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International Herald Tribune

14 Tuesday, September 20, 2005 Fashion
From Macdonald, tropical glitz;
at Elspeth Gibson, easy sweetness

Suzy Menkes/International Herald Tribune

A self-portrait of the stylish Michael Roberts adorns the cover of his book, a wry look at the fashion world. At right, the designer.

Feting an unsung fashion hero

By Suzy Menkes The definition of an ‘‘outsider,’’ the ‘‘Karl goes way back — we first met
peripatetic Roberts, who says ‘‘there in the early ’70s when he had just star-
LONDON is nowhere I can safely say I’d lay my ted at Chloé, when he showed in the
n unsung fashion hero has fi- hat and call it home,’’ was born of a St. restaurant Laurent and the hats were

A nally been recognized as Mi-

chael Roberts, illustrator, edit-
or, style director and maverick takes
Lucian mother and was jolted out of
suburban Britain by winning a schol-
arship and a trip to New York where
two meters wide and there was
Kenzo, Loulou [de la Falaise] and Pa-
loma [Picasso],’’ he says.
his book on tour. On Tuesday, Bur- he met everyone who counted in At fashion’s epicenter, yet always a
berry will fete the British-born 1960s style from Andy Warhol lone observer, Roberts has a unique
Roberts, whose trajectory from art through Richard Avedon. insight into the fashionable world,
school in High Wycombe in 1968 to His career was propelled by two which he reduces, like Cocteau, to a
the swinging London world of Carn- women: first Molly Parkin, an eccent- few sparing lines. New York features
aby Street and Kings Road, to fashion ric and original editor at The Sunday large, although he is ambivalent
editor of The Sunday Times and Times, and then Tina Brown, who about its attractions.
today’s role at the New Yorker, was as made him central to her 1980s ‘‘I feel most attracted and repelled
arrow-straight as the graphic lines in makeover of the social magazine The about New York,’’ he says. ‘‘There is
his illustrated book. Tatler. no strong guiding aesthetic. Every-
‘‘The Snippy World of New Yorker Add to that roster Janey Ironside, thing is for the moment.’’
Fashion Artist Michael Roberts,’’ pub- the iconic head of London’s Royal The respect that Roberts has
lished by Steid/Edition 7L, tells the College of Art, who had also spotted earned, without ever being a fashion
story in its title. It is both an intricate Roberts’s talent and Vogue supreme power broker, is proved by the fact
assemblage of collages, done, says Anna Wintour. that, as well the Burberry event, Berg- JULIEN MACDONALD AMANDA WAKELEY
Roberts ‘‘mostly in hotel rooms;’’ and Roberts describes the frenzied dorf Goodman launched the book in
a wry and sometimes scissor-sharp Tatler years, when celebrity was just New York last week and Tod’s will
take on the world of style. You would beginning to vibrate in magazines give it a sendoff during the Milan
have to look to Cecil Beaton’s very dif- and Roberts ‘‘left messages in shoe shows. Since Roberts is a fine and
ferent decorative sketches to find boxes at Manolo’s shop’’ to woo stars sharp writer, what about a words,
someone with such a beady eye for and royalty to be photographed for its rather than a picture book?
what makes style. Even the sky- pages. Haute cobbler Manolo Blahnik ‘‘I am leaving that to Rupert Everett
scrapers of New York take on a dizzy is yet another admirer and supporter who is doing his kiss and tell mem-
geometric glamour, as Roberts fixes as is Karl Lagerfeld, whose imprint oirs!’’ Roberts said. ‘‘I’ll keep my
each image in the context of its time. has published the book. secrets.’’
Milano Tel +39 02 546701


Photographs by Christopher Moore/Andrew Thomas

By Jessica Michault for a modern-day princess. After offer- with the sleeves ruched up to give the
ing up tea and cakes to a famished fash- impression of ripples in a still pool and
LONDON ion crowd, the designer opened her a suede zigzag two-tone coffee and
n Sunday the Welsh designer Ju- show with a dress that set the tone for cream halter dress that hit just the right

O lien Macdonald started off Lon-

don Fashion Week with a show
that is sure to keep the fans of his trade-
the collection. It was a deceptively
simple white satin dress enveloped in
chartreuse netting that at once looked
note. A running theme throughout the
show was a wrapping of the torso. This
came in the form of wraparound, belted
mark glitz and glamour dresses very feminine and contemporary. kimono-sleeved jackets and pleated
happy. With his sponsor Swarovski Overall the collection had a sense of olive chiffon dresses tied up in silk rib-
supplying the shimmering crystals, the comfort and ease. The nubby pink bons that gave a glimpse, through the
designer splashed out on sparkly trop- sweater with a sprinkling of paillettes folds of the translucent skirt, of the
ical prints in warm weather colors of across the shoulder with matching pink underskirt hiding beneath.
flamingo pink, turquoise, purple and shorts and the lacy shoulder straps on a To the sounds of a rising rainstorm,
emerald green. simple white cotton T-shirt conveyed a the Danish designer Jens Laugesen sent
Flouncy-tiered skirts worn with relaxed femininity. And a strapless out an androgynous collection that
rope-tasseled sandals and chunky mint green dress with a copper tulle seemed to want to capture and encase
wooden bracelets gave the show a fes- overlay in a coin-dot pattern was both the female form. Be it a soft white cot-
tive south of the border feel while the whimsical and sophisticated. The ton dress cocooned in a tulle overlay, a
racy swimwear is suitable for sun- choice of metallic-colored fabrics and wide belt slipping through the sides of
bathing only. As always the knitwear beading gave the eveningwear more a jersey top to encircle a waist or a cor-
was executed with a deft hand, a green weight and a bit of an edge. But with the set cinched tight over pants.
and white stripped ensemble was a par- final gown, Gibson showed her witty In a collection of mostly black and
ticular standout. And for evening there side by making the ultimate cocktail white clothing, Laugesen also returned
were plenty of Macdonald’s sexy, dress in a floor-length dove gray cre- to a favorite subject, sending out a
slinky gowns with feathers floating ation with embroidery in the form of myriad of interpretations of the tuxedo
from the hem. But while the ruffled sparkling cocktail glasses. jacket — from a cape with a pair of
checked taffeta dresses might be a bit The British designer Amanda high-waisted pants to a top whittled
much even for Miss Piggy (who was sit- Wakely’s spring/summer collection down to just the lapels over a short
ting in the front row), the white strap- was all about quiet comfort. From the skirt. The designer also played with the
less cocktail dress with the powder puff free-flowing tunics in a sea grass print idea of layering, by folding the clothing
skirt of laser-cut tulle flowers would be to the wide silk pants these were back on itself as if peeling off a layer to
a perfect choice for any young in- clothes made to not only look good, but expose the fragile underbelly of the
génue. feel good. The soft neutral palette of clothing below.
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of olive, blush pink, and cream helped
her line, Elspeth Gibson stuck to what give the clothes an unobtrusive quality. Jessica Michault is on the staff of the
she does best, sugar sweet clothing fit Key pieces included a leather jacket International Herald Tribune.