ATLANTA — Robert Redford and Kenneth Cole had a little fun with each other while discussing some serious issues at the second annual Kenneth Cole Leadership Forum here last week.
Cole explained his interest in social and political issues in a somewhat self-effacing way: "Nobody needs what I’m selling. There’s not a person in America who needs another tie. We all have plenty of white shirts…and surely nobody needs another pair of black shoes. So I’ve got to make this meaningful, because it isn’t, in and of itself."
He then introduced Redford, the forum’s keynote speaker, as "a man who believes that to be aware is more important than what you wear. He even believes that what you stand for is more important than what you stand in. However, we have learned that if we go alone we’ll never be able to change the world. But with Robert Redford’s help, we can all be an accessory."
Redford, wearing a blue suit and open-collar dress shirt, responded that he was "all worried about talking to you guys with a major figure in the fashion industry, but I’m dressed better than he is," nodding at Cole, who was dressed in corduroy pants and a sweater vest.
They both became serious, however, about the forum’s topic at hand: "The Public Trust: Building Community in an Age of Uncertainty." Redford was asked to comment on President Bush’s State of the Union speech the night before. "What a sham and a shame the position on the environment was," he said, adding that the abuse, and disregard for the value of the environment have grown to major proportions. "And to have it continually treated like it’s a threat to economic growth or economic stability is criminal. It’s not just offensive, it’s criminal."
Cole said he did not intend to include any reference to the war on Iraq in future ad campaigns.
"In a time of war, I think it is important for the country to be unified," he said. "We will keep our opinion to ourselves."
Cole told WWD that his next campaign, to be revealed at his fashion show Friday in New York, will take a different, lighter approach. He said, "It’s more of a zen outlook on life and our business — light, candid thoughts about the times.
“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