Saturday, February 27, 2016

Karl´s Verdict On See-Now, Buy-Now

Karl Lagerfeld has spoken for the first time about the debate currently raging in the fashion industry about whether brands should switch to a see-now, buy-now format - where items would be shown on the catwalk just as they become available in stores - or whether to remain as things are - with brands showing new pieces around six months before they are available to buy. Unsurprisingly, Lagerfeld has strong opinions on the matter.

"It's a mess," he said backstage at Fendi, the Financial Times reports. "The reality is that you have to give people the time to make their choice, to order the clothes or handbags, and to produce them beautifully so that editors can photograph them. If not, that's the end of everything."

Lagerfeld isn't the only one who's rejecting the new in-season fashion-week model, many of the world's biggest luxury houses - including Dior, Chanel, Chloé, Isabel Marant, Balenciaga and Lanvin - have already opted out of the new system, with Kering CEO Francois-Henri Pinault asserting that the immediacy of see-now, buy-now "negates the dream of luxury".

"This way is chaos," Lagerfeld went on. "People who have 300 shops like Fendi can do it, but then you have to make it already six months before, show it to the editors and somebody will see it anyway. That's impossible. And people who have no retail shops, well, they don't know what to do."

Lagerfeld did reveal, however, that he already creates one collection per year that lands in the company's retail stores without being shown to buyers.

"The world is changing - not always for the best - but we have to follow the changes and the internet, but there is a way of doing it, you know? It's not just about talking bullshit," he said. "Chanel makes six collections per year, but I make already one - the capsule - that is not shown to the press, to nobody. The day it comes out is the day the stores get a document. Now I want to do something else - perhaps it's too early to talk about it - to make a special collection only for the internet. Fifteen things, you buy them and you get them immediately."

Next Top Model Seeks New Host

America´s Next Top Model  is coming back to television screens, it was confirmed today, just months after creator and executive producer Tyra Banks announced its demise after 22 seasons. The modelling reality show - which has never been hosted by anyone other than Banks, although other members of the judging panel have changed throughout the years - is now on the lookout for a new host ahead of its launch on a new channel, VH1.

"After creating an incredible, global brand, I am beyond excited to have the show reborn," Banks told Deadline. "I will continue as executive producer, but must turn my attention to new business endeavours, so I want to find a new host. I'm pumped to identify that person and bring back the show. Top Model fans, you demanded that the show come back, and VH1 answered the call. Get ready for a fierce-a-fied rebirth!"

Banks had another birth to celebrate recently - as she welcomed her first child, son York, via a surrogate - and as she turns her attention to developments both business and personal, thoughts turn to who could take up the hosting reins. The channel has asserted that the show will be "reinvented for a new generation", meaning that one of Banks's supermodel-era contemporaries is unlikely.

As one of the world's most in-demand models in the Nineties, Banks's shoes will not be easy to fill, but Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner would certainly fit the bill - and both have a the captive social-media audience that the show needs to thrive. Victoria's Secret Angels Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima - who stepped into Banks's role as two of the top, and now the longest-serving Angels, following her departure in 2005 - would both be big enough names to carry the show; and if secured as a double act would be even better.

Banks worked alongside fellow model Chrissy Teigen on The FabLife, the now-cancelled chat show, and the Sports Illustrated model has an accessibility that would work well on ANTM. British model Jourdan Dunn could be another good option since she has emulated Banks's career - crossing between high-end catwalk and editorial and more commercial projects with ease. She is also similarly outspoken, having shared her views on everything from racism in the industry to being dropped by Victoria's Secret, which no-holds-barred Banks is sure to admire - and has also earned her stripes as a presenter already, helming her own YouTube cookery show, Well Dunn.

Gucci's Surprising Hire

The autumn/winter 2016 Gucci show in Milan yesterday witnessed something of a creative coup for the label's creative directorAlesssandro Michele. Alongside the "bourgeois Renaissance"-inspired clothes, came bags that were made in collaboration with the graffiti artist GucciGhost (real name Trevor Andrew), who Michele brought on board as an official member of the Gucci design team after seeing his unsolicited interpretation of the double G logo on the street.

"I saw the way Trevor was using the symbol of the company and I thought it was quite genius," Michele told WWD. "It's completely different than the idea of copying. It's the idea that you try to take to the street, through language like graffiti, the symbols of the company."

Michele's inclusive, laissez-faire attitude once again sets him apart from his contemporaries, many of whom would have no hesitation in pursuing a trademark infringement case resulting in lengthy court costs and unwelcome press. The designer revealed that he also had no trouble getting his bosses on board with the idea, going so far as to say that CEO Marco Bizzarri "was quite in love" with the idea. For his part, Andrew says that although he felt "a little intimidated" by the process, it gave him "validation for my craziness".

"Alessandro takes risks, I take risks. He really gave me the freedom to create and be comfortable," enthused Andrew who designed the dripping prints that feature throughout the collection from his own studio set up by Gucci. "I just had music on, and was painting bags and painting jackets and painting material and drawing stuff and making my own mock-ups of prints and giving them my whole - just giving them a whole bunch of ideas."

Cavalli Settles Two Cases Out Of Court

Roberto Cavalli has brought two high-profile lawsuits to a close, settling them both out of court, according to reports this morning.

The first case refers to the trademark-infringement suit that the MTO Shahmaghsoudi School filed against the fashion house for allegedly copying its sacred emblem for Just Cavalli's Just Gold fragrance campaign. After filing the lawsuit, which stated that the apparent use of the emblem on promotional material showing it tattooed onto semi-clothed models was "completely opposing the MTO's beliefs and goodwill symbolised by the sacred emblem", reports The Fashion Law.

The second case was brought by a group of Northern California-based graffiti artists known as Revok, Reyes and Steel, who claimed that the Just Cavalli label had infringed their copyrights by copying a piece of work they did in San Francisco's Mission district in a clothing and accessories collection. They also stated that the brand had added further insult by adding "what appears to be a signature, creating the false impression that Roberto Cavalli himself was the artist."

Roberto Cavalli strenuously denied any wrongdoing throughout both cases. According to court papers, Revok, Reyes, and Steel and the MTO Shahmaghsoudi School both filed to voluntarily dismiss their cases, although specific details were not disclosed.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Paris Fashion Week Says No To New Shows Model

The governing body of Paris Fashion Week - the Fédération Française de la Couture du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode - has announced that it intends to stand by the current system of showing collections six months in advance of them being available to purchase. The announcement directly opposes the recent moves made by brands including Burberry, Tom Ford, and Tommy Hilfiger which have revealed that they plan to show "in season" and make their collections available immediately.

The Federation is said to have consulted its governing body to explore the idea off the back of the CFDA hiring Boston Consulting Group to investigate the potential of consumer-facing shows at New York Fashion Week, reportsWWD. "There is not one person who said it was a problem," said federation president Ralph Toledano of the current system. "Our clientele is educated and informed on how the system works."

Toledano cited multiple reasons for the decision, including: the designer's process ("You cannot ask them to finish the collection and freeze it to show in four months' time"); the trouble of buyers and press viewing collections under embargo and images leaking ("Instead of us controlling our image, our image would be in the hands of pirates"); the complicated supply chain ("It takes several weeks to produce fabrics. It takes some weeks to sew and embellish the garments"); the importance of delayed gratification in the luxury arena ("Desire and dreams are part of the buying process"); and the fact that the French fashion industry is thriving as it is.

Currently, the brands that have agreed to maintain showing spring/summer in October and autumn/winter in March are Dior, Chanel, Chloé, Hermes, Nina Ricci, Agnes B, Issey Miyake, Isabel Marant, Balenciaga, Lanvin, Sonia Rykiel, Dries Van Noten, Leonard, Paul Smith, Maison Margiela and Kenzo.

Toledano did, however, acknowledge that for smaller "lifestyle" and "marketing-driven" brands for whom product is not the sole focus, consumer-facing, in-season shows are a useful promotional tool, although asserted that these aren't brands that show on the PFW schedule anyway, due to its strict selection process which centres on "creativity, craftsmanship and innovation", according to WWD.

Instead, Toledano blamed the current elongated sale periods, calling them "detrimental" to the seasonal supply chain, and revealed the board's intention to curtail the lengthy pre-collections season to a week at most, to reduce the impact it has (as well as the attention it deflects) from the ready-to-wear shows.

Will California Follow French Model-Health Law?

Models who try to gain work in the state of California will have to obtain a health certificate from their doctor, if new legislation is passed. The law, proposed by California state assembly member Marc Levine, aims to fight eating disorders among fashion models in a similar way to laws recently passed in France.

The bill decrees that California's Department of Public Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board must "adopt rules for the health of fashion models that would include periodic health check-ups, nutrition consultations and medical testing", The Fashion Law reports - but it's not clear how an individual's health will determined, or whether BMI measurements will be used, as in France. It would also - similarly to the French bill - carry penalties for any companies flouting the rules by hiring models who have not been certified fit to work by a health professional.

"The evidence of eating disorders in the modelling industry is alarming," Levine said, while former model-turned-advocate Nikki DuBose supported the legislation with a statement, asserting: "As a former fashion model and an eating-disorder survivor, I know that this legislation is critically needed."

Only France and Israel currently have legal requirements for model health, while other countries - including Italy and Spain - operate a system of self-regulation from within the industry.

Milan Fashion Week Begins

Milan Fashion Week the penultimate destination on the autumn/winter 2017 shows circuit, starts today with all eyes on Gucci this afternoon as Alessandro Michele unveils his third ready-to-wear collection for the house, no doubt buoyed by last week's announcement that profits are up since his arrival.

This season the showcase - which will be officially opened for the first time with a lunch thrown by the country's prime minister, Matteo Renzi - sees the city's major fashion houses, Versace, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino andGiorgio Armani included, take centre stage alongside up-and-coming names including Stella Jean; Marco De Vincenzo; Fausto Puglisi; and MGSM and Pucci creative director, Massimo Giorgetti.

On Monday evening, the last day of shows before the action moves on to Paris, a special mention will go to sustainable fashion with a cocktail party aiming to raise awareness of the ethical and environmental impact the industry has and ways to make a conscious effort to improve.

The Fashion Guide To Instagram

As head of fashion partnerships at Instagram, Eva Chen knows better than most the value that a great account can bring to a brand. Her own trajectory to her coveted current post has set her up perfectly to bring this new social-media way of storytelling to the masses. As the former editor of American fashion magazine Lucky, she is used to working with images and words to create a mood and lifestyle that people want to buy into and, most importantly, making it accessible.

"The thing about Instagram and fashion is that is has absolutely taken down the sense of the velvet rope and has pulled the curtain aside on the entire experience that used to be for a select 100 people in the world. Now it is there for millions of people to consume," she explained to us over tea during LFW. "I know how I shop and how I am inspired to buy things, and the majority of it is from Instagram. I look at people like Yasmin Sewell and Leandra Medine from the Man Repeller, as well as the countless models that have really cool street style for inspiration all the time."

"If you had asked me growing up what a stylist does, or what a magazine editor does, I would have had no clue - how do you research something like that when you are a first-born child of an immigrant who only grew up knowing doctor, engineer and lawyer as careers?" she said. "If you think of all the young people out there who can now see what Sarah Harris or Pat McGrath or Charlotte Tilbury or a PR does, I see it as a means of fashion research."

Research, yes, but also conversation. Chen is a keen advocate of engaging with followers and sees it as a useful tool - or an "in-house focus group" as she puts it - that fashion designers can use effectively as the industry embarks on a mass shake-up with the harnessing of social-media statistics and consumer satisfaction taking top priority.

"There are different ways to show and tell through Instagram," she explained. "What's right for one designer will be very different for another designer and everyone's going to be figuring things out, but it's a great opportunity to use it for feedback. For these brands to ask their millions of followers what they think, I believe that's the new frontier of Instagram. It sounds basic, but it's literally as simple as asking a question."

Fashions Surprising New Star

Millie Mackintosh may make tabloid headlines for her reality-television history or relationship status, but behind the scenes the reserved society girl is quietly building a fashion empire to be reckoned with. It may surprise many to learn that her eponymous brand is the biggest selling on ASOS after the company's own label - outselling serious fashion houses and high-street behemoths alike.

"Millie Mackintosh has been a great success story," Jo Hunt, ASOS head of womenswear brands buying, told us. "The collection is only in its third season at ASOS and it has already grown significantly within that time frame. With drops every six to eight weeks and an accessible price point, the collection has really captured our twenty-something customer. Millie shoots the product herself, which further adds to the attraction of this collection with our customer."

Comparisons to American fashion favourite Olivia Palermo would not be unfair: both have reality television to thank for their fame, although both seem keen to leave that reputation behind; both boast an elevated girl-next-door beauty, all honey limbs, glossy hair and sweet smile; both possess a certain froideur that, when teamed with their slim figure and pretty face, make them perfect brand ambassadors - a blank canvas on which labels can project as they wish. But a more accurate comparison would be with Jessica Simpson. Perhaps not similar in look or personality to the understated and relatively reserved Mackintosh, self-made billionaire Simpson is certainly the one whose path she is following in terms of under-the-radar fashion power. Harnessing the social-media sway that she has, proven by her ability to sell products for other brands, Mackintosh has an ability to directly impact sales of her own collection in a way that other designers cannot - as one London-based name, who would prefer to remain anonymous, attests.

"Celebrity endorsement has been key to launching our brand," the designer - who has also dressed stars including Kendall Jenner, Cara Delevingne, Poppy Delevingne, Olivia Palermo, Rita Ora and more - told us. "Millie was one of the first girls to wear our pieces and the sell-through that she generated was astonishing, it was incomparable. Her fans are dedicated to emulating her style and following her fashion advice."

Her Instagram feed oscillates between serious beauty selfies, food pictures, gymstagrams (a favourite of the Daily Mail) and pictures promoting her own collection. So far, so easy, you might think. Mackintosh is pretty, privileged and can catapult a poorly performing style to a best-seller with just one Instagram post - but the entrepreneur has no intention of resting on her laurels.

"I have been very fortunate with the opportunities that have come my way, but I don't take it for granted," Mackintosh told us, nodding earnestly. "I would be naive to think that just because I wear the collection and get pictured in it from time to time that this would solely carry my business. Personalities and influencers are extremely important for 'get-the-look' type pieces and celebrity galleries, as well as social-media traction. Every person has a different reach, whether it be demographic, territory or industry. When someone I admire makes a conscious choice to wear something that I have created, it's super flattering and a real achievement. Seeing someone who has bought from the collection and added their own little twist and style, for me, is the best feeling."

Labels collaborating with celebrities is nothing new - everyone from Kate Moss to Gigi Hadid and David Beckham has lent their name to one - but Mackintosh's collections differ in key ways. Firstly, they are independently produced by Mackintosh and her team, then sold via her website and ASOS - a more challenging proposition than solely using an older label's existing supply chain, but with a greater possibility of control. Secondly, the clothes are designed by Mackintosh from scratch and are not an adapted edit chosen from a particular store's archive - in the way that, say, Alexa Chung's new collection for Marks & Spencer is. Mackintosh is involved in the collection from conception to completion.

"It's incredibly important to me that I am involved in every aspect of the collection," she told us. "Moodboards are my foundation and starting point for each season and I've become a little obsessed with Pinterest. It's a great source for inspiration and I can check in on it on my phone when I'm running around. After moodboards have been streamlined, the design of each piece is then sketched out. Usually there would be three or four different variation sketches for each piece, to ensure that proportions work and we are creating something that is not only fashionable, but wearable. Once designs are approved we then move forward with selecting fabrics and edit down to the final collection pieces, which are then transformed into samples. There are times when samples are not quite what we envisioned, so we try to re-work them when fitting to a model. Sometimes things just don't work and I would rather drop the option than produce something that isn't going to be the best that it can be."

Clearly a perfectionist, Mackintosh's process seems no different to designers such as Victoria Beckham who fit and improve each sample personally, without ever pretending to be the one sketching or cutting. But although aspects of the design process see her turn to her production team for advice on their areas of expertise, one place that she loves to be fully involved is when the sales process begins.

"Once samples are signed off we then reach out to buyers and our already partnering stockists to gauge what pieces work for them, their audience and gauge feedback on anything that may need tweaking," she explained. "I find buying meetings a very exciting environment, although having industry eyes critiquing your designs is nerve wracking, there is an element that is totally electrifying. With the backend completed we then enter the world of shooting all looks ready for e-commerce, PR and sales; which I really enjoy. Product push-out tends to be every four weeks online, so we have continual releases, maintain market presence and traction all year round."

Mackintosh's thrill at seeing her collection worn on the street of course extends to celebrity fans as well, and like every brand she has a wish list of stars who she would love to see sporting her pieces. Coincidentally, or perhaps appropriately, her top three targets all have fashion lines of their own.

"Gigi Hadid has got such a great body and look, I'd love to see her wearing the collection," she confessed of the Vogue cover girl who recently lent her name to a Tommy Hilfiger collection. "My big style crushes are Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Olivia Palermo. They all have such great style and are free in their individuality, and mix in the boho look that I really love. Mostly, I design for my friends, my sister, sometimes my mum, the girl next door; for the girl I used to be and the woman I want to be. I want my designs to be accessible and inviting for anyone and everyone. I like to have a real mix, my personal style changes day to day, which is a definite reflection of what I create and that's why I wear every piece. Variation is luxury, because we can be something different every day if we choose. Isn't that what fashion is about?"

Celebrating Joan Burstein

In the midst of London Fashion Week merriment, another very special celebration happened in London on Sunday night - the 90th birthday of the one and only Joan Burstein, affectionately known as Mrs B. With the ballroom at Claridge's filled to the rafters in recognition of the indomitable founder of Browns, it was an exuberant celebration of a woman to whom the fashion world owes endless praise and gratitude.

"There were 192 people there, and I would have liked more but Claridge's kept warning me, 'Mrs B, you can't! The Ballroom will only fit so many people!'" she told us of the guest list from her room at the Mayfair hotel, currently surrounded by "a garden of flowers" sent by absentee Karl Lagerfeld who is busy beavering away on his Fendi and Chanel collections to be shown imminently in Milan and Paris. "Claridge's tell me they have never seen anything like it!" she gently exclaimed, revealing that she was wearing one of her own vintage Chloé by Karl dresses on the special night.

Attended by friends and family, as well as colleagues and employees past and present, including her new Farfetch "family" as she refers to them ( she sold Browns to the e-commerce platform last year although remains honorary chairman), the evening gave her the opportunity to reflect on the many highlights of her career with protégeés Alber Elbaz, Manolo Blahnik and John Galliano all in attendance.

"Discovering John was a wonderful highlight and watching him living with this despair over the last few years, I was delighted that he was there," she reflected. "And Alber, he is someone who doesn't know where he's going now but I wanted him to know that we love him and support him. Some people wouldn't have made it, and would have preferred to stay at home out of the spotlight, but not him."

For a woman that has remained in the shadows of the spotlight - preferring to champion talent by buying and selling collections and acting as surely the chicest now-nonagenarian networker in the world - the turnout was testament to the high esteem in which she continues to be held. In attendance also was her immediate and extended family, who are not only heirs to her fashion dynasty but also one of the most coveted wardrobes in the world, although she admits to being "a bit naughty" when it comes to keeping her treasured fashion items. "I don't really give things away," she disclosed, "only one or two here and there, but that's good because when you give sparingly it remains precious."

"I just want to learn more and keep learning about other things that I let go while being a part of the business," she explained. "I want to go to more galleries and study the history of art. I have got all of my faculties and it's time that I used them and learnt about other things apart from clothes and politics."

It sounds like a wonderful way to spend her days, as well enjoying time with her loved ones. "I have not got many - as one doesn't make many - but I have wonderful friends. I am truly so lucky." As are they, Mrs B, as are they.

Kering Rejects See Now, Buy Now Shows

Fans of Gucci will continue to have to wait six months or more to buy pieces they love on the catwalk, as the brand rejects the new see now-buy now fashion calendar. Francois-Henri Pinault - CEO of French luxury conglomerate Kering, which controls Gucci and a raft of other top-tier fashion houses - feels that the new concept, advocated by brands including Burberry and former Gucci designer Tom Ford, "negates the dream" of luxury and that waiting for the pieces "creates desire" for his labels.

"There are some brands for which a runway show is a communications event," Pinault - whose company also controls Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen among others - told Bloomberg. "Burberry has doubtless decided what suits it best. What we will decide will be what suits our brands and our vision of luxury."

There is also the small matter of how well Kering, and Gucci in particular, iscurrently performing. The company, enjoying its second season under creative director Alessandro Michele after a less illustrious recent past, sold through so successfully last season that it elected not to implement any end-of-season markdowns at all, meaning that Pinault may be perfectly safe in thinking that what isn't broken doesn't need to be fixed.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Meet The New Victoria's Secret Angel

Victoria´s Secret has announced this evening that Josephine Skriveris the lingerie label's newest Angel, taking the total count to 16. "It's has happened!! I'm literally living my dream right now!" the model said tonight as the news was revealed. 

The model, who has been in the fold without wings since 2013, joins seasoned Angels Lily Aldridge, Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Behati Prinsloo and Candice Swanepoel, as well as the ten that were named last April; Kate Grigorieva, Stella Maxwell, Martha Hunt, Taylor Hill, Jasmine Tookes, Jac Jagaciak, Romee Strijd, Lais Ribeiro, Elsa Hosk and Sara Sampaio.

Skriver began her modelling career as a baby when she appeared on packs of Pampers in her native Denmark, although was officially discovered aged 15. Since joining the VS line-up aged 20, she has featured prominently, not only in the shows, but also in the label's Swim Special last year, taking to the cover of its lookbook just this week for which she expressed her joy on her Instagram account.

She auditioned twice before she secured her first Victoria's Secret appearance in 2013, and has made no secret of her desire to become an Angel. The model has also gained a following for her work as a LGBTQ campaigner, and candid discussion of what it was like to grow up as a "rainbow baby" with two gay parents.

Michele´s Gucci Coup

How do you reinvent a superbrand? Hire Alessandro Michele, if Gucci's latest financial results are anything to go by. The Italian house saw a better-than-expected five per cent rise in sales for the final three months of 2015. The dramatic improvement saw revenue in the last quarter reach 1.1 billion euros, 4.8 per cent higher than the same quarter of 2014. Analysts had predicated an increase of 1.5 per cent.

The financial coup comes after a remarkable period of reinvention at the hands of Michele. Gucci, always the jewel in the Kering crown, accounting for 60 per cent of the conglomerate's total income, had been stagnating both commercially and creatively in recent years. When Michele, the inside man who had quietly worked away behind the scenes at Gucci for 12 years, was unexpectedly made creative director of the house in January 2015, he was staring down the barrel of declining sales and an increasingly irrelevant aesthetic. Despite the pressure, his first womenswear show, for autumn/winter 2015, was rapturously received by the fashion press and buyers - but the odd dissenter whispered that favourable reviews are no guarantee of commercial success. Michele, who won International Fashion Designer of the Year in December, at the British Fashion Awards, looks to have silenced them.

"Gucci has come in with a significant number of new designs that are starting to then heads," luxury analysts at Exane BNP Paribas said, in a statement that concluded that the figures "show that Gucci's management is both expedient and on the right track." The results are all the more remarkable given the slump in almost every region, and especially in the Chinese market - a core growth area.

Gucci has a topsy turvy history. After nearly going bankrupt in the Nineties, Tom Ford chivvied (and shaved - remember that infamous pubic hair logo ad?) it towards megabrand status with sales of over $3 billion and a high-octane, sex-fuelled image to match. When he left ten years later in 2004, it took two years for Frida Giannini to begin replicating his formula for blatant glamour. Giannini proved equally savvy when it came to branding, bringing back the house's signature Flora print on a line of bags in 2005, and successfully updating the Jackie bag in 2008, but providing little else in terms of a creative voice.

Still, the sex sold. Gucci consistently scores in the top three in brand recognition surveys when customers are asked which luxury brands they'd like to buy, according to Exane BNP Paribas. In Forbes' list of the 100 most valuable brands, Gucci is the second-highest luxury house, second only to Louis Vuitton.

But then things changed. After years of steady growth, quarterly sales had begun to slow in 2013, as Giannini's repertoire wore thin. By December 2014, after three quarters of declining sales, Giannini and her husband, Gucci's CEO Patrizio di Marco, were replaced with Michele.

Michele's changes were as dramatic as they were rapturously received. Gone was the jet-black runway, in favour of blood red, with plush pink cushioned seats forhis debut show, autumn/winter 2015. Gone, too, was the blood-red-lipped, metallic-sheened night crawler that had previously epitomised the Gucci girl. In its place? A romantic vision of an Italianate aristocrat, furnished with the finest vintage pieces executed in the highest quality. He brought back the double G logo, put a huge focus back on desirable accessories, and made the brand a season-defining voice in less than one year.

Last summer he began rolling out his new store concept, although it will take a while to implement - Gucci has 500 stores worldwide, many of which only just received the Giannini update. Instead of nightclub-black lacquered shopfits, Michele's vision is of mustard and lavender velvet sofas, clothes hung on gold rails against pale walls and handbags fanned out in a slightly haphazard fashion on marble-topped antique tables. It's sparser that one might imagine to look at the gorgeous chaos that defines his clothing aesthetic - but as Michele says, "the product is the decoration".

Results were immediate, albeit soft. In the second quarter of 2015, sales beat expectations to rise by 4.6 per cent. Analysts pointed to the support of end-of-season sales, especially those in China - the remnants of Giannini's Gucci. More pressure was piled on when Gucci's CEO, Marco Bizzarri, announced it would not be discounting Michele's first two collections. "The full-price sell-through is super high, so even if I put them on sale now, the impact on sales would be tiny," Bizzarri said at the time. The Italian will be pleased he stuck to his guns. As he moves towards the final week before the unveiling of his autumn/winter 2016 show, Michele's Midas touch looks to be a lingering one.

London Fashion Week Starts

Today will see Charlotte Olympia host its first London Fashion Week catwalk show, followed by the Central Saint Martins MA show that always gets the audience buzzing with excitement as it witnesses the talent of the future; the weekend will see Johnny Coca make his debut on the catwalk for Mulberry (showing previously un-publicised looks from his pre collection for the brand) and the return of Alexander McQueen to the hometown of its eponymous founder for one season only; while all eyes will be on Burberry come Monday to see how it handles its last fashion show in the traditional format.

With New York Fashion Week finally wrapped, attention turns to London as the autumn/winter 2016 shows roll into town, bringing with it some major moments to note.

Noticeable absentees that became highlights of the schedule over the last decade - Jonathan Saunders, Richard Nicoll, Meadham Kirchhoff, Matthew Williamson, Giles among them - will be missed, but rising stars including Sadie Williams, Clare Barrow, Ryan Lo and Ashley Williams will provide the new blood to keep the fashion appetite satisfied.

For many brands it will be the last time that the February showcase will play host to the traditional autumn/winter reveal. Following Burberry's announcement that as of September it will show "in season", bets are on that many other brands will announce similar intentions in the coming months. But, for now, let's enjoy autumn in spring - on with the shows. 

Uniqlo X Liberty First Look

Uniqlo has attracted some impressive collaborators of late - Lemaire, Carine Roitfeld, Ines de la Fressange among them - and its latest union with Liberty looks set to be just as popular. The 30-piece collection - including womenswear, menswear and childrenswear - lands in stores next month in all its floral glory.

We have selected highly popular, vibrant floral patterns from among the Liberty prints, adored throughout the world by people across generations and culturesYukihiro Katsuta, head of research and design at Uniqlo

"We have selected highly popular, vibrant floral patterns from among the Liberty prints, adored throughout the world by people across generations and cultures, and brought them together with Uniqlo's cutting-edge sensibilities to be reborn as LifeWear," explained Yukihiro Katsuta, head of research and design at Uniqlo. "For Uniqlo, which opened its first overseas store in London in 2001, working with the beloved British brand Liberty London with its more than 140 years of history has been an aspiration."

For Liberty, the collaboration comes as it celebrates its 140th anniversary and, given Uniqlo's reputation for innovation when it comes to fabrication, it made perfect sense to team up given its own roots in world-renowned textiles.

"When Ed Burstell (Liberty's managing director) and I brainstormed our ideal partners, we quickly realised Uniqlo's technology and consistent quality would be ideal," said Scott Tepper, fashion buying and merchandising director, who enlisted Nick Knight to shoot the accompanying campaign and Charlotte Stockdale to style it. "The combination of Liberty's iconic prints and Uniqlo's manufacturing power have enabled us to realise our dream; Liberty printed down jackets for all."

The collection will be available as of Friday March 18 to coincide with the reopening of Uniqlo's global flagship on 311 Oxford St, W1, as well as at Liberty London.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Spring / Summer ´16 Trends - The Future Is Orange

Orange may not be the only fruit, but as a bold and fearless colour it is the only accessory you need. Thanks to Pantone´s new colour chart, this tangerine tone is now one of the brightest aspects for any seasonal fashion lover’s wardrobe.

With the eminently awaited spring season just around the corner, thoughts turn to ´days getting longer and colours stronger´ with their warm breezes and high levels of energy that precede winter. Heavy, fixed fabrics make way for lightweight textiles and flowing silhouettes which help to add a new seasonal liveliness to any wardrobe.

Industry gods and creators of colour, Pantone, have added over 210 new shades to their official charts this month, which feature many key looks in orange. Once avoided for its conflicting co-ordination, this strong colour is not always the easiest to pull off. It requires a fair amount of confidence, a hint of inspiration and plenty of attitude. For 2016, this hue has now been given price of place by the colour trending council which showcased to the world energetic shades such as Aura Orange, Mango Mojito and Dragon Fire which aim to turn the red carpet into a citrus heaven.
“There is certain exoticness with orange and many other cultures are now embracing the shades of orange, we are so much more attuned to other cultures that embrace colour”- Leatrice Eiseman (Executive Director Pantone Colour Institute)

From tantalising tangerine to trendy terracotta and punchy pumpkin, one of the biggest spring 2016 colour trends puts this tincture centre stage. Cumin flared oranges at Celine and Bottega Veneta sit beside the famous classic-orange offerings of Hermes in their trademark colour. Louis Vuitton´s Seafolly beachwear and Christian Dior´s outwear also join this trend with their re-take on Halloween´s hallowed pumpkin. Even on the high street, there’s tones-a-plenty from leaders such as Cos, Topshop and Whistles highlighting that people are wearing the colour off the catwalks (with a recent search on Asos bringing up nearly 1,200 orange items.)

Bright yellow also makes an anything but low-key appearance in this citrus celebration with inches of style files suggesting that the best pairing for this key colour is an equally vivid lemony one when the idea is to accent a clean and minimal silhouette which is in swing with so many fashion houses.

So far, international fashion trends and a love affair with the 70´s (thanks to Gucci and Moschino´s latest collections) have made these warm, comforting hues that were once the family favourite for suburban interiors, ignite the fashion industry from catwalk to side walk. Whatever your view on this latest trend, one thing´s for sure; the future´s bright, the future´s orange.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Gigi's International Vogue Takeover

Gigi Hadid racked up her ninth and tenth Voguecovers this month (and, strictly speaking, her eleventh, sinceVogue Paris released two simultaneous covers for that issue), a feat that marks her out as the model of the moment, and probably of years to come. 

She first fronted an international edition exactly a year ago when Teen Vogueenlisted her to grace two covers for its March 2015 issue. Vogue Spain, Australia, and Brazil followed by July 2015, and in November she added VogueNetherlands and Vogue Italia to her tally.

But it is this year that has really seen her cement her status as the model name to know as she added two of the world's most famous and well established editions to her CV: British Vogue in January, and Vogue Paris (that double cover, including one sans vêtements) in March. A Vogue China cover, also in March, takes her number of cover appearances to 11 in one year.

She still has some distance to cover before she'll come near the world's most prolific Vogue cover girl: Kate Moss, who has more than 60 to her name, but 11 inside a year is certainly a good place to start. But will she beat her best friend and model contemporary Kendall Jenner (who has appeared on eight covers internationally) to that first American Vogue cover? Only time will tell.

Is Stella Menswear On The Way?

Having cornered the womenswear market, Stella McCartney has set her sights on the world of menswear according to reports this morning. The London-based designer is said to be launching her first menswear collection for the spring/summer

It wouldn't be McCartney's first brush with menswear - the designer cut her teeth on Savile Row in the early days of her career working for Edward Sexton before she was appointed creative director at Chloé in 1997. The only additional category that she has introduced to her eponymous womenswear brand, which she founded in 2001 and is owned by Kering, has been childrenswear in 2010.

Is NYFW Breaking Underage Model Law?

Eagle-Eyed fashion watchers may assume that certain New York brands have broken the law by sending underage models down their catwalks so far this season, but all is not as it seems. When 14-year-old Mason Grammer (daughter of Camille and Kelsey Grammer) walked in the Malan Breton show last week, eyebrows may have been raised in light of the advent of the recent federal law protecting "child" models- but as long as the brands in question follow certain guidelines, models under 18 are still allowed to walk.

The brand must: possess a certificate of eligibility to employ "child performers" issued by the New York State Department of Labour, The Fashion Law reports; submit a notice of its intention to use child performers; ensure those employed have valid work permits; adhere to the restricted working hours - including breaks after four hours of work; and keep evidence that the underage models' pay is entered into their trust funds as stipulated by the law.

If these points are obeyed, models under 18 can take to the catwalk without concern - but, crucially, if any of these points are not met, the brands could be subject to significant fines: $1,000 for the first violation, $2,000 for the second and $3,000 for the third, and every one thereafter.

Sports Illustrated Embraces Different Body Shapes

Ashley Graham has spoken about her delight at being chosen as the first plus-size model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. The model graces one of a trio of covers - with Hailey Clauson and UFC fighter Ronda Rouseyappearing on the other two - which marks the first time that three different body shapes have been represented on the cover.

"I see my cover and I wanted to drop to my knees but this dress would've ripped and I have Spanx on underneath this," Graham, whose reaction on stage as the cover was unveiled made the audience laugh, told People. "I thought Sports Illustrated was taking a risk by putting a girl my size in the pages, but putting me on the cover? They aren't just breaking barriers; they are the standard now. This is beyond epic."

In 2014, the magazine chose three cover girls - Chrissy Teigen, Lily Aldridge and Nina Agdal - but they all appeared on one cover together and all conform to the usual body shape that has been seen in Sports Illustrated through the years.

'It's a real honour being part of such a historic issue that really pays homage to different body types of women and not promoting just one cookie cutter image for every woman, but showing that the healthiest version of every body type is the sexiest version out there," Rousey added. "And I couldn't be happier... I think I was just as honoured to get it as to be there in person to watch Ashley's reaction!"

Victoria´s Secret CEO Quits Suddenly

Sharen Jester Turney has stepped down as CEO of Victoria's Secret after a decade at the helm. Turney, who is the second high-profile female executive to step down in as many months following the departure of Maureen Chiquet from Chanel, will hand over the reins of the lingerie company to Les Wexner - the CEO of L Brands Inc, which controls Victoria's Secret - while remaining an advisor in the meantime.

While it's said that the decision is for personal reasons, with Turney choosing to "prioritise my family and my personal life and consider what's next for me professionally", the move raises questions for the brand, which was an entirely different proposition when Turney took over in 2006. Turney was seen as the likely successor to Wexner, who is now 79, The Fashion Law reports, especially since she has successfully grown Victoria's Secret to a global powerhouse which raises around 60 per cent of L Brands's revenue single-handedly - with sales up 70 per cent in her tenure.

"We have strong confidence in the strength of the brand and our growth opportunities," Wexner said in a statement, "and I look forward to taking on a more active role and working with the talented leadership team at Victoria's Secret."

Distinction - 100 Years Of Fashion Photography

Distinction - A Century Of Fashion Photography is a temporary exhibition which is currently on display at the Museu del Disseny de Barcelona until March 2016. The retrospective photography collection comprises a total of 464 images of different sizes produced by 38 photographers from 1903 to 2013.

Fashion photography was the main means used to promote fashion in the twentieth century, and can be regarded as just another element in the fashion system. These images are generally commissioned for publication in fashion magazines or for use in media campaigns by fashion brands, designers and companies.
Fashion photography was the main means used to promote fashion in the twentieth century and can be regarded as just another element in the fashion system - Juan Naranjo
The show will comprise seven sections or areas, each featuring a selection of photographs to illustrate the evolution and changing ways of understanding fashion photography. Distinction will include images by 38 photographers whose works are represented in the collection.

Photography And Fashion Before The Advent Of Fashion Photography

Pere Casas Abarca was one of the few Modernista creative figures who experimented with photography in the field of advertising, taking as his starting point the new model woman who dressed in the new style of her times and adopted modern ways. He did not take photographs with a view to promoting fashion but he did advocate the future approaches adopted by fashion photography, in which the atmosphere and the lifestyle shown went beyond the mere description of the clothing. His images are in keeping with the fashion photographs taken by Gustav Klimt and Mariano Fortuny, which can be regarded as the origin of modern fashion photography.

New Vision

The consolidation of haute couture in the 1930s coincided with the renewal of the visual language employed by magazines such as D'Ací i D'Allà, Tricornio, Las cuatro estaciones, Imatges and Ford, the media outlets that raised awareness of modern life and which were chosen by companies such as Santa Eulalia, El Dique Flotante, Badía and La Innovación to publicise their creations.

The first generation of Spanish fashion photographers emerged during this period, all of them young, among them Josep Sala, Ramón Batlles, Compal, Samuel Suñé and Antoni Ollé Pinell, who used the aesthetic devices of the New Vision, such as off-centre positioning in relation to the axis of symmetry, fragmentation and unusual viewpoints. Their photographs were used to illustrate articles as well as advertising by haute couturiers in these magazines that spread modernity in Spain.

Interiors And Exteriors

The pages of Alta Costura (Barcelona 1943-1969), the first major fashion publication that showcased fashion photography in Spain, give us insights into the feminine ideals that were used to seduce women during the long post-war period.

In the 1940s, the image presented was that of a seductive and mysterious woman with character who called to mind the great leading ladies of film. Photographers used the aesthetic employed by renowned Hollywood portrait photographers, interiors and lighting to create an intense and dramatic atmosphere that enhanced the beauty and sensuality of their subjects and gave them an air of mystery, unlike ordinary models.

During the late 1940s and the 1950s, celebrated fashion editors and photographers used urban outdoor settings to launch the image of a more earthly, modern, refined and active woman based on the New Look proposed by Christian Dior.


In the 1960s, a series of artistic, countercultural and urban subgroups emerged, among them Pop art, the Mods and hippies, movements that were organised by young people. Their opposition to war and racial, social and gender discrimination shaped the debates of the time and radically altered the concept of fashion.

The notion of movement featured prominently in fashion photography in the 1960s. Photographers began to introduce themes related to dance, with models portrayed in poses and making gestures that emulated those of ballerinas. They also revived the aesthetic of the snapshot, which revealed the movement captured by a number of photographers in the 1930s and 40s

Stagings And Fantasies

Photography is traditionally regarded as one of the most realistic artistic genres due to its automatism, ability to suggest and its naturalism. These characteristics also make it the best medium for subverting reality.

In fashion photography, reality is always manipulated, simulated or recreated. Photographers begin with the staging and projections to transport us to a remarkable expanded and idealised reality in order to convey ideas and sensations and to seduce us.

The photographers featured in this section drew their inspiration from narratives associated with film, literature and the Surrealist aesthetic, and created futuristic, magical, oneiric and provocative images that give us insights into erotic fantasies that reveal anguish, fear and tension and turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Identity And Difference

Portraiture is one of the photographic practices most in evidence in fashion magazines and among the most common on social media. The concept of the portrait shot has gradually changed. Throughout much of the 20th century, portraits as a sign of status and power predominated in fashion promotion. The sweeping changes that began in the 1960s made a new type of approach to portraiture possible and the image of the other, in a broad sense, started to appear.

Fashion editors and photographers began to play with concepts such as identity and difference as a way to associate their work with the new trends in modern thinking. These photographs endorse or flout established notions to do with class, sex, religion, taste and culture and illustrate the concepts and debates that existed at the time they were taken.


The urban or natural landscape, nature and artifice are concepts that have shaped some of the debates surrounding the notion of the landscape and have influenced fashion photography.

Throughout much of the 20th century, New York was part of the collective imaginary as the urban landscape par excellence. Urban life and skyscrapers have often been used as settings by fashion photographers as a symbol of progress, success and modernity.

The emergence of new theories and the green movement have prompted fashion and advertising photographers to use natural, untamed spaces; wild, arid and barren lands lacking any temporal, cultural or social referents; landscapes that could be part of the future or the past; empty or ambiguous places filled with referents that spring from editors and photographers’ expressions of their ideas and concepts.

The exhibition will run until 27th March 2016 in the lower gallery of the Barcelona Design Museum. General admission costs €4,40 with reductions at €3.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Mulberry's Global Changes

Mulberry has announced that it has agreed a new licensing deal with Japanese-controlled and Italian-based Onward Luxury Group to distribute its ready-to-wear and footwear collections around the world. The new deal means that the fashion house can cut its expenditure therefore keeping its cost prices low, according to reports.

"The categories of ready-to-wear and shoes have potential for growth in the future and are an important factor in building the lifestyle image that will help develop Mulberry internationally," said Mulberry's chief executive, Thierry Andretta, reports the Daily Mail. "Licensing the manufacture and co-distribution of these categories will enable us to deliver quality product, while achieving our target price range."

Andretta cited the brand's global potential when he was appointed in March last year by CEO Godfrey Davis. The new strategy is in stark contrast to the approach taken by former CEO Bruno Guillon to reposition the brand in a higher pricing bracket, which was widely criticised and was said to have damaged the brand's profits.

This latest news comes as the world prepares to see Johnny Coca's first mainline ready-to-wear collection for Mulberry during London Fashion Week on Sunday, February 21, following his pre-autumn/winter collection debut for the house. 

Kate Moss Unseen

Most dedicated Kate Moss fans will profess to having seen every professional photograph of their idol in existence - but they would be wrong. In a forthcoming exhibition, Kate Moss: Unseen, photographer Owen Scarbiena presents the earliest images of the supermodel in front of a professional camera, seen here for the first time. Neither he, nor Moss - who was 14-years-old at the time - could predict that it would kick-start the career that would come to dominate the fashion industry. In this exclusive interview, Scarbiena shares a preview of the images in the exhibition and recounts his memories of the momentous shoot.

What are you memories of the shoot?

In the summer of 1988, I was shooting an image series of models in designer blouses and sports underwear when I got a call from Sarah Doukas, director of Storm Models, asking me come and meet their new girl. Her name was Kate Moss and they were keen for me to shoot some of my clean, minimalist test shots of her as they thought I'd love her look. As it happened, she fitted in precisely to the project I was shooting that summer. The rest was fashion and cultural history and those images started her meteoric rise to fashion icon and queen of the catwalk.

What are your memories of Kate?

She was unimposing, innocent, fresh, unaffected and had a striking, nymph-like beauty. I loved the way that she sat for me in that shoot, because she demonstrated that she had no pre-conceived ideas about how models are supposed to pose or stand. I simply let her be herself and directed her by telling her stories or asking her to imagine certain scenarios, and then shot around her. She was so fresh and natural, with a temperament that made that first shoot fun and exciting for us both.

I remained in touch with Kate for years after our shoot and we'd often bump into each other around London. But then I moved to Italy and in the meantime, Kate became a global name, so we gradually lost contact.

Why have these images been under wraps for so long?

I had a few images from the project in my portfolio for a while and gradually they were replaced with newer work. The black-and-white images from the shoot had been processed, but were never used, so I stored them away, partly forgotten, until now.

What have been highlights of your career since?

My career has been varied since then. After living in Italy for a while, working for Vogue Bambini and Donna magazine, I then returned to the UK to shoot regularly for fashion magazines, advertising and beauty products before including cinematography and music promotions.

Why are you displaying them now?

In a casual conversation with my closest friend, she told me about a gallery that looks out for interesting, iconic images for exhibitions. This inspired me to go back through my images and I found some gems, including these first professional shots of a 14-year-old Kate for Storm. I had the black-and-white Kate Moss shots re-contacted and approached Gabrielle du Plooy of Zebra One Gallery who was stunned and couldn't wait to share them with the rest of the world.

Will Kate be attending the exhibition?

Kate and my Storm friends have been invited and I'm looking forward to it.