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Paco Rabanne: Then, Now (Manish Arora…Until Recently) & Looking Ahead (Lydia Maurer)
06.12.12 | No Comments

Paco rabanne metal dresses

Picture 53Francisco Rabaneda y Cuervo was born in 1934 in the Basque country of Spain to the head seamstress at Balenciaga. Mom & son fled the Spanish Civil War in 1939 and landed in France, at which point he became Paco Rabanne

Although he studied architecture - at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts - Rabanne created costume jewelry for the great couture houses of the day: Balenciaga, Nina Ricci, Philippe Venet, Pierre Cardin, Courrege, Givenchy. His first collection (1966) provocatively titled "12 Unwearable Dresses in Contemporary Materials" was an artistic expression of rhodoid sequins and plaques aplenty, and his calling card on the world fashion scene, where he became known for his one-off pieces handmade from recycled and unusual materials, including hammered metal, knitted fur, aluminium jersey, paper, fiber glass and fluorescent leather.

In 1971, the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture admitted him as a member. After more than three decades of out-of-the-box (and, sometimes, made from it) designs, he retired in 1999.

Picture 51

Picture 55Starting with Spring 2012, Manish Arora was brought in for what ended up as a short two season stint, premiering his first collection - above - which looked more like it belonged on the runway across town at Mugler (during the reign of Thierry). Critical response was mixed and sales said to be a "glorious failure".  Fall 2012 (below) was much more overtly wearable (and salable) and was apparently created under the eye of the maison's studio director, Lydia Maurer. A graduate of the Studio Bercot design school in Paris, she previously worked at Givenchy & YSL and even helped Martine Sitbon with the develop & launch of her line Rue due Mail.

After parting ways with Arora, the corporate overlords at the PUIG Group promoted Maurer to the head of Womens Ready-to-Wear. She will be presenting her first collection, Spring 2013, during Fall '12 Fashion Week in Paris.

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Picture 54“I am very impressed by the creative power of Paco Rabanne, a House that from the very start strips out all conventions, using, among other things, an assemblage of unexpected materials, " says Maurer. "A creative approach based on both technology and craftsmanship, resulting in a fashion that is instinctive and playful. It is a great honor to be taking on the artistic direction of such an emblematic house at the heart of Parisian creation. Monsieur Rabanne created his clothing as a means of expressing the singularity of each woman. He invented a timeless, unique and sensual style inspired by art and architecture. This is the ongoing creative spirit that I wish to convey in my work for the House."

- Lesley Scott

(images: Paco Rabanne; Manish Arora; Paco Rabanne runway images; Lydia Maurer by Anne Combaz)


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Slip on a Shearling-Lined “Blondie” Boot by Bernardo and Enjoy Snuggly Comfort Along with Fab Footwear Lore
10.23.07 | No Comments

Shoes  give boring boots the boot

Founded in 1947 by Bernard Rudofsky, Bernardo has a rich heritage, which is evident in their footwear. An architect by training, Austrian native Rudofsky worked in a number of European countries before settling in Brazil and designing several high profile residences in São Paolo.

Shoes_4A renaissance type, his interest in design included everything from "vernacular architecture to Japanese toilets and sandal design." During the 40s, 50s & 60s, he organized tongue-wagging exhibits at the MOMA including Now I Lay Me Down to Eat - which refers to the ancient custom of dining while reclining - and provided an enlightening tour of questionable design in the activities of everyday life such as eating, sleeping & bathing. "For instance, he asks why the standard American-style toilet is effectively a septic humidifier, and why American-style bathtubs are impossible for adults to lie down in and are as a matter of routine permanently fixed two or three feet away from a septic humidifier...By contrasting current western design solutions with earlier practices, he makes our current "solutions" look open to improvement, if not outright ridiculous and arbitrary."*

After giving a series of lectures at Black Mountain College in the early 40s on subjects like How Can People Expect to Have Good Architecture When They Wear Such Clothes? (here was a man obviously ahead of his time), he and wife Berta founded Bernardo Sandals in 1947. The classic Miami sandal became an instant hit with the jetset, remained a fave of the Lilly Pulitzer crowd in the 60s & 70s, and still looks good today.

Shoes_2  Shoes_3This Blondie boot combines the comfort of a ballet slipper in a chic urban boot, and is fully lined in chocolate shearling up through the shaft. The cuff is flexible, and can remain below the knee or unfurl completely. Available at

- Lesley Scott


Fall's best over-the-knee boots
A sexy, knee-high caramel-colored boot from Frye

(*Bernardo Rudofsky history via Wikipedia)

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