PIERRE BALMAIN Born in St Jean de Maurienne,
Savoie in 1914. He owed his early training to the two greatest
designers of the time - Molyneux and Lucien Lelong
. He opened his own
Haute Couture house immediately following the war, in the autumn of
1945, on the Rue François 1er in Paris.
Clients quickly flocked to Balmain,
and were thrilled to discover the new image he had created for women.
THE BALMAIN WOMAN had shed the last vestiges of wartime
hardship with abundant insouciance and charm, and heralded a return
to opulence in richly embroidered gowns and ensembles.
American author Gertrude Stein, a close friend of
Balmain's, saluted the advent of this "New French Style"
in her writing. This image of an active, irrepressible, perfectly
groomed, elegant woman with a touch of independence in her nature
took root and was embodied in the "Jolie Madame",
emblematic of the nineteen-fifties.
He gave up architectural
studies to become a designer in 1934. He worked briefly with Christian Dior, who
became his rival after World War II. Balmain's designs, particularly for evening
wear, were characterized by superb quality and a combination of femininity and
imposing elegance; his clients included film stars and royalty. He later opened
branches in New York City and Caracas and expanded into perfume and accessories. The 1960s were years of renewal for Pierre Balmain,
who used fabrics scupturally for the creation of uncluttered designs
accenting pure structure and contrasts of cut and style. This was
also a richly productive period in the field of costuming for stage
and screen. In addition, Balmain designed personal wardrobes for
numerous international stars, including Brigitte Bardot, Marlene
Dietrich, and Katherine Hepburn - to name just a few. This period
also marked Balmain's first meeting with Her Majesty Queen Sirikit
of Thailand, who chose him to be her personal couturier.
LADY GAGA made her catwalk debut at the Thierry Mugler show in
March—but her makeup artist, Billy B., says her runway potential was
evident long before then. “It all started with Bad Romance in 2009
when she strutted across the floor in Alexander McQueen stilettos,”
he says. “She became a fashion model in that moment.”
Besides bringing couture to the screen, Gaga also brought a
freakishly wide-eyed stare. “That effect was created in
postproduction,” says Billy B., “But it’s amazing how many YouTube
makeup tutorials it has inspired!”
Did you recently purchase a leather jacket and
don’t know how to wear it?
I’m sure planning to
invest in one as soon as possible.
But it seems
that the fashion elite have developed a sort of
a uniform: a casual look with skinny jeans and
white/grey tees or a more feminine style by
teaming the leather jacket with shift dresses.
It looks OK
but kind of boring. Either they choose to play
it safe or they listen to the same stylist
(although some of them swear they don’t need
YVES SAINT LAURENT Fall 08: They
looked like an army of futuristic female automata, marching out in identical
black-bowl wigs and black lipstick, some with their eyes blanked out by narrow
slivers of wraparound sunglasses. The clothes they wore were equally
uncompromising: stark planes of tweed, felt, and flocked fabric,
precision-sliced into geometric angles and unfamiliar volumes.
It made one of the season’s most
joltingly dramatic contributions to the current dialogues about tailoring and
austerity. If there were elements of the eighties or Italian futurism in
there—like the banana-shaped high-waist pants or the curviform layers of
scroll-like volumes in skirts—it wasn’t Stefano Pilati’s intention to be
referential. “I just wanted it to be about cut, about looking at the clothes,”
he said. “I don’t think you want to go out advertising a brand anymore. You just
want to feel proud walking down the street.”
DRIES VAN NOTEN Van Noten's wins the International Award of the
Council of Fashion Designers of America
in 2008. On the same year, he dressed
Cate Blanchett for
Capable of the most daring innovations in a
superbly classic style. What is surprising is that this Spaniard
became the leading French fashion designer.
His story began something like a legend :
born in 1895 in Guetaria, a small fishing village on the
Spanish Basque coast, Cristobal BALENCIAGA was still very
young when it became apparent that he was destinated for
At the age of thirteen, he astounded the
Marquise of CASA TORRES with his comments on her elegance.
Realising his interest in Couture and his aesthetic potential,
she allowed him to make a copy of the Haute Couture clothing
she was wearing.
Trembling, he did his work so well that she awarded him by
The following year he travelled to Paris. In a daze, he
devoured the collections of DOUCET, WORTH, DRECOLL and others.
Upon his return and at the age of sixteen, he opened his first
Couture workshop in San Sebastian, where he adapted the
Parisian Style for Spanish women.
In 1915, the first fashion house was opened
in San Sebastian under the name BALENCIAGA.
In 1920, the second house opened in Madrid.
He left Spain when the civil war broke out and established
himself in Paris, where, in August 1937, he opened his
showrooms at 10 avenue George V.
From the start, a style was created which lived up to its
expectations for thirty glorious years. BALENCIAGA himself
sums it as follows :
« a Couturier must be an architect for design, a sculptor for
shape, a painter for color, a musician for harmony, and a
philosopher for temperance ».
Year after year, the one they call « the
couturier of couturiers » created astonishment with his
collections and the mastery of his cuts. He changed women's
1945 : close-fitting waistlines, square shoulders.
1951 : open necks, wide shoulders, looser waistlines.
All these features created « the BALENCIAGA revolution ».
He also left his imprint on various periods
coasts with wide collars, tunic dresses, sack dresses in the
He also turned his flair to the creation of prestigious
perfumes. This man, whose exceptional talent never tired in
its quest to achieve even greater harmony between the body and
clothing, always knew that the true sign of elegance, the
ultimate refining touch, lay in the subtle, delicate notes of
In 1947, he created his first perfume :
LE DIX from the famous
couturier's address at 10, avenue George V.
And not out of snobbery or affectation. Such man cares
little for the world. Rather the world comes to him, and only
the finest at that.
His most faithful clients included : the Queen of Spain, the
Queen of Belgium, the Duchess of Windsor, Princess Grace of
Monaco. On May 12, 1958, he is made « Chevalier de
la Legion d'Honneur ». In the late 60's : at 74, after
working in Paris for 30 years, he decided to retire and closed
his fashion houses in Paris, Barcelona and Madrid, one after
On March 24, 1972, the undisputed Master of all the great
couturiers - the man who inspired GIVENCHY, UNGARO, SCHERRER,
COURREGES and many others - passed away in Valencia.
Academy of Art
College [San Francisco CA]
Auburn University (AU) [AL]
Textile Engineering Dept
Barbizon School of Modeling [many cities across
Baylor University [Waco TX]
Dept of Family & Consumer
SUNY (BSC) [Buffalo NY]
Fashion Technology (Consumer & Family
California Institute of
Fashion & Technology (CiFT) offering an AA degree in designing & pattern
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM)
[Los Angeles CA]
Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT) [GA]
School of Textile & Fiber
Indiana University (IU) [IN]
Apparel Merchandising & Interior Design
Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) [PA]
Kent State University (KSU) [OH]
School of Fashion Design & Merchandising
North Carolina State University (NCSU) [NC]
College of Textiles
Oregon State University (OSU) [OR]
Dept of Apparel, Interiors,
Housing, & Merchandising (AIHM)
Parsons School of Design [New York NY & Paris
Fashion Design, Interior, Advertising & Graphic Design
Rice University School of Architecture [Houston
Seattle Pacific University (SPU) [Seattle WA]
College of Arts & Sciences -
Family Consumer Science
Syracuse University (SU) [Syracuse NY]
College for Human Development (CHD)
Texas Woman's University (TWU) [Denton Dallas Houston]
Department of Fashion & Textiles
University of Cincinnati (UC) [Cincinnati OH]
College of Design, Architecture, Art, & Planning
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) [VA]
Department of Fashion
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Clothing & Textiles
If anyone should
understand sophisticated American style it should be Adam Lippes, an
alumnus of both
RALPH LAUREN and
OSCAR DE LA RENTA right? One of
the strongest looks was an ombré mohair wool coat that blended in
with the mural of trees on the runway’s backdrop. Unfortunately,
nothing seemed truly signature or unique, the proceedings were a bit
repetitive, and Lippes got rather lost in the woods
Dark , mysterous
- the tone is set for Fall 08.
Check out these pieces from the Christian Lacroix Fashion Week RTW
Fall 2008 Paris Runway
sophisticated new palette aligned nicely with the Paris season. So,
too, did his now more understated embellishments, like the
basket-weave detailing at the collar and cuffs of a cashmere
redingote, the hand-finished organza yoke of a high-necked silk
blouse, and the braided waistband of a satin cocktail dress.The real
question, of course, is whether or not the designer’s high-flying
fan club will take to the edgier, less overtly feminine look.”
DRIES VAN NOTEN
(1958-) is a
designer and an eponymous fashion brand. In 2005, the
New York Times
described him "one of fashion's most cerebral designers"
His style is said to be "eccentric", and fell out of favor during the long
in the early 1990s, only to make a come back towards the mid 2000s
culminating with Van Noten's winning of the International Award of the
Council of Fashion Designers of America
in 2008. On the same year, he dressed
Cate Blanchett for
In 1968, he created his first
collection, Parallèle and opened a store at 2
avenue Montaigne in Paris. During the next 30 years, the Emanuel Ungaro
House expanded to include stores and licensing agreements worldwide.
Ungaro launched his first
menswear collection, Ungaro Uomo, in 1973, and his
Diva, 10 years later in 1983. Later followed
the perfumes Senso (1987), Ungaro
(1991) and Emanuel Ungaro For Men (1991).
In 1996, he
formed a partnership with
In 1997, Emanuel Ungaro, Salvatore Ferragamo and
created a new company: Emanuel Ungaro Parfums. The
new perfumes to follow was Fleur de Diva
(1997), Desnuda (2001) and Apparition