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Hong Kong women one step ahead


Shoe designer Gianvito Rossi on how he keeps Hong Kong women one step ahead

Italian shoe designer Gianvito Rossi might know how to draw a crowd but he takes nothing for granted.

His newly expanded boutique in Hong Kong’s Central shopping district was packed last month for an event to celebrate its relocation and Rossi was happy his Plexi pumps and latest Cocktail collection were delighting the hordes. But he remembers advice his design legend father Sergio gave him.

“He taught me that you can always do better. The idea is not very relaxing but it’s the truth. My work is never finished – you constantly need to evolve and listen to improve your work,” Rossi says. “That is what drives me as a designer.”

Designed to commemorate the brand’s 10th anniversary, the limited-edition Cocktail collection features a range of fun styles inspired by classic cocktails, including a bootie spelling out the word cocktail in neon crystals and decorated with an encrusted twist of lemon. Also Instagram-worthy is the Portofino, a sleek satin strap sandal featuring a crystal cherry on the front.

Admittedly, Rossi had a head start on many of his counterparts when he launched his footwear label in 2006. He grew up in San Mauro Pascoli, Italy’s famed shoe district. Most of his childhood was spent at the family’s shoe factory, which he refers to as his “playground”, learning the business. Pursuing a career in shoemaking was “second nature” to him, although his famous family name was would later turn out to be a double-edged sword.

“True, you have a bigger opportunity than any new designer, what with the attention and a chance to show your product to a lot of people. At the same time the expectation is not one you would expect for young designer – the bar is set much higher. It took a while for me to really make this business work, especially since we started when the economy wasn’t very good,” he says.

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05:16 Publié dans Shopping | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


New Exhibition at MAD


Judith Liebers Remarkable Tale Told In New Exhibition at MAD

“I consider her to be a genius, absolutely, without a doubt, and the greatest pathfinder for women. She broke through the glass ceiling so many years ago,” said Gerson Lieber about his wife, handbag designer Judith Lieber, at last week’s opening of the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) exhibition, “Judith Lieber: Crafting a New York Story.”

His enthusiasm could be dismissed as familial pride, if not for Judith Liebers objectively extraordinary accomplishments. She was born Judith Peto in 1921, in Budapest, Hungary. As a Jew, she was not allowed to attend Hungarian universities, and so she went abroad to London to study chemistry. But then, while home on summer vacation in 1939, war broke out and she was stuck in Hungary. While waiting out the war, she apprenticed at a local handbag factory. Her skills as a handbag artisan grew, and she soon became the only woman accepted into the Hungarian handbag guild.

After surviving the war, she came to the U.S and carved out a place for herself in New York’s competitive fashion business. As she worked her way up the hierarchy of Seventh Avenue, she decided to open her own handbag line in 1963. Lieber was intensely involved in every step of production, from designing to crafting the final piece. “As you look around the exhibition, you can see the intense craftsmanship and skill involved in her work,” the curator of the exhibition, Samantha de Tillio, explained. “I think her work really transcends fashion.”

The exhibition is designed to look like a jewelry store. The walls are painted purple, like the inside of a plush jewelry box. Mirrored-bottom vitrines dangle from wire scaffolding rigged to the ceiling. Within, a spotlight highlights a vast range of handbag styles, including much of her early work, which was, according to Women’s Wear Daily, “decidedly understated.”

There’s a 1993 sleek black woven horsehair envelope trimmed with calfskin, and a 1965 rhinestone-encrusted handled pouch. A burgundy needlepoint “Bon Voyage” tote circa 1980 is displayed near a crystal-embroidered Folk-Art inspired patchwork quilt coin-purse from 1991. So much of her work was inspired by fine art, as evidenced with her Piet Mondrian-inspired snakeskin envelope from 1990. There is also a minaudière encrusted with crystals shaped into a series of women standing next to each other from 1987, modeled after Faith Ringgold’s 1986 art piece The Purple Quilt (which, incidentally, is hung on a wall across the room).

But that’s just in the Jane and Leonard Korman Galley. Turn a corner into the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Jewelry Gallery, and there’s a labyrinth of glass walls showcasing Lieber’s best work: her crystal-encrusted minaudière’s. These ornately jeweled bags that are so small that they are barely bags – the word ‘minaudiere’ is French for “coquettish air,” and the term was coined by famed jeweler Alfred Van Cleef in the 1930s. They are also Lieber’s most famous work, worn by nearly everyone important: from First Ladies to princesses to socialites. And it’s not hard to imagine why. The bags – ranging from Buddhas to hat boxes; eggplants to dogs – are little treasures, objects of wit and whimsy, glamour mixed with humor.

The exhibition is difficult to navigate, with descriptions of each bag and paraphernalia tacked on the wall like an afterthought, like it were a menu at a takeout bistro, numbered to reference the the tiny numbers in front of each bag. Perhaps it was done to preserve the beauty of the bags, minimizing superfluous embellishment. But it ends up confusing the viewer as one meandera around searching for the bag’s year of creation.

However, the layout also forces the viewer to stop and consider, to move through the exhibition carefully and analytically. And when you understand Liebers story, her struggles and her triumphs, it makes her extraordinary work all the more worthy of a second or third glance. This is a business built up by an immigrant woman with the determination to succeed, an inspiration for all who visit.

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05:19 Publié dans Blog | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


The Dunnes Stores face-lift


The major dilemma of the Irish retail model these past couple of years has been the chase of profit margin, the growth of online shopping, and the rise of “fast fashion”, which forces the high-street to morph into each other. As a consequence, the retail model is left with a real lack of clear-cut signature design, no sense of personality or a point of difference.

Moving away from the nondescript knits and slightly frumpy dresses, the 72-year-old Dunnes Stores has undergone a face-lift. Affectionately coined Dunnés Boutique some years ago, it has now embraced the tongue-in-cheek nickname with an invigorated boutique-feel retail space in the Stephens Green Shopping Centre.

But the new Dunnes look is more than purely cosmetic. It has also gone in a dramatic sartorial departure by enlisting a roster of individual designers, each with their own capsule collections and signature styles.

These range from Joanne Hynes’s current array of perspex jewellery, printed dresses, and the infamous €900 shearling coat, it certainly shows no compromise of her design aesthetic. To Lennon Courtney’s clean and cool collection, the perfect antidote for work, or Paul Galvin’s male athlesiure-inspired range, complete with 70s track tops and longline bombers.

High-street giant

We can’t mention Irish retail without acknowledging the success of high-street giant Penneys, which has now spread across the fashion capitals of the world. A household name built from humble beginnings, Penneys (or Primark, as it is known internationally) has brought democracy to the high street, proving that anyone can look stylish on a budget. Tapping into the Irish psyche, Penneys has given people of all income brackets what they want: fashion that aligns with their budget and tastes.

The success of both retailers seems to be down to the fact that they appeal to customers across the generations. Rather than aiming at a particular age or monetary group, they produce pieces that a mother or daughter could equally wear. It’s about creating winning collections that deliver for real women in terms of sizing, styling and service.

Reigning supreme in terms of service and style, a slew of Irish boutiques are dominating the independent scene by offering an unrivalled experience – and in the process reinvigorating Ireland as a dynamic force in retail therapy.

3 unique floors

At the forefront of the unique experience is Om Diva, dominating three floors of retail on Dublin’s Drury street. This clever collection of up-and-coming Irish designers, laid-back vintage and eye-catching costume jewellery is all sourced by owner Ruth Ní Loinsigh.

Also offering a diverse shopping set-up is Folkster in Temple Bar, mixing vintage and contemporary fashion as well as interiors to great effect. When it comes to luxury boutique shopping in Ireland, it doesn’t get much better than Costume on Dublin’s Castle Market, which exclusively stocks cult brands such as Rochas and Vivetta. Or Havana in Donnybrook, whose stronghold is its exclusivity and contemporary design, seeking out designers du jour such as Molly Goddard, Paskal and of course, Simone Rocha.

Kalu and Gallery 9 in Naas and Samui in Cork all strive to give customers that wealth of expertise and stocking labels to lust after, including Giles, Solace London, and No21.

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09:33 Publié dans Shopping | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)