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Slick Woods, it was a celebration of body positivity and sensuality for a woke audience that wanted more than the outdated Victoria’s Secret model.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, MatchesFashion.com 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 Jet.com 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 MatchesFashion.com. 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.

Agent Provocateur’s Autumn/Winter Collection Is Redefining What Lingerie Can Be In 2019

The best foundation for any cool-weather wardrobe? The most exquisite lingerie. Enter Agent Provocateur’s “unapologetic” autumn/winter collection, where a spirit of decadence meets a sense of emancipation. Think irreverent, playful and feminine designs that will transport you to another world – specifically the pink world of AP, a private club where inhibitions are nonexistent and fun is the only goal.

Case in point: the accompanying campaign shot by Vogue photographer Charlotte Wales along with Danielle Polanco and Ursina Gysi. Inspired by the cult of dance (and, of course, desire), the brilliant trio joined forces with creative director Sarah Shotton to shoot a diverse female cast moving to the classic house track “Deep Inside” by Hardrive. Among the 25 stars of the video? Ballerina Kylie Gonightly, twins Deuce la Dolce and artist Madame Spirale – the perfect models for the brand’s theatrical creations.

“This campaign is inspired by the new hedonism: the feeling that comes with looking after yourself, pushing your body to its limits and an unapologetic expression of kinky sexiness and fun,” Sarah Shotton tells Vogue. “We wanted the campaign to highlight the sisterhood coming together, exploring how dancing can make you feel alive and how wearing AP can transform you.”


The result is a thoroughly modern update on classic lingerie – more concerned with liberation than titillation, female empowerment than the male gaze. Revel in the provocative cut of the barely there Prudence high-necked bra; wear the embellished Manuka playsuit for a dominatrix vibe; or embrace your curves in the vintage-inspired Rozlyn caged waspie. To quote “Deep Inside” in the campaign video: “How does it feel to be a woman? Amazing...”

Just as remarkable as the avant-garde nature of Agent Provocateur’s designs is their luxurious quality. If Shotton has reinvented lingerie for 2019, the brand’s devotion to exquisite craftsmanship remains exactly the same as when it first transformed the market in the 1990s. Consider it a form of lace-and-leather trimmed armour to carry you #IntoThePink of AP’s tantalising world of endless play.

Zendaya Premieres Her New Tommy Hilfiger Collection While Channelling Her Inner 70´s Diva

When Grace Jones and Pat Cleveland danced down the runway at the TommyxZendaya spring/summer 2019 show, the message was clear: the Disney Channel graduate and Hollywood darling was raising the bar set by Tommy Hilfiger’s first collaborator: Gigi Hadid.

For her second season with the US clothing giant, Zendaya is taking over the Apollo Theatre in Harlem on 8 September to present her autumn/winter 2019 see-now-buy-now edit. Inspired by the legendary women who have graced the Apollo’s stage, from Aretha Franklin to Ella Fitzgerald and The Supremes, the duo has “reimagined era-defining power dressing with a bold modern edge” – and highlights are already online to browse and wish list.

Building the hype herself, Zendaya has been playing the poster girl for the 1970s-inspired collection in New York. At a Lancôme fragrance launch this week, she wore a black-and-white polka dot dress with an undone pussy-bow. Then, at The Daily Front Row Fashion Media Awards, where her longtime stylist Law Roach was honoured, she premiered a burgundy velvet power suit complete with a matching cap, and another dotty pussy-bow blouse.


On the night of the presentation, fans will be able to watch the show via a virtual reality e-commerce experience on Uk.tommy.com. Viewers will have real-time backstage, front row and runway access, as well as first dibs in the online pop-up shop, which will sell the pieces as soon as Hilfiger and Zendaya have taken their bows.

For those in New York, a TZH-monogrammed bus with snakeskin interiors will be parked outside the Apollo selling the edit, and providing ample Instagram opportunities. A week later, the double-decker will set up shop outside an as yet undisclosed location to allow passers-by to immerse themselves in the Harlem experience once more.

Now in its sixth season, Hilfiger knows what works for his #TommyNow concept (his means of reaching customers outside of his stores), and he’s pushing it to the extreme. All aboard, TommyxZendaya is rolling into New York Fashion Week in (diva) style.

Introducing Flannels, The Biggest British Luxury Retailer You’ve Never Heard Of

Disclaimer: I have always loved a department store. They’re the one place you can truly lose yourself. Literally. Aged 4, I remember bi-annual shopping trips with my mother, from Winchester to Waterloo to Selfridges, where she would browse the rails, distracted, and I would wander off – always to the shoe department. And not the kids’ one.

I’d slip my toddler feet into anything I could reach. Almost every visit, my mother would have to fetch me from security after a friendly sales assistant took me by the hand and delivered me there. I was never scared, because I never felt alone. That’s why I’m convinced that, despite the convenience of an online click and “proceed to purchase” flash, there is no beating the allure of a shiny big department store. Or rather, a “multi-brand retailer.”

Flannels – widely known as the biggest British luxury retailer you’ve never heard of – must agree: its 18,000sq ft flagship opened on London’s Oxford Street this week. “With online, luxury shopping is no longer limited to the big cities, but we want to ensure all of our customers can enjoy the experience of choosing their pieces in a beautiful store environment, too,” says Michael Murray, head of elevation at Sports Direct Group, the conglomerate which owns Flannels.


Situated in the middle of Europe’s busiest shopping street and at the edge of Soho, the £10m concept space is designed by Italian studio Pconp (the people behind the covetable interiors for Gucci, Tom Ford and Saint Laurent) in partnership with the artist Riccardo Previdi. Think polished gold étagères, parquet wood and herringbone marble floors strewn with colourful kilim rugs. A mid-century chandelier by Gaetano Sciolari looms large over Seventies-era leather sofas and potted glossy green ferns. The four-floor emporium houses brands from Balmain to Burberry, Versace to Vetements, Gucci to Ganni. In addition to ready-to-wear and accessories, shoppers will also find technology and home accessories – in a practical spin, the fitting rooms boast charging points.

Expansion plans aren’t halting at London. “We have several really exciting openings in place, which will see us take Flannels to a national scale,” says Murray. The retailer has opened 17 stores within the last two years, including shops in Oxford, Newcastle, and Chester, and they plan to open another 16 stores across the country within the next year, tapping into customer bases in smaller towns such as Watford, Sutton and York.

But, back to London – where to really lose yourself? Head to the Flight Club space. In celebration of the opening, the store will play host to the US-based sneaker store famous for its rare and one-of-a-kind designs from the world’s biggest brands. As per, that’s where I’ll be parking my feet. Except this time, I’ll be able to find my size.

“This Is A Time For Boldness”: Extinction Rebellion On Why It Is Boycotting London Fashion Week

When the climate campaign group Extinction Rebellion occupied five prominent sites in central London in April 2019, just six months after it launched, it became one of the biggest civil disobedience events in recent British history. Over 11 days of demonstrations, thousands of activists marched, blocked bridges, glued themselves to trains and parked a pink boat in the middle of Oxford Circus. A total of 1,130 protesters were arrested, 10,000 police officers were deployed and an estimated half-a-million people were affected by the disruption.

Since then, the movement has gained a global following: its Berlin branch chained themselves outside Angela Merkel’s Chancellery; protesters in Paris blocked the Pont de Sully bridge over the Seine; and campaigners in New York stopped traffic outside the The New York Times, urging the newspaper to take action (it eventually scrapped plans to sponsor one of the world’s biggest oil industry conferences).

Up next? Another demonstration in the UK capital, this time calling for the cancellation of London Fashion Week. Targeting show venues as well as the British Fashion Council’s headquarters in Somerset House, the organisation will stage disruptive events from 13 to 17 September, which will culminate in a funeral procession called London Fashion Week: Rest in Peace.

Ahead of the protest, Vogue meets Extinction Rebellion activists Sara Arnold and Jessie Brinton to discuss their plans – and find out why they’re holding the fashion industry to account.


Tell us about the funeral you have planned for London Fashion Week.

Sara Arnold (SA): “Some of the press have said that we’re shutting down London Fashion Week. We’re not. The actions we’ve planned are largely symbolic. We’ll walk from Trafalgar Square to 180 The Strand starting at 5pm on 17 September, the last day of London Fashion Week. When we get to 180 The Strand, we’ll do a ‘die-in’. We’ll drop to the ground on the streets outside and block the road. The funeral is to commemorate the lives that have been lost from this crisis. It’s about giving people space to grieve and reflect.”

Jessie Brinton (JB): “This is a time for boldness. We have to shift the conversation and you can’t do that gently. Everything else has been tried. We’ve been talking about sustainability since the 1970s and it hasn’t worked. Now, we have to do something new.”

What response are you hoping for from the industry and beyond?

SA: “We weren’t expecting London Fashion Week to be cancelled this time, but we have to make people realise that these things are coming to an end whether we like it or not. The UN Secretary General says we have until the end of 2020 to change course. The fashion industry is completely out of sync with the crisis that we’re in, and if fashion week goes on next season it’s going beyond that deadline. Abrupt climate breakdown is happening right now and it only gets worse, so we need to stop business as usual. Plus, London Fashion Week is hugely influential. There’s a fire alarm going off and it takes that first person to get up and walk out for others to follow. We need the fashion industry to be that person.”

Will there be Extinction Rebellion protests during New York, Milan or Paris fashion weeks?

SA: “Extinction Rebellion started out in the UK, but now we have groups all over the world. We will be communicating with our members in other cities and sending out a guide on how to boycott fashion to our international teams, but how they take that forward will be up to them.”

Will you also be boycotting fast fashion?

SA: “We have done in the past, with people going into fashion outlets and shopping malls for ‘die-ins’. We’ll continue targeting them, but what we’re doing at London Fashion Week is about the industry as a whole. Fast fashion is seen as the worst perpetrator, but that doesn’t mean luxury fashion is off the hook. The brands at London Fashion Week see themselves as leading the way, so of course they have something to answer for.”

What about designers who are promoting sustainable practices?

SA: “We spoke to Katharine Hamnett a while back, and there are other designers — Martina Spetlova, Patrick McDowell, Phoebe English — who support us, and I hope will continue to do so.

We’ve also been talking to the British Fashion Council and Caroline Rush about how we can have our voices heard on the inside. We’re hoping to have some kind of presence in 180 The Strand within the Positive Fashion space. I hope we can do a version of our ‘Heading for Extinction’ talk. It’s an overview of all the science and a look at the social aspect too, including why non-violent direct action is the best way to tackle this problem.”

What’s next for you after London Fashion Week?

SA: “We need the system to change and that will happen when everyone takes to the streets for the rebellion on 7 October. There will be a blockade of Westminster as well as key infrastructure within London that contributes to the crisis, and we’ll block it for as long as it takes. We have three demands — tell the truth, act now and go beyond politics — and we need the government to make headway on those demands by October.”

JB: “Whatever happens, we won’t be going away — we’ll just grow. The movement is only going to go in one direction because the science isn’t going to change.”

What message do you have for Vogue readers?

SA: “Join us in October. Either strike from work or bring your work to the streets. If you have a position within a company, give your staff permission to strike and support them if they get arrested. If a lot of people take to the streets, we can achieve our demands quickly.”

JB: “We all need to look at the world through a new lens and keep talking about this issue. Nowadays, you see a headline and react, but then the news cycle moves on and suddenly you’re back in a world where it’s not happening anymore. I find myself doing this sometimes, I think it’s called functional denial. But climate change is happening, and the time to act is now.”

Jennifer Lopez’s Impromptu Diving Board Photo Shoot Is A Lesson In Power Posing

Jennifer Lopez’s latest power poses prove that 50 really is fabulous. This summer the singer celebrated her birthday milestone surrounded by friends, including Ashanti and DJ Khaled, and her fiancé Alex Rodriguez. And she’s continuing the celebrations while on board a yacht in St Tropez, she power posed her way through an impromptu photoshoot on a diving board. Taking to Instagram, the singer shared a photo of herself in a white ViX x Nikki Beach “Forever Young” swimsuit, complete with JLo’s signature gold hoops and shades.


Power poses aside, Lopez’s 25-year-plus career is going from strength-to-strength in her special year. She’s set to appear in Hustlers, which, in case you’ve been living under a rock, will hit our screens this month. Inspired by a 2015 story in New York Magazine’s The Cut, the film centres around a group of strippers who repeatedly maxed out the cards of Wall Street bankers after putting a “sprinkle” of MDMA and ketamine into their drinks in the wake of the financial crisis. The cast line-up is stellar: Constance Wu (who plays Roselyn Keo), Julia Stiles (Jessica Pressler), while Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, and Madeline Brewer all play strippers. There are much-anticipated cameos from Cardi B and Lizzo, too. Mark your calendars.

Thebe Magugu Wins The 2019 LVMH Prize

Thebe Magugu, the South African designer based in Johannesburg, has won this year’s LVMH Prize. The award comes with a prize of €300,000 (£217,000) and a year’s worth of mentoring from the LVMH group. Alicia Vikander, one of the faces of Louis Vuitton, presented Magugu with the honour. “The talent in this room is quite simply stupefying, and the finalists represent the future of fashion,” said the actor.

The Jury Prize, which has been renamed the Prix Karl Lagerfeld – the late designer once sat on the jury with the likes of Maria Grazia Chiuri, Marc Jacobs, Nicolas Ghesquière, Humberto Leon, Carol Lim, Jonathan Anderson, and Clare Waight Keller – went to Hed Mayner, an Israeli designer who presents his gender-neutral fashion in Paris.


Delphine Arnault, the founder of the Prize, paid tribute to Lagerfeld’s contributions, saying: “This event owes much to Karl Lagerfeld, a creative genius with immense intelligence who was present since the Prize creation in 2013.”

This year’s finalists for the LVMH Prize were narrowed down from a record number of applicants: more than 1,700 from 100 countries. A capsule collection comprising 50 pieces designed by the eight finalists is available to purchase on the luxury retail website 24 Sèvres. Eric Goguey, CEO of 24 Sèvres, told Vogue: “Facing current economic and environmental issues, this new generation of designers shares a unique vision of 'committed fashion'. They are constantly thinking of new ways to create, whilst questioning the status quo. Whether it's upcycling, or working with sustainable fabrics or processes, for example, this crop of talent is truly creating the future of fashion today.”

German Photography Titan Peter Lindbergh Has Died

The West Poland-born, German-raised photographer Peter Lindbergh has died. The news was announced via his official Instagram account, which read: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Peter Lindbergh on 3 September 2019, at the age of 74. He is survived by his wife Petra, his first wife Astrid, his four sons Benjamin, Jérémy, Simon, Joseph and seven grandchildren. He leaves a big void.”

The prolific lensman had a long history with British Vogue, most recently capturing 15 stars for the September 2019 Forces For Change issue, which was guest-edited by HRH The Duchess of Sussex. For the mammoth cover shoot, which took place over three continents and several days, and – in a first for the magazine and for him – via video link, Lindbergh was the only man for the job. “He makes everybody feel their best,” said British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful.

The Duchess’s instructions to Lindbergh for the shoot – “I want to see freckles!” – were perfectly aligned with his style of photography. “I hate retouching, I hate make-up. I always say, ‘Take the make-up off!’” Lindbergh told fashion features editor Ellie Pithers. “The number of beautiful women who have asked me to lengthen their legs or move their eyes further apart… You would not believe. It’s a culture of madness.”

The Sussexes echoed this in the family’s social tribute to the creative: “His work is revered globally for capturing the essence of a subject and promoting healthy ideals of beauty, eschewing Photoshopping, and preferring natural beauty with minimal make-up.”


“Sometimes I worry I am becoming an old shmuck, but it was wonderful to photograph this project,” Lindbergh noted on his latest collaboration with the title, which was delayed on account of the photographer’s relaxed approach to digital correspondence. “I got an email [from Edward],” he recalled. “I didn’t see it for two months, because I never check my inbox. Finally, I got a call from an unknown number, and it was him. I was so thrilled.”

“Peter Lindbergh was both a visionary photographer and a dear friend,” said Enninful upon hearing the news of his passing. “His ability to see real beauty in people, and the world, was ceaseless, and will live on through the images he created. He will be missed by everyone who knew him, worked with him or loved one of his pictures.”

The September issue was Lindbergh’s first cover for the magazine since the September 1992 issue, but it is his now-iconic January 1990 cover, featuring supermodels Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz and Christy Turlington, that is perhaps his most famous.

From his work for the international Vogues to the emotive Pirelli calendars and Calvin Klein campaigns that made him a household name, Lindbergh’s elegant and cinematic mode of shooting will, as his estate said, leave a void in fashion.

Net-A-Porter’s Next Wave Of Young Designers Is Instagram-Grown & Comes With A Conscience

Net-a-porter.com has unveiled the four emerging brands it will be championing for the autumn/winter 2019 season – and chances are you’ll have seen them while scrolling down your feed. Le 17 Septembre, BITE, The Sant and Naturae Sacre were all discovered on Instagram. From 4 September, the rising stars will feature on the e-tailer’s most visible and valuable promotional spots, and receive marketing, buying and business mentorship from the team, through its Vanguard programme. Now in its third season, the incubator scheme aims to give fashion’s bright young things a 360-degree approach to building a successful and sustainable business that goes beyond design.

“Instagram has become such an important platform for us in terms of discovery, but it also allows us to see what our customers are loving,” Elizabeth von der Goltz, Net-a-porter.com global buying director, tells Vogue. Barcelona-based handbag brand The Sant, for example, was scouted by one Net-a-porter.com staffer while queuing for the Eurostar. Le 17 Septembre was a standout star from the Korean scene, whose self-taught founder, Eunhye Shin, began her fashion career as a blogger. BITE and Naturae Sacrae’s green-conscious designs were immediately saved to the team’s Insta boards owing to the platform’s sustainability push via its Net Sustain initiative.


“It is so important to strike the balance between commerciality and a strong aesthetic,” von der Goltz shared of how the nurturing process has grown over time. “We want the brands to establish roots and build up a style that’s recognisable and distinctive, and that can be worked on and developed. Designers generally spend a lot of their time focusing on creativity, but as soon as they have to take care of business, it’s the creativity which suffers.”

Peter Do is the standout success story from the Vanguard so far. Net-a-porter.com has increased its buy by 97 per cent for the coming season, including an exclusive party capsule, after high-profile fans, including Sienna Miller, raised Do’s profile. This year’s recipients can expect exactly the same accelerated treatment – thanks to additional presence in Net-a-porter.com’s showrooms, press events, lookbooks, influencer campaigns and on social media – but time will tell which brand will fly off the virtual shelves.

Here, the brains behind Le 17 Septembre, BITE, The Sant and Naturae Sacre tell Vogue what challenges they currently face as SMEs, and how they intend to use Net-a-porter.com to break into mainstream fashion.

Le 17 Septembre


“I majored in violin at college and was in the musical field for almost 10 years after graduating,” says South Korea-based Shin. “Fashion was a way of alleviating stress, so, with the little spare time I had, I used to transform my mother’s old clothes to make them look trendy for me. I started a blog in 2011 with no intention of commercialising it, but my style built up a following. I launched my first collection in 2013, and have produced 10 since, by studying and teaching myself to make each piece. One of the hardest challenges is communicating and negotiating with partners, so the Net-a-porter.com union will be a great opportunity to introduce my brand to a variety of consumer groups globally.”

BITE


“BITE is an acronym for ‘By Independent Thinkers for Environmental progress’,” the four partners – William, Veronika, Elliot and Suzanne – behind the 2016-born brand explain. “We came together as a collective to offer an alternative model for people who, like us, believe in the urgency to fight climate change and don’t want to compromise when it comes to the clothes we wear. We create a perennial wardrobe using organic, natural materials and ecological innovations within a transparent supply chain in Portugal, but making a brand as sustainable as possible while being aesthetically beautiful is a challenge. We’re now in our fourth collection of menswear-inspired tailoring, and, through the Vanguard, we’re hoping to take more people on the journey.”

The Sant


“I founded my contemporary bag brand two years ago while working in an architect’s studio,” says Laura Riera. “I felt the need to express my aesthetic and wear pieces I could identify myself with. I’ve produced two collections so far in our atelier in Ubrique, using leathers that come from Italy and accents from metal smiths in Catalonia. The pieces are all quite simple in form (geometric, clean lines) and colour (mainly black and white), but they have unique corrugated handles. Our aim is to last, and Net-a-porter.com is a trusted voice to help build our name in the market.”

Naturae Sacra


“Naturae Sacra’s journey started in Milan as an academic thesis considering what contemporary luxury should be,” says Gizem Pirincciler. “My partner Kerem saw its potential and decided to create a business to support my point of view. I believe a luxury consumer is looking for a piece that is completely unique, made by an artisan – a true artist – with a story behind it. We have built up our own production line that respects nature and people in Turkey, because, unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to find high-quality, environmentally friendly materials. One of the most special features of our bags is the sculptural resin handles, produced by local and talented women, which take time. Our artisans may make five leather bodies in a day, but it takes a whole day to make a handle. It will be easier to solve these problems as we become more visible in the global market.”

Hedi Slimane’s Celine London Flagship Is Part Retail Floor, Part Gallery

If Phoebe Philo’s Céline London flagship was as elegant and desirable as her brand vision, Hedi Slimane’s accentless aesthetic is a testament to his fanatical obsession with Brutalist minimalism. The site: 103 Mount Street. The launch date: now.

Celine fans were first given a taste of Slimane’s hyper-polished store concept in April when he opened the brand’s menswear store on Old Bond Street. The high-shine marble, buffed steel and pristine mirror installations have all been replicated in the mammoth Mayfair space that is part retail floor, part contemporary gallery. Housed among the glossy display units and wooden furniture created by the designer himself are four works from the Celine Art Project: David Jablonowski’s “Futures Contract, Hardcopy 2 2019”; Fay Ray’s “Black Moon”; Lukas Geronimas’s “Column 2019”; and Tiril Hasselknippe’s “Balcony (ribbevegg)”.

The most striking is Geronimas’s totemic structure that looks out at shoppers from within the floor-to-ceiling front windows. The commission was originally for Slimane’s personal collection, after he visited the Canadian artist’s studio in Mid-City LA. Captivated by Geronimas’s world – his inspirations include the writings of Gene Wolfe, the music of Rafael Anton Irisarri, and the choreography of Kazuo Ohno – Slimane shot his portrait for his journal, and began musing over Geronimas’s principal proposition: “the dynamics of content and support”. “Wood and metal are materials Hedi feels strongly about,” Geronimas tells Vogue. “I decided on presenting a stacked column of two repeated forms – a square and a round – with metal dividing each action I took to manipulate the wood.”


The towering 500lb structure is crafted from three pine beams that Geronimas found at a small salvage demolition yard in El Sereno, one massive fir timber sourced from a timberworks in Temecula, aluminum, and a steel pole built by his friend and fellow artist Jeremy Jansen. “If I had to get the work to London on my own, I could,” Geronimas contemplates. “Of course that was not the case. There were craters, shippers, and installers”. The seven forms were slipped onto the metal base and anchored to the floor after painstaking hours of finessing and FaceTiming Celine’s head office.

On the synergy between his work and Slimane’s aesthetic, Geronimas reflects, “Celine is a house that doesn’t really deal in compromise. It is well balanced as a result of engaging in extremes – it is very warm and it is very cold. The Mount Street store in particular is an unrelenting and very precise presentation of materials, of materiality, and I love it for that.”

While Geronimas personally hopes that viewers of his work will be “enchanted by the two varieties of wood that have been given an exquisite new environment in which to be present”, the brand will no doubt hope that the gallery spirit will entice customers to pause and spend time there. The interiors might feel angular and abstract, but Mount Street is just a bigger snapshot into Slimane’s precise mind. And while he’s still making his mark on Celine, everyone is watching.

Christian Dior Has Surpassed Alexander McQueen As The V&A’s Most-Visited Exhibition

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams has officially become the V&A’s most-visited exhibition, after the institution extended its run for seven additional weeks. Upon packing away some 200 rare couture garments and 500 objects, spanning accessories, beauty, media, and Christian Dior’s personal possessions, 594,994 visitors had taken in the show. The colossal retrospective – which traced the history and impact of the couturier, and the six artistic directors who have succeeded him – surpassed the former record set by Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015 by over 100,000 visitors.

Led by fashion and textiles curator Oriole Cullen and set designer Nathalie Crinière, the V&A team reimagined the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, for the south-west London gallery space. Within the 11 sections – which began with “The New Look” (a focus on Dior’s famed Bar suit) and “The Dior Line” (the founder’s 10 defining looks from his 1947 and 1957 tenure) – sat a new installation exploring the designer’s fascination with Britain.

“It’s a story that hasn’t really been told before,” Cullen told Vogue of her extensive research into what the 21-year-old man from Normandy connected with upon his first visit to the country to perfect his English. “It was a very formative moment, and something he really associates with freedom and falling in love. From the grandeur of the great houses and gardens and British-designed ocean liners to the food he ate, which, most found less than appealing in the ’50s, the culture became an endless pool of inspiration for him,” said Cullen, before adding, “And he loved British women – the way they wore their tweeds as well as their ballgowns.”


The transformation of the Sainsbury Gallery into the Dior world was quick in relation to the V&A’s usual time frame, revealed Cullen. But the storied museum laid the foundations of Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams long ago. “We worked closely with the house and Soizic Pfaff, the wonderful archivist there, since the ’60s, so they were happy for the Paris exhibition to come to us,” Cullen explained. “The V&A audience has a real hunger for fashion, so we thought it would be great to show the amazing spectacle through our own lens.”

Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A, thanked visitors for going to such great lengths to experience the show – tickets for the entire run sold out in three weeks after opening on 2 February. “The V&A has a history of staging revelatory fashion exhibitions, so we knew that Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams would be popular, but we have been overwhelmed by the phenomenal visitor response.”

Now, the Knightsbridge team’s attention will shift to the installation of Tim Walker: Wonderful Things – the third solo show of British fashion photographer and long-time Vogue collaborator – which opens on 21st September.

Kaia Gerber: "When I'm Home, I'm Living The Life Of A 70-Year-Old Woman"

Kaia Gerber celebrates her 18th birthday today. As her peers are preparing to start university, following formative years spent sneaking into pubs and hurrying through homework, Gerber is entering young adulthood with the fashion world at her feet, after seasons spent captivating designers from New York to Paris with her fragile beauty and astonishingly assured strut.

As the only daughter of Cindy Crawford, it's a world she was born into. But while the teenager attributes her impressive drive to the example set by her "inspiring" parents (her father is the nightlife magnate Rande Gerber, who turned the tequila brand he co-founded with George Clooney into a billion-dollar business), she has little time for suggestions that her own success is the result of any leg-up from her famous family. Neither, it seems, does her mother. "Even though it probably bothers her, we all realise that, yeah, Steven Meisel will see her [because of who she is]," Crawford says. "But you and I both know that Meisel, or Chanel, or Vogue – well, they might have her for an audition, but they're not booking her because she's my daughter... I mean, she's doing things I never did."

The dizzy heights Gerber has already reached range from designing her own capsule collection with the late Karl Lagerfeld to walking in Pierpaolo Piccioli's landmark Valentino couture spring/summer 2019 show, a spectacle that reduced more than one stony-faced fashion editor to tears. And far from being nervous in the presence of industry legends, the teenager – who recalls Naomi Campbell staging spiritual rituals at the family home in Malibu on New Year's Eves – insists she found it "more intimidating to walk into school and be around people my own age" than to be on set with Meisel at 13. She doesn't suffer with pre-shoot jitters to this day. "I mean, I'm just standing there - how bad can I do?" she says.


Between the catwalks and the cameras, there isn't much room for romance, it seems. "When I'm working, I don't have the energy to even flirt with anyone. I'm sorry, I just can't," she laughs. "But I'm not losing hope in all love forever." Plus: "I have backgammon at my house, and that’s all a girl needs. When I’m home, I’m living the life of a 70 year old woman."

Gerber, though she could easily appear an all-American princess, seems resolute in maintaining a somewhat geeky persona – a quality that's all part of her charm. It's also a philosophy she's keen to recommend to the hordes of girls who look up to her. Her one piece of advice? "It’s just being yourself: not being afraid to read a book or talk about things that might be considered nerdy." She might have just turned 18, but this supermodel – as she says herself – is an old soul.

Grab Your Nylon Backpack, Prada Is Orchestrating A Great Escape To Selfridges's Corner Shop Campsite

From Michèle Lamy’s boxing ring to Gucci’s millennial-pink Instagram haven and The Rolling Stones’s merch stand, Selfridges’s Corner Shop has become London’s premiere experiential retail space. Next up, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in a 1250 sq ft space, is Prada, whose “Prada Escape” concept takes customers, or rather “world travellers”, to its shoppable campsite.

Imagine the functionality of Prada’s signature nylon backpack – which was initially made in a military parachute factory and now comes in a greener alternative, regenerated nylon – but rolled out across all products. Outerwear becomes more utilitarian with the addition of cargo pockets and extra zips; accessories up their practicality thanks to drawstrings, roller-buckles, straps and rings; and there’s site-specific merch, such as reusable water bottles, traveller’s notebooks from Japanese stationer Midori; and camouflage-wrapped chocolate bars created by Milan pastry connoisseurs Marchesi 1824.


“Prada Escape has a wide-ranging offer of womenswear, menswear and accessories edits, as well as a selection of exclusive pick-up items with a touch of iconic Selfridges yellow,” Sebastian Manes, Selfridges executive buying and merchandising director, shares. “This is the first time we have let a brand use the colour throughout the space – normally, the nature of it means that everyone can create a world that is completely their own.” His personal must-have is the affordable confectionary, which is surely the epitome of Instagram fodder.

When Mrs Prada first conceived her now-iconic nylon accessories in 1984, it was “really an idea”. “I was searching,” she told Vogue in 2018, “because I hated all the bags that were around. They were so formal, so lady, so traditional, so classic.” Decades later, her alternative approach to “the traditional, conservative idea” of what is stylish has been pushed to the outdoorsy extreme in a major department store. Selfridges knows that it will still sell.

African Design Talent Is The Real Winner Of The LVMH Prize 2019

One of the fashion industry’s worst habits is appropriating rather than recognising African design talent. With two designers from the continent – Kenneth Ize (Nigeria) and Thebe Magugu (South Africa) – in the final for this year’s LVMH Prize (the first time African designers have been shortlisted since Adebayo Oke-Lawal of Orange Culture in 2014), it signals a long overdue sea change that will hopefully see more of the continent’s creatives stocked at international retailers and installed in the world’s best known fashion houses. “I am from Africa, I am an African designer, that’s a fact,” says Magugu. “What is problematic is when people reduce the continent’s different cultures and aesthetics by describing them as African.”

The LVMH prize affords the winner mentorship and a €300,000 grant, while the newly titled Karl Lagerfeld Prize will award a second designer from the shortlist with a year’s mentorship and €150,000. Ahead of the announcement of this year’s winners on 4 September, Vogue meets both designers to hear about their entryway into fashion, their very distinct approaches to design and what being included in the shortlist means to them.

Kenneth Ize


The Lagos-based menswear designer is upholding centuries-old weaving traditions, and has bold ambitions to galvanise his name as a lifestyle brand by the end of 2019 – creating education opportunities and jobs for local people along the way.

The tradition of weaving cloth among the Yoruba ethnic group in southwestern Nigeria is thought to date back to the 15th century. Of these textiles, the aso-oke (top cloth) – identifiable by its intricate pattern, the colour and design often imbued with special meaning – is regarded as the most prestigious and therefore reserved for special occasions.

29-year-old Kenneth Ize’s first interaction with the fabric was through his mother, who he remembers wearing a silk headwrap, known as a gele, to parties. “The clothes women wear tell stories, something strong and magical you can pull inspiration from,” he says. Now the textile is the cornerstone of his eponymous brand, established three years ago with his former classmate Axel Berner-Eyde, which places the artisan at the centre of its design practice.

In April, Ize presented his first womenswear collection alongside men’s at Arise Fashion Week in Lagos. The likes of Naomi Campbell, Liya Kebede and Alton Mason took to the runway in deftly tailored blazers cut from aso-oke, and the woven striped patterns continued through knitted dresses and pleated shirts, which were interspersed with bold lacework, embroidered cotton and floor length adire. The collection, which drew on his Nigerian heritage and upbringing in Austria (a country renowned for its lacework) earned Ize the joint Designer of the Year award at the annual event.

Ize grew up in Linz to Nigerian parents, and it was while studying fashion design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, in 2010, that he gained an interest in African textiles. “It was a really technical school, we had to do everything ourselves,” he says, crediting the institution, and the tutelage under Bernhard Willhelm (BA) and Hussein Chalayan (MA), for showing him what the fashion industry was in need of: authentic products.

After a stint in New York interning at Edun – the brand established by Ali Hewson and Bono in 2005, which sources production throughout Africa – he spent part of his second year of studies in Nigeria researching traditional weaving methods. “It wasn’t easy, I realised I didn’t know much about these things and I couldn’t just walk into any factory and start asking questions,” he remembers. Relying largely on word of mouth, Ize eventually found a weaver by the name of Rakia Momoh, whom he affectionately calls “Queen Bee”.

This month, as part of Ize’s installation at the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair showroom during Paris Fashion Week Men’s, Momoh will travel overseas for the first time to demonstrate the weaving traditions that have been passed down to her through the centuries. Next year, Ize intends to start showing in the French capital, in addition to Arise, and before the end of 2019 there are plans to launch a furniture and interiors line, expanding as a lifestyle brand.

Ize’s ambitions may be bold, but they are underpinned by a solid strategy. He recognises his greatest gain from being shortlisted for the LVMH Prize is the international exposure. “Doors are opening now, conversations are happening,” he says. “As a business person, I don’t think I would change my approach if there is any financial gain. Money comes, money goes.” The brand is already stocked internationally at the likes of Browns, Ssense, Machine-A and Alara (the David Adjaye-designed concept store in Lagos). But upscaling artisanal weaving, even to this scale, is a challenge. It takes around 38 hours to make two yards of fabric for a single jacket; and there is also a dearth of skilled crafts people. So, as a long term solution, Ize is working with the Nigerian government with the aim of introducing weaving into the school curriculum.

In the more immediate future he hopes to move all sample making – much of which is still done in Austria – to Nigeria. “I want to bring professionals here to train people and expand on these [garment making] skills,” he says. “This form of [vocational] education is very much needed in Africa. We’re all about creating job opportunities for people.”

Thebe Magugu


Out of his Johannesburg studio, the womenswear designer is crafting beautiful clothes and publishing zines, subtly charged with a powerful social commentary that’s set to drive contemporary South African design into its next chapter.

When Thebe Magugu was a young boy growing up in Kimberley, the capital city of South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, his mother happened across a stash of fashion sketches under his bed. “My interest in clothes came from her, I’m from a family of very strong independent women,” says the 25-year-old designer. “When they bought a new dress, they would say ‘OK, how am I going to walk in this dress, how should I greet people?’ They like to play with how fashion can make you a different character.”

Observing how “magnetic” his female relatives would feel in certain clothes, with encouragement from his family, Magugu decided to pursue his dream – giving other people that same experience, a sense of allure, through his designs.

In 2012, Magugu relocated to Johannesburg to attend LISOF Fashion Design School, where he studied fashion design, photography and media. “It was very intense, because it was essentially three majors worked into one course,” he says.

Nevertheless all these disciplines are clearly present in his creative process today. Earlier this year, he joined forces with editors Lelo Meslani and Amy Zama and art directors Abi and Claire Meekel to launch Faculty Press – an annual zine which, in Magugu’s words, is dedicated to “highlighting the work of innovative friends and collaborators from different fields, who represent a contemporary South Africa”. The 150-page publication explores themes such as LGBTQ+ rights and feminism, with contributions from musicians (Fela Gucci and Desire Marea, aka Faka, and jazz singer-songwriter Zoë Modiga), activists (Lady Skollie) and photographers (Travys Owen and Maxime Michelet).

Magugu created the inaugural issue of Faculty Press in tandem with his AW19 collection entitled African Studies – a reworking of the “visual cues” he picked up during his childhood. The collection features dresses cut from check fabric, by now something of a Magugu hallmark; floral puffer jackets with flounce sleeves; and wide leg trousers slashed at the side to reveal lace pants (“reminiscent of the slips my grandmother swore by”). It’s also a collaborative project, with some designs bearing prints by South African illustrator and graphic designer Phathu Nembilwi. Both collection and zine were presented at London's International Fashion Showcase (IFS), where Magugu was crowned winning designer.

There is no denying Magugu’s artistic prowess, but he manages that difficult task of melding creativity with enterprise. On graduating, he was awarded best commercial collection by LISOF, and shortly after he was offered an internship in Cape Town with Woolworths, one of South Africa’s largest retailers. “It was really useful to learn about the business and production side of the industry, because this isn’t what you learn at school,” he says. “But I really didn’t want to work for anyone else – there were too many ideas I wanted to explore. So I went back to Johannesburg and set up my own brand three years ago and I’ve been running it ever since.” Before long, word spread about the young designer making beautifully crafted two piece suits, and once again Woolworths came knocking at Magugu’s door, this time to offer him a retail partnership which is now in its third year. If he were to receive an injection of funding – from the LVMH Prize for instance – he would use it pragmatically he says, “to upscale production to meet current demand”.

Magugu’s work, though, is about more than making beautiful clothes – it starts conversations about deeper social issues. Nembilwi’s illustration on his "Girl Seeks Girl" dress (2018) depicts two women embracing and was designed to encourage a sense of unity following Karabo Mokoena’s murder at the hands of her boyfriend in 2017 – a case that underscored South Africa’s critically rising levels of violence against women. His IFS presentation, Dawning, was arranged on a scroll with South Africa’s highly progressive fifth constitution drawn up in 1994, a year after Magugu was born, when apartheid finally came to an end. “There is so much more to our continent than a generic print that many people would consider to be African,” he says. “As a designer I want to merge my heritage and culture, which is a modern globalised view of the world, because that’s authentic to South Africa and who I am.”

Katie Holmes Is Now A Cashmere Bra Influencer

When pictures emerged of Katie Holmes hailing a taxi wearing a barley-coloured cashmere Khaite bra and cardigan set in SoHo, social media stopped. Regramming of the sexy-cosy twinset commenced until the actor and her knitwear became a phenomenon in their own right.

“I live for an exposed bra,” one Vogue staffer text another. And apparently, so did the rest of the fashion industry. Khaite’s “Eda” bralet, which retails for $520 (£427), sold out within an hour. The “Scarlet” cardigan, costing $1,540 (£1,265), which the New York-based brand says “envelops the body in mid-weight cashmere selected for its exceptional softness and robust texture” is still available to purchase. But, as Holmes proved, it’s all about the double dose of butter-soft wool.


Nothing about the look was insouciant or off-the-cuff as the photos suggest. From Holmes’s milk chocolate nail varnish to complement the husk-hued sweater, to her messy ponytail to enable maximum shoulder exposure and the fastening of just one tortoiseshell button, it was a lesson in artful autumn-appropriate styling as the seasons are about to shift.

Khaite creative director Catherine Holstein, who founded the brand in 2016, said it was “obvious” why the two-piece had received an overwhelmingly positive response. “I want everything in cashmere,” she told The Cut. “I want a cashmere house. Why not a bra?” Khaite has been fashioning woollen bras, which Holstein says are surprisingly stretchy and supportive for different cup sizes, for two years. But now, thanks to Holmes, who shall henceforth be known as a cashmere bra influencer, they will be everywhere on street stylers during the upcoming show season.

Rihanna’s Fenty Squad Takes Over Peckham For Release 8-19

News just in from the Fenty empire! While the wheels are in motion for Rihanna’s second Savage X Fenty lingerie spectacular during New York Fashion Week, the musician-turned-mogul has been shooting her latest Fenty fashion drop in south London.

The campaign imagery for Release 8-19, which is available to purchase on Fenty.com from August 28, is set in Peckham. The brainchild of Ghanaian-Russian photographer Liz Johnson Artur and former Vogue Italia creative director Giovanni Bianco, five Fenty models – Nayara Oliveira, Yerim Ko, Nafisah Zia Zohra, Max and Katharina – scope out the nightlife in SW15. From roaming around the arcades off Rye Lane, power walking through the train station arches and frequenting the nearby parks, it’s a fabulously high fashion yet lo-fi approach to showing off Rihanna’s latest wares – without relying on her to always be the poster girl.

The latest edit steers the Fenty customer towards tailoring and outerwear with a strong emphasis on layering. The statement shield sunglasses and bold architectural jewellery in polished gold with crystal pavé have been replaced with sports shades and simple hoops, for styling that leans on streetwear more heavily than before. “There is a huge diversity in the collection, because that’s my style,” Rihanna told Vogue upon the brand’s launch in May. “I’m all over the place, in sweats one day and a dress the next.” It’s a catch-all design process she hopes will attract men, too.


The quality of the hoodies and blazers, alike, is never compromised – even the campaign notes reference “shameless extravagance”. “We’re using the best fabrics I’ve ever encountered; everything is so well made,” she explained. “We want to make something that someone can have forever. I know what’s gone into the making of every single piece.” The stiletto boots, too, are built to last – no matter how wild a London night out becomes – because the self-professed bad gal has road tested them herself. “If I can’t wear my stuff then it just won’t work,” she said.

Could the UK-centric imagery bring the travelling Fenty pop-up shop to London? With LVMH’s financial backing, Rihanna has already staged the ephemeral boutique concept in Paris and New York, so it seems plausible that London could be next for ribbon cutting and countless fan selfies. Watch this space – and her Instagram account, where Sainsbury’s bags are giving the game away that she’s hiding out in the capital.

LVMH Renames Special Prize In Honour Of Karl Lagerfeld

LVMH’s Special Prize will henceforth be named the Karl Lagerfeld Prize in memory of the late fashion icon, who served as a judge on the panel during his twilight years.

“Karl Lagerfeld, creative director of the house of Fendi since 1965, was involved in the prize since its launch,” said Delphine Arnault, the brains behind the springboard for fashion’s rising stars. “He was fully committed to it since day one, transporting us with his enthusiasm and his energy, sharing with everyone, whether other jury members or candidates, his culture and his passion for fashion. We shall always cherish those precious moments.”

The inaugural Karl Lagerfeld Prize will be presented during the sixth edition of the contest on September 4 at the Fondation Louis Vuitton. The winner will receive €150,000 (£136,000) and a one-year mentorship scheme under the LVMH team, which has been teaching skills such as sourcing, production, distribution, communication and marketing since the Prize’s inception in 2013. Last year, more than 1,700 applicants from 100-plus countries entered, according to WWD. The rules – it is open for anyone under the age of 40, who has produced and sold at least two women’s or men’s ready-to-wear collections – will remain the same under the Prize’s new moniker.


The Karl Lagerfeld Prize “naturally perpetuates the closeness we developed over the years and is a tribute to the man’s unique creative genius, to his ability to turn Paris into the fashion capital of the world,” continued Arnault. Lagerfeld, himself, won an award from the International Wool Secretariat in 1954, thus reinforcing the value of gaining recognition during the early days of a designer’s career. For 2019’s shortlist of brands – Bethany Williams, Andrealage, Bode, Hed Mayner, Kenneth Ize, Phipps, Stefan Cooke and Thebe Magugu – the initial commendation speaks for itself.

September will also see “The White Shirt Project” come to life, whereby seven of Lagerfeld’s closest friends and collaborators, including Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne, Diane Kruger and Amber Valletta, have reimagined the designer’s signature shirting. Each button-down will be displayed in Lagerfeld’s headquarters on the Rue Saint-Guillaume during Paris Fashion Week, before they are replicated 77 times and sold for €777 (£700) in accordance with Lagerfeld’s favourite number: seven. All proceeds will go to Sauver la Vie’s work at Paris Descartes University, which he supported for several years.

Kate Hudson On Her Recycled Fashion Line: “I'm Not An Activist In Any Way”

After yet another brand asked Kate Hudson to promote its products, the actor had an epiphany. “I could either do endorsements or roll up my sleeves and create products that matter to me,” she tells Vogue. She chose the latter, and in 2013, Fabletics, Hudson’s line of workout wear, was born. Five years down the line, her first fashion offering, Happy x Nature, is hitting the rails in Selfridges. It is based on the endlessly positive entrepreneur’s commitment to bettering ourselves, but this time with a pledge to protect the environment, too.

“I’ve always wanted to start a ready-to-wear brand,” Hudson admits. “But in this climate, there’s a question mark about creating something new. I knew it had to be as conscious as possible.” Fifty per cent of the fabric used in Happy x Nature’s 35-piece debut collection is recycled, and the designer has made a promise to increase this to 100 per cent once the April-born company hits its stride. Repreve, a fibre formed out of recycled plastic bottles, is its primary fabric source, and a relationship with Cone Denim, a pioneer in creating responsible denim through its Sustainblue initiative, has proved fruitful. Hudson is keen to highlight the skinny jeans – each pair is made from two used bottles – and no doubt consumers will respect this product’s green tagline, as well as its biodegradable packaging.


Has Hudson always had the personal wardrobe of an eco warrior? “Oh god no,” she deadpans. “I’m a human who’s learning as I go.” The mother-of-three, who rose to fame as the inimitable Penny Lane in 2000’s Almost Famous, backtracks. “I’m not an activist in any way,” she clarifies. “My life is so crazy, I don’t know if I have the energy to be a true, fully devoted activist. That being said, I want to be responsible. I want to be someone who is a part of movements that matter.”

Her face lights up as she circles back to fashion. “I still love clothes,” Hudson purrs. “The clothes that are luxurious, beautiful and obviously not good for the environment. But, I can start the process of finding a responsible way of creating similar pieces. Step by step – that’s the world that I’m happiest in.” Highlights in her launch edit are the pared-back pieces – beige suiting, checked coats and simple cotton dresses – rather than the ones that lean heavily on print.

As so many brands jump on the sustainability bandwagon in order to reach a “woke” audience, Hudson’s caveats are made in earnest. She doesn’t want to “preach to people”. She “celebrates the small steps” they are taking to “make a difference”. Are the clothes covetable enough for consumers to join her on the journey? Prices on the eco-friendly fabric tags are attractive (largely between £60 and £150), and Selfridges has certainly pledged its confidence by giving Happy x Nature a prominent position within its womenswear department. But, as Hudson herself acknowledges, she isn’t promising a new proposition. “I don’t ever approach any business as having to be different, I just really want it to come from an authentic place.” Time will tell if her authenticity pays off.

Chanel, Prada & Gucci Pledge To Mitigate Fashion’s Negative Environmental Impact

Thirty-two companies representing some 150 brands have signed up to the “Fashion Pact”, a Kering-led effort to reduce the industry’s negative impact on climate, biodiversity and the oceans. Details of the commitment will be outlined to world leaders at the G7 summit in Biarritz on August 26, but Kering chief executive François-Henri Pinault – who President Emmanuel Macron tapped to lead the charge in April – will discuss the coalition’s promise at the Elysée Palace today with Burberry CEO, Marco Gobbetti, and president of fashion at Chanel, Bruno Pavlovsky.

“Pinault got his shirt wet,” a Kering spokesperson told Business of Fashion of his achievement enlisting roughly 30 per cent of the industry. “Considering the deadline, it was challenging.” Signatories so far include high-street giants H&M and Inditex; luxury houses Chanel, Hermès International, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Capri Holdings and PVH; and sportswear labels Adidas and Nike. Although Stella McCartney has pledged her commitment, the designer’s investor and rival Kering conglomerate, LVMH, has chosen not to take part in the united effort.

The “Fashion Pact” details that the 32 companies will eliminate single-use plastics by 2030 and back textile innovations to mitigate microfibre pollution. The industry is currently responsible for 20 to 35 per cent of the microplastics in the ocean, according to the French Ministry of Ecology. Emissions targets will also be set to limit global warming and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Six per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from textile production currently. The pact, which promises social inclusion, fair wages and respectful working conditions throughout the supply chain, is not legally binding, but each member will present an annual progress report. Pinault will host a dinner for CEOs of the signatory businesses in October to expand plans, and more companies are expected to sign up in the interim.


The “Fashion Pact” is one of several sustainability initiatives implemented by brands rallying together to create change, but perhaps has more riding on it owing to the gravitas of the G7’s involvement. Not only are the labels answerable to Macron – the pact is part of his 2017-launched One Planet Summit – they will be under scrutiny from the world’s leaders, as well as the ever discerning consumer who is demanding more from fashion.

Before Pinault’s October gathering, attention will be on the international fashion week circuit and the detriment it has on the environment. In London, campaigners from Extinction Rebellion are attempting to halt show production in the face of the climate emergency. Time will tell whether the industry is actually listening to the loudening warnings.

A V&A Documentary About The Inner Workings Of The Storied Museum Is Coming

From near and far, four million visitors walk through the doors of the Victoria & Albert museum in London every year. Is it any wonder, then, that we’re curious about what really goes on behind the scenes? Thankfully, a documentary is set to answer our questions and quench our curiosity.

Entitled Secrets of the Museum, the six-part series – which will air in 2020 on BBC Two – will showcase the inner workings of the storied museum of the arts. “Access to make a series inside the V&A is a documentary-maker’s dream,” says Alistair Pegg, director of programmes at Blast! Films, who is currently filming the series. “We’re looking forward to bringing a side of the museum to life that visitors never get to see – from discovering some of the thousands of items kept in the stores, to revealing the expertise and dedication of staff working to preserve and protect a huge range of wonderful objects.”


From meeting the museum’s curators, conservators and technicians, each episode will introduce us to a new area of the British institution. “The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance, with one of the most inspiring and varied collections in the world that spans 5,000 years of human ingenuity,” says Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A. “It is a profound privilege to care for and bring to life the stories of these objects for the nation, and we are delighted to share our work and expertise through this exciting new series.”

From Grayson Perry’s Brexit vases, Christian Dior haute couture gowns and Charles Dickens’s original manuscripts to Kylie Minogue’s wardrobe, the museum is home to 2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years of human ingenuity. “Our aim at the V&A is to champion creative industry, inspire the next generation and enrich everyone’s imagination,” continues Hunt. “We hope this series will inspire a new generation of designers and makers, museum-goers and day-trippers to fall in love with the V&A and its remarkable collection.” Mark your calendars.

Taylor Swift Teams Up With Stella McCartney On Lover Merch

When plotting the merch for her much-hyped album Lover, there was only one designer Taylor Swift had in mind: Stella McCartney. The two, you see, have been friends for some time. “When I started spending more time in London, Stella and I would go on walks, have cocktails and talk about life,” Swift tells Vogue. “So, when it came time to write this album, I name-checked her in one of my songs and when I played her the album, I said, ‘should we do something?’”

McCartney, one of the most well-connected women in fashion, was gobsmacked. “I couldn't believe that my name is in a Taylor Swift song (what?!),” she shares. “After Taylor played me the entire album it gave me such incredible inspiration for the collaboration and it really revolved around the music… What I love is how we really complement each other in what we generate creatively together.”

As well as the myriad tropes and symbols layered within Lover, the capsule takes inspiration from graffiti, vintage band tees, old-school Taylor Swift lyrics and the popstar’s cat, Benjamin Button. The offering consists of organic cotton sweatshirts and T-shirts, a sustainable viscose bomber jacket, and a bag crafted from Eco Alter-Nappa leather, which comprises recycled polyester and oils from vegetable waste. The last two limited-edition pieces (retailing for £1,335 and £525 respectively) will be available to order on Stellamccartney.com from the evening of August 22 and to purchase in standalone London and New York stores on August 23rd.


The core merchandise, meanwhile, will drop in the “Lover Experience” Taylor Swift pop-up shop sponsored by Capital One in New York from August 23-25, as well as the exclusive pieces and a reusable water bottle – a McCartney favourite.

“At Stella McCartney we are so serious in how we manufacture and how responsible we are,” the designer is keen to stress of the green principles that have underlined her brand since day one. “We are always looking at sustainability and not killing animals. It means we have such a serious undertone in… how we conduct ourselves as a brand. So I always have to counter that with having a lightness of heart, a sense of humour and not make people feel terrible.”

Naturally Swift, a master at teasing snippets of her material on social, will be posting exclusive video content of the pair in the studio that proves McCartney is anything but humourless. Follow the hashtag #StellaxTaylorSwift to see a first look at the collection and for more announcements from the power duo.