While some may argue that the shoes make the outfit, there is a passionate accessories contingent that swoons for sombreros. These beret and derby devotees will love the new exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, “Hats: An Anthology,” opening Feb. 24. Couture milliner Stephen Jones collaborated on the project with V&A fashion and textiles curator Oriole Cullen to bring together more than 300 chapeaux dating from 600 B.C. to the present. “It was wonderful to have Stephen’s technical and practical knowledge,” said Cullen of her partner on the project. “The dynamics of the fashion world and the museum world are quite different, so it was an interesting journey to be able to create something that is rooted in two very different approaches.” Jones, a favorite among daring designers including Marc Jacobs and John Galliano, has several of his own creations on display in the show (see image at left from Tatler magazine). The homage to headgear runs through May 31.
— Meghan Cass
Even before he made it big in the art world, Andy Warhol was fascinated by consumerism and imagery. In his early years in New York, the pop artist took illustrator gigs at Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and styled window displays at Bonwit Teller and I. Miller. So it seems certain that the Wigged One would have blessed Andy Warhol 15, a collection of timepieces featuring his early work, produced under a license from The Andy Warhol Foundation. Among the offerings is the Fancy Shoe watch ($150), which boasts Warhol’s stiletto sketches on a stainless steel face and a custom-designed enamel crown adorned with a banana motif. The watch collection is available to the masses on 15minutesof.com and Amazon.com. Both fashionable and functional, the line is sure to earn its own 15 minutes of fame.
The late shoe designer Beth Levine once said, “In troubled times you equate shoes with security. The feeling of something good on your feet bolsters your sense of well-being.” For many in the industry, those words could not ring truer today. So it seems appropriate that a new book about the footwear designer, titled “Beth Levine Shoes,” will be published this April by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Authored by Fashion Institute of Technology professor Helene Verin, the coffee-table tome chronicles Levine’s life between 1948 and 1975, when she made her legendary shoes in New York under the Herbert Levine label. Known for elevating boots to high fashion and shoeing first ladies and film stars, the designer was just as notorious for her firecracker personality. Verin’s biography is peppered with the Levine’s signature witticisms and photographs of her designs. The book will retail for $35 and be available wherever fine books are sold.
There’ll be no reason to duck out of the rain this spring, as the iconic duck boot once again makes its way to land. The rubber and leather style, created by L.L. Bean founder Leon Bean in 1912 to help hunters stay dry, became a fashion statement among the preppy set during the 1980s. This time around, the classic waterproof look is being reinterpreted in both high and low versions and in different colors by brands such as Sporto and Polo Ralph Lauren. Mark McCormick, SVP of Eastman Group’s Sporto division, said the 1980s are making a comeback this season, so it was a perfect time for the brand to reintroduce its Original Duck Boot collection. Retailing for $65 for the Low Duck, $75 for the Mid and $85 for the High, the styles come in a fun color scheme. And for preppies-in-training, Polo Ralph Lauren by BBC International is doing a downsized version for kids.
— Barbara Schneider-Levy