Dries Van Noten, photo Thierry Chomel

One Sentence or Less

Dries Van Noten, Designer

What did you do immediately before this questionnaire?
Dread its completion.

What will you do immediately following this questionnaire?
Sigh with relief.

What is your idea of bliss?
Turning the soil or pruning a bush.

What is your idea of misery?
Bullied onto a path I have not chosen.

What is your proudest moment?
My 50th fashion show.

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Aug 02, 2010 00:00:00
Kathy Grayson at The Hole

Life After Deitch: Q&A with The Hole's Kathy Grayson

When Jeffrey Deitch announced in January that he was closing his legendary Deitch Projects to head up L.A.'s MOCA, a collective shudder rippled through downtown New York. But his staff members were too busy planning their next move to mourn the departure of their overachieving mentor for long. Just one month after the final New York show, Deitch's former directors Kathy Grayson and Meghan Coleman have emerged with their own gallery, The Hole.

Nestled next to luxury giant Louis Vuitton in the heart of Soho, The Hole—whose name pays homage to the defunct East Village nightclub—is a sprawling work-in-progress. Final touches still being made to the space serve as inspiration for the first exhibit, Not Quite Open for Business, featuring unfinished work by over 20 artists arranged around an installation by Taylor McKimens. I caught up with Grayson to talk about her new undertaking, the community she helped foster and her aspiring role as matchmaker...

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Aug 02, 2010 00:00:00
Tomas Maier, photo by Sam Taylor-Wood

Bottega Veneta's Tomas Maier and his Pursuit of Perfection

Although his given name was Thomas, German-born Tomas Maier later dropped the "h," he tells us, in a quest for symmetry. After nine years at Hermès (and Sonia Rykiel and Revillon before that), the creative director of the Italian house Bottega Veneta—which he's reinvigorated and made into one of the most sought-after names in fashion—is still pursuing calm, understated, luxurious perfection. Even when he designs a fishnet bodysuit, as he did for fall, it's the most discreet bodysuit you've ever seen. He also prefers to have his base in Florida, where he can work on his own line beach fare and stay far removed from the fashion fray of Milan. For a man who's always done things his way, why not?...

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Jul 28, 2010 00:00:00
Tsumori Chisato, fall 10

Tsumori Chisato Only Has Girly Boys on Her Team—And That's OK

Tsumori Chisato's highly whimsical clothes may conjure images of the designer doing cartwheels through the studio like a Japanese Betsey Johnson. But, as witnessed recently at the fete for her 20th anniversary at the Ritz Carlton in Tokyo, she can be as sharp and deadly serious as a Bushido sword.

I spoke with Chisato at the party, where she also restaged her fall collection, her first showing in Tokyo since leaving for Paris Fashion Week seven years ago. Alas, the start of the conversation went like this: "What do you do to relax?" "I sleep." But then, when the topic turned to her inspiration for fall, a trip to Turkey, she lit up and spoke—in a mix of Japanese and English—with the same curious wonder that wriggles its way into her fanciful designs. “Turkey was absolutely amazing," she said. "People say that Japan is an exotic destination, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Turkey! I mean, everywhere you go it’s like you’re walking through a museum. It’s colorful like Disneyland, but so real and poignant.”

Chisato translated the embroidered rugs she found, as well as images of Aladdin’s magic lamp and striped tents of Turkish nomads into a defiantly vibrant and youthful collection, one which was misconstrued by some as having a circus theme. “It’s not a circus. That’s a mistake,” she was quick to point out.

While her imaginative designs may garner plenty of attention in Paris, the only non-Asian home to a Tsumori Chisato boutique, it takes a massive amount of stamina and loyalty to maintain a presence in every major shopping district in kitsch-saturated Tokyo. "I am perfectly aware of my job, which I work very hard at," said Chisato, who got her start as a design assistant for Issey Miyake in the 70s. "And making people feel cheerful when they wear my clothes is in my job description. It’s about being demandingly curious, like a child. For example, I wanted to ride in a hot-air balloon, so I did. And I did it right away. I stay young by never growing up."

Recently, one of Chisato’s former assistants started a label, Mew New York, with a similar Peter Pan quality. Asked about this, she said, “It doesn't bother me because of course the people who like my own aesthetic are going to want to be assisting me. Birds of a feather, you know? I would love to have assistants who are totally different style-wise, just to mix things up, like a shibuya girl or macho boy. But they aren't going to want to work for Tsumori Chisato, right? I only have girly boys on my design team. So it’s a natural process.”

At the Tokyo show, the room was brimming with reporters and photographers from Chinese media, where Chisato has been stepping up her game, along with many Japanese designers. She courteously worked through all the questions like a pro. Then a reporter from Chinese Glamour asked, “My readers usually dress sexy. What advice would you give to them to dress girly?” Chisato paused before pulling out the sword and answering, rather bluntly, “Girly? I don't know! Don’t be young, don’t be old. Look at me. Do it like this.”

Jul 18, 2010 00:00:00
Stephen Jones on OBE day

One Sentence or Less

Stephen Jones, Milliner

What did you do immediately before this questionnaire?
I sniffed a Blue Moon rose in my garden.

What will you do immediately following this questionnaire?
Check all the emails from Antwerp (they're an hour ahead of me) about the upcoming show at MOMU.

What is your idea of bliss?
Karlie Kloss' face when I put her cellophane mask on at the Dior couture show a few days ago.

What is your idea of misery?
When it fell off three seconds later.

What is the strangest article of clothing in your closet?
A men's YSL silk shirt I bought a season ago—it's actually a dress.

What is your proudest moment?
Getting my OBE medal.

What is your greatest regret?
Turning down Karl Lagerfeld five times when he first went to Chanel.

What would be the first sentence of your biography?
Don't look before you leap.

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Jul 11, 2010 00:00:00
Katie Grand at Louis Vuitton's Bond Street store, where she curated an exhibition of 12 years of Marc Jacobs' work for the house.

One Sentence or Less

Katie Grand, Editor-in-Chief, LOVE Magazine

What did you do immediately before this questionnaire?
I've been on the Eurostar.

What will you do immediately following this questionnaire?
Head home.

What is your idea of bliss?
Being alive.

What is your idea of misery?
Being dead.

What is the strangest article of clothing in your closet?
A whole selection of High Street clothing from the eighties that I can't bear to throw away.

What is your proudest moment?
Too numerous to answer quickly.

What is your greatest regret?
I never regret anything.

What would be the first sentence of your biography?
Born in Leeds in 1971.

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Jun 06, 2010 00:00:00
Xavier Dolan

Xavier Dolan Wows at Cannes (Again)

When I spoke to Quebecois director Xavier Dolan at the Cannes Film Festival, he had already given a variety of interviews for his latest film, Heartbeats. Yet of all the questions he’d fielded, mine included, his biggest surprise was that no one had noticed his references to Godard’s muse, Anna Karina. Although it was clear, at least to me, that Dolan’s latest creation is an ode to French New Wave (the similarities to François Truffaut’s Jules et Jim are uncanny).

All of Dolan's films have a tortured gay theme, and Heartbeats—which the 21-year-old wrote, directed and starred in—is no exception. The story follows a friendship (and its unraveling) between a man and a woman who find themselves competing for the same man. The premiere at Cannes last week received a standing ovation, winning the Regards Jeunes prize, the second year in a row Dolan has won accolades at Cannes. This is what he had to say about his return to the festival...

Is Cannes different this year now that you're an alumnus?

This year has definitely been more engrossing. The press, the dinners. I’m in a whole new category, which is different than when I was in Director’s Fortnight. But it’s equally engaging. There is a brotherhood that develops.

How does this film debut at Cannes compare with last year's film, J'ai tue ma mere?

It's lighter, funnier and less intense that a film about killing my mother.

What made you decide to go in a lighter direction?

Well, it isn’t just one thing. I came up with the idea while on a road trip with friends. We were driving around talking about things that related to us. As a young director, I feel you do films out of ignorance.

Heartbeats has been compared to Truffaut’s Jules et Jim. Was this intentional?

This wasn’t a reference I was trying to make. I just thought that that was the best way to capture a woman, and then as soon as you do that, people start making references to other works. It’s funny because the references I was trying to make, no one has really picked up on, one being Anna Karina.

The film is set in Montreal. Do you identify as a Canadian director?

To be honest, I find I identify more as a director from Quebec than Canada. It is not that one is better than the other, but I feel they are two different worlds.

What are you working on now? Are you going to go for a third year at Cannes?

I am working on a script and will hopefully shoot in the fall. I hope I can come back to Cannes again. It is all a dream, and such an honor to show my work here. 

May 25, 2010 00:00:00
Viktor & Rolf, fall 10 (Glamour Factory)

One Sentence or Less

Viktor & Rolf, designers

What is your idea of bliss?
Lack of self-criticism.

What is your idea of misery?
Being lonely and gravely ill.

What is your proudest moment?
After the Glamour Factory show.

What is your greatest regret?
Before the Glamour Factory show.

What would be the first sentence of your biography?
"Having boldly gone where nobody went before, etc."

What catchphrase do you use the most?

What is your second Google email alert?
What is a Google email alert?

What is your best personality trait?

What is your worst personality trait?

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May 23, 2010 00:00:00
Dimitri Mussard-Hermès and friends

Why You Should Know About Dimitri Mussard-Hermès

He's the eldest member of the luxury house's seventh generation, but don't let Dimitri Mussard-Hermès' pedigree fool you. Currently residing in São Paulo, Brazil, he's the co-creator of the new Hermès Smart car and works passionately for social change and environmental awareness through the Hermès Foundation. You could say he's an eco-bohemian, Birkin-eschewing, nice-guy badass.

Ines Schinazi: It’s interesting that Hermès has always maintained such a classic, traditional image, while simultaneously being very conscious of its surroundings and the current pop culture. I’m thinking of Grace Kelly famously concealing her pregnancy with what was later named the Kelly bag or Jane Birkin inspiring the Birkin bag. Today musicians like Kanye West and Jay Z rap about Hermès in their songs. For instance, Jay Z raps, “But girlfriend work with the kid, I keep you workin’ that Hermès Birkin Bag…”

Dimitri Mussard-Hermès: (Laughs.) Kanye West actually came to a recent fashion show. It was really funny because everyone usually comes dressed in a very classic way. And all of a sudden, I see this guy with this huge bright red coat, and these shiny gold sneakers, and everyone’s saying “It’s Kanye West! It’s Kanye West!” I was laughing because as far as the Hermès fashion shows go, there usually aren’t celebrities. I burst out laughing, and I turn around and see Kanye right in front of me. I thought: Things have changed a lot. Ever since I was little I’ve been going to these fashion shows, and I’ve never seen a single celebrity there.

As the next generation of clients emerges, who do you think the new Hermès icons will be?

Honestly, I have no idea. I think there’s a side to all this, where people who have a lot of money want to show their power. They know very well that it’s really hard to obtain a Birkin or Kelly bag, because there’s a waiting list. And if you show that you’ve got ten of these bags, then it means that you’ve got the money and time to obtain them, and in turn it shows your power. I find that a bit sad, but it’s the reality of the matter.

You recently came up with the idea for the Hermès Smart car, along with your friend Karim. The car really speaks to Hermès' roots since the brand was originally tied to travel and transportation, starting with Thierry Hermès’ saddles.

In the beginning our ancestor was only making amazing saddles, and had a small hotel in Alsace. So the horsemen were his guests in the hotel, and he took care of their horses. He made such exceptional saddles that word spread. At one moment, he stopped having a lot of clients, and he started to think and ask himself some questions. He realized that this was an important transitional moment. People were not going to rely on horses anymore. The car was going to replace that. So he decided to make accessories out of the leather he used for saddles. He moved to Paris and he began creating accessories in his atelier. The clients that used to come see him for their horses began to come see him to buy purses for their wives, and things like that. It worked really well for a while. Then there was a moment of economic crisis, when business wasn’t so good anymore. One of his sons, Emile, who was taking over the business, went to Canada for his military service. While he was in Canada, he saw zippers on Jeeps—you know, the zippers that everyone uses today. At the time, zippers were only on Jeeps. When Emile returned to France and business wasn’t going so well, he had the idea of importing the zipper. He also thought of not just using it for cars but actually putting it on purses, clothes, gloves, etc. This was extremely innovative. He made quite a lot of money, and essentially saved Hermès from bankruptcy. What’s really interesting as well is that since he was the only one who knew how to apply the zipper, all the big fashion designers like Chanel and YSL would actually drop off their clothes so that zippers could be applied. In the meantime, he would look at these clothes and sort of draw inspiration from the styles and materials. And that’s actually how Hermès started making clothes. It’s a really cool story.

Did this history play a role in the creation of the Hermès-Smart car for you?

Yes. In the 1920s, Hermès almost went bankrupt, and we teamed up with Bugatti, and actually made cars. So in response to the people who say that we don’t have the tradition of manufacturing cars, it’s actually not true. Almost 100 years ago we were already making cars. Also, a lot of people were telling me that the brands were completely opposite. Smart is rather young and trendy, and Hermès is classic. I would say it’s not true. I mean, we do make classic products. Everyone knows about the Birkin bag or the Kelly bag. But there are lots of other things, like the double bracelet on watches; that’s an Hermès invention. It was created by Martin Margiela and everyone wears it today. So there are lots of little things that Hermès makes that don’t always work so well in the beginning, but which are quite innovative. It’s a shame that these products don’t get talked about. We only talk about the Birkin and Kelly bags.

In a previous interview you talk about how simply being a member of the family means that you are naturally involved in the business. You worked in finance for a while, but now it seems you are getting into the family business.

I worked in finance, and it was going very well. But I decided that I really wanted to travel around the world before starting my career. When I got back from my trip I heard about the work at the Hermès Foundation and thought it was brilliant! The Hermès Foundation is dedicated to children's education. Actually when I was on my trip visiting Brazil, I went to check out the soccer player Rai’s association Gol de Letra. I really loved the organization. I really liked that there was an emphasis on the Arts within education. I thought that together, along with Hermès, it would be a great collaboration. For the past few months I’ve really been concentrating on that. When Hermès opened the São Paulo store, I took some of the Hermès executives into the favela so that they could see Gol de Letra for themselves. They really liked the idea, so we’re working on creating a partnership. We’d like to work out some sort of exchange. We actually don’t want to just donate money. The goal isn’t to get the media to say, “Oh, Hermès is donating money. That’s great.” We like the idea of perhaps using the children’s art and incorporating it into Hermès creations, like ties or pocket squares. I’m really thrilled about that! Honestly, before taking the world trip, I really didn’t care about social change. I was like, I want to work in finance and earn a lot of money. But I don’t feel like that anymore. I’m not Mother Theresa, but I feel that if you can contribute in one way or another, it’s important to do so.

Click here to read more of the interview.

Apr 07, 2010 00:00:00

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