Sportmax, the MaxMara brand known for its luxurious and eclectic Italian sportswear, also has an eye for creative collaborations, evidenced by its latest Carte Blanche capsule collection. Curated by Italian designer Ambra Medda, the collection features the work of up-and-coming Chinese artist Ying Wu. Her quirky prints, which appear on scarves—like the one pictured here ($190)—dresses and handbags, incorporate a mélange of animal, urban and technological graphics.
“Wu’s work primarily deals with the fact that the world we live in is constantly changing,” says Medda. “The work is somewhat deceiving given that it is highly decorative, yet if you look closer, you start to realize that there is a whole other dimension that brings you back to a starker reality.”
The limited-edition 1,000-piece collection will premiere at the brand’s flagship store in Milan next month, offering Sportmax devotees the opportunity to inject a bit of artistry and awareness into their wardrobes. 20 Via della Spiga; 39-2/7601-1944; sportmax.com.
Italian fashion illustrator René Gruau is lauded for the now-iconic imagery he used to promote women’s fashion in the 1940s, but his revolutionary work in men’s fashion is equally stunning. Gruau: Portraits of Men (Assouline, $75) is a 260-page work of art showcasing his depictions of the modern man—from the 1960s to the 1980s—with portraiture that is at once casual, confident, humorous and sexy. assouline.com.
Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his fiancé, Justin Mikita, are taking a stylish stand for marriage equality this holiday season with a new collection of limited-edition bow ties ($25 each). Inspired by Ferguson’s penchant for red-carpet pizazz, the couple started Tie the Knot, a foundation to help fund states that are fighting for same-sex marriage. For the recently engaged couple, the endeavor is personal in more ways than one, with many of the bow-tie designs slyly referencing their home. “That one is inspired by the afghan on our couch!” says Ferguson of one model. “No one is going to know that except for me—and, well, anyone who comes to our house and happens to be wearing that tie.”
Another piece in the collection resembles an upholstered chair in the couple’s living room, while others riff on a book of Scottish tartans Ferguson found in his late grandmother’s house. Although the actor laments that Modern Family creators shy away from casual bow ties on the show, which seems to be the only reason his character, Mitchell, doesn't wear them, he hopes Tie the Knot ties will be worn on the Emmy-award winning sitcom soon—complete with their signature, and significant, owl motif, which appears on several of the designs.
“We think owls are incredibly cute,” says Ferguson. “Owls represent wisdom, but they also represent patience and longevity. People who are in the fight for marriage equality have to take on those attributes.” thetiebar.com; tietheknot.org.
Paul Stuart, the 74-year-old luxury menswear brand with a penchant for British flair, is betting that plaid will be in style yet again this year. The brand kicked off its annual Mad for Plaid campaign by inviting six fashion editors, stylists and bloggers—including Departures senior style editor Tasha Green—to design window ensembles for its New York flagship. Each stylist outfitted three mannequins to be displayed with specially upholstered (in plaid, of course) midcentury furniture, on view October 19 through November 12. During an in-store reception on October 18, the custom-upholstered furniture pieces will be up for auction, with proceeds donated to a charity of each stylist’s choosing.
It is an exciting time for menswear, according to Green. “People are really opening up to the idea of mixing prints, whether that be a plaid or a polka dot or a stripe,” she says. “This sense of play is more alive now than ever before. I don’t believe that there are rules, per say, and if there are, the people that defy those rules in a thoughtful way are really pushing fashion forward.” Ensembles are on display October 19 through November 12; 10 E. 45th St.; 212-682-0320; paulstuart.com.
Brioni, the longtime standard for the finest in Italian menswear, has always catered to the most discerning of tastes. That said, the brand is raising the bar with its most opulent creation ever: a discreetly yet luxuriously stitched 24-karat-gold pinstripe suit ($17,000). Crafted from the finest black Super 120s wool and cut in the brand’s sharp, sophisticated Chigi model, the suit marks the 60th anniversary of Brioni’s first runway show in Florence.
“The Brioni tailors are immensely proud of the 24-karat-gold suit,” says the head of the brand’s design team. “They feel it most appropriately responds to the gentleman’s desire for luxurious clothing, ultimate elegance and highest quality.” For those seeking a new level of personal luxury, it is hard to disagree—this is sartorial indulgence at its best. Available at Brioni locations in New York, Beverly Hills, Bal Harbour and Las Vegas; brioni.com.
Burberry’s newest London flagship store, located on Regent Street near the bespoke tailors of Savile Row and the luxury boutiques on Bond Street, is steeped in history. Since its construction in 1820, the building functioned as an art gallery, radio broadcast headquarters and livery stable. But with this month’s opening of the 44,000-square-foot store, Burberry is looking more toward the high-tech future than the past. During New York fashion week, visitors to the store watched Burberry Prorsum’s models, clad in Technicolor hues, strut the runway in real time, streamed overseas to the store’s oversized display; RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags woven into the clothing and accessories turned mirrors into video screens. Despite the flagship’s flashy interior, the brand hasn’t forgotten its rainy roots: On dreary days shoppers can hear raindrops patter on the ceiling’s Georgian lantern dome, reminding them that they are still in London—and wouldn’t they like a raincoat? 44-20/7806-8904; burberry.com.
The 25th anniversary of Oliver Peoples comes as a surprise to many—not because the brand’s success was ever in doubt, but because it feels as if it has been around forever. That has always been the genius of its glasses' vision. Much like Ralph Lauren, which has become firmly ingrained in the American image, Oliver Peoples has tapped into a national mythology. In particular it holds fast to the legend of Hollywood—an approach that has always seemed appropriate for an artisan of spectacles. The brand's lens on the world is Technicolor-hued nostalgia, and to wear a pair of its frames is to step straight out of a cinematic classic and impress on passersby a feeling of déjà vu.
For this year’s milestone, Oliver Peoples decided to look forward by looking back. Larry Leight, founder and creative director, has marked the occasion with the release of a special-edition frame (from $340) modeled on a sketch he drew in 1989, just as his glasses were beginning to catch—and adorn—the public eye. Produced in the silver customary to twenty-fifth anniversaries, as well as other classic finishes, the celebratory frame is trimmed with a retro plaque on the temple, a filigreed scroll on the end piece and other vintage flourishes. Leight and Oliver Peoples have much to celebrate—and the glasses have never looked finer. Available the last week of October; 812 Madison Ave.; 212-585-3433; oliverpeoples.com.
Sometimes looking good is a girl’s best defense against the deep chill of winter. And the new winter collection from Duohtavuohta can help achieve just that, thanks to a healthy dose of luxury and eco-consciousness. Situated in Finnish Lapland, the brand uses sustainable materials exclusively, creating sumptuous outerwear from reindeer leather, wool and natural furs. (Picture an environmentally friendly version of Julie Christie’s Russian winter wear in Doctor Zhivago.)
“The Aksovaara coat, made of silky-soft reindeer leather with eye-catching Finn raccoon fur trimmings, is my all-time favorite piece,” says Wille Rajala, Duohtavuohta’s founder and CEO. “It has a feminine and luxurious flair, and is a masterpiece of craftsmanship that is made by hand in three days. It is our most popular style and a true classic from our collection.” Aksovaara coat, $6,000; Available at Brass Ranch, 1 Sun Valley Rd., Sun Valley, Idaho; 208-622-2021; duohtavuohta.com.
It was Range Rover’s brilliant idea to hire a fireman to drive me from show to show during New York fashion week. Joe knew the city like nobody’s business, maneuvering everywhere from the top of the Upper East Side to streets that I had never even heard of near Chinatown. Having owned a Ranger Rover at one point in my life, I was excited to ride around town in the new Range Rover Sport. The seats were comfortable, and I had enough space to create my own office—all a girl needs to get through fashion week. When I wasn’t in the car, I saw some stellar spring shows. Here are my three favorites:
Inspired by a trip to India, Vera Wang took on the modern-bohemian look in the most elegant of ways. I would like to single one look as my favorite, but, frankly, I’m obsessed with everything that went down the runway. And let’s talk about those shoes….
Nobody does modernity like Narciso Rodriguez, and this was such a beautiful collection. I love the use of color against the black-and-whites, along with the introduction of embellishment to the line.
Joseph Altuzarra is one of fashion’s most beloved designers to watch. I loved the nods to American OshKosh and Carhartt mixed with his super-sleek and sexy French sensibility.
In conjunction with London Fashion Week, which ends September 18, women’s wear designers Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones, of the label Teatum Jones, have created a printed crepe de chinesilk scarf ($380) in homage to London’s 81-year-old Dorchester hotel. The scarf will be available for purchase on September 18 at the department store Liberty (210–220 Regent St.; 44-20/7734-1234; liberty.co.uk).
For inspiration, the designers spent hours looking through photographs from the hotel archives, finally choosing to juxtapose black-and-white images of staff from The Dorchester’s early years with graphic depictions of the hotel’s metal-worked balconies. “Storytelling has always been key to our designs,” says Jones. “What perhaps is one of the most inspiring aspects of The Dorchester is its ability to remain true to the glamour of the past while having such a constant and contemporary allure.” Scarves will also be available at shop.thedorchester.com.
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