Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hermès Responds To Birkin's Request

Hermes has responded to Jane Birkin´s request for the French fashion house to remove her name from its famous Birkin bag, following a PETA investigative report into the farming methods of crocodiles and alligators used to make the accessory.

"Jane Birkin has expressed her concerns regarding practices for slaughtering crocodiles. Her comments do not in any way influence the friendship and confidence that we have shared for many years," said a statement from the brand. "Hermès respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast."

In a statement released to Agence France-Presse, Birkin said: "Having been alerted to the cruel practices endured by crocodiles during their slaughter for the production of Hermès bags carrying my name, I have asked the Hermès Group to rename the Birkin until better practices responding to international norms can be implemented for the production of this bag."

"PETA, on behalf of all kind souls in the world, thanks Ms Birkin for ending her association with Hermès, which makes grotesque handbags that were revealed in a PETA exposé to be constructed from the skins of factory-farmed and cruelly slaughtered crocodiles," said PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk, following Birkin's announcement. "We call on Hermès to stop plundering wildlife, factory-farming crocodiles and alligators and slaughtering them for their skins. Once, Birkin bags marked people as celebrities or at least members of the super-rich, but soon, no one will want to be caught dead carrying one, and animal advocates will then breathe a sigh of relief."

Hermès, however, has denied that the farm belongs to them, or that the skins from the farm are used to make their Birkin bags, asserting that "an investigation is underway at the Texas farm which was implicated in the video. Any breach of rules will be rectified and sanctioned."

"Hermès imposes on its partners the highest standards in the ethical treatment of crocodiles. For more than 10 years, we have organised monthly visits to our suppliers," continued its statement. "We control their practices and their conformity with slaughter standards established by veterinary experts and by the Fish and Wildlife Service (a federal American organisation for the protection of nature) and with the rules established under the aegis of the UNO, by the Washington Convention of 1973 which defines the protection of endangered species."

Wang Departing Balenciaga

Alexander Wang is leaving Balenciaga as creative director, WWD reports this morning, meaning a hunt for his successor is on. Rumours about his departure surfaced earlier this month when the French fashion house's owner, Kering, released a statement saying, "There are discussions between the designer and Balenciaga regarding the renewal of the contract."

Wang's tenure at the helm has been relatively short-lived compared to the career of his predecessor, Nicholas Ghesquiere, who enjoyed 15 years in the creative director chair. Ghesquiere left to take up the top job at Louis Vuitton in 2012, when Wang was brought on board. His spring/summer 2016 collection, set to be shown in Paris this September, is said to be his last for the house.

While exact reasons for the decision not to renew Wang's contract could not be learned, it is feasible that busy schedules have played a part. Wang is not only enjoying huge success with his eponymous label, but is set to open his first flagship store in London imminently, as well as working on projects for his own label around the globe.

Kering is said to be in the early stages of recruitment for the role, and is "open to considering a lesser-known, hidden talent for the plum post, emboldened by the positive feedback and outpouring of goodwill it had in promoting Gucci insider Alessandro Michele to succeed Frida Giannini at the helm of the Italian brand earlier this year," according to WWD.

It has been a busy week of announcements for the fashion conglomerate, who earlier this week posted positive results for the first half of 2015 for Gucci, which it owns, as well as revealing that it had appointed Grita Loebsack as chief executive officer of its luxury couture and leather goods' emerging brands division. The appointment puts her directly in charge of Balenciaga, as well as Stella McCartney, Tomas Maier, Christopher Kane, Brioni and Alexander McQueen.

Topshop Responds To Mannequin Storm

Topshop has agreed to stop ordering the specific style of mannequin that prompted an unhappy customer to post an image of one that appeared to be a size 6 on her Facebook page, appealing to the high-street brand to take responsibility "for the impression you have on women and young girls". Laura Berry was shopping in her local branch when she felt compelled to "call Topshop out" for what she called its "lack of concern for a generation of extremely body conscious youth".

"As you are aware, the year is 2015. A time when I like to believe we are conscious of the harsh unrealities often imposed on us by the fashion industry (the Nineties is famous for its skinny runway models)," she wrote  beneath the picture, tagging the brand. "Every day I am surrounded by strong women and men who struggle with the daily battle of body image. A subject which is now even covered by schools nationwide, educating the young on the reality of a human body and how unrealistic many photoshopped images are. So let me get to the point, I'd love to hear how you can justify the ridiculously tiny mannequin in your Bristol Cribbs Causeway store? We come in all shapes and sizes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being the size you naturally are. I believe we should all feel comfortable in our own skin. Having said that, this mannequin is quite frankly ridiculously shaped."

Berry continued, writing: "To be honest, I'm sure many clever, strong and beautiful women of any age are made to feel insecure by your mannequins and advertisements. Numerous studies have been carried out on the effect of unrealistic mannequins in stores and numerous stories have been shared in the media too. So what makes you feel you can ignore everything that's been said and considered by other high-street stores and even some high-fashion designers? What makes you so superior Topshop?" before signing off: "P.S Just so you know, after taking this picture I used my size 10/12 legs to walk straight out of your store."
I'd love to hear how you can justify the ridiculously tiny mannequin in your Bristol Cribbs Causeway store?Topshop customer Laura Berry

Having become aware of Berry's open letter, Topshop commented directly on her page, leaving the following statement.

Topshop has responded to an open letter on Facebook concerning its choice of mannequins
The views of our customers are extremely valuable and we apologise if we have not lived up to the levels of service that we aim to deliverTopshop

"We think it's important to showcase a healthy size image, from the choice of models used in campaigns, to the stories featured online and on the blog. For some background, the mannequin you saw in store is supplied by a company that has been working with lots of different retailers for the past 30 years. This particular style is used in small number of our stores and is based on a standard UK size 10. The overall height (187cm) is taller than the average girl and the form is stylised to have more impact in store.

"As the mannequins are solid fibreglass, their form needs to be of certain dimensions to allow clothing to be put on and removed easily; this is therefore not meant to be a representation of the average female body. That said, we have taken yours and other customers' opinions and feedback on board and going forward we are not placing any further orders on this style of mannequin. The views of our customers are extremely valuable and we apologise if we have not lived up to the levels of service that we aim to deliver. Again, thanks for your message."

Berry has since set up an on-line petition  appealing to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills "to establish a single standardised sizing category, to be recognised and used universally throughout the clothing industry."

Yves Saint Laurent Couture Confirmed

Yves Saint Laurent is set to return to couture for the first time in more than a decade. The French house - which last showed a couture collection created by the founder in 2002, just before his retirement - has not yet confirmed whether it will show on schedule again, or just create bespoke creations for celebrities and clients in a similar way to Givenchy, but it did reveal that the pieces would be for both men and women.

Overseen by Hedi Slimane, who assumed his role as creative director in 2012, the pieces will be produced at the label's new atelier. The space, created inside a 17th-century mansion, Hôtel de Sénecterre, will house three separate areas: the Salon Couture, where clients will try the pieces; the Atelier Flou, for dressmaking; and the Atelier Tailleur, for tailoring, in order to facilitate the new venture, and boasts a "geometric garden" pioneered by Slimane, as well as furniture and art from both his own and the house's private collections.

"Hedi began to recompose the traditional couture ateliers of the house in 2012," the company revealed this morning. "The ateliers are now at the centre of the Saint Laurent project by Hedi Slimane. The ateliers also produce commissioned hand-made pieces for movie stars and musicians. Hedi determines which of these pieces will carry the atelier's hand-sewn couture label 'Yves Saint Laurent'. These couture pieces may be women or men, a tuxedo or an evening dress, daywear or eveningwear. The 'Yves Saint Laurent' private atelier label is made of ivory silk satin and is numbered by piece. The atelier keeps a strict record of all the couture pieces in a gold monogram book."

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Manolo Blahnik Launches First Bag Collection

Having made his shoes some of the most desirable objects on the planet, Manolo Blahnik is hoping to work his magic in a whole new category as he launches his first full handbag collection. Due to land in store at the end of July, the new line has a strong inspiration point.

"I am always inspired by beautiful women from the past and present, so when I thought about doing a collection of bags, I was sure they were going to be evening bags for the women of today," he told us. "I love ornaments in my shoes so why not add these to the bags too? These bags are an extension of some of the shoe styles I really like as I wanted to keep the connection between the shoes and bags."

It was the discovery of what Blahnik calls, "extraordinary artisans in Italy" that made the time right to expand his design portfolio more comprehensively than before, although he took his time getting them exact to his requirements.

"This collection came up because it is something that I really wanted to do - I had no rush in getting this done," he said. "I like to make things beautifully and sometimes to get something right it takes time. At the moment I have no plans to make other accessories. For the moment I would like to enjoy the bags, and I am already thinking about more bags for next season!"

The collection, which is priced from £1,320 to £1,480, sees a rainbow of satin hues form the bases for beautiful Swarovski crystals that form the focal point of the bags, reminiscent of Blahnik's famous encrusted styles.

The collection will be available at the brand's London flagship on Old Church Street, Liberty and Harrods.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Band Of Outsiders: Everything Must Go

Band Of Outsiders is hosting a sale, offering everything it owns at auction next week in New York. The brand - which announced its sissolution in May - will offer its "intellectual property rights and inventory" next week, WWD reports, at a sale held by its secured creditor, Belgian fashion fund CLCC SA.

The brand held a liquidation sale upon the closing of its store, at 70 Wooster Street, New York, but CLCC SA obtained the remaining inventory - said to be in excess of 5,000 units - and other assets, after the label was unable to make payment on a credit line of more than $2 million. The company hosting the auction, Abacus Advisors Group, may sell the lots as a single entity or separately depending on interest.

"They are going to take offers for both assets and individually," a source toldWWD. "Depending on a number of factors they'll look to what's the highest total."

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A New Era At AllSaints

AllSaints is a ubiquitous presence on international high streets but, as any fashion company will attest, you have to adapt to survive - something that creative director Wil Beedle is making sure happens this year as the brand celebrates its 21st birthday. Expansion in the Far East; the launch of a new handbag collection (that has already generated "Have you seen?" whispers among editors) and the opening of a new flagship in Dubai to house it are just a few of the ways that the brand is marking its coming of age, and is drawing on its formative years to inform it.

"Anyone approaching any kind of milestone in their life takes the opportunity to look back as well as forwards," Beedle told us at the towering AllSaints HQ in Shoreditch. "I was looking back at our archive - not just at different collections that I've done since I became creative director, but also the pieces that have accumulated - the vast military archive, the vast leather archive and look back at the surrounding area and the things that informed us to this point. In our 21styear I wanted to take this slightly fragmented sense of nostalgia and weave it into something more modern, more contemporary and more forward-looking so that we embraced the codes of our past and our present and sculpted them into something considerably more confident and aspirational and elevated."

The East End of the capital is, of course, a major part of the brand's DNA, providing a stimulating backdrop of creative energy since 2005 when the company set up shop there - coinciding with the increasing presence of artists, musicians, designers and fashion students in the surrounding areas of Brick Lane, Hoxton and Hackney, not to mention developers snapping up real estate in the newly-desirable neighbourhood. Beedle is a product of what he preaches. A London boy himself, his pursuit of the "coolest things" that are happening at any one time places him in the perfect position to lead the charge forward.

"London fundamentally influences, informs and inspires me," he said. "I've always tried to be and do whatever I thought was the coolest thing to do at that time. It's an instinctive draw for me and it's what I've felt compelled to do at any one time. That took me from being a 13-year-old tearing up the magazines that you'd find around Camden and making them into fanzines that you'd distribute down by the bridge; to going to Cambridge to read literature because I thought that was how you started making movies; to going to Paris.

When Hedi Slimane had just become creative director of Dior and the Paris art scene was exploding; to East London, 13 years ago, when this felt like the coolest place to be. I've always felt like the most inspiring place to ever be is a city where, frankly, shit's happening. That's the greatest inspiration. It's not always a studied process but by exposing myself to the different elements and the experiences that are happening around us, it's somewhat inevitable that I accumulate and assimilate that information and express it in a collage, a fanzine, a painting, a movie, or tight now in a new bag collection."

Beedle and his team are confident that their new 50-piece bag collection is the key to pushing the brand into its next phase (a more developed and expansive footwear offering is also mooted to be next up on the agenda) and we can confirm that they have done their homework.

"I've learnt that women have an emotive response to bags and an appetite to express their thoughts on it, but there's one thing that every woman that I've spoken to has said and that's, 'Don't make them too heavy!'" he laughed. "We wanted to strip things right back and focus on the materials and the leather. We felt it was befitting of a bag collection to provide the elements that allow people to express their own personality, so no big logo, no hard metal work, just very versatile and very cool."

Collaborating with the renowned Simone handbag manufacturer in Seoul - which helped brands including Michael Kors, Coach and Marc by Marc Jacobs experience success in the accessories category - has also allowed them to up their game considerably, combining the fashion house's expertise in leather with the factory's bag-making skills, and lowering price points so that nothing comes in over £300.

"We have our expertise in skin and we've partnered with them to share what we need," Beedle explained of the union. "We work as we have done for decades with the world's best tanneries and we want to explore price points that are super democratic considering the quality that we're offering. We're working with very traditional manufacturing in an innovative way, and that's what a good partnership looks like."

It's a partnership that Beedle is certain couldn't have happened before. Despite being head designer for 11 years, it was just three years ago that he was appointed as chief creative director and, in his words, "We had a lot of work to do."

"We really had to establish some of the fundamental codes of the house, our identity and how we expressed it. Having done that we then developed the momentum we needed and now we're in the situation where we can have the right conversations with the right partners and know ourselves well enough to be able to express that as effectively as possible. I don't know if before it would have been the right time to partner."

Streamlining its vision and honing its edit has pointed the brand in a more confident and accomplished direction, not only where new categories are concerned, but with existing ready-to-wear too (allowing it to shake off its ripped-T-shirt reputation once and for all). The plan is to "add juxtaposing layers" each season that sit not only well together but also with seasons before.

"There are certain codes in this house that we are known for and the easiest thing in the world would have been to take those and express them in a bag but that was something completely different to what I wanted to do," Beedle said. "Like a collage they need to layer onto everything that exists already. If someone has the best biker jacket in the world, why would they want to carry it on their arm? Hopefully we're assembling a look for someone that isn't matchy matchy but where the bag becomes another layer - an unspoken cool. That was another fundamental concern in the development of the collection."

The renewed vigour at the top is palpable right the way down through the collections, placing the brand in a positive position to fully embrace what its hoping will come its way in the next year.

"We're going into new markets now with a fully formed ready-to-wear collection and a fully-formed bag collection and we're going to see a different response," Beedle said. "What's clear is that bags articulate brands as much as the collection does, as much as the creative content does, so it's going to be very interesting to see how they respond."

Why Karlie Is Becoming A Vlogger

The model, student, Kookie manufacturer, philanthropist, coder, baker, entrepreneur, brand ambassador, and Taylor Swift BFF (not technically a job, but time-consuming nevertheless) launched her own YouTube channel yesterday, offering an insight into her crazy and stylish life.

"The first 13 years of my life were just normal," Kloss says in the film, "well, except my height, which has never been normal. In 2005, I was 'discovered' and things got pretty crazy pretty quickly. I'd be in second period chemistry one day, and then walking the Paris runway the next. Over the years, modelling has kept me very busy, but it's not my sole focus."

Called Klossy, the channel promises an insight into "things you never got to see before" from the former Victoria´s Secret Angel´s life - both on-duty and off. Recently accepted to NYU, the Vogue cover girl is sure to share glimpses into the "normal" part of her life, interspersed with more exceptional happenings - like joining Swift on stage or shooting a L´Oreal commercial perhaps.

"I've spent the majority of my life in front of the camera, but not my camera," Kloss adds. "And that's where this is different. I could not be more excited to share my story, and this adventure, with you."

Taylor Launches Fashion Line

Taylor Swift is adding yet another string to her bow this year as the unstoppable star is set to launch her first clothing line in Shanghai, China to coincide with the arrival of the 1989 tour in the country in November.

The collection, which is being made in collaboration with Heritage 66 Company, Bloomberg reports, will be sold through one of the largest e-commerce companies in China,, in a bid to specifically target Chinese shoppers.

It's a shrewd move for the star (she recently showed her business clout by taking Apple to task regarding royalties) who no doubt wants to capitalise on China's growing consumer markets, a large demographic of which is aged under 25 - the predominant age group in Swift's own fan base. The Bad Blood singer is a dominating presence on social media also, which has become an increasingly influential source when it comes to retail consumerism in the region.

The announcement comes on the same day that has opened its virtual ´US Mall´ - an area of its site where Chinese shoppers can buy products from American brands, safe in the knowledge that they are authentic. The e-commerce site hopes that it will create a major differentiation point between itself and its major online competitor, Alibaba, which has been plagued with allegations of selling counterfeit goods, despite its protestations to the contrary.

The Making Of A Couture Bride

Go to couturier of princess brides the world over, Ralph & Russo has never had a problem creating the requisite drama with its show finale. Always heavily embellished and full-skirted, the bridal outing this season was just a little more grown-up. A Victorian neckline and covered-up silhouette - often required by the high-profile Middle Eastern and Asian brides serviced by the British label - were offset by a slimmer, more sensual, line over the hips. And who better to sport it than a model with an angelic face but devastating curves?

Brazilian former Victoria´s Secret model Ana Beatriz Barros - sporting her own gargantuan and newly acquired engagement ring - was apprehensive on her first catwalk trial with the dress, but a handful of the 100 plus skilled artisans soon put her mind at rest.

"It was heavy when I first tried it, but then they did something magical, I don't know, and now it's perfect," Barros smiled backstage before the show of the usually inordinately heavy creation. "I'm getting married later this year and I thought I would want something simple, but maybe Tamara will convince me."

Tamara Ralph - also engaged, to business partner Michael Russo, but reportedly no closer to finding a gap in the schedule to plan her own wedding - smiled at the suggestion of secret couture wizardry.

"Ana asked what we had done but of course," she smiled coyly, "we can't reveal couture secrets."

The gown, as always, was a labour of love between Ralph and her dedicated team. Client orders can be a year in the making, and the show's bridal offering - available to only one lucky bride per territory - is most in demand of all.

"We chose Ana because she really epitomised the Ralph & Russo bride this season," Ralph told us. "She's elegant but she's strong. We wanted to do gold this season, and very covered up, and although it's quite simple, there is 700 metres of Chantilly lace in the dress, and hundreds of hours of hand embroidery."

Chanel Exhibition Comes To London

The history of Chanel  will be put on dazzling display this autumn, at a new exhibition held at the Saatchi Gallery.The exhibition, installed over three floors of the gallery, will celebrate both the historical inspiration behind the designs of Gabrielle ´Coco´ Chanel and the innovative way that the brand has been developed under Karl Lagerfeld.

In addition, it will showcase Chanel's haute couture collection, exclusive pieces especially designed by Karl Lagerfeld for the exhibition along with the re-edition of the High Jewellery 'Bijoux de Diamants' collection created in 1932 and the iconic Chanel No.5 fragrance.

The capital has often celebrated the late designer through exhibitions, and even musicals, charting her life at the helm of the illustrious fashion house. Lagerfeld is also no stranger to being the subject of a retrospective - Karl Lagerfeld: Modemethode is currently running at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Diane Pernet: 10 Years Of ASVOFF

People call her ´La Bruja De La Moda´ whereas others hail her as the worlds most respected digital fashion blogger (in fact, it was claimed that she alone was responsible for pioneering the advent of fashion blogging via her blog ‘A Shaded View On Fashion’ (ASVOFF)). As well as being a celebrated fashion writer, Diane Pernet is also credited with launching the fashion film genre as well as providing a new interactive portal through which artists, photographers and designers can collaborate on creative projects of a similar theme.

Shaded View On Fashion Film (ASVOFF) was founded by Diane to ´Present an international travelling showcase to hold competitions for short films within the fashion, style and beauty genres´. She has also curated film projects such as CineOpera in 2010 held at the Corso Como in Milan and NOOVO in Santiago de Compostela in Spain to name a few.

Before launching ASVOFF back in 2005, Pernet was a digital fashion reporter for Elle France and Vogue Paris. In her early 20´s she left her native Washington DC and went straight to New York where she designed for thirteen years under her namesake brand, before hopping across the pond to Paris in the early nineties, (It was here she landed her first role as a costume designer for the film Golem l'Esprit d'Exile back in 1992.)

Her public profile really took off in 2006 when Pernet was commissioned by Mark Eley of Eley Kishimoto to make a film for the brand's menswear launch. Alongside the creative direction and filming of the documentary, Pernet ´blogged´ about the entire journey from London to Monte Carlo and the project served as the catalyst for launching a unique and dedicated series of fashion film festivals. 

Her first production within the showcasing festival was entitled ‘You Wear it Well’ and was debuted in Los Angeles at CineSpace in 2006 to positive acclaim. Such recognition helped her to lay solid foundations for the further development of ASVOFF in 2008, when the festival’s first official edition launched in September in the Jeu de Paume national museum in the centre of bourgeoisie Paris. 

The queen of ´thinking outside the box´ Diane famously snubs red carpet and overtly commercial gatherings. I once quoted her as ´Not belonging beside Anna Wintour on the red carpet of the Met Gala, but instead being more suited to an abandoned car park in the outskirts of Antwerp watching a group of young graduate fashion designers perform interpretative dance.´

Pernet has also produced several acclaimed documentaries such as Swiss Textile Designer Profiles, 8 Years of the Making of the Festival d’Hyères (with occasional appearances from her iconic friend, the celebrity stylist Catherine Baba), Portrait of a Consumer and Fashioned Out. She has served as a talent scout for the Festival d’Hyères in the South of France on several occasions.

Recently, Pernet has begun extending the ASVOFF showcases, with the last Belgian instalment being presided over by none other than Dries Van Noten (in addition to launching a full range of perfumes in her namesake). With such a rich, varied and radical start to her (ASVOFF´s) first ten years, we can only imagine what the black pearl of fashion has in store for the following ten.

London Fashion Feature: A Child Of The Jago

Just like its name ´A Child of the Jago´ is an acquired taste. Joe Corre´s central London label has been manufacturing its dandyish, Edwardian influenced gear since it´s opening in 2008. Unlike the Hipsters and Hoxtonites, this brand is not your typical London fashion fare by any imagination. If anything, Joe describes the recently relocated label as an ‘anti-brand’. A name sake of the brand is the bestselling book which recounts the brief life of Dicky Perrott, a child growing up in the "Old Jago", a fictionalisation of the ´Old Nichol´ - a slum located between Shoreditch High Street and Bethnal Green Road in the East end of London.

In apparel terms, Joe is descended from fashion royalty. He’s the only child of Vivienne Westwood (with Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren as his father), Clearly, fashion and rebellion are as much in his blood, as theirs. Having worked with Westwood for many years after leaving school at 16, he went on to found Agent Provocateur in 1994, with his then wife. After breaking loose from the company, his own project, A Child of the Jago, was born 7 years ago and has gone from strength to strength.

‘I was tired of the global brand thing, opening new stores all over the world. I am very against mass consumption. It was my idea to make clothing using up what was left from the fashion industry – end of line cloths and high quality fabrics that were left on shelves. We make things in small runs, here in the UK.’

Jago clothing is very distinctive. While the brand covers all ranges from T-shirts to womenswear, Joe considers men's tailoring to be its hallmark (and suits are showpieces). From fly away lapels to striking juxtaposed patterns (featuring thick pinstripes alongside clashing tartans) you won’t be blending in to the crowd in one of these. Joe commented light-heartedly that ´You don’t see people dressed like this on the Northern Line very often. Mainly, people after stage wear – pop stars, bands, TV people and the like.´

The Charing Cross Road shop is a theatrically themed extravaganza for the clothes. Hats take up a levitating rack above a staircase. Gothic-looking jewellery (thick silver bone-shaped rings with pearls are displayed in antique cabinets.) Quirky details such as a dressing room on the ground floor which opens with a heavy brass key are normal place. Windows are elegantly gilded with the surrounding walls papered in yellowy sepia toned London maps adding to the urban / stylised / eccentricity of the space.

A Child of the Jago is a very ´London brand´. All of the cultural impressions come from Joe´s upbringing and everything he has grown up (which not surprisingly includes his mother). ‘Not necessarily in the styling of the shop, but in terms of the clothing, I’ve definitely been influenced by her. She’s done everything, invented everything, from the tube dress, to every look you can think of, she’s done it ages ago. It’s impossible not to be influenced by that´ he said melancholically.

Corre recently said that he brought his brand to the West End because ‘People don’t go to the East End to spend’. A piece of Jago does not come cheap either, with suits starting from £445, hats from £95 and printed T-shirts from £55. So, how does this contradict his anti-consumerist stance? 'It’s consumerist to have a new outfit all the time. I want to make things that people will still be wearing in five years. If you buy fewer things that are better quality, then that’s better for everyone.’ This is a philosophy that is rapidly becoming a trend within the ´ethical´ and ´anti-fast fashion´ brigade of present.

Having controversially turned down an MBE in 2007 in protest at Tony Blair’s handling of the Iraq war (‘I was brought up with a healthy scepticism of the government’), it’s unsurprising that his anti-establishment streak extends to the world of fashion. ‘I don’t consider myself “in” fashion. Fashion is about trends. I have no interest in trends, nor interest in fashion weeks. I love clothing, and dressing up. It is about the quality of fabrics and making things.’

What about the majority of people who consider the brand not to their taste? ‘Fuck ‘em. If people are scared to step out of the shadows and try something different and want to continue to be sheep, that’s up to them.’ There’s something very familiar in Joe’s philosophy, isn´t there?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Versus Joins LFW Line Up

Versus is joining the official London Fashion Week schedule, it was announced this morning (following its toe-dipping exercise in May when it held a pre-collection presentation in the capital), marking Anthony Vaccerello's first catwalk show for the label since he was made creative director in January - and it's in good company.

Other notable names joining the impressive rosta include Hill & Friends, former Mulberry creative director Emma Hill´s new accessories line,which makes its debut; John Smedley, which will launch its first womenswear collection; and Peter Jensen, who returns to the schedule after a hiatus - all of which are planned in presentation format. Also making a return to the line-up is Zandra Rhodes, whose eponymous brand kicks off the five-day event on Friday, September 18.

The biggest change on the schedule is, of course, the location of the BFC show space which we reported in April,  moves from the British Fashion Council's Somerset House HQ to Brewer Street car park in Soho where 16 of the 77 brands on the schedule have chosen to show.

LVMH To Launch Apple Watch Rival

LVMH´s watch division president, Jean-Claude Biver, has revealed that the French luxury conglomerate plans to launch a smart watch to compete with the Apple Watch.

The device, which will cost just over £1,000, aims to attract a new generation of consumers for whom a wrist piece has become a must-have item. Biver told German newspaper Handelsblatt that LVMH "welcomed the arrival of the Apple Watch because the marketing power of the Apple brand will help create a new class of clients enthusiastic about luxury watches," reports the Business Of Fashion - a sentiment shared by Kering's CEO of luxury watches and jewellery, Albert Bensoussan.

"Two creative people that are so involved in shaping the future coming back to the same values is an excellent thing," he told the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in April referring to Apple Watch creators Jony Ive and Marc Newson. "I question its longevity, but I'm happy to have the focus back on the wrist."

LVMH, which owns the Zenith, Hublot and Tag Heuer watch brands, hopes to make the most impact with its new device in China, where it wants to focus on "winning market share, rather than being driven by specific sales and profit targets."

Biver also divulged in his announcement (which comes at a time when the appetite for the Apple Watch is reported to have wained) that a part of its strategy includes removing Tag Heuer's price category of €6,500 and instead focusing on producing watches starting at €1,500, making it more competitive with the Apple's mid-range watches which are priced between €700 and €1,250.

Vuitton Discontinues Multicoloured Monogram

Louis Vuitton´s multi-coloured Takashi Murakami monogram will no longer grace its bags and accessories, since the company has revealed it will discontinue the Multicolore line later this year. The collaboration between the artist and the French house - unveiled in 2003 - was the brainchild of former Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs, but it seems that his successor, Nicolas Ghesquiere, will not take the colourful print forward.

A store associate at Louis Vuitton's Saks Fifth Avenue shop-in-shop told WWD that the collection is "leaving stores at the end of July, forever," while a representative for the brand said it preferred to "look forward".

Much copied by counterfeiters since its launch, the Murakami print was worn by celebrities the world over - with stars including Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson embracing the bright version of the company's signature monogram. Murakami was by no means the only artist enlisted by Jacobs to enliven the permanent offering, with Stephen Sprouse, Richard Prince and Yayoi Kusama also lending their creative eye to the label's bags and accessories.

Ghesquiere, it seems, is focused on returning to the classic print for his bag offering, while playing with shape and proportion. His first collection featured the company´s classic trunks in minature form and the latest offering boasted a new graphic take on the original monogram, enlarging elements of the print in monochrome and red.

Sam Smith For Balenciaga

Sam Smith as revealed the first glimpse of his campaign for Balenciaga. Bearing the hashtag #BALXSAMSMITH, the Josh Olins-lensed image is accompanied by a video in which the 23-year-old British singer can be seen walking towards the camera, sporting his trademark quiff.

Ladies and gentlemen. The time has come for my first ever collaboration with a fashion house. You ready?" the singer asked his 3.2 million followers. "So honoured and ecstatic to announce my collaboration with @Balenciaga on the upcoming autumn/winter menswear collection! You'll be able to see my fullcampaign very soon. So happy."

While it is his first campaign, the Balenciaga link-up isn't Smith's first brush with fashion. He appeared in April as Vogue´s Today I´m Wearing star, sharing his outfit choices every day for a month, and could scarcely contain his excitment when his appearance was announced, quipping: "I feel like Carrie Bradshaw!! So excited about this... #TODAYIMWEARING."

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What's Next For Stefano?

Stefano Pilatihas departed Agnona, where he took the helm in 2013, but will remain as head of design with menswear label Ermenigildo Zegna. Stepping down from Agnona will leave him free to pursue other "personal projects in women's ready-to-wear," WWD reports, but might another big job be on the cards for him?

A firm friend of Kate Moss, Pilati has worked under many of the industry's biggest names, including Tom Ford (who he succeeded at Yves Saint Laurent), Miuccia Prada (with whom he worked at both Miu Miu and Prada) and Giorgio Armani. Pilati was linked with the top job at the latter brand in 2012, when he departed YSL and has since been occasionally mooted as the founder's successor, replacing him if he were to retire.

If Armani did enlist Pilati, he wouldn't be the first designer to call on a young talent with a similar aesthetic to take his brand forward. Oscar de la Renta engaged Peter Copping as his successor just before his death late last year, while Roberto Cavalli enlisted former protegee Peter Dundas to take the helm at his eponymous label in March, but Armani's current focus is on celebrating the brand´s 40th anniversary.

In terms of his Agnona departure, market sources suggest that perhaps the relationship just didn't work - with Pilati's critical and commercial success much more marked at Zegna - and that the designer's departure will allow the brand to move in a new direction. No successor has yet been named by the brand.

"The brand plans to continue to pursue its ambition to become a true global brand, founded on the quality of Italian textiles as well as on a strong, elegant and contemporary style to be shown in Milan's Fashion Week in 2016," a spokesperson told WWD. "We will reorganise the design department accordingly."

JW Anderson Is Diet Coke's New Designer

Following  in the footsteps of Karl Lagerfeld and Jean Paul Gaultier designer JW Anderson has lent his creative nous to Diet Coke. Undertaking a makeover of the famous bottle inspired by the knitwear from his autumn/winter 2015 collection, the northern Irish designer has also created two T-shirts and a notebook to accompany the launch - part of Diet Coke's Regret Nothing campaign, which encourages consumers to "embrace their impulsive side".

"I view Diet Coke as a pop-culture icon so I was excited to have the opportunity to put my stamp on Regret Nothing," Anderson said today. "You can expect something completely different with lots of cool surprises."

The collaboration - the first time that Diet Coke has used photography on its bottles - is by no means the company's first foray into luxury fashion. As well as Lagerfeld and Gaultier, Diet Coke has also previously enlisted Matthew Williamson, Patricia Field and Marc Jacobs to enliven the famous bottle.

"Jonathan Anderson's regret-nothing attitude helped him achieve outstanding success, so we feel very excited to be working with him," Bobby Brittain, GB marketing strategy and activation director for Coca-Cola, said. "This collaboration is unlike any of Diet Coke's previous designer partnerships so we can't wait to unveil what will truly be an inspiring fashion-forward collection."

A limited-edition collector's box set - featuring JW Anderson's Diet Coke bottles and notebook - will be available from Harvey Nichols stores nationwide from August 17th.

Dolce & Gabbana´s Alta Moda

As Wimbledon reached its Centre Court climax and the future of Greece dangled in the wind, clients and press from around the world gathered on the Ligurian coast for a weekend celebration of  Dolce & Gabbana's expanding couture lines. Four years ago the Italian designers launched their Alta Moda women's line in Taormina on the Sicilian Coast, then moved the show next to Venice, last year to Capri and this summer they showed not only their womenswear but an Alta Joillerie collection and Alta Sartoria, their menswear.

Since the location was so idyllic, few were complaining at the time commitment demanded by this year's four-day event - four because on the last night the whole shebang ended with Ora, a gold-themed party. And many had travelled straight from Valentino´s special couture show in Rome as a continuation of the traditional Paris season.

Both designers weekend in the picture-perfect town of Portofino, which was the epicentre of proceedings. They had installed a Dolce & Gabbana pop-up store in the horseshoe-shaped harbour selling commemorative bags, dresses, polo shirts and even iPhone cases depicting the area. It's the first time I have ever craved a skirt printed like a cheap postcard.

The Alta Moda show was held in a hilltop glade. Guests who didn't have private boats were ferried in to the harbour by a fleet of Rivas (was that Roman Abramovich's floating near a truly massive Philippe Starck designed object? How gorgeous was Camilla Al Fayed's yacht?). Although it was past 8pm at night it was still very hot as their guests climbed the rocky footpath up the hilltop into their  jewelled sandals and cocktail dresses, the hike broken by tables of water and lemonade. Those who had ignored the dress code of flat shoes regretted it fairly quickly.

The pair had spent a year landscaping the property in anticipation of these evenings and for the Alta Moda the glade had been transformed into the set of AMidsummer Night's Dream. Pucks performed acrobatics in hoops that hung from the trees above topiary sofas, gourds swayed above like earrings, girls in silver sequinned minis strewed the ground with petals and gladiator sandal-ed youths held arches of flowers.

Three shots sounded the start of a show of a staggering 96 outfits that spanned the seasons and offered  the whole canon of the pair's favoured styles. Empire-line gowns in debutante organzas were followed by velvet-trimmed brocade trouser suits with cigarette pants. Massive ball gowns with crystal corseted bustiers above their voluminous skirts celebrated the flowers of Italy as opposed to last year's fruits of Capri. Since these clothes are being ordered for winter there was a large amount of fur and skins - a patchwork fur shawl of many colours, a cowhide jacket trimmed with white fur cuffs, opera coats paired with drapes of sable. And there were the many mid-calf lace and satin cocktail dresses - beloved of the pair - decorated with crystals and intricate embroidery and topped with feathered headdresses or tiaras.

At times the direct referencing of global styles had a touch of the Disney-world to it but the Asian models swathed in chinoiserie-print silk wielding parasols were also a demonstration of the pair's exuberant imagination. Should one ever consider the display closer to costume than fashion you had only to glance at the numbers of clients present throughout the weekend thoroughly delighted to join in Stefano and Domenico's love of the theatrical and buy the wardrobe - a fact verified by the amount of space in Milan now dedicated to the couture workshops.

Dinner followed under golden palm lights where Coco Brandolino, the house ambassador, was that night's Titania holding court among the glittering tables before trays of butterflies were released to flutter around as we dined.

The next night's Alta Sartoria was a less formal affair held on the terraced side of the hill where oleanders and plumbago, cyprus and bougainvillea had been planted only recently. A big band played schmaltzy Italian tunes as the audience, once more after a substantial hike, sat at small tables to watch the parade of models who weaved around the audience. The Alta Sartoria men had side-parted slicked-down hair and thick-rimmed spectacles. They favour kimono-style jackets with pyjama trousers as an alternative to wide-shoulder, double-breasted suiting with slim-cut pants. They are not afraid of colour - a fuchsia satin dressing gown coat or baby blue rhinestone suiting, for example. Their menswear is a combination of exquisite cut and camp experimentation such as the Scout look of alligator shorts and short-sleeved shirt and a selection of enveloping kaftans.

After the show, fuelled by Dom Pérignon and martinis, dancing broke out until dawn and the illuminated castello and the pair's specially installed illuminations of the town could be seen around the coast till daybreak. Twenty fours later, restored by swimming in the Med, guests were boated to Covo, the harbour-side nightclub haunt of Eighties grandees from Grace Jones to Gianni Agnelli. Kylie took to the stage to perform to a crowd in gold Dolce & Gabanna dresses, skirts, tunics, hot pants and evening gowns (and that was primarily the women) - a high-voltage end to a weekend few of the lucky guests will get out of our head.

Inside Yves Saint Laurent: Style Is Eternal

For the first retrospective of Yves Saint Laurent's work to be held in the UK, many would expect one of London's revered institutions to play host, however it is the lesser-known Bowes Museum in County Durham that has the honour of hosting Yves Saint Laurent: Style Is Eternal, which opened this weekend. Perhaps not so incongruous, the museum is in fact an 18th century French-style chateau - surely the perfect home for fashion's most Proustian of designers.

A walk of fame for Saint Laurent's greatest hits - from the wool crepe Mondrian dress, and Braque-inspired beaded jackets, to the Le Smoking tuxedo - the retrospective places Saint Laurent's work amongst the Bowes' own fashion collection dating back to Saint Laurent's beloved Second Empire. So, a searingly saucy black dress with a lace window in the back (autumn/winter 1970) appears next to pieces of 19th century Chantilly lace and a lace-trimmed gown belonging to the Empress Eugenie.

Contextualising the work of one of the 20th century's greatest fashion designers, the pleasure is seeing, in the flesh, pieces that have starred in fashion's most famous photographs, worn by the world's most beautiful women at the most fabulous parties. Who knew that the criss-cross laced Saharienne dress - worn so sensationally by Veruschka, rifle over shoulder - was designed to such devilish detail with metal points at the end of the laces engraved with tiny vine leaves? As sensational as the explosions of Zizi Jeanmaire-inspired marabou also on display in full force.

The telling of such a remarkable story was made possible through a collaboration with the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, which loaned precious items from its 5,000-piece collection in Paris. Saint Laurent's long-term partner in business and in life, Pierre Bergé, was at the museum for its opening, happy to reflect on the revolution started by Le Smoking and navigating life alongside such a creative wildfire as Saint Laurent.

"Today everyone is talking about gender. Yves decided to pass the power from the men's shoulders to the women's," he revealed. "We never interfered with each other, I never went to his studio. I decided to respect the creation before the business."

Looking back and forward at the fashion business, both during Saint Laurent's career and since, Bergé wryly added: "When we started, Yves and I, the word we never heard was marketing." For those wistful for a time when fashion was seriously, fabulously free, Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal is the perfect trip.

Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal is on at The Bowes Museum, County Durham from July 11 to October 25.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Nu Cosmetic Clinic - Silhouette Facelift

At Nu Cosmetic clinic, we offer a wide range of non surgical facelift solutions to reverse the signs of aging and help you look as young as you feel. If you would like to restore a more youthful appearance, but prefer to avoid extensive plastic surgery such as a traditional facelift, then aSilhouette Lift may be the right option for you.

What is a Silhouette Lift?

The Silhouette Lift is a non-surgical, minimally invasive facelift procedure that uses special suture threads to "lift up" sagging skin on the neck and face. The procedure is less time-consuming than a traditional facelift, and there is virtually no recovery or downtime. The end result is a more refreshed, relaxed, and youthful appearance.

Your Silhouette Lift is completed in 2 stages. During the first stage, a surgeon will insert the Silhouette Lift threads into the facial region you would like to rejuvenate. Over the next 3 months, these threads will integrate with your facial tissue. Once this integration is complete, you will return to the clinic to complete phase 2 of your procedure, where the surgeon will pull the threads tight to achieve your desired lifting effect.

The Silhouette Lift can be performed as a stand-alone procedure or in conjunction with a facial fat transfer procedure for enhanced results.

Am I a Silhouette Lift Candidate?

The best Silhouette Lift candidates are in good physical condition and have normal skin thickness. If you had a prior surgical facelift and are currently experiencing sagging skin, you may be an ideal candidate.

This procedure is also an excellent option for younger men and women who would like to delay the signs of aging or achieve subtle rejuvenation results in the brow, cheek, jowls, or neck.

Silhouette Lift Benefits

There are many benefits to choosing the Silhouette Lift to achieve your facial rejuvenation goals;

Achieves excellent results for men and women between the ages of 40 and 70
Facial volume is redistributed, restoring a youthful appearance
Corrects mid and lower face drooping
Smoothes prematurely aging skin
Minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment
No general anesthesia required
Short recovery and minimal downtime
Less swelling, bruising, and discomfort than a traditional facelift
Will stimulate collagen production for a lifted effect
Immediate results, with additional lifting effects achieved over time

To find out if a Silhouette Lift is the right option for you, please contact Nu Cosmetic clinic for a free consultation.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Versace Couture - Autumn/Winter 2015

Pity the poor orchids: all 25,000 of them locked under Perspex for the Versace couture catwalk that opened the Paris Haute Couture season this evening. Their vivid but sensual colour mirrored in the outline of a Medusa head at the entrance reflected the softer side of Donatella’s couture vision.

Welcome the Versace style maiden with her flared chiffon sleeves and fitted bodices. British Vogue´s August cover star Lara Stone opened the show in a sexy but beautiful and fluid hippy style that continued throughout. There were Seventies Stevie Nicks tattered hems but in hand-crafted lace and devoré velvet and there came garlands in the hair made of petals that looked like thorns. And all with towering patent platform heels beneath.

The show demonstrated the feminine that can be found in the colours of the house with lavenders and mints and peaches, only occasionally cut with the more familiar Versace black. And occasionally the maiden morphed into a rock chick in the shortest, tightest, body-hugging lace. But more often Versace's famous corseting was to be found softened by the transparency and lightness that floated above or by pretty satin bands that outlined the corset's shape. 

Make-up followed suit with peach gloss on the lips and a forest green that shimmered on the eyes glittering beneath the soft loose waves of hair. But nothing was poker straight on this catwalk. Even Donatella took her bow with a new long bob.

Chanel Couture - Autumn/Winter 2015

There were two shows going on at Chanel couture offering. The first was a demonstration of fine jewellery of the kind only Karl Lagerfeld could pull off. The second was his couture collection.

In the centre of the room was placed the Chanel Casino where a very select group of gamblers made their bets on the roulette wheel and Blackjack. Lara Stone and Julianne Moore, Lil-Rose Depp and her mother Vanessa Paradis, Kristen Stewart and Geraldine Chaplin (a doppelganger for Chanel herself) sat in outfits specifically designed for their personalities and to show off the amazing Chanel diamonds as they played the tables. Around them patrolled an army of geometric slanting bob-haired models, their kabuki-style make-up and wigs making them an identikit crowd in contrast to the individual style of the gamblers.

This season’s couture offering majored in tailoring with the star pieces being 3D versions of the famous Chanel jacket and skirt. Light as balloons and standing away from the body, they looked as if they were created from the fabric of the future.

Back to the present and Lagerfeld followed with a collection of jackets and coats made from light wools with dramatic broad shoulders exaggerated by epaulettes, while collars were high and often doubled, standing away from the neck, their sleeves wide and cropped at the elbow.

Eveningwear was as one would expect: a delicious confection of sharp lines mixed with layered tulle and feathers. Hems slanted like the girls’ wigs, from back to front in an unusual take on asymmetry. And when the bride in the shape of Kendall Jenner arrived, she was wearing a double-breasted white satin trouser suit with a trailing tulle hem.

Giorgio Armani Prive Couture - Autumn/Winter 2015

Tailoring is very much at the backbone of what Giorgio Armani does; you’ll always find structure in his designs, those long lengths and trousersuits, it’s always glossy and rich-looking. Today was no different.

A signature Armani offering, his first outfit was very much indicative of where the silhouette continued to go later on, building as it did with shaggy shots of pink, purple and sometimes blue for a texture-heavy collection of feathers and rope fringing woven in together so that the models looked in some way like sophisticated birds of paradise. They wore coats and jackets comprised from these flusters, bodices of strapless evening gowns boasting them too.

It was all very grown-up as we expect and the real take-away was that clever and controlled play on colour. For even when it was black, it was tie-dye, washing from one colour to another for a painterly palette and an accomplished Armani collection.

Maison Margiela Couture - Autumn/Winter 2015

John Galliano joined the central Paris calendar for his couture collection this morning, having last season made his debut in London away from the spotlight and at the tail end of the menswear shows. Today was his second couture collection and third in total for the house of  Maison Margiela where he was appointed creative director in October last year.

He took the same tack as before with a simple and pared-back space in the Grand Palais and a single line of chairs so that fashion democracy was at its best: everyone had a front row seat. And all focus could once again be on the clothes.

Today they took off from where they left off in January, those initial ideas, such as the striking red coat, recurring once more and that play on deconstruction and reconstruction, so that a sparkling ball gown had seemingly been “thrown” onto the back of a jacket; a dress morphed into a jacket that hung off its back.

It was an exploration into blending textures and transformative ideas (always a Margiela hallmark): there was cellophane and fringing, classic embroidery and one girl, who appeared encased in a beautiful green Lurex coat, looked as though she had been wrapped up in wrapping paper. It was rather spectacular, which is a trait we want to see in couture and a strength Galliano plays so well to, here incredible shapes of his incarnated in that Margiela back-to-front manner.

Yet in some ways, this was less decadent and flamboyant than the first collection, perhaps rightly so for that was a grand return and this was a continuation of. Galliano’s girl is always a little dishevelled, in that state of undress and getting dressed, sensuous. And just as much as it was very intricate at times for crochet patchwork or the matching polka dots on the face to those on the dress beneath, it was at times very simple too.

The last look, the bride moment, saw a dramatic caped gown made from anything but the tulle and taffeta you’d so typically expect. But that’s the point, Galliano was a designer who bravely pushed the boundaries about what we thought of fashion, of couture.

Jean Paul Gaultier Couture - Autumn/Winter 2015

Jean Paul Gaultier bowed out of the ready-to-wear domain in 2014 to focus on couture, his efforts today an homage to the Breton he has so made his own during his fashion career. It was an ode to his sartorial signature: its stripes morphing from the traditional sailor style top to jumpsuits and tights, to inflated circular skirts and as trimmings and accents here and there. It was the most Gaultier of Gaultier statements; something which the couture world enables a designer to do and which he was clearly embracing.

When it wasn’t a jaunty high-sea affair, it was as though he had sent his models off to the bazaars of Istanbul for patchwork rug dresses, jackets, skirts and trousers with thickly embroidered yellow yokes on velvet jackets.

Gaultier captivated his fans at the Vogue Festival back in April with his wit and charm, something which always manages to filter through his fashion, even if some of the pieces might be a little more complicated to win some people over with.

Fendi Couture - Autumn/Winter 2015

There was a new addition to the couture schedule this season: Karl Lagerfeld’s Fendi.

The designer decided back in February that he would present a dedicated fur collection during July’s week of high fashion, noting the reason for doing so because there was not space for it among the ready-to-wear line, which he said had been doing especially well.

And so came haute fourrure, a first for the house, which translated into a substantial 37-piece collection of fur coats, capes and scarves or feathery dresses and shrugs with corsages perched throughout at their collars.

“I don’t know if we will do it every season. You know, it’s not on my contract, so I don’t know. I’m too busy perhaps to do it all the time,” Lagerfeld told WWD.

There’s no denying he is busy right now. Not only was there this new offering from Fendi but also his Chanel couture collection on Tuesday (a casino-themed extravaganza), plus the launch of a new book to celebrate his incredible 50 years as creative director at the Roman house (he’s also been at Chanel for over 30).

Entitled Fendi by Karl Lagerfeld, the book is a compilation of interviews and drawings, his signature sketches in black pen outlined in crayon strokes among the highlights.

Christian Dior Couture - Autumn/Winter 2015

Dior´s Perspex palace this afternoon was tropical like a greenhouse: panels of paired plastic hung above a catwalk of purple AstroTurf, a modern counterpoint to a very historically referenced show.

Inspired by the Flemish masters, the models conveyed a purity in their styling with loose hair and nude faces. This matched the flowing white gowns, reversible capes, opulent fur stoles and long and narrow coats that were often worn over wide-legged corduroy flares. 

Raf Simons  revisited many of his ideas, such as the floating tulip skirts, showing that although he is a master of new fabrics and is attracted by youth culture his Dior aesthetic is hugely influenced by the historical.

Tight-waisted coats flared into wide New Look skirts; evening gowns were worn almost as tabards but open at the side, modesty preserved by gold links; the prints were soft like the work of Impressionist painters; and often a jacquard knit tank top was added to give a clever unexpected twist, at other times a soft cage of a jewelled gilet. It was a show of delicate beauty.

Valentino Couture - Autumn/Winter 2015

It won’t come as a huge surprise that the starting point for Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s couture collection was their beloved Rome. They mine the treasures of this city regularly, even the “rockstud” those little metal pyramids stamped to Valentino’s best-selling bags and shoes can be found here, nailed to almost every grand doorway one passes on Via Veneto and beyond. And those other Valentino  motifs spotted in intricate embroideries of seasons past: the monkeys, snakes and birds are all borrowed from sculptures, frescos, and murals within the Eternal City. And so, when it came to finding the location for tonight’s show, where else but where they call home?

The duo erected a vast sleek runway, designed by artist Pietro Ruffo, at the entrance of their historic atelier, one that stretches out over the entire parameters of the busy Piazza Mignanelli, just along from the Spanish Steps. No mean feat getting that signed off. “Yes, I want to be honest,” began Maria Grazia. “It was hard it took months to get permission.” Building the structure was the next task; work began a week ago but still this morning, in the stifling 34 degree heat, armies of Italian workmen were hard at work constructing the wooden set together, sanding, hammering, in between wiping the sweat from their soaked foreheads (Pierpaolo and Maria Grazia are no doubt used to construction Valentino’s headquarters are in the midst of refurbishment, too, where suspended ceilings have just been pulled down to reveal impressive frescos).

“It's actually the first time that we have shown a collection in the square,” continued Maria Grazia. “A show isn’t only about the dress, it’s also about the atmosphere, the music it’s entertainment, just like theatre, and this is our own open air theatre. It’s a moment to share the effortless beauty of this city, and we wanted to really open our door and invite everyone in to feel the experience and the lifestyle of Rome. We hope that's what people will take away with them.” In addition, of course, to some memories of some very special clothes none of which are ever likely to appear in any of our wardrobes any time soon. Even if you are a couture customer, it’s unlikely that you will be lucky enough to order any of these heart-stopping creations. Appointments are already full and the house is at capacity, which of course, to any Oligarch makes it all the more desirable.

Every one of the 59 looks presented this evening was imbued with a Roman essence, from the sliced gladiatorial skirts to the black Pagan gowns, Imperial capes and togas, to the wispy lace gowns with divine strapping and lacing decorating bare backs. “The collection feels very Roman but we wanted to translate those ideas in a modern way,” said Pierpaolo, gesturing to a traditional toga dress reimagined in plush velvet. The collection was mostly in black, bar a series of red looks, opulent gold, and some rich patchworks. “The patchwork pieces are actually inspired by the floors of antique Rome,” explained Pierpaolo. “Rome used to be very colourful in the past.” He continued: “We wanted to make the idea of haute couture modern, and for it to not belong to the past. We live in a city where beauty is so present, and it seeps in everywhere, even through to the seamstress, who sews with a different attitude. This beauty and this grace, it all translates to the clothes.”

Whatever the formula, it was breathtaking. This will be the show that most will remember when the couture collections draw to a close.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Who Is Jacqueline De Ribes

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced that its autumn exhibition will focus on the stylish life of Jacqueline de Ribes.

The thematic exhibition will feature approximately 60 haute couture, ready to wear, and her famous fancy dress creations, taken from De Ribes's personal archive and dating back to the late Fifties. Pieces by De Ribes herself (designer was just one of her many roles) will be joined by designs by Giorgio Armani, Pierre Balmain, Bill Blass, Marc Bohan for Dior, Roberto Cavalli, John Galliano, Madame Gres, Valetino, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Guy Laroche, Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent, and Emanuel Ungaro.

The exhibition will run from November 19th to February 21st at the Met's Anna Wintour Costume Centre in New York. 

Karl Lagerfeld: 50 Years At Fendi

It's a big year for Karl Lagerfeld and Fendi. Celebrating 50 years as creative director at the Italian label, his tenure is the longest collaboration ever between a designer and a luxury fashion house and to commemorate the occasion, one of the most beautiful fashion tomes in history has been created.

Entitled Fendi by Karl Lagerfeld, it is less a book and more a tangible project; a compilation of interviews, drawings, and recorded conversations with Lagerfeld spanning the last five decades. The legendary German designer talks about his earliest memories of working with Fendi, his favourite Fendi anecdotes and his first visit to the atelier in Rome. Most special of all though, are his signature collection sketches, black pen and outlined in a rainbow of crayon hues of course, which really capture the essence and the progression of the man who adopted the Roman label as his own in 1965.

As Lagerfeld leads Fendi into a new dawn of "Haute Fourrure" today at Couture Fashion Week in Paris, what better time than now to look over his ideas for the house, in this exclusive excerpt of images from the book.

Fendi by Karl Lagerfeld, published by Steidl, is available to purchase on 28 September for £100.

John Lewis Announces Latest Collaboration

Following  the success of its collaboration with Alice Temperley in 2012, John Lewis has unveiled that its latest designer partnership is with couturier Bruce Oldfield. The celebrated British couturier has created an exclusive 60-piece ready-to-wear collection called Bruce by Bruce Oldfield.

For Oldfield, it is the first time that he has taken his designs away from his atelier and worked with a high-street brand, enabling him to make his signature structured, elongated aesthetic more accessible to his legion of fans.

"I have spent the past 40 years building my own couture line and I am thrilled to announce my first high-street collaboration with John Lewis," said the designer. "Bruce by Bruce Oldfield draws on my classic silhouettes with key pieces for any modern woman's wardrobe; classic outerwear, juxtaposed tailoring, and sumptuous eveningwear. The collection plays on a monochromatic palette, full of structure and texture and that is softened with a touch of cashmere."

For Jo Bennet, head of womenswear buying at John Lewis, Oldfield's collection will present the department store's customer with something they are not expecting.

"We always take great care ensuring we introduce partnerships at John Lewis that have our customers in mind," she told us. "It felt like a natural partnership for us as we discovered we had a lot of brand synergies; attention to detail, importance of quality and a shared belief that style is ageless. We believe the Bruce by Bruce Oldfield collection is the perfect addition to our unique and distinct offer."

But, while John Lewis is no doubt hoping to mirror the success it enjoyed with Temperley - her Somerset by Alice Temperley collection became the fastest selling collection in the brand's history - they are two very different offerings according to Bennet.

"The two collaborations are very different in aesthetic and influence. Bruce's design handwriting is structured and couture inspired while Somerset is a bohemian signature style peppered with a carefree spirit," she explained.

There is also a charitable element this time around: for every Little Bruce Dress (a black, pannelled shift) that is sold, £20 will be donated to Barnardo's, of which Oldfield is vice president.

Bruce by Bruce Oldfield will be available at John Lewis from September 4, and online at

Could Alexander Wang Be Leaving Balenciaga?

Alexander Wang could be leaving Balenciaga after just two and a half years at the helm reports suggest. The New York designer is still under contract and working on the forthcoming spring/summer 2016 collection set to be shown this October in Paris, but it seems that beyond that point his future is less certain.

A spokesperson for Kering, the conglomerate that operates Balenciaga, and Wang told WWD this morning that "there are discussions between the designer and Balenciaga regarding the renewal of the contract," but was unable to confirm the "likelihood of an agreement" being reached.

Unlike some companies plagued by rumours of a designer switch, Balenciaga is in no way floundering. The house has grown from just three stores to 90 over the past seven years, and CEO Isabelle Guichot celebrated accelerated double-digit growth in "almost all categories" last year.

One potential area for discord is Wang's focus on his eponymous label, which is currently rumoured to be searching for a buyer. Based in New York, the label requires Wang's creative attention as it grows but - as the only Kering designer splitting his time between a major label and a job at a historic house - the young creative could find the task challenging.

Perhaps bringing Wang's own label within the Kering fold would simplify things, but with Christopher Kane and Joseph Altuzarra recently added to the roster, the French conglomerate may already have its hands full.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Nu Cosmetic Clinic - Treatment Feature: Laser Hair Removal

One of the most popular treatments at Nu Cosmetic clinic is laser hair removal. June Clements is a laser hair removal specialist at Nu Cosmetic clinic Liverpool. She said ´ Our clinic has a class 4 medical laser. It is the gold standard of equipment and the best machine on the market. It was a huge investment for the group. People are impressed by it. They come here for hair removal and it works.´

A typical example of an underarm treatment shows us the essence of the procedure. In general, 6 to 8 applications are required for a minimum of 60% hair removal (maximum achievable 90%). Several yearly top up treatments are also recommended.

The sensation of laser treatment is that of a ´pin prick´. A laser light of 1.5Hz is passed over the skin and hair area, which causes the hair to swell in the follicle. Around two weeks after the treatment, the hair shrivels up into the skin, then falls out.

Due to the sensitivity of the skin and the power of the laser, aftercare is quite important. June recommends ´ Not to expose the treated areas to the sun, either by bathing or by sun beds and to avoid plucking, waxing, shaving and hair removal creams. Any initial and post treatment redness or swelling can be removed by Aloe Vera gel, until a reduction is visible.

Nu Cosmetic clinic currently have special price promotions available. Why not make a free, no obligation consultation with a clinic in your area and take that step to discovering a Nu You by calling 0800 030 2930 or visiting

Nu Cosmetic Clinic - The Complete Story

Nu Cosmetic clinics have been established decades. They are in 12 main cities throughout the UK, offering surgical and non surgical procedures.

The goal of Nu Cosmetic is to ´Achieve a natural look - and to avoid an overly enhanced surgical appearance´.

Their team of specialists work within state of the art facilities and hospitals. Some of the current surgical procedures offered are; breast implants, rhinoplasty, face lift, eye lid and eye bag surgery, vaser liposuction, hair transplants and fat tissue removal.

They also provide a whole range of non surgical procedures for the face and body such as; wrinkle smoothing, thread vein removal, skin rejuvenation, tattoo removal and many more.

Every potential client that comes to Nu Cosmetic clinic is given a free and discreet meeting with a patient coordinator, who discuss all of their needs. Their ethos is quite simply ´ To give the correct information and education so as to allow the patient to make the best decision´.

Communication is the hallmark of Nu Cosmetic clinics; all procedures come with a full pre operative medical screening alongside a ´on the day´ pre operative meeting with the surgeon and anaesthetist.

Nu Cosmetic pride themselves on providing an exceptional level of care by providing a lifetime aftercare plan ´Our commitment to you, extends beyond you´ as their clinics are accredited by Quality Care Commission, General Medical Council and Information Commissioners Office within the UK.

A comprehensive team of fully qualified surgeons mean ´Looking good has never been so easy. With Nu Cosmetic - The World Awaits A Nu You´. You can call free on 0800 030 2930 or visit for a free consultation in your area. 

Nu Cosmetic Clinic - Treatment Feature: Microdermabrasion Treatment

A treatment which is becoming increasingly popular for a ´quick skin fix´ is microdermabrasion. June Clements at Nu Cosmetic clinic Liverpool talks us through a typical treatment with Pankaj. ´Microdermabrasion gently sandblasts the skin and is ideal for Pankaj as he has some excess oil´.

The Microdermabrasion machine is the latest in technology from USA and comes with a full FDA accreditation. Essentially, fine jets of crystals are directed at the skin, and then a vacuum sucks them back up.

Microdermabrasion is used to treat many skin problems. From dull, grey complexions to skin with excessive oil and minor acne scarring, this super exfoliate can control and reverse the condition of skin over time.

During the procedure, it is normal to experience a slight tingling (no pain) as the treatment stimulates the collagen and the elastin produced. It is recommended to have a course of treatments at 1 per week for 6 weeks, then one per month after this,

Aftercare is simple with guidelines not to shave for 24 hours and to avoid swimming pool, sauna and acid based skin creams for 3-5 days.  As with any type of skin and treatment, it is recommended to use the correct moisturiser and sun blocking agents.

Nu Cosmetic clinics offer Microdermabrasion alongside a whole host of other non surgical procedures.

Nu Cosmetic Clinic - The Dangers Of Unregulated Cosmetic Procedures

There are more calls to have the currently unregulated practice of dermal filler injections regulated. Melissa Hushon from Merseyside recently underwent the treatment at her local hair salon, with disastrous results saying that ´After the treatment, my face looked partially disfigured. When I went back the salon wanted nothing to do with me´.

As with any medical procedure, Doctor led clinics are the best option. As Botox paralyses the muscles, fillers tend to plump them out, so the mechanics of both treatments are very different. Legally, anyone can offer dermal filler treatments and over 5500 hair and beauty salons now offer filler injections.

Nu Cosmetic clinic´s Dr Udit Gupta said ´These salons do not have the knowledge for the safe practice of this treatment. It can therefore be detrimental for the patient’s experience´´. Currently, the hair and beauty industry are lobbying hard against this new legislation, which looks as though it could be implemented for the safety of the public.

As with any cosmetic procedure, communication, training, experience and safety are of the utmost importance. Choosing a reputable cosmetic clinic with these ethics will ensure that you will receive the best possible experience,

Nu Cosmetic clinic offer the full range of Botox and filler treatments by fully trained and accredited medical staff. There are currently promotions and free consultations available, so there has never been a better time to make an appointment and reveal the Nu You.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Nu Cosmetic Clinic - Surgery Predictions: The 8 Most Popular Procedures For 2015

This summer, in an attempt to be ´beach ready´, many of us will have made an attempt to turn over a new leaf. It seems that certain old habits die much harder than others especially when it comes to beauty routines.

According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, cosmetic and non-surgical cosmetic procedures will still be very much on trend in the UK in 2015 and many years to come.

"Cosmetic surgery is now more popular than ever. There are different options available for every person. It is important for people to have confidence and feel good about their bodies" said a spokesperson for the institution.

Whilst surgical procedures are still very popular, it’s the non surgical procedures that are proving to be a key theme and this trend is set to continue into 2015 and beyond. Here are some of the most viable options available on the market today;


Breast Surgery

The most commonly requested and peformed surgical procedure, thanks to years of exposure from our American cousins. The unfading desire of societies trends to have them bigger, smaller or more pert ensures that this is still going to be one of the most popular cosmetic procedures trending in the UK for years to come.

Chin Implants

In an attempt to capture celebrity glamour, more people are undergoing chin implants. This procedure which was once famously undertaken by Marilyn Monroe, can add definition and balance facial features. When successfuly performed, it can produce immediate and significant changes in the profile of patients with a weak or receding chin.

Tummy Tucks

This is ideal for anyone who has excess skin (after losing weight or having a baby). A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is fast becoming the solution for many eligible candidates. People with visibly hanging or stretched skin can now have it removed in order to improve the appearance and tighten up the muscle area.

Brachioplasty or ‘Bingo Wing’ Surgery

Brachioplasty is the removal of excess, aging skin from the upper arms, often referred to as ‘bingo wings’ and gives tighter, more toned and youthful appearance to the arms. It is an ever increasingly popular treatment among older ladies who feel self conscious about their ‘flappy’ loose upper arms or for those who have lost significant amounts of weight and want to tighten up the visible skin.


The hunt for a ‘designer vagina’ has intensified, with labiaplasty and vaginoplasty amongst some of the UK’s fastest growing cosmetic surgery procedures.

The aim of Labiaplasty is  to reduce the size of, or reshape, the labia minora, either for medical or aesthetic reasons. Vaginoplasty aims to ‘tighten’ the vagina,  and it is a procedure that is particularly popular among women who have given birth.


2014 saw a spectrum of celebrities in the media having undergone non-surgical treatments from Kim Kardashian to Cristiano Ronaldo. It is though that non-surgical procedures now account for 70% of the cosmetic industry. These procedures below made up this enviable statistic;

The Non Surgical Face Lift

Anti ageing treatments such as dermal fillers, Botox and chemical facial peels are fast becoming a high street name. When combined, they provide the ideal ‘face lift’ that is seen to be taking over the traditional surgical face lift. They restore the contour of the face without the need for any surgery.

A combination of wrinkle and line smoothing treatments along side dermal fillers result in a more youthful, and line free look that re energises the skin, minimises smokers lines and gives a fresh look that is proving ideal for today’s quest for eternal youth.  An growing number of people want to stop the signs of ageing without surgery and with such admirable results and minimal recovery time after these procedures, non surgical facelifts are going to be here for many years to come.


This is the  next generation in body fat treatment, Lipotripsy is a non invasive, pain fee treatment that works by stimulating the bodies fat breakdown, collagen synthesis and lymphatic drainage.

Lipotripsy treats the arms, saddlebags, thighs, hips, love handles and abdomen having an ultimately slimming effect on the body. It is a clinically proven method to reduce cellulite and an increase in oxygen levels result in an improvement in skin elasticity as the skin’s smoothness is dramatically enhanced.

Laser Hair Removal

A treatment that is used for the removal of excess or unwanted hair. Laser hair removal works by destroying the base of the hair follicle that is the source of new hair growth. It can be used on a variety of skin types, with minimum fuss and maintenance after. It is becoming the number one choice for those on the go wanting smooth, hair-free body zones by both men and women.