Friday, November 13, 2009

What's this and who bought it?

This is the sort of story that I can't resist. Something so out in left field that I actually feel a pain in my guts to even go there, and feel even worse dragging you all with me.....that's maybe going too far, I need to have witnesses on this dark journey. I start to get that sentimental feeling that Seventh Avenue really isn't that bad and the things that are passed off as fashion are simply that. Then I read, see, hear, or in this case smell something so fetid and rank that I'm shaken from my momentary reverie and tasered back to reality. I'm talking about Peacock International Holdings, the company which now owns the rights to Bill Blass and their decision to relaunch the collection, oh, and the choice they've made for Creative Director.

At the risk of this rant coming off as a personal attack, I will address that now before I go any further. Any designer fortunate enough to land a coveted position such as this is very lucky and to be applauded. The competition is great and the opportunities are Nil. For that reason I must commend the person for their good fortune and wish them well. That said, when the writing on the wall is so large and the message so clear that to read between the lines is just pointless redundancy and that message is "Step away from the burning building", someone should heed the Siren's song.

I have an uncomfortable feeling that eyes, ears, noses and brains are all on vacation. Nobody appears to be home and no one is checking the computer or answering machines for messages. It looks to me like full steam ahead. Scott Patti, the president of the company which does a lot of mens wear, shirts and private label stuff for chains looks and sounds like a guy with some business acumen. He also sounds like a man with an unchecked ego, just like Michael Groveman, the last man who tried to run Blass and drove it straight into an iron wall. Hearing that Steven Chai turned it down, as did any number of others, and Charles Chang Lima was considered but not offered the position is just part of the tangle of threads. Some others tossed their hats in the ring only to be summarily ignored. The biggest downside to the position is that Peter Som and a string of other hopefuls effectively squeezed whatever life remained in the label until it no longer showed any pulse. That said, even Peter has more get up and go than this guy. Ouch, was that hard to say.....

I am showing selections from the last 2 seasons of the designer who will most likely take charge.You can judge for yourselves the gifts that have obviously eluded him. A picture says a thousand words. Now, who knows, maybe Ikram, Michelle Obama and Desiree will call it brilliance and Thakoon and Jason will have another prodigy nipping at their heels.If that happens I may have to stop this blog and go back to Massachusetts and pick apples.

When someone or something dies it is gone. It lives on in our hearts and memories but that's it. Trying to revive it never works. Changing it and giving it a new life is possible, but that has evaded all who have tried at Blass. Halston, Jil Sander, Ungaro, Givenchy, YSL, and countless other companies have been unsuccessful in reviving or giving new life to these grand old houses. The public barely responds, the press eviscerates the collections (the intelligent press, at least) and it's only the owners who fail to wake up and smell the crack.

Jeffrey Monteiro is his name. He was the Design Director at Derek Lam before going out on his own and these images are from his Resort and Fall collections. One gown was all I saw in Resort and the rest of the images speak for themselves. Perhaps the plan for Blass has nothing to do with its DNA, but then why are they calling it "Collection"?

I'm confused. Are you?

20 comments:

Divalocity said...

"Ouch!"
That's right, Bill Blass is gone, but it would be great if one designer could get it right by projecting their own vision and that of the previous designer into their designs. The colors are drab without one iota of vibrancy, who wants to walk around looking depressed?

The first collections of Peter Som were not that bad, in fact I thought of them to be quite good, they just did not give him a chance. My thing is, if they can't get it right, then the investors need to close up shop and take a loss.

I know Pilati is no where near the designer of YSL, but I was absolutely floored when I read that Pilati could not use the draping method to design garments with models who were over a size 4. If a designer can't do this on a woman of any size then he needs to quit the field.

Amber said...

Macy's called. They want their clothes back.

Anonymous said...

It's all about luck, who you know and who's praising you these days Fluff. It's as simple as that! And I totally agree with you. Jeffrey's collections are like so many others - they look like any X, Y or Z brands out there that should only be called a bridge or secondary line instead of a "collection." Don't be confused, if you are the darling of Anna or Suzy, you are sure to be the next Thakoon even when you just cut 3 holes out of a black garbage bag, put a huge leather belt around it, some sexy 20 inch shoes and lots of bling bling jewelry and your review will be - edgy with a political statement.

I've emailed you to the address you posted yesterday but not sure if you got it - exZ

Simone said...

The real question is what is the direction the label wants to head in? Do they want to recapture B.B. at his best or move in a direction that reflect the current trends and forgoes that history? Is the B.B. style still too fresh in the minds of the Fashion aware to do this or so forgotten that those in charge believe they can put a designer in place that reflects the market trend rather than the historical feel fo B.B.? So many questions that need to be answered by those funding the venture so that the designer selected confirms that direction and their intent, but then I suspect that once the announcement is made and interviews begin the spin will begin...

(angry) deacon said...

derek lam has a design director?

Anonymous said...

Fluff, You sharpened your claws today! Correct, Meow!

Anonymous said...

I UNDERSTAND THIS IS THE DESIGNER VOGUE HAS SUGGESTED THEY HIRE? HMMMM.... NOW I'M REALLY BEGINNING TO QUESTION THE TASTE LEVEL OF VOGUE AND EUROFILES WHO WORK THERE. THESE PEOPLE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY WANT TO DO WITH THE BRAND. I UNDERSTAND A BETTER PRICED SPORTSWEAR DEAL WITH MACY'S IS IN THE WORKS. YIKES!!! QUESTION? WHY IS IT I CAN'T TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE DESIGNER COLLESTIONS, CONTEMPORARY COLLECTIONS AND FOREVER 21???

Anonymous said...

Sad isn't it? The real talented designers don't get hired to do the job. Vogue's taste level, well, look at what Anna is wearing... sometimes you are like:"What? This is the woman who is supposed to tell us what to wear? Look at what she is wearing!"

Anonymous said...

BYE BYE BILL BLASS.....THE FINAL NAIL IS SELECTED

Robert said...

I am confused about your lumping together Jil Sander and Givenchy with obvious clunkers Halston and Ungaro. Jil under Raf is brilliant, and so is Givenchy by Ric Tic. Please elaborate on your comment.

Lucky said...

Fluff, you got me thinking -- those two girls who design Bruce -- they'd be perfect for this job but they don't pursue the spotlight (read: they don't prostitute themselves) and so are not well known. If they were two cutesy boys, they'd be stars (yes, I am refering to those two asshats). Every time BB was made a mess of, I thought of them. They're not brilliant - yet - but they're really, really good, and they are what BB needs. And I know it will never happen. (No, I'm not friends with them.)

beaumec56 said...

it puzzles me that bill blass left a legacy of impeccable style and true grace. why is there no one that could assume the role to create clothes that have some semblance of taste and excitement that was blass..legend that he was.
having said that, those who can afford clothes are an unfortunate dying breed..but there are women out there that cherish the classic and sophisticated clothes that blass was known for. it seems that to accomplish this a designer needs pr director that can reach out to the clients that deserve to wear the label. it is unfortunate that the management has lost direction and are truly in the dark.
bill blass was all about quality and luxe...but with the wearability and punch that was to the manor born.e g is that kind of designer.

Fluff Chance said...

beaumec56,
Thanks for the tiny veiled compliment. I almost missed it. Who are you??????
Fluff

Fluff Chance said...

Robert ,
If you send me an email address I'll explain myself. You can contact me at Organzavoid@gmail.com
Fluff

beaumec56 said...

it's me e g! bill formerly from sfa...i love your take on everything...curious...what happened to our kind of style?

Anonymous said...

And this is the designer world!

When they ask what happened to retail ready-to-wear, all they have to do is look at this stuff. Exhibit "A".

Blass was the most elegant gentleman. His clothes were fabulous and reflected his impeccable taste. Beautiful lines and details in fabulous fabrics. He'd have fainted if anyone had slapped on a World Wrestling Foundation belt or kitschy brooches.

Just found your terrific blog. I'll be back.

John said...

>Macy's called and they want their clothes back.<

You mean Sarah Palin called and she wants her clothes back so she can wear them on the cover of Newsweek.

Anonymous said...

They could save themselves from a monumental future headache (and financial ruin) by scouring the archives. Mr. Blass already did the heavy lifting. Why not simply use his existing designs? Keep the marketing to a minimum and quietly release the archived designs. Then sit back and watch the explosion. Compared to anything else on the retail floor, these designs will stand out like they were originally designed to. Oh, how refreshing it would be! Of course, they would never dream of doing this. It is far easier to follow the existing business model of celebrity designer (or a "new" face created by some marketing genius). Maybe, just maybe, we could have well designed and beautifully constructed clothing without the side of hoopla. Me and my damn wishful thinking. PS Love your blog!

Madeleine Gallay said...

It's a disturbing thing to see Financial Companies buy the name of a wholly valid but deceased designer and carry on ... why ever would this be done? Mr. Blass was ab urbane man who adored his dames and dressed them damn well back in the day. What a tawdry thing when there is undoubtedly talent so fresh and creative that simply lacks backing and production. Mr. Blass was class itself and this is simply ... common.

And as an example of interned and classed up, I offer the very fresh Kimberly Ovitz, who at the very beginning of an interesting career, had actually created the Perfect Little Black Dress as worn by Chloe Sevigny albeit beige in thsi month's Bazaar.

Grrrrrr. And sad to be the newly appointed one, how dreadful. Tom Ford managed because he did a brand, did it as though it were his own, and that is the way.

I do love it all.

Anne Marie said...

to: Anonymous Nov 20/09 10:09 am

Forget the archives, 2 years ago on 39th St, outside one of the contractor buildings, I saw a 6 ft high, pile of hard paper production patterns. I looked at the production pattern piece tickets that identified Bill Blass as the company, model, style and fabric were indicated. Some were from 2003-2004 collections.
As I (pile diver) was looking thru them, interest was created, and soon, Whoosh the Pile was gone!

It happened again last month. No, I did not want to look any more as it was not Bill Blass.
There are no more archives, they have been tossed.
Better to see FIT galleries or Costume Institute at the Met to see the real Blass.