Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Gianfranco Ferre

Your morning fashion and beauty report: Kate Middleton gets a coat of arms. Lauren Conrad launches a beauty site. And Tom Ford sells used cars?


Canadian used-car salesman Dale Wurfel is using a photo of designer Tom Ford -- whose name is synonymous with elegant panache -- in an ad. An ad that in all likelihood comes as a surprise to Ford. Endorsing used cars wouldn't seem to be his thing. The photo isn't the one above, but it's similar in terms of looking, well, hot. It's taken from an old fragrance campaign featuring Ford, and shows the designer, tie undone, eyes smoldering, with the tag line, "You know you're not the first. But do you really care?" [Telegraph] 

Kate Middleton was spotted shopping at Banana Republic -- and yes, we do care. The Wedding (and yes, I've decided it deserves capitalization) is next week, after all, and Miss Middleton is likely buying items for her trousseau. And, yes again, you can expect her every move to be documented over the next few days, maybe even for the rest of her life.  [Telegraph]  

Meanwhile, Kate has a new -- and super-important -- accessory: a coat of arms. The Middleton family was just granted one by the College of Arms in London. It's a necessity for the family of the presumed future queen of England. Kate herself will only use it until she marries; then hers will be combined with Prince William's. [WWD]

Lauren Conrad has launched, a website full of hair and makeup tips she's amassed over the years. The photo and video how-tos star Conrad, her longtime hairstylist Kristin Ess and her makeup artist Amy Nadine. [People]

Every prom season it seems you hear of some creative people coming up with truly one-of-a-kind dresses. Not many can top this: Kerrin Frey of Wisconsin crafted daughter Tara's dress from thousands of bright Starburst candy wrappers, carefully folded and woven into an overlay for a muslin dress. She also made a vest for Tara's date. The project reportedly took six years. This mom knows how to plan ahead! [StyleList] 

Gold prices are soaring -- they zoomed above $1,500 an ounce Tuesday before easing back a bit to $1,495.80 -- and this is having an effect on jewelry designers, who are finding it prudent to use a bit less of the precious metal in their baubles. [WWD] (Subscription required.)  

Sporty meets chic in footwear for this fall, with new sneaker wedges straight from the runway. That's right: a sneaker upper on a wedge bottom. Cute! [WWD]

Designers Oleg Cassini (he dressed Jackie Kennedy) and Ralph Rucci (Whoopi Goldberg, Gwyneth Paltrow) will be added to the Fashion Walk of Fame on Manhattan's Seventh Avenue this summer. [N.Y. Daily News]  

Women's Wear Daily is reporting that Gianfranco Ferré's new owner, Paris Group, has ousted the brand's creative directors, Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi. [WWD]

-- Susan Denley

Photo: Tom Ford. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times


Milan Fashion Week: Gianfranco Ferre back on track?


It was the first Gianfranco Ferre show that designers Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi presented in front of the brand's new owners, Dubai-based Paris Group. And you wouldn't have known from the cool, confident collection that Ferre had just been sold out of bankruptcy after a two-year period of financial uncertainty.

The designers drew on the clean architectural silhouettes the house is known for, working in a mostly white, black and silver palette that was a departure from the vibrant color we've been seeing on so many runways here.

The look was quietly elegant and rich, with a renewed focus on wearability, starting with sleek coats with slim belts, or curly white fur panels.


Winter white sleeveless sheaths were worked with suede, and pencil skirts came with zippers in back for adjusting the height of a slit. Delicate sheer blouses sliced with strips of silk were paired with cigarette pants.


As day moved into night, things really started to shine. Sleeveless sheaths came with metallic bands crisscrossing the fronts. Gowns were beautiful, too, particularly the one with a wavelike silver lame front and an open back.

With the designers' future at Ferre most certainly still in doubt, it should be said that this was their best collection yet. The trick is getting shoppers to care.


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-- Booth Moore in Milan

Photos: Looks from the Gianfranco Ferre fall-winter 2011 runway collection shown during Milan Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times

Fashion Diary: At Milan Fashion Week, fall 2010 collections look backward to 'Mad Men' era

Prada dg milan fashion week "I wanted to see something that wasn't trying so hard to be new." That was how Marc Jacobs explained his fall 2010 collection last week in New York. And the sentiment seems to be carrying over to Milan, where so far, designers are banking on retro femininity for fall, from D&G's ski bunnies to Prada's sexy secretaries.

Using a set that brought to mind Internet Age information overload, with walls covered in pie graphs and fragments of geopolitical jargon, Miuccia Prada harkened back to the simpler "Mad Men" era of padded bums and beehive hairdos, while referencing some of her own past work.

This was the first Prada women's show to be webcast live, beaming her clothes around the world in a nanosecond. But on the runway, the collection -- including A-line leather skirts as glossy as a vinyl record; elaborately embroidered, jet-beaded skirts; and coats that must have required hours of old-fashioned handwork -- made a case for slowing down. In the background, a slow jazz soundtrack mixed with the clicking sounds of a typewriter.‬

The clothes were prim but also a tad subversive, as if to say that underneath the proper façade of the woman who wears them lurks the soul of a sex kitten. There were even a couple of fuller-figure models, suggesting that "Mad Men's" sexy secretary Joan Harris (née Holloway) may well be the fashion icon of the fall season.

The dominant look was the fit-and-flare dress in sketchy windowpane checks, with a full, swishy skirt. Some versions also had darts emphasizing the bust, or ruffles framing it.
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Milan Fashion Week: Aquilano e Rimondi, multi-tasking young guns of Italian fashion

Aquilano e rimondi

Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi are the young guns of the Italian fashion scene, designing their own namesake collection, sold at Saks Fifth Avenue and other stores, in addition to designing Gianfranco Ferré.

Their Aquilano Rimondi collection was an Italian Baroque patchwork of painterly floral prints and gilded brocades in rich shades of pink, lapis blue and emerald green, recalling the rich fabric heritage of Italy.

Theirs is a more-is-more approach to dressing -- short bustier dresses with pouf skirts or oversized bows, elongated safari jackets with jeweled buttons, and print blouses with high, stiff collars. It was a visual feast, so much so that it was difficult to imagine these clothes actually being worn -- except perhaps to a Venetian ball.

Gianfranco Ferre

In contrast, the designers' collection for Ferré was light as a feather but no less overwrought. The draped, bubble-skirted bustier dress was the star here too, this time in barely-there shades of layered sheer organza, silk gazar and micro-pleated metallic lamé, sculpted into cloud-like volumes. The effect was beautiful, but the models looked as fragile as dandelions.

Both collections seemed to be about woman as ornament. In the future, it would be interesting to see the designers temper their extraordinary workmanship and flair for the dramatic with a little more real-world practicality.

-- Booth Moore


All the Rage: More from Milan Fashion Week

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Upper photo: Aquilano e Rimondi spring-summer 2010 runway. Credit: Peter Stigter and Jonas Gustavsson / For The Times

Lower photo: Gianfranco Ferré spring-summer 2010 runway. Credit: Peter Stigter and Jonas Gustavsson / For The Times

MFW: Gianfranco Ferre plays the future as stiff and severe

Rage_ferre MILAN -- Jackets with "Star Trek" shoulders, skirts with boxy hiplines, and a surfeit of '80s-era Thierry Mugler references combined to make the second Gianfranco Ferre collection designed by young talents Roberto Rimondi and Tomasso Aquilano stiff and overwrought.

With drawn-on eyebrows and molded hairstyles, the models looked mean and militaristic in their sculpted uniforms. Things did soften up a bit for evening, with crepe ruffles curving around elegant black column gowns and sculptural bows sprouting from pleated white blouses.

Still,  it's difficult to imagine women embracing such a severe look in hard times, and even more difficult to imagine them embracing yet another new incarnation of an old brand.

Indeed, Ferre's future is very much in question following the recent financial trouble of parent company IT Holdings. If there is one thing this recession might be good for, it's convincing fashion powers that be that not every house needs to live on past its founder.

--Booth Moore

All the Rage's Milan Fashion Week coverage

Get more Milan updates: Follow Booth on Twitter

A fall runway look from Gianfranco Ferre's women's collection during Milan Fashion Week. Credit: Alberto Pellaschiar / Associated Press

New Gianfranco Ferré design duo gets off on the right foot

Ferre_blog42_4 It was surreal landing in Milan, Italy, for fashion week, gearing up to look at expensive clothes on the runway while we're in the midst of a global banking crisis. Who's going to buy these things? Ah well, I guess no matter what's happening in the world, we all gotta get dressed.

Still, it's not the best time for a luxury brand to be relaunching, which is exactly what's happening  with Gianfranco Ferré. The Italian designer known for his architectural approach, his passion for India and his genius white blouses, died last year. But as we all know, in fashion a label never dies. So on Sunday, a new Ferré was unveiled under the direction of the two most up-and-coming designers in Milan, Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi of 6267 fame.Ferre_blog12_2

It was a great start. The design duo focused on sculptural pieces with architectural details -- such as ruffles down the front of a pencil skirt, and pieced together cap sleeves on a molded jacket that brought to mind a "Star Trek" uniform -- all in subdued black, white and gray.

Skinny pants and skirts had side pockets with origami-like folds and were worn with severely tailored tunics with jeweled belts. And of course, there were white shirts, the best an oval shape with a sheer back and leg o' mutton sleeves. The shoes were geometric wonders with open oval or spindly jeweled heels.

It was a high impact show. And yet, there was something stiff and unemotional about it too, like they were trying too hard to prove they are serious designers at their young ages. No matter, that impulse should wear off.


Later that night, I sat next to Stefano Bacchini, who is in charge of sales for Ferré. He said there are plans to overhaul all the Ferré stores around the world, including the one on Rodeo Drive. "We are starting from scratch," Bacchini said. Forget the designers, he has the heavy lifting.

-- Booth Moore

Photos: Gianfranco Ferré Spring/Summer 2009 runway show in Milan, Italy. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times


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