NEW YORK — “Pablo Picasso once said, ‘A good artist copies, a great artist steals,’” designer Elie Tahari told a gathering of design students at the Fashion Institute of Technology here last week. Tahari was discussing his rise to fame, which started with a $2 tube top he designed after noticing them on the streets of New York City in the Seventies, and repurposing it to ultimately create a multimillion-dollar business.
Though fame came almost overnight for the designer, Tahari — celebrating his 40th year in business — said it was hardly an easy transition. He overcame adversity, fighting through poverty, becoming orphaned in Israel and then creating an empire with only $100 in his pocket. Today, Elie Tahari is a global brand worth $500 million.
He moved to the East Village from Israel in the Seventies and was immediately drawn to the hippie movement, especially with women who wore loose clothing, without bras. But it was his ventures out at New York City nightclubs and iconic venues such as Studio 54 that gave him the most inspiration.
“I used to hang out at clubs all night long, and studied the women,” he said, with a coy laugh.
Thus came his first foray into creating a fashion business, named after his muse, the aptly titled “Morning Lady.” The name changed, his business remained.
After tube tops came suits tailored to a woman’s body, a concept that Tahari said took his business to a more serious level.
“I didn’t have a name for the brand,” he recalled. “Someone then suggested: Why not name it Tahari? You can make more money. Look at Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren.…Make more money?’ I decided to do it!”
The advice was good, and after a few years, Tahari saw his business grow exponentially.
His biggest advice for those seeking to follow in his successful footsteps? “Be humble. Don’t have an ego,” he said. “When I go into work, I go in with passion and love — because that’s what I want to do. It’s not the harvest we harvest today, it’s the seed we plant today [that creates success].”
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“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