Known for his razor-sharp tailoring, clean cuts and loyal fan-base among the celebrity elite, Loris Diran is a designer who embodies both relevance and wearability. His pieces are elegant, yet practical, feminine but empowering, and with his recent collection "Armor" drawing inspiration from the struggle to survive the tattered economy, he has proven yet again that he is germane to our times. Celebrating the recent opening of his store on the Bowery in New York City, Loris talks candidly to Uinterview about spring style and why he won't be using crocodile skin this season.
My show! [laughs] I got a unanimous round of positive press, the height of which was a wonderful, positive review and cover feature on WWD. It was just gorgeous, and the print issue had a big 8 by 6 photo of my coat from the collection and a great review. And I thought, ‘Finally!’ some attention!
No only New York, right now I only need New York. I’ve was offered Buenos Aires, I was offered Spain, I was offered Japan, but I’m only going to do New York until further notice.
In my collection, we have some gorgeous basic tones. But what we’ve done for spring is we’re following the current trend of the season, which I love, of bright colors – tropical primary colors mixed into neutrals. So we’ll have a print which is kind of a neutral base and then a gorgeous stripe of red flowers coming out on to it – for instance a gorgeous raw silk and cotton suit in a gorgeous khaki color and then a pump of canary yellow coming out on to it or a tunic from under it. It’s a way to put some color into your summer wardrobe and happy it up, you know!
Well, there’re a couple, I don’t know about just one. The collection for spring was inspired by flowers, and inspired by photos by the 80s fashion and art photographer Robert Maplethorppe. He did a series of photos you might know, they were black-and-white sepia tones of flowers, one of which you may remember was a beautiful picture of an orchid, in black and white and in a silver sepia tone. I loved the color interpretation of flowers he had, and it really inspired my collection. So what I did was I did a run of that exhibition, and in terms of a signature piece, I have a petal blouse, it’s a blouse that looks like the petals of a rose turned upside down onto your body, and the petals are done in silver and black ramie.
Flowers are big in my recent collection – that was sort of my theme for spring. And in terms of colors and patterns, I have a blossom done in a canary yellow, and then a beautiful petal dress done in a poppy print with abstract flowers. I always do that with spring. So many of my clients go to the beach, on vacation and to beautiful places, and I think flowers just feel like they belong there. And that will blend into my high summer collection too.
You know, I’ve dressed so many different kinds of women. I think the only clients that some young designers want to dress are incredibly famous and beautiful movie stars. That’s a mistake. Most of my clients are women you’ve never heard of, who have incredible amounts of money; but I like to think that a Loris Darin woman is a woman who is incredibly self-sufficient, she’s not dependent on her husband, or her husband’s approval of her clothing, she’s feminine but very powerful, she has a strong personality, she doesn’t rely on her sexuality to get her by, she’s intellectual but she enjoys being a woman!
Exactly! An independent woman is my favorite kind of woman. She keeps herself in shape, she’s not a triathlete or anything, but she’s in charge of herself, you know? A lady! Not overly feminine or overpowering, just herself.
There are a lot of women who I would love to dress who have not come near the collection yet that I would love to have! I have muses but they’re not women who are known to you. They’re women who are known to me–socialites, a young woman who works with me who was my boss at Calvin Klein years ago. She’s now a dear friend and she works with me on my marketing strategies – she’s a beautiful woman, independent and intellectual, and she’s got a great sense of style. I love someone who is fearless with her own style. As for celebrities though, you know who I’d love to dress...mmmm... Angelina Jolie. She would be the one that I would nip with a butterfly net if I could.
The thing with Angelina Jolie is not only is she beautiful, not only is she exceptionally talented, she’s a hyper individualistic woman. She’s not marching to anyone’s drum, she’s doing exactly what she wants and in that way she’s slightly dangerous, but she’s a woman who helps people. The things she’s doing with Unicef and for people in third world countries is wonderful! Last night I was at the Valentino event - I was one of the few chosen to go to that screening of him and his new biography and there were maybe sixty people in the whole room and it was the crème de la crème of fashion and Hollywood royalty! It was gargantuan! Sitting behind me was Carolina Herrera, in front of me Ann Hathaway, and sitting beside me was Gwyneth Paltrow. And she would be my second choice – I’d love to dress her! Oh my God! I never realized until I actually encountered her and spoke to her that she’s a very interesting woman, very independent and very intelligent.
You know, fashion at its best is wearable art-work. I mean yesterday, when I was watching Valentino’s biographical film, there was no denying that what he did was art! And artistry! And craftsmanship! But Valentino is eternally wearable. What’s the point of designing something incredibly beautiful and interesting if no one can wear it or know what they’re going to do with it? That’s when it is totally self-indulgent. Fashion must always serve a purpose, and if it doesn’t it is purely self-indulgent. Look at the work of Chanel, she’s the best example, she would look at something and say, ‘This is not practical! How is a woman going to conduct her life in this dress?’ She understood that – she was the first person in the early half of the 20th century to understand and grasp what a woman needed to be able to actually function in a day to day and practical manner. So it’s a synergy of the two: it’s a synergy of practicality and artistry. The artistry is what gives you the pleasure, but it needs to work for you too. I’m wearing a jacket right now, it’s totally made by hand, and it’s a stunning piece from my Men’s Collection; but it’s practical! You could wear it as a full suit to a business meeting, or just with a pair of jeans and a little stripped Oxford, as I’m doing right now. Pieces should be that easy for people. One of my little petal blouses a woman could wear with a pair of jeans and high heeled sandals, take a little stroll with her boyfriend along the streets of London, down town New York or wherever. But it could also be dressed up with a fabulous matching skirt, and then it’s a cocktail outfit! It’s what a woman should have. She should be able to transform something from ‘day’ to ‘evening’ fairly effortlessly. Especially with the economy and the way it is, what woman has the patience right now to say, ‘Ok I need to buy me three outfits for today,’ you know, that’s a little nutty!
In one sentence, keep it simple and wearable. Make sure that what you have is great quality. Buy a dress for the season, get it in a color you adore – I’d say a black dress, but I think everyone has a black dress – so pick a color that makes you incredibly happy, fits you beautifully, and can be something that you can go to three different places or events in. Invest in your basics and then add a few special pieces to give the punch and the happiness to your wardrobe that gives you the pleasure, because a wardrobe without pleasure is like eating a bland meal. Why bother, you know? What’s the point?