Saturday, January 30, 2016

Kendall Jenner Reveals The Secret To Her Success

Kendall Jenner's passion for modelling has changed little since she presented her parents with a self-produced portfolio at the formative age of 14 - a scenario that was later broadcast on their reality TV show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians. 

Her enthusiasm for her job and the industry is evident in the tone of her voice, which becomes more serious as the conversation turns to her career aspirations: "I want this to last, I want it to be something big and I want it to be something special," she nodded. Her conviction in the statement makes it evident that is not the first time these thoughts have run through the now 20-year-old's mind.

In 2015, Jenner made her Victoria's Secret debut (a feat she had long desired), booked campaigns for the likes of Fendi and Calvin Klein and boasted catwalk appearances for Chanel, Michael Kors and Diane von Furstenberg amongst others.

However, these achievements did little to distract attention from her personal life and the changing structure of her blended family. Looking forward, the next thing on her career bucket list is simply "longevity".

Conscious of the perils of fast fame and not happy resting on the family name, Jenner is set on achieving a long career by working hard and constantly learning. She looks to models who have been booking jobs since even before her 1995 birth. "Mariacarla Boscono has taught me a lot, and I have been lucky enough to become good friends with so many amazing models", she told us.

She is lucky enough to call people at the top end of the industry her mentors - Karl Lagerfeld, Olivier Rousteing and Marc Jacobs among them. "You learn from your experiences and you learn from working with these people even if they're not telling your straight up 'Do this, do that, you shouldn't do that,' you learn from just being around them."

Another well-known confidante is one of her best friends, Cara Delevingne. The pair now even have their own acronym "CaKe", and this London Fashion Week, Madam Tussauds will unveil waxworks of them both. An experience Jenner describes as "Cool - they measured every part of my body. Some that I didn't even know existed."

In June, the pair were spotted wearing T-shirts bearing the moniker. "What is CaKe and how can we get their hands on the merchandise?" asked the internet. "We basically made it up and it's our thing now. We call each other CaKe", confesses Jenner who is wearing a gold CaKe necklace when we meet.

A lucrative move for the girls would be to license the phrase out, but despite the rumours, "right now it is a personal thing," says Jenner, a strong emphasis on the now, hinting that there could be something to come.

"CaKe" have much in common, along with the likes of Gigi Hadid and her younger sister Bella; they are often referred to as social-media supermodels. Girls who boast millions of fans watching their every move. Jenner's current 47 million Instagram followers are hard to ignore. Their success is the opposite to the appeal of the Nineties supermodels' alluring mystique. Instead, through social media and personal apps, Jenner and her friends invite their fans into their life, posting every move they make.

She puts her Instagram success down to the personal touch her feed has, insisting that every post is done by her: "My Instagram is all me. I like to keep it very personal and I'd like to keep it that way. You don't really follow to see promotional things at all times. It's my connection with my fans."

As she hosted a party in Barcelona to celebrate her new role as an ambassador for Spanish high-street chain Mango, hundreds of fans lined the streets. Their "Kendall, Kendall!" chants silencing the pumping music inside the venue, the hysteria reaching its peak when she happily obliged to take selfies with the screaming and crying throng. Jenner remained as composed as she was when we were sitting one-on-one as when dozens surrounded her in the VIP area, a bodyguard never further than a foot away.

What is unique about Jenner's situation is that it is not only she that receives this raucous and intense media attention - her whole family does too. She confesses that the fame does put a strain on her friendships, but is keen to remain close with those who are not involved in the industry. "I think it's important to have people who are out of it because it brings you back to reality and keeps you grounded. It's definitely hard to find a good friend who is genuine and doesn't really care about that kind of stuff, but you find those people and they are great, it's nice to step out of it with them for a minute."

Long before the cameras were welcomed into her house and Paris came calling, Jenner's early years were spent riding ponies in California and playing as much sport as she could - fashion was not a priority. "When I was really young I can remember being into fashion, but I was really into horses and sports. My entire life I just wanted a pony and I couldn't care less about a pair of shoes." She later admits that she did own three at one time. but due to her busy schedule they have since been rehomed.

Eventually, fashion creeped into her conscious. Her earliest memories involve tripping over in her older sisters' too-big shoes and riffling through her mother's magazines to "fangirl over the supermodels, always hoping that one day I could be like that for some little girl who was looking in a magazine." Box ticked.

In the week that sees her debut line with her sister, Kendall & Kylie, revealed, a new Calvin Klein campaign unveiled and her position as a brand ambassador for Mango cemented, it is clear that Jenner's focus is on fashion and, arguably, the gesture is reciprocated.

Brooklyn Beckham To Shoot Burberry Campaign

Burberry has enlisted Brooklyn Beckham to photograph its next fragrance campaign. The eldest Beckham son announced that the shoot will take place tomorrow, and will be broadcast live on social media.

"Excited to photograph the @Burberrycampaign tomorrow. Watch it live on their Instagram & Snapchat #THISISBRIT," he posted on both his Twitter and Instagram accounts. Burberry confirmed via its own Instagram account that Beckham is photographing the campaign for its Brit fragrance. 

The move sees the British label welcome yet another of David and Victoria's children to the house's expanding family, after building a relationship with the 16-year-old's younger brother, Romeo. The middle Beckham son has starred in a series of advertisements for the brand since making his modelling debut in 2012.

The move should come as no surprise to fans - Brooklyn regularly posts his photographs on his Instagram account to his almost six million followers. When asked in the October 2015 issue of Miss Vogue about his career ambitions, he responded: "I love football, but I'm also very passionate about photography and film. I'm keeping my options open right now."

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Paris Fashion Week: Sandrine Philippe - Unplugged

Amongst those in the know, Sandrine Philippe is considered to be one of the best menswear designers in Paris, despite not yet being a household name. The autumn/winter ´16-17 menswear collection for her namesake label, the house of Sandrine Philippe intends to say ´goodbye to the ingrained obsolescence of modern society, farewell to technology and au revoir to the numerical dictation of life.´ Both the collection and it´s descriptions were compelling in their content.

The French designer opted for a hypothetical presentation of her collection. The marriage of a deep dark performance space which was enveloped in even deeper darker music set the scene for a post-dystopian affray. The male delineation of Sandrine Philippe Paris is an escape, one which entices its wearer to let go of this overpopulated megalopolis in order to return to their original being, free from the constraints of technology and citations of the modern world. 

Bruised and beaten models, who fought valiantly against the terrene, were the protagonists in her latest dystopian collection which was spread over a double heigh warehouse and mezzanine somewhere in a downtown Paris suburb. In the opening scene, the performance lights dimmed then faded into aphotic obscurity as a heavy haze of smoke set the scene. Next, a ´survivor´ emerged from an alien type egg to perform a series of highly fluid yet staccato moves in time to the foreboding music, taunting us to say goodbye to the world we know today and step back into the world that came before and will come after us.

¨This new Sandrine Philippe man is free of all his contemporary commitments in this overzealous and chaotic world. Reborn, he no longer loathes his derivation but stands steadfast and vigilant in the comfort and safety of his new identity¨ - Charles Daniel McDonald

The capable fused lineations overcame the shows context. Philippe´s passion and talent for adapting leather into unfamiliar textures was unquestionable. This salience to her craft was apparent over the collections range of coats, jackets and tank-tops, most of which were befittingly paired with slim leather trousers sporting disciplined and sharp cuts. Pairing diligently beside these were relaxed fit brushed leather trenches and knit blazers, co-ordinating joggers and post hostility shredded shirts which flowed through the sometimes macabre atmosphere like a vicarious war flag. Detail was the keyword of this collection with a visual extravaganza hiding within every garment. From intricate leather strapping to an exceptional woollen coat with Ostrich plume in graduated tones, these were just some of the details that stood out in meriting closer inspection.

Her current offering could be describe as clouded and enigmatic, but it is this spirit of the unidentified that makes this collection so captivating and engraves the future legacy of Philippe as both a proficient narrator and designer urging us to accept a darker side of the post apocalyptical male aesthetic that was abnormally caliginous but exceptionally beautiful.

Issey Miyake - Man (a/w´16)

On January 21st, Issey Miyake Men showcased its autumn/winter´16 collections at the landmark Palais de Tokyo as part of the celebrations for Paris Fashion Week - Men´s Collections. Taking inspiration from the primal, nomadic way of life, Miyake drew upon these human instincts to identify a new sense of elegance and comfort in a relaxed sophistication. This progressive tri-component collection expressed the desire of contemporary man to return to the primative feeling of life by using rough materials combined with refined fibres, dusty colours touched with vivid ones and warm clothes with sporty silhouettes and simple cheerful knits. If this collection had one message, it was to encourage the modern contemporary man to return to an elemental way of life, in a very stylish way.
This collection puts the Issey Miyake man in the wilderness. A discernment into the nomadic way of life and the constant struggle with nature's elements of wind, snow, ice and rain. The coalition of these elements force man to learn to rely on his natural instincts to survive in a harsh environment - Issey Miyake

Voluminous full-length coats and pullovers in bordeaux and turquoise are created from an original fabric featuring a mixture of a newly-developed horse hair thread and wool. These are followed by numerous knitwear items with a variety of rich textures, including mohair-blend wool sweaters featuring abstract patterns in orange, grey and blue, also one-piece knit dresses. The design for these relaxed and roomy knits was inspired by the simple and heart-warming nomadic lifestyles of Mongolia.

Horse Motif

The style gradually changes into a sharp, urban, sporty look. Thermographic equine photos by photographer Kenji Hirasawa are digitally printed on ponte jersey and cotton broadcloth shirts, Polyester taffeta overcoats and cycling parkas, featuring high-performance padding embroidered with colourful horseshoe patterns, are worn with tightly-fitted knit-pants in a dynamic, sporty style.


The final section is a series of urban workwear looks. Signature woven items appear in rapid succession: Cotton polyester blousons and items in cut jacquard, featuring horseshoes interpreted in abstract forms; a jacket and a duster and a warm dust-patterned print; pleats crafted in corduroy from the traditional tornado tie-dyed technique; birds eye jackets and separates using wrinkle-free, form-stabilizing fabric. All made of functional, lightweight, easy-care fabrics that are washable and non-iron. The show closed on a lilting note featuring ultra-lightweight suits developed with a focus on materials and construction.

Barbie´s New Body Makeover

Barbie has a brand new body - three new bodies in fact - and a Time magazine cover to celebrate. For the first time she comes in four body types (tall, petite and curvy as well as the wasp-waisted original), seven skin tones, 22 eye colours and 24 hairstyles including afros and a sapphire blue style.

"Barbie has always given girls choices - from her 180 careers, to inspirational roles, to her countless fashions and accessories," said Evelyn Mazzocco, senior vice president and global general manager of Barbie, in a statement. "We are excited to literally be changing the face of the brand. These new dolls represent a line that is more reflective of the world girls see around them - the variety in body type, skin tones and style allows girls to find a doll that speaks to them."

Time reports that 92 per cent of girls aged 3 to 12 have owned a Barbie, but that sales dropped 20 per cent from 2012 to 2014. Evelyn Mazzocco, a mother of three girls, was brought in as head of the Barbie brand in 2014 and immediately set to work looking at the doll's image issues. "I wanted to remind myself every time I came to work about the reality of what is going on with the brand," she told Time. Barbie will wear less make-up going forward, and now boasts articulated ankles so that she can wear both flats and heels.

Of course a testing process was required to expose the dolls to the most important audience of all - children. "The adult leaves the room and they undress the curvy Barbie and snicker a little bit," said Tania Missad, who runs the research team for Mattel's girls portfolio. "For me, it's these moments where it just really sets in how important it is we do this. Over time I would love it if a girl wouldn't snicker and just think of it as another beautiful doll."

How You Can Step Inside YSL´s Atelier

Fans of Yves Saint Laurent will be granted access for the first time to the late designer's private design space as part of a new exhibition. Staged by the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, which protects and manages the designer's extensive archive, the new showcase will be held within the label's former couture house at 5 Avenue Marceau, Paris, and will include an unprecedented volume of artefacts.

The only designer of his era to systematically archive and document every one of his collections, Saint Laurent accumulated an impressive collection of his life's work. Featuring original sketches, prototypes, warehouse records, and more than 5,000 haute couture garments and 15,000 accessories, the constantly updated exhibition will aim to give visitors an insight into the designer's prolific creativity over the 40 years that he helmed his eponymous label.

At the same time as the Paris exhibition will open, the foundation will oversee a simultaneous showcase in Marrakech - a city close to the founder's heart, and a great source of inspiration for his work. Housed on the site of a museum which Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé saved from development in 1980, the new building will contain a permanent display of Saint Laurent's work - as well as space for temporary exhibitions, an auditorium, a research library and a café and restaurant.

"When Yves Saint Laurent discovered Marrakech in 1966, he was so moved by the place that he decided to buy a house and regularly go back there," Bergé said. "It feels perfectly natural, fifty years later, to build a museum dedicated to his oeuvre, which was so inspired by this country. As for Paris, who needs to specify that it is where Yves Saint Laurent created all his work and built his career?' 

One Of The Few Female Luxury CEO´s Exits Chanel

Chanel Global CEO Maureen Chiquet, one of the few women at the helm of an international fashion house, has left her position after nine years. Her departure - just 24 hours after Karl Lagerfeld presented his latest collection for the house at Couture Fashion Week in Paris - came as a surprise to many industry insiders thanks to the great success the label enjoyed during her tenure.

Rather than glossing over any differences with platitudes, Chanel admitted that Chiquet was departing "due to differences of opinion about the strategic direction of the company", WWD reports, but was careful to acknowledge the debt owed to the New York executive for the French house's very positive current position: "Chanel is grateful for what Maureen has done to bring Chanel into a new era of its development, in close collaboration with the leadership team, and wishes her continued success."

"The board of Chanel has decided not to replace Maureen but to entrust me once again with full responsibility for the leadership of the company," he wrote to company employees. "I am confident in this role because of the great teams that are in place and the excellent condition of the company."

Lagerfeld - whose close relationship with Bruno Pavlovsky, the president of the company's fashion division, has been well-documented - admitted yesterday that he probably wouldn't miss Chiquet since the two had very few dealings with one another.

Chiquet - who was an executive at Gap prior to joining Chanel - has not yet spoken about the decision or what her next move might be. Among the world's largest luxury brands, only a handful - Donna Karan, Loewe, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and Lanvin - have female CEOs.

Vuitton To Appeal Trademark Ruling

Louis Vuitton is appealing a decision by a New York court that threw out its claims of trademark infringement and dilution and copyright infringementagainst parody tote-bag company My Other Bag. The California-based company - known for printing images of famous bags onto its basic calico totes - called the French house a "trademark bully" and is now demanding that it pays its $400,000 legal fees, but it seems that Vuitton has no intention of taking the judgement lying down.

The Southern District of New York court docket this week reveals that Vuitton is challenging the ruling of the judge in the case, who asserted that My Other Bag's creations were not "actionable sources of trademark infringement or dilution", The Fashion Law reports - so this one could be set to run and run.

"Parody is one of the oldest and most beloved ways in our culture to address social, economic, and political issues. One of America's founding, and to us, most important principles, is freedom of speech and it must be protected and fought for," Tara Martin, founder and CEO of MOB, said at the time. "People shouldn't be afraid to make a joke for fear of a trademark lawsuit. Hopefully this decision sends that message."

Claudia's Creative Director Role

It´s proving to be a particularly popular month so far for the original Supers thanks to thoseBalmain and Armani campaigns, and now Claudia Schiffer is upping the ante again with a new creative director role at luxury cashmere brand Tse. Schiffer has previously worked with the brand on two collaborations, but the latest project sees the German-born model head up her own line, Claudia Schiffer Made By Tse.

"My collaboration with Tse was such a positive experience that the obvious next step was to launch my own line with Tse producing it," said Schiffer of her new role. "For this collection I referenced a recent trip to southern Spain as I love the heirloom patterned rugs, mosaic tiles and amazing textiles," she explained.

The 40-piece ready-to-wear collection will launch in stores this July and while she is happy with the final offering, she admits that it is "always challenging making an edit because I love every piece!" - luckily, though, she had friends to call on for advice and, like Schiffer, their favourite silhouettes were the bohemian Seventies cuts.

"It was important for us to identity Claudia's debut role as creative director by truly encompassing her personality," said Christina Peng-Gerschultz, CEO of Tse (pronouced "say"). "The collection is translated through traditional artisan techniques, hand-crafted textures and jacquard patterns in rich tones to create a point of difference and establish a new audience."

Apart from the obvious appeal - cloud-soft cashmere and a style icon's touch - the accessible price point will no doubt make the collection a success, with prices starting from £124.

La Perla Appoints A New Creative Director

La Perla has officially appointed Pedro Lourenço as the creative director of the brand with immediate effect, confirming rumours that have been circulating since late last year. Lourenço, who has held positions at Lanvin andGiambattista Valli, will present his first collection for the Italian brand - which made its name in luxury lingerie, but has in recent years branched out into sleepwear, loungewear, beachwear and menswear - for autumn/winter 2016 at Milan Fashion Week.

"I have always admired La Perla," Lourenço said of his new employer. "I am fascinated by the early days of the brand: a small atelier focusing on corsetry made to the highest standards and designed to enhance the beauty of women. The founder, Ada Masotti, a visionary woman, was aware of the fact that fashion was constantly being revolutionised and lingerie had to change with it. In her universe, modernity walked hand-in-hand with femininity and functionality did not preclude creativity. She changed the way the world thinks of lingerie. I am amazed by the philosophy she created and I want to bring it back today."

Lourenço will continue to run his eponymous brand which he debuted in 2010 at Paris Fashion Week when he was a tender 19 years old. The designer has been well prepared for his career in fashion, learning his craft from his fashion designer parents, Reinaldo Lourenço and Gloria Coelho, as he grew up in his native Brazil.

"The talent, style and creative maturity of Pedro Lourenço are the reasons of our choice", said La Perla chairman Silvio Scaglia of his new protegé. "His approach and style relate to our founding values and reflect the path overtaken by the brand in the last two years. The sartorial excellence and sensibility for the female body combined with a quest for innovation are pillars of La Perla and match the skills and talent of this young designer. La Perla, together with Pedro Lourenço, will blur the boundaries between lingerie, beachwear and outerwear, extending its natural focus on sensuality, elegance and preciousness."

Is Burton Headed To Dior?

As attention turns to Dior couture this afternoon in Paris and the first show to be held since Raf Simons left his creative director post in October, so too does who his successor will be. Industry rumours have thrown up many names since Simons's departure - Alber Elbaz, Phoebe Philo and Olivier Theyskens among them - but the one that seems to be gathering momentum right now is that of Alexander McQueen's creative director, Sarah Burton.

Burton, who has been with McQueen since 1997 when she worked as founder Lee McQueen's personal assistant, has lead the company to critical acclaim since she took the helm following McQueen's death in 2010. If she were to be appointed to the top job at Dior, there would no doubt be lengthy negotiations, not least concerning where operations would take place as Burton and her family are currently located in London while the Dior atelier is in Paris.

In December, Dior revealed that its in-house design team would be taking charge of the pre, couture and ready-to-wear autumn/winter 2016 collections, but with no confirmation of who will be responsible for spring/summer 2017 showcases, an announcement is likely soon.

Giles Shutters RTW Temporarily To Concentrate On Couture

Giles Deacon is shuttering the ready-to-wear line of his business temporarily to concentrate on his couture offering. The move will see the designer depart the official London Fashion Week schedule and join the Paris couture schedule in July.

"We want to focus on what we do well, and maximise the success of the red carpet and private client work we've been doing over the past four years. We want to be the go-to business for super special daywear and eveningwear, to focus on what we are known for, and what our customers want from us," Deacon told WWD of his plan, which he hopes will give him closer contact with his customer base and shorten the length of time between showing on the catwalk and in-store drops.

"With couture, it means I get to show fall in July, with delivery in September. My clients will be getting their pieces in season," continued the designer, who revealed that his pieces will retail for between £3,000 and £5,000 for a bespoke dress and £50,000 to £70,000 for red-carpet creations.

Deacon is one of many designers who has made moves to shift his business model of late, with many more looking to follow suit. Fellow London Fashion Week designer Matthew Williamson came off the official schedule last year to focus on a see-now-buy-now online model citing similar consumer-focused reasons as Deacon. Over in New York, Thakoon and Rebecca Minkoff are also in the midst of reorganising their structures to make their collections available immediately after they are shown on the catwalk.

"This business gives you a lot more control, because it means everything that's ordered is sold, and each customer gets an individual piece," explained Deacon of his new plan, which will see him grow his teams in Paris and London (where he plans to open a new showroom in Mayfair) and explore the potential behind offering virtual fashion shows - all moves that will be supported by external investors that are yet to be revealed.

Making Prints Even More Charming

Lily & Lionel founder Alice Stone asserts that the secret to business success is rooted in something that she is perfectly wonderful at: talking. The outgoing former PR-turned-entrepreneur puts the success of her company's newly launched ready-to-wear categories down to customer feedback, and never being too proud to kill something that isn't working.

"We're so pleased with the response we've had to our first ready-to-wear collection. We recently have been carrying out a lot of work on our website - which involved customer research - through which we discovered that there was a real demand for clothing featuring our prints," Stone explained. "Since launching the collection, the feedback we have had is that it feels like a natural progression for the brand, which I think is really positive. Of course, scarves will always be at the heart of Lily & Lionel, but it's exciting to see the business grow and take on new challenges."

Stone launched the company - named after her grandparents - in 2010 and found that, as one of the only digital-print scarf labels around at the time, the brand quickly garnered a loyal following, but the changable market meant that the company had to adapt to prosper. While many labels ascribe to the KFC mantra of doing one thing really well, others are keen to branch out, adding categories and products to extend their reach, which in itself is not without its problems. Many over-extend themselves, causing over-saturation or even financial woes, but the British scarf label launched its ready-to-wear category by category, and is witnessing strong growth as a result.

"Opinions on KFC aside," she laughed, "I certainly see the benefits of honing your skills in one area. Lily & Lionel is a print house first and foremost. We began with scarves as that is the perfect canvas for bold prints, and now that we have made a name in that area, it's time to expand our horizons and see the prints in a new context; like clothing and cosmetic bags. Exploring new avenues is part of the fun, and it introduces you to a new audience that may not have heard of the brand otherwise."

Her PR background and pragmatic business-focused outlook ensure that Stone isn't swayed by how much she or her team loves a print or shape. If the numbers show that the customers don't love it as much, it's got to go. Shapes are consciously simple - shirts, maxi dresses and leather jackets with printed linings have all been sales winners - and categories are only ever introduced after extensive customer feedback.

"We wanted the pieces to feel beautiful, so we searched high and low for the perfect silk, and each garment was individually finished by hand," she smiled. Luckily, we now have a very loyal customer base which comes to us for exciting new prints. We often hear about customers who collect our prints every season, which is wonderful - we've even had customers say they have our prints framed in their homes! We've especially become known for our leopard print, which is timeless - everyone needs to have a little leopard print in their life."

Next on the horizon is a bespoke unit to house the Lily & Lionel offering - perhaps a pop-up at first - to add to its ever-growing spaces within Liberty and Harrods.

What´s New In The Old World Of Couture

Ralph & Russo is not only the sole British house on the couture schedule, but is also one of the more recent additions, which is perhaps why the label is so keen to constantly evolve and challenge conventions. Although more traditional than many couture houses in terms of aesthetic - harking back to the golden heyday of couture and eschewing the modern approach of many of the more established houses, whose ready-to-wear and couture are almost indistinguishable to the layperson - Ralph & Russo places a great emphasis on technique, innovating each season.

"We have a few new techniques this season, of course," designer Tamara Ralph smiled as she walked us around the label's sprawling London atelier, ahead of Monday's show. "We have a new fabric, which is made by individually cutting pieces of silk and fusing them on to tulle, creating an effect that is new for us - and quite fun. We have more hand-painting, which we've done a little before but the scale this time is quite different; new bespoke corsets; a new pointed-bust shape. We've definitely worked hard to push ourselves in new directions," she smiles mischievously as its pointed out that her team must roll their eyes every time she has a boundary-pushing (and time-consuming) new idea.

Fans of the label's frothy and comfortingly glamorous confections will be glad to hear that the changes are all in the details and not in the overall effect. Not out of place at a royal wedding or state banquet - where the house's creations are frequently found - the new collection offers a gentle evolution that will suit its customers perfectly.

"We have always had two sort of design signatures," Ralph nodded, gesturing to a client's wedding dress being beaded by three of the house's 120-strong team of artisans, "and I think both of those are still developing in a parallel way. We have the very soft, diaphanous shapes that are focused on flow and movement and fabric; and other much more structured pieces that allow us to play with cutting techniques - both of which can be beaded or not."

That dichotomy of handwriting is testament to Ralph's pragmatic approach to finding something for every customer's taste, which nevertheless sits within the Ralph & Russo aesthetic - a practice adopted by every hugely successful brand throughout history. The painstaking attention to detail - which sees Ralph deliberate over the number of flowers appliquéd on to a jacket or exact length of a hem during our visit - will also be applied to the label's new accessories.

Set to launch on the company's website this season, the bags and shoes are the first step in offering the accessible products that will help it transition from British couturier to global brand - whilst allowing those with a slightly less regal budget than their client to access a little taste of couture.

"I think this look can take a bag," Ralph said thoughtfully as she prepared one particularly striking cobalt blue suit for the catwalk. And, if we know the label's fans as we think we do, they'll all take one too.

Why John Was The One

John Galliano´s arrival at Maison Margiela in October 2014 may have raised eyebrows initially, but the fashion house's owner, Renzo Rosso, has reiterated that he had no qualms about tapping the former Dior designer for the top job - even if Galliano himself needed some persuasion.

"All I was looking for was creativity and, for me, John is the only one. The best. That's why I wanted him," Rosso told The Business of Fashion. "He was surprised when I talked to him. He kept saying, 'Are you sure?' My answer was 'yes', because Margiela is a very particular company, one that a lot of brands take inspiration from. With Margiela gone, it needed a creative input of the very highest standard. John came to see the Margiela archive. He fell so much in love with it. From that night he kept saying to me, 'I never imagined I would design for another brand, but this is the brand for me.'

According to Rosso, and surprisingly for the rest of the world given Galliano's famous flamboyance, the anonymity that the brand is famous for fitted with the London-raised designer's new focus perfectly.

"What I find exciting about John is that he is still at the top of his creativity. He says, 'I am working just for a dream of beauty. I don't want to show my face, give interviews. I just want to create beauty!'," Rosso explained, also revealing Martin Margiela's own words of thanks at the headline appointment.

"He also said to me, 'Thank you for not bringing just another creative director to Margiela. You have brought a couturier.'"

Dolce & Gabbana Case Officially Closed

The last defendant in Dolce & Gabbana's lengthy tax-evasion case has been acquitted, meaning the investigation into the dealings of the fashion house, its namesake designers and additional members of staff is officially closed.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were cleared back in October 2014 of tax evasion when the highest court in Italy found the two designers - who at that point had spent nearly four years attempting to clear their names - not guilty, overturning two previous sentences at lower courts. Yesterday, Dolce's cousin Alfonso Dolce, who worked for the fashion house's Luxembourg-based holding company, Gado Srl (which it had been claimed was a fictitious entity created to avoid paying tax in Italy) was also exonerated of any claims made against him.

Dolce's lawyer, Massimo Dinoia, told WWD that the latest ruling meant the case "is definitely closed with an unquestionable verdict that does not admit uncertainties: there is no case to answer."

Alexander McQueen : The Movie

Last year we were given McQueen the play and next year we will be treated to McQueen the movie, with an original screenplay written by the award-winning playwright Chris Urch.

The biopic about the late fashion designer's life is being produced by Pathé - the company behind other real-life adaptations including Suffragette, Selma andMandela - and will be directed by Andrew Haigh, reports Deadline, who most recently worked on the Oscar-nominated 45 Years. Production is currently slated to start towards the end of the year.

While further details, including cast and plotline are yet to be confirmed, it is safe to say that there will be plenty of interest in the finished film. When theAlexander McQueen: Savage Beauty launched at the V&A last year, it was forced to extend its original run, release an additional 50,000 tickets, and opened early and closed late so to meet the huge public demand.

YSL Settles Ain't Laurent Lawsuit

Yves Saint Laurent has settled its lawsuit against parody T-shirt companyWhat About Yves. The French house took exception to the production of merchandise bearing the words "Ain't Laurent Without Yves" in reaction tocreative director Hedi Slimane's decision to rebrand the company without the founder's forename, asserting that the items were guilty of "trademark infringement, trademark dilution, false designation of origin, and unfair competition".

Jeanine Heller, the founder of What About Yves, has now removed the Ain't Laurent pieces from her website and The Fashion Law reports that court papers from the Southern District of New York reveal that the case was "voluntarily dismissed on January 12", but that there is "no word on what the monetary component of the settlement is".

Heller has had a busy year in litigation, after Chanel took issue with a double C-printed T-shirt that she was selling - a case that was also settled out of court.She currently still retails the double C print - along with parodies of the Dior, Hermès and LVMH logos - so it's unlikely that this is the last time we'll hear her name in connection with trademark-infringement accusations.

The settlement comes at a time when the fashion industry is debating the future of Yves Saint Laurent creative director Slimane, despite repeated assertions by the brand that he is going nowhere. The designer is said to have personally objected to the What About Yves pieces so strongly that he chose to withdraw the entire Saint Laurent collection from Parisian boutique Colette in 2013, simply because it also carried the parody sweaters.

Kering's Cinematic Collaboration

Kering is furthering its commitment to its Women in Motion initiative, which it launched last year, by collaborating with the Sundance Institute's Women at Sundance Fellowship Programme.

"Women make up 50.8 per cent of the US population and yet only 4.2 per cent of the 100 top-grossing films are made by female directors," Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering Group, told WWD. "However, each year for the past 13 years, 25 per cent of American directors at the Sundance Film Festival have been female. Empowering women to succeed and encouraging a more diverse film industry is essential when we consider the impact that films have on our ways of thinking and behaving."

The programme will pair six female filmmakers from Sundance Institute's programmes with industry leaders for a year-long, bespoke mentorship programme, which will include coaching, learning and network opportunities.

The collaboration and Pinault's comments come at a pertinent time for the film industry as the pay-gap debate and gender equality dominate the international headlines.

Student Wins Racial-Profiling Settlement

The student at the centre of the racial-profiling claims levelled at Barneys New York has been awarded $45,000 from the New York Police Department.

Trayon Christian - who was an engineering student at the New York City College of Technology at the time of the incident in April 2013 - filed a lawsuit against the department store and the city state department claiming that they detained him on suspicion of theft because he is black, reports the New York Daily News. He had, in fact, legitimately bought the item in question - a $349 Salvatore Ferragamo belt.

At the time, Jay Z ensured the incident hit international headlines by publically addressing the issue as he was involved in a collaboration with Barneys at the time. In August 2014 Barneys was ordered to pay $525,000 in fees and penalties for its part in the the racial profiling cases that were brought against it. The latest payout to Christian, nearly three years after the event, brings the case to a close.

Cara And Kendall's LFW Appearance

Cara Delevingne may not be seen on the catwalk during London Fashion Week next month, now that she is concentrating on her acting career, but she will be making an appearance - of sorts. The model-turned-actress has been immortalised, along with Kendall Jenner, by Madame Tussauds which has created waxworks of the pair for its special London Fashion Week Experience.

Delevingne is clearly pleased with the results, giving her seal of approval on Instagram and showing fans the first glimpse of her effigy which will be resplendent in a Saint Laurent dress.

The London museum also took to the social-media platform to inform fans of the project, posting a photograph of Jenner choosing the eyeballs that her own mannequin will have, revealing the lengths to which its goes to create a likeness as close to the real thing as possible.

The experience, entitled Fashion Week at Madame Tussauds, will be open in the run-up to LFW from February 9, giving visitors plenty of time to get up close to the girls.

The BFC / Vogue Designer Fashion Fund Shortlist Announced

The BFC/ Vogue Designer Fashion Fund shortlist for 2016 has been announced. Emilia Wickstead, Mother of Pearl, Osman, Prism and Sophia Webster will compete for the prize, which comprises a bespoke mentoring programme over a 12-month period and a £200,000 grant to help build the necessary infrastructure to progress the winner's business plan.

The final five were chosen for the potential they show in becoming a dominating presence on the international fashion landscape and were selected by Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman; BFC CEO Caroline Rush; Ian Lewis from Harrys of London Limited; Joan Burstein, founder of Browns; Lisa Armstrong from The Daily Telegraph; Mary Homer from Topshop; BFC ambassador Samantha Cameron; Sarah Manley from Burberry; Susanne Tide-Frater from Farfetch; and designer Victoria Beckham.

"This is an inspiring shortlist because of its diversity," said Shulman this morning. "It's a great representation of the spread of British fashion designers and all the contenders have huge strengths to their creative visions."

The prize, which is supported by British Vogue, Burberry, Harrods, Paul Smith and Topshop has been previously won by Mary Katrantzou, Erdem, Peter Pilotto and Christopher Kane. Following the announcement today, Harrods will unveil one of its world-famous windows dedicated to the five shortlisted designers, which will be on display for two weeks.

"These brands represent the best of London's fashion talent as well as showing impressive business acumen," said Rush. "These designers all have the potential to become Britain's next generation of global fashion brands."

The winner will be announced on Tuesday, March 22. Before then, don't miss the exclusive online video series, Designer Fashion Fund, which follows the application process, designer journeys and interviews with the judging panel.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Tamara Mellon Back In Business

As she promised back in December,Tamara Mellon has emerged from a 60-day period of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, putting her Tamara Mellon Brand (TMB) back on the fashion landscape.

The designer and businesswoman, who made her name at Jimmy Choo beforedeparting to establish her own empire, has secured new investors in venture firm New Enterprise Associates, which she said "allows us to transition our business model to focus on direct sales to customers via online platforms and company-operated stores," reports WWD.

The update comes as Mellon prevailed over her previous investors - David Ross, the Carphone Warehouse co-founder, former Tory trade minister Lord Marland, and Icap boss Michael Spencer. They had made a legal objection to her plans "to take control of her new fashion venture under bankruptcy protection laws", reports The Daily Telegraph, accusing her of "mismanagement and abuse" of the company and "excessive spending and erratic behaviour". A Delaware court, however, found in her favour, praising her "spirit and sacrifice" in order to keep her business alive.

Mellon, meanwhile has been quoted as saying her former investors have "no experience in luxury or fashion or creative industries" and "don't know a stiletto from a Cornetto".

"We look forward to implementing this revitalised approach, shortening the design and manufacturing process and further enhancing our mission to provide customers with the fashion they want to wear now," she said this weekend.

Karl´s Designer To Watch

Attracting the attention of LVMH by being shortlisted for the conglomerate's annual prize is every young designer's dream, but when Karl Lagerfeld himself became a private client of Nabil Nayal, it made the rest of us sit up and take notice.

"I met Karl during the LVMH prize and he was really fascinated by my bonded pleating methods and said he had not seen it before," Nayal told us. "I think he really appreciated the level of craftsmanship that goes into each and every one of my pieces. It was a very surreal experience; he studied the garment for a while and then exclaimed 'I love it, I love it, I love it,' then insisted that he buy it as a gift for Amanda Harlech; it was a really amazing moment for me, quite possibly the highlight of my career."

Syrian-born and British-based, Nayal first came to Vogue's attention as agraduate in 2008 when he scooped the Graduate Fashion Week womenswear award and secured a BFC scholarship to complete his MA, after which he was named as a finalist of the 2011 Fashion Fringe prize. His distinctive aesthetic, melding modern sportswear silhouettes with Elizabethan techniques, may seem incongruous, but Nayal believes that the more he understands about both the old and new elements of fashion design, the better his work becomes.

"I'm currently researching Elizabethan dress and sportswear finishing techniques at Manchester Metropolitan University," he said. "They have the most incredible technological equipment there, which has really pushed my skills to discover new ways of working with historical construction techniques. I am also taking historical classes at the School of Historical Dress in London. I have always been obsessed with the Elizabethan era and I became fascinated with 3D printing in the Rapid Prototyping department at the Royal College of Art back in 2009. I decided that I wanted to enrich my understanding of both early modern dress and future technologies to inform my practice."

Continual learning is a strong theme for the designer and, as well as Lagerfeld and his fellow LVMH judges, Nayal revealed that Burberry's Christopher Bailey was another industry figure from whom he gained a lot - despite the apparent incongruity between their styles.

"I learned an awful lot from Christopher," Nayal said. "He was always very hands-on in the studio and seemed to have an unbelievable amount of energy, and the capacity to multi-task like no one else. I can still see him running around the studio at Haymarket buzzing about something he'd just seen or an idea he just had. I lived in the research cupboard and delved through all of Burberry's archives and designed a range of jackets and dresses based on my research findings. Some of them even made it to store! I think the most important thing I learnt was adapting my designer handwriting to suit a different customer; it is important to be versatile."

Although he has already seen his pieces worn by stars including Rihanna, Florence Welch, Lady Gaga, Claudia Schiffer and Victoria Beckham, Nayal's ultimate woman is a little further out of reach.

"If she was still alive, Elizabeth I would have been the perfect person to wear Nabil Nayal," he smiled. "She was one of the first women in history to challenge social conventions and really push the boundaries. For me, once I have designed the collection and made it, it no longer belongs to me; it belongs to the moment in time when I conceived the idea of it. So when I see my clients wearing my pieces, it is fascinating to see how they interpret my designs in their own unique way."

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Could Next Top Model Return Without Tyra?

WHEN Tyra Banks announced theimminent demise of America's Next Top Model - the model-search reality show that she has helmed for 12 years - it seems that she hadn't considered the possibility that just because she was done with the show it might not mean that the show itself was finished. Now it looks as if the franchise may survive, moving from its original home on CW to VH1 - but will she jump back on board?

Producer Ken Mok - who has been behind the show since its incarnation - has orchestrated the move to the new network, Racked reports, and it's said that cutting Banks's salary may be a key reason for its survival.

"The CW cancelled America's Next Top Model even though it was their most downloaded show," a source tells New York Daily News. "But the speculation was that it's because Tyra's salary is so high. It's an expensive show to make because she gets a shitload of money."

Despite this, some are now saying that Banks may make a surprise comeback when the show arrives at its new home, following her departure from her new talk show - The FabLife alongside fellow model Chrissy Teigen - after just two months on air.

"She said it was time for ANTM to end but her show bombed and now it is getting picked up again," the source went on.

Whether or not any of her fellow judges - only one of whom, J Alexander, has been in the team since the launch - will return, also remains unconfirmed.

The Birkin Bag: Better Than Gold

When Carrie Bradshaw said in Sex and The City, "I like my money where I can see it, hanging in my closet," she was actually showing her shrewd business sense, as a recent study has found that one of fashion's most iconic bags, the Hermès Birkin, has proven to be a sounder investment that gold and stock-market shares since its creation.

Heralded as "the safest and least volatile investment market" by the study (which was conducted by online retail platform Baghunter), the Birkin bag has soundly increased in value by 500 per cent in the last 35 years, compared to other investments which regularly fluctuate.

"As a whole, the study findings show how stable the ultra-luxury industry has been over the past 35 years when compared to more traditional investment opportunities," Evelyn Fox, founder of Baghunter, told "In particular, the study displays how high-end, rare and sought-after luxury items such as Hermès Birkin handbags have never dropped in value, even during times of recession and economic difficulty."

"There is a difference between luxury and ultra-luxury," she continued. "While the luxury market suffers during worse economic times, the ultra-luxury market is impervious to economic factors that can affect other industries such as high-street retail and stock markets."

An excuse, if ever one was needed, to go forth and invest.

London's Big Names Sign Up To Consumer Shows

The British Fashion Council is to host consumer fashion shows for the public over London Fashion Weekend this February, which takes place immediately after the London Fashion Week ready-to-wear shows finish.

Emilia Wickstead, Temperley London, Holly Fulton and Mary Katrantzou are the houses that have been selected to showcase their autumn/winter 2016 collections on the runway, which will happen two to four times per day, reportsWWD, with each showing on a separate day. They follow in the footsteps of Christopher Raeburn, House of Holland, Issa and Peter Pilotto who took part in the four-day event in September.

The announcement comes at an interesting time for the industry as it looks to experiment with integrating the consumer more to capitalise on spending power. Earlier this month we reported that the CFDA had employed Boston Consulting Group and Alibaba to investigate various options to shake up the current fashion-show format and involve the customer more - the results of which are pending.

London Fashion Weekend is an obvious way for the BFC to explore the benefits of offering access to the public. Since it started, the ticketed event has offered attendees the chance to "explore the life of the fashion insider at this exclusive event, shop the best designer collections and speak to industry experts about their journey to the top", according to the organisers, and allows to BFC to draw a clear distinction between the official LFW which is a trade event.