Céline was founded in Paris way back in 1945, first as a custom shoe shop for children, and then in 1969 as a ready-to-wear brand founded by The Vipianas. Céline has come a long way since then.
In the 90′s Michael Kors revamped the brand and was one of the few Americans working in a French maison, dressing everyone from lunching ladies in NY to supermodel posing in C-logo jeans. When Phoebe Philo stepped in as the Creative Director in 2009, the direction of the brand changed completely. After her first collection for the brand, Phoebe Philo summed it up saying “everything we’re doing is about going forward”. Céline collections today offers the modern woman understated luxury, stripped-down sophistication and impeccable quality. They’re often inspired by contemporary arts (most likely an influence from Phoebe Philo’s art dealer husband) but most importantly by real women and their daily life.
Céline bags and shoes have been most likely the most talked about accessories of the few last seasons. Almost each one of the different bag styles have become so sought after that they fly out from our shop immediately they come in. Why? The brand is not for spectacle, it’s a brand for real life – but the magic lies in the work of a woman working for women.
Chloe was found in Paris in 1952 by Gaby Aghion, who rejected the stiff formality of 1950’s fashion to create soft, comfortable, relaxed yet luxurious garments comfortable to wear. Gaby was said to be the person who coined the phrase ”prêt-à-porter”, ready-to-wear, a new concept for that time. She was one of the first designers only concentrating on luxury ready-to-wear, having beautifully made clothes available off the rack.
From the 1960’s onwards Chloe has been a playground for the artistic and free-spirited designers of their time. During the 60’s the Chloe iconic pieces – the care-free shirt dress, an elegant silk blouse and loose silk trousers where created.
Along with Karl Lagerfeld at the head Chloe became one of the most symbolic fashion brands of the 70’s, with it’s free spirited, comfortable and romantic flare.
During the late 90’s and early 2000’s the young talented women Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo and Hannah McGibbon, so influential today, succeeded one another at the head of Chloe, each bringing their own vision of the brand while maintaining the femininity, the bohemian spirit and the sensuality of Chloe.
In 2002 with her golden touch for accessories Phoebe Philo completed the brand by adding bags, small leather goods and shoes to the collection and finally launching the era of ”it-bags” with the iconic Paddington bag.
The talented Clare Waight Keller joined the house in 2011 and re-introduced the original tradition of Chloe for the accessories collection to follow the alphabet. She is continuing the journey of Chloe with fluid, feminine, yet boyish style for the free-spirited, independent and romantic women.
The story of this fashion house, or Fendi Phenomen as it has been called, began in 1925 when Edoardo and Adele Fendi opened a small boutique in Rome, specialising in leather good and luggage with a small fur workshop in the back. The shop has since expanded to one of the biggest fashion houses in the world, perhaps because of the firm belive in the teamwork and talent within the family.
Even though working women were a rarity in the 30′s, the five daughters joined the business in the 30′s, bringing freshness to the new designs. The creative director of Fendi, Karl Lagerfelt described the girls as ‘the five fingers in a hand’ and he has been called “the sixth Fendi child,” as they been working together so closely for decades now.
The farsighted Fendi sisters hired Lagerfelt to be a designer in 1965, only to found themselves completely in love with his work. He was using unseen methods to dye and cut fur. He even launched a term ‘Fur Fun’ which later became the double F logo of the house.
The sisters have always been ahead of their game. In 1977 Fendi found a groundbreaking way to show their new collection – film! The film which was shot around historical fountains of Rome, ‘Histoire d’Eau’ is considered to be the first fashion film ever made.
In the 90′s Fendi launched menswear collection and also welcomed more familymembers to join the company; Anna Fendi’s daughter, Silvia, who designed the ‘Baguette’ bag (which fits snugly under the arm like a loaf of bread). This particular bag became an icon, a cult accessory and created the phenomen of “it-bags”. She also designed another iconic bag, the ‘Peekaboo’. Both are still bestsellers and favorites among women around the globe.
Fendi has always been serious about being a family business producing high quality leather and fur products but the actual designs has never been for the most serious of us – the brand is bold, extravagant and full of surprises. A good example is year 2007 when Fendi did came up with another groundbreaking way of showing the collection – they held a fashion show in the Great Wall of China! Giant F-logos were projected onto the surrounding mountains and the event was in works for a year. The whole thing was build around the Chinese lucky number 8: 88 models walking on a 88 metres long catwalk. Not only this was the first ever fashion show held in the Great Wall of China, it was also the first fashion show visible from the Moon!
Givenchy - a luxury French brand of ready-to-wear, accessories, perfumes, cosmetics and Haute Couture clothing.
The house of Givenchy was founded in 1952 by designer Hubert de Givenchy and is a member of Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture et du Pret-a-Porter. Hubert de Givenchy was known for his modern, ladylike styles, which earned him many loyal clients.
In 1960, he founded his own luxury house and launched his first own collection which was praised by Vogue and New York Times among many others. And like that, in one night, Hubert de Givenchy became one of fashion’s most famous children with his first collection.
In 1954, Hubert de Givenchy presented the first shirt dress (which later evolved in to a sack dress later in the fifties). He was the first high fashion designer to create a luxury ready-to-wear clothing line, called Givenchy Université, which was produced in Paris using machinery imported from the United States.
Hubert diversified the range to menswear in 1969, the fashion line for men was called Gentleman Givenchy. He also designed shoes, jewellery, ties, tableware, upholstery and kimonos. Passionate about decoration and interior design, Hubert de Givenchy was chosen to design the interior of Hilton hotels around the world, and even a car (the Ford Mark).
The most famous ambassador of the brand was Audrey Hepburn. Beginning as a client, she became the muse of the house for forty years. In 1961, Audrey Hepburn wore the famous “small black dress” in film Breakfast at Tiffany’s – soon the whole world knew about Givenchy.
The creative director of the house today is Riccardo Tisci, who has been pushing his vision since 2005. Riccardo Tisci has conserved the aristocrat elegance and the architectural lines of the house by influencing his style. By changing the house codes, Riccardo Tisci adds dark and sensual romanticism touch to the collections. He designes a structured and graphic silhouette, adds flashy colours and prints. Oh the prints! Oh the accessories!
Balenciaga, another fashion house rising from Spain. The house was founded on 1918 by Cristóbal Balenciaga, who was referred as ‘the master of us all’ by no other than Christian Dior himself. Balenciaga’s clientele expanded from the Spanish royal family and aristocrats to Parisians and then to the rest of the world after his move to Paris in 1937. He opened a shop in Avenue George V, where it’s located still today.
Balenciaga’s work was highly innovative and revolutionary – in the 1950′s he completely transformed womenswear removing the waist and broadening the shoulders. His manipulation of the waist is considered to be his most important contribution to the world of fashion: a new silhouette for women. Needless to say, his designs became highly sought-after and customers even risked their safety to travel to Europe during World War II to see Balenciaga clothing!
In 1997, Nicholas Ghesquière, the former Creative Director of the house, was appointed to take over the role in the tender age of 25. His work turned Balenciaga back into a critically acclaimed fashion house. Ghesquière’s devotion and respect for Cristóbal Balenciaga’s original design concepts combined with the modern and avant-garde vision is embodied in his collections, which will remain in the fashion history to play an important role representing the specific era.
On summer 2015, Balenciaga announced it was parting ways with creative director Alexander Wang after three years. The Spring/Summer 2016 show was his last, featuring white loungewear made from soft, natural fabrics. In early October, the brand announced Demna Gvasalia as its new creative director.
Jeanne Lanvin designed the hats of the most fashionable Parisiennes in the 1880′s and the success of her creations lead her to found a fashion house on the corner of Rue Boissy D’Anglas and Rue du Fabourg Saint-Honoré where the headquarters are located still today.
Few years later her first daughter Marguerite Marie Blance was born and inspired with motherhood, Madame Lanvin created a beautiful wardrobe for her little daughter. Her shop’s customers, other mothers in the same private class loved the designs and were asking Jeanne to make the same outfits for their own children as well. Jeanne Lanvin had just invented children’s fashion.
In 1923 another line ‘Lanvin Sport’ was introduced.
Sports were becoming more popular and the line featured simple yet imaginative ski, golf, tennis attires and bathing suits. Comfort became synonymous with elegance. From wedding dress to ski pants, “Madame” as she was known by her staff, designed a wardrobe for each moment in woman’s life.
Few years later this visionary woman created tailor-shirtmaker range, making Lanvin the only fashion house at the time to offer both men’s and women’s collection. Despite being a head of her time in the business world, she was also one of the most influential designers of the 1920s and 1930s and her skillful use of intricate trimmings, embroideries and beaded decorations in clear, light, floral colors became a Lanvin trademark.
This legacy still lives on in the collections by the current creative director Bouchra Jarrar who knows so well how to transform clothes from merely being ‘clothes’ and into something magical. Monsieur Elbaz himself put it well: “Fashion is not about buying a second skin. Fashion is about having a fantasy.”
Upon the 2016 expansion of the store Luxbag Helsinki introduces three more brands, one of them being the iconic Saint Laurent.
After departing from Christian Dior, where only 21 year old Yves Saint Laurent succeeded the Monsieur Dior himself, he along with his partner Pierre Bergé founded the now legendary Maison of Yves Saint Laurent in 1961.
YSL was an independent and genius child of his time, changing the way women dress and creating the concepts never known before but widely used today, like Safari jackets, tight trousers, tall thigh-high boots and one of the most iconic and famous classic suit for women, Le Smoking, the tuxedo suit.
French Maisons being mostly Couture or Made-to-Order Houses, Yves Saint Laurent was the first French couturier to come out with the full prêt-à-porter, or ready-to-wear line making the high fashion more democratic and accessible.
The artistic and bohemian left bank of the Seine river in Paris, the Rive Gauche was a home of brands first store that sold the ready-to-wear line along with made-to-order, giving the name of Rive Gauche the special meaning in the history of YSL: Rive Gauche perfume and of course one of the most classical bags, the Rive Gauche bag.
In 2012 Hedi Slimane stepped up as a creative director of the House bringing his artistic powerful visions into the brand. In Slimanes time the brands name lost it’s ”Yves” and is internationally known today as Saint Laurent. Despite that, the famous YSL logo, created in 1963 by A.M.Cassandre is still powerfully used in Saint Laurends most iconic bags.
Saint Laurent being famous for it’s impeccably made suits, well fitted leather jackets, feminine dresses and bold prints, structure and bold femininity is popular among independent and powerful women, who are not arfaid to step from the crowd and be noticed while remaining true to themselves, seeking the best quality and the best fit from the item.
In 2016, just before his unexpected departure, Hedi Slimane revived Yves Saint Laurent’s couture line. Anthony Vaccarello, the belgian-italian master of power dressing, stepped up as a Creative Director of Saint Laurent in April 2016. We can expect him being true to the legacy of Yves Saint Laurent while bringing his own structured and sculptural trace to the legendary brand.
Up untill the 1960’s there were no cashmere sweater, scarf or coat that wasn’t produced in England. That lasted untill 1972 when somebody decided to make a change…
That somebody were two brothers, Alfredo and Giacomo Canessa, who noticed on a warm Portofino night at the terrace that all dining elite where wearing the Scottish cashmere sweaters barely distinguishable from one another. They came back home to Florance and so the story of Malo has begun.
Malo comes from Latin ”ego malo” and means ”I prefer”. The name refers to those who require the quighest quility, comfort and tenderness from cashmere garments.
The materials Malo uses are truly unique. The tender cashmere, that originates its fiber from inner Monglia where they are gathered by hand when the special breed of goats are shedding its winter coat in the early spring. The yarn created from that fiber are shipped directly to Malo factory in Italy for the softest cashmere to be made.
Vicuña wool, a very precious wool from Peru where vicuña animal produces only 0,5kg of wool a year and has to be caught from the wild with all precations since vicuñas are protected by law and it is stricktly forbidden to harm them.
Luxurious Merino wool from Australian Merino sheeps, that protects it’s wearer from cold and moisture, does not irritate the skin and has an antibacterial properties.
The softest Malo Pacha cotton, tine and strong Egyptian cotton, considered as the ”queen” of Egyptian Pacha cotton and can only be produced in Giza.
Shi-Silk, the finest special silk with a touch full of softness, brilliance and a pleasant feel that makes a perfect companion for summer days.
From 1994 Malo became a leader in cashmere production in Italy and is now remaining a synonym of the highest quility, softness, tenderness and moderation in luxury.
This Italian luxury leather good and accessories house is based in Milan, Italy. The name is a combination of valigia (= the Italian word for suitcase) and extra (= first class). Valextra. Makes total sense!
The Valextra brand was founded in 1937 by Fontana brothers and from the beginning, Valextra specialized in creating luggage, handbags and accessories from exotic animal hides such as alligator, hippopotamus and elephant skins.
Valextra was founded around the time when air travel was, forgive the pun, taking off. The Fontana brothers took inspiration from the impressive feat of flight and its aura of luxury as Eero Saarninen would later in his TWA terminal. The Avietta bag, which has now become a signature of the collection, was born during this epoch. Beyond luggage, the structured lines and understated quality of Valextra handbags and briefcases have proved to possess enduring appeal. Fans past and present include Jackie O, Grace Kelly, Katie Holmes…
From the beginning, Valextra’s designs have been handmade in Italy (still are!) and also modernist and unornamented. Valextra has a reputation for being aesthetically minimalist and discreet – the logo is seldom visible on the outside on of the leather goods. The collections can be described as elegant and understated.
Valextra made a name for itself initially with a forward-thinking approach to fashion but perhaps its allure today can be connected to its resistance to change from that base which was laid. At Valextra they believe in preserving the quality they have become known for.
V is for Valextra!
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