Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Miuccia's Devil Wears Prada Verdict

Not every designer would take kindly to their name being used in the title of a film that shows off the worst stereotypes of the fashion industry, but Miuccia Prada took it in her stride when 2006's The Devil Wears Prada was released, despite having initial reservations.

"I was terrified- the book was awful," she told Italy's Corriere della Sera of the big-screen adaptation of Lauren Weisberger's novel. "The film, on the other hand, was fun."

Starring Oscar-winning actresses Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, with a cameo from Gisele Bundchen, the film was a runaway success, grossing over $120 million at the US box office. Anna Wintour - widely believed to be the inspiration for Streep's magazine editor character, Miranda Priestly - showed similar good humour to Miuccia, attending the New York premiere of the film wearing Prada.

DVF Paves Way For Future

Diane Von Furstenberg has appointed Paolo Riva as CEO of her eponymous fashion house, in a move that she hopes will carry the label securely into the next couple of decades. The search to fill the position has taken two years and had to fit a very specific criteria.

"This is a most important decision for me. This is an heir, somebody to take it on for the next decades," von Furstenberg told WWD. "I want somebody who really loves product. We don't sell numbers. We sell dresses, we sell shoes, we sell accessories, bags. Numbers are extremely important, but I have a very special relationship with the consumer over the decades, and I've dressed generations of women, I'm talking to the Millennials. It's a love brand, it's very unique and people have to understand that."

Riva - formerly vice president of apparel and visual merchandising for Tory Burch (previous to which he was at Valentino and Salvatore Ferragamo) - perfectly fit the bill, and shares Von Furstenberg's enthusiasm.

"What is special about Diane is that she connects emotionally with women of all generations, all around the world. My vision is to unlock the brand potential by offering the relevant mix of products with a unique experience for the consumer. Only a well-orchestrated team can achieve that, and I look forward to leading that team."

Abercrombie & Fitch To Ban Topless “Greeters”

If you've ever visited one of US fashion brand Abercrombie & Fitch´s stores, you'll be only too familiar with their unique approach to welcoming their prospective consumers - with a parade of topless in-store male models, that is.

Well, now the chain is set to rethink how it does things, with "sexualised marketing" and those topless "greeters" due to be axed. It will also be making changes to its much criticised recruitment policies, reports the Daily Mail.

A letter sent to US managers last week detailed the brand's change of tack. "There will be no sexualised materials including in-store photos and shopping bags," it read. "Abercrombie & Fitch will not tolerate discrimination in hiring based on body type or physical attractiveness."

Whilst it is unclear as to whether or not the directive will be initiated in the company's British shops yet, Abercrombie & Fitch has faced a barrage of negative publicity over the years, thanks to a number of lawsuits. Alongside an investigation by France´s human rights watchdog following claims that the retailer hires employees based solely on their appearance. 

The most recent case was brought against the company by a former employee related to unpaid overtime.

LFW´s New Home

The British Fashion Council has announced that London Fashion Week will have a new central location for its September showcase: Brewer Street car park in Soho. Previously based in "the tents", as they are known, in the courtyard of Somerset House, the BFC hopes that the move will "increase its footprint across the capital".

"The long-term growth of the UK's designer fashion market is reflected geographically in this move that will see London Fashion Week designers showcasing collections in one of London's most vibrant, diverse and creative hubs set within a mile of Bond Street, Dover Street, Mount Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street," said Caroline Rush, CEO of the BFC, this morning. "The new and exciting venue has already been dubbed as Brewer Street's 'Fashion Park' and will offer freedom and flexibility to designers who will be able to transform the show space to reflect their own aesthetics and identity."

The operational car park, which is in the heart of Soho and next to the newly regenerated Great Windmill Street may seem a surprising move to some, given the narrow dimensions of Brewer Street, but Munira Mirza, deputy mayor for education and culture, believes it is a natural fit.

"Brewer Street car park as the host venue is a brilliant development for London Fashion Week," he said. "With its position in Soho, it is at the heart of an area that has long been associated with fashion and creativity in general. I am sure the move will literally drive even more interest in one of the most important sectors for our economy."

It won't be the first time that a fashion show has been held in the space. House of Holland, Richard Nicoll and Antonio Berardi have showcased their ready-to-wear collections in the art-deco building, which was designed by architect JJ Joass and built in 1929.

What About Yves?

Yves Saint Laurent has filed a lawsuit against  What About Yves founder Jeanine Heller. According to The Fashion Law, the suit was filed last week through Luxury Goods International (LGI), the company that owns YSL's intellectual property rights, in the Southern District of New York court. It cites claims of infringement, trademark dilution, false designation of origin and unfair competition all with regards to the parody streetwear label's "Ain't Laurent Without Yves" design.

In its lawsuit, LGI says that it filed to register the new shortened Saint Laurent name with the US Patent and Trademark Office following the appointment of Hedi Slimane at the house in 2012, but that these applications were still pending.Slimane´s decision at the time to shorten the name caused much furore both in and out of the fashion industry, deemed by some to be disrespectful. Its use also came with a stringent set of rules depending on context. Since, however, the use of the new trademark has become widely known and is in common use by consumers.

Heller began to sell her "Ain't Laurent Without Yves" slogan T-shirts in January 2013, going on to file their registration with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in April 2013 - despite having already been put on notice of their infringing nature. Noting the marks between the two to be too similar, the USPTO challenged Heller.

The T-shirts allegedly continued to be sold by Heller following letters sent by YSL on the matter, which went unanswered - though Heller eventually offered to sell the house her trademark. She is being asked to immediately cease the sales and pay damages for trademark violations. The design is, however, popular with the street style set, seen as a humorous fashion nod.

This is not the first time that Heller has found herself in hot fashion water - a similar thing happened with a design that riffed on the Chanel CC logo last year.

Dior: The Comic

Forget  Dior And I (actually don't - if you haven't seen the beautiful documentary film yet then you really must), the latest telling of the Dior story comes in the form of a comic book, Girl In Dior. Graphic novelist Annie Goetzinger is the brains behind the (Dior-approved) book, which chronicles the journey of fictional journalist Clara as she is enlisted to report upon Christian Dior's seminal 1947 show, and catches the eye of the designer himself.

"I could have talked about Dior's life from his birth until his death, but what interested me, obviously, was that adventure in high fashion which took place between 1947 and 1957," Goetzinger said. "I wanted to talk about the creator, not only aobut his personality but his whole universe, his environment."

The familiar nipped waists and full skirts of Dior's famous New Look silhouette are rendered in beautiful detail - Goetzinger is one of France's most respected graphic novelists with a CV including newspaper Le Monde, as well as having worked in costume design. Already a hit in Europe, Girl In Dior debuts in the US and UK this month.

Say ´I Do´ With Olivia Von Halle

Ivia Von Halle has long had us wrapped around her little finger on the loungewear front, and now she is about to delight brides-to-be with a collection all of their own. Launching next month, her bridal collection may be new, but it has been years in the making.

"Growing up I loved listening to tales of how my beautiful and glamorous great-grandmother had spent her teenage years sewing her wedding trousseau. It was an beautiful collection of silk nightwear, lingerie, linen and clothing," von Halle told us. "This was stored in an ancient cedar trunk that she would take with her to her new home when she got married - she was terribly romantic and used to look through the box and dream of her future life. I was inspired by this idea of starting your married life afresh with a beautiful collection of pieces which would see you through your wedding day, honeymoon and into married life."

Von Halle has more than done her ancestor proud. The new arsenal comprises hand-corded lace and Italian silk that is sculpted into chemises, pyjamas and nightgowns - and, of course, there are a few playful elements in there too.

"Having got married very young in a bright pink catsuit my friends were quite surprised that I have created such a refined, feminine collection but I absolutely love it," said von Halle. "My style has evolved a lot since I got married seven years ago, I just wish I could get married again now! To the same man of course!"

The designer has already got plenty of experience under her belt, as many brides have worn her mainline on their big day, but creating this new collection gave her the opportunity to focus her attentions. Having been there and done it, she is well placed too.

"I think that brides are looking for something really special - these are pieces that will have huge significance for them as they start their married life, and I hope they'll look back on all the things they choose with great fondness," she explained. "Also, there are so few occasions in life when you can justify being completely extravagant - getting married was a new stage of my life and I wanted to celebrate the occasion with beautiful things!"

Extravagance here is justified - whether you have impending nuptials or not. The Olivia von Halle bridal collection launches in May on

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Donatella's Armani Statement

Donatella Versace has issued an official comment following designer Giorgio Armani´s interview with The Sunday Times Magazine this weekend in which he recalled a conversation with Gianni Versace on how the high-octane designer once compared the two's contrasting aesthetics.

"I find it extremely rude and tasteless that Mr Armani has once again put words in to my brother's mouth, especially because he is sadly no longer with us to reply. This is the second time that he claims this was said, the first time was immediately after his death and he apologised to me," said Donatella.

In the interview Armani responds to being noted for having "privately criticised Versace for 'dressing sluts' while he himself dressed ladies". Armani says: "That's true. But it's the other way round. I did not criticise him. He was talking to me. We were in Rome and we met in the Piazza di Spagna for a fashion event. He was looking at the models and he said to me, 'I dress sluts. You dress church ladies.'"

Donatella's statement continues: "When my brother spoke about fashion the only word that ever came from his mouth was glamour. What should be said about my brother is: may Gianni Versace rest in peace."

James Corden For Burberry?

Burberry,  always on the search for the next rising star of the fashion industry has found its ultimate fashion icon - James Corden. In a tongue-in-cheek film created for The Late Late Show with James Corden, Naomi Campbell teaches the British television star how to catwalk as he closes Burberry's London in Los Angeles show, which took place last week, in front of the likes of  Victoria Beckham and the international fashion press.

"What James brought tonight was a real elegance," quipped Burberry chief creative and chief executive officer in the film. "He brought a refinement and sophistication and brought a real gravitas to fashion that we so desperately needed."

Apple Watch Gains Celebrity Fanbase

The Apple Watch may not go on sale until April 24, but a handful of high-profile fans are already flaunting theirs.

Beyoncé became the latest name to endorse Apple's new launch, wearing the version with a solid gold band while visiting the Coachella Festival over the weekend and sharing images on her personal Tumblr account. She joins a host of music stars who have proclaimed their love for the watch via their social media channels - including Katy Perry, Drake and Pharrell Williams.

The watch's appeal isn't limited to the music crowd though - Karl Lagerfeld is already wearing his own gold watch, as spotted on the Instagram account of his bodyguard Sebastien Jondeau.

The Apple Watch was launched for pre sales earlier this month, promptly selling out for the April shipping dates, but it can be tried in Apple Stores and London's Selfridges now by booking an appointment. The Daily Telegraph today reports that the watch is on course to become Apples "most profitable product line ever".

Armani's Male Dress Code

Giorgio Armani  has never been backwards about coming forwards when it comes to making his opinions heard, as his latest comments on the way homosexual men should dress prove.

"A homosexual man is a man 100 per cent. He does not need to dress homosexual," the veteran designer told The Sunday Times Magazine."When homosexuality is exhibited to the extreme - to say, 'Ah, you know I'm homosexual,' - that has nothing to do with me. A man has to be a man."

As to what "dressing homosexual" looks like, Armani doesn't elaborate, although he readily admits to his aesthetic being associated with restraint rather than flamboyance, insisting the word "boring" isn't necessarily such a bad thing.

"Boring? Some people do say that and probably rightly so. But the tough war is not with the critics, it is with my clients. They want Armani. I design for the public, not the fashion industry."

He is full of praise for his peers though, citing Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent as designers who "did not only make clothes, they made society." And as for him?

"I use my creativity to help people live my style - a simple, elegant style," he said. "Fashions purpose is to make it easier and more elegant to live. Otherwise, what is it about? It's just a game. Worth nothing."

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Burberry´s London In LA

Fashion folk love a new discovery and it seems that Los Angeles is the latest, hottest happening. The city is undisputedly fast becoming the fifth fashion capital. Perhaps it started when Hedi Slimane set up his Saint Laurent office here, and really, who can blame him? (If you could, you would.) More recently, other designers have flocked here, too. 

Remember, Tom Ford bypassed the regular show calendar this season to present his autumn/winter 2015 collection in LA, while other brands are also drawn to the bright lights; Christian Dior was set to show its upcoming pre-collection here until Raf Simons caught wind of Chanel's show plans in neighbouring Palm Springs (urging Simons to switch horses to Cannes). But never mind all of that, last night the city belonged to Burberry and its affable chief creative and chief executive officer, Christopher Bailey.

The Yorkshireman hijacked the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park (which opened in 1935 and sits across from the Hollywood sign) to stage a garden party and special one-off runway show entitled London in Los Angeles, featuring Burberry's autumn/winter 2015 collection with a sprinkling of new, exclusive looks. The domed venue, which is more associated with space and science-related events, welcomed guests at sunset. It's the first time a catwalk show has ever been staged there - and there is little Burberry likes more than being first - the show was premiered via the new live-streaming app, Periscope.

Upon entering, British and American flags lined the winding road, while a helicopter circled above to film proceedings. Plants had been especially landscaped and gravel paths laid. One could be forgiven for thinking Burberry might have even had a hand in orchestrating the skies to turn from blue to pinky-orange-ombre just as the venue was filling with VIPs including Victoria and David Beckham and family, Elton John, January Jones, Cara Delevingne, Suki Waterhouse, Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Mario Testino, and campaign stars, Jourdan Dunn and Naomi Campbell, who arrived in LA direct from Brazil, where Campbell hosted amFAR (her trick to beating jetlag? "Sleep on planes. And don't eat the plane food").

"To work for such an established brand from your own country is a huge honour for me," said the super, referring to the billboard campaign that looms large on Sunset Boulevard. "It was also the first time that I got to work with Jourdan who I'm a huge fan of and, of course, I'm always so impressed with everything Christopher does. He's also the lovliest man."

Who, people apparently just can't say no to. Surely, one of the biggest coos here tonight wasn't just the stellar singer-songwriter line-up comprising George Ezra, Tom Odell, Clare Maguire, and Benjamin Clementine, but the star turn of the Queen's very own Horse Guards on Burberry's catwalk, flown in especially for the show. Receiving permission was never going to be easy, Bailey told us.

"It took a lot of work and discussion," he revealed post show, "but we really wanted to bring a little bit of London to LA and so to be able to have them here in Los Angeles is very special for us." Convincing James Corden, however, to strut his stuff after Naomi's finale was a whole lot easier. "James is a mate and we talked about the idea of him making an appearance," he explained. "Naomi was on his show last night she was also very game on - she's epic."

In short, it was a night that ticked all the Burberry boxes: fashion, music, craft, tradition, and technology. "All the elements came together in the end to create something pretty big," added Bailey, deservedly bursting with pride.

The event coincided with the opening of Burberry's shiny new four-storey store - one of the tallest on Rodeo Drive - where Bailey hosted a cocktail party on its rooftop the night before. Boasting solar panels, it generates locally sourced green power and its garden has plants that require no irrigation. With impressive panoramic views that, it was pointed out, stretch all the way to a tiny white dot in the hills - the Griffith Observatory. Now, don't they call that a 360-degree approach? Burberry did it again.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Gisele Confirms Catwalk Retirement

Her management may have released a statement last month saying, "The word retirement is a little bit of an extreme word," but Gisele Bundchen does appear to have confirmed, in her own words, that we won't be seeing her on the catwalk anymore.

"Automatically my body tells me if what I do is worth it, and it asked to stop," she told Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo. "I respect my body, it's a privilege to be able to stop. I don't see how to continue modelling on the catwalk."

But, while she won't be modelling in real time, she won't be disappearing from the public eye any time soon - on the contrary: "Stopping will leave room for other projects I have for myself," she revealed.

Reinterpreting The Seventies

"1970" is worked on to the chest of a sweater; "Je t'aime Jane" reads another; or "Ginsberg is God" - references to Jane Birkin in the music of Serge Gainsbourg, and to the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg. Bella Freud´s Bohemian childhood seemed to lead her to counter-culture characters.

Of all the references to the Seventies flooding across fashion, Bella Freud is a rare designer who seems to get to the essence of that decade - literally, when it comes to her fragrances. They have the same evocative names as the clothing, presented in the most simple way.

On Net-a-Porter she has a scented candle with her name and logo - as drawn by her late father Lucian Freud, better known for his portraits with psychological depth.

I remember how Bella's earliest collections, back in the Nineties, always looked prim, pink and pretty, as though she were trying to erase a hippy, trippy childhood so vividly expressed in Hideous Kinky, the book about their unconventional young life in Morocco, written by her sister Esther.

But now Bella's offerings are simple, cool and worn by friends such as It girl Alexa Chung. Wearing a plain sweater with the words "The last poets", she manages to capture the free-wheeling artistic spirit of the Seventies without a fringe, a flared trouser or a platform-sole sandal in sight.

Karl Unimpressed With Zoolander Stunt

While ben Stiller and Owen Wilson´s surprise catwalk at the end of the Valentino autumn/winter 2015 show in character as Derek Zoolander and Hansel provoked spontaneous applause and an outpouring of congratulations from many, one person wasn't so impressed.

"I didn't like it," Karl Lagerfeld told Hello! magazine when asked about the stunt, which will feature in the forthcoming sequel, Zoolander 2. But the Chanel and Fendi creative director isn't suffering from a case of sour grapes, as he revealed he was approached to appear in the film himself.

"I don't want to be in the movie!" he stated, as emphatically as ever. "They wanted me to be in the movie! I'm not an actor."

NYFW's New Home Confirmed

Following the announcement last December that New York Fashion Week was moving from its usual Damrosch Park space in the Lincoln Centre where it was housed for five years, new venues have been confirmed for the forthcoming spring/summer 2016 showcase in September: Skylight at Moynihan Station at 360 West 33rd Street and Skylight Clarkson Square at 550 Washington Street.

"As IMG prepares to evolve New York Fashion Week, we are focused on creating the best possible experiences that extend beyond a physical location and moment in time," Mark Shapiro - chief content officer at IMG which organises NYFW - told WWD. "We're looking forward to reintroducing the industry to a showcase of creative talent, style and innovation that made the New York runways famous. Part of this showcase involves staying close to inspirational hubs for fashion, art and music, and we've found a great new home for that in Skylight at Moynihan Station and Skylight Clarkson Sq."

IMG is said to have consulted "designers, show producers, journalists and partners before choosing the venues," which it hopes will entice many more designers - who previously shied away from the commercial atmosphere of the Lincoln Centre in favour of their own venues - to show in the spaces.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cara's Mother's Tell-All Memoir

Pandora Delevingne, mother of models Cara and Poppy, as well as trainee midwife Chloe, is set to write a "tell-all memoir" about her life. The daughter of publishing magnate Jocelyn Stevens and Jane Sheffield, fomer lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret, Pandora will have some colourful tales to tell even if she leaves her famous family members out of the book.

Pandora - who is often referenced as having been a "party girl" in Eighties London - was a personal shopper at Selfridges and mixed with many prominent figures of the time. She has maintained a close friendship with Sarah, Duchess of York, and was recently described by Tatler as being "known throughout the land for dancing on tables and present-giving".

Candid about having battled addiction issues, Pandora met denim founder Paige Adams-Geller when in rehab, and the LA-based mogul told us that she fell in love with the same infectious, fun quality that has made two of her daughters famous.

"Pandora and I were in treatment together," Geller stated. "I suffered from anorexia when I was modelling and had to leave the business - and Pandora and I were BFFs all through treatment."

From fashion personalities and publishing scions to royalty and Eighties party people, Pandora's eclectic friendship group is sure to make for some scintillating storytelling - so her girls better keep on their mother's good side until the book's release.

Join The Jet Set

With the the sun making its long-awaited appearance this week, thoughts are naturally turning to lighter layers that bridge the gap between work and play. Luckily for us, Rachel Zeilic and Sue-Ann San, co-founders of Stylestalker, started thinking about it while we were all still cocooned in our cashmere, making the timing of their newly launched fashion label, The Jet-Set Diaries, perfect. 

"Jet-Set is more boho, more embellished and detailed, whereas Stylestalker is crisp and clean," Zeilic explained of the difference between her two creations. "You'd find the Jet-Set girl chilling on a yacht off the coast of Capri, while the Stylestalker girl is hustling on her career in NY or London."

The new collection is markedly different - not only in its aesthetic, but in its variety, offering, "pieces that you would throw on and go to the beach, and also pieces that you might wear to Cannes Film Festival or even to your own wedding," according to Zeilic, at a range of affordable prices.

"It's all about working really hard to source the best, high-quality fabrics that fit within a price range," revealed Zeilic. "Sure, if we could make everything out of silk it would be gorgeous, but the prices would go through the roof, so you have to be clever about it. Also, we have spent seven years constantly trialling and improving the factories we work with and production process, so we feel we're at a great place now."

Working on something new and fresh appealed immensely to Zeilic and San, with no statistics as to what works or what sells well, they "designed what we wanted to wear without overthinking it." Whatever the thought process, it has proved fruitful, with ASOS among the major retailers picking up the collection in its first season.

"We sourced The Jet-Set Diaries on a buying trip to the US and fell in love with the brand's summer collection," Nikki Tattersall, branded director at ASOS, told us. "Their modern bohemian collection is perfect for summer and we knew that our customer would love the laid-back luxe vibe that it offers."

Aimed at "confident, sexy, free-spirited girls who are jet-setters, in their real lives or at least in their dreams," the brand is a no-brainer when it comes to nailing authentic bohemia - wherever you are - this season.

Fashion Scout: Apply Within

New  designers on the block take note: applications to take part in the spring/summer 2016 season of Fashion Scout, one of London's support platforms for emerging designers, opens today.

It's the eighteenth season the initiative has nurtured London talent - it counts David Koma, William Tempest, Eudon Choi and Phoebe English among its alumni. Designers can apply for catwalk, salon, presentation and installation slots, the London exhibition, or the Paris showroom - but the most prestigious and coveted application spaces are for the Merit Award and the Ones To Watch showcase.

The former is worth £25,000 over three seasons, in which the designer will receive mentoring support and show slots at London Fashion Week (Royal College of Art graduate James Kelly scooped the prize last year). The latter is an opportunity for new designers to showcase their work in a collaborative show.

Fashion Scout will take place from September 18 to 22. Visit to apply and for further information. Applications close May 7.

Chanel Chooses Net-A-Porter For Online Launch

Chanel has partnered with  Net-A-Porter to launch its first fine-jewellery collection online. The new collection, entitled Coco Crush, has been created by the French fashion brand's in-house "fine jewellery studio of creation" and comprises five rings and one cuff crafted from 18-karat white and yellow gold.

It is the first time that Chanel has been available to purchase from the website and the first time that anything other than its make-up has been sold online. Just last month, Chanel outlined its plans to harmonise its global pricing structure, paving the way for a more streamlined transition into eventual online retailing. It's latest partnership with Net-A-Porter provides the brand with the perfect opportunity to test the e-tail waters.

"We are thrilled that Chanel has decided to work with Net-A-Porter on this exclusive initiative," Alison Loehnis, president of the online retailer, said this morning. "Chanel is a brand that we admire greatly and we are incredibly honoured and proud to partner with them on their first-ever fine-jewellery ecommerce project. This fabulous collection completely embodies the unequivocal chic Chanel spirit - classic, modern and timeless - that is sure to resonate with our customer."

The announcement comes as it was revealed last week that Net-A-Porter has merged with the Italian owned Yoox, pending approval from shareholders.

Hermès Wanderland

Who exactly is the flâneur - the figure who saunters down the boulevards, impeccably dressed, swinging his cane? In the case of one collector's item, the cane has a horse's head with a tongue poking out under pressure.

Can a collection of whimsical pieces ever have seemed so elegant as those brought together by Emile Hermès, one of the French company's long list of family entrepreneurs.

A small portion of his artefacts form the core of the charming exhibition at London's Saatchi gallery, known for its modern-art exhibitions. On the upper level that hosts Wanderland (until May 2), the display is modest, intriguing, digitally savvy - and an original way of suggesting both the quirkiness and the craftsmanship behind this famous name.

"When you join Hermes, you need to be a bit crazy," said Axel Dumas, the company's CEO, who was with his cousin Pierre-Alexis Dumas, artistic director. They were in town to show off the refurbished Hermès store on London's New Bond Street, which has opened up its former offices to let light in on a high-ceilinged area devoted to furnishings, especially the signature orange leather. Outside on the terrace, a Henry Moore statue is displayed among potted trees.

Both cousins realise how difficult it is to anglicise the word /flâneur/, so quintessentially French, invented in the nineteenth-century Proustian era with a suggestion of a self-aware, male elegance shown off at a leisurely pace.

"A wonderfully liberating art of urban wandering is second nature to Hermès," claimed Pierre-Alexis.

Axel Dumas, praising London as a "happening" spot, seemed to suggest that the once buttoned up Anglo Saxon attitude had changed, making the elegant offerings in the store appropriate for the cosmopolitan city.

Over at the Saatchi gallery, Pierre-Alexis waxed lyrical about his eccentric great grandfather Emile, who bought his first umbrella at the age of 12, setting off an obsession with collecting that is in view throughout the Wanderland exhibition.

Out of a selection of the 30,000 artefacts has come what Axel Dumas called an "immersive exhibition" that starts with a room of canes. The walls are inserted with videos, like graphic windows, bringing the objects to life. A dancer juggling with his cane is described as "dancing the cane-cane", as a riff on the French can-can.

Throughout, from tiny postage-stamp inserts in objects to floor panels that "speak" as you walk across them, videography plays an important role in moving the story of a Belle Epoque flâneur fast forward into the twenty-first century.

Curator Bruno Gaudichon and scenographer Hubert Le Gall used eight artists to give a touch of Alice in Wonderland zany-ness: hence street lamps turned upside down to stand on their heads. A wall of drawings of famous Parisian places includes motor cars zooming behind a horse-drawn carriage and top-hatted gentlemen from the turn of the century chatting up modern, miniskirted girls.

The first step from the room of canes is into competing ladies' and gentlemen's salons, hers with a red-tounged horse's head above Hermès bags hung on the wall. The men's version has a similar horse's head but with more obviously collectable objects. The treasures of the Hermès founder are placed alongside objects that failed to sell successfully and are therefore washed up in empty bottles outside the oh-so-French café, named: Cafe des Objets Oubliés or "forgotten objects".

The fascinating part of the displays is the mix of historical and digital, as in a room where the candelabra is made of champagne glasses and where a mini Eiffel Tower suddenly swings out of a mirror.

A post-box filled with envelopes addressed to Marcel Proust and Virginia Woolf stood proudly on show alongside a mesmerising paint box with some colours digitally treated to create miniature squares of video, showing moving water. The urban areas include walls boldly splattered with pop-art graffiti by the legendary artist known as Cept.

The most Gallic city scenery is the creation of a shopping galerie - the nineteenth-century genus of today's shopping mall. The classic shop windows included the French version of the British "bull in the china shop" - a hefty elephant stepping its vast feet on a dainty blue tea pot.

Perhaps only a privately owned luxury company could produce such an engaging exhibition that spends a fair amount of time laughing at itself and celebrates the quirkiness of its family history. But this theatre of illusions has a clear message when it reaches the final curtain. That is, in fact, a door, which appears to be three dimensional with curlicues and decoration. In reality, it is a flat surface given twenty-first-century digital depth.

"The future is digital," announces Axel Dumas. And that turns Wanderland into Wonderland.

J Lo Responsible For Google Images

It leans towards the more unexpected end of the revelation spectrum, but according to Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt Jennifer Lopez is responsible for the creation of Google Images.

Jennifer Lopez Lo with her date for the evening - her then boyfriend Sean P Diddy Combs

In an interview charting the evolution of the internet-service provider, Schmidt revealed that following the singer's appearance on the red carpet at the 2000  Grammy Awards wearing that diaphanous, slashed to the navel Versace dress, the relatively new Google search engine was inundated with people wanting to see it - except that they couldn't.

"When Google was launched, people were amazed that they were able to find out about almost anything by typing just a few words into a computer. It was better than anything else, but not great by today's standards," Schmidt explained. "So our co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin - like all other successful inventors - kept iterating. After all, people wanted more than just text. This first became apparent after the 2000 Grammy Awards, where Jennifer Lopez wore a green dress that, well, caught the world's attention. At the time, it was the most popular search query we had ever seen. But we had no sure-fire way of getting users exactly what they wanted: JLo wearing that dress. Google Image Search was born."

Google isn't the first big-name brand to credit the dress with a lucrative turning point in its brand history. Its creator, Donatella Versace, also noticed a popularity surge.

"It was an unexpected success," she told the Canadian Press back in 2008. "The next day Jennifer was all over the place with people talking about her in that dress. It was one of those moments like Gianni had with Elizabeth Hurley and the safety-pin dress."

Young Blood Wanted At DKNY?

With  a youthful customer profile and campaign stars like Cara Delevingne and Rita Ora, it stands to reason that DKNY  would always be on the look out for the next big thing - but now it seems that a new designer might be on the brand's hit list. Industry rumours suggest that Donna Karan's younger diffusion label could be looking to tap a new creative director to helm the brand, so who is in the frame?

Pradal Gurung, one of the big names linked with the post, has not yet commented on the whispers. Likewise Andrea Lieberman of  ALC and Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow of Public School have been reluctant to confirm or deny industry tittle-tattle, WWD reports. Jane Chung, DKNY's executive vice president of design, has been with Karan for many years and currently creates the line under the designer's overall direction.

Karan launched DKNY in 1988, adding DKNY Jeans two years later, to appeal to a younger client than her main line offering. Karan stepped down as CEO of the company, which was bought by LVMH in 2001, in 1997 and now oversees the many collections within her remit rather than designing each personally.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Jessica Simpson's Billion-Dollar Brand Sold

Jessica Simpson´s  billion-dollar brand has been sold by its owners, Camuto. The label has been picked up by Sequential Brands Group, which is set to expand it internationally into a two-to-three-billion-dollar company

The company signed an agreement to acquire a "majority stake in the Jessica Simpson brand, including the Jessica Simpson Collection master licence and other rights, for an undisclosed amount of cash and stock," WWD reports. The singer and reality television star-turned-designer will continue to own the remainder of the company.

"It's humbling to think that we now have 31 product categories in the collection," Simpson said following the announcement. "Together with my mom, Tina, and the rest of the JS team, we are always looking for new ways to reach our consumers. I have a passion for home design, so I'm excited to expand on our home and lifestyle offerings. I also look forward to further developing our e-commerce site and taking our brand all over the world."

Vince Camuto - the founder and chief executive officer of Camuto Group, who passed away in January - bought the master licence for Jessica Simpson, then a footwear label, in 2005 for $15 million, and his company will continue as a licensing partner. Under Camuto's guidance, Simpson added multiple product categories to her eponymous label, leading to its valuation as a billion-dollar company in 2012.

"I'm as committed as I was 10 years ago," Simpson added. "Here's to the next billion."

Net-A-Porter And Yoox Merger Confirmed

Net-A-Porter is merging with Yoox, it was confirmed this morning. The merger - announced in a statement by owner Richemont - puts an end to months of fevered speculation which suggested several outcomes for the British etailer, including being bought out by Amazon and heading for an IPO. The Yoox link-up was first rumoured almost two years ago

It won't be the end of Net-A-Porter founder Natalie Massenet's time with the company; she has agreed to stay on as executive chairman of the new company - set to be known as Yoox Net-a-Porter Group.

The company will be incorporated in Italy and quoted on the Italian stock exchange,WWD reports, and although financial terms have not been revealed, the transaction will be completed this autumn, pending approval from shareholders.

Is Versace Guilty Of Copying?

Has Versace copied an American Apparel T-shirt created by British-born artist Kesh? The LA-based creative shared images from the Italian label's spring/summer 2015 collection, expressing her disgust that the $650 T-shirt is selling out at Selfridges, two years after her original high-street version debuted for less than $30.

"This hurts," Kesh said via Instagram alongside a picture of the T-shirt on the Selfridges website. "$650. Versace rip off. Sold out in three sizes. What is this madness? From huge designer labels to small boutiques, to giant pop stars, to fame-hungry former friends. What is this? Why can't these companies, these brands, these people create their own work? What happened? Why do these people think that everything that they lay their eyes on instantly belongs to them? At least make it better than the $30 original Versace," she added. "This looks like a first draft."

The T-shirt by Kesh - real name Kesshia Kumari - was presented as part of a collaboration with American Apparel for spring/summer 2013 and featured an artwork created by Kesh.

"This collection was made from the original artwork from my first solo show," Kesh told New York magazine in a statement. "A show that took more than two years to develop. This is also my face, being sold for $600 more than the original. It's unacceptable." Her representative confirmed that litigation was the next step: "Kesh is absolutely going to sue," she asserted. Versace had no comment to make when contacted this morning.

Kendall For Calvin Confirmed

Kendall jenner has been confirmed as the latest face of Calvin Klein´s  #mycalvins Denim Series. In a rumour that was almost too good to be true, Jenner was said to have been photographed by the New York brand - and now those pictures, by Vogue favourite Alasdair McLellan have been revealed.

"Modeling for Calvin Klein Jeans is really a dream come true," Jenner said today. "I've grown up wearing the brand and seeing the iconic advertising in magazines and on billboards featuring some of the world's top supermodels. To now be a part of that legacy is truly an honour."

Jenner - who has had a strong catwalk season, walking for brands including Chanel, Balmain and Oscar de la Renta - will be seen in print and digital advertising for the campaign, as well as on paid social-media imagery, harnessing her undeniable digital influence to the fullest.

"Kendall is a modern beauty who brings her youthful spirit and edge to this special Calvin Klein Jeans business," Melisa Goldie, chief marketing officer of Calvin Klein Inc, added. "Kendall's powerful fan base and global reach will further amplify the current cultural conversation surrounding the Calvin Klein Jeans brand and highlight this exciting limited edition."

Karl Lagerfeld Exhibition

"I like fashion to be part of daily life" is the message from Karl Lagerfeld. The words flicker in neon over the first museum study of the designer (with his blessing), in his birth country of Germany.

A mock-up of Karl's desk, covered with pencils and crayons, surrounded by books and pieces of paper, crumpled and discarded, is the leitmotif of 'Karl Lagerfeld: Modemethode' at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn (from March 28 to September 13).

'Paper to Paper' is the theme that runs through a show that has a selection of Karl's working drawings for Fendi and Chanel before the exhibition reaches its zenith with a 'Paper Palace' for haute-couture dresses, surrounded by paper flowers and leaves with an ending of blank pads, ready for Karl's next collection.

The first piece on display is a yellow wool coat with which the young Karl Lagerfeld won a Woolmark award in 1954. It is the only garment which had to be re-created, with the designer demanding from Amanda Harlech - his muse, creative partner and the fashion curator of the show - as being the exact shade 'between lemon and daffodil'.

Next comes a wall of drawings by Karl for Fendi over 50 years, chosen from 40,000 by Gerhard Steidl, the exhibition's designer and Karl's guru for anything the multitasking photographer and fashion creator prints on paper. The background is a gritty street, created by Steidl with digitally printed cement walls, complete with kerbs, photographed in Berlin.

'I have been doing Fendi for 50 years - can you believe it? It is a world record!' he said. 'Nobody, nobody! - not even for their own companies has worked for such a long time. But for me it is like the past few days. And I like it much better now.'

Fendi's road trip of inventive furs has a side wall filled with colourful accessories, while a film of Rome puts the Italian company in its heartland.

Steidl has made those mannequins, in his own word, 'sensational', by using a digital 3D invention to produce a striking realism. That is especially effective in the joyous Chloé session of 20 pieces, where the models sprawl over a fan-shaped sofa wearing Lagerfeld's 1970s look at his most light-handed and romantic. The end of this section has the mannequins dancing at a fictional Studio 54, one dress famous for its embroidered water taps launching a stream of crystals.

Already, even before the small 14-piece section of graphic black and white clothes under his own KL label and the circle of tailored suits that is the start of a long tribute to Chanel, any museum visitor has to ask the question: how does Karl juggle all these brands? Steidl has created an entire wall of logos. Aside from the issue of his own Lagerfeld brand seeming puny beside the might of Chanel, and the fact that he is now in his eighties, what is the secret of these alter egos?

'We live in the days of multiple identities,' says Rein Wolfs. 'That is Karl Lagerfeld's strength. He is always able to come up with something I did not expect. I feel that as a strength. He is a good photographer and great at drawing - but we have to celebrate him for fashion. And it's our duty as a museum to show the historical development.'

For me, the exhibition works because it is so selective. Would I have mentioned the designer's seed bed at the couture houses of Balmain and Jean Patou? Maybe. Would I have swapped his dalliance with Swedish fast retail H&M that set off the hi-lo trend in 2004 for a showing of some of Karl's films? Probably. Should there have been less Chanel? I don't think so, for this is an exhibition that is delicately balanced between its curator's romantic passion and Steidl's visual modernity.

There is no doubt that Chanel is the ripe fruit of Karl Lagerfeld's fashion. The curator takes its survey of the intrinsically French brand slowly: the iconic suit; the uniform of black; the wit of accessories that include a pair of Coco sneakers dating from 1983, the year Karl started at Chanel. There is even a display of a multitude of Chanel buttons.

After the 'Reinvention of Tweed' - including, Amanda explains, trompe l'oeil woven effects in embroidery - there is a flash of eighteenth-century exaggeration. That includes giant wigs created by coiffeur Sam McKnight - a memory to me of Karl in his baroque, fan-carrying days.

Chanel drawings, turned into vast posters by Steidl, lead to the dramatic 'Paper Palace', created by three hand workers over three weeks. The beauty and the workmanship of the dresses are breathtaking - not least because Steidl insisted on no glass cases in the exhibition.

This 'Paper to Paper' story is only comprehensible at its ending. But what an exit line! The last mannequin has a Neoprene dress covering a swollen stomach under her ravishing gilded cloak - a representation of the pregnant model who walked the couture runway last summer. It seems like a symbol of each show giving way for the birth of another.

Amanda is open about her emotional attachment to the exhibition and to what she hopes visitors will understand as 'an incredible arc of Karl's work'.

'It's about falling in love with Karl - I thought I knew the work, but this has been an incredible discovery,' she said. 'It's the energy, the emotion, the eye that never stops looking and searching for a clear line. He is a genius of sculpture, texture, colour, detail, lightness - and grace.'

How exactly did this exhibition happen, with Karl giving it the seal of approval without being part of it at all?

Rein Wolfs says that he discussed the possibility with Lagerfeld 18 months ago, and that the designer was without question the most important German fashion designer.

Karl wanted a forward-looking exhibition and he insisted on the collaboration of Amanda Harlech and Gerhard Steidl to execute the work.

Amanda says that Karl told her: 'This is the best museum in Germany', referring to the Bundeskunsthalle, which is the Art and Exhibition hall of the Federal Republic of Germany. But that subsequently he left her, Steidl and the museum team severely alone - an unimaginable attitude in a world of controlling global brands.

'It could interest other people - not me, I couldn't care less,' Karl said. 'In fact, it is not that I don't look back - it has vanished, you see. I like my life today, anyway, 100 times better. You know, there is a moment in your life when you are not 20 or 30, and you feel much freer in a way. You have to use that freedom.'