Monday, February 29, 2016

New York Fashion Cool-Aid ®

After Parties: Attire By the Ages

Saoirse Ronan at the Vanity Fair after party
Click images for full size views
Photos: Getty Images

Here's a scandalous confession: I did not get to watch the 88th Annual Academy Awards. I was at a family event during the interminably long Oscars broadcast and could not figure out how to livestream the show at the dinner table without arousing suspicion. Naturally, I taped it but what's the point now? I just can't bring myself to sit through the three plus hours (not to mention the red carpet pre-show!) in order to see fashion that, judging by what I've viewed online, looks rather uninspiring.

Instead I thought that the after party fashions, which don't suffer from quite the same scrutiny and tend to be a bit looser (read: more fun and relaxed) could provide a more interesting take on things. After all, the various after parties including the ones hosted by Vanity Fair or Elton John are where everyone lets their hair down, while still glamming it up.

While probably not the most PC thing to do, I've decided to break it down along age lines (please excuse the unintentional pun!) in order to compare what's good and what's not so good. Despite the ever flowing fountain of Youth (or is it the ever filling syringe of Botox?) the question remains about who should be wearing what at what age; apparently a particularly "needling" one among the Hollywood set.

The Young 'Uns: Ages 19-31

Selena Gomez in Louis Vuitton

This category can take plenty of fashion risks with one suggested caveat: The dress that requires the ditching of all undergarments is not necessarily the best choice. I'd like to point out that, contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to look hip, cool, and chic without being "strategically naked" via cutouts and sheer fabric. You should not be dressing as if this is a game of "Wardrobe Battleship." Certainly Selena Gomez pulls off (or actually pulls on) this feat in her silver Louis Vuitton column with just enough embellishment to keep things interesting.

Emma Roberts in Yanina Couture

Emma Roberts took a big risk of looking mumsy in her floppy sleeved "spider blob" Yanina Couture dress but, to me it paid off; she is channeling a young Cate Blanchett look which I love.

Hailey Baldwin in Gabriela Cadena gown

Hailey Baldwin fits into this category (at 19, she's the youngest of the group) to show that although she's rocking a trendy cutout along with the ubiquitous "Jolie" leg slit, it still looks classy due to the high neck and stunning color.

Aubrey Plaza

All I can say about Aubrey Plaza is that she seems to be missing something--uh, like her dress. Maybe her house was on fire and she had to run out in her slip? That's pretty much the only excuse I will accept for her look.

The Middle Ages: 34-46

Malin Akerman in Elizabeth Kennedy

This category is usually where you see the best fashion. These women are old enough to know what looks good on them, have developed their own style, yet are secure enough to still take a calculated risk. In this category I would place Malin Akerman in Elizabeth Kennedy at the top of the pack (I also liked Mindy Kaling's Oscar dress with the huge flowing back bow by this designer),

Jessica Alba in Roberto Cavalli

followed by Jessica Alba in her simple but statement-making white Grecian style dress with a wide black belt and geometric gold necklace.

Amy Adams in Atelier Versace

The "Oh-no-she-didn't award" goes to Amy Adams in webby/string-y Versace which does her amazing figure no justice, followed by worst dressed Gwen Stefani in a ridiculous bid for revenge/ attention after ditching her cheating ex-husband and moving on to Blake, Miranda Lambert's former man.

Gwen Stefani in Yanina Couture

As the oldest of the bunch, (46) Gwen has probably the most slamming bod but do we really need to see her in a few strategically placed flower petals to drive that home? Ironically this is from the same designer (Yanina Couture) that looked so classy on Emma.

The Elder Stateswoman:  56-82


Joan Collins

Here we can point to an example that proves that age ain't nothing but a number: 82 year old Joan Collins far outshines the other two women in this category, although they are relative youngsters in their mid 50's. Granted, Joan's look was probably plucked out of the Dynasty wardrobe closet from back in the decade that matches her age (huge shoulder pads are so out that they're in again), but Ms. Collins knows what works for her and she's sticking to it.

Patricia Clarkson

Unfortunately Patricia Clarkson and Andie MacDowell are dressing way too young and looking more than a tad ridiculous by doing so. Patricia's colorful floral appliques are too sweet, plus the silhouette and style of the mullet prom dress is unflattering and inappropriate.

Andie MacDowell

Andie MacDowell is also a fashion victim who looks as if she raided her daughter's closet. This gorgeous woman should have stayed clear of the "boob window" as well as the pompadour hairstyle. I'm sorry to say that they could both do so much better if they had just chosen something more classic while adding a trendy flair with an eye-catching accessory or two. Hey, Pat and Andie, just a suggestion -- how about taking a page out of Jessica Alba's style playbook? Better yet, why not try ringing up her stylist before next year's award season?





- Laurel Marcus

Special Market Report

Fashion Notes On 2016 Oscars

Chris Rock
Click images for larger views
Photos courtesy of the Oscars unless otherwise noted

Chris Rock was brilliant, funny, smart, and right on point as host of the 88th Academy Awards. He rocked it last night. Dapper in his crisp white tuxedo jacket (perfectly fitting for "The Oscars So White"), he never let up and kept up his criticism all through the evening, but it was really never in bad taste or too over the top. He was even sort of subtle, well kind of. At one point, after a commercial break, he announced “We’re black” (instead of “We’re back”).

Lady Gaga

Quite frankly, he stole the show; which went on a bit too long and ultimately had no real surprises (with the exception of Mark Rylance’s win over Sylvester Stallone in the Best Supporting Actor category, “Spotlight” winning Best Picture over “The Revenant”, and Lady Gaga forgoing Marc Jacobs, platforms and all, in favor of a white jumpsuit created by her stylist Brandon Maxwell).  The spotlight was on Chris and he did not disappoint.

Alicia Vikander

There is so much hype and anticipation leading up to the evening; it’s almost inevitable one will be disappointed. And I was, particularly in the case of the two women everyone was most excited to see: Alicia Vikander (who won for Best Supporting Actress) and Brie Larson, (who won for Best Actress and admitted that fashion helps her express what her “soul looks like”).

Brie Larson in Gucci on the left: A better choice on the right
Photo credit: Left courtesy of Oscars; Right: Vogue.com

For me, Alicia’s custom made yellow strapless Louis Vuitton gown (with a skirt that was higher in front) looked too much like a prom dress and her hair style (half up, half down) didn’t help. Brie (with a similar natural hair style) opted for a custom made blue chiffon Gucci gown with a bejeweled belt. I knew I would see one of Alessandro Michele’s designs last evening but I was hoping it would be one of his more fantastical, highly embellished creations with a bit more going on (especially on top: a place many women tend to forget about).

Marchesa collection
Photo: Vogue.com

This (in a color I have come to associate with politicians), was a little safe. Quite frankly, when I first saw it, I did not even realize it was Gucci. And she would have looked ravishing had she worn something by Marchesa. If ever there was a collection well suited for the Oscars' red carpet, this was it!

Charlotte Rampling 

Charlotte Rampling’s long sleeved Armani Prive black and white beaded dress might have been wonderful in person, but on television, it came off as rather dull and a bit too sack like and shapeless. I would have preferred to see the talented icon in a sharp tuxedo.

Charlize Theron

That being said, there were some high points. Charlize Theron looked every inch a movie star in plunging red Dior Haute Couture with Harry Winston jewelry. She looked so ravishingly beautiful, Tina Fey admitted that she started clapping as soon as she saw her on the red carpet.

Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett, who in my opinion can do no wrong, looked divine in her petal strewn, embroidered, pale aqua Armani Prive. Heidi Klum was another one who opted for a soft, feminine, flower strewn pale confection (hers, a one shoulder creation with a flowing skirt, was in pale lavender).

Margot Robbie

I thought Julianna Moore’s full skirted plunge front Chanel Haute Couture black gown suited her well, as did Daisy Ridley’s pale grey beaded Chanel Haute Couture. While it may be "the one night we all dream in gold” (in the words of Morgan Freeman, who made this announcement right before the award ceremony began), the only woman wearing gold was Margot Robbie (she actually looked like a gold statue in her Tom Ford).

Rooney Mara

Rooney Mara, with her pale skin, severe lip and sleek hair, gave us a high fashion moment, embracing a Goth Victorian look (which has become her signature) in a white Givenchy Haute Couture. (When she was asked if it was easy to fall in love with Cate Blanchett in the movie “Carol”, she exclaimed, “yes”!) Others in white were Priyanka Chopra in Zuhair Murad, and Olivia Wilde.

Olivia Wilde

I thought Olivia looked quite exquisite in her plunge front (and backless) all pleated Valentino Haute Couture gown. I especially loved her white Neil Lane choker, which drew attention to her face. Chokers just happen to be THE accessory du jour on the runways for Fall/Winter 2016 & 2017 that are ending in Milan, and soon getting under way in Paris.





- Marilyn Kirschner

THE LAST WORD: The 88th Annual Academy Awards BY DIANE CLEHANE


Surprise, surprise.

After years of generally awful Oscar shows, this one was, on balance, pretty good which means if you’re grading on a curve giving extra credit for the unexpected, it was a winner.

In the hands of Chris Rock the broadcast did not, in the end, collapse under the weight of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. While the pacing of the three and a half hour show felt leaden at times (some things never change), there were a just enough emotional moments and surprise winners (Hooray for Spotlight!! What happened with Sylvester Stallone?) to keep things interesting.

It seems more than fitting that Rock was an equal opportunity social critic during the most politically-charged Oscar ceremony of all time — and he (mostly) killed it.

“I’m here at the Academy Awards, also known as the White People’s Choice Awards,” he said straight out of the gate taking aim at the lack of diversity among this year’s nominees, a topic that pretty much consumed all of the oxygen in the room last night. His remarks had people alternately laughing and cringing – but one zinger clearly landed straight at the heart of what most actors were thinking based on the audience’s reaction: “Jada (Pinkett) boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.” Don’t be looking for a Christmas card from the Smith family anytime soon, Chris.

But no one was immune as the comedian addressed the controversy head on, taking repeated shots at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This joke temporarily stunned the audience into silence when he explained why African American in the fifties and sixties didn’t protest Hollywood’s lack of diversity: “There were real things to worry about … We were too busy being raped and lynched to worry about who won for Best Cinematography. When your grandmother’s swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about Best Documentary Foreign Short” before concluding, “It’s not about boycotting anything. We just want opportunities. Black actors want the same opportunities.”

Brie Larson in Gucci & Alicia Vikander in Louis Vuitton
All photos courtesy of the Oscars

The red carpet also had its fair share of surprises as newcomers Alicia Vikander and Brie Larson eclipsed veteran stylistas scoring top marks for the most refreshing fashion choices of the night. Both Oscar winners smartly chose dresses that showcased their youthful beauty, Larson in a royal blue frothy creation by Gucci and Vikander channeling a Disney princess – in a good way – in a “dusty yellow” embellished strapless custom Louis Vuitton. Saoirse Ronan, just 21 years old, gave a nod to her Irish roots in an emerald green sequined number from Calvin Klein (I wondered if it was also a clever nod to the memorable emerald dress worn by Keira Knightley in Atonement, the film that brought Ronan her first Oscar nomination many years ago).

Cate Blanchett in Armani Privee

Chrissy Teigen (and her baby bump) positively glowed in her red velvet flocked floral Marchesa. This year’s Best Dressed, red carpet vet Cate Blanchett stunned in yet another work of wearable art from Armani Privee while America’s Sweetheart (Sorry, Reese) Jennifer Garner looked regal in a structured black gown by Atelier Versace. Naomi Watts glittered in a midnight Armani Privee.

Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell

I also loved Lady Gaga in custom Brandon Maxwell. Once again, Gaga provided one of the most talked-about moments of the night with her jaw dropping performance of ‘Till It Happens to You’ and her former stylist  (and recent Fashion Group International Rising Star winner) who dressed her for the occasion will no doubt be the beneficiary of some wonderful worldwide exposure as a result.

Rooney Mara in Givenchy and Sofia Vergara in Marchesa

Uninspired choices were in abundance among red carpet regulars. Sofia Vergara did her usual strapless prom dress this time in a much too matronly Marchesa. Rooney Mara chose another completely unflattering nude colored dress – this one from Givenchy -- that hung on her bony frame. There is no doubt that Charlize Theron is absolutely gorgeous, but this year’s red Dior Haute Couture dress was practically an identical twin of last year’s black column. That’s what happens when you’re a paid advertisement for the brand.

Heidi Klum in Marchesa

This year’s Worst Dressed (dis)honor goes to Heidi Klum who looked like Betty Draper mauled by the bear in The Revenant. What were you thinking? And more importantly, what was she doing at the Oscars anyway?

 Here’s a timeline of highlights from the broadcast:

 8:45 The awards are off to a good start. The first statuette of the night goes to the writers of Spotlight for Best Adapted Screenplay. Well deserved. It was the best picture of this year – and one of the best of the decade.

8:59 Tracy Morgan is The Danish Girl and  ‘the black astronaut’ in The Martian is left on Mars in the first of a few too many clip packages lampooning the Academy’s lack of diversity. Inexplicably, that was followed up by an appearance by actress turned Fox News pundit Stacey Dash who walked on to the stage and looked like a deer in the headlights as she proclaimed, “I cannot wait to help my people out!” and wish the audience, “Happy Black History Month.” Uh-oh.

9:03 Sarah Silverman bombs with a cheesy James Bond riff before introducing Sam Smith who performs the Bond theme he wrote.

9:07 Hunky Superman star Henry Cavill (I think Jennifer Garner should revenge-date him) and Kerry Washington introduce clips for The Martian and The Big Short.

9:09 JK Simmons presents the first acting award of the night. Shoo-in Alicia Vikander wins the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her stunning performance in The Danish Girl and grabs a spot on the best dressed list with her youthful, sunny custom “dusty yellow” dress by Louis Vuitton that reminds me a little of Belle in Beauty and the Beast but still looks fresh and chic. Well done.

9:20 The evening’s best dressed actress – the flawless Cate Blanchett in Armani Privee – presents the Oscar to Jenny Bevan, the worst dressed Oscar winner of all time – irony alert – for Costume Design. She when she dares to go a second too long with her speech, she is played off by some seriously aggressive music.

9:21 I really hate the CNN-like ‘Thank you’ crawl. Well-intentioned, yes. Good idea, definitely not.

9:25 Jared Leto talks about the ‘Magic’ of merkins. Discuss.

9:27 That’s three Oscars in less than ten minutes for Mad Max: Fury Road.

9:28 Benicio del Toro and Jennifer Garner come to the stage to the strains of Que Sera Sera to present a clip of The Revenant. Leo is clearly not amused when the camera cuts to a guy in a bear suit. Who thinks this stuff is funny?

9:35 Chris Rock introduces nominees Rachel McAdams and “shoulda been nominee” Michael B. Jordan. Agreed but I know this incredible young actor that I first noticed on All My Children!?! will have his moment. Man, does he have great posture.

9:42 Okay, we get it, there were no black actors nominated this year, but enough of these cheesy bits.

9:46 Jennifer Garner takes a quick selfie with Common during the break. Have you read her interview in the new Vanity Fair? Ben Affleck, you are an idiot.

9:58 Is this the Emmys or the Oscars? Olivia Munn and Jason Segel have made some good movies, but they’re not movie stars. This telecast feels extremely light on A-listers.

10:05 Chris Rock pulls an Ellen DeGeneres and makes the audience open their wallets to buy Girl Scout cookies from a squadron of Scouts that go out into the audience to help his daughters back home win top honors in their troop. Given that most women in the audience probably haven’t eaten for at least a month, I’m guessing it’s an easy sell.

10:22 I love when Hollywood actresses wear heavy black framed eye glasses to look smart. Kate Winslet, I’m talking to you.

10:25 Chris Rock pulls a Jay Leno and goes to a movie theater in downtown LA to and ask black movie goers (and one token white guy) about this year’s slate of films. Pretty funny.

10:28 Will Sylvester Stallone win???

10:31 Shocker!! Mark Rylance wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in the Steven Spielberg film, Bridge of Spies. I loved him in Wolf Hall but come on! Sylvester Stallone was robbed and we were robbed from hearing what would surely be a great acceptance speech. Every single critic had Sly as a lock. Wow. Just wow.

10:38 Louis CK Does a great riff on winning an Oscar for Best Documentary Short. “This Oscar is going home in a Honda Civic.” The comedian says, “This Oscar is the nicest thing they will ever own.” Winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy thanks a host of “determined” women including Shelia Nevins and Tina Brown and touchingly concludes the Pakistan president has said he will change the country’s policy on honor killing after seeing the film.

10:49 $65,243 worth of Girl Scout cookies were sold during the broadcast.

10:51 Whoppi Goldberg introduces a clip package from the Governors Awards. I can’t believe Gena Rowlands being recognized and Debbie Reynolds receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award didn’t merit being given out at the main event. Shameful.

10:55 Louis Gossett, Jr introduces the In Memoriam package with Dave Grohl singing Blackbird. Leonard Nimoy is honored with the parting shot placement. My money was on Alan Rickman.

11:09 Joe Biden gets a standing ovation from the crowd and introduces “my friend and a courageous lady herself” Lady Gaga who performs an emotional and stunning rendition of “Till It Happens to You” surrounded by survivors of sexual assault. A powerful and unforgettable moment in Oscar history. Gave me the chills. Just an aside but who would have thought that Gaga would be responsible for the emotional high point of America’s two most watched events – the Super Bowl and the Oscars – within just months of each other?

11:37 Alejandro Inarritu wins for the second year in a row for his work on The Revenant. Smartly, the annoyingly over -zealous orchestra stops trying to play him off when the soft-spoken director refuses to be silenced and continues on to talk about the day when “the color of our skin becomes as irrelevant as the length of our hair.”

11:44 I love Eddie Redmayne but he does remind me of a British Jiminey Cricket. As he introduces the Best Actress nominees, I just realized we have not seen Jennifer Lawrence during this entire extravaganza. JLaw where have you been hiding?

11:47 Brie Larson, who is utterly charming, gives a heartfelt and mercifully short acceptance speech, wins the Best Actress Oscar. Love her and love her Gucci dress. She is a true breath of fresh air.

11:54 Will Leo finally get his Oscar?

11:55 Yup. Everyone is on their feet. Leonardo DiCaprio gives an eloquent and impassioned speech thanking everyone who has helped him in his career (his first director Michael Caton-Jones, “Mr. Scorsese” and agent Rick Yorn). He segues beautifully to deliver an impassioned speech about climate change and “the politics of greed.” Move over, George Clooney.

11:59 YES!! Morgan Freeman gives out the Best Picture Academy Award to Spotlight. I have never been so happy to see a film win an Oscar.

12:00 With a box of Girl Scout cookies in one hand that Spotlight star Michael Keaton is digging into, Chris Rock wraps up what has been one of the most interesting Oscar shows in years.

Grade: B for the Show and the Fashion




- Diane Clehane

 is Lookonline.com's entertainment editor. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane 




Friday, February 26, 2016

Special In the Market Report

Best (and Worst) In Show Awards

The long drawn out awards season is finally coming to an end on Sunday, with the Academy Awards. So, as I looked back at what transpired both on and off the runways during New York Fashion Week, I thought I’d give out my own awards. Click images for full size views.

And the Winner is:

The collection that best exemplified “Glam Goth”: Rodarte 


And the Winner is: The best stage setting (it’s a tie): 

Thom Browne’s evocation of Washington Square Park at the turn of the century (his show was held at Skylight Modern Studios) 

And...

Tommy Hilfiger’s replication of his own cruise line (the T.H. Atlantic). His show was held at the Park Avenue Armory where the ceiling was made to resemble a star filled sky at nightfall. The setting was so good it upstaged the clothes being presented.


And the Winner is:

The collection that was the most fantastical and architectural and made the best use of unexpectedly delicious color combinations, and couture like embellishments: Delpozo by Joseph Font.


And the Winner is:

The most effective way to warm up ripped jeans in subzero weather: Layer them over thick black tights a la Susie Lau.


And the Winner is:

The most clever (and least suggestive) way to wear your bra on the outside (and make it look believable in the winter): Take a page from Taylor Tomasi Hill who managed to make her hot pink Dries Van Noten bra look rather chic and tomboyish by layering it over a borrowed from the boys’ button down shirt, throwing on an army fatigue green jacket, and adding an enormous muffler.


And the Winner is:

The most creative way to add some pizzazz to a classic camel coat: Take a lead from Samantha Angelo and throw it over the shoulders of a colorful serape striped vintage Todd Oldham pantsuit.



And the Winner is:


The most inspired use of fur on a runway: Thom Browne created a wide lapel woven plaid overcoat from white mink, astrakhan fur, and red, white and navy grosgrain, and showed it with red, white and navy melton trousers and a grey plaid melton jacket.


And the Winner is:

The best dressed show goer: Giovanna Battaglia, who looked weather appropriate and darn chic in her fabulous outerwear (which included Prada’s striped reefer from Spring Summer 2016).


And the Winner is:

The most effective way to cover up your neck, if it’s a part of your body you “feel bad about” (in the words of the late Nora Ephron): Wear a choker (the bigger the better), such as the ones seen at Rihanna’s Fenty X Puma Collaboration, and Rodarte, where they were as wide as belts.


And the Winner is:

The footwear most likely to result in a trip to the emergency room and a broken ankle: Marc Jacobs’ vertiginous platforms (even some of the models had a hard time staying upright).


And the Winner is:

 The collection which poses the biggest problem for closet challenged NY apartments: Marc Jacobs, with its voluminous over scaled pieces.


And the Winner is:

The most surprising show venue: Alexander Wang’s choice of the historic St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Avenue.


And the Winner is:


The most inspired use of animal patterns on a runway: Francisco Costa’s lynx and skunk photo printed leather coats which were shown over matching silk shifts at Calvin Klein.


And the Winner is:

The strangest (okay, the most repulsive) print shown on a runway: Marc Jacobs’ black and white rats and cats print (maybe he was inspired by Conde Nast’s ‘rat’ infestation when they first moved into 1 World Trade?).


And the Winner is:

 The biggest disappointment: Peter Copping’s vision for Oscar de la Renta. Since being named as Creative Director of the label in October 2014, I have thought that his designs were perfectly nice, but by and large, not really memorable, and unfortunately, that doesn’t cut it these days.


And the Winner is:

The most feel-good, heartwarming moment on a runway: Naeem Khan partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and granted cancer stricken 11 year old Trinity Faith Moran her wish of walking down the runway in one of his beautiful dresses.




- Marilyn Kirschner

(All Images Vogue.com except Delpozo which should be credited to Javier Tomás Biosca)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

New York Fashion Cool-Aid ®

A Fashion Designer By Any Other (Gender-Bending) Name...

Demna Gvsalia
Photo credit: Georgian Journal

What can you hope to learn about a fashion designer (or any person really) by their first name? In many cases we think we can assume a gender and sometimes even a nationality based entirely on an individual's moniker -- in some cases we might be right.

Kylie in Vetements sweatshirt
Photo credit: Daily Mail UK

Not so this week when the Wall Street Journal gave Demna Gvasalia, Georgian designer of buzzy brand Vetements and recently named artistic director of Balenciaga, an inadvertent "sex change" from male to female by referring to him as Ms. Gvasalia in an article appearing in last weekend's Style & Fashion section entitled "Am I Too Old for Streetwear?" I realize that, especially in today's world, let alone in fashion, gender is sometimes all too fluid, but really?! I am told that it was an editor's mistake.

Rihanna in Vetements sweatshirt
Photo credit: Daily Mail UK

Perhaps the error was due to the fact that in this country, there are few, if any men's names that end in the letter "A," coupled with a surplus of women's names that do. Simple research on Demna reveals that it was the name of a 12th century Georgian prince and a "hypocorism" or pet name for Demetrius. Also, if in doubt, what happened to a quick fact check, nowadays made even easier by Google? Not to mention that If your job is to edit copy for the style section of a major newspaper, shouldn't you at least have a passing knowledge on the major players in the "Big Bad World of Fashion"?

Azzedine Alaia


This "debacle" gave me the idea to dig around a bit and see what other prominent fashion designers had been given "the gift that keeps on giving." How prevalent is it to have been bestowed at birth with a cross gender sounding nomenclature particularly as it translates to America?

Elie Saab
Photo credit: Getty Images Europe

 I immediately thought of two Tunisians: Azzedine (Alaia) and Loris (Azzaro); the Elie's (Saab and Tahari) although Elie is a common male first name in Middle Eastern countries and Israel; the Hispanic trio of Cristobal (Balenciaga), Carmen (Marc Valvo), Rene (Ruiz), and the French Hedi Slimane.

Nicholas and Christopher Kunz of Nicholas K
Photo credit: Getty Images North America

Also worth noting is that Italian masculine names sometimes end in "A" such as Nicola (Trussardi) or (Tesla) so you can't assume anything there either. Interestingly, I have not found much of a female to male corollary when it comes to designer names, with a few exceptions. For instance, did you know that Nicholas K's co-designer Nicholas Kunz is female? The other half of the design team is her brother Christopher. Laurence Dacade, the French shoe designer is also female. This is further confounding to me as I actually had the experience as a kid, of being momentarily assigned to a boys bunk at a co-ed French sleepaway camp. I was told by explanation that Laurel is a Gallic boys name. Je ne comprends pas!

Fausto Puglisi, Donatella Versace
Photo credit: WWD

As fashion month has moved on from New York, to London and currently to Milan, I spied an article in The New York Times entitled "Gucci's 70 Shades of Renaissance" that seemed particularly apropos to my little name game. In just one paragraph of this article which mentioned how many "big guns came out for the first day of Milan Fashion Week," I noted that every single referenced man assembled, many of whom are designers or fashion executives obviously of Italian heritage, had a first name that ended in the letter "O." Ciao Milano!

Giorgio Armani, Renzo Rosso, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi,
Alberta Ferretti at Milan Fashion Week Luncheon
Photo: WWD

They included Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Chief Executive of Gucci, Marco Bizzarri, Chief executive of Fendi, Pietro Beccari, Chief executive of Valentino, Stefano Sassi, chairman of Tod's Group, Diego Della Valle, co-chief executive and executive director of Prada Group Patrizio Bertelli. Notably absent were Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce who were too busy preparing their show. Ms. Donatella Versace, readied her toast given in a room "in the shadow of the Duomo." Needless to say, Gucci's head designer Alessandro Michele, also belongs to the squad which I've dubbed the "fashion CheeriOs." Hope they washed everything down with plenty of vino!

Lastly, an article in Vocativ has come to my attention, which states that, according to Social Security Administration data, people are naming their kids after fashion labels from (the obvious) Chanel to (the bizarre) Couture. Names like Armani, Cartier and Dior are popular for both sexes; Boss, Hermes and Cavalli are big for boys while Zara and Fendi are trending for girls. So here's my question: Is a girl named Nike this generation's version of a boy named Sue? Or should I say, a boy named Demna...?




- Laurel Marcus