Mr Blasberg
8:37 am

My New Favorite Accessory: A Monster-inspired Organizer

30/03/2012, General

When the 3×1 jeans shop opened next door to the Visionaire offices in Soho, I was excited to have another friendly face in the neighborhood. The proprietor of the joint, Scott Morrison, is an old friend of mine and I’ve always been a big fan of his way with denim. (The premise of 3×1 is that it’s entirely custom jeans, made right there at their atelier at 15 Mercer Street.) Earlier this year, when I was getting ready for the fashion weeks in New York, London and Paris, he blew my mind: His team whipped up the coolest documents holder I could have ever imagined.

Celine, which seems to have started every single trend the past few years, debuted a line of document holders in its pre-fall collection last year, and its seems that every other major label is now a fan of the business-minded, handheld accessory. Everyone from Coach to Kenneth Cole to Stella McCartney showed them this season. One day, when I was in Scott’s shop, I was complaining (as I’m so prone to do) about missing my dog, Monster, and looking for the perfect man-bag. He decided to solve both crises with one amazing accessory: A denim organizer with a special Monster embroidery. It’s just about the coolest thing I’ve ever held under my arm.

The process went a little something like this: I showed him a picture of a painting I had done last summer of my dog – yes, I painted my dog, don’t make fun – which he then had scanned, digitized, and turned into an embroidered decal. We then measured my folders and most important documents for the size of the holder, plus my phones and iPods for the exterior pockets. We experimented with the placement of the decal, first doing them all over the back of the bag and then deciding on the simplicistic placement on the corner and the pocket. And then, voila, the coolest accessory was born. But remember: It’s a documents holder. Not a clutch!

As a bonus, here’s the painting of my Monster, which is hung prominently in my kitchen:

7:53 am

Stefano Pilati Speaks

28/03/2012, General

Stefano Pilati with Harper’s Bazaar’s Glenda Bailey in the green room of Gould Hall, where the designer participated in a lecture series organized by the French Institute Alliance Française

The first time I met Stefano Pilati was in 2001 in a basement bar in East London. It was Alexander McQueen’s birthday party, which I had crashed with some friends. (What? I was still a teenager. Crashing parties was just about all we did.) Some mutual friends introduced me to Stefano, who was already working for Tom Ford, that night, and I’ve been an ardent supporter of the Milanese man ever since. So, when it was announced the the recently departed YSL designer would still appear at the French Institute Alliance Française’s lecture series Tuesday night, I was excited to hear what the gregarious, handsome and complicated man would say. He didn’t disappoint. He had the packed audience entertained and enraptured from start to finish.

Pamela Golbin, the Chief Curator of the Musée de la Mode et du Textile at the Louvre, played moderator, first asking the designer what was his present state of mind. “Great. I’m really happy, which I find surprising,” he beamed. “I’m on vacation.” For the next hour, conversation covered every facet of the 46-year-old’s career in fashion, from when he would skip high school to be an intern at Cerutti, until he took over as creative director of YSL. In the interim, he worked as a stylist for Italian Vogue, worked retail, and ultimately started his fashion designer trajectory at Armani, Prada and Miu Miu before Tom Ford plucked him from Milan and brought him to Paris to work with him on YSL’s men’s and women’s lines. “It was beautiful what happened to me, to be respected and encouraged by people I admire,” was how he described reporting to some of the greats in fashion. Who does he think are the most inspiring designers? Armani, “the exceptional” Miuccia Prada, YSL himself, and the influence of the Japanese designers. “I’m happy that the CFDA is giving [the International Award] to Rie Kawakubo. There is justice in this life.”

He did admit to the challenging aspect of taking over the house of YSL while the designer was still alive. “I don’t think challenging is the right word,” he said of when he, a Milanese designer, and Tom Ford, a Texan, took over the storied French house. A better word: “Traumatic!” He relented that it was actually easier when Monsieur Saint Laurent passed away in 2008. Pilati was open and honest with his commentary. He joked that one of the difficulties for him as a designer was that, in the archives, YSL had done everything. “And I mean everything.” When Pilati had the idea to do a bomber jacket with a big logo on the back, he found a version YSL had already done decades before. “In gold!”

He said he felt that his greatest accomplishment was making the house profitable. When Tom Ford left in 2004, there were losses, but he exited the house when after years of being a profitable fashion brand. One reason for the financial turn around was the introduction of his It-accessories, including the best selling Tribute shoe and the Muse bag. Before 2004 he had never designed an accessory, which he said was a challenge and a thrill. “I was learning the entire eight years,” he said of his time at the helm of YSL. He was only stumped when Golbin asked him about high points and low points in his career. He couldn’t put his finger on his favorite collection, though he did mention he was partial to his debut collection at YSL back in 2004, which is sited as one of the most influential in modern fashion history, and he was resolute that there no low points in his career. “To work in fashion is a privileged place to be,” he explained.

Conversation ultimately returned to his future plans, and what he plans to do next. “I’m pretty sure I have the energy and the knowledge to at least try to do something relevant,” he smiled. “But right now I’m on vacation.” When will the holiday end? “Well, not tonight.” When the discussion was opened to the audience one of the students in attendance asked Pilati if he would hire her for his next venture, which just proved the point that until Stefano is ready to return, we’ll be eagerly waiting.

7:22 am

David Beckham and Me: The Underwear Interview

27/03/2012, Observations

To make a long story short: David Beckham, the world’s most famous heartthrob footballer, has launched his own line of bodywear with H&M. It’s the most exciting thing to happen to men’s underwear (manties?) since Calvin Klein printed his name on elastic waistbands. To celebrate the launch, I met up with David in LA and talked about his first fashion memories, his fashionable wife, and these new fashionable underpants to discuss the project for H&M‘s spring 2012 magazine.

On a fine day in Los Angeles, the view from Simon Fuller’s penthouse HQ on Sunset Boulevard is absolutely glorious. And so is the company. I’m perched in an office that overlooks sun-drenched Beverly Hills. In the conference room to my right is David Beckham, finalizing designs and production concepts for his new line of bodywear with H&M; in another room to my left is the legendary actor Michael Caine. As I wait for Beckham to join me for a discussion about football, fashion, family and 
the concept behind his new line of bodywear
 (I’ve been told it’s not mere underwear) I pass the time listening to the hypnotic cadence of Caine’s voice through the wall.

Beckham is busy today: he’s approving his bodywear’s packaging with H&M executives, and reviewing a TV commercial, shot by Alasdair McLellan, featuring his tanned and toned body slowly rotating in nothing but a pair of small white knickers. The last thing he does before we sit down to chat is coordinate the school run for his two eldest sons (he and his wife, Victoria Beckham, following 
the birth of a little girl last year, now have a brood of four). It’s decided that the eldest, Brooklyn, 
will go straight home from school, and Romeo will meet his father at the office. LA’s ever-present paparazzi will photograph the two messing around on a pair of motorbikes later today – father-son bonding at its best.

I’m in awe of how calm and collected David Beckham is. We grab some club sandwiches for lunch, and I can’t help but notice how genuinely nice, well-dressed, articulate and (as he manages his messy meal) in possession of terrific manners the guy is. For a man whose life has been determined by his ability to perform in a highly competitive team sport, he demonstrates impressive restraint and responsibility. Perhaps that’s what has allowed 
him to achieve so much in his mere 36 years as a world-class athlete, international sex symbol, cultural juggernaut and family man. His latest job title? Underwear designer, which is a gig we both agree he needs a business card for.

Derek Blasberg: I like the idea of you having a business card that says “underwear designer”.
David Beckham: Yeah! I think I should have 
some made. I don’t have any cards yet, so thanks for the idea.
Derek: What? You’ve worked in fashion for years now; I can’t believe no one’s given you a card –
so when did you start paying more attention to how people dress?
David: I’ve always liked fashion. I might not have always worn great stuff, but I always knew what 
I liked. I’ve definitely worn stuff that maybe some-one else wouldn’t wear, but I wear what I think looks good.
Derek: Do you like to dress up?
David: I love to wear a suit. But I love to dress down, too; a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and some flip flops.
Derek: Do you have a daily uniform?
David: Not at all. The only thing I do is set my outfit out the night before so it’s ready in the morning.
Derek: No way. Do you really?
David: Yeah, I do. I got four kids, so getting them ready, plus getting myself ready – it would take 
too long.
Derek: Have you been like that since you were a kid?
David: I suppose the very first thing I remember, when it comes to fashion, is when I was a pageboy at a family wedding. I had a choice between wearing some boring old suit, or a pair of knickerbockers with ballerina tights and slippers. I went with the tights.
Derek: I’d kill to see that picture.
David: My mum’s probably got it somewhere. It’s not that I always wanted to be different, but I knew what I liked and that’s always what I wore.
Derek: Looking back on all of your sartorial decisions you’ve made, do you laugh about any of it now?
David: Always. I look back on some stuff and I think, “I can’t believe I actually wore that.” But I have no regrets – I knew at the time it was good.
Derek: Any specific I-can’t-believe-I-did-that moments?
David: Me and Victoria wore matching black leather outfits once. They were Versace. That’s one where I look back, like, “What were we thinking?” We laugh about that one.
Derek: I know that picture. To be honest, you both looked great individually. It’s when it’s matching that it becomes too much. Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake once did matching denim ensembles, and it was a lot.
David: I remember that, too. It’s all good until you do it as a couple.
Derek: That’s one good thing about being an underwear designer: not that many people see it.
David: That’s very true.
Derek: Though, I guess that can’t really be said 
for you.
David: Yeah, in my case it’s more like a few million people see it.
Derek: But what a cool campaign! I love those pictures, and I’ve seen the mock-ups of the images for buses and billboards. You’re going to be, like, 60 feet tall and on the sides of buildings.
David: That’s the thing: H&M thinks big. They want it everywhere, and that’s great. When it came to the pictures, I thought it was important that I roughed them up a little bit. Alasdair [McLellan] did them; he’s so talented.
Derek: When you know the pictures are going on billboards around the world, do you blush?
David: Oh, are you kidding? I get embarrassed. Really embarrassed.
Derek: I do like that it’s a subtle logo. Nothing too flashy poking out of the trousers.
David: That’s what we wanted to go for. I don’t think men want to wear something that’s too branded anyway, especially with my name all over their underwear.
Derek: Is the circle in the logo a football?
David: It’s a football, it’s a globe, it’s whatever you want it to be. It wasn’t meant to be a ball, but people obviously think of me and think of the sport.
Derek: How did this collaboration come together?
David: I started working on a bodywear project more than a year ago. At the time it was just me and my team; there was no collaboration with anybody else. But, H&M heard that I was bringing out a range and approached us, and it all came together.
Derek: How far along were you with your line?
David: We had product. We were a long way along. We had something physical to show H&M, and as soon as they saw the product they were like, “We’re in, we want it.” They took our ideas to another level.
Derek: H&M has teamed up with other designers in the past, like Karl Lagerfeld and Alber Elbaz. But, this is a completely different concept, isn’t it?
David: Longevity is what we’re trying to create here, and that’s different from the other collaborations they’ve done. It’ll continue for years. Or, at least I hope it does.
Derek: What made you want to do underwear in the first place?
David: Everyone needs underwear. I love underwear, I love bodywear. Obviously, the relationship 
I had with Emporio Armani, and the success that I had with them a few years ago, got me thinking, “Why don’t I have my own range?” The sales and the interest in that Armani stuff was incredible.
Derek: In a way, especially for men, it’s an untapped market. There definitely aren’t too many high-concept, low-price options for us fellas. Were you thinking about your price points when you were designing, or did that come from H&M?
David: It’s a high-end product, with high-end standards, but we wanted it to be affordable for everybody. I’d imagine most people want to go into 
a store and buy a pair of underwear and not spend a ridiculous amount. That’s what’s great about H&M. They know what they’re doing; they know what price point they can hit and what the public want.
Derek: Tell me a little bit about the design process. Did you sketch or work with prototypes?
David: That’s one thing about me – everything I’ve ever done, I’m involved. If I can’t be hands-on and totally involved, I don’t want anything to do with it. It’s something I’ve always done throughout my career. I don’t want to just give my name to someone to do whatever they want. I think H&M loved the fact that I was totally involved.
Derek: I know she’s got her own fashion career, 
but did your wife chime in when you were 
putting this together?
David: She saw the range and she saw it on me. 
She loved it. We all loved it straightaway, because 
it’s so simple and well done. She’s definitely someone whose judgement I trust, and she does 
have an expertise.
Derek: Your kids are pretty stylish, too. Do you dress them up, or do they do that on their own?
David: I used to try and dress them up, but now they’re at the age when they want to wear their own things. They are three different characters. You got the oldest, who’s twelve, and he’ll just wear his soccer shorts and a t-shirt. The middle one, Romeo, he’s nine and he’s kind of the fashion one, so he’ll go in and pick out a pair of skinny jeans and a vintage t-shirt and a funny hat. One Christmas, he asked for a pair of spat shoes. And now, the youngest, Cruz, he’s seven and he’s hitting it right as well. He loves Justin Bieber, so anything that he’s got Cruz wants, like the big high-tops with the skinny jeans. They all have their own style.
Derek: Here’s something I always want to ask British people who raise kids in America: do they have a British or an American accent?
David: There’s a slight British accent, but when I listen to them talk I can hear an American twang.
Derek: How’s your accent doing? Do you find yourself saying American words more, like “elevator” instead of “lift”?
David: Yeah, I do. I also catch myself calling my kids “dude”, every once in a while, so there are a few words creeping in there.
Derek: I see an “H” poking out of your t-shirt on your neck. Is that a tattoo for Harper?
David: Yeah, that’s the newest one.
Derek: All the kids get a tattoo, right?
David: Yep. The boys are on my back.
Derek: You’re running out of room on your body.
David: I am! But tattoos have always been a form 
of self-expression for me. My love for my family, 
or things I’ve gone through in my life. Every one has a meaning. There’s not one on me that I’m going to regret.
Derek: Okay, what happens when your eldest boy wants to get a tattoo?
David: I don’t have much of an argument, do I? I’ll try to say no, but at some point he’s going to say he’s 18 and I can’t really stop him.
Derek: Oh no… I’m sorry to break this to you, but I think you only have to be 15 here in the US.
David: Really? That’s all right, I’ve already told them it’s 18. And I’ve already told them it really hurts.
Derek: While we’re talking about your family, I have to bring up this amazing picture I just saw of your wife. She looks divine in this gorgeous Alaïa dress and killer high heels – and she’s holding a baby.
David: I know, and the baby’s outfit was colour-coordinated with Victoria’s, too, wasn’t it?
Derek: Yes, that’s the one! Major! Four kids and a lot going on – how do you all stay so fashionable?
David: For my wife, it’s a lot easier. Victoria knows what to wear and how to wear it. She has such a great sense of style. I think my sense of style went up a bit when I met her, too.
Derek: When you two got together, it didn’t just change your fashion sense; it changed the whole world for you guys. Like those Versace jumpsuits – everything is more intense in a couple. Would you consider yourself media-shy?
David: I’ve become more comfortable with the media over the years.
Derek: But, not at the beginning?
David: If you’re not around that world and you’re not used to it, suddenly when someone is following you and taking your picture, it’s weird. I had a little bit of attention before I met Victoria, but it blew up when people knew that we were together. There was the wedding, the first child. It’s something that just happened and I’ve got more used to it now, more than I was ten or 15 years ago. But, I’m not one of these people who will sit here and complain about being successful. Everything I have, I’m lucky to have – I’ve worked hard, of course, but I feel very privileged to be in the position I’m in.
Derek: Are you happy out here in LA?
David: Contractually, 2011 was my last year under my contract at the time. I haven’t decided what I want to do, if I want to play here or somewhere else, or even stop playing. I’m looking at the options. We love living here: the kids love the schools and Victoria loves it here, too. So, for me, at this point in my career, the most important thing is my family. It’s whatever makes them happy.
Derek: Would you miss playing?
David: I still love playing the game, and that’s why I haven’t retired. I still know I can do it at a high level of play. A lot of guys finish by 34 or 35. I’m 36 years old, and to be honest, I’m still loving it like I did when I was 21, so there’s really no reason for me to even think about retirement yet.
Derek: But, it’s not like you don’t have other projects. Speaking of, did you know Calvin Klein started in fashion before he moved on to underwear? Maybe you’ll do the reverse: Start in underwear, and then move into fashion.
David: Who knows? Five years ago, if someone had asked me if I was going to have my own underwear range I would have said, “Probably not. No.” And if someone had said to me ten years ago that I would be playing soccer and living in America, I would have said the same thing. But plans change, life changes. So, we’ll see. I love suits, I already have a range with Adidas. Maybe in the future something else will happen.
Derek: You once said that you wanted to open a fish ‘n’ chip restaurant.
David: Was it fish ‘n’ chips? I think it was a pie and mash shop. But, since you’re an American, you probably don’t know the difference.
Derek: Yeah, I don’t.
David: Pie and mash is a proper East London thing, which is where I’m from, so I had it for years as a kid and it’s what I was brought up on. I’ve always said I would love a pie and mash shop one day, but 
I have to be in London for that.
Derek: Maybe you could do it here in California, especially if there isn’t one. It’s another
 untapped market.
David: Well, you never know.
Derek: Now that’d be a killer business card: footballer, underwear designer, pie and mash 
shop owner.
David: And dad. And husband. But, not in that order.

Photography: Kevin Phillips, courtesy of H&M

9:39 am

A Very Busy Birthday Weekend

26/03/2012, General

I’m not sure what people are doing nine months ago to this weekend for the past few decades, but I’ve noticed that there have been a lot of people born around this time. (So, does that mean the weather was really bad and people didn’t have anything else to do? Or that the weather was fabulous and people were feeling frisky? Hmm.) At any rate, I had not one, not two, but three birthday celebrations over the past three nights: Friday was Cody Rose Yurman’s 3rd party, and then the rest of the weekend was fetes for Elisabeth von Thurn and Taxis and Arden Wohl. Three very beautiful women, if I may say so myself.

First up was Cody Rose, who had a third birthday party with strawberry birthday cake and an aerobics instructor. Now, I’m used to being the last person to leave a party, but this was sort of embarrassing: I was last man standing at a toddler’s birthday. In fact, the (adorable) girl of honor was already in her pajamas when I left. It was 7pm.

Next up was Elisabeth von Thurn and Taxis, who had a lovely, intimate get together at her loft on Lower Fifth Avenue on Saturday night. I was expecting wienerschnitzel for dinner and birthday strudel for dessert, but this German princess (wait, she really is one) kept it quaint and delicious.

And finally, on the Sunday night, it was Arden Wohl’s turn. I met Arden when I was a freshman in college back in the early 2000′s, and her birthday was the ultimate time warp. There were people I hadn’t seen in years, which was a good thing and a bad thing, depending on the person. The birthday girl, who is a trained chef, had the best sweets at her birthday I had ever tasted. Which was appropriate since she’s so sweet. (Sorry, I can’t stop myself when it comes to puns.)

2:00 pm

Mr. Blasberg Gets Official!

25/03/2012, From Elsewhere

Mr. Blasberg’s Best Dressed is getting the paper treatment. After appearing exclusively on the Harper’s Bazaar website, starting from the March issue I’ve gone in-book. Behold my April column, which is all my favorite things from the month: Louis Vuitton’s feathered and fabulous spring decadence, as seen on my favorite girls Lauren Santo Domingo, Emma Watson, Sarah Jessica Parker and Elle Fanning; the devastating Anthony Vaccerrello dress that Karlie Kloss wore to Carine Roitfeld’s Vampire Ball in Paris after she wore on Anthony’s runway; the importance of a letterman’s jacket, which I’ve already bragged about here on this site; and finally, a couture ballerina flat at the Valentino couture show. (If you have any suggestions for best dressed moments for future columns, leave them in the comments!)

12:01 pm

Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Museum (And a Meager Lipstick Drawing)

25/03/2012, Fast + Louche

This was a sunny, glorious week in New York City. I’m not sure if I should thank Mother Nature or Global Warming for that, but the days were brisk, warm and bright. The weather was truly inspiring, which is one of the reasons myself and a couple of friends played hooky on Friday morning, avoided the office, and hopped the 2 train out to the Brooklyn Museum to see the Keith Haring show. Making it more special was that we ended up tagging along with a kindergarten class who had also made the pilgrimage to the show, and thus re-saw all of Harig’s bright, festive cartoon drawings through the new eyes of a child. An unexpected treat.

Several of Haring’s video works were in the show, which I had never seen before and left a lasting impression. I had never seen at the speed at which Haring would create these works, which is probably an obvious hallmark of his work given that his pieces are often littered with drips and obviously quick brush strokes, and the fact that graffiti was such an important part of his artistic discourse. Another thing that put a smile on my face was a small room in the exhibit dedicated entirely to Haring’s nighttime proclivities. His was a different time in art, when clubs and galleries were often the same thing, a pristine, innocent time before Twitter and cell phone cameras. Keith was a club rat and also one of the most important artists of his time, which are, I think, mutually exclusive terms in this day in age.

Ultimately, at the end of our tour, the feeling that I ultimately left with was the same one that made me like his work in the first place: I was happy. Even when attending to serious issues (like loneliness, death, chaos and Christianity), the very nature of the cartoon drawings provided the arch of amusement. In the notebooks that he meticulously kept, which were also on display and one of my favorite features of this show, it showed that Haring was at heart a very funny young man. The artist died of AIDS related complications when he was only 31. But his legacy has lasted a lot longer.

The large scale work welcoming visitors to the exhibit on the museum’s fifth floor

I have seen many of Harings work, both in public and private settings. But something that I hadn’t been too familiar with was his meticulous notebook-ing. On display in the show were many of his private doodles, which revealed both a serious artist and a seriously funny young man. The below series was one of my favorites. They’re all phallic drawings.

Also in the show were flyers for his art shows and dance parties that had survived the past three decades. This one was my favorite, with it’s allusion to Gloria Vanderbilt and the line: “An Excuse For A Party.” In these days of alcohol sponsors and crappy red carpets, it made me wish I hadn’t missed the days of anonymous New York clubbing.

Yes, I know it is complete sacrilege to include one of my own meager attempts at illustration in the same post that includes the work of the ultimate artistic illustrator Haring, but I couldn’t help myself. When I came home from the museum I found a couple of Lancome’s Rouge in Love lipsticks and started . But maybe Haring wouldn’t mind. After all, isn’t all art supposed to be inspiring? (But then again, maybe Haring can’t take all the credit. I had just watched a RuPaul’s Drag Race marathon, which is a show that often uses lipstick as a marker, not to mention I’ve been in a doodling mood after my electronic attempts at artistry at Paris fashion week.)

8:20 am

Two New (and Very Handsome) Faces in Fashion

23/03/2012, From Elsewhere

Fashion is an industry that cherishes it’s old, but feeds off the new. That’s why we see so many archaic elements constantly come back into style with the passing of every season; and why, as I write about here, we can see a 26-year-old take the helm of a storied, historic fashion house. During the couture shows in Paris in January, I met two designers that are mixing things up on the other side of the Atlantic: Olivier Rousteing, who just presented his second full collection at Balmain; and Jonathan Anderson, an Irishman based in London, who designs for his label JW Anderson. I profiled them in the March issue of Vmagazine, and have included the text — and pictures of their handsome mugs — here.

Olivier Rousteing is curled up, catlike, on a sofa at Balmain’s headquarters on rue Pierre Charron. It is a rare moment of downtime for the 26-year-old creative director who, in the last two weeks, has shown his first pre-Fall collection in New York, a second men’s collection in Paris, and delved headfirst into his first solo Autumn effort for the house. Balancing three highly anticipated collections in less than a month is a daunting task. (To wit: the frantic pace and high pressure is what led Rousteing’s predecessor, Christophe Decarnin, to vacate the house amid reports of exhaustion and depression in the spring of 2011.) But the young designer, who is wearing a black T-shirt and quilted jersey trousers (i.e. rockstar sweatpants) is taking it all excitedly in stride. “Is it crazy right now?” he reiterates with a smile. “Yes, and I’m a little freaked out, but I thrive on the adrenaline and the excitement.”

Picking up where Decarnin left off was not easy for Rousteing, who was born in the South of France, studied fashion in Bourdeaux, and worked for Roberto Cavalli before joining the Balmain design team. “It was a weird situation,” he says delicately. “I really love Christophe, and he is an amazing person who taught me a lot. So when they told me what happened I reflected, but not whether or not I should take the job, more like what it meant to me. You can love fashion, but when you work at a company it becomes something different.” He took two days to accept. “What made me happy is that I was working with my team. In the end it was a really good decision.”

And one that has paid off. The buzz surrounding Rousteing has gone from a whisper to a roar since his debut, which paid homage to all of the body-con elements of the house while also subtly establishing his own footing. Fashion critics were pleased to see less flesh and more embroidery in the collection, which was playfully inspired by an imaginary journey Elvis took through Las Vegas dressed as a Spanish bullfighter. “I want to have fun,” he says jovially. “And then I want to have glamour. I mix that with tailoring and construction, which are hallmarks of the house of Balmain, and something I would never want to turn my back on.”
There are still some elements of the job that Rousteing needs to get more comfortable with—like the designer’s bow. “I went out there and didn’t know what to do,” he says of his Spring show. “I was super scared—but super happy.”



onathan William Anderson, 27, whose line is called J.W. Anderson, manifested his label in a roundabout way. He came to New York to study acting, but when that became dull he moved to London to do a menswear course at the London College of Fashion. “It’s the only school that let me in,” deadpans the designer, who has a kinetic energy and fabulous sense of humor. He attributes his untraditional career arc in part to sheer boredom. “In 2008, I started making weird jewelry out of clock parts and forced them on friends and family,” says Anderson. “This went on for a while, and after I received my degree in menswear design I decided to do a show that summer in an old church, and I’ve never looked back.” He branched out into womenswear three seasons ago because, he explains, “I love the dichotomy of a man’s and woman’s wardrobe mashup.”

These days his men’s and womenswear lines are two of the London fashion calendar’s most hotly anticipated collections. Last year, Anderson was nominated for a British Fashion Council Award. The designer, originally from a small Irish town called Loup, fondly recalls that fashion is a family pastime. His grandmother would knit many of his childhood outfits, including charming but embarrassing sweaters featuring farm animals and tractors. “I realize now how much I loved the idea that something could be made from nothing,” he says.

His design process is as smooth now as his grandmother’s was then. It starts with what he calls a rat’s nest of ideas and ends with a rat’s nest of ideas. Anderson pushes himself to build many layers of concepts before building fabrics and prints. “A collection cannot be real if it has a single concept, or else it becomes costume,” he says. “Life is about lots of layers, and collections have to be built that way too.”


Photography Anthony Maule
Fashion Jay Massacret

3:05 pm

Feeling Spring (and Solar) at Visionaire

22/03/2012, From Elsewhere

As of yesterday, it’s officially spring time in New York! To welcome my favorite of the four seasons, not to mention the glorious weather that’s been taking over New York these past few days, I dug into our archives at Visionaire and dug up #56: Solar. This issue, which was sponsored by Calvin Klein, was one of my favorites: Several artists (Ryan McGinley, Inez + Vinoodh, Peter Lindbergh and more) contributed works that went from a monochromatic scheme to vibrant colors when exposed to sunlight. My favorite in the series, a paint-by-numbers contribution from the artist Alex Katz. Check out the video we made in the office of Katz’s piece above, and click HERE for more from Vmagazine and to see more videos about old issues of Visionaire.

8:06 am

My (Completely Unsolicited) Review of ‘The Hunger Games’

21/03/2012, Observations

First, a confession: I haven’t read a single one of the books in the trilogy, despite the badgering of my friends, and I walked into last night’s premiere of the ‘Hunger Games’ without having a slightest idea of the premise. That’s probably why I was so scandalized when I found out the concept behind the movie: Umm, did you know the entire plot revolves around a televised game where two dozen poor children have to fight to the death, merely for the entertainment of rich people? I joked with my friends that it was an accurate observation of modern society, particularly if we get some of those Republican candidates in the White House. But upon proper reflection, a poor people Super Bowl of death is pretty messed up.

Apart from this point – and I’ll get back to that in a minute – the movie itself was suspenseful, brilliantly made and captured my attention from the very first scene to the climatic, sequel-alluding final one. I didn’t look at my phone once; well, they had confiscated our cell phones when we came to the premiere, so I couldn’t have if I wanted to anyway.

Some other notes: I was surprised that there were so few scenes with Miley Cyrus’ arm candy and alleged hottie Liam Hemsworth (who is the other Hemsworth boy, who is not Thor), and I was thrilled to see Josh Hutcherson have such a major role, who played the sensitive boy in the Kids Are Alright. The majority of the film, however, belonged to Academy Award-nominated Jennifer Lawrence, who is a fine little actress. I saw flashes of a young Elizabeth Taylor in more than a few scenes, and I’m a big fan of her round, pleasant looking face. (Where are this girl’s fashion campaigns already?)

Since we’re speaking of looks, I was unexpectedly inspired by the costumes of the citizens of The Capital. I’ll throw one of Elizabeth Banks’ city looks below, seen with the dowdy poor people looks of Lawrence’s people. They were very old-school-John-Galliano-meets-a-young-Zac-Posen-and-this-season-Alexis-Mabille-couture, with Pat McGrath doing some colorful face painting. Stanley Tucci, who I love to see in movies even when he’s not playing a big gay queen (see: ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’ ‘Burlesque’), looked resplendent in a blue messy bun, blue eyebrows and Chiclet-sized artificial teeth. And who doesn’t want to see Lenny Kravitz in a gilded eye liner?

Final thoughts: It was a good movie, and a tense, enjoyable way to spend 140 minutes. Yet walking out of that theater and into the Calvin Klein and Cinema Society-hosted after party at the Standard Hotel, I couldn’t help but feel just a wee bit dirty that in this movie (and the book that inspired it), which is aimed at teenagers and young adults, there were so many kids actually killing other kids. One boy in the film, who doesn’t look old enough to legally buy cigarettes, is a trained assassin and snaps another child’s neck in broad daylight.

Look, I know adolescent murder isn’t a new concept or anything (Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon’s ‘Fear’ was my favorite movie in high school), but between the school shootings and all these anti-bullying campaigns being shoved down my throat, this seemed shocking. We live in a society that says violent video games and heavy metal music are responsible for spurring kids to go into their high schools with shot guns under the trench coats – but no one is batting an eyelash when Hollywood makes a glossy film that shows a beautiful black teenage girl getting speared in the heart by another child? To make this point even more ironic, across town last night, Harvey Weinstein had organized a screening of Bully, a documentary aimed at raising awareness at hostility and violence in high schools. To be clear, I’m not complaining. I liked the movie, and I know it will be a huge success. I guess I’m just scared that the premise is too on the nose.

10:32 am

20th Century Beauty Defined By The Women Who Lived It

19/03/2012, From Elsewhere

In the April issue of Harper’s Bazzar, I did a story on a new documentary from the filmmaker and photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders on the idea of ageless beauty. He had spoken to some of the world’s most iconic faces: Jerry Hall, who we both agreed was one of our favorites; Patti Hansen, who I wrote about in the December issue of Bazzar; and Beverly Johnson, the first black woman to be on the cover of Vogue are just some of them women we discussed. There was a fabulous group photo, which actually inspired the entire project, and then we picked three of our favorites — China Mechado, Christie Brinkley and Isabella Rossellini — to get their take on their careers, on their own concept of beauty, and what it means to be considered a beautiful face today. My story, along with my interviews with these three lovely ladies, are below.

To make his latest documentary, renowned portrait photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders was simply in the right place at the right time. Specifically, a supermodel-packed party in 2009 at the New York pad of seminal hairdresser Harry King. “I said I’d go for five minutes, but when I walked in I was floored by all these gorgeous women in the same room,” he recalls. “It looked like a Charlie ad come to life. And I thought, This would be the most amazing group shot.”

He did it–and he was right. The resulting image—a portrait of the biggest faces from the 1950s through the ’80s, including Beverly Johnson, Carol Alt, Cheryl Tiegs, and Patti Hansen—sums up what beauty meant in America in the latter part of the 20th century. “I was so inspired by these women, I thought it would make an even better documentary,” says Greenfield-Sanders. “You wanted to hear what these beautiful faces had to say.”

So he made About Face: The Supermodels, Then and Now, which will air on HBO this summer. “They’re all survivors,” he says of his muses. “They defined beauty for their generations. And they have the most fabulous personalities.”

On-screen, Jerry Hall, 55, reminisces about her first job at a Texas Dairy Queen, and how her mother sent her off to the French Riviera with a suitcase of homemade dresses copied from the Frederick’s of Hollywood catalogue to be discovered. The iconic Carmen Dell’Orefice, 80, admitted that, when she began her career in 1946, models were thought to be “working girls,” while now they are considered businesswomen. Marisa Berenson, 65, the famed ’70s beauty and a granddaughter of Elsa Schiaparelli, “told us regret was a useless emotion,” Greenfield-Sanders says.

Shooting these cover girls was an education for the photographer, whose portraits have been exhibited everywhere from the Smithsonian to London’s Saatchi Collection. “These women are complex creatures; they’re smart women who survived in a tough business,” he says. “In front of the camera they come alive. But more important, they’re beautiful on the inside and out.”

Another tip he picked up: Never skip a party. If he hadn’t gone to King’s house (and, yes, King did the hair in these portraits), he wouldn’t have made the film. “So that’s the moral of the story: Go to the party if there will be beautiful women there. They’ll inspire you.”

Isabella Rossellini, 59

I was lucky, because I started modeling when I was 28 years old. Now they start so young and there is much more pressure. Modeling taught me to be confident and financially independent, but it’s not always the result today. When my daughter [Elettra Wiedemann] started modeling at 20, an agent told her she should get plastic surgery immediately. I was completely scandalized. I could have killed someone. I made a phone call that was one of the most ferocious I’ve ever made. So I was relieved that my daughter had me.

I was happy to be a part of this documentary because I was curious about what had happened to the other models. I wanted to hear about girls like Carol Alt, Beverly Johnson, and the other people I’d lost touch with.

I do miss modeling. In fact, I miss it terribly. But it’s the same problem in film: There are fewer roles for older women. I do think that there are women of a certain age who are in better shape now. There wasn’t an emphasis on women’s fitness when I was young, even with actresses. My mom [Ingrid Bergman] exercised at home every morning for 20 minutes. That was it. She wasn’t like me. I exercise every day for at least an hour, and on weekends I try to do two hours—everything from yoga to swimming to Zumba—but I don’t do anything too strenuous because I’m almost 60.

As for plastic surgery and injectables like Botox, some days I wake up and say, “Well, they have this new technology, why not use it?” And some days I feel the opposite: “Why don’t we accept what is natural?” I don’t think I’ll do it. It’s too late. My mother once told me that growing older was the only way to have a long life. So my attitude is, of course we are aging. And it’s natural, and it’s beautiful.


China Machado, 82

I was born to be a model. I don’t mean that physically because, as Dick [Avedon] once told me, “You’ll never make a lot of money in this industry because you’re too special.” But like models now, from an early age I was accustomed to moving a lot. I was born in Shanghai in 1929 and lived there till I was 16. We were forced out [during the Japanese occupation], and then I lived between Argentina and Peru before I came to Europe.

I fell in love with a bullfighter, Luis Miguel Dominguín, which was a very big scandal. My family didn’t speak to me for 15 years. But I don’t regret it. He was 27 and gorgeous, like Mick Jagger. In Paris I sang in a nightclub, and I met Hubert de Givenchy and started to work in his atelier. There were two types of models in the early ’50s: photographic models and runway models, which is what I was. It was different then. I would work with a designer for three months, as they would create dresses specifically for me. It was couture. I made $100 a month, and I was the highest-paid model in Europe at the time. I had a very distinctive walk.

In September 1958, I arrived in New York. Diana Vreeland cast me in a group fashion show, which I opened wearing a fabulous Balenciaga dress. Dick saw me, and the next thing I knew I was in his studio. I worked exclusively with Dick and Bazaar for the next three years. I stopped in 1962 because, frankly, I couldn’t give a damn. A model had so much to worry about: We had to get our own hair done and do our own makeup. I was happy to become a fashion editor at Bazaar [from 1962 to 1972].

I eat all the time. My favorite food is rice, and I eat it at least once a day. I’m always active. Perhaps that’s what keeps me in shape—I’m always moving. In 1972 I was on the cover of Bazaar, and I said the same thing: I don’t exercise, I don’t diet, and I dye my own hair. People thought I was lying. But it was true then and it’s true now.


Christie Brinkley, 58

I must say, when I look back on my career, I feel slightly cheated. Ha! Most of my editorial happened in the ’80s, and that is definitely not my aesthetic. I remember thinking, “Do my shoulders really need to be that big? And my hair?” I just joined Facebook last year, and people started posting pictures I hadn’t seen in ages, and some of it’s just really funny.

Even though it wasn’t really my style, I did get to work with legends. I did several covers of Bazaar with Francesco Scavullo, and working with him was fantastic. You would go into his studio, and there would be a big umbrella light with a string tied to the center of it. He would touch the string to your nose, and you just knew that, bathed in Scavullo’s light, you looked the most beautiful you ever could.

I was discovered when I lived in Paris when I was 19. I was living as a struggling artist, and I didn’t have a telephone or even running water. An American photographer saw me, and asked me to pose for him. Eventually I did, and he took me to an agency. I was mildly curious but I didn’t want to leave Paris. Finally, on a trip home to California, I met Eileen Ford. I had done a few jobs by then and skipped town on a little vacation, which the clients thought was a bargaining tool. So, unbeknownst to me, I created a demand. That was a good lesson to learn: Fashion people want what is elusive.

I’ve had a long career, even though for the last 25 years the press has referred to me as “the former supermodel.” It’s, like, Jeez, give a girl a break. They called me that when I was making a very nice living as a model, even before I branched out. A few things have changed in modeling. For one, we can become brands now. Before, you were just a girl, or a clothes hanger, but now you can have a name. You’re a real person, which is nice.