THE IT: Miu Miu’s artful influence

Miu Miu’s standout Spring 2011 collection, which showed on Wednesday in Paris,  featured an array of influences, including American Idol (on the runway soundtrack) and the Walk of Fame (in the form of star prints and appliqués). Our favourite reference, intentional or non? The dress that looked like a detail from a Clyfford Still canvas. Beautiful.

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Giorgio Armani’s sketch for Lady Gaga’s Grammy dress, and the dress itself. Story by Anne Pringle.

Armani + Gaga
Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani gained iconic status in the Eighties with its perfectly tailored power suits that ended up defining corporate America (and Richard Gere in American Gigolo). With that in mind, the brand developed a somewhat conservative, traditional reputation… but not for long. A recent partnership with eccentric trendsetter Lady Gaga has put Armani in a new creative spotlight. Armani has created several outfits for the performer, including the cosmic hoop dress with orbiting rings she wore to the Grammy Awards, the bondage-style black leather costumes in her “Alejandro” video, and the black rubbery dress with spikes Gaga wore to the MTV Music Video Awards. Armani is also set to design the costumes for Lady Gaga’s upcoming concert in Italy this December. As Mr. Armani put it, “It wouldn’t be possible to give Gaga a look from the collection because she wears pieces of art. It’s theatrical.” (Wall Street Journal)

Intern inspiration
The 2008 CFDA winner Alexander Wang has a reputation for edgy designs. This is good news if you happen to be an Alexander Wang intern—Wang reportedly used one if his intern’s drawings as the print for some pieces in his Spring 2011 show. Apparently, he had his interns sit and doodle whatever they felt like for several minutes, and ended up using the scribbles in his show on pieces like a white jacket and free-flowing cropped pants. (Nylon)

Walker memorial
Catherine Walker, longtime friend and designer to Princess Diana, has sadly passed away after a long battle with breast cancer at the age of 65. Originally born in France, Walker moved to London as a young woman and began her career in fashion in 1976, a year after her husband passed away. She worked as a tailor and dressmaker for many high society women in London, and made over 1,000 dresses for Diana, including the black dress the Princess was laid to rest in. A memorial service has been scheduled for next month. (Catwalk Queen)

Clothing by Claudia
Claudia Schiffer is having a momentous year—after giving birth to her third child, Cosima, in May and turning 40 at the end of August, she has decided to get back to business. While sitting in the front row at the Salvatore Ferragamo show this past weekend, the supermodel spilled the beans that she will be launching her own fashion line at “an event” next month. (Fashionologie)

THE IT: Anthea Simms, runway photography star

Then and now: Carine Roitfeld, editor-in-chief of Paris Vogue, in the ’80s (left), and last season in New York.

Story by Sara Graham, a Toronto writer and girl-about-town, who recently spent a stylish sojourn in London. Photography courtesy of Anthea Simms.

For better or worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, Anthea Simms has been married to the business of runway photography for almost 30 years. Her images have appeared in countless publications, including ELLE UK and Flare, which was the first magazine to commission her work.

Anthea and I met on a blustery afternoon at the Metropolitan Hotel in London’s Mayfair district. After my delightful discovery that she too owned the Canon G11 camera (which made me feel much better about dropping the substantial sum to buy it), Anthea schooled me as we arranged a snap-happy mini-shoot of our gorgeous Afternoon De-Light tea.

Between bites, Anthea answered a few questions about her career, Carine, and her fascinating experiences as one of the few female runway photographers.

How did you get involved in runway photography?

“I first trained as an illustrator and ended up having a tough time making a living freelancing. So, needing to find a full-time job, I started working for a fashion company. One day a photographer dropped out of an assignment at the last minute and I was given the opportunity to do some shooting…really horrible looking back on it…but it was so fantastic [in that it was] instant, not instant by today’s standards, of course. For me, as an illustrator, by the time it takes to get things done, it was so quick! After that I just kept on going.

[In terms of runway photography] it helps if you love the clothes. When I started, there were some pretty revolutionary designers, and the ’80s was really the beginning of runway madness.”

What was your first experience as a runway photographer?

“The first show was in 1981, before I started doing the whole circuit. It was Betsey Johnson in New York and I shot that in black and white. I think it’s great that I can even remember that. Well, at least it’s a designer that’s still in business, which is quite an achievement.” [laughs]

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THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Now that‘s a forever kind of love: Manolo’s Mary Janes. Story by Anne Pringle.

Manolo on marriage
If your relationship is struggling, perhaps you have been looking in the wrong place for advice. According to Manolo Blahnik, the key to a happy marriage could very well be as simple as owning a pair of his shoes. He goes so far as to claim that his designs have saved couples from marital trouble, and it’s all about making the woman look and feel sexy. As Blahnik put it, “The first thing men look at are a women’s legs. And there is nothing more flattering than high heels.” (Vogue UK)

Fashion Theft
US Airways lost the luggage belonging to Giorgio Gucci on a flight from Madrid to Philadelphia earlier this week—but this wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill suitcase. He is the grandson of Guccio, founder of the House of Gucci in 1905, and reportedly lost over $50,000 worth of vintage Gucci bags. The luggage contained everything from handmade bags (one by his grandfather) to custom-made clothing to hundreds of priceless family photos, all of which were to be part of a documentary being made about his life. The fashion heir was on his way to Capitol Hill to give a speech against counterfeit goods. Watch out: The “counterfeit” Guccis being sold on the street corners of Philly might not be replicas after all… (NY Post)

Disney’s Givenchy
Givenchy has announced that it will open its first-ever American store… in the faux “France” section of Disney World’s Epcot Centre. This has caught many people in the fashion world by surprise—that a high-end exclusive designer label would want to open any store (let alone their first in the country!) in such a public, kitschy place. Although it does give Disney’s French pavilion a certain amount of authenticity. Plus, who wouldn’t want to browse Givenchy’s perfume boutqiue after riding Space Mountain? (Bella Sugar)

THE IT: The September issues

Vogue, September 2010 and September 1993. Story by Laura deCarufel. Photography by Petra Thomas-Grainger.

Fashion’s great machine plows ahead, occasionally looping back to reference itself. I was reminded of this in the most exciting way last week when I found the first Vogue that I ever bought. The issue was September 1993, the cover model was Linda Evangelista, the photographer, Steven Meisel. The fall fashion statement? A crushed velvet coatdress by Ralph Lauren.

I was 13, on a family vacation in the Finger Lakes, when I impulsively picked up the magazine at Wegmans. By the time we were home, I was a goner. I memorized the spreads, the names of the photographers and stylists, the way the magazine used language to create an impossibly alluring world that seemed (almost, almost) attainable. I fell in love with fashion through that September issue.

Seventeen years later, another September issue is on the stands. Looking at the two magazines side by side, I was struck by how much they have in common. From velvet dresses to pastoral blondes, the following 10 spreads provide the proof.

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THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news


Jessica Stam bring her quirky cool to Rachel Roy.  Story by Anne Pringle.

Stam + Roy
Canadian model Jessica Stam has collaborated with Rachel Roy to design a few pieces for her lower-priced line, RACHEL Rachel Roy. Stam was discovered in a Tim Hortons in her native Kincardine, Ontario and has tried her hand at design before – for a 60th anniversary pair of Repetto oxfords, as well as consulting for the Spring 2010 Rag & Bone collection. For the Rachel Roy collection, look for a quilted bag, an oversized belt and chunky sweater, and jeans with buttons at the ankles. (Fashionologie)

Prada controversy
Prada Japan finds itself in legal trouble – the company has been accused of discrimination by former employee Rina Bovrisse. Bovrisse alleges that she was fired because she was not attractive enough, having been told by a company exec that she didn’t have “the Prada look”. Prada struck back with its own lawsuit, countersuing Bovrisse for harming their image. This is sounding an awful lot like how the whole American Apparel scandal started… c’mon, Prada, you’re better than that! (NY Mag)

Pecheux for The Row
Tom Pecheux and M.A.C have teamed up with The Row, the fashion line designed by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. The famed makeup artist and M.A.C will have creative control in designing runway makeup for their September 14 show (replacing last year’s Lancome). Maybe Pecheux is still feeling a blue vibe… like his recently released Blue Dahlia collection for Estée Lauder. (

Cynthia Rowley Band Aids?
Diane von Furstenberg isn’t the only high fashion designer who is taking on unusual projects: Cynthia Rowley recently designed a line of pastel-printed diapers for Pampers, and has now come out with Dress Up Band Aids. For $10 apiece, you can choose from the traditional Band Aid shape in multi-coloured sequins, textured fabrics and graphic prints, or the square Band Aid shape that look like oversized diamonds in clear, blue, pink and green. What could possibly be next? (NY Mag)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Six covers from the Fall issue of LOVE —possibly the best fashion magazine right now—on sale August 23. Story by Anne Pringle.

Gorgeous Covers
LOVE is about to release its “Gorgeous” issue, in which they have chosen seven women to represent the different sides of beauty. Gisele plays the bombshell, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley looks very Jessica Rabbit playing the siren, Lauren Hutton represents the heroine, and Agyness Deyn is the rebel (of course). LOVE editor Katie Grand said, “To my mind each of these women are perfect… I’d happily wake up with any of them (or failing that Miuccia Prada, but that’s another story—and maybe another cover.” (Vogue UK)

FNO Polish
Fashion’s Night Out is almost two weeks away, and Chanel will debut a new limited-edition line of nail polishes just in time. Star makeup artist Peter Philips fronted the creation of the khaki-inspired line, which includes Khaki Brun (an earthy gray-brown), Khaki Rose (a muted, dusty terra-cotta), and Khaki Vert (a mossy green reminiscent of last fall’s polish hit Jade). (

Digital Fashion Week
This year, New York Fashion Week is going digital. Instead of formal paper invites, many fashion houses are choosing to send e-mail invitations with bar-coded confirmations. This means that upon arrival at the show, there will be no more frenzied chaos around a clipboard—seating assignments will be designated by airport-style kiosks. We like the idea not only because it should boost organization and efficiency, but because it also saves some trees! (Wall Street Journal)

Girl Next Door
Katie Holmes’s style has become more sophisticated in the past few years, but she will never lose that “girl next door” vibe, which has stuck to her ever since Dawson’s Creek. In case you were worried about her preppy innocence diminishing, her appearance in a J. Crew ad should solidify the label for life. She poses for her latest film campaign, The Romantics (which was outfitted by J.Crew), alongside co-stars like Josh Duhamel, Malin Åkerman and Adam Brody. (NY Mag)

COSTUME CORNER: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers, a girl worth fighting for, in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Style is an essential element in the creation of an icon—even an indie-slacker hero like Scott Pilgrim, the star of Bryan Lee O’Malley‘s graphic novels, and of the sure-to-be cult classic film. Pilgrim’s T-shirts and parkas are as integral to his world (and appeal) as his befuddled expressions and love for Ramona Flowers, whose seven “evil exes” he must defeat in order to win her heart.

To get the behind-the-scenes scoop on dressing the film, The Style Notebook talked to the film’s costume designer, Laura Jean Shannon, who has also created looks for films as varied as Requiem for a Dream, Elf and Iron Man.

For Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, did you immediately visualize how you wanted the main characters’ costumes to look?

“We were very true to Bryan Lee O’Malley’s vision. Basically what I did as a designer was take his simplified version of real life from the books and re-interpret it to be real again.”

What was your biggest challenge?

“Striking a balance between the books and the film to make sure we gave the fans what they wanted, while also determining how to feel OK going out on my own with ideas. The best compliment I received came from Bryan: I made up a costume for Ramona Flowers, for the climactic scenes, right from my head, since none of those scenes were represented yet in the books. Bryan told me he liked it so much he planned to draw her looking the same way in the book!”

Who did you have the most fun dressing?

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THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Cult fashion favourite Anna Dello Russo, the fashion director of Vogue Nippon, gets (even more) creative for Lane Crawford. Story by Anne Pringle.

Celebrate with fashion
Lane Crawford, Hong Kong’s high fashion retailer, will celebrate its upcoming 160th anniversary with several exciting events and special products, including the customization of two heritage pieces: the Burberry trenchcoat and the Ming dynasty chair. Among the fashion influences creating their own custom pieces are Vogue editor Anna Dello Russo and renowned stylist George Cortina. On top of all that, the resulting pieces will be auctioned off for a UNICEF building project, bringing education to 150 villages in China. (WWD)

M.A.C’s Rodarte controversy
Rodarte and M.A.C collaborated on a makeup line that is now the subject of serious criticism. The line was reportedly inspired by an impoverished factory town in Mexico, Juarez, which is sadly known for its high rape and murder rates. “We recognize that the violence against women taking place in Juarez needs to be met with proactive action. We never intended to make light of this serious issue and we are truly sorry,” the Mulleavey sisters of Rodarte recently said. The products, which come out this September, have since had their names changed. (WWD)

Bold brows
Do you want fuller, thicker eyebrows? Maybe you had an overplucking or waxing accident (we all know the hair never fully grows back properly), or maybe you just want to achieve a bold brow look. Well, this new invention is for you: It Cosemtics has just come out with the new Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil, which uses natural hair growth ingredients like nettle, horsetail and green tea extracts to actually help hairs grow back. (Style List)

Next-gen shopping
If window shopping seems like a bore, try the ultra-modern to pretend that you own clothing that you can’t afford—in a video game by Sugar Inc. The retail computer game’s object is to grow an empty store into a huge retailer, and offers merchandise from Diane von Furstenberg, TopShop, Lanvin and Christian Louboutin. Sounds like it could get addictive… (WWD)

THE IT: The Derby Lemon Splash

A few weeks ago, The Style Notebook shared  a recipe for Pimms No. 1 Cup (delicious!) This afternoon, inspired by the mint seemingly intent on taking over my garden, I’m leaning towards the equally delicious (and heavy-on-the-mint) Derby Lemon Splash. I first had this cocktail in the lovely Library Bar at the Fairmont Royal York. (Quite accurately, they call it a Smash, instead of a Splash, but our way sounds more summery.)

You will need:

1 bottle Jack Daniel’s whiskey

1 two-litre bottle of club soda

Three to four lemons

About a cup of white sugar

Lots of fresh mint

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