Sunday, February 27, 2011

Michelle Williams: Oscar brilliance!

I'm laying out the dip, the cheese and nuts with the red carpet coverage on in the background. The stars are falling, well not exactly falling as that would imply ones wishes coming true. My wish would be for surprises, beauty and glamor. So far there are a hand full of stumbling actors in dresses that diminish more than enhance. Red is the turquoise of the evening but some other shades have jumped out as a result. Helen Mirren's grey green faille gown is the best she's looked ever. Lilac on Mila Kunis looked pretty good though all the cascading layers of lace were a bit overwrought. The sea of reds has been a nice blast as it's a color that looks great on most everyone. Some girls looked better than others mostly due to the cut than the color.Jennifer Lawrence is the winner of the red category in scarlet Calvin Klein. It is a supremely simple form fit gown on a girl with a beautiful body. Gwynneth Paltrow was beautiful in silver paillette covered Calvin Klein. Francisco Costa does minimal in the most minimal way and this dress is his maximal version of lean and mean. For me the hands down beauty is Michelle Williams in pearl grey Chanel haute couture. This dress does what every great dress should do. It takes a very pretty girl and elevates her to the stratosphere of BEAUTIFUL. Enjoy the show, I know I will.

The Gag[a] Reflex

Sitting here in my bathrobe this morning, I'm thinking about today, Academy awards day, and its importance in my life over the years. It started as a night to handicap films, see stars on the red carpet and steal a glimpse into a world that was far away from my own. As I grew older and became a designer it took on a different meaning and I became swept up in the handicapping of actresses and their sartorial splendor. Then one day I was a designer whose dresses were adorning actresses and somehow a part of that handicapping. The point of the Oscars was lost on me by then and the red carpet was the beginning and end of the night in my eyes. Fortunately for me, my time in Hollywood was one where glamor, chic and artistry were the order of the day. Young guns like Randolph Duke, the Badgley Mischkas, and a not so young Vera Wang were the designers to watch. Armani and Valentino were playing the game too. Now, so much is different and aesthetics have shifted from the sublime to the ridiculous in many cases, not all. Watching the Grammy awards a few weeks ago, it was abundantly clear that the paradigm shift was almost complete. Rihanna in Gaultier was little more than barely covered, Nicki Minaj in Givenchy haute couture looked like the down market distant cousin of Pebbles and Lady Gaga was just ugly. I'm not trying to dictate what fashion or style should be, only commenting on what it seems to have become.

Today I feel as though I've come full circle and am back to rooting for my favorite films and actors for the awards. We'll have friends over for a party but I doubt that my attention will be on the red carpet like before. Fashion and the players in Hollywood have gone from being haute cuisine to take out, supersized with a side of fries.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Galliano's slip of the tongue.....

( you thought I was less than handsome... well Bruno here has a face only a mother could love)

This is the L'Express article by way of Google translator:

Dior John Galliano suspended, accused of racist and antisemitic insults

published on 25/02/2011 at 20:39

PARIS - The fashion house Dior has suspended its creator, Briton John Galliano, accused of uttering anti-Semitic and racist slurs on Thursday night in Paris, during an altercation with a couple, a version contradicted by his lawyer.

The famous fashion designer, while intoxicated, was arrested Thursday night following the altercation and heard " few hours "by police before being let free," said a police source.

But hours after the revelation of this affair, which occurred just days before the opening of " Fashion Week ", Dior decided to react.

" The House of Dior said with the utmost firmness the policy of zero tolerance in respect of any statements or anti-Semitic or racist attitudes. Pending the results of the survey, Christian Dior designer John Galliano has suspended from office , " said the CEO of Dior, Sidney Toledano said in a statement.

This decision, considered " excessive "by the designer's lawyer, Mr. Stephane Zerbib, has instead been greeted by the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) and the International League against Racism and Antisemitism (Licra).

Dior has not decided whether or not it canceled its fall-winter 2011 fashion show scheduled for Friday March 4 in Paris, said one of his spokesmen told AFP.

According to preliminary information gathered by the police, the scene took place Thursday around 21 hours on the terrace of a fashionable cafe, located in the Marais, the heart of the French capital, a historic Jewish community Paris.

An altercation broke out for unknown reasons between the designer, aged 50, and a couple seated next to him.

According to comments reported by the couple's Europe 1 radio, the designer would have launched in English: " Dirty jewish face, You Should Be Dead "(Sale of Jewish head, you should be dead) and" Asian Fucking bastard, I Will Kill you '(fucking bastard Asian, I will kill you). According to police sources, the designer also " cheerfully "insulted the woman committing" minor violence ".

Such insults, if true, would fall within the scope of public insult of a racial nature, according to the Penal Code, an offense punishable by six months in prison and 22,500 euros fine.

" Mr. Galliano denies anti-Semitic slurs , "responded Mr. Stephane Zerbib, adding:" There was an altercation, Mr. Galliano was verbally abused, but at no time did he utter such insults, we Moreover, evidence in this direction . "

The German magazine and website Sleek, specializing in fashion, cites witnesses who claim that the altercation erupted when Galliano attempted to start the conversation with this couple, who mistook him for a tramp. The witnesses said the couple had abused and insulted Galliano turn the woman.

Quickly arrested by police after the incident, the designer has been taken to the district to be heard before being left free. A medical examination revealed a blood alcohol level with a positive rate of 1.1 milligrams of alcohol per liter of breath.

Both victims filed a complaint at the district, police said. The prosecution was unable to confirm the filing of these complaints.

The British fashion designer who took the reins of creation for Dior in 1996, has emerged as one of the most inventive and creative, flamboyant, drawing inspiration from history and his travels around the world.

Since 1999, he oversees all the feminine lines of Dior and the leather and the brand image. He drew alongside her own collections.


Straight from the Birdy's maw.....

February 25, 2011

The Official Statement:

“Dior affirms with the utmost conviction its policy of zero tolerance towards any antisemitic or racist words or behaviour,” Dior Chief Executive Sidney Toledano said in a statement.

”Pending the results of the inquiry, Christian Dior has suspended John Galliano from his responsibilities,” the fashion house, part of billionaire Bernard Arnault’s LVMH luxury empire, said in the statement.

And an eye witness account of what actually occured courtesy of Sleek Mag:

This morning, the press went wild spreading blown up reports of John Galliano having been arrested last night and accused of assaulting a couple and voicing antisemistic statements. However, as our witnesses who were at “La Perle” around 10 PM when this so-called drama happened tell us, the story is far less dramatic. Here’s their first-hand version:

On Thursday night at the posh fashion bar “La Perle” in Paris’ lively “Le Marais” quarter, the Dior head designer might have had a couple of glasses more than he should have. In fact, the designer was pretty drunk but rather in a jolly mood than in an aggressive one. Our witnesses tell us that the couple who sat next to him at the bar didn’t recognized the celebrity designer and started to insult him, mistaking him for a bum when he tried to strike up a conversation with them (Galliano’s personal style could be at fault here). On his joyful “cheers everybody!” the woman and her boyfriend replied “You’re ugly, you’re disgusting, move away from here!” as our eyewitnesses tell us. Galliano didn’t react to this statement and raised his glass with other bar guests. He then turned around to respond to the lady, saying: “You’re ugly and you’re fucking bag is ugly too.” The boyfriend of the women then got up from his chair and aggressively charged it to threaten the designer. Galliano’s bodyguard tried to quiet the situation, as did the staff from “La Perle”, but there was nothing more to do; Galliano and the couple exchanged further insults untill the couple called the police while Galliano calmed down and was peacefully smoking his cigarette. The end of the story, far less dramatic the the press reported, the police just talked to the designer while his bodyguard was on the phone with his lawyer and Galliano conceded to go with them to the police headquarters to give his version of the story, since the couple wanted to press charges. No big police arrest took place. As for the antisemistic statements, Galliano did call the man who threatened him with a chair “Asian”, which is indeed a racist statement. All in all, another dodgy fashionable night in the heart of Paris! What do we learn from this? Bad style can get you into legal trouble, and no matter how drunk, a designer can never see past an ugly bag!

courtesy of :

Birdy's Last Gasp.....

Just read Galliano was arrested last night in Paris.
Drunk and making anti-semitic remarks to a couple in a bistro.

What can I say. I'm just the messenger and it's a very slow week in case you didn't read in the NYT about pre-pubescent couturiers and Vena Cava teaming with Uniqlo. Whatevehs.........

Thursday, February 24, 2011

YSL rumor dead. So is Birdy.

"From YSL HQ in Paris… Pilati busy working on the next collection. All the rumors unfounded — he is here to stay."

So that's the word today from the YSL camp. It may be true today and false tomorrow. Truth seems to be as overrated as originality in this business. Either way, the bird is gone so you won't be getting anymore cheep shots from him. Sorry for the tempest in a tote bag.

xxoo, Fluff

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Is Stefano Pilati out at YSL?

I was playing in the garden a few moments ago on this bright sunny day. I've got such cabin fever that I just can't stand another moment inside. So what that the temp is cold enough to turn my little hairless balls to icy jaw breakers. Where was I? Oh, right, the garden. So I was frolicking amongst the bits of snow and frozen vegetation when I spied a little chickadee basking in the sun's rays. He didn't see me crouch and slink towards him soundlessly. Before he could let loose a cheep, I grabbed him with my Hermes gloved paws and began to contemplate his fate. A muffled sound caught my attention and I ceased my little game of cat and birdy.
"Wait a minute." the chick cheeped. "Have you heard that Pilati is out at YSL?" he gasped.
"Are you serious?" I asked. " You know, a well placed rumor will not save you. I'm hungry, am starting WeightWatchers tomorrow and intend to have my way with you", I exclaimed.
" Just wait a bit and let me go. Look at the Internet and see that I'm telling the truth. You can tell your readers that a birdy told you".
So, gang, the bird is sitting right here and we're both waiting to see if this is true. If it is, I'll just say a birdy told me. If not, well this birdy may not be spreading any more rumors. Bon Apetit!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bill Blass Fall2011

Jeffrey Monteiro and the people from Blass have waited for the dust to clear or the editors to exit town before staging yet another presentation of that lame duck they refer to as Bill Blass couture. This time they've gingerly stepped from Lincoln Center's Box and a still life presentation for last spring to the Monkey Bar. This being like the once chic stomping ground of Pat, Nan, Chessy, Mica, and Babs they probably hoped that the collection would be blessed by the muses of Bill's heyday. I think they should have saved their money and car fare by keeping these depressing clothes under wraps in their warehouse somewhere on Fifth. I'll go a step further and say that they should have saved their money and not bothered to produce this 'Line" that is little more than a poor imitation of faux-fashion that could be attributed to a once great designer if one is standing in a blackened room with a bag tied securely over ones head. I watched the women in the back ground almost as closely as the clothes to see if I was alone in my skepticism. For the most part they appeared only mildly interested which is more than I can say for myself. Jeffrey Monteiro may be a designer with skill and talent, but up until now that skill and talent is yet to make itself known. The cuts, proportions and banal design choices that make up the line are so spectacularly weak I'm only able to wonder what the company has in mind. If there are no ideas in the collective imaginations of the design room then why not resort to the patterns and pieces from the archive? Oh, I forgot. Those patterns were last seen spilling from a dumpster on a side street in the garment district. There's nothing that disturbs me more than bad design run amok. Someone should go out and subdue this creature before someone gets hurt.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vera Wang Fall2011

Driving up Sixth Avenue last night I passed the gargantuan windows of David's Bridals, the emporium for all things (cut-rate) matrimonial, and saw a group of impressive gowns and life sized posters of Vera Wang. It appears she has yet another new license making her sought after wedding gowns for the masses. They looked really very good and I commented to my companion that I can't understand the disconnect between the chicness of her bridal with the labored, monotony of her collection. There was a day when her clothes were some of the most sought after in Saks, Barneys, Neiman's, you name it. The dresses and gowns were so chic, so cool, so glamorous. Hollywood was in a swoon over her and her work. Then she started to reference her closet and her fascination with all things deconstructed got the better of her. Holly Hunt was the last girl standing off to the side of fewer and fewer red carpets until there were almost no sightings at all. I've wondered why she squandered such a key position to make clothes that have lost their power, their focus, their way.

This season her collection which is all pleats, the same body long, short, sleeved or not, and almost all under a ubiquitous parka in shades that run the gamut from A to B. Vera's inspiration are influential great ladies of the 30's, namely Wallis Simpson, Thelma Furness and Emerald Cunard. Other than a few pleated chemise dresses with drop waists and the lines of tea dresses from the teens and twenties, I found little connection to these adventuresses of a bygone era. Emerald was an inveterate social climber and party throwing confidant of English cafe society. The other two were arrivistes who busied themselves wrecking homes and toppling monarchies. Unless Ms. Wang is rewriting history like Madonna is with her film project on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, there's not much visible connection between a parka covered chiffon slip and the uptight Mainbocher wardrobe of the real Wallis at that time. There were some great shoes on her runway along with a fantastic shade of inky grey in a couple of looks but that wasn't enough to break up the monotony of a show whose clothes struck one sustained note.

Bibhu Mohapatra Fall2011

This collection which took place a couple of days ago at the Box of Lincoln Center was packed to the roof with heavies. All the top stores led by Bergdorf Goodman's Linda Fargo were jostling through the crush to get a closer look. There were looks for day and evening all cleverly woven together on a central platform. Periodically the models would shift position so that ones that were sitting would walk then stand and vice versa. In this way you saw the clothes move and shift position which showed the collection's cohesion. Everything was rich in detail. Fur combined with leather over sleek trousers and sexy blouses along with great coats over dresses for day. The mood became more complex for evening with dresses and gowns that were almost cubist in their construction. From one angle some were all artful draping and then from another angle they possessed a series of shifting planes. They looked architectural with a marriage of the solid with the liquid.

Bibhu is one of the few designers who never settles for an easy solution. His interests lie in the studied and complex nature of design. I admire his commitment and the fact that he's hands on. You can see clearly the love and effort that goes into the creation of his collections. Too few designers today roll up their sleeves and do the actual work.

Oscar de la Renta Fall2011

Looking at this collection I am puzzled by what other reviews have said. They refer to his embrace of all things opulent, a king's ransom of riches and luxury beyond one's wildest dreams. That is easy to imagine when you consider his history and the exalted place he's held in the fashion universe for so many years. But looking at the clothes I am hard pressed to find anything wildly luxurious or rich beyond belief. What I do see is a confusing line up of day and evening ensembles whose common thread seems to be awkward shapes, mature proportions, a mash up of elements meant to convey sophistication and wealth all mustered by a heavy and plodding hand. What happened to the mystery, magic and mastery? Fabrics seem to lean towards the obvious and some look as though they came from the shelves of Lee Joffa where Mr. de la Renta has a new business designing fabrics for interiors. I can remember season after season of shows that topped one after the other. Talk about brilliant tailoring and magnificent techniques employed for decoration. I remember being stricken at the sight of suits, coats, dresses for day and unimaginably chic cocktail and evening gowns. Who turned on the lights? Who styled the show with its regrettable shoes and clumsy hats? Is it a case of having taken in the wrong principals for the house even though they're family? Perhaps, he stopped listening to critics and only hears the chorus. When the show wound down to the final evening looks I was sure to find some memorable gowns considering the Oscars are around the corner. I saw one that looked like a collage of scenes from Matisse paintings but beyond that they were as muddled as the the rest.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chado Ralph Rucci Fall2011 : Seeing Red

Tonight at Ralph Rucci's fall 2011 presentation I was reminded of why fashion matters. In a sea of mediocrity with schools of fish filling every space like krill in full retreat there will occasionally appear a species so rare that no textbook or scientist can readily identify or classify it. Instead, one just stares dumbly at the extraordinary fact of its existence. Tonight was one of those moments. I felt that I was witnessing something that would be hard to describe to anyone who hadn't seen it for themselves. Fashion is so chock full of the fabulous, the brilliant and the divine. Hyperbole is like air in this world. So what do you say when you see something that is so astounding you almost don't believe it was real? How can you compare it to other collections when you've been grading them all on a curve? Is it possible to have one compartment for the rest of what's out there and another that contains only this one? Intellectualizing and articulating something that produces a purely physical and emotional response is beyond me. Let me just say that the moment the show started I saw RED.

A red mongolian lamb jacket led the army of 61 looks over signature creations of double face cashmere dresses with trapunto stitching like braided basket weave, all liquid and plastic . No hard lines only undulating movement. Red sable, red chinchilla, red mink. Luxe separates in red micro bugle beads and livid moire. Fire and passion. Every line, detail, gesture, nuance was an expression of his soul, his fire. There was no sense that the clothes had been styled, manipulated or manufactured. It was as though each and every piece grew from his imagination. There was not a single look that wasn't essential, 1000% complete and if there is such a thing as perfect, they were perfect. Certainly, these clothes are not for everyone. Price aside, you need to have an appreciation for the extraordinary. Here is a designer that only searches for new ways to create volume, never before seen decorative surfaces, finishes and "trims" to punctuate those shapes that just boggle the mind. Imagine a show where every look is almost a rifle shot. Your senses are almost overwhelmed by one creation after the other and each is more beautiful than the last.

Jersey dresses that for a moment seemed a respite from his assault had skirts with horse hair insertions and rows of knotted piping. Black, bronze and ivory and gray parted his red tide. Jackets in cashmere, moire, Etro wool paisley and other fabrics usually associated with interiors were all expertly molded, draped and cut with sleeves that echo the curve of the arm and bodies that follow the line of spine. A red patent leather raincoat was covered from collar to cuff in trapunto stitches like braided hair of an Edo-period warrior. Symmetry gave way to asymmetry. Nothing was pat. No simple answers just elemental questions. A black matte paillette pajama walked past and the woman to my right said that it suggested Halston. I agreed that it did, but it was even better. If there were references they were murmurs from his past. His march is forward, inexorable, never retreating... and then came more Red.

Layers and layers of silk mouselline with a glaze of shine here and shadow there on a strapless column. An ensemble of duchesse satin sculpted into a shrug with emphatic sleeves over a column of sublime simplicity. They kept coming and each was more audacious than the previous one. Ralph had opened the vein of his imagination and there was no stopping the flow. He seemed to be saying, "take this and this and this." This was a show. No one seemed to care that we were being transported. Are you a hostage if you go willingly? This was a journey light years away from what we've seen. It was only supposed to be a short trip, a 10 minute jaunt. It was anything but that.

This man is a national treasure. He is the greatest living designer of this century and most of last. There's no one working that can touch his skill, imagination, rigor, spirit, and commitment, no one. The bar has been raised and the gauntlet tossed. Like any priceless treasure, monument or institution we have a collective responsibility to keep him and his house alive. That means our press, as misguided and small minded as it is, yes that's Vogue and Conde Nast I'm referring to and our luxury retailers both major and minor have a responsibility to support and promote the house. The same goes for the wealthy women of this country who are devoted couture customers abroad. The fact that Anna Wintour was nowhere in the room was nothing short of irresponsible. An absence such as hers almost appears personal. If Andre Leon Talley, Hamish Bowles, Cathy Horyn, Glenda Bailey, Suzy Menkes, Bobbie Queen, Constance White and an army of other journalists, not to mention the big guns of the most important stores here and abroad were there, something important is brewing. To be blunt, there was no representation from Italian, Paris, Nippon or any other Vogue magazines for that matter. Is there a Conde Nast black out? You'd think these important editors would be there considering they were spotted elsewhere in town. Even Boaz Mazor was working the room and it wasn't even Oscar's show.... (go figure). Marc's show at the Armory started late enough for all of the girls to have caught both. It was their loss.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Victoria Beckham Fall2011

Jesus Christ. Holy cow. Sacred spice has replaced Pepper Spray who once was known as Posh. Well, Holy father I have a confession to make. This nun I used to see as a heretic has shed her wimple and given us a divinely chic peek under her habit. I think her recent pilgrimage to Lourdes to take the waters has left her in the throes of a full on conversion. Victoria Beckham skipped grades from elementary school straight to the P.H.D. program of High Fashion U. Father, I was wrong about her. She really does want to be good. And I'm ashamed that I doubted her.

This collection is so tight, so smart, so carefully and professionally done that I'm sitting here gob smacked. My knickers are officially in a twist. What great dresses. What smart coats. What clear and beautiful colors. What inspired style. What great bags. Jesus, even the boots rock. The collection's not large but who needs quantity when you've got quality? I don't want to over think this or start questioning the HOW of this when the WHAT is all that matters. This woman with little background in the field other than too much time on her hands and way too much money has put it all to use in the most satisfying way. When I've misjudged something in the past I'm not too stubborn to admit my mistake. It looks as though Mrs. Beckham not only wants to be good, she is.

Derek Lam Fall2011

Derek Lam is one of those rare people in fashion that actually delivers. There's no annoying patter about banal themes or constant sightings at the opening of every shopping bag or his face eclipsing his work in newspapers and fashion magazines. Derek appears to be a man whose focus is on his work and boy does it show. This collection like the one before and the one before that is seriously great. Looking at it I'd have to say that there is something truly wonderful for just about everyone. Razor sharp tailoring, compelling new shapes in sportswear and fantastic dresses both short and long make this one of the most dynamic collections in this country and the world. His coats whether in cloth or fur are essential and modern, never derivative. The colors are varied from dark to light, neutral to saturated vibrant shades and all masterfully mixed. Without sending out tricky, strange looks each exit was its own interesting story. This show honestly had a line up of sophisticated, elegant clothes that were fresh, exciting and infinitely wearable. All of those adjectives sound trite and over used but in this case they seem to fall short of their mark. Of so many new talents to bubble to the top Derek Lam is one of the most deserving of the spot light. He is truly an heir to the mantle of the great American designer. Look at this collection and see if you aren't in complete agreement. WOW!

Joseph Altuzarra Fall2011

I honestly do my best to approach this with an open mind. I take no pleasure in being critical. As fragile as my ego can be depending on the day it does not gain sustenance from questioning the validity of another designer's work. The last thing I want is to offend or give people reasons to doubt my veracity. So when I rail against the system or cast a withering glance at a collection it is an honest response and not a cheap shot. Fashion is something I love and have given my life to so it is with complete seriousness that I share my opinions even when they may sound flip. I just wanted to put that out there.

This season is a curious one for Joseph Altuzarra. He has been hailed a wunderkind like Prabal Gurung, Alexander Wang, Jason Wu and others. I've never seen him as anything other than a young designer in search of his voice and his path. The fashion machine is so accelerated at this time that taking baby steps is no longer acceptable. A designer has one season to declare his or her presence and then BANG, it's the big time or no time. These designers are like hot house blossoms who are forced to bloom whether they're ready or not and too many of them in my opinion are not. The proof of that truth is in the random and almost schizophrenic quality of the work. In the case of this collection, one moment the focus is deconstructed, quasi-indigenous tribal clothing with raw, asymmetric edges and applied reptile skins and the next they're bias-cut silk slips with chunky sweaters under parkas that look like luxe replicas of stock from the Army Navy store. It's all styling and posing with the loud roar of a fawning audience.

When I think about Altuzarra being the leader in the race for the Vogue/CFDA initiative with a several hundred thousand dollar award and industry mentoring when supposedly this company has done four million dollars in business and is now profitable I have to wonder what the point of this initiative is. I thought it was to help up and coming design businesses. I didn't realize it was for businesses that have already succeeded.

There were some beautiful hand knitted sweaters and a few sexy, bias cut dresses. But for the most part this looked like a stylist's idea of a collection with lots of pseudo edgy sportswear pieces tossed together with curiously furry shoes. The word trendy is the best way to describe it. The clothes left me cold despite the fact that there were so many derivative parkas.