Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Farfetch And Manolo Blahnik Launch Online

Farfetch has revealed that it has partnered with Manolo Blahnik to launch the footwear label's first e-commerce platform, which will sell the brand's entire men's and womenswear collections as of today.

The collaboration is the first online destination to be created by Farfetch's new Farfetch Black and White business, a new arm of the brand that was set up late last year to give the e-tailer the capacity to support monobrand online platforms. In doing so it can offer luxury brands access to its technological advances (such as customer support, click and collect, international payments and return in-store options) within an independent environment.

"Customers shop in monobrand stores as well as multibrand stores," Farfetch founder and owner Jose Neves told WWD. "It's a bit like in the real world. The type of experience is different, but both are complementary."

The move is the latest in a string of expansion announcements from the brand,which acquired Browns Fashion last year, with more (as yet undisclosed) monobrand platforms set to launch later this year.

"We do not look at this in terms of share of the overall business," said Neves. "We look at it as a holistic answer to the question, 'How will people shop for luxury fashion in five years?' We think it's going to be multibrand online - hence and - but also monobrand online - hence Farfetch Black & White. But it will also be in-store and this is why we invested in Browns and we have created a retail business unit for continuous tech innovation."

Talking Tuxedos With Racil

Considering that one year ago Racil didn't exist, the brand has had a transformative 12 months - and it all started with the humble tuxedo. Quite possibly the best masculine item women have ever made their own, founder and designer Racil Chalhoub has built her entire label around the tailored staple and, like a lot of fashion designers, the idea came to her when she couldn't find what she was looking for.

"It was mostly a want of my own," Chalhoub told us. "I was looking for the perfect tuxedo to suit my lifestyle, one that was chic, well cut and also that had a nonchalant air about it. I really wanted a tuxedo that I could wear all the time, that didn't look too stiff. I thought there must be an entire market of women looking for this too, so I decided to make that the core of my brand."

She was right. Just one year in, the brand is stocked in 15 luxury outlets worldwide and launched on this month. The British retailer, famous for spotting a brand on the brink of big things, didn't need much persuading.

"A tuxedo is perenially chic, timeless and alluring and we love Racil's take on this classic evening attire," said's buying director, Natalie Kingham. "For spring/summer the colours that she has picked are spot on, particularly the pink and green."

Chalhoub's own background has helped the trajectory of the brand too. While her studies in fashion design and marketing in London prepared her for the number crunching that having your own business demands, growing up in Paris she was in every-day awe of the effortless, feminine interpretations of masculine tailoring seen in the French capital.

"I think that when you are surrounded by Parisian chic, it really influences the way that you look at fashion," she said. "I was born in Beirut and moved from Paris to London in the early Noughties. I think my brand reflects all of these cities with the way you can mix and match the separates in a cosmopolitan way."

To that end Chalhoub has designed a collection to complement the multi-coloured Le Smoking-inspired jackets. Silk slip dresses, cotton shirts and cigarette trousers can be teamed with Stan Smiths by day, as easily as they can a killer pair of stilettos at night - but never without the tuxedo jacket of course. "I design for the woman of today, one that has a hectic lifestyle, works hard and is always on the go," she enthused. "She embraces life, whether she is 22 or 70!"

Chalhoub looks set to stay on the go herself with all she has planned. A larger studio where she can grow her brand and her team is on the horizon, as is entering other markets such as Asia, not to mention creating a permanent collection that "will be made from the same material so you can mix and match" and "will be available for retailers all year round so that they can choose their deliveries" she revealed.

"As I manage both the business and creative side of the brand at the moment it is all about finding the right balance," she told us. So far, so good.

Racil spring/summer 2016 is available to purchase on now.

Hilary Rhoda's Mother Sues Model For $2 Million

Hilary Rhoda´s mother, and former manager, Marianne Rhoda is pursuing her daughter for almost $2 million in damages, as the estranged twosome's legal battle rumbles on. It emerged earlier this year thatHilary had filed a lawsuit against her mother in 2014 seeking remuneration for funds that she alleged had been stolen from her.

The countersuit, filed earlier this month by Marianne, claims that Hilary withheld $1,352,246 from a benefit plan and $359,584.91 from a 401(k) plan; a US retirement plan sponsored by the employer. Marianne's legal team asserted that she had been deprived of agreed benefits and that, "despite all of its trimmings, this case is merely an attempt by an employer to deprive the former employee of pension benefits to which she is expressly entitled".

Hilary's legal team refuted the claims, maintaining that Marianne's position was "insufficient", that she appointed herself vice president "without Hilary's consent", and that she didn't maintain records of her hours, Page Six reports. The assertions further support Rhoda's 2014 lawsuit in which she claimed that her mother "manipulated her familial role to improperly seize - and then abuse - enormous power over Hilary's finances", and used a company credit card "for hundreds of thousands of dollars" in personal ­expenses.

While Marianne's lawyer had no comment, Hilary Rhoda's representative, John Rosenberg, said: "Hilary is fully confident that the proceedings will confirm that Marianne is not entitled to any of the pension funds and that Marianne established, controlled and structured the pension plans principally to benefit herself, and without Hilary's knowledge funded the plans with Hilary's money."

On Set With Rihanna And Manolo

From how their new shoe collaboration came about to what they most love about each other, singing superstar and Vogue cover girl Rihanna and footwear maestro Manolo Blahnik share all on the set of their Vogue shoot from the April issue. Watch them in action - heels and sparkles included - here.

A Collection Fit For The Queen

With the Easter weekend approaching and the scent of spring in the air, florals (in all their many incarnations) come into their own and Hobbs's latest collection has something special to add to the offering. Working with Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that looks after royal residences including Hampton Court Palace, Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and the Tower of London, the British high-street retailer has created a collection inspired by the imperial gardens.

"Broadly it is inspired by the gardens at Hampton Court Palace and in particular by the tulip, which features heavily in our jacquards," Sandy Verdon, Hobbs's creative director told us. "The navy lace represents the Great Vine which is special because it is considered to be the largest in the world (and is over 240 years old) and the botanical print references the drawings of the Hampton Court Palace Florilegium society, whose beautifully detailed paintings both document and celebrate the flowers which grow in the palace grounds."

The collection, which is entitled Collection No 6, is the brand's sixth collaboration with the charity (the concept won the Innovation Award at the Licensing Awards last year) and this season features Vogue cover girl Arizona Muse as its campaign muse. As Verdon explained, the collection has grown (pun unintentional) in popularity with customers thanks not only to the flattering cuts and heritage references, but also because of the exclusive extras that have been thrown in to the mix.

"Since we've started, we've tried to make the collaboration more immersive for our customer and this year the head gardener at the palace has chosen an exclusive selection of flower seeds for us to give away with our pieces."

Whether or not, however, the pieces will be seen on her Majesty, or even another female member of the royal family, such as the Duchess of Cambridge(for whom the modest A-line hemlines would be perfect for when making public appearances), Verdon respectfully won't be drawn.

"We think they're fit for any woman who would like to own a piece of clothing which is really born out of an appreciation and fascination with British history, and the history of the Royal Palaces," she said.

Collection No 6 is available now at Hobbs stores and online at

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Justin O'Shea Turns Creative Director For Brioni

Justin O´Shea the former fashion director at German luxury e-commerce company, has been appointed as creative director at Italian menswear label Brioni, replacing Brendan Mullane who left the company in February by "mutual consent".

"The menswear market of today offers unique opportunities and it was an easy decision to be part of the revitalising of this prized brand," he told BoF. "I am fascinated by the unique and rich heritage of Brioni. This house has all the pieces of the puzzle - the craftsmanship, the quality and an incredible archive. I am eager to reinterpret all these elements and make them relevant for today's customer."

An unconventional profile for such a position, Justin brings a holistic approach and strong business understandingGrita Loebsack, chief executive officer of Kering's luxury couture and leather goods emerging brands division

Brioni, which is owned by Kering, acknowledged the unusual appointment of O'Shea whose background is in buying and who has no formal training or experience in designing fashion collections.

"An unconventional profile for such a position, Justin brings a holistic approach and strong business understanding," Grita Loebsack, chief executive officer of Kering's luxury couture and leather goods emerging brands division, said. "I believe his vision will accurately translate into this role and add a distinctive signature to the house."

"Challenging boundaries has always been in Brioni's DNA and this choice confirms it once again," reasserted Gianluca Flore, chief executive officer of Brioni. "Justin soon emerged as the best choice for the brand's creative direction as he has shown an accurate understanding of the company's heritage and an assertive approach on how to reinforce our core values."

In the last few years, O'Shea has developed a strong presence on the international fashion scene, emerging from what has typically been seen as a background role at a brand to become a fashion star in his own right thanks to the many street-style lenses. He will officially take up the role as of April 1st.

A Grown-Up´s Guide to Denim

Donna Ida may have built a loyal following as a multi-brand denim destination, but things change and so must business, founder Donna Ida Thornton insists. Adding her own Ida collection to the mix in 2013 was not without its risks: what if her customers didn't buy it among all the already famous labels, or what if those labels took umbrage to one of their stockists encroaching on their territory? But the risk has emphatically paid off.

"I launched Ida as a high-waisted denim brand with an edit of contemporary separates to complement the existing designer selection at Donna Ida," she explained. "I found that although shoppers loved a true-waisted fit, I didn't have enough options from premium denim brands to satisfy their needs. Our offering has increased fourfold since the launch and now we offer over 100 styles, which includes denim, cashmere, shirts and blouses, accessories, and jumpsuits. "

Despite asserting that she always wanted her stores and website to be multi-brand boutiques, Thornton revealed that the percentage of sales which come from Ida products is increasing - more due to customer demand than any over-arching growth strategy.

"We are currently trading at 35 per cent of the mix, which is where we wanted to be by December 2016," she told us. "We hit that figure by the first week of February, so at this rate by December 2016 we will be looking more like 50 per cent at least."

So does this mean that denim favourites such as J Brand and cashmere from Bella Freud could soon lose their place on the Donna Ida rails? Definitely not, the businesswoman says, it's just a case of hedging her sartorial bets.

"I love the multi-brand experience," she nodded. "Even looking around our Belgravia boutique today I found myself picking up our own brand, but also key pieces from other labels. Being pure multi-brand has always felt dangerous to me: you don't have complete control of your own business and are reliant on third-party suppliers to feed your business. What if our biggest supplier decided to stop wholesaling? What if they saw how well we were selling their brand and decided to open a shop right next door to us? What if they closed? As much as I like shopping multi-brand as a consumer, and selling a multi-brand offering to my customers, from a business perspective there are considerable downsides to consider."

Asserting that the 50-50 mix works well for her business and that she doesn't have aspirations to outgrow that balance, Thornton is nevertheless forging ahead with new launches - including an autumn/winter 2016 offering that celebrates her 10th year of trading.

"Our key pieces have really captured everyone's imagination," she smiled, noting key jean shapes, a new culotte-dungaree style, a pussy-bow silk blouse, and her colourful cashmere as particular winners. "Bedding in those key denim styles methodically along with the cashmere and blouse shapes have been key, and now that we keep making what works time and again, it has given us the solid support of a loyal customer base. It will be following that strategy that will take us through the rest of the new categories we will enter in to: jersey, jackets, and accessories. The approach won't be spray and pray though, each category will be launched properly using the knowledge we have gathered from 10 years of selling to the world's most stylish women in London's key locations."

Armani Goes Fur Free

Giorgio Armani has confirmed his intentions to no longer use fur in any of his fashion collections as of autumn/winter 2016.

"I am pleased to announce that the Armani Group has made a firm commitment to abolish the use of animal fur in its collections," Armani said in a statement today. "Technological progress made over the years allows us to have valid alternatives at our disposition that render the use of cruel practices unnecessary as regards animals. Pursuing the positive process undertaken long ago, my company is now taking a major step ahead, reflecting our attention to the critical issues of protecting and caring for the environment and animals."

Announcements about the decision from Respect for Animals and Humane Society International this morning preceded the official announcement from the brand itself, which released a statement this afternoon. The brand is said to have committed to the new policy for its Giorgio Armani, Armani Privé, andEmporio Armani collections after working with the Fur Free Alliance which comprises more than 40 animal-protection organisations focused on ending the fur trade.

"Armani's fur-free announcement makes it clear that designers and consumers can have creative freedom and luxury all without supporting animal cruelty," said Joh Vinding, chairman of the Fur Free Alliance, this morning. "Mr. Armani has been a trendsetter in the fashion world for decades and this latest announcement is proof that compassion and innovation are the future of fashion."

Up Close With Chanel Couture

The Chanel spring/summer 2016 couture show: you watched the catwalk, you swooned at the creations, and clocked who sat next to who on the front row, but now, it's time to study the clothes themselves. When the collection recently arrived in London for a brief stopover, we took the chance to shine the light on the finer detail from our favourite looks. From the intrictate wood-shaving appliqué to the gem-encrusted insect brooches, the making of couture is something to be marvelled at and this is a collection that demands a closer look.

You can see a behind-the-scenes exclusive here also.

Fendi For Fendi

Fendi is keeping its latest offering in the family, having enlisted jeweller Delfina Delettrez Fendi - the daughter of co-creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi - to collaborate on a capsule watch collection.

The haute joaillerie collection, entitled Policromia, was unveiled by the jewellery designer this weekend at Baselworld who explained that the collection was inspired by the geometric layout of the Palazzo Della Civilità Italiana, which houses Fendi's headquarters, reportsWWD. "To me, the Fendi palazzo itself is like a huge watch," said Fendi. "It's a game of light and shadow and it's home to incredible marbles."

Featuring brilliant-cut white diamonds alongside malachite, green mother of pearl, lapis lazuli and blue mother of pearl, the watches (which have internal Swiss watch mechanisms) have alligator straps, made in the Fendi workshops, and are finished with 18-karat-gold buckles.

While it is the first time that the young jeweller has created a watch collection for the house, she has collaborated on catwalk jewellery before for the spring/summer 2014 and autumn/winter 2014 collections. The Policromia collection will retail from €3,000 to €150,000.

"Fendi is quite well-known for offering customers the possibility of really getting wild with the fantasy to build the bag of your dreams, the fur of your dreams, and wanted to offer this also to our watches in order to make them more and more an integral part of our positioning," said Fendi chairman and CEO Pietro Beccari.

Inside The New Dover Street Market

Dover Street Market has officially relocated to its new home on London's Haymarket, and with it arrives a fashion warren of new spaces to explore. From the Comme des Garçons space on the top floor, to Céline's rush-walled, fiddle leaf fig tree-studded enclave, to Alaïa to Loewe, The Row and Vetements, it's as much a fashion education as it is a shopping destination. "I felt sentimental to say goodbye," founder Adrian Joffe told us, "but the excitement of moving forward and raising the bar was a greater emotion."

H&M Reveals Bridal Styles

Hot on the heels of ASOS releasing its incredibly popular bridal collection earlier this month, H&M has revealed its spring/summer 2016 wedding-dress offering.

The Swedish retailer has incorporated three bridal styles into its latest Conscious Collection which hits stores on April 7. Described as "a feast of lightness and embellishment materialised in dreamy, draped lines, for the bride wanting to be as beautifully dressed as she is conscious", the dresses come in three different silhouettes that reference the last three decades of haute couture and are beautifully decorated to meet the most selective of brides' demands.

"Working with innovative sustainable materials and ornate embellishment, the collection is a layering of references, shapes and textures topped off by intensely decorative accessories and deco-inspired bijoux," said Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative advisor at H&M, while Julia Restoin Roitfeld, who is the face of the collection, hailed both its ethical and black-tie-appropriate attributes. "It's great to be able to have sustainable clothes that still look red-carpet ready," she said.

The 2016 CFDA Awards: Nominations Announced

The 2016 CFDA Fashion Awards nominations have been revealed and, while we will have to wait until June 6 to find out who the majority of the winners are, some have already been announced.

Donna Karan, has been awarded the Founder's Award; Norma Kamali has been honoured with The Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award; Gucci's Alessandro Michele, has been chosen as the recipient of the International Award; the Media Award has been given to Imran Amed, founder of The Business of Fashion; while the Board of Directors' Tribute will be given to the late, great David Bowie.

On the nominations side, will Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's brand, The Row, take home the Womenswear Designer of the Year award for the second consecutive year, making it their fourth CFDA accolade? Will Public Schooldesigners Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne repeat their 2015 success and take home the Menswear Designer of the Year award? Or will 2014 winnerThom Browne pip them to the post? See the full list of nominees below.

Womenswear Designer of the Year

Marc Jacobs
Proenza Schouler: Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez
Altuzarra: Joseph Altuzarra
Rodarte: Kate and Laura Mulleavy
The Row: Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen

Menswear Designer of the Year

Thom Browne
Public School: Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne
Rag & Bone: David Neville and Marcus Wainwright
Todd Snyder
Tim Coppens

Accessories Designer of the Year

Irene Neuwirth
The Row: Ashley Olsen & Mary-Kate Olsen
Altuzarra: Joseph Altuzarra
Mansur Gavriel: Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel
Proenza Schouler: Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez

Swarovski Award for Womenswear

Monse: Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia
Brandon Maxwell
Ryan Roche

Swarovski Award for Menswear

Orley: Alex Orley, Matthew Orley, Samantha Orley
John Elliott
Gypsy Sport: Rio Uribe

Swarovski Award for Accessory Design

Brother Vellies: Aurora James
Paul Andrew
Gigi Burris

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Is It Fashion´s Responsibility To Change Body Ideals?

Zac Posen  has asserted that fashion must bear some of the responsibility for altering perceptions about what constitutes the perfect figure. The NY-based designer, whose creations display and maximise the wearer's curves, said that both red-carpet stars and fashion editorials can move the conversation forward.

"Ideals change. It is up to fashion, something I call 'fashion-tainment' to change this and guide this," Posen told People. "There are great moves and strides that the media industry and the fashion industry could be taking to include all body types. The editorial message can change and evolve - and if you create that 'it' moment, that can change a whole culture."

Posen has dressed stars from Rihanna to Diane Kruger; Kim Kardashian to Gwyneth Paltrow; Oprah Winfrey to Kate Winslet - and insists that the diversity of his clientbase is one of the secrets of his 16-year career.

"I've always dressed women of all body types, of all races and all ages - and that is part of my success," the designer added. "I don't think many brands do this but it is essential for me."

Why SJP Owes It To Carrie

Sarah Jessica Parker proved her down-to-earth credentials in New York yesterday. Arriving at Bloomingdales to help sell the latest collection for her eponymous footwear label, SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker, the actress credited her most famous role with the brand's existence.

"I'm very clear about why I have the opportunity to have a shoe line. If I hadn't played Carrie Bradshaw, there would be no reason in the world someone would say to me, 'Yeah I'll invest in your idea,'" she told Page Six. "I'm enormously aware of how I find myself here, but by the same token, I work my ass off."

The footwear line - which is now in its second year - has proven popular for theSex and the City star, who partnered with Manolo Blahnik CEO George Malkemus to create the brand - hardly surprising given her hands-on approach.

"The best way you can grow a business is to meet the customer. It's the only way you learn about what's working and what's not," she said, while helping fans of herself and the label try her heels on for size, justifying the price (ranging from £100 to £400) with the quality that comes with it.

"The cost is not without controversy," she said. "I'd love to be able to make a shoe like this for a much lower price, but you can't make a handmade shoe in Italy for cheap. I can't ask a customer to spend her hard-earned dollars on something that's going to fall apart in two weeks. I have to make shoes that I want to wear."

Naomi Backs Leomie's Backstage Complaints

Naomi Campbell has backed models Leomie Anderson and Nykhor Paul in their criticism of make-up artists and hairstylists who aren't proficient or prepared when working with black models. The supermodel revealed that she was met with the same problems as a young catwalk model and said she found it "disappointing" that it was evident little had improved. 

"When I was younger, I encountered this same issue. I would be backstage at shows and there would be stylists who didn't have any experience working with black models," Campbell told Teen Vogue. "I'd always bring my own products - my own make-up colours, hair products everything - just to be sure that I had everything I needed to achieve a certain look. It's disappointing to hear that models of colour are still encountering these same issues all these years later."

Anderson, a British model who has walked for Tommy Hilfiger, Jeremy Scott and Victoria's Secret, was the latest to speak out on the issue, lamenting on social media: "Why is it that the black make-up artists are busy with blonde, white girls and slaying their make-up and I have to supply my own foundation?" Nykhor Paul - who also boasts a solid catwalk CV including Balenciaga and Vivienne Westwood - spoke out last summer to ask: "Why do I have to bring my own makeup to a professional show when all the other white girls don't have to do anything but show up? A good make-up artist would come prepared and do their research before coming to work because often you know what to expect, especially at a show."

"I think this issue only underscores the importance of what Bethann Hardison, Iman, and I are doing with Balance Diversity," Naomi said of her new fashion diversity initiative, which was created by Hardison's Diversity Coalition. "We're using our voices to encourage the industry to be inclusive of racial diversity. And this applies to everything, from casting models of colour to having the resources they need for shows, like hair and make-up."

Why Imitation Is Not The Sincerest Form Of Flattery

Contrary to the old adage, imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery according to Aquazzura founder Edgardo Osorio, who has claimed that one of his most famous designs has fallen victim to copyright infringement by Ivanka Trump's eponymous shoe and handbag label.

The Florentine cobbler made the claims on the brand's official Instagram account, highlighting the shoes it claims have been copied, stating: "One of the most disturbing things in the fashion industry is when someone blatantly steals your copyright designs and doesn't care. You should know better. Shame on you @ivankatrump! Imitation is NOT the most sincere form of flattery. #aquazzura #ivankatrump Proud of mine #madeinitaly #italiansdoitbetter."

Aquazzura is, admittedly, one of the most imitated brands right now. It's signature criss-cross cord laces and long tasselled ankle straps seen on the Christy and Wild Thing designs have sparked countless high-street reinterpretations, something which nearly all major designer brands have experienced at some point. Some designers, however, encourage the reproductions.

"I think it was Coco Chanel who said if you're original, be ready to be copied," Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing told the Independent. "I love seeing a Zara window with my clothes mixed with Céline and Proenza! I think that's genius. It's even better than what I do! I love the styling, I love the story... I watch the windows always, and it's genius what they do today. They go fast, they have a great sense of styling and how to pick up what they have to pick up from designers. I'm really happy that Balmain is copied."

Meet The Brit In The LVMH Final

Fashion East alumni Grace Wales Bonner is flying the flag for British fashion as the only British designer to be shortlisted as a finalist for this year's LVMH Prize. The Central Saint Martins' graduate is joined by seven other finalists, all of whom have been tipped as rising stars on the international fashion scene.

Aalto, by Finnish designer Tuomas Merikoski; Alyx, by American designer Matthew Williams; Facetasm, by Japanese designer Hiromichi Hiromichi Ochiai; Koché, by French designer Christelle Kocher; Vejas, by the Candian Vejas Kruszewski; Y/Project, by Belgian designer Glenn Martens; and American Brandon Maxwell's eponymous brand join Wales Bonner in the finalist line-up.

Celebrated for her work that sartorially explores black male representation through elaborate African craft techniques, Wales Bonner has already caught the attention of the British fashion industry who awarded her the Emerging Fashion Designer prize at last year's British Fashion Awards.

Delphine Arnault, director and executive vice president of Louis Vuitton (whose father Bernard Arnault is the CEO of LVMH), was keen to commend the Paris Fashion Week finalists, heralding them as proof the French fashion scene remains as innovative as ever.

"With three designers based in Paris in the final eight, the list reflects the vitality of the French fashion scene and the attractiveness of Paris for designers from all over the world," she said. "Among them, Koché was a semi-finalist last year. I'm also pleased to note that a Japanese designer has reached this level of the competition for the first time. I wish luck to all the finalists. It will be a hard task for our jury to choose one of them."

The winner, who will receive €300,000 and year-long mentorship, will be announced on June 16 and will follow in the footsteps of previous winners Marques Almeida, Thomas Tait, Hood By Air and Miuniku.

Balenciaga's Market Bags Approved

The fashion industry is quicker than most to raise copyright-infringement claims, so it came as no surprise following Demna Gvasalia's debut collection for Balenciaga that there were calls of foul from the Thai fashion community that his oversized striped bags were copies of their traditional market bag.

The Department of Intellectual Property Thailand, however, quashed the claims immediately, reports The Fashion Law, stating: "It's unlikely anybody can sue Balenciaga because the materials and shapes are different." The department also pointed out that since the Balenciaga bags had a different design, albeit similar, they could not be deemed as copies.

"The rainbow bag has been used in Thailand for a long time. It's not illegal to carry it to Europe as it's not a copycat. If one intends to copy, the material, pattern, shape and colour must be the same. As well, there's usually a fake trademark which leads others to think it's a brand-name item."

Gvasalia is no stranger to taking a familiar logo, emblem or aesthetic and reworking it into a luxury item. For Vetements - the brand he founded with his brother and for which he still designs - he put T-shirts bearing the DHL logo on the catwalk last season. Other brands, including Céline and thereafter countless online and high-street stores, produced their own take on the market bag for autumn/winter 2013, which also did not result in any legal claims.

Lanvin Confirms Bouchra Jarrar As Artistic Director

Lanvin has confirmed Bouchra Jarrar as its new artistic director. The company - which parted ways with previous creative director Alber Elbaz in October - revealed the news this morning after a week of rumours. She will reveal her debut collection for the house for spring/summer 2017.

"Her timeless style is in keeping with the style and values of our company," Lanvin chief executive officer Michèle Huiban said in a statement today. "Her talent, her high standards and her mastery of cuts and fabrics will bring a breath of freshness and modernity into the house, while respecting its soul as the oldest Paris couture house, a symbol of French elegance."

Jarrar, who currently designs a couture collection under her own name added: "It is a huge honour to continue promoting the Lanvin style, with designs created in the company's ateliers by teams who possess extraordinary expertise. Joining Lanvin meets a desire to expend my creation to wider fields of expression. It is my intention to bring to Lanvin the harmony and consistency of a fashion designed for women, a fashion of our time".
Harmony has been in short supply at Lanvin over recent months, with workers at the house striking and initiating work tribunal proceedings following Elbaz's removal, meaning that Jarrar will have the challenge of galvanising the current team as well as reversing sliding sales.

Jarrar's previous roles have certainly prepared her for the challenge. She launched her own couture label in 2010 after gaining 15 years of design experience at storied French houses including Balenciaga - where she worked as studio director under Nicolas Ghesquière, and at Christian Lacroix Couture.

A New Fronteir In Wearable Tec

Wearable technology is a concept that while it pricks the ears of the digitally savvy, it continues to raise questions about how it can be incorporated into clothing without compromising style: cue new brand Emel + Aris.

Founded by Rana Nakhal Solset, a former executive at titles including Wallpaper,Elle and Tatler, the brand has created the world's first smart coats that incorporate patented infra-red and battery-operated technology to heat the wearer at varying degrees of warmth - not that you would know it. The designs - a trench and a wrap-coat for women and a rain mac and overcoat for men - come cut to the highest quality using luxury Italian label Loro Piana's water and wind-repellent cotton and cashmere-blends, with the technology discreetly concealed in the lining to provide heat on the shoulders, the lower back and the front lapels.

"My son, Matthais gave me the idea," Solset told us. "He asked me when we were going to go on holiday to the North Pole could I please buy jackets that heat. I had a light-bulb moment. Why aren't we all walking around in jackets that heat? That's when I decided to create my own."

Despite Matthais giving her the idea, Solset - a mother of two (Matthais, 7, and Leyla, 9) who splits her time between London, where she lives; Canada, where she grew up; and Norway, where her husband Thomas is from - has been somewhat destined to fuse the wearable tech and fashion industries. Having written a paper at university in which she stated she wanted to open a tech clothing shop one day, she moved to Paris where the insouciant Parisian aesthetic compounded her love for fashion.

But a light-bulb moment and a university dream does not a business make, and Solset is being as innovative about the way she is funding the project as she is about the product she has launched. As of today, Emel + Aris launches on Kickstarter where customers can order the coats, which are designed in London and made in Italy, at a discounted price (between £450 and £650) for 60 days, before they are sold from the brand's e-commerce website at full price (starting at £1,095) thereafter. Customers will also be able to order limited-edition styles in navy, black, charcoal, camel, cream, powder blue and baby pink cashmere. The hope, Solset told us, is to raise the brand's profile and grow organically, with large-scale distribution some way off.

"We have been very discreet about our brand until this week and we have not revealed our plans to retailers," she explained. "This year we intend to establish our brand and keep control and therefore will be offering the product via our own e-commerce site first. Regardless of the success of Kickstarter we are developing the brand for the consumer launch in the Autumn. For 2017 our plan is to work with select retailers in important markets."

By then, there may be some more products in the works, as Solset has no intention of stopping at smart coats.

"My ambition for Emel + Aris is to become the luxury go-to brand of wearable tech and the smart coat is just the first installment," she said. "When talking wearable tech, there is a fine line between geeky and tasteful. I see collaborations and partnerships with designers and other entrepreneurs."

Burberry Mystery Shareholder Revealed

At the beginning of this week, rumours surfaced that Burberry was facing an imminent - and surreptitious - takeover bid, after it came to light that a mystery shareholder had built up a five-per-cent stake in the fashion business. The identity of the shareholder was unknown, with even CEO and creative director Christopher Bailey said to be in the dark - until now.

Rather less intriguing than many had suggested (or perhaps hoped), the investor has been unveiled as HSBC, reports the BoF, which built up the shares as a part of a series of routine trades on behalf of numerous clients as opposed to one solitary investor. Burberry had, in fact, asked the bank to disclose who held the shares "using a section of the Companies Act 2006 that gives public businesses the right to demand to know who is the real owner of their shares", reports The Times. The fact that HSBC didn't respond immediately is said to have contributed to the sale speculation.

In the midst of the mystery, rumours also pointed to the accumulation of shares being a part of an activist campaign (see when PETA acquired a minority stake in Hermes), while various potential suitors, including LVMH, were mooted as possible investors. HSBC's research unit today pointed out that a takeover from the French fashion conglomerate would not make sense.

"The current market capitalisation of Burberry is £6.5 billion, so there are not many theoretical buyers with the financial means to acquire it," it stated. "Regarding the industry leader LVMH - mentioned in the article as a potential acquirer - we do not believe that it would make sense for the French group to add another fashion and leather brand such as Burberry, given that it already owns several brands in that category: Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Céline, Givenchy, Loewe, just to name the largest ones."

The Times also points out that Burberry is considered "particularly vulnerable to a takeover" given that it doesn't have a "strong single-family stake" like other major fashion houses. After the HSBC revelation today, Burberry's shares subsided, following an initial surge when the rumours came to light.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Ferragamo To Microchip Shoes And Bags

Salvatore Ferragamo is upping its campaign to curb counterfeits by inserting microchips in the heels of its shoes and in a selection of its bags. But, the move is said to be not only about stopping fraudsters, but to also help with resale value.

"The people who can afford to spend thousands on a purse often get tired of them after six months and tend to sell them on eBay," Greg Furman of the Luxury Market Council in New York, told The Times. "More and more brands are realising that there is resale value to their products that's lost on eBay." In short, if sellers can prove that the item they are selling is the real thing, the sale price jumps significantly.

The Italian fashion house has been quick to point out that the chip (which is inimitable) cannot be seen in the shoe or bag, and will only be able to be read at a distance of 4cm or less, so fears of being tracked are unfounded.

The brand has been persistent in identifying counterfeiters, confiscating 12,400 illegal items last year that had a total value of $17 million. It has also sought to expand the number of e-commerce sites that it monitors as well as targeting trade fairs and individual sellers, for which this latest technology tool will no doubt come in very useful indeed.

Galliano On His Road To Recovery

John Galliano has been open about his road to recovery, following his now infamous outburst in a Paris café in 2011 and, as he explained this week, it is an ongoing process.

"I've learned this concept of step-by-step, day-by-day. I didn't understand the day-by-day thing. I've been so tied up with the future and what I've done yesterday. You're not living anymore; you're not in the moment," he told WWD. "Now, I really do appreciate the moment and being in the moment. That's not to say sometimes I don't go off in my head, because we all do. But I'm much more aware of that now. And I've been given the tools; I know how to deal with it. Just being able to learn that at this time in my life is amazing."

Having become an icon of extravagance during his days at Dior, he is a different man today, preferring autumn walks in the countryside and afternoon teas with those who are dearest to him, to nights out on the fashion party circuit. But, as he said, the elaborate image the world had of him, which was predominantly fuelled by his famous catwalk bows, was never his intention.

"Honestly, I started to do those little bows that then become overwhelming and became forced. The president at Dior said, 'You've got to go out there and be really confident. Imagine you're a toreador and you just killed the bull. Then you're going to inspire everyone with confidence in what you've done,'" he said. "That was former Dior president Mr François Baufame. That grew and started to become part of the creative process. Then it kind of took over a bit and that was the past. Part of - I don't want to say my comeback, because I didn't go anywhere - was that I wanted to put the focus back on the clothes. That was also an appeal of coming to Maison Margiela. It's about respect of the tradition and all of the things that matter today. I'm really happy."

His closest friends have stuck with him, including Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss - the latter of whom Galliano has a Banksy portrait of and counts as one of his most prized items: "I don't travel very far without Kate," he said. Crediting the late Oscar de la Renta, American Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, and the president of Condé Nast Publications, Jonathan Newhouse, as three of the main figures who encouraged him to put pencil to paper again after a four-year exodus, Galliano is keen at every opportunity to express his gratitude at being able to live and work again in his new-found, and highly prized, state of sobriety.

"I'm somewhere else now; I don't need that," he said when asked if he misses drinking. "But I won't say the desire or temptation ever goes away. It's a disease. The minute I thought that it would go away, I'd be in trouble. I'd have to run to a meeting. It's that daily process, it's a daily reprieve." As to how he has changed since his departure from Dior, Galliano is pragmatic.

"I've reconnected with so many things; it's a hard one to answer. It's total abstinence. It's a daily thing. I go to my meetings. I'm in a much, much better place now. Maybe you can feel it, hear it, you can see it. It's an ongoing thing. I feel much, much happier."

Sandro And Maje Headed For IPO

One of Britain's favourite adopted labels, French brand Sandro, is going public. Private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co - the owner of SMCP, which operates Sandro as well as Maje and Claudie Pierlot - intends to list the group on the Euronext stock exchange in the coming months.

"We are happy to register today our document de base with the AMF, which represents the first preliminary step toward a potential IPO," Daniel Lalonde, SMCP president and chief executive officer, toldWWD.

The company announced this week that its revenues had risen 33 per cent in 2015, with sales also up 11 per cent across the business, following an already strong 2014, during which sales grew 20 per cent. This year's figures mark the company's fifth consecutive year of growth, making it more attractive than ever to potential shareholders.

SMCP, which often places its Sandro and Maje stores side by side on key shopping streets, operated more than 1,100 stores in 33 countries by the end of last year.

Jerry Marries In Westwood

Jerry Hall chose a Vivienne Westwood dress and Roger Vivier shoes to marry her media-mogul fiancé Rupert Murdoch on Saturday. The couple, who announced their enagagement at this year's Golden Globe Awards, had their whole families in attendance at the celebration, which was held at St Brides Church in Fleet Street a day after a small legal ceremony took place in St James the day before.

Hall's daughters from her 22-year relationship with Mick Jagger - Georgia Mayand Elizabeth - also wore Westwood (the designer is a long-term friend of the family), adding Aquazzura heels to take on bridesmaid duties alongside Murdoch's two daughters from his marriage to Wendi Deng, Grace Helen, 15, and Chloe, 13. Hall's sons James, 30, and Gabriel, 18, accompanied their mother as she arrived at the church. Murdoch's older children - Prudence, 58, Elisabeth, 47, Lachlan, 44, and James, 43 - were also in attendance to celebrate their father's fourth marriage.

Wedding guests included famous faces from the worlds of fashion, entertainment and politics, including David Bailey, Kristen McMenamy, Bill Wyman, Tracey Emin, Bob Geldof, Michael Gove, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Michael Caine, as well as Mick Jagger's two eldest children, Karis Jagger and Jade Jagger - the latter of whom was accompanied by her mother, Bianca Jagger.

A day after the celebrations, Georgia May Jagger posted a Mother's Day tribute to newlywed Hall on Instagram, telling her mother: "You deserve all the love in the world today and every day. Thanks for giving me life. Happy Mother's Day, I love you so much." As to where the happy couple will now head off for honeymoon, the location has not been diclosed, although it is likely to last for ten days - as Murdoch revealed on his Twitter account on the morning of his wedding.

Did Kendall Really Punch A Photographer?

Kendall Jenner has been accused of punching a paparazzi photographer in Paris, reportedly coming to the defence of her model best friend, Gigi Hadid. The duo - who were pictured leaving Parisian nightclub L'Arc on Thursday night wearingfresh-from-the-catwalk Balmain looks - were surrounded by photographers before an altercation apparently broke out.

Pictures show the two models pointing their fingers as they apparently argue with the paparazzi, who eyewitnesses suggest had gotten too close to the two 20-year-olds, although no physical altercation has been confirmed by photographs taken at the time. Jenner's manager and bodyguard is said to have stepped in to stop the fight from escalating, US Weekly reports, encouraging the girls to walk to their car and scolding the paparazzi for invading their space.

Jenner later posted a picture of her own face, seemingly showing displeasure at the situation, with the caption "mood", while Hadid made light of the drama, sharing a picture of the twosome exiting the club just before the incident accompanied by the words: "Playin Barbie with @balmain. #Kengi."

It's by no means the first Fashion Week fight to grab headlines in Paris. Last summer, designer Rick Owens admitted punching a male model who took to his catwalk carrying a placard bearing the words "Please kill Angela Merkel - Not"; while last March rumours emerged that models Naomi Campbell and Cara Delevingne had come to blows in Paris - a story that both denied.

Jenner has spoken previously about paparazzi intrusion, admitting: "There are definitely moments when the paparazzi scare me," Jenner wrote on her app. "But I'm always more concerned about other people's safety." Hadid too, has confessed a desire to protect those closest to her from the scrutiny that accompanies her fame, telling Vogue Video about an incident in which she threatened a photographer who was taking pictures of her sister, Bella, while she changed backstage.

Rihanna X Manolo Blahnik

RIHANNA and Manolo Blahnik's footwear collaboration - exclusively revealed this morning as the singer was revealed as British Vogue's April cover star - is a meeting of the minds according to the famous designer.

"This is an incredibly exciting collaboration and I am absolutely thrilled with the results - working with Rihanna has been amazing and her drive, passion, creativity and style has been reflected in the designs, with fabulous results," he enthused of the collaboration, named Denim Desserts. "I think everyone is going to love what they are about to see."

The collection comprises six limited-edition designs, priced between £541 and £2,458, which will be available from May 5 in the London, New York and Hong Komg stores exclusively.

"For Manolo Blahnik, Rihanna was a collaboration we were really excited about," said CEO of Manolo Blahnik, Kristina Blahnik, this morning. "We firmly believed the two of them working hand-in-hand together with their creativity would achieve something totally unique and very special - we are really, really excited for the collection to launch."

ASOS´S First Bridal Collection Lands

When we revealed that ASOS was creating an affordable bridal collection last November, the reaction was, to put it mildly, a positive one, and now the wait is over. ASOS Bridal launches on the e-commerce site this Monday March 7 and, as its design director Vanessa Spence told us, there is something for everyone.

"Our designers have trawled vintage archives to find a bridal outfit for every customer type and considered the different types of weddings," she explained. "The bridal collection offers traditional dresses, but also more alternative pieces like the caped jumpsuit and separates which are perfect for the modern bride. The price points too are incredibly affordable which means you have the option of buying more than one dress and leaves more money to spend on the actual wedding or honeymoon."

Talk of price points naturally leads to questions about quality but, as Spence insists, no corners have been cut in creating the collection from which a total look won't exceed the £400 mark.

"Price hasn't been a limitation as the ASOS teams are really experienced in creating beautiful occasion wear at affordable prices," she said. "They applied their expertise to the bridal collection and they worked closely with pattern cutters to create the perfect silhouettes for each bride for her special day. Wedding dresses can be so expensive but we have created a collection that doesn't compromise on quality or design."

This quality extends to the handling and distribution of the collection, which is far from the usual, albeit perfectly acceptable, plastic bag and cardboard box packaging. For this collection, a special process has been developed which will see all bridal gown packing and returns handled by a dedicated team, each of whom will wear "a white coat, gloves and overshoes to ensure that the gowns and work areas are kept clean" before packing the pieces in bespoke bridal boxes and shipping them via a premium carrier service.

But, while it is a first for ASOS, the brand isn't taking a complete leap of faith with launching the collection. Given that occaisionwear is one of its best-selling categories and that its bridesmaid collection did so well since launching last year, they know that they are on to a good thing.

"Bridesmaid has been hugely successful - it has out-performed our expectations," Spence revealed. "We have launched it earlier this summer and have seen sale increase. I think we have found a gap in the market for affordable, fashion relevant bridesmaids dresses to suit every body shape."

Aiming to achieve the same customer satisfaction with the bridal range, selected styles will also be available under the ASOS Curve label, meaning the total offering will span sizes UK 6 to 30. So, "whether you are getting married in a church, in a town hall, on the beach", as Spence says, prospective brides will be lining up to make their special purchase. What a coincidence it happens to a leap year.

Christian Dior Confirms British Show

Christian Dior is going back to the site of one of its earliest shows, revealing the spring/summer 2017 cruise collection in Blenheim Palace. The show was confirmed by a Dior spokesperson this morning and will take place on May 31, although no further details are being released at this time.

Blenheim Palace - a stately home in Oxfordshire that is traditionally the principal residence of the Duke of Marlborough - first played host to Christian Dior himself in 1954, when the designer was invited by the then-Duchess of Marlborough to present his latest couture offering there.

Dior took more than 100 pieces from his winter collection to the palace, and showed them on models in the style of a salon show to a group said to have been made up of more than 1,500 women - including Princess Margaret. A collection by the house of Dior returned to the building in 1958, a year after the founder's untimely death, by then created by Yves Saint Laurent and his team.

The house is not the only international label that has chosen the UK as the site of its next cruise show; Gucci announced last month that it will present its forthcoming pre-spring/summer 2017 collection in Westminster Abbey.

Christian Dior's ready-to-wear and couture collections are currently being created by the in-house design team following the departure of Raf Simons last October. The house announced that the team would create forthcoming collections up to and including autumn/winter 2016, but haven't revealed what will happen following that, meaning that the cruise offering at Blenheim Palace could be the first to be designed by the as-yet-unnamed new creative director.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Valentino Hits $1 Billion Mark

In what is turning out to be a very positive start of the year for Italian fashion,Valentino has announced that it has beaten its own financial forecast, bringing in revenues of over $1 billion in 2015, up a massive 48 per cent from 2014.

Citing accessories and the increasing interest in menswear as major contributors, CEO Stefano Sassi added that "currencies helped and we also added 30 boutiques last year," reports WWD (the new London store is slated to open later this month). He also heaped praise on creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli for their contribution to the "exceptional year" that saw the brand reach its target two years early.

Following the announcement, Sassi also addressed the IPO rumours that have been swirling since last December when the brand's owner, the Qatari-based Mayhoola for Investments, had allegedly "invited banks to pitch for the advisory roles on a stock-market listing", which was denied shortly after. "There will be no IPO before 2017," reiterated Sassi, confirming that "no date had ever been forecast".

He also took the opportunity to outline Valentino's position when it comes to adapting the popular, if contentious, see now, buy now model being mooted by other fashion houses. He stated that although the brand intends to stay in line with the Fédération Française de la Couture du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode's policy of keeping the current system, they are "ready to evaluate alternatives".

Just last month, fellow Italian brand Gucci released its positive last-quarterprofits - largely credited to the Alessandro Michele effect, the brand's dynamic creative director.

Welcome To Paris Fashion Week

As the final showcase for the autumn/winter 2016 round of shows rolls into Paris, there is plenty to keep an eye on - and not just on the catwalk.

Will there be news of creative director appointments at Lanvin and Dior, who show on Thursday and Friday respectively? What will the response be to Demna Gvasalia's first collection for Balenciaga following his appointment last October? Will Hedi Slimane's outing for Saint Laurent on Monday be his last for the house, as rumoured? And what can we expect from Chanel's famed set design as it takes over the Grand Palais once again next Tuesday?

Following the Fédération Française de la Couture du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode's announcement last week that Paris Fashion Week would not be adhering to the new see-now-buy-now model that has dominated discussion in recent months, it has somewhat taken the pressure off proceedings, leaving the fashion industry the time to contemplate what may arise by the end of next week.

While the showcase is missing Alexander McQueen - who showed in London this season due to the imminent arrival of creative director Sarah Burton's third child - there is a crop of fresh talent to excite the City of Light, namely at Jacquemus, Courreges, Carven, Iris Van Herpen and, of course, Vetements. Stay tuned as we bring you all the action as it happens.

From Paris To Delhi: A Couture Move

Lecoanet Hemant may not have spent the past three decades grabbing headlines in quite the same way as Yves Saint Laurent or Jean Paul Gaultier, but in terms of fashion history the label has a foundation that fits neatly alongside such names. Established as a couture house in the Eighties, Lecoanet Hemant initially operated from Paris - with a store on one of the city's busiest shopping thoroughfares, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré - and showed on the couture schedule. But much has changed since those days.

The multi-award-winning designers behind the brand - Hemant Sagar and Didier Lecoanet - have moved their business metaphorically, from couture to ready-to-wear, and also physically, from Paris to New Delhi, and the change suits both them and their loyal customers perfectly.

"We could see a radical change in haute-couture buying from the early Nineties onwards; a sudden decline that never went back to its precedent level," Sagar told us. "The result was that collections started becoming a demonstration of art and creation, while less and less people would be actually wearing it like in the Eighties. It started becoming a launch pad for perfumes and even ready-to-wear collections. Lecoanet Hemant was a very young brand then and changing our function from haute couture to artisanal-industrial was impossible in the economic context of Paris in the Nineties, with industry reclining at all levels. So, we decided to make the move and set up a manufacturing unit that would unite all these points in a single place; which was India. Today, 15 years after the move, India has an even greater promise than at that time."

Now a sprawling New Delhi atelier - which houses three embroidery, one metallic, and two leather workshops, as well as the rest of the brand's large team - produces pieces that may be ready-to-wear but which employ couture techniques across the board. While the technical advancements in production mean that much is possible that would not have been when the label launched, the designers still prefer the artisanal approach to creating their collections.

"More and more we are implementing procedures and techniques to create garments from scratch in our workshops, which includes creating the material as well as the embellishments," Lecoanet told us. "India is a fantastic place to create haute couture and the artisanal procedures here are impossible elsewhere. We believe there is a big future for fashion here, even if it will take time."

India is their future, they assert, and neither designer seems nostalgic about their Parisian haute-couture past - rather they are pragmatic about the changes that have taken place as fashion forges forward.

"When we started, haute couture counted 24 houses," Sagar remembered. "International clients flew in to order clothes for the season and were prepared to come back to Paris repeatedly for fittings. There was a general excitement. Haute couture was essentially about quality style and finishing, not signature designs of specific houses or designers. We used to deposit the sketches of the collection with an appointed bailiff a few days before the show for seasonal copyright protection. Another business was selling patterns along with rights of reproduction to couture salons in many countries. Looking back it seems quaint comparing it to today's way of life and business."

Raf On Life After Dior

Raf Simons has spoken about his future for the first time since leaving Dior. The designer, who ended his tenure at the French house last year after just three years in charge, has spent recent months focusing on his eponymous menswear line - although industry talk of another creative director role, most notably at Calvin Klein, has never been far away. Simons, for his part, isn't ruling anything out, intimating that the size of his own label "may necessitate taking other creative director roles at other labels", "to shore up his own business and keep its expression free".

"I needed a challenge,'' he told T Magazine of his move to Dior. ''Jil is a niche brand. And I think it wouldn't have been a challenge to take on another niche brand. It's not only the style, it's not only the aesthetic, it's also how it sits in the fashion world, how people look at it, and how people criticise it; how it's communicating with so many different women.''

Simons is also philosophical about his time at Dior, reflecting that he never really took the role to his heart in the same way as his own label. Writer Alexander Fury notes, "I remember something he said to me, for a profile I was writing in the Independent magazine more than a year before he left Dior: 'My opinion is that being a creative director in a huge institution is: you enter, and you're going to go out. I could never take the attitude that this thing stands or falls with me. No. My brand, yes, but Dior or Jil, no. I don't experience it as something that I have to make mine. It's not mine." And it seems he still feels the same way now, six months after his departure.

"When you start performing as the creative director of another brand, you realise how much it's not your own personal codes," he said. "How different those two are. You could really work your ass off, really bring a lot of your own thing, but it's not the same thing. I didn't really think it over, but with my own brand I have become very protective, almost. Doing literally what I want to do, that relates to its own history or my own history or my own being."

Kylie vs Kylie: Trademark War

Having been the world's most famous Kylie for over 30 years, it must be tough for Ms Minogue to concede that a young pretender to her crown - Kylie Jenner - has now stolen that accolade, but what she is not willing to give up is her right to that most recognisable of forenames.

Jenner has amassed almost 80 million followers across social media and now - as she branches into new territories, putting her name to beauty products and clothing collections among other things - she has applied to trademark her first name, something that the Australian pop star has reportedly taken issue with.

In April and November 2015, Jenner filed a number of federal trademark applications relating to her first name with the US Patent and Trademark Office,The Fashion Law reports, which would allow her to file infringement lawsuits if anyone tried to use the name in the same category of goods in which she held the trademark: like "cosmetics" or "clothing" for example. Filings for "Kylie Jenner" have not been opposed, but it is her request to trademark the name "Kylie" in certain categories that has been met by opposition from Minogue's team in the past week.

Minogue's legal advisors aren't pulling any punches, asserting that approval of the trademark would "cause confusion among consumers between the two Kylies", and that association with "secondary reality-television personality" Jenner who "has received criticism from disability rights groups and African-American communities" would "result in dilution of her brand".

The USPTO will now have to decide which Kylie, if either, should have the right to use the solo moniker.

Is Di Marco Dolce Bound?

Former Gucci CEO Patrizio di Marco is set to join the board of Dolce & Gabbana, reports this weekend suggest. The executive could take his place at the Italian house as early as next month, Bloomberg reports, and will pave the way for the company's long mooted IPO. 

The move would make sense, insiders insist, since Dolce & Gabbana has recently made moves to establish a team he would be comfortable with: having appointed Diana Zanetto - one of Di Marco's most trusted advisors, and Gucci's former head of merchandising and licensing - to a senior role.

Di Marco spent six years at the Gucci helm, departing in 2014 just as his then-partner, now-wife, Frida Giannini, left her role as creative director of the brand. Dolce & Gabbana would certainly welcome Di Marco's experience at the cash-cow of Kering, which enjoyed a sales increase of almost two-thirds during his tenure.