March 28th, 2012
January 31st, 2012
<a href=”http://www.purpleeagle.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Valentino-Garavani.jpg”><img class=”alignleft size-medium wp-image-2362″ title=”Valentino Garavani” src=”http://www.purpleeagle.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Valentino-Garavani-213×300.jpg” alt=”" width=”213″ height=”300″ /></a>By its very nature, the fashion industry
is one in which tastes and trends change – almost literally – with the seasons.
Maintaining the quality of one’s designs over a long period of time and, with it, commercial and critical success, is something that few individuals have managed to achieve.
However, the last half-century of haute couture has been ruled by a handful of figures whose great renown and character was outstripped by their even greater, enduring talent.
One is Valentino Garavani, a man with a truly stellar flair for couture and an equally star-packed client list. I never had the pleasure to work with him, the more so enjoyed his neighbourhood one summer anchored in the same Mediterranean waters.
In close to 50 years between the decision to found his own fashion house in Rome and his final collection in Paris in 2008, Valentino produced breathtaking garments for the elite of society and the entertainment world.
He was the man who designed dresses for the most chic and celebrated women on the planet (among them Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor), and whose creations turned heads on the catwalk and red carpet for Julia Roberts, Claudia Schiffer, Sharon Stone and many, many more.
In addition to helping glamourise Hollywood’s stars, he was the subject of a film of his own (‘Valentino: The Last Emperor’) and was awarded fashion’s equivalent of an Oscar (the Neiman Marcus Prize) amongst a host of other honours.
His latest work brings his various masterpieces together to form a very virtual legacy. An online Valentino museum has been launched in New York by Anne Hathaway and provides an interactive, fact-filled tour through a CGI palazzo that will be as illuminating for the casual couture watcher as for more dedicated students of high fashion.
In a departure from the physical space which Gucci has used in Florence to demonstrate its history or the touring exhibition that saw examples of Gianni Versace’s output travelling the world, Valentino’s long-time business partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, has compiled a compelling digital display which promises to be a legacy envied by some of the contemporaries of a designer with few equals.
<a href=”http://www.valentino-garavani-archives.org//#.TvDDlLJni2Y” target=”_blank”><em>To visit his virtual museum click here.</em></a>
January 17th, 2012
Of the global fashion success stories over the last decade, few have such a literal rags to riches story as the Ugg boot.
From their humble beginnings in rural Australia more than 70 years ago, they have crept (or shuffled, to be more accurate) their way around the globe. They’re worn by men and women alike, on high streets and in Hollywood.
They are so popular that not only do they generate more than half a billion dollars a year in legitimate sales but they’re considered to be one of the most common counterfeit items seized by law enforcement agencies in the run-up to Christmas.
Why is it that something as shapeless and apparently style-less as the Ugg boot is so well-liked? How did something used by farmers, pilots and surfers become must-have footwear for movie stars, moguls and the masses?
It is difficult to put one’s finger on the exact reason for their appeal other than possibly being a victory for comfort over couture.
After being adopted by some of London’s so-called ‘Sloane Rangers’, they seem to have been picked up by celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Leonardo di Caprio before cementing their place in the style bibles – and many people’s shopping lists – when they were seen on the normally high heeled feet of Sarah Jessica Parker of ‘Sex and the City’ fame.
It is interesting to see that the company which owns the rights to the Ugg Australia brand has launched new collections of shoes and boots. However, whilst some of the designs are compact and great boots (especially for gents), Ugg will possible always struggle hard to lose the Ugg-ly tag earned by their original boot.
To my mind, they are overgrown slippers and, as such, should never be worn outside the house or garden by anyone claiming to take an interest in their presentation. Compared to a properly constructed boot or shoe, the ill-formed, slouching Ugg boot rob its owner of any style or grace in the way she (or he) walks.
January 12th, 2012
One of the great shifts in personal presentation in recent years has been the degree to which smoking has become regarded as unstylish.
In a significant shift from the days of Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando and Audrey Hepburn, when smokers were considered cool, cigarettes now seem to be treated with contempt not least because of their health effects.
Yet the same cannot be said for cigars and that is perhaps partially due to the image of success which they help create.
It’s an idea which I’ve explored at greater length in an article for the Huffington Post and you can read it by clicking here.
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December 22nd, 2011
This year my choice of Christmas greetings is 47 seconds of a video that has gone viral, produced by Brooks Brothers NYC. Not only is it really cute, but it also shows that lambs can be stylish, attractive and very memorable for the right reasons too:
I would like to thank you for your trust, support and good times in 2011 and I wish you and your families a happy, healthy, peaceful and fantastic 2012!
My best wishes
COMFORT NOT COMPETITION THE BEST PRESENT THIS CHRISTMAS
Even though Christmas should be a time for relaxing with those closest to you, countless books and TV shows about how to be a domestic god or goddess have given the holiday parties a sense of competition. I canÂ offer a few of my suggestions as to how to take the stress from the season and really enjoy yourself whether you are a guest or a host.