Friday, January 21, 2022

Ones To Watch: Paris Men’s Fashion Week Fall 2022

With physical formats dominating the Paris men’s fashion week schedule, ANDAM winner Bianca Saunders leads the crop of labels making their entrance on the calendar for fall 2022.

Bianca Saunders

Last year’s ANDAM fashion prize winner Bianca Saunders is making her Paris debut with her first solo runway show this season on Wednesday, regardless of the challenging border control situation between France and the U.K.

“I’ve always had that vision. I want to become a household name. Being in Paris is what really gives you more international credibility,” Saunders told WWD in an interview during which she revealed her five-year plan, which includes working more in Paris and eventually moving her operation there. Before Paris, she showcased her collections with the British Fashion Council’s Newgen program in London.

The fall 2022 collection will be an ode to timeless beauty, and will showcase her experiments with cut, movement of the clothes, and how they interact with the body, the designer revealed.

Expect some sharp jackets, coats and trousers, as well as some leather and denim pieces with her signature rolled-shoulder design.

Meta Campania Collective

A drive through a village on the Amalfi coast is how Meta Campania Collective got its name, according to co-creative director Jon Strassburg, who founded the brand with Heiko Keinath and Constanze Walcher.

“The village’s name of ‘Meta’ just struck me as the name of the brand we were eventually going to start,” he said, admiring its four-letter simplicity and the just-right feeling, owing to the region’s role as a magnet for artists through the centuries.

Adding “Campania” was a tongue-in-cheek nod to established luxury brands and their birth city names, and “collective” completed the name in a reference to the creative circles it moves in.

While the brand’s moniker came long before Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, was renamed, the cofounders happily embrace the coincidence, with Strassburg noting their interest in technology and belief that “there is a bridge of sorts between the extremely artisanal to the future.”

But unlike the tech conglomerate, Meta Campania Collective is firmly on the physical side. Now in its second season, the label continues to explore utility flavored with canny details that will appeal to the detail-obsessed, like the construction of a collar that avoids the unseemly puckering that feels inevitable in shirts.

And not only is their style a take on the well-worn wardrobe of artists, but the ASMR qualities of the label’s luxurious materials catch attention, from the satisfying smack of a calfskin leather bag on the table to the whisper of a car coat’s cotton crinkling in the hand — even through Zoom’s less-than-ideal acoustics.


Namesake

For Taiwan-based brothers Richard, Michael and Steve Hsieh, fashion wasn’t necessarily on the cards as a career plan. The first studied biology, the second psychology and the third was in civil engineering.

But threads were certainly a thing that was often discussed in the family — with their father, too. “We’ve always been really into fashion and always talked about it with [him] as well,” they said on a Zoom call. Hence why they called their brand Namesake — and “In the Name of the Father” in Chinese — as a “way to contribute to [their] family’s legacy.”

Basketball, another shared passion, is where they mine the inspiration for the brand, which showed its first collection in January 2020, mere weeks before the pandemic shut everything down. But that didn’t stop them from acquiring a healthy retail following that includes Dover Street Market, Ssense, SKP and Browns, which were attracted to its unusual mix of sporty gear and urban utility, with a dash of preppiness.

For fall 2022, the Hsieh brothers thought back to a seminal moment of their adolescence, when the school’s marching band galvanized its basketball team on the way to the season’s last championship game. “We lost that [match], but I still remember how music and jazz brought all of us together,” said Steve, naming musician Andre 3000 and 1970s New Orleans as stylistic cues.

Also worth noting, while the brand is still in its infancy, the brothers are no fashion newcomers. Since 2013, they’ve been at the helm of noted Taipei concept store NE.SENSE, which stocks the likes of ERL, Casablanca and Y/Project alongside Rick Owens and Comme des Garçons Homme Plus.

Ouest Paris

Born and raised in Paris, designer Arthur Robert fell into the indigo crowd as a teenager. “It amused me because there’s a very geeky side to denim, with very specific knowledge. There is a real culture with forums and sites where fans share their custom washes,” he said, adding that his early fascination with Hedi Slimane-era Dior Homme turned into a love affair with fashion.

After a decade mostly spent at Ami, and later designing for other brands, Robert felt the desire to start telling his own story, especially around his love of workwear and denim.

But first he wanted something that would hold up to his habit of cycling around the city. “I’d find myself divine when I set off from home and when I’d arrive, I’d look like a fool,” said the designer, who was after looks that were “strong fashion-wise but not precious.”

For the inaugural collection of Ouest Paris, named after his familial roots in southwestern France, Robert infused the contemporary male wardrobe with notions taken from traditional regional garments where “male clothes can feature volumes, pleating and even ornaments, albeit sober ones — all elements usually assigned to a more feminine aesthetic.”

Steven Passaro

With his MA in men’s wear fashion design from London College of Fashion under his belt, Steven Passaro had just moved back to Paris to escape the worst consequences of Brexit when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown ensued.

The designer ended up “sewing his first collection alone in his basement,” as he put it humorously, trying to figure out how to best approach this new reality.

“That’s how I put in place my pipeline using 3D software for pattern and product development, before making a single prototype,” an approach that is as much a philosophy against waste as it is the frugal choice of a young designer on a budget.

Although he defines the tenets of his label as “tailoring and technology,” Passaro admits to being obsessed with the “complexity of fabric, of living materials” and the techniques used to shape them. Take couture details, which he wanted to apply to men’s wear, in an approach that “ultimately negates the notion of gender” in a garment.

Cue a fall 2022 collection inspired by the “intense, almost violent” sensations experienced by those with hypersensitivity, where Passaro explores trompe-l’oeil layering applied to trenchcoats, cape jackets and pleating that telegraphs his vision of “the fold as a metaphor for different facets of the self, always in motion.”

Beyond the season, Passaro is also working on “Act of Growth,” which allows clients to bring back garments to be revamped by the brand. “Refreshing items — adding a panel here, modifying a seam there — reduces consumption but still feeds the need for newness,” he said.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Fendi’s Neo-Dandy AW22 Men’s Show

British Vogue’s fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen breaks down the five key takeaways from Fendi’s AW22 men’s show.


Fendi is bringing back the art of dressing

Silvia Venturini Fendi didn’t hesitate: “We’ve had enough of streetwear. This is the moment to talk about a new sophistication,” she said before her Fendi men’s show. She dedicated it to a post-pandemic cause: bringing back elegant menswear, and updating an old-world gentleman’s wardrobe for new generations, who may have grown up wearing track pants and tennis socks to dinner, but will surely start craving the finer things sooner or later? “There are things that will never go away – I love sneakers, they’re so practical and nice – but you can’t just have that. It’s nice to have the freedom to combine things. It’s about teaching them again to recognise quality, to buy less but better, and that will bring us towards a new sophistication,” Venturini said.


It was post-pandemic occasion wear

Imagining a dandy of the post-digital age, Venturini hacked up the classic tailoring volume and played with its proportions. The approach birthed a series of mutated suits, from cape-sleeved blazers to cropped blazers and those in between, and trousers that were either super slouchy, chopped-off, or enveloped in floor-length skirts. She layered those silhouettes with generous overcoats and capes, retaining a pristine line that was ultimately attractive – especially in a pandemic that won’t seem to quit. “It’s about the classic wardrobe. I wanted to work on the idea of the ceremony of dressing up. Maybe we have less occasions now, but the ones we have, we have to celebrate. There’s nothing more beautiful than starting the day with dressing yourself up. It’s a way of living your day with care,” Venturini said.


Behold, the neo-dandy

Venturini sent her models down a raised runway shaped like a double-F and bathed them in a dusty light that felt as tactile as the fabrics she called precious. “We know that people will now buy less but better, so I wanted to concentrate on really beautiful fabrics,” she explained, listing her choices of soft cashmeres and wools paired with silks and shearling. “Anything that has a sensuality.” The preciousness was underlined by hints of romanticism: little flower corsages, transparent knee-high socks, knitted ruffs, and pearl necklaces. If it hinted at a neo-dandyism, it wouldn’t be so strange. A quest for “uninterrupted sublimity”, as Baudelaire put it, is always a reaction to its opposite. Such as lockdown dressing. “We have to fight, in a way, against the conditions,” Venturini said, referring not to Covid restrictions but the wardrobe they’ve spawned. “I don’t want to lose the beauty of celebrating occasions. Maybe we have less, but we have more to celebrate.”


Get ready for the male décolleté

Within her elegance, Venturini chopped off the collars of jackets and knitted cut-outs into the chests of her jumpers and djellabas to reveal a daring male décolleté. “I think it’s elegant,” she said. “It’s an old word, which, to me, has something we can use today after these years of dressing in sweatshirts and pyjamas. It’s formal, but in an informal way. It’s about the attitude and the volume, which is more of today.” For the generation whose youth has been affected by the lockdowns, creating dress codes for the future is, in itself, a reaction to constriction. “They’ll want to have a lot of freedom, not just physically but in the way they dress and express themselves. It’s a moment when we have to break every rule. There’s nothing more important than that,” Venturini said.


Fendi launched its first crypto wallet

Speaking of future dress codes, Venturini – an accessories magician – used the show as an opportunity to launch her perhaps most forward-thinking accessory to date: a crypto currency wallet in collaboration with the digital asset management platform, Ledger. Created in the shape of the Fendi O’Lock logo designed by her daughter Delfina Delettrez – and which also graced the collection’s prints and buckles – the wallet was created to bridge reality with the metaverse. “It brings the two worlds together,” Venturini said. “It’s something we have to learn little by little, all of us.” Is the Fendi matriarch putting personal investment into crypto currency? “I’m not, but I never say never.”

Victoria Beckham Launches Pre-Fall 2022 & Her First Monogram

With her pre-fall 2022 collection, Victoria Beckham didn’t just set out to bring sexy back. She brought her own monogram into the world, too. Maintaining a luxurious tension between cheeky and sophisticated, her languid dresses came with sexy zip details and erotic cut-outs, while her aviation-inspired tailoring and outerwear were sensually sculpted or alluringly strict. On a video call from her studio in West London, Victoria Beckham told Anders Christian Madsen why.

You were never that into monograms, were you?

I’ve done a lot of things in my life, Anders, and I’m pretty sure you’ve documented a fair amount of it. But I was never that person who wore big branding all-over. Neither I nor David. But I can see that a lot of people do like that, so the challenge was, how do we do branding in an elegant and sophisticated and timeless way that we can carry on? I’m not interested in creating something that someone will wear once.
 
How did you approach your VB monogram, then?

Most of my starting points in designing are things that I don’t like. And I don’t like monograms, so I really enjoyed that challenge. And actually, this is now in my personal wardrobe and I’m really excited to wear it. It’s elegant, it’s chic. I think it’s going to feel quite timeless, so it’s something I can continue through the season.

Monogram used to be something houses put on bags. Has that completely changed?

You know, I think that, you know, maybe there will be a bag coming with that, you know, very soon…

Oh, okay!

It would certainly lend itself very well to an accessory. But for me, it just makes something quite timeless. It’s so subtle it looks like a print. I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time, but it was about finding the right way of doing it. The pre-collection seemed like the right time to launch it.
Are you ready to see some stranger covered in your initials? You know, designers can’t choose who buys their things…

I just think this is so chic that whoever wears it will look like the chicest person.

What is the fabric you’ve used in these monogram pieces?

It’s viscose twill. This fabric is great, because you can throw it in your suitcase and it doesn’t crease. The amount of hotels I’ve been to that don’t know how to steam or press drives me crazy. So, we’ve got to find ways around that. We’ve got shirts, trousers and dresses in this fabric.

It’s all very sophisticated, but when you look closely, isn’t it rather a saucy collection?

I wanted to bring sexy back, but in my way. I don’t bury myself beneath clothes anymore. I wanted to celebrate being a woman. I want to accentuate my bum and my waist with seaming details, and feel sexy again. I wanted more structure, I wanted a leaner silhouette, and I wanted to make more of an event of dressing.

Is it all those trips to Miami?

Very possibly.

How was Christmas in Miami?

It was so Miami. It was face masks and thongs. It was good to be back.


How did you go about bringing sexy back?

When you look at the skirt, there’s lot of intricate seaming details, which is very signature; something I’ve focused on from the very beginning. It’s really flattering on a woman’s body because it lifts the bum and elongates the silhouette. We finish it off with these leather details, which make it really tough as well.

Do I sense a certain strictness?

I wanted a bit more discipline. It gives me a confidence. We’ve all become a bit too used to feeling easy, if you like. For example, the pyjama set this season is more tailored. You do have a waist as opposed to an elastic waist, which we had the season after people had been locked in the house for so long. They wanted to go out and feel comfortable and easy. I’m over that now. You want to look easy, but there needs to be more structure and discipline in the way we’re dressing. There’s been too many seasons of being too comfortable in the office. Get back to the office and put on some smart clothes.

Those zip dresses are very smart, but couldn’t they potentially get very sexy, too?

The great thing about these zips is that they function. This is the perfect day dress, but in the evening you can unzip them and have a little more leg showing, or a little more side showing, or lower the neckline. It’s down to the customer to decide how sexy she wants to be. Zip or unzip, depending where the mood takes you!

The dresses with the cut-outs that are not in the look book are quite interesting in that sense…

Yes, because you’ve got a high neck and a long sleeve: elegant. Then, the cut-outs sit on the ab…. You know, your best parts from when you’re in the gym, Anders. That’s the word on the street…

My trainer has a lot to live up to. But actually, I’ve been wearing one of your coats. All those men in your family must be begging you to make menswear?

The one who’s asked me is Cruz, because he loves my coords. I make him these big cords he likes in strange colours.

Is Cruz launching an album?

I wouldn’t say it’s imminent, but he’s been in the studio working on it. He writes all of his own songs. He plays the piano, he plays the guitar, and he works on everything himself. At the moment he’s enjoying and experimenting. He loves fashion as well. All the kids do.
I’m happy that someone is continuing the family tradition…

Of what, fashion or singing? Careful!

Of singing!

Good. Yeah, he’s got a very good voice. He’s very talented.

Neiman Marcus Creates Very Parisian Pop-up For Balmain x Barbie

From toy aisles at Target to a pop-up boutique at the entrance of Neiman Marcus in Dallas — you’ve come a long way, Barbie.

A 2,000-square-foot installation on the ground floor of the NorthPark Center store is to showcase the Balmain x Barbie ready-to-wear collection alongside some playful elements, including a cotton-candy stand and a life-sized doll box for photo ops.

“The collaboration comes at the perfect moment — our clients are looking for something fun and joyful during this uncertain time,” said Lana Todorovich, president and chief merchandising officer of Neiman Marcus, referring to the mostly pink, mostly unisex capsule that is dropping on Thursday. “For Neiman Marcus, luxury is about relationships and curating exclusive products and experiences for our customers. From the moment our merchant team saw the Barbie collaboration, we thought there was something special and nostalgic that would inspire and engage our customers.”

The pop-up, making its debut Thursday and remaining until Jan. 30, coincides with an anniversary: Neiman Marcus is marking its 10-year relationship with Balmain, and bills itself as the multibrand retailer with the largest assortment of the French brand’s collections worldwide.

Spanning everything from T-shirts to evening gowns, the Balmain x Barbie collection will be showcased in a portion of the installation styled after a typical Parisian mansion, while another area — meant to evoke the garden of Palais-Royal via greenery and park benches — will host diverse presentations on models and mannequins, as well as weekend activations like DJ sets.

“We know that this is definitely the Paris where Barbie would be hanging out,” commented Olivier Rousteing, Balmain’s creative director since 2011.

“The collection is strong, feminine and it brings the fantasy to life of being a modern Balmain Barbie,” according to Todorovich, who has no qualms about the singular color palette, which runs from blush all the way to bubblegum pink and fuchsia — with a few pops of white.

“Not only do our Neiman Marcus customers naturally gravitate toward pink, but post-pandemic we have seen that happy colors and unique, one-of-a-kind collaborations have generated a lot of interest,” she said in an exclusive interview. “Pink makes perfect sense for a collaboration with Barbie and happens to be one of the bestselling colors at Neiman Marcus.”

According to her, the limited-edition capsule is likely to appeal to brand devotees as well as new customers.

“The Balmain loyalist will want to shop the collection because of the special collector items while the new customer will see particular pieces and feel the same passion she did for Barbie growing up,” she said, suggesting that T-shirts, sweatshirts and leggings represent easy entry points to the designer brand.


Todorovich also lauded the Balmain logos created using emblematic Barbie typology. “Balmain logo product always achieves very high sell-throughs and these updated logos for the one-of-a-kind collaboration should be top picks for our clients,” she said, noting that Neiman’s assortment includes “a bit of everything” from the 70-piece collection, including 11 exclusive styles, plus accessories and footwear.

Retail prices at the pop-up, in other select Neiman Marcus locations, and at neimanmarcus.com range from $295 to $42,494, representing a new frontier for the famous doll, which was created in 1959.

“It’s certainly another milestone moment in the legacy of the Barbie brand,” said Richard Dickson, president and chief operating officer of toy giant Mattel, who touts Barbie as a “universal icon that creates a cultural conversation.”

In a phone interview, Dickson noted that “we now have multiple generations that have grown up with Barbie, have Barbie memories, and have watched Barbie translate to the next generation, and so we really speak to multiple age demographics all at once.”

This is not the first time Mattel has unleashed Barbie products for adults. Dickson pointed out that its first designer partnership, with Oscar de la Renta in 1985 for a limited-edition doll in “Dynasty”-worthy evening creations, put Barbie in front of an audience of collectors. (Coincidentally, de la Renta designed Balmain’s couture collections from 1993 to 2002.)

“I think what’s most unique and curious about the program [with Balmain] is that it actually doesn’t include a doll,” Dickson noted.

Instead, Rousteing got to play with Barbie on a grand scale, applying couture techniques to cocktail and evening dresses, and using the project to underline his prioritization of female empowerment, diversity and inclusivity.

“Fashion runs deep in the Barbie heritage. I mean, she’s classified as a fashion doll,” Dickson noted. “And if you go back through the decades, [and look at the] representation of Barbie fashions, she was always a perfect reflection of what was on trend, and what was happening in the culture.

“Deeply rooted in our purpose is to inspire the limitless potential of girls,” he continue. “And we believe this program [with Balmain] starts to extend that idea in a much broader way to girls, to boys, to the world at large, and infuses what we believe is fun in fashion.”

Pronovias Wants Brides To Wear Their Gowns Again And Again With ‘Second Life’ Initiative

A wedding dress that’s only worn once? Think again. Pronovias Group, which owns luxury bridal brands Pronovias and Nicole Milano, is debuting its “Second Life” program Thursday consisting of a 70-piece collection of redesigned gowns in a range of sizes.

“Redesigning the dresses to give them a ‘Second Life’ was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed it a lot. Each dress has a kind of key element that makes it special, and when thinking about its Second Life alterations I was focusing on that element, playing around with it to show a new way of showing it off. In some cases, I worked with the length of the dress, the volume of the skirt or the neckline or the sleeves. Every detail can be key to giving the dress a successful Second Life,” Pronovias Group chief artistic officer Alessandra Rinaudo told WWD.

Rinaudo shared some of her favorite ways to transform a dress.

“In general, I like to play a lot with accessories. For the wedding dresses, I love overskirts, detachable sleeves, capes… all those things that lend a touch of drama. When thinking about Second Life, the dress had to be more fun and more casual, so I played a lot with add-ons to find this new look,” she added. “Once something has been created, I really believe in using it again and again.”


More styles are anticipated with each new collection launched, per the company.

Not only a revived collection, Second Life is also an alteration service that is free of charge for brides. The program will be available in all Pronovias and Nicole Milano retail stores around the world (a 60-store footprint spanning the U.S., Spain, Italy, France, China, the U.K. and Poland).

Through these means, the company is channeling efforts into product circularity while putting the notion that wedding dresses can only be worn once to rest.

Prior to the Second Life launch, the group introduced its eco-line and pledged to lower its impact with ecological solutions. Its #WeDoEco pledge touches everything in the lifecycle of the dress including certified fabrications, design, fitting, recycled packaging and improved delivery. Highlights include embellishments made with 100-percent recycled glass and the advent of liquid wood hangers, water-based inks and organic cotton cover bags.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Rihanna Shops Her Own Collection Of Rare Louis Vuitton Bags

Recent internet-breaking collabs, such as Fendace and Balenciaga’s “hacking” of Gucci, have won over the A-list, but Rihanna prefers buzzy fashion partnerships from the past. Her favourite? Stephen Sprouse’s Noughties collaboration with Louis Vuitton.

Rih owns a reworked Pochette bag from the coveted collection, which saw Sprouse lend his signature graffiti-style artwork to the iconic Louis Vuitton logo when Marc Jacobs was at the creative helm. The singer was spotted in LA this week wearing an oversized shirt and Nike X Off-White Air Jordan 4s, with her coveted It-bag clasped in her hand.
 
The Pochette isn’t the only prized LV accessory Rihanna owns. The jet-setting businesswoman has packed her personals in a duffle bag from the autumn/winter 2001 Stephen Sprouse collection, and in 2019 she was pictured strolling along the airport tarmac with a rainbow monogrammed vanity case from the Louis Vuitton X Takashi Murakami collaboration.


Rih also holds an offbeat Louis Vuitton malle bag dear. Designed by Frank Gehry for the house’s Celebrating Monogram collection in 2014 – which saw Gehry, Karl Lagerfeld, Rei Kawakubo, Marc Newsom, Cindy Sherman and Christian Louboutin modify classic LV bag shapes – the wavy take on the malle has been seen on Rih’s arm since the year it was released.

An even funkier shape – Louis Vuitton’s soccer ball bag that was designed in line with the 1998 World Cup – made an appearance in photos of Rih at a Champions League football match in 2019. As Rihanna proves, brilliant vintage accessories stand the test of time.

That Dundas Dress Returns On Another Supermodel

At this point, the undeniable power of the cut-out dress can’t be underestimated. A-listers are choosing carved-up dresses to dial-up wedding-guest attire (Kendall Jenner) and give eveningwear a shot in the arm (Dua Lipa). The latest star to join the ever-growing list of celebrities tapping into the tantalising trend? Heidi Klum.

One video wasn’t enough for the supermodel to capture her Dundas dress. Klum uploaded a carousel of pictures of her laced-up look, which her eight million-plus followers were quick to like. The 48-year-old – who said the yellow Nirvana number was her “favourite new dress” – looked nothing short of sublime in the decadent design.


Beloved by fashion devotees and A-listers, Peter Dundas’s hyper-feminine designs have an alluring and seductive quality about them, which has swiftly made his ready-to-wear line a hot commodity. Since launching his namesake label in 2017, his head-turning designs have populated the red carpet. Queen & Slim actor Jodie Turner-Smith wore the increasingly popular canary-yellow Nirvana dress to a Zola screening, while Hailey Bieber set social media alight when she opted for a striking black version of the aptly named “dress of the summer” in July 2021.