The latest crop of new designers showing at this month's Couture and JCK shows gleans inspiration everywhere, from ancient maharajas to chic world travelers.
In March 2000, Susan Gordon took a trip that changed her life.
As a member of the State Department and an aide to President Clinton, she traveled to India to begin talks on energy and climate control. Once she finished her work, Gordon left New Delhi and had a calling to go to Jaipur.
"I had no recollection of it, but I found myself asking, where is Jaipur?" Gordon said. "And when I got there, it was the Gem Palace that really captured me and really inspires me to this day — seeing real artisans doing traditional work. Our world is so massed produced and I was so taken by the people doing a ritual or craft in jewelry and embroidery and doing it all by hand, where each piece is different."
Soon after her trip, Gordon retired from the government and in 2004 launched Susan Gordon Jewelry. She bases her design and production out of Jaipur, where she travels twice a year, and marketing and sales out of Kansas City, Mo. Her pendants and drop earrings in colorful tourmalines, rubellites and quartz are inspired by the architecture of the early Mughal Empire of India and later by the work of Henri Matisse.
"I felt like everything had come full circle," said Gordon, who is showing at JCK. "My concern for the global environment brought me to India and once there, India guided me on a new life path."
Gordon's pieces retail from $1,000 to $15,000 and can be found at such boutiques as Cindy Griem Fine Jewels in Aspen, Colo.; Ojai, Calif.'s Pink Crow, and Fragments in New York.
While producing jewelry thousands of miles away is not without its headaches, Gordon couldn't see doing it any other way.
"Doing business in a different culture is very interesting," she said. "I once got a cuff back from New Delhi that was tested for gold and they had taken off an entire chunk."
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast