An iconic product, a revolutionary designer, a powerhouse label. It is by no means an easy feat to survive with longevity, and survive it well in this fickle world of fashion and beauty. Prestige salutes them on their respective anniversaries this year. By Terence Lee
What? Chanel J12 White Ceramic Timepiece
The J12 in black high-tech ceramic was Chanel’s first sports watch and remains a best-seller to date. Three years after its launch, a white ceramic version was introduced. The reason was simple. “Because it is the other Chanel colour, 100 percent complementary to black,” explained Jacques Helleu, then artistic director of the company. To celebrate its 10th birthday, a J12 White Phantom anniversary edition, with only 2000 pieces available worldwide,
What? Dsquared2 Womenswear
Despite launching a menswear collection in 1994, and dressing Madonna for her album in 2002, it was only in 2003 that Dean and Dan Caten introduced their women’s collection. The Canadian twins may not be the most ground-breaking, but they are no doubt excellent designer-stylists who put together some of the most memorable shows in Milan. The vibe is less of a show, more of a rock concert. And did we mention that they are two of the best storytellers in fashion? Think a high-school prom, a mud-filled music festival, a Wild West snowy mountain, and a sexy outdoor camp...all within the confines of a show tent in Milan.
The joint venture between a high fashion designer and a sports label that kick-started the collaboration trend in the fashion world. German sports brand Adidas roped in Japanese master of tailoring and avant-garde designer Yohji Yamamoto to create Y-3, a street-style label with an added tailoring touch. Today, the collaborative label remains a leader in its league.
What? BOSS Selection
Boss Selection, with its emphasis on classic English tailoring and cut, was launched a decade ago to satisfy a more mature and affluent market.
What? Un Jardin en Méditerranée Perfume
The first of the French house’s Jardin series of perfumes, Un Jardin en Méditerranée’s strong notes of figs, green herbs and citrus tell a romantic story of a Tunisian garden along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The nose behind it is one of the most revered names in perfumery — Frenchman Jean-Claude Ellena who has been Hermès’ in-house perfumer since 2004. The Un Jardin series consists of four fragrances to date,
all composed by Ellena.
What? Louis Vuitton Taiga Leather Collection
Why does this low-key collection of subtle natural grained leather from Vuitton deserve a mention, when the French House is widely celebrated for its Monogram and Damier canvas with more than 100 years of history each? Just because we love the Taiga leather for its nondescript simplicity, making it truly one of the first collections of leather goods from Vuitton that every man can understand.
The German house of Hugo Boss launched HUGO 20 years ago to cater to an increasing demand for fashion-forward menswear with an edge. A slimmer cut here, an unexpected detail there, the HUGO men are experimental and daring, as opposed to the BOSS BLACK customers who seek classic styles.
What? Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel
If Coco Chanel was a revolutionary designer in the 1920s when she freed women from constricting garments and dressed them in pants and loose dresses, her ideals of how women should dress later in the 1960s made her irrelevant. She was against them donning miniskirts and denim jeans. “She lost her power and in the end no one cared about what she did,” said Karl Lagerfeld, the man who became Chanel’s creative director 30 years ago. During his tenure, the Kaiser has practically done everything and anything that Mademoiselle Chanel would have disapproved of: Barely there miniskirts, punk-inspired distressed denim and the use of the double “C” logo on the tiniest bikini top, the lenses of sunglasses, and most recently a hula hoop bag. But Lagerfeld’s take on Chanel Couture would do the founder proud: Beautifully created clothes that are sometimes whimsical, but always elegant.
What? Gucci Horsebit Loafers
In 1953, the double ring and bar horsebit motif debuted on Gucci’s men’s loafers. Since then, the shoes have become the footwear of choice for stylish celebrities (from Alain Delon and Dustin Hoffman, to current Hollywood leading men Leonardo DiCaprio and James Franco) and even the man on the street. As a celebratory tribute, creative director Frida Giannini showed them as the only shoe style in her Spring/Summer menswear collection. Look out for a special label inside each shoe with a “Gucci 1953 Made in Italy” script.
We credit Miuccia Prada for many things: Making humble nylon bags a worldwide phenomenon, spearheading the first wave of minimalism back in the 1990s, dressing women in intellectual yet no less womanly clothes, and, together with husband Patrizio Bertelli, grow her grandfather Mario Prada’s luggage-making livelihood into a multi-billion dollar international business. But we admire her more for merging art, architecture, cinema and technology into fashion, and making each and every project a ground-breaking one. Case in point: Establishing Fondazione Prada to support young artists, building architectural feats like the Tokyo Prada Epicentre and the movable Transformer structure in Seoul, and launching one of the first fashion mobile phones with LG Electronics, just to name a few.