Thursday, April 28, 2016

Why Kendall Really Wants To Be Cindy

Kendall Jenner has never made any secret of her dream to one day be a supermodel, but it seems her aspirations also extend to their personal lives. Jenner - who has already amassed an impressive catwalk and advertising CV in her two years as a model - revealed on her app this week that she would also like to be more like Cindy Crawford and Gisele Bündchen off the catwalk.

"Seeing models like Cindy Crawford and Gisele live chilled, but extremely fortunate and blessed lives, seems like exactly what I would want," she said in a post on her website, "Hearing Kylie mention what she sees her life like at 30 - on a farm with kids - got me thinking about my own life in 10 years, which weirdly gave me a strong urge to play The Sims. If I were building my perfect world on the game, this is how it would look: I'd have a beautiful, secluded house in Malibu with a gorgeous husband and a couple of kids. Even though I love dogs, I don't want to be overwhelmed so I'd probably just have one. I'd definitely want a horse, too, so I could ride whenever I wanted."

Jenner's down-to-earth revelations come as former model Rebecca Romijn asserted that she, and fellow model Gigi Hadid, are not "true supermodels". Despite having racked up 15 Vogue covers between them, the actress insisted that they did not qualify for supermodel status in her book.

"No one has proven yet that numbers of followers translates to revenue," she toldEntertainment Tonight. "So it is frustrating. I know a lot of people - legitimate fashion people - can't stand it. Hate it that these, you know, social-media stars are now the supermodels in fashion. They are not true supermodels."

Stella: ¨I Fought For The New Olympic Coat Of Arms¨

One hundred days to go until the Rio de Janeiro Olympics kick off, and here we all were, in a leisure centre in Marylebone, staring at an illuminated outline of team GB's brand new coat of arms.

Didn't you hear? Flags are so 2012. Rio 2016 is all about unique heraldic designs. This one was commissioned by German sports brand Adidas as a "unifying symbol" and developed by the College of Arms in order to provide "key iconography across the Olympics and Paralympics range".

Aspects of it appear in various forms, having been cropped by a visual artist, splashed across the athletes' red, white and blue crop tops (£23, available for pre-order), cycling jerseys (£60) and crew neck sweaters (£60). The effect is less abstract than the 2012 kit, which took a deconstructed Union Jack as its theme, and more obvious: giant Gs and Bs will make it very clear which nation is mounting the podium (fingers crossed) come August, not to mention which nation has its finger on the fashion pulse. The lettering combined with the heraldic imagery had a distinct "Renaissance Varsity" edge that wouldn't have looked amiss on a Gucci catwalk.

The new coat of arms is a hotch potch of British symbolism: three lions hold three fiery Olympic batons; our nations' flowers (leek, rose, flax, thistle) appear in the centre shield; and a crown composed of medals sits up top ("symbolising continuity, teamwork and shared responsibility"). At the bottom, Latin script reads: "Conjoined in one". As a team of athletes including Jessica Ennis-Hill, Tom Daly and the Brownlee brothers trooped out to smile on cue in front of it on Wednesday morning, one was struck by the sheer power of Brand GB. If team Remain had commissioned something as openly nostalgic we might not be facing a Brexit in June.

The coat of arms idea was Stella McCartney's. It was on display as she took to the stage, shoulder-robing a tomato-red coat and forgoing Adidas Boost trainers for killer stilettoes. Longtime Adidas collaborator and creator of the London 2012 flag-inspired kit, she looked far more confident than the designer who had nervously unveiled her 2012 designs in a paisley jumpsuit.

"I really fought for the coat of arms," said McCartney, post-reveal. "I had to go through so many governing bodies, BOA, BPA, to get approval - and I'm not used to that. It's a bit like being back in school. But I wanted to gift the nation."

Four years might have made her more gung-ho, but it didn't speed up the design process, which has been ongoing for the last two years. "It entailed a lot more work," she admitted. "The obvious thing is to work with the Union Flag. But what I wanted to do this time was to have imagery and icons within the treatment that felt individualised. So every single piece of the kit is different - different pieces of the design have been pulled out and blown up - and that meant that we had to style it more, create outfits from different pieces." She pauses. "Whenever I talk to the athletes, they say they want to feel like a team. I wanted them to feel like one."

Suggestions that fashion's current athletic mood might have had some bearing on her designs are dismissed immediately. "It's not a fashion conversation at all, and that's why I love it," McCartney said, firmly. "It's nothing to do with fashion. This is purely about some of the greatest athletes walking on this planet right now, and what they need to do to maximise their potential and their training and their commitment."

Adidas's technological prowess helps, too: fabrics are around 10 per cent lighter than those worn in 2012, and patented 'Climachill' technology, which includes titanium fibres woven into yarns to draw heat away from the body, as well as aluminium cooling dots interspersed with more breathable yarns, will help combat the Rio heat. McCartney's input is often more prosaic, but just as valuable. "I'll add zips to pockets, collars, things that the athletes often don't consider. I tap into that. Creatively I want to give them the very best that I can. I'm trying to elevate everything."

McCartney's not booked her flights to Rio yet - "we'll see" - but paid gushing tribute to London 2012. "On every level it was one of the most extraordinary moments to be part of. I don't think anyone knew what it was going to be like. We're a cynical nation, but it was so incredible. I'm so proud of us."

Back in the media pen eating muesli with Ennis-Hill and the Brownlees, it was clear the team-building objective has been fulfilled already. As I left, one Brownlee was sizing up the female version of his tracksuit top, and a cyclist was teaching another how to Snapchat her new stash. 

Elbaz Dismissed From Lanvin Board

Six months after his departure as creative director of Lanvin, Alber Elbaz has been removed from the fashion house's board of directors.

The decision was made during a brief "technical" meeting at Lanvin HQ in Paris, reports WWD, and means that Elbaz will no longer have any say in the future of the brand. He does, however, continue to own a minority share in the company.

Elbaz's split with the house that he helped steer to commercial and critical success during his 14-year tenure was an acrimonious one, with the designer said to have been ousted by majority shareholder Shaw-Lan Wang. Accusations of "poor quality" and "agressiveness" on Elbaz's part followed shortly - all of which the designer strenuously denied - while existing staff at the fashion house loyal to Elbaz revolted following a breakdown in communication with management.

In March, Bouchra Jarrar was named as Elbaz's successor, and will show her first collection for the house this October during Paris Fashion Week.

What Breaks Grace's Heart?

Grace Coddington famous for nurturing rising talent and supporting established names, has talked about the sadness it brings her to see fashion houses going out of business, and designers out of work, amidst challenging times.

"Now is a very difficult time for fashion. It's a difficult time for many things, but fashion particularly," she told Document magazine, reports The Cut. "It breaks my heart to see one person after the other leave their jobs for whatever reason. It breaks my heart even more when I see those people unemployed and not producing what they should be, what I know they can do. There are a lot of great designers - maybe not young - they're hanging around without a job. It's terrible!"

Coddington has been in the industry long enough to see the arrival and departure of many a designer and label. Since she began her fashion career as a model in the Sixties, she has become an industry legend thanks to her work alongside Anna Wintour at American Vogue and her breakout appearance inThe September Issue. Don't miss her in conversation with British Vogue fashion director Lucinda Chambers at the Vogue 100 Festival in partnership with Harrods on the weekend of May 21 and 22. 

McQueen Denies Copying Royal Wedding Dress

Alexander McQueen has vehemently denied claims by a Hertfordshire-based designer that its creative director, Sarah Burton, used her sketches as inspiration for the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress, calling the accusations "ridiculous".

Designer Christine Kendall claims to have sent wedding-dress sketches to the Duchess in November 2010, for which she received a letter of thanks from the office of Prince William and Prince Harry in January 2011, reports The Sunday Times.

"Miss Catherine Middleton has asked me to write and thank you so much for your letter of November 18 enclosing bridal-gown designs," the letter, which was written by an official, said. "Miss Middleton was most interested to see your work and very much appreciated you taking the trouble to write. Should she wish to see more of your designs I will of course be in touch." A spokesperson for the Duchess said this weekend that the Duchess has never seen the sketches.

After the unveiling of the royal wedding dress on April 29, 2011, Kendall said in December 2013 "that without my sketches, the royal wedding dress would not have looked like it did". She has now started legal proceedings at the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court in London, but her legal team are keen to point out that "the claim is not against the Duchess and there is no allegation of wrongdoing against the palace".

"We are utterly baffled by this legal claim," said a statement from Kering-owned Alexander McQueen, which revealed that Kendall first approached them almost four years ago "when we were clear with her that any suggestion that Sarah Burton's design of the royal wedding dress was copied from her designs complete nonsense".

"Sarah Burton never saw any of Ms Kendall's designs or sketches and did not know of Ms Kendall before Ms Kendall got in touch with us - some 13 months after the wedding. We do not know why Ms Kendall has raised this again, but there are no ifs, buts or maybes here: this claim is ridiculous."

YSL CEO: The Plan Post Hedi

For those predicting another seismic shift in brand identity at Saint Laurent - following the departure of Hedi Slimane last month and the appointment of Anthony Vaccarello - you will be in for a surprise. According to the fashion house's CEO, Francesca Bellettini, the Vaccarello era at the fashion house will be a something of an evolution, rather than a new direction.

"If you look, some products in our collections are products that existed before Hedi Slimane, so even with the arrival of Hedi Slimane, this product didn't change," she told the Business of Fashion. "They evolved, they are part of the universe, they remained part of the collection, they still represent a good portion of our sales and we keep them because they make sense. So I can tell you that everything that makes sense will be kept, evolving together with the brand."

Bellettini also said that the change that happened under Slimane - including a name alteration, in-store overhauling, and a younger, more contemporary aesthetic - was necessary to "bring back into the brand a sense of modernity, content, that youth spirit, bringing clarity to the brand strategy and the brand DNA, to be relevant for today". She said that "consumers were a little bit confused" after many years of licensing and creative direction. "Now that is all cleared," she said.

"So all of this is set, the house is now well established, the codes are well established. But we are fashion and we need an evolution," she continued. "The brand will evolve under the creative direction of Anthony, who, like every creative director will be free to express his own creativity and the language of the brand in his own way, while always respecting the DNA of the maison."

Modelling: Do You Have What It Takes?

This year's Vogue Festival will welcome three generations of Vogue cover girls to provide insight and inspiration for anyone dreaming of following a career in modelling. Seventies cover girl Marie Helvin, Eighties catwalk favourite Yasmin Le Bon, and March 2016's cover star Edie Campbell will all take to the stage to discuss all aspects of the industry that made them famous - from the highlights to the often overlooked pitfalls.

Helvin rose to prominence during the late Seventies, at a time when she was the wife and muse of famed photographer David Bailey - whom she met on the set of a Vogue shoot. Born in Tokyo and raised in Hawaii, Helvin has remained active in the industry in recent years, and last appeared on the Vogue cover in 2007 alongside fellow panellist Yasmin Le Bon.

Born Yasmin Parvaneh, the half-British, half-Iranian model gained her famous surname early in her career when she married Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon, in a union that was the Gigi and Zayn of its time. Major campaigns - including for Calvin Klein, Guess and Ralph Lauren - cemented her as one of the most in-demand models of her day, and a campaign for Giorgio Armani this year proves she remains as sought-after in her fifties.

Still only 25, Campbell has already achieved what most models can only dream - with a raft of international Vogue covers and catwalk appearances for brands from Chanel to Louis Vuitton under her belt. Away from the cameras, Campbell has also achieved much: a champion horse rider, with a first-class degree inHistory of Art, she is nevertheless still in love with fashion - and far from dismissive of the doors that her career as a model has opened for her.

From ageism in the fashion industry to the exploitation and fetishisation of women, none of the trio have been shy about speaking out on the challenges of modelling over the past four decades - and this panel discussion will be no exception. It's not all warnings and criticism though; some surprising and delightful tales are sure to be shared. From one of the three making a mess, quite accidentally, in Karl Lagerfeld's Parisian bathroom, to another cutting her into "Worzel Gummage chic", we are set to gain a glimpse into the sometimes glamorous, often unbelievable world of the international model. A fashion education on a Sunday morning, what more could you ask for?

There are still tickets remaining for The Reality of Modelling - a panel discussion on Sunday May 22 at the Vogue Festival - click here to buy yours now.

Balenciaga To Launch Menswear

Balenciaga is set to launch its debut menswear collection under the creative direction of new designer Demna Gvasalia. The Vetements co-founder - whocreates menswear for his own line - has spearheaded the initiative, marking the first time in its 99-year history that the house has catered for men.

"The show will debut the masculine vision of Balenciaga's new artistic director Demna Gvasalia," the company said in a statement this morning, WWD reports.

Gvasalia joined the label in October of last year, succeeding New York designer Alexander Wang, who spent just three years at the helm. Gvasalia's much lauded collections for Vetements promised a new vision for Balenciaga, and the designer did not disappoint with a debut collection in March of this year that saw his androgynous aesthetic and radical silhouettes applied to the Balenciaga archive.

The first menswear offering, for spring 2017, will be shown during Paris Men's Fashion Week on June 22. The co-founder and CEO of Vetements, and Demna's brother, Guram Gvasalia will be speaking at this year's Vogue Festival - buy your ticket, here.

Chanel Rubbishes Karl Retirement Rumours

Chanel has rubbished rumours sweeping the internet yesterday that Karl Lagerfeld, its creative director of more than 30 years, was stepping down following the forthcoming pre-spring/summer show in Cuba next month.

"The rumours about Mr Lagerfeld discontinuing the collections and the cruise collection show in Cuba being the last are unsubstantiated," a spokesperson told us this morning.

The whispers stemmed from an article by US tabloid website Page Six, whose diarist Richard Johnson claimed he had been told by a friend of the designer that: "He's really tired. He's not doing well and he's ready to stop."

After 33 years at the helm of Chanel - where he took over just 12 years after the founder's death, and is said to have a whole-life contract - and more than 50 years at Fendi, Lagerfeld's workload has only increased in recent years; with personal projects in photography sharing his creative time alongside designing for the French and Italian houses and his eponymous label. Far from retiring, he was in Paris yesterday, where model Kendall Jenner snapchatted him from the set of a shoot she was on.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Counterfeit Trade Still Worth Billions

Fake bags and shoes worth more than €320 billion were sold last year, a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Union's Intellectual Property Office has estimated. The counterfeit goods largely originated from China - with around 63 per cent of global seizures stemming from the mainland as well as Hong Kong, WWD reports - with Turkey, Singapore, Thailand and India each making up between one and three per cent.

So which brands are falling foul of the fakers? Although specific names were not supplied, American labels made up around 20 per cent of all fakes seized, followed by Italian and French brands - at 14 and 12 per cent respectively. The most frequently seized items are no surprise, with footwear, clothing and leather goods making up the lion's share of the fakes traded.

The report estimated that up to five per cent of all items imported into the EU in 2013 were counterfeit, representing a value of over €85 billion.

The trade continues despite several major luxury conglomerates - including Kering and LVMH - having taken a tough stand against counterfeiters; even initiating lawsuits against online platforms like eBay for being slow to stamp out the sale of fake goods through their portals.

A Fashionable Family Affair

You may be more used to hearing the names Cara andPoppy Delevingne, but now another Delevingne is making her mark on the capital's fashion scene - their mother, Pandora. Setting up shop in her London home, Delevingne is holding what she calls a "grown-up jumble sale", but in reality it's a curated edit of unique sartorial treasures.

"It all started when I was in South Africa," she explained during a special preview of what will be in store when the doors officially open today. "I was staying with a girlfriend who was making these wonderful missionary necklaces. What happens, is that the missionaries go out preaching and educating, and pick up little trinkets along the way. My girlfriend then makes them into necklaces and the money they sell for goes back into the charitable work being done."

The necklaces are, by her own admission, Delevingne's piece de resistance ("Every one that I've worn I've sold - my friends just love the 'theatre' of them," she told us), but there is much more on offer than that. Delevingne has unique vintage dresses from Manoush; intricately embroidered Ukranian folk-style dresses that she has managed to source (hurry, stock is limited); and dresses that she has designed and had made herself, based on her favourite summer silhouettes - the delightful bohemia of which is perfectly balanced by clean and crisp cotton separates from Bamford. Also featured prominently are pieces by designer Karien Belle, another highlight for Delevingne, which she came across by chance.

"I saw a shop in South Africa that was closing down and had all of these beautiful poetry pieces - so I went in and struck a deal to buy the lot," she smiled. "I'm a bit of a romantic and so I love the poetry - the ones that say, 'I love you to the end of the earth,' - they're such fun aren't they?"

The result of everything thrown in together is one of endearing eclecticism - crucially at affordable price points that start at £10 for jewellery and around £30 for clothing. It's easy to see how her daughters have carved out reputations for being style influencers given their mother's great eye for the interesting - something that Pandora has lots of experience with too.

"I'm a seller!" she told us, recalling her time on the Fulham Road when she had a children's clothing shop (selling traditional smocked dresses and handmade furniture), before she went on to set up the VIP personal shopping department at Selfridges (did we mention that there is a plentiful rail of her own Balmain, Dolce & Gabbana, McQueen, Burberry and Valentino pieces also for sale in her current pop-up?). And it goes back further than that.

"My mother, Jane Stevens, had a column called 'Serendipity' in British Vogue, which was all about discovering new things," Delevingne cooed. One might call it serendipitous that she finds herself doing the same, but based on what we've seen, we'd say more a natural calling card.

Calvin's Verdict On Kendall And Kim

Calvin Klein has cast his verdict on the state of fashion today, and it seems that the veteran designer - who sold his eponymous company in 2002 - is less than impressed with several aspects of the industry. First up, he doesn't agree with casting models who don't seem to "represent" the brand - however many followers they have - although he is a fan of Justin Bieber for CK Underwear, he insisted he is "not that familiar" with Kendall Jenner's outing for the label. And secondly, he firmly believes that dressing world-famous celebrities doesn't necessarily translate to sales.

"So many people wanted to be on a billboard or in an ad or in a commercial, and for sure Justin Bieber wanted to do it. I thought that was really good," Klein said during a talk with Fern Mallis in New York, Fashionista reports. "When I say I like Justin Bieber in the Calvin Klein Underwear campaign, it's because I like him - not because he's got millions of followers. Now, models are paid for how many followers they have. They're booked not because they represent the essence of the designer - which is what I tried to do - they're booked because of how many followers they have online. I don't think that, long-term, is going to work. I don't think that's a great formula for success for the product you're trying to sell. However, if you take really exquisite photographs of the right people in the right clothes in the right location, and you put it online, that's fine. Just putting any old clothes on Kim Kardashian, long-term, isn't going to do a thing."

Though many designers might disagree with his views, Klein was pulling no punches, denouncing recent developments at several key houses as "disappointing".

"When I see motorcycle jackets for $2,000 that are distressed or ripped jeans from couture designers, I think to myself, 'Are they kidding me?' We've been doing this for 30 years. It's not new," he said. "I understand why it's young and cool, but there is a thing about respect for women and trying to make women look as beautiful as they possibly can, and also creating new things. There's a lot that's going on that's disappointing. They [designers] stay two years and their contract's up, and then they think they have invented the name Dior or Saint Laurent or Balenciaga. Everyone's replaceable. A lot of designers get replaced, and often get forgotten."

Raf's Next Move

As Raf Simons continues to move on afterlife at Dior, the designer has revealed that he will be showing his eponymous spring 2017 menswear collection at Pitti this June, as opposed to Paris as usual.

"Florence holds a special place in my heart, as, over the years, I have regularly come back to show my work or to collaborate on ventures that closely mirrored my thoughts about it," said Simons, reports "I am thrilled to be there again this season to present my spring/summer collection as well as a special project we are developing especially for Pitti."

Simons has been vocal about his reasons for moving on from Dior, citing various contributing factors - such as lack of time and personal creative freedom - for his need to move on.

"When you start performing as the creative director of another brand, you realise how much it's not your own personal codes," he told T Magazine back in February . "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."

Meanwhile back at Dior, which still hasn't appointed Simons's replacement, the future is also looking good. LVMH boss Bernard Arnault said yesterday at the company's annual general meeting in Paris that "the sales of Dior are starting to become quite significant... they could be more than €5 billion in 2016," reportsReuters.

Gwyneth Turns Designer

Gwyneth Paltrow has revealed that she is turning her hand to fashion design and will launch a clothing clothing under her popular Goop label this year.

"I've been working on apparel- apparel is next," she revealed during a discussion with Hudson Union Society in New York, reports Racked. "In September, we're going to launch apparel, and it's very exciting."

The move into fashion follows the Oscar winner's foray into beauty earlier this year, which has so far been a commercial and critical hit. And, as she revealed, she has set her sights even further.

"We're very, very hard at work at Goop," she said. "We are doing a lot. As my CEO always asks me, 'Please, can we stop doing so much?'"

Paltrow isn't the first, and we're betting won't be the last actor to turn her hand to design. In the last couple of years Reese Witherspoon launched Draper James; Sarah Jessica Parker launched her eponymous shoe line; and Kate Hudson launched Fabletics; all to great success.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

"Unfiltered" Rihanna Documentary Coming Soon

A new documentary about Rihanna is set to give an "unfiltered" look in to the singer's life, the director has revealed. Rather than focusing on her musical ascent or much-talked-about style, the film will give fans a glimpse of the real personality of the Bajan singer.

The brainchild of Peter Berg - who previously directed Rihanna in Battleship in 2012 - the film will be made by Berg's production company, Film 45, and will be "much more a character study than a music film," the director told Deadline.

"Follow this true international superstar as she navigates life as an artist, businesswoman, and humanitarian, while contending with the inherent pressure of artistic freedom," the Film 45 website said. "Peter Berg's Rihanna is an unfiltered look into Rihanna's life and how she's ascended to become a global icon, providing a glimpse into the evolution of one of the world's most well-known pop artists."

Berg shared a picture of himself with Rihanna earlier this week on Instagramalongside the words: "This girl RiRi she's not bad. See I'm smiling, I ain't mad." No date has been given for the film's release as yet, but fans of the singer are assured that it is "coming soon".

Stars´ Wedding Dress Lace Maker Bought By Chanel

Chanel has added yet another artisan manufacturer to its stable of brands - this time the lace maker which created fabric for the Duchess of Cambridge and Amal Clooney's wedding dresses, and the tulle for Angelina Jolie's embroidered veil. The new acquistion, Groupe Holesco, is the parent company of Sophie Hallette, which specialises in both classic and more modern lace, and is the fashion industry's go-to lace maker. Hallette has created designs for labels including Gucci, Miu Miu, Valentino, Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Erdem, Mary Katranzou and many more over the past season alone.

"The partnership aims to perpetuate the historical lace sector - the pride of Calais and Caudry's heritage," Chanel told WWD. "It also aims to maintain in France a unique know-how and the essential leavers, these bicentennial machines that allow to create very high-end and labelled lace, which is crucial to meet the demand of haute couture and creation."

Chanel has a history of investing in small artisan producers who create items useful to its collections - having acquired shares in hat specialist Maison Michel, Scottish knitwear factory Barrie, embroiderer Lesage, feather and flower maker Lemarie, and luxury button manufacturer Desrue, as well as several others in recent years. Rather than absorbing these brands into the business, Chanel prefers to allow them to retain autonomy and work with other designers - even creating pieces for direct competitors of the house.

"We are different," Chanel CEO Bruno Pavlovsky told us when asked how Chanel compared to other conglomerates such as LVMH and Kering, "we choose the opposite approach. In order to continue to be creative, our brands have to continue to work with many designers. If you work all the time with the same brand, at some point you stop developing your creativity. Different designers and different requests mean that you have to be more agile, you have to adapt yourself. And Chanel benefits - directly and indirectly - from this agility. They have to be able to go out, work with young names, big names - as long as they can foster their creativity, we are moving in the right direction."

First Look: Inside The V&A´s Undressed

"Women´s underwear had two functions in the 18th century: hygienic and structural," so beginsUndressed, the Victoria & Albert Museum's new exhibition, opening this Saturday - and some would say not much has changed since those days, at least in terms of intention.

The showcase - which is loosely chronological but also thematic - charts the evolution of that most personal of garments and our relationship with it. How it has helped us for centuries portray our best self to the outside world; how it has shifted with changing body ideals; how it helps us to conceal or subvert; and even how it has trickled into our everyday wardrobe.

Separated into sections including Fashion, Health and Hygiene; Volume; Performance Underwear; and Support: Bras and Girdles, the downstairs section of the exhibition explores how we have used underwear to "shapeshift", to improve or disguise what nature gave us, and to allow us to do, or be, that little bit more - encompassing bustles and corsets as well as relatively modern padded bras and 21st century shapewear.

Reflecting the changing body ideals of the times - the exhibition moves from elaborate padding and wiring, to simple bras of the Thirties that aimed to "separate and define" breasts for a "slim and feminine" shape, to the padded bras of the Fifties, made to create "alluring, feminine curves".

At times it is difficult to tell which era a piece originates from. One waist-trainer-style corset, made from a cellular cotton called "aertex", could be seen today on any Kardashian Instagram, but was actually made in 1888 and sold with the tagline "clothed with air", whilst a Stella McCartney lace bodice has a 19th century nostalgia.

It's not just women's smalls that are being dissected and celebrated; the 18th century men's shirts, that make up a gentleman of the time's "fine and functional" undergarments, are a thing of beauty - and something that Alexa Chung would happily wear with a pair of high-waisted jeans.
Upstairs, the other less functional use of lingerie comes to the fore, as the allure of fabrics - including silk, lace and PVC - receives some attention, grouped in themes including Temptation and Transformation. From 19th century bodices that were "shocking" by contemporary standards to rubberised black stockings, lingerie as a tool to titillate and arouse is also given plenty of attention - complete with a graphic hologram that loses layers as you watch.

Meanwhile, underwear-inspired designs by John Galliano for Givenchy and Elsa Schiaparelli accompany Juicy Couture tracksuits and velvet "dinner pyjamas" from the Thirties as the blurring of lines between underwear and outerwear is also explored.

Hero pieces span the decades: muslin drawers owned by Queen Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent, in the early 19th century; a plaster fig leaf made to conceal the modesty of the V&A's cast of Michaelangelo's David to avoid causing offence; the almost sheer slip dress chosen by Kate Moss for an Elite Models party in 1993; a silk and lace dressing gown worn by Bond girl Berenice Marlohe in Skyfall - and all demonstrate the powerful impact of lingerie upon our perceptions of beauty, sensuality and shape.

Undressed at the V&A, sponsored by Agent Provocateur and Revlon, is open from this Saturday, April 16, until March 12 2017. For more information

The International Woolmark Prize: British Isles Nominees Announced

The 2016 British Isles nominees for the International Woolmark Prize have been announced this morning.

Ashley Williams, Ryan Lo, Faustine Steinmetz and Danielle Romeril have been shortlisted in the womenswear category, while Baartmans & Seigel, Craig Green,Cottweiler and Liam Hodges in the menswear category.

The four womenswear and four menswear designers nominated in this heat will join a further 69 designers from another 61 countries to compete for the international prize. 12 finalists will each receive AU$50,000 as a contribution towards their next collection and an invitation to take part in the international finals, which will award the winning womenswear and menswear designers AU$100,000 to help with fabric sourcing and marketing their collections.

Previous winners of the prize include Teatum Jones, Suket Dhir, Rahul Mishra and M Patmos. The British Isles regional award will be held on July 5 at the Australian High Commission in London.

Jason Wu Marries In Mexico

Jason Wu has had more experience than most in making brides look their best on their wedding day, but the spotlight was turned on the designer himself this weekend as he tied the knot with his boyfriend, Gustavo Rangel.

Wu met Rangel, who also serves as chief financial officer at Wu's eponymous label, on New Year's Eve, 2005. The nuptials - which took place in Tulum, Mexico, reportsWWD - were witnessed by a host of famous fashion faces, including Wu's long-term friend and muse Diane Kruger.

Shortly after their wedding, the designer - who also heads up Hugo Boss - paid tribute to his new husband, sharing an image of the pair walking up the aisle with the caption: "This weekend I celebrated one of the happiest days of my life. I got married to @tavonyc and I feel like the luckiest person in the world. I am so grateful for my amazing friends who joined us on this special day @hotelesencia but most of all to my parents, Hank and Jennifer and my brother and sister Kevin and Migumi for being the most loving, supportive, and special people in my life. I love you guys endlessly."

Naomi's Supermodel Bond

Naomi Campbell has discussed the special bond that she shares with her fellow Nineties Supermodels, revealing that she can always count on them in an hour of need.

"We do keep in touch," she told Vanity Fairof her relationship with Linda Evangelista,Christy Turlington, and Cindy Crawford et all. "Not every day, but we're very supportive of each other. And I know I can pick up the phone to any one of them if I was in real need. They're there," adding, "We were very supportive, my group of ladies."

The south London-born model was also very complimentary of another world-famous star, Rihanna - in particular the singer's recent foray into fashion design for Puma.

"It was elegant. It was sexy. I was so proud of her," she said of the collection. "It was absolutely her in every sense. She has such an innate style, and that's what I love about her. And I think that's why all the Brits and all the Europeans love her. It's why everyone in the world loves her. She's become a very good friend. She's a girl's girl, and I love that."

Campbell is currently branching out into unchartered territory of her own, with the publication of her first book, simply entitled Naomi Campbell, and the making of the 496-page tome, which comprises images charting her entire career, was an emotional one.

"When I first saw it, that was the day before the Oscars in the Taschen Gallery, in LA, I just started crying because it just kind of, it was like, Wow."

River Island Launches Activewear

River Island is launching its first activewear line, RI Active, the brand has exclusively revealed, and according to designer Hannah Hope, there couldn't be a better time to do it.

"Activewear is such a huge market at the moment - with athleisure and wellness both being huge trends, we felt 2016 was the right time to launch the collection, especially with the ever rising presence of fitness sensations on social media," she explained.

The first collection - which includes crop tops, slim-fit leggings, shorts, vests, padded gilets, fleeces and hooded ponchos - launches in store and online in May and has been finely tuned, according to Hope, to make sure that the details that set sportswear apart from everyday ready-to-wear are on point.

"It's important to us to ensure the range is technical as well as being fashion focused," she explained of the 23-piece range that caters to sizes 6 to 18. "We have used breathable and active stretch fabrics for maximum comfort with all of the styles being ergonomically designed to flatter and support the body, for example deep waistbands for sculpting the body; special seaming; and double layered fabrics."

Being a trend-led retailer, the aesthetic was as important as the structural elements, and the design team have worked to make sure the collection "was fashion forward and in keeping with the River Island brand aesthetic".

"This includes strong urban camouflage prints, irreverent slogan vests and vibrant pops of colour," revealed Hope. "Our aim is for our customer to look good whilst keeping fit."

RI Activewear will be priced between £18 and £38 and will be available from May in store and online at

M&S Needs To Be More Stylish, Says New CEO

Marks & Spencer´s new chief executive, Steve Rowe, attributed the brand's declining clothing sales to lack of style yesterday in his first official address.

"We have not been as stylish as customers wanted us to be, we have not had the availability of product when they wanted it and need to make sure we have the right product in the right place in terms of our ranges," he said, reports The Telegraph, which also states that a part of Rowe's new plan could be to terminate capsule clothing ranges (such as Per Una, Classic, Indigo, Limited Edition and Autograph) amidst claims that customers are confused by what they find on the shop floor.

"Let me be very clear, this performance was not good enough," he said, adding "We have started to make improvements in that and we can see that in our like-for likes but we have lots more to do and we will work really hard on that."

Rowe - who has worked at M&S since he was 15, rising through the ranks from Saturday boy, to merchandiser, to manager, to the head of the profitable food department (currently the jewel in the company's crown) - said that he was disappointed with the performance of the womenswear category and plans to study in depth where the brand is falling short.

In the last year the brand has enlisted several famous fashion faces and launched a number of exclusive initiatives to entice customers back into stores, including the Archive By Alexa collection (which goes on sale next week); a collection designed by fashion East founder Lulu Kennedy; an eco collection by Livia Firth; and a childrenswear collection by Vogue cover star Jourdan Dunn. It also enjoys a long-running and successful partnerships with David Gandy and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, whose lingerie and underwear collections for the store have been widely lauded and popular with customers.

According to data from Kantar Worldpanel, the company's share of the clothing market has declined for 17 consecutive quarters. Rowe's full strategy for how to turn around the fortunes of its womenswear will be unveiled next month.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Beyoncé Sues Feyoncé For Engagement Merchandise

Beyonce is suing Feyoncé, a brand that she claims is making money from "infringing merchandise" that trades on her name. The company - which sells T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs and other items - is using the word Feyoncé, a "misspelling of fiancée" the lawsuit claims, along with the phrase, "He put a ring on it" to deliberately trade upon "the goodwill and notoriety of Beyoncé, arguably one of the most famous musical artists and entrepreneurs in the world".

"Seeking to capitalise on the notoriety of Single Ladies, with its famous line, 'Put a ring on it,' defendants are selling merchandise bearing the 'Feyoncé' mark, intending to call to mind Beyoncé and her famous song. Some of the defendants' merchandise even bears the lyrics 'Put a ring on it' further solidifying the connection between Beyoncé and the unauthorised products."

The three defendants behind the brand - Andre Maurice, Leana Lopez, and Lee Lee - have not yet spoken publicly about the legal action, which sees their brand accused of "federal trademark infringement, unfair competition, and trademark dilution". Beyoncé's team alleges that the defendants' use of the Feyoncé mark is "causing immediate and irreparable harm to Beyoncé," which is why the singer is seeking "injunctive and monetary relief", The Fashion Law reports.

They may have a chance of reprieve however, since a recent case between Louis Vuitton and My Other Bag proved that US courts are keen to support creative freedom when it comes to parody - meaning that if the brand in question can prove that the mark was intended to amuse or entertain rather than to cause consumer confusion between the brands, it might be allowed under pro-parody legislation. "In some cases, it is better to accept the implied compliment in a parody and to smile or laugh than it is to sue," said the judge in the Vuitton case. The French house is now in the process of appealing the ruling. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Vetements CEO On Limiting Luxury

As CEO of Vetements, which he set up with his brother Demna, Gurum Gvasalia is a man in demand. Since the label arrived on the fashion scene in 2014, rapidly becoming one of - if not the - most talked-about labels in the world, its unconventional attitude has been the subject of much debate and never more so than when it comes to the issue of luxury and exclusivity.

"We are always trying to change the supply curve, making it just a little bit less than the demand curve, to make sure that you sell out," he told Sarah Mower of the brand's approach during a discussion at The Royal Institute this week, reports 1 Granary. "It is always better to sell one piece less to a store and to be sold out than to sell one piece extra and to go on sale. Because once you go on sale, there's no going back... Because if something goes on sale, it means it was overproduced."

Happy to give a case in point, the businessman and London College of Fashion graduate gave Louis Vuitton's inventory model as an example of what he is trying to avoid for his brand.
If something goes on sale, it means it was overproduced

"Luxury was always something that was scarce. Today, I don't consider Louis Vuitton to be a luxury brand - yes, the quality is luxury, but if you can go to the store and get whatever you want, it's not luxury," he explained. "For us, the important thing is that we don't restock and once you come to the showroom, it's the only chance you're going to have to place an order. Once it's sold out, it's sold out. We had hoodies from the first season that sold out super quickly and we had thousands of requests to make the hoodies again. If we were to, we would probably be able to make a million in a day. It's out of respect to the people that bought them first that we don't."

Explaining how the brand puts a cap on the number of items one retailer can buy (10 pairs of jeans and for Italian stores only four jersey tops) in order to keep the items special, Gvasalia also addressed the high price point of the brand that sees hooded tops fly off the shelves for over the £400 mark.

"There are a few reasons. One is that we work with amazing factories. These factories are not cheap. Another thing is the fabric. For example, the hoodies Demna likes to use molton cotton that is very heavy. It is almost 480g compared to the usual 240g. The price of creating this heavy cotton is double the price of creating a regular one," he said. "It all comes together with the shipping costs. It is nicer when people save up. They can buy this one piece that they cherish for a longer time, rather than spending money on clothes every week that they throw away afterwards. The whole idea is to limit the production, having less pieces and making sure that people who buy these pieces can cherish it for a longer time. It's moving away from this idea of fashion fashion, to this idea of slow fashion."

Supermodel Sentenced For DUI

Nineties supermodel Stephanie Seymourappeared in court yesterday to be sentenced for driving while under the influence. The model did not receive a custodial sentence - instead being instructed to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice a week, complete a six-week treatment program at Greenwich Hospital and take two victim impact panels - although the judge cautioned her that her actions had been "serious". If she completes the programmes, the offence will be expunged from her record in a year.

Seymour was arrested and charged with DUI in January of this year when she backed into another car while at the wheel of her Range Rover. She was then later charged with knocking over a utility pole on the same evening. Police claim that she showed signs of intoxication at the time of her arrest - including that she "smelled of alcohol", had "bloodshot eyes", and took "seven attempts to find her identification", Page Six reports.

The model - whose career saw her grace the cover of magazines the world over and take to the catwalk for almost all the major brands of the time alongside contemporaries such as Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington - smiled in court as Judge Auden Grogins passed sentence, assuring the court that she felt remorseful for her actions.

"I am incredibly ashamed that I did something that could have come out much worse," Seymour said. "I would also like to apologise to my family and the lady who I backed into."

As well as the rest of her sentence, the judge ruled that Seymour would have to pay any restitution not covered by her insurance company, and cautioned: "It wasn't just one accident but two accidents here, so it is serious. I'm glad that you are taking this seriously. You should take it seriously."

Anthony Vaccarello Named YSL Creative Director

Anthony Vaccarello has been named creative director at Yves Saint Laurent with immediate effect, confirming widespread rumours that the designer would succeed Hedi Slimane at the French fashion house. Vaccarello will present his first collection for the house in October for spring/summer 2017.

Earlier today it was confirmed that Vaccarello had left his role as creative director at Versus Versace, paving the way for his appointment at the Kering-owned YSL. Slimane exited the label last week after his contract was not renewed.

"I am very proud to welcome such a vivid and young force among today's creative fashion talents to Yves Saint Laurent," François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of Kering, said in a statement this afternoon. "Anthony Vaccarello's unique style will greatly express the maison's creative signature and fashion authority, building on the brand's solid foundations, and further developing it to realise its full potential. Together with the entire Yves Saint Laurent team, Anthony Vaccarello will strongly contribute to the maison's growing accomplishments."

"Mr Saint Laurent is a legendary figure for his creativity, style and audacity," said Vaccarello as news of his appointment broke. "I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the history of this extraordinary house." As to whether he will continue his eponymous line - as he did while working at Versus - it is not yet known.

Vaccarello's departure from Versus, for which he designed collections for three years, was an amicable one, with Donatella Versace wishing him well in a statement on Monday.

"While I'm sad to see him leave the Versace family, I wish Anthony Vaccarello tremendous success with his next chapter," Versace said, adding that she is happy that the label offers something of a training ground for designers - including JW Anderson and Christopher Kane - who have helmed the label.

"In each instance, their time on Versus Versace led to them making a huge advancement in their design career," she said. "I appreciated the chance to work with each of these three designers, and I enjoyed seeing what they brought to a brand I truly love. I'm proud that Versus can be such a remarkable global platform for emerging design talent."

Is Valentino Buying Balmain?

Valentino is rumoured to have made an approach to acquire Balmain, a French newspaper has claimed this weekend. Reports in Les Echos state that the French luxury label has offered €500 million for the much-talked-about brand, helmed byOlivier Rousteing.

Owned by Qatari investment vehicle Mayhoola, Valentino has some competition for the takeover of the brand, with an unnamed "Chinese group and an American investor" also providing solid offers, The Fashion Law reports. The company's founding family - now represented by the heirs of Balmain's former chairman and majority owner, Alain Hivelin - are said to have until Thursday to decide whether to accept any of the three offers.

Balmain's profile has risen exponentially over the past five years since Rousteing took the helm from former creative director Christophe Decarnin. The first designer to reach a million followers on Instagram, Rousteing's youth and gaggle of famous fans, who he christened the "Balmain army" - teamed with anH&M collaboration in 2015 that brought global awareness - have attributed to a newfound interest in the storied French house, founded by Pierre Balmain in 1946.
Les Echos reports that Bucéphale Finance, a French investment bank, was given a sale mandate by the family with the view that the house should be sold for between €300 and €400 million. Balmain's annual revenue is estimated to amount to €30 million.

Laura Bailey Turns Director

Laura Bailey has joined London-based eyewear label Zanzan Eyewear as director and creative partner, we can reveal this morning. The model and Voguecontributing editor will join the current creative team, Megan Trimble and Gareth Townshend - who founded the label in 2012 - to consult, collaborate, and assist with the design of the frames - something she is more than well-placed to do.

"I've long been obsessed with shades - I feel vulnerable without them and they are my fastest way to transform both mood and look," Bailey revealed. "They have played such a big part in my own style evolution (from NYC white and pastel flea-market finds and quirky, girly Chloé, to Miu Miu to classic black Chanel), and link so many of my movie or music fantasies."

The union isn't purely a business one. Bailey, Trimble and Townshend have formed a friendship over the last few years based on a mutual appreciation of art, design and photography which "evolved naturally until it became a serious business and creative opportunity", Bailey (who has experience in designing forLK Bennet and Radley as well as guest editing collections for Topshop and setting up Loquet London alongside Sheherazade Goldsmith) explained. Zanzan's refreshingly alternative reference points can be seen on its Instagram account.

The quirky frames make for a playful take on classic spectacle silhouettes while the colour-pop palette will brighten up every day. And who better to model the first fruits of the collaboration than Bailey (a self-confessed enthusiast) herself?

"Some girls hoard shoes or bags, I have drawers full of shades," she told us. "Some have ended up in my kids' fancy-dress chest but I still confess to around fifty pairs." Let the sun shine.

Slimane And Saint Laurent: What Happened?

"Privacy seems to be the only true luxury left today." So said Hedi Slimane last August, in a rare interview he gave to Yahoo! Style. As fashion observers search for clues as to why the reclusive designer has parted wayswith Saint Laurent after four years at the helm, a comment that he gave in relation to his reinstatement of the Yves Saint Laurent couture business suddenly seems pertinent.

Rumours had been swirling for a while. In February, when the famously press-shy Slimane staged a fashion-show-cum-rock-festival in LA for celebrities as diverse as Lady Gaga, Gary Oldman and Sylvester Stallone, he took an atypical post-show bow in a red velvet smoking jacket. In March, when he showed anautumn/winter 2016 Saint Laurent collection that was read as an uncompromising homage to Eighties-era Yves, whispers of an impending departure gathered apace. Leave on an unadulterated, super-Parisian, elegiacally YSL high, went the logic - and leave them wanting more.

Still, on paper, Slimane's departure looks illogical. As François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering, acknowledged: "What Yves Saint Laurent has achieved over the past four years represents a unique chapter in the history of the house." It also represents a unique chapter in its general leger: last year sales revenue stood at €974 million (about $1.08 billion), up from €707 million in 2014. Having staked his claim on the accessible - biker jackets, mini dresses, tuxedos and black ankle boots - Slimane turned Saint Laurent into one of the most profitable houses in the Kering stable. For the final quarter of 2015, like-for-like sales were up by 27.4% - a remarkable posting in a slowing luxury market.

Still, Slimane has always courted controversy. He arrived at Yves Saint Laurent in 2012 and his "Reform Project", as he termed it, was swift and severe. Changes were deemed "systemic", and "were needed to comfort the progression and accuracy of the House of Yves Saint Laurent". First, he dropped the "Yves" from the ready-to-wear label, which met with an outraged press reaction that he later termed "irrational" but "ironically a blessing in disguise that unexpectedly gave all the publicity that was needed for my project". Second, he established a design studio of 15 people in LA, 9,000km away from the Paris headquarters. 

Next, he changed the advertising campaigns, promoting glam-rock imagery which he photographed himself in black and white. He changed the stores, installing marble and mirrored surfaces to create stark, Modernist interiors at great expense. He changed the typeface. And he changed the clothes, riffing on cult classics that lacked the conceptual pretensions of high fashion. Critics deemed his leather jackets, army parkas, mini skirts and slip dresses populist - but up close, the construction of the garments was utterly immaculate, and the fabrics felt heartily authentic, down to the specific "grain de poudre" finish of a Thirties-inflected tuxedo jacket.

The final "preservation" element in the magic Slimane formula was the reintroduction of the couture line, housed in 24 Rue de l'Université on Paris's Left Bank. It took three years to restore the building itself, a hotel particulier built in the reign of Louis XIV that had fallen into disrepair. Slimane set about selecting artisans to restore floors, décor, a central staircase and the former French geometric garden. He also collected modernist Art Deco and Louis XVI furniture with which to fill the house. The ateliers had been producing handmade pieces for movie stars and musicians under the label "Yves Saint Laurent", although did not reappear on the official couture schedule.

It was a discreet operation, borne of a man who once described himself thus: "remote and in a quiet environment is closer to my nature". After Kering and Slimane could not come to an agreement on a new contract on Thursday, one presumes Slimane will return to a relaxed life in LA, preparing for his next challenge. For as he also revealed last year: "What motivates me is discovery. Searching for new music, unspoiled talents, and the excitement of youth. There is nothing to be jaded about; there is constantly change and evolution around. You need to be curious and open to new things, and never think it was better before, since nothing is ever the same." 

Cara Discusses Struggle With Depression

Cara Delevingne discussed her struggle with depression during her modelling career in a series of tweets posted last night.

She took to Twitter after many expressed surprise at this week's announcement that she is the face of Saint Laurent's latest campaign, given the broad media speculation that she had stepped back from modelling last year to focus on acting. Clarifying the rumours once and for all, Delevingne wrote: "Can we just set the record straight… I never said I was quitting modelling."

The 23-year-old continued, "I do not blame the fashion industry for anything… I suffer from depression and was a model during a particularly rough patch of self-hatred." Acknowledging the changes that she has made, her tweets concluded: "I am so lucky for the work I get to do but I used to work to try and escape and just ended up completely exhausting myself… I am focusing on filming and trying to learn how to not pick apart my every flaw. I am really good at that." 

It isn't the first time that Delevingne has spoken candidly about her battle with the mental illness. During an interview with actor Rupert Everett at the Women in the World Summit last October, she read a poem that she had written about her experience, explaining: "I wrote this when I wasn't very happy, a year ago, but if you know depression it comes back. It's a reoccurring thing." Hoping to raise awareness of mental health issues and to encourage those suffering to seek help themselves, she disclosed the severity of her struggle. "I got to the point where I went a bit mad. I was completely suicidal, I didn't want to live anymore," Delevingne said, before revealing that she had found solace through confiding in others - including fellow model Kate Moss - seeking professional support and taking up yoga and writing.

Moss Leaves Modelling Agency

Kate Moss has left Storm Models, the agency to which she has been signed since she was first discovered by its founder Sarah Doukas in JFK airport aged 14, the company confirmed to us this morning.

"After a successful 28 year relationship, Kate is moving her business in house, and we will continue to maintain an active involvement in our on-going deals for her," read a statement from the agency, which is responsible for the fashion careers of hundreds of major fashion models including Cindy Crawford, Jourdan Dunn, Liu Wen, Behati Prinsloo and, until recently, Cara Delevingne. The agency does, however, still have one Moss on its books in the form of Kate's little sister, Lottie.

Moss - who has established herself as a shrewd businesswoman in recent years with many collaborations and additional ventures to her modelling - will, moving forward, manage the majority of her modelling commitments herself, collaborating with the agency on an ad-hoc basis. The move, however, is said to be amicable.

Hedi Slimane To Exit Saint Laurent

Hedi Slimane is departing Saint Laurent as creative director, its owner Kering confirmed this morning. The announcement comes as the designer's contract with the fashion house expired this week and confirms rumours that have been circling the fashion industry since late last year.

"What Yves Saint Laurent has achieved over the past four years represents a unique chapter in the history of the house," François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering, said in a statement this morning. "I am very grateful to Hedi Slimane, and the whole Yves Saint Laurent team, for having set the path that the house has successfully embraced, and which will grant longevity to this legendary brand."

When contacted for comment earlier this year, a spokesperson for the brandasserted that the rumours where unfounded, telling us: "Following the recent departures there has been many rumours and this is another false speculation," referring to the other high-profile exits of Raf Simons from Dior and Alber Elbaz from Lanvin.

Francesca Bellettini, president and CEO of Yves Saint Laurent, stated today: "I would like to thank Hedi Slimane very much for his vision in reforming such an iconic House as Yves Saint Laurent. The direction that has been taken over the last four years represents an incredible foundation for the Brand to build on for its continuous success."

As to where Slimane will go next, nothing has been disclosed, but his successor is widely rumoured to be Anthony Vaccarello, who is currently creative director of Versace's sister line Versus Versace and his eponymous label. Women's Wear Daily reports that his naming could come as soon as May 1 so that he is in situ to design the brand's spring/summer 2017 collection that will show in Paris in October.

Kering said this morning said that "a new creative organisation for the house will be communicated in due course."

Pierre Bergé Slams Designer "Islamic Fashion"

While a growing number of fashion brands are creating fashion collections aimed at Muslim women, Pierre Bergé has taken issue with designers creating Islamic clothing.

"I am scandalised. Creators should have nothing to do with Islamic fashion," the 85-year-old told French radio station Europe 1 yesterday, reports The Guardian. "Designers are there to make women more beautiful, to give them their freedom, not to collaborate with this dictatorship which imposes this abominable thing by which we hide women and make them live a hidden life. These creators who are taking part in the enslavement of women should ask themselves some questions."

Bergé went on to say that the only reason that labels - which include Marks & Spencer, Uniqlo and Dolce & Gabbana - create such collections is "to make dough and nothing else", and he would tell them to: "Give up the dough. Have convictions. Defend your convictions." The French businessman - who founded Yves Saint Laurent alongside the eponymous designer, who was also his life partner - stressed that his comments are not Islamaphobic. "I live in Morocco most of the time, I am really not Islamophobic," he said.

His comments come as Laurence Rossignol, France's women's rights minister, criticised Marks & Spencer's full-body swimsuit, suggesting that the British retailer is "bowing to religious conservatives," according to The Daily Telegraph.

"What's at stake is social control over women's bodies," she told RMC radio. "When brands invest in this Islamic garment market, they are shirking their responsibilities and are promoting women's bodies being locked up. It is irresponsible on the part of these brands. All those who participate in how society is represented have a responsibility."

Marks & Spencer responded to the comments, saying that it "provides a wide range of quality swimwear", and that it has sold the full-body swimsuit "for a number of years and it is popular with our customers internationally".

Roberto Cavalli Upbeat About Growth

While many prefer to play down the fanfare of figures when they're not particularly positive,Roberto Cavalli's CEO, Renato Semerari, has been frank about the fashion house's current position, revealing that they are not expecting "beautiful numbers" this year.

"We don't expect 2016 to be brilliant, it will be similar to 2015," Semerari told WWD. "The first half will be difficult, but we will see signs of improvement in the second half. We are investing in the medium-term."

Unfazed by the calculus, he is focusing on the brand's long-term business strategy, which began last year with a "style and generational change" when it appointed former Emilio Pucci creative director Peter Dundas to replace the brand's eponymous founder - something he is equally plain-speaking about.

"There was the desire to underscore the change," he said of the appointment, which happened around the same time as his own arrival at the house. "It was an important message, aiming for a younger customer and more ready-to-wear for the day, but the response was varied. February's show was much better. We'll see what happens with the facts, but we believe that the message of a young woman, the rebalance of daywear and eveningwear has remained and we've strengthened the luxury component. We've received a positive response from press and clients alike."

He also outlined the ways the company intends to adapt to current consumer habits and move forward under new owner Clessidra SGR, which bought the fashion house (after lengthy negotiations) last year. It has already developed its wholesale channel in the US and relaunched its website and e-commerce with an omni-channel approach; intends to increase its presence in Asian markets - China, Japan, and Korea specifically - where it feels its competitors dominate; invest in "underdeveloped" categories such as menswear and accessories; and further explore the hospitality division of its Just Cavalli line.