Thursday, June 30, 2016

Swarovski Collective Award Winner Announced

Rosie Assoulin has won this year's Swarovski Collective Award, it was announced this morning.

Celebrating "creative talent, innovation and craftsmanship" shown by members of the Swarovski Collective - which includes the likes of Emilia Wickstead,Thomas Tait and David Koma - in the use of crystals in their spring/summer 2016 and autumn/winter 2016 collections, this is the second year that the award has been offered.

Nadja Swarovski, a member of the Swarovski executive board, said in a statement today: "It is a true pleasure to announce Rosie Assoulin as the winner of the 2016 edition of the Swarovski Collective Award. Her playful yet powerful collections have delighted both critics and customers, and it was wonderful to evolve our creative relationship with her this year into a stunning new jewellery collaboration."

The New York-based designer, who will receive a prize of €25,000, said of receiving the accolade, "Swarovski has been such an amazing partner. Working with their crystal gives us a creative outlet that would be impossible to access otherwise. It makes designing that much more fun when you are working with such an amazing product which is so versatile. We are truly so lucky to have Swarovski supporting us and what we do, and this award really is such an incredible honour."

Last year, the prize went to Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos of London-based label Peter Pilotto.

Alexander Wang Takes On CEO Role

Alexander Wang has announced that in addition to his role as creative director at his eponymous label, he will also take on the roles of chairman and CEO - roles previously held by his mother, Ying, and sister-in-law, Aimie, respectively - effective immediately.

His brand, which he founded in 2005, also sees other changes at the top, reports WWD. He has brought on Mary Wang (who previously worked as president of DKNY) as executive vice president and his aunt Caroline Wang (who comes from a 30-year career at IBM) as executive vice chairman. According to the designer, the plan now coming to fruition has been in the works for some time.
My family and I have been preparing for this shift all along and after 11 years said Alexander Wang

"My family and I have been preparing for this shift all along and after 11 years, all family members feel the time is right," he told WWD. "The family are still board members and give their full support. In addition, executives will gradually be added to the company's senior management team to support continued growth." - Alexander Wang

Wang won't be the first high-profile designer to take on the dual responsibility of CEO and creative director - he joins, among others, Christopher Bailey of Burberry. But, while there have been reports that leading both the business and creative sides of a fashion house can lead to compromise, Wang - who departed his creative director role at Balenciaga last year to focus solely on his own label - is feeling confident that he can balance both well.

"The business side has always come naturally to me," he said. "With my full-time return to New York, I want to focus on my brand's strategic growth. Now is the right time to fully synchronise the creative and business aspects of the company and to continue strengthening the dialogue we have with our customers. It has always been my goal to create brand value, and to be a brand with integrity and purpose."

Behold: New Look Saint Lauren

What can we expect from Anthony Vaccarello in his new role as creative director of Saint Laurent? One word: sexy.

Or at least, that was the general consensus, informed by Vaccarello's own description of his debut collection - "it's always black, it's always sexy"; by Donatella Versace's synopsis of his work when he was designing the Versus line - "sexy, dynamic, audacious"; and by Vogue's anointing of the 34-year-old designer as chief purveyor of "the new sexy" back in December 2013 - specifically, his "potent cocktail of three parts sex, one part slouch".

Slits, splits, slashes - since he replaced Hedi Slimane in April, much has been made of Vaccarello's penchant for torso-tight silhouettes that render underwear entirely redundant. How to square Slimane's painstakingly assembled sulky grunge aesthetic with the bombast of Vaccarello, a designer who says things like "legs are beautiful and it's a shame to hide them" and has a harem of angels on hand - Gisele Bundchen, Alessandra Ambrosio, Anja Rubik - to prove him right?

Nudity is the answer - that's the takeaway from the new, Vaccarello-approved Saint Laurent campaign, unveiled in teasers last week and this (quite literally - one Instagram image depicted a white box with a tiny square of bare collarbone). New look Saint Laurent comprises 15 hitherto-unknown models stripped down to their birthday suits, with only a boob tube on hand to spare their blushes. An ad campaign for a fashion brand, featuring virtually no fashion? As a metaphor for wiping the slate clean, this is pretty heavy handed - and one that squares with the bizarre strategy to wipe the Saint Laurent Instagram account to remove all trace of Slimane.

No leopard print, no sequins, no Joni Mitchell a-strumming - this is new look Saint Laurent, as clean as a Japanese subway, as no-frills as a Ryanair cabin interior. In one image, the camera focuses on seventeen-year-old Nigerian model Mayowa Nicholas' exemplary jawline; in another five-second-long video, topless sixteen-year-old Dutch model Mattia Creanza turns slowly towards the lens.

This is a new kind of sexy for Vaccarello - the kind that doesn't require multiple lengths of leather strapping exposing acres of polished thigh. As for new Saint Laurent - it's still whippet-thin and elementarily-young, but somehow it feels more…French. Still no sign of Yves though.

Who Wants To Buy Into Isabel Marant?

Isabel Marant has been in "advanced discussions" for "several months" to sell a majority stake in the fashion house. French investment company Montefiore are said to be interested in purchasing a 51 per cent share, although nothing has been agreed at this point.

"Isabel, Nathalie and I are a little bit self-taught," managing director Sophie Duruflé told WWD, referring to the house's eponymous founder and designer and their partner Nathalie Chemouny. "We have been growing this company for more than 20 years, in a very spontaneous, natural and sincere manner. We wanted to be accompanied by people who have the same vision as us, with a more strategic vision and skills that we slightly lack today."

Marant is said to be keen that the company remains in French hands. Last December, Reuters reported that she was in talks with private equity firm Eurazeo, which owns shares in Desigual, Moncler and Vestiaire Collective. While Montefiore doesn't have a fashion company in its current stable - which includes B&B Hotels, Auto Escape and research firm BVA - the Parisian label hopes that the investment will enable it to expand its digital offering and embark on new categories.

It's the second high-profile French fashion house to hit the headlines in the last week concerning investment. Valentino's parent company Mayhoola finalised a deal to buy Parisian fashion house Balmain last Wednesday for a reported €485 million.

Remembering Bill Cunningham

Tributes for Bill Cunningham have left an apt and resounding tone of admiration for the visionary, humble, and renowned street-style photographer. He died on Saturday, aged 87, after being hospitalised following a stroke.

"At age 87, Bill Cunningham was still cycling around New York, refusing my offer to share a taxi, even when it snowed," wrote Vogueinternational editor Suzy Menkes on Instagram. "I shall miss him so. As will the fashion world which has lost an honest and true reporter worthy of the New York Timeswhere his work was cherished. May he rest in peace, but his incomparable record of changing styles last forever."

Cunningham was the pioneer of "fashion on the street", as he coined it, since he started documenting fashion lovers, commuters and everyone around him for esteemed publications such as Details, Women's Wear Daily, and The New York Times. His fashion career started in the late Forties when he moved to New York and became a milliner, working under the name William J, although his life in the city was interrupted when he was conscripted to the American army in the early Fifties. He returned in 1953 and picked up a job in fashion photography job at WWD, documenting what would become his calling card: an unbiased and independent eye for what was happening around him.

Cunningham - who rode his bicycle around his adopted home-town of New York to capture the prevailing trends, dressed in his signature blue French worker jackets in warmer months; a grey, hooded anorak and flat cap when it was cold; and a black DIY poncho when it rained - was famous for his decorum. As Annette de la Renta put it, "He never took a cruel picture." He was a man interested only in celebrating differences in fashion, not exposing them in a negative way.

He famously never took a pay check for the work he delivered, saying that if he wasn't on a publication's payroll, then his vision would not be compromised. Instead, he discovered it - day in, day out - for himself and reported it to the world.

"Money is the cheapest thing," he was heard saying in the 2010 documentary Bill Cunningham New York, which followed him for a lengthy period in 2008. "Liberty and freedom is the most expensive."

He travelled annually to Paris for the international collections, maintaining his same humble, unassuming, un-attention grabbing demeanour, spurning "cookie-cutter sameness", as he put, for originality in its many forms.

When he was awarded France's Légion d'Honneur in 2008, making him an officer in the order of arts and literature, he told the crowd: "I'm not in it for the celebrities in their free dresses. Look at the clothes, the art, the cut, the new cut, the inspiration, the cloths - that's everything. It's the clothes, not the celebrity and not the spectacle."

The 2010 documentary gratefully brought his brilliance to the masses, but even with the extended fame that it generated, he was deferential to its merits.

"Mr. Cunningham told nearly anyone who asked about it that the attendant publicity was a total hassle, a reason for strangers to approach and bother him,"reports The New York Times. "He wanted to find subjects, not be the subject. He wanted to observe, rather than be observed. Asceticism was a hallmark of his brand."

Nevertheless, Cunningham fed off and encouraged the creativity around him. His insistence to "give the reader what they want", was unwavering for his column in the NYT. "I let the street speak to me - in order for it to speak to you, you need to stay out and see what it is. There are no shortcuts, believe me!" he said.

"It's not work, it's pleasure," he was often heard saying to anyone who congratulated him on his career. It's some comfort to his legions of admirers, that he lived to the end doing what he loved.

Meryl´s Reveals Devil Wears Prada Inspiration

Meryl Streep has revealed the inspiration behind her character in The Devil Wears Prada. Whilst many believe that Streep's portrayal of fashion editor Miranda Priestly is largely based on Anna Wintour - who is rumoured to have inspired Lauren Weisberger's best-selling novel on which the film is based - the Oscar-winning actress has disclosed who she actually looked to when perfecting the character's idiosyncrasies.

"The voice I got from Clint Eastwood," she revealed in an interview with Variety, explaining that he "never, ever, ever raises his voice and everyone has to lean in to listen, and he is automatically the most powerful person in the room." It had the desired effect. Her co-star, Anne Hathaway, recalled that, at the first read-through, "When Meryl opened her mouth and basically whispered, everybody in the room drew a collective gasp. It was so unexpected and brilliant."

Streep's character's dry sense of humour ("The way the cruelest cutting remark, if it is delivered with a tiny self-amused curlicue of irony, is the most effective instruction"), she claims she "stole from Mike Nichols", who she has worked with on a number of films.

When it came to Priestly's appearance, Streep had two muses in mind. Carmen Dell'Orefice with her signature white bouffant hairstyle was one. "I wanted a cross between her and the unassailable elegance and authority of Christine Lagarde," Streep disclosed.

The actress also revealed a number of additions that she made to the film. "Getting the business of fashion scene in the movie," she said, referencing her famous monologue to Hathaway's character, Andy, about the impact of the fashion industry. "I also wanted a scene where she is without her armour, the unpeeled scene in the hotel room - just to see that face without its protective glaze, to glimpse the woman in the businesswoman."

Despite being an integral element of the film's success, Streep very nearly refused the role because of the initial offer the company made her.

"The offer was to my mind slightly, if not insulting, not perhaps reflective of my actual value to the project," she revealed. "There was my 'goodbye moment', and then they doubled the offer. I was 55, and I had just learned, at a very late date, how to deal on my own behalf."

While Streep seemed an obvious choice from the beginning, it turns out that Hathaway was not the original preference to play Andy. Fox originally pursuedThe Notebook actress Rachel McAdams, who turned the role down on multiple occasions.

"I had to be patient. I wasn't the first choice," Hathaway confessed. Remembering the moment she learned that she had been offered the role, she said, "I had some buddies over. I remember running out in my living room, half dressed, screaming, 'I got The Devil Wears Prada! I got The Devil Wears Prada!'"

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Hedi Sues Saint Laurent Owner

Hedi Slimane has launched legal proceedings against Saint Laurent owners Kering, two months after his exit as creative director of the French fashion house.

The dispute concerns the non-compete clause in his contract with the house which Kering lifted when he departed, reportsReuters, meaning that Slimane was permitted to work for other fashion brands with immediate effect. Slimane, however, wants the commonly applied clause (which, while hindering work on creative projects that could be seen as a conflict of interest, financially looks after former employees) reinstated.

"Kering lifted this clause at the end of Hedi Slimane's contract, thus freeing Hedi Slimane from this potential constraint," the company said in a statement. "Hedi Slimane is requesting that this clause be applied still, along with the effective payment of the financial compensation that goes with it."

The conglomerate - which appointed Anthony Vaccarello as Slimane's successor in April - stressed in its statement that the lawsuit did not take away from Slimane's achievements at the brand.

"This disagreement does not alter the group's recognition for Hedi Slimane's contribution, who, together with the Yves Saint Laurent team, has reformed the maison, during his four-year tenure as creative and image director of Saint Laurent."

Who's Bought Balmain?

Valentino parent company Mayhoola has finalised a deal to buy Parisian fashion house Balmain.

Earlier this year, it was rumoured that the Qatari investment firm was making moves to acquire the brand - with unidentified American and Chinese investors also reportedly showing interest - and today the advisor for the acquisition has confirmed the sale, reports The Guardian.

"After completing this transaction Mayhoola for Investments will hold 100 per cent of Balmain's capital," a statement by the merger and acquisitions company Bucephale Finance read.

French financial newspaper Les Echoes suggested that the luxury label offered €485 million for the fashion house, which is helmed by Olivier Rousteing and has garnered an impressive celebrity following in recent years. It counts the Kardashian and Jenner clan, the Hadid sisters and a host of well-known models amongst its famous fans, dubbed the "Balmain Army".

Ownership of the brand has been in question since its former CEO, Alain Hivelin, who is widely credited with the house's revival and was responsible for hiring current creative director Rousteing, passed away in December 2014. Since then, majority ownership has been held by a family holding company, represented by Hivelin's heirs, with members of Balmain's management board also possessing stakes.

Investment fund Mayhoola bought Italian label Valentino in July 2012 and announced earlier this year that its revenues for 2015 were more than $1 billion, up 48 per cent from 2014.

Woolmark Prize Judges Announced

The judging panel for the British Isles regional final of the International Woolmark Prize has been announced this morning.

Vogue deputy editor Emily Sheffield; GQeditor Dylan Jones; designer Roksanda Ilincic; Topman creative director Gordon Richardson; group fashion buying director of Harvey Nichols, Anita Barr; men's style director of Simon Chilvers; and fashion and buying director of Boutique 1 Group Bridget Cosgrave make up the seven-strong panel.

"Our esteemed judging panels and mentors will no doubt provide expert advice to each of the nominees which is invaluable at this stage of their careers," said managing director of The Woolmark Company Stuart McCullough this morning. "The continued support from industry heavyweights, governing bodies and the world's most influential retailers cements the importance of the International Woolmark Prize on the world stage."

The judges will decide which designers will go through to the global final for the menswear and womenswear categories in the regional final which takes place on July 5. One menswear and one womenswear finalist will be selected and will receive a AU $50,000 financial contribution towards their next collection, as well as the opportunity to compete in the international finals which will take place in early 2017. The final winner will be awarded a further AU $100,000 and the opportunity to have their collections stocked in boutiques around the world.

"Creativity has always been one of Britain's greatest exports and this year's Woolmark prize will give us another opportunity to celebrate new talent," said Sheffield today. "For the winners, it will be a chance to gain global recognition and financial support, crucial when building a stable business in a tough competitive industry. I will be looking for a designer who has already developed a strong identity to their label, whose viewpoint on the world and their interpretation of that in their collections makes you feel excited and inspired. For me, it is also important they have a realistic overview of the challenges they will face growing their brand and how they will overcome those challenges."

Last year saw Suket Dhir and Teatum Jones scoop the menswear and womenswear prizes respectively, while previous recipients famously include Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent in Paris in 1954, the year after the prize was created.

Urban Outfitters Launches ReWork

Urban Outfitters has launched the latest label in its growing in-house portfolio today. Entitled ReWork, it aims to fuse the worlds of creativity and commerciality by employing a very different approach to those usually used by high-street brands: the fabrics are decided first, and then the clothes are designed.

"This collection is designed entirely with the view that beautiful fabrics lead beautiful designs and with the range made up entirely of sourced remnant fabrics, the design process is unlike any other," Lizzie Dawson, the store's head of design who joined last year from Topshop, told us. "It's experimental and designed from what feels right opposed to chasing trends. Fashion is fast and the landscape is constantly changing and evolving. By offering something like ReWork, I'm hoping that we can offer the new and unseen to our customers."

This collection is designed entirely with the view that beautiful fabrics lead beautiful designs Lizzie Dawson, head of design

The collection is all made in London and to mark its limited editions, each piece will be marked with a number to show how many have been made. What bucks the limited-edition trend, however, is the price. Starting at £40 and stopping at £120, "there is a price point for everyone to buy into," said designer Rosie Ingelby. But the British High Street is nothing if not focused on the competition, so how has the store navigated the number on the swing tags?

"The price points feel competitive due to the limited runs that each piece in the collection has and the amazing fabrics that we have been able to use. Once it's gone, it won't be back in store so you have to act fast!" explained Ingleby. "Supporting the UK industry does mean that we are challenged on price but it's something we feel strongly about so have made it work."

The overall result? Not what you would immediately expect from a collection made of cut-offs. Rather than an aesthetic "mish-mash", it's a cohesive offering with all those Nineties signatures the brand is famous for and one that it hopes will satisfy both creator and customer.

"It has allowed us to draw on both creative and commercial experience - both necessary to create something which is high-street yet aspirational and individual," said Ingleby. "We really want the pieces to talk to the UO customer, knowing that she likes to be original in her dressing."

Grace Wales Bonner Wins LVMH Prize

Grace Wales Bonner has won the third annual LVMH Prize, beating seven other finalists to claim the title.

The 25-year-old menswear designer, who showed her collection Wales Bonner atLondon Collections Men this week, was presented with the gold star by actress and British Vogue cover star Léa Seydoux during the ceremony at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. She was selected by a panel of industry figures that included Karl Lagerfeld, Nicolas Ghesquière, Phoebe Philo and Marc Jacobs.

The other finalists in the running were Aalto, by Tuomas Merikoski; Alyx, by Matthew Williams; Facetasm, by Hiromichi Hiromichi Ochiai; Koché, by Christelle Kocher; Vejas, by Vejas Kruszewski; Y/Project, by Glenn Martens; and Brandon Maxwell.

Vejas was recognised with the special jury prize - the award that Jacquemus was presented with last year, when Marques'Almeida took home the title award - and will receive €150,000, as well as mentorship.

Stella Confirms Menswear Label

The first collection will be unveiled this November at an exclusive event in London, alongside her pre-autumn/winter 2017 womenswear collection, rather than at one of the international menswear showcases.

It will, according to a statement from the fashion house, comprise "fur-free and leather-free apparel and accessories", as with her current designs, and "will take a modern approach to menswear, encouraging seasonless wardrobing, while adhering to the brand's responsible and sustainable ethics".

The addition to her fashion empire comes a month after her designs for the GB Olympic kit were unveiled in London to acclaim.

John Lewis Reveals First Luxury Edit

John Lewis has announced a new luxury-fashion initiative that will see it partner with a designer brand each season on an exclusive new collection called Modern Rarity, and the first brand to step up?

"We set out to create a label that redefines everyday wardrobe staples in a luxurious way and Palmer//Harding felt like exactly the right partner for the first season," Jo Bennet - head of buying at John Lewis, who worked alongside Iain Ewing, head of design, to mastermind the collection - told us. "They share our values, loved our vision for the label and there is no better place to begin reinterpreting wardrobe staples than with the classic white shirt every woman needs in her wardrobe."

Known for their signature shirting, which has featured prominently in all of their collections, Palmer//Harding designers Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding waited until the right collaboration offer was on the table before dipping their toes into the capsule-collection pool, making this their first foray onto the British high street.

"Since launching Palmer//Harding in 2012 we never desired to do a high-street collaboration unless it was with the perfect match," Harding told us. "Having grown up with John Lewis, it always maintained an idea of quality and heritage. So when Jo and Iain from the John Lewis team first showed us the Modern Rarity project we were not surprised with how many parallels the label held with us. From looking to the same artist for inspiration to the quality in fabrics and construction, it was really a perfect match from the very start."

Unlike previous designer collaborations for the department store, the 90-piece collection features five shirts from the design duo instead of an entire range, with the rest being designed in house by Bennet and Ewing, who want to deliver a fresh perspective on wardrobe staples. Tailoring and knitwear feature heavily, as does outerwear (heads-up: there is a full-length military trench coat made entirely of cashmere for £550) in the carefully curated edit, which Bennet believes will fill a gap in her customers' wardrobes.

"We started with a mantra of 'fewer, better pieces' in the knowledge that our customers want quality pieces that have design substance," she explained. "We wanted to create a label that re-defined luxury at an affordable price point, a label that could cater for everyday modern wardrobe staples that are thoughtfully designed."

For Palmer//Harding, as for all future designer collaborators, the union gives the brand a visibility that only comes from partnering with a household name.

"Apart from the aesthetic match, we were also excited about the customer base that Palmer//Harding would be exposed to," said Palmer. "John Lewis already has such a sophisticated consumer so I'm sure they will be excited to be introduced to us."

Modern Rarity will land in store and online at on September 8. Prices range from £50 to £900.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Phillip Green Vows To Resolve BHS Pensions Black Hole

Former BHS owner Philip Green appeared today before the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee and Work and Pensions Committee to answer questions surrounding the demise of the high-street retailer. The company is currently in "wind down", making 11,000 employees redundant and many more without a pension. 

In the six-hour-long exchange, Green - who owned the chain for 15 years before he sold it to Dominic Chappell last year for a token £1 - said he would not take responsibility for the store's closure, but apologised to his former employees and vowed to help resolve the pension deficit which amounts to £571 million. "I want to give an assurance to the 20,000 BHS pensioners that I am there to sort this, in the correct way."

"There certainly was no intent at all on my part for anything to be like this. It didn't need to be like this and I just want to apologise to all the BHS people who have been involved in this."
Green would not take responsibility for the BHS pension deficit but pledged to resolve it: "There have been some stupid, stupid, idiotic mistakes made."

"You have my commitment that I am planning, ASAP, to sit with the regulator. I have a team while we're here working and I want to get this over with, trust me sooner than you do. I'm not running away. It will get my best shot to find a solution as quickly as we can. It has my commitment. In the last four weeks, I could be a murderer for the way they write about me."

"I've become used to getting attacked over the last four weeks, I'm used to it. I haven't been able to visit my shops for weeks. It's wholly unbalanced and unfair. I wanted to come here so that people can see for themselves if I'm honest, dishonest."

When questioned about his reasons for residing in Monaco, a well-known tax haven, Green revealed that he originally moved to there in 1998 for health reasons before he owned any businesses.

"For everything that was legitimately made in the UK, tax was paid in the UK. We've paid many, many, many hundreds of millions pounds of tax and if we were trying to find a system that was specific to doing that, we wouldn't have done that."

"As far as I'm concerned I've got a very clear conscience. We've run these companies properly. We paid everything that was due... we could have taken the brands off shore and charged a royalty - we didn't."

"I can't be judge and jury - other people will or won't believe me. People will make up their mind based on what I've said in the last six hours. There's nothing that I've said that I can't prove or support. It's easy to see now that it wasn't the right buyer. There's lots of reasons for that but I don't want to get into those as it's not where I want to go. 

Green concluded that ultimately his mistake was selling the business to the wrong person. "I picked the wrong guy. I didn't do it intentionally."

"It was a very sad episode that everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. I'm not here to cast the blame, but some people that took up certain roles in this have something to account for. I think I'm sad, that Chappell was given a great opportunity, more than an opportunity. If he had been bankrupt previously and got a chance, for it to end up here is unnecessary on many, many levels."

"I checked Google and I found that Walt Disney and HJ Heinz were made bankrupt. Businessmen go bankrupt from time to time. Entrepreneurs do bad deals. That doesn't mean they can't go back into business."

Donatella: The Calendar Is In A Shambles

Not one to mince her words ( just last week she declared: "I don't know how to do things quietly"), Donatella Versace has given a clear verdict on what she thinks about the state of the changing fashion calendar.

"The calendar is in shambles; I am fed up with this system," the Versace helmer told WWD. "I think the business model of luxury brands is about to change in a radical way. We are all thinking about what to do."

But, while many brands are opting for "co-ed" collections, combining menswear and womenswear (Burberry, Public School, Gucci and Tom Ford all included) as a solution to reigning in the amount of fashion-week appearances that they make, Versace is adamant that this isn't the solution for her family's brand.

"I don't believe in gender mixing," she said. "There are women and men; my fashion is totally different, with the same mentality behind the design process, but different. I like a strong, daring woman who has no fear of showing who she is, her force. The same with men. You can't translate it in the clothes in the same way. Absolutely not."

Her words echo those of fellow Italian designer Stefano Gabbana, who told British Vogue editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman at the Vogue Festival last month. "It doesn't make sense in our opinion. Man is man, woman is woman. First you need to ask the question which buyers would come? Which journalists come? We sell a lot to the man, we need a show especially for men. For Dolce & Gabbana, they can't mix."

Since the announcement made by the CFDA in late 2015 that it had employed Boston Consulting Group to explore the options available for designers when it came to the current fashion model, the industry has reacted in varying measures. Burberry, Thakoon and Tom Ford were among the first brands to announce that they would be opting for a co-ed, see-now-buy-model, resulting in a switch-up of seasons. Others - including the governing body of Paris Fashion Week, the Fédération Française de la Couture du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, and fashion conglomerate Kering - made it clear that they intended to keep the system the same.

The result is that the industry now has some brands that are showing see-now-buy-now co-ed autumn/winter collections in September, while others have kept their spring/summer outing to September and continue to show their menswear collections during the men's fashion weeks in January and June.

Although Versace has been a promoter of change in the industry, it has to be the right change, she said. She added that while the see-now-buy-now model works with her Versus brand, she doesn't believe that the same model can work for all brands, and intends on keeping Versace's offering to the world of see-now-buy-now in capsule collection form.

"With see-now, buy-now, we've been pioneers on this. I must say, I believe in it, but for Versus, for lines that are less important, especially for young people on the Internet," she said. "We can do capsules. For quality, you need time, especially with prints. The goal is to deliver more quickly, not in six months. We had eight looks from the fall show in store in the last week of May. We should divide the deliveries into two or three drops, because I don't want to wait either. I see it with myself, and I understand other women."

London Mayor Bans Body-Shaming Ads

London mayor Sadiq Khan has instructed the city's transport network, Transport For London (TFL), to stop facilitating advertisements that "can demean people, particularly women". Khan, who was elected to his role in May this year, said that he didn't want anyone travelling on buses or on the tube to feel "pressurised".

"As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end," said Khan, reportsThe Guardian. "Nobody should feel pressurised, while they travel on the tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies and I want to send a clear message to the advertising industry about this."

Last year an advertisement by Protein World was removed by the Advertising Standards Agency after it prompted a more than 360 complaints and a petition which attracted 70,000 signatures. The advertisement read "Are You Beach Body Ready?" promoting advertising weight-loss supplements and meal replacements which many felt aimed to make consumers "feel physically inferior to the unrealistic body image of the bronzed model, in order to sell their product".

To help support TFL with similar advertisements moving forward, Khan's office has set up "a steering group" to help agencies Exterion Media and JCDecaux "monitor and review compliance with rules".

"Advertising on our network is unlike TV, online and print media. Our customers cannot simply switch off or turn a page if an advertisement offends or upsets them and we have a duty to ensure the copy we carry reflects that unique environment," said TFL's commercial development director, Graeme Craig, in support of the mayor.

Burberry´s COO Resigns

Burberry´s chief operating officer, John Smith, has resigned from his position at the British fashion house. The COO is said to be leaving to pursue new interests, according to a statement from Burberry, reports Bloomberg, which includes "exploring several leadership positions in fast-growing international businesses".

The news comes as Burberry's management structure finds itself regularly in the headlines. Last week the company announced that Smith, along with Bailey and CFO Carol Fairweather, would see their salaries cut by up to 75 per cent. While the company has a year to find a replacement for Smith (who will remain on the board until summer 2017), analysts are predicting that his departure will lead to a shake-up at the top, where Bailey currently holds the positions of creative director and CEO.

"John Smith retiring opens the opportunity for further changes in senior responsibilities," said Luca Solca, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, reportsBloomberg. "Burberry needs to go through management adjustments, as the organisation based on Christopher Bailey having a dual role does not seem ideal and results are under pressure."
In May, the company was said to be looking to bring in directorial back-up for Bailey, who assumed the position of CEO in addition to his already busy job creating the aesthetic for the company when Angela Ahrendts left the position to move to Apple in 2013. Shortly after taking on the double responsibility, Bailey promoted Luc Goidadin to chief design officer to "oversee all design activities" under his leadership, although shareholders have been recently calling for more support.

Why Donatella Won't Keep Quiet

Donatella Versace is unfazed by the conversations surrounding her recently released autumn/winter 2016 ads.

The designer said of the campaign, shot by Bruce Weber and starring models Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid as presumed young mothers (both hand-in-hand with children and partners), "My name is Versace - I don't know how to do things quietly, that is just my blood and my family." Speaking to The Telegraph, she continued: "We make a noise, shout loud, never hold back on our opinions. This is why our campaigns have always been so bold, because my family has always provoked. Life would be so boring if we all did the same thing."

Since they were unveiled, the adverts have elicited much discussion. Whilst many have praised the portrayal of a racially diverse family, some have commented that the depiction of the two as mothers could be deemed unrealistic given the model's ages - Kloss is 23 and Hadid turned 21 in April. Versace, however, explained her reasoning behind the idea and how it fits in with the luxury brand's ethos.

"With my collections, I've been thinking more and more about the real life of Versace, and the complexity of women's lives," she said. "They run their own business, look after their family, travel, share time with friends, all often in the same day. I wanted to show the fullness of the Versace life in our campaign."

Given her ideals for the fashion house, the choice of models was obvious it seems. "I love Gigi and Karlie because of their amazing strength of character," the designer explained. "They are their own women who will not compromise their individuality for anyone. I wanted to create imagery that was all about their brilliant individuality."

Gucci´s British Love Affair Continues

Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele's love affair with Britain looks set to continue - for at least another three years that is. The fashion house has announced its plans to partner with the historic Chatsworth House until 2019 on a cultural programme that will focus on fashion and style.

"There is a layered beauty to the way Alessandro Michele blends the historic and the contemporary in his collections, this is mirrored in the way Chatsworth has evolved over many hundreds of years with each generation making their own contribution, layer upon layer to the house and landscape," Laura Burlington - whose husband, the Earl of Burlington, is the heir to the estate - told us.

Michele's affection for our fair isle is well documented. Having worked in London for years under Tom Ford while he was at the helm, he held the Gucci pre-spring/summer show in Westminster Abbey last week - the campaign for which he intends to imminently shoot at Chatsworth House. 

"From punk rock to Capability Brown landscape gardens, Michele often takes inspiration from a wide range of British sources," read a statement from the brand. "Citing a British attitude in his work - a quality he defines as a love of eclecticism - Michele sees Chatsworth as a natural partner for Gucci. Chatsworth, like Westminster Abbey, speaks of Gucci's desire to engage with British culture in a broad and genuine way."

It's the second time this week that Gucci's future plans have been revealed. On Monday, we reported CEO Marco Bizzari's intention to grow the brand by more than double the market average, forecasting revenues at an unprecedented €6 billion for the long term. The Chatsworth House collaboration, however, won't have to wait that long to bare fruit. A yet-to-be-announced exhibition, the estate's largest to date, is slated to run from March to October next year. Stay tuned.

Graduate Fashion Week Winner

Christopher Bailey, Vivienne Westwood and Julien Macdonald were amongst fashion's big names celebrating the winners of Graduate Fashion Week 2016 at East London's Old Truman Brewery last night.

Burberry creative director and CEO Bailey was on hand to present the prestigious Gold Award (renamed this year after him in fitting tribute to the designer who was given the same accolade at the first Graduate Fashion Week in 1992) to Hazel Symons of De Montfort University. Speaking at the event, he recognised the efforts of all of the students that have shown their collections this week.

"When you watch the collections presented on the catwalk, it can all seem very effortless," he said. "But I know both from my own experience and by working closely with the students, how intense the experience can be, and I know how extraordinary the talent of the students is here this evening and how hard they've worked to get here today."

See the full list of winners from last night's ceremony below.

Christopher Bailey Gold Award Presented By Oracle
Hazel Symons (De Montfort)

M&S Womenswear Award
Quivvei Jiang (UCA Epsom)

Debenhams Menswear Award
Caoimhe Savage (Kingston University)

GFW 25th Anniversary TU Scholarship Award
Genevive Devine (Northumbria University)

Matalan Visionary Knitwear Award
Kendall Baker (Nottingham Trent)

George Catwalk To Store Award
George Hollins (Arts University Bournemouth)

N Brown Textile Award
Chloe Jackson (Nottingham Trent)

ICG Accessories Award
Lorn Jean (Edinburgh College Of Art)

David Band Textiles Award
Alice Potts (Norwich University Of The Arts)

Drapers Fashion Publication Award
Emily Reid (Arts University Bournemouth)

New Media Award
Vanessa Cuffy (UCA Epsom)

Very Styling & Creative Direction Award
Mia Edie Roberts (University Of Central Lancashire)

Marketing Award
Nuala Convery (Northumbria University)

Barclays New Business Award
Danielle Reynolds (University Of Brighton)

Vivienne Westwood Ethical Award
Fiona Cartmel (Edinburgh College Of Art)

Oracle Fashion Technology Award
Alex Hughes (Northbrook College Sussex)

Stand Award
Sheffield Hallam University

Little Black Dress Fashion Photography Award
Erika Bowes (Northumbria University)

Boux Avenue Lingerie & Swimwear Award
Betsan Evans (De Montfort)

Karen Millen Portfolio Award
Emily Bunch (University Of Leeds)

Mothercare Childrenswear Award
Sinead Blagbrough (University Of Salford)

The Oracle International Catwalk Competition
Amesh Wijesekera (Academy Of Design, Sri Lanka)

Lipsy Red Carpet Dress Award
Antonia Nae (University Of East London) Fashion Innovation Award
Lorn Jean (Edinburgh College Of Art)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Alicia's Clueless Moment

While the CFDA Awards celebrate all that is current in fashion, for Alicia Silverstone this week's New York ceremony presented the opportunity to revisit one of her most famous sartorial moments from over 20 years ago in her hit film Clueless.

"I haven't worn red in a long time," the actress told People, "but red's fun because it was so iconic with Clueless. I don't think I've worn a red dress since then."

The actress's famous character, Cher Horowitz, has sparked sartorial inspiration ever since she debuted on the big screen, most notably during the recent Nineties revival. From her white Calvin Klein dress - which then creative director Francisco Costa agreed to remake in 2010 - to her head-to-thigh tartan two-piece, throwback photos are never far from a social-media feed.

And it seems the affection for the character stretches to Silverstone herself. Asked whether or not she intended to make the connection with her most famous character to date, she replied, "No, but that's really good."

Ralph Lauren Outlines Restructure

Ralph Lauren has outlined its restructuring plan which involves closing 50 stores and cutting 1,000 jobs, a spokesperson confirmed to Reuters last night. The aim is to lower outgoings at the fashion house, which has seen a decline in shares this week, with the restructure predicting to save the company $180 to $220 million annually.

The new plan, headed up by chief executive Stefan Larsson, also involves shifting attention to profitable areas of the business that hold most potential. "The company will focus on its luxury Ralph Lauren line and the lower-end Polo and Lauren brands," Reuters reports Larsson as saying.

A spokesperson for the brand also revealed that it plans to reduce time between collections being unveiled and being available in store - a move currently being mooted by many luxury fashion companies - from 15 months as it stands, to nine months.

In the first quarter of this year, the company had just over 490 directly operated retail stores and approximately 26,000 employees. Under the new plan, these figures will reduce to around the 440 mark and 1,000 respectively.

London College Of Fashion Goes East

Gritty, grimy, and bustling with creativity, East London has long been home to some of the capital's best-loved designers. In September 2021, however, it will welcome a shiny new fashion cluster:London College of Fashion, UAL is relocating to the 2012 Olympic village.

The move east is part of LCF's relocation to Stratford's Olympicopolis arts hub. The new cultural and educational district, Stratford Waterfront at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will accommodate facilities for Sadler's Wells and the Victoria & Albert Museum, as well as a new UAL campus for the London College of Fashion and a new university campus for University College London.

LCF's building is being designed by architectural practice Allies & Morrison and will house upwards of 5,500 fashion students and 500 staff over 30,000 m², bringing six specialist disciplines under one roof for the first time. A glass-roofed design, the architect's model was inspired by fabric wefts, in a reference to the fabric mills of Huddersfield. Construction begins in 2018. 

Speaking at the opening of LCF's BA16 exhibition, Professor Frances Corner, head of college at LCF and pro-vice chancellor of UAL, said: "The architects have got really excited about contradictions. The space needs to be private but public. It needs to look inviting, but it needs to allow us to have our hiding spaces as well. It needs to unite the analogue with the digital. We want things to be messy but also incredibly sleek. We're making what they term a workshop for the 21st century."

Of the move east, Corner said: "There are lots of designers based around this area, so we have the chance to not only refashion East London but to make a really significant economic contribution. And as part of that we will also discuss not only how we connect to the rest of the UK, but how we connect to the rest of Europe and the world."

Corner, clearly, is part of the Remain camp. She told Vogue: "I am really worried [about the possibility of Brexit]. We've obviously got a campaign to make sure our students register to vote. We have so much European funding, we have key partnerships with schools in Spain, Sweden, Milan, we go back and forth all the time. Of course, you can still go between, but the barriers that will go up as a consequence will be really damaging. As a university we feel very strongly about remaining."

The LCF BA16 exhibition is open to the public from today (Tuesday 7 June) until Thursday 9 June, hosted at 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6PG.

Bailey's Burberry Pay Drops

Burberry´s Christopher Bailey has seen his salary cut from £7.5m in the financial year ending March 2015 to £1.9m in the financial year ending March 2016, according to the company's annual report.

Bailey is joined in the salary cut by other executive directors, including Carol Fairweather, chief financial officer - whose salary has dropped from £1.6 million to £683,000 - and John Smith, chief operating officer - whose salary has dropped from £1.5 million to £813,000. The main drop in salaries has been a result of the directors not being awarded annual bonuses or "previous awards granted under the Co-Investment Plan and Restricted Share Plan awarded in 2013," said chairman John Peace in the report.

"The successful execution of our strategy over the coming years will rely on the commitment and dedication of our staff, many of whom are highly sought after by our competitors," wrote Peace. "It is therefore important that we pay competitively while maintaining the discipline of only rewarding performance. Our overall approach to incentive structures for all staff, including senior management, is based on performance - so when the business does not perform as well, this has an impact on what we pay to our staff. And when the share price falls as it has in the past year, this has a substantial impact on historical share awards."

Peace was, however, keen to note that the move is a positive business measure and paid tribute to Bailey in particular.

"The Burberry brand has never been stronger. We have authentic, distinctive products with enormous future potential. Burberry remains a growth business, but following many years of out performance and investment in the brand and in the business, we are experiencing fundamental change in our industry and our consumer," he continued, adding: "A great deal has been achieved over the past 12 months under Christopher Bailey's leadership in very challenging market conditions. This includes strengthening the senior management team by bringing in people with different experience and backgrounds throughout the year."

Last month we reported that the fashion house was looking to bring in back-up for Bailey, after shareholders raised concerns that he needed "someone to help him on the marketing and retail side, who has a good understanding of the business and knows exactly where they want to take the company".

So far, there has been no mention of a new hire from the brand. They are no doubt looking for their adoption of the see-now-buy-now model to impact positively on its profits as it begins to roll out this autumn.

Gucci´s Big Plans Revealed

The day after Gucci's very well received pre-spring/summer 2017 show, CEO Marco Bizzarri announced his plans to grow the brand by more than double the market average. Forecasting Gucci revenues at an unprecedented €6 billion for the long term (exact dates were not specified), WWD reports that Bizzarri outlined his growth strategy in a meeting excluding any press.

Bizzarri has reportedly pin-pointed e-commerce as a specific growth area, following the recent redesign of the Gucci website across key markets, and plans to more than triple the brand's online business; alongside reducing discounting, and expanding all product categories, including those under license.

Last year, Gucci registered sales of €3.9 billion, up 11.5 per cent from the previous year in response to the brand's reinvention spearheaded by Bizzarri and creative director Alessandro Michele.

Speaking at this year's Vogue festival, Michele discussed their cohesive vision. "When I explained to Marco Bizzarri and François-Henri Pinault my idea of Gucci, it was pretty crazy. But Marco was really quite in love with what I wanted to do."

Michele's playful new aesthetic has been fervently popularised by a younger clientele, with sales to clients aged under thirty-four rising to fifty per cent for the spring collection, versus the same period last year, according to the presentation slideshow, available on the Kering website.

Gucci stores have also received the Michele treatment; thirty-four have already been refitted and an additional fifty redesigns are scheduled for 2016, followed by forty to fifty a year in the following years.

Kate Upton´s Modelling Homecoming

Kate Upton has returned to the modelling world, having inked a contract with Next Model Management. The Vogue cover girl, who left her previous agency IMG Models in 2014 to focus on her acting career, joins Alexa Chung, Caroline de Maigret and male model-of-the-moment Lucky Blue Smith, who are currently on the Next roster.

"Kate is unquestionably a bombshell, but she is also representative of today's modern woman," Faith Kates, owner of Next, and Kyle Hagler, president of Next NY, told us this morning following the signing. "Her beauty, intelligence, ambition, business acumen, and approachability, is everything Next Management celebrates."

Next will handle all of Upton's fashion and beauty projects, which in the past have included a face-of role with Bobbi Brown. Joining Brown in conversation with Alexandra Shulman at the 2015 Vogue Festival, Upton discussed how she controls her public image in the modelling world: "I see my modelling as a business. I try to be in control of my social media accounts and I try to just be myself in interviews," Upton said. "I mean, obviously I'll choose my words carefully, but you shouldn't feel pressured to be anyone but yourself."

Meanwhile, the Hollywood-based talent agencies WME and LBI Entertainment will continue to handle Upton's acting roles. With acting accolades include a breakout role in Tower Heist in 2011, Upton's largest role to date was alongside Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann in the 2014 romantic comedy The Other Woman. She now is set to appear in yet another comedy, The Layover, which is directed by William H. Macy this year.

Nicolas Ghesquiere To Launch Eponymous Line?

Louis Vuitton´s creative director Nicolas Ghesquière has revealed his ambitions to launch his own line in the near future. Whether he would do it in tandem with his post at the French maison - as his predecessor Marc Jacobs did - is unclear, but according to Fashionista Ghesquière told French talk show Le Petit Journal that he "would like to like to do it soon."

"I could do it," the Frenchman continued. "I don't have a date, but I'll come back to tell you." The ex-Balenciaga creative director first hinted at his desire to launch his own label to The Wall Street Journal in 2014, but at the time was solely focused on his new post at Louis Vuitton. Perhaps now he is ready to do both.

Third anniversaries have become something of a landmark in the current cycle of fashion designer moves. Raf Simons, Alexander Wang, Danielle Shermanand Hedi Slimane all left their respective roles after three years at the helm. Though he stayed at Balenciaga for 15 years, Ghesquière's three-year anniversary at Louis Vuitton approaches in November and his comments have sparked a debate over whether he intends to exit the brand.

Speaking on the topic of the fashion industy's musical chairs, Ghesquière's response was decidedly measured.

"It's sad, because there are beautiful associations; there are these grand houses who bring in these designers, and the designers bring them to a new stage," he said. "It's always sad to see those chapters end, but you always hope to see them somewhere else."

Vivienne Westwood & Nick Knight´s New Roles

Graduate Fashion Week has been showcasing fashion's future leaders for 25 years, now it's honoured two industry veterans. Nick Knight and Vivienne Westwood have both been appointed as lifetime patrons of the prolific talent platform.

Knight and Westwood join current patrons Christopher Bailey - a Graduate Fashion Week 1991 alumni - and Victoria Beckham.

"He is the most incredible image-maker of his generation, redefining what it means to be a fashion photographer and changing the industry beyond all recognition," Mark Newton-Jones, chairman of GFW, praised Knight. "He has inspired not just a generation of photographers, but of designers, stylists, art directors, and hair and make-up artists, too."

Knight, who has worked closely with GFW's most revered group of graduates, including Stella McCartney and Giles Deacon on projects for, said of his appointment: "I am honoured to become a patron of Graduate Fashion Week. I have had the privilege of working with so many creative people and inventive thinkers who have shown their work at the event. Fashion education in the UK is the best in the world - it really supports radical new ways of thinking and working, which creates things we haven't seen before. And that's what fashion is all about."

Westwood, whose appointment coincides with the renaming of the annual GFW Ethical Award to The Vivienne Westwood Ethical Award - a competition in which the winner gains the opportunity to intern at Westwood's studio in London - echoed Knight's joy saying she is delighted to become a patron for GFW and to create the award under her name.

Asserting her stance on climate change, Westwood said: "Buy less, choose well, make it last. If people bought only beautiful clothes that would be climate revolution."

Ahead of the event, which runs from June 5 to June 8, London-based photographer Hanna Moon lensed the work of nine of the most talented graduating designers, for a series entitled The Stars of Tomorrow, including: Anna Madelena Currie of Edinburgh College of Art; Paria Farzaneh and Hannah Page of Ravensbourne College; Courtney Simon from Northumbria University; Emma Brie of Kingston University London; Olivia Barclay from Nottingham Trent University; Courtney Plumb from Birmingham City University; Louis Trainor-Selwyn of the Manchester School of Art; and Abby Johnson from Bath Spa University.

"The pieces shot by Hannah reflect the strength and the breadth of what's being produced across the UK in some of the world's most respected academic institutions," said Martyn Roberts, director of Graduate Fashion Week. "They display a sense of craft, as well as a sharp eye for concept. They have developed their collections in sophisticated ways, and posess precisely the qualities that future employers attending Graduate Fashion Week are looking for."

Gisele Lands A TV Series

Supermodel and environmental activist Gisele Bündchen is set to appear in the National Geographic Channel's docu-series on the destruction of the Amazon and the efforts to save it, Years of Living Dangerously.

Bündchen used Instagram as the medium to announce the news, just as she did last week when she revealed her involvement in the United Nation's Wild for Life campaign.

"I'm excited to be joining season two of @YearsofLiving Dangerously as a correspondent, exploring deforestation and climate change in my beautiful home country of Brazil," Bündchen, who was appointed as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2009, wrote in both English and her native Portuguese, alongside an image of her sitting beneath a huge tree, smiling and flicking a peace sign.

The show is expected to air in October, and will run as weekly episodes featuring celebrity investigators - season one included Jessica Alba and Olivia Munn - who are involved in environmental activism and well-known journalists with backgrounds in environmental reportage.

Until then, catch sneak previews of the show on Bündchen's Snapchat ( which she joined earlier this week). The Brazilian beauty has already shared behind-the-scenes footage from a high-speed boat ride on the Amazon River with the caption: "Our beautiful Amazon."

Gucci At Westminster Abbey

"The idea of the show is an homage to the city, because I love English people," said Alessandro Michele, who presented his Gucci pre-spring/summer 2017 collection here in London today, at Westminster Abbey through the enclaves of the the 13th Century cloisters - not surprisingly, it's the first time the Gothic church has staged a fashion show.

"I chose Westminster Abbey because everyone has this idea of London being cool, but for me the history is what's really cool." The designer tapped the English eccentric, a character that seems to go hand-in-hand with his kaleidoscopic vision of Gucci and she was out in force this afternoon. Brits including Erin O'Connor and Jacquetta Wheeler strolled through the arches of the Abbey wearing what looked like prize finds from Portobello Market or otherwise a kooky aunt's attic.

There were silk headscarves, heritage tartans and quilted outdoorsy jackets, the sort of get up that Her Majesty might wear at Balmoral. It was a smorgasbord of colour and frivolity, and felt British through and through; his references skipped from Victoriana to punk and even extended to Union Jack sweaters. And more.

Oddball layered and loaded looks comprised oversized denim jackets appliquéd with badges, turn-up jeans splattered in bleach, scarf print silks, frilly bib-fronted A-line dresses, gold straw boaters, brocade suiting, and stripy rainbow knits appliquéd with a cat's face. The same cat face appeared on tasseled green velvet cushions, which lined the pews - others were embroidered in more Michele emblems, like a cartoonish black panther and a coiled snake, jaunty souvenirs that showgoers delighted in taking home.

There was more of a Nineties streetwear vibe this season best played out via a huge white hooded sweatshirt (think Vetements-scale) and baggy T-shirts emblazoned with the Gucci typography, they looked like cheap knock-offs from Brick Lane, so too giant GG belts, which were so shouty they also looked counterfeit - in a good way - while silk and lace ruffled gowns were topped with baseball caps.

Amongst all the ad hoc/pile-it-on spirit of these looks, these truly aren't pieces you'd ever be lucky enough to stumble upon at a flea market - however lovely that idea is. The craftsmanship of those mink coats are simply standout; in particular, a caramel-coloured mink with red and black snakes slithering up from the hemline, others with life size peacocks or with intarsia pansies. "Fashion is not about product, it's about an amazing idea that you try to understand. It's about something that you fall in love with and you can't resist buying. I think the market is really ready for something different," Michele said. "Fashion is about clothes and colours - it's not serious; I'm not serious. I try to have fun always." And so will his legions of new gen Gucci fans grappling for their very own piece of this.

BHS To Go Into ´Wind Down´

"Despite the considerable efforts of the administrators and BHS senior management, it has not been possible to agree a sale of the business," said the administrators in a statement this afternoon. "Although multiple offers were received, none were able to complete a deal due to the working capital required to secure the future of the company."

All 163 stores on high streets around the country will be holding closing-down sales in the coming weeks, according to reports.

"Our thoughts today are with the employees. We thank them for their professionalism and hard work," concluded the statement. "We would also like to thank the great British public for helping us in our efforts to save BHS resulting in several weeks of significant sales."

Speculation first started to surround the troubled retailer last year when former owner and Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green offloaded the chain for £1, starting rumours that administration could be the next move if the recovery plan was unsuccessful.

Michael Kor´s Vetoes Social Media

Michael Kora has put a social-media ban in place ahead of his pre-spring/summer 2017 presentation on June 7. Just five images from the collection will be released on the day of the show for editors to use in reviews and on social media.

The remainder will be under a strict embargo until the collection drops in stores in October, the brand confirmed today in a statement. The lookbook will be sent out the following day to magazine editors, as normal, but it is strictly for editorial requests only. The repercussions of Instagramming a favoured look from its pages are unclear, but the purpose of the ban is to limit over-exposure and build anticipation for shoppers.

"We feel our clients and fans will love getting a sneak peek of the collection as opposed to inundating them with too much imagery too soon," the statement reads. "Ultimately, this is all about creating more excitement when the product is available."

The brand is currently experiencing a fruitful sales period and has just reported its strongest quarterly sales growth in a year, jumping 10.9 per cent to $1.2 billion in the quarter ended April 2, Reuters reports. The company also announced that it has acquired Michael Kors (HK) Ltd., the exclusive licensee of products in China and other areas in Asia, for $500 million in cash. To maintain this momentum, the label will veer away from heavy discounting in a strategy similar to that of brand-of-the-moment, Vetements.

"Beyond delivering strong financial performance, we raised the level of fashion innovations and newness in our product assortment," CEO John Idol told analysts. "Michael and the design team elevated our product offering with new trend-leading silhouettes, textures, colours and materials, which were met with a positive response from our customers."

Kate Moss: Off The Cuff

We know that Kate Moss is a cool customer, but she's never more so than rocking up to her own pop-up shop in London's Marylebone to celebrate the fruits of her collaboration with Equipment. Always ahead of the curve, turning up wearing a shirt from the spring/summer 2017 when we are here to get the first glimpse of the autumn/winter 2016 collection (could there be a cooler way to confirm that there will be more?), she is the walking proof that some collaborations are simply written in the stars.

"I knew about Equipment for ages because they worked with The Kills and I felt like I was a part of it anyway because I used to wear of all their shirts that Jamie would steal," she said of her history with the brand through her relationship with the band's frontman Jamie Hince. "It's really simple and it's very me - it's everything I want to wear."

The supermodel has, impressively, kept her collaborations to a minimum considering the amount that she must be approached. With her most notable British sartorial union with Topshop in the bag, what made her say yes when Equipment came knocking?

"It was a natural, organic thing," she said. "We get on and we have the same taste. I went through their archive and I was like, 'I love this shirt.' I'm not pretending that I'm going to put a show on or something - this was a capsule collection that we threw together."

Supermodel and style-icon status aside, Moss clearly has a natural flair for design and an eye for what people desire while also considering the practicalities of a garment - something that often doesn't translate when a famous name is put to a brand. Case in point? A Lurex shirt that she has added two breast pockets to, to preserve the wearer's dignity. 

"I found a shirt in Brazil," she said of the inspiration point for the black-and-gold striped shirt in the collection. "It's see-through and because of my know," she smiled, hinting at the reasons behind the important aforementioned dignity. "And I don't like seeing bras under tops, I think it's really naff, so when I saw this shirt I was like, 'Oh my god, you can wear it without a bra! Even when there aren't any flashbulbs I don't like showing my boobs anymore."

Same can be said of the finer details, such as sleeve length that surely only a true fashion aficionado would pay close attention to. "This school-boy shirt and the army jacket," she said, pointing to pieces in the collection, "they don't make them like this any more. Everyone makes shirt sleeves to here [gesturing her upper wrist]. I wanted to have them here [pointing to the bottom of her hand]."

So, as for her favourite piece from the 25-strong collection of starry, signature-adorned shirts and sweaters to match with the odd skinny jean thrown in?

"I do love the boxy jacket, but I love the heart shirt," she laughed. "The slip dresses maybe. I lived in a slip dress. But I can't really choose one. You know they've doubled the amount of pieces for spring/summer 2017?"
Moss already knows how she's going to wear the collection ("With Tabitha Simmons shoes and a Bulgari bag, that's what I'm wearing right now") and has ideas on former Vogue cover girls who will wear it well - "Lara [Stone] will look good in it and Daria [Werbowy, her co-Equipment campaign star]." But, with the world around her defining her style on a daily basis, how would Moss best sum it up herself?

"Going from grungy to tomboy to really," she said. "I like being dressed up and glamourous as well though - I like doing through the ages. But there isn't really any no for me! I can see big Fifties dresses, and I'm like, 'I really wanna wear that!' Like a Grace Kelly pale blue dress, ahh! But then I'd fuck it up with eyeliner and all that. It always has to be a bit modern for me."

"I don't keep everything. I have a lady that comes over to help once a year and she's like, 'Archive, charity, save,' otherwise its too overwhelming. You get to the point that you can't pull things out of the cupboard," she revealed, adding that she's not averse to a little re-purposing from charity shops herself, even if prices have changed. "It's crazy, when we used to go to jumble sales I would walk away with a binliner full of clothes for ten quid. Like 50p for a pair of flares and I'd cut the legs off and make it into a mini skirt. Now it's insane. It's not like I walk around anymore, but sometimes I drive past one and I'm like, 'Stop the car!'"

Stop the car for Kate Moss x Equipment. It's well worth the meter.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Jack Wills Adverts Banned

Jack Wills has had an advertisement used in its spring catalogue banned by The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), reports the BBC, which called the promotional campaign "sexually suggestive".

The advertisements in question show a group of young models in their underwear, sitting on a bed and dancing while drinking, with accompanying slogans such as, "Whatever your choice, you can be sure it's what's underneath that counts" and "Midnight Mischief". The brand denied that the images, which were sent out to subscribers in February, promoted sexual activity, adding that the brand targets 18 to 24 year olds, not younger teenagers, and that its website has an under-18 restriction for receiving any literature. The ASA, however, took exception.

"Because we understood that younger teenagers could have both direct and indirect access to the catalogue, and because we considered the images and text were sufficiently sexualised to be inappropriate for that audience, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible and that it breached the code," read a statement from the ASA.

Jack Wills responded, saying that it would in future ensure that all of its envelopes containing catalogues state, "Please note: You need to be over 18 years old to sign up for Jack Wills' correspondence" on the outside.

It's the second time recently that a high-profile brand's advertisements have been called into question. Last month, Calvin Klein released an image taken looking up model Klara Kristin's skirt. Commenters on the photographer Harley Weir's Instagram page criticised the shot for its glorification of "rape culture" - Kristin, however, took to her own social media to defend the image.

PETA Confronts Hermés At Shareholders Meeting

PETA used its position as a Hermés shareholder to confront chief executive Axel Dumas at the luxury label's annual meeting yesterday. A French spokeswoman for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Isabelle Goetz, read out allegations of cruelty to animals, demanding that Dumas provide an explanation for the fashion house's use of exotic skins in its handbags.

"You have a number of concerns regarding the treatment of animals. We respect them, but we don't necessarily share your position regarding farming," Dumas replied, reports WWD, defending the company's position. "Farming conditions strictly comply with international regulations because we want to apply the best practices in this field, and I think that Hermès has always been at the forefront of wanting to pay attention to ethics and the treatment of animals."

The organisation bought shares in the French fashion house last year, following controversy over the label's famous Birkin bag. At the time, it stated that it had made the investment "in order to put pressure on the company to end its sale of exotic-animal skins".

It's the second time that the storied house finds itself in the news this week. Yesterday, at Christies's Hong Kong bureau, a Himalaya Birkin bag broke records when it sold under the hammer for $300,000. The reason for the high re-sale price is because the bag is "the most rare, the most coveted, the most collectible" Hermes bag in existence, Christie's handbag auction specialist Caitlin Donovan, told Racked.

Dior At Blenheim Palace

There are two things which Dior, sadly, can't control. One of those is the weather. Certainly, when the idea arose, of staging its cruise show at beautiful Blenheim Palace it probably wasn't pictured against grey damp skies and a weather front of wind and sheet rain. Ideas of taking late afternoon tea out onto the sprawling manicured lawns were scrapped. The other thing out of Dior's hands is train times. The Orient Express, or 'Dioriant' express as it was soon termed, is run by National Rail, and so it departed from London's Victoria station some 45 minutes later than scheduled. Back at Blenheim, the headsets of the production team must have had steam coming out of them as news of 300 showgoers' late arrival was swiftly reported.

But it was worth standing on a chilly platform for. Once aboard, tables were set with dimly-lit lamps on white tablecloths with Dior embroidered napkins. Guests were treated to a three-course lunch of smoked salmon blinis and capers, followed by volaille farcie aux champignons, and a blackberry and apricot crumble, accompanied by as much Ruinart champagne as the heart desired.

Christian Dior and Blenheim Palace have a history that dates back to 1954 when the Duchess of Marlborough asked Monsieur Dior (a long-time fan of England, his suits were made on Savile Row) to present his autumn/winter couture collection there in aid of the British Red Cross. A friendship between the palace and the French fashion house was struck, and even after Monsieur Dior's death in 1957, his successor, Yves Saint Laurent, presented the Dior collection here again in 1958.

Almost 60 years later, snaking their way through the grand saloon, through to the library and various drawing and state rooms, the models took the exact same route as those shows in 1954 and 1958.

And so it fell under the charge of Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux, who have led the design team since Raf Simons's departure. Where else to plunder for inspiration, in a setting like this, than inside the wardrobes of post-war high society ladies? That, and the wanderlust that characterised the period, the desire to travel and for adventure. Clashing layered prints were influenced by English eccentricity - quaint rosebud florals were interspersed with others inspired by the great adventures of explorers and the ideas of Britain overseas and the countries it colonised, like African prints, patterns and embroideries. The British tradition of the hunt manifested via nineteenth century equestrian scenes knitted into jacquard, rustic tweeds, crisp poplin shirting and even gold charms of foxes and rabbits dangling from Lady Dior bags. There was also play on house classics; the bar jacket was deflated with peplums softly gathered and draped over hips, while elsewhere the silhouette was rendered into silky tea dresses.

Another reference to Dior's past was a styling trick endorsed by Monsieur Dior's muse, Mitzah Bricard (the Amanda Harlech to Karl Lagerfeld of her day). She wore silk ribbons wound around her wrists, and it appeared again here this afternoon, visible with sleeves purposefully pushed up, which seemed to neatly capture the derring-do manner of the English woman. Post show, it was tea and cake before a fleet of black Mercedes transported guests back to London for dinner at 5 Hertford Street. The conversation whirred around the rumour that Dior might soon have found its first female creative director; with suggestions now pointing away from Sarah Burton and to Valentino's Maria Grazia Chiuri. An announcement is thought to be made within a fortnight.

Inside Dior´s New Home

One imagines the architect Peter Marino breathed a sigh of relief when he accepted the task of designing Christian Dior's new flagship store on London's New Bond Street. Charged with creating voluptuary shopping destinations for virtually every megabrand on Bond street - Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, ad infinitum - he must occasionally run out of suitably sybartitic ideas. But decorating briefs don't come much more straight-forward than a prophetic bon mot from Christian Dior: "The tones of grey, pale turquoise and pink will prevail".

The House of Dior on New Bond Street is indeed a paean to grey. Fifty shades? More like five hundred, washed over four floors and a winter garden that's filled with trellises of jasmine. Dashes of pink come in Baby Dior's bee-printed wallpaper, and turquoise in the light installations that illuminate the stately staircase. Add to that specially commissioned art, including sculptures by Tony Cragg and Rado Kirov; a collaboration with artist, Mark Quinn, comprising a collection of handbags featuring his work; three private VIP shopping areas; a demi-measure floor for Dior Homme; a dedicated shoe gallery; and endless, giant, squashy silver sofas, and you've got a retail temple that speaks of inordinate wealth, and invites those possessed of it to partake in the party.

No expense has been spared, according to Sidney Toledano, chief executive of Dior, who oversaw the four-year-long project. "People, they see a lot of things," he told Vogue on Tuesday morning. "They don't come here just to buy a dress, or to buy a bag. Frankly, if it was just a commodity, then you have the internet, fast retailing, so-called see-now, buy-now, things like that - but we give luxury." He gestures at the plushy sofa into which we are currently sinking. "The real deal is time. Time to sit on the sofa, time to talk with people. The young generation, whether they are 15, 18, 20, they want everything fast. But maturity is giving meaning to time. Time is dreaming. We give the ability to the people to have a moment of dreaming."

A hands-on retail expert, 64-year-old Toledano has been known to rearrange entire floors in Dior stores prior to their opening. Furthermore, for him, the internet is merely a medium by which to direct clients through the front door. "You cannot, so far, on a two-dimensional screen, get - yes, you get information and you can make appointments, but it's a matter of directing people to the house. Face-to-face, the seduction is different - so far."

Financial results suggest he is correct. Having been made president and chief executive of Dior in 1998, he has overseen a period of unprecedented expansion at the brand with the opening of 200 new stores. The latest figures record $41.6 billion in sales, $1.7 billion in profit. All this, despite a vacant head designer role, what with Raf Simons's resignation in October last year. Customers, it seems, still buy, even if the fashion press is gagging for a successor.

"The clients are not saying, 'I'm not buying this because I don't know the name of the designer'," says Toledano, when pressed for news. "They buy it because they like it. Because it's Dior. And that is the result of several designers' work, not one. It's not only Raf, not only John before, not only Monsieur Dior, it is the work of all of them. Because we have those designers; so we can afford to wait."

Mackintosh Announces Maison Michel Collaboration

Heritage brands Mackintosh and the Chanel-owned Maison Michel Paris have collaborated on an exclusive collection of headwear, we can reveal this morning, bringing together two storied fashion houses in the most modern of ways.

"Maison Michel was an obvious choice for us as they are a master of craftsmanship of hats, as well as being at the forefront of fashion and innovative design," Sophie Wright, special projects manager at Mackintosh, told us. "We felt that we share a very similar outlook on growing and developing our heritage brands and we love what Priscilla Royer has brought to Maison Michel as creative director - and of course it's always wonderful to work with a company that is associated with Chanel!"

The collaboration between the luxury ready-to-wear label, established in Scotland in 1823, and the early 20th-century French milliner looks set to show the power of reinvention for a 21st-century audience, taking on the classic rain-hat silhouettes and fabrics and giving them a youthful attitude - as captured in the project's images and a special film Royer commissioned Terence Conors to create (think a young Jane Birkin and her rebel British boyfriend skipping around town and you've got the idea).

"I am a big fan of Mackintosh and of what it has represented throughout the years: raincoats that can resist any kind of weather and that are indestructible," Royer told us. "It was such a great opportunity for Maison Michel since we do have 'the-weather-to-control' in common. It felt right from the beginning. I like to make things that make sense and it totally makes sense to imagine designs that could respond to Mackintosh technology with Maison Michel style."

Each piece in the collection - which consists of three unisex styles: a bucket hat, a fisherman's hat and a flap cap - was designed and handmade in France and features the signature Maison Michel saddle stitch and embossed branded rivets. Made from Mackintosh's signature waterproofed rubber bonded cotton fabric, they were finished by hand in Scotland.

"We are starting to expand our offering in to different categories, and we of course want to ensure that every garment or accessory under the Mackintosh brand is made with equal quality and care as our coats are," said Wright. "Collaborating with Maison Michel ensures this, while also bringing a sense of fun and introducing our, previously more heritage associated brand, to a younger and more fashion forward audience."

Louis Vuitton In Rio

Rio de Janeiro might be at the centre of intense debate over whether the Olympic Games should be postponed or moved because of the risk of the zika virus; facing fresh concerns over the timely completion of the Olympic park and metro extension, not to mention a government on the verge of implosion, but on Saturday night that parley was reduced to background noise as Louis Vuitton staged its Cruise 2017 collection in Rio. Fashion truly waits for no man - and no virus.

Few could argue with the thrilling impact of the setting. Nicolas Ghesquière, as much of an architecture nut as he is a fashion creator, chose the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói as his backdrop. A Tracy Island-style white saucer conceived by Oscar Niemeyer and perched dramatically on an outcrop overlooking Guanamara Bay, it proved a worthy context in which to show a Cruise collection inspired by "Brazilian idealism" (no pun intended).

"In Rio de Janeiro, what I saw most of all was movement and an explosive energy that lives somewhere between modernism and tropicality," said Ghesquière. Enter the #LVGIRLS, dressed in graphic prints and super-athletic cuts, surging down the dramatic red ribbon of runway that spirals out of the museum in what must surely be the most aesthetically pleasing enactment of the "Take me to your leader" spiel.

Brazilians are famed for their love of body-conscious clothing, and Ghesquière threw off his habitual stiff modernism to embrace curves and cut-outs. Neoprene high-necked zipped tops and mini dresses peeled away from the body at the bottom, folded to resemble wetsuits whose arms had been left to trail at the waist, with Vuitton-branded tags that looked like surfing leashes. Next came brightly-coloured tent-like cagoules and capes, covered in enough zips, ruching and drawstrings to keep patrons of Milletts happy.

Playing to the home crowd, t-shirts and dresses came with whimsical prints of Pelé doing keepie-uppies. In a final, more recognisably Parisian rather than Carioca phase. a series of black cropped neoprene jackets and bubble-like leather bombers worn with billowing white shirts and skinny flared trousers.

What of the accessories? LV girls will be buzzing over the boombox bag - which, thrillingly, actually plays music via Bluetooth technology - and the flip-flop hybrid shoes, another nod to Brazil, from whom the Havaiana is the national footwear. So too the skinny sequinned scarves, worn with strapless leather mini dresses in a way that somehow felt sci-fi rather than bohemian. Ghesquière's gift is to make even the most feminine of trends - ruffles, tassles, body-con - look edgy. Here, he made Brazil feel exhilaratingly cutting edge. Let the Games begin.

Albert Ferretti To Show During Couture Week

Albert Ferretti will stage her first ever catwalk show for her Limited Edition line during Paris Couture Week this July.

The line, which was introduced in 2011, has previously shown in salon-style presentations. Hallmarked by ultra-feminine and romantic cocktail dresses and gowns, the line falls under the demi-couture category, as it is available in limited quantities in contrast to true haute couture gowns which are bespoke, made-to-order designs. Or, as the house describes it: "fuses the spirit of couture with the ease of ready-to-wear".

"The decision to present Alberta Ferretti Limited Edition for the first time during the days of haute couture is a natural evolution of the collection," said Ferretti. "The collection reflects my desire to create ever more exclusive, detailed designs, to meet the needs of my most discerning customers."

The show is scheduled to take place on July 3, before Atelier Versace, in the halls of the palacial Parisian headquarters of Alberta Ferretti. The Italian fashion house joins other new faces set to show off the official scheudle including Giles, which will show fall 2016, Brioni, which will show Justin O'Shea's debut men's collection for the Italian house that week and Hermès, which will put on a resort presentation.

Alongside these exciting additions, Vetements (which will show spring 2017), J Mendel, Yuima Nakazato, Francesco Scognamiglio and Iris Van Herpen were recetly elecetd as guest members to the prestigious couture collections calendar and will show alongside established Haute Couture members.