Thursday, December 26, 2013

Who's That Girl?

Sometimes a model comes along who just ticks all the boxes at the right time - and, right now, Malaika Firth is that girl.

Signed in 2011 by Premier as a skinny, shy 17-year-old, the London-based model has achieved more in the last year than models with 10 years more experience: gracing the  Victoria´s Secret catwalk, the cover of Vogue´s More Cash Than Dash supplement, Beyonce´s House of Dereon catwalk, the new Burberry campaign - and becoming the first black model to appear in a Prada campaign since Naomi Campbell in 1994.

Malaika Firth
"When Malaika first came into the agency, I was struck by her sweet but exotic looks and delicate bone structure," Annie Wilshaw, director of Premier's new faces division, told us in 2011. "After working with her in the studio for 20 minutes, I was even more confident about her potential as her personality is fantastic. She also has a strong natural sense of how to move in front of the camera, which is rare for potentials her age."

Inspired by Jourdan Dunn and Tyra Banks - two of her modelling idols - Firth is determined to remain true to herself while she climbs the fashion ladder, and is supported by her close family at every turn. The model least likely to be spotted rolling out of a nightclub at 3am, she is quiet and Christian in her beliefs - but don't mistake her reserve for a lack of ambition.

"I would love to be on the cover of British Vogue," she said. "And my favourite model is definitely Tyra Banks, because she not only is a model but she is also a great businesswoman and actress."

Watch this face.

The Countdown For Alexa’s Label Begins

It´s been a long time coming, but Alexa Chung  hopes to release her debut fashion label in 2014. The Voguecover girl first revealed that she was planning to design her own line in August 2012.

Of course, this isn't the first time that Chung has turned her hand to design - she teamed up with American store Madewell in 2010. She has also collaborated with beauty brand Eyeko, and fronted campaigns for Maje, Superga, Lacoste and L'Oréal. This year also saw her release her debut book, It.

Alexa Chung
"I need some time to think about it!" Chung said of the collection. "That's [2014] going to be the first opportunity where I haven't had a nine-to-five job… I've kind of been doing Eyeko, I wrote a book, I did Fuse every day, and various other design gigs and DJing. So this will be the first time to actually sort of sit down and think about it."

Although the label's signatures haven't yet been decided on, it sounds as if risqué Miley Cyrus-inspired ensembles won't play a part.

"It's like a will it/won't it situation, I'm on the edge of my seat every time I watch her spread her legs! I'm like 'Ooh! Ooh!' It's too much for my anxiety," Chung told Fashionista.

Marc's Star-Studded Vuitton Campaign Finale

Marc Jacobs has devoted his final campaign for Louis Vuitton to his fashion muses Catherine Deneuve, Sofia Coppola, Gisele Bündchen, Fan Bingbing, Caroline de Maigret and Edie Campbell.

Shot by Steven Meisel for the spring/summer 2014 advertising campaign, each woman smoulders for the camera, modelling a series of the label's most famous designs, including the Noé bag, monogrammed luggage and Stephen Sprouse sequins.

Louis Vuitton
The campaign follows the same trajectory as Jacobs's final catwalk show for the French fashion house, in which he recalled his most famous set designs from his tenure at the helm.

Is Galeries Lafayette Buying House Of Fraser?

Galeries Lafayette  is reportedly in "advanced stage" talks to buy British department store House of Fraser, which is set to float on the London Stock Exchange early next year.

The family-controlled French retailer has exclusivity until the end of January, the Financial Times reports, after which the British company may conduct a "dual-track" process - continuing with talks while preparing for the IPO. House of Fraser chairman Don McCarthy is said to be keen to achieve at least £450 million from a sale, while stock exchange analysts have valued the company at closer to £350 million.

Galeries Lafayette
The companies are a similar size in terms of doors - with the British company managing 61 stores in the UK, while its potential buyer controls 65 stores in its native France and abroad. Galeries Lafayette has been conducting an international expansion in recent months, opening its first overseas store in Beijing in October.

Earlier this month, it was also reported that Galeries Lafayette had its eye on Parisian rival Printemps, although no confirmation has followed the rumours.

Rihanna For Balmain

Rihanna is the new face of Balmain. Described as an "icon" by the label's creative director, Olivier Rousteing, the singer stars in the forthcoming spring/summer 2014 campaign - due to appear in magazines from January.

"In front of the camera, she makes you feel like she is the only girl in the world," said Rousteing. "When the woman that inspires you wears your creations, your vision feels complete."

Rihanna For Balmain
The adverts were shot in New York by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, with styling by Mel Ottenberg - Rihanna's personal stylist. The star has previously fronted campaigns for Armani Jeans.

Lagerfeld: My Dallas Collection Is Not Fancy Dress

Karl Lagerfeld's latest Chanel Metiers d'Art collection  may have a strong Western feel, but whatever you do, don't even think about wearing his collection to a fancy dress party. Watch the designer talk about the show in the film above.

"Chanel clothes are bought all over the world," Lagerfeld said. "They can have a local ethic inspiration, but, at the same time, they have to have a universal touch - otherwise it becomes limited. You can wear these clothes and look normal. This isn't just for costume parties."

Inspired by a romantic, poetic version of Texas ("I tried to remove its relationship from tough Hollywood films; you know with John Wayne"), the offering features new twists on cowgirl chic - from classic white shirts with fringing sleeves to tights covered in cowboy-boot patterns.

"It's a reinvention of something in my mind," said Lagerfeld of the tights. "That's my job. I have great people who work with me, I couldn't do it alone. To work it out, you need great people."

Introducing Fashion Wunderkind Missy

Melissa Jade Aiello was just nine years old when she set up her T-shirt label Missy X, her nickname. Three years later, she has made a solid business out of drawing portraits of famous personalities - from Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour to John Galliano and Donatella Versace.

Melissa Jade Aillero
"Fashion is really important to me because it defines who I am," Missy told us. "If I go to school in sweatpants, people would be surprised. I did actually do that once and everyone said, 'Why are you so regular today?' Fashion is interesting to me and drawing fashion people is even more interesting."

Missy was born in Nottingham, but moved to New York in 2010. When she was just seven, she started to copy illustrations from her colouring books. Before long, her family became her subjects and her mother, a freelance casting director, developed the idea of printing the drawings onto T-shirts. She created an illustration of Karl Lagerfeld in 15 minutes, although most of her work takes an hour to produce. The 12-year-old works on a commission-only basis, but she's quite discerning when it comes to choosing what she will and won't draw.

"I said no to Justin Bieber because they're cheesy," she said. "There are too many boys like Bieber - there's also The Wanted and One Direction. I draw people I like and think are interesting. Every time I draw someone new I learn something interesting - like I learnt that John Galliano used to work at Dior for a long time, but got sacked. I really liked drawing Donatella, she has a really interesting face."

Currently, the T-shirts are only available to buy on special request, but there are talks with a major stockist to bring the label to a bigger audience. Missy is keen to become a full-time designer when she leaves school, but for now, she has plenty to keep her occupied.

"I already do tote bags, but I've got a few ideas of more areas I'd like to work in," she said. "I think maybe notebooks, key chains, necklaces and mugs would be good - we'll see."

Galliano Teams Up With Stephen Fry

John Galliano is confirmed to be creating the stage costumes for Stephen Fry's new stage adaptation of Oscar Wilde's famous comedy, The Importance Of Being Earnest.

Rumours of the union first surfaced in July when Roland Mouret and Sarah Burton were also thought to be in the running, but Galliano is now said to be working on the costumes ahead of the play's opening next year. Fry will direct the production as well as playing the role of Lady Bracknell in the play, which is being produced by David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers - producers of Calendar Girls and The Full Monty.

John Galliano
Galliano is well practiced for the role though, and has even dressed the character of Lady Bracknell before - in 1982 at the National Theatre, when it was played by Judi Dench.

The former Christian Dior designer is also still in talks to assume a more permanent role at Oscar de la Renta, he told WWD, with De la Renta stating that the two still email one another weekly.

Why Chanel Fell For Dallas

Chanel will stage its latest Métiers d'Art show tonight in the perhaps unlikely destination, chosen by Karl Lagerfeld himself, of Dallas. But as Bruno Pavlovsky, the brand's president of fashion, explained, the city has much more resonance for the label than you might first think.

"He chooses themes linked to cities that inspire him and are consistent with the brand," Pavlovsky told us. "They generally have strong ties to Mademoiselle Chanel's life and inspiration, like London, Moscow, Shanghai, Byzance and Scotland, where we held the last Métiers d'Art show Paris-Edimbourg. 

All these places represented something to Mademoiselle Chanel - America, and notably Dallas, are part of our history, the Americans championed and supported Mademoiselle Chanel in the Fifties. They played a large part in putting Gabrielle Chanel back at the forefront of international fashion."

It was the American press, not the British or French, that gave Chanel glowing reviews of her comeback collection in 1954, following her 15-year hiatus. US department store Neiman Marcus, founded in Dallas, was among the most supportive - presenting the designer with an award for her contribution to fashion in 1957.

"The American press and department stores spotted and appreciated the modernity of Mademoiselle Chanel's collections," explained Pavlovsky. "Her comfortable suits, for example, were a huge success there."

Chanel's Métiers d'Art shows are known for being true fashion spectaculars; last season's took place in the ruins of  Linlithgow Palace, near Edinburgh,while pre-spring/summer 2013 saw models walk around a maze of fountains in the Palace of Versailles. Why is the scale of the show so important to the brand?

"It is a way of turning our attention to an important market, of offering to our clients there, and often also offering the public, the opportunity to experience the brand in a new way," said Pavlovsky. "All these events are a way for Chanel to showcase the quality, creativity and sophistication of our collections and products. They allow us to feed the imagination around our collections and the brand."

Yet, despite such high expectations from the fashion press, Pavlovsky never worries that his shows won't live up to the last.

"With Karl Lagerfeld we have worked together for 20 years now," he said. "That is a solid basis for confidence."

No Designer Means No Show

Mulberry will still have a presence at London Fashion Week, despite cancelling it's show.The British brand is currently without a creative director - something it hopes to rectify in the next few months.

"You can't come to catwalk without a creative director," chief executive Bruno Guillon said. "We are trying to put together a very interesting marketing activity… it will be very interesting and will still give visibility to the brand."

Talking about his brand's 28 per cent drop in first-half pre-tax profits last week, Guillon dismissed market analysts who asserted that the fall was due to a move towards a higher pricing structure, attributing it to leather costs and competition across the mid-price range. But experts noted that Burberry also suffered a drop after a similar repositioning last year.

"This is possibly the wrong strategy for the brand," Luca Solca - head of global luxury at Exane BNP Paribas - told the Financial Times. "This brand could have been quite successful at what I would call the aspirational luxury price point, in the same community as - or slightly higher than - Michael Kors, Tory Burch and Longchamp."

Is Versace Worth A Billion?

Versace has received the highest bid so far for a minority stake in the company from the state-backed investment fund, Fondo Strategico Italiano (FSI). The bid values the company at €1.1 billion (£900,000,000), more than 16 times the company's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).

The House Of Versace
There are several bids from private equity firms on the table, a source close to the deal told the Financial Times, all of which are being considered. FSI is considered to have a relatively passive nature, which sources say would suit the Versace family's structure and focus better than a more hands-on private investor.

Donatella Versace is expected to meet with interested parties this week, with the first round of bidding tabled for before Christmas. Donatella holds 20 per cent of the company's shares, while her daughter Allegra Beck owns 50 per cent.

Barbara Palvin: Catwalk CV

Barbara Palvin, think you've heard that name? Since being touted by Vogue as one to watch in 2010, Palvin has secured a clutch of high-profile campaigns - just this year joining Lara Stone and Blake Lively as a new L'Oreal spokesperson  - and that's when she's not making headlines for stepping out with Justin Bieber or One Direction's Niall Horan.

Discovered in 2006 on the streets of Budapest, when she was just 13, Palvin was encouraged to move to Asia, where she enjoyed success in her early career. In 2010, she returned to the European scene to make her catwalk debut walking for Miuccia Prada in her autumn / winter 2010 show in Milan - and, as often happens with a Prada exclusive, the industry began to take note.

Barbara Palvin
Since then, she has featured on the catwalks of Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton, Christopher Kane and Chanel among others - and last year joined the ranks of supermodels in the Victoria's Secret 2012 show.

Where Do London's Cool Kids Shop?

Dolce & Gabbana will today open its third Sloane Street store - a children's boutique that joins a men's and a women's standalone on the famous street. The space will be the brand's first kids-only store in the capital.

The unit is as small and perfectly formed as its tiny clientele - occupying just 70sq ft on the ground floor - and features vintage furniture and toys alongside Dolce & Gabbana's always-sleek fixtures and fittings.

Dolce & Gabbana
Almost all of the Beckham children (sorry Brooklyn), the Paltrow-Martins, the Jolie-Pitts and even Prince George will be able to pick up a sartorial treat from the store, since the collection accommodates children from newborn up to age 12 - and offers clothing and accessories (with headbands and bags that even Suri Cruise would covet) for both boys and girls.

The new store is situated at 8 Sloane Street.

Kate Moss To Receive British Fashion Award

Kate Moss will receive a Special Recognition award at the British Fashion Awards next week to acknowledge her contribution to the fashion industry during her 25-year career.

The world's most prolific Vogue cover girl, with 34 covers for British Vogue alone (she hasn't gone a year without a cover since 1993), Moss recently assumed a role as our contributing fashion editor.Since her discovery by Sarah Doukas of Storm Models in 1987, Moss has graced catwalks and advertising campaigns for the world's biggest brands, including Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein and Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton.

She has been involved in some of the biggest moments in fashion - from appearing as a hologram on the catwalk for Alexander McQueen, to starring in a fashion show watched by the world at the London Olympics closing ceremony - and her beauty has been immortalised by the art world, in a sculpture by Marc Quinn, and on canvas - naked and pregnant - by Lucien Freud.

Kate Moss
One of the most visible impacts of her influence on fashion has been through the adoration of her rock-inspired, low-maintenance signature style,which has become synonymous with British fashion, and has been widely copied over the years. Skinny jeans, low-slung belts and vintage dresses became Moss trademarks, and were all reinterpreted for her hugely successful Kate Moss for Topshop collection, which launched in 2007 and will return next year.

The supermodel will collect the prize at the annual ceremony at the London Coliseum - which will be hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall, after David Walliams was forced to withdraw due to ill health. The night's other Special Recognition award will be presented to journalist Suzy Menkes.

Burberry To Lose Rights To Its Famous Check?

Burberry has appealed against a decision made by Chinese authorities who have cancelled the trademark protection for its famous check, the Haymarket, when used on leather goods. The change will not be implemented until the appeal has been heard.

"The Burberry check remains a registered trademark owned exclusively by Burberry and no other parties can use the mark without Burberry's proper authorisation," the company said. "Burberry always takes the strongest possible action against those who use its trademarks unlawfully … We are confident that our appeal will be successful."


The decision was made because local authorities argue that the British label hasn't used the check enough within the past three years, the Guardian  reports. The brand has fought counterfeit battles for years, but the ruling means that copying the check will potentially be legal in China.

Burberry's check is now so synonymous with the brand that Scotland's tartan register describes it as a "corporate tartan".

Get Ready For Karl’s Debut London Store

Karl Lagerfeld will open his first London store on Regent Street in March. The shop will be his largest European boutique to date, spanning 2,700sq ft, and selling men's and women's ready-to-wear and accessories.

"Opening on Regent Street provides us with an exceptional opportunity to position our brand in this important market," Pier Paolo Righi, Karl Lagerfeld CEO, told  WWD. "London is one of the world's leading cities when it comes to retail and this location offers a unique brand mix. Our London presence will be a fantastic representation of our brand's aesthetic, and it showcases our cool, accessible-luxe collections in a cutting-edge environment."

Karl Lagerfeld
The store's interior is set to be just as impressive as the clothes themselves - dressing rooms will contain photo booths in which shoppers can take pictures of themselves with filters inspired by Lagerfeld; a digital guest book will allow customers to leave messages for the designer; while iPad minis will display videos and the full collections. Other highlights will include walls of light that will decorate the store.

Join Alexa Chung On Her Longchamp Campaign

Alexa Chung is the new face of Longchamp. The Vogue cover girl stars in both the brand's spring &summer 2014 and autumn & winter 2014 campaigns.

"For the new Escales collection - which is cheerful, colourful and bursting with energy - we needed a woman who was both chic and modern," said the label's international communications director, Marie-Sabine Leclercq. "Alexa Chung is the woman who embodies it the best. Her enchanting gaze, which is very strong and very present, gives the campaign a lot of personality. She has energy and confidence."

Alexa Chung For Longchamp
Chung's relationship with the label started after she DJ'd at the brand's London flagship opening party in September. A meeting the following deal cemented the deal, and the campaign was shot in St-Tropez last month by Max Vadukul.

"The whole team fell under her spell," said Leclercq. "She immediately had a real vision and made a very on-point contribution to the looks for the shoot. There was such a synergy and an energy that we all went home delighted with this initial experience with her."

Previous Longchamp muses include Kate Moss and Coco Rocha.

Becoming Donatella: Lady Gaga For Versace

Lady Gaga´s career has seen her appear in many surprising guises, but the latest one seems very familiar. The singer looks unnervingly like Donatella Versace as she poses for the new Versace campaign, shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.

Sporting waist-length, poker-straight, platinum-blonde hair, Lady Gaga reclines on a sofa in a pale lilac Versace dress and chunky silver accessories. The campaign bears the collection's name, Lady Gaga For Versace, for which the company has established the hashtag #VersaceLovesGaga.

Lady Gaga For Versace
"I am honoured that my friend Lady Gaga is the face of our new Versace campaign," Donatella said. "I wanted to capture her true beauty and spirit in images that are elegant and alluring. She is like family to me, the embodiment of the Versace DNA."

The link-up was rumoured earlier this month, when the Italian label initially refused to confirm the collaboration - although it was said at the time to have been shot in London by Mert and Marcus. Lady Gaga's latest album,Artpop, featured a song called Donatella, which the singer described as a love letter to the designer.

See Inside Pirelli’s 2014 Calendar

The latest Pirelli calendar will not star fashion's current crop of supermodels as expected, rather the Italian tyre company - which launched its first risqué edition in 1964 as an marketing tool - will release an unpublished 1986 calendar shot by Helmut Newton.

The original version was never launched due to a mix of factors. Two calendars were commissioned in 1964, with the best one chosen for release. However, Newton was forced to stop shooting because of personal issues and his assistant took over the project, paying close attention to his boss's instructions, but, in the end, competing photographer Robert Freeman landed the job.

Pirelli Models

Pirelli celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, and its 2014 edition has been hailed as a celebration of its success to date. Each calendar is known for starring scantily-clad supermodels posing in provocative positions, although the 2013 edition was photographed by Steve McCurry - who adopted a more demure approach to the proceedings - having famously taken the striking portrait of the green-eyed Afghan Girl for the cover of the National Geographic in 1985. 

In August this year, Pirelli unveiled  a commemorative shoot of some of fashion´s most famous models, including Miranda Kerr, Alessandra Ambrosio and Helena Christensen, which were thought to pre-empt its forthcoming calendar stars - although this wasn't to be.

Watch Isabella Blow’s Wardrobe Come Alive

In case you needed another reason to visit Somerset House's new Isabella Blow  exhibition this weekend, SHOW studio´s beautiful film showcasing the style maverick's incredible wardrobe might do the trick.

To the sounds of Roxy Music's When She Walks in the Room (Blow's favourite song), models including Liberty Ross and Xiao Wen Ju waft around the grand grounds of Doddington Hall - where the fashion editor grew up - wearing pieces from her personal collection. Directed by filmmaker Ruth Hogben, the film adds a new dimension to the clothes made so famous by its original wearer. Haunting, beautiful and compelling, the short is also available to watch as part of the exhibition - open now until March 2.

Victoria Beckham's Office Secrets

Victoria Beckham´s  team often have the pleasure of seeing her in only her knickers, the charismatic designer revealed at an exclusive personal shopping event at Selfridges last night. "I try everything on - but it's getting less pleasant for them over the years," she smiled.

Speaking to Sarah Harris, Vogue's fashion features director, in front of a group of the label's devotees - most of whom were wearing her designs - Beckham was in town to talk us through an intimate catwalk presentation of her autumn/winter 2013 and pre spring/summer 2014 collections (which prompted spontaneous rounds of applause from the crowd). She was also here to launch her new Quincy bag, which is exclusive to the department store.

Clearly feeling at home when talking about her work, Beckham told us about her favourite parts of each collection, from a midi-length: "It's really sexy"; to "energising colours that make you feel really good"; to her famous pencil-silhouette "Sucky Sucky" dress, which she admitted is "probably not the best technical term for it but that's what I call it because that's what it does!"

Victoria Beckham
She also expressed an interest in designing childrenswear in the not-too-distant future, although it's not on the horizon at the moment. "At some point I would love to do that, but having kids there's so much to do. Working and having four kids is tough, but I will get there. At some point I'd definitely love to - there's a lot of things to do but if you organise yourself in the right way you can get it all done," she said, before attending to shoppers in the changing rooms and giving them styling tips and advice on her designs.

The event comes after Beckham and her husband David released a statement saying that they are donating personal items from their own wardrobes to the British Red Cross Shop Drop for the Philippines to raise funds for the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan. "Everyone has something in their closet they were holding on to, a dress, suit, or pair of shoes they thought they might wear again. Dig them out, bag them up, drop them off and give someone else the chance to buy them, raising much needed funds for the Red Cross aid effort," read a statement.

Ann Demeulemeester Exits Label

Ann Demeulemeester  is leaving her eponymous label. The designer - who established her brand in 1985 - announced news with a PDF of a handwritten letter this afternoon.

"A new time is coming both for my personal life and the brand Ann Demeulemeester," she wrote, before adding that the brand now has "its own identity and legacy that is able to continue growing without me".

Ann Demeulemeester
The men's and women's autumn/winter 2013 collections will be shown together on February 27 in Paris. Having studied at Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1981, she is known as one of the Antwerp Six - a group of pioneering designers that also included Dries Van Noten and Dirk Bikkembergs.

She has not confirmed what her next step will be, or her reason for leaving. The brand owner, entrepreneur Anne Chapelle, said that there were no plans to hire a successor at this stage.

"There is a full team ready in the house, trained by Ann over many years. Nothing will change," Chapelle told WWD.

Naomi Campbell Crowns Her New Model Star

Emma Holmes has been crowned the winner of Naomi Campbell´s model talent show, The Face - and, perhaps unsurprisingly, she was on the supermodel's team.

"She's tough, but nurturing," Holmes told us of her mentor. "She's really sweet. A few weeks ago, I was arguing with one of the other contestants and Naomi came to me, when the cameras had been turned off, and was so kind. She told me to breathe and sat with me as I told what was going on. She's also insanely hard-working. I admire her determination and work ethic so much. She taught me that you can always work harder. You might think you're working hard, but you can always do more."

Over the past eight weeks, Holmes has fought off competition from 24 aspiring models - who were divided in different teams, mentored by Campbell, Erin O'Connor and Caroline Winberg. The winner takes home a Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara campaign. Half-Dutch and half-Jamaican, Holmes entered the competition after a friend urged her to give it a try. She had already modelled beforehand, having featured in an Illamasqua advert, as well as catwalk stints for labels such as Mark Fast and Unconditional.

"The show was pretty intense," she admitted. "It was very competitive. When you have that many girls fighting for the same goal, everything is heightened. The episode where we had to model lingerie in front of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was the most difficult. I remember standing there underwear thinking, 'I am standing in a room wearing only underwear in a room full of supermodels.' But you just have to focus on what you're doing and focus those nerves on something positive."

Prior to modelling, Holmes wanted to study law at Harvard; she took part in the competition while completing her A-levels in English, History and Politics. For now though, carving a career in fashion is her priority.

Emma Holmes
"I want to work in modelling for as long as possible," she said. "Maybe one day I'll try acting or enrol in further education, but I want to make the most of this opportunity while I have it."

Holmes was known throughout the series for her "big personality", which she admits can sometimes "get me in trouble" - traits that certainly didn't deter her famous mentor.

"I am so proud of my Emma," said Campbell. "Not only is she uniquely beautiful, she's also bright, and I think you will have seen how much she developed throughout the series. Becoming the face of Max Factor is an amazing jump start to what can be a very successful career for her. I had a fun time mentoring her - sometimes more fun than others - and know we'll stay in touch."

Inside The Supermodels' Secrets

Silver glitter covers the runway, on which the models walk alongside the performers (which, this season, included Taylor Swift doing their thing, and dance with them on the way past; the Victoria´s Secret Fashion Show is not just a fashion show. Besides the lingerie that is ostensibly the reason for the show, the clothes are costumes - wings and dresses more dramatic than most seen on Broadway. And as for the sets - seamlessly flipped from an abandoned ship to a mysterious Parisian boulevard - Broadway could only dream of the budgets required.

The nearest fashion-world comparison would be the Chanel show, where world-famous performers and dramatic sets are not unheard of, but the difference here is distinct. At Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld is unarguably in charge. Here, the models are.

Wandering backstage like a wildlife photographer, we observe the models in their own habitat - and it's exactly as surreal as you might imagine.Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio the longest-serving and therefore queen Angels, both Brazilian - are holding court near the door. Sinewy bare legs folded under them, they smile and chat with the world's press on two sofas in what should be a quieter area of the room (that is if 50 cameras weren't jostling for access to them). They know very well what this show is about. It's not about the underwear - although it's comparable to a couture show in terms of marketing expense; a figurehead for the brand that has little in common with what arrives in stores. It's about having the most beautiful women in the world work out and strip down, but - since many are brands in their own right, with products and collaborations that bear their names - what's in it for them?

Karlie Kloss - always ridiculously tall and beautiful - is transformed by the application of fake tan and shimmer powder into something almost transcendentally magnificent. She stalks the room - the only one wearing jeans underneath her signature pink silk Victoria's Secret robe - feeding fellow models and crew members Karlie's Kookies (her dairy-free, gluten-free cookie range, the proceeds from which provide meals for children in New York City and around the world through FEED Projects). She pretends to cut Cara Delevingne´s hair - certainly the only model in the room who would find this funny - who sits with her feet up on the make-up table as she chats on her phone. Famous for pulling very un-model-like funny faces, her tattoos and her burgeoning acting career, Cara is excited to "have a prop" (which turns out to be a football) this time, as well as to be upgraded to the mainline section, after modelling the younger Pink range last season.

Victorias Secet Show 2013
Candice Swanepoel,  the pneumatic South African blonde chosen to wear the $10 million Fantasy Bra this year - a sign that she is the Brazilian twosome's heiress apparent - laughs amiably as she poses in front of dozens of cameras. She's nervous, she says, hoping she does the role justice. "I'm definitely going to be doing some breathing exercises before I get up there," she smiles.

Swanepoel, along with fellow African Behati Prinsloo - who receives standing ovations from fiancé Adam Levine of Maroon 5 every time she steps on to the catwalk - and Dutch wonder Doutzen Kroes (face of an Angel, body like a racehorse) is part of the next tier of Angels. Because, even with bodies that defy all laws of science, Angels do eventually retire.

Since 1995, when the Victoria's Secret show began as a small lingerie presentation in New York's Plaza Hotel, the most famous and sought-after models of the day have graced its catwalk. Stephanie Seymour, Helena Christensen, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Gisele Bündchen: all of them appeared in the show, and when retirement came someone else was waiting to take their place.

With the exception of Kate Moss, whose 25-year fashion career is an aberration in industry terms, almost every single model who has appeared on theForbes supermodel rich list is an Angel or former Angel. In terms of earnings, the contract itself combined with the beauty contracts that generally follow it are financial gold - and an appearance is enough to transform a career.

"I'm nervous, of course, but mostly I'm just excited," Jourdan Dunn - who had to attend the same open castings that every model except the Angels must compete at - tells us as she prepares to take to the catwalk for the second time. "Last year was really nerve-wracking, I had to do the robot in front of Justin Bieber, but this year I just get to do the things that a normal VS model would do. I just can't wait."

Mother to an almost-four-year-old boy, Riley, London-born Dunn exudes a quiet confidence that it's easy to see will translate into a long Victoria's Secret career - the Fantasy Bra is certainly in her future - but some others still can't believe they're here.

"It's my third casting, so I guess third time's the charm!" Josephine Skriver - a seasoned catwalk star for labels including Versace and Chanel - tells us. "I'm so super-excited, but so nervous, too. I've always wanted to do this show."

London's newest Victoria's Secret star is Malaika Firth,  following Jourdan Dunn, Lily Donaldson and Cara Delevingne on to the catwalk - which, appropriately, this time opened with a British Invasion theme. In a year that saw her become Prada's first black campaign star since Naomi Campbell 19 years ago, and secure her first Vogue cover for November's More Dash Than Cash supplement, Firth's latest achievement - walking in a little old underwear show - is the one that tells us just how bankable she's set to become.

Look out fashion, the Angels are coming.

Vivienne Westwood To Write Life Story

Vivienne Westwood will launch her first ever memoir in October next year. The fashion veteran is working alongside her friend and renowned biographer, Ian Kelly, to pen her life story in candid detail.

"The living deserve respect. The dead deserve the truth; Ian and I are working together on this and I am excited that this will be my story, the story nobody ever did before," said Westwood.

Vivienne Westwood
The book, published by Picador, will include contributions from Westwood's family and high-profile friends - although names have not been confirmed yet. The memoir will span her career, from primary school teacher to becoming one of the industry's most famous and rebellious designers. Westwood is known as much for her passionate eco-campaigning, as she is for being one of punk's key influencers - having helped catapult punk style into the mainstream, with her use of tartan, saftey pins and bondage gear.

"Vivienne is much more than what you first see," said Kelly. "She is passionately committed to human rights and to eco-politics, but as well as that I am keen to tell the truth about a huge-hearted, warm and witty individual, whose face and clothes are known the world over - but who is also recognisably the Derbyshire primary school teacher who met and fell in love with Malcolm McLaren and changed the world."

First Look: Damien Hirst For Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen has unveiled the fruits of its collaboration with Damien Hirst - a 30-piece scarf collection that focuses on the dark beauty that both names are known for and celebrates the 10th anniversary of McQueen's celebrated skull motif. Now you can see the range come to life with the above film, created by Sølve Sundsbø.

Watch as a woman - draped in the silk scarves, covering even her face - moves in hauntingly slow motion in front of the screen, while the designs waft around her. Ethereal, compelling and otherworldly, it's everything we'd expect from two of the darkest names in fashion and art.

Prices range from £315 to £715.

Lady Gaga For H&M

Lady Gaga is the latest style star to collaborate with H&M - although she won't be designing clothes for the retailer any time soon. To coincide with the opening of H&M's new Times Square store in New York, copies of the singer's new album Art Pop will be sold in 175 of the chain's outlets across America.

Lady Gaga For H&M
Gaga herself will also be on hand at the Times Square opening on Thursday to meet and greet customers, who will be able to enjoy 24-hour opening times, hourly offers and lots of fashionable giveaways.

It adds to a busy week for the Swedish high-street giant, which also launched a collection with Isabel Maranat.

Why Karl’s Mother Preferred His Rival

Karl Lagerfeld´s  mother was not a woman to mince her words - and she had little interest in her son's work at Chanel.

"My mother used to say to me: 'You look like me, but not as good,'" he said. "She never saw a show of my work because, she said, 'I do not want to go see people my son works for.' And at the end of her life, when she was 70, she decided that she would not wear skirts any more. 'Long skirts make me old and the short skirts,' this was the Sixties, 'they're for the young girls.' So she couldn't care less about what I was making. She loved Sonia Rykiel."

Talking to Jessica Chastain at a fundraising event in New York, the Chanel designer also opened up on his views about red-carpet dressing ("A little too much sometimes - especially when you see all those mermaids and fishtail gowns going in to see movies about poor girls in Eastern Europe"), magazine retouching ("Everyone looks like they stepped out of a funeral parlour"), being lauded as the fashion equivalent of Oscar Wilde ("I hope I end up better"), as well as his childhood.

Karl Lagerfeld
"I hated when people came up to me and said 'How was school?' and things like that. I hated to be treated as a child," he recalled. "I thought it was the worst situation. I never spoke to people like that. I turned my back to them and never spoke to them again. I wanted to be grown-up."

He also relayed his first encounter with his beloved pampered pet, Choupette, who was originally loaned to him by model and friend Baptiste Giabiconi while he was on holiday. Lagerfeld promptly fell in love with the cat and refused to give her back.

"Baptiste got another one," said Lagerfeld. "But she is not as good as Choupette. It is always difficult to analyse influence, but perhaps she helped me become a nicer person - there's something very touching about her. And she is spoiled beyond."

Scotland's Young Stars Re:Designed

So who are the design names to watch in Scotland now? The buyers from Harrods and Liberty have a few names in mind, unveiled yesterday at designer fashion showcase Scotland Re:Designed. Young Scottish Designer of the Year Jennifer Morris and 11 fellow exhibitors showcased their spring/summer 2014 collections in the temporarily transformed Harvey Nichols' basement car park in Edinburgh.

Kicking off the four-day fashion showcase, which includes an open designer showroom and a series of public workshops, the catwalk show was opened by Burberry model Amber Anderson - wearing Rebecca Torres, whose clients include Roisin Murphy and Mollie King from The Saturdays. Fellow exhibitors Bebaroque, Common People, ESK, Jaggy Nettle, Rosie Sugden, John & Pearl and William Chambers joined Morris and Torres to show their designs on the catwalk, while interiors specialists Abigail Ryan, DC Dalgliesh and Silken Favours were also identified as promising design businesses by the judges.

"Common People, ESK and Jaggy Nettle showed luxurious ranges with a clean contemporary edge proving that knitwear can have great diversity," said Harrods buyer Eleanor Higgs. "These designers planned their collections in great detail and focused on colour which is a key factor for our customers, who look for innovation and a point of difference in their garments".

Common People
Alongside buyers from Harrods, Liberty and Edinburgh boutique Jane Davidson, the panel consisted of industry judges including Paul Smith visual merchandiser Marta Gomila, Topman creative director Gordon Richardson and Victoria & Albert Museum fashion curator Jenny Lister.

Jennifer Morris 
"Scottish fashion is so interesting because of the dichotomy between rural crafts and edgy contemporary fashion," said V&A fashion curator Jenny Lister. "Young designers need to create unique pieces with a marketable story to succeed. The story behind DC Dalgliesh stands out for me because they brought an old company back to life by combining traditional techniques with modern technology."

The judges reviewed over 50 applications and considered workmanship, design quality, green credentials, stockists and the overall profile of the business.

"I was impressed that the 12 designers married their heritage with a completely modern viewpoint," said Liberty buyer Ben Andrew. "ESK Cashmere has huge potential because there's a real gap in the market for a luxury mens Cashmere brand.

Beckham Designs For Belstaff

David Beckham  has designed a collection for British brand Belstaff - a menswear offering inspired by "reviving luxury moto classics that have been redefined by Beckham's iconic personal style". The former footballer will also star in the label's 2014 global advertising campaign, photographed by Peter Lindbergh in rural Buckinghamshire.

The campaign depicts a "band of brothers" led by Beckham, travelling around the English countryside on their motorbikes, something Beckham enjoys off-camera, too.

Beckham For Belstaff
"I've always loved motorbikes," Beckham told us at the Belstaff store opening in London. "But I've never really been allowed to ride them. Obviously now that I've finished playing, it's enabled me to spend more time on my bikes, which is great."

The Beckham for Belstaff collection will launch exclusively at Belstaff stores worldwide and in March 2014, and will then roll out with select global distribution in June 2014.

Watch David Beckham's biker boy moment, here

The V&A Celebrates Italian Fashion

Italian fashion is the focus of the V&A´s  forthcoming major exhibition, opening on April 5 2014 and closing on July 27. The showcase - which has been three years in the making - will look at the influence of Italian fashion from the Second World War up until the current date, displaying 100 creations by the country's leading names, from Prada and Valentino to Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci. 

"Italian fashion is a story of rags to riches almost, as the post-war country recovers and becomes a key place for manufacture, design and entrepreneurial risk taking that cuts right across businesses," said curator Sonnet Stanfill. "This is the compelling story which we describe in the exhibition."

Liz Taylor
As well as established fashion bastions, the showcase will also highlight the work of lesser-known labels that also made an indelible impact on the industry - such as post-war couturiers Sorelle Fontana and Mila Schön - and the role that Italy played in Hollywood films during the Fifties and Sixties. A focus will also be placed on the high level of craftsmanship and use of luxurious materials that have helped define the country's fashion signatures.

"Over the last five years I have been working to build the V&A's collection of contemporary Italian fashion," said Stanfill. "There has never been a comprehensive overview of Italian fashion like this and it felt like a pivotal moment for the exhibition."

The display - sponsored by Bulgari - comes at a time of change for Italy's fashion scene -Milan Fashion Week is currently undergoing a revival, as some of the country's key names - from Prada's Patrizio Bertelli to Tod's chief Diego Della Valle - strive to restore the schedule's momentum, which has slowed down in recent seasons due to fuller line-ups in London and Paris. The exhibition will conclude with a series of filmed interviews with key figures across the Italian fashion industry in order to discuss its future.

"Milan could continue its already successful efforts to open up its fashion calendar to younger less established voices," said Stanfill. "Italy and the rest of Europe could also clarify labelling, so that we know what is 'Made in Italy.' I think the mix of very well-known and forgotten designers is something people will be excited to see."

Watch Marks & Spencer’s Fairy-Tale Mash-Up

Marks & Spencer has unveiled its Christmas advert, and - regardless of it being only just November - we challenge you not to feel a little festive after watching the brand's new campaign film. The fairy-tale mash-up featuresHelena Bonham Carter  as the Great and Powerful Oz (who else?), David Gand, as both the Mad Hatter and also Aladdin (a strange, yet attractive, combination), and the label's star design collaborator,Rosie Huntington - Whitely, as Alice in Wonderland, Princess Jasmine, Dorothy Gale and Little Red Riding Hood - with accompanying costume changes, naturally.

M&S Christmas
Go behind the scenes and see the film being shot, then watch the magical short above. Fireworks night may not even be over yet, but for M&S at least, the holidays are coming.

Nicolas Ghesquière For Vuitton Confirmed

Louis Vuitton has named  Nicolas Ghesquiere as its new creative director. The designer - formerly creative director of Balenciaga - will begin his role immediately.

"Louis Vuitton has always incarnated for me the symbol of ultimate luxury, innovation and exploration," Ghesquière said today. "I am very honoured of the mission that I am entrusted with, and proud to join the history of this great maison. We share common values and a vision."

Ghesquière added, in an interview with Suzy Menkes for the International Herald Tribune today, that he feels that all his past design roles have been leading towards this point.

"I am so happy," he said. "It is an excitement. A feeling that what I lived before was preparing me to do this."

The French designer succeeds Marc Jacobs - who was in charge for 16 years and turned the brand from a luggage and accessories emporium into one of the bestselling luxury labels in the world - after he stepped down in October to focus on his eponymous line as it heads towards an IPO.

"I have a lot of respect and admiration for Marc Jacobs," he added. "He made Louis Vuitton relevant in fashion and will always be known as the first designer of the brand. Among the many things that he did there were the artist collaborations that have become some of the fundementals of the brand. I am very proud to succeed."

Nicolas Ghesquiere
Vuitton said Ghesquière would bring "a modern creative vision to the house's women's collections, building on the values of refinement, savoir faire and extreme quality," WWD reports - and it is hoped that he will bring a new era to Vuitton in the same way he did at Balenciaga.

Ghesquière also refused to rule out launching his own label in the future: "This is something I always think about, since I started; that maybe one day I will do my own name. But not now when I was asked to do something so fantastic."

Gaultier Launches Couture For Children

Jean Paul Gaultier has introduced a couture line for children. Launching for spring/summer 2014, the range will be updated every six months.

His first designs for the new line were inspired by the finale dress from the spring/summer couture 2013 collection - when the styles were first seen, as small children appeared from underneath the model´s voluminous gown.The mini tulle dresses - available in ivory and pink - have silk bodices and an accompanying bolero adorned with Swarovski crystals. A limited run of 90 pieces will be produced in each colourway, which will go sale towards the end of the year, priced at $1,200 each.

Jean Paul Gaultier
The brand has a childrenswear line, launched in 2009, although the mini couture label marks its most luxurious offering for children yet.

Join Bowie On His Vuitton Voyage

David Bowie´s new Louis Vuitton  campaign has been unveiled for the first time and we have the images to show you. See the initial ideas for the advert with the final storyboard, then go behind the scenes as the campaign is photographed by David Sims.

David Bowie For Louis Vuitton
The advert is the second stage of a film, starring Arizona Muse, that was first launched last November - showing the journey of the Vuitton woman and entitled L'Invitation Au Voyage. 

Muse's adventure starts in Paris at the Louvre, before she is whisked off in a hot-air balloon that takes her to Venice - where she meets Bowie. Cue picturesque shots of the model travelling along Venetian canals in an old-fashioned boat and decadent scenes of a masked ball - a more glamorous version of the masked, surreal soirée seen in 1986 cult film Labyrinth, which also starred Bowie. Unsurprisingly, the musician also sings a track from his new album, The Next Day.

Filming The New Campaign
The full film - which promotes Vuitton's new Tambour watch and Vivienne bag - will premiere on the label's app on November 7. A shortened clip will be shown on television on November 10, while the campaign images will appear in magazines and newspapers later this month.

Watch the ´trailer teaser´ below for more information.

See Formichetti’s Diesel Debut

Nicola Formichetti has unveiled a first look at his debut collection for Diesel.Having been appointed the label's artistic director in April, the designer's inaugural offering, named #DieselTribute, has used the brand's 35-year archive as its starting point.

"It's like a love letter to Diesel," Formichetti told us. "The #DieselTribute collection idea came from simply finding beautiful things in Diesel offices and factories, including old denim and patches, and I wanted to work these into a small collection."

Nicola Formichetti For Diesel
The collection is divided into two different lines - denim and leather, which will launch in November and February respectively. Each of the 45 pieces is handmade, and includes men and women's ready-to-wear apparel, denim, accessories and lingerie. Nick Knight was hired to shoot the campaign, entirely on an iPhone - images that will be shared via the label's social media channels.

The range is a teaser to his first full collection for the brand, which will be presented in March. Formichetti - a collaborator of Lady Gaga - worked as creative director of Mugler before joining Diesel. He cites Rosso's passion as the reason that he wanted to work at the label."What Renzo Rosso, the founder of Diesel, has done over the last 35 years is so incredible," he said. "I want to make Diesel the coolest brand on the planet. We are planning so many crazy things for the future."

"I'm working in a completely different environment now," he said. "I have a huge team, all over the world. With Diesel we can do something very personal and handmade but with a global reach."

Rita Ora For Adidas?

Adidas has not yet commented on speculation that Rita Ora  is designing a collection for the brand. A spokesperson for the sportswear label could not be reached.

Speculation arose yesterday that the singer has signed a £1.5 million deal with Adidas to create a line, although it is not known what the range would include. Other high-profile names to design for the brand include Stella McCartney, Jeremy Scott and Raf Simons.

Rita Ora For Adidas
The 22-year-old has already signed up to launch a beauty collection for Rimmel, which will land in February 2014.

Nicole Kidman Talks Becoming Bardot

Nicole Kidman adopted Bardot-esque hair and the French actress's kittenish demeanour for the new Jimmy Choo campaign shoot - and revealed that her favourite shoe is named, coincidentally, after her daughter, Sunday.

Nicole Kidman For Jimmy Choo
The Oscar-winning actress also shares her wild side, confessing that she is not the composed red-carpet veteran we think she is all the time, with exploits including dancing on tables a regular occurrence.

Watch our video below on the making of the campaign.