Diana Vreeland, the late editor and chief of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, was one of the most fascinating and original fashion personalities in history. She was undoubtedly the most quotable. I made a list of my favorite, completely outrageous Diana Vreeland comments of all time...enjoy.
"Unshined shoes are the end of civilization.”
"A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste—it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against."
"Where Chanel came from in France is anyone's guess. She said one thing one day and another thing the next. She was a peasant and a genius. Peasants and geniuses are the only people who count and she was both."
"There's no such thing as a slack French face. Haven't you ever noticed that? I've given this a lot of thought and I think it's because the French have to exercise their jaws and the inside of their mouths so much just to get the words out. The vowels demand so much." "Unfortunately, Hungarians don't impress the world anymore; they've never been successful, and success is the only thing the world we live in now understands and remembers."
"Still, my dream in life is to come home and think of absolutely nothing. After all, you can't think all the time."
"I adore artifice. I always have."
"The West is boring itself to death! And talking itself to death!"
"You can't say 'My masseur told me this.' And then again, why can't you?"
"She was just putting on the fritz, keeping things up. Why say you were born in a hovel? Who wants to hear that?"
"To be contented; that's for the cows."
"Truth is a hell of a big point with me. Now I exaggerate, always."
"I have a terrible time remembering exactly when my birthday is. Age is totally boring..."
November 12th, 2013
In the last 3 years I've seen an explosion in Brooklyn that is unprecedented. Outside my living room window, which faces the harbor of New York and the promenade, I now see throngs of tourists from Spain, Italy and France walking over the Brooklyn Bridge and migrating towards the promenade in large tour groups... Brooklyn is becoming what it was probably originally intended to be when it was created as Breuckelen, the first city in what's now New York State.
There's something beautiful about the appreciation of Brooklyn, but at the same time there's also something slightly melancholy about it. Brooklyn feels less and less like the respite from New York that it used to be
When I was growing up in Brooklyn, if you lived here it was something to be muttered under your breath. Living in Brooklyn came with a string of presumptions of poor behavior, middle class, slightly Neanderthal traits - and definitely not as sophisticated as the people from Manhattan.
These days you'll see Brooklyn-based brands being sold in Manhattan, the New Jersey Nets moved to Brooklyn, and the branding of Brooklyn has become a capitalistic venture on its own: "Brooklyn" branded shirts and hats are being sold everywhere, there are Brooklyn-themed children's books, mugs, beer, etc... Brooklyn has become a brand that is globally recognized.
I read in the Wall Street Journal that a development company based in China agreed to back the majority stake of an apartment project in the Atlantic navy yards site that they're estimating at about $4 billion. This will be one of the greatest real estate investments in the United States by a Chinese company. It was a little odd to see a headline in The Wall Street Journal that read "Chinese Builder Charges Into Brooklyn." It was definitely a sign that Brooklyn has crossed into a new period...
I hope Brooklyn will maintain some remnants of the old Italian bakeries, the Muslim clothing shops, the Irish pubs, and all the things I love. We'll see...
The 2013 ACE Awards were last night in NY.....and I won Brand of the Year!!!!!
Joan Collins flew in from London to present me with the award. Joan has become a huge part of our brand history ever since I featured her in an ad campaign that ran in New York during Fashion Week a few years ago. There's also that Alexis-Alexis sandwich...Joan single-handedly changed the association of the name Alexis from a boys name to girls name because of her role in Dynasty. As a result, all of my junk mail comes addressed to "Miss Alexis Bittar".... Thanks, Joan!
But back to the ACE Awards...there were so many great honorees like Hamish Bowles, whose Journalism award was presented by Tory Burch, Nordstroms for the Omni Channel Retailer award, Phillip Lim won the Designer of the Year, Rag and Bone won the Breakthrough award, and Iman won the Hall of Fame award. It was so powerful for me to win Brand of the Year....it's one of those times where all you can do is think, "pinch me!"
Check out my interview with NYMag on receiving my award!
I recently checked out the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. The museum has been taking on a few initiatives lately to reinvent itself and move into the modern world....and I think that they've been very successful. The Gaultier show is an international exhibit originally conceived in Montreal, Canada, and it's moved to a few locations before landing in Brooklyn. It's an absolutely enormous show, documenting the different themes of Gaultier's work from The Odyssey in the '70s to his Chic Rabbis collection.
At first glance, the clothes seemingly lean towards pure costume and runway pieces. There's something about the way that they're constructed that feels very temporary, but at the same time, I can relate to the frenetic pace of designing for a one-time shoot. By the time I was halfway through the exhibit, I realized I had a profound respect for his endless creativity. I could feel his eagerness to share the visions that he had in his mind immediately and not wanting to wait... which ultimately resulted in an overflow of fantasy that ran the gamut.
Gaultier is definitely a dream come true for a movie or a runway. The dramatics abound.
As an extra point a fascination, there was state of the art technology used with the mannequins that creates the illusion that they're coming alive....that alone is worth going to see if you get a chance to go.
I am psyched to be launching my first fine jewelry collection!! It's been incredible to work on something different from anything I've done in the past. Designing in the world of fine jewelry made me pay incredible attention to detail and craftsmanship while using precious materials. When I'm designing costume jewelry, I feel like I'm designing a large sculpture. With fine jewelry, I'm designing a miniature, to be coveted.
The collection is debuted with my new advertising campaign, which was shot by Roe Ethridge and styled by Marie Chaix. We sat around for a long time discussing the concept for the campaign and what would be modern, provocative and artistic....and I mean a looooooong time. The idea of a woman punching through a grey/lilac wall, debris flying , jungle red manicured nails, circa 1979/1990/2014.....that sounded good to me.
I could never hurt a woman's hand, so I actually punched through the wall...plus, it felt kind of like breaking bread. The final product feels counter intuitive of a typical Fine Jewelry ad that usually resembles something close to an adult prom picture. We were pretty pleased with the outcome and message.
For my Fall 2013 ad campaign I worked with photographer Roe Ethridge. I chose Roe because of the way he's able to navigate between art and fashion. He's primarily an art photographer, which makes him a great person to collaborate on ideas with. One of the easiest photographers that I've partnered with, Roe has an effortless speed and precision in his work.
Below are some examples of his work, which have been shown at renowned art galleries and museums around the world.
Our girl... Jane Lynch sporting my Miss Havisham collection at the Tony's.
Stacy London who is a great friend of mine styled her for the event. `
Separately, Stacy just finished her last performance of "What Not to Wear" - so I'm excited to see what she does with this next chapter in her life. She is multifaceted and an "out of the box" thinker so it should be exciting.
For Fall 2013 I chose to work with Phillip Lim. Phillip is incredibly clear and strong as a designer. His focus is unbreakable and his vision is concise. His collection for Fall, Sono Mama was a nod to Grunge with some extra additives. There was a muse of a bohemian biker who was free and easy but had been touched by the city living of 1994.
I designed a pair of chandelier earrings using 10k and oxidized 10k gold. I typically do not design such chandelier earrings but I thought the content was perfect for his collection. The earring was represented on 33 models during the show and was a main focal point of the collection. Here are some clips of it.
At last night's State of the Union Address, First lady Michelle Obama wore one of my hand sculpted, hand painted Lucite flower pins in warm grey and gold. I'm so honored that the first lady Michelle Obama chose to wear one of my creations, it's the second time that she has chosen to wear one of my pins to a state of the union address. It is especially meaningful, as my company helps make up the last 5 % of the fashion industry that still produces in America.
Check out this guest blog that I wrote about it on the HuffingtonPost.
I've grown up with Therry Mugler. Mugler stood for 80's clean modernism, angles and beautiful fabrics. Nicola Formechetti and I have collaborated a lot over the years. We have mostly worked designing custom pieces for Lady Gaga. This time we came together to work on the Mugler Collection which Nicola is currently designing for.
We worked at creating sculptural pieces that de fine modernism and physics. The mood was late 1960's, Airplanes, and retro 80's. There was an earring that looks like it was suspended in air, a metallic ear lobe and metallic ball necklaces in high shine rhodium with extra high polish finish to create a mirror effect.
Here is our sketch, Nicola's sketch and the actual piece
Some looks from the Mugler FW 13 runway show
January 24th, 2013
Alberta Ferretti's Spring 2013 ads just launched with our jewelry, which I collaborated on.