Saturday, October 8, 2011
Charles James, Halston, Diana Vreeland: A Little Known History Of Then
This was NOT what I expected. After watching the trailer for the Halston movie, I wanted to find photos of what I remember from my first buying trip: Charles James half-hidden by a newspaper, trails of cigarette smoke, and perhaps Elsa Perretti and a sterling belt buckle. Specifically, the Vreeland comment (offhand, a wave of that hand perhaps, dismissive and something else I can't know):
"Hmmmm. As for stealing, if you're not copied you're nobody."
And what would that be to borrow an Haute Couture original to order a Seventh Avenue manufacturer (yes, there was once a monstrously large fashion industry in New York) to copy it, in gratitude or something else yet again, humbly pony up for advertising? Whilst Sidney Gittler at Ohrbach's paid "cautions" to attend the Haute Couture shows and stand (sit?) in the back with promises to purchase several Haute Couture bodies to take back to New York to ... be copied. Hmmmm, indeed.
Is it a venal sin to be cross with a designer who indignantly speaks out against a Vreeland policy? He was ignored, something that has happened many times at WWD with designers and even now one scratches their head that Carine Roitfeld was not invited to a certain show in Paris recently.
Really, this was not a great forensic look back to blink about the business behind.
Did Halston ask for Charles James help, he the ultimate master of construction, in the manufacture of his earliest collections? Yes. Was there copying? Hmmmm. There was a certain tight sleeve, knits that hugged the body at the moment that Sonia Rykiel and her extraordinary factories produced that look. His American translation was breezier, his atelier and his understanding of women (helping to fit and sell on the floor, not a designer removed and protected). Was he influenced by the very birth of prey a porter? Of course. Fashion from the street, which was then the streets of Left Bank Paris, spilled into consciousness.
A wry look back at the earlier days of the business of fashion. History, beautifully documented history.