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Black Tie International:
French Institute/Alliance Francaise Celebrates Fashion Designer Gilles Mendel

French Institute/Alliance Française Celebrates
Fashion Designer Gilles Mendel


Gilles Mendel

Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and Michèle Gerber Klein

Gilles Mendel

Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and Michèle Gerber Klein


Amanda Ross

 Michael Sokol and Susan Sokol

Amanda Ross

 Michael and Susan Sokol

Carley Leach and Benjamin Hay Jake Cohen and Max Hulme

Carley Leach and Benjamin Hay

Jake Cohen and Max Hulme

Eduard Pesch Pascale Richard and Countess LuAnn de Lesseps

Eduard Pesch

Pascale Richard and Countess LuAnn de Lesseps


Fashion 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 Mendel,
 who also discussed the similarities and differences between French mode and American style.

Robert Schmecker and Stephanie Murg

Parisian 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 in1870, 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 be discussing the evolution of fashion designers into stars and the relationship between fashion and Hollywood.

During 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.”  


Robert Schmecker and Stephanie Murg



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