These three designers will launch collections — two on their own and one for a venerable French house — during Paris Fashion Week. Here’s a preview.
Patrick Robinson for Paco Rabanne
Patrick Robinson is no metal worker. He’s a man of the cloth, so to speak. So don’t expect any clothes that could stick to a magnet when he shows his first collection for Paco Rabanne on March 5.
Not that there’s anything wrong with them.
“The brand has had a strong message with metal dresses. Those dresses [Rabanne] did in the Sixties are incredibly sexy and provocative. The customer has seen it and has taken it as a given, but it hasn’t stayed relevant,” the 38-year-old designer said. “The real soul of the brand is bigger than one dress. Why [Rabanne] showed that is more important. The question is, ‘How does that woman dress today?’ ”
Robinson’s answer? “Seductive, glamorous, sleek clothing, no matter what time of the day.”
Most recently the designer at Perry Ellis, where his Pretty Baby designs earned raves, Robinson nevertheless had a falling out with management and left after three seasons. That was the latest bump in a topsy-turvy fashion career. After training under Giorgio Armani in Milan, Robinson was thrust into the spotlight when he was plucked to head Anne Klein in 1995. Three seasons later, he was unceremoniously fired, which inspired him to launch a signature collection.
When Mario Grauso, head of Puig Group’s fashion division, invited Robinson to dinner and suggested the Rabanne slot, Robinson didn’t hesitate.
“There’s something more personal about this collection than anything I’ve ever done,” he said. “It’s closest to my heart.”
Robinson succeeds Rosemary Rodriguez, who had quietly built a wholesale following. But she worked in the shadow of Rabanne himself, who only relinquished his consulting role at the house last October.
In Robinson’s view, the brand harbors major potential, and he plans to use its heritage as a “cocktail, evening brand” to great advantage and expand that essence to all occasions. Ultimately, he also hopes to put his hands on Rabanne’s successful array of fragrances, noting that women’s scents are not as well developed as those for men.“The clothes will set the tone for everything,” he said, noting that an advertising campaign won’t be done until “the following season.”
The Memphis-born designer must be one of Paris’ most enthusiastic new expats.
Despite separation anxiety — from his wife, Virginia Smith, Vogue’s market director, and their 17-month-old son, Wyeth — Robinson has been soaking up the French capital’s stunning architecture and stylish people with gusto.
“Just look at that,” he said, gesturing at a stunning view of the Louvre courtyard through a window at Café Marly.
But he’ll be tearing himself away from the inspiring capital shortly after the show. “I’ll be traveling around the world to our top retailers to introduce the collection,” he said. “If you don’t sell clothes, you’re not in business.” — Miles Socha
In his years at Emanuel Ungaro, designer Giambattista Valli cultivated a style synonymous with prints, colors and revealing, floaty chiffon dresses.
But now that he’s flying on his own, with a debut signature collection in a runway show here March 4, he’s honing a style closer to his heart.
“Ungaro was about decoration,” explained the designer in his studio in the Marais. “My line is purer. I wanted to create a clearly recognizable line. I want a woman to feel the cut of the scissors in the clothes.”
But that doesn’t mean Valli will forsake the celebrity and social set, which he appealed to at Ungaro with his cool, sexed-up styles.
“My clothes are for the international jet set,” he said. “They are very much for the red carpet.”
To wit: Much of the collection revolves around dramatic evening gowns, largely in black, some with lace and others decorated with ribbons and bows. They are highly detailed, with cuts that speak to a couture sensibility.
“The couture influence is my French side,” said the Italian-born Valli, who started at Ungaro in 1997 and was elevated to creative director a year later. “My aesthetic is part French, part Italian. There’s an austerity in my Italian side. The French don’t have that. They have the cocotte. I identify with both.”Valli is not only concentrating on gowns. He said there would be plenty of tailoring, mostly in black. A crisp “Proustian” redingote with a high fur collar and military details is an example. Black is his color of choice, but there are vibrant shades as well as a couple of girly prints.
Cashmere T-shirts and jeans are also part of his arsenal. “But not just any jeans — jeans that have been treated in a very different way. I don’t want to do something that can be found [cheaper] elsewhere.”
Valli’s line will be produced and distributed by Gilmar, the Italian clothing manufacturer that makes Iceberg. (Last fall, Valli also took on a role as co-creative director of the Italian label.)
“This is a collection of items,” he said “It’s a very important part of the philosophy behind the line. They are pieces that a woman can make her own, pieces that can enhance her personality, that she can integrate into her wardrobe, and that she can interpret in her own way.” — Robert Murphy
Cate of the Hill
After designing Montana and working at Plein Sud, Catherine Brickhill, who was also Alexander McQueen’s assistant for five years, is throwing caution to the wind and launching her first signature collection. The striking 33-year-old blonde will present to press and buyers in the MC2 showroom in the Marais. Eskimos were her primary inspiration. “That means winter whites and layering, fur and patchwork jackets,” said Brickhill, who also whipped up several denim looks among her dramatic evening skirts and fur-trimmed vests. “I like couture details,” she added. “I think of my style as sophisticated and feminine.” — R.M.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)