European designers really go all out for their image books.
Gianni Versace recently sent stores and the fashion media a 100-page-plus color image book that is about 75 percent runway shots and the rest still-life close-ups of his models or their ensembles. Last year, he hired famed photographer Bruce Weber to show sensual, stylized photos of his deluxe men's and women's collections.
Byblos created separate scrapbooks for its spring men's and women's collections. The scrapbooks held color pictures of the best runway shots of the collection.
Last year, Comme des Garcons stepped away from the pack. The design company mailed out a big book with avant-garde photographs, some classic, of such notables as Andy Warhol, Dennis Hopper, Deborah Harry and Novarro. Called Six, the image book did not show any Comme des Garcons clothes. The last page, however, listed the places where the collection could be purchased.
Jil Sander produced a high-tech image book featuring supermodel Linda Evangelista - Evangelista at the wheel of a shiny red convertible, Evangelista (in a Sander pantsuit) leaning on a bar stool, etc.
Of the American designers, Calvin Klein is the standout when it comes to image books. People are still talking about his 100-page book shot by Weber. The book, chronicling a rock-and-roll band's adventures, cost $1 million and was inserted as an advertisement in Vanity Fair magazines that circulated in New York City and Los Angeles. It featured several male and female nudes.
The problem with these image books from a fashion standpoint is that often the photographs overshadow the clothes. But what the designers want is to impress the media and the public with this photographic flair, believing that it translates into publicity or sales.
"This is a way to project the image of what we are as a company," said David Chu, president of Nautica, a Colorado-based sportswear company. ''Nautica is a lifestyle concept. Our book shows the outdoor concept, the leisure concept of our merchandise."
The Nautica image book is published twice a year. In its various issues, all-American looking models play in the snow, troop through the wilderness, or frolic aboard a boat in Nautica's sweaters, cotton pants and anoraks.
The company prints 10,000 copies of the book and distributes it to retailers, its licensees and the media. Chu declined to say how much the book costs to produce and distribute.
"We started the book eight years ago and it has been extremely successful
because an image catalogue really brings our philosophy together. They are really a good way for us to convey the message to our potential retail customer and to those who sell or market our merchandise," Chu said.
VELVET TOPPERS. Look about town and see all the new rage in hats. Velvet hats are haute, haute, haute. Women, young and old, are wearing velvet numbers with a flip brim featuring velvet flowers. The especially trendy women are sporting "scrunch" velvet hats. Even men have taken to velvet. Cool dudes are wearing floppy velvet hats a la LL Cool J.
THIS AND THAT. Claude Montana is no longer the couture designer for the Lanvin label. The French company canceled Montana's contract because he declined to design a ready-to-wear label as well, Montana told Women's Wear Daily. He joined the company in 1989. . . . In the States, the Badgley Mischka women's wear company, founded by designers James Mischka and Mark Badgley, is now a part of Escada, the German company that produces the Escada and Crisca sportswear line. Escada brought controlling interest in Badgley Mischka last month. . . . The Saturday lunchtime fashion shows at the Ritz-Carlton in Center City have been so successful that they will continue through May. . . . Philadelphia model Marcella Coll, 19, is shooting on location in Morocco. Coll, of the Reinhard Agency, also is spending a lot of time working in Paris. Her sister, Kate, 21, who works for a competing agency here, Dennise Askins Models, will be off to Paris next month. . . . Get your hands on the February issue of Interview before it's too late. The photos were all shot by the aforementioned Bruce Weber. Highlights include rocker Nuno Bettencourt wearing nothing but a guitar, and hip-hop sensation Marky Mark Wahlberg in his trademark look: buffed chest and jeans hanging to show his undies. . . . Nan Duskin is known for presenting some of the city's best high-fashion shows, where models wearing the world's top designer threads walk the runway. Well, some of these pricey rags are so fabulous that recently they have managed to walk out of the store all by themselves. It seems that top designer fashions have disappeared after in-store trunk shows. Lisa Korn, Duskin spokeswoman, called the evaporating fashions "normal shrinkage. It's nothing." But Duskin officials said they were looking into the matter. They did not provide any other details.