Tag Archives: Thierry Mugler

A French Voice in New York


She defines herself as a soprano, she plays the lincordian, a transparent accordion, and her crystalline voice sings in French and in English.

She is a modern Iseult seducing her Tristan with her romantic ballads. Her show, directed  by Jacques Perdigues (He worked with Thierry Mugler and John Galliano) is about colors, colors of love, of moods, black or grey, red or blue. On her long white dress are displayed words in French and in English.

(From the author: For those of us who work in a bilingual world, having to constantly say it in French, say it in English,  the idea of a double- faced dress, “face” in French and “pile” in English is a tempting solution!)

In the same vein as Brigitte Fontaine or Marie Laforet, Nicole Renaud is an inspiring young woman, a poet who dwells in nostalgia. She started with Mireille, the famous Mireille (Hartuc), a composer for Maurice Chevalier and Charles Trenet and a singer herself who started Le Petit Consevatoire de la Chanson in 1955 launching Francoise Hardy and… Nicole Renaud.

Nicole closes her show with a 1800 Venetian aria “Barchetta” and transports you in a Bal Masqué on the Grand Canal.

Nicole Renaud – Feb 5 – 8pm – Theaterlab 137 W 14th street

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Prêt’à-p. Follow Up


It is definitely the year of the prêt-à-porter, the French ready-to-wear! We have seen the revival of Thierry Mugler; Pierre Cardin had a show in New York a month ago,  and today, in Paris, Minister of Culture Frederic Mitterrand bestowed the French Legion of Honor upon Mrs Carven and Paco Rabanne.

Vétiver de Carven … definitively a myth! … in my memory, it is a scent  associated with the “rallyes” where-boys-meet-girls in the Parisian elite society, with a first kiss and masculine elegance.Paco Rabanne ! More memories : 1966, he created his first metallic dress.

My mother had one. I kept asking her, does it hurt? and she showed be the silky lining which seemed quite comfortable. Still I was fascinated and scared by the reflection of the metal each time she  moved in the light. It became a game to see my face in the small squares like dozens of mirrors. It was fun, different and so glamorous even before the word existed. Yes,  Paco is back! Interviewed in WWD, he talks about his wish to dress Lady Gaga (Remember Thierry Mugler has already signed up for the job!). Lady Gaga is now a rallying icon for all generations seeking rebellion, “la contestation”, lost in globalization. She is going to have my dream wardrobe,  for sure!

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prêt-à-p? Marant and others…


Isabel Marant just opened a new store in New York on Broome Street  and we cannot ignore it with all the buzz created around the opening! She is one of the latest  brands of French  prêt-à-porter to cross the Atlantique after Le Comptoir des Cotonniers, Zadig & Voltaire, Jerome Dreyffus and establish themselves for the most part in New York City and more precisely in Soho ..

They all have in common a certain sexy, laid back look that does not quite exist on this side of the Atlantic. Women certainly dress differently in France. I remember researching an article for Madame Figaro on ” The working women outfits”, interviewing powerful women from the president of the RATP,  French equivalent of the MTA, to CAC40 executives. Most of them were quite interested in fashion having personal shopper to save time. Very conservative work environment forced them to wear non casual clothes,  but none of them talked about the pressure of a uniform, the colorless, shapeless, -and should I say boring uniform  – you see most commonly on the fast train to downtown during rush hours in New York. So yes, French prêt-à-porter may have a word to say.

Or rather had a word to say. A  pessimistic view was whispered in my ear by iconic French fashion designer Irene Van Ryb (http://www.irenevanryb.com)who started her first collection in 1971, reigning on women’s pantalon and other attire. She  was recently stranded in New York like thousands of fellow countrymen and we had time to exchange on French fashion. Irene has been a fashion  insider during the heydays of French prêt-à-porter when Agnes B was still focusing on her  cardigans bouton pression, when Thierry Mugler  was empowering women with broad shoulders and eccentrically tiny waists, when Emmanuelle Kahn, hiding her eyes behind over sized glasses was equally and elegantly hiding women bodies behind robe chasuble. Dorothee Bis created by Jacqueline and Elie Jacobson and of course Pierre Cardin … French prêt-à-porter was home-made before manufacturing was outsourced, with a very singular style before the uniformity of globalization.

Where does French prêt-à-porter stand today?. According to the NYT ” What’s in the label say it in French” by Cintra Wilson (www.nytimes.com/2010/04/22/fashion), “French labels may aspire fashion consciousness but can they really create fashion”. Is it really worth its high-end price? was the concluding statement.  It is a rather harsh comment that Isabel Marant will probably not like. For those who really like French prêt-à-porter and like myself have been collecting it over the years, it is the right question to be asked.

Isabel Marant store in NYC

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