Kate Spade by Cinthia Contreras

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Katherine Noel Brosnahan (December 24, 1962 – June 5, 2018), known professionally as Kate Spade or Kate Valentine, was an American fashion designer and businesswoman. She was the founder and former co-owner of the designer brand Kate Spade New York.

After working in the accessories department at the fashion magazine Mademoiselle, Brosnahan and her husband Andy Spade founded the business in 1993, identifying a market for quality stylish handbags. The handbags that she designed and produced quickly became popular due to their sophistication and affordability; they have been described as a symbol of 1990s New York City.

The company expanded into other product lines. In 1999, she sold a 56 percent stake in Kate Spade New York to Neiman Marcus Group; in 2006 she sold the rest of her shares. In 2016, she and partners launched a new fashion brand called Frances Valentine.

Early life

Spade was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the daughter of June (Mullen) and Earl Francis Brosnahan, who owned a road construction company. Her ancestry was mostly Irish. After graduating from St. Teresa's Academy, an all-girl Catholic high school, she attended the University of Kansas. Later she transferred to Arizona State University, where she joined Kappa Kappa Gamma, and graduated with a journalism degree in 1985.

Fashion was a love, she recalled later, but not an obsession. Her original goal was to become a television producer, and she cited the example of Holly Hunter's character in the 1987 film Broadcast News as her inspiration.

Career

Mademoiselle

In 1986, Spade worked in the accessories department at Mademoiselle magazine in Manhattan, where she was credited by her maiden name, Katy Brosnahan. While at Mademoiselle, she started living with Andy Spade, a native of Scottsdale, Arizona. The two had worked side-by-side as salespeople in a men's clothing store, Carter's Men Shop, back when Spade was still in Phoenix.

She left Mademoiselle in 1991, with the title of Senior Fashion Editor/Head of Accessories. While working for Mademoiselle, she had noticed that the market lacked stylish and sensible handbags and decided to create her own.

Kate Spade New York

Kate and Andy Spade launched the New York–based design company kate spade handbags in January 1993. "I wanted a functional bag that was sophisticated and had some style," Spade would later recall. She made six prototypes with Scotch tape and paper, and found a manufacturer in East New York willing to work with a startup to turn them into actual bags. To finance the company, Andy, who had worked as a copywriter, withdrew his 401(k)pension plan, and sometimes paid employees with personal checks. The couple spent their shipping season[jargon] living at friends' apartments since their own was filled with boxed handbags.

Kate was undecided as to what name to give the company, because she and Spade had not yet married, and "Kate Brosnahan" did not sound like an ideal name for a fashion label. She considered a number of names names, but agreed when Andy suggested "Kate Spade"—a combination of their names that he found euphonious. After an early show[jargon] at the Javits Center at which the department-store chain Barneys ordered a few bags, Kate decided to put the bag's labels on the outside, a change that took her all night to make but established the brand.

The bags, priced in the $150–450 range, quickly became popular, particularly in New York. Teenage girls with disposable income appreciated that the bags at the lower end of the price range were affordable. That was "a real shift" in fashion, said Fern Mallis, director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) during the 1990s. "Everybody had Kate Spade bags. You could afford them, and happily buy more than one." Young American women at the time also liked the sophisticated look. One woman recalled to Sarah Maslin Nir in The New York Times later that the Kate Spade bags looked mature, without being too adult for a teenager as a Burberry bag would have been seen. "At the turn of the last century," Nir wrote, "her bag came to encapsulate a decidedly Manhattan moment in time."

A Kate Spade New York store in the Natick Mall, Massachusetts, in 2008

The company sold mainly handbags at first, but soon extended to clothing, jewelry, shoes, stationery, eyewear, baby items, fragrances, tabletop, bedding and gifts. In 1996, the Kate Spade brand opened its first boutique, a 400-square-foot (37 m2) shop located in Manhattan's trendy SoHo district, and moved its headquarters into a 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) space in West 25th Street.

In 2004, "Kate Spade at home" was launched as a home collection brand. It featured bedding, bath items, china, wallpaper and various items for the home. Later in 2004, Spade also published three books on the subjects of etiquette, entertainment, and fashion—MannersOccasions, and Style. That same year, a Kate Spade store was opened in Aoyama, Tokyo in Japan.

Neiman Marcus Group purchased 56 percent of the Kate Spade brand in 1999, and the remaining 44 percent in 2006. The Group sold the label in 2006 to Liz Claiborne Inc., for $124 million; it was later renamed Fifth & Pacific. The company was purchased by Coach, Inc. in May 2017; both Coach and Kate Spade are now part of Tapestry, Inc.

Frances Valentine

After selling the remaining portion of her ownership stake in the Kate Spade brand in 2006, Spade took time off to raise her daughter. In 2016, she and her business partners launched a new collection of luxury footwear and handbags under the brand name Frances Valentine. The name Frances is a family name on Spade's paternal side; her daughter is named Frances, as were her grandfather, father, and brother. "Valentine" came from Spade's maternal side; it was her grandfather's middle name, given because he was born on Valentine's Day. In 2016, Spade legally changed her surname to Valentine.

Clare Waight Keller by Cinthia Contreras

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(Born 19 August 1970 in Birmingham, England) is a British stylist and fashion designer who is currently the artistic director of Givenchy.

Keller was born in Birmingham, England on 19 August 1970. She studied at Ravensbourne College of Art, where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in Fashion, followed by a master's degree at the Royal College of Art.

She started her career at Calvin Klein in New York as a stylist for the women's ready-to-wear line, then at Ralph Lauren, for the Purple man line. In 2000, she was hired by Tom Ford to join Gucci, responsible for women's ready-to-wear and accessories, until her departure in 2004. The following year, she became artistic director of Pringle of Scotland. In 2007, she received the Scottish Fashion Awards 'Designer of the Year' in the cashmere category. She resigned her position at Pringle of Scotland in 2011. In the same year she moved to Paris where she became the artistic director of Chloé. In 2017, Keller was appointed artistic director of haute couture and ready-to-wear for women and men at Givenchy. Replacing Riccardo Tisci, she was the first woman to hold the position at the company.

She designed the wedding dress which Meghan Markle wore for her wedding to Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, on 19 May 2018.

She had a prestigious fashion education

The designer had always been interested in fashion and her journey to being a designer was set out from childhood. She was born in Birmingham and her mother would hand-stitch her clothes.

"That’s one of my first memories: standing there and my mother saying, ‘Don’t move, don’t move, I’m going to pin you, don’t move!’" she told the Wall Street Journal. “Then, as my sister and I got older, we had to become her helpers. She hated how I pinned patterns because I’d make too much of a bubble in the fabric — little, subtle things that I didn’t realize at the time became second nature when I got to school. When they tell me now that something is labor-intensive, I’m like, Really?”

She has experience at some of the world's most well-known brands

Following her graduation in London, Waight Keller set her sights on New York, where throughout the '90s she went on to work for some of the world's most prestigious fashion labels. First up, she landed a job as a designer for Calvin Klein womenswear, before going on to work for the prestigious Purple Label at Ralph Lauren, where she cut her teeth working on men's tailoring, something that would come in very useful later in her career.

In 2000, Waight Keller worked as a senior designer under Tom Ford during his heyday at Gucci, a role that brought her back to England and had her designing alongside the likes of Christopher Bailey.

Five years later and she was ready for her first creative director position, at Pringle of Scotland. Here, she was credited with revamping the brand and turning it from a small Scottish knitwear company into a global, modern fashion label.

When she resigned in 2011, she was praised heavily for what she had done.

"Clare's unique understanding of knitwear and design talent allowed her to modernize the image of Pringle while remaining true to its heritage," Douglas Fang, a member of the family that owns Pringle, told WWD. "Clare will be greatly missed."

She revamped the Chloé girl

The designer moved to Paris to become creative director of Chloé in 2011, a position which she held for six years. In this role, the designer was following in the footsteps of renowned designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo and the house's founder, Gaby Aghion.

During her tenure at Chloé, Waight Keller was widely praised for her ability to make the brand wearable and extremely profitable by drawing on Aghion's easy and breezy bohemian aesthetic, but adding a touch of boyish charm. From the standout cult dresses and blouses to that famous tracksuit and the Drew handbag, Waight Keller helped Chloé to become the most profitable brand at Richemont, with an estimated €400 million in sales the year she left.

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She is a working mother

When speaking about designing the royal wedding gown, Waight Keller explained that choosing someone who is a working mother was also "part of [Meghan's] story". The designer has three children – twin 15-year-old girls, Charlotte and Amelia and a six-year-old son named Harrison – with her architect husband Philip Keller.

"While the kids are at school, I’m flat-out at work," Waight Keller told W in 2015, when she was still creative director at Chloé. "But I come home and work vanishes as soon as I hit the door. Unless there’s something really urgent and pressing, there’s so much going on here that work isn’t in my head. I think that’s what’s really grounding about having a family: You don’t let the crazy fashion world take you over."

She is the first female artistic director of Givenchy

Last year, in a historic move, Waight Keller was appointed the first female artistic director of Givenchy in the house's 66-years past. At the time, the label said they had chosen her due to her compelling vision, her commitment to leadership and her ability to break the rules.

"It’s a big book. It’s 65 years of history to which she’ll be adding a very important new chapter," Givenchy chief executive officer Philippe Fortunato told WWD at the time of the hire. "She’s a very interesting balance between magic and logic, and I’m personally very, very excited to have her on board."

 

Hubert de Givenchy by Cinthia Contreras

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Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy(pronounced [ybɛʁ də ʒivɑ̃ʃi]; 20 February 1927 – 10 March 2018) was a French fashion designer who founded The House of Givenchy in 1952. He was famous for having designed much of the personal and professional wardrobe of Audrey Hepburn and clothing for Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. He was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1970.

Hubert James Taffin de Givenchy was born on 21 February 1927 in Beauvais, Oise into a Protestant family. He was the younger son of Lucien Taffin de Givenchy (1888–1930), marquis of Givenchy, and his wife, the former Béatrice ("Sissi") Badin (1888–1976). The Taffin de Givenchy family, which traces its roots to Venice, Italy (the original surname was Taffini), was ennobled in 1713, at which time the head of the family became marquis of Givenchy. He had an elder brother, Jean-Claude de Givenchy (1925–2009), who inherited the family's marquessate and eventually became the president of Parfums Givenchy.

After his father's death from influenza in 1930, he was raised by their mother and maternal grandmother, Marguerite Dieterle Badin (1853–1940), the widow of Jules Badin (1843–1919), an artist who was the owner and director of the historic Gobelins Manufactory and Beauvais tapestryfactories. Artistic professions ran in the extended Badin family. Givenchy's maternal great-grandfather, Jules Dieterle, was a set designer who also created designs for the Beauvais factory, including a set of 13 designs for the Elysée Palace. One of his great-great-grandfathers also designed sets for the Paris Opera.

He moved to Paris at the age of seventeen, where he studied at the École des Beau

Givenchy's first designs were done for Jacques Fath in 1945. Later he did designs for Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong (1946) – working alongside the still-unknown Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior. From 1947 to 1951 he worked for the avantgarde designer Elsa Schiaparelli.

 

Silk blouse and skirt ensemble designed by Givenchy for Givenchy Haute Couture, circa 1985.

In 1952, he opened his own design house at the Plaine Monceau in Paris. Later, he named his first collection "Bettina Graziani" for Paris's top model at the time. His style was marked by innovation, contrary to the more conservative designs by Dior. At 25, he was the youngest designer of the progressive Paris fashion scene. His first collections were characterized by the use of rather cheap fabrics for financial reasons, but they always piqued curiosity through their design.

Audrey Hepburn, later the most prominent proponent of Givenchy's fashion, and Givenchy met in 1953 during the shoot of Sabrina. He went on to design the black dress she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

He also developed his first perfume collection for her (L'Interditand Le de Givenchy). Audrey Hepburn was the face of that fragrance. For the very first time a star was the face of a fragrance's advertising campaign and probably the last time that it was done for free, only by friendship.
At that time, Givenchy also met his idol, Cristóbal Balenciaga. Although a renowned designer, Givenchy not only sought inspiration from the lofty settings of haute couture but also in such avant-garde environments as Limbo, the store in Manhattan's East Village.

Clients have included Donna Marella Agnelli, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Countess Mona von Bismarck, Countess Cristiana Brandolini d'Adda, Sunny von Bülow,Renata Tebaldi, Maria Callas, Capucine, Marlene Dietrich, Daisy Fellowes, Greta Garbo, Gloria Guinness, Dolores Guinness, Aimee de Heeren, Audrey Hepburn, Jane Holzer, Grace Kelly, Princess Salimah Aga Khan, Rachel Lambert Mellon, Jeanne Moreau, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Empress Farah Pahlavi, Babe Paley, Lee Radziwill, Comtesse Jacqueline de Ribes, Nona Hendryx, Baroness Pauline de Rothschild, Frederica von Stade, Baroness Gaby Van Zuylen van Nijevelt, Diana Vreeland, Betsey Cushing Roosevelt Whitney, Baroness Sylvia de Waldner, the Duchess of Windsor, Jayne Wrightsman, etc.

In 1954, Givenchy's prêt-à-porter collection debuted.

De Givenchy created the iconic 'Balloon coat' and the 'Baby Doll' dress in 1958.

In 1969, a men's line was also launched. From 1976 through 1983, the Ford Motor Companyoffered a Givenchy Edition of its Continental Mark series of luxury automobiles beginning in 1976 with the Continental Mark IV coupe and ending with the 1983 Continental Mark VI coupe and sedan. In 1988, he organized a retrospective of his work at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

The House of Givenchy was split in 1981, with the perfume line going to Veuve Clicquot, while the fashion branch was acquired by LVMH in 1989. As of today, LVMH owns Parfums Givenchy as well.

 

De Givenchy retired from fashion design in 1995. His successor to head the Givenchy label was John Galliano. After a brief stint by Galliano, a five-year stay from Alexander McQueen and a term from 2001 to 2004 by Julien Macdonald, Givenchy women's ready-to-wear and haute couture was then headed by Riccardo Tisci from 2005 until 2017.

Clare Waight Keller is now the creative director of the fashion house since the Resort 2018 collection.

He resided at the Château du Jonchet, a listed historic castle in Romilly-sur-Aigre, Eure-et-Loir, near Paris. In his retirement, he focused on collecting 17th and 18th-century bronze and marble sculptures. In July 2010, he spoke at the Oxford Union. From 8 to 14 September 2014, during the Biennale des Antiquaires, he organized a private sale exhibition at Christie's in Paris featuring, artwork by Jean-Baptiste-Claude Odiot, the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres, Jacques-Louis David, Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, etc.

In January 2007, The French Post Office issued postage stamps for Valentine's Day designed by Givenchy. In October 2014, a retrospective exhibition featuring ninety-five of his designed pieces took place at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, Spain. His longtime partner was fashion designer Philippe Venet.

He died in his sleep at the Renaissance chateau near Paris in March 2018.

Azzedine Alaia by Cinthia Contreras

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Alaïa was born in Tunis, Tunisia, on 26 February 1940. His parents were wheat farmers, but his glamorous twin sister, Hafida, inspired his love for couture. A French friend of his mother, Mrs. Pineau, fed Alaïa's instinctive creativity with copies of Vogue. He lied about his age to get himself into the local École des Beaux-Arts in Tunis, where he gained valuable insights into the human form and began studying sculpture. He worked as a dressmaker with his sister to pay for school supplies.

After his graduation, Alaïa began working as a dressmaker's assistant. He soon began dressing private clients, and in 1957 he moved to Paris to work in fashion design.

In Paris, he started to work at Christian Dior as a tailleur, but had to leave five days later as the Algerian war broke out, soon moved to work for Guy Laroche for two seasons, then for Thierry Mugler until he opened his first atelier in his little rue de Bellechasse apartment the late 1970s. It is in this tiny atelier that for almost 20 years he privately dressed members of the world's jet set, from Marie-Hélène de Rothschild to Louise de Vilmorin (who would become a close friend) to Greta Garbo, who used to come incognito for her fittings.

He produced his first ready-to-wear collection in 1980 and moved to larger premises on rue du Parc-Royal in the Marais district. Alaïa was voted Best Designer of the Year and Best Collection of the Year at the Oscars de la Mode by the French Ministry of Culture in 1984 in a memorable event where Jamaican singer Grace Jones carried him in her arms on stage. His career skyrocketed when two of the most powerful fashion editors of the time, Melka Tréanton of Depeche Mode and Nicole Crassat of French Elle, supported him in their editorials.

In 1980, while interior designer Andrée Putman was walking down Madison Avenue with one of the first Alaïa leather coats, she was stopped by a Bergdorf Goodman buyer who asked her what she was wearing, which began a turn of events that lead to his designs being sold in New York City and in Beverly Hills.

By 1988, he had opened his own boutiques in these two cities and in Paris. His seductive, clinging clothes were a massive success and he was named by the media 'The King of Cling'. Devotees included both fashion-inclined celebrities and fashionistas: Grace Jones(wearing several of his creations in A View to a Kill), Tina Turner, Raquel Welch, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Brigitte Nielsen, Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Seymour, Tatiana Sorokko, Shakira, Franca Sozzani, Isabelle Aubin, Carine Roitfeld, and Carla Sozzani.

During the mid-1990s, following the death of his sister, Alaïa virtually vanished from the fashion scene; however, he continued to cater to a private clientele and enjoyed commercial success with his ready-to-wear lines. He presented his collections in his own space, in the heart of the Marais, where he brought his creative workshop, boutique, and showroom together under one roof.

In 1996 he participated at the Biennale Della Moda in Florence, where along with paintings by longtime friend Julian Schnabel, he exhibited an outstanding dress created for the event. Schnabel-designed furniture, as well as his large-scale canvases, still decorate Alaïa's boutique in Paris. He then signed a partnership with the Prada group in 2000. Working with Prada saw him through a second impressive renaissance, and in July 2007, he successfully bought back his house and brand name from the Prada group, though his footwear and leather goods division continues to be developed and produced by the group. In 2007, the Richemont group, which owns Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, took a stake in his fashion house but he still does not show during the collections.

However, Alaïa still refused the marketing-driven logic of luxury conglomerates, continuing to focus on clothes rather than "it-bags". Alaïa is revered for his independence and passion for discreet luxury. Catherine Lardeur, the former editor-in-chief of French Marie Claire in the 1980s, who also helped to launch Jean-Paul Gaultier's career, stated in an interview to Crowd Magazine that "Fashion is dead. Designers nowadays do not create anything, they only make clothes so people and the press would talk about them. The real money for designers lies within perfumes and handbags. It is all about image. Alaïa remains the king. He is smart enough to not only care about having people talk about him. He only holds fashion shows when he has something to show, on his own time frame. Even when Prada owned him he remained free and did what he wanted to do."

Azzedine Alaïa, one of the greatest and most uncompromising designers of the 20th and 21st centuries, died on Saturday in Paris. He was 82.

His company said the cause was a heart attack.

Known as a sculptor of the female form, and worn by women from Michelle Obama to Lady Gaga, Mr. Alaïa was equally famous for his rejection of the fashion system and his belief that it had corrupted the creative power of what could be an art form.

He rarely hewed to the official show calendar, preferring to reveal his work when he deemed it ready, as opposed to when retailers or the press demanded it.

Instead, he built his own system, and family of collaborators and supporters, and since the turn of the millennium had become an increasingly important voice for the value of striving to perfect and explore a single proprietary aesthetic, and against giving in to the relentless pressure to produce collections.

“I dressed women directly on their body, by intuition. This is how I gained experience,” he once said.

His kitchen, where he was famous for holding free-flowing lunch and dinner gatherings, for which he often cooked, was his soapbox. There he would regale guests — who could include designers, Kardashians, the artist Julian Schnabel, the architect Peter Marino and seamstresses from his ateliers — long into the night with opinions, stories, and exhortations.

He “changed my conception of fashion,” said Nicolas Ghesquière, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton, in a documentary on Mr. Alaïa made by the stylist Joe McKenna and released this year. “I thought fashion was about embellishment as a kid, and when I saw Azzedine’s work I understood fashion was about construction and architecture too. To have an amazing idea and the capacity to realize it yourself is the definitive act of a designer.”

Diminutive in stature — at least compared to supermodels like Naomi Campbell, who called him “Papa,” as he was a guardian of sorts for her in Paris at the beginning of her career, and Farida Khelfa — he was always attired in a uniform of black Chinese cotton pajamas. He was famous for working long hours alone, bent over patterns and pieces of fabric, with National Geographic programs playing on the wide-screen TV nearby next to a pillar collaged with photos of friends and their families.

He was also mischievous: He often lied about his age, once told a journalist that his mother was a Swedish model, and liked to hide from his staff members and then startle them by jumping out with a whistle. Prone to holding grudges, fond of animals (he had three dogs — including a St. Bernard — and eight cats), he could also be extraordinarily generous.

Mr. Alaïa dedicated his life to the belief that fashion was more than just garments; to him, they were as much an element in the empowerment of women and of a broader cultural conversation.

Hervé Leger by Cinthia Contreras

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Hervé Léger, sometimes deliberately written as Herve Leger (French pronunciation: [ɛʁ.ve le.ʒe]), is a French fashion house founded by the designer Hervé Peugnet, currently known as Hervé L. Leroux.

Hervé Léger was founded in 1985 by the designer Hervé Peugnet (1957–2017). The same year Karl Lagerfeld advised Peugnet that his surname Peugnet would be too difficult for Americans, the target market, to pronounce, and instead suggested the surname Léger. Having lost the rights to the Hervé Léger name, Peugnet later took a third "brand" name as Hervé L. Leroux in 2000.

Peugnet pioneered the creation of so-called bandage dresses, so-called "body-con" (body-conscious) garments made using materials traditionally associated with foundation garments to create bandage dresses that would mold and shape the wearer's figure with its signature bandage-like strips.

One of the peculiarities of Hervé Léger garments is that they are knitted, not woven.

In September 1998, Hervé Léger was acquired by the BCBG Max Azria Group from the Seagram's Group. This was the first-ever acquisition of a French couturier by an American designer, though Azria is Tunisian and grew up in France. Ohana & Co., a boutique investment bank, advised Seagram's on the sale.

In April 2007, Max Azria relaunched the Hervé Léger brand under his own design direction with a capsule summer collection, which was offered at select department stores and specialty boutiques. In August 2007, the remodeled Hervé Léger boutique opened on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. In February 2008, Max Azria presented the Hervé Léger by Max Azria collection at Bryant Park during the Fall 2008 New York Fashion Week.

Hervé Léger stores can be found in various international locations, including Moscow.

Barbara Mary Quant: MiniSkirt and Hotpants by Cinthia Contreras

Dame Barbara Mary Quant, Mrs Plunket Greene, DBE, FCSD, RDI (born 11 February 1934) is a Welsh fashion designer and British fashion icon.

She became an instrumental figure in the 1960s London-based Mod and youth fashion movements. She was one of the designers who took credit for the miniskirt and hot pants, and by promoting these and other fun fashions she encouraged young people to dress to please themselves and to treat fashion as a game. Ernestine Carter, an authoritative and influential fashion journalist of the 1950s/60s, wrote: "It is given to a fortunate few to be born at the right time, in the right place, with the right talents. In recent fashion there are three: Chanel, Dior, and Mary Quant.

Early career

In November 1955, Quant and Plunket Greene teamed up with a photographer and former solicitor, Archie McNair, to open Quant's first shop on the King's Road in London called Bazaar, above "Alexander's", a basement restaurant run by Plunket Green. In 1957, they opened the second branch of Bazaar, which was designed by Terence Conran.

Successful designs from this early period included small white plastic collars to brighten up sweaters and dresses, bright stockings in colours matched to her knitwear, men's cardigans made long enough to be worn as dresses, and a pair of "mad" lounging pyjamas made by Quant herself which were featured in Harper's Bazaar and purchased by an American manufacturer to copy. Following this, Quant decided to design and make more of the clothes she stocked, instead of buying in stock. Initially working solo, she was soon employing a handful of machinists, and by 1966 she was working with eighteen manufacturers concurrently.

For a while in the late 1950s and very early 1960s, Quant was one of only two London-based high-end designers consistently offering youthful clothes for young people. The other was Kiki Byrne, who opened her boutique on the King's Road in direct competition with Quant.

Later career

In the late 1960s, Quant popularised hot pants and became a British fashion icon. Through the 1970s and 1980s she concentrated on household goods and make-up, rather than just her clothing lines, including the duvet which she claims to have invented.

In 1988, Quant designed the interior of the Mini (1000) Designer (originally dubbed the Mini Quant, the name was changed when popularity charts were set against having Quant's name on the car). It featured black and white striped seats with red trimming. The seatbelts were red, and the driving and passenger seats had Quant's signature on the upper left quadrant. The steering wheel had Quant's signature daisy and the bonnet badge had "Mary Quant" written over the signature name. The headlight housings, wheel arches, door handles and bumpers were all nimbus grey, rather than the more common chrome or black finishes. Two thousand were released in the U.K. on 15 June 1988, and a number were also released on to foreign markets; however, the numbers for these are hard to come by. The special edition Mini came in two body colours, jet black and diamond white. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers, and winner of the Minerva Medal, the Society's highest award.

In 2000, she resigned as director of Mary Quant Ltd., her cosmetics company, after a Japanese buy-out. There are more than 200 Mary Quant Colour shops in Japan.

Recognition

In 1963 Quant was the first winner of the Dress of the Year award. In 1966 she was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her outstanding contribution to the fashion industry. She arrived at Buckingham Palace to accept the award in a cream wool jersey minidress with blue facings. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to British fashion.

In 1990 she won the Hall of Fame Award of the British Fashion Council. Quant received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 2006. In 2012, Quant was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his most famous artwork – the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover – to celebrate the British cultural figures of his life.

Pierpaolo Piccioli by Cinthia Contreras

Pierpaolo Piccioli

‘I have always loved cinema and during my adolescence I dreamed of becoming a movie director. When I discovered fashion and its narrative power, I decided to become a designer. It was for me a natural evolution of a dream.’

After High school, Pierpaolo Piccioli enrolls in the Istituto Europeo di Design, in Rome. Commitment sets in during the first years of work in the atelier. After his first experiences, in 1990 he arrives at Fendi to work on the brand’s accessory line. In this period he approaches the heart of the profession: the contact with high Italian craftsmanship and the possibility of experimenting with a new approach.

‘Working closely with the artisans and with the Italian expertise has been fundamental. It has allowed me to understand and perceive the rules in order to break them and rewrite them. Savoir-faire is the base of the designer profession. It is the base from which each creative process begins.’

After Fendi, together with Maria Grazia Chiuri, he arrives at Valentino to develop the emerging accessory line. It is the beginning of a challenge: to lead the great tradition of the Valentino Couture from dresses to objects, maintaining intact the tradition, the cure and the creativity of its founder. The experiment works on all fronts. In 2008, Pierpaolo Piccioli e Maria Grazia Chiuri are nominated Valentino’s Creative Directors.

‘From the first days, the most important task on Valentino’s heritage has been to accomplish the perception, the idea and the essence of the Maison rather than reproposing pieces of its archive. It has been a creative process that took as a model the modus operandi of the Atelier of Couture. In other words, the human excellence portrayed in every single detail. From the fashion shows, to the collaborations, to the stores.’

In a just a few years, Valentino has become a brand of reference for the fashion system and an international success case. In 2016, with the exit of Maria Grazia Chiuri, Pierpaolo Piccioli is nominated sole Creative Director of the Maison. It is the start of a new era, a further evolution for the Italian brand.

‘I am interested in the idea of humanism that nourishes creativity. The human connection that forms this Maison is for me the best team possible. Here I have discovered that no innovation can exist without a profound knowledge of tradition. At the same time, I know that the sense of limit that springs from this awareness gives you the freedom of thinking of how to trespass it. This, in synthesis, will be the new Valentino direction. A human narration, personal yet unanimous, of a story that is yet to be written.’

Yves Saint Lauren by Cinthia Contreras

Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent, 1 August 1936 – 1 June 2008), known as Yves Saint Laurent, was a French fashion designer, and is regarded as one of the greatest names in fashion history. In 1985, Caroline Rennolds Milbank wrote, "The most consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past twenty-five years, Yves Saint Laurent can be credited with both spurring the couture's rise from its sixties ashes and with finally rendering ready-to-wear reputable."He was able to adapt his style to accommodate the changes in fashion during that period. He approached fashion in a different perspective by wanting women to look comfortable yet elegant at the same time. He is also credited with having introduced the tuxedo suit for women and was known for his use of non-European cultural references, and non-white models.

In 1953, Saint Laurent submitted three sketches to a contest for young fashion designers organized by the International Wool Secretariat. Saint Laurent won first place. Subsequently, he was invited to attend the awards ceremony held in Paris in December of that same year. During his stay in Paris, Saint Laurent met Michel de Brunhoff (who was then editor-in-chief of the French edition of Vogue magazine). De Brunhoff, known by some as a considerate person who encouraged new talent, was impressed by the sketches Saint Laurent brought with him and suggested he become a fashion designer. Saint Laurent would eventually consider a course of study at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the council which regulates the haute couture industry and provides training to its employees. Saint Laurent followed his advice and, leaving Oran for Paris after graduation, began his studies there and eventually graduated as a star pupil. Later that same year, he entered the International Wool Secretariat competition again and won, beating out his friend Fernando Sánchez and young German student Karl Lagerfeld.Shortly after his win, he brought a number of sketches to de Brunhoff who recognized close similarities to sketches he had been shown that morning by Christian Dior. Knowing that Dior had created the sketches that morning and that the young man could not have seen them, de Brunhoff sent him to Dior, who hired him on the spot.

Although Dior recognized his talent immediately, Saint Laurent spent his first year at the House of Dior on mundane tasks, such as decorating the studio and designing accessories. Eventually, however, he was allowed to submit sketches for the couture collection; with every passing season, more of his sketches were accepted by Dior. In August 1957, Dior met with Saint Laurent's mother to tell her that he had chosen Saint Laurent to succeed him as designer. His mother later said that she had been confused by the remark, as Dior was only 52 years old at the time. Both she and her son were surprised when in October of that year Dior died at a health spa in northern Italy of a massive heart attack.

Yves Saint Laurent trapeze dress for Dior, 1958.

In 1957, Saint Laurent found himself at age 21 the head designer of the House of Dior. His spring 1958 collection almost certainly saved the enterprise from financial ruin; the straight line of his creations, a softer version of Dior's New Look, catapulted him to international stardom with what would later be known as the "trapeze dress." Others included in the collection were dresses with a narrow shoulder and flared gently at the bottom. At this time, he shortened his surname to Saint Laurent because the international press found his hyphenated triple name difficult to spell.

His fall 1958 collection was not greeted with the same level of approval as his first collection, and later collections for the House of Dior featuring hobble skirtsand beatnik fashions were savaged by the press.

In 1959, he was chosen by Farah Diba, who was a student in Paris, to design her wedding dress for her marriage to the Shah of Iran.

In 1960, Saint Laurent found himself conscripted to serve in the French Army during the Algerian War of Independence. Alice Rawsthorn writes that there was speculation at the time that Marcel Boussac, the owner of the House of Dior and a powerful press baron, had put pressure on the government not to conscript Saint Laurent in 1958 and 1959 but reversed course and asked that the designer be conscripted after the disastrous 1960 season so that he could be replaced.

 

The Fashion Awards Winners 2016 by Cinthia Contreras

British Womenswear Designer

A British ready-to-wear designer who has been instrumental in leading women’s fashion in the past year.

WINNER: Simone Rocha for Simone Rocha 

Simone Rocha

British Emerging Talent

A British innovative and directional womenswear, menswear or accessories designer who is emerging as a growing force in the British fashion industry.

WINNER: Molly Goddard

Molly Goddard

British Menswear Designer

A British ready-to-wear designer who has been instrumental in leading men’s fashion in the past year.

WINNER: Craig Green for Craig Green

Craig Green

The Swarovski Award for Positive Change

Recognising and celebrating a brand or individual who promotes the welfare of others and generously use their resources to benefit good causes.

WINNER: Franca Sozzani

Franca Sozzani

Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator

Recognising a fashion creator for their outstanding contribution to the global fashion industry.

WINNER: Bruce Weber

Bruce Weber

Special Recognition

Celebrating an individual or moment that has shaped or influenced the global fashion industry this year.

WINNER: 100 Years of British Vogue

100 years of British Vogue

British Brand

A leading British based accessories, menswear or womenswear brand that has made an impact on the international stage this year in areas that include dynamic campaigns, multiple stores in international markets and e-commerce.

WINNER: Alexander McQueen

Alexander Mqueen

International Business Leader

CEO or President of a fashion business that has seen both creative and commercial success while nurturing and celebrating the creative talent within the business.

WINNER: Marco Bizzarri for Gucci

Marco Bizzarri

International Urban Luxury Brand

A sportswear brand which wholly operates in this area or elevates itself through collaborations.

WINNER: Vetements

Vetements

International Accessories Designer

Recognising an internationally acclaimed, leading accessories designer that has directed the shape of fashion globally in the past year.

WINNER: Alessandro Michele for Gucci

International Ready-to-Wear Designer

Recognising an internationally acclaimed, leading ready-to-wear womenswear or menswear designer that has directed the shape of fashion globally in the past year.

WINNER: Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga

Denma Dvasalia

International Model

A male or female model that has contributed most to the international fashion scene in the past year and has demonstrated influence beyond the catwalk.

WINNER: Gigi Hadid 

New Fashion Icon

WINNER: Jaden & Willow Smith

Outstanding Achievement

Celebrating an individual for their significant contribution to the global fashion industry.

WINNER: Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

RALPH LAUREN by Cinthia Contreras

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The British Fashion Council today announces that Ralph Lauren will receive the Outstanding Achievement Award in Fashion at The Fashion Awards 2016 in partnership with Swarovski. The designer will be honoured for his invaluable contribution to the fashion industry on Monday 5th December at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
 
Over the past 50 years, Ralph Lauren and his iconic brand have helped shape and define the American fashion identity in a unique and resonant way. Through his tireless commitment to design, innovation, business and philanthropy, Ralph Lauren has established himself as a pillar of the global fashion community.
 
Ralph Lauren introduced his tie and menswear business in 1967, and only five years later was presenting a full line of Polo by Ralph Lauren menswear at New York Fashion Week in 1972, the same year he launched a womenswear line. The Ralph Lauren family of brands has since shaped the contemporary image of quintessential Americana, encompassing Lauren’s realisation of an aspirational lifestyle with glamour, sophistication and integrity. With campaigns shot by long-term collaborators like Bruce Weber, Shelia Metzner, Mark Seliger and Stephen Meisel, the Ralph Lauren brand has cemented a visual heritage that is instantly recognisable and rightly celebrated.
 
Since the creation of the classic polo shirt, American athletic excellence has become synonymous with Ralph Lauren, and the brand has gone on to outfit some of the nation’s most successful sportsmen and women. Ralph Lauren serves as the proud Official Outfitter of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams, an Official Outfitter of the United States Golf Association and the U.S. Open Championship; an Official Outfitter of the PGA of America, PGA Championship and U.S. Ryder Cup Team; an Official Outfitter of the US Open Tennis Championships and the Wimbledon Championships. 
 
Ralph Lauren has been responsible for countless cultural moments that have shaped the fashion world, from iconic and cinematic advertising imagery, early adoption and integration of technology, and a long-lasting romance with Hollywood’s story-telling and glamour, from `Annie Hall’s’ endlessly imitated casual sophistication to the fairy-tale gown Gwyneth Paltrow wore to collect her Oscar.
 
As well as his creative brilliance and skill as a businessman, Lauren is a wonderfully generous philanthropist. Since co-founding the Nina Hyde Centre for Breast Cancer Research in 1989, Lauren has continued to support a multitude of worthy causes through the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation. In 2000, the Ralph Lauren Corporation launched the Pink Pony Fund, later founding the Ralph Lauren Centre for Cancer Care in Harlem, New York, and The Ralph Lauren Centre for Breast Cancer Research at The Royal Marsden in London. Lauren established the American Heroes Fund to help with the relief effort following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and he donated $13million towards preserving the original Star-Spangled Banner. This endless capacity for generosity is part of what makes Lauren such a beloved and respected figure in the fashion community, and is one of countless reasons he is to be honoured this year at the Fashion Awards.

Dame Natalie Massenet, Chairman British Fashion Council commented: “Ralph Lauren is an exemplary designer and businessman. He has helped to define an era in both American and global fashion with his singular vision; I know that most of us would say he has inspired us immeasurably. He has built an outstanding legacy and I look forward to celebrating him for years to come.”
 
Previous winners of the Outstanding Achievement Award include: Karl Lagerfeld (2015), Anna Wintour OBE (2014), Terry and Tricia Jones (2013) and Manolo Blahnik CBE (2012).
 
The Fashion Awards 2016 will celebrate the best talent from the global fashion community and will be the inaugural annual fundraiser gala for the British Fashion Council Education Foundation charity. The Education Foundation offers scholarships to talented young people to study BAs and MAs and offers funding for apprenticeships to develop much needed industry skills. The British Fashion Council aims to raise £10million over the next ten years for the charity. Donations to the Education Foundation can be made online via fashionawards.com/About/BFC-Education-Foundation.
 
The generosity and commitment of our sponsors is more vital than ever. Please help us by acknowledging our Principal Sponsor SWAROVSKI for their support of The Fashion Awards 2016. Official Presenting Sponsors of the event are American Express, M•A•C and TONI&GUY. Official Sponsors are Cîroc, Marks & Spencer and Mercedes-Benz. 

KENZO by Cinthia Contreras

Kenzō Takada is a Japanese-French fashion designer. He is also the founder of Kenzo, a worldwide brand of perfumes, skincare products and clothes, and is the acting Honorary President of the Asian Couture Federation.

Takada's love for fashion developed at an early age, particularly through reading his sisters' magazines. He shortly attended Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, where he felt bored and eventually withdrew, against the will of his family. In 1958, he joined a fashion school, Tokyo's Bunka Fashion College, which had then just opened its doors to male students.

After earning his diploma, he settled in Paris in 1964. He was trying to gain a place in the fashion environment; attending shows, making contacts with the media and selling sketches.

Takada's first designs started because he could only afford to buy his fabrics from flea sales. As a result, Takada had to mix many bold fabrics together to make one garment.

Kenzo worked for companies in Tokyo and Paris before he struck out on his own. His success started in 1970: during this year he presented his first show at the Vivienne Gallery; his first store, "Jungle Jap" was opened; and one of his models appeared in the cover of ELLE. His collection was presented in New York City and Tokyo in 1971. The next year, he won the Fashion Editor Club of Japan's prize. Takada proved his sense of dramatic appearance when, in 1978 and 1979, he held his shows in a circus tent, finishing with horsewomen performers wearing transparent uniforms and he himself riding an elephant.

His first men's collection was launched in 1983. In 1988, his women's perfume line began with Kenzo de Kenzo (now known as Ça Sent Beau), Parfum d'étéLe monde est beau and L'eau par KenzoKenzo pour Homme was his first men's perfume (1991). FlowerbyKenzo, launched in 2000, has since become a flagship fragrance for the Kenzo Parfums brand. In 2001, a skincare line, KenzoKI was also launched.

Since 1993 the brand Kenzo is owned by the French luxury goods company LVMH.

Takada announced his retirement in 1999 to pursue a career in art, leaving his assistants in charge of his fashion house. However, in 2005 he reappeared as a decoration designer presenting Gokan Kobo(五感工房 "workshop of the five senses"), a brand of tableware, home objects and furniture. After a few years off, he wanted to take a new direction, stating "when I stopped working five years ago, I went on vacation, I rested, I traveled. And when I decided to work again, I told myself it would be in decoration, more than fashion. Additionally, in 2013 Kenzo joined the Asian Couture Federation as the organisation's inaugural Honorary President.

Since 2011, The founders of Opening Ceremony, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, are the creative directors and head designers of the brand.Their aim is to shake up the 'jungle' world of fashion. Their iconic tiger shirt and clothing has been worn by many celebrities and fashion bloggers including Beyoncé, Andy from Stylescrapbook, Jim Joquico from Fashion Chameleon, Zooey Deschanel, Swizz Beatz, Selena Gomez, Spike Jonze, Joan Smalls, Lorde, and Rihanna.

Like Kenzo in the 1970s, Humberto and Carol decide to go up against the standard expectations of seasonal trends. They are said to be highly influenced by the environment of the 21st century. They collaborate with avant-garde artists, musicians, actors, and designers each collection. Their most recent Fall 2014 collection, they collaborated with filmmaker David Lynch, who mixed the soundtrack for the show and provided a large sculpture.