Thursday, October 15, 2020

Fendi And Chaos Join Forces On A Selection Of Savvy Charms And Tech Accessories

When Chaos debuted its collaboration with Fendi on the Italian house’s February runway, nobody could have foreseen quite to what extent technology would come to define the months to follow. The logo-emblazoned EarPod holders or jewel-like smartwatch casings, which appeared clipped onto cinched waist belts and golden lanyards alike, went on to find a new resonance during a year when those sorts of devices have proven so instrumental to our existence – and so frustratingly prone to misplacement. “As a reflection of the world we are living in now with video calls… my favourite would be the smart earphones case,” reflects Silvia Fendi on the collaboration. “It’s a fun, whimsical play on such a practical object which we now have to use everyday.”

But the partnership speaks to a far longer-standing alignment between Silvia and Chaos founders Charlotte Stockdale and Katie Lyall. Having worked alongside Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi for over a decade, the duo has found a foundational role within her creative circle, and the irreverent perspective which defines their brand operates in harmony with the spirit of the house. “We share a great sense of fun and creativity, which is always present at Fendi,” Silvia continues. “And Chaos has a practical attitude which I like: a charismatic spirit with functional designs that I can really connect with. I like the idea of giving a purpose to things, which is what Chaos is all about.”

“Each piece was chosen for its usefulness, or how delightful it could be,” explain Stockdale and Lyall, who founded their brand with the simple desire to “create specific solutions for needs in our everyday life: beautiful, well-crafted, desirable solutions.” Having evolved their offering since they first launched in 2015 with their Chaos Zip lanyard necklace and iPhone cases (whose monogrammed leather exteriors soon became a fixture in the mirror selfies of everyone from Bella Hadid to Naomi Campbell and Victoria Beckham), their collaboration with Fendi takes the handy essentials they have become renowned for up a gear.

Now, there are leather shot glasses (as suitable for a morning dose of ginger as a late-night tequila); a smartpen which can be worn as an earring; a wealth of alluringly crafted monogrammed casings. Drawing inspiration from their love of “precious and useful objects, traditional and new” – from vintage cigarette holders to Old Hollywood evening clutches – it’s a desirably witty take on luxury which translates the spirit Karl Lagerfeld imbued the house with during his tenure there.

“Karl had a great wit, sometimes very sophisticated, and sometimes almost childlike in his delight of a really silly pun,” the duo reflect. “While he had an intense work ethic, taking any commitment very seriously, he also felt that fashion is a craft rather than an art, and he fully subscribed to the idea that one could work like a dog and enjoy oneself while doing it. Humour – maybe more accurately, a gentle irony – plays a big part for both Chaos and Fendi.” Does fashion need more of that? “Perhaps, although maybe it’s not so much needed in the design as us all needing a sense of humour about ourselves! Fashion can be a place of high drama and stress – which we love! – but also it’s important to remember how lucky we are to work in this creative space.” Certainly if we all need anything right now, it’s a sense of humour and a wealth of gratitude. Plus, of course, not to lose our earpods. Perfect timing for the launch, then.

Adidas Unveils Its Most Eco Trainer To Date

“When it comes to UltraBoost DNA Loop, we didn’t take the easy route!” Adidas’s VP of brand strategy James Carnes tells British Vogue. He’s talking about the sports giant’s brand new eco “made to be remade” trainer. Its credentials are impressive: the shoe is crafted from 100 per cent recyclable single TPU material and zero glue, meaning that it can ultimately be returned and reimagined as a new running trainer.

Innovative and futuristic, the DNA Loop joins a family of UltraBoost footwear that prides itself on advanced technologies and pioneering manufacture techniques. “We over-invest in bringing these principles into our sports products – particularly as we know this is a generation of consumers who have significant power to create change,” Carnes says.

In April last year, 200 “creators” around the world were asked to road test Gen 1 of the UltraBoost. Following the trial, each piece was broken down and remade to produce Gen 2, which went through the same rigorous assessment process in November 2019. Now, the result of all that road-testing has been made available to 1,500 fans, who will join the sustainably-focused micro-community and help shape the future of its design journey through a 21-week cycle that will encourage still more feedback.

The UltraBoost DNA Loop launch will kick off Adidas’s immersive Creators Club Week experience, a seven-day festival that will see the largest-ever drop of exclusive shoes (70 new designs will feature). The digital event will invite consumers to interact with their favourite footwear, and limited-edition versions of the most sought-after styles – including the Ninja, Ultra4D, Superstar Tattoo and NMD – will be available to buy throughout the week, along with a new addition to its Parley range, the 4D model made from ocean plastics.

A host of famous faces will take to the virtual stage at the event, including supermodel Karlie Kloss and rapper and record executive Pusha T. Kloss and Carnes will introduce the cutting-edge technology used to make the new trainer. “Through this shoe, Adidas is leading an incredibly important conversation around circularity and fabric innovation. We hope this launch inspires creators to join us as we strive to create a more sustainable future together,” Kloss said of the release. Pusha T will talk about the impact of ’90s street culture on the music and fashion industries, in addition to the coveted Ozweego style he collaborated on in the past.

Members who sign up for free to Adidas’s Creators Club loyalty programme will have the chance to win prizes including a piece of art by fashion designer Paolina Russo, who specialises in up-cycling, and a pair of Adidas Predator football boots signed by World Cup winner Paul Pogba.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Olivier Theyskens S/S´21

When Olivier Theyskens found himself sheltering in place this spring, he pondered how his aesthetic had developed. He remembered receiving a CD of [Franco-Canadian] singer Mylène Farmer in his early teens. Curiosity drove him to look up her music videos online.

“I would listen to her on loop. I loved, and still love, her voice very much, but I was quite thrown by the realization of the imprint she left on me at that age — a moment where the things that touch us become fundamental to our perception of things, a muse of sorts — and the influence this had on my personal universe and the manner in which I create,” he said during a preview at his new showroom.

So the silhouettes of this spring collection owed as much to Theysken’s proclivities as they did to the artist’s personas. There was Farmer’s androgynous waif phase, embodied in the mannish cut of a fluid gray suit, with wide-leg trousers and a high waist, or in the blowsy volumes of high-collar blouses nodding to 17th-century shapes. A pale marigold silk number played on the border of tailoring and flou, to become a Forties-influenced dress. Elsewhere, Farmer’s sensual phases were represented in slinky jersey slipdresses barred with an X that made them almost lascivious, or in a taffeta minidress that mimicked the outline of an exposed garter belt at the hem.

If floor-sweeping taffeta coats and body-hugging gowns may look out of sync with these uncertain times in pictures, in person, the whisper of fabric and details of their construction spoke of another Theyskens obsession: the idea that clothes can only truly to be experienced, just like music — live and at full volume.

threeASFOUR S/S´21

Adi Gil, Ange Donhauser, and Gabi Asfour began making masks early in the pandemic. Upcycled from leftover fabric from their spring 2012 collection InSalaam, InShalom, which blended patterns from the Arabic and Jewish cultures, they were masks with a message. “Under not the most pleasant circumstances, humanity has unified,” Asfour said over a Zoom call from their New Jersey studio.

If that’s an optimistic way of looking at the pandemic, the mask-making project did energize them. “We feel good about our place,” Gil elaborated. “The mask success is nice proof that we do make sense in this time.” The Threeasfour trio have been at it for two decades, but they remain avant garde outsiders in New York fashion, showing only irregularly on the Fashion Week calendar. After skipping last season—the last time we saw them on the runway was a year ago, when they were celebrating their 20th anniversary—they produced a spring 2021 collection that balances their artistic, experimental tendencies with more wearable ones.

Their sculptural collections are often inspired by sacred geometry. It’s a topic linking geometry with nature and God, that has come up more than once this season, probably because it feels like Gaia has decided it’s time to fight back. Their most recent collection was an ode to the plant world. On Zoom today they riffed about Vesica Piscis. The almond shape made by the intersection of two circles is also called the Womb of All Creation and the Eye of Horus, and it symbolizes protection, power, and good health. “For our new type of reality it’s the perfect theme,” Asfour said.

That almond shape took three-dimensional form on the more artistic, experimental looks in the new collection—conversastion starters, all of them—and transformed into Op Art prints on easy-to-wear tunics and leggings made in collaboration with the Japanese digital printing company Mimaki. The digital prints also have the distinction of looking uniquely their own.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

“We Have A Chance To Reset”: Why The Copenhagen Fashion Summit Is More Critical Than Ever

With time running out to tackle the climate crisis, the annual meeting of fashion’s leading figures to discuss sustainability is even more significant. We speak to founder Eva Kruse about this year’s digital event, and why now is the chance for the whole industry to reset.

For the past decade, fashion’s leading figures have gathered at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit every year to discuss how the industry can achieve a more sustainable future. This year’s event though — which will be taking place virtually for the first time, from 12 to 13 October — is arguably the most important to date, with time quickly running out to tackle the climate crisis.

“We have a chance now to use this moment to actually reset,” Eva Kruse, CEO of the Global Fashion Agenda and founder of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, tells Vogue. “It’s ever more relevant to discuss exactly how sustainability can be a huge part of the rebuilding of the fashion industry after [the Covid-19] crisis.” Eva Kruse, President and CEO, Global Fashion Agenda talks at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2019.

Taking place via the new CFS+ platform, the digital event will feature a series of conversations between the likes of H&M CEO Helena Helmersson and professor of environmental science Johan Rockström, as well as Omoyemi Akerele, founder of Lagos Fashion Week, and Samata Pattinson, CEO of Red Carpet Green Dress. Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri will also be taking part in a live interview, while other speakers will include Chanel president Bruno Pavlovsky, Ganni founder Nicolaj Reffstrup, and Amina Razvi, executive director of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. All talks will remain on the site beyond the virtual event, and there will be a digital matchmaking service for brands and innovators to meet, too.

The new format reflects the way in which industry conferences are having to adapt during the pandemic, with the Circular Fashion Summit taking place via VR technology earlier this month. “This disruption with Covid has made us think about how we bring these conversations to life in a different way, and create something that can have a much longer life than just one day,” Kruse says. “We can reach a much bigger audience [virtually]. I’m very excited that the CFS+ platform is open to everyone — there is no expensive ticket, and it doesn't require a flight.”

Including diverse voices was a key focus, particularly in light of the global reckoning on racial injustice we’ve seen in 2020. This year’s event has, however, faced criticism for not including the voices of garment workers — considering how heavily they’ve been impacted by cancelled orders during the pandemic — although Mostafiz Uddin, founder of manufacturing company Denim Expert Ltd in Bangladesh and an advocate for workers’ rights, is on the lineup.

“We haven’t been good enough at prioritising [diversity] in the past,” the Copenhagen Fashion Summit CEO admits. “We’ve been more focused on getting those in power to speak and unfortunately, it is still [the case] that there are not enough diverse voices in leadership positions.” 

The value of fashion

It’s fair to say the past few months have given most of us a chance to slow down and reflect on what’s important to us — with early indications suggesting that shoppers are becoming more eco-conscious as a result. Fittingly, then, the theme of this year’s virtual summit is ‘redesigning value’, highlighting why we all need to value our clothes more. “How can we get back to a place where you appreciate a thing has a price because it has cost something not only for the worker, and the fabric, but for the forest, the water and pesticides used, the CO2 emitted?” Kruse questions.

It’s a subject that was also addressed in the open letter to the fashion industry, led by Dries Van Noten, calling for delivered collections to coincide with the appropriate season, and discounting to happen only at the end of the season (not mid-season, as it does now). It’s a proposal Kruse agrees with: “Massive discounts have decreased the value of the product and made us as consumers used to getting things at a discounted rate. When everything is discounted, you also often buy too much.”

On a personal level, the question of value is central to the former magazine editor’s approach to her own wardrobe. “I have to value products that I buy more; I have to need it more,” she explains. “It’s about reducing, reusing and recycling. When I buy something new, I have to get rid of something as well — either resell it, give it away or recycle it — so there's a flow in my wardrobe.”

The need for urgent action

While sustainability has been the talk of the fashion industry of late, real progress is still slow. “In all of our surveys, we can see about 50 per cent of the industry is doing something in the space of sustainability, but still 50 per cent is lagging behind,” Kruse says. “The question is if they will [take action] on their own, or if they need to be pressured by legislation, say, a price on water and on CO2, a ban on incineration.”

The Global Fashion Agenda CEO hopes the impact that Covid-19 has had on the fashion industry will speed up the process. “The pandemic has shone a light on sustainability as a business imperative,” Kruse says. “We’ve seen how a company that has a leaner supply chain, more control over their natural resources and their production, are the brands doing better. Sustainability is not just the right thing to do in terms of what’s right for people and the planet, it’s also the right thing to create more resilient business models in the future.”

The Copenhagen Fashion Summit has certainly come a long way in moving the conversation forward over the past decade — when it first launched in 2009, sustainability was rarely talked about within the industry. Does this make Kruse hopeful for the future? “I’m definitely optimistic,” she concludes. “I really hope that people will take this opportunity to not just go back to what we had before. It’s about being focused, and narrowing down what really matters. I think that can drive us to a good place.”

Valentino Celebrates The Rockstud’s 10th Birthday With A Surprising Collaboration

Happy Birthday Rockstud! It seems like barely yesterday that Valentino’s signature pretty-tough pumps trod the global fashion circuit on street-stylers who fell for the easy charm of the quietly punky footwear. To mark the 10th anniversary of the brand’s once sell-out accessory line, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli is revisiting the Rockstud along with some famous friends of the Italian house.

Kicking off the “Valentino Garavani Rockstud X” collection is Craig Green. The British menswear designer will put his spin on the label’s leather products with hand-applied metallic pyramid accents, inspired by the notches on Roman doors. Green, who has previously lent his utilitarian design nous to Moncler Genius, Adidas Originals and Champion collections, is an interesting choice for Valentino. He has a diehard millennial clientele who fawn over his artisanal workwear; one that Piccioli will no doubt want to tap into in order to take the Rockstud series into the mainstream again.

Both Valentino and Craig Green are currently keeping the product design and launch date under wraps. In the meantime, Rockstud fans have a new supersized take on the edgy-meets-elegant accessory line to covet for spring/summer 2021. At Valentino’s recent Milan Fashion Week show, Piccioli sent souped-up versions of studded bags and point-toe pumps down the runway. The message was clear: the Rockstud is back and it means business. Stay tuned for a first look at Green’s take on the iconic accessory once beloved of everyone from Alexa Chung to Emma Stone and Jennifer Lopez.

Miuccia Prada Is Auctioning Off Her Last Collection Without Raf Simons

As the pandemic ruptured the very seams of society, Prada announced in July that it would be partnering with Sotheby’s – a first for the Italian house – to auction off collectible fashion items and raise money for UNESCO. Now, the sale of autumn/winter 2020 menswear and womenswear pieces and props is here. The landmark collaboration between broker and brand is not only an opportunity to help vulnerable people around the world, it is a chance to secure a slice of fashion history: Miuccia Prada’s final Prada collections without her newly instated co-designer Raf Simons.

Bids for the lots from Prada: Tools of Memory are open until 15 October, and items including a fabulous wool coat with beaded fringing are already drawing in thousands of pounds from investors. The 72-piece edit spans backstage photographs, invitations, runway décor, and a vinyl LP of the show’s soundtrack. Saffiano leather handbags abound, and there’s a handful of the vanity case bracelets up for grabs (translation: catnip for handbag collectors). The prize ticket – a full look comprising a hand-sewn organza dress, choker, metal headband, bracelet, and leather Mary-Janes – is expected to raise over £12,000. Photos of Gigi Hadid and Freja Beha Erichsen backstage prior to the autumn/winter 2020 presentation will surely fetch close to that.

On her decision to partner with Sotheby’s and rehome her beloved brand artefacts, Mrs Prada told British Vogue: “I think that in this moment what I can do with my work is do something that is meaningful, real, that can express various intentions, different meanings. The collections are about personality, craft, a creative contribution. The meaning and usefulness of fashion today: use and utility, function. Clothes as tools, tools for life – fashion with a purpose.” You heard it from the legend herself, these autumn/winter 2020 pieces are not just investment buys, they are tools for life.