Sunday, November 22, 2015

Kay Cohen´s Silent Assembly

In the past, the lingerie market has historically been a resilient sector for brands and retailers alike. This is no longer the case as today an impressive array of silks, satins and sheers have taken over the old reliable white cotton options and replaced them with high octane glamour, romance and fantasy. Adorned by supermodels and worn by royalty, today’s underwear is just as important in making a statement as the over wear which conceals it.

One leading brand in this flourishing industry is Silent Assembly, who have grown in size and status since their initiation over a decade ago. Designed in Paris and Sydney, this luxury intimates collection is the brainchild of entrepreneur businesswoman Kay Cohen. The brand is the realisation of the designers desire to blend haute couture style with an outstanding, sculptured fit. An excellent marriage of the finest European inspired design elements and Curvessence technology seeks to re-write the rules of under wire bra fitting technology in today´s competitive market.

The July of 2013 saw the official launch of Silent Assembly Haute Couture lingerie in Paris. This artisanal apparel also introduced its world market to the concept of Curvessence 3D Bra technology, which replaces the traditional and irritating 2D metal underwires. (Traditional 2D metal underwires are forced an average 7.5cms around the wearer’s bust, often resulting in discomfort). However, with this Curvessence revolutionary patented 3D Bra, the natural curves of a woman´s torso are emulated. Through the use of new cutting edge materials, this innovation delivers all day comfort and a perfect fit without pain, discomfort or irritation.

¨We are replacing the traditional underwires with a structure that is as strong as metal but way more comfortable.” explained Kay. Inspired by the body scanning technology engaged in movies, this new technology relies on nylon polymers which have a “memory” for the exact shape of a wearer’s torso. Even if shaped by the wearer’s movement, the polymers revert to their “remembered” shape, making them ideal for exercise or busy days.

¨My style reflects lightness, sensitivity and tranquillity. At Silent Assembly our philosophy is simple: True beauty is a harmony of style and function. Silent Assembly is also state-of-the-art in technical features, where only the finest quality textiles and laces have been considered, with the newest development in Bra cup technology: Curvessence, a world first, which is also making a debut in the Silent Assembly brand¨ stated Kay, who has championed innovative design practice for the past 20 years of her career.

A dedication to the fusion of fashion and function, Cohen believes that a ¨good bra design demands that both these elements be addressed with equal passion, and this is the only way to deliver leading and innovative new products.¨ Followers and indeed colleagues of Kay´s covetable ranges love the artisanal design and creative merchandising which have made her extraordinarily technical skills and inventive pioneering spirit revered within the industry.

The growth of her experience and brand development has also been somewhat of an uplifting experience for her. Graduating from fashion design in Massey University in New Zealand then an MBA at Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh, she went onto hone her craft with companies such as Triumph, Bendon and Elle MacPherson intimates before setting up her brand in 2004.Since then, whispers of her hand graded fabrics and exquisite detailing saw her brand turning over 30 million dollars in 2007. Silent Assembly has since been featured in Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty´s in London. The celebrity following is no less impressive with Miranda Kerr and Adriana Lima fronting their campaigns and Rihanna and Jessica Simpson posing in their regalia both on and off the camera in several of their higher end assemblages.

Silent Assembly forecasts wholesale trading of more than 2 million Euros for the collections this year, which have already been very well received by retailers in U.S, Europe, Asia, Russia and the Middle East as well as Cohen’s native Australia. Luxury and creativity come at a cost through, with some sets starting around 250 Euros (Recommended Retail Price).

Within a short space of time imitators were on Silent Assembly´s tracks, offering quality and design at a less than haute couture standard. However, with plans to introduce a more accessible line and continuing market saturation, it’s going to be difficult to keep abreast of its competition.

Inside Kate Moss's Portfolio

Kate Moss  is being celebrated this month, as images of the supermodel - compiled by Moss herself for a separate exhibition in New York in 2011 - go on display at Mayfair's Osborne Samuel gallery. Now re-displayed as part of Osborne Samuel and Beetles + Huxley collaborative exhibition, this major photographic retrospective (featuring works from 1910 to present day) will see the famous portraits of Moss sit alongside shots by the likes of photo-journalists Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa. See a preview of the Kate Moss portfolio below. 

The showcase will run from November 25th to December 23rd at Osborne Samuel (23a Bruton Street, W1) and Beetles + Huxley (3-5 Swallow Street, W1).

Meet Vuitton´s Golden Girl

Louis Vuitton´s visual image director, Faye McLeod, may not be as famous as creative director and poster boy Nicolas Ghesquière, but it was her - and her team - who was being celebrated in London last night at the launch of Louis Vuitton Windows. As the name suggests, the weighty 168-page rubber hardback is a photographic compendium charting the French fashion house's window displays created all over the world under McLeod's six-year tenure, and needless to say she is thrilled.

"At Vuitton we're always so focused on our future that I don't really look at our past work," she told us at the launch, hosted by Prosper Assouline who published the book. "We're like, 'Okay, next project!' It was fun to sit down with Prospero as he was editing all of our work. I'm so critical - I was like, 'I don't think this one is very good,' and he was like, 'Are you joking? This one is amazing!'"

McLeod's enthusiasm for translating the brand's stimulus at any given time into something that is going to make people stop and stare in the street stems from her passion for making fashion democratic and giving everybody a taste of the magic that happens at Fashion Week.

"For me, you go to the shows and there's such an amazing creative spirit but it's for an elite amount of people. Our windows are for everybody," she smiled. "I think if you're going to do amazing shows like that you should be bringing it to the people and building a language of it, which is what we try to do. I don't ever want to do it first degree - I'll never just take a show, I'll always try to work out a way of making it right for the space."

Highlights include working with Yayoi Kusama, who allowed McLeod's team to put her face in silicone with straws up her nose and cast her hands in pots of gel to make a life-size model of the artist (currently on display at Assouline's Piccadilly flagship), the fruits of which are documented in the book. Prior to Louis Vuitton, McLeod cut her teeth working in window design for Selfridges, Liberty and Topshop before heading to New York where she learnt "how to quantify business with creative". Now, alongside senior designer Ansel Thompson, she has made the Louis Vuitton window displays among the most talked-about in the world - which is what brought Assouline knocking at her door.

"I kept noticing, for the last few years, this huge Vuitton store on 57th street in New York and I saw these windows changing every two to three weeks. I thought it was just unbelievable, I was really impressed," Assouline told us. "I was really intrigued and wanted to know who was this person who created it. I met with Faye, and I was in love with this girl. She was so nice. When I went to her office it was so organised, full of ideas, she was inspiring - and her favourite book is the book that I made on the windows of Bergdorf Goodman!"

McLeod admits that she "never, never, never" thought she would have an Assouline book dedicated to her work - the success of which she credits to maintaining the perfect balance of consistency, innovation and adaptation.

"Since 2009, my job hasn't really changed," she told us of her time at the house, which has spanned the creative directorships of Ghesquiere and his predecessor Marc Jacobs. "My job is to take the artistic director's vision with the CEO's strategy and to make stories out of it. I'm there to translate what that is. Vuitton changes so much, but it always maintains its code. If you look at the book it's six years of work and you can see all the stories we've told, but there is a constant thread."

The process of publishing the book also presented McLeod with the opportunity to spread the word about her side of the fashion world - the behind-the-scenes jobs that many don't realise are viable career options. "For me it's really important that people know these jobs exist - it's not always just about a stylist or a designer. I want to inspire people to want my job!"

Safe to say her mission will be accomplished as Louis Vuitton Windows flies off the shelves.

Balenciaga Gains Protection For Its Bow Bracelet

Balenciaga has obtained a design patent for one of its bracelets, which was first released under former creative director Alexander Wang. The silver piece will now be protected against copying by the order, and any brand seen to be imitating the style will be liable to legal repercussions by the French house.

The bangle's bow motif - which was echoed on belts and shoe trims, and diversified on bracelets which took on a more knotted or barbed-wire shape as well - debuted in February 2013 during Wang's first collection for the house, although the piece was actually created by former Balenciaga jewellery designer Charlotte Chesnais, of whom W Magazine said: "She left Balenciaga just afterNicolas Ghesquière did - but not before debuting the bow bracelets that have since become an Alexander Wang signature."

"The patent for the bracelet was issued to Balenciaga on November 10," The Fashion Law reports. "That's just over six months from the date it was filed, which as you may know, is pretty quick for design patents, which are known for their costly and time-consuming nature - and thus, their relative rarity in the fashion industry."

Meet The Vegan Fashion Award Winners

The third PETA Vegan Fashion Awards have celebrated "the very best animal-free clothing and accessories" and some of the winners include a group of fashion's brightest stars.

The Most Stylish Handbag award went to Vivienne Westwood for her Jungle crocodile bag; the Most Stylish Evening Bag award was given to Simone Rocha; while Stella McCartney and Shrimps picked up accolades for Most Stylish Purse and Most Stylish Coat respectively.

Other well-known names to win were Zara, for its suedette jacket (Most Stylish Jacket); ASOS, for its padded hooded gilet (Most Stylish Down-Free Item), and H&M for its checked poncho (Most Stylish Poncho).

Kate Moss’s Instagram Rules

Kate Moss may not indulge in social media in the same way as most of her contemporaries - choosing to have only a private Instagram account that she uses for "spying" on her friends, rather than a public one - but that doesn't mean she doesn't have strong ideas about what she likes and doesn't like on the platform.

"I don't care about people who post what they're eating or the weather," Moss told Hello Fashion, The Cut reports, admitting that she joined reluctantly to keep up to date. "Otherwise I wouldn't know what anyone was talking about."

She's familiar with Snapchat thanks to her 12-year-old daughter, Lila Grace - "there are all these new filters with the tongue and everything"- but admitted, despite her vast experience in front of the camera: "I don't know how to take a good selfie."

Star Wars: The Fashion Force Is Strong

The release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens this Christmas has inspired 10 British designers to embark on a special project in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.

JW Anderson, Peter Pilotto, Agi & Sam, Bobby Abley, Christopher Raeburn, Claire Barrow, Nasir Mazhar, Phoebe English, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and Thomas Tait have each created a unisex sweatshirt and T-shirt inspired by "the motifs and mood" of the cinematic extravaganza which will be sold exclusively at Selfridges from this Thursday (November 19th).

"I was inspired for this capsule by taking things that were iconic and current to us," said Anderson of his creations. "I think that's what I find so interesting about Star Wars is that it's incredibly current even if it's in a different world, you have this fantasy steeped in a harsh reality."

For the Peter Pilotto designers, Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos, working on the project was a poignant one as they were big fans growing up. "We often cite the film's costumes and visuals as inspiration for our collections - we love to include that type of surreal reference point," said Pilotto. Preen by Thornton Bregazzi co-designer Justin Thornton also looked to his own childhood for inspiration.

"I love everything relating to the original Star Wars," he enthused. "So much so that it influences everything we design, but it wasn't until our autumn/winter 2014 collection that it was so evident, with Darth Vader's mask seen as large graphic prints throughout. When we were approached to collaborate with Star Wars again for the new film, we were inspired by the light and the dark within the force. Our graphic prints are inspired directly from the vision of light sabres and we incorporated a Jedi feel in the silhouette, with bold kimono-style sleeves and a multi-layer wrapped neckline."

In addition to the ready-to-wear, the designers have also created catwalk looks that will be auctioned in aid of the children's hospital, following a special Star Wars: Fashion Finds The Force presentation on 26th November at the Old Selfridges Hotel.

Why Grace Hates Instagram

Despite building a highly successful career in creating pictures, Grace Coddington has revealed that she hates another popular visual medium: Instagram. The AmericanVogue fashion director gave in and joined Instagram just over a year ago, despite her initial reservations, but admits she loathes the impact that it has on everyday life.

"I hate Instagram, actually," she told American Vogue. "I think it really interferes with people's lives and things and it's pathetic how everyone's photographing everything they're eating all the time. Everybody uses it instead of reading the newspapers these days. People want you to know that they're holidaying in Greece. I mean, really. The first one I posted, my whole account got taken down because I was naked, which was ironic: It's a goddamn cartoon!"

Coddington - who is currently promoting the reissue of her photography tome, Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue - also spoke candidly about one of the most-talked-about shoots that she has helmed in recent years, with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian for the cover.

"Everybody thought that I was forced into doing it because they thought it was not very me, but actually, I'm the one that suggested it. Everybody was beating around the bush, and I said, 'Let's just do it. Let's embrace it.' That's who everybody wants to know about, so let's try to do it better than most people," she explained. "That's why I thought, have someone like Annie Leibovitz shoot it. It will give it a stature and a weight so that it won't appear like another tabloid piece."

Carven´s New Collaboration

Carven has collaborated with La Redoute on a capsule collection that will launch in January 2016, we can exclusively reveal. The collection, which will be designed by creative design duo Adrien Caillaudaud and Alexis Martial, has taken inspiration from the air-hostess uniforms that were created by the house's founder, Madame Carven, in the Sixties and Seventies.

"I already follow the work of Alexis and Adrien and love the uniqueness of Carven," said Sylvette Lepers, head of style at La Redoute. "I was sensitive to their message on the concept of accessibility and fresh approaches to the French woman's style."

The collection's colour palette will predominantly focus on navy, black, cream and khaki, with hints of pastels and highlights of red, according to La Redoute, and will feature Carven's signature nipped-in waists and precision-cut tailoring that "expresses both freedom and elegance".

Carven follows in the footsteps of Yves Saint Laurent, Azzaro, Anthony Vaccarello, Robert Clergerie, Delphine Collin, Vanessa Bruno, Courreges and Jacquemus - among others - to work with the French retailer. 

Alessandro To Be Honoured At BFA´s

With exactly one week to go until the 2015 British Fashion Awards, another important recipient has been announced: Gucci's Alessandro Michele. The creative director will be given the International Designer Award at the annual ceremony which will take place next Monday, in recognition of his "remarkable achievements in his role," the British Fashion Council said this morning.

"Alessandro Michele is a phenomenon at Gucci. His exciting eclectic aesthetic has made an overnight impact on global fashion trends," said Natalie Massenet. "It is not just that he has made the brand covetable and the product so desirable. He has also reinvigorated the retail experience bringing back playfulness and magic to the flagship store. This is a man who has his customer in his heart and celebrates them."

Since taking the helm in January, Michele has transformed not only the aesthetic of the brand but the buzz around it, resulting in countless commentaries praising his efforts - not to mention the brand's bottom line reflecting the new positive outlook.

Last week it was announced that Nick Knight will be receiving the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator, while the Outstanding Achievement Award which will this year will be given to Karl Lagerfeld.

Burberry's Bailey Creates Claridge's Christmas Tree

Christopher Bailey´s Christmas tree was unveiled in the lobby of Claridge's Hotel this morning. The Burberry CEO and chief creative officer follows in the footsteps of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who decorated the tree for two years, previous to which John Galliano and Lanvin's Alber Elbaz were selected for the honour.

"Christmas is one of my favourite times of year so I was delighted to be asked to design the Claridge's Christmas Tree - the iconic hotel celebrating a joyful time," said Bailey, as it was revealed that the tree will explore the relationship between light and dark and comprise more than 100 umbrellas, each of which will be finished in gold and silver metallic fabric, and 77,000 lights. "We wanted the tree to reflect the playfulness of the season with a little bit of the English weather thrown in. We also love the idea that the tree comes to life as guests pass by, bringing a wonderful touch of festive magic to their stay."

Burberry has a long-standing relationship with the famous Mayfair residence. The hotel's suites famously come complete with Burberry trench coats for guests to wrap up in and head out to see the lights of London. This festive season the fashion house has further upped the ante by providing Burberry-clad bell boys to help guests with their Christmas shopping lists.

"Christmas has always been a truly special time of year at Claridge's and we are delighted to welcome Christopher Bailey to add the enchanting Christmas magic and creativity of Burberry to our lobby," said the hotel's general manager Thomas Kochs. "We are particularly proud to be flying the British flag this year with London being at the heart of both Claridge's and Burberry, and it is this shared sense of heritage and the key part we both play in London life that makes Christopher's collaboration with us so special. The Claridge's Christmas Tree has long symbolised the start of the festive season in the capital and we hope our annual tradition will continue to be a part of our guests' memories as they become part of ours."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Saint Xavier Jewellery

They say that you’re never properly dressed without a smile, but any fashion savvy follower will know that the right accessories from this international 263 billion dollar market (in addition to a great smile) can enhance any outfit.

One such company who are currently making waves in the costume jewellery market ( after having achieved somewhat of a cult status in Australia) are From Saint Xavier, a fashion forward handmade label which was born and raised in Australia some 13 years ago, and has gone from strength to strength since.

Having graced the covers of Marie Claire Australia, Fashion Wolf, and Ceo magazine as of recent, their collection is currently enjoying a success in the ´cool hunting´ and ´street style´ pages of central Europe with their must have statement cuff bracelets and covetable beaded clutch bags.

The latest collection from FSX combines bespoke artisanal design with a philosophy that in many ancient cultures, some believed that wearing jewellery that combines three metals with a natural stone brings about spiritual harmony. From Saint Xavier entwines this belief with key fashion trends offering truly amazing one of a kind pieces for its Autumn / Winter 2015 collection which is already attracting media attention and starting to sell out on-line.

Hand crafted from genuine stones and semi-precious metals, the allure of these accessories lies within their unique, distinctly tribal and organic forms, and fusion of material elements to present an anthology featuring statement cocktail rings, cuffs, tear drop earrings, crystal pendant necklaces, and one of a kind bead clutches to match. And, as each piece is handmade, each item of the collection will differ slightly in appearance making it truly unique.

FSX is currently available in Canada, USA, and UK and as part of its European portfolio, Barcelona, where the range can play compliment and homage to rich legacy of mosaics and urban aesthetics constructed by Antoni Gaudi as well as the ´see and bee seen´ beach culture of Barceloneta.

From barbeque to board room and beach time to brunch dates, there is a segment of this effervescent collection which will make sure that no matter what you’re doing, or who you´re with, you will look as enchanting as the hues of gems that envelope the collection.

From Saint Xavier is available exclusively through Showroom 360 Iberia Barcelona and can be coveted here.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Who Will Pass The Originality Test?

The jury of the fashion world is still out over the verdict of its latest controversy. Top French designer Ricardo, the 2009 winner of ‘The Golden Spindle’who was hailed by the high priestess of fashion herself Anna Wintour, has had the authenticity of the ´tunic dress’ design from his current spring/summer´12 collection challenged by no less than a fashion graduate working on the markets of Carnaby Street.

The storm erupted when Nina Lau, a London College of Fashion graduate, spotted what she thought was her design showcased in the pages of Tatler magazine, only upon closer inspection finding out it was this season’s latest offering from the Paris based House of Ricardo.¨There is a similarity of around 95%. The only difference is the material. See for yourself. Take a look at mine, and then his¨ quoted Nina ferociously. Retaliations from the Couturier´s camp followed, directly from Ricardo himself to state ¨I, we, my label are still reeling from the fact I should copy the designs of a washed out graduate operating from a market stall in London.¨

However, the fact remains that there is a striking similarity in both designs is causing Fashionista’s around Europe to wonder who copied who. Ricardo, whose current London base is in Regent Street, some two minutes walk away from the world famous market maintains his company has never seen, nor purchased any clothing from her independent label ‘Nina’, and that it was her who took inspiration from a world class designer in order to attain overnight exposure. The original design in question, whose origins can be traced back some four years to the cutting room floor of Nina’s studio, is now under intense scrutiny from fashion watchdog Federation Francaise de la Couture.

Within the cyclical world of fashion, are trends repeating more frequently, or has this designer taken one step too far?

Barcelona Connect Magazine - Story Of The Month: Born Fashion

The following tearsheet was taken from Barcelona Connect Magazine, where the fashion feature made story of the month. Please click on the image to enlarge it.

Barcelona Connect Magazine - Story Of The Month: Barcelona Fashion

The following tearsheet was taken from Barcelona Connect Magazine, where the fashion feature made story of the month. Please click on the image to enlarge it.

Elbaz Hits Back At Poor Quality Claims

Alber Elbaz has hit back at Lanvin following claims by the fashion house's owner, Shaw-Lan Wang, and chief executive officer, Michéle Huiban, that his departure was a result of a lack of "creative designs".

In a letter sent to all Lanvin employees on November 6, Huiban claimed that the quality of Elbaz's designs were to blame for his exit after 14 years, and that his "'aggression' towards management" as well as his "other 'grave' and 'groundless' accusations" against owner Wang were major contributing factors, reports WWD.

Elbaz responded with his own letter this week, addressed to Huiban and Wang, expressing his "shock" at their accusations. He also threatened to give a tell-all interview and to seek a legal non-disclosure order if they did not cease to defame his name.

Upon leaving the label last month, Elbaz said that he hoped Lanvin could "find the business vision it needs to engage in the right way forward". In their letter to employees, Huiban and Wang appeared to address his comments, saying: "The fundamentals of the business are healthy, its shareholder and governance are solid, the brand is strong, the strategy is clear."

It won't be the last we hear regarding the brand's ongoing turmoil this week, as on November 17th a court hearing has been scheduled at the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris to try and restore constructive dialogue between management and the company's work council after relations broke down last month.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Gucci Show Coming To London

Alessandro Michele's Gucci show this season had all eyes on Milan, but for the fashion house's pre-spring/summer 2017 show it will be London that gets put in the spotlight. The brand confirmed to us this morning that it will show its Cruise collection in the capital next year, although any further details - regarding date and exact location - have not be confirmed at this point.

It comes shortly after Chanel confirmed that it would be showing its own pre spring/summer 2017 collection in Cuba in early May, continuing the trend that has been gathering pace among the big-name brands in the last couple of years for taking Cruise collections on tour.

Given Michele's penchant for a vintage-inspired aesthetic, there are plenty of eccentric and historical venues that would generously complement his second pre spring/summer collection (which was held in New York last summer). Only this weekend, the celebrated designer told Style, "I love English people, because they are the most quirky people in the world. They don't care."

ASOS's Affordable Bridal Range

ASOS is launching an affordable bridal range, the brand revealed this morning at its spring/summer 2016 press day. While there are no images to circulate just yet, we can report that the comprehensive edit is one that will definitely get brides-to-be clicking when it launches on the site in April next year.

Something of a bridal greatest hits, the collection comprises a range of silhouettes, including short, skater; strapless Grecian; and more traditional high-neck, long-sleeved styles - the highest price point of which will be £250.

Accessories and shoes have been well-thought-out too, and according to a spokesperson for the company, a full look will come in at under £400 - a snip considering the quality of the collection.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Antwerp - Walter Van Beirendonck On Fashion & Art

They say if you truly know Avant Garde fashion, then you will know the Antwerp six. And, if you know them, you will most certainly know one if its protagonists, Walter Van Beirendonck. This Belgian wunderkind left Antwerp as an unknown designer for a trade fair in London in 1986 and since then has achieved international acclaim from his critics and public alike.

Sporting a frolicsome beard, Walter is not your typical clean cut fashion designer. His aesthetic very much reflects his design philosophy with a predisposition towards vibrant colours alongside sinister, abstruse head masks and bizarrely named collections, which are anything but mainstream.

Walter Van Beirendonck

A member of the ground breaking Belgian sextet, this venerated designer fixated on whimsical menswear long before the likes of Tom Ford, Alexander Wang and Olivier Rousteing, when menswear was no more than a small after thought. "I feel better able to express myself in that field," he discloses. "It's more adventurous, because it's more difficult to push boundaries in men's fashion, but still it's very possible."

Walter´s desire to experiment has worked to his advantage. Prominent museums such as the V&A, the Louvre and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, have presented Van Beirendock's designs. Several years ago, he made his visual art debut at Galerie Polaris in Paris. "In the first place, I'm a fashion designer," he explains. "I only make art pieces when they really question for it."

Van Beirendock's exhibition at Dallas Contemporary museum was something completely different he told us. "Pete Doroshenko, the director of the museum, was following me for a while." Doroshenko wanted "to show collections that I normally put on a catwalk, but to put them in a museum. He was really asking to show a collection as an art installation."

There are two prominent assemblages featured in the exhibition from Spring/Summer 2013 and Fall/Winter 2012 which have been displayed on motorized pedestals as well as being shown in the windows of the new TRAFFIC Los Angeles store in Dallas' Joule Hotel which serves as cause and effect as to why Walter thinks that the art world and the fashion world are becoming more intertwined.

¨There is definitely interest from the art world. But in my case, it was always there. I remember even when I did the big fashion shows in the '90s, the art people were always there. They were really intrigued by the way I was putting together fashion shows and how I was staging them. I think that you could view it a little bit like performance art, that type of fashion show. So I have, for a long time had followers that are interested in my work."

Walter has attained curiosity from his two collections in Dallas. One from the summer "Silent Secrets" and the other from the winter "Lust Never Sleeps". He believes that the former ¨Secrets¨ refers to how secret societies deal with issues. "I wanted to bring this into our actual world and refer to social networks. I think that today, it's really very difficult to keep secrets because everything is spread out immediately all over the world. The question of privacy and still having the possibility to have a secret." His analogous inspiration was the form of clothing and the dress codes that are used in secret societies, which he interpreted in his own way, with a new contemporary refinement.

´Silent Secrets´ Spring / Summer ´13

Is it important to keep secrets? "Yes, I think so. I think you should have at least the possibility to do so. I'm sometimes a little bit shocked by how quickly something travels around the world, and how difficult it is to keep something secret. Immediately, pictures are taken by smartphones. Immediately, they're spreading these images on the Internet. Of course, it's also part of how we live and how we are working today, but sometimes it's too quick and too anonymous. These messages and images are not credited anymore, and that is making me a little bit sad. Sometimes you lose the content and you lose the credit of an image.

A strong detail from "Silent Secrets" saw closing collars with arrows embellished on them. Walter seemed keen to draw attention to the fact that these collars (and hats, as well) were a collaboration with the Dutch sculptor that he admired, Folkert de Jong. When he was composing and sketching his collection, we wanted to include top hats, with a view to introducing an accessory to elongate the silhouette, with a nod to the Dandy movement. "I contacted him and I found out that he liked my work; we were fans of each other. We were working on the top hats and then, at the end, arrived at collars as almost a historical reference, but still very recognizable Folkert de Jong."

As many designers like to wear elements of their own collection (to see and be seen, per say), Walter admitted he often does wear his creations “I do sometimes. You mean the top hats, which are in the collection? I didn't wear them, because I don't think they're very practical. But, I'm working a lot with Stephen Jones. I did wear these designs in my previous collections and I do wear them from time to time if there's something special going on. I’m a big fan of Stephen Jones millinery."

Walter found it strange to have revisited a recent past collection, but found that it was still very close to him. Having just shown a new collection, he felt that he had sufficient distance from these two collections, which could create a refreshed interest and synergy within the fashion and art world. Their presence within a museum felt right to him because the collections are intended to provoke our moments in this world. The composite exhibition follows a similar progression.

"Lust Never Sleeps" is the one with the masks and the bowler hats. For me, when I was working on the collection, there were two main inspirations: voodoo and a kind of future dandyism. I did a lot of research about voodoo and Tahiti: how a lot of people are using these spiritual elements to express themselves. I wanted to give this collection a kind of spiritual atmosphere. I evoked a rather tense effect by putting skin-coloured masks, white skin on top of black-skinned models."

For him, it was primarily a graphical effect. "I found out that during and after the catwalk presentation people were really questioning why I did that kind of thing. It was mainly to create a kind of tension, which you also feel in this spiritual world. The second thing, the future dandyism, I'm working with much more formal clothing, and sharp and constructed clothing. In this particular case I referenced Papua New Guinea's warrior shields, which were first made in fabric, and then constructed them in them in these kind of suits. So it's almost like you are creating a person behind the shields, and kind of a protection."

´Silent Secrets´ Spring / Summer ´13

It was important for Walter to have this tension in his collections as he wanted to search more for a shock value, to perform an aesthetic that people can question or are surprised by. He felt that it´s importance should go a little bit further than a normal catwalk display for both his inspirations and acceptance.

Looking to other designers for inspiration he quotes Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons as a main thought. "I still have a lot of respect for her; I think that she's very brave and she's very good. She dares to do something totally different and also has the possibility and the will to experiment. I'm sometimes disappointed that it has a lot to do with the economic situation but young designers are a little bit less daring today. I think they're still daring when they graduate and when they're at school, but afterwards, they're easily taken away into a kind of more commercial pace, because they're also a little bit false. That is, of course, a pity. I'm waiting for some fresh voices from the younger generations at the moment. especially from the recent graduates. Of course, it's also a question of surviving, but I think it's very important that you have a recognizable product and a recognizable suggestion."

Van Beirendonck feels that it is normal for most designers to doubt their own voice. "I want to push forward my own boundaries, to go further, experiment, and try things out. Of course, then you're also critical and sometimes you start to doubt. It's always just before the presentation: Is it good enough? Did I do the right thing? Once it's on the catwalk and you've got reactions and people do like it, it's over and you can believe in yourself again. But it's a very sensitive process, creating a collection."

Walter will be showing his autumn/winter 2016 collection at the next instalment of Paris men’s fashion week in January of 2016.

Nick Knight Honoured

The British Fashion Council has announced that Nick Knight will receive the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at this year's British Fashion Awards.

Knight has enjoyed a prolific career in the fashion industry. From the publication of his first book, Skinheads, in 1982 and his collaborations with a selection of the most esteemed names in the fashion industry, to his award-winning editorial work for Vogue - among many other publications - and his hugely successful online fashion-film platform SHOWstudio, Knight has been an industry innovator at every given opportunity.

By receiving the award, he follows in the footsteps of fellow fashion colleagues Edward Enninful (who was presented with the award by Naomi Campbell last year), Amanda Harlech and Louise Wilson. Further announcements regarding this year's ceremony - which will take place on Monday, November 22 - came last month as the nominees were announced, alongside the Outstanding Achievement Award which will this year will be given to Karl Lagerfeld.

Gisele's $700 Book Sells Out

When it was announced in September that Gisele Bündchen's personally curated book featuring photographs of her career would retail at $700 a few eyebrows were raised, but the supermodel has once again proved her pulling power as the initial run of 1,000 copies has sold out.

Bündchen took to her Instagram account to thank her fans for purchasing the tome, which thanks to pre-orders actually sold out on Thursday, the day before it officially hit bookshelves, revealed publisher Taschen this weekend.

"Gratitude for all the love I received from everyone at the launch of my book today," wrote Bündchen, who earlier this year announced her retirement from the catwalk. "Thank you for being there for me at this very special moment."

Friday, November 6, 2015

Raf Simons - There´s Never Enough Time

Raf Simons has spoken about the pressure that designers experience in the current fashion system. The designer, whose recent departure from Dior was said to be related to his displeasure at the pace of the industry, revealed that the structure of the collections at Dior - encompassing couture, ready-to-wear and resort - is not conducive to creative contemplation.

"When you do six shows a year, there's not enough time for the whole process," he told Cathy Horyn in an interview for System magazine, excerpted today on the Business of Fashion. "Technically, yes - the people who make the samples, do the stitching, they can do it. But you have no incubation time for ideas, and incubation time is very important. When you try an idea, you look at it and think, Hmm, let's put it away for a week and think about it later. But that's never possible when you have only one team working on all the collections.

What are you going to do? Walk out of the office at 8 o'clock at night? No, of course not. So you stay there until midnight. That's the life. So we created two design teams. Each group has a person in charge, and these people are fantastic. If Team A is working on cruise, then Team B is working on July couture. Then Team A will start working on the Fall ready-to-wear show. So each group does one couture show and one ready-to-wear show."

"In this system, Pieter [Mulier, Simons' right hand] and I can't sit together and brainstorm - no time," he added. "I have a schedule every day that begins at 10 in the morning and runs through the day, and every, every minute is filled. From 10.10am to 10.30am, it's shoes, let's say. From 10.30 to 11.15, it's jewellery. Everything is timed - the whole week. If there's a delay in a meeting, the whole day is fucked up."

Noting that things have changed dramatically since he moved from Jil Sander (which didn't present resort or couture) to Dior, Simons lamented no longer having time to brainstorm ideas with his team.

"I did that very often," he said. "And when the shows were running, I would sit with the whole creative team at a big table and have a dialogue. 'What have you seen?' 'What do you find modern? Old?' At first everyone would sit there with their mouths full of teeth and a rat face, but after a while they loved it. It became a real dialogue. And I liked it very much. Sometimes I do it with Pieter and maybe the heads of the teams. But the groups are too big here. There is also something else. At Dior, the moment you say, 'This is an interesting thing to try,' things go very, very fast."

"Technically speaking, it works. Does it work for me emotionally? No, because I'm not the kind of person who likes to do things so fast. I think if I had more time, I would reject more things, and bring other ideas or concepts in… There's never enough time. You get a tension. I know how to pull out from this in my personal life. We go and look at nature for three hours. It's heaven. We go to a bakery and buy a bag of stuff and lie in the grass. Sublime. But how to do that in the context of your professional life? You buy a house and you start doing pottery or something?"

Balmainia Takes Hold Globally

Shoppers were embroiled in the kind of frenzy that makes you step back and reevaluate your place in the global order yesterday, as grown women grappled over sparkly dresses in stores across the world.Olivier Rousteing's much-hyped and long-awaited Balmain for H&M offering landed in shops and online, and promptly sold out within minutes globally - leaving many fans disgruntled and others physically wounded after bruising exchanges over the mose desirable pieces.

Rousteing - whose dominant online presence has been such a factor in the growth of the French house over recent years - faced an angry backlash from consumers left disappointed after queuing for hours in the hop of securing their favourite piece.

"I'm so hurt. I've been waiting for this forever. Been literally stressing myself out every day over this collection. My 25th birthday is Monday and it was literally all I wanted ! Extremely depressed that I couldn't get anything! Please release more!" one shopper tweeted, Racked reported, while another lamented: "I waited up even though I had a midterm and I actually skipped my exam trying to get onto the crashed site. I put a lot on the line for this. Please restock. I kid you not, I cried for an hour. I've been waiting too long for this. I'm begging you to restock."

Needless to say, not only are pieces already available on eBay with pricetags in excess of £3,000 (for that price, we think we might just invest in some Balmain mainline), but shoppers who had been lucky enough to secure their desired piece were actually seen being convinced to sell them to those still in the queue. 

Bailey And Beckham's New Project

Burberry´s Christopher Bailey may have worked alongside Romeo Beckham several times, but now he's teaming up withVictoria as the twosome become the first ever patrons of Graduate Fashion Week.

Calling the appointment "a true honour," Bailey applauded the designers displaying their work this year at a catwalk show at The Houses of Parliament, in London last night. The British designer and chief executive, who first showcased his own work at Graduate Fashion Week in 1991, took the Burberry helm 10 years later - and is now the only figure in international fashion to hold the CEO and chief creative officer roles at a house simultaneously.

"It is so important to support and mentor young people, and GFW provides an essential platform for them at this important time in their life," Beckham added. "I'm delighted to be joining Christopher Bailey, working together on such a worthwhile project."

Although impressed by the night's talent, Bailey wasn't giving anything away when asked if there were any designers that he might consider welcoming to the Burberry fold.

"Burberry is a quintessentially British brand so it is important to have that sensibility to your work," he told us. "That said, what we look for more than anything is raw talent and an ability to challenge convention - we try to take those qualities and set them in a world in which they can be fully explored."

Lanvin Staff Revolt Escalates

Lanvin's staff revolt following the removal of Alber Elbaz as creative director has escalated this week, as staff representatives met with a labour inspector to report that the company's human resources department had "declined to hold a meeting to discuss a list of questions put forward by employees,"WWD reports. Charles Henry Paradis, a member of the works council who represents employees on the company board, said that employees wanted to address the "high level of employee turnover" among other issues.

"We have reached a point of no return in terms of labour relations," Paradis said. "General management is trying to play for time by using delaying tactics to try to choke us financially. There is a breakdown in relations between staff representatives and management that is unheard of."

But the brand - controlled by Taiwan-based majority owner Shaw-Lan Wang, who made the decision to end Elbaz's tenure - seemed nonplussed by the vocal dissenters.

"It's much ado about nothing," a spokeswoman for Lanvin told WWD. "The situation as it appears to be described by one person does not correspond with reality. Lanvin has been in existence for 125 years. It must go on. We are not going to close the house because our creative director is gone. The teams are hard at work. They continue to work, even if it is an emotional time."

Jourdan Won't Walk In The Victoria's Secret Show

Jourdan Dunn  will not walk in this season's Victoria's Secret show. The British model and Vogue cover girl confirmed the news yesterday with a tweet that is unlikely to please the brand.

Dunn made her debut at the show in 2012 - when Rihanna also performed for the first time - and walked in the two subsequent shows. All models - even regulars, other than the Angels - have to attend castings each year, and so it seems that this time Jourdan Dunn was not selected by the lingerie label.

This doesn't mean that Dunn's relationship with the brand has come to an end though, since models do sometimes sit out one year and return for the following show. Doutzen Kroes missed the 2007 show, before returning and becoming an Angel, while the longest-serving Angel, Adriana Lima, missed the 2009 show after welcoming daughter Valentina the same week as the show took place.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Burberry's Billy Elliot Moment

Burberry  has recreated the opening scene of Billy Elliot for its Christmas advertising campaign. Starring an eye-popping celebrity cast - including Elton John, who wrote the music for the Billy Elliot stage show; and Julie Walters, who starred in the film adaptation - the Burberry homage marks the famous musical's 15th anniversary, to the soundtrack of Cosmic Dancer by T Rex.

"Billy Elliot is an incredible film full of so much joy and energy, so it was a real thrill and a great honour to be able to celebrate its 15 year anniversary through our festive campaign," Christopher Bailey, Burberry chief creative and chief executive officer, said tonight. "It was also a huge privilege to work with such amazing and iconic British talent - the cast are quite simply some of the biggest names in film, music and fashion and it was so much fun working with them all to make this special film."

The film - which also stars models Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, returning to Burberry for the fourth time since 2008, her brother Toby Huntington-Whiteley; and Naomi Campbell, also a former face of Burberry; musicans James Bay and George Ezra; presenter James Corden; actress Michelle Dockery; and Burberry favourite Romeo Beckham - was premiered last night at the brand's global flagship store on Regent Street in London.

As well as showcasing Burberry's festive offering - and delighting our eyes of course - the campaign has a philanthropic element as well. The original production of Billy Elliot established a legacy of charitable support for the local community of Easington, County Durham where the film is set. Inspired by this, Burberry is making a donation of £500,000 to be split between two charities, Place2Be and the County Durham Community Foundation, which have projects focusing on reducing barriers to education, training and employment in the local area. None of the stars who took part in the film were paid for their involvement, all choosing to donate their fee to the charities as well.

Kendall Confirmed For Victoria's Secret

Kendall Jenner has confirmed, after much speculation, that she will walk in the Victoria's Secret show next week. The model, who turned 20 today, put an end to the whispers this afternoon - and was promptly retweeted by the lingerie brand itself.

One of Jenner's closest friends, model Gigi Hadid, was confirmed for the show last week with a video that showed her casting. Despite suggestions that her sister Bella Hadid will also walk in the show, this news has not been verified by the brand.

Jenner's inclusion isn't the only big news from the lingerie label today, with Rihanna's slated performance now being cancelled. Ellie Goulding will appear in her place.