SECOND HOMECOMING: Oscar de la Renta, who did a home fragrance collection five years ago with Slatkin & Co., is said to be putting the finishing touches on a new version of the line — even approving designs as he prepared to commence his resort show Monday. De la Renta has a new licensee for the home scents — a two-year-old home, bath and body firm called Vie Luxe, which obtained the license for the designer’s home fragrances earlier this year. Plans call for the collection to be relaunched in November and be carried in as many as 500 stores in the U.S.
SWINGING AWAY: London’s Victoria & Albert Museum is mounting a multipronged homage to the Sixties, from fashion to revolution to graphic design. “Swinging Sixties: Fashion in London and Beyond, 1955-1970” opened in the Costume Gallery earlier this week. The show features paper dresses with in-your-face Zandra Rhodes prints, suits by Piccadilly tailors Mr. Fish and Rupert Lycett Green, schoolgirl looks by Mary Quant and more demure numbers by Biba and Caroline Charles. The show is organized according to regions of London and shows the evolution of the London lady, from stuffy old Mayfair to the kooky King’s Road in Chelsea.
“It’s been 40 years since Time magazine came out with its Swinging London issue; designers like Dolce & Gabbana are using the era as inspiration, and there was just a very strong feeling in the air,” says Jenny Lister, co-curator, adding that David Mlinaric had donated the eye-popping striped suit (“Annabel’s turned him away at the time, because the colors were too bright,” Lister said), while Cilla Black donated her long and demure Caroline Charles dress. The show runs until February 2007.
On the other side of the V&A’s atrium, “Che Guevara: Revolutionary and Icon” takes a look at the visual influence that the man — and the famous Korda portrait — have had over the past four decades. That opens this week as well and runs until the end of August. Another show, “Sixties Graphics,” which also opened this week and runs until November, showcases print design from the era and the influence of the youth-driven counterculture, music heroes of the day, psychedelia and the Art Nouveau revival. London is indeed having a Sixties moment. Artist Bridget Riley is set to reveal a new set of paintings at the Timothy Taylor Gallery here, while Celia Birtwell‘s bold prints have been flying off the shelves at Topshop.
PUCCI FLYING HIGH: In the Sixties, Emilio Pucci helped put Braniff International on the map by designing flight attendant uniforms in his signature splashy prints and unwittingly changed the way airlines suited up their stewardess. Now thanks to former Braniff-er Mary Sue Siebold, a sliver of that history will be displayed for the first time publicly at 547 West 21st Street in Manhattan and will then be auctioned online through Chelsea Marketeers. In total, there will be 19 complete uniforms and 86 pieces, including items from Halston, who in the mid-Seventies picked up where Pucci left off.
Insistent that her former garb be sold as a collection, Siebold is gunning for a museum to buy the whole lot. A 20-year veteran with Braniff, Siebold said glass-ceiling-breaker ad exec Mary Wells and Braniff honcho Harding Lawrence, whom Wells married years later, recruited Pucci to do something to set Braniff apart from its competitors. “All the other airline people were wearing what looked like military uniforms,” Siebold said. “We had these kind of ‘Jetsons’-looking clothes in beautiful bright colors.”
The former stewardess said she had no idea her Pucci stash was worth anything but memories until a friend clued her in to Pucci’s resurgence. “I had an entire collection in mint condition. I didn’t want some spoiled brat to wear these clothes once and then throw them on the junk heap,” Siebold said. “Here’s the way I look at it. There’s always going to be a fabulous fashion designer and famous women who want to wear their clothes. This is the only collection that has ever been produced by a major designer because it’s cost-prohibitive now.”