Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The California Fur Ban

So California has become the first state to ban fur. This sounds draconian. What does that actually mean? It is true that on Friday the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, signed AB44 into law, which bans sales of new clothing and accessories (handbags, shoes, pompoms, key chains, you know) made of fur. But that does not mean that California is saying sayonara to all fur.

For the purpose of the law, fur is defined as “animal skin or part thereof with hair, fleece or fur fibers attached thereto.” For the purposes of shoppers, that means mink, sable, chinchilla, lynx, fox, rabbit, beaver, coyote and other luxury furs. Exceptions have been made for cowhide, deerskin, sheepskin and goatskin. Which means that shearling is totally fine. Exceptions have also been made for religious observances (shtreimels, the fur hats often worn by Hasidic Jews, can continue to be sold) and other traditional or cultural purposes.

Fur that is already in circulation can remain in circulation. So your grandmother’s astrakhan stole is safe. So is any aviator jacket. But how will anyone know if the fur you are wearing is old or new? The law is really about the selling of fur, not the wearing of fur. After all, it is perfectly legal for any California resident to travel to, say, Las Vegas, buy a big fur coat and show it off back home. Some fur partisans are nonetheless concerned that because it is hard to tell what is new fur and what is old fur, they will be ostracized or otherwise seen as having done something illegal if they appear in public in a fur garment. That is a legitimate worry.


What happens if a retailer cheats?

If retailers break the law, they risk incurring civil penalties, including a fine of up to $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for multiple offenses.

I’ve been hearing about various fur bans for a while. This isn’t the first one, is it?

California is the first state to ban fur, but it is following the lead of a number of its own municipalities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Berkeley. A variety of countries have banned fur farming, including Serbia, Luxembourg, Belgium, Norway, Germany and the Czech Republic. And similar bills banning fur sales have been introduced in New York City and Hawaii, though they have yet to become law.

Could New York City be next?

Not really. Over the last year numerous brands have jumped on the no-fur bandwagon, including Stella McCartney, Gucci, Versace, Coach, Chanel, Prada, Burberry, Michael Kors, Giorgio Armani and Tom Ford. H&M, which is not exactly a haven of mink coats, has said it will no longer use mohair. One of the few holdouts is Fendi, which began life as a fur house, still has five outlets in California that sell fur and even has “haute fourrure” fashion shows once a year during couture. (Fendi did not respond to requests for comment on the ban.)

Still, all of this just-say-no-to-fur is not quite the sacrifice it sounds, since for many brands fur makes up a very small percentage of sales (at Coach, for example, fur accounted for less than 1 percent of its business). In California, it was an especially tiny percentage. This is true for department stores, too. Saks does not even have a dedicated fur salon in its California stores. On the other hand, fur is still popular in Miami. Cameron Silver of the vintage store Decades said in an email that while there was “a waning interest” in fur in California, “preloved fur pieces” tend to be the first to sell at trunk shows across the country.

Why is all this happening now?

The anti-fur movement has been growing for a while, but between the general conversation about the climate crisis, a raft of books like “Eating Animals,” by Jonathan Safran Foer, and the sense that fur feels very last century, and contrary to millennial value systems, consumer sentiment has begun to swing against it. And whither consumers, so, too, those that sell to them.

It makes sense, so what are the arguments against it?

They range from fur being a meaningful part of national industry, generating $1.5 billion at retail in the United States, according to the Fur Information Council of America, and accounting for more than 32,000 full-time jobs - to the fact that many of the fake alternatives are made from petroleum and other plastic-based synthetics and are generally regarded as entirely disposable, which means they end up in landfill, which means fake fur is probably worse for the environment than real fur, which is almost never thrown away.

In addition a number of communities, including African-Americans and Hasidic Jews, see fur as an important part of their cultural heritage, one on which lawmakers should not be permitted to impose their own voter-pandering morality.

What happens next?

Retailers are gaming out all sorts of possible scenarios. PETA is currently lobbying, with some success (see: ASOS) to ban the use of cashmere, silk, down and feathers. As a result, there have been a lot of doomsday scenarios floated about the slippery slope we are poised to tumble down.

Keith Kaplan, of the Fur Information Council of America (F.I.C.), issued the following statement after the California news broke: “This issue is about much more than animal welfare in the fur industry. It is about the end of animal use of any kind. Fur today, leather tomorrow, your wool blankets and silk sheets and meat after that.”

Victoria Beckham Is Giving Us Autumnal Knitwear Feels

Victoria Beckham is Stateside on business and, as well as promoting her new lip kits, she’s acting as her best brand ambassador for her autumn/winter 2019 fashion collection. En route out of JFK, the designer shrugged a check blazer over a mint Shetland wool jumper and pressed beige trousers. Of course, the entire get-up was Victoria Beckham, but it was the ultra-soft, fuzzy knit that captured our attention as a snug layering tool.

Fast forward to the following morning, and Beckham appeared on the Today Show wearing another iteration of the cropped jumper style. She styled the bright heather sweater (side note: what a delectable name!) over a check 1970s collar shirt, red flared skirt and matching over-the-knee, open-toe boots.


Head to Victoriabeckham.com and voila! The crew-neck jumpers sit pretty on Beckham’s e-tail homepage and are available to pre-order. The £450 autumnal investment buys are reflective of a collection that Vogue described as “sensual, sumptuous, and warmer” than previous edits. It was also the first time Beckham had worked with a narrative – one which she chose to retain an air of ambiguity around, but which nonetheless reflected her playful personality.

As the entrepreneur continues to grow her empire, Beckham’s ability to tap into what her customers want – an insight into her life – is invaluable, and she remains her own best advert for her brand.

Tracee Ellis Ross’s Mood-Shifting Dress

Tracee Ellis Ross’s wardrobe is a technicolour dream. From hot-pink Pyer Moss, Valentino and Christopher John Rogers to sunshine-yellow Sergio Hudson and Aje, bold colour blocking forms the foundation of her public-facing and personal looks. For her latest head-turning moment in front of the paparazzi, Ross tapped stylist Karla Welch for a look from a designer that demonstrates her love of a punchy colour palette and an offbeat narrative. She headed into the Good Morning America studios wearing a fluro check shirtdress by S.R. Studio. LA. CA..

Discerning fashion fans will recognise the brand name as that of Sterling Ruby – the American artist and long-time collaborator of Raf Simons. At Pitti Immagine Uomo in June, Ruby debuted his clothing line, or, as Vogue fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen said, his first solo foray into transforming “his textile art into functional art”.


“Not that I mind that someone has an object and hangs it on their wall,” Ruby said after the catwalk presentation, “but it’s kind of fun to think of something being worn out in the world where other people can see it.” Ross’s neon-green dress errs on the pared-back side of the spring/summer 2020 edit – which featured paint splashes, graphics and multiple textures – but the actor added Stabilo-highlighter yellow Schutz pumps for good measure.

Virgil Abloh flew into Florence to see a front row view of the artist’s latest creative output – which Ruby said was no different to creating a painting or a sculpture – and Timothée Chalamet has already sported a pair of acid-wash denim overalls by S.R. Studio. LA. CA.. Who’s next?

Meet The Kuwaiti Designer Who Creates “Own The Night” Dresses

Yousef Al-jasmi channels the glitzy fashion scene of his native Kuwait into hyper-embellished gowns that look like they have been poured onto the bodies of the Kardashians, Paris Hilton and the world’s pop-music titans.

Yousef Al-jasmi fell into fashion after an enchanting encounter with a scrap of gold fabric. His designer sister left the material on the kitchen table at home in Kuwait and her younger brother couldn’t resist its tactility. He began playing dress-up, draping the luminescent sample over a mannequin, until eventually the blueprint of a one-shoulder minidress was formed. Two days later, his sister informed him that six of her clients had enquired about purchasing the design. “I decided to run with it,” Al-jasmi tells Vogue. Years later, his client list is an A-Z of Hollywood’s biggest names, from Beyoncé and Cardi B to the Jenner-Kardashian clan.

“I create dresses that are meant to own the night,” Al-jasmi says of his USP. “My designs are for those who want to be seen, and to make a scene (a grand entrance of sorts).” He is not wrong: a Yousef Aljasmi (his brand loses the he hyphen after the definite article) gown lights up a red carpet, stage or party owing to the high-shine combination of coloured sequins and Swarovski crystals encrusted onto the mesh tulle base. The secret to their popularity among the A-list is the fact that the perfect beadwork looks like it has literally been dripped over its wearer’s body. From sketch to fruition, the form-fitting confections – which Al-jasmi promises are easy to manoeuvre in – take hundreds of hours to finesse by his 150-strong team in Kuwait.


Al-jasmi’s first pinch-me moment – and, accordingly, his favourite design to date – came shortly after launching in 2015, when Paris Hilton commissioned him to create a statuesque silver gown replete with sheer panels for the Grammys. A call from the Kardashians came shortly after, and pictures of Khloé, Kendall and Kylie partying in Yousef Aljasmi at Kris Jenner’s 60th birthday surfaced on the family’s social media channels.

Beyoncé, too, was an early adopter. “She was actually the muse for one of my first collections,” grins Al-jasmi. The pop titan ended up wearing one of the twinkling bodysuits from this inaugural line in the video for “Sorry” in 2016. “She’s the queen!” chimes Al-jasmi. Scroll down the brand’s Instagram feed and there are five images of Bey wearing a golden fantasy gown to the opening of Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta last week.

This year, the creative realised his dream of dressing Céline Dion, when the singer asked him to design dazzling looks for her Courage album cover and the corresponding tour. “My gowns have been on the bodies of some of the most influential women,” he affirms. “I have been able to accomplish more than I ever dreamed possible.” By “influential”, Al-jasmi is also referring to the well-heeled audience in his homeland, who often stop by his atelier for bespoke pieces to wear to the lavish weddings and galas he says are du jour in Kuwait.

On how Al-jasmi plans to evolve his aesthetic beyond his bauble-esque ballgowns, he says simply: “I always go with my gut feeling and trust my instincts on what the worldly woman would like to wear. My designs capture a character trait rather than an age.” You get the feeling that demand for his unabashed, feel-good glamour is not about to wane.

Angelina Jolie Shines In Ralph & Russo’s Opulent Couture At London’s Maleficent Premiere

It was a family affair at the London premiere of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, as Angelina Jolie wore her most ornate custom tour look to date alongside her children, Zahara, Shiloh, Vivienne and Knox. The glittering silver gown with gold bodice detailing and diaphanous back draping is the work of Ralph & Russo – the first British couture label in a century to gain admittance to the Paris’s Fédération de la Haute Couture in 2014.

The connection between actor and couturier has long existed off the red carpet. Jolie collected her honorary damehood the same year wearing an immaculately cut dove grey skirt suit by the house. It was emblematic of the wealth of separates interspersed among Ralph & Russo’s fairytale gowns that cater to the brand’s young clientele – a fan base that has allowed the brand to quietly rule the couture game since it set up shop in Knightsbridge in 2007.


Speaking of those red-carpet ready gowns dripping in embellishment, the Australian-born couple (Tamara Ralph acts as creative director while Michael Russo is CEO) created a bespoke look for Jolie to wear in her titular role in the Disney film. If the elaborate beadwork on the actor’s London gown – and, indeed, the gold fringed autumn/winter 2019 couture look she wore at the Japan premiere – is a barometer of what to expect, hours and hours of painstakingly detailed work will have gone into the costume.

The shimmering silver confection, which Jolie accented with Cartier High Jewellery, is also a departure from the Maleficent promo looks that have been leading to London. The bewitching black Atelier Versace gowns with their perfect corsetry seem to have referenced the impactful uniform of Jolie’s villainous character in the film series. Whether her shining Ralph & Russo gown is a reflection of Maleficent’s evolution in the film remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Jolie always uses the red carpet as a platform to show off the spoils of her relationships with the world’s most respected couture houses.

Chanel’s Latest Power Move Is Good News For The Future Of Its Craft

Chanel has bought minority stakes in two Italian leather goods makers and a French clothing manufacturer in a bid to bolster the speciality ateliers that make up its supply chain. Building out its network of artisans cost the business $169 million (£138 million) when the deal was made in January.

The new acquisitions consist of Renato Corti, one of Italy’s largest leather manufacturers based in Florence and Milan, and Mabi, which produces luxury handbags in factories in Florence and San Daniele. Chanel now holds a 40 per cent stake in both. The French company Grandis, which the house bought a 34 per cent stake in, is comprised of 12 workshops creating tailoring, flou, lingerie, swimwear and leather.

“If we want to remain the leader in luxury over the next 20 years, we have to make investments and take risks in areas we consider key for the future,” Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s president of fashion, told WWD. “We are not necessarily looking to buy more companies, but rather to ensure these suppliers remain important contributors to the development of our products.”

Chanel is doubling down on skilled leather manufacturers and tanneries after it halted the use of exotic skins in December 2018. “There’s a lot we can do with leather right now,” Pavlovsky continued. “I think the secret in the future will be a mix of approaches blending traditional leather, as we know it today, with new materials and finishes.” The house has invested in research around alternatives to skins, but predicts the resulting leather substitutes will not be ready to share for at least a decade.


Pavlovsky also added that the house will do whatever it takes to safeguard the yarn suppliers of its signature tweeds, whether that means the company making more acquisitions, or signing purchasing agreements. Upping its investments supports the reiterations of Philippe Blondiaux, Chanel’s global chief financial officer, that “Chanel is not for sale”.

Progress on the structural work around a new craftsmanship headquarters in Aubervilliers, France, is also being made. Slated to open in the third quarter of 2020, the site has officially been named 19M – after the number of Parisian districts adjoining the sprawling centre, and the French words in the fashion vocabulary beginning with M, such as “mode”, “main” and “métier”. Six hundred employees of the ateliers that Chanel is famed for working with – including embroiderers Lesage and Montex; feather and flower specialist Lemarié; and milliner Maison Michel – will all be housed in the five-floor building with two additional basements.

The investments secure Chanel’s place at the top of the luxury leaderboard, but beyond that the house is striving to preserve the know-how of the unique manufacturers that are central to fashion’s craft. Chanel’s Paraffection subsidiary division – which supplies 35 brands worldwide, including 19 members of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode – plans to employ 80 to 100 people across its bases in France, Italy, Spain and Scotland every year. It will also partner with 10 schools to organise training and exchanges. “We have to stimulate interest in these careers,” Pavlovsky continued. [Chanel and its affiliate ateliers have] to be a place where young people want to come.”

Gucci’s Global Head Of Diversity Is The Outsider Fashion Needs

On a hot Wednesday morning in the last week of August at Gucci’s US headquarters in lower Manhattan, it was time to clock in. Employees scurried through the loft-like office space just before 9 a.m. carrying laptops, stacks of papers, and garment bags. In a medium-size conference room sat two members of Gucci’s public relations team, along with a make-up artist and hairstylist, all waiting patiently for the subject of the morning’s scheduled photo shoot to arrive. It wasn’t Alessandro Michele’s muse Jared Leto, or the face of the new Mémoire d’une Odeur fragrance Harry Styles. After a few moments of waiting, in walked a tall woman dressed in a simple white blouse and grey trousers. Everyone around the room sat up in attention when she entered. “Hi, guys,” she said. Her name is Renée Tirado, and she was there to talk business.

In late July, Tirado was hired by Gucci’s CEO Marco Bizzarri to be the global head of diversity, equity, and inclusion, a first-time appointment in the brand’s 98-year history. The position was created as part of a company-wide initiative that Bizzarri first put into action in January 2019 and then in February, after Gucci came under fire for producing a balaclava sweater that shoppers claimed to resemble blackface. Someone tweeted the image, called out the brand, and the controversy went viral. The company subsequently issued an apology and pulled the sweater off the market. Then in March Bizzarri announced a new programme called Gucci Changemakers, which includes an internal volunteering initiative to help get Gucci employees into their local communities, a scholarship programme, and a grant programme for community non-profits. All of this is overseen by a Changemakers council, which Tirado is leading.

“I am one of very few people in the diversity, equity, and inclusion discipline that is directly reporting to the CEO of the company,” Tirado says. “Some companies have had diversity and inclusion departments for 10, 15 years, but more often than not, this department is sitting in another space, in another building.” She adds, “The fact that Marco said, ‘No, no, you are going to report to me,’ I mean, that’s a game-changing conversation for diversity, equity, and inclusion. He wants me engaged, he wants me at the table.”

Tirado says Bizzarri wanted her precisely because she had absolutely nothing to do with the fashion industry. She grew up in Brooklyn’s Gowanus projects to Puerto Rican parents, graduated from Rutgers University School of Law, and practiced intellectual property law in Harlem before going to work at AIG and the male-dominated Major League Baseball corporation. While at MLB, Tirado was charged with launching the Take The Field initiative, which helped women seek out operational positions as coaches, umpires, and scouts. “Marco said to me, ‘I need you because you’re not in fashion, you’re an outside thinker and I need a different perspective in the room.’”

Tirado says, “I didn’t always feel like Gucci spoke to me personally when I was just a casual consumer. Before Alessandro Michele, the house’s creative director, and Marco were hired, Gucci was something you wanted to have aspirationally, but sometimes it was hard because you didn’t always see yourself reflected in the stores or the advertisements.” Now she sees Gucci as a leader around the issues of diversity and inclusion. “They hired Dapper Dan [after Michele was accused of copying the Harlem designer], they gave him a bigger platform to create. They responded immediately and pulled the blackface sweater. They’ve been inclusive on their runways and they’ve redefined the parameters of beauty.”


That said, Tirado insists, “there’s still work to do; there’s always work to do.” She’s eager to put strategies in place to better ensure that the Changemaker money is being allocated with real, lasting purpose and that more investment, both financially and in terms of corporate culture, is provided to create forward-thinking shifts at Gucci and in the communities that are influenced by the brand.

Today, in fact, Gucci has announced that it is now accepting applications for the scholarship and grant programmes, which are open to all eligible students within (or applying to) a four-year university or college in the United States. Gucci has pledged to distribute $1.5 million (£1.2 million) over four years across two programmes specifically: the Gucci Changemakers Scholars and Gucci Changemakers x CFDA Scholars by Design. In addition to the scholarships, Gucci Changemakers is also calling on non-profits to apply for the Impact Fund, which will award grant funding to community-based organisations focused on social justice and equity, arts and culture, and education.

Internally, Tirado says, “I would love to see some more developmental opportunities for the talent we already have here.” She added, “You’d be surprised at how diverse Gucci already is, but like a lot of companies, as you go up the food chain, the diversity kind of drops off. That’s not unique to Gucci, that’s across the board. So what I would like to see – no, not what I’d like to see, what I’d like to develop and invest in, is really figuring out how do we assess the talent we already have, invest in them appropriately, and provide a real developmental track and treat them like the future leaders of the company?”

Tirado wants to encourage Gucci employees from the retail level on up to work towards a high-powered, high-paying job within the company. “I say fish where the fish are,” she says. “And we have a pretty full pond right here, we just have to look at how we’re defining and assessing talent, and sometimes we have to get out of our own way. We tend to lean into what we know and what’s familiar to us, and we’re always moving so quickly. I think it’s a matter of slowing down to speed up.” One of her first tasks is to hone in on strategies across the markets that Gucci has a presence in, namely Asia, which is an entirely new challenge for her as a diversity, equity, and inclusion professional. Her work at AIG and MLB was mostly domestic and sometimes based in Europe. “We need to see how we can help the brand stay relevant as our consumers are changing. We have to make sure that we’re speaking to those communities both actualised and those that are potential future buyers, so that we make sure Gucci stays here for another 100 years.”

The photographer at the August photo shoot is Richie Shazam Khan. She is a queer model, designer, photographer, and self-made Renaissance woman who is Guyanese and grew up in Queens. As Khan worked behind the lens, she and Tirado talked about how much New York has changed and the constraints that a surge of incoming wealth has put on the indie arts and design communities that foster young creatives. Khan went from studying art history and international relations (Tirado studied the latter too as an undergrad) to building up a name for herself as a fashion star and activist on social media, walking the runway for Vivienne Westwood, shooting for Vogue and other major publications and, most recently, appearing in Rihanna’s epic Savage X Fenty lingerie show. American Dream realised? It’s the kind of success story that Tirado wants to replicate within the logoed halls of Gucci.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Model With Down Syndrome Is An Inspiration To The World

The fashion industry is rapidly changing and how this change can be seen not only in dresses but also in models. Earlier, the grounded idea was that only tall, slim and fair people can be models. But now this idea has constantly been challenged. If anyone said disabled people can be models a few decades ago, the idea would be laughed at. Yet, now there is much news about models with Down syndrome taking the lead in the fashion industry and this seem a healthy feature that shows the positive development of people’s thoughts. Madeline Stuart is an Australian model with Down syndrome who has now become a sensation in the fashion industry. She is perfect in the catwalk and her four-year modeling career, she has won the love and attention of many people around the world. 

Sara Ziff, the founder of the Model Alliance, a New-York-based policy and advocacy organization for workers in the fashion industry says that “historically, the modeling industry has upheld a rigid set of ideas in beauty: thin, white, able-bodied and tall. Madeline’s imagery is a form of activism, and that, in and of itself, is attractive.” Even though Stuart is being constantly invited to attend many fashions shows, her health does not permit her to participate in all of them. In December, she had open-heart surgery to repair a leaky mitral valve. Her mom, Madeline said that,

“She had heart surgery for the first time when she was eight weeks old for a very large hole in her heart. I remember back to Madeline’s first operation and how scared I felt,” she adds. “There is nothing that can compare to the terror of your child enduring such pain and hardship. It’s wonderful now to see her love of life and her outgoing personality.” When Madeline was first informed of her daughter’s condition, she was all shocked. “I was in shock and very sad for the first few days, but then I decided that everything was going to be OK,” she says.

She decided she would give her daughter every opportunity she could. As a result, by 17 Stuart got the chance to rise as a model. While attending a fashion show with her mother, the teen turned to her mother and indicated that she wanted to be up on the stage instead of sitting in the audience. “Mum, me model,” her mother recalled her saying. “I didn’t blink an eye – Madeline was always one to be in the limelight. She was never scared of a crowd. I’d dabbled in modeling when I was 18 and hated it, so part of me thought she would lose interest very quickly.”


But that didn’t happen. Her daughter launched a routine to get fitter and healthier and gradually dropped 18kg (40 pounds) of her 170cm (5ft 7in) frame. In 2015, after her mother arranged a professional photo shoot for her daughter, she put some of the pictures on Facebook. They went viral overnight and quickly racked up more than seven million views. Several people invited her for shows and her modeling career could not be stopped.

For her first show, Stuart walked at New York Fashion Week for South African designer Hendrik Vermeulen after rehearsing with a runway coach brought in from the Juilliard School of Dance. “It was amazing, I will never forget it,” she says. “People treated me with love and support.” Since then, she has walked more than 100 high-fashion catwalks for designers including Colleen Morris, Nonie, Lulu et Gigi, and Zula Designs and She has also walked in the New York Fashion Week, Paris fashion week, London fashion week, Russian fashion week, Runway Dubai, Mercedes Benz fashion week China and many more. And she has more than one million followers on social media.

For the most part, Stuart is treated warmly and with respect by designers and other models, who hug her warmly after each show, says her mother. But there are occasions, her mother admits when her daughter is not taken seriously by designers who have difficulty seeing her as a professional model and want her to appear in their shows for free. “That is disheartening – Madeline has become a true professional,” she says. “Sometimes people think that she can’t understand them because she has limited speech. But she does understand. I go with her simply to make sure that she has representation and that nobody tries to take advantage.”

Rosanne now reminds herself that everyone is treated unfairly at times, and she tries not to take it personally. “Through exposure and people supporting us, things will slowly keep changing,” she says. “People are realizing this is not a gimmick. I work as hard as any model,” Stuart says. “My mum has been my best friend and biggest supporter, and I won’t give up on my dream.” 

Dior is Bringing the Bucket Hat Back

There’s a high chance that most of you reading this won’t have worn a bucket hat since the ’90s. Although it was the headwear of choice for many at the time, the streetwear staple faded out of rotation at the turn of the century. Maybe you haven’t given it a second thought, or maybe you’ve been pining for its return – regardless of your feelings towards the item, it is now well and truly back. Because when Dior releases a new iteration, you just know it’s going to be everywhere.

Known for its statement bags, elegant separates and drool-worthy couture, I’ll admit that seeing an email titled “Dior Presents The Bucket Hat” took me somewhat by surprise. You know those feelings I was just talking about? It’s safe to say that mine err on the side of strong dislike when it comes to bucket hats, so needless to say I was very intrigued as to how Dior had approached their design.


According to the brand, the hat is a “poetic tribute to Stephen Jones [the brand’s milliner] and to the Teddy Girls, one of the inspirations behind Maria Grazia Chiuri’s F/W19 collection.” The reversible head toppers (which range in price from CAD$870-$1600) come in a mix of patterns, including check and tartan, and some also feature the iconic Dior Oblique canvas. Finished with mini veils and a wide brim, the design is undeniably feminine, imbued with a on-brand sense of elegance.

The piece has already been a street style hit, too, with the likes of Camila Coelho, Romee Strijd and perennial cool-girl Jennifer Lawrence all having been spotted sporting the hat.

Gucci’s New Global Head Of Diversity

On a hot Wednesday morning in the last week of August at Gucci’s US headquarters in lower Manhattan, it was time to clock in. Employees scurried through the loft-like office space just before 9 a.m. carrying laptops, stacks of papers, and garment bags. In a medium-size conference room sat two members of Gucci’s public relations team, along with a make-up artist and hairstylist, all waiting patiently for the subject of the morning’s scheduled photo shoot to arrive. It wasn’t Alessandro Michele’s muse Jared Leto, or the face of the new Mémoire d’une Odeur fragrance Harry Styles. After a few moments of waiting, in walked a tall woman dressed in a simple white blouse and grey trousers. Everyone around the room sat up in attention when she entered. “Hi, guys,” she said. Her name is Renée Tirado, and she was there to talk business.

In late July, Tirado was hired by Gucci’s CEO Marco Bizzarri to be the global head of diversity, equity, and inclusion, a first-time appointment in the brand’s 98-year history. The position was created as part of a company-wide initiative that Bizzarri first put into action in January 2019 and then in February, after Gucci came under fire for producing a balaclava sweater that shoppers claimed to resemble blackface. Someone tweeted the image, called out the brand, and the controversy went viral. The company subsequently issued an apology and pulled the sweater off the market. Then in March Bizzarri announced a new programme called Gucci Changemakers, which includes an internal volunteering initiative to help get Gucci employees into their local communities, a scholarship programme, and a grant programme for community non-profits. All of this is overseen by a Changemakers council, which Tirado is leading.

“I am one of very few people in the diversity, equity, and inclusion discipline that is directly reporting to the CEO of the company,” Tirado says. “Some companies have had diversity and inclusion departments for 10, 15 years, but more often than not, this department is sitting in another space, in another building.” She adds, “The fact that Marco said, ‘No, no, you are going to report to me,’ I mean, that’s a game-changing conversation for diversity, equity, and inclusion. He wants me engaged, he wants me at the table.”

Tirado says Bizzarri wanted her precisely because she had absolutely nothing to do with the fashion industry. She grew up in Brooklyn’s Gowanus projects to Puerto Rican parents, graduated from Rutgers University School of Law, and practiced intellectual property law in Harlem before going to work at AIG and the male-dominated Major League Baseball corporation. While at MLB, Tirado was charged with launching the Take The Field initiative, which helped women seek out operational positions as coaches, umpires, and scouts. “Marco said to me, ‘I need you because you’re not in fashion, you’re an outside thinker and I need a different perspective in the room.’”

Tirado says, “I didn’t always feel like Gucci spoke to me personally when I was just a casual consumer. Before Alessandro Michele, the house’s creative director, and Marco were hired, Gucci was something you wanted to have aspirationally, but sometimes it was hard because you didn’t always see yourself reflected in the stores or the advertisements.” Now she sees Gucci as a leader around the issues of diversity and inclusion. “They hired Dapper Dan [after Michele was accused of copying the Harlem designer], they gave him a bigger platform to create. They responded immediately and pulled the blackface sweater. They’ve been inclusive on their runways and they’ve redefined the parameters of beauty.”


That said, Tirado insists, “there’s still work to do; there’s always work to do.” She’s eager to put strategies in place to better ensure that the Changemaker money is being allocated with real, lasting purpose and that more investment, both financially and in terms of corporate culture, is provided to create forward-thinking shifts at Gucci and in the communities that are influenced by the brand.

Today, in fact, Gucci has announced that it is now accepting applications for the scholarship and grant programmes, which are open to all eligible students within (or applying to) a four-year university or college in the United States. Gucci has pledged to distribute $1.5 million (£1.2 million) over four years across two programmes specifically: the Gucci Changemakers Scholars and Gucci Changemakers x CFDA Scholars by Design. In addition to the scholarships, Gucci Changemakers is also calling on non-profits to apply for the Impact Fund, which will award grant funding to community-based organisations focused on social justice and equity, arts and culture, and education.

Internally, Tirado says, “I would love to see some more developmental opportunities for the talent we already have here.” She added, “You’d be surprised at how diverse Gucci already is, but like a lot of companies, as you go up the food chain, the diversity kind of drops off. That’s not unique to Gucci, that’s across the board. So what I would like to see – no, not what I’d like to see, what I’d like to develop and invest in, is really figuring out how do we assess the talent we already have, invest in them appropriately, and provide a real developmental track and treat them like the future leaders of the company?”

Tirado wants to encourage Gucci employees from the retail level on up to work towards a high-powered, high-paying job within the company. “I say fish where the fish are,” she says. “And we have a pretty full pond right here, we just have to look at how we’re defining and assessing talent, and sometimes we have to get out of our own way. We tend to lean into what we know and what’s familiar to us, and we’re always moving so quickly. I think it’s a matter of slowing down to speed up.” One of her first tasks is to hone in on strategies across the markets that Gucci has a presence in, namely Asia, which is an entirely new challenge for her as a diversity, equity, and inclusion professional. Her work at AIG and MLB was mostly domestic and sometimes based in Europe. “We need to see how we can help the brand stay relevant as our consumers are changing. We have to make sure that we’re speaking to those communities both actualised and those that are potential future buyers, so that we make sure Gucci stays here for another 100 years.”

The photographer at the August photo shoot is Richie Shazam Khan. She is a queer model, designer, photographer, and self-made Renaissance woman who is Guyanese and grew up in Queens. As Khan worked behind the lens, she and Tirado talked about how much New York has changed and the constraints that a surge of incoming wealth has put on the indie arts and design communities that foster young creatives. Khan went from studying art history and international relations (Tirado studied the latter too as an undergrad) to building up a name for herself as a fashion star and activist on social media, walking the runway for Vivienne Westwood, shooting for Vogue and other major publications and, most recently, appearing in Rihanna’s epic Savage X Fenty lingerie show. American Dream realised? It’s the kind of success story that Tirado wants to replicate within the logoed halls of Gucci.

Naomi Campbell & Vivienne Westwood Activism

“Something has got to happen this year, or else we’re too late,” says Vivienne Westwood in conversation with Naomi Campbell. The two activists have come together for a British Vogue video, to discuss the “mismanagement” of the world and the importance of action at a time when climate change is so severe that our house is essentially on fire. “It’s not enough to just live the life you’ve got already,” continues Westwood. “You’ve got to stick to the three Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle.”

The pair first met when Campbell, aged 16, and her friend Kate Moss hassled Westwood to let them look in the house archives. Westwood obliged the curious models and took them to tea at the Criterion. “You sat us down and gave us a talking to about being conscious in the world,” remembers Campbell. “That had a big impact on me. It was around the time that I started working with Nelson Mandela in South Africa, so it was all new to me still. You know, they have these posh words for it now, like philanthropy. For me it was just like, you do it because you want to do it.”

Westwood began her career campaigning for human rights and believes the environmental problems we face are because of the chasm created by our societal structure. “It’s the rotten financial system that’s the cause of the whole thing, it takes money from the poor and gives it to the rich,” opines Westwood. “And therefore, you’ve got this incredible gap, and it creates climate change, because it’s raping the earth and it creates poverty.” Her two strands of work – as an activist and as a designer – have become entwined, because “each helps the other,” she explains. “It’s very, very important to look great if you want to make a point, because then people [take you seriously].”


When Campbell asks Westwood, “What can people do out there to play their part in saving this planet?” the designer refers to the three Rs, and another personal motto, “buy less”, which is emblazoned across many of her designs. “That’s it,” she states. “You reduce the clothes you’re buying, you buy quality not quantity, [and] make sure you want to keep on wearing it. Go to work in an evening dress if you want.” Take an old T-shirt into one of Westwood’s stores and she’ll paint the missive on for you to minimise paint-pot plastic.

“Edward [Enninful] did the right thing because he put me and you together,” Westwood tells Campbell. “That’s something that people can do, they can talk to people and get them to join in the conversation.” The supermodel assures her friend that society is gradually waking up and listening, adding: “We don’t know how much time there is left really, do we?”

Why Vivienne Westwood Has Become The Modern Bride’s Go-To Brand

Hailey Bieber and Miley Cyrus’s weddings might have been worlds apart – the former’s a weekend-long celebrity-packed extravaganza themed around The Notebook, the latter star’s an intimate family affair that saw the marriage end nine months later – but the two brides chose the same British fashion house to design dresses for their celebrations. Vivienne Westwood created two made-to-order Cocotte confections within its London atelier for two of America’s biggest celebrities – with a combined Instagram following of 120 million – in the space of months.

The appeal of Vivienne Westwood’s bridal collection is clear: from the perfect corsetry, to the historic references that always feel contemporary. The neckline and body of the Cocotte style is “inspired by the fashionable high society women of the 18th Century, and the fabric which sweeps across the shoulders, drapes and falls from the hip, is reminiscent of ancient Greek statues,” says the brand. Cyrus wed Liam Hemsworth in her Tennessee home in December wearing a floor-length silk satin iteration of the Cocotte. Bieber, meanwhile, opted for a shorter, cocktail version – the Cora Cocotte – in peace silk for her rehearsal dinner at the South Carolina resort that the Biebers took over for their October celebrations.


Bieber chose the environmentally conscious fabric option – a cruelty-free silk which allows the silk butterfly to live beyond the cocoon – perhaps because the minidress was the first of three bridal looks she wore throughout the weekend. The Cocotte style also comes in a silk cady and seasonal fabrications, such as spring/summer 2020’s rose prints, as well as the silk satin version selected by Cyrus.

While Vivienne Westwood has always been worn by people of all ages, all genders and all sorts of dispositions, it was interesting that the designer and her partner Andreas Kronthaler chose another Gen-Z star, Bella Hadid, to model the bridalwear in the most recent runway collection. The voluminous creation was inspired by a “naked 1950s pin-up, photographed from below, looking like she’s in the sky with puffs of cotton wool thrown onto her,” as per the show notes. In practice, the warped proportions of the cloud dress looked other-worldly and a touch regal.

Watching these young women walk down the aisle – or the catwalk – in Vivienne Westwood chimes with the image of the designer as a mother figure: a grand matriarch of fashion, who is not only on a tireless quest to save the industry from itself, but one who has been honing her craft and its message for nearly five decades. Authenticity has always been at the heart of the house – and what more could you ask for as a bride?

Hailey Bieber Shares Photos Of Her Wedding Gown Designed By Virgil Abloh

A week on from her The Notebook-themed nuptials in South Carolina, Mrs Hailey Bieber has shared photographs of her Off-White wedding gown designed by Virgil Abloh. The bride chose a form-fitting, backless fishtail gown with an off-the-shoulder neckline, long sleeves and pearl embellishments. But easily the most striking element of her wedding look – one of three she wore over the course of the celebrations – was the cathedral length veil, the hem of which was embroidered with the words “Till death do us part”.

Bieber thanked Abloh in one of a series of Instagram posts shared on Monday night, writing: “Thank you for making my vision come to life and creating my dream dress.You and your @Off___White team are incredible and I'm forever grateful I got to wear your beautiful creation.”

For his part, the designer said in an Instagram post of his own: “When @HaileyBieber asks if you want to design a wedding dress.. that's a “yes”.” Black and white wedding photographs shared by the bride offer a closer look at details of the gown, including the floral lace sleeves studded with pearls and the deep scoop at the back.


“I’ve known Off-White since it started and I’ve known Virgil for years, so it’s cool to see the evolution of his creativity,” Bieber told Vogue in the April 2018 issue, which spotlighted Abloh’s modern vision of luxury. “Virgil’s ideas and his aesthetic are so based on culture and what is cool for young people, which is something I pay attention to... Off-White has got to a place where it keeps getting better and better and better.”

The couple initially wed in a courthouse ceremony in the autumn of 2018, ahead of their star-studded nuptials at the luxury Montage Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina, which spanned three days from September 29 to October 1.

In addition to the Off-White gown she wore to walk down the aisle – what she has called “the most special day of my life” – Bieber also chose a Vivienne Westwood minidress with the brand's signature corsetry and draping for the rehearsal dinner, and a simpler white halter neck dress for the after-party.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer ´20

One of the most interesting aspects of the past month of shows has been poking one’s head out of the fashion week porthole. Outside in the real world, climate marches and environmentalism have filled the news, confirming the zeitgeist that’s impacted the clothes on these runways. Sustainable fashion is an oxymoron – we understand this – but at Paris Fashion Week, designers haven’t just been reflecting the moderation mentality on a practical level. It’s permeated from their designs, too. After seasons of opulence (now known as The Valentino Effect), our collective climate shock seems to be presaging a new restraint in our future wardrobes, and indeed, looks. In fashion as in its surrounding world, the climate alerts are a rude awakening that doesn’t come without withdrawal symptoms. It was clear on the Paris runways where the new appetite for purity and clarification still bore remnants of opulence.

At Miu Miu, Miuccia Prada illustrated that tension so vividly in a collection that literally pinned surface decoration to the silhouettes as if they were paper dolls. “Simple done with little,” she said, reflecting that it was about “suggesting a way of dressing but leaving people free to do their own thing." It manifested in 1940´s patent leather coats delicately painted with flowers, or in the neatness of a cream patent leather perfecto worn with a peplumed turquoise leather skirt and a mustard kitten heel. The effect was sumptuous but the message was – not unlike the Prada collection two weeks ago in Milan – one of simplification. An even louder example of the same contrast became evident at Dries Van Noten, who staged a surprise one-off duet with the legendary Christian Lacroix.


Their meeting of minds manifested in a collection that fused Lacroix’s grand couture gestures with Van Noten’s pointed sense of modernity, constantly retaining a balance between magnificence and moderation. “It’s maximalism for every day,” Lacroix reflected. “I became a couturier because I couldn’t be a costume designer for the stage. When I was mixing in contemporary things it was with a very loud touch, not a subtle tank top with a little bit of transparency and just one feather,” he recalled, comparing his legacy to the moderate opulence that shaped a collection ultimately rooted in haute couture. Those two words were on everyone lips after an Alexander McQueen show which left no one doubting Sarah Burton’s preference for savoir-faire.


Through her inimitable vision – that pagan, shipwrecked, armoured Industrial Revolution that fills her dreams – Burton composed what was likely her most artisanal collection to date. “It was about time and the slowing down of time,” she said, “... a calm time to think our own thoughts and how we felt about things.” In all its handcrafted glory, Burton’s collection expressed a purity in whites, calico and toile fabrics that outlined that tension between restraint and the lavish nature of haute couture-level garments. At Noir, Kei Ninomiya became Saturday’s Instagram sensation with a collection that hit those same artisanal notes, veiling models in bouncy clouds of flower embellishment or multi-layered strips that looked like foliage.

Clare Waight Keller reflected fashion’s excess withdrawal symptoms in a collection based on the contrasts between early 1990´s New York and Paris in her Givenchy collection. “Back then, there were very distinct moments happening in different cities,” she recalled. “New York had this very raw spirit: a lot of denim, a lot of ease, minimalism, and the idea of being very characterful. Whenever I would travel to Paris, it was opulence and florals and couture house extravagance.” Lined up on a rail, her garments would look like they belonged to entirely different worlds, sleek leather top and skirts versus monastic mega volumes daubed in florals.


The Comme des Garçons collection also staged a meeting between minimalism and maximalism, but here through the narrative of Orlando – “liberation through time,” as Rei Kawakubo said – the sentiment expressed itself rather differently. From the court dress of the Elizabethan and Baroque eras through the Romanticism of the nineteenth century and the modern breakthrough that followed, Kawakubo blasted her audience with opulence only to gradually bleed out her saturation until she had reduced it to black silhouettes on her runway. It’s a cycle of decadence of a time so overindulgent the glass eventually has to spill over and strip down to its core. If the process that unfolded on her podium was Kawakubo’s proposal of a new appetite for minimalism, she presented us with a revealing mirror of our own insatiable desire for excess.


Decadence is a theme John Galliano has been exploring at Maison Margiela since his haute couture collection in January, examining “if inverted excess could lead to a new appetite for restraint". This season, his idea of moderation was expressed in a make-do and mend sensibility that evoked the uniforms and everyday upcycling of the world wars. Galliano’s sentiment was “remembrance, liberation and hope”: a call for young generations to look to the past in order to change the future. “Wisdom gained from the past gradually gets buried in the news. Stories of hope, heroines and liberation are forgotten as history draws ever closer to repetition,” he reflected. As he elaborated on his podcast, Galliano was referring to Brexit and the gradual dissolvement of everything we learned from the wars.


He wanted those new generations to take note, stand up, and fight against the reactionary tendencies of today. In an all-EU blue Balenciaga set created to evoke the European Parliament, Demna Gvasalia’s message felt a lot less hopeful. Exercised in his oft-used executive realness silhouettes condensed to drab, dark contours, the show was an unnerving experience, fuelled by the unceasing repetition of broad-shouldered frames, ever-expanding oversized forms, and Balenciaga’s seasonal subverted wardrobe staples. If it was a reflection of these sad Brexit times, there wasn’t much hope to come for here. At Louis Vuitton, the case was entirely different. On the cusp of a new decade, Nicolas Ghesquière heralded “a new Belle Époque” in an effervescent Louis Vuitton collection, which modernised elements of that era in some of the most joyous – and often maddest – garments of his career.


Between his kicky hemlines and puff shoulders, ballooning sleeves and millefeuille cuffs, and the vibrant abstract prints that covered what seemed like every garment – no two the same – Ghesquière foreshadowed a decade he obviously predicts will be the age of hyper-individuality and diversity. In the Louis Vuitton medley of multiformity and Belle Époque references there was a message for the future to look to the past. Above all, Ghesquière is driven by unexplored territory but like Galliano, he understands that there’s no tomorrow without learning from history. It was a good philosophy to see us into the 2020´s.


If the new decade will be one of sustainability and moderation, the most Parisian houses of them all have already jumped on the buy-less wagon of wardrobe staples. At Celine, Hedi Slimane confirmed the woman he debuted on that jaw-dropping evening in February, and spruced up her old culottes. She travelled from Saint Germain to Saint Tropez circa late 1970´s, merging her bourgeois Left Bank blouses, patchworked denim skirts and racehorse tailoring with broderies and fineries from the south of France. In his own conversation between excess and restraint – showpiece and wardrobe staple, you might say – Slimane increased the volume on his demi-couture in dazzling encrusted evening jackets, bejewelled nightclub dresses, and intricate lamé numbers that felt like an explosion of joy; a feeling close to hope.


The 1970´s reverberated through the fashion capitals this season, and the houses closest to the decade rolled out their expertise. At Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello honoured Yves Saint Laurent’s legacy via the Russian collection from 1976 and the master’s sailor influences from the early 1960´s. But this didn’t feel like a themed affair. Vaccarello’s largely black collection was an exercise in wardrobe essentials the Saint Laurent way. Bar the mini shorts, most of his black pieces had a trendless quality to them that went hand-in-hand with our appetite for moderation. Virginie Viard’s 1970´s message at Chanel was upbeat and youth-aspiring: skimpy bouclé all-in-ones and mini dresses, jaunty petticoated skirts, Capri jeans and a pair of pink lamé hotpants worn with a fringed plume top.


Whether Viard’s pieces classified as timeless wardrobe staples is in the eye of the beholder, but the spirit of moderation was definitely felt in Paris. “We have to educate ourselves,” Maria Grazia Chiuri said. “I don’t know if we can arrive at a point where we can say we are sustainable. But I think we can do our best to impact less.” Her Christian Dior show paid homage to gardening as a message of nurturing the planet. She expressed it in organic materials such as highly decorated raffia on dresses and cutesy burlap suits with foliage embroidery or garden grid motifs. “We have to be transparent with our audience. Fashion can do a lot because in its power to affect the choices of its audiences.”


For an overproducing industry, the most obvious choice is to make people buy less. For years, Vivienne Westwood has sported a T-shirt with those two words on it. “She’s right. Simple and effective. She speaks the truth,” Chiuri said. “Buy less!” Every fabric used in the Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood collection was taken from studio deadstock, a creative challenge that obviously fuelled a divergence between every look. Increasing his environmental consciousness, Kronthaler had refrained from dying materials like he did last season, instead altering fabrics through washes or other less polluting treatments. “I’ve been very, very careful being as sustainable as I could, and I’m very conscious and serious about it, but I don’t want to use it as a headline,” he said.


“Be careful with what you buy and love the things you buy. Even the most basic T-shirt. The cheapest things are the worst polluters,” Kronthaler warned. “God knows we have to take it seriously what’s going on. I’m not even sure fashion weeks are feasible anymore.” As a new member of the LVMH roster and sustainability adviser to the company, Stella McCartney is constantly thinking those thoughts. “We’ve been woken up,” she said. “Now is the time to give people information, to give them a solution. Things need to change immediately, but can they? If you scare people, you have nowhere to start. We have to make people feel like they can do little things. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice style or your quality of life. I hope when you see that fashion show, you don’t see in any way that it’s sustainable. It’s about being desirable and beautiful and luxurious, and yet it’s got those ingredients. We have to get to that place.”

Monday, October 7, 2019

Rihanna's (Visual) Autobiography Is Coming

First she conquered the charts, then beauty counters, then fashion. And now Rihanna has set her sights on the publishing world. The mogul used an Instagram video montage on Monday to announce the upcoming release of Rihanna, a visual autobiography she revealed has been “over five years in the making”.

Naturally, Rihanna is swerving the typical celeb autobiography format – you're unlikely to find her 504-page, hardcover coffee table tome on sale in a train station branch of WHSmith. Published by Phaidon, Rihanna’s “collection of incredible memories” includes previously unpublished images, and will span her trajectory from Barbados to megastardom, via sellout tours and iconic fashion moments, as well as private moments with friends and family along the way.


Described by Rihanna as “my first piece of art in a new industry”, Rihanna will be available in three limited editions: Rihanna: Fenty x Phaidon Edition, Rihanna: Luxury Supreme, and Rihanna: Ultra Luxury Supreme. The latter, an edition of just 10 presented with a custom marble pedestal designed in collaboration with the Haas Brothers – and signed by both Rihanna and the artists – was already sold out online on Monday.

The Instagram montage offers a glimpse at the journey documented in Rihanna, with flashes of images of the star on stage, in a tattoo parlour, on the Met Gala red carpet and more. The book’s release comes after Rihanna defied the traditional constructs of a catwalk show to stage her Savage X Fenty autumn/winter 2019 presentation at New York Fashion Week – an inclusive “fashion musical” that featured an all-star line-up and saw editors relieved of their smartphones. Rather than instantly hitting fans’ social media feeds, the show was aired on Amazon Prime days later. Be it a show, a beauty line, or in this case a book, Rihanna knows how to build hype.

New Collabs With Victoria Beckham & Virgil Abloh Dropping On Net-A-Porter

Last year, Net-a-porter.com sold 10 times the amount of trainers it did in 2012. The luxury e-tailer has already bought 500 sneaker styles for the spring/summer 2020 season, and is expecting more drops to come. These statistics, of which there are many more – it sold 2,000 pairs of Nike x Sacai kicks within three hours of launching, for instance – have inspired its first dedicated sports shoe campaign. The Sneakerset features six exclusive product drops and eight new collaborations modelled by 12 influencers and creatives.

Highlights include tie-ups from Adidas x Pharrell Williams, Reebook x Victoria Beckham, Cecilie Bahnsen x Sophie Bille Brahe and Veja x Rick Owens. Considering that Net-a-porter.com has sold tens of thousands of Veja trainers to date, the latter tie-up is expected to fly off the virtual shelves. Rising brands on the streetwear scene – including Shoes 53045 – will pique the interest of sneakerheads around the globe, in addition to exclusives from Good News and BOTH.


As well as the oversized “Dad” trainer, “this season Net-a-porter.com is seeing a strong return to cleaner silhouettes and retro styles – a sleeker option to pare back elevated basics or a sharply tailored suit,” says Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director at Net-a-porter.com. “Some of our favourites also come with a refreshing and laid-back Californian vibe, from luxury brands Chloé and Isabel Marant, or with a feminine approach with designs from Converse x AMBUSH.”


Intel from Net-a-porter.com’s buying team also suggests that the 1970s Runner shoe is making a comeback. The website is ready to meet demand for the silhouette with a selection of Nike Daybreaks and new lace-ups from Adidas x Khaite – one of Net-a-porter.com’s fastest selling exclusive partnerships to date.

Dropping from now through November – with stock replenishments of best-sellers, including Golden Goose’s Superstar and Givenchy’s Urban Street – the sneaker juggernaut shows no sign of slowing down. From Seoul to Stockholm, Net-a-porter.com’s global community of trainer obsessives shows how to style the new-season kicks, too. Thank them at the checkout.

Katy Perry & Miley Cyrus’s Stylists Launch The Ultimate Underwear Kit

Celebrity dressers Jamie Mizrahi and Simone Harouche have condensed years worth of red-carpet styling knowledge into one brand. Entitled The KiT, the line of intimates comprises the foundations of a wardrobe. In other words, the seamless, smoothing knickers, mouldable bras, nipple covers and tape that are so often the hidden heroes behind a successful look.

While working with Katy Perry, Jessica Alba and Nicole Richie (Mizrahi) and Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian West (Harouche), the stylists frequently had to fashion their own tools, including adhesive thongs and X-shaped pasties. Now, the duo’s “kits” – including the “Cozy Kit,” and “Strapless Black-Tie Kit” – contain all the tricks to conceal and accentuate certain body parts. The 16-piece collection in seven shades and two fabrics – bamboo cotton and a nylon-Spandex hybrid – can also be purchased individually.


To amp up the personal styling USP, Mizrahi and Harouche will post how-to videos and Q&As online and via Instagram to show customers how to use the breast tape, bra extenders etc, and to explain why a short might be a more effective undergarment than a high-waisted brief on occasion. “Between us, we had so much knowledge and experience dressing women with different body types,” Mizrahi told Vogue. “We asked ourselves, what are the problem areas women face when they’re purchasing something or packing, and how can we take the guesswork out of it and make it easy?”

Rather than a traditional campaign, The KiT called upon the label’s famous friends to post pictures of themselves wearing the bodysuits and underwear set. They donated the funds they would have spent on promotion to the Women’s Cancer Research Fund, and will donate an additional dollar every time a person hashtags a selfie with #kitstokickcancer during October, which is breast cancer awareness month.

Dolce & Gabbana’s New Book Is An Exercise In Client Satisfaction

In their ceaseless quest to give their clients the ultimate fashion experience, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have put on four-day fashion show events in Sicily, Capri and Lake Como; shut down streets in Milan and thrown Italian banquets; and even invited them to walk their catwalk. The logical next step? Having their foremost customers star in a new coffee table book, titled “Queens”.

“All women are special for us, they are those creatures we all owe life to, they are queens by definition,” says Gabbana. Dolce, who spent two years photographing a select group of clients in a series of dramatic poses, agrees: “We want all our clients to feel special wearing a Dolce & Gabbana dress: at ease, sensual, elegant. Our most important goal is to satisfy their desires.” Presumably, those desires include being photographed in their Dolce & Gabbana spoils in an opulent baroque interior, or alongside a rococo painting, in the Milan Alta Moda space or the London Old Bond Street store.


“Photography is an old passion of mine,” Dolce reports. “I have chosen to combine some of the portraits with 40 paintings by famous artists, representing the most fascinating princesses, empresses and noblewomen of the last five centuries, because they emphasise the feeling of being in front of timeless beauties.” The book contains images of extravagantly outfitted clients from Europe, Asia and South America alongside paintings by Titian, Anton Raphael Mengs and Vigée Le Brun (the favoured portrait painter of Marie Antoinette, no less).

One such client is Chrissi Boris, who started buying Dolce & Gabbana in 1992, in Hamburg. Her first piece was “a pinkish blouse with a huge collar, which I still have in my closet,” she tells Vogue. From October 1994 onwards, she has visited Milan several times a year on a pilgrimage to the Via della Spiga store. “I had heard from some other ladies who had been photographed, so I was not nervous at all,” she says, of the Queens portrait experience. “It was really fun. I came with my son, and the location was marvellous.” How did it feel to be photographed alongside so many other glamorous women? “For me it feels absolutely normal, because we have been very close with Dolce & Gabbana for such a long time and I have met very many great people over all the years,” Boris says.

The photography process also allowed the designers to conduct some market research while strengthening the obvious bonds they enjoy with their customers. “We love to spend time with our clients, to chat with them, to talk about the collections and everything else,” they say. “Over the years we have developed deep friendships, sharing experiences that have enriched us as human beings and professionally as well. We met different people and realities that allowed us to discover different sides of ourselves.” Queens is available in bookstores from mid-December, £265 (Assouline).

Burberry Teams Up With TheRealReal To Tap Into Resale Market & Promote Circular Fashion

Burberry has teamed up with resale website TheRealReal to promote a circular economy in fashion. In doing so, the British heritage house has become the largest luxury brand to tap into the rapidly growing consignment market. The partnership follows Stella McCartney’s 2017 link-up with the platform, whereby consignors receive a $100 voucher for the brand when they resell one of its products on TheRealReal.

Rather than siphoning off dead stock to TheRealReal, Burberry will reward consignors of its products with a personal shopping experience, enticing them back into its stores. The exclusive retail perks will be rolled out across 18 US Burberry stores and include champagne, high tea and an edit of new Burberry products for consumers to shop from, including the spring/summer 2020 collection.


“We hope to not only champion a more circular future, but encourage consumers to consider all the options available to them when they’re looking to refresh their wardrobes,” said Pam Batty, vice-president of corporate responsibility at Burberry. The conscious business decision follows the brand’s pledge to halt unnecessary plastic packaging use by 2025. It has also stated that it will stop destroying unsalable products by burning them.

Although the luxury sector has previously been wary of the secondary retail space, because of its lack of profitability (it is the resale vendor that takes a cut of the profit, not the original retailer), brands are gradually waking up to the new opportunities to connect with consumers. Expect more brands to follow suit, and attempt to coax customers back into bricks-and-mortar stores – in the UK, too.

Is My Woolly Jumper From A Happy Sheep?

Amy Powney is the creative director of Mother of Pearl. On a mission to make her own label sustainable, Powney has been grappling with many troublesome questions about fashion, making her an expert in the field. In the fourth installment of her new bi-monthly column for Vogue, she tackles a the topic of ethical wool production: Is my wooly jumper from a happy sheep?

It’s that time of year when we start reaching for woolly jumpers. On the face of it, a knit feels like one of the most natural, comforting things in the world. But do the sheep the wool came from feel the same way? That’s up for debate and if you care about animal welfare you need to investigate. Wool can be pretty wondrous. When labels choose a natural, organic fibre, over a man-made synthetic, they’re automatically protecting the environment – bypassing the pesticides used in conventional farming that contaminate water supply and land, endangering animals and their habitats.

Once we’ve bought a wool garment, we wash them less frequently and at lower temperatures (think about it in comparison to how often you wash your T-shirts). That means it has a lower impact on the environment. And a good-quality, classic knit can be a keeper – as long as you take care of it. When a woolly jumper’s time has come to an end, it can be recycled – one of the best-selling coats I design is I made with felted recycled wool. Wool is also easily biodegradable.


So the environmentalist in me is sold on wool. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that your woolly jumper was a happy sheep. If you care about animal welfare, make sure your knits are made from mulesing-free wool. Mulesing is a cruel way of removing a sheep’s skin when it has been infested with flies, using no pain relief. I believe there are more humane ways of doing this. Even when mulesing isn’t an issue, Peta has witnessed some pretty horrific practices involving sheep shearing. In shearing season more than 350 sheep will be clipped in one day, and that pace is maintained for up to four weeks. Shearers are usually paid by volume, not the hour, which pushes them to work fast, putting animal welfare aside.

What can you do? Look out for knits with mulesing-free, RWS (Responsible Wool Standard) or GOTS-certified labels. Bear in mind that South American wool is always non-mulesed as the sheep breed and climate prevent the infestation issues suffered on Australian and American sheep farms. We source our wool in Uruguay and I personally visited the farm, Lanas Trinidad, to make sure the sheep were looked after. A big problem is that labels only tell you where your garment was “made” – which could just mean where it was sewn together. They don’t give you the wool’s country of origin. This issue of transparency is big – and one I will spend my life fighting for legislation on.

But until our government stops baa-ing on about Brexit, we’re going to have to do the leg-work ourselves. So don’t be afraid to ask your favourite brands what their animal-welfare policies are and where they source their wool from.

Rihanna’s Latest Savage X Fenty Lingerie Supports Breast Cancer “Thrivers”

Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty autumn/winter 2019 collection hit SavageX.co.uk straight after the New York Fashion Week runway spectacular. The queen of production already has another underwear set to promote – this time in support of the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF), the charity she founded in honour of her grandparents Clara and Lionel Braithwaite, in 2012. The limited-edition Savage X Thrivers Xtra VIP Box supports breast cancer survivors, or “Thrivers”, by raising funds for research and support.


“I want to raise awareness for under-served breast cancer communities and the Savage X Thrivers represent young women of all walks of life living and thriving with cancer,” Rihanna said of the product. “[An easy way] for people to get involved and make a difference is by shopping this box and collection.” Inside each gift box is a scalloped lace bralette and Brazilian knicker set in pink AF, a pair of ultra-soft ribbed knit trousers in cotton candy, and a pack of Savage-themed dominoes. A minimum donation of £3 for each £48 package must be made by customers.

During the month of October, @SavageXFenty will be sharing the stories of “bad-ass women who are making a difference by bravely standing up and speaking out” about their experiences, as per the brand’s notes. In the “Thrivers” launch picture, Stephanie Seban – who was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer eight years ago at the age of 31 – stands tall alongside Bianca Muniz, who was 11 when she discovered she had ovarian cancer. Muniz was re-diagnosed a second time with breast cancer in her early twenties. Johanna De La Cruz, who was diagnosed with breast cancer after having an ectopic pregnancy at 32, joins them with Nalie Agustin. She was diagnosed at 24, went into remisson and then suffered a reccurence two years later, but is currently living and thriving with stage four metastatic breast cancer. Meet these women at SavageX.com/SXFThrivers

The Story Behind Hedi Slimane’s Wedding Gift To Justin & Hailey Bieber

This week Justin and Hailey Bieber got married (again!) at the Inn at the Montage Palmetto Bluff, located in South Carolina. The event served as the couple’s official wedding ceremony, even though they were wed last year during a civil ceremony at New York’s City Hall. Celebrity guests in attendance included Kris, Kendall, and Kylie Jenner; models Joan Smalls and Camila Morrone; singer Justine Skye, Jaden Smith, and many more.


To mark the occasion, Celine’s Hedi Slimane sent the couple a very special wedding gift – and Vogue has been given a closer look at his custom creations. The designer crafted bespoke “Husband” and “Wife” jackets for the newlyweds, embellishing their new titles onto the back of sleek motorcycle jackets (in matching black leathers, of course). The leathers are a signature across all of Slimane’s collections, although this particular outerwear had a more personal touch: “I believe that’s his handwriting, and then they studded it with chrome studs,” said Karla Welch, Justin’s stylist. “They loved the jackets. They wore them at the wedding.”


Slimane’s gift was particularly special to Justin, who is a big fan of the designer’s work. “Justin used to wear all of Hedi’s clothes when he was at Saint Laurent,” Welch added. “All his suits are by Hedi.” Hailey evidently appreciated the gift too: she was spotted on her big day tearing up the photo booth in the new piece, in a photo posted by her stylist, Maeve Reilly. She also thanked Slimane in her Instagram Story after the wedding, writing, “Thank you so much for these jackets @celine will basically be wearing this for the rest of my life.”

How Fashion Got Friendly: The Familial Spirit Sweeping A Once Frosty Industry

Fashion has long held a reputation as a particularly frosty industry, fraught with The Devil Wears Prada-style animosity and long-standing designer rivalries. “It’s a story that goes back at least as far as the dislike between Chanel and Schiaparelli and the isolation of Cristóbal Balenciaga,” reflects Vogue’s contributing editor Sarah Mower, of a tradition maintained by everyone from Karl Lagerfeld (who famously loathed both Azzedine Alaïa and Yves Saint Laurent) to Charles James (who vocally resented everyone from Diana Vreeland to Halston). “For a long time, this veiled hostility between houses created a fortress mentality,” continues Mower. “It was just the way things were, and it’s where fashion got that reputation. In London in the 1980s and 1990s it was no better – in fact, it could be vicious!”

Recently, however, a new energy has swept through fashion. Designers have become each others’ biggest advocates, with collaborations de rigueur, and a warmly familial spirit the new norm. Case in point: if you email Virgil Abloh, you swiftly receive a cheery response from his personal assistant, Athi, who will tell you, “It is such a joy hearing from you, thank you so warmly for your dear message; we hope that you have such a splendid rest of the day!” It’s certainly a far cry from the clipped tones of Miranda Priestly’s receptionist.

“It’s difficult to tell exactly where the shift is, but I choose to believe it’s there,” reflects Abloh. Having grown up within community-minded streetwear culture, he has upheld the same principles within the ivory tower of Louis Vuitton, where he is artistic director of menswear, as he did circling its walls. “Ultimately,” he says, “being divided as a fashion community isn’t alluring to me.” Abloh, who has experienced its impenetrability first-hand – he was refused entry to shows during his years as Kanye West’s creative collaborator, and a barbed commentary still occasionally surrounds his success – is a prime example of the new age of “friendly” designer. Not only does he know how to command hype better than almost anyone, but he learned his trade while sleeping on Kim Jones’s Maida Vale floor; is regularly seen sitting front row at the shows of friends, such as A-Cold-Wall, Heron Preston and Alyx; and often proclaims his clan’s successes to his four-million-strong Instagram following (his stories offer an introduction to a new wave of international creatives from filmmakers to young designers).

He’s not the only one using social media to shout out his peers: Marc Jacobs, a prolific shopper, is regularly seen flaunting wares from Prada, Celine and Balenciaga (Gucci’s Alessandro Michele sent him an array of custom-designed boots to wear for his wedding earlier this year; #gratefulnothateful, posted Jacobs next to his floral-printed Gucci shopping bags). In fact, during February’s New York Fashion Week, Jacobs went so far as to stage the young Japanese designer Tomo Koizumi’s debut show in his Madison Avenue flagship – and then publicly thanked him for the opportunity to host his “talent, colour and joy”. “There’s a sense – in fact, a reality – of community spirit that’s widening within the industry,” says Samuel Ross, founder of A-Cold-Wall and an Abloh protégé. “Individuals are willing to support one another quite openly. The internet has reformed the once institution-like approach to communication, and social media is allowing the exchange of ideas and conversation to flow faster.” (Incidentally, in an effort to pay Abloh’s support forward, Ross donated the entirety of his NewGen bursary to his former employee, Eastwood Danso, launching his own label.)


But it would be easy for harmony to dissolve behind the glossy façade of Instagram. It is even more momentous, then, that the collective mentality extends beyond public perception. Designers such as Craig Green, Erdem Moralioglu and Christopher Kane are taking seats on panels at NewGen and the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, where they share with the next generation the lessons they learned when building their businesses; Matchesfashion.com has set up open days for young designers to come for advice on commercialising their first collections; and Paul Smith runs mentoring workshops. “I feel it’s designers with their own namesake brands who best understand what young designers go through day-to-day,” says Kane. “It can be daunting: cash-flow issues, late deliveries… Fashion is fierce, and you have to be on top of it all or you will sink fast. Erdem and Roksanda [Ilincic] are among my best friends – we share our ups and downs, and give each other advice all the time. It’s important to create your own family.”

“Speaking to people who really understand what you’re going through is priceless,” says Eden Loweth of Art School, which, in its nascent stages, was taken under the wing of Ilincic, London’s queen of fluid, feminine elegance. “As the brand grew really quickly, we found ourselves struggling with knowing what to do sometimes. Roksanda has supported us with crucial advice. What’s amazing about people like her, Christopher and Erdem is they understand that for London’s identity as the fashion capital to grow they need to share honestly with people like us.”

Equally, like-minded peers are beginning to share insights on factories and suppliers – probably this industry’s most closely guarded secrets. Richard Quinn, whose eponymous brand went stratospheric after he was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design by Her Majesty herself last year, has long been discussing the best seamstresses with London’s purveyor of sequined glamour, Michael Halpern, whom he met while studying at Central Saint Martins. While Mower recalls a time when CSM students inhabited closed cubicles and hid their work from each other, breeding “a general culture of mistrust in which designers were pretty much openly hostile to anyone external to their own cliques”, opening your address book – or even your studio – now seems commonplace.


“When you meet people who are on your level, and who say what they’re doing, it doesn’t feel like a threat – and there doesn’t need to be that competitive, protective mindset of ‘these are my contacts’,” says Quinn, who turned to Halpern when he didn’t know what a line sheet was or how to put one together. Through the print studio he set up in his south London railway arch, where he has produced fabrics for the likes of Wales Bonner, Mowalola and Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, alongside his own designs, Quinn is already passing on information to the students who come and use his machinery at a discounted rate when creating their graduation collections. “I think back to people giving me that sort of advice when I was starting out. Obviously fashion’s a hard industry, but it doesn’t need to be cut-throat.”

That new approach is translating into luxury retail, where an intimidating atmosphere and Pretty Woman sales staff are being replaced by new traditions. Both physical and digital stores are extending a spirit of inclusion into their respective realms: Selfridges’ customers have been invited to boxing sessions with Michèle Lamy, and Matchesfashion.com has offered darts nights with Hillier Bartley and house parties hosted by Neneh Cherry. No longer reserved for big spenders or VIP editors, retail’s new approach is distinctly democratic: first come, first served, and available to all.

“We are always trying to amaze, amuse and surprise our customers,” explains Sebastian Manes, Selfridges’ buying and merchandising director, who has overseen installations including a fully operational in-store skate bowl and a bodega staffed by A$AP Rocky. “We pride ourselves on an environment that feels warm and inviting, and believe that every single customer deserves the same great experience.” Equally, “the aim with [London townhouse] 5 Carlos Place is to ensure all our activities are inspiring, imaginative, democratic and inclusive,” echoes Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director at Matchesfashion.com. “Our strategies are unique as we’ve grown from a small business into a large one, but we always try to go the extra mile, to give a bit of TLC. Manners and kindness count for a lot.”

In a world that seems ever more divided, fashion is offering a radical new sense of inclusivity, where people of different backgrounds, peer groups and practices are uniting to present a framework for the future. Within a global climate of separatism, a world long renowned for its isolationist tendencies is establishing a new agenda. “Right now, we’re setting up all these boundaries – and my generation’s future is no longer in our hands,” explains Mowalola Ogunlesi, a young designer who attributes much of her success to her community, and extends that free-love liberation on to her runways. “Us being together and supporting each other means that – no matter what – we’re going to find a way forward.”