If you are like us, there are large piles of old fashion magazines occupying much space in your apartment. One of the reasons that we can’t bear to part with magazines that are (sometimes) decades old is the ads. Beyond being able to see models-of-the-moment in their prime, we love to look back at labels that are no longer on the scene (Claude Montana), or have been taken over by new designers (Thierry Mugler). Here, a few vintage ads that we have come across lately. Our favorites being the DVF ad with both Iman and Gia(!!!) and the CK One image featuring the lovely model-turned designer Lois Samuels (that’s her on the far left).
Coco Rocha is one of our favorite models in the industry. Her sparkling personality and sheer amazing-ness in editorial and on the runway recalls the 90’s Supermodel era that you know we love. The Canadian model has partnered with Senhoa, an organization that sells jewelry to support victims of human trafficking by providing them with opportunities for financial independence, intellectual growth and overall self- empowerment. Rocha has designed a small collection of beautiful pieces, with all of the proceeds being channeled directly back into community development projects in Southeast Asia sponsored by Senhoa. The price points ($65 for a bracelet, $105 for a gorgeous chandelier earring) are perfect for the holiday season. The “Chantha” necklace ($95!!) that Iman is wearing in the shot above needs to be in our lives real soon.. get more info at http://www.senhoa.org.
At a time when the fashion industry still seems to be in a state of flux and still trying to find its place in the “new economy”, I felt like it was the perfect time to reflect back on the career of Willi Smith, a designer who didn’t take fashion too seriously and who took true inspiration from the streets.
Born in Philadelphia in 1948, Smith studied at Parsons and began his career freelancing for designers like Arnold Scaasi. He started his own company, Williwear, with his sister in 1976. New York City club culture was a strong influence on Smith’s work and the oversized proportions of his clothing were perfect for the club kids that he designed for and prefigured the baggy pants and shirts that would become a hallmark of the hip-hop culture of the late 80’s and 90’s. There was a refereshing lack of pretention in Smith’s collections and he once said that “I don’t design for the queen, but for those who wave at her as she passes”. Many designers claim to be influenced by what’s happening on the streets, but Smith actually managed to channel that energy into his clothing, turning Williwear into a $25 million per year business by the early 80’s.
Smith received the Coty Award in 1983 for womenswear and posthumously received a plaque on the Fashion Walk of Fame on 7th Avenue. Smith died in 1987 at the too-young age of 39 after falling ill following a trip to India. Designer John Bartlett, who had been working with Smith, took over Williwear until 1990. The first real designer piece I ever owned was a red cotton, madras print Williwear dress that I wore to death in high school with an equally well-loved pair of Doc Marten boots, and I am heartbroken over the fact that I have never been able to find it.
Here is a video featuring Smith’s designs from the 80’s. See if you can catch a very young Iman…