Another Revival

Last week there was another announcement about the revival of a shuttered fashion house. More than 25 years after Rudi Gernreich’s death, a German entrepreneur has secured the trademark rights to his brand, according to Women’s Wear Daily. The brand will be called Gernreich, and there are plans for a runway show in 2014.

Gernreich was a designer in the 1960s and 1970s, and most known for his revealing swimwear — the monokini exposed a woman’s breasts. He experimented with plastics and other nontraditional materials to create fashionable designs that influenced pop art.

I wonder what direction a fashion house bearing the Gernreich name will take. It seems practically unauthentic to have any designer but Gernreich himself leading the company in experimentation. Will the new designer continue to experiment and pick up where Gernreich left off? Is there any more of the body that has yet to be bared by fashion designers? Or will this project be purely commercial in nature, treading on the reputation Gernreich built?

It seems like no fashion house is sacred or safe. Earlier this year we learned that Schiaparelli will be revived, although no word on who the head designer will be.

Elsa Schiaparelli was a designer who worked from the late 1920s to 1954. She was heavily influenced by Surrealism and was one of the most prominent designers between the two world wars.

Again, I wonder if Surrealism will influence the new designer at the helm? How will a contemporary designer ever fill Schiaparelli’s esteemed shoes?

And have you heard there is trouble brewing at Vionnet? The brand that was relaunched in 2006 has had a revolving door of designers. The latest ladies in charge of the brand — created in 1912 by Madeleine Vionnet, “queen of the bias cut” — are designers Barbara and Lucia Croce, but are rumored to be on their way out. The spring 2013 show will go on as scheduled but is said to be designed by an in-house team, not the Croce sisters, according to Women’s Wear Daily.

I often think it would be better to leave the houses of deceased designers alone. Let the legacy of those designers stand, without tampering with them long after the houses have closed. It seems disrespectful to the legendary designers to use their names as commercial trademarks.

And there are hundreds of smart, young designers out there who would give just about anything to have a collection under their own name. Financial backers should support those designers with eponymous lines instead of depending on the names of historic fashion designers. It’s time to create some forward progress in the fashion industry.

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