FASHION’S BIGGEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR: THE 2018 MET GALA

By: Sarah Conboy

From Left to Right: Bella Hadid, Kim Kardashian, and Kendall Jenner

On Monday, May 7th, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City hosted its annual gala in conjunction with the Anna Wintour Costume Center. Sponsored by Versace, Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzman, and Condé Nast, the exhibition’s theme is “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” The show traces fashion’s connection to Catholicism, including pieces from designers such as Azzedine Alaïa, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian LaCroix, and more. As a special addition, the show presents a number of garments and accessories loaned from the Vatican’s collection at the Sistine Chapel sacristy.

Spanning not only the Costume Center, but the Byzantine and medieval galleries at The Met 5th Avenue and The Met Cloisters uptown, “Heavenly Bodies” was organized by Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. This year’s co-chairs included Rihanna (who dressed for the Gala in a papal-inspired look by Maison Margiela), Amal Clooney (dressed in a Richard Quinn, recent recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design), Donatella Versace (dressed in a beaded Atelier Versace number), and of course, Anna Wintour (dressed in a glittering Chanel Haute Couture gown).

Rihanna in custom Maison Martin Margiela

Frances McDormand in Valentino Haute Couture

Guests included a number of A-List celebrities and public figures. Kate Moss attended for the  first time since 2009, showcasing her supermodel figure in a short, black Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello dress. Other models making a cameo at the Gala were the likes of Kendall Jenner, the Hadid sisters, Ashley Graham, and Joan Smalls. Virgins to The Met Gala—pun intended—included debuts from Cardi B (guest of Moschino’s Jeremy Scott), and SZA. Other musicians at the Gala were man-of-the-moment Donald Glover, Solange Knowles, Nicki Minaj, and Katy Perry. A number of award-winning actors came, from George Clooney (supporting wife and co-chair Amal) to Blake Lively, Frances McDormand, and Chadwick Boseman amongst many more. On the designer front, the Olsen twins, of The Row, attended, as well as Off-White’s Virgil Abloh, and Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, accompanied by muses Jared Leto and Lana Del Rey. Couples Hailey Baldwin and Shawn Mendes, and Elon Musk and Grimes, made their first public appearances at the event.

Once inside, guests were treated to a seated dinner, and a preview of the exhibition before it officially opens to the public. As we imagined, the night closed with an on-theme performance by Madonna, who aptly sang “Like a Prayer” and “Hallelujah.” A number of after-parties were thrown to continue the festivities, most notably a post-Gala party hosted by Donatella Versace at the Mark Hotel.

“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” officially opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 10th, and will run through October 8th.

Madonna in custom Jean Paul Gaultier

Lana Del Rey in custom Gucci

Jennifer Lopez in custom Balmain accompanied by Alex Rodriguez

Olivier Lapidus Departs from Lanvin

Olivier Lapidus, photo by Pascal Le Segretain

Lanvin parted ways with its artistic director Olivier Lapidus yesterday, the French fashion house reported. Mr. Lapidus, who joined the brand in the summer of 2017, had only overseen two shows at the struggling brand. His sudden departure is one that some are calling a pattern.

Joanne Cheng, interim CEO of Lanvin told WWD, “Olivier steered the Maison through a transitional period between ownerships,” and “We thank him for that, and wish him every success for his own brand and future endeavors.” The in-house design team will be responsible for further collections until a new artistic director is found.

Last month the Maison was acquired by Fosun International, a Chinese conglomerate after a bidding war ensued to purchase and revive the brand, which has been struggling with declining sales and an identity crisis for the past several years. After the sudden firing of acclaimed designer Alber Elbaz in 2015, the company hired Bouchra Jarrar, who lasted for 16 months. Quickly afterward, Lanvin brought in Mr. Lapidus.

Alber Elbaz, photo by Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin

It seems clear that the house has been struggling to identify their customer, further reflected by the stark contrasts between the last three artistic directors. The shoes left behind by Alber Elbaz, creative director for 14 years, are indeed proving difficult to fill. Mr. Elbaz joined Lanvin in 2001 and remained the creative director until 2015. During his tenure, he is credited with finding the optimal balance between heritage and commercial success at one of the oldest couture houses in France. In addition to his unique interpretation of fashion, he was beloved for his warm heart and genial personality.

Perhaps due to the acquisition by Fosun and a desire to start with a clean slate, or maybe as a result of the harsh words of fashion critics towards Lapidus’ work, the house will need to attract new talent. We will certainly be looking forward with eager anticipation to the new chapter of this iconic house.

WHAT TISCI MEANS FOR BURBERRY


Text by Rishabh Manocha

Riccardo Tisci is no novice in the landscape of fashion. His conceptual prowess, studded with an eccentric interplay of leather, hardware, embellishment, and lace raised many eyebrows during his time as Givenchy’s creative director. Tisci hails from London’s Central St. Martins where he spent his young days mastering the art of subversive, unapologetically sexual, coarsely dramatic imagery. He will now return to the British capital to take the helm as Chief Creative Officer at Burberry.

The appointment wasn’t anticipated, but it is well known that Marco Gobetti, newly- appointed company CEO isn’t predictable either. Chief amongst Gobetti’s credits is the utter transformation of Celine and Givenchy to the forefront of Paris catwalks in recent years. Gobetti, a close friend and mentor of Tisci’s, laid out plans later last year to completely overhaul the brand character of Burberry.

The brand, which is known for its strong links to British heritage and traditions, will now inevitably face one of the most momentous transformations of our time. From being at the pinnacle of embracing technology in fashion to defining British fashion identity, Burberry has always executed timely strategy. However, as sales began to decline and the call for houses to revisit their marketing and production strategies becomes more resounding, this appointment indeed seems apt. Gobetti, in a statement last year, mentioned how Burberry had lost its distinct voice by catering to a middle-market audience. An increased supply and reduced demand indeed presented a major setback for company sales and share prices. However, he added that Burberry would now return to the rungs of true luxury catering mostly to the high-end consumer, with a renewed focus on accessories. This transition he anticipated would be rewarding.

It also means that two Italian pioneers in their respective rights will run the most significant house in British fashion. Their collaborative approach has proven to be both commercially profitable and artistically refreshing in the past. Tisci’s penchant for streetwear is bold, audacious, and revitalizing. His transformation of the sweatshirt as an object of high fashion is perhaps most reflective of his influence on contemporary culture. The collaboration with Nike to stylize the sneaker, Rihanna’s look on her Diamonds World Tour in 2013, and the dramatic designs worn by countless stars at red carpet events around the world  manifest his ability to, time and again, give us a more compelling version of his philosophy. It remains uncertain how much the superficial image of Burberry will change. However, the clash, perhaps a harmonious clash of the two schools (Burberry and Tisci) remains one of the most highly anticipated phenomena to soon unravel.

 


Givenchy Jeans Campaign


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Spring/Summer 2013 Givenchy Campaign
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Riccardo Tisci with Beyoncé, wearing Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci

Photographed by Anton Corbijn, Vogue, September 2015


March 18, 2013 – Toronto, Ontario, Canada – RIHANNA performed a sold out show at the Air Canada Centre during her ‘Diamonds World Tour.


Kim Kardashian takes a selfie with Riccardo in custom Givenchy during a fitting for her wedding at Versailles
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IRIS VAN HERPEN

Iris Van Herpen, Paris, France, 2017

At the intersection of science, art, heritage craft, and fashion lies a singular point, the inimitable and pioneering couturier, Iris Van Herpen. Known for seamlessly blending lazer-cut fabrics, 3-D printing technology, cutting edge fabrics, and haute couture hand-work, Van Herpen’s work is a summation of the old world and the new.

Photography by Maya Fuhr @ The Canvas Agency | Interview by Benjamin Price
All clothing (not including models’ own) Iris Van Herpen Couture

Untitled I, Paris France, 2017

Amid the canals and stone-paved streets of Amsterdam lies a haute couture atelier led by a woman who is equal parts scientist, architect, artist, dancer, and designer. Iris Van Herpen sits at the helm, diving deep into different multi-disciplinary worlds to push fashion design further into the future. She is known as one of the most innovative and pioneering fashion designers in the world. Through her experimentation with different materials and collaborations, Van Herpen has created fantastic, awe-inspiring pieces that have defied previous ideas of what fashion can be.

At first glance, Van Herpen’s iconic designs look like sinuous creatures from mysterious planets, chemical reactions, waterfalls frozen in time, and skins of unknown species – but in reality they are the results of copious research, experimentation, and countless hours of handwork. The fusion of technology and heritage craft work is what makes Van Herpen’s designs so unique. From the initial research stage to the fashion show presentations, every iota of information is explored and disseminated to produce magical worlds that hold a mirror to our own reality of climate change, space travel, and the global stage.

Iris sat down with me, thousands of miles away in her studio, speaking through a computer screen – our conversation punctuated by the atelier cat running across the keyboard. The studio team draped, melted, 3D printed, and slice through materials for the upcoming couture collection in the background. Here is our exclusive interview with Iris Van Herpen and Iris Covet Book.

Guadalupe, Paris, France, 2017

What does a typical day look like in the Iris Van Herpen studios?

It really depends on what we are working on… right now we are working on the new collection. There is a lot of experimenting and creating with new materials. I’m a bit in-between my own space where I do design work, guide the process, and give feedback to the team, then going to meetings with different collaborators for certain projects. The atelier is filled with people with fashion backgrounds and people from other disciplines.

I was going to ask if you have sculptors, plaster specialists, or mold-makers in studio. Traditional fashion labels have a lot of draping and patternmaking, but I was wondering if there are physicists and artists, etc…

I work with people outside of the fashion world a lot such as architects, scientists, or other artists. It is sort of spontaneous. I won’t have them here all the time; it’s a day here and a day there with different disciplines, and sometimes I will go to their studio.

In the past, what has been one of your most fruitful collaborations?

One that is very special to me is my work with Philip Beesley who is an architect and artist from Toronto, and I’ve been working with him for four or five years now. Our process has become very intertwined… like a friendship. He’s always exploring with his team, and we share a lot of the process and experimentation together. If I find a new material, then I’ll send it to him and the other way around. So, it’s really like a collective intelligence there, which is a nice way of sharing. On a much more personal level, I would say that my work with choreographer Benjamin Millepied was special because I come from a dance background. I found huge inspiration in the work he does and the way he works; it was very special to see our worlds coming together.

Looking at your designs, your earlier work specifically, it appears like there is conflict between movement and form. How does your understanding and love of movement and the materiality that you’re using work together?

Well, dance is where I learned how to transform my own body, but also how to use the space around me. In the early years, I was questioning not only how to design for the body, but also discovering the space around it and how it can be transformed. That was like principal research, which I’m still doing, but it became more sentimental along the way – maybe because dance is still part of my work, but it has grown bigger with art, architecture, and even scientific collaboration. I have just expanded my focus, and therefore become more reliant on the materials I use to express the relationship between body and space.

Henry (Film Strip), Paris, France, 2017

Henry, Paris, France, 2017

Speaking of materiality, there’s a material library here in New York City that has every new material that you can think of. Every time a new one is created they send it to the library to be catalogued. Do you use spaces like that to gain inspiration or do you have custom materials that you make?

In the first years of the studio, I would find materials and then use them in my own way. By now, the process is a little bit more personal and elaborative. Mostly we don’t use the material as it is. We either develop a new material, sometimes as the result of a collaboration, or we use existing materials that we then transform into new hybrids. So, a big part of the design process actually depends on the material design. We start developing the techniques and materials and I start draping – where in the beginning I would just shop for the right material and then drape. It’s evolved over time.

I want to now switch gears and talk about the conceptual inspiration of the collection. When you begin researching, what sparks your interest? Is it something small or something more meta such as an intangible theory?

Well, it can be both actually. I’m thinking of [the collection] “Micro” where we explored microscopic structures that I found inspiring. Everything around us, like my own body and materials surrounding me on a micro level. Then there are collections like “Magnetic Motion” which was inspired by the conversations I had with scientists about really big subjects like parallel universes and the whole perception of life, which was a lot more philosophical. Sometimes it’s simply in the material that is next to me, and sometimes it’s a super inspiring theory that changes my way of looking at life.

Growing up, were you very interested in studying nature and science?

Yeah, absolutely. I grew up in a very small little village next to the water. So, nature was really part of my youth; it shaped me. My parents stimulated my interest in the arts, so nature and art together were an integral part of my growing up. I think it’s important to understand, or at least appreciate, how the world works around you and the importance of nature.

How do you see your design reacting to global warming and these heightened more chaotic political spheres?

Well, I think there are two paths in my work: one of them is within the material and technique, and the other is looking at the materials as part of the process of sustainability, but it’s not something I want to communicate. Sustainability has become a PR tool, and I personally find that it is happening too much. For me, it is a natural focus because we want to move forward and still live on this planet in 20 years. I don’t think it should be the central message because it can easily become everything you do, and as an artist or fashion designer, I think a specific environmental issue isn’t a long-term vision. It’s part of the process, but the message that I want to communicate is much bigger than that. I believe that in the long term fashion will change slowly. The materials we use and the way we use them will become better and more sustainable. I hope to help a little bit there, but it’s not something I can do on my own.

Untitled II, Paris France, 2017

Do you think that fashion – because it is one of the top polluting industries in the world – will change in the future? How do you hope consumer relations will change?

I think a very big step in this would be that the whole system becomes more personal again and less globalized. The problem is that most things are made in bulk, and more than half of everything that is being made is not being bought. I believe that the future will be technology that will make the process more personal again because I think through technology there is more direct communication possible between customer and designer. If we go to smaller productions again, we can reduce half of the waste because we’ll start making what people actually need rather than making twice as much. Hopefully we can begin utilizing the materials that can be 100% reused again like with 3-D printing. These are the two big steps that need to be made, and it will take awhile.

Well, speaking of technique and new technology I think that a lot of the interest in your early work was your use of techniques like laser cutting and 3D printing which were not as normalized as they are now. How do you foresee these two worlds of technological futurism and craft heritage melding?

I see the diversity of new techniques and new tools as equal to my hands, and I would not use one over the other: it’s a hybrid between them. For me craftsmanship is as valuable and as important as the newer techniques that I work with. I noticed that by using various techniques we can actually improve the others. Sometimes we want to work on a piece that we simply cannot make by hand, and a 3D printer can inspire the process where we are actually able to make it by hand. So, it’s really interesting how the knowledge from one goes into the other, and I think in the beginning the processes were quite separated. I would work on 3D printed garment, and I would work on a handcrafted garment, but now we have blended the processes. In one dress there can be 3D printing, laser cutting, hand molding, and stitching all in one and no one is able to see the differences anymore; I think that is very beautiful. In the end it is not about the technique behind it anymore, but about the freedom to combine different techniques. I’m able to go into the absolute maximum of intricacy if I’m not limited by one technique because every technique has its possibilities and its limitations.

I think that the future is – I don’t want to say cyborgs – but humans and computer technology coming together to create. You can see that in your fashion shows, which have been very viscerally engaging and surreal. Where does that inspiration come from? Does it come from your concepts? What does this theatrical element add to the show?

It’s really part of my process. I try to translate the energy of the experimentation that I feel from the work into the collection. When I started working on Aeriform I had my collaborators performance in mind, and really working with the empty gravitational aspect of their work, and the way of working that conflict together. So, I work to make those elements the base of designing the garments, while keeping the whole performance alive. Some shows are very minimal in their setting because the inspiration comes from something physical like an artist or work of art, and I want to show people my process and concept. Sometimes the collection comes from a completely different world, and I let the collection be itself.

Chen Chen, Paris France, 2017

You have worked with Bjork, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Tilda Swinton; do you feel the context of your work changes with the visibility and the popularity of these artists?

Well, I guess it connects to different people. They are very specific identities. They all created their own worlds, their own system, and fan bases. The body itself is my source of integration, and these people bringing it into their own world and their own vision creates a new perspective of my work. I think it’s very important because I don’t want my work to be this very controlled and linear thing.

In reference to the “worlds” that you design into, do you often build worlds in your mind when designing?

Not really to be honest. My interest is in the here-and-now because the inspirations that’s translated into my work comes from architecture, art, or things that I see around me. To me, the world we live in is actually so fascinating and it has so many sides. So, I want to look at different perspectives. Some people think I’m inspired by science fiction, but I think the world we live in is magical. It’s really more like zooming in and zooming out – focused on where I am at this point.

Magical and terrifying all at once.

Yeah, yeah, it has everything in it.

In the past you have referenced your work as “New Couture”, what does that mean to you?

It’s a place where innovation is possible. It’s a place where craftsmanship is possible. To me, it’s a place that has real humanity and personality in the work, and it has its place in the digital age and in the digital transformation that we are going through. To me, it’s really about finding the relationship between the world we come from and the world we’re going to. We have to learn how to use all of these great tools in combination with our humanity. I think those tools can be used to create art and beauty, not just functional technology to make our lives quicker and easier.

That’s beautiful. I think that we are at crossroads of so much negativity in politics and in nature, but the world also has a lot of positivity and beauty. What do you want to say to the world as a designer, as an artist?

I think fashion is not only a form of art, but also a place of innovation and progress. I think it is important that we we start collaborating with science and art because all of these disciplines have to change. If we talk about sustainability and moving forward, design is needed everywhere, and I don’t think we’re making progress if we keep on only focusing on one method of thinking. I think disciplines have to cross over to create a collective intelligence to direct the sustainability of design. We’re never going do it on our own. I think that one of the bigger messages behind my work is that the power of collaboration will affect future change.

Francesca, Paris, France, 2017

Makeup by Jay Kwan | Special Thanks to Fanny Moal @ Karla Otto Paris
For more information visit irisvanherpen.com