1. Suzy Menkes
  2. Suzy Menkes

Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

Friezing Out Prada

London’s Frieze art fair is a fashion barometer

15 Октября 2014

Sara Kay, Director of White Cube Gallery, wears a commissioned jacket by artist and poet, Kate Daudy with a hidden whistle; trousers by Saint Laurent and shoes by Christian Louboutin. Art: Jack Your Body 2014 by Jim Lambie at the Sadie Coles Gallery.

There is no catwalk and the arty, classy, whimsical and wondrous outfits are not worn by models.

Yet London’s Frieze art fair has become a fashion barometer – a click-and-tell of how we dress now.

This is not a peacock parade. Most of the people present – male or female – belong to the art world as dealers, connoisseurs or buyers.

International, well-travelled, with a passport tucked into that Céline bag and good to go in a pair of a Louboutin sneakers, the Frieze crowds are not dedicated followers of fashion.

Both for the modern and contemporary art displays under canvas, or in the tent for the more measured Frieze Masters – also in London ‘s Regent’s Park – these people are not fiends for modernity. Nor are they attempting to make their outfits as inventive as the artworks around them.

Frieze visitors are fashion’s tastemakers in a multi-national world.

And just as the art presentations are calmer, cleaner and less obviously showy, so the clothes have changed in surprising ways.

Mira Mikati an art collector wears a jacket and top from her own label, CX Mira Mikati; Celine bag and scarf; Chanel necklace; jeans R13; Limited Edition Adidas trainers customised by by Stan Smith and Pharrell Wiliams. Art: Noses and Ears, Etc., part

Last October, Prada’s winter 2013 collection was so prevalent at Frieze that it could have been dubbed a “Miuccia moment”.

Yet when my colleague Natasha and I had stopped a dozen fashionables, only art collector Valeria Napoleone, dressed in colourful layers of Issey Miyake, mentioned the word “Prada”. About her socks.

Of course there were Prada shoes, a few bags and a couple of coats, but there were other fashion surprises.

But Perhaps it is <not> surprising that Saint Laurent hits the hot spot – for both sexes – and especially for well-cut trousers and bold hats. Since Hedi Slimane has been at the helm at YSL, the artistic have embraced his clothes.

Chloé is also on the up – the cute prettiness with a touch of hardness appealing to today’s women.

And what about Balmain, dismissed as over sexed, over the top and suited only to Russian sexpots? The vision of Tamara Ecclestone in a curvy Balmain skirt as she pushed her baby’s buggy was elegant and classy.

Sandra Nedvetskaia Direrctor of the Cosmoscow; International Contemporary Art Fair wears glasses from Ottica Urbani in Venice; Nozi coat; J.Crew shirt; Stella Jean skirt and bag by Paola Cademartori. Art: Untitled 9 Fate). 2014 by Matt Mullican from the M

If there is now one fashion leader, it is Céline. The geometric minimalism of Phoebe Philo has taken over as the fashion base of many arty wardrobes. And the Céline bag looks like the must-have of the moment.

A surprise pop-up is Gucci, where the tailored coats with heavy metal from Frida Giannini form another baseline.

But, like the artists blending colours and textures or creating sculptural effects from unlikely materials, the power of fashion at Frieze lies in the mix.

The haute-boho spirit, part of the Seventies revival at the recent international shows for summer 2015, is already embedded in fashion. Or to subvert Marina Abramovic’s famous line: the arty is present.

And one thing that I am prepared to bet on: come Frieze 2015, Miuccia Prada’s brocade coats will be worn by the cognoscenti as perambulating works of art.


Livia Firth wears a dress from recycled fabric by Laura Strambi and bag by Narcisso Rodriguez for Bottletop. Art: Fredrik Vaerslev at the Standard Gallery (Oslo)

Frith Kerr from Studio Frith headed-up the Frieze Art Fair campaigns, wears Roksanda Illincic jacket; Nicholas Kirkwood for Roksanda Illincic shoes; Burberry tights and shoes; and a Celine bag. Art: Arcadia 2014 by Mary Wetherford at the David Kordansky G

Jiwon Lee Brunnstronn wears a Celine jumper; Cos skirt and Louis Vuitton bag.

Norman Stone wears a Comme des Garcons three-piece and Jitrois trousers; Norah Stone wears an Andrew Gn jacket, both Art collectors. Art: Matias Faldbakken at the Standard Gallery (Oslo).

Tamara Ecclestone with her baby daughter Sophia wears a Balmain skirt, Wolford top and Sergio Rossi shoes

Janice Balckburn a contemporary Arts Curator wears a vintage Jean Paiul Gaultier cape with a J.Crew top; Marks & Spencer skirt and Prada shoes

Amanda Eliasch (Gucci jacket; Alexander Wang sunglasses; Erickson Beamon necklace; The Kooples dress and Vlieger & Vandam bag) and Kay Saatchi in Yohji Yamamoto. Art: Because I Cant Have You I Want You, 1993, by Damian Hirst at the White Cube Gallery

Giancarlo Giammetti the co-founder of Valentino wears Brunello Cucinelli jacket and tie; Valentino trousers and Tom Ford shoes. Art: Untitled, 2012, by Gary Hume at the Spruth Magers Gallery

Hanneli Rupert of Merchants on Long wears a bag from her own label, Okapi and a Chloe blouse and skirt with Fendi shoes. Art by Liza Lou at the White Cube Gallery

Valeria Napoleoni, an art collector wears Issey Miyake with a Chanel bag, Prada socks and Giuseppe Zanotti. Art: GP 163 2012 by Thomas Scheibitz at the Spruth Magers Gallery

Jackie Appel (right) wears a Gucci jacket, Prada trousers; Balmain shoes and a Stella McCartney bag. Carol Appel (left) wears Celine shoes and bag; Rach jacket; Issey Miyake top and an Alexander McQueen ring. Art: Mixed Emotions by Tony Cragg at the M

Komal Shah a trustee at MOMA and Tate Modern wears a Gucci coat, Celine bag and Prada shoes. Art: Grosse Jungs 2014 by Michail Pirgelis at the Spruth Magers Gallery

Elisabeth Thurn Taxis wears Prada coat; Sait Laurent jumper; Prenza Schouler dress; Chanel boots and Fendi bag. Art: Untitled 2014 by Danh Vo at the Marian Goodman Gallery

Jefferson Hack wears Haider Ackermann jacket; Saint Laurent scarf; Topman jumper; Nudie jeans; Underground Creepers.Art: Bad Adult by Kim Gordon at the 303 Gallery New York

Mehves Ariburnu (left) Dion Lee jacket; and Fendi bag. Karen Ruimy ( center) wears Saint Laurent cape and Balmain skirt. Jenn Esposito in Isabel Marrant jacket and Azzednie Alaia bag. Art; Studio 2012 by Thomas Scheibitz at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Pierre Pelegry art collector wears a Pierre Cardin jacket; lanvin cardigan; ACNE trousers and Louboutin trainers. Art: Bookshelves by Hans-Peter Feldmann at the 303 Gallery NY

Federica Ferro, an art blogger, wears, Zara jacket; Haute Hippy skirt and Guerra hat. Art: untitled 2014 by Ella Kruglyanskaya at the Gavin Browns Enterpise

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