American designer Christian Siriano (1985 – ) is, as of yet, the youngest designer to be featured at our blog, and my heart does break with envy with the fact that we are the same age and he just a tiny little bit more successful than I am. Though, I must admit, he really is good at what he does.
Siriano has studied fashion at Baltimore School for the Arts and American InterContinental University in London. He has also interned for Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen – the last one being his favorite designer.
But it was through winning the fourth season of American reality show Project Runway (2008) he got the chance to open his own fashion line, Christian Siriano, which he did in autumn the same year.
I think his clothes are amazingly over the top, and really beautiful. It only I could wear this to work! See for yourself.
Happy New Year to all our beautiful readers! Our New Year’s resolution? Become even better. Hard to believe that’s possible, I know, but we promise to try. Maybe there’ll even be an etsy store soon, but we’ll keep you posted on that one. For now, we encourage you to be patient and enjoy the work of another fabulous designer, American Derek Lam (1967 – ).
After graduating from Parsons School of Design in 1990, Lam worked on and off for designer Michael Kors for years. After spending some time in Hong Kong, and becoming Vice President of Design at Michael Kors, Lam finally launched his own line in 2003.
“Lam is known for his pretty, girly fabrics backed by clean, crisp silhouettes. Signature pieces include raw silk sheath dresses with plunging necklines, wide-leg trousers in various wools and dainty cashmere pea coats cinched with stiff silk belts.” (wikipedia)
In addition to running his own fashion house, Lam is also the Creative Director for Tod’s.
United Bamboo is a fashion house founded by Vietnamese-born designer Thuy Pham and Japanese-born designer Miko Aoki. They made their New York runway debut in fall 2004.
In addition to fashion, the duo also collaborate in making art and music.
Interestingly, United Bamboo issue an annual calendar of cats wearing the brands runway costumes. Like this,
For each collection, Pham and Aoki blend patterns and different cuts with a downtown chic style, creating an elegant look.
In my opinion, their fall collections tend to be better then their spring collections, because they are often more colorful and, in the words of the Mad Hatter, they have more “muchness.” Then again, a lot of designers tend to have boring spring collection, because somehow, come spring, we all need to wear white and look incredibly dull.
But there shan’t be any dullness here, so enjoy the United Bamboo lovelies below (and above).
Sorry, sorry, sorry, I know I’m a day late with Designer Day, but I do hope that the simple elegance of the clothes I’m about to show you will encourage you all to forgive me. Today I’m introducing you to a classy designer from Chile, Maria Cornejo.
After moving to New York, Cornejo opened her store in 1998, with her brand called Zero.
Zero is supposed to express the vision of its designer: Spare, modern, minimal, feminine, unpretentious, clean and elegant clothes. Maybe not the everyday stuff you see here at Vili Flik, but hello, the dresses are good. Although, was I to wear them I would need a bunch of accessories and some awesome tights, but still, great clothes. If it’s good enough for Tilda, it’s good enough for me.
Cornejo plays with cuts and angles rather than with patterns and colors, which makes for very elegant and often a bit different clothes.
Just a tiny little designer post today, about Gwen Stefani (1969 – ), an American probably most known as the lead vocalist for No Doubt.
I’m usually quite the sceptic when musicians decide they wanna be designers, but I think Stefani does a good job. She’s no artist, in my opinion, but the clothes tend to be cool. See for yourself.
While in No Doubt, Stefani made most of her own stage costumes, which lead to her launching her own clothing line, L. A. M. B. (Love. Angel. Music. Baby.) in 2003.
Though the clothes are cool in themselves, I feel that more could be done presentation wise. Where are the colors and the abundance of accessories? The collections would look so much better if there were just a little more umph to them. Or at least that’s my not so very humble opinion.
Meet Issey Miyake (1938 – ), a brilliant Japanese fashion designer with edgy and awesome designs.
Miyake comes from Hiroshima, and witnessed the atomic bomb dropped in August 1945. Luckily, he survived, and went on to study graphic design in Tokyo.
From there, Miyake went to Paris and New York to work, before returning to Japan to found Miyake Design Studio, a high-end producer of women’s fashion.
In the late 1980s, Miyake started experimenting with new methods of pleating, which would increase flexibility of movement and improve care and production. This led to ‘garment pleating’, a new technique perfected in 1993.
In addition to fashion design, Miyake has also done some costume design for Ballett Frankfurt. He also drew Pocahontas, the girl in the movie, not the whole thing.
Blending traditional Japanese fabrics and production techniques, with a well of colors and patterns makes for fabrics most other designers can only dream about.
In 2000, Miyake himself stepped down, and made Naoki Takizawa (1960 – ) Creative Director of the fashion house.
Finally – there shall be fashion! Jason Wu (1982) is, in addition to being disgustingly young, an amazing Taiwanese-American fashion designer. Oh, to the glory that is his creative brain.
Young Mr. Wu learned to sew by designing and making clothes for dolls as a child, and at age 16 he began to create freelance doll clothing designs for a toy company called Integrity Toys. A year later he was Creative Director for the same company. Insane, I know.
He went from dolls to studying, at Parsons New School for Design, before interning with Narciso Rodriguez.
Then the genius went on to launch his own fashion career, supported by his earnings for the doll designs. He had his runway debut in 2006, and since then his career has been skyrocketing.
Over 85% of Wu’s collections are actually manufactured in New York City’s Garment district, because the designer wants to focus on couture quality craftmanship. Nice.
And the craftmanship really is amazing – all the little details which can take as much as 1000 hours to create speak of a perfectionist. And look at the results. Gorgeous.
Meet the marvelously colorful Spanish fashion designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada (1960 – ).
Ruiz de la Prada’s career in fashion started with a bang in 1981, when she launched her first women’s collection in Madrid, which was a total hit.
I don’t really like kids, but for those out there that do – Agatha Ruiz de la Prada also makes insanely pretty children’s clothes. Maybe not too shocking considering the level of crazy fun in her women’s collections.
There is a very good reason to watch the TV series Gossip Girl: the abundance of glorious clothes. It was through this show I discovered American designer Abigail Lorick. Turns out that she designs, among other things, the clothes Eleanor Waldorf gets credit for in the series. And they tend to be good.
When she was 18, Lorick moved to Paris and Milan to work as a model, before returning to America to study fashion in 2003.
In spring 2007 she launched her own brand, and was almost immediately cast as a designer for Gossip Girl.
Lorick is all about elegance and timelessness, with glorious colors to go, and a mission to, in the designer’s own words, “electric blues and exposed zippers.” Thank you!
And another word of wisdom from the lady of the hour: “Don’t ever leave the house without a little bit of color.”
I discovered Serbian designer Roksanda Ilinic under this year’s London fashion week, and I just loved her collection.
Ilinic studied architecture and applied arts in her hometown Belgrade, before moving on to London, where she gained her master’s degree in womenswear.
In 2003 she launched her own label, Roksanda Ilinic, and has since then had an increase in customers, shops and attention throughout the world. And well deserved! She creates beautiful demi-couture; clothes inspired by 40s and 50s Parisian haute couture. Now you just can’t go wrong with that.
Colorful glamour – my favorite combination.
Allow me to introduce a relatively new Parisian fashion designer – the promising young (how young I actually do not know, since there is nothing on him on Wikipedia) Guillaume Henry (misspelling of name will most probably occur throughout the post).
Guillaume Henry is one of those who has had a quick rise to fame and career and fortune and all that jazz. Basically a guy we would totally hate, if only he didn’t make such fabulous clothes. But now I guess we kinda love him, since he does make those.
Henry did a twelve month’s course in fashion at the Institut Français de la Mode, before leaving to work as a trainee at Givenchy in 2003.
From Givenchy (’cause who stays at Givenchy, really?) he went on to Riccardo Tisci and Paule KA. But then, in 2009, his phone rang. The caller was, of course, the French fashion house Carven, asking him what he thought of them. When answering that they should concentrate on dressing real women, he suddenly found himself with a new job. As creative director (yes, that is jealousy you see, dripping between the lines).
Since Henry is still pretty new to the fashion world, he hasn’t too many collections to show for yet. But I have a pretty good feeling about the upcoming ones.
From the glorious extravaganza of Christian Lacroix last week to one of his former interns this week – I bring you English designer Stella McCartney (1971 – ).
McCartney first became interested in designing clothes when she made a jacket at age 13. At 16 she interned for the wonderful Mr. Lacroix, before studying at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.
For her graduation runway show in 1995 she used friends such as Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss as models. From 1997 – 2001 she was creative director of Chloé. From Chloé she went on to Gucci, and also to launch her own fashion house, in 2001.
McCartney is a fervent supporter of PETA, and does therefore obviously not use fur and leather in her designs.
I hope you’re ready for a picture filled post, because the wonderful French fashion designer Christian Lacroix (1951 – may he live forever) has just so many pretty clothes that I’m having a hard time not posting every photo I can possible find. Whoever said less is more obviously hasn’t met one of Christian Lacroix’s collections.
Lacroix actually studied art history and wanted to become a museum curator. However, that dream didn’t come true (huzzah!), so instead a friend helped him get a job at Hermès (which reminds me: look for new friends).
The same friend also helped him launch his own couture house in 1987, and Lacroix has, since then, put out magnificent collections inspired by different cultures and decades.
Ah, colorful extravaganza – does it get better? I think not. However, some critics claim that Lacroix does not understand what kind of clothes the working woman needs. Stupid. Of course he does – how much more fun isn’t it to go to work all dressed up and feeling great? You can never be overdressed or overeducated darling, and to claim otherwise is just, well, it’s barbaric, is what it is.
Let’s steal from wikipedia again: “Lacroix soon made headlines with his opulent, fantasy creations, including the short puffball skirt (“le pouf”), rose prints, and low décolleté necklines. He quoted widely from other styles—from fashion history (the corset and the crinoline), from folklore, and from many parts of the world—and he mixed his quotations in a topsy-turvy manner. He favored the hot colors of the Mediterranean, region, a hodgepodge of patterns, and experimental fabrics, sometimes handwoven in local workshops.”
Seriously, I wish I could marry these clothes.
What’s actually completely incomprehensible to me, though, is that throughout the history of the Christian Lacroix couture house, it never turned profit, and his last haute couture showing, in 2009, Lacroix financed himself, paying the models 50 euros each. Crazy right?
However, this is a story with a happy ending. Not ending, happy turn. Or something like that. Because this very year, Lacroix is back in the game collaborating with a Spanish clothing brand called Desigual. I’ve never heard of that, but believe you me, I shall check it out!
Hello dear Flik’ers! To some of you, Michael Kors (1959 – ) may first and vanmost be associated with watches. However, this excellent American designer has so much more to offer, so prepare to feast your eyes on some beauties.
Mr. Kors began designing clothes when he was 19, and went on to study fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. It’s been thirty years since he launched his first stupendous collection, and I personally hope for at least thirty more!
From 1997 to 2003, Kors was also the creative director for French fashion house Celine.
According to the Michael Kors official website, their mission is to: “bring our vision of a jet-set, luxury lifestyle to women and men around the globe. Our products, emblematic of the highest standard of quality, include apparel, accessories and beauty. Our lifestyle-driven company embraces the highest standards of creativity, quality, technology and human resources.”
We tend to ignore royalty here at Vili Flik, but today we’ll try to mend that, by choosing an ex-Princess to be our designer.
Diane Von Fürstenberg (1946 – ) is a fabulous Belgian-American designer, who introduced the world to the wrap-dress. (Personally, not really a favorite of mine (the dress, that is), but hey, who am I to judge, it’s not like I’ve invented a new piece of clothing. Yet.) Luckily, she has introduced the world to a lot of other great clothing as well, just take a look.
Von Fürstenberg actually studied economics – it wasn’t until she was about to marry Prince Egon of Fürstenberg that she decided to become a designer: “The minute I knew I was about to be Egon’s wife, I decided to have a career. I wanted to be someone of my own, and not just a plain little girl who got married beyond her desserts.” And aren’t we glad she did?
It’s been a long time since we served some fashion here at Vili Flik, so I think we’re all starved for some extravaganca. And who better to indulge us than the brilliant Italian designer Giambattista Valli (1966 – )?
This style is so wonderfully over the top, which, to quote Vogue, “are the closest to couture that ready-to-wear could possibly produce.” Ah, Vogue. Ah, Valli.
Mr. Valli studied art in Rome and London, and then landed a job with Roberto Capucci, another awesome Italian fashion designer. (Just for the record, ye amazing fashion gurus out there, all of us are currently unemployed).
Valli has also collaborated with Fendi, before he, in 1997, moved to Paris to work for Emanuel Ungaro.
In 2005, Giambattista Valli introduced his own line to great success which has continued to grow for the past six years. And no wonder! The clothes are simply marvelous.
Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Nanette Lepore (1963 – ), described by New York Magazine to be “known for her feminine style and fine detailing, Nanette Lepore makes ultra-chic clothes that are at the same time easy to wear.”
Miss Lepore is an American designer based in New York, where she got her degree in design at the city’s Fashion Institute of Technology. In 1992 she borrowed some money from her dad and set up shop in a penthouse in the garment district.
After opening another boutique in LA Lepore started to gain recognition, and her clothes are now sold in America and Europe.
I love her for using so many strong colors. Color good.
Not being among the most famous designers ever (at least not yet), I don’t have too much to tell you about this brilliant woman, but let’s enjoy some more pictures.
Hello dearies! Yesterday we at Vili Flik went to a wedding exhibition (believe it or not) at a museum nearby where we got to see vintage Chanel and Dior and lots of other lovelies. Vera Wang (1949 – ) was not among the prestigious party, but she definetly should have been, since she, a marvellous designer, might be best known for her bridal collections.
Yeah… I’m gonna need a purple throne. Anyway, back to Mrs. Wang. She is another of the glorious designers who has not studied fashion – actually Vera Wang has a degree in art history, and entering the world of fashion was more of an afterthought after having failed to make the US Olympics team (as a figure skater). And aren’t we glad she did? Fashion yay, sports yuck.
In 1990, Vera Wang opened her design salon in New York – before this she had worked as a design director for Ralph Lauren and as a senior fashion editor for Vogue.
Some of the brilliance of Vera Wang lies in that she combines rich fabrics traditionally associated with French couture, such as duchesses satin and silk lace, with more low-key, relaxed American style – creating a perfect fusion.
Oh the awesomeness. Must go make clothes.
Since I last week presented Calvin Klein, the king of simplicity, to you, I thought it only fitting to use this Designer Day to admire the genius of theatrical wonder Jean-Paul Gaultier (1952 – ), the French haute couture designer.
Mr. Gaultier is one of the long list of designers never to have received formal training, instead he just made sketches and sent these to famous fashion houses. This resulted in him being hired as an assistant for Pierre Jardin in 1970.
1976 was the year he released his first collection, and people were seduced by his creativity and excellent tailoring. He introduced man-skirts in 1985,
and when working with Madonna throughout the nineties he also invented the cone-bra.
Yeah. Enough about that – let’s look at some pretties instead:
Unlike some other designers who shall remain nameless, Gaultier is not afraid of diversity when choosing models – he has used older people, people twice the size of the typical model, and people with lots of piercings and tattoos. This has earned him great popularity, which he totally deserves. What an awesome man.
Ah, Jean-Paul, how we adore you.
This brilliant and lovely man has also designed costumes for some movies, including a Vili Flik Favourite: La Cité des Enfants Perdus (The City of Lost Children).
Calvin Klein (1942 – ) is an American fashion designer, who, like so many others both before and after him, decided to open a fashion house (great idea) and name it after himself (kind of boring idea – seriously, aren’t these people supposed to be kind of creative?). Anyway, Klein started studying fashion, but couldn’t be bothered to graducate, instead he launched Calvin Klein in 1968. He was, of course, immediately glorified for his glorious gloriousness. Let’s look at some of the reasons why:
Now, me and the Klein differ at some points – while I ADORE the theatricality of fashion, his clothes tend to be a protest against all the drama. Now, that might be a bit boring in a way – few colors, no patterns, simple – but the brilliance of Calvin Klein, I think, lies in the cut, the drapings, the tiny but significant details which show that this is great tailoring and design, and that again creates contrast and, Mr. Klein, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but it adds drama. I think it’s lovely.
Dear Vili Flikers: This is a disclaimer to the Karl Lagerfeld post published earlier this week. We’ve read some rather disturbing articles where Lagerfeld says some very anti-nice things, and therefore we just want to tell you all that he has officially lost all his hero points and that we have also come to the conclusion that, though the owner of 300 000 books, he can’t have read a single one of them. But, since he does make fabulous clothes, we have decided to keep the original post.
But shame on you, Lagerfeld, for discriminating against people without an eating disorder! Dare to be different, people! And remember – there are no ugly people, only ugly outfits.
Love from the not too-skinny but still fabulous and brilliant girls at Vili Flik.
One of the things I love about Designer Day is that I often find out stuff I never knew about the various designers – even the most famous ones whom I thought I knew everything about. German designer Karl Lagerfeld (1938 – ) is of course a very famous and highly regarded designer, but today I found out that he actually owns a book shop and a publishing company! Did you know that? For a bookworm like myself, and indeed all us Vili Flikers, that is about the greatest thing a person can do. Throw in some magnificent clothes as well, and we got ourselves a hero.
I think Lagerfeld is the one designer even people not interested in fashion would be able to recognize. His signature look is basically illustrated above, and I for one can’t really remember having seen him wear anything else… I think.
Lagerfeld is probably best known for his position as art director at Chanel, where he started in 1983.
But, the prodigy that is Karl can do more than that. As a 17 year old, (why do all the brilliant people start out so early?! They make me feel old and bitter), Lagerfeld became the assistant to the great designer Pierre Balmain. Three years later he was art director for Jean Patou.
During the 60-s, Lagerfeld worked as an independent stylist, until Fendi came by and asked him to collaborate with them. This collaboration still continues.
But collaborating with both Fendi and Chanel obviously was not enough, so in 1984, Lagerfeld also launched his own line, called (perhaps the most original thought he ever had): Karl Lagerfeld.
He has, as mentioned last week, also collaborated with Chloé. However, designing marvelous clothes for sometimes four different fashion houses still was not enough, so Lagerfeld started exploring photography, and from 1987 he has created his own advertising campaigns. And they are brilliant.
He has also made the illustrations for “The Emperor’s New Clothes” by H. C. Andersen, which unfortunately I wasn’t able to find any photos of. If you know of any, please tell us! But there is no doubt that the Karl, like us, loves books (allegedly he owns 300 000). That’s probably why there is a rumor circulating that he is launching a new perfume called Paper Passion. Whether this is true or not, I do not know, but it would be kinda cool.
I realize that this post has been very textual – but there was just so much fun stuff about Lagerfeld that I had to share! But let’s end this post the way it should – with some photos:
In 1952, French designer Gaby Aghion (1921 – ), sensed a gap in the fashion market and created a line of comfortable and elegant clothes from fine quality fabrics. She called it luxury prêt-à-porter. Up until then, the glorious luxury fashion houses had only produced haute couture, which, sadly, only a few could afford. By inventing prêt-à-porter, or ready-to-wear if you wish, Aghion made fashion more available for us mere mortals. What a fantabulous lady.
And what was the name of the fashion house this brilliant broad founded in 1952? Chloé.
From 1966 and throughout the 70s, Karl Lagerfeld worked as main designer for Chloé, and the brand was one of the hottest of the 70s.
In 1985, Gaby Aghion sold Chloé, and since then a lot of talented people have taken their turn at the wheel. Since earlier this year, the head designer has been British designer Claire Waight Keller.
The style is still chic and comfortable-looking, and I really do think it’s beautiful, even if I sometimes almost want to cry out for more colors and contrasts. But that’s why we have accessories, isn’t it?
It’s not easy to find a lot of personal information about Argentinian designer Pablo Ramirez. Whose fault is that? So glad you asked: As always, sports is the root of all evil. Apparently there’s some football or soccer or some equally lame sport player with the same name – so if you google this awesome designer, most of the result you’ll get will be about sweaty t-shirts and scores. Who cares? (Yeah, we’re not so much sports fans here at Vili Flik (we have brains)). Anyway, I now declare rant over, so that we can focus on the one and only Designer Day worthy Pablo Ramirez.
Ramirez studied fashion in Buenos Aires, and after working some time in Paris, returned to Argentina where he made his debut collection “Casta”.
Before starting his career as a fashion designer, Ramirez worked as a costume designer for operas, theaters and ballets, and his style does seem influenced by this. It’s dramatic and elegant and excessively magnificent. (No, I’m not trying to be objective here)
And sometimes just a tiny tad influenced by Little Red Riding Hood.
You know you love it – at least I know I do.