Paris Fashion Week 2015

Etienne Derœux isn’t one of our SPACE designers yet, but he will be soon. So, fair warning: this is something of a tease. True enough, you have to wait six months for all the spring runway looks we’ve been showing you, but at least with most of the designers we’re reporting on, you can use this as inspiration when shopping their current seasons now.

Hold tight, though. Derœux’s simplicity and elegance are worth the wait.

etienne jumpsuit

This cut-and-shaped, belted shirtdress with its wide blue stripes—shown inside the amazing setting of Atelier Brancusi, the former studio of the Romanian/French sculptor—isn’t making it any easier. But come take a look around. Patience is a virtue worth cultivating.

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Although you wouldn’t figure him to be any older than, oh, say, your favorite older brother, Gilles Assor, U.S. head of the super-chic heritage footwear brand Robert Clergerie, has been around—in the best way. If you’re lucky enough to spend an afternoon hearing about his career in fashion, you’ll get an earful. From Galliano-era Dior to Jean Paul Gaultier’s JPG line (“before streetwear was streetwear”) to Paco Rabanne (“Balmain now is Paco Rabanne back then”) to the first time Birkenstocks were cool (and sanctioned by the Parisian boutique Colette), and from Barbara Bui to Margiela to Marc Jacobs in the era of baby discos at the Palais de Tokyo. Assor’s narrative résumé is just plain killer. If he weren’t so sweet and fun, he’d be pretty darn intimidating.

And as much as he knows about fashion (in case that isn’t clear yet, it’s A LOT), he’s also a pretty good resource for all things Chelsea. He’s lived in New York’s art gallery–studded neighborhood for four years, and the Robert Clergerie showroom, Assor’s “office,” has been in the Chelsea Arts Tower for two.

We were lucky enough to while away a few hours there with this fine Frenchman a few weeks ago. He snuck us up to the showroom’s rooftop event space, The Glasshouses, and pointed out the sites from on high: the seemingly singular one-story building where Donna Karan is said to be hosting her next runway show, the Frying Pan, the condos with drive-in, elevator-up garages (!).

“Realtors around here are now buying the sky,” he said in his spot-on, deadpan way. We left it at that—except for the following download on galleries, cocktails, coffee and, naturally, summer’s best shoes. (And some other stuff too.)

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We’re used to hearing about how designers are caught between seasons; at any given time they’re sketching for one time of year, selecting models to walk a runway for another, and getting sales and marketing reports for a third. But some designers live in between geographic locations as well. For example Joseph Altuzarra. The designer was born in Paris, worked with Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler in America, and then Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy in France before striking out on his own and settling down—and getting married—in New York City.

Image by Simon Cave, courtesy Joseph Altuzarra

Of course, who could choose just one city or the other—and why would they want to? There’s a time and place for everything, and we had the designer tell us exactly what that means for him. Keep reading for city-specific thoughts on baked goods, the ballet (he studied and performed for many years), perfect looks from his spring collection (but of course!)and more.

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Pedro García’s Spain

Fashion gives us access to the world; through brands headquartered in iconic centers of design and beauty across the globe, our wardrobes travel—and we go along for the ride. Today our tour guides are Pedro García designers Pedro García and Dale Dubovich, who invite you to share in the beauty of Spain and their spring collection.

Designers Pedro García and Dale Dubovich in Tenerife, where their spring campaign was photographed

We talked to García and Dubovich about walking stylishly all over the world, and particularly in Spain. In doing so we not only uncovered great tips for your international travel (even if it’s only virtual), but we also got great insight on the cultural factors that influence their style, and the deep history and tradition of Spanish-made footwear.

Thinking about wandering? Let’s go.

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Fashion Week Journal for Monday, March 9

shoes copy

As this season’s quartet of Fashion Weeks zipped itself closed and exited stage right yesterday and I boarded a plane bound for familiar faces, the voice in my head was never more like the diaristic Doogie Howser crossed with SJP doing her Carrie Bradshaw narrations. So please indulge me as I attempt to make some sense of the sit-com/sci-fi/drama that was these last 30 days of runways, real ways, icons, offbeats and more.

But …. I’m not ready to bring my Fashion Week coverage to an end per se—stay tuned in the weeks to come as I take you behind even more brands and share some special showroom stories and scenes—but for now I’ve distilled a month’s worth of impressions and ideas down to five notions of what the phenomenon of Fashion Month means right now. 

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Fashion Week Journal for Tuesday, March 10

Whether you’re watching the runway from home or from the front row, it’s impossible to not be completely captivated by certain models. There are the classically beautiful ones and the offbeat beauties, the girls who seem to come from another world and those who might be your awkward neighbor from kindergarten.

The best ones just have that something. Sometimes they’re even a little distracting—you look at them as closely as you do the clothes they’re modeling. But that plays into the brand too. Some models are cast because they have the perfect proportions and walk like they’re in a dream. Some are cast because they simply possess a spirit that draws you in—and keeps you there.

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Napavine, Washington’s Emilie Evander is among the last group. After she walked in the Gucci men’s show (they’re gender benders, you’ll recall) and made big waves there, Alexander Wang cast her as an exclusive for his New York Fashion Week show, then Gucci nabbed her as an exclusive for Milan. And they had her close the show. In Paris, she walked in the much buzzed-about shows for Rick Owens and Margiela.

It’s a big deal to be booked exclusively; it means it’s the only show you do in that market. It means you’re paid more. It means the brand really wants your certain something to represent their certain something. Evander’s certain something is in her 5’11” frame and her ethereal coloring, but it’s also in her goofball spirit and small-town roots. She’s a total sweetheart and a complete teenager. She loves her mom and family and her community, and she’s curious about the world. She also likes steak and french fries, as I learned when I had dinner with her at Le Relais de l’Entrecote.

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Fashion Week Journal for Sunday, March 8

By the fourth week of what is really Fashion Month, the sheer number of shows attended by someone like Konca Aykan, the super-chic stylist and Vogue Turkey Fashion Director, is sort of staggering. So asking her over a laid-back Saturday lunch which ones have stood out—well, it’s not really a trick question, but it’s also not an easy one.

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Fashion Week Journal for Friday, March 6

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Margherita Maccapani Missoni isn’t having a typical Paris Fashion Week. When I met with her yesterday at her family apartment in the 7th arrondissement, she had just returned not from a runway show but from an acupuncture appointment; her second child is due in two months, and these last few weeks have been a little difficult. That evening she would attend the Lanvin opening at the Palais Galliera with her grandmother, and later in the week she’ll attend a dinner for her friend, the designer Charlotte Olympia, but these days she’s not really thinking about ready-to-wear. She’s thinking about kidswear, and her brand-new, exclusive-to-Nordstrom line Margherita.

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Fashion Week Journal for Thursday, March 5

There’s a joke that isn’t a joke between a few of us here at Nordstrom, and it pertains to what happens inside these sometimes new, sometimes ancient rooms in which engineering, ideas, textiles and hard work come together in the form of clothes. That joke that isn’t a joke, written in the script of the day, is #feelings, and it’s what came to mind at the Ann Demeulemeester show at the Couvenet des Courdeliers.

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Fashion Week Journal for Wednesday, March 4

Yes, Paris Fashion Week is about the shows. But who goes to Paris without seeing the sights? No, I didn’t visit the Eiffel Tower, but I will be stopping in on some showrooms while I’m here because some fashion company headquarters are cultural monuments, too.

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And not unlike the Champ de Mars landmark, my first Paris Fashion Week showroom stop was also something of a romantic icon. The Paris-based brand The Kooples celebrates the sexes with modern, urban co-ed style—translated inside their homebase with marble, taxidermy, leather, and, notably, oversized black and white imagery of some of history’s chicest couples. Like Serge and Jane, above.

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