Twilight darling Kristen Stewart wore yet another J. Mendel dress - a stunning purple gown with a sexy slit -- to last night's Los Angeles premiere of Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1. But it turns out her stylist Tara Swennen previously styled the actress in designer Gilles Mendel's black chiffon tri-layer frock in 2010, and his strapless cream short dress at the Paris photocall fin 2009.
So if you're not a style devotee or a true fashion insider -- and your memory bank of fashion designers is limited to the big three: Armani, Versace and Chanel -- you're probably wondering 'Who the heck is this guy?"
Here's the scoop: Mendel is a member of a family of five generations of furriers. He apprenticed under his father Jacques, who designed for the small family owned business (which began in the 1800's wrapping the Russian czars in fabulous furs).
Young Mendel became the head designer and CEO of the fur salon in 1981. He opened a boutique in New York and the 732 Madison Avenue shop remains the company's US flagship. Mendel launched the timeless but cutting edge luxury ready-to-wear line in 2002, about two hundred years since the house began.
Mendel was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2003. He shows his Spring and Fall collections twice a year during New York's Fashion Week and recently added Pre Fall and Resort/Pre Spring collections to his ready-to-wear line. And no, he doesn't have Target collection. Yet.
Other celebrities seen wearing J. Mendel include: Megan Fox, Mila Kunis, Taylor Swift, Zoe Saldana, Kate Beckinsale, Julie Bowen, Hilary Swank, Dianna Agron, Amy Adams and Anne Hathaway.
So now you know.