Fash­ion ge­nius


The Gulf Today - Business - - FEATURES - As­so­ci­ated Press JULIANNA MARGULIES AND SARAH JESSICA PARKER

De­signer Narciso Ro­driguez is good at a lot of things — some would say mas­ter­ful, es­pe­cially when it comes to mak­ing strik­ing, un­fussy clothes that women feel great in. One thing he’s not so good at? Get­ting through an ac­cep­tance speech with­out chok­ing up.

He couldn’t do it in June, when ac­tress Claire Danes lov­ingly pre­sented him with his life­time achieve­ment award from the Coun­cil of Fash­ion De­sign­ers of Amer­ica. And he couldn’t do it this week, when hon­oured again by the Cou­ture Coun­cil of the Mu­seum at the Fash­ion In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy. Both times, the minute he started thank­ing friends and fam­ily, he was toast.

It’s been quite a year for the soft-spo­ken Ro­driguez, 57, the son of Cuban im­mi­grants whom he largely cred­its for his suc­cess. But for years now, re­ally, he’s been one of Amer­ica’s most ad­mired de­sign­ers, a man who evokes the kind of grate­ful loy­alty from his high-proile clients that

most de­sign­ers can only dream of.

Some of those clients, like Danes, who’s been wear­ing his clothes since she at­tended the Os­cars at 16, de­scribe Ro­driguez as fam­ily. She has said the com­mon thread in a Narciso gar­ment is that “I al­ways feel most my­self when I wear them.”

That’s ex­actly what Ro­driguez says he’s aim­ing for: that a woman feels like her­self, not the per­soni­ica­tion of

a de­signer’s fan­tasy. “I try not to let my de­signer ego get in the way be­cause it’s about mak­ing them look beau­ti­ful,” he said in an in­ter­view re­cently, mo­ments be­fore re­ceiv­ing his Cou­ture Coun­cil award. “It’s not about the press that I’m go­ing to garner or any­thing else. And I think that’s why so many women have trusted me.” YOU’VE HAD QUITE A YEAR WITH THESE VAR­I­OUS HON­OURS.

I never placed a good deal of im­por­tance on awards. But it’s so won­der­ful when your peers, in this case the Cou­ture Coun­cil, recog­nise your work and your ca­reer and take a mo­ment to say, ‘Wow, you’ve been do­ing this for a good amount of time, and you’ve been con­sis­tent.’ The re­spect that I’ve been feel­ing from peers and the press, it’s just such an amaz­ing feel­ing. And wow, longevity in fash­ion is rare. DOES ALL THIS RECOG­NI­TION MAKE YOU WON­DER IF IT’S DOWN­HILL FROM HERE?

Ro­driguez (laugh­ing): I’m not there yet, I’m just grate­ful that I’ve been able to do it for this long, and do it on my own terms. And some­times that hasn’t been easy, I’ve had ups and downs. But I’m still here. HOW DO YOU EX­PLAIN THE CLOSE RE­LA­TION­SHIPS YOU’VE FORGED WITH SOME OF YOUR CELEBRITY CLIENTS? Well, I have never had a inan­cial re­la­tion­ship with a celebrity. Never. The re­la­tion­ships I have cul­ti­vated have grown or­gan­i­cally, and hon­estly. I met Claire when she was a very young girl. A teenager. And we just wel­comed her sec­ond child into the world and I choke up (Note: he does choke up here) be­cause she’s like a daugh­ter to me, some­one I love so much. The same thing with

Jessica Se­in­feld, and

Julianna Margulies, and so many women that are in­cred­i­ble in­spi­ra­tions to me, but they’re also fam­ily. YOUR DE­SIGNS ARE FA­MOUS FOR SIM­PLIC­ITY, CLAR­ITY AND BEAU­TI­FUL, UN­COM­PLI­CATED LINES. WAS IT HARD TO GET TRAC­TION ON THAT STYLE? Ab­so­lutely. I re­mem­ber when I irst started out, I would hear things from the sales as­so­ciates, who would tell me that a woman might not nec­es­sar­ily be con­vinced to go to the rack and pick up a gar­ment, but once she tries it on and sees how it feels, (she’s) a cus­tomer for life. But it took a while. THERE ARE SO MANY PRES­SURES THESE DAYS ON DE­SIGN­ERS TO CRE­ATE AN IM­AGE, AND TO BE FA­MOUS THEM­SELVES. HOW DO YOU COPE WITH THAT? It’s hard some­times to put your in­gers in your ears and drown out the noise, be­cause fash­ion is se­duc­tive. And you can be fooled by the glam­our and lose sight of the fact that it’s about the craft — for me, it’s about beauty, it’s about cre­ativ­ity. It can be over­whelm­ing, more so even to­day where it isn’t re­ally about the craft, it’s about self-pro­mo­tion, and about In­sta­gram. I’m in­cred­i­bly pri­vate; I’ve had to ex­pose a lot of my­self be­cause of my work, but it’s not some­thing I en­joy. SO YOU’RE NOT A SELFIE PER­SON? It’s tough to­day, when ev­ery­one wants to be fa­mous irst. It’s just so con­fus­ing. I do what I have to. But I grew

up in a time where, I’m sure you re­mem­ber, if some­body walked in on you and you were star­ing at your­self in a mir­ror and tak­ing a photo of your­self, you’d be mor­ti­ied!

You wouldn’t want any­one to see that side of you. And that’s the side that so many peo­ple want to ex­pose to­day. It’s fas­ci­nat­ing. YOU’RE NOT SHOW­ING AT THIS FASH­ION WEEK. WHY? I changed my life. My twins Callum and Ivy are 15 months old. We took the sum­mer off for the irst time in 20

years, and I was so happy. I’ll show in De­cem­ber in­stead. Noth­ing will re­place this sum­mer with my chil­dren at the beach. It’s just given me a whole new per­spec­tive on life and work and what’s re­ally im­por­tant. I GUESS IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO GO GET THAT AWARD. Yes, I hope I don’t get out there and just bawl.

Fash­ion de­signer Narciso Ro­driguez Narciso Ro­driguez and Julianna Margulies

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.