Cynthia Vincent Reflects on 10 Years in the Biz, Being an 'Entrepreneur at Heart' and the Politics of Partnerships
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent. That's some serious staying power in a very fickle industry. To celebrate the occasion, we caught up with Vincent--who is also credited as the original creative lead behind contemporary mega-brand Vince--in her Los Angeles showroom.
Hitting the Streets with a Top Model Scout: A Firsthand Look at How New Talent is Spotted
We’re pounding the pavement of Times Square in search of the world’s next top model...at McDonald’s. Who knew that the fast food chain would also be a place where model scouts like Lanny Zenga from One Management regularly scout for fresh faces? It sounds counterproductive but Zenga explains that it's these types of chain locations located in New York's most touristy locations (Times Square, Herald Square) that a scout can find a foreign or midwestern beauty. Other prime locations: H&M in Herald Square, the Zara next to Bryant Park. A lesson we learned when we followed Zenga around on one of his scouting sessions in New York. Read on for more surprising insight gleaned from the day.
Altuzarra CEO Karis Durmer's Unconventional Path to the Top of the Fashion Heap
Karis Durmer always knew she wanted a career in fashion. But it took a stint in finance (Bear Stearns), a stop-off at Columbia Business School, and experiences in publishing (Martha Stewart and Conde Nast) and startups (Make Meaning) to get there. Today, Durmer is the ceo of Altuzarra, the maker of powerfully sexy clothes for women. (Not girls, women. Carine Roitfeld is a champion and muse and the team tells me that Helen Mirren is a "dream client.") Durmer, who sits at a desk off to the side of company's SoHo showroom and design studio, might have been an unlikely candidate for the gig in September 2011, when founder Joseph Altuzarra brought her on as his business partner. His mother, Karen Altuzarra, was his first ceo and is now chairman of the company. Durmer was introduced to Altuzarra by a mutual friend at Proenza Schouler, where she was working for a brief time. While that certainly sounds like a convenient connection, it wasn't always that easy.
Joe Fresh's Founder on the Mistakes that Led to His Success
This week, Joe Fresh celebrates its one year anniversary doing business in America. In my homecountry of Canada, Joe Fresh, founded in 2006, is already a really big deal, with 300 stores nationwide and a dedicated following eager to snap up its fashion-forward, super affordable duds. While it's new to the States, it's wasted no time in following a similarly lightening fast expansion: In just 12 months, Joe Fresh has launched four standalone stores in New York and opened up 680 shop-within-shops at JC Penney. It's a dizzying pace, but as I learned on Wednesday, when I spent the morning hanging out with founder and creative director Joe Mimran at the company's New York headquarters, that's just kind of how he rolls.
Life With The Coveteur (and Into the Closets of J.W. Anderson, Erdem, and Susie Bubble)
LONDON--We've all come to know and love The Coveteur's intimate portraits of the fashion elite's covetable wardrobes ever since the site opened its proverbial doors over a year ago. Despite being relatively new, the site's dynamic founding duo Stephanie Mark and Erin Kleinberg have already curated online editorials from over 100 closets including style pioneers like Simon Doonan and Patricia Field, and have done a number of big-name collabs (with Elle, W and Who What Wear to name a few). I was lucky enough to snag an invitation to tag along with Stephanie and Erin and their photographer Jake Rosenberg when The Coveteur took London by storm. I was dying to find out just how they create their impeccably styled stories and what it’s like to step into the personal closets of fashion heavyweights. As a fellow Canadian, I was delighted to discover that these super-stylish girls are the definition of a Canadian best friend (in fact they met when they were besties at summer camp): friendly, warm and approachable. I could immediately see why they’ve been granted access into these trendsetters’ most intimate spaces.
Life With Jason Wu!
In less than half-a-decade, Jason Wu has gone from being part of a group of promising young designers to being the most promising young designer around. Sure, it has something to do with Michelle Obama wearing his design to the inauguration ball, but it's also about Wu's ability to create upscale-yet-modern clothes for wealthy clients, and at the same time work on out-of-the-box, accessible collaborations with brands like nail polish purveyors CND. At just 28-years-old, the boy wonder has already accomplished more than many designers do in a lifetime. We recently caught up with Wu at his studio, where he sketched a look from his 2012 Resort collection just for Fashionista, and also talked a little more about his daily rituals.
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Life With Celine Kaplan!
Celine Kaplan is one of those French women who seems incredibly perfect and intimidating from afar. (I mean, did you SEE her closet on the The Coveteur???) When you do meet her, she's still incredibly perfect, but also incredibly kind and a joy to be around. Ahh, the French. Anyway, when I finally got a chance to know Celine while interviewing one of her clients--Laure from The Webster--I soon realized that she'd be the topic of my next Life With column. Celine's been doing PR for Bourjois and Eres (both owned by Chanel) for over a decade. That was, until the last year when Bourjois stopped distributing their makeup in the US. She still heads up the Eres US PR efforts, and has brought on some other clients you just might be interested in, including The Webster and...wait for it...Laduree! which is planning on opening up shop in America sooner than later. Almost out of nowhere, Celine acquired her very own boutique firm, CKPR public relations. She and I recently sat down at Balthazaar--yes, even French people like it there--to chat about the industry, what it's like to be a high power PR, and why the only secret to getting what you want is hard work.
Life With Natalie Joos!
Casting director Natalie Joos has been a fashion industry fixture for years, and a favorite subject of Tommy Ton and Scott Schuman. But the March 2010 launch of her blog, Tales of Endearment, has made her star shine even brighter. A mix of vintage shopping expeditions with fashion friends and sneak peeks inside industry heavyweight's closets, Tales of Endearment has been a Fashionista favorite from the start. And it's made Natalie a "fashion household" name. We wanted to know more about Natalie's day job, why she started the blog, and where she gets all those amazing vintage pieces, so we popped by her home office one Monday in November while she was doing a casting. Her Williamsburg apartment was clean and cool, but not pretentious, kind of like Natalie! And her cats, Mohammed and Tyson, made the whole visit even better. Here's what she had to say:
Life With Ryan Korban and Davinia Wang of Edon Manor!
If you live in New York and you happen to prefer Alaia and Proenza over Aldo and Payless--even if it's just to look at--you've probably heard of Tribeca boutique Edon Manor. Launched in 2007, the beautifully furnished, beautifully stocked shop attracts those chasing after the perfect pair of Giambattista Valli pumps but aren't willing to hike all the way uptown to Bergdorf to get them. (The boutique also happens to be right around the corner from Locanda Verde--one of our favorite restaurants in the city--and Smith & Mills, a favorite bar.) Now the team behind Edon Manor wants to get to know shoppers outside of their New York City niche a little bit better. Owners Ryan Korban and Davinia Wang recently launched their gorgeous e-commerce boutique, Edonmanor.com. I recently sat down with the duo to discuss what it's like to build a luxury boutique in the midst of a recession, and how to maintain unexpected success. Fashionista: I’d like to hear how you guys got together. How did you two meet?
Life With Erica Domesek from P.S. I Made This
Since we've started a DIY series with Erica Domesek of the fabulous site-turned-book P.S. I Made This, we thought we should get to know her a bit better. So a few weeks ago, I arrived at Erica's East Village apartment mid-morning, expecting to have a brief chat with her to find out more about her site and how it came about. I walked into a cloud of smoke coming out of the oven and Erica muttering something about her lack of a vent. She likes to cook almost as much as she likes to craft, and had prepared baked eggs with spinach and baby tomatoes topped by sliced avocado for our informal "chat." "I love cooking...using my hands to make things, that's what makes me happy," she told me. Lucky me. Getting them out of the oven without a potholder? No problem. A vintage army jacket doubles as a potholder in Erica's world. She took off her jacket and used it to grab the steaming hot eggs, and without missing a beat said, looked up from the oven and said with a wink "P.S. I made this...potholder."
Life With I Love Factory!
There's no denying the millinery world's sudden hold on fashion, as well as broader pop culture. From Mad Men to Gaga, hats and headpieces are everywhere. I feel like we're constantly finding new milliners we like, new headpiece concepts we're intrigued by, and new ideas about how to incorporate them into our wardrobes. That's why I was so excited to spend some time with Brooklyn-based millinery I Love Factory. Duo Christopher Garbushian and Laurel St. Romain have designed hats for a ton of celebrities (including the aforementioned Lady) over the last two years. They've also received plenty of editorial attention, from Japanese Nylon to Teen Vogue to Tavi, who wore their cone hat in Pop. I Love Factory's pieces have even appeared on Gossip Girl.
Life with Carol Han and Alexandra Weiss of CA Creative!
Sometimes life positions you in the right place at the right time, and there's nothing else to do but go with it. That's kind of how Carol Han and Alexandra Weiss came to form CA Creative, a two-month old consultancy that, in the simplest terms, advises brands on how to use the Internet. Carol, previously StyleCaster's fashion director, and Alexandra, who worked in marketing at Ralph Lauren, realized that, as 20-something fashion people plugged into a specific scene, they could offer designers and retailers insight and advice on how to market to the current generation. First up? A project with Club Monaco, in which Garance shot New York scenesters for the retailer's fall look book. Carol and Alexandra have a ton of other projects going on, so they invited me to their work station at The Smile last Friday to talk about what it's like to launch a business.