Carolina Herrera waves goodbye to the runway

It was announced February 9, 2018 that Carolina Herrera, queen of elegance and favorite of US first ladies, is stepping down as chief designer of her eponymous label. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 10 February 2018
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Carolina Herrera waves goodbye to the runway

NEW YORK: New York Fashion Week day two saw first lady favorite Carolina Herrera signal the end of an era by stepping down from her four-decade-old label, while Tory Burch showcased breezy optimism in a sea of carnations for a post-#MeToo world.
The Venezuelan-born 79-year-old Herrera said she had appointed US designer Wes Gordon to take over as creative director after she takes the bow at her fall/winter 2018 fashion show at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan on Monday.
But if she’s waving goodbye to the runway, she insisted in an interview with The New York Times that she was not retiring. Instead she will become a global brand ambassador for her fashion label, which has a reported $1.4 billion in annual sales.
“I am so pleased Wes is now part of the Herrera House — he’s the right one for this position to further build on our great momentum,” she said in a statement.
Gordon, who studied in London, and from 2010 to 2016 presented his eponymous womenswear collection in New York, has been creative consultant at Carolina Herrera for a year.
Herrera founded her namesake fashion house in 1981, going on to dress first ladies from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to Michelle Obama and Melania Trump, as well as Hollywood actresses like Renee Zellweger, not to mention generations of society women.
“Fashion has changed a lot,” Herrera told the Times.
“Women dress in a very strange way. Like clowns. There is a lot of pressure to change all the time. But it’s better to wear what suits you.”
Tory Burch also knows what suits her, transforming a market space under a flyover into a field of pink carnations sprouting from springy moss, light streaming through the windows and the Chamber Orchestra of New York playing Vivaldi.
Her fall/winter 2018 collection was romantic, whimsical and partly inspired by Lee Radziwill, the 84-year-old indomitable American socialite and younger sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
And if there was a hot pink pussy bow blouse and matching skirt, any allusion to the pink pussy hats worn by women marching against the Trump administration was pure coincidence: turns out Radziwill has a hot pink couch in her Paris living room.
“I promise that wasn’t in my mind. It really wasn’t,” laughed 51-year-old Burch, worth an estimated $600 million according to Forbes.
“I’m a big supporter of women and women’s issues but that is probably not how I would demonstrate that,” she added. “I love the color and pink, we were referencing Lee Radziwill... she had a pink couch.”
But she is only too happy to see positivity blowing in the winds as the United States navigates the sexual harassment watershed.
“You can read optimism into the whole mood of the collection,” she told AFP. “That is a definite direction,” she said.
“Women’s rights is the reason I started my company... this has been ingrained in our conversation for 14 years so to see a sea change is pretty spectacular.”
Her collection showcased feminine layers mixed with classic tailoring, chintz reimagined and made modern into a floaty dress, scarf hemlines paired with clean-cut tomboy jackets and a blanket poncho reflecting the boho vibe of the label.
There was a handbag named after Lee. Colors were ivory, pale pink, green and navy, with patchworks of florals and stripes, delicate lace and organza, pointy-toed booties.
If New York Fashion Week is struggling to excite buyers and editors as big names sit out the schedule or flee to Europe, Burch is not one of those to defect.
“I love showing in New York,” she said. But she is thinking about “more seasonless dressing” — reflected in the layering, making the clothes wearable in any clime.
It’s very useful for a global business: “They’re very interested in fashion and also they’re traveling a lot,” said Burch of the Chinese client. “The China market is very important for us.”


Lana jets in as Lebanon takes over Paris Couture Week

Lana El Sahely at an event last year. (AFP)
Updated 21 January 2019
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Lana jets in as Lebanon takes over Paris Couture Week

DUBAI: Lebanese influencer Lana El-Sahely jetted to France this week to attend a bevy of shows at Paris Couture Week, which kicked off on Monday.

The style star admitted that she failed to make it to the first day of couture week, due to her flight being cancelled, but promised that she would give her followers a “beautiful ride” as the event goes on. 

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Bonjour ..While I was supposed to be enjoying a Parisian breakfast right now, the situation got out of our hands. Last night, as I arrived to the airport, I found out that some birds decided to visit the Plane’s reactors. Hence, my flight got cancelled with no other flying options. I am extremely bummed to be missing today, the special @georgeshobeika @maisonrabihkayrouz shows, but also the dearest tradition to my heart the @dior show, the gorgeous @ralphandrusso show...but also my backstage with @phytoparislb at Rabih Kayrouz’ show and my backstage coverages with @Maccosmetics at Ralph &Russo and @GiambattistaValli. I still promise you a beautiful ride this week☺️, sending you all loads of love. À demain Paris وعسى ان تكرهوا شيئا وهو خير لكم #paris #pfw #pariscoutureweek #coutureweek #hautecouture #fashionweek #parisjetaime #parismonamour

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She took to Instagram earlier in the week to ask her 265,000 followers what they would like to see on her account.

“Dreamy couture week is calling. Sunday with the family and hop (on a plane). What do you want to see more of? The shows, the trending pieces, the Parisian lifestyle, the parties? Help,” she posted on Instagram, alongside a photo of her in a red-and-pink outfit by Lebanon-based designer Krikor Jabotian.

Similar striking looks will no doubt go on show at Paris Couture Week, with four Arab fashion labels taking part in the elite event.

Maison Rabih Kayrouz, Georges Hobeika, Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad have all been invited to showcase their collections in Paris and are part of a high-end group of just 31 labels to take part in January’s showcase.

The Lebanese labels will be joined by the likes of Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier and Ralph & Russo at Paris Couture Week, which ends on Jan. 24.

It is a particularly memorable year for Lebanese fashion house Maison Rabih Kayrouz, which showed off its collection on Monday, as the label was just granted haute couture status by the French Couture Federation.

The decision to grant the fashion house the prestigious position was made at a Dec. 3 meeting between the French Couture Federation and France’s Industry Ministry, although the announcement was made last week.

Maison Rabih Kayrouz was elected as a guest member of the haute couture calendar in 2016 — guest members can take part in the couture week showcases but cannot use the label “haute couture” — but managed to nab the official label at the end of 2018.

Other iconic fashion houses to be hold the haute couture tag include Givenchy, Chanel and Maison Margiela.

For her part, El-Sahely is in Paris after a dizzying few weeks — she spent a whirlwind 24 hours in Geneva last week as luxury watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen launched a new range at a glamorous bash in the Swiss city. 

The stylish influencer turned heads at the event in a gorgeous, moss-green velvet gown by Elie Saab, which she paired with quirky Dior earrings and a tight up-do.

We have no doubt that the fashion star will pull out all the style stops as Paris Couture Week continues.