ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE: Yves Saint Laurent’s longstanding relationship with Morocco will be the subject of an exhibition opening in Portugal next month. The late couturier first visited Marrakech in 1966 and bought a house there, subsequently sketching many of his collections there. “The city opened my eyes to color,” he once said.
The “Love” exhibition at the Palace of the Dukes of Cadaval in Évora, running from June 5 to Oct. 31, will be divided into three chapters.
One section highlights Saint Laurent’s designs inspired by Morocco, thanks to loans from the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent in Paris and private collectors. Curator Stephan Janson has selected 15 garments to be displayed at the church of São João Evangelista on the palace grounds.
“At every street corner in Marrakech, one stumbles upon striking groups of men and women, appearing as if in relief: pink, blue, green and violet caftans blending with one another. One is surprised that these groups, which seem drawn or painted and evoke sketches by Delacroix, are in fact spontaneous arrangements of everyday life,” Saint Laurent said.
Another showcases the work of 13 contemporary Moroccan artists. Curated by Mouna Mekouar, who devised the multi-museum exhibit in Paris celebrating the house’s 60th anniversary, it revolves around Saint Laurent’s famed annual greeting cards, made over a 27-year period, which invariably featured the word “Love.”
The last chapter of the exhibition, curated by Alexandra de Cadaval, pays tribute to Saint Laurent’s partner Pierre Bergé by highlighting the sculptural dresses of Noureddine Amir. Bergé championed the Moroccan designer with exhibitions of his work at the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent in Paris and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech.
Amir was the first Moroccan designer to show his collection as a guest on the Paris haute couture calendar in 2018. He has designed costumes for theater and film, namely for Iranian artist Shirin Neshat, and his work has been exhibited at the MoMu Fashion Museum in Antwerp, Belgium, and the Fine Arts Museum in Lille, France. — JOELLE DIDERICH
BALENCIAGA BOUNCE: Balenciaga creative director Demna made an impression on fashion spectators on Sunday, taking over the New York Stock Exchange to debut the design house’s resort 2023 collection, which included Balenciaga’s highly anticipated and rumored collaboration with Adidas.
The design house’s collaboration with Adidas seemingly had one of the biggest impressions on spectators. According to data from Love the Sales, a fashion e-commerce aggregator, searches for “tracksuits” increased by 138 percent following the show.
Demna’s Adidas tracksuits blended the sports brand’s classic stripe motifs and logo with Balenciaga’s oversize and streetwear aesthetic. Demna also reimagined the Adidas logo, keeping the brand’s signature trefoil emblem, but replacing “adidas” with “Balenciaga.”
In addition to “tracksuits,” Love the Sales saw “Balenciaga” increased in searches by 25 percent, while searches for “Adidas” jumped by 13 percent. Love the Sales also saw that searches for “streetwear” increased by 51 percent.
The Balenciaga resort 2023 runway show brought together many of today’s biggest celebrities and close friends of Demna, including Kanye West, Megan Thee Stallion, Offset, Pharrell Williams, Frank Ocean and Chloë Sevigny, among others.
Balenciaga’s collaboration with Adidas comes after the sports brand teamed with Gucci on a similar high-fashion-meets-streetwear collaboration that debuted during Gucci’s fall 2022 ready-to-wear collection in February. — LAYLA ILCHI
BUZZY LOCATION: It didn’t take more than the warm spring sun for independent perfume label Henry Jacques to attract the first visitors of its new Paris flagship — bees.
Located at a building at the very beginning of Avenue Montaigne, the two-level boutique that opened in May features a small garden at the front, a rarity even in this tony neighborhood.
But human visitors will be just as drawn to the colorful flagons that can be glimpsed in the lab-like space, visible through the street-level windows. By curiosity, if anything else, because much of the store’s 4,300 square feet — and 47-year history — are hidden in the lower level.
“I wanted the garden, a perfumer’s garden, to be our window on Avenue Montaigne,” said Anne-Lise Cremona, the brand’s chief executive officer and also the daughter of founders of Henry and Yvette Cremona.
But between the 2015 terror attacks and several years of demonstrations against unpopular social reforms, there were always plenty of reasons not to settle in Paris, even as a French brand.
A first boutique opened in Harrods in 2014, soon followed by addresses in Singapore, Dubai and Beverly Hills. Eight boutiques and 47 years later, Henry Jacques has finally made it to the capital for number nine.
Founded in 1975 in the southern French city of Draguignan, only 50 kilometers away from the perfume capital of Grasse, the brand made its mark by offering made-to-measure scents.
Over time, the requests of its clients amounted to some 3,000 creations with names like “Rose Snow,” “Merveilleuse” or “Et Pourtant” (or “and yet” in English).
When the younger Cremona, an executive who worked for a major beauty group before joining the family business, took up the helm of the brand in 2011, she selected 50 of these to form the bedrock of the brand’s retail offering, sold only through their own stores.
They take pride of place at the bottom of the steps, set in lit niches carved into the wall. QR codes lead to discovering an explanatory poem about each scent.
A few steps sideways lead into a completely different universe — a living space lined with wood bookshelves and paneled doors.
Ancient books and paintings cohabit with exotic-skin perfume cases and plush seating, with a few windows displaying vintage bottle designs, including those bearing the arms of Qaboos bin Said Al Said, the late sultan of Oman and an Henry Jacques client.
“Henry Jacques is [made of] many lives. When Henry and Yvette took up the brand, it already carried the patrimony of several generation,” said Cremona of this apparent collision of time periods, after further exploration uncovered a cozy private salon and a futuristic oval room dominated by a Corian table.
The idea behind these spaces was to recreate “a house, which mixes our memories, those of our ancestors, a background on which we live. That’s what we find with these objects, and perfume, which is part of our lives,” said architect Christophe Tollemer, who is also the brand’s artistic director.
Throughout the space, the three formats — a concentrated perfume, an extract and a solid format housed in a slimline case — are displayed as objects scattered in a home rather than products. Cases made from repurposed antique boxes continue this impression.
Creating this impression of a home is central to the brand’s long-term vision, which Cremona described as “multigenerational” while declining to give any figures on the brand.
“What I do want to say is that I didn’t want to be in [department store] corners to artificially inflate our figures,” she said. “What is certain is that we can live comfortably with our métier, our art. And we are quite nicely settled here.”
But the executive already has eyes on the next steps. Its 10th boutique is slated to open later in the year in Tokyo’s Ginza 6 mall.
Beyond that, in addition to developing on its French home turf, she plans on exploring the U.S. market, where the brand had a strong bespoke clientele with a further five addresses planned there in coming years. — LILY TEMPLETON
ROUND TWO: Manolo Blahnik’s and Birkenstock’s first collaboration styles sold out in a matter of hours when they debuted last March and now the brands are introducing four additional looks that will debut next month.
While the first drop was centered around the glamorous crystal buckle — which embellished velvet versions of Birkenstock’s classic Arizona and Boston shoes — the new styles are more playful and accessibly priced, focusing on polka dots and PVC.
Blahnik is known for his use of polka dots on some of his signature designs, from the Campari to the BB Pump. Now the designer is teaming with Birkenstock to introduce a completely new allover polka-dotted style, the calf-hair Rodra sandal. Polka dots also adorn calf-hair Boston Birkenstock clogs. (The Rodra will retail for $510, while the Boston will be $540.)
The on-trend $470 PVC styles are a new spin on Birkenstock’s Arizona sandals. They come in both black and white, and take cues from classic Blahnik designs — he first started using the material in the 1970s. “I remember they weren’t very successful then,” he joked. “But PVC has been going strong.”
The new styles will be available June 23 at 1774.com, manoloblahnik.com, all Blahnik boutiques and selected retailers.
The designer, who marked 50 years in business in 2020, said he was energized by the fervor around the first Manolo Blahnik x Birkenstock collection, which quickly sold out and amassed waiting lists. “There are so many people all over wearing them,” he said.
Blahnik himself has been wearing Birks for decades — they’re his go-to for gardening. “The sandals remind me of Roman times. All the Roman ladies wore flats with two bands,” he remembered.
The tie-up has also helped the designer ignite excitement around his classic heels.
“Young girls are buying our shoes like mad. It’s extraordinary,” Blahnik said. “I’m really pleased.” — KATIE ABEL
STICKING TO THE PLAN: Louis Vuitton is continuing with its “Louis Vuitton &” exhibition in China despite pockets of COVID-19 outbreaks putting many cities on high alert.
Running until July 1 and admission free, the latest chapter is being hosted at Qingdao’s Olympic Sailing Center, which was built for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Boats with the event’s logo were docked by the northeastern city’s coastline to commemorate the opening of the exhibition last Friday.
The exhibition, which made its China debut in Shenzhen last November, features more than 180 items spanning more than 160 years, including special-order trunks from the early 20th century, monogram bags reworked by artists and designers, and designs from original collaborations. The show also spotlights Vuitton’s handbag flagship Capucine, showing the full range of the Artycapucines collection in collaboration with artists like Alex Israel, Urs Fischer and Zeng Fanzhi.
Another highlight is a showcase of a selection of the 200 specially commissioned trunks by people including Cao Fei, Liu Wei and Zhang Ding in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Vuitton himself.
The exhibition space also includes a gift shop and a coffee shop.
Qingdao went through a small COVID-19 outbreak in March. The virus was mostly detected among middle school students in Laixi county at that time. As of Monday, the city logged two imported asymptomatic cases, and zero local COVID-19 cases. — TIANWEI ZHANG
PLEIN’S HOME: Philipp Plein has signed an agreement with G Rent SpA to create luxury apartments in Milan and Rome.
Until 2035, the brand will have exclusive management of two buildings, of about 32,400 square feet each, in prestigious residential areas in Milan and Rome, but at the moment, there are still no precise locations for the construction of the luxury apartments.
The two buildings will be managed with the formula of “luxury serviced apartments,” meaning they will have hotel services such as a gym, a swimming pool, a spa, relaxation areas, laundry and security services.
The buildings will reflect Philipp Plein’s brand style and identity, while the artistic and executive production of the launch will be managed by architect Roberto Regondi, art director of Brera Contract Srl, specialized in interior design and media solutions for real estate.
The designer believes that the project “is a great recognition of our brand equity and of the notoriety and prestige that our brand can boast among the tenants of this type of establishment.”
The publicly listed G Rent SpA operates under the Gabetti Short Rent brand and deals with providing dedicated services to investors, developers and private customers for the full outsourcing of high quality real estate units intended for short leases.
Emiliano di Bartolo, chief executive officer of G Rent SpA, praised Plein’s “innovative vision and creativity,” that will be a draw for the project. “After all, we also share VIP customers with this well-known maison, from actors to footballers, from singers to show business personalities, musicians, who we are sure will find their stay in the apartments we are going to manage, exciting and comfortable.”
As reported, the designer revealed last November that he had signed a deal to open a Plein hotel in Milan’s Via Manin, in the historic Palazzo Melzi d’Eril building, which is expected to open in February 2023. — ALICE MONORCHIO