The Queen of Cashmere

Laura Biagiotti, center, with her daughter, Lavinia Biagiotti Cigna, right, after the presentation of her collection in Milan in September 2011: Credit Daniel Dal Zennaro/European Pressphoto Agency

“Being a fashion designer is like taking vows … It becomes your religion for life.” Laura Biagiotti

Italian fashion designer, Laura Biagiotti, died last Friday in Rome at 73 years old. I didn’t know her, I didn’t know about her business, I didn’t know that her elegant fashions made from fluffy goat’s wool defined her as the global queen of cashmere. But I love her story and it touched me to read it.

Biagiotti was born in 1943, and was envisioning an independent life for herself when she enrolled at a university in Rome to study literature and archaeology. But her life changed course when she was drawn to her family’s dressmaking studio where her mother, Delia Biagiotti, designed the uniforms for Alitalia employees. In 1972, she went into business for herself and presented her own collection by introducing a relatively new material at the time: cashmere. According to the New York Times: “Her original collection was so small, Biagiotti recalled, that at her first show, models wore the same white jacket three times, with two skirts and a dress. She developed a passion for linen and also for the color white, which many mourners wore to her funeral last week.” 

A woman in a profession dominated by men, Biagiotti told an interviewer in 1981 that “a woman designer faces the same odds as a woman trying to get a job as a 747 pilot.” But she did it and by the 1980s she was making her mark. In 1988 she became the first Italian designer to put on a fashion show in China presenting dresses and blouses in silk and cashmere, and in 1995 she was the first to have a show inside the Kremlin walls in Moscow. Today, The House of Biagiotti (based on Via dei Condotti in Rome) is listed among the largest fashion houses in Italy. Her daughter, Lavinia Biagiotti Cigna, is the creative director of the business and represents the third generation of Biagiotti clothiers.

 

 

 

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A triumphant Isabella Rose Taylor!

Isabella Rose Taylor at the launch of her collection: Nordstrom BP

Isabella Rose Taylor at the launch of her Collection: Nordstrom BP

What a week for Isabella Rose Taylor! Following her first-ever show at NY Fashion Week, 13-year old designer, Isabella Rose Taylor, came to New Jersey on Saturday, to launch her Collection at Nordstrom BP. I was lucky enough to catch her, where she practically sold out in one hour. The Collection obviously rings true for Isabella’s contemporaries, for whom she designs. That is the magic of Isabella Rose Taylor: she doesn’t have to imagine what young women want to wear … she just has to ask herself. Continue reading

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News flash: Daniel Silverstein is not just a rising star, he is a fashion star!

 

Optimized-P1040339P1040230P1040288P1040305P1040299On Friday night, I viewed the Fall 2014 Collection of Daniel Silverstein and I was blown away. I met Daniel, designer, artist and entrepreneur, a year ago, just in time to watch him earn his fashion stripes on NBC’s Fashion Star. Since then, he has continued to design and manufacture exquisite, ethereal, sexy and zero-waste creations for women. His Fall 2014 Collection is strong and vibrant and quintessential Daniel Silverstein. Bravo, Daniel! And Bravo, for creating sustainable fashion and showcasing diversity on the runway! Continue reading

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Madonna’s one-time fashion designer, Jean Paul Gaultier, has been sighted in Brooklyn!

Jean Paul Gaultier at the Brooklyn Museum: "Ribbon corset - close up"

Jean Paul Gaultier at the Brooklyn Museum: “Ribbon corset – close up”

Ingrid Steffenson, a guest contributor to TFIO, recently visited, “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” at The Brooklyn Museum, which runs from October 25, 2013 – February 23, 2014. Here is Ingrid’s commentary …

Remember Madonna’s trashy underwear-as-outerwear ensembles during her Blond Ambition World Tour in the early 90s? Growing up in rural central Pennsylvania, Continue reading

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NOTHING like a schmatta!

Ghthe

The DVF  ‘Journey of a Dress’ Anniversary Party – Los Angeles, Wilshire May Co. Building              (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

(Schmatta (Yiddish) (n.) Rags: Don’t go out of the house wearing that schmatta!)

Diane von Furstenberg’s wrap dress turns 40 this year: this simple, easy-to-wear, dress-up-or-dress-down, sexy, flattering dress is everything and NOTHING like a schmatta! On Friday night, in Los Angeles, Ms. von Furstenberg threw a party to celebrate the dress and to kick off the new exhibit, ‘Journey of a Dress,’ at Wilshire May Co. Building, Los Angeles, which runs now through April 1st. “This is the first time that I ever honored the wrap dress, and she did so much for me. She made me famous. She paid for all my bills. And tonight we celebrate the wrap dress.” ~ Diane von Furstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg attends the DVF 40th Anniversary  'Journey of a Dress'

Diane von Furstenberg attends the DVF 40th Anniversary ‘Journey of a Dress’ Party                      (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

 

 

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“I grew up in Paris, near The Galeries Lafayette”

Emilie-Rose

Emilie-Rose

In honor of National French Week, organized by the American Association of Teachers of French, meet Emilie-Rose, a 22-year old, who was born and has lived most of her life in Paris. Now living in Canterbury, England (an hour outside of London) while she attends her last year of University, Emilie-Rose and I talked about how the French view fashion and style and beauty and what is what like growing up in the fashion capital of the world …

Here is Emilie-Rose

Growing up in Paris, I was always aware not only of fashion, but of shops and shopping. We live in a part of Paris that is very near the huge department stores, like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. I have always been really girly, even from a young age. I went to an International bilingual school and looking back at it now, I wish I had been required to wear a uniform. There was a lot of pressure to dress a certain way and many of the students were from wealthy backgrounds and could afford to wear high-brand designer labels. It was tough … Continue reading

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Fashion’s IT girl: Alexa Chung

Alexa Chung's new book, IT

Reading Alexa Chung’s new book, IT

Reading Alexa Chung's new book, IT

Reading Alexa Chung’s new book, IT

Alexa Chung is IT. This Brit is a model, television personality, contributing editor at British Vogue and fashion muse to designers Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld. She is young – just turned 30 yesterday – and modern, with a refreshing boy-meets-girl original style. Her  musings are infectious in her new book/scrapbook, IT. How fun to hear about what inspires her, in her own charming, cheeky words. It’s a reminder that we are connected, no matter our age or where we live or our life circumstance. Here is a taste of IT, by Alexa Chung:

If left to their own devices, children dress very similarly to elderly crazy cat women – and I love it. Our affinity for fashion often starts at a young age. Most of the things I wear today are a throwback to items I owned as a child, minus the multi-coloured harem trousers. You know what you like, so follow your gut.” Continue reading

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Missoni turns 60

Angela Missoni with daughters Margherita and Teresa Maccapani Missoni for Spring 2010 ad campaign - Photo by Juergen Teller

Angela Missoni with daughters Margherita and Teresa Maccapani Missoni for Spring 2010 Missoni ad campaign – Photo by Juergen Teller

Margherita Maccapani Missoni for 2010 Spring ad campaign - Photo by Juergen Teller

Margherita Maccapani Missoni for Spring 201o Missoni ad campaign – Photo by Juergen Teller

Family operated iconic brand Missoni turns 60 this year. In this month’s Harper’s Bazaar Christine Whitney speaks to Margherita Maccapani Missoni about growing up in the family Missoni. Margherita shares that she has always been close to her family and spent significant time in her younger years with her grandparents, the founders of Missoni, Ottavio and Rosita. Her grandmother would take her into the Italian countryside to pick wild salad and they would make bouquets of wild flowers for her mother, Angela. Margherita continues to spend close time with her mother and her grandmother, shopping and asking each others’ opinions: “We go to flea markets together, and we pass around magazines and talk about photography and designs. It’s not simply working together, it’s sharing a passion. It doesn’t end when you stop working.” ~ Margherita Maccapani Missoni

 

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Creative Ambassador at Large …

Simon Doonan  - Photo Credit: Getty Images

Simon Doonan – Photo Credit: Getty Images

… of the New York store, Barney’s. That is Simon Doonan. Cheeky, charming Simon Doonan. Last night I was lucky to be in the audience in NYC at the 92nd Street Y for his interview with Fern Mallis, as part of her ongoing series, Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis. Simon has written a book called The Asylum, which he describes as a love valentine to the fashion industry and its crazy but ever-so-fiercely loyal community. Continue reading

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Limsanity!

Playing in my Phillip Lim for Target BOOM! top

Playing in my 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target BOOM! top

I was there two years ago for the Missoni for Target collaboration. It was a wild scene … women squeezing into kids’ sizes hoping they would fit, people grabbing whatever they could and hoarding the rest, sometimes not even bothering to check sizes, grabbing leftovers from the fitting rooms, and the Target online website crashing with the unexpected influx of orders. All for the name Missoni, because there is no one like Missoni. And yesterday, September 15th, it happened again. This time the designer was 3.1 Phillip Lim and although it may not have been quite as crazy it came very close. The website didn’t crash but certain items sold out quickly, especially the handbags.

When the doors opened at 8:00 there were already people waiting to get in. The handbags went first and you were out of luck by 8:30/9:00 if you wanted one. One would ask, why? Continue reading

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