We Miss You, Alexander McQueen

mcqueen4It was five years ago, this fashion week eve, that the fashion universe stopped mid tilt on its axis and ceased from spinning for a few minutes. Lee Alexander McQueen, mister boy wonder turned creative genius, died by way of suicide and the world of fashion grew a little more darker. We miss him, the fashion industry misses him deeply and there has yet to be one proven to fill the void of McQueen’s out-of-this-world creations. Certainly any artist can attest to the dark side of creating…the unstable moments, the isolation phases, and the loneliness. And while these muses often are responsible for giving birth to greatness and mass appeal, they can be downright detrimental if not periodically checked and balanced.  No one knows the real reason(s) why McQueen, a bright beacon in the fashion community, decided to end his life. Rampant speculations followed the days after his death; some say losing his longtime friend/confident Isabella Blow and the support of his mother who passed away just days after Blow is what drove his decision to book an earlier appointment to meet his maker.

We miss you, Mr. McQueen. Your brash ego, eccentric behavior, your dark interpretations of fashion. We miss the electric atmosphere of the unexpected expectation you created with each of your collections. We miss the way you created purely and passionately. We miss the effortless way you would marry opposing ideologies; luminous & obscure, structured & disheveled or confined & unrestricted. You weren’t just a fashion designer; you were a designer of hope and like the Sex Pistols who ushered in the punk movement, you knew exactly what the industry needed to wake it from its lofty snooze fest.


The loss of McQueen has been tremendous and sad, leaving fashion with a gaping hole in its heart. But we are grateful for the years he lived, the lives he touched and the collections he designed. May his spirit of just the correct dose of controversy injected on the runway live on. May his legacy continue to thrive, and as Sarah Burton strives to maintain his original aesthetic, inspire another young man with big dreams of fashion design.




Fashion Foul

APC_logoNothing separates a fashion show from the mundane during fashion week like controversy. Ask Jean Touitou. During A.P.C.’s AW 2015 collection, the provocative laced designer was asked to describe his inspiration behind the presentation. Never one to run his thoughts through conscious filter, Touitou explained plainly to the unexcited media the collection was a “mix between the Watch the Throne (the 2013 Jay Z + Kanye album collaboration) single N***** in Paris and the famous Marlon Brando film Last Tango in Paris.” And as if those few comments didn’t spark a charge to the raging, out-of-control flames of current racial tension and discrimination, Touitou, often a walking figurative of inserting foot in mouth, looped Timberland into the charring by stating the brand, “is a very strong ghetto signifier.”

Fail. When asked to further explain those comments, Touitou immediately cited his friend/workship with Kanye West as a source of endorsement. Momentous fail. West, a like sufferer of inserting his foot in mouth publicly, hasn’t been very successful in his attempt to ascend to the glorious realm of fashion royalty. In fact every attempt West has made in designing has been met with either mixed or poor reviews, including his collaborations with A.P.C.  Mixing West into an already disastrous elixir coupled with Touitou’s larger than life attitude led Timberland to sever their working relationship with A.P.C.

“We have chosen to immediately terminate our involvement with the A.P.C. brand. Simply stated, this kind of language and approach is in complete contrast with our valves. Timberland seeks to collaborate with designers and brands who are at the forefront of lifestyle trends, equally important, they must also share our values. We will not tolerate offensive language or racial slurs of any kind being associated with the Timberland brand.”

Designers like Touitou create in the dark. Gone are the days when the French ruled the fashion universe, dictating unanimously the what, how & why of fashion. Long gone is the era of a trickle down theory in fashion, where the upper echelon of society decided acceptable wear and then over a period of time was slowly adapted by the lower classes. Today, the instantaneous realm of social media, the fashion blogger extraordinaire, street style & Instagram stars heavily influence and determine what design houses are sending down the runway. CoCo Chanel, a visionary and creative force, understood this, adopting it well before its time. “Fashion is not something that exists in dress(es) only, Fashion is in the sky, in the street…”

Maybe Jean Touitou should hire a good publicist. Then again, not even the best of publicists can dislodge his foot out of his mouth if he’s so insistent on keeping it in there.

*Touitou issued a standard statement exclusively to GQ on January 29th:

“When describing our brand’s latest collaboration, I spoke recklessly using terms that were both ignorant and offensive. I apologize and am deeply regretful for my poor choice of words, which are in no way a reflection of my personal views.”

The Age of Microwave Fashion?

I recently read an interesting article on the web from the Boston Consulting Group and Business of Fashion. It focused on the plight of fashion houses recruiting viable talent to develop current brands. Nearly 70 percent of luxury brands find it difficult to place creative directors, many citing inadequate talent pipelines. One of the biggest challenges facing luxury and fashion companies today is finding, developing, and retaining great creative and business, as stated by Jean-Marc Bellaiche and Sarah Willersdorf, a partner and principal at BCG.

All across the board, in design and product development, technology and general management in fashion are gaping holes needed to be filled by talent.  But the greater problem beneath this current one faced by larger retail companies and fashion houses alike isn’t easily visible to the naked eye. Companies are searching for artists that have the ability to become, stepping into a role and growing.  The key word in the article is develop. Because of the lightening speed at which we absorb, post, infiltrate the internet today, many of these people lying the talent pool have no desire to be students, i.e., get developed.  Because the internet makes everyone a star…plumps up a faux resume, produces incredible geniuses…and at the tip of a finger one can quickly and unanimously become larger than life. We are inundated with rockstar status IG profiles where living a fashionable lifestyle is envied and admired leading to the notion that being famous is more important than developing (being a student).  No longer are there eager students, hungry for knowledge, humble in approach, those that understand the process of starting from the bottom to learn the business of fashion as a way of life.  No, no.  Studying has been replaced by delusions of grandeur, with the aim of cult like celebrity followers as the ultimate goal.  These faux “fashionistas” (btw I loathe that word) are armed with Google, a MAC illustrator (because no real sketching required nowadays) and the latest Vogue magazine for fast imitation inspiration.  To each his own.  But what happens when the famously internet stars began to outnumber school education or ones who’ve taken the time to develop, i.e. paid their dues?  What type of predicament will the business of fashion be left in?  A quiet but massive chaotic storm is brewing in the fashion community.  The gaping hole between the creative side and business of fashion exists, and not acknowledging it will not make it disappear.  And until both sides in the fashion community can put aside egos and learn to work together co-existing, the future of fashion is at risk.


You can read the full article here: The Race for Talent and Luxury in Fashion.  Share your thoughts with me!

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.




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.


na9 na10 na11na8


na na1 na2  na5











Lupita, Lupita

Dearest Lupita,

   6:15pm CST.  The collective sigh as you made your appearance on red carpet at the Met Gala is the maddening reason behind this post.  You are a star.  Destined for greatness.  Your humble spirit and immense talent speaks volume.  The world has taken a seat in your audience, eagerly awaiting your next move.  But let’s address the daring move you made last night, I get it, it was your JLo-in-the-Versace-at-the-Grammys-moment.  You wanted to make a bold statement.  After all, you have stunned and silenced us throughout this award season.  Radiant in Ralph Lauren, Glorious in Gucci, Dazzling in Dior and Charming in Chanel.  On Oscar night, I expected the mecca of dresses and though you looked graceful and elegant as always in Oscar de La Renta I must admit I was quite disappointed.  This was your chance to showcase your true beauty and fashion sense (and your stylist).  You didn’t flunk out but you failed to excite. 

Last night you excited but you failed to ignite.  The Met Gala red carpet wasn’t the place for the flapper inspired emerald green Prada gown and the Star Wars headpiece.  Where was the architecture (structure)? Volume? Charles James inspiration? Red carpet fashion is about risk taking but the Prada was a poor choice for a beautiful starlet.  Please, Lupita redeem yourself in only the way you can. By dazzling us once again and enrapturing us under your magical fashion spell.







Met Gala, 2014 Edition

charles   Each spring, celebrities and fashion lovers unite at the fundraising gala for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute known as the Met Gala.  Fashion Mecca.  Fashion Prom.  Each year brings a new exhibition (and theme) highlighting the creative work of innovative designers.  This year’s exhibition is Charles James: Beyond Fashion, showcasing the designer life of “America’s first couturier.”  James, a British-born designer, known widely for his architectural aesthetic with many pieces being interchangeable keeping his ideas new and fresh.  Exquisite tailoring and lush embroidered ball gowns were signatures of James.



There was just one dress tonight….just one…it represented Mr. James well and it was simply stunning.  Karolina Kurkova in dreamy Marchesa.






Kurkova stunned two years ago at the Met Gala in Rachel Zoe.  The theme was inspired by the exhibition of Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations.





















The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

The evil doer often comes to harm through his own deceit.–Aesop fable


Woody Allen.  Robert Kelly.  Terrance “Terry” Richardson.  These three men are regarded as the crème de la crème in their respected industries and have all been accused, some tried in a court of law, and found guilty by the public of inappropriate sexual behavior.  All have gone to the greatest of lengths to cover and annihilate the “rumors” of accusations, even penning public proclamations of innocence.  The latest scandal of the three features famed fashion and portrait photographer, Terry Richardson.  Known for his explicit, often nude, images of models and celebrities, Richardson has photographed some of the best in the business and worked for top publications.  His resume is quite impressive; his work well received and is name is infamous.  But the allegations that appeared via Twitter three days ago published by Emma Appleton are not the first of its kind.  In 2010 and 2013, Richardson, who’s explicit often nude images tend to push the boundary of sexual and appropriate behaviors, stood accused of similar conduct by professionals in the industry.  Dirt was slung from both sides as Richardson and his supporters fought to discredit the voices that cried foul and defend his brand and name.  As with most sensationalized internet stories, the debacle settled into dust particles as the fire slowly burned into nothingness without a clear indication of the true details of the he said she said battle.  Richardson continued to work and play as, I’m certain, he felt he dodged the flaming arrows of injustice and the attempt to vilify his persona.  But on Sunday, US Vogue issued a clear and concise public statement, proclaiming,”The last assignment Terry Richardson had for US Vogue appeared in the July 2010 issue and we have no plans to work with him in the future.” Quickly distancing itself from the scandal and possible storm of criticism that will transpire in the future (Vogue has recently had its share, and more of public judgment handed to them by the Kim and Kanye cover mess). What’s different about the scandal of today versus yesterday is public support.  No one, not one person, has come to stand behind Richardson.  The photographer himself hasn’t spoken a word except one lousy standard declaration through his publicist.  The silence seeping through Richardson’s dark room isn’t good; it would appear there is some difficulty in finding influential voices that are willing to buck against the power of Anna Wintour and Vogue.

Where does this leave Richardson? Innocent, guilty or perhaps the conversation in question between himself and Appleton was blown out of proportion, it will take quite a miraculous turn of events for this situation to be favorable for him.  Richardson can kiss the power his name once yielded goodbye.  Yes, he will continue to work and play perhaps not as boldly, but his seat is no longer perched atop of the industry.  Remember John Galliano? I do, as many others; however we don’t often hear his name anymore, read about any recent work or accomplishments.  The same fate, I believe, awaits Terry Richardson.