Monday, October 30, 2006

Roberto Cavalli

Roberto Cavalli (born November 15, 1940) is a well-known Italian designer of modern luxury clothing.

Cavalli is known for using wild animal prints and sexualized cuts in his design, leading to comparisons with designer Gianni Versace and his popularity with many young celebrities, such as ex-Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, with whom he famously signed an exclusive dressing contract. He is also known for his lavish lifestyle. He owns several houses and villas and is married to a former Miss Universe runner-up, Eva Duringer of Austria, with whom he has had three children. Many of his runway collections are inspired by items in his homes. Cavalli aroused controversy in 2006 as the first designer to quickly publicly announce that he wanted Kate Moss as the face of his Spring 2006 collection very soon after her infamous drug scandal broke. Moss had already been the spokesmodel for Cavalli's Spring 2005 campaign a year earlier.

Roberto Cavalli's Company's
Roberto Cavalli - The Premier couture line featuring: Women's Clothing, Men's Clothing, Women & Men's Shoes, Handbags & Men's Bags, Timepieces, Underware, Beachware, Eyeware (Sunware & Optical.

Just Cavalli - A More Affordable Cavalli line, well known for it's denim. It Features: Men & Women's apparal (mostly sold in Upscale Department Stores)& Men & Women's Accesories

Roberto Cavalli Class - A newer line by RC, featuring classy yet sexy designs.Featuring: Men & Women's clothing

Roberto Cavalli Angel - A Womensware brand. Featuring: Women's Clothing & Shoes

Cavalli is one of the best designers of his time

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton (August 4, 1821-February 27, 1892) designed and manufactured luggage in Paris during the second half of the nineteenth century. One hundred years later, Vuitton's signature leathergoods are now a status symbol around the globe and are highly regarded in the fashion world. The Louis Vuitton "Monogram Canvas" design can be considered the very first "designer label" on a product (the first in the contemporary sense), as it was created in 1896 with the intent of preventing counterfeiting. Unfortunately, Louis Vuitton has become the most counterfeited brand in fashion history: just over 1% of all "Louis Vuitton"-branded items are not counterfeit. Ironically, the Monogram Canvas that is so counterfeited and famous was not created until after Louis Vuitton's death, when it was created by his son, Georges.

Vuitton was born in Anchay, Jura, France (now part of the commune of Lavans-sur-Valouse). He moved from his hometown of Anchay in 1835 at the age of fourteen. Two years later, he arrived in Paris and apprenticed for luggage- and trunk-maker Monsieur Marechal. In 1854, he opened his own store in Paris.

The modern Louis Vuitton company has carefully cultivated a celebrity following and has used famous models and actresses in its marketing campaigns, most notably Uma Thurman whose "sophisticated yet unpredictable image" was a supposed reflection of the Vuitton brand. Other models and actresses who have lent their name to the Louis Vuitton line include Jennifer Lopez, Scarlett Johansson, Chloe Sevigny, and Christina Ricci and more recently, models Gisele Bundchen, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. All have appeared in ads and commercials for the line. Hayden Christensen has also appeared as model for the company's luggage and prêt-à-porter lines.

Vuitton bags and purses have a considerable list of celebrity adherents who proudly display their Monogram Canvas items. Asia's songbird Regine Velasquez, Ashley Tisdale, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, Paris and Nicky Hilton, Nicole Richie, Angelina Jolie, Siti Nurhaliza, Ayumi Hamasaki, Anna Kournikova, Pamela Anderson, Carmen Electra, Denise Richards, Katharine McPhee and Amisha Patel can all be seen with multiple Vuitton accessories.

The Vuitton collection of bags and purses has also created a cult-like following among consumers. Owners of the bags and purses proudly display the logo and designs and refer to the products as “Louis”. The cult following by both celebrities and ordinary consumers has elevated the Louis Vuitton brand to the foremost position in accessory design alongside houses such as Gucci, Prada and Hermès.

The Louis Vuitton Company
Early Days (1854-1892)
1854 - Vuitton opened his first store in Paris on Rue Nueve des Capucines, founding Louis Vuitton, "Malletier a Paris" .. "a Trunk-Maker in Paris". Before Vuitton's quality trunks, French philosopher, Denis Diderot & Jean Le Rond d'Alembert makes mention of a Malletier's techniques about 140 years earlier. (1713-1784)

The word, "Malletier" ("Trunk Maker") has been synonymous with other fine craftsmen such as "Maison E. GOYARD Paris" , "Malletier de luxe" manufacturing trunks one year earlier in 1853, but it was Vuitton who was the first to create a flat-topped trunk. Vuitton began by selling flat-topped trunks that were lightweight and airtight. All trunks before this had rounded tops for water to run off, and thus could not be stacked. Vuitton's very first piece was the gray Trianon canvas flat trunk. In the same year his goods were purchased by France's Empress Eugénie.

1860 - Vuitton opened a larger factory in Asnières-sur-Seine to accommodate increased demand.
1867 - Vuitton entered the Universal Exhibition at the World's Fair in Paris, winning the bronze medal.
1872 - Creation of the red and beige striped canvas.
1876 - Creation of the wardrobe trunk, which contained a rail and small drawers for storing clothing.
1880 - Georges gets married and (on the same day) is given control of the business. Georges is credited with developing the unique five-number combination lock found on Vuitton trunks.
1883 - Georges' son Gaston-Louis is born.
1885 - The first Louis Vuitton store in London opens.
1888 - The Damier Canvas pattern is created by Louis Vuitton in collaboration with Georges, and bears a logo that reads "marque L. Vuitton déposée" (which literally means "mark L. Vuitton deposited" or roughly "L. Vuitton trademark").
1889 - Vuitton wins the gold medal at the World's Fair in Paris.
1892 - Vuitton dies; the Vuitton company begins selling handbags.

Golden Age of Louis Vuitton (1893-1936)

After Vuitton's death, Georges amazingly made Louis Vuitton a worldwide corporation.

1893 - Georges displays Vuitton products at the World's Fair in Chicago.
1894 - Georges publishes his book "Le Voyage".

1896 - Georges designs the 'Monogram Canvas'. Its graphic symbols were based on the trend for Japanese/Oriental designs in the late Victorian Period. This can be considered the first "designer logo", since Georges was driven to create this pattern to prevent further copying of Vuitton patterns (counterfeiting had already begun by this point). Georges then sailed to the United States, in which he toured various cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. He sold Vuitton products during the visit.

1899 - Georges exhibited Vuitton products at the maiden Paris Auto Show.
1900 - Georges Vuitton was given the honor to set up the "Travel Items and Leather Goods" section of the 1900 Paris World Fair.
1901 - The Louis Vuitton Company introduced the 'Steamer Bag', a small handbag to be kept inside Vuitton luggage trunks.
1904 - Georges chaired the jury for the St. Louis World's Fair. In the same year, the Louis Vuitton company introduced a new line of trunks that have special compartments for items such as perfumes, clothing, and other goods.
1906 - Georges' son Gaston-Louis married Renee Versille, and Louis Vuitton introduced trunks for automobiles.
1914 - The Louis Vuitton Building opens in Champs-Elysees. The building was the largest travel-goods store in the world at that time. Store locations open in New York, Bombay, Washington, London, Alexandria and Buenos Aires as World War I begins.
1924 - Only eight years after the end of World War I, the 'Keepall' is invented. This bag foreran the duffel bag in a travel bag for light travel to keep necessities in.
1929 - The seventy-fifth anniversary of Louis Vuitton, a toiletry case is introduced specifically for opera singer Marthe Chenal. It could fit bottles, brushes, mirrors, powder boxes and more toiletries.
1931 - Louis Vuitton introduced exotic bags such as a handbag of crocodile skin, as well as elephant hide handbags for the Colonial Exhibition.
1932 - Louis Vuitton introduced the Nóe bag. This bag was made for champagne vinter to transport bottles.
1933 - The Louis Vuitton Speedy bag was introduced.
1936 - The golden age of Louis Vuitton ends as Georges Vuitton passes away. Estimates attribute Georges Vuitton with over 700 new Vuitton designs. Gaston-Louis Vuitton assumes control of the company. The secretary trunk is introduced for Leopold Stokowski, a conductor.

Modern Age of Louis Vuitton (1937-1996)

1959 - The company revamps it signature Monogram Canvas to make it more supple, allowing it to be used for purses, bags, and wallets.
1977 - Annual sales reach 70 million French francs (around US$10 million).
1978 - Vuitton opens its first stores in Japan, in Tokyo and Osaka. (Sales in Japan would come to account for nearly half of the company's total revenue by the 1980s.)
1983 - The Louis Vuitton company joins with America's Cup to form the Louis Vuitton Cup, a preliminary competition (called an eliminatory regatta) for the world's most prestigious yacht race.
1984 - Vuitton expands its presence in Asia by opening its first store in Korea, in Seoul.
1986 - The company introduces its Epi leather line.
1987 - Moët et Chandon and Hennessy, leading manufacturers of champagne and of brandy, respectively, merges with Louis Vuitton to form the world's largest luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH. The group is partly owned by the Christian Dior group, and Bernard Arnault is Chairman and CEO of both companies.
1988 - Vuitton reports profits up 49% from the prior year.
1988 - The company hosts its first Louis Vuitton Classic car show in Paris.
1989 - The company's stores total 130 worldwide.
1990 - Yves Carcelle is named president of the company.
1992 - The first store in China is opened at the Palace Hotel in Beijing.
1993 - The Taiga leather line is introduced.
1996 - The centennial of the Monogram Canvas is celebrated in seven cites across the world, marked by parties at stores and the release of limited-edition items bearing the signature design.

Millennium Age of Louis Vuitton (1997-present)

1997 - Louis Vuitton hires designer Marc Jacobs to be the label's artistic director. The same year, he designed and introduced the company's first Prêt-à-Porter line of clothing.

2001 - Stephen Sprouse, in collaboration with Marc Jacobs, designs a limited edition line of Vuitton bags that feature graffiti written over the monogram pattern. The graffiti says Louis Vuitton and, on certain bags, the name of the bag. The graffiti appeared in green and white. Four pieces with the graffiti over the monogram included the Keepall, the Speedy, the Pochette Accessories and the Pochette Porte-Monnaie Crédit Wallet. A few handbags, which were even more limited in number than the four regular graffiti pieces, featured the graffiti design in peach or black on top of a solid white or black background. These were only available to the customers on Vuitton's "V.I.P." list.

2003 - Takashi Murakami, in collaboration with Marc Jacobs, masterminds the new "Monogram Multicolore" canvas range of handbags and accessories. This range includes the monograms of the standard Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas, but in 33 different colors, on either a white or a black background. (The classic monogram canvas features gold monograms on a brown background.)

2004 - Takashi Murakami creates the "Cherry Blossom" pattern, in which smiling cartoon faces (which resemble anime cartoons) in the middle of pink and yellow flowers are sporadically placed atop the Monogram Canvas. This pattern appeared on a limited number of pieces, which sold out quickly. Certain pieces featured a pink version of the Monogram Canvas.

2005 - Takashi Murakami creates the "Monogram Cerises" pattern, in which cherries with faces on them (again, resembling anime cartoons) are placed over Monogram Canvas on select pieces. The line was being sold on LVMH's official retail website, eLUXURY, in the spring of 2006, but was no longer available by the end of May of 2006.

2006 - Louis Vuitton opened its 9th UK store in the upmarket Leeds Victoria Quarter on September 19. The store is the first Louis Vuittion store outside London that has its own VIP area. The store sells Ties, Sunglasses, Small Leather Goods, Scarfs, Gifts, Keyrings, Handbags and Luggage. An interesting fact is that 98% of the population of Leeds will never buy anything from the store.

The brand is highly counterfeited, and just over 1% of the items bearing the trademark Monogram Canvas are authentic. Ironically, the signature Monogram Canvas was created to prevent counterfeiting.

In 2004, Louis Vuitton fakes accounted for 18% of counterfeit accessories seized in the European Union.

In 2005, Louis Vuitton Malletier, a subsidiary of LVMH that handles the manufacture of Vuitton goods, successfully sued Google in France, and Google was ordered to pay US$250,000 for trademark violations, unfair competition, and misleading advertising. Vuitton has collected half the award, but Google has not settled the suit in full, alleging, in part, that French courts don't have jurisdiction over certain Google domain names.

As of 2006, LVMH, Vuitton's parent company, said that it employed "some 60 people at various levels of responsibility working full time on anti-counterfeiting, in collaboration with a wide network of outside investigators and a team of lawyers."

In 2004, the brand's firm stance led to over 13,000 legal actions, more than 6,000 raids, over 947 arrests and the seizure of fake printing cylinders.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana (pronounced ['dolʧe e gab'bana]) is a high-end fashion house started by the Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.

Dolce & Gabbana are very popular for their designs in the Hollywood industry; they have designed clothes for Madonna, Monica Bellucci, Ayumi Hamasaki, Isabella Rossellini and Kylie Minogue amongst others. The company is based in Milan. The private life of Gabbana and Dolce's affairs became public in 2005, when they officially announced their separation. The company will still stay the same, and they will continue to design together.

Dolce & Gabbana's first store in the United States opened in March 1995 in the upscale shopping mecca "the Galleria" in Houston's fashion district. Since then, a boom in interest in their clothes has called for openings of their boutiques in other major cosmopolitan cities all over the world, like London, New York, Los Angeles, Milan and Paris. Their boutiques have become a symbol of high fashion and couture.

Clothing & accessories product lines

Male model in Dolce & Gabbana speedo-style swimsuit, 2003

Dolce & Gabbana is organized into two central lines for adults: D&G and Dolce & Gabbana. D&G generally forms the groups more casual lines with slightly cheaper prices and follows an urban inspiration. D&G follows the trends of culture of the time and is trend-setting, whereas Dolce & Gabbana centralizes on luxury materials and is slightly more expensive than the latter. The line does not change as much as D&G, and is influenced by sartorial designs, it is described as "timeless" by Dolce & Gabbana.

Both lines offer beachwear, underwear, eyewear (ophthalmic & sunglasses) and fragrances. The D&G line also carries the jewelery and timepieces.

D&G Junior is a separate line aimed at children under the age of 13. D&G Junior follows the ethos of D&G and embodies youth and fun with the styles of its clothes. Each season follows a set-named trend for a season and is named separately for boys and girls. The line contains clothes aimed at different ages of children. D&G Junior is more visibly influenced by popular culture compared to D&G, such as the Ibiza line of D&G Junior. Surprisingly, D&G Junior is distributed to more stores than the adult brands and is available outside of boutiques and department stores.

Domenico Dolce, was born on August 13, 1958, in Polizzi Generosa, Italy. Stefano Gabbana was born on November 14, 1962, in Venice, Italy. As students, Gabbana studied graphic design, but Dolce received a fashion education, studying in Venice and working in the small clothing factory his family owned.

In 1980, the duo met when they worked at the same atelier in Venice. They began to do freelance design in 1982, when they began doing business together. When their first collection was shown in 1986, it received acclaim from around the globe. Four years later, they revealed their premiere menswear collection and opened a women's boutique in Milan. Also in 1990, they started designing for the Complice line for the Genny Group in Milan.

Recently, the fashion house published a book chronicling ten years of Dolce & Gabbana history.

Dolce & Gabbana are on the same line of couture houses of Armani, Versace, Gucci, Prada and Moschino.

Dolce and Gabbana announced on the 20 February 2005 that they would split up after 19 years. Stefano Gabbana said that "This is a love split, not a business split,". Moreover he said "Domenico and I are still very good friends and, as for the working relationship, we are still very much together. Business, in fact, has never been better."

In 2005, in partnership with Motorola Dolce & Gabbana S.p.A. branded a gold limited edition (1000 produced) RAZR V3i, it is available exclusively through Dolce & Gabbana boutiques. It features Dolce & Gabbana logo, music and customisation, the striking gold design is its main difference to the normal RAZR. In June 2006, Dolce & Gabbana announced a second partnership with Motorola to produce another RAZR V3i in gold and silver versions. This, unlike the first mobile phone is not a limited edition and will be available from retail outlets throughout Europe. It features D&G Dolce & Gabbana branding, songs, photos and an option for a D&G branded Bluetooth headset. It is priced approximately at $550.

Generally, Dolce & Gabbana is written as previously, however it is spelled by the company when printed as Dolce&Gabbana (without the space), it is only in the logo where there is a space.

References in pop culture
Dolce & Gabbana was mentioned in the song "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas, Gata Sandunguera by Mey Vidal Ft. Qbanito, by LL Cool J in the song Loungin' (Who Do Ya Luv)and in the song "P.I.M.P." by 50 Cent. Kelis also mentioned the brand in the song "Daddy" on her album "Wanderland", which was not released in the United States. It was also mentioned in the song titled, "Hustler's Story" by Notorious B.I.G., on his album Duets.

Dolce & Gabbana was mentioned in the Saturday Night Live skit, "Jeffrey's".


Gianni Versace S.p.A. (pronounced /'ʤɑnni ver'saʧe/) is an Italian clothier founded by Gianni Versace in 1978. After Gianni Versace's death in 1997, his sister Donatella Versace, formerly vice-president, stepped in as creative director of the designing House and Santo Versace as CEO. Currently, Donatella Versace controls the majority of the company's assests until her daughter, Allegra, the sole-heiress of the Versace fortune, is prepared to take an active role.

The first Versace boutique was opened in Milan's Via della Spiga in 1978, and its popularity was immediate. Today, Versace is one of the world's leading international fashion houses. Versace designs, markets and distributes luxury clothing, accessories, fragrances, makeup and home furnishings under the various brands of the Versace Group.

Versace's Style Department employs a group of designers and stylists who work in teams. Each team is specifically dedicated to each fashion line or label. These teams operate under the close supervision and guidance of Creative Director, Donatella Versace.

Versace lines
There are several lines which make up Versace Group. They are: Gianni Versace Couture, Versus, Versace Jeans Couture, Versace Ceramic Designs, Versace Collection (which replaced Versace Classic in 2005), Versace Sport. In addition to clothing and accessories, it also operates a hotel, the Palazzo Versace.

Gianni Versace Couture, which contains high-end, often handmade apparel, jewellery, watches, fragrances, cosmetics and home furnishings, is the House's main line. Traditionally, this is the only line which is presented on the runway which is shown during Milan's fashion week, but this has not be strictly the case in recent years. Couture dresses in this line may cost about $10,000 and a suit $5,000. Donatella Versace directly heads this line and designs a vast amount of the items. Many of the accessories and home furnishings are licenced through Rosenthal and other notable companies. Most of these have the unique Versace Greek print of Medusa and/or the Greek Key motif. Atelier Versace was a haute-couture line which was discontinued soon after its inception due to lack of sales and a fall in couture marketablility.

Versace Collection, Versace Jeans Couture and Versus are all licenced diffusion lines. These clothing lines incorporate elements of the signature Gianni Versace line, while focusing on current seasonal trends. Often these lines are created and produced via other designer companies, which are in constant communication with the Versace Group. Versace Collection is aimed at a younger audience than the main lines and it is also more available to a variety of economic demographics. This collection replaced Versace Classic for Spring/Summer 2005 in a drive to eradicate a skewed Versace image, due to the diffusion of multiple clothing lines within the company. In addition to the Versace Classic, the clothier also discontinued Versace Intensive and Versace Young in 2005 for the same reasons.

Versace Jeans Couture, a casual clothing line, focuses on informal clothing: high-end denim and classic Gianni Versace print shirts. It is readily available and comparably affordable. This line is distributed through 56 boutiques and flagship stores, and 1800 multi-brand points of sale, including Internet-based shops. Versace Sport is comprised of activewear and accessories. The name is often printed on t-shirts. Versace Precious Items makes timepieces, jewellery, and writing instruments, and is a sub-brand of Gianni Versace. The quality timepieces and fine jewellery are made in Switzerland, and the writing instruments are made in France.

Versace going public
In May 2006, it was reported in WWD that Versace chief executive Giancarlo Di Risio said Versace Group would consider an IPO (initial public offering) on the stock market by next year, ahead of a proposed schedule. This was due to a drop in operating losses from £62m to £4m for 2005, based on sales for the House during the prior 12 months.

Faces of Versace & celebrity culture
Versace has many fans among well-known celebrities. Elton John has long been a wearer of Versace, often featuring custom items covered in diamonds or Swarovski crystal. Other notables fans of the Versace brand are Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Hurley. Tupac Shakur (2pac) rapped about wearing the Versace label in songs such as "Hit 'Em Up" which was a diss to rival rapper Notorious B.I.G aka Biggie Smalls. The late rap icon The Notorious BIG was known for his love of Versace sunglasses.

Versace is unique among Italian houses to use a "face" for the House. The design company sometimes features famous individuals in their widely-seen advertisements. Whereas other houses often rely on press attention, Versace has gone a step further in their advertising strategy. As part of a such a "face" feature, the celebrity is often paid a sum and Versace clothing, compliments of the House. Madonna, for example, was paid $10.5m and given free Versace clothes for 2 years for her contibution to Versace advertising campaign in 2005.

Some of the celebrities that have been the face "for Versace" are Madonna (1995 and 2005), Demi Moore, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera. Halle Berry is the face of Versace for Spring/Summer 2006.

Versace is soon planning to utilize models to front campaigns instead of celebrities, such as Carolyn Murphy, Christy Turlington and Kate Moss

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen CBE (born Lee Alexander McQueen, 17 March 1969) is an English fashion designer.

Early life

Born in the East End of London, the son of a taxi driver, McQueen started making dresses for his three sisters at a young age and announced his intention of becoming a fashion designer. McQueen left school at 16, landing himself an apprenticeship with Savile Row tailors Anderson and Shepherd, then working for Gieves & Hawkes and the famous theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans. Whilst on Savile Row, McQueen's clients included Mikhail Gorbachev and Charles, Prince of Wales. He also spent a period of time working for Koji Tatsuno before travelling to italy and working for Romeo Gigli.

McQueen returned to London and applied to London's most prestigious fashion school, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design to work as a pattern cutter tutor. Due to the strength of his portfolio he was persuaded by the Head of the Masters course to enrol on the course as a student. His graduation collection in 1991 was bought in its entirety by influential fashion stylist Isabella Blow, and was said to have persuaded McQueen to change his name from Lee to Alexander (his middle name) when he subsequently launched his fashion career.


In summer 2000 McQueen married his twenty-four-year-old lover George Forsyth, a documentary filmmaker. The ceremony, which took place in Ibiza on a yacht owned by a friend of supermodel Kate Moss (who was also bridesmaid), was covered by the press in much the same way as any other celebrity wedding.

Design history

McQueen's early runway collections developed his reputation for controversy and shock tactics (earning the title "enfant terrible" and "the hooligan of English fashion"), with trousers aptly named "bumsters", and a collection entitled "Highland Rape". It has also been claimed that he was on income support and that he needed to change his name for his first show so that he could continue to receive unemployment cheques.

Givenchy appointment

The president of LVMH, Bernard Arnault caused a stir when he instated McQueen as head designer at Givenchy in 1996, succeeding John Galliano. McQueen toned down his act at Givenchy, but continued to indulge his rebellious streak, causing controversy in Autumn 1998 with a show which included car-robots spraying paint over white cotton dresses, and double amputee model Aimee Mullins striding down the catwalk on intricately carved wooden legs. McQueen stayed with Givenchy until March 2001.


Some of Alexander McQueen's accomplishments include being one of the youngest designers to achieve the title "British Designer of the Year", which he won four times between 1996 and 2003. He has also been awarded the CBE, as well as being named International Designer of the Year at the Council of Fashion Designer Awards. December 2000 saw a new partnership for McQueen with Gucci Group acquiring 51% of the company, and McQueen serving as Creative Director. Plans for expansion have included the opening of stores in London, Milan, and New York, and the launch of his perfumes Kingdom, and more recently My Queen. In 2005, McQueen collaborated with Puma to create a special line of sneakers for the shoe brand.

Jean-Paul Gaultier

Jean-Paul Gaultier (born April 24, 1952, in Arcueil) is a French fashion designer and past television presenter.

Gaultier never received formal training as a designer. Instead, he started sending sketches to famous couture stylists at an early age. Pierre Cardin was impressed by his talent and hired him as an assistant in 1970. His first individual collection was released in 1976 and his characteristic irreverent style dates from 1981, and he has long been known as the enfant terrible (bad boy) of French fashion. Many of Gaultier's following collections have been based on street wear, focusing on popular culture, whereas others, particularly his Haute Couture collections, are very formal yet at the same time unusual and playful. Jean-Paul Gaultier produced sculptured costumes for Madonna during the nineties and has also worked in close collboration with Wolford Hosiery. He popularized the use of skirts, especially kilts on men's wardrobe, and the release of designer collections. Gaultier caused shock by using unconventional models for his exhibitions, like older men and full-figured women, pierced and heavily tattooed models, and by playing with traditional gender roles in the shows. This granted him both criticism and enormous popularity.

Jean-Paul Gaultier's bread exhibit, Paris, 2004.

Gaultier also designed the wardrobe of many motion pictures, including Luc Besson's The Fifth Element, Pedro Almodóvar's Kika, Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's La Cité des enfants perdus (The City of Lost Children). Madonna's Blond Ambition Tour (including the iconic cone bra) also featured his creations. He currently designs for three collections: his own couture and ready-to-wear lines, as well as the newly relaunched clothing line for Hermès, a French leather goods company well-known for their equestrian background, scarves, and expensive and difficult to obtain handbags. Most recently, Jean-Paul Gaultier designed Madonna's wardrobe for her 2006 Confessions Tour, continuing their long-standing relationship.

Jean-Paul Gaultier is also known for a popular line of perfumes. His first fragrance, Classique, a women's floral-oriental, was introduced in 1993, followed by Le Mâle for men two years later. Both were highly successful, and Le Mâle is now the number-one men's fragrance in the European Union based on sales; it also holds a strong market position in Australia and the United States. His third fragrance, the women's fragrance Fragile, was introduced in 2000; however, it is now in limited distribution due to poor sales. Most recently, the unisex "fragrance for humanity" Gaultier² (pronounced Gaultier to the power of two) was launched in 2005 in most countries except Canada, where it was launched in January 2006 at Holt Renfrew; and the United States, where it was launched in August 2006 at Bloomingdale's. All Jean-Paul Gaultier perfumes are produced under a long-term license by Paris-based Beaute Prestige International, a division of Japan's Shiseido that also produces fragrances for Narciso Rodriguez and Issey Miyake.

Gaultier also co-presented the first six series of Eurotrash.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent (born August 1, 1936 in Oran, Algeria) is a French fashion designer.

Early career

Born to insurance-company manager Charles Saint-Laurent and his socialite wife, Lucienne Mathieu, members of a family from Alsace-Lorraine that settled in North Africa during the Franco-Prussian War, Saint Laurent left home at the age of 17 to work for the designer Christian Dior. Following the death of Dior in 1957, Saint-Laurent at the age of 21 was put in charge of the effort of saving the Dior house from financial ruin. Saint-Laurent's started his own couture house, which was financed by his lover Pierre Bergé in 1962. The couple split romantically in 1976 but remained business partners.

Military service

Shortly after this success he was conscripted to serve in the French army during the Algerian war of independence. After 20 days the stress of being hazed by fellow soldiers led the fragile Saint Laurent to be institutionalized in a French mental hospital, where he underwent psychiatric treatment, including electroshock therapy, for a nervous breakdown.

The House of Yves Saint-Laurent

In the wake of his nervous breakdown, Saint Laurent was released from Dior and started his own label together with Pierre Bergé with the now-famous initials of YSL. During the 1960s and 1970s the firm popularized fashion trends such as the beatnik look, tweed suits, tight pants and tall, thigh-high boots, including the creation of arguably the most famous classic tuxedo suit for women in 1966, the Le Smoking suit. Among his muses were Loulou de La Falaise, the daughter of a French marquis and an Anglo-Irish fashion model, Betty Catroux, the half-Brazilian daughter of an American diplomat and wife of a French decorator, Talitha Pol-Getty, who died of drug overdose in 1971, and Catherine Deneuve, the iconic French actress. Ambassador to the couturier during the late 1970s and early 80s was London socialite millionairess Diane Boulting-Casserley Vandelli, making the brand ever more popular amongst the European jet-set and upper classes.

In 1993, the Saint-Laurent fashion house was sold to the pharmaceuticals company Sanofi for approximately $600,000,000. In 1999, Gucci bought the YSL brand and Tom Ford designed the ready-to-wear collection while Saint-Laurent designed the haute couture collection. Since his retirement in 1998 Saint-Laurent has become increasingly reclusive and has spent a much of his time at his house in Marrakech, Morocco.

In 2002, dogged by years of poor health, drug abuse, depression, alcoholism, criticisms of YSL designs, and problems with lead designer Tom Ford, Saint-Laurent and Gucci closed the illustrious couture house of YSL. While the house no longer exists the brand still survives through its parent company Gucci.

The pret-a-porter line is still being produced under the direction of Stefano Pilati after Tom Ford retired in 2004, while the boxer briefs sold all over the world still carry the brand name


Royalty... Oh la, la!

Magazine by Dolce & Gabbana

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