Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Rihanna’s Circle Turned Out For Her Savage X Fenty Show

Rihanna’s first Savage X Fenty lingerie show has become somewhat legendary. So how did the self-described bad gal follow up her last all-embracing, ultra-sassy message from spring/summer 2019? It’s a secret. Well, sort of. For her autumn/winter 2019 offering, RiRi asked attendees to place their phones in lockers, sit back, and enjoy the show.

Held in Barclays Center, the show was as inclusive and diverse as we'd expected. From Cara Delevingne to Joan Smalls and Laverne Cox, models, actors and dancers filled the stage. Additionally, platinum singer-songwriter Halsey performed, along with hip hop superstars Migos, DJ Khaled, Big Sean, A$AP Ferg, Fat Joe, Fabolous and Tierra Whack. Rihanna herself also performed, dressed in a sheer black ensemble.

Last night's extravaganza marks RiRi's first Fenty show since launching the brand under the LVMH umbrella, and the first time the singer-turned-designer has presented a show at NYFW without the collaboration of Puma.

Last season, the designer called upon the industry’s most buzzed-about models, street-cast newcomers, and a troupe of dancers to push the boundaries of society’s preconceived notions of what is "sexy". From Gigi and Bella Hadid to Paloma Eissner, Duckie Thot and a heavily pregnant Slick Woods, it was a celebration of body positivity and sensuality for a woke audience that wanted more than the outdated Victoria’s Secret model.

But fans will need to wait another nine days to find out more. Last month, Rihanna took to Instagram to tell her 73 million followers to keep September 20 free to watch “the most bold, sexy, super energetic experience you can imagine”, streaming to 200 countries worldwide via Amazon Prime. “We’re going even bigger and badder,” read the official brand Instagram broadcast. “We don’t think y’all ready…”

She did offer fans a sneak peek of the looks via Instagram earlier this week. “Bat-mobile, but make it fashion! Get into this matte leather-rubber fusion though,” she wrote alongside a video of her black leather pointed stiletto Fenty boots. Roll on 20th September...

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Gabriela Hearst Debuts Her Ground-Breaking Carbon-Neutral Fashion Show

The average fashion show’s vital stats don’t exactly read green. Duration: 15 minutes. Number of international guests flown in: at least 100. Number of energy-inefficient PAR lights: at least 1000. Seating? Often made to order and discarded post-show. Libations? Usually plastic bottles of water and thousands of uneaten canapés. That’s before we’ve even got to the distinctly seasonal selection of clothes.

As New York Fashion Week gets underway, it’s fair to say that fashion is having an existential crisis. In finally wising up to sustainability, it is slowly realising that its traditional platform – the catwalk – is as outmoded as its obsession with newness. And yet attempts to break the system have stuttered.

Gabriela Hearst, ever the optimist, is determined to effect change from within. This week, the Uruguayan-born, New York-based designer unveils her spring/summer 2020 collection – with a carbon-neutral caveat. Working with Bureau Betak and EcoAct, she has sought to examine every element of the show’s production, design and installation, from catering to transport to power and waste, in an effort to offset her carbon footprint. She has also made a donation of behalf of every guest to Our Children’s Trust, the non-profit organisation that is suing the United States government for its role in causing the climate crisis.

“The shows are a really important point for us because it’s when we create content, when we create our lookbooks, and we get a lot of attention. So when we get this attention, we have to maximise the moment,” Hearst tells Vogue, over Cobb salad at Claridge’s during a recent visit to London (the designer is poised to open a store on nearby Brook Street this month - read an exclusive interview with Hearst and the store's architect Norman Foster in the October issue of British Vogue). “It’s not about talking, it’s about doing. I use the example of when my doctor told me I had high cholesterol. They said if I exercised, I would lower it. I exercised, and it went from 280 to 206. With the show, I wanted to measure our carbon footprint – because we don’t know it – and then offset it.”

EcoAct has advised that the eventual offset funds should be donated to the Hifadhi-Livelihoods Project in the Embu and Tharaka Nithi counties of Kenya. “The project is about changing the gas stoves that families are using in their village and converting them to cookstoves, a more eco-friendly option,” Hearst explains. EcoAct estimates that cookstoves reduce wood usage by 60 per cent, which means that the time spent gathering wood is reduced from 12 hours to 5 hours, largely impacting women and children. The switch will also reduce emissions of noxious gases.

Hearst is on a mission to reduce waste throughout her business. This year, she converted all her packaging to biodegradable and compostable alternatives; she is in the process of switching from air freight to shipping by boat; and is reducing to zero the use of non-virgin materials in her collections. “Before I go into any season, I see what we have in stock that we can reuse without buying more fabric,” Hearst says. “Then, we make sure there’s no polyester in our velvets or silks, that we don’t use viscose unless it’s certified, that we try to use linen because it uses so much less water than cotton and it’s also nutritional because you can eat the flax seed…you should be creative enough to be able to work around limitations and create beautiful things.”

Ultimately, she’d like to build a coalition of designers to encourage the sharing of environmentally-focussed solutions across the industry. “We should share data, share information about the changes we are making,” she insists. “I ultimately think… that we’re going to be able to control climate change from the pure fact that it’s bad for business. And if it’s bad for business…” She smiles wryly. “There are ways to make a difference but we have to realise that the future of our planet is very important.”

On Doctor's Orders, Virgil Abloh Is "Taking A Few Months Off" And Will Not Attend His Off-White Show In Paris

Virgil Abloh, the famously busy founder of Off-White and men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton, a guy who flies internationally eight times a week, is officially slowing down. “I’m shifting gears,” he told Vogue over the phone from Chicago.

In August, he explained, he was having a harder time than usual “bouncing back” from an overseas trip. “I was just tired, so I went to the doctor. Ultimately,” he continued, “everything is fine, but the doctor told me ‘this pace that you’ve sort of pushed your body – to fly all these miles, do all these different projects – is not good for your health.’”

Abloh declined to go into specifics about his health issue, but did say that his doctors have advised him not to travel. “Essentially I’m working from home for the next three months, and in large part all my marketing events I’m cancelling.” That includes public appearances with Ikea and Nike and participation in Vogue’s third annual Forces of Fashion summit, as well as the November opening of his exhibition Figures of Speech at the High Museum in Atlanta.

What are the implications for his Off-White brand and his work for Louis Vuitton? Perhaps not all that much. “My Off-White team is equipped to handle this, and my Louis Vuitton team is expert-level. The shows will go on,” says Abloh. Regarding Off-White, which is scheduled for 26 September in Paris, he said: “I designed it with this seeming hurdle in tow. There’s an element that replaces my attendance with crowd participation.” Back home in Chicago, Abloh will be playing “drop boss”.

“I’m excited to drop the kids off at school and be able to be here for those moments,” he said. If Abloh sounds remarkably upbeat about this setback, he’s also feeling reflective. “In high school I always took pride in the award where you didn’t have any sick days. ‘Hey, seventh year in a row I’ve never been home sick!’” But now, at 38? “Being busy isn’t working,” he said. “But I’m using this as I do everything else, as a way to propel me forward.”

Zendaya And Tommy Hilfiger On The Second Chapter Of Their 1970s-Inspired Collaboration

When Zendaya was told that the second chapter in her collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger would be staged in New York City, there wasn’t a doubt in her mind where the show had to take place. “Zendaya suggested the Apollo. That felt right,” Hilfiger said before the show on Sunday night. “It’s full of music history and cultural history. I’ve always wanted to perform at the Apollo, but I didn’t know it would be this, which is pretty fucking cool,” Zendaya smiled. “You can feel the energy in the air when you step in here. The other day I had to take a second and step out of my body for a little bit and just realise where I was.” The Apollo Theater is the legendary Harlem venue where the likes of Diana Ross, James Brown and The Jackson 5 played some of their most memorable gigs in the 1960s and seventies. For Zendaya and Hilfiger, it epitomised the seventies character that embodies their collaboration.

“It’s a celebration of all the people who really made it possible for me to be here and do this,” Zendaya said, minutes before the outdoor lot behind the Apollo was transformed into the streets of Harlem in the seventies and filled with a jazz orchestra and singers interpreting the music of the decade. “It’s about opportunities. It’s about opening doors,” Zendaya reflected of the diversity-driven show, which celebrated the individuality and self-expression of the generation she represents, seen through the eyes of the seventies. “It’s also about paying tributes and saying thank-you to those who opened doors for me,” she noted. For Hilfiger, the show felt nostalgic and acutely contemporary all at once. “There’s something heart-warming about the music, the vibe, the attitude,” he said.

“It was a political fashion revolution. The summer of Woodstock was fifty years ago. This is when all the musicians of note came together and played together in front of hundreds of thousands of hippies, who were really against the Vietnam War and looking for peace, love and happiness, and at the same time getting arrested for marijuana and being looked down upon by the police and their parents because they had long hair and beards and beads and fringes. Now, fifty years later, marijuana is legalised and the music continues in different genres like hip-hop, which is the most important music in the pop culture field today. Fashion is always evolving and changing but we think it’s a perfect time to really embrace the seventies.”

23-year-old Zendaya, whose role in the hyper-confrontational teen drama Euphoria has made her one of the most relevant young actors right now, said that the empowering values of her collaboration with Hilfiger are representative of her generation’s outlook. “There’s a misconception that my generation is self-involved; that they’re always on their phones. This generation is very smart, very bright, and really the hope for the future. I’m very lucky to be able to learn from my peers, who educate me. When I hear them speak sometimes I’m like, 'Oh shit, okay! I learned something today!' I think there are so many bright young minds coming up and we’re in good hands,” she argued.

“It’s about the older generations not just being open-minded but listening to the younger generations and figuring out how they can help and cultivate and open their minds to uplift the younger voices rather than pretending they don’t exist. The most misconstrued thing is that we only think about ourselves. I think it’s quite the opposite.” Hilfiger pointed out that the young sense of wokeness that defines the Zendaya collaboration isn’t a new thing for his brand. “If I may say so, we’re very woke. We’re awake! And we have been for a really long time. People are talking about being inclusive, but we’ve been inclusive for a very long time. We’ve built a brand that appeals to everybody, not just a narrow segment of the population. Now we’re expanding our awakeness because we feel like nothing should hold us back.”

Paco Rabanne’s French Fantasy Film Is An Esoteric Nod To The Brand’s Founder

Four women, one castle, and a world of mystic forces let loose within: what sounds like the synopsis of a horror movie has been made a thrilling proposition at the hands of Paco Rabanne creative director Julien Dossena, who has created a short film to mark the arrival of the autumn/winter 2019 collection.

Dossena, it turns out, has a passion for French fantasy films. His influences for the eerily sensuous romp around a mysterious yet immaculately decorated mansion, were not confined to within the new-wave era, however. In no particular order, his inspirations – to name a few – were cowboys, dandies, grunge, baroque, countryside, the toughness of acid jazz and the tenderness of friendship. But, most importantly, women. Rather, active and thoughtful women: Paco Rabanne women, who emulate the glamour-meets-bourgeois Parisian codes of the brand.

“I imagine multiple situations and incarnations from these references,” Dossena tells Vogue of how he storyboarded the two-minute film, and his approach to fashion design as a whole. “It is both quite abstract and practical at the same time.” Dossena’s philosophical protagonists in The Apparition, which was written and directed by Raphael Gianelli-Meriano, are multifaceted talents Nora Attal, Nilaya Bal, Fishbach and Christa Théret. “We wanted to talk about the feeling of sisterhood. The power of womanhood is strong and mysterious, eternal as well, and mystic in that sense,” he adds.

Within the footage, day turns to night (with the help of cinematographer Martin de Chabaneix), leaving plenty of scope for outfit changes (via stylist Marie-Amélie Sauvé) within the “time loop”. The most enthralling of team looks comes at the film’s climax as the women “gather around the light” – a disco ball that reflects Paco Rabanne’s signature metal paillettes on mesh dresses – for a “nightly ritual”. “I could live here for eternity,” is the narrator’s closing remark – and it’s easy to imagine floating around an estate in chainmail that shimmers and swishes.

Dossena himself has never experienced a mystic force, but he believes “people can sometimes be transcended by mystic belief”. When it comes to the founder of the namesake brand, however, he has no hesitations. “Paco Rabanne himself is a mystic esoteric writer,” he affirms. “The film is a wink to the founder.” Will this seductive snapshot into Dossena’s world translate into sales? Perhaps not, but, as always, his evocative imagery cuts through the visuals in the mass fashion market.

Moda Operandi Gets A Makeover — By Data And Design

Moda Operandi customers will discover a new look and feel for the site this week as the luxury e-tailer unveils an extensive rebranding. The makeover also signals an aggressive new phase of growth for the company, which is investing deeply in data and technology to place it in more direct competition with Net-a-Porter, and other leading luxury e-tailers.

This comes from an organisation that these days is looking less like a fashion retailer and more like a supernaturally well-dressed tech company. Co-founded by former American Vogue editor Lauren Santo Domingo in 2010, Moda Operandi has been on a hiring bent for the past year, raiding companies from Tesla to Grubhub. The head of data analytics is a Netflix alum. There are several former employees of Amazon, a vice president of strategy who worked at and Walmart, and a head of paid acquisition from Facebook. The New York-based company has recently opened a new tech hub in Chicago because executives kept discovering tech talent there.

When it launched almost a decade ago, Moda Operandi was a scrappy start-up offering women a chance to place early orders for runway collections, giving them access to fashion-forward looks that might never have been produced. Now, flush with a Series F funding round that is fueling an expansion into China — its first Asian showroom is due to open in Hong Kong in November — Moda Operandi is pressing into the fast-growing menswear and home goods categories as well.

“Moda was a niche player,” says chief executive Ganesh Srivats, noting that it was a bold business model built around getting shoppers to place deposits on expensive clothing and then wait months for delivery.

Those familiar with the site might first notice the new logo. Rather than a block print, it now has two separate typefaces that represent the yin and yang of fashion — “Moda” spelt in sans serif block letters, and “Operandi” with serifs. The idea is that serifs represent an old-school concept of luxury that Moda Operandi both embraces and rejects. (Burberry, Celine and other fashion brands in recent years have dropped serifs in their logos.) The idea isn’t so much that people will notice the two typefaces, but that they will sense them.

The rebranding is awash in colour, chosen to counter the sea of black and white found on sites including Net-a-Porter, Ssense, Farfetch and Pale pink has moved over to the men’s packaging, while the colours are pointedly less feminine on the women’s side: an orange is jarringly paired with a lavender and deep dark green.

A new branding campaign throughout September will be noteworthy in New York for targeting key fashion neighbourhoods: Hudson Yards (where Neiman Marcus has opened its first Manhattan store), Williamsburg, SoHo/Nolita, Tribeca, Fifth Avenue at 57th Street (the home of Bergdorf Goodman) and Madison Avenue.

The makeover has been in the works more or less since Srivats joined as CEO last year after leaving Tesla, where he worked as head of sales in North America. Srivats commissioned a study of more than 3,000 Moda customers. It turned out that nearly 100 per cent looked at Moda Operandi as a place to discover fashion — they were using it much like a fashion magazine. Some never placed orders, coming again and again just to browse and learn. (Thirty-eight per cent visit the site daily, and 87 per cent visit at least weekly.) It was clear that Moda Operandi had become a fashion authority. What Srivats thought was missing was data. “We want to be data-driven,” he says.

In order to entice some of those people to start shopping, Moda recently did a trunk show that focused on items available on the site for $500 (£400) or less. The idea was to dispel a notion that shopping at Moda is unattainable to any but the über wealthy.

Moda also learned that its customers thought the site needed to evolve. “They wanted a bit of an update,” says Patrick Emanuel, Moda Operandi’s vice president of brand strategy and the lead on the new design. “They didn’t feel it was as dynamic as the fashion content.”

Srivats hasn’t done much recruiting from within the fashion industry. “While fashion is our DNA, tech is how we’re going to scale,” Srivats says. Hiring from outside the fashion industry, he says, is an important way to challenge traditional approaches. “Many people in the fashion industry learn from each other. Over time, you stop questioning the norms of the industry,” he says. The company’s growth hangs on data and technology, and the industry is “not on the cutting edge in those areas”, he adds.

That doesn’t mean Moda is just stocking up on tech bros. More than half of its fast-expanding engineering team is female, Srivats says. “Diversity is a value that you incorporate in every aspect of business.” Moda’s workforce in the past year has grown to 405 employees from 280. As a sign of the growth the executive team is pursuing, the company currently has more than 100 technology roles open. This comes on the heels of more than 50 per cent year-over-year growth in new customers, with a similar increase in new orders.

With the rebranding work now largely completed, the Moda team has been winding down its daily design meetings, which often took place around the corner from the office at a local wine bar, Local & Vine, on Hudson Street. Says Emanuel: “There were a lot of emergency cocktail hours scheduled to make sure we felt really good about something.”

Kate And Lila Grace Moss Do Mother-Daughter Dressing On The Longchamp FROW

Kate Moss turns as many heads when she's spotted on the front row as when she takes to the catwalk. While to spot her walking the runway is more rare these days, Moss's personal style is always worth seeing no matter the context.

Seated front row at today's Longchamp show during New York Fashion Week, Kate brought along her 16-year-old daughter, Lila Grace, and in turn the mother-daughter duo proved that style really does run in the family.

At first glance their ensembles might seem entirely at odds. Kate was in all black, while Lila added nude accessories to a mint green dress. Lila wore trainers, Kate wore boots. But look closer and there's more than a familial similarity between these looks. Sticking to solid shades, both Kate and Lila Grace lent on the current trend for smocking: Kate's at the waist, Lila Grace's on both her skirt and polo shirt top.

The similarities here also ran beyond their outfit choices. Their blonde hair difficult to decipher where mum's began and daughter's ended, they both opted for a nude matte lip and glowing complexions that subtly hinted at the rather fabulous summer they just spent yachting around the Med.

Kate and Lila weren't the only famous faces cosying up to see the Longchamp SS20 show. Joined by Julianne Moore, Linda Cardellini and Kendall Jenner, those on the front row witnessed Kaia Gerber take to her first catwalk this season, just a morning after her 18th birthday celebration.