NEW YORK — Adam Kimmel is easy to mistake for a Parisian designer. After all, the influential Paris boutique Colette was the first to create buzz around him, and Kimmel still holds private market appointments in Paris. Furthermore, he doesn’t court media attention; he’s deeply involved in the contemporary art world; and he speaks with quiet, bi-continental sophistication—all of which add up to a certain je ne sais quoi. Kimmel is surely about to enter a new level of renown, as he presents his fall 2008 collection as the special-guest designer at this week’s Pitti Immagine Uomo trade fair in Florence.
For the record, he’s a native New Yorker with an architecture degree from NYU, and his business is based in New York. Having made clothes for himself and his friends in college, Kimmel realized the craft came more naturally than architecture and compelled him more powerfully toward expression. Besides, he didn’t like what he found in men’s fashion at the turn of the millennium.
“There were a lot of prints and funky stuff, flashiness, a lot of decorative nonsense. Then Helmut Lang was bought out, and it became funky and difficult to wear that as well,” Kimmel says. A lack of consistency, especially in fits, was another general frustration.
In 2004 he put some samples in a duffel bag, flew to Paris and won over Colette’s Sarah Lerfel.
“I did my first collection in really rough cottons, but the quality of the construction was beautiful,” Kimmel says. “Without the luxury of fabrics or detailing, it’s not everyone who can look at construction and see quality. Sarah did. And then I was fortunate to have Robert Burke come down and bring the Bergdorf Goodman crew. At first I think people thought it was a small step up from a jeans brand. There were a lot of jumpsuits. But now I do like to spell out the luxury through fabrics. I love creating my own fabrics.”
Colette and Bergdorf still carry the line, as do Jeffrey, Dover Street Market, 10 Corso Como and about 35 other boutiques worldwide. Europe and Asia are the biggest markets for the Italian-made collection, the artistic genesis of which was Kimmel’s fascination with the abstract-expressionist artists, their raw and masculine sensibilities and styles of dress.
“I found their values to be cool. It’s nice to create today this beautiful product and aspire toward that roughness, that easy lifestyle which I think more and more people today aspire to. That’s where my fascination with the art world began,” says Kimmel, who continually draws inspiration from artists. For fall 2008 he studied the culture around Semina, an influential journal hand-printed by Wallace Berman, the quintessential West Coast artist of the Beat era. In nine issues from 1955 to 1964, Berman published some of the most cutting-edge artists and poets of the time.
The collection will be heavy on workwear, jeanswear, long johns, rough cottons, plaids and flannels, with plenty of tailored overcoats and suits for good measure.
A few months ago, editors received spring look books from Kimmel and, upon flipping through the photos, wondered how they missed the presentation. There was none. There never has been. But Kimmel uses these necessary photo shoots as occasions to have impromptu, art-scene “happenings” at his Chelsea studio. His best friend art directs, his brother takes pictures and his arty friends come over and model.
For the event-installation at Pitti, Kimmel aims to bring this contemporary New York scene to Florence, cradle of Western art. Invitees will come to an art-directed dinner party at the Istituto d’Arte di Porta Romana, where they’ll be entertained by modeling, installations by various artists, and music by Gang Gang Dance, an experimental group based in Brooklyn.
“And of course there’s the look book, which will be shot during the dinner. And there’s the Semina, so I’m trying to make that come alive as well,” Kimmel says.
With the combination of dinner, music, special outfits, photography, and Kimmel’s friends and family traveling en masse, “it feels like I’m getting married or something,” he jokes.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)