No Surprises

The good, the bad, and the indifferent.

First off, I think there are a lot of celebrities that people think are well-dressed and have style, but at the end of the day, almost every woman is interested in clothes. Many women can say fashion is a hobby, but do they really know clothes, and know the cut and know the proportion and know fashion?

Victoria Beckham is really a pro, not only in terms of designing clothes, but she could edit a magazine. She understands what works on her, but I also think she knows just by looking at clothes if something is cut well, if it's fresh, if something has a newness to it, and I think having her was really fantastic. She knows how to skirt the great divide of looking chic and being experimental, which of course is tricky for a woman to do. I think that's what the designers are trying to do as well. They want to turn us on and do something fresh and new, but at the same time you want to imagine someone wearing these clothes. She was a really great addition to our team, plus, you know, she's fun. Honestly, it really wasn't particularly a horse race. I think with the three of them, everyone I thought would come out of them, did. Good, bad, and indifferent. They didn't really surprise me, with the exception of a few surprises. I had no idea about Jillian and knitwear. As soon as I saw her come out in her dress I was like, "Oh, the dress is really cute!" And then the show started and I thought, "She could be the new knitwear queen!" She could be the new Sonia Rykiel; she could be the new millenium's Adrienne Vittadini.

So that was a nice surprise, but she didn't really run with it. Pretty consistently I am convinced that women have to use themselves as a template, and the greatest thing for them to hope for is that there are other women out there who think like them. I do actually think there are a lot of women, particularly young women, who do think like her and would want to look like her. She should have shown that dress! That should have been her first look out. She hasn't had any experience putting anything out that is theatrical. I don't think she's a theatrical thinker, so the theatricality and the cohesion of a show was not there for her. Rami has this odd color sense that I think can turn the clothes matronly. I think if he'd shown most of those clothes and done it in a sharper color palette, like, say, black, ivory, and red, we would have had a very different opinion of what it looked like. In today's world, no one wants to look older. Even if you say you're designing for an adult, more than anyone they don't want to look older. You might find a few 17 year olds who are dreaming of looking older, but you're not going to find many 40 year olds who are like, "Find me a dress that makes me look older." I think his color palette has a tendency to age the clothes, and therefore age the customer.I have a feeling that Christian was dreaming of clothes, and looking at Elle and Harper's Bazaar when he was 6. I don't know if prodigy is the right word ... I mean, I started my business at 21, and I was pretty cocky also, and I think you have to be pretty sure of yourself and sure of your opinions to be a fashion designer. You're telling everyone, "This is what I think you should do." I don't want to use the word prodigy, I don't think he's Beethoven, but I will say that this is someone who's definitely wise and sophisticated as far as fashion, well beyond his years. He's still dealing with influences and stuff -- you know, he's done the Vivienne Westwood thing and done the Alexander McQueen thing, because the things you're exposed to when you're younger are very influential. As he gets older I think he'll become more of his own designer, but he's certainly way, way ,way, more sophisticated than you'd imagine the average 21 year old to be.

I think Christian has to think about the long term, because otherwise you're a comet that'll just burn quickly. I think he has the talent to sustain him for a long career. Initially I think he needs to work on his own collection, keep it small, don't try and become Dolce&Gabbana overnight. Keep it small, don't get into a crazy show, and really try to refine your craft. I think he can see a slow build. He needs to find out who his customer is, and I don't think he necessarily has to do a big runway show, because I think theatricality is inherently apart of what he does. If he's going to have a business, he doesn't need to push that envelope. I think it would probably be better to put a small collection together, make about 15 different looks, show them up close, make sure the quality is beautiful, and plan for a long career. Especially when you're young, because you don't want to be burned out and old news at 30.

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