“Being out in a beautiful garden is nicer than sitting in a beautiful room, in my opinion. They bring you so much joy. We recharge our batteries in that environment. You have to feel extremely privileged to have a garden—I don’t take it for granted.”—Stella McCartney on her country garden, featured in the November issue of Vogue
Like Alice and the Rabbit rushing to the Mad Hatter’s tea party, Gloria von Thurn und Taxis and I didn’t waste one second at the screening of The King’s Speech. After the film ended, we arranged to have our own pop-up shop of Rod Keenan’s custom-made hats right in the lobby of the screening room at 500 Park Avenue. A friend and Vogue editorial assistant had rushed to Keenan’s Harlem townhouse, which features a great purple door, and brought back a shopping bag of beautiful men’s and women’s hats in the finest felts and textured materials for us to try on. I would pick them up later in the week. Both the Pious Princess and I were looking for new hats to go with our black Prada coats from the current collection.
Gloria arrived in New York wearing hers, sporting sleek black patent flat boots, a vintage Hermès calfskin bag, and an old hat from the finest hat shop in Regensberg, Germany, called Hutkönig. When I went to her twenty-ninth birthday party in 1989, a seated banquet for 500 (for which Keith Haring was commissioned to design the invitations and dinner plates), I discovered the beauty of Austrian- and Tyrolean-style hats. Somewhere in an attic are two great examples I own, one black, one Bavarian green, with wildly expensive badger plumes or rare ornaments fashioned from the tails of mountain goats.
Keenan’s beautifully blocked hats, lined with deep purple satin, have Old School finesse. The Kansas native first enrolled at Parsons, eventually earned his millinery degree at FIT, and has been designing hats for more than two decades (he went out on his own about nine years ago). Some are stamped with roses or, in homage to Schiaparelli, there’s a black felt fedora with a giant red lobster with gold accents. When you enter his town house for an appointment, you know you have come to the mountaintop of fine millinery. The entrance has beautiful eighteenth-century Chinese wallpaper that he found in a London antiques shop and had framed to decorate a perfect window alcove. On the far end of the long, gallery-like entrance, where hats are displayed on stands or in clear plastic boxes, there is a beautiful pale-blue 1930s chandelier from the Venini factories in Murano, Italy.
One’s trash is another’s treasure: Marni turns bottles into baubles.
Actress Isabel Lucas Photographed for the November issue of Vogue by Norman Jean Roy
Young, old, rich, poor, this necklace is for everyone!” exclaims Marni’s Consuelo Castiglioni, the latest of a burgeoning group of esteemed designers turning out chic with a conscience (see “Naturally Refined,” page 260). The designer, “always looking for new materials,” has strung together a necklace of flowers that were once plastic drinking bottles, recycled in Colombia. And ringing in at $320 (significantly less than the usual price for a Marni necklace), her choice benefits not only the environment but fledgling Marni fans, too. Count among them ingenue Isabel Lucas, who is also doing her part for the planet. The 25-year-old actress, vintage shopper, and vegetarian doesn’t wear leather (unless it’s thrift), hiked up Kilimanjaro to raise funds for charities that provide safe drinking water to those in need, and designed a recycled-timber, solar-paneled house in her native Australia before moving to L.A. two and a half years ago. “I lived in Cairns, near the Great Barrier Reef,” she says, “so my natural instinct is to protect the environment.”
Lucas—who stars in next year’s remake of Red Dawn (“I went to boot camp to train as a Wolverine”) and as mythical goddess Athena in Immortals, with Mickey Rourke, out next November—is just the type of woman Castiglioni had in mind when she created the piece (layered here with a plaster version). “I was inspired by urban life,” the designer says. “It’s the clash between the outdoors and le bon ton.”
Photographed by Jemal Countess/Getty Images (Grace Coddington);
Marko MacPherson (lipstick)
Our flame-haired, porcelain-skinned Creative Director, Grace Coddington,has been wearing the same red lipstick—a sheer bordeaux stain from Sebastian Trucco—for the past ten years. When it suddenly went extinct—into the void of cruelly discontinued makeup favorites—she was understandably crestfallen.
“Normally lipsticks feel like jam on your mouth; this one looks it, but doesn’t feel it,” said Grace of her signature staple. “It gives my face color and definition, and without it I don’t feel made-up.” Enter Three Custom Color Specialists (known in the industry as 3C): a group of experienced mixers who have devoted themselves to whipping up discontinued makeup shades. Their archive contains more than 9,000 formulas dating back to the thirties; they can match lipstick, gloss, shadow, and blush to fabric samples and color swatches, too. Several days after sending Grace’s last tube of her beloved bordeaux to 3C’s New York City lab, a small package of exact clones—matching not only the original’s tone, but its texture—arrived at Vogue’s offices. Grace’s reaction? “Brilliant!”
Anderson Cooper pays tribute to his extraordinary mother.
Gloria Vanderbilt Photographed by Horst for Vogue, 1966
I don’t really know who the woman in this photograph is. She is my mom, of course, Gloria Vanderbilt—I recognize the face, the look in her eyes, the shape of her nose—but she has lived so many different lives, inhabited so many different worlds, that in this picture, as in many photos, I find it hard to really see her. Among other things, she’s been an actress, an artist, a designer, a writer, a wife, a mother, a lover, a victim, and a survivor. Every few years she seems to shed her old self, and is born anew.
The photo was taken by Horst in April 1966. My mom is wearing a Mainbocher dress and is in a grand old town house on Sixty-seventh off Park Avenue, where she lived with my father, Wyatt Cooper, whom she married in 1964, and my brother Carter, who was born in 1965. I am not yet born. In fact, I won’t be conceived for another seven months.
We lived in the house for another five years or so after I arrived, and though I recall some of the rooms, I’m not sure which one this picture was taken in. The one I remember most was a bedroom my mother covered entirely in patchwork quilts: the walls, the ceiling, the furniture, she’d even glued quilts to the floor and had them coated with polyurethane. It was like being inside a collage. I’ve never seen anything like it since.
My mom is 42 years old in this photograph, a year younger than I am now. She looks so much more grown up than I feel. I suppose all children, no matter what age, feel that about their parents.
Alexander Wang Presents Britt Maren's Video Diaries
Photographed by Sebastian Kim
In the circle of devastatingly cool girls photographed with Alexander Wangfor the November issue of Vogue stands the fresh-faced Britt Maren (third, from right). “There is always a quality that’s hard to pinpoint when you see a star,” says the designer, who handpicked Maren to work exclusively with the label in the run-up to New York Fashion Week. “But the moment I saw Britt, I knew she had potential.” The 20-year-old Texan model opened and closed Wang’s stellar spring 2011 collection last month—no small feat for a runway rookie—and she’s also the star of his behind-the-scenes Confessional series. Shot in two-parts, the film charts Maren’s transformation from girl-next-door to icy beauty, and is a candid first-person report of the dizzying excitement that comes with a fashion show. “Instead of doing the traditional backstage video, we wanted to do a more intimate portrayal,” he says. “I like that this is the experience of one girl.
They are competing for one of the most prestigious awards in the fashion world, the CFDA/VogueFashion Fund Award, but who are the finalists this year? In this episode, get to know five of the ten finalists—where they are from, how they got their start in fashion, where they hope to take their companies in the future.
“It’s all about the Pink Ladies and being in the cool gang!” says Vogue Fashion Writer Chioma Nnadi of the link between Grease, the updated versions that are High School Musical and Glee, and the pull of fall’s burgeoning baseball jacket trend. First spotted on Alexander Wang’s spring 2010 runway show, and available in stores from Club Monaco to Proenza Schouler (left), the varsity basic is gaining momentum as a staple for next spring too—thanks to Chloe Sevigny’s pairing them with floral dresses for her resort 2011 collaboration with Opening Ceremony. It’s the dress-it-down flip side of fall’s prevalent fifties trend, captured so elegantly at Louis Vuitton and Prada. Whether thrown over one of those fit-and-flare dresses, or paired with Wang’s more downbeat slouchy pants, the fact remains: baseball jackets are strictly for the cool kids.
“It takes a lot to get a girl out of leggings and back into jeans!” laughs designer Tim Kaeding,who, along with business partner Lela Tillem, is behind the new denim brand Mother. He should know; he’s spent the last two years developing materials that look like denim but feel like cashmere with the aim of spearheading a denim revival. “For jeans to make a comeback, technology has to step in,” Kaeding continues. “We weave in fibers more typically used in knits, then treat them with fabric finishes—but those are secret!”
“People underestimate how smart Senator Gillibrand is. I hosted a dinner for her to meet a number of CEOs and media figures, and in conversation she was brilliant in her analysis of the economic meltdown. And she is an amazing fund-raiser… an unstoppable machine when she works the room.”—Tina Brown, The Daily Beast Editor in Chief
The name Kirsten Gillibrand was one most people who lived in New York City had never heard, despite the fact that she had run one of the most hard-fought and nasty congressional campaigns in 2006 against an entrenched Republican incumbent, in part by raising an astonishing $2.6 million (she defeated him handily, and The New York Times called her a “dragon slayer”). But once she was picked seemingly out of nowhere, city voters were troubled by, among other things, her 100 percent approval rating by the National Rifle Association. (After her own “listening tour” in Harlem, Gillibrand indicated that she was “flexible” in her stance on gun control.) Many voters also perceived her to be too conservative in her positions on a few other emotional issues, specifically immigration. Indeed, she herself once described her Congressional voting record as “one of the most conservative in the state.” Who was this hick from upstate?
Gillibrand was further burdened by the controversy around her appointment. “I think a lot of people conflated her being picked with the chaos that went around the pick,” says New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. “She was tossed right into that maelstrom, but she handled it the way she has done a lot of things in her career and, from what I gather, in her life: She said, ‘I’m going to try to wear people down by being a good senator and a good person.’ She’s basically outlasted her critics. She’s very Hillaryesque in that regard, in that a lot of the criticism of her at the outset was not so much about her but about what she represented to people through different lenses.”
“It takes a minute for me to let my guard down, but once I do and I get to know someone, I’m very open, very trusting. Some might say too trusting, because considering the amount of money that can be made from selling gossip, I could be very easily taken advantage of.”—Anne Hathaway, Vogue November 2010