Tuesday, April 02, 2019

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Sunday, March 31, 2019

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner


Thom Browne is the master of 'fooling' the eye Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: The Impression 

In honor of April 1st, April Fools’ Day, I wanted to revisit one of my favorite techniques, trompe l’oeil, which literally translates to “fool the eye”. Of course, that’s just only one of the many ways designers fool us – wink, wink- but enough said!

Vintage Piero Fornasetti Umbrella Stand

The art of creating the illusion of a 3rd dimension originated as a painting technique in Greece and Rome and has been used decoratively in home furnishings throughout the ages. This Teste Antiche umbrella stand, circa 1950-1959, by Piero Fornasetti, is a wonderful example, $3900.  More info/purchase

Elsa Schiaparelli was the first designer to utilize trompe l'oeil in her designs in the 20's and 30's, but Roberta di Camerino popularized this style in the 60's with her clothing, handbags, men's ties, and umbrellas. Giuliana Coen Camerino who founded the Venetian based house, passed away at the age of 89 in 2010. She created the name for her fashion house from the 1935 film “Roberta’’ starring Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, and her husband’s family name. Di Camerino won a Neiman Marcus Fashion Award in 1956 in recognition of the success and influence of her handbags in cut velvet which often featured trompe l’oeil buckles and flaps and were carried by such as Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly.

Roberta di Camerino's colorful and  iconic designs on display
 at Palazzo  Fortuny in 2011 

Her designs were widely copied and although this upset her, Coco Chanel reassured her, telling her not to cry about being copied, but to 'cry the day they don't copy you', Her talents were recognized by the Whitney Museum of American Art with an exhibit in 1980. Another exhibition of her work was held at the Museum at FIT in late 1999. In 2011, the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice honored her work with an exhibition, “The Color Revolution”.

Roberta di Camerino 1970's trompe l'oeil dress 

Her museum-worthy pieces remain as covetable collector’s items. They are timeless and quite frankly, get better with age. Among the exemplary examples currently available on 1st dibs is this red white and blue striped dress that mimics a jacket, skirt, wide belt, and white shirt, $750.  More info/purchase

There were the ubiquitous trompe l'oeil t-shirts from the 70's (remember the ones with the tuxedo designs?), Lagerfeld's infamous 'shower head' dress, a number of outstanding versions from the late trick master Franco Moschino in the 80's, and then in the 90's, Christian Francis Roth made a name for himself with his whimsical trompe l'oeil suits and dresses. Jean Paul Gaultier has also dabbled in this art.

Jean Paul Gaultier vintage trompe l'oeil maxi dress 

This vintage Jean Paul Gaultier gray jersey maxi dress with detachable sleeves featuring a black and white x-ray screen print trompe l’œil jean jacket and jeans on the front and back is currently available on 1st dibs $1,385.11  More info/purchase

Nowadays, Thom Browne is the indisputable master of trompe l’oeil and it’s a recurring theme in his collections. He’s mastered the art and raised it to the level of couture with his mind boggling and luxurious handwork and fabric mixes that routinely include combinations of basket weave linen, bonded cotton, basket woven coated oxford, cotton oxford patchwork, double gazar, Duchesse silk, Aran cable artwork, silk hand loomed tweed, over dyed sheared mink, astrakhan, and various forms of embroidery, beadwork, and applique. They truly need to be seen up close to best appreciate them.

Amy Fine Collins wearing Thom Browne to the 2017 Met Gala 

Amy Fine Collins, who is a customer and a muse, often wears Thom’s designs and I’ve seen her in several of his trompe l’oeil dresses. One memorable example was the beaded number she wore to the 2017 Met Gala. It could not have been more perfect for the avant-garde theme, “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.”

Thom Browne Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear
Photos: The Impression 

Approximately 25% of Thom’s fall 2019 collection, homage to his love of uniforms, was trompe l’oeil, and on the runway, these dresses were alternated with the fully layered ensembles they mirrored. Brilliant!

Thom Browne Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear
Photos: The Impression 

It was clever and highly effective and it drove the point home. Given how strapped for time we are, how modern is it to be able to get dressed in layers with one quick gesture!

- Marilyn Kirschner

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Better Bets by Rhonda Erb

The Launch of Victor dE Souza Lipsticks

Victor dE Souza
Photos Rhonda Erb
Click images for full size views

It‘s an age old dilemma. If a lipstick is long lasting, it makes your lips feel dry. If a lipstick is moisturizing, it slides right off and is practically nonexistent after a few hours. Couture designer, Victor dE Souza, would appear to have found a solution to the problem with his new line of lipsticks that launched this week at the Cos Bar in New York City.

The Cos Bar

Although this is the first foray into the cosmetics industry for dE Souza, makeup and beauty are in his blood. “My father was a chemist. My mother was a hairstylist. My two sisters were makeup artists. My father did all of the products for them. I was born into this, I became a fashion designer, but this is my road.”


So what makes dE Souza’s lipsticks unique?  “I know for a fact if the color stays, it dries your lips and if it’s too moisturizing, the color disappears. This is the perfect mix,” he explains.  The secret lies in an encapsulated hyaluronic acid complex called hyla-bubble. When the lipstick is applied, it pops and releases moisture and pigment. What makes it truly special is that if your lips feel a little dry, you simply press them together and the color and moisture are resaturated. You don’t need to reapply. As an added plus, the lipstick case is made of metal, not plastic. It was designed by a jeweler and closes with a click, so you don’t have to worry about it opening in your cosmetic bag or purse.

Victor dE Sousa Collection 

 Thursday’s launch party at the Cos Bar drew a wide ranging assortment of guests including members of the press and close friends of the designer, like Jean Shafiroff,  who arrived wearing one of the dE Souza’s ensembles. Guests were also treated to a couture presentation by the designer, while they shopped and sipped cocktails. He describes his latest collection as drawing inspiration from “ a little bit of everything”; Victorian, romantic and the mostly forgotten Tartarian Empire.

Jean Shafiroff in a dress by Victor dE Sousa

The Cos Bar is the perfect location for dE Souza to launch his cosmetics line. He admires the retailer for the selectivity of its product line and also for its longevity in the retail industry. Though the Cos Bar is relatively new to New York, it dates back to 1976, when the first boutique opened in Aspen, Colorado as THE place to buy luxury cosmetic brands.

Victor dE Souza lipsticks come in seven colors, matte, prismatic and satin shades, and are available exclusively at the Cos Bar and victordesouzany.com

- Rhonda Erb