Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sarah Jessica Parker Turns Jewellery Designer

Fragrance footwear, dresses: there is little that Sarah Jessica Parker hasn’t done. Adding yet another string to her already stylish bow, the Sex And The City star has now turned her hand to jewellery design, collaborating with London-based fine jewellery designer Kat Florence on The Flawless Diamonds Collection.

“There is so much that goes into jewellery,” said Parker told us of the design process. “It is so personal. As an actor I have to remove all of my jewellery in order to take on the characters I play. I get to a trailer for work every day and I have to take off my jewellery to play a character, to be someone else. To me, jewellery is a very special choice.”

Florence and her Mayfair boutique are known for one-of-a-kind pieces. In Parker she found not only a co-designer and business partner, but a model too; Parker stars in the collection’s campaign, photographed by Peter Lindbergh in New York.

Launching on November 5, the new collection is split into four initial “chapters” or styles, each celebrating different techniques and decades of design. The Heritage chapter, for instance, takes its cue from Art Deco architecture; Opulence sets stones against rich, burnished 18K gold for a bold look; Symmetry melds past and present with motifs from the Thirties, reimagined in contemporary materials; while Pavé Hews praises sparkle. All use D-grade, flawless diamonds sourced from Botswana, with prices starting from £1,300.

Reasonable pricing was important to both Parker and Florence: “Kat’s trying to create jewellery that is at a price point that is doable,” said Parker. "That is not the typical philosophy [usually associated with] diamond jewellery. She is the opposite of the big diamond industry.”

Keeping true to the personal nature of their approach to the collection, the 100 designs will only be made in a limited production run of between 10 and 15 pieces per style.

DVF: On Jonathan Saunders And Dresses To “Get Laid” In

Diane von Furstenberg may have hired Jonathan Saunders as chief creative officer of her eponymous label this spring, but it doesn’t mean she’s any less invested in the future of the business.

“Until now, this brand was so much about me and my life, and all of that, which has positives and negatives. The positive is that it has a uniqueness and an authenticity. People are always saying, ‘We need authenticity.’ Well, I had too much authenticity. It’s a matter of combining it all and making sense so that it will last,” she told Bridget Foley at WWD’s CEO Summit. “I had three eras – American dream, comeback kid and now 40 years later, how do I use this and make sure it continues after me? That is what I’m doing now. It’s about really redefining the brand’s equity, being fresh because this is fashion and you need to be fresh. Jonathan is the perfect heir for this company because he’s about prints and colours.”

Von Furstenberg explained that her objective for the brand’s new chapter is to “continue to send the message — confidence for women, be the woman you want to be,” through feminine design, but with a certain twist.

“When I work with a designer, the filter always is, ‘Who gets laid in that?’ The most important thing is for a woman to feel confident,” she said. “As a guy once told me [of one particular design], ‘The guys liked it and their mothers did not mind.’ Which means it was proper and sexy at the same time.”

But whilst she is looking firmly towards the future when it comes to her brand, the see-now-buy-now model that several of New New York Fashion Week peers adopted in September is one she plans to steer clear of for now. Instead, Saunders showed his spring/summer 2017 collection for the brand as a quiet presentation, a far cry from the all-singing, all-dancing Diane von Furstenberg shows of seasons past.

“People need to digest. They don’t just go and buy. What happened was shows were always for trade. The trade would come and they would write, and everything was fine. Then, came the celebrities and what did they wear? They wear something that you can’t have for six months. Then social media and all of a sudden people were inundated with images. It’s not that they wanted it now. It was just very confusing,” she said. “Everyone was pushing, pushing, pushing — the pricing, the sales, the discounts — such a mess and everyone wants to get out of it. But then they need to make their numbers and they don’t get out of it. So everybody has to pay the price.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Jasmine Tookes To Wear Fantasy Bra

Jasmine Tookes has been chosen by Victoria's Secret to wear the brand's Fantasy Bra at the lingerie label's show next month, the brand revealed on their Twitter account this afternoon.

“When they told me, I was so caught off guard, I thought I was just doing an interview, and Ed Razek kind of sprung it on me,” said Tookes, reports "It’s such an honour for me to join a whole group of women who are icons, and who I grew up watching over the years.”

To be chosen as the wearer of the bra is seen as incredibly prestigious among the Angels, with Tookes following in the footsteps of Gisele, Tyra Banks, Alessandra Ambrosio, Lily Aldridge, and Adriana Lima by wearing the 18-karat gold piece.

Eddie Borgo was enlisted to design this year's piece, which was crafted with over 9,000 jewels by AWMouzannar, over 700 hours. Earlier this week the brand revealed that this year's show will be held in Paris - now we can be sure all eyes will be on Tookes.

Hugo Boss Clarifies CEO Comments

Hugo Boss has clarified comments made by its CEO after they led to industry speculation about the future of its womenswear label.

Mark Langer told German business newspaper Handelsblatt that the brand was looking to "abandon the luxury market and go back to its roots of selling premium men's clothing", reported the Business of Fashion this morning. He added that "the effort to make inroads in the luxury market didn't prove to be particularly helpful for our business".

A spokesperson for the brand, however, has insisted that this will not affect its women's ready-to-wear line, which is currently designed by Jason Wu.

"We can confirm that we will focus more closely on our menswear collections. Hugo Boss will, however, be continuing its collaboration with artistic director Jason Wu who remains extremely important to us. Therefore womenswear will remain a key component of our medium-term growth strategy," we were told this afternoon.

Wu joined the label in June 2013 and has helmed the house, while simultaneously running his eponymous fashion house, since. 2016 has so far been a busy year for the Canadian designer who married his long-term partner, Gustavo Rangel, in April, before announcing the launch of his new ready-to-wear line, Grey Jason Wu later that month.

Whistles Reveals First Wedding Collection

The trend for high-street bridal collections has proved a popular one of late, and now Whistles is throwing its hat into the ring with an edit of seven limited-edition styles.

"We’ve had so much interest from customers on wedding attire that we felt the time was right to launch a contemporary collection of dresses for the modern bride," said creative director Nick Passmore. "Whistles Wedding will offer our customer a refined collection from which they can choose something to wear for their big day; from a city wedding right through to a countryside celebration."

The collection, which will be available from February 2017, promises "not to blow the honeymoon budget", and comprises a selection of dresses and a lace jumpsuit. Customers will be able to shop the collection online and from the brand's flagship shop in St Christopher's Place in London, where brides will be able to book exclusive appointments with their bridesmaids and with prices ranging from £499 to £699, we expect the diary to fill up fast.

Sonia Rykiel Closes Diffusion Line

Sonia Rykiel has announced that it is closing its diffusion line, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, with the view to reposition its mainline with lower price points.

The house's CEO Eric Langon explained to WWD that its profits had been hit hard by the slowdown in spending in Asia and the impact of terrorist attacks on tourism to Paris and the rest of Europe, and that despite posting a three per cent growth last year it was "not sufficient today to guarantee sustainable growth for the house and its activities in the years to come".

As a result of the closure, the house will lose 79 members of its 330-strong staff from departments including the design studio and distribution, and close its four standalone stores. Langon added that "it is essential for the house to rethink and revitalise itself", and hopes to return the business - an 80 per cent stake of which was acquired by Hong Kong-based Fung Brands Ltd in 2012 - to profitability by 2019.

The news comes shortly after the death of the label's eponymous founder in August this year. At the house's mainline show (designed by Julie de Libran) which took place during Paris Fashion Week, it paid tribute to Rykiel, spelling out her name on the catwalk.

The Fashion Awards 2016: The Nominees

The nominees for the 2016 Fashion Awards were revealed by the BFC today at simultaneous events in London and LA. Once again, Jonathan Anderson dominates proceedings with four nominations - split between his eponymous JW Anderson label and Loewe where he is creative director - while Gucci takes three, two of which are for Alessandro Michele.

The winners of the Outstanding Achievement Award and Fashion Icon Award will be chosen by the British Fashion Council and announced on the night, while the recipients of the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator, Special Recognition Award, and Swarovski Award for Positive Change will be announced ahead of the ceremony, which is set to take place at The Royal Albert Hall on December 5th. The list of nominees are;

British Emerging Talent
Alessandra Rich
Charles Jeffrey
Faustine Steinmetz
Molly Goddard
Self Portrait

British Menswear Designer
Craig Green for Craig Green
Grace Wales Bonner for Wales Bonner
Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson
Tom Ford for Tom Ford
Vivienne Westwood for Vivienne Westwood

British Womenswear Designer
Christopher Kane for Christopher Kane
Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson
Roksanda Ilincic for Roksanda
Sarah Burton OBE for Alexander McQueen
Simone Rocha for Simone Rocha

British Brand
Alexander McQueen
Christopher Kane
Stella McCartney

International Business Leader
Adrian Joffe for Comme des Garçons & Dover Street Market
Christopher Bailey for Burberry
Guram Gvasalia for Vetements
Marco Bizzarri for Gucci
Stefano Sassi for Valentino

International Urban Luxury Brand
Gosha Rubchinskiy

International Model
Adwoa Aboah
Bella Hadid
Gigi Hadid
Kendall Jenner
Lineisy Montero

International Accessories Designer
Alessandro Michele for Gucci
Anya Hindmarch for Anya Hindmarch
Johnny Coca for Mulberry
Jonathan Anderson for Loewe
Stuart Vevers for Coach

International Ready-To-Wear Designer
Alessandro Michele for Gucci
Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga
Donatella Versace for Versace
Jonathan Anderson for Loewe
Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy

Jack O'Connell To Play Lee McQueen

Jack O´Connell has been cast as Lee McQueen in an upcoming biopic about the designer and his work, Pathé has confirmed.

The storyline of the project will be based on Blood Beneath The Skin, a biography by Andrew Wilson. The director of the project is Andrew Haigh - best known for the Oscar-nominated 45 Years, which starred Charlotte Rampling – and filming is believed to begin next spring.

“In 2009, Alexander McQueen put on one of his greatest shows – a stunningly beautifully re-working of his greatest designs from the past 15 years,” Pathé confirmed, revealing that the film’s plot will focus on the lead up to the London designer’s Plato’s Atlantis collection.

“It was a show that he dedicated to his mother and one in which he tried to make sense of his life and art. The film explores McQueen’s creative process in the months leading up to the show providing an intimate portrait of the man behind the global brand – a moving celebration of a visionary genius whose designs transcended fashion to become art.”

Lee McQueen passed away in 2011, aged 40. Since his death the designer’s work has been the focus of a record-breaking exhibition, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, as well as a play starring Dianna Agron. Former colleague Sarah Burton now helms the house, which is owned by Kering. See a history of his work in Vogue here.

The film isn’t only the biographical vehicle focusing on the life of a famed designer in the works. There is both a film (with Antonio Banderas playing the lead) and TV series telling the story of Gianni Versace expected.How Jack O'Connell Became Hollywood's Golden Boy.

John Lewis Appoints First Female Managing Director

John Lewis has named Paula Nickolds as its new managing director, which will make her the department store's first female boss and the only woman to currently be in charge of a national high-street department store group.

Nickolds - who will succeed Andy Street at the helm of the British brand in January, reports The Telegraph - has worked for John Lewis for 22 years.

She started in the graduate training programme in 1994, working in the haberdashery department in the Oxford Street store, and became a member of the management board three years ago, having take on a number of different roles for the company, most recently commercial director.

Nickolds, who is set to embark on her new position at a challenging time - profits dropped by 31 per cent in the first half of this year - said of her appointment: “As a partner with 22 years’ service, I know just how special the John Lewis Partnership is. Driven by our unique business model, and with innovation in our DNA, I am immensely excited to lead John Lewis on the next stage of our journey."

Why Karen's Catwalk Was Cancelled

Despite Karen Elson's incredible success and sought-after status, the supermodel has revealed that she was cancelled from a show at New York Fashion Week last month.

"I’m just going to say this: I was in New York Fashion Week and I got cancelled from a fashion show. It was something to do with body stuff," she revealed, as she explained that these days she favours working for brands for whom she can be herself, rather than adhere to someone else's standards. Without naming any names, she revealed that her reaction to the incident was a philosophical one.

"I had a real moment of truth. I was like, you know what, I’m too old for this. It’s not about me. That’s their attitude, not mine. If I don’t work for them, I’m not going to torture myself. That’s really my attitude right now," she continued to WWD. "I still think fashion has a long way to go as far as diversity, be it racial diversity, body type diversity. I think Instagram has helped. A lot has helped in getting different types of beauties in the fashion industry. But I still think, maybe now speaking as a mother — I’m a mother to a pre-teen girl — my attitude to the harsh price of being a model, I have really no tolerance for anymore. Someone cancels me from a fashion show, it’s not about me."

The model also revealed that contrary to the rest of the fashion industry's pre-occupation with social media, she is happy to hold back on personal details to ensure her private life stays private.

"If I post a picture of my children, their faces are never shown. I keep my personal life pretty private. There are snippets of my personal life, like my cats. They don’t mind being on Instagram," she continued. "The thing for people with Instagram to understand is it is an idealised version of yourself... I just try to keep it charming. Yes, I post personal opinions on there. Yes, I’ll post pictures that I like. But I’ll stop short of sharing too much because you’ve got to keep something to yourself. That’s my philosophy. I don’t think everything needs to be put out there. I don’t believe in it. I think you’ve always got to keep a little mystery."

Balenciaga Confirms New CEO

Balenciaga has confirmed that Cédric Charbit will succeed Isabelle Guichot as CEO at the fashion house, reporting directly to Kering CEO and chairman, François-Henri Pinault.

Charbit joins the brand from Yves Saint Laurent, where he was executive vice president of product and marketing. "As CEO of Balenciaga, he will support the development of the house and further accelerate its international growth," read a statement released last night.

Guichot has been at the helm of Balenciaga for nine years, during which time she "made a fundamental contribution to its growth and reputation on a global scale," praised the brand, which confirmed that her next role within the Kering group will be announced shortly.

The brand welcomes Charbit a year after it appointed a new creative director. Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia replaced Alexander Wang last October, and has garnered favourable reviews for the collections that he has delivered since.

Victoria's Secret Confirms Paris

This year's Victoria's Secret show will take place in Paris on November 30th, the brand has confirmed today.

It is the first time that the extravaganza will be located in the French capital, though it has previously been held in Cannes and across the Channel in London in 2014, before returning to its home city of New York last year. It will then be broadcast on CBS on December 5.

Whilst the full line-up of models will not be released until closer to the show - along with news of which big names will perform - the brand confirmed that Angels Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Lily Aldridge, Elsa Hosk, Jasmine Tookes, Josephine Skriver, Lais Ribeiro, Martha Hunt, Romee Strijd, Sara Sampaio, Stella Maxwell and Taylor Hill, will be returning, alongside a few newcomers. The questions remains whether two of the lingerie label's most famous faces, Candice Swanepoel and Behati Prinsloo - who both recently welcomed their first babies - will be back on the runway in time for the show.

Carven Designers Depart

Carven designers Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud are departing their roles at the French fashion house. The designers, who arrived at the brand in March 2015, are leaving “by mutual agreement", according to a statement from the house.

The design duo have already shown their last collection for the fashion house - spring/summer 2017 - earlier this month at Paris Fashion Week. The brand stated that a new artistic director will be appointed in due course, although the time frame for this - or possible contenders - is currently unknown. Martial and Caillaudaud's next moves are also unclear at this stage.
Carven Spring/Summer 2017 Ready-To-Wear

The news comes in the same fortnight that Peter Dundas stepped down as creative director at Roberto Cavalli, and Consuelo Castiglioni parted ways with Marni, the label she founded, after 22 years.

The Met Gala 2017 Theme Is Revealed

New York´s Metropolitan Museum of Art has today confirmed that the theme for its annual Costume Institute exhibition and Met Gala will be Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons.

As predicted by Suzy Menkes during Paris Fashion Week (following the presence of both Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, and Andrew Bolton, curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, at the Comme des Garçons show), Rei Kawakubo will be the first living designer since Yves Saint Laurent in 1983 to be the sole subject of the Met's blockbuster fashion exhibit.

"Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past forty years," Bolton commented to "By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time."

The 2017 Met Gala will take place on May 1, with Kawakubo acting as honorary chair alongside Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams - who launched a fragrance in collaboration with Comme des Garçons in 2014 - and Anna Wintour. The exhibition will open on May 4th.  

Marni Appoints Francesco Risso As Creative Director

Fresh from the news this morning that Marni founder Consuelo Castiglioni is stepping down as creative director of the label, her replacement has been named. Francesco Risso, has been appointed by Marni owners OTB with immediate effect.

Risso, a Central Saint Martins alumni, has worked under a number of high-profile fashion designers, including Anna Molinari, Alessandro Dell'Acqua and most recently Miuccia Prada, the latter of whom he worked for on her womenswear collections. His first collection for Marni will be shown at Milan Fashion Week in February for the autumn/winter 2017 season.

“The world pays tribute to the original vision of Consuelo, and to a unique brand which we are proud to have in our group. I wish her the very best,” said OTB president Renzo Rosso. “I am happy to welcome Francesco, whose talent will contribute to writing a new chapter in the history of this house which is Italian at heart and global in spirit. I am confident that the creative team and the management of Marni, which have contributed to this success, will continue to make this brand reach exciting new goals.”

Castiglioni said in a statement this morning: “These were hectic and exciting years which absorbed all of my energies to create a project I am proud of. Thanks also to the constant support of my family who allowed me to stay true to my idea, I built a brand with a precise and recognisable identity." She concluded that she will now dedicate herself to her private life.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

How Kenzo's Lim And Leon "Divide And Conquer"

As one of the most well-known duos in the fashion industry, Kenzo designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon understand the secret behind having a successful, long-term working relationship better than most.

"We each have clearly defined roles," Leon told us ahead of the launch party for the Kenzo X H&M collaboration in New York last night. "We have our own thing that we do better, and I think through our 15-year working relationship we've started to learn from each other the parts that we're probably less good at. And we trust each other, first and foremost."

Lim concurred, and added that communication is also key; "Even if we've been separated all day, if we have three minutes together then I'm like, 'This is what I'm doing, this is what you're doing'," she said. "I know the questions that he would ask and he knows what I would ask, which means we can split up and divide and conquer."

Whilst they admitted that they mostly agree when it comes to making decisions, the pair - who met while studying at university in California and founded their brand, Opening Ceremony, in 2002 - revealed that having the same goal to work towards is more important when it comes to having a successful partnership.

Successful it undoubtedly is. Just a few hours later, a host of stars (Sienna Miller, Iman and Chloe Sevigny among them), press and fans turned out to watch their high-street collaboration hit the catwalk, and, as models danced onto the runway showcasing the bold and brightly coloured collection, it was met with rapturous applause.

Unsurprisingly, Lim and Leon were in agreement when it came to summing up the success of the Kenzo aesthetic. "It's democratic, it's fun, energetic, colourful and individual," the duo determined.

Banana Republic To Close UK Stores

After over a year of disappointing sales, Banana Republic has announced it will close all eight of its stores in the UK.

The majority of the outlets will close by the end of the 2016 fiscal year, according to Business of Fashion. A spokesperson for Banana Republic added that measures were part of a broader strategy outlined in May to “improve the company’s performance in the long-term.”

The Gap Inc-owned brand’s strategy is to concentrate its efforts “on markets most favourable to the brand’s growth,” a spokesperson said. Media reports suggest the retailer will convert some of its full-line stores in New York into outlets in addition to the UK closures.

Earlier this year the San Francisco-based parent company announced it was reassessing the overseas presence of the workwear brand with a view to focus on the North American market to revive sales.

The chain will continue to operate in France and Italy, with one store in each country respectively, as well as stocking the UK via its regional website, Gap said.

Miuccia Prada And Raf Simons Have A Masterplan

With the new see-now-buy-now model shaking up the fashion week schedule and designers switching fashion houses to the point that it’s hard to keep track of who works where, the industry is certainly receiving a welcome shake-up. But for Raf Simons, there’s room for plenty more disruption yet.

“I would be excited if Miuccia would do the Raf Simons brand for a season, and then I would do a season for Marc Jacobs in New York, and Marc would do Prada; I think the audience would be totally excited by that,” he suggested. “Maybe fashion should operate more like a museum, where you have a museum curator, but you have guest curators come in, too. I think that the fashion business has recently stopped exploring its own possibilities; it should become much more liberated once again.”

And he’s not alone. Simons mused this topic in conversation with Miuccia Prada in an extensive piece for System Magazine’s Issue 8, exploring the nature of hierarchy, structure and censorship in fashion. And Prada, it seems, is on board with his vision.

“I am thinking more and more about exactly this kind of idea, because it feels like it is needed – not just to get the world talking, but to broaden the horizons of what fashion can be, and also to have fun,” she told the magazine. “What I mainly think is that you have fun when you really do good stuff, and that fun comes with other people.”

However one thing that both agreed on was that the sensationalism that accompanies fashion shows now can overshadow the clothes themselves. “For instance, if Raf did the next Prada show instead of me, the whole world would be going ‘Wow!’ But maybe that’s all they would talk about," Prada mused. “So you have to be careful that the choices you make are not influenced by this increasing need for entertainment.”

Simons too saw this sensationalism when he announced his departure from Dior in 2015, before signing up at Calvin Klein earlier this year.

“It is not something that I see as such a big thing, this whole idea of leaving Dior. I know lots of people were like, ‘Oh my God, you left Dior’, but I don’t see it like that. There was no fight, there was no conflict; it was just a conclusion that I made quite quickly,” he said. “I have my thoughts about what I think Dior could become over time, and they have their ideas of what it will become. I wish them the best with it, but it just wasn’t my thing in the long run… As much as there was incredible beauty in that house and incredible people and ateliers and everything, I just felt like, ‘This isn’t for me, I am not the right person for them’.”

“I think there’s something slightly wrong about this idea of big brands,” Prada agreed. “Raf did the biggest thing by leaving [Dior] – chapeau, respect – because he probably didn’t feel comfortable anymore. Of course, Prada is my own company, so it’s my own fault that it is the size it is, but now I’m at a moment where I really want to focus on what I like, what I care about. I don’t have to care if we don’t grow enough for the market.”

For both though, a love of fashion remains at the heart of their approach to business – whether at Prada’s world-famous house or Simons’s smaller eponymous brand, or indeed in his new role at Calvin Klein.

“I am only interested if what you make is sublime,” Simons said. “If that comes out of chaos or organisation, who cares?”

Michelle Obama Wears Versace For Final State Dinner

Michelle Obama wore a custom-made rose gold gown by Atelier Versace for her final White House State Dinner.

A fitting-choice for the event, in honour of the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife Agnese Landini, the first lady has traditionally called on designers that represent the visiting dignitaries’ home country in her eight years at the White House.

"I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to dress the first lady of the United States Michelle Obama,” Donatella Versace said in a statement. “Thank you Michelle for all of the things you have done for America and for the rest of the world, for the women in the United States and the rest of the world."

Referencing his wife’s fashion prowess during the evening, as well as that of the Italian first lady, the president said during his speech that he and Renzi had both “married up and because of our wives, we eat better, we dress better, we are better and we thank you both.”

Renzi arrived wearing a suit by Giorgio Armani, who was also present at the dinner, while his wife wore a gown by Ermanno Scervino.

The evening featured a menu of Italian food, with chef Mario Batali joining the White House team to prepare dishes using ingredients from the White House garden: sweet potato ravioli with browned butter and sage was served, followed by warm butternut squash salad and beef pinwheels with broccoli rabe and a dessert of green apple crostata with buttermilk gelato. Guests were treated to entertainment from Gwen Stefani, who performed live.

Victoria Beckham Announces Target Collection

Victoria Beckham is the latest designer to collaborate with US retailer Target on a limited-edition fashion collection, the British designer confirmed this morning.

"The timing just felt right," she told the Business of Fashion about the move, adding that she has wanted, for some time, to create a collection for fans of her label who can't afford the designer price tag that it comes with.

"I can reach so many more women through working with Target," she said. "It's not just because of the price point but because of how many stores that they have, located all around America. These are women that I haven't been able to reach out to in the past, and I always say that I want to empower women and make women look like the best versions of themselves. That shouldn't be only people who can afford to spend a certain amount of money."

The collection takes its inspiration from Beckham's Victoria, Victoria Beckham line and comprises over 200 ready-to-wear items and accessories for women, children, toddlers and babies marking her first foray into childrenswear which, she revealed, "may well be the next category that I really go in to".

Launching on April l9 next year in stores nationwide and online, it will be available until April 30 - or until it sells out. For international fans, Beckham has selected key pieces from the collection to sell on her own-name website, so that everyone can have a slice of the fashion pie.

She follows in the footsteps of many other high-profile fashion houses who have worked with the US retailer, including Jean Paul Gaultier, Peter Pilotto, Rodarte, Stella McCartney, Joseph Altuzarra and Zac Posen.

Claridge's Reveals 2016 Christmas Tree Designer

The annual reveal of the Claridge's Christmas tree is always one of the most exciting dates in the festive build up, but this year perhaps even more so. Eschewing the usual fashion designer collaboration, the prestigious Mayfair residence has secured the scoop of the season with its 2016 designers, which this morning we can exclusively reveal will be Jony Ive and Marc Newson.

“Christmas has always been a truly special time of year at Claridge’s and we are delighted to welcome our friends Jony and Marc to spread their legendary creative magic this year," said Paul Jackson, Claridge’s general manager, who has previously worked with Alber Elbaz, John Galliano, Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana on the annual fern. "We truly believe that their innovative spirit and ground-breaking approach will make this year’s annual tradition one to remember for our guests.”

Although Ive and Newson are well known for their work with Apple - Ive is the brand's chief design officer and Newson its designer for special projects - their Christmas tree design for the hotel is an independent project which will stand apart from the technology company.

The pair - two of the most important design visionaries of their generation - are an inspired choice by the hotel which, despite its rich and illustrious heritage, continues to attract new generations of guests from all over the world thanks to ongoing innovation through its collaborations, events and menus.

Its latest pièce de résistance continues this amalgamation of old and new - the big reveal of which promises to be one of the most popular attractions the capital has to offer this year when the curtain comes down on November 18.

Cara The Documentary Is Coming

Cara Delevingne has succeeded where many have failed in making the transition from full-time supermodel to professional actress, and now a documentary entitled The Cara Project, will explore just how she has done it.

The program, which has been acquired by Revolver Entertainment, will be released on DVD in the coming months, reports Variety, as well as being offered for sale to broadcasters at Mipcom and AFM next month. Details of the contents are scarce, but there is no shortage of material to reference.

Delevingne's meteoric rise to fame saw her become the most sought-after catwalk and campaign model of her generation, walking for every major fashion house and amassing over 36 million Instagram followers in the process. Her filmography - given that her first film of note came out in 2015 - is no less impressive. She has Paper Towns, Pan, Kids In Love and Suicide Squad already under her belt, and has London Fields, Tulip Fever and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets slated for release in the coming year.

Gianni Versace Murder To Be Subject Of American Crime Story

The murder of Gianni Versace will be the subject of the third season of American Crime Story – the hit US true crime series that debuted this year with its first season, The People v. O.J. Simpson.

Following the huge success of series one of the anthology show, which won 10 Emmys and huge ratings in the States, the subsequent two seasons have been fast-tracked, reports Deadline. Season two will focus on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with Versace’s death in 1997 taking the focus of the third.

The third series will reportedly be based on the book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace and the Largest Failed Manhunt in the US History, by Maureen Orth, which chronicles Versace’s death at the hands of serial killer Andrew Cunanan, as well as the subsequent manhunt which ended with Cunanan’s suicide eight days later. Versace was Cunanan’s fifth and final victim.

The same executive producing team - Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Nina Jacobson, and Brad Simpson – who all won Emmys for The People v. O.J. Simpson, will return for both series two and three. Casting is rumoured to have begun, with high-profile Hollywood names already in the running for roles including that of Donatella Versace.

This is not the only Versace project rumoured to be in the works – in July this year, it was reported that Antonio Banderas would play the famed designer in a biopic to be directed by Bille August. No details of the film are yet to be confirmed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Vogue Café To Open in Berlin And Porto

Vogue Café will open two new European outposts in Berlin, Germany, and Porto, Portugal, next year.

“Developing and opening a Vogue Café in Western Europe has long been an ambition for the brand,” said Gary Robinson, director of Condé Nast International Restaurants as he announced the two new ventures.

For the Berlin outpost, the first permanent location in Western Europe, Condé Nast International Restaurants has partnered with premium lifestyle and fashion brand Patrick Hellmann Collection. Taking up residence in the five-star hotel of Patrick Hellmann Schlosshotel Im Grunewald, close to the famous avenue of Kurfürstendamm, Vogue Café will “introduce a concept to the local culinary scene which will set new standards of inspiration,” said Patrick Hellmann.

Meanwhile, Vogue Café Porto will open in the Infante Sagres hotel on Praça de D. Filipa de Lencastre, one of the Portuguese city’s oldest luxury properties, recently bought up by The Fladgate Partnership and soon to undergo a complete refurbishment.

“The exciting new restaurant and bar in the Infante Sagres will bring together the timeless elegance of Vogue style and this wonderful historic property in the heart of the city of Porto,” said Adrian Bridge, CEO of The Fladgate Partnership.

The two new cafes join the growing list of international outposts of VogueCafés, currently operating in Dubai, Kiev and Moscow, and Vogue Lounges, already open in Bangkok and soon to launch in Kuala Lumpur and Doha.

London had a taste of the Vogue Café experience earlier this year too, when a pop-up opened in The Village, Westfield London, to toast British Vogue’s landmark 100th birthday.

Roberto Cavalli Employees Take Action

Last week, the announcement of Peter Dundas's departure from Roberto Cavalli was swiftly followed by a statement by the brand saying that it is set to undergo a dramatic restructure (including a cut of almost 30 per cent of its workforce), news of which has been met with upset and the threat of action from employees.

An eight-hour strike was staged by workers on Friday, according to WWD, and they are reported to have scheduled an imminent meeting with local politicians and institutions in Osmannoro, near the company's Florence base.

The reorganisation - which the brand's new CEO, Gian Giacomo Ferraris, hopes will return it to profitability by 2018 - encompasses the closing of the company's corporate and design offices in Milan and moving all functions to its headquarters in Florence. It will also shut or relocate stores in underperforming areas.

"The workers are distraught. They are told that there is a centralisation in Florence but in reality they fear a downsizing of strategic functions also at the Florence headquarters,” said Bernardo Marasco, a representative of the workers’ union Filctem Cgil Florence, of the drastic shake-up. “We are waiting for the start of the mobility procedure to know the number of potential layoffs. As for us, there is a battle to do and we will do it to defend jobs and the brand on the territory. Mobilisation is the response to the company’s plans.”

It is not the first time that workers at Roberto Cavalli have taken action against their employers - in November 2015, more than 200 employees of its Tuscany factory took to the streets in Florence in an act of protest against the company’s decision to open a mobility procedure to cut 66 employees.

Following the news of the reorganisation last week, Ferraris explained his plans to turnaround Roberto Cavalli.

“In this environment, only iconic brands with a coherent business model and an efficient organisation can survive," he said, highlighting that the company is not in debt and estimating this year's sales will come in between 155 million and 160 million euros. "After my initial examination of the company, I believe the Cavalli brand has what it takes to succeed. But the reality is that the company’s costs must be in line with its revenues and that is the task we now have to embark upon.”

YOOX Net-A-Porter Unveils Plans For New Technology Hub

YOOX Net-A-Porter Group is set to open a new office space in West London, bringing its technology teams under one roof come March 2017.

Housed in The Media Works at White City Place, a new business district in the regenerated White City, the online luxury fashion retailer’s state-of-the-art Technology Hub will accommodate the planned 20 per cent increase in its global technology team, which aims to grow its headcount to 1,000, spread across London and Bologna, Italy.

Designed by British architecture firm Grimshaw, the new space will stretch over 70,000 square feet and is said to “reflect the fashion group’s unique position at the intersection of fashion and technology.”

“We are capitalising on the growth of our global footprint,” said chief executive officer, Federico Marchetti. “We believe our technology teams will thrive in a cutting-edge environment that reflects our values and vision for the future of online luxury retail.”

The move comes a year after the merger between the two e-retail giants and months after the unveiling of its five-year plan, which strives to confirm its position as "the world's most global fashion e-tailer," building on a strong mobile-centric approach and dedication to digital innovation.

Like many bespoke offices these days, the new control center will include adaptive areas, innovative interior design and flexible workspaces to capitalise on the “creative and collaborative” environment, as well as supporting the Italian arm of the business.

Karl Lagerfeld Launches Hospitality Brand

He has already turned his hand to hotel design in recent years - his 270-room luxury hotel in Macau is slated to open in 2017 - but now Karl Lagerfeld has revealed that he is dramatically expanding his hospitality plans.

The Chanel and Fendi designer is launching Karl Lagerfeld Hotels and Resorts, an international hospitality brand under a long-time licensing deal with Brandmark Collective BV, reports WWD. As well as hotels, Lagerfeld's new undertaking will encompass restaurants, residential properties and private clubs, all of which will reflect the designer's legendary style and the luxury aesthetic for which he is known.

"Expanding our brand into the hospitality sector reflects our greater vision to broaden Karl Lagerfeld comprehensive lifestyle experience," said Pierpaolo Righi, CEO and president of the Karl Lagerfeld brand, noting that the process of developing the "six-star hotel in Macau", which preceded the designer's deal with Brandmark Collective, has been a particularly exciting project for the team.

Lagerfeld is by no means the only designer to expand into the hospitality industry - he joins the likes of Armani, Versace and Bulgari as the most fashionable hoteliers in the business.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Meet Designer To The Stars - Brandon Maxwell

As his eponymous brand lands in Harvey Nichols, Vogue talks to the man dressing some of the most famous females of the moment - as Lady Gaga's fashion director he is behind some of her most memorable red-carpet looks, and he recently dressed Michelle Obama - Brandon Maxwell.

How would you describe the Brandon Maxwell woman?

The Brandon Maxwell woman is smart, strong, confident, and powerful.

How do you define the Brandon Maxwell aesthetic? What is the brand's unique selling point?

We design a collection that can dress all generations – from the daughter to the grandmother. We aim to keep the collection made in New York, with an incredible attention to detail and exquisite tailoring at an affordable enough pricepoint that a woman can access an amazing luxury piece such as a tailored blazer or perfect pencil pant.

You're Lady Gaga's fashion director, what process goes into creating her red-carpet looks?

It's a truly collaborative process. We sit down and bounce ideas back and forth and work together to find the look that best represents the moment. When you're also very close to the person that you are working with it is very easy and 100 per cent fun, I always enjoy the process.

Do you always agree on the choices you make?

Being that we're very close I think we always are pretty much on the same page. She's a dream to work with because the possibilities are endless and she loves fashion so much and is open to trying anything. We learn from each other and that is the best part.

For you, what is the most memorable red-carpet look that you've ever created and what was your inspiration for it?

Each red-carpet moment is special for me. I've been very lucky to have relationships with the women that I have dressed, and I have gotten to know them during the process, which then helps me in the design process. I am inspired by women in general, so their spirit is what inspires me as I am making the dress once I get to know them. Since I am very young, nothing makes me happier than seeing a woman leave the house feeling her best, so every time we achieve that, it's memorable for me.

How important is it to you to have strong relationships with those that you are designing for?

In terms of designing something custom, it is important that our relationship is strong enough so that she can be honest and tell me what will make her feel the most comfortable. The goal is always for the woman to feel her best, so it is my job to listen to her, what she likes and what she doesn't like, so that she is at her most comfortable when she wears the dress. I want each and every woman who steps out in Brandon Maxwell to feel confident and exceptional.

You dressed Michelle Obama recently, what was that experience like?

It was an incredible honour for me and my team to create for the first lady. Strong and elegant, she is the embodiment of the woman that inspires me to design, and a role model for women all over the world. I am very thankful for that opportunity.

Jennifer Lawrence is among your well-known fans, how does it feel to be a go-to designer for so many famous faces?

I’m so lucky that these amazing women have chosen to wear my clothes. Each of them are smart, confident and powerful and also great role models – it’s important to me that the women who wear Brandon Maxwell are putting out a positive message for others.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

M&S Taps Royalty For Childrenswear Collaboration

Marks & Spencer is known for its impressive line-up of collaborators and now it has added royalty to the list. The British brand has partnered with luxury childrenswear designer Marie-Chantal, crown princess of Greece, to create a capsule collection of clothing, accessories and gifts for little ones.

"I am so excited about my very first collaboration with M&S and feel that the Marie-Chantal and M&S collection has captured the magic of childhood in this collection," Marie-Chantal, who is a mother of five, said. "Together we have designed a beautiful collection of clothes and gifts for baby, boys and girls in a soft and sweet palette. A classic yet contemporary collection which is also fun and playful."

The 33-piece collection will land in stores and online from November 1, the same time as another of the brand's high-profile collaborations drops - Alexa Chung's Winter Archive By Alexa.

What's On Your Kenzo X H&M Wish List?

After months of waiting - and a teaser or two - the full Kenzo X H&M look book has landed, complete with prices, ahead of the collection being revealed later this month and dropping in stores and online on November 3.

The theme behind Carol Lim and Humberto Leon's collection for the high-street brand is diversity, as Lim disclosed to us in the summer, which is reflected in the people that the design duo have chosen to star in the look book. In addition to models, you'll be able to spot an eclectic mix of creatives in the line-up - artist and DJ Juliana Huxtable, activist Amy Sall, photographer Youngjun Koo, make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench, and musician Anna of the North all make appearances. In terms of the collection itself, technicolour animal prints and bold patterns are the name of the game which will no doubt bring some much needed light to the high street when it launches at the start of next month. 

All Change At Roberto Cavalli

Following yesterday's announcement that Peter Dundas is departing Roberto Cavalli after just 18 months and three seasons as creative director, it has been revealed that the Italian fashion house is currently undergoing a major shake-up.

Almost 30 per cent of the brand's global workforce - an estimated 200 jobs - will reportedly be cut as part of a radical reorganisation strategy which aims to return the company to operating profitability by 2018, according to WWD. Furthermore, all functions are being transferred to the company's headquarters in Florence, meaning that its corporate and design offices in Milan will be closed, along with underperforming stores being shut or relocated.

“The fashion industry is facing uniquely challenging times, with changing consumer demands, significant contraction in various key markets and fundamental transformation in the industry’s dynamics,” said Gian Giacomo Ferraris, who took over as chief executive officer last month, in a statement. Ferraris was announced as Renato Semerari's successor in July, after it was announced that Semerari would be leaving his position due to "divergences on the company's development strategy". Prior to joining Roberto Cavalli - just over a year after Clessidra, an Italian private equity fund, bought a 90 percent stake in it - Ferraris had worked for Versace, where he was also responsible for leading a company-wide turnaround.

“In this environment, only iconic brands with a coherent business model and an efficient organisation can survive," he continued, highlighting that the company is not in debt and estimating this year's sales will come in between 155 million and 160 million euros. "After my initial examination of the company, I believe the Cavalli brand has what it takes to succeed. But the reality is that the company’s costs must be in line with its revenues and that is the task we now have to embark upon.”

Zayn Turns Designer For Versus Versace

Versus Versace has tapped Zayn Malik to design a Zayn X Versus collection, the brand has confirmed to us today.

The singer - who last month at the label's spring/summer 2017 London Fashion Week show sat front row alongside his model girlfriend,Gigi Hadid- will design a capsule collection for the brand featuring both menswear and womenswear.

Of the partnership - which will see him work closely with the Versace group's chief designer, Donatella Versace, to develop the collection, as well as star in the brand's next two advertising campaigns - Malik revealed today: “I think Versus has always been a very cool brand. It’s a great brand for me and for people in my generation. I’ve always wanted to design clothes, and there’s no brand I’d rather design for than Versus. The bonus is that I get to collaborate with Donatella, whom I love and admire. I know we’ll create something amazing.”

Versace was similarly complimentary of her latest collaborator, calling the singer, "one of the most exciting personalities on the world stage right now".

"When we first met, he told me how much he loves fashion," she added. "I thought it would be fantastic to collaborate on a new Versus collection together. And, given Zayn's huge fan base around the world, I expect there will be a lot of excitement about what we create together.”

The ZAYN X VERSUS collection will be presented next spring before dropping in stores and online in May.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Peter Dundas Departs Roberto Cavalli

Peter Dundas is parting ways with Roberto Cavalli, it has been announced today, having shown his final collection for the brand during Milan Fashion Week last month.

“I want to thank Roberto Cavalli and the group for this valuable experience and wish them success in their future endeavours,” the designer, who was appointed creative director of the Italian fashion house in March 2015, said of his exit, reports WWD.

“On behalf of Roberto Cavalli and our shareholders, we thank Peter Dundas for his contribution to the brand, and we wish him well for his future,” said Gian Giacomo Ferraris, chief executive officer of the group. “As Roberto Cavalli goes through a period of transformation, the design team will carry on and the appointment of a new creative director will be made in due course.”

Prior to taking the helm at Roberto Cavalli last year, Norwegian-born Dundas had worked as head designer for the label between 2002 and 2005, before becoming the creative director at Emilio Pucci in 2008.

V&A To Stage Balenciaga Retrospective

The V&A will stage a fashion exhibition next year showcasing the work of Cristóbal Balenciaga, the museum has announced today, as part of its 2017 calendar.

The retrospective, entitled Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, will be the first exhibition dedicated to the famed Spanish designer in the UK, marking the 100th anniversary of the opening of his first fashion house and 80 years since he opened the doors of his famous Paris salon. Featuring around 100 garments and 20 hats crafted by the couturier and his followers - alongside sketches, photographs, film and fabric samples - it will examine in detail the craftsmanship and techniques that earned Balenciaga the reputation as one of the most pioneering designers of the 20th century and look at how his work impacted the future of fashion design.

It follows the likes of previous fashion exhibitions presented at the V&A, including the major Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty spectacle which remains the museum's most-visited exhibition to date. Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion will take place from May 27 2017 to February 18 2018.

The Story Of Chanel's Petites Mains

When Karl Lagerfeld decided to celebrate the petites mains for his Chanel couture collection this June, it heralded a sentimental moment in the house's history. Long the unsung heroes of the fashion world, the world was made to acknowledge the hundreds of hours that go in to sometimes creating just one garment, and the people that patiently pour their hearts into making it all possible when Lagerfeld put them centre stage. As the collection arrived in London to give editors a close-up view of their work, we took the opportunity to find out who they are.

Based at 31 Rue Cambon, where they have always been since the inception of Chanel Couture, there are four ateliers - two flou, two tailoring - each with a première d'atelier who oversees everything. Presently, Olivia Douchez and Cécile Ouvrard are in charge of the two flou ateliers, and Josette Peltier and Jacqueline Mercier are in charge of the tailoring ateliers. (Mercier is the longest-serving première having joined the house in 1997.) In recognition of their work, and as a way to identify the origin of each garment, the labels in the clothes from the atelier each woman looks after bear their name.

Hugely respected figures in the house, it is each of their jobs to work directly with Lagerfeld, bringing his famous drawings (which they are given six weeks before the show) to life. They work so closely with Lagerfeld, that they know exactly what he wants from what many would consider an undecipherable sketch (we hear that he uses additional tools such as Typex and highlighters on his drawings to communicate certain types of fabrics that he would like to see made). They, too, offer their own ideas and suggest different techniques to create specific effects, which Lagerfeld takes on board.

The size of each atelier and the number of petites mains that work in each, Chanel told us, varies depending on the fashion show period, but there are on average 20 to 25 people working for most of the year, with this increasing to 40 as the big reveal date nears. They are accepted into the ateliers when they have completed their studies and usually an average of 10 years is required to meet a professional level.

The attention to detail, discipline, and (most impressively) patience, is something to be marvelled at. "Without the Haute Couture ateliers we wouldn't make a good collection, we need them and I love to work with them," said Lagerfeld.

See-Now, Buy-Now: What Have We Learnt?

This Fashion Week’s shows saw the arrival of the much talked about see-now, buy-now model. Marking a major departure from the traditional seasonal fashion calendar, the shake-up was an interesting one - applauded, yet adopted by few. After the initial flurry of announcements in February from brands declaring their intention to embrace the new, the majority of fashion houses have reserved judgement, preferring to see how it pans out for their peers.

Arguably, the brands that have opted for it have given the rest of the industry the perfect excuse to watch from the sidelines and wait for the all-important figures. With the spectrum of labels spanning huge fashion houses - such as Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and Burberry - to smaller, digitally savvy brands, such as Thakoon and Misha Nonoo, with Topshop Unique - a name with a rock-solid retail infrastructure behind it - in between, there will be a case study for everyone come mid-2017.

So who did what this season? Of the main participants, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren held retail-based extravaganzas in New York, where their autumn/winter 2016 collections were available immediately; Tom Ford amalgamated menswear and womenswear and showed autumn/winter 2016 in the middle of the spring/summer 2017 shows at NYFW; Topshop Unique unveiled its latest collection on the catwalk, online and in store simultaneously; and Burberry renovated an entire block in Soho, transforming it into Makers House, a place to discover and shop the world of co-ed Burberry straight after the show. The latter has gone so far as to dispel seasons completely and instead have the September Collection and the February Collection moving forward.

Then there were variations on the theme. Brands, including DSquared2, Public School and Vivienne Westwood, announced last month that they will join Vetements in showing spring/summer and autumn/winter in January and June respectively, to fall in line with the menswear show schedule and ensure that their collections have a longer shelf life.

While making sections of a collection available straight after a show is nothing new (capsule collections have been in the game for a while and this season were offered by Prada, Michael Kors and Vivienne Westwood), making the entire thing available poses more of a financial risk. As a result, the most pressing question prior to the shows was exactly what percentage each brand would put into production? (Ready-to-wear collections are well known to have smaller production scales than their pre-collection counterparts.) Of the brands that have adopted the model, the answer is - impressively - 100 per cent. As for the other burning question of when press would be able to see the collection to plan their photo shoots, it transpired that they had been invited in months before under embargo. So far, so good.

The future, however, is uncertain. One season in, there are many questions left to be answered and little in the way of figures to herald it a success, as a couple of well-known CEOs and creative directors have pointed out off the record. A main concern is that brands without a factory at their disposal will find it a struggle to produce their collections on demand. Many major brands have also questioned whether it is the right direction for a luxury industry to take (the Fédération Française de la couture, du prêt-à-porter des couturiers et des créateurs de mode unanimously opted out of adopting the format, saying that it had consulted all of its members and no one said the existing system was a problem). Additionally, while a couple of pre-show appointments are manageable, if editors are to see multiple collections in the months preceding the shows, how will they physically find the time - and budget - for this, as well as attend the four-week show schedule a month later?

As far as the latter is concerned, the collective information gathering that happens by creative teams attending the shows dictates the direction of editorial content and fashion shoots, and therefore attending is an essential part of the process. Not going is not an option. More importantly, see-now, buy-now brands may hold impressive on-schedule shows, but how will it be possible to style pieces from these collections with pieces from traditional collections if they need to be shot months before the other collections have even been finished? They will also have been on sale for some time before an issue is published months later (which challenges the notion of magazine exclusives and the weight that it brings). It has become apparent that not being able to style everything together points to problems when producing really great, all-encompassing shoots. So does this mark a shift in the way brands think their product is promoted most effectively?

One of the most interesting by-products to spring out of the see-now, buy-now model is the heightened role of the front-row influencer. If a fashion house chooses to take the risk of producing everything they have designed, then tapping into the power that a celebrity or respected front-row figure has to make their fans buy something they’ve been seen wearing makes for a profitable insurance policy.

Fashion houses are banking on this new generation of influencers yielding incredible spending power, and arguably the model relies on their cooperation to make sure that a brand’s gamble pays off. Topshop and Burberry, for example, had their famous front row wearing pieces from their collections last month, images of which were immediately bouncing around social media so that all of their followers and fans could covet their latest look - and conveniently shop it straightaway. Dolce & Gabbana - despite not going see-now, buy-now - proved what a crucial selling tool this has become by having a front row of influencers, mostly in their teens and early twenties, with a combined Instagram following of more than 20 million.

The significant hurdle that this presents is the increasing pressure by governing bodies such as the FTC for influencers to be transparent about when they have been given an incentive - monetary or otherwise - to promote something, and include a #sponsored or #promotion tag. Will sitting front row wearing an item from a collection come to constitute the same?

Apart from the obvious benefit of selling a seasonal collection in the actual season that it has been designed for, the advocates of the model say the positives include increased connection with the customer; an agile response to the demand by consumers; more independent aesthetics; and beating the high street on its catwalk copies. The negatives? An impact on exclusivity; increased costs for brands that don’t have their own supply chain; a hectic summer schedule for press; and compromised editorial fashion shoots, say the sceptics.

One thing that this season has confirmed, and on which everyone can agree, is that it’s going to take more than one season to see what sticks.LFW: Topshop On Leading The Charge.

Alexa Chung Turns Director For UGG

Alexa Chung has added yet another stylish string to her bow, by taking on the role of art director for UGG in the label's first ever creative brand partnership.

Whilst Chung has turned her hand to design collaborations before - her second archive collaboration with Marks & Spencer is due to hit stores next month and she revealed earlier this year that she is launching her own clothing line in March 2017 - her new role involved her overseeing the latest campaign for the brand, which focuses on its best-known classic boot, entirely behind the scenes from concept to casting.

"There is nothing I enjoy more than getting back to England and seeing all of my mates and that involves my uniform, which is UGG boots, jeans, and a navy blue jumper," the Vogue contributing editor disclosed about her new partnership with the famous footwear brand. "I have an association with them being home, friends, hanging out and having fun."

"With this in mind, I loved art directing for UGG," she added about her debut shoot for the brand, which took place in New York and stars women from the creative industry who Chung is close to. "It gave me the opportunity to work alongside and marry together some of the people in my life I find most inspiring with a team of talented pals to capture both their spirit and the easy going nature of the brand."

Hedi Slimane Hits Out On Twitter

Hedi Slimane has resurrected his Twitter account, following four years of social-media silence, to defend himself against recent "inaccurate statements" regarding his use of the YSL emblem while he was creative director of the storied fashion house.

The 22 tweets were reportedly the result of Slimane taking umbrage at the suggestion that during his tenure he had attempted to remove the "Y" from the brand's famous acronym. They begin: "Fact checking / There have been inaccurate statements on recent articles regarding Hedi and the usage of the YSL historical logo."

They go on to show, with accompanying pictures, occasions when the logo was used in photography, campaigns, designs and show sets, before concluding: "It is accurate to say that the YSL iconic initials were in fact celebrated and championed by Hedi." It is being reported that the tweets were prompted by some of the reviews of the debut collection that Anthony Vaccarello, his successor who took the helm of the brand earlier this year, showed in Paris last week.

One such review was written by Cathy Horyn, for The Cut, who said: "Apparently, Vaccarello has restored the Y, which had been excised by his predecessor, Hedi Slimane, as both a throwback to the brand’s original name and an attempt to modernise it. The truth is, despite Slimane’s efforts, most people still say YSL."

Horyn was previously involved in a Twitter storm with Slimane in 2012, when the designer referred to her as a "schoolyard bully" in an open letter posted on his account following her critique of his debut collection for Saint Laurent.

ASOS Hits Back At "Inaccurate" Accusations

Following a spate of allegations regarding the working conditions in its Barnsley warehouse, ASOS has issued a six-page statement refuting the recurring accusations in detail.

“I’m disappointed that inaccurate and misleading things have been said about how we manage our warehouse at Barnsley in Yorkshire," CEO Nick Beighton wrote in the document published on the brand's website. "I take huge exception to the idea that we are secretive and exploit our people. We have nothing to hide and much to be proud of."

"We don’t pretend to be perfect and we are learning all the time," he continued, highlighting some recent changes that have been made to the practices in the South Yorkshire warehouse following discussions with its staff-elected Employee Forum. These include reducing the probation period for employees and an upgraded time-tracking program to more accurately record lateness, ensuring that "employees are paid for every single minute they are working".

The statement - which comes a week after BuzzFeed News published an investigation into the brand, accusing it of forcing employees to work under "highly pressurised conditions", with "exploitative contracts" and "an overbearing security regime" - acknowledged that "No smoke without fire would be a reasonable reaction to the recent media coverage of the allegations against the brand." However, it said that this was "ultimately inaccurate".

"The picture of an uncaring, secretive and exploiting employer from Victorian times is false," Beighton added. "If we ran our warehouse that way, we wouldn’t have a productive environment. The opposite is true in fact - our people regularly outperform and deliver outstanding results."

Claiming that the South Yorkshire location was chosen for the warehouse when it was opened in 2011 "because of the unemployment created by the closing of the coal mine, and we believed we could make a difference in the area", it asserted that £81 million has been invested in improving the building and working conditions since opening - including the installation of a more automated system which reduces the physical distance that has to be travelled by employees within the building. Another £23 million is said to be earmarked for developments in the next 12 months.

Terry Green - the chairman of the worker’s committee who has been an employee at the warehouse for more than five years - also refuted the accusations.

“We are part of a team where proper training is given, new incentives are being brought in regularly, and the building we are working in has gone from strength to strength," he said. "It is insulting and annoying for all of us to continue reading things that are so untrue, and so different than what our day to day reality is. We are really proud of what we do together here and just want to get on with our jobs.”

In an attempt to dispel the allegations surrounding the contractual conditions employees work under, ASOS outlined in detail the "flex time" practice that it uses, where employees are put on "flex weeks" for 50 per cent of the year, during which they can be asked to alter their hours up or down depending on demand. Following meetings with the Employees Forum, the retailer said it has ended "same-day flexing" - in which staff members' hours can be altered on the day - meaning that they are now required to give employees at least 24 hours notice.

On the topic of security, which it admitted can be "invasive and offensive" if handled insensitively, ASOS wrote that it has to take precautions in a warehouse that holds more than £150 million worth of stock. Therefore, it said, approximately two per cent of the people on site are searched each day. However, it conceded that these searches "should not be conducted during employees’ lunch or break time", saying that in incidences where this has been the case, they apologised to the employees and emphasised to the security team that it should not happen at those times.

Another of the recurring allegations that the brand has found itself facing is of its staff being discouraged from taking toilet or water breaks due to high-performance targets. It once again denied this, claiming that such targets are "industry standard and constantly reviewed" and maintaining that "there are toilets and water fountains within a four-minute walk of any point in the warehouse".

"Break time is not counted as 'productive'," it added, "and therefore does not impact productivity targets or pay."

Charting The Future Of Chanel

Future thinking was the order of the day at Chanel yesterday. While the latest chapter of the label’s great set story took on the guise of a digital data centre and the spring/summer 2017 collection was opened by two robots (followed by futuristic models carrying digitalised clutches and laptop holders), backstage at the Grand Palais, the future of the fabled French fashion house itself was the subject of our conversation with its president of fashion Bruno Pavlovsky.

From e-commerce to the harmonisation of pricing, global growth to his relationship with creative director Karl Lagerfeld, Pavlovksy was transparent as to where the company stands on all fronts – especially on the fashion industry’s favourite discussion point of the season: the subject of see-now buy-now.

“Every brand has to decide what they want for their future. If a brand wants see-now, buy-now, then good for them, but I don’t think it’s the thing to do with Chanel because of our creative business model,” he told us, adding that it’s still very early days for the new format. “This collection, for example, was made from amazing, very light tweed fabrics – you have to see it to believe it – and that takes time. It’s months and months of work to be able to deliver that. At the moment we prefer to continue to focus on our product and give our customers not only the best design, but the best quality and the best finishes."

The creative business model of the brand is central to everything Pavlovksy, who has been at Chanel for 23 years, talks about. While he notes that it is imperative for the brand to continue improving its position in the luxury market, acknowledging that “it’s more and more demanding as the world is changing, customers are changing, competitors are strong”, it is the consistency of creative innovation that is key to the brand’s success.

“At the end of the day, when our customers leave with our products they need to feel the difference between a Chanel product and a non-Chanel product. That for me is important,” he said. “At the moment we are doing well.

A big reason that the company is doing so well globally right now stretches back to its decision in early 2015 to harmonise its pricing structure worldwide, allowing customers in all regions the chance to make their purchases on home turf, without needing to travel to take advantage of currency fluctuations between markets. It was an agile, albeit risky, move, and one that within two years has paid off.

“No doubt, we had two phases,” Pavlovsky explained. “For the first two months after the announcement there was a bit of panic. If you reduce the price by 20 per cent in Korea and China, everyone is of course going to ask, ‘What’s happening at Chanel? What’s gone wrong?' After these two months, when we had the opportunity to explain it to everyone, we saw a strong comeback and development in our product. Today we can see two-digit growth which means that it was the right for our customers. Chanel is stronger than ever and by harmonising prices we continued to give a strong message to customers to just enjoy Chanel – the price is the same everywhere.”

But despite offering universal pricing structure, Pavlovsky still has no plans to make Chanel’s ready-to-wear collections available universally online any time soon.

“If you try to define what is luxury today and ask the customers, first of all they think about the quality of the products, and then the exclusivity. We need to not forget in this world where everything is digital, that keeping this exclusivity is an important way to engage with customers,” he said. “A long time ago we did a test in the States with ready-to-wear – in the early days of e-commerce - to see what was happening, but we are not active at the moment with fashion, because we want to maintain some exclusivity," he added, explaining that rather than use their digital reach to sell products, they use it to gain insight into what their customers want from the Chanel experience and offer a better service.

“What we can achieve online is to give a strong editorial to our customers. Many different media can do this also, influencers, bloggers, many people. But that will never replace the feeling of being in a fitting room. It’s about being able to try the product, to test the product and also for us to be able to have conversations with the customers in the boutique to explain and suggest options. A lot of people want to keep this relationship,” he explained. “E-commerce is more about buying something and if you don’t like it then you send it back, which is difficult to do with what we are doing, so we try to keep something back. But there is no question that it is a part of the evolution of the world and we want to find the best way of doing that. If we think we need to do it, then we’ll do it. If we think we need to do something else, then we’ll do something else, but what we need to keep in mind, firstly, is all of our customers.”
An added element of the luxury experience – and another reason why Pavlovsky sees e-commerce posing another conundrum for the brand – lies in being able to cater for different demand in different regions. “You see in New York something that you don’t see in Asia,” he said, “and so I think we have to respect that all our customers are not the same. They don’t want to be the same.”

This independent rationale is adopted when it comes to Chanel’s ambassadors, Pavlovsky continued, who - rather than be chosen for their millions of social-media followers (as has become the norm for many big-name labels) - are selected because they have “something important to say”.

“You don’t see anyone in the front row who has nothing to say about the brand. They are here and they are our guests because we feel that we have a connection,” he said. “They are inspiring for the studio and for Mr Lagerfeld because they have a point of view, and we choose them because they have some idea about Chanel and because they support the brand. It’s nice having a multi-faceted way of looking at Chanel. They are not the same, they can agree or disagree and it’s important for us as a brand to listen as this is what happens in everyday life.”

Everyday life, Pavlovsky revealed, involves touching base with Lagerfeld “more or less every day” (“We have a very clear vision of roles and what is the next step of the brand”) and at the moment concentrating on the forthcoming Metiers D’Art show, which the brand announced last month would take place in the newly reopened Paris Ritz Hotel, a location that holds special significance for the house.

“After the Ritz's renovation I think it’s a strong move for us to show there,” he smiled. “There is lot to say about Mademoiselle Chanel and Mr Lagerfeld there and it’s going to be an amazing story for us. And, on top of that, we love Paris and Paris needs support at the moment, so it is important to us to be here and give a strong sign that Paris will stay the capital of creation.”

Considered, creative and paving its own way in commerce, long may Chanel continue to craft its trajectory as carefully as it creates its clothes.