Its funny how sometimes you have to read a French blog written by someone in Paris to discover a new shoe designer in Los Angeles. The internet is magical that way. I found these great-looking Birkenstock-esque sandals on a French blog called What Domino Wants. I wore Birkenstocks on and off all summer well aware that they are in no way chic or flattering. But they’re so comfortable! Charlotte Stone an L.A.-based shoe designer whose sandals might just be the answer to the Birkenstock style vs. comfort conundrum.
Another designer got the memo on the crossover between ready-to-wear and performance apparel (aka sports gear or workout clothing). Alexander Wang introduced his new collaboration with H&M the other night and, POW, he hit a home run with athletic-inspired looks made of performance fabrics so they can go to the gym and the office. For several years I’ve noticed more and more women wearing brands like Lululemon as ready-to-wear–oh those yoga pants! Luxury brands like Hermès and designers like Tory Burch picked up on the trend and launched — or are launching — their own lines of sporting apparel. Even Haute Couture houses like Dior and Chanel started selling very expensive sneakers. I’m sure Wang’s looks for H&M will fly off the shelves when they arrive in store on November 6th.
I first met Liya Kebede back in 2000 when she was starting out in Paris, modeling for Tom Ford at Gucci and Saint Laurent. Liya always impressed me with her intelligence and poise. At the time she was balancing a new family and a demanding career, all with incredible ease and grace. We later worked together on the cover of the first issue of Time Style & Design. It didn’t surprise me when Liya was named a WHO Goodwill Ambassador to Maternal Health and simultaneously started her own foundation and a line of beautiful clothes woven by artisans in her native Ethiopia. Most recently she has partnered with Monique Péan to create a capsule collection of jewelry inspired by geometric interpretations of the shape of the African continent. Necklaces and rings are made of recycled 18-karat gold, conflict-free diamonds, fossilized walrus ivory, and one-of-a-kind sustainable blue sapphire. The proceeds of sales will go to Liya’s foundation, which supports maternal, newborn, and child healthcare globally. www.moniquepean.com
The fashion world is buzzing about John Galliano’s recent move to Maison Martin Margiela. Ever since his ugly, racist rant in Paris in 2011 and the consequent flameout as creative director at Dior, Galliano’s prospects in the fashion arena seemed slim. But I’m glad Galliano got a second chance. He is genuinely talented–possibly the most talented designer of his generation–so it’s good to see that talent back at work.
Most of the buzz around this appointment has focused on the differences between Galliano and Margiela and how the two designers have nothing in common. Actually, they have two or three key similarities. They’re both brilliant tailors and they’ve both used their expert cutting skills to great acclaim. They both burst onto the Paris fashion scene in the early 1990s, boldly deconstructing clothes. Galliano streamlined the silhouette with bias cutting, making it slinky and sexy, while Margiela ripped up clothes and stitched them back together with a raw edge. Both designers are showmen, although they responded very differently to fame—one craved it; the other rejected it. Margiela may have eluded the cameras at the end of his runway, but he still created some of fashion’s most idiosyncratic moments.
It’s impossible to predict what Galliano will or can bring to Maison Margiela. Take a look at these photos of his first few Paris shows. He might still have the pluck to surprise us.