July 18, 2012

The Lion Dress: Paganne Makes A Come Back

Last March I've learned that a legendary fashion house that used to be the 'it' to go to in Hollywood and among the most notorious fashionistas around the world - PAGANNE fashion house - is coming back after almost three decades of being 'silent'. 


 When I learned the history of PAGANNE fashion label, I was mesmerized by how exquisite - and mysterious - and customized the brand, found by Gene Berk, was back in the days. Celebrities wore it. Vogue and Harper's Bazaar featured it over and over again. But not only that, when I started digging in, I found many vintage lovers who up until today have been writing about PAGANNE printed dresses as if they were talking about an 'urban legend'. The fact of the matter is that PAGANNE has taken over the world of fashion back in the 60s and 70s. All the prints that were going into the design of these spectacular immaculate dresses were hand-made and customized and the fabric and the final dress were manufactured in Italy. Gene Berk was making the trips back and forth between USA and Italy himself.

What's more intriguing is that the likes of Diane von Furstenberg - long before she became the DVF and the empress of the iconic wrap-up dress - were the 'students' of PAGANNE, who sought professional advice from the founder of the fashion house. 

Berk wrote in his diary that Diane sought after his advice on how to make a come back of her clothing line back in the days when many well-known designers closed their fashion houses due to the economic recession. Berk, of course, didn't want to give away all his secrets. He kept it to himself. He's still alive and very well off, living in Los Angeles and still advising some of the fashion industry players on how to run a successful business. 

PAGANNE dresses have been featured and examined in many fashion books along the side with such fashion maitres as Emilio Pucci. PAGANNE Inc. also closed its doors in the late 70s, and up until now kept it silent, becoming an 'urban legend' for the younger generation of the fashionistas, whose stylish mothers might have worn PAGANNE dresses back in the days, immortalized so well on the family photos and in the vintage magazines.

But it's coming back to the fashion scene, and it's coming on strong. I've been a witness of the great happenings, which - lucky me - I've been a part of. 

Last March I was invited to do a series of the photo-shoots in the Caribbean of the new - the modern version - of the PAGANNE vintage dresses. I was so impressed by the fabric, prints and cuts of the dresses that I wanted to have them all - to myself! And, as a 'price' and a gift from the new owners of the brand, I got one. 

I was told, this dress is THE DRESS. I wondered, what they meant by it. And this is what I've learned later... This the LION DRESS and it's got quite a story.
THE DRESS - THE LION DRESS, circuit 1978, by Paganne.
In 1978 Gene Berk, the founder of PAGANNE, has sold 100,000 pieces just of that dress. It was number one rated dress, voted by America's Vogue. Imagine, how exciting it was for me to be wearing such an iconic dress now - three decades later - and still, be stylish?


The truth is, this 'timeless' factor applies to all of PAGANNE vintage dresses: personally - I'd wear this one today, and that one and...most of the 60s/70s PAGANNE.

If you look at Paganne vintage and then at Paganne new collection Reborn In LA, you'd see how similar and how timeless these dresses are - they are as stylish and appropriate today, as they were in the 60s and 70s. No wonder, the notorious celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe has been spotted wearing a copycat of PAGANNE vintage black and white printed dress.

When I tried my Lion Dress on and felt the way it hugged my figure, the way it perfectly accentuated my silhouette and all the 'right' spots of my body that I'd want to either hide and/or show-off - it was an absolute heaven to find something feel so perfect and right. I fell in love with the PAGANNE Reborn In LA collection right there and then.



And I have great news for you too: Paganne Reborn In LA is going to be soon available on PAGANNE.com and across their social media pages:

Blog 

They will be giving you all kinds of information via Twitter on how you can purchase the dresses from both their 2012 Resort Collection Reborn In LA and their vintage - yes, the ones that were worn by the likes of Blythe Danner, the mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow! Don't wait, start following PAGANNE on Twitter for all the exclusives and inside information on what's going with one of the oldest most prominent fashion houses. There have been twitting some cool 'blast from the past' photos from the archives that you've never seen before: famous quotes, celebrity shots, gossips from Gene Berk's days of PAGANNE, fashion industry remarks on PAGANNE, photos from the behind-the-scenes of the fashion house revival-in-the-making, press coverage and more.

Personally, I'm so excited to see this collection up and running and soon to be available for purchases. It's been a loss to the industry, when PAGANNE fashion house closed his doors. However, I'm even more excited about being asked to not only do another photo-shoot for the Reborn In LA collection, but for, actually, being asked to be the creative director of both the fashion photo- and video-shoots that I'll be soon doing in New York City, which means - the scenery, the models and the concept behind the work will be all mine. PAGANNE team is giving me the freedom to experiment. They just gave me one instruction: "Surprise us!" And - I'm going to...

2 comments:

Ciro Papi said...

Dear Alisa,
I saw your post on the PAGANNE Lion Dress. My mom Rose Papi (she's married now her name was Rose Tripodo) styled the great majority of Gene Berk's dresses under the label Paganne. She knows the Lion dress very well. I've been showing my mom a bunch of his dresses today and she's been crying with tears of joy. I read that you worked on Paganne Reborn in LA. Do you have any idea what happened to the company? My mom would LOVE to speak to you or anyone from Paganne, especially Gene Berk. You can call her at 914-261-0397. She would love to reconnect with her past.
Bests,
Ciro Papi
201-575-0861

Alisa Krutovsky said...

Dear Ciro, can you give me your email and I'll respond to your comment in the email?:) - Alisa