LuAnn de Lesseps and
Michèle Gerber Klein
Gilles Mendel and
Marie Monique Steckel
Karim Tabet and Ann Caruso
Michael and Susan Sokol
French Designer Becomes
A Favorite On The Red Carpet
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
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.
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.
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
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
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."