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Spring 2005
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As I sat in the lingering tranquility of a sunny morning at the Hotel Mondrian, enjoying the vivid panoramic beauty of Los Angeles from a terrace table, my guest Louis Verdad swept in surrounded by a cloud of energy. This was not just any morning; this was the morning of the Golden Globes. "So many celebrities called me to say that they want to wear my clothes to the event. I had to turn most of them down because there was not enough time. But I think you will be pleasantly surprised tonight," he said in an irresistible accent, flashing a playfully wicked smile. Indeed several hours after our conversation, best supporting actress nominee Maria Bello walked the red carpet in a gorgeous cream satin Verdad column gown accessorized with cascades of pearls and Stuart Weitzman stilettos. The 40's inspired dress was so undeniably beautiful that a clearly impressed Joan Rivers proclaimed to millions across the world that Bello and Charlize Theron tied for the best-dressed of the evening.

Louis Verdad is no stranger to the media spotlight. The American born Mexican designer dressed Madonna in a striking cashmere two piece for the MTV Music Awards. The passionate kiss the Material Girl shared with Britney Spears that night garnered unprecedented attention, transforming Verdad into Tinsel Town's new fashion favorite. "I have been very lucky. Madonna's stylist, Arianne Phillips, who travels around the world in search of the right clothes, noticed my collection. Then she asked me to meet Madonna. Can you believe it?" he exclaimed, still in apparent disbelief. "A couple months before meeting her I saw her concert in Atlanta. Afterwards my friend and I were invited to a party, where she was supposed to make an appearance, but she never showed up. Then all of a sudden I am sitting in her living room and she is coming down to meet me and I am thinking, 'This is ironic.'"

The Verdad look is a refreshing blend of vintage glamour and modern comfort. His signature tailored suits distinctive with nipped-in waists, exaggerated shoulders and covered buttons are reminiscent of Hollywood's classic sultry sex appeal ala Ingrid Bergman and Greta Garbo. "My goal is to make women look beautiful" Mr. Verdad pronounced with unusual seriousness. "My clothes say things that I can not put into words. I have a passion for things that are old. I walk into an antique store and I go crazy. I see so much new in the old, it is fascinating." Indeed it is this rare ability to harmoniously reconcile the splendor of the past with the needs of modern day life that makes Louis Verdad such a big hit with distinctly different celebrities such as Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz.

Recently Cate Blanchett appeared at the premiere of her new movie Veronica Guerin, clad in a pair of Louis Verdad brown and cream tweed hot pants, matching trench, fishnets and thigh high boots proving that risqué can be tasteful. "Miss Blanchett has been very kind to me. She is an incredible lady with an amazing sense of style," Louis Verdad uttered shyly over a languid brunch. It is obvious he has infinite adoration and respect for the gorgeous blond Aussie. Another woman Verdad seems to be in awe of is the Fashion Republic's first lady, Anna Wintour. "Meeting her was one of my highlights. She is my idol. She told me, 'Your workmanship is beautiful and your quality is very good.' Then I went back to my house and I was very frustrated because I wanted to hear more. There are few things in life that validate someone and that was one of them. She is a star maker." He looks over and his brilliant eyes are glimmering with intensity. We continue to talk about celebrities and suddenly he started to laugh-having remembered something-- and jokingly exclaimed," I lent Cameron Diaz some clothes for the Teen Choice Awards, but she refuses to return them. I tell her people, 'I need my pants back,' but no luck so far."

When grilled about the key to his success Verdad candidly admited, "I believe in quality. It is all about the fit. The clothes should be able to move with the body. The Verdad woman is someone classy, someone voluptuous; therefore my creations are all about the silhouette." Certainly Verdad's constructions embody a graceful reinterpretation of smoldering beauty. His delicate poplin blouses, elegant linen streamlined coats, chic cotton sculpted capris and trademark boy-girl pinstripe suits are all tailored for comfort with spectacular style. "I don't want to make extremely theatrical clothes. Clothes need to be wearable. It seems to me that there comes a point that the collection becomes more about the designer than about the clothes. That is something I try to steer clear of," the designer acknowledged.

The Verdad look for the new season is menswear inspired tailored outfits defined by feminine silhouettes. However the designer strongly advises against getting carried away with trends. "My most important suggestion is to determine what works for you. Choose clothes according to whatever your body type is. Some people are tall. Some people are curvaceous." Moreover, "Fashion is something that comes from within. I have a clear idea of what I like. Some people put on clothes that I do not completely agree with, but that does not mean that I can not see the merit in them." Suddenly he looked away from the expansive view of Los Angeles, leaned closer as if to confide a secret, "I some times feel that people take fashion too seriously. There is so much going on in the world." There is a moment of silence. I am not quite sure what to say, for I am truly shocked. In my young but active journalistic career I have never heard such an honest and sincere confession from a man who makes a living selling beauty.

Despite all the media buzz and commotion surrounding him, Verdad is fully aware that fashion is a fickle industry. "I can not afford to stop. I make things happen. I push the envelope. I have to work real hard at it, but I am really thrilled about the future," he declared. For now Verdad is the newcomer, the new "It" designer, but his aspirations span beyond a flash in the pan triumph. Verdad's goal is to be associated with a look. "When you say Jean Paul Gaultier people immediately think, leather and lace. I saw his new collection and his message is clear. One day I want people to look at my stuff and be able to say, 'That is a Verdad!'"


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