Colin’s Column | What is Wrong with Haute Couture and Fashion Today

Mona Bismarck wedding dress by Cristobal Balenciaga | Source:

Today we are honoured to welcome Colin McDowell to our team of contributing editors at The Business of Fashion. In his regular column, we will hear his personal stories, reflections, and insights from over thirty years working in fashion as a designer, educator, critic and commentator. PARIS, France — In the wake of the couture shows in Paris, I have been thinking about what is wrong with current couture and, indeed, fashion

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CEO Talk | Pierre Mallevays, Founder and Managing Partner, Savigny Partners

Pierre Mallevays, Founder and Managing Director, Savigny Partners | Source: Savigny Partners

Today, BoF brings you an exclusive interview with a key adviser to the private family trust which, as announced today, made an investment in Lanvin, one of the hottest fashion brands in the world. PARIS, France — Over the past few years, under the creative stewardship of industry darling Alber Elbaz, Lanvin has risen to heights that most fashion brands can only dream of, with nearly unanimous positive reviews from buyers and

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Rumour Mill | Karl Lagerfeld to leave Chanel?

Karl who?

PARIS, France – We don’t actively engage in the rumour mill here on BoF, but when the whispers involve Karl Lagerfeld, Olivier Theyskens and Alber Elbaz in a Lanvin and Chanel merry-go-round, it seems worthwhile to engage in a bit of Friday afternoon fashion speculation. Today, Diane Pernet has published a bombshell post outlining this scenario: “This is not a fact until you officially read it somewhere else but rumour

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Didier Grumbach | Fashion’s creative pragmatist

Dior Haute Couture by John Galliano, Spring/Summer 2007

PARIS, France — In a fascinating interview with The Taipei Times, Didier Grumbach, President of the Fédération Française de la Couture, du Prêt à Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode (sometimes known as the Chambre Syndicale), provides his point of view on the role of haute couture in the fashion business today, encourages young designers to manufacture in China, and welcomes luxury conglomerates like LVMH and PPR as a

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BoF Recommends | A Shaded View on Fashion Film

PARIS, France - When I first met Diane Pernet, it was hard to see beyond her iconic look : a towering pompadour, mantilla veil, cateye sunglasses and platform wedges, all in black, complemented by scarlet red lips and a signature scent.  Since then, I have never seen her in anything else. But, despite her aesthetic constancy, she is one of those rare souls in the fashion business who still manages to surprise at every turn, with witty observations and an unflinching honesty. And, as I have come to know the person behind the veil, as it were, we have bonded over our shared passion for young design talent, debated ideas for fashion collaborations and industry progress, and exchanged dollops of…

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Yves Saint Laurent | The Final Farewell

PARIS, France - There was wall-to-wall coverage of Yves Saint Laurent's funeral in Paris on Thursday, but as usual, it was Suzy Menkes, in her own erudite and quirky way, who best managed to capture the mood of the moment in her article and video about Saint Laurent's final farewell. That John Galliano, Christian Lacroix, Ricardo Tisci, Valentino Garavani, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Sonia Rykiel, Stefano Pilati, Mark Jacobs, Alber Elbaz, Hubert de Givenchy and Vivienne Westwood were all there to pay homage speaks to Saint Laurent's towering status amongst his peers and YSL successors. The one notable absentee was Karl Lagerfeld. Marc Jacobs, speaking of Saint Laurent's influence on his own designs, said simply "He's the person who taught me everything…

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Yves Saint Laurent | 1936-2008

PARIS, France - The inventor of modern-day ready-to-wear, the first designer to use black models on his runway, the first to bring androgyny to high fashion, the successor to Christian Dior, the first to license his name to other businesses, and one of the youngest designers ever to be at the helm of a major Parisian Haute Couture house, Yves Saint Laurent, died at his home on Sunday evening, June 1, 2008.  Fans of YSL, or simply those who want to learn more, may want to check out the newly-opened (and, I guess, impeccably-timed) YSL retrospective at the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal which runs until September 28, 2008 and which is being planned in conjunction with La Fondation…

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Paris Fashion Week | The brand revivalists

Amongst the most anticipated collections this season in Paris were the debuts by new designers at the helm of established brands -- Stuart Vevers for Loewe, Estaban Cortazar for Ungaro, and Alessandra Facchinetti  for Valentino. Each brand has faced its own unique challenges in finding the right creative spark to sustain brand awareness and business performance. While many fashion companies are practically clambouring to establish a presence and gain legitimacy in the lucrative leather goods category, Loewe has a long, rich history in beautifully-crafted leather goods, including a strong link to the  Spanish Royal family. But despite its enviable heritage and high quality, Loewe has had a hard time breaking into the younger fashion mainstream. Enter Stuart Vevers, who has…

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Paris Fashion Week | The new establishment

It's been a blisteringly busy Paris fashion week here at the BoF, but we've been taking everything in and can finally share some of our views on all the action -- and the business implications. This season, we were most interested in Balenciaga and Givenchy -- the new Paris establishment -- and the series of brand revivalists - including Stuart Vevers at Loewe, Estaban Cortazar at Ungaro and Alessandra Facchinetti at Valentino. Today, the new establishment. Tomorrow, the brand revivalists. After what was widely considered a tour-de-force from Nicolas Ghesquiere  last season, the anticipation was building for a Balenciaga for A/W 2008. He did not disappoint, picking up on last season's modern, sculpted silhouette (which, incidentally has also popped up…

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Paris Fashion Week: The resurrection of Vionnet

In the 1920's, a young French designer named Madeleine Vionnet created a virtual tornado in the in the fashion industry when she developed the bias cut. By cutting fabric against the grain, she enabled it to cling, drape and give in a way that was flattering to the body. Vionnet went on to build an enviable and innovative business, dressing clients such as Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, and Greta Garbo. The house was shut down during the Second World War, but since then, Vionnet's technique has been widely used by numerous acclaimed designers, including Azzedine Alaia and John Galliano, who has made the bias-cut dress one of his own signatures. Now, almost 70 years after it faded into oblivion, the…

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Paris Fashion Week: 6267 – That dress!

Ever since Roberto Rimondi and Tommaso Aquilano of 6267 sent their S/S 2008 collection down the runway in Milan last week, everyone has been talking about that dress. In her glowing review, Suzy Menkes said the big surprise of the show came "when the models turned to show a wide dress morph into a sinuous shape at the back. It sounds tricky, but the idea worked, offering one of the most intriguing contrasts of the season." Of the show's standout piece, Nicole Phelps of said that "Rimondi and Aquilano have an untapped avant-garde streak: Coming, the dress looked like a sculptural, full-blown trapeze; going, it revealed itself to be a body-skimming, provocative sheath." (Note: Unfortunately, no photo of that…

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Gentry de Paris: Tapping into the burlesque revival

Sometimes fashion takes you to the most unexpected places. This is what keeps me interested. Last night I found myself in the heart of Paris' red light district -- home to some salacious joints like les Folies Pigalle and le Moulin Rouge. Why would I show up in such a place in the middle of the week? Because when I received an email from Gentry Lane inviting me to her latest event in Paris, I knew I had to attend: Because my brand is associated with all things vintage and glamorous, I decided to bring the best burlesque performers from Europe and the US together along with the amazing electro gypsy jazz band Caravan Palace for a night of burlesque…

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