Kirk Standen, Iris Apfel, Vera Wang and host Simon Collins, Dean of Fashion at Parsons The New School for Design - Photo courtesy BFA

Phaidon takes over Topshop in London and New York

Vera Wang, Iris Apfel, Stephen Jones and Dirk Standen head up our all star launches for The Fashion Book

Phaidon truly straddled the Atlantic with two very special launches of The Fashion Book this week. Last night we were at Topshop in New York with the designer Vera Wang,’s Dirk Standen and the fashion legend Iris Apfel for a talk hosted by Simon Collins Dean of Fashion at Parsons The New School for Design.

Like the London event at Topshop Oxford Circus the previous evening, which boasted milliner Stephen Jones, Somerset House curator Shonagh Marshall and Heather Sproat, (Senior lecturer of BA Fashion at Central Saint Martins) there was a standing room only crowd, with plenty more peering through the window from the sidewalk.



And like the conversation in London the both panel and the audience in New York had a few key themes they were intent on exploring. One of them, what makes for the best fashion inspiration, was perhaps answered most succinctly by Iris Apfel when she said:

"You should just live. You'll get much more inspiration that way." The previous evening, milliner Steven Jones had replied to a similar question by saying, “You can’t create in fashion without knowing the past but make sure it’s not fashionable - find your own path.”



There were a few more trans Atlantic links: Iris Apfel’s comment that "Fashion is not a trendy thing, it's a mirror of what's going on in the world," seemed itself to mirror the comments of St Martin’s tutor Heather Sproat the previous evening when she said:  “We don’t say this is how a skirt is we ask what would you like it to be?” 

Both panels on both nights agreed that despite its glamorous image, getting ahead in the fashion world means a lot of hard work, with all present urging students to start at the bottom and work their way up.



"You can't get any place if you don't start at the bottom," said Apfel. Sproat urged trainees to "draw every day" and Stephen Jones implored students to "Take that internship, it’s all about hard graft.”

For us one of the two best lines of the nights came from Stephen Jones who let us in on a personal fashion tip: “Most magazines tell you that before leaving the house you should take one accessory off. I say you should put one more on!”



Vera Wang, meanwhile, left us with a typically astute observation when she said, "Being a (fashion) icon takes tremendous individuality, strength and complete belief in yourself and your vision." And we imagine that’s one thing the fashion stars destined to appear in the next edition of The Fashion Book are doubtless already working on. Check out the book in the store.