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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Just In: Olivier Theyskens to Halston?

Word from Paris is that Olivier Theyskens, after just showing his last collection for Nina Ricci amid a din of chatter, is heading to Halston. While this seems unlikely to us, as couture-level European designers don't typically do well at American brands, it isn't outside the realm of possibility. And since Marco Zanini left the label about six months ago—for Rochas, ironically, where Theyskens designed from 2002 to 2006—Halston's co-owner Harvey Weinstein, board member Tamara Mellon and CEO Bonnie Takhar have been on a well-publicized hunt for a replacement. One name tossed up recently was London designer Marios Schwab.

No matter who ends up coming to New York, it'll be a challenging task reviving Halston, which Weinstein bought in 2007 for $20 million, saying at the time he wanted it to be "the first American global luxury brand, an American LVMH." Yet the revolving door never seems to stop revolving. At least six designers and eight owners have pinned their hopes on Halston in the last 35 years, without much success.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Paris Fashion Week: Day 2

By Rebecca Voight...

Oh, the 80s ladies at Nina Ricci! In what just might be his farewell show for the house, Olivier Theyskens returned to his fetishistic roots—feet first. His bottines came in colors as bright as tinsel pink, and so high that the girls looked like they were perched on stilts. Faces were covered by half derbies pushed over the front and they were backless to show off gelled hair. But remove the shoes and the collection is full of 80s' standards: super-curvy skirt suits with peplum jackets, extra-wide skirtish trousers and skintight leggings and bustiers.

Nina Ricci

I wish Olivier Theyskens had a partner like Michele Lamy. Rick Owens' other half and the business brains behind his fashion house believes in talent first and foremost, which is why she also backs Gareth Pugh. Lamy’s calm strength is evident in the way Owens has been able to develop his style slowly but surely. For fall he continues layering earthy and cloudy tone tunics and leggings with blanket coats that look like wearable teepees in complex quilted and patchworked fabrics, plus a new silver foil that shines like a beacon.

Rick Owens

A.F. Vandevorst had a packed house—or rather, garage—for their collection of chestnut-brown wools, high-stepping shoes made to look like hooves and striped jockey blouses. Thick tights in flesh tones, huge feed bags and country-tailored pleated walking skirts had an earthy quality reminiscent of Prada's collection, with its backwoods women in thick, boiled wool suits and thigh-high rubber fishing boots.

A.F. Vandevorst

Lutz Huelle's leggy girls defy that dusty old dictum that lean times bring hemlines down. The collection he showed was an ode to the gam with plenty of fall's hooded blousons, wrap-around tailoring and flag dresses—a simple and graphic column of silk designed to wear loose and open to show off all a girl has.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Animal Attraction

It was only day two of the Paris collections and already fashion trends are trickling in. Come fall, we predict you'll be craving a pair of fur arm warmers, the kind designer Sharon Wauchob showed to a packed house that included ever-bobbed Linda Fargo of Bergdorf. Bruno Pieters liked the fur trend as well, throwing in the arm warmers among the rather serious and angsty lineup of space-age corporate workers.

Otherwise, leather is turning out to be the big winner across all the Fashion Weeks. Leather pants, deconstructured leather coats, and fabric texturized to resemble leather (like at Lutz) have been everywhere. Even romanticist Olivier Theyskens at Nina Ricci turned in a harder edge today, with little leather jackets featuring multiple silver snap closures, angular shoulders and skin-tight turtlenecks. He also showed he can cut a suit, like a particular brown silk double-breasted jacket with aggressively padded shoulders. With rumors swirling that he's already been ousted by Nina Ricci's parent company, Puig, but refuses to leave, Theyskens smartly opted to show his versatility beyond flowy on-the-bias goddess gowns. Hmmm, the Rod Blagojevich of fashion?

—Bee-Shyuan Chang

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Romantic Movement

By Franklin Melendez...

This has been the talk of couture week in Paris, so it must be true—plus we've been hearing it for a little while now. Though unconfirmed, rumors abound that Olivier Theyskens will be leaving his post at Nina Ricci. We doubt anyone can hear anything over all that swishing of taffeta, but it seems the willowy young Belgian might be living up to his fashion legend, that of a romantic yet tragically doomed hero.

The descent into Dickensian drama began in 2001 with the shuttering of his namesake label, where he toiled over corsetry for Madge at the tender age 22. This was followed by his rapturous, though brief stint at Rochas, where he spun organza into fragile suiting. After financial problems at Rochas sent him packing, Nina Ricci seemed like the long-awaited happy turn.

But it seems the top brass there has been aggressively pushing for more commercial collections to jumpstart less than stellar sales. Apparently jodhpurs and will-o'-the-wisp gowns aren't selling like they used to. But Theyskens won't budge, and why should he? Add to that a difficult fall collection—the long-short hemline combo didn't work for Demi Moore either, even at the height of the '80s—and you have a recipe for disaster when his contract is up soon.

And, we have to say it, Blake Lively at the Golden Globes didn't do anyone any favors. The Gossip Girl was virtually spilling out of her Nina Ricci strapless gown—presumably a sample that was a size (or two) on the small side. We're still waiting for final word, but in the meantime here's hoping our talented hero lives to see another day—and that our maligned heroine won't be led astray by the false assurance of stylists.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Paris Fashion Week: Nina Ricci

Haidee Findlay-Levin...

The setting of a Nina Ricci show always manages to transcend the usually mundane tent experience. The first Nina Ricci show with Olivier Theyskens at the helm was held on a magnificent winter day with a translucent pale-blue sky and leafless trees that were in such sharp relief that they looked like cutouts. For that particular show, he opened up the tent and made full use of nature's backdrop. With the addition of a fog machine, the girls looked like they had walked right out of a James Tyrrell installation. In this way, he established the delicate sensitivity of the brand.

For spring, he sectioned the venue into three long passages lined with the backs of canvas paintings to achieve an intimate atmosphere. This allowed for a close examination of the work, in this case the delicacy and beauty of his dresses. This was not a collection to be viewed on a pedestal, but on ground level and on reed-like, wafer-thin girls, each draped in an exquisite version of a single concept: a floor-length Victorian-inspired dress complete with a long train, while the front ended high above the knees. In the wrong hands, this would screamed showgirl, but not here.

The colors were painterly, shades of flesh, dusty rose, the palest of china blue and lavender organza. Each dress was like a subtly different collage, treated with fine details, thin cutaways, the lightest ruffles, the most subtle of floral prints and washes of color. There was a light-as-air hand-crocheted cardigan thrown over one dress, a mutton-sleeved white kid-leather jacket worn over another. A single pair of black trousers with a delicate leather jodhpur ruffle at the sides stood out, shown with an unlined leather riding jacket. In all, the collection was very reminiscent of Theyskens' earliest work, pre-Nina Ricci and pre-Rochas. It was as if he had decided to no longer follow the desires of a house, but those of his very own.

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