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Power Benefits

Amanda Ross
Amanda Ross
Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and Michèle Gerber Klein
Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and
Michèle Gerber Klein
Gilles Mendel and Marie Monique Steckel
Gilles Mendel and Marie Monique Steckel
Karim Tabet and Ann Caruso
Karim Tabet and Ann Caruso
Mary Alice Stephenson
Mary Alice Stephenson
Michael and Susan Sokol
Michael and Susan Sokol
French Designer Becomes
A Favorite On The Red Carpet

ASHION writer Michèle Gerber Klein hosted a private dinner to celebrate Gilles Mendel, the famous designer of luxury furs and evening dresses, following a talk at the French Institute/Alliance Française (FIAF). Guests included Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, Larry Creel, Anne Caruso, Blair Clarke, Laureen Goodman, Susan and Michael Sokol, Amanda Ross, Dana Gers, Eduard Pesch, Juliette Longuet and FIAF director Marie-Monique Steckel.

During the talk at the FIAF, Mary Alice Stephenson, Fashion News Live commentator and Harper’s Bazaar editor-at-large, interviewed the Parisian Mendel, who also discussed the similarities and differences between French mode and American style.

Mendel, heir apparent and head designer of the firm J. Mendel, discussed the reinvention of the fifth-generation/family-owned luxury brand. The French furrier, founded in 1870, has been a favorite of the world’s most demanding clients from the beginning.

In 2003, Mendel revitalized the brand. He moved the headquarters to New York and launched a ready to wear collection that was an unquestionable success from the initial presentation. The ready to wear line demonstrated Mendel’s ability to work in fabrics ranging from silk chiffon to woolen tweeds with the same creativity and emphasis on design that he is known for in fur.

The refined yet modern designs have made J. Mendel a red carpet staple and a favorite of stars like Laura Linney (his first), Kate Hudson and Demi Moore.

The evening was the first of three talks organized by the French fashion writer Pascale Richard. The series will also feature Tommy Hilfiger speaking about the intriguing business of creating an international fashion brand, and Marc Jacobs who will discuss the evolution of fashion designers into stars and the relationship between fashion and Hollywood.

At Klein’s dinner, Mendel entertained the table with amusing stories and anecdotes, especially one about how the Mendel fashion house had to alter Celine Dion’s dress just before her appearance at the Oscars.

He was excited about a new commission to create costumes for the New York City Ballet. "So beautiful!" he exclaimed happily, "just like dressing little dolls."




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