his interactions with the Anishinaabe and Ojibwe, indigenous peoples found in Northwestern Ontario.

“When I was younger, I spent months each year planting trees and living deep in the northwestern Ontario wilderness. I lived in a tent, and worked alongside native people, who had this otherworldly contentedness to nature. Indigenous people have a connection to the Earth that we have lost,” he said. “It may sound ridiculous, a guy building multimillion-dollar homes talking about these things, but this is what inspires my wife and I.”

In this interview with The Chronicle, Strauss talks about how he and his wife select building sites, the biggest hurdles he faces and an engineering advancement that’s fundamentally changed the way they design.

Q: How do you select sites for development?

A: We invest in real estate all along the coast. We look for unique and spectacular natural settings. We are very selective about the properties we purchase. Every property has to speak to us for some reason or another. We trend toward spectacular views, oceanfront homes or land with a natural element that sets them apart. Topography is very important since we look for sites that allow for indoor/outdoor living. Having the topography that allows for easy access to the outdoors without much effort but still allows for privacy, expansive outdoor spaces and best views is very challenging.

Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?

A: Usually it’s the design review process, and sometimes dealing with unfriendly neighbors. It’s very hard not to take it personally when you are so passionate about what you are doing. I mean, yes, we are developers and are out to make a profit, but that is not what drives our process. We don’t even think about budget when we design something. We think about creating the greatest thing we can imagine, and an integral part of that is how that thing fits into the natural environment. I think our work in the end speaks for itself. For us, leaving something magnificent behind, that people can walk past, and it really makes them happy, just like when you first look at a magnificent piece of art, that’s everything to us.

Q: How do you go about selecting fits and finishes for a home?

A: The materials must serve a purpose in terms of how we want a particular space to feel. Every room in our houses has something special about it. We try and always use natural materials like stone, wood, steel or concrete to speak to that. Stone, to me, is very emotional. We once took slabs of fossilized boulders from an ancient landslide and sandblasted them. We used them to panel the walls of a bathroom and it created this incredible three-dimensional effect that people really responded to.

Our Belvedere project has these incredible indoor/outdoor spas in some of the key bathrooms, and will be made from stone slabs with a leathered finish, which will make sitting in them feel soft, sexy and supple.

Q: What enables you to have such substantial indoor/outdoor living designs?

A: We spend a lot of time researching the glazing of the windows and doors we use. We want massive openings, with transparent minimalistic frames, that allow us to literally have walls of glass that make the building feel sheltered, yet transparent. The selection of this type of window and door system has really taken us to the pinnacle of architecture and design. There are incredibly expensive products out there that let you achieve incredible feats of engineering while providing the structural rigidity that is required for such massive open spaces.

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NYFW: A Celebration of Oscar-Nominated Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter

The one-night-only installation showcased the cultural relevancy of Carter’s work today in themed vignettes such as “Women In Protest” and “The Hero.”

Ruth E. Carter looked around the fifth-floor space at New York’s Spring Studios, where roughly 30 costumes from her 30-year career were arranged in a half-dozen vignettes, and she couldn’t help but appreciate the full-circle moment. “I beat these streets for years, looking for costumes, creating costumes for Spike Lee, riding the subways of New York as a stylist, as a costume designer,” Carter said. “I did everything in this city, so coming back here with my clothes and my exhibition is a really proud moment for me and is all about coming home to the city that I love.”

Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for IMG

Carter is currently enjoying high-wattage attention largely due to her Oscar-nominated designs for 2018’s Black Panther – a “Heroes and Sheroes” exhibition featuring her work has been touring the U.S. since that film premiered last February (pieces are included in the 27th annual “Art of Motion Picture Costume Design” exhibition at  L.A.’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising through April 12). Wednesday night’s event, which doubled as a kick-off party for fall 2019 New York Fashion Week, highlighted the marriage of film and fashion woven through the thread of Carter’s designs.

“Every time you go to a fashion photo shoot, you’ll find inspiration images on the wall, and many times they come from film,” noted Ivan Bart, president of IMG Fashion. “When I first met with Ruth [in November], I told her, ‘You have to understand, you’re inspiring a whole new generation of fashion designers.’ I wanted to create an event that showcased that combination of inspiration and aspiration, and how that extends to interpretation.”

Anna Webber/Getty Images for IMG
CEO and founder of Harlem’s Fashion Row Brandice N. Daniel, honoree Ruth E. Carter and president of IMG Models and IMG Fashion Properties Ivan Bart.

Bart partnered with Harlem’s Fashion Row, the organization that works to increase visibility for multicultural designers, and enlisted British stylist Ibrahim Kamara to create looks head-to-toe inspired by the range of Carter’s designs, dating to her first film, the 1988 blaxploitation parody I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. The result was a group of six vignettes populated by live models and mannequins: Carter’s yellow suit from that film, complete with goldfish shoes, was placed alongside a model wearing Kamara’s modern interpretation of the look in a vignette titled “Fly Guys.”

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows

Other themes ranged from “Women in Protest,” which included Carter’s designs for 1992’s Malcolm X, 1989’s Do The Right Thing and 2015’s Chi-Raq, to “The Bad Boys,” which featured pieces like the Giorgio Armani laser-cut leather coat worn by Samuel L. Jackson as part of Carter’s work in 2000’s Shaft.

A vignette titled “The Hero”  extended beyond a look worn by Chadwick Boseman in Black Pantherto include Carter’s designs for Denzel Washington in Malcolm X and David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King in 2014’s Selma. Kamara took those ideas and created a modern-day LGBTQ freedom fighter in a silk white suit with a printed overcoat.

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows

“Ibrahim is so humble, and he’s a genius,” Carter said. “There were no egos here; we appreciated each other. I know I pushed him and inspired him, and he inspired me with his quiet confidence.”

Of course, that begs the question: Who or what inspires Ruth Carter? You only have to look at her work to know the answer. “Some people think I got into costume design because I love Dior and Chanel and Tom Ford, but it really was these stories of African-American culture, this story of our journey,” she said. “When I started, I didn’t see very much of us, and I really in my heart wanted to tell my stories. Tonight is the result of 30 years of hard, hard work.”

 

 

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Acclaimed fashion designer Victoria Cascajo’s home sale sewn up

The East Gippsland home of a late fashion designer whose daring design shocked the White House will be restored to its former glory following its sale.

A Melbourne couple snapped up Victoria Cascajo’s six-bedroom, four-bathroom house at 105 Mathiesons Rd, Eagle Point for an undisclosed price after being wowed by its “magical location”, Elders Real Estate Bairnsdale’s Adam Bloem said.

The 2.5ha property overlooking the Gippsland Lakes, named Riverside, most recently had a $1.4-$1.6 million price guide.

Cascajo designed this daring white dress, worn by Sonia McMahon at a White House dinner hosted by US president Richard Nixon. She accompanied husband William McMahon, then-Australian PM.

Cascajo designed this daring white dress, worn by Sonia McMahon at a White House dinner hosted by US president Richard Nixon. She accompanied husband William McMahon, then-Australian PM.Source:Supplied

Cascajo ran the popular Balencia Couture in Toorak.

Cascajo ran the popular Balencia Couture in Toorak.Source:News Limited

Mr Bloem said the buyers had started a business in East Gippsland and would be moving to the area over the coming months, with plans to rejuvenate the house and its vast gardens.

“They’re looking forward to enjoying this magic location and the surrounding Gippsland Lakes, rivers, beaches and mountains,” he said.

Cascajo owned the property from 2014. She died in 2017.

105 Mathiesons Rd offered striking lake views over a 25m infinity pool.

105 Mathiesons Rd offered striking lake views over a 25m infinity pool.Source:Supplied

Inside the Mediterranean-inspired house.

Inside the Mediterranean-inspired house.Source:Supplied

Her most famous creation was a bold white dress prime minister William McMahon’s wife Sonia wore to a White House state dinner hosted by US president Richard Nixon in 1971.

The full-length gown — with side splits on the bodice and arms, held together by rhinestone bands, and to the upper thigh — was dubbed one of the “most talked-about costumes yet to appear in the White House” by The Washington Post.

The Spanish-born designer also dressed socialites, models and Melbourne Cup attendees from her Toorak-based Balencia Couture, becoming a Stonnington Fashion Hall of Fame inductee.

The entertainer’s kitchen.

The entertainer’s kitchen.Source:Supplied

The property was most recently priced at $1.4-$1.6 million.

The property was most recently priced at $1.4-$1.6 million.Source:Supplied

Her property features a Mediterranean-inspired house with a wraparound veranda, informal and formal living rooms, a large kitchen with a butler’s pantry, a wine cellar and lake views from almost every room.

A 25m infinity pool, self-contained cottage, orchard and vegetable garden were also part of the package.

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What Does A Broadway Costume Designer Actually Do?

Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano as warring brothers in ‘True West’JOAN MARCUS

In his script for his 1980 play “True West,” Sam Shepard goes to considerable pains to describe how his central characters, two ostensibly very different brothers, are dressed.

Austin, the timid screenwriter, is wearing a light blue sports shirt, light tan cardigan sweater, clean blue jeans and white tennis shoes.

Lee, the older brother, wears a filthy white T-shirt; tattered brown overcoat covered with dust; dark blue baggy suit pants (from the Salvation Army); pink suede belt; scuffed, pointed, black forties dress shoes with holes in the soles; no socks; no hat. That’s not to mention the apparent need for long, pronounced sideburns, Gene Vincent hairdo, beard (two days’ growth) and bad teeth.

Kaye Voyce, the costume designer for the new Roundabout Theatreproduction of “True West,” starring Paul Dano as Austin and Ethan Hawke as Lee, didn’t feel at all limited by Shepard’s seeming specificity. For starters, she has Lee wearing a shiny maroon dress shirt under his tattered coat, at least at first, and gives Austin a pair of glasses.

“I don’t feel like the details he gives are prescriptive,” she says, of Shepard. “To me, they are beautiful clues to the characters and the world, and a great starting place. And those clues will mean different things to each team of designers, directors and actors. The clues helped to remind me to push for the extremes in these humans.”

“If an actor is uncomfortable it’s hard to believe it as a costume”JOAN MARCUS

Voyce describes the art of costume design, in collaboration with the director, actors and other designers, as a kind of “active collage process.” “With more contemporary clothes, it’s all about hunting down the right pieces, being open to surprise and how things are put together,” she says.

“And often, something just feels right or really wrong on someone’s body. If an actor doesn’t feel comfortable in a garment it’s really hard to believe it as a costume. Sometimes you want something to be ill-fit or a little strange—but the actor has to make the connection physically.”

Sometimes, the effect of costume design might be illuminating in a subliminal way. Asked if there was an aspect of her work on “True West” she found personally satisfying, she mentioned an aspect that, first and foremost, served the actors in their performances.

“In our conversations, we realized how central the absence of the father is in the play,” explained Voyce. “There are elements of Lee and Austin’s costumes that relate to their ideas of this man. Nobody should know it, but it means something to me and the actors.”

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Bebe Rexha can’t find a designer to dress her for the red carpet: ‘My size 8 ass is still going to the Grammys’

Bebe Rexha can’t find a designer to dress her for the Grammy Awards next month — because she is “too big.”

The singer, who is nominated in the Best New Artist and Best Country Duo/Group Performance categories, took to social media on Monday to explain her predicament three weeks before music’s big night, revealing she’s struggling to find an outfit.

“A lot of times artists will go and talk to designers, and they’ll make them custom dresses to walk the red carpet…” the Meant to Be star says in a video posted to Instagram. “I had my team hit out a lot of designers, and a lot of them do not want to dress me because I’m too big.

Bebe Rexha attends the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show at Pier 94 on November 8, 2018 in New York City. Theo Wargo/Getty Images

“If a size 6/8 is too big then I don’t know what to tell you. Then I don’t want to wear your fking dresses… To all the people that said that I’m thick… fk you, I don’t want to wear your fking dresses.”

Bebe captioned the video: “Im sorry, I had to get this off my chest. If you don’t like my fashion style or my music that’s one thing. But don’t say you can’t dress someone that isn’t a runway size. We are beautiful any size! Small or large! Anddddd My size 8 a is still going to the Grammys.”

She isn’t the first real-size celebrity to speak out about the red carpet snobbery surrounding designers refusing to dress certain body types — comedian Leslie Jones took aim at the fashionistas when she couldn’t find anyone to dress her for the Ghostbusters premiere in 2016 — she took to Twitter to voice her disdain, writing: “It’s so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me with a premiere dress for movie. Hmmm that will change and I remember everything.”

She refused to name the designers she reached out to, but Christian Siriano stepped forward and offered to dress her, stating: “I love Leslie and can’t wait to make her something fabulous to wear. I dress and support women of all ages and sizes.”

Embedded video

Bebe Rexha

@BebeRexha

Im sorry, I had to get this off my chest. If you don’t like my fashion style or my music that’s one thing. But don’t say you can’t dress someone that isn’t a runway size. We are beautiful any size! Small or large! Anddddd My size 8 ass is still going to the Grammys. #LOVEYOURBODY

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