Monthly Archives: October 2011

To a certain extent every national leader is in a form of costume every day of their term, but today this issue takes on a very specific meaning. Tonight, after all, thousands of children will dress up like everything from Leonid Brezhnev to Ninja turtles and though in 2009 the White House joined in the fun, with Michelle Obama dressing up like a cat complete with spotty ears and painted-on whiskers, this year, celebrating three days early, she opted for almost no costume at all. It’s a telling evolution.

 Read more

Early in October I was sitting in the Valentino show waiting for it to start, as one does, happily reading my Kindle to while away the time, as I do, when the fashion person sitting next to me leaned over and said: “What are you reading?” I showed him: it was Worth Dying For by Lee Child. “Vanessa!” he said, “you have hidden shallows!”

Frida Giannini, the creative director of Gucci, and Patrizio di Marco, the chief executive, are in the ornate restaurant of the George V hotel in Paris, posing for a portrait. They look uncomfortable. First they try standing near the marble columns, then they perch on a gilded sofa, Ms Giannini in front, Mr di Marco lounging behind. Finally Mr di Marco, fed up with the whole thing, rolls his eyes, sticks out his tongue and splays his hands wide. “Come on!” he groans.

In an example of truly portentous timing, just as the Chinese become potential players in the rescue of the Eurozone, Walpole, the British consortium of luxury brands (supported in part by this newspaper) announces they are awarding their 2011 medal of excellence, which is to say, their highest accolade, to…Dr Christopher Cheng, the Hong Kong-based property mogul and owner of Gieves & Hawkes.

 Read more

At the make-or-break Eurozone economic summit in Brussels yesterday, there may have been vociferous debate about what to do to solve the EU’s financial problems, but on one subject at least there was surprsing unanimity: what to wear to telegraph your feelings. Read more

You know that three’s-a-trend rule? Well, note FOUR recent events in four different countries, beginning with the Van Cleef and Arpels announcement of “L’Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels,” and the Instituto Marangoni and Ermenegildo Zegna announcement of the renewal of their Masters in Menswear. School, school everywhere! Read more

Last night Ralph Lauren was on stage at Alice Tully Hall being interviewed/memorialised for posterity by Oprah Winfrey. The nominal reason was a benefit event for Lincoln Center and the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, and the great and the good attended: Larry Gagosian, Bruce Weber, Jill Ambramson, Barbara Walters, and so on. The thing that really made the evening for me, however, were two comments buried in the interview. They reveal quite a lot not just about Mr Lauren, but fashion in general.

 Read more

More details are emerging about Karl Lagerfeld — aka “Kaiser Karl,” he of the white-powdered ponytail, high-necked white shirt, leather gloves, and Chanel fame — and his new business, which for the last year has been code-named “Masstige.” It has now been christened…wait for it!…Karl. But there’s more.

 Read more

I am sitting at my desk, looking at a pile of three new books. So far, so normal. But consider the titles of the books: Chanel: an Intimate Life (by Lisa Chaney, 2011); Intimate Chanel (Isabelle Fiemeyer, 2011); Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War (Hal Vaughan, 2011). Plus, as it happens, these three are actually sitting atop two other books I received last year: Coco Chanel, the Legend and the Life (Justine Picardie, 2010) and Dreaming of Chanel (Charlotte Smith, 2010). Notice anything?

The Dior third quarter 2011 results are in and, contrary to what everyone predicted back in March when Dior designer John Galliano was fired for saying bad stuff, they are good. In fact, they are very good. What do we make of this? The conclusions, it seems to me, are pretty obvious.

 Read more