Friday, December 26, 2014

Mayo Returns Home

With the days getting progressively shorter, any exposure to colour is greatly welcomed to warm up our monochromatic routines. An injection of hues from the Emerald Isle by Julie O´Connell and her fashion label Mayo is doing just that.

Julie has just returned back onto home soil, after spending two years in the Catalan fashion city of Barcelona.

´I felt I achieved an amazing learning experience during my time there. I was able to develop my style, network with a wealth of talented designers, and show my collections twice in the 080 Barcelona Fashion showrooms. Even Paris Hilton dropped by.´

Due to the popularity of Julie´s sartorial offerings, several stores in Barcelona have snapped up her key pieces, amongst them, Lailo Vintage where her funky accessories and homeware can be found. The collection of articles take the form of every colour of the rainbow, and sit complimentarily beside her Barbie doll rings and lamps.

Within Cork,city centre, Julie still continues to teach and mentor young designers at weekend workshops, while developing her exposure at national level.

´Mayo is currently stocked in Devilish Designs by Gina Cork, Moonshine Cork and the new outlet of Isobella Ru.´ Julie stated as she discussed her future plans for 2015 and beyond.

´Mayo is hoping to relocate to Berlin next year but will continue to travel, create and hopefully spread Mayo worldwide.´ For Julie, Tokyo still remains one of the most inspiring cities she has ever lived in and a reconnaissance trip back over the water there seems a strong possibility. Watch this space for her latest forthcoming collections.Although, given the current success Julie is attaining, it may be difficult not to miss.

The Fashion Films Of The Year

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Backstage gave to me: twelve wondrous films; eleven stories from Kate Moss: ten cover girls; Alexa filming Tavi ; eight location shoots; a seven-year old Naomi Campbell; six Posh Test questions; five angels Voguing; Nick Grimshaw dressed by Moss; Taylor Swift  with Mario; Cara Delevingne handstanding; and Victoria Bwckham smiling with a dog.

#1: The film that made Paul McCartney cry.

#2: The inner sanctum of Kate Moss. A rare insight into the supermodel's world as she talks us through the December issue over tea at her house with fellow Vogue contributing fashion editor Kate Phelan  This film got more hits in its first day than any other this year.

#3: Georgia May Jagger and Charlotte Free  partying in LA under the lens of photographer and filmmaker Tyrone Lebon. This mood film was a favourite in the Vogue art department.

#4: Boys, boys, and more boys. The cast of The Riot Club kept us highly amused on set as we conducted a very scientific "posh" test on Sam Clafin and Douglas Booth.

#5: Naomi Campbell tours Brixton in search of the perfect hot sauce, accompanied by Azzedine Alaia.

#6: Kate Moss and David Bailey shoot the leading men in Moss's life, and we encourage them to talk about her behind her back.

#7: There's just no looking away from Kate Upton in this film of her beach-set shoot with Mario Testino for the June issue. Traffic-stopping.

#8: Proving that simple is effective, and sometimes all you need is Alexa Chung and a camcorder.

#9: Who else other than Vogue's Lucinda Chambers  could coerce Victoria Beckham into wearing an apron that says "Too Posh To Wash"? Not to be missed.

#10: All the world loves Taylor Swift, and so do we. Catch her singing along with Mario Testino on her November cover shoot.

#11: A whopping forty people made up one of our busiest ever shoots for Kate Moss's shoot with Tim Walker.Look out for Cara Delevingne trying a handstand and Luke Treadaway being tied up by Pixie Geldof.

#12: Everyone needs an angel at Christmas. Here are eight to make you smile.

Rome Cancels Couture

AltaRoma has announced its decision to cancel its scheduled Couture showcase that was slated to run between January 31 and February 2 next year. The organisation, which usually holds two fashion weeks annually, stated that it cannot afford to put on both this year due to lack of public funding.

"I hope that through the members' commitment we can break this deadlock," Silvia Venturini Fendi, AltaRoma president, told WWD. "I'm afraid that we might miss a useful occasion to reconfirm the trust in public involvement aimed at supporting development and giving hope to one of the most important productive sectors for the future re-launch of our country."

Isa Arfen
The showcase that is scheduled for July is currently confirmed to go ahead as usual.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Miss World Cancels Swimsuit Section

Organisers of the annual Miss World pageant have announced plans to eliminate the swimsuit segment of the competition, citing lack of purpose as the reason.

"The organisation has decided to take itself out of the swimsuit world because it isn't the path they're trying to take," said Chris Wilmer, the national director of Miss World America/Miss United States organisation. "It's not just a beauty contest, it's beauty with a purpose. There didn't seem to be a purpose to have the swimsuit."

Miss World - which is the oldest international beauty pageant - was originally called the Festival Bikini Contest and was established in England in 1951 by Eric Morley, who wanted to lift spirits following the end of Second World War. The bikini was replaced with a more modest swimsuit after the contest drew complaints, and the segment of the show has existed ever since. However, Wilmer is keen that, in the future, the pageant shouldn't just be based on appearance.

Miss World Covers Up
"Miss World should be a spokesperson who can help a community. She's more of an ambassador, not a beauty queen," Wilmer continued, reports The Washington Post. "It's more about the outreach and what a woman could do with a title like Miss World."

The decision by Wilmer and his colleagues comes at a time when the traditional beauty pageant and the exposure of the female form are much-discussed topics. The recent Victoria's Secret show in London resulted in ample column inches debating the feminist issues underlining the extravaganza, while many stars have made public their support for the Free The Nipple campaign, an equality initiative that stands against the illegality of topless women.

NYFW On The Move

NYFW will have a new home come September 2015, following a ruling by a state supreme court that decreed IMG - the organisers of fashion week - will not be allowed to renew its contract to host the shows at the Damrosch Park space in the Lincoln Centre.

Although IMG has used the space for the last five years, tensions have been growing since May 2013, when local residents, environmental groups, and members of the Damrosch family filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court demanding that "the agreement between the Parks Department and Lincoln Center be terminated, the park be restored and no longer used for non-park purposes," reports WWD.

New York Fashion Week - Relocation
However, although new venues have not been announced, IMG intimated that rather than be forced out, the decision was a mutually beneficial one.

"Lincoln Center has been a great home for the past five years and we look forward to another world-class season this February," said a spokesperson yesterday. "However, as the fashion industry continues to evolve, IMG has been actively looking for a new home for NYFW that gives our designers and partners the best possible environment to share their creative visions. We look forward to sharing more details on our new home soon."

Gareth Pugh's LFW Return

Gareth Pugh  is returning to London Fashion Week for the first time in seven years. The British designer - who showed in New York last season, and in Paris before that - has made the move to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his label.

Gareth Pugh
"London is where everything began for me," Pugh said today. "My creative family is here, our story is here. So I'm thrilled to acknowledge such an important milestone on home ground. At heart this is a creative decision - it feels timely and true to the spirit of the work."

The show will take place on February 21 during London Fashion Week's autumn/winter 2015 showcase.

Alexandre Vauthier Joins The Chambre Syndicale

Alexandre Vauthier has become the latest designer to be made a member of France's prestigious Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. The accolade means that he will be able to officially use the haute couture title for his collections, and will present his collection during Couture Fashion Week in January.

Alexandre Vauthier
Previously Jean Paul Gaultier's studio director, a position that he held for eight years until 2006, he then spent three years at Thierry Mugler before establishing his eponymous label in 2009.

The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture is governed by The Fédération Française de la Couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode - which was established in 1973, and of which Ralph Toldano is president - and reviews its official haute couture houses annually. Only fashion houses that have been approved by the French Ministry of Industry are allowed to use the title of haute couture.

Rihanna Named Creative Director Of Puma

Rihanna has been named creative director of Puma, overseeing the direction of the womenswear line, and will join famous sportsmen including Usain Bolt and Mario Balotelli as a brand ambassador. The singer arrived at the company's headquarters in Germany yesterday and had her first creative meeting with the design team.

Having signed a "multi-year partnership" with the company, Rihanna will take a "hands-on approach," WWD reports, working on Puma's fitness and training collections across apparel as well as shoes.

Rihanna "will work with Puma to design and customise classic Puma styles as well as create new styles to add to the Puma product portfolio," Puma said in a statement today.

"Signing Rihanna is a fantastic step for Puma," Bjørn Gulden, Puma's chief executive officer, said. "Her global profile, her charisma and individuality, her ambition - all these things make her a perfect ambassador for our brand. With a strong portfolio in football, running and motorsport, finding an inspiring partner for women's training was very important. Rihanna was a natural choice for us. We're delighted to have her as a partner, and we're looking forward to what's to come."

Puma, which is owned by Kering, is currently undergoing a makeover to help it compete with the big two - Nike and Adidas - in terms of sales and brand reach. It's far from Rihanna's first foray into fashion, with successful link-ups with labels including River Island, MAC, Giorgio Armani, Balmain and Gucci all already on her CV.

Jourdan On Working With Naomi

Jourdan Dunn has spoken about what it was like to work with one of the models she most admires but has never worked with before, Naomi Campbell,for the new Burberry campaign. The models teamed up for the British brand's spring/summer 2015 images - following in the footsteps of another Brit model duo, Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne, last season.

"Burberry is such an iconic brand and I feel very proud to be a part of their campaign and their team," Dunn told us this morning. "This campaign is even more special for me because I was shot with Naomi Campbell for the first time - someone who I admire and respect within the fashion industry."

Photographed, as always, by Mario Testino and creative directed by Christopher Bailey, the shoot also features other British talents: George Barnett, drummer from These New Puritans and current face of the Burberry Brit Rhythm fragrance campaign; and George Le Page, drummer in Of Empires, who also opened and closed the Burberry Prorsum menswear spring/summer 2015 show. The campaign is Dunn's fourth for the label, but is Campbell's first since 2001, when she starred alongside her friend - and fellow Burberry girl - Kate Moss.

Jourdan Dunn
"Naomi and Jourdan - two great British icons, two strong, beautiful women and the two perfect faces for our new campaign," Bailey added. "It is, as always, a real privilege to work with them."

"I admire what Christopher and the entire Burberry family are doing so it's great to be back working with the brand again," Campbell said of the London label. "We've all witnessed the evolution of this great British brand and it is a privilege to be a part of its continuing progress within the world of fashion. It is always a pleasure to work with Mario Testino; we came up in the business together 28 years ago, so have an understanding and ease in working together. His photography is special and the results are always stunning. And I was thrilled to work with Jourdan Dunn for the first time - it was a lot of fun. But above all, it's always rewarding for an artist to work on a campaign for a world-class product."

Giannini And Di Marco Both Leave Gucci

Gucci's creative director Frida Giannini and CEO Patrizio di Marco have both stepped down. Marco Bizzarri has been appointed CEO of the Italian label, Kering announced today.

The Gucci duo - who are also a couple in real life, and have one child together, daughter Greta - will leave early in the new year. Di Marco departs on January 1, while Giannini will leave at the end of February 2015, after showing her autumn/winter 2015 collection at Milan Fashion Week. A new creative director will be appointed "later on", the brand said.

Di Marco joined Kering 13 years ago as the CEO of Bottega Veneta before moving to Gucci in 2008. Giannini joined the group 12 years ago, when she left Fendi for Gucci, moving through the ranks of the brand under Tom Ford.

Giannini And Di Marco
"I truly enjoyed working with Patrizio over those years," François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of Kering, said today. "The great performances achieved by the Gucci brand during his tenure stand as a testament to his success. His strategic vision, passion, dedication and charisma were key to bring Gucci where it is today. I want to warmly thank him and wish him the very best in his future endeavours."

"I would like to thank Frida for her extraordinary passion, dedication and contribution to the Gucci brand," Pinault went on. "She has been the sole creative director of Gucci for close to a decade. This is a remarkable accomplishment, considering the level and breadth of responsibility of overviewing all the aspects related to product and image for such a global brand during such a long period of time. I am truly grateful to her for her achievements, creativity and the passion that she has always instilled in her work."

New CEO Marco Bizzarri is also a Kering stalwart, having joined Stella McCartney in 2005 before moving to Bottega Veneta in 2009.

"Giannini has also been instrumental in repositioning the universe of Gucci beyond design, developing the architectural and interior environments for Gucci's store concept and conceiving the Gucci Museo in Florence," the brand said in a statement today. She also pioneered Gucci's recent philanthropic ventures, including Chime for Change.

For Sale: A Private Chanel Archive

An unnamed private seller will this week part with her personal collection of Chanel pieces, dating back almost three decades, and naturally we had to pick our favourite pieces ahead of the big reveal. Classic Chanel bouclé jackets, timelessly elegant dresses and even an incredibly rare handbag will be up for grabs - but what prompted this most wrenching of fashion clear-outs by the seller?

"We understand that the seller had been considering selling some items for a while. It's an emotional decision to part with such an incredible collection of clothes but we were able to work with Threadstyling, the private concierge service, to ensure that the sale of these items would be done in the right way," Nicola McClafferty, CEO and co-founder of Covetique, told us. "Covetique has been selling unique pre-owned luxury items to buyers around the world for the last few years and together we were confident we could find the right buyers for these pieces."

Vintage Chanel
Difficult though it must be for the seller to part with such beautiful items, the team at Covetique are understandably excited to be tasked with finding each item a new home.

"When the items arrived with us it really did feel like we were surrounded by an incredible moment in fashion history," McClafferty said. "These items date primarily from the early Nineties. Karl Lagerfeld had been at the helm for 10 years at that point and was taking Chanel in a really exciting direction, putting a new twist on the Chanel classics - like the amazing classic bouclé suits in bright colours with plastic trim. This seller has been collecting Chanel and other luxury brands for many years - and continues to do so. It's important to the seller that these amazing pieces are passed on to a buyer that really appreciates their history."

Galliano To Show In London

John Galliano will show his first couture collection for Maison Martin Margiela in London on January 12 during London Collections: Men, it has been revealed.

The decision is said to be a personal one, due to Galliano's "formative years and his beginnings in the industry - and it is intrinsically related to the city's traditional tailoring history and heritage," read a statement from Margiela. It will, however, also be shown in Paris during Couture Fashion Week - which runs between January 25 and 30 - although by appointment only. 

The show, which will be attended by around 100 guests, will be Galliano's first fashion showcase since he departed Dior in 2011.

PETA's Controversial New T-Shirts

PETA has teamed up with east London-based label Black Score to create a capsule collection of T-shirts and sweats all communicating the organisation's serious message in Black Score's typically humorous way.

"I'm really excited to be collaborating with PETA," Simeon Farrar, the designer behind Black Score, told us. "They are so passionate and proactive in the crusade against animal cruelty. Black Score is often raising the middle finger for the animal kingdom, so to do it in support of a charity like PETA is a true honour."

PETA Porter
Loved by Cara and Poppy Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn and Rita Ora among others, the brand will retail the Black Score for PETA collection from its website. A percentage of sales from each T-shirt and jumper sold - priced from £30 to £60 - will be donated to PETA.

Chanel's Fashion Fairy Tale

The stalls were alive with the sound of Mozart; the Christmas market laden with Glühwein, gingerbread and glitter. Salzburg, with its grey stone buildings and dark river, looked like the picture-postcard that Karl Lagerfeld had drawn as the Chanel invitation.

Chanel Invitation
And at the Schloss Leopoldskron, the fashion fairy tale was played out as if in a painted landscape. In the foreground, Heidi figures with apron dresses and white blouses carried trays of sweetmeats. On the tables, autumnal fruits were piled high. And through the windows, light was reflected on the lake's still water. 

Schloss Leopoldskron
The effect was glorious - even before the first models in this year's Paris-Salzburg Chanel Métiers d'Art show walked through the wood-panelled library to the great marble hall, rich with paintings. 

Dramatic Interiors
No matter that the Chanel people admitted to coaxing the one-time palace back to life, taking the bare rooms, now used for seminars, and re-imagining the opulence and grandeur of the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Think of Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife, Elizabeth, known as "Sissi" - a beauty who decorated her lustrous hair with a myriad of diamond and pearl stars. 

Tables Loaded With Rich Delights
Karl had left no precious stone unturned, from the music books of librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal's words for Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier to the witty and wondrous decorations on the clothes (and tables).

Here was Cara Delevingne in a tiered white lace dress, poised between elegance and innocence - not to mention her appearance as Sissi - Pharrell Williams at her side, in Karl's teaser video filmed for this event called Reincarnation.

The Filming Of Reincarnation
And yet. There was something frustrating about this fantastic collection of handwork. For the audience - and even more so for on-line viewers - it looked like just another collection of good-looking clothes from Karl the Magnificent. Instead of being - as is intended - a showcase for the Métiers d'Art.

That is a reference to the craftsmen and women at the Paris workplace where Chanel has invested so much in people skills.

The Art Of Fashion
I was frustrated that there was so little information about how miniature edelweiss were made to sprout from tiny flat shoes or were embroidered on snow-white hose. I had no idea who was the creator of the foams of white lace at chests and wrists; or the haute knits with hand-woven flowers.

As I scoured the Chanel website for details, I discovered that a top patterned with butterflies had required 545 hours of work to create the feather embroideries and place 25,000 sequins. Another apparently simple embroidery mixed feathers, wooden flowers and beads. 

Attention To Detail
I found on-line a mini video from Chanel showing magical hands at work. But I still wanted more. As we saw them on the runway, the embroidery could have been run up in a factory, not made with human skills.
Heavily Embriodered Details
In due respect to Karl, even with precious little information, the show was aesthetically impressive - sharp when it came to the tailoring and sweet for the folklore-decorated dresses.

How much of himself did Karl put into this collection - especially in this case of a Germanic cultural background that is also his own? 

Karl & Cara
When a reporter asked him about the classic leather lederhosen transformed into cute, sexy shorts worn with thigh-high flower-embroidered socks he said:

"As a child, I was dressed like this - of course, this was not really what was worn in Hamburg, but I always liked to be different!"

I wish we could have seen a picture of little Karl dressed up like an Austrian princeling. But I did feel that he was deeply engaged in the romantic side of his native land and its neighbouring Salzburg.

Did Coco really get the inspiration for her famous Chanel jacket, as Karl claims, from a liftboy's uniform she saw when travelling near Salzburg? One of the Chanel people mentioned the recent Wes Anderson film The Grand Budapest Hotel, and I saw something of that movie in the Chanel tailored jackets.

The Chanel Finale
The collection was labelled across the blogosphere as "pre-fall", to fit in with other brand offerings. But I talked to Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion at Chanel, who said, as Karl did too, that the Metiers d'Art collections are much closer to couture. (I understood this to mean in cost as well as workmanship.)

"This is a real return to the work of hands - and it is the young who are really interested in going back to those skills,'' said Pavlovsky.

Karl, Suzie And Hamish
Hubert Barrère of Lesage said  that this Salzburg collection was a "gift" because his Paris team of embroiderers had time to research the work of Mozart, von Hofmannsthal, the theatre, the summer festivals and Romy Schneider in the Sissi film from 1955.

I hope someone at Chanel is keeping a record of these 10 years of Metiers d'Art shows, which really are unique both in their craftsmanship and as an expression of Karl Lagerfeld's imagination.

Friday, December 5, 2014

David Walliams: Kate The Great

When the adaptation of David Walliams's children's book, The Boy In The Dress, was given the green light by the BBC to be shown this Christmas, the author knew that there was only one woman to play his little protagonist's dream girl, and only one publication to put her on the cover of: Kate Moss and Vogue.

"The little boy, Dennis, finds his life boring - he wants to live in a different world - and so he walks to the newsagents and is drawn to the cover of Vogue magazine," Walliams explained to us. "It couldn't have been anything else, Vogue is so iconic. As Dennis walks towards the shelf, Kate - on the cover - comes to life in a dream sequence and she starts talking to him. It really reflects my own love of Vogue and all things fashion."

Moss & Walliams
It's easy, of course, to see why Moss was the obvious choice - but what does Walliams, who is married to his own supermodel Lara Stone, think makes Moss stand out?

"It's rare that you become iconic in your own lifetime. Fashion is niche - it doesn't touch everyone's life in the way that something like music can, but Kate is iconic to everybody and people are fascinated by her," he enthused. "She has an enigma to her. You don't know much about her but you know she's always having fun and you want to have fun with her."

Walliams and Moss have, however, been aquainted for some time, with the supermodel performing as Vicki Pollard's "easy" sister Katie back in the infamous Little Britain sketch for Comic Relief in 2006, and even calling on the comedian to create a special birthday present for her daughter, Lila.

"I knew that her daughter, Lila, read my children's books because Kate had asked me to sign a couple of copies for her," he revealed. "Then for her birthday, she asked me to write a special story for her, incorporating people that are in her life, and then it was given to everyone that attended her birthday party."

Much like Dennis, Walliams has his very own dream sequence, although his comprises people that he would like to work with.

"It's never, ever going to happen, but I would love to cast Daniel Day Lewis. I saw him years ago playing Hamlet at the National Theatre and ever since then I loved him," he revealed. "There are, though, certain people that you almost don't want to meet because you are so in awe of them. Sean Connery is another one - but again, probably not going to happen as he is retired - and Jennifer Lawrence, I'd like to work with her."
Kate has an enigma to her. You don't know much about her but you know she's always having fun

For now though, his complete attention is on the Christmas adaptation - something that Walliams himself described as "a love letter to Vogue" - and he's, understandably, very proud of the end result.

"It's hard to talk about your own work but I hope people find it funny and touching," he said. "My story is of a little boy at school that dresses up as a little girl, so it's more challenging for some. But luckily the world is changing and attitudes are changing - it's certainly different from when I was at school. I had tears in my eyes watching some of the other actors' scenes, they were so moving. It's about difference and people accepting that people are different."

Zandra Looks Back - And Forward

Zandra Rhodes has been a recognisable name, and face, in fashion for almost 50 years, her chameleonic ability to transform and rebuild being one of her greatest assets. This weekend, she will unveil her first ever Brit-based retrospective - at the Clothes Show Live in Birmingham - but told us that even looking back is just another twist in her incredible tale.

"The time has flown by; however there is always a new challenge," she said. "Each time I think that the world has forgotten me, or passed by, or ignored my work - something key happens. In the mid-Nineties when no one was taking any notice, I decided to found The Fashion and Textile Museum, in particular to memorialise British designers who are in danger of being forgotten - and especially textile designers, who are the Cinderellas of the industry. When I was right in the middle of this project I was then asked to design sets and costumes for the Opera. Then, right out of the blue, John Galliano did his floaty, frondy chiffon collection which everyone attributed to me as the inspiration. Suddenly the world noticed me again!"

Zandra Rhodes
Famous for her use of print and vibrant, often experimental colours, Rhodes has her eye on several young talents of today.

"Mary Katrantzou has taken digital to new heights and Christopher Kane is a font of original ideas. It is so great to see such fantasy coming from the UK," she said. "I adore the power of textile prints to transform fabric and love the challenge of thinking up new prints and new ways they can be used. I feel there are still many women who need and look fabulous in a Zandra Rhodes creation, which is different from what the rest of the market has to offer."

And, far from using this retrospective as an ending to her fashion journey, Rhodes is forging ahead with the next leg of the trip.

"Because of technology things are moving at double the speed. One thing I do know is everything comes around again and it's my turn soon!"

Tickets to Clothes Show Live are now on sale and available at, priced from £29.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Backstage With The Angels

The Victoria´s Secret show  has gone global this year, coming to London for the very first time, so of course we went backstage to see what the international roster of models could teach us. From what they love about London to their favourite phrase in their mother tongue, we really learned a lot before the show even started. Educate yourself below.

David Beckham Announces Licensing Deal

David Beckham is following in wife Victoria's footsteps by launching his own label with Simon Fuller. The deal is with Global Brands - a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based consumer brands supplier Li & Fung - who are also responsible for the distribution of Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and New Balance goods among others.

David Beckham
Global Brands has previously talked about its interest in "creating large-scale global brands in partnership with a select number of high-profile iconic sports and entertainment stars and rights holders," reports WWD. It cited Beckham's "star power and status as one of the world's most famous sports and style icons," and Fuller's "deep understanding of consumers, talent, and sports and entertainment rights," as the reasons for pushing ahead with the deal, which is said to be a men's sportswear label.

Fuller, who has been a business partner and adviser to the Beckham family since the Spice Girls' days, has steered the Victoria Beckham label to the global success that saw it win the British Brand award at this week´s British Fashion Awards.

John Galliano Makes His Public Return

John Galliano made his re-entry into fashion last night with a speech at the British Fashion Awards. The designer lauded the "loyal friends" who had supported him through his "highs and lows", without whom, he said, he wouldn't be standing before the industry "healthy and happy again".

Galliano returned to London - the city that considers him its own despite the fact that he was born in Gibraltar, because it is the place where he studied, built his brand and eventually found fame, before being taken to Paris to helm Givenchy and then Dior - to present the night's Outstanding Achievement award to American Vogueeditor Anna Wintour. Speaking slowly and carefully but smiling often, Galliano recounted a trip to the Met Ball with Wintour, for which he was so scared to be late that he tucked the sari he had planned to wear into his "knickers" when he couldn't remember how to drape it properly.

John Galliano
"When we were about to get out of the car," he remembered, "there was Calvin, and Donna, and my sari began to fall down. In Anna's world there is a solution for everything and she said, 'There is an Indian prince here, he'll know how to drape it properly.' And, of course, there was, and he did."

Wintour noted Galliano's immense talent as she accepted the award, thanking London fashion for always innovating, and its key protagonists - from Sarah Burton to Christopher Bailey - for being her "great friends".

Cara And Pharrell For Chanel

Guests at Karl Lagerfeld´s ChanelMétiers d'Art show later today will be treated to a visual and musical extravaganza starring Cara Delevingne - but you don't have to wait until then. Reincarnation -inpired by the history of an iconic Chanel jacket - showcases Delevingne's acting, dancing and even singing talents, see how she fared below.

Cara Cast As Warner Bros Super-Villain

As if winning Model of the year at the British Fashion Awards and walking hand in hand with Karl Lagerfeld  at Chanel's Métiers d'Art show in Salzburg wasn't enough for the first half of this week, Cara Delevingne has been cast in Warner Bros' super-villain film, Suicide Squad.

Delevingne will play the magical villain Enchantress, alongside Tom Hardy, Margot Robbie, Will Smith and Jared Leto - who will take on the role of The Joker - in the film that is slated for release in 2016. Based on the DC comic-book series of the same name, the characters play a group of anti-heroes who are employed by the US government to undertake missions in return for their own prison sentences being reduced.

Cara Takes Hollywood
By the time the film is released, however, we will be used to seeing Delevingne on the silver screen, as she is scheduled to star in five films due for release in 2015 alone: Tulip Fever; London Fields; Kids In Love; Pan; and Paper Towns.

Chanel Takes Salzburg

Fashion events are a lot like buses (bear with me): you wait around for one and nothing, then three suddenly come along at once. This week saw a 36-hour window comprising a trio of major fashion highlights; the British Fashion Awards in London, Chanel's Metiers d'Art show in Salzburg, Austria, and then back to London again for the Victoria's Secret shebang. Fashion insiders had steam coming out of their agendas - unless of course you're Cara Delevingne who managed to flit between a Chanel fitting in Salzburg and London's BFAs before heading back to Chanel again to close the show (albeit with the help of a private jet and, yes, unparalleled stamina). For the rest of us, it was divide and conquer. And so to Salzburg for Chanel's Metiers d'Art.

Austria was dear to Gabrielle Chanel's heart. The now iconic Chanel jacket came about after she clocked the lift boy's uniform at Salzburg's Mittersill hotel (owned by the dashing Austrian aristocrat, Baron von Pantz, with whom she once enjoyed a romance). This chapter in Chanel's history was a tale that came to life last night at the exclusive screening of Reincarnation, a short film by Karl Lagerfeld starring Pharrell Williams as the liftboy, and Cara Delevingne as the legendary, and ill-fated, Empress Elisabeth of Austria.
Karl Lagerfeld
A brief history lesson in 19th-century Austrian nobility: the empress, fondly known as Sissi, was a Bavarian princess with a 19in waist and was the most celebrated beauty of her time, marrying Franz Joseph of Austria at the tender age of 16.

The combination of the Chanel jacket, fused with the frills and spills of regal dress meant show goers were in for a treat. Guests meandered up the grand marble staircase of the imposing Schloss Leopoldskron, and were divided into various rooms, each as opulent as the next, boasting circular tables brimming with candlelit buffets of fruit and Austrian delicacies.
Chanel Goes Austria
Lara Stone opened the show in a black skirt suit trimmed in jingling trinkets and charms. Forest green frock coats followed, decorated in swirling frogging and were buttoned up over courtly ruffled blouses. Feathers sprouted, densely trimming jackets, or were embroidered alongside butterflies onto beribboned sheer silk gowns. There were tweedy-looking knits with whip-stitch trims, suede plus-fours, and wide-legged tuxedo trousers. Accessories were also a hit, from the patent lace-up boots and sensible suede loafers, to the black velvet chokers twinkling in diamanté or festooned in clusters of lustrous pearls, and, always, the occasional quirk - like a pretzel-shaped brooch pinned to a lapel.

For the most part, everything felt outdoorsy; these were clothes to go hunting in, wear in the countryside and to town, to lunch, to parties. It was one of the most commercial collections Lagerfeld has shown for his Metier d'Art series, which was no bad thing - because what a pity it would be for these pieces not to enjoy a life outside of these rather majestic realms.

British Fashion Awards 2014: The Winners

Erden, Victoria Beckham and Nicolas Ghesquiere were the big winners at the British Fashion Awards this evening, taking home the Womeswear Designer, Brand, and International Designer awards respectively.

As predicted last week, John Galliano made his first public appearance since his appointment at Margiela presenting American Vogue editor - and his long-time supporter - Anna Wintour with the Outstanding Achievement award, while his close friend and muse, Kate Moss, presented the award for Red Carpet Designer to Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton. Continuing the theme, Poppy Delevingne - alongside Karlie Kloss and Joan Smalls - was on-hand to award the Model of the Year accolade to her little sister Cara.

Victoria Beckham
Elsewhere, Emma Watson, Marques Almeida, Craig Green, Prism, Simone Rocha, Anya Hindmarch, Preen, and Louis Vuitton all left with an honour; JW Anderson cemented his annual winning streak by taking home the Menswear award; and the late Professor Louise Wilson was honoured with a tribute featuring models wearing clothes created by her protégées.


Emerging Womenswear Designer

Marques Almeida

Emerging Menswear Designer
Craig Green

Emerging Accessory Designer

New Establishment Designer
Simone Rocha

Establishment Designer

Womenswear Designer

Menswear Designer
JW Anderson

Accessory Designer
Anya Hindmarch

International Designer
Nicolas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton

Red Carpet Designer
Alexander McQueen

Victoria Beckham

Cara Delevingne

Creative Campaign
Louis Vuitton

British Style
Emma Watson

Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator
Edward Enninful

Outstanding Achievement
Anna Wintour

Special Recognition
Chris Moore

JPB For River Island

Jean Pierre Braganza is the latest name to join the River Island Design Forum ranks. The London-based designer has created an 11-piece collection for the high-street label, drawing on his signature prints, architectural silhouettes and urban attitude.

Jean Pierre Braganza
"River Island has a distinctively young, cool voice and its girl is confident and a risk taker, as is the Jean-Pierre Braganza woman," explained Braganza. "Working with the River Island design and buying team has been such a great experience, they rose to every challenge that I presented them with."

The capsule edit - which uses the kingfisher bird as its stimulus - comprises shirtdresses, boilers suits, bomber jackets and zip-embellished jeans priced between £35 and £100, and lands in stores and online on February 16 - just in time for Fashion Week. Handy.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Primary Colors: In the Mood for Mondrian

This week the fashion and art worlds’ orgiastic, champagne-fueled meeting at Art Basel in Miami Beach looms large. The fair officially begins next Thursday, December 4, but there’s a full schedule of parties from the 2nd onwards. 

To get in the spirit, we’ve turned an eye to the two milieus’ long and fruitful relationship, and to a household name who exemplifies it: Piet Mondrian. The Dutch painter was known for his strict palette of primary colors—he used red, yellow, and blue with black-and-white accents exclusively from 1921 on. 

The fashion set was taking notes as far back as 1933, when Hermès sent forth a luggage series inspired by the artist’s oeuvre. Three decades later, in 1965, Yves Saint Laurent gave the world his Mondrian frocks. Fast-forward 50 or so years, and the color combination still resonates. There was Olivier Rousteing’s blingy, crystal-encrusted ode to the artist at Balmain, a clingy Flyknit-inspired top at Alexander Wang, and Junya Watanabe’s army of pop paper dolls. And that’s just for starters. 

Walking on Water at Ralph Lauren

A four-dimensional fashion show on water? No problem at Ralph Lauren, a company with ties to New York as deep as its pockets.

During fashion week, the designer took over Central Park’s Cherry Hill Lake to make a statement with Polo for Women, a major push for the firm. The show’s technology was groundbreaking. Pretaped against a green screen, the models were set into a digital, brick-by-brick re-creation of New York street scenes: brownstones, the Brooklyn Bridge, parts of the skyline, the Polo store, the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. The 10-minute video was projected against a five-story-high water image on the lake, creating a holographlike effect.

Ralph Lauren
“The reason to do this is not just for fashion week or for a fashion show but to create something that was mobile,” said David Lauren, Ralph Lauren Corp´s executive vice president. “We’re talking about taking it to Singapore and [elsewhere] as we roll out Polo stores around the world.”

The production, at 9 p.m. on a brisk Monday night, made a splash as Ciara, Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, Diane Von Furstenberg and Barry Diller and the entire Lauren clan looked on.

It started with the digital moon rising and ended as the man himself (or, rather, his hydro-holographic image) took a runway bow on the lake and danced a little Fred Astaire move.

It prompted quite a reaction from the crowd, which included Ben Stiller, who has been teasing a Zoolander sequel for some time. He was overheard whispering to the designer after the show, “I’ve got a part for you.”

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Extreme Marketing: DIESEL

Diesel's new denim range falls under the umbrella concept of weather, which includes three main categories: tornado, wind and rain. Each reflect respective weather conditions through rips, fades and washes make Diesels new range the must have denim this winter.

Lets have some fun in extreme conditions: The carwash fashion show

Carwash Fashion Show
Diesel likes to do things differently. That’s why we’ve created a Diesel fashion show with a twist. See beautiful people get trashed as they experience a real life carwash. If you thought seeing a catwalk model fall over in high heels was funny, just wait till you see this!

In Store Weather Simulation
Let’s get the punters involved! Place a capsule that simulates weather conditions in-store
and give people a chance to try out the denim in a storm.

Live Feed Window Displays
A live feed to screens in the window display and to ad banners will create even more attention.

All clips are placed on a YouTube channel for all to enjoy. And top rated videos deserve top rated prizes – get shed loads of hits and you could soon find yourself in Tutunendo, Columbia, the wettest place on earth (locals claim that once it rained non stop for 836 days!).

Mulberry Appoints Johnny Coca

Mulberry has appointed former Céline accessories design director Johnny Coca as its new creative director. He will be responsible for all of Mulberry's collections, including ready-to-wear, reporting to Godfery Davis chairman and CEO.

"I very much look forward to joining Mulberry as its new creative director and to leading a new design direction at one of the very best British brands," the designer said today.

Johnny Coca
"We are delighted that Johnny is joining us," Godfrey Davis added. "He has a wealth of international luxury and fashion experience that will help us bring new energy and innovation to Mulberry."

So what do we know about Mulberry's new man? He hails from Sevile and studied art, architecture and design at the École des Beaux-Arts and École Boulle in Paris. Roles at Bally and Louis Vuitton honed his skills as an accessories specialist and led to his role at Céline. Fluent in four languages, Coca brings an international flair to the British brand - but also has a strong foundation in London. He has tutored students at Central Saint Martins and intends, the brand says, "to ensure that Mulberry continues its tradition of encouraging new young talent as he helps to build the next generation at Mulberry".

Coca was just one of the talents linked with the job in recent months and comes to the role more than a year after previous helmer Emma Hill´s departure. His tenure at Mulberry will begin on July 8, 2015.

Is Kanye Leaving Music For Fashion?

Kanye West is rumoured to be set to leave his first love, music, behind - at least for a time - to allow him to focus on fashion. West's most recent offering was a collection of trainers for Nike - but the rapper and producer has defected to the company´s main rival and wants to dedicate more time to designing.

Kanye West
"After his next [collaboration] with Paul McCartney comes out, he's going to step away from music and concentrate on clothing," a source told Page Six. "He got a $15 million signing bonus from Adidas, but his line has been pushed back four times because he hasn't had enough time to work on it."

West launched his eponymous label with a Paris Fashion Week show in October 2011 but cancelled his third showcase less than a year later - shuttering his brand shortly after. He later launched a collaboration with APC, which sold out within a day.

Galliano Coming To London?

John Galliano is rumoured to be making his return to the London fashion scene next week at the British Fashion Awards.

Industry sources have revealed that Galliano will present Anna Wintour with her Outstanding Achievement Award - according to WWD - which, if it proves to be true, will mark the designer's first public appearance since the announcement of his appointment at Maison Martin Margiela.

John Galliano
It's not the only update that has prevailed ahead of the prestigious ceremony next week. The BFC has announced that Edward Enninful will receive the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator. Currently fashion and style director of W Magazine, Enninful has worked with the most respected fashion houses in the world in his varied roles of contributor, consultant and director.

"Edward is not only one of my dearest friends and brother, but he is also one of the most outstanding people I have ever had the pleasure of working with,"said Naomi Campbell. "His unique talent, drive and imagination are poured into his work, making him responsible for some of the most heart quickening imagery in the history of fashion."

The British Fashion Awards take place next Monday, December 1. Click back on the night to see the evening's attendees arrive.

What Is "Posh" Style Now?

When the BBC's documentary on society magazineTatler, Posh People: Inside Tatler, aired yesterday evening, we witnessed copious spray-on denim, not-so-natural blondes, a graffiti-covered castle, thrift shopping at Portobello's Poundland store and Jilly Cooper sporting an on-trend draped scarf. Is the fashion sense of the upper classes evolving? And just what do we know about Sloane style now?

Tattoos, androgyny or die-hard hip-hop fan are not really the hallmarks of a Tatlergirl - or are they? Take Cara Delevingne, Edie Campbell, Jean Campbell, Suki Waterhouse, Alice Dellal and Lady Mary Charteris - the group of "posh" mostly early twentysomethings who have risen to the top of the international fashion world. Their cover-girl good looks are equalled by good breeding, but it's their instinctive (as opposed to inherited) sense of style and raw, self-deprecating British humour that unleash daily Instagram storms. In the wake of the hipster backlash, never has "posh" had such broad possible appeal, or seemed quite so fun.

Jean Campbell
Cara plays a streetwise Brit team captain with Pharrell or Selina Gomez in tow, Edie is the outdoorsy one, Jean the ethereal catwalk crush, while Suki sits at Harvey Weinstein's table, and Mary epitomises glam rock'n'roll. The girls' low-maintenance, homegrown look is particularly prized by Chanel and Burberry - the latter's coveted campaign is a fashion industry finishing school for the new generation of "posh" girls scooping the lucrative spring/summer '15 campaigns. Edie, Cara and Suki are all Burberry ad alumni as is Kate Moss, the posh girl's ultimate style heroine.

"Posh is more relevant now," says Sophie Goodwin, Tatler's style editor (seen delighting over Poundshop finds in episode one of the magazine's BBC documentary). "You used to have to be super-groomed and monied. Now it's about anti-polish." It's also about having a business plan - west London's bright young things are most likely to launch their own or a collaborative fashion brand, like Hannah Weiland's faux-fur label Shrimps or Theodora Warre's eponymous jewellery line.
Suki Waterhouse
The Chelsea girl's also adapted her late-night scene. On a school night she's at Loulou's, the Firehouse or Little House, while house parties are seeing the strongest revival since the Eighties, with Scotland becoming the destination of choice for wild weekends in the country. Internationally, the classic Sloane's jet-set trail has faded into non-existence - the new rule on travel is to keep it strictly best friends only and install the privacy of a secluded party whirlwind anywhere in the world you can access on air miles. The dress code? Black-tie hang-ups don't apply, this is about occasion-less dressing that works in any time zone and enables the most fun. Cara, after all, is rarely seen in anything but trousers, advocating her own brand of tomboy realness rather than supermodel glamour - her go-to red carpet look is a fearless slashed-neck suit and scraped-back hair.

Likewise, boarding-school styling tricks prevailed on the winter catwalks - parkas or knits paired with shimmering minidresses, kilts and ornate heirloom chandelier earrings are the latest indicators of a deliberately-don't-care socialite style revival and there isn't an alice band in sight.

Up And Coming: Lais Ribeiro

Lais Ribeiro (pronounced Lie-ees) may not be Victoria´s Secret´s most famous Brazilian (she has some competition on that front from veterans including Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima), but she's certainly a contender for having the most diverse CV of shows under her belt.
Lais Ribeiro
As well as stepping onto the catwalk for almost every major brand so far in her career, she also holds the dubious accolade of being the only Victoria's Secret model to be named for the show and then fail to appear. It was later revealed that she sprained her ankle backstage ahead of the 2012 show, but was back for 2013. 

Ahead of this year's event - which she will appear in as long as there are no mishaps.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Is A Chanel Campaign Next For Kendall?

Karl Lagerfeld has confirmed that he has chosen Kendall Jenner as the face of the spring/summer 2015 campaign for his eponymous brand, WWD reports, prompting feverish fashion discussion as to whether Chanel could be next for the former reality-television star.

Jenner has walked for the French house for several season now and is one of the most talked-about models of the year, but being chosen to front the Lagerfeld campaign - which is always shot by the man himself - is seen as the final seal of approval before she secures fashion's biggest campaign crown (Prada and Louis Vuitton not withstanding).

Kendall For Chanel
She was joined at the shoot - which has already taken place at the designer's Paris studio - by fellow Lagerfeld favourites Sasha Luss, Ming Xi and Baptiste Giabiconi. Jenner was named the new face of Estee Lauder earlier this week - another of the industry's biggest campaigns.

The news makes the possibility of Jenner walking in the Victoria's Secret show - something she has long asserted was her "dream" - much less likely, since Chanel´s Metiers d´Art show is taking place on the same night as the lingerie extravaganza: in London and Salzburg respectively.

Chanel Empire Reaches London

Chanel may already have several standalone stores in the British capital, but now two brands from its stable are opening here, too. Maison Michel, an early 20th-century French milliner, and Barrie, the Scottish mill behind much of Chanel's knitwear, have been given own-brand units in one of London's oldest shopping spaces - Burlington Arcade, off Piccadilly - prompting a lot of questions. Why did Chanel acquire these brands? Why promote them as separate entities? Why do they need their own stores? Why London? And, most importantly, is Chanel becoming an LVMH and Kering-style conglomerate? Luckily, Bruno Pavlovsky - Chanel CEO and also CEO of both of the aforementioned brands - is in a patient mood.

"What we are doing at Chanel, in respect to our investments, is to help enable us to create and design what we want for Chanel," he stated simply. Where LVMH might spot a young label with potential for growth, Chanel is only interested in symbiotic relationships, he explained. Every label that the French fashion behemoth has invested in - including French tannery Bodin Joyeux, couture embroider Lesage, lingerie label Eres and watchmaker Bell & Ross - has some "use" to the brand, so then why not just absorb them into Chanel? Why give Barrie - now a standalone ready-to-wear brand with its own seasonal collections as well as a knitwear supplier - its own store? Pavlovsky smiled kindly, as if the rest of the fashion world was slightly missing the point.

Bruno Pavlovsky
"We are different," he grinned mischievously, "we choose the opposite approach. In order to continue to be creative, our brands have to continue to work with many designers. If you work all the time with the same brand, at some point you stop developing your creativity. Different designers and different requests mean that you have to be more agile, you have to adapt yourself. And Chanel benefits - directly and indirectly - from this agility. They need to build their own autonomy and not be merged with the big group."

The idea of a bird being allowed to fly free rather than kept in a gilded Chanel cage is a romantic one, but from a practical perspective total freedom in business could cause problems. Like a jealous lover, would Chanel stop Barrie from potential dalliances that may prove harmful or hurtful? What if Givenchy or Dior wished to court its Scottish love?

"It's happening already," Pavolovsky said confidently - seeming somewhat pleased that his new investment is still attracting such admiration. "Both Chanel and Barrie work with many other brands, many of the big names, and there is no contradiction or problem with that. There are strong links between Chanel and these brands, or course, but in order to be creative you also need to see a broad landscape. You have to be able to go out, work with young names, big names - as long as they can foster their creativity, we are moving in the right direction." Choosing to open the store in Burlington Arcade was on purpose, because this arcade is a bridge between yesterday and tomorrow. It is a good place for these brands to be.

Maison Michel
In line with the autonomy prescribed, each brand has its own creative director - but each of these designers also holds a role at Chanel, completing the circle as it were. Barrie's creative director, Odile Massuger, has created two collections for the 1903-founded brand, but also oversees knitwear for Chanel; while Laetitia Crahay, artistic director of the Maison Michel collection, is also head of jewellery at Chanel. This openness on the part of the brand calls to mind the freedom afforded to Karl Lagerfeld himself, who is also creative director of Fendi as well as Chanel - and has many other creative outlets, from photography to designing his eponymous label.

"Fendi, Dior, Vuitton, Chloé!" Pavlovsky joked. "There's a long list! I don't see any contradiction with what he does, or with what I do in overseeing all three brands. When Lagerfeld is working on Chanel he is completely focused on Chanel. For my job, too, you have to be focused on one thing at a time: Chanel is bigger, so takes more time of course, but these brands are developing and need a lot of attention, too."

Chanel has been praised for creating jobs at the once-struggling Barrie mill in the Scottish Borders - and there is more to come.

"In two years, we have already recruited 50 people, and in the next three years we will recruit 100 more people," Pavlovsky revealed. "The first priority for recruitment is the local area - which is possible for some roles, not for others, and so to develop that more we have opened an internal school within Barrie to make the growth within the region possible. Training takes between six to 18 months so at this stage it is still difficult, but the training is helping."

The London store openings, too, have engendered much discussion, situated as they are on one of the capital's "old" retail sites rather than the more popular Mount, Dover or Albemarle Streets.

"For these two labels, the collections are doing quite well - both have had a boutique in Paris for around a year - so the obvious place for the next store was London," he said. "For Barrie it's more like coming home than opening internationally, but we will look to open in the other key fashion cities later. Choosing to open the store in Burlington Arcade was on purpose, because this arcade is a bridge between yesterday and tomorrow. It is a good place for these brands to be."

So is this the beginning of Chanel Incorporated - a massive conglomerate set to take over the fashion world?

"Yes and no," he said. "Chanel is first and foremost about Chanel. We have so many things that we continue to develop that we want to always to focus on Chanel. Never forget that these brands will all help us to continue to design our collections for the next 20, 30 years. So, they are not here just as a new brand, they are here because they have a specific know-how that makes sense for other brands - including Chanel. These labels have existed for a long time and the only way to keep all the know-how of these companies available for the big brands - Chanel being part of the big brands - is to develop their own brands."