Published July 29, 2009
The term ‘star-chitect’ was coined to define a new breed of builders, the Rem Koolhaases and the Frank Gehrys, whose celebrity status in the design world is as big as the structures they build. Then, of course, there is the ‘Starck-itect’, a term that only refers to the discipline-blurring Frenchman, one of the most famous contemporary designers today. Philippe Starck’s trademarked plus-sign is recognizable worldwide, even if you can’t tell the difference between Zaha Hadid and Karim Rashid. He has constructed interiors, like the sophisticated Hudson Hotel in Midtown with an exquisite library or Spain’s magical Ramses Restaurant. Starck has tackled vehicles, like this year’s commissioned Motor Yacht A for the Eurostar train station in Paris. This year he traded 3D renderings for cashmere and knits, introducing a fully realized, 60-piece fashion line with Italian clothier Ballantyne.
Last month at Pitti Immagine in Florence, Starck debuted his characteristic techno-modernism, through simple steel-colored dusters with slouched hoods for men and long, hooded tunics with florescent details for women. Nothing groundbreaking, just soft, well-crafted sweaters and jackets, lined with silk or made from cashmere. Full collections appeared for both genders, and Starck With Ballantyne excels when the raw edges are folded back to reveal tangerine or lime pops of color. Hitting Ballantyne stores this fall, the clothing is geared towards basics, or as Starck says, “nothing else than just what we really need anytime, anywhere.” The line, unlike his previous collaborations with Fossil or Puma, which focused on one-offs, is complete with scarves, glasses, bags and belts. For a man who has traversed many interior and exterior, it’s a treat to see his take on an entire landscape of looks.