From his dramatic, surprise dismissal from Jil Sander (his feminine final show evoked tears and a standing ovation) to his appointment as John Galliano's much anticipated replacement as creative director for Christian Dior, all eyes have been fixated on Raf Simons. And as his haute couture debut for the storied house proved, the spotlight will stay put. For his first outing in June, Simons went big. The Belgian designer shook off the clean cloak of Jil Sander and stepped right into the essence of Christian Dior. In what felt like the perfect marriage of the old with the new, he referenced iconic silhouettes from Dior's archives while putting his own distinct modern, minimal-chic spin on things. One example: The house's famous Bar jacket with its dramatic peplum came paired with hip, skinny pants. "My desire is to have the history and future together," Simons said a few days after the show. "We cut off [some of the couture dresses] to
mini-dress length, to be worn with pants, so there's a whole attitude change," he explained. "The girl can move easily, hands in the pocket. It doesn't become this kind of 'don't touch it, only look at it' situation." Now, if only we can get close enough to touch one of those babies.
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian
For those of you who thought Kanye West wouldn’t show his face again at Fashion Week after two seasons of getting trashed by the critics — you can’t tell him nothing. According to reports, the hip-hop star will present his third women’s wear collection in October during the Paris shows. Even more exciting: His lady, reality star-turned-mogul Kim Kardashian, will be by his side. Or will she walk the runway? Show or no show, the two fashion-loving entrepreneurs — Kim’s line with her sisters, Kardashian Kollection, expands globally this fall, and the couple is rumored to have met with PPR CEO Francois-Henri Pinault to discuss a shoe collaboration — are going to be perched on as many front rows as will have them. If nothing else, we can’t wait to see their (hopefully matching) outfits.
It can’t be easy taking over a fashion house when everyone is so enamored with its current creative helm — even when it’s your namesake label. That’s the challenge Jil Sander faces upon returning to the brand she founded in 1968 and exited, for the second time, in 2004. This time her return cost Raf Simons his job. After an impressive men’s outing in June — Sander, game face on, showed a strong collection of elegant, long, lean coats, plays on volume, and jolts of bold Yves Klein blue — the industry’s warming up. The 68-year-old’s still got it. But the true test will come when she shows her spring women’s wear collection. “I’m working less on decoration, more on form — pattern-making and materials, with a lot of dresses in the collection — in a good, modern way,” she told the New York Times. Where this dress-heavy line will be presented is unknown at presstime. The lady of mystery opted out of Camera della Moda, the Italian Fashion Week calendar, and instead will hold two shows independently. She’s certainly showing us who’s boss.
Wes Gordon is on fire. For the past few seasons, the 25-year-old has earned rave reviews for his namesake label — which is already sold at Bergdorf Goodman and Kirna Zabete. He’s dressed girl-of-the-moment Lena Dunham for the Met Gala, got a nod from Michelle Obama — the first lady wore a metallic jacket from his line — and collaborated with Manolo Blahnik. He’s also one of the 10 finalists up for the coveted CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. If this were a fashion betting pool, we’d wager a Celine bag on him.
British designer Jonathan William Anderson might have caught everyone’s attention with his gender-bending creations, but he’s kept the fashion set hooked ever since with his edgy plays on prints and cool knits. Alexa Chung, Rita Ora and fashion editors gush over the 29-year-old — and this September, so will the rest of the world. Anderson’s launching a capsule collection for Topshop that’s sure to make the up-and-comer a household name — a fashionable household, that is.
This is Joseph Altuzarra’s moment. Championed by editors and “it” girls alike, the fashion darling showed such strong collections for the past few seasons that he’s become as exciting as, say, an Alexander Wang. His bold tropical prints and urban gypsy collection are the kind of shows that stick with editors way after the grueling Fashion Week cycle ends. After winning the $300,000 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and the CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear, we’re eager to see what an even more confident outing will look like.
Carine Roitfeld has been releasing teasers from her highly anticipated fashion glossy, CR Fashion Book, that we’ve been slurping up like the last bit of milk in our cereal bowl. The former French Vogue editor is, frankly, the only one who could pull off the launch of a print publication during this digital revolution without getting crazy lady looks from us. The debut issue hits newsstands on Sept. 13. To celebrate, Roitfeld will throw a party during NYFW that will be one of the must-attend events of the season.
The Fashion Week designer with the most heart — including the hot pink ones decorating her wild, girly runway — isn’t going down without a fight. After filing for bankruptcy in April and shuttering most of her stores, Johnson teamed up with The Levy Group to launch a collection of dresses, which the 70-year-old will debut during a retrospective runway show at Fashion Week. “I’m back!!! Doing my dress thing. Pretty and punk, sweet and sexy, always rock ’n’ roll,” she said in a release. She’s also doing the social media and reality TV thing. To find the vintage pieces for her retrospective show, Johnson launched BJ’s Treasure Hunt, a contest asking fans on her Facebook page to post pictures of their BJ pieces from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, which then might appear on the catwalk. One lucky person will attend the show. All of this will be documented on “Betsey + Lulu,” Johnson’s new reality program with daughter Lulu. Whatever it takes — NYFW wouldn’t be the same without her.
Tom Cruise who? Katie Holmes is moving on with her life just fine. Right after news of her divorce from the “Mission Impossible” star broke, the actress had another announcement to share: She and long-time stylist and design partner, Jeanne Yang, will show their Holmes & Yang collection of luxury basics for the first time during New York Fashion Week. Let’s face it — favorite parent status doesn’t come cheap, and she needs to keep up with Suri’s fabulous lifestyle.
Visionary former Dior Homme designer Hedi Slimane quit fashion in 2007 to pursue a career in photography. But the right gig brought him back to the atelier. In March, Slimane succeeded Stefano Pilati as creative director at Yves Saint Laurent, and has started his new post with guns blazing. His first act was to change the brand’s name to Saint Laurent Paris. Next, he only invited buyers to view his first two collections, keeping editors in the dark. That alone makes his S/S ’13 show one hot ticket.