Carine Roitfeld on CR Fashion Book

Vogue is a very beautiful magazine, an institution, and I learned so much working there … You can’t put yourself into competition with a magazine like Vogue; you have to create something new, something different. The page has been turned … It’s time to find something new, something fresh — for me and for the readers.”

Check out the mock-up of what we can expect for the magazine to look like, but it’s not the actual magazine, set to premiere in September 2012 at 288 pages. Of those, 100 are reserved for the cream of the fashion advertising crop: Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Cartier, Louis Vuitton and, of course, Gucci.

More recently, it was announced that the magazine is padding the masthead with industry heavyweights: Former Teen Vogue Accessories Director Shiona Turini confirmed to NYMag.com that she has joined Michaela Dosamantes on the market team for fashion and accessories. Turini started her new job May 10.

Dries Van Noten on “Fashion Talks” at French Institute Alliance Française

Dries Van Noten and Moderator Pamela Golbin at FIAF’s “Fashion Talks” Series

Appearing at the French Institute Alliance Française last weekend, Dries Van Noten was featured in the three-part “Fashion Talks” series, along with Stefano Pilati and Reed Krakoff. According to NYMag.com, the designer spoke with moderator Pamela Golbin about the challenges he faces as his brand’s creative director and CEO, going to fashion school in the 1970s, the difficulties of designing and more:

On attending Antwerp’s Royal Academy: “Going to fashion school in the seventies, it was really difficult to be judged by a [teacher] who said, like, ‘No short skirts, only pants,’ or, ‘You can do short skirts, but then you have to cover the knees with stockings,’ and things like that … ‘Long hair is untidy, so it had to be all chignon or short hair.’ ‘Jeans are for poor people.’ So, that was our teacher. So, in fact, when you have so many restrictions, you have to be enormously creative … It was kind of a battle … [But the most important lesson I learned from school was] that there are restrictions involved. And that restrictions … aren’t always bad. I think that in life there are restrictions. People have to wear clothes. [You can’t] design whatever you want.”

On the difficulties of designing: “Making my collection is for me sometimes troubling. Some people who know me really well, know it’s sometimes kind of a struggle. And after the show it gives me the postnatal depression … I have to cover a lot of markets. You see how people are in Germany and Holland and then in Japan, the weather, the climates [are different]. When you make a winter collection, it has to be successful in Hong Kong and Singapore and also in L.A. and New York … Shapes of women are also different, so you have to think, Okay, that’s more for slender people, that’s for the bigger people, and it’s all these things.”

On his use of fabrics: “I’m more inspired by things which I don’t like … nothing is so boring as something beautiful. I prefer ugly things, I prefer things which are surprising … You force yourself to ask yourself questions. Quite often I make a collection and I say, ‘Here’s a color I really don’t like.’ … My assistants will say ‘Okay, you don’t like lilac,’ [that means] this season will be lilac. It’s like you see a color, and you think, Why don’t I like this color? Maybe the composition is wrong, maybe the lighting is wrong — it would be beautiful in silk, but not the synthetic fabric … That for me is the fun, to play with all the [fabrics] … Sometimes fabrics come in two to three weeks before the collection has to be ready. Sometimes you get carried away … [But] when everything goes too smooth, I start to worry. I think, maybe it’s not good. It has to be a bit of a struggle. If it’s going too smooth … I think, My goodness, still three months to go. Maybe I’ll be bored by the time it’s over. Let’s add some things.

On his fashion shows: “Fashion shows are really my way of communication. I don’t go on Twitter, I don’t go to parties, I don’t often do fashion talks like this. So for me, it’s really what I want to communicate. It’s the end of the story … So the venue, the light, the location, the sound, the hair, the makeup, all makes it for me. You have ten minutes to explain to your audience what you’re doing, what you want to tell. So everything has to be perfect.”

On being both the creative director and the CEO of his brand: “Both things give energy to each other, I think. I like to be aware of what’s happening on the business side also. I like to talk to the buyers of the stores which are buying the collection, I like to decorate stores, I like to see how the merchandise is put in the stores. I know a lot [about] that. Of course, I don’t want to be a victim of that either. [If] my sales teams says, ‘Oh, this style was very successful, please repeat it next season,’ I say, ‘If it was very successful one season, that means that everyone who wanted to have it bought it already, so let’s do something else.’”

On knockoffs: “That’s one of the disadvantages of modern technology. It’s so fast, that it’s already like, a few minutes after the show, on the Internet, you have like, the shoe’s details from the back, side, front. It makes it easy sometimes … I think it’s the reality. I don’t want to live in the old world, like 35, 30 years ago when people had prêt-à-porter and that was it. I think fast fashion is good. I think modern people combine vintage with designer clothes, with a piece they buy at Zara or other stores — why not?”

On what he wears day-to-day: “Something very boring. It’s a case for us fashion designers, when you have to make so many choices in the day — you have to select fabrics, styles — the last thing you want to do in the morning when you open your closet is say, ‘Okay, should I put my orange pants with my green sweater?’ … It’s more out of laziness [that I only wear my own clothes]. In fact, when I find a style I like I have my assistant make twelve pieces of it.”

People with Money: Please Stop Saving American Apparel

AmericanApparel.net

Oh for goodness sake, it looks like American Apparel and its CEO Dov Charney have secured yet another injection of neon spandex-clad life. Even after facing a year (or so … more so than not) of public image and financial troubles, it seems there’s nothing that can sink the AA ship and its ever-creepy captain.

2004

Dov Charney pleasures himself in front of a Jane reporter. The borderline-illegal creepiness starts (well, continues).

June 2010

Gawker.com runs an exclusive story detailing the insane dress code required of AA employees (this is after they jump through the full-body photo requirement hoop to get hired). For example, ladies, watch what you put on your face. If  you put anything on your face: “Makeup is to be kept to a minimal — please take this very seriously. Liquid eyeliner, pencil eyeliner and eyeshadow are advised against; mascara must look very natural (ie. [sic] should not be clumpy or a color that does not compliment your skin and haircolor [sic]). Blush must not be overdone — should not have glitter or sparkles. Liquid foundation is prohibited (undereye [sic] concealer is understandable if it looks natural — ie. [sic] not clumpy or caked on, must match your skin tone). Please do not use a shiny gloss on your lips; any lipcolor [sic] must be subtle.”

Take that, anyone who likes (needs — me) eyeliner.

Dov Charney releases his phone number to the public and actually picks up.

(NYMag.com, in the interest of comparative reporting, puts together a list of dress-code comparisons between AA and 10 other retailers.)

March 2011

Dov Charney is hit with two sexual harassment lawsuits in one month. One of the suits names four former AA employees, three of which cannot disclose the nature of their cases, as they signed $1 million confidentiality agreements while employed with AA.

New York Times reporter Laura M. Holson writes about the case, “Gary E. Phelan, an employment law lawyer based in Westport, Conn., said that while it was common for employers to seek arbitration to settle disputes, asking someone like a store clerk to sign a confidentiality agreement was not routine. ‘That is a red flag,’ he said.

“‘Before this month, Mr. Charney had been sued at least four times since the mid-2000s, accused of creating what some women said was a sexually charged, hostile environment. Those suits were dismissed or settled,’ the company said.”

August 2011

AA launches “The Next Big Thing” contest, a campaign where AmericanApparel.net visitors can vote on who they want to see as AA’s plus size model: “Think you are the Next BIG Thing? Calling curvy ladies everywhere! Our best-selling Disco Pant (and around 10 other sexy styles) are now available in size XL, for those of us who need a little extra wiggle room where it counts. We’re looking for fresh faces (and curvaceous bods) to fill these babies out. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next XLent model, send us photos of you and your junk to back it up. Just send us two recent photographs of yourself, one that clearly shows your face and one of your body. We’ll select a winner to be flown out to our Los Angeles headquarters to star in your own bootylicious photoshoot. Runners up will win an enviable assortment of our favorite new styles in XL! Show us what you’re workin’ with!”

The bigger story is, why did it take AA so long to make “plus” sizes? As NYMag.com so aptly points out, “…the average size of a woman in America is 12–14 (American Apparel’s XL is a size 12–14 equivalent, the website says).”

September 2011

Dallas-based peformance artist Nancy Upton wins AA’s “The Next Big Thing” contest — after entering only to spoof the competition. AA is none too thrilled at her antics and, once crowned the winner, Upton is ousted (grrrrreat headline for anyone who needs it) from her top spot because, “while you were clearly the popular choice, we have decided to award the prizes to other contestants that we feel truly exemplify the idea of beauty inside and out, and whom we will be proud to have representing our company,” says AA Creative Director Iris Alonzo.

After winning (then losing) the contest, Upton writes about her reasons for entering in the first place on The Daily Beast, “That’s when I finally put my finger on why I couldn’t get this ‘contest’ out of my head: American Apparel was going to try to use one fat girl as a symbol of apology and acceptance to a demographic it had long insisted on ignoring, while simultaneously having that girl (and a thousand other girls) shill their products.”

October 2011

Chief Business Development Officer Marty Staff leaves the brand, as does executive vice-president Adrian Kowalewski.

November 2011

Acting President Tom Casey quits.

… Meanwhile, AA financials are quickly deteriorating, as the brand faces an investigation by the SEC …

January 2012

The SEC lets AA off the hook and decides not to investigate further.

March 2012

Crystal Financial and George Soros extend an $80 million line of credit and effectively rescue AA from (almost certain) financial ruin.

And that brings us to today, and the near future, where we’ll have to put up with legs-spread-wide models for at least a few more months. Or years. We’ll see how long the credit lasts. But, hey, a fool and his money — am I right?