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EYES ON FASHION

By Michèle Gerber Klein
Tuesday, 3/1/2011 2:34 PM
Blog
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REMEMBERING JOAN

There is a fairytale aspect to fashion as every fresh Fashion Week spotlights bevies of new, young designers hoping, as is proper, for fortune and fame in return for their genius and hard work. This year, the charming proliferation of long, comfy, hand-made looking sweaters over dresses and tights reminded me of the “rags to riches’ story of an old friend who pioneered similar styles thirty years ago and died last month on January 9th.

It was the late Seventies. I was, perhaps, 20, just out of Bryn Mawr and the surreal experience of living in Katherine Hepburn’s old suite in Pembroke East on the second floor next to the dining room. Nothing had prepared me for my first job in the New York fashion office of Neiman Marcus, or life in the Big Apple at that time of Studio 54 and Halston, Bianca and Liza defining American ... Read More


EYES ON FASHION

By Michèle Gerber Klein
Tuesday, 11/30/2010 2:54 PM
Blog
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Me

On November 23, 2001, the Friends of the Costume institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art were invited to Balenciaga Spanish Master with Oscar de la Renta and Hamish Bowels at the Queen Sophia Spanish Institute on Park Avenue.

We gathered over prosecca and canapés under a portrait of the beautiful blond queen in the oak paneled reception room on the second floor of the Institute. First, Inmaculada de Habsburgo explained how Margaret Strong, the Marquise de Cuevas, and a right thinking neighbor had saved the building from demolition in the 1950’s. Next, Harold Koda, Chief Curator of the Costume Institute, told how Philippe de Montebello had lured him back to the Met by threatening to hire someone to de-accession the costume collection. Oscar de la Renta, who began his career “picking up pins and sketching” at the Balenciaga ateliers in Madrid, revealed that he had “told a ... Read More


EYES ON FASHION

By Michèle Gerber Klein
Friday, 11/12/2010 11:19 AM
Fashion
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BACK TO THE FUTURE

On the last week of October 2010 Pierre Cardin visited Manhattan.

He received an award from a Cardin-clad Marisa Berenson at the Fashion Group International's "Night of Stars" gala, signed his new book CARDIN at Assouline and hosted his own fashion show at the very cool Milk Studios downtown.

All this was in celebration of the eighty-eight-year-old genius' sixty years in fashion.

Routinely unpredictable and eclectic, Cardin, a goodwill ambassador for UNESCO, is the owner of the historic turn of the century restaurant Maxim’s (as well as its varied branches and products), as well as Vaucluse Castle, once the Marquis de Sade's lair in La Coste and now partially restored, where he holds music festivals. He also lives part of the time in an antique, lavish and fabled Venetian palazzo Casanova called home..

Apprenticed with Schiaparelli and eventually head of the Dior atelier, Cardin founded his own house in ... Read More


EYES ON FASHION

By Michèle Gerber Klein
Tuesday, 10/5/2010 11:45 AM
Fashion
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SAMBA SANS TRISTESSE

We don’t need no education. We don’t need no mind control”- Another Brick in the Wall -Pink Floyd

This season the Spring 2011 Fashion Shows were at Lincoln Center. The much more accessible new location also suggested the possibility of the addition of an artistic element to the usual cat walk run. And Carlos Miele, Brazil’s most exportable and exported designer, took full and good advantage of this chance. He fused his show with another one, the performance of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall by ‘bad girl’ mega watt international Bossa Nova crossover star Bebel Gilberto.

In a body hugging, brightly patterned strapless cocktail sheath, her dark hair loose over her tanned shoulders, Bebel sang solo and without a break from the time the hem of the first design made its appearance on the runway until Carlos led her by the hand to a finale ... Read More


EYES ON FASHION

By Michèle Gerber Klein
Monday, 7/19/2010 1:20 PM
Blog
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BETSY’S BOMB

Betsy Sussler lives in Brooklyn in a long, townhouse flat giving on to a rectangular rose garden bounded by vine tangled walls. It’s is the kingdom of Caleb, a calico cat who kowtows to no one.

Below Caleb’s favorite perch -the sill of a long window opening onto the rose bushes, is a curved bench strewn with plump rose cushions. Beside it are bookcases and a fireplace to light on chilly evenings, and in front of it, a cozy round table that can seat about eight. It is just the right size for one of Betsy’s famous dinners.

Betsy’s an excellent cook. But her guest lists are even better. At any of these dinners one may or may not find: Wally Shawn, Laurie Anderson and Lou Reid, A.M. Holmes, Pat Steir, Paula Cooper, David Salle and possibly either Cindy Sherman, Susanna Moor or Tom Otterness. With or without their ... Read More


EYES ON FASHION

By Michèle Gerber Klein
Wednesday, 5/5/2010 3:40 PM
Blog
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CLASSY

Class… as in style, elegance taste and refinement, as opposed to classrooms and lessons… is a subject of interest, insofar as it implies all forms of attractiveness, including allure.

This Saturday, the air smelled of spring and new flowers and I was invited by my friend Evelyn Lorentzen-Bell (whose family of Norwegian-American shipping magnates owned, among other vessels, the original “Love Boat”) to a book party for Classy, followed by a small dinner, at her house in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Classy is Derek Blasberg’s new best-selling collection of light-hearted essays and directives for girls in their twenties (and thirties), prominently featuring photographs of Evelyn’s daughter Byrdie Bell in the dual roles of refined and slutty versions of her own persona: A young lady now. Topics include online dating, pole dancing, how to tell if you have a drinking problem, how to throw a good party and tattoos.

Dighton ... Read More


EYES ON FASHION

By Michèle Gerber Klein
Monday, 4/26/2010 9:21 AM
Blog
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CATHERINE’S BIRTH STONE

“Je ris de me voire si belle” – Jewel Song: Gounod’s Faust

Last week, Christie’s Auction House in Rockefeller Plaza, my personal favorite because the doorman is so nice, threw an opening cocktail party for their April auctions: Jewelry and Russian Art. Because I’m enchanted by the famous gems of history, I went especially to see Catherine II of Russia’s astonishing brooch, long considered one of the great jewels of the world.

The Christie’s installation, a combination of painting and applied arts, including many Fabergé pieces and dazzling Tiffany and Cartier examples, as well, was simply beautiful. So, were many of the attendees, including Natalie Kossof, Dierdre Bialo-Kadin, Stephen Lash, Yana Balan, Jemima Jones, Marion Von Burchard, Fernando Bustillo, Mei Gian, Andrew Gadlin and Marisa Tuchinsky.

The food, caviar blinis, wild mushroom timbales, lobster en croute, champagne and Ultimat Vodka, was sybaritically suitable as well.

Still, the emerald stole ... Read More


EYES ON FASHION

By Michèle Gerber Klein
Wednesday, 4/14/2010 12:31 PM
Blog
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CARLA

I don’t know Carla Bruni.
I've just shaken her hand.


But before ever having seen her, I, like everyone, knew her reputation: A fascinating, dangerous, talented and beautiful woman; a modern femme fatale with her own free morality who had captivated the heart of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and, by extension, the hearts of a nation of Frenchmen and the headlines of countless tabloids around the world.

Her artful nude photos are all over the internet and also the sensitive songs she has sung and composed.

Curiosity was inevitable. And so, when I was invited to meet the first couple at the inauguration of the Sky Room at the Alliance Française and despite very short notice, I instantly said, “Yes!”

A privileged twenty or so of us waited over half an hour, wilting gradually from anticipation and consoled by expectant conversation, for the glamorous duo to appear.

Finally, a flurry of security ... Read More


EYES ON FASHION

By Michèle Gerber Klein
Thursday, 4/1/2010 4:36 PM
Fashion
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A PROPOS THE MUSE: DOUGLAS HANNANT

Douglas Hannant makes dresses in the great American tradition of Kasper, Blass and de la Renta for women in the great universal tradition of ladies who love to dress up.

I first saw Paris Hilton at a Hannant show. As she slinked sulkily down the narrow runway, the man sitting next to me gulped, “Who is that-… that blond?”

Much, much more recently, there was a relaxed and festive presentation in a ballroom of the Plaza with marble and mirrors and space to walk around mannequins, take ones time, see all the details and, also, to greet friends.

For Fall 2010, Douglas did something really unexpected. He channeled Jean-Michel Basquiat: The heroine-addicted half Haitian 80’s graffiti artist; Mudd club & CBGBs performer; protégé of Andy Warhol; subject of Julian Schnabel’s first film; and who Whitney director David Ross called the “greatest artist of ... Read More


EYES ON FASHION

By Michèle Gerber Klein
Tuesday, 3/9/2010 9:02 PM
Blog
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RAIMUND ABRAHAM: PERSONAL MEMORIES

Last Wednesday my friend, the internationally famous architect Raimund Abraham, died. The car he was driving collided in downtown Los Angeles with a Metropolitan Transportation Authority Bus. He was 76.

I met Raimund in July 2008 at a 75th birthday dinner given for him by Diane Lewis his friend, colleague and favorite student. The party was in the garden of the East Village townhouse where Diane lives. At Raimund’s request, he was the only invited male.

Nineteen women and Raimund gathered in the summer twilight around a large table surrounded by ivy covered walls. A singer from the Beijing Opera came to serenade him. There was candlelight, caviar, vitello tonatto and toasts with champagne. “Every day is a birthday.” Was Raimund’s speech.

I complimented him on his hat and we were instant friends. To Raimund this meant I could be telephoned at whim any time night or ... Read More


EYES ON FASHION

By Michèle Gerber Klein
Sunday, 3/7/2010 10:39 PM
Fashion
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SIGN ME

Recently, astrological authority and sun sign love guru Liz Rose teamed up with Skinny Jeans expert Catherine Heart to create a collection of ‘Stellar’ jeans . Their skin-clinging legs, specially constructed inseams and artful shading and fading conspire to make women look really thin as well as really cool. Their fashion show at Juliet Supper Club featured Todd English nibbles, Moet & Chandon, a large, jovial crowed and a live and lively band.

Tucked into the “goodie bag” was Liz’s book, bedazzled! An Astrological Guide to Earthly Bliss with Your Man. This tome has been translated into many languages, including French, Dutch and Russian. It contains such advice as (for handling a Sagittarius man), “Let him see how appealing his friends find you” and (for a Pisces), “Just make sure he’s not married before you start an adventure”. It’s all quite sensible and is also very ... Read More


EYES ON FASHION

By Michèle Gerber Klein
Thursday, 3/4/2010 1:14 PM
Fashion
0 Comments


DINNER AVEC GILLES

One of the most fascinating aspects of fashion is the group known as “friends of the house”: Those personalities with whom a fashion designer surrounds his or herself in order to achieve his or her own special brand of buzz. I was particularly curious to learn who Gills Mendel, perhaps the most idolized designer of luxury for women now, would invite to the February 25th dinner I was planning for him at Philippe Restaurant in celebration of his appearance at the French Institute Alliance Française on.

Gilles’ talk, designed to shed light on congruence and dissimilarities between French mode and American style, was the first of three on this topic organized by the French fashion writer Pascale Richard. The other two in the series star Tommy Hilfiger and Marc Jacobs.

Gilles’ list was a tad top heavy with beautiful women: Well what do you expect, after all, ... Read More


EYES ON FASHION

By Michèle Gerber Klein
Sunday, 2/28/2010 7:21 PM
Blog
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A SNAPSHOT OF ZELDA

With her unique mix of ebullience, sincerity and style, ninety-three-year old Zelda Kaplan, has been known to observe, "It takes courage to be who you are."

Kaplan has, for some years now- as her profiles in New York Magazine, The Times and the HBO documentary, "Her Name is Zelda", attest -captured the hearts and imaginations of her fellow New Yorkers. A popular peripatetic in the nightlife of the city that doesn't sleep, she’s Manhattan’s cool club matriarch. She is always (even if it's a private party night) welcomed at Bungalow 8, Double Seven and the other exclusively trendy Manhattan hot spots where, because of her insomnia, she prefers to sip champagne and dance a slow fox trot 'till dawn. Says one nightclub owner: “Zelda’s got juice.”

During Fashion Week, when she is not striding down the cat walk ("She has the soul of a ... Read More


EYES ON FASHION

By Michèle Gerber Klein
Monday, 2/22/2010 3:33 PM
Fashion
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CHRISTIAN COTA

Christian Cota has just entered his late twenties and exudes, at first glance, a faintly dangerous, Mephistophelian allure.  Tall, slender, with blue black hair, twinkly blue green eyes, high cheekbones, an aquiline nose and an aristocratic slouch, he could easily be mistaken for the spoiled boy star of one of Visconti’s historic Italian epics.

However, when he starts to speak, his soft, well-bred Spanish lisp is immediately apparent. So there’s nothing Italian about him after all. And in about five minutes, one can’t avoid realizing that there’s nothing even remotely decadent or wicked about Christian either. On the contrary, as Ana Oritz recently noted, he’s a really, really “good soul”, and, fortunately for female fashion followers everywhere, he’s currently one of the most talented, forward-looking young designers in America.

Some facts: Christian was born, bred, and still vacations (at Playa del Carmen) with his family in Mexico. He traveled ... Read More


EYES ON FASHION

By Michèle Gerber Klein
Wednesday, 2/10/2010 7:43 PM
Blog
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ART OF STYLE

Greg Lauren’s new sight specific installation, “Counter Couture” opened at the French Institute’s Art Gallery at 22 East 60 Street in Manhattan on February 4, just in time for Fashion Week. And a suitably smart crowd including but not limited to: Elizabeth Berkley, the artist’s film star wife, Chiu-Ti Jansen, Dori Cooperman, Dylan Lauren, screen writer Jenny Lumet, Mary Randolf, Agnes Banks, Bonnie Pfeifer-Evans, Estella Cohan, Beth Lauren, Elizabeth Hayes, Tristan de Terves, Tal Shapsa, Jerry Spyer, Marie Monique Steckel, and Ralph and Jerry and Brad Lauren -was there.

Dominating the show: a video sculpture ‘Suit Screen’ in which a row of ten impeccable, life size, white suits, hand stitched by the artist in stiffened Japanese packing paper acts as the screen on which the Hitchcock classic “To Catch a Thief” is projected and re projected in an infinitely occurring loop. It’s an ode to the ... Read More


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