Designer Spotlight: Norman Ambrose

We live in a time where everything is instantaneous. Quick. The internet serves as grand wizard with social media reporting the latest greatest at the impossible speed as soon as it materializes. We’ve gotten so used to fast that more and more living, doing, creating is taking on this approach, becoming the norm.  Artists, at times, can find themselves in the middle of this exact predicament. Creating quickly in order to produce forsaking the very reason for the creation. It is absolutely beautiful when an artist takes the time and opportunity to allow his creations to develop, from seed (thought, inspiration) to full bloom (collection).  I knew this was a way of life the first time I laid eyes on Norman Ambrose at Fashion Houston in 2011. Exquisite craftsmanship, luxurious fabrics, handmade embellishments all color a haute couture piece by Ambrose. His designs are dreams of old world aristocrat, assembled, cut and impeccably tailored to gracefully mold the body inside of its masterpiece. Glamour is his specialty, and whether designing for a Baroness, a New York socialite or the modern woman of style and grace, Norman Ambrose is a true atelier and artist. His background education has served him well in the creative arena, he is a graduate of the Academy of Art University of San Francisco, and was bestowed the opportunity to study at the Instituto Europeo di Design in Italy. Ambrose’s resume is impressive, he was afforded the dream chance to train under a pattern cutter from the prestigious House of Balenciaga and a tailor under the iconic Bill Blass.

 

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I love collections that construct an intriguing narrative, that have the capability to hold a person captive while one stares lustfully at a runway while each piece weaves the completed fairytale.  I love collections that mesmerizes; leaves you desiring more.  It is beautiful to witness a designer takes such pride in his craftsmanship, allowing an inside peek into the vivid inner workings of his mind, blessing you with the opportunity to explore his thoughts or providing a source of inspiration.  I was blessed with the opportunity to meet and interview Mr. Ambrose not once but twice (with Fashionably Houston)!  What a grand break that was in my fashion life at the time.  Soft spoken, gracious and humble, I was impressed even the more by Mr. Ambrose after interviewing him. I simply adore and admire him.

You can follow Norman Ambrose on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for current details from the designer!

 

 

Here is an excerpt of my recap after witnessing his runway show in 2011:

 

The sun.  Brilliant, radiant, magnificent, the perpetual light that ignites the world and prevents eternal darkness from swallowing us whole.  Life would be impossible without it…now imagine sitting in a spacious room with a runway at the center and experiencing the sun…in its entire splendor…from the slow rise out of the east, to the intense luminosity of day, ending with its glorious subdued descent.  On Wednesday night at Fashion Houston 2011, Norman Ambrose delivered the sun.  He  fashioned his S/S 2012 collection to represent the cycles of the sun; carefully choose a color palette to interpret his vision and set ablaze the souls of fashion lovers everywhere.   Vibrant noir…shimmering metallic gold… iridescent silver… pale apricot…lustrous tangelo… to an exuberant then soften coral.  It was sensory overload but in the most marvelous way!  And that was just the color palette.

 

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Designer Profile: Jean Louis Sabaji

jls4      I am in love. With fashion, the possibility of this occurring is often fleeting and not always notable. There are just a hand full of designers I keep close watch on and I have to thank my friend, Cherise, for introducing me to the incredible Jean Louis Sabaji.

Sabaji, a second generation Lebanese designer, debuted his collection at Dubai Fashion Week. this month to a well pleased and admirable audience.  The final outcome was clear, he is definitely one to watch, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more of him in the upcoming fashion seasons.  The collection was well constructed, painstakingly so, with a grand flair of and mother nature.  The insect appliques reminded me of Zuhair Murad‘s fall 2014 RTW collection which showcased his love for dragonflies and butterflies.  Insects never looked so sexy!  Please check out the debut collection on his website.

You can follow the designer on Facebook or twitter to keep up with the latest.

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Alexander Wang, H&M and the ghost of Nicolas Ghesquiere

The announcement came early Sunday morning evoking excitement everywhere: Alexander Wang for H&M, coming November 2014. And the masses rejoiced. The internet appeared titillated with the news of Swedish mega retailer, Hennes & Mauritz, a brand synonymous with affordable fashion for the masses with its latest collaboration. But just below the surface of the euphoria lies still, the unexamined story of the silent but deadly departure of Nicolas Ghesquière and the appointment of wonderkid Alexander Wang at the prestigious house of Balenciaga. It was indeed a strange selection, questioned by many of fashion’s elite. Wang, known for his ultra-modern designs overlaid with youthful freshness, wasn’t seen as the ideal candidate by outsiders. Would he be able to carry out the vision and produce marketable fashion without losing the Balenciaga touch? Ghesquière exceled at, was a genius at, creating what the public wasn’t even aware it wanted. He moved the brand into mainstream fashion, increased its visibility, and as sales skyrocketed, he brought a sense of stability and practicality to the label. For 15 years, Balenciaga blossomed under Ghesquière as his designs were critically acclaimed. But behind closed doors, a storm brewed. Constant clashes with management partners and battles to maintain his creative identity without comprising the label ultimately took its toll on the designer. And in November 2012, finally at the end of a journey he saw months in the making concluded and Ghesquière “abruptly” ended his union with Balenciaga.  His appointment at the house of Louis Vuitton in late 2013 conveyed the impression that the lengthy chapter of a horrid fairytale had ended. No such luck for the genius designer as a 2014 trial date has been set in the case of Balenciaga Vs Ghesquière. How does all of this tie into the collaboration of Alexander Wang and H&M? One could pounder. My speculation is Wang, quite aware of the enormous shoes he’s  stepped into and the tainted stench of the ugly divorce of his predecessor, may actually be in over his head at Balenciaga.  His acceptance of the contract with H&M is a creative outlet much needed in his world. Make no mistake, on his own, Wang is a dynamic designer. This current partnership will bring his label and name to places unreachable by the prestige of Balenciaga. And It will definitely create more financial freedom, stability and newer, richer ventures for Wang. I believe he needs this collaboration,  in order not to sacrifice his gift, his ability to create and career aspirations. The need to keep his identity separate from Balenciaga is a must if he is going to survive.  My sincerest hope is Wang doesn’t suffer the same fate as Ghesquière, because as any artist can attest to, there is no greater fear than being boxed in, closed up into a tiny space and being controlled by invisible strings of a larger than life puppet master. Being instructed on what, how, when and where to create. For a true artist, the freedom to dream, think, process, execute on our own terms is the very purest form of creation, the very breathe of life to our souls.  Good luck and Godspeed Alexander Wang, you will need it in the future.