Thursday, December 28, 2017

Phoebe Philo To Leave Céline

Phoebe Philo is to leave French fashion house Céline after 10 years as creative director. The autumn/winter 2018 collection, which will be presented at Paris Fashion Week in March 2018, will be the British designer's final collection for a brand she has transformed with her signature modernist style and sell-out accessories. Until a new creative director is named, WWD reports that the label’s collections will be designed by Céline's in-house design team.

Philo's departure comes after months of speculation that a move was in the works. In a statement she said: “Working with Céline has been an exceptional experience for me these last 10 years. I am grateful to have worked with an incredibly talented and committed team and I would like to thank everyone along the way who has been part of the collaborations and conversations. It’s been amazing.”

“What Phoebe has accomplished over the past 10 years represents a key chapter in the history of Céline. We are very grateful to Phoebe for having contributed to the great momentum of this Maison," said LVMH chairman and chief executive officer Bernard Arnault. "A new era of development for Céline will now start and I am extremely confident in the future success of this iconic Maison.”

Known in the industry as a bellwether of immaculate taste, Philo's minimal, discreetly luxurious aesthetic has legions of disciplines, the self-styled "Philo-philes", who wear her sharp-shouldered suiting and swing her block-colour bags from their elbows with singular pride. She joined Céline from Chloé in 2008, having taken a two-year maternity leave - a move that was itself highly unusual in an industry that rarely accommodates stoppage - and immediately set about revitalising a label that previously had very little personality, having been founded as a children's shoemaker by Céline Vipiana in 1945.

She enlisted the art director Peter Miles to reimagine the logo, inspired by a mid-20th-century Italian font found in an old type specimen book, and executed in a stark "left in the sun black" on creamy white. Juergen Teller was procured to shoot the ad campaigns, which have variously featured a make-up-free and knotty-haired Daria Werbowy, the French ballet dancer Marie-Agnès Gillot and the inimitable, 81-year-old Joan Didion (the internet imploded).

As for the wardrobe components, Philo, 44, made them in her image. Sharp, refined, discreet, new, were all buzzwords that she placed at the heart of the brand. Trench coats, suiting and black evening dresses - all cut just so, recognisable from thirty, forty, fifty feet away - made them manifest. She shies away from imposing abstract concepts on her collections, and from discussing them with the press - these are clothes for women with shit to get done, which includes their creative director - though this season made an exception backstage at her spring/summer 2018 show, telling Vogue: "I wanted it to look optimistic. It felt personal to me. I felt like celebration. If there is anything to say at the moment, let it be with love. Let it be joyful." For spring, she imagined the Seventies Céline woman, "this kind of Avenue Foch lady that I've always been intrigued by. The idea of that woman is one of the reasons why I wanted to work at Céline."

Exuberant sales reflect the esteem in which Philo is held with her customers. LVMH does not release individual figures of the brands in its stable, though its report for the first half of 2017 detailed that "Céline posted solid growth, buoyed by successes across all product categories. In leather goods, the Classic and Belt models performed especially well." Philo's skill with leather goods is virtually unsurpassed in the industry - as other brands struggle to create "it" bags, she churns them out with ease, as a glance through any selection of street style photography will prove. For a brand with such a modern aesthetic, it's perhaps confounding that its clothes are not available to buy online - though this is all part of the mystery in which Philo has enveloped the brand, not to mention herself. She rarely gives interviews and has no social media presence, once telling Vogue: "The chicest thing is when you don't exist on Google. God, I would love to be that person!"

Thanks to her impulse for discretion it will be hard to predict where Philo will go next - she's certainly giving nothing away. Philo's name is being mentioned, however, in connection with Burberry. Long rumoured to be the successor to Christopher Bailey, who stepped down after 17 years with the company in October, Philo has the English spirit and reinvention credentials to turn around a powerhouse whose gloss has started to rub off in recent years. Plus, it would mean a reunion with her former colleague of eight years Marco Gobbetti, now Burberry's CEO, who fuelled double-digit growth in partnership with Philo at the Paris house.

Either way, fashion-watchers will be heading to stores to snap up what's left of her Céline collections. Here's hoping the North Pole and its residents get the memo.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Karl Lagerfeld: Fashion’s Greatest Fairytale and Vogue are pleased to present the first in a series of Fashion Fairytales, starring one of the greatest fashion names of all time
in partnership with Childrens Salon.

This isn’t a story just about one little boy from Germany. It’s actually a story about you and me, too. The little boy at the centre of the tale – Karl Lagerfeld - has a talent so powerful and so impressive, he was able to cast a spell over the way we dress and change what’s in our wardrobes forever. How does this fashion fairytale start? Once upon a time, of course.

Once upon a time, in a village far, far away from the chic streets of Paris, lived a little boy and his family. Life in Northern Germany did not involve very much glamour. It was less couture, more cows.

But who says bovines can’t be beautiful? Certainly not the hero of this stylish story. While his dad introduced Europe to a special sort of milk called Gloria that’s perfect for sweet treats, Karl came to love the black and white cows that surrounded him and was especially fond of one, Tecla.

However, as Karl grew older he spent less and less time with his grass-eating friends. His parents were very, very clever and expected him to be just like them. He quickly became a studious young man, spending much of his time reading, writing and drawing. Every day from then on, Karl’s mother would insist he learn a page of the dictionary off by heart.

By now, you must be wondering how Karl came to love fashion if he always had his head in a book? It all started when he accompanied his stern but chic mother to a fashion show. The moment Karl saw the first model sashay down the catwalk, it all came together. The magic sparked within him and he realised that fashion could be a career. Karl continued to read books and study illustration magazines – valuable research for what would become his very own fashion designs.

Returning to the countryside, Karl knew his time surrounded by his old friends the cows was over. Karl soon arrived in Paris to seek fame and fashion, and let his creative tenacity run wild in the wardrobes of Europe’s chicest women. Before long, Karl had won a competition for the best coat design in the whole of Paris, and people soon took notice. Pierre Balmain – an already famous and celebrated designer – made Karl his assistant.

Even though he was still a young man, Karl left Balmain and made his very own fashion wishes come true by becoming the youngest design director of the chic French brand Jean Patou - paving the way for even greater future success for the hero of our story.

Before long, the little boy from Germany had become one of the most celebrated designers in the whole world and women from all over the globe were eager to wear his designs. Within a few years, Karl would be leading the way at major fashion houses Chloé, Fendi, Chanel and his own-name label, Karl Lagerfeld. However, what Karl began to realise was that while women were able to dress in his designs, it was not so easy for younger generations. Putting a stop to this, Karl expanded so that his clothes are available for all! If you look into your wardrobe today, can you find your own little piece of Karl Lagerfeld history?

Cultural Appropriation: Theft Or Innovation?

In the era of digital activism, fashion is no stranger to the “cultural appropriation” debate. In recent weeks, Chanel came under fire for a $1,325 branded take on the boomerang, a weapon used by Australia’s long-marginalised indigenous peoples for hunting before being widely adopted for sport and entertainment. Then, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele attracted charges that he was stealing from black creatives for the Dapper Dan-inspired looks that appeared in his 2018 cruise collection. But from Victoria’s Secret, which sent Karlie Kloss down the runway in a fringed bikini and feathered Native American headdress, to Marc Jacobs’ Spring 2017 show featuring a cast of mostly white models wearing dreadlocks, the phenomenon is hardly new.

On one side of the debate are those who see cultural appropriation, especially in a commercial context, like fashion, which values surface (and sales) over depth - as inherently disrespectful to the cultures that are so often sampled, but rarely credited and almost never compensated for the use of their heritage. On the other side, are those who see the freedom to fluidly sample from other cultures as vital to creative expression and cultural innovation, citing the fact that humans have been borrowing, even stealing, from each other’s cultures for thousands of years, much to the enrichment of human experience. But who’s right?

Chasing Lucky Blue Smith

 Lucky Blue Smith, who has been compared to both River Phoenix and a young Brad Pitt, posts the Instagram photo at 12.15pm on Sunday from a small café near Colette in Paris’s 1st arrondissement: “PARIS Here is another chance to come say hi to me! Come meet at 4pm at the Fete Foraine du jardin Des Tuileries!! Come!!! I wanna meet you all.”

It’s 4.00pm and the 6’3” sixteen-year-old is walking down a one-way lane that connects Rue Saint-Honoré and Rue de Rivoli when the first fans notice him. They lead him across the street to the Tuileries entrance, where another six girls stand waiting, iPhones at the ready. They all start snapping photos. Inside the gates, four more girls are dancing from foot to foot and tugging each other’s sleeves. “C’est Lucky!” In the distance, from over by the ferris wheel, at least 40 girls can be seen sprinting in his direction. Passersby stop and stare. Many pull out their phones to snap the stampede. Lucky smiles and waves; relaxed, engaging and effortlessly charismatic amidst the chaos. And the fans just keep coming. There are now over 100 girls huddled in a massive circle around him. Lucky laughs as they touch his hair, kiss him on the cheek and grab him in places they probably shouldn’t.

As an ‘Insta-famous’ male model with about 285,000 followers on the popular image-sharing platform Instagram, you might not know him, but teenage girls most certainly do. His fans are diverse and global, but if there’s one thing they share, it’s a near obsession with Lucky Blue. While his follower count is well below the staggering 9.2 million users who follow Cara Delevingne on Instagram, Lucky Blue boasts some impressive engagement metrics. In the last 12 hours alone, his fans have tagged him in 223 photos, some of which are modeling shots; many of which are candid shots taken from his Instagram account; others are simply screengrabbed text messages between friends talking about how much they love him. On average, his Instagram posts are liked by about 30,000 to 40,000 people each, or about 10 to 15 percent of his total following on the platform, which is significantly higher than the average rate for fashion brands, which social media analytics firm Union Metrics puts at 4.3 percent.

And, like Delevingne, Lucky’s fans don’t just follow him online, but in real life, too. He’s the only 16-year-old boy on the international fashion scene who has the power to make people show up in the flesh when he posts on social media. And he’s not afraid to use this power.

“A ton of fans showed day,” said Lucky Blue’s mother, Sheridan Smith, referring to the stampede of teenage girls who greeted the model when he exited the building after walking in the Sacai men’s show on Saturday morning. “But he told them a whole day ahead of time.”

Over the past couple of months, the sight has become increasingly common. Lucky Blue, with his perfect skin, flashing teeth and shock of white hair, shows up in a new city where he’s been booked for a shoot or a show — and girls swarm. In London, there were 60 waiting with signs and posters at Heathrow Airport. In Amsterdam, 20 stormed the American Hotel where he was staying. In Milan, they lurked outside the Fendi show. This kind of following is unusual for a male model.

And yet nothing had prepared Lucky and his mother for what happened on Saturday in Paris. “The crowd of girls was so big on this small street that they were literally blocking traffic,” Sheridan says. “There must have been 75 of them. Two older girls took charge and led the fans through to an open square.”

This is Lucky’s freshman show season in Europe. In London he booked Tom Fordand Dunhill; in Milan he walked Etro, Philipp Plein, Bottega Veneta and Fendi; and in Paris he walked just one, Sacai. Saint Laurent has put him on hold every season since he was 14, but is yet to book him for a show.

Lucky’s biggest jobs to date include a CK One campaign shot by Mario Sorrenti, a Gap campaign and a Tommy Hilfiger campaign, featuring an ensemble cast of models, to be released this spring. Working with a range of prestigious brands has increased Lucky’s bankability and exposure. Meanwhile, for the brands that hire him, his social media profile can increase their visibility among a new generation of post-Internet consumers (Lucky was just five years old when Facebook was first launched) who are expected to hit their earning peak in 2020.

“Before I came to Italy, I’d never heard of most of these designers,” he says. The same is true of much of his audience. “I think I’d heard of Fendi and Gucci and that’s it. What’s that one I did? Botte… Venet or something? And Roberto Cavalli, I didn’t know either.” A photo he posted of himself on the catwalk at Roberto Cavalli garnered 30,464 likes and 599 comments.

“His fans love him,” says Sheridan. “He has about 20 fan-pages. The funny thing is, most of these kids don’t even know about his music. That’s the next step — I don’t think any young boy ever sees modeling as the end game. Wait till they see him playing drums.” Yes, he’s also a musician, and it’s a family affair.

Lucky Blue and his three older sisters — Pyper America, Daisy Clementine and Queen Starlie — are in a surf-rock band named The Atomics, which they started together several years ago.

“We’re working on our first album as a band,” he says. “It’s kinda crazy because right now I’m in Europe doing fashion week and my two sisters are in LA writing with our Dad and Pyper’s in New York for fashion week, but she’s recording her harmonies over there and sending them through, then I’m flying to New York for fashion week, too.”

Pyper and Daisy, standing at 5’10” and 5’10.5, respectively, both model too. Queen Starlie (just Starlie to her family), at 5’3”, is too short to model. “She’s fun-sized,” says Sheridan. “But she’s lead singer of the band.”

Lucky Blue was 10 when his older sister Daisy Clementine was discovered by a model scout in Utah and sent to Next Models Los Angeles. Alexis, the director of the agency, asked Lucky to come back in a couple of years. Two years later, on a family road trip to California, they stopped by Next and the whole Smith clan was signed on the spot. “We kept getting called back,” says Lucky. “Next were setting up all these meetings with people about reality TV shows and Nickelodeon shows, but I just wanted to go to the beach.” A few days later they did their first shoot together as siblings and as a band. The photographer was Hedi Slimane and the photos appeared in Vogue Homme Japan. The Smiths relocated to Los Angeles soon after.

“Acting, modeling, music, we’re trying it all,” says Lucky. He’s about to start work on an indie movie directed by a family friend named Rob Diamond. It’s a love story written specifically for Lucky. His dream co-star? “Candice Swanepoel. She’s so hot.”

For the moment, money is tight. The six Smiths live on Hollywood Boulevard, near the Chinese Mann Theatre, in a two-bedroom apartment. The parents are in one room, the four siblings in another. “It was a family decision to move to California from Utah,” says Sheridan. “It hasn’t been easy, but if one of us succeeds, we all succeed. We’re all working together to try and make this happen.” Is she a ‘momager’? She laughs. “I don’t like that word, but I do like to support and empower my children.”

The moment they arrived in LA, the kids, who are home-schooled, were introduced to a crew of Internet-famous teenagers who hang out together regularly and post pictures of their adventures. “Some have, like, 532,000 followers on Instagram,” says Lucky, “and others have like 2 million. They’d post pictures with me and I got like 50,000 followers straight away. Once I got up to like 110,000 it grew on its own. I’m getting like a thousand to two thousand [new followers] every day.”

Unlike traditional celebrities who protect their private lives, many Internet-famous kids, like Lucky, are endlessly open and accessible and want to interact with their fans — within reason. “I get about 150 direct messages a day on Instagram,” he says. All from girls. He doesn’t open them. “I don’t want to disappoint them by not replying,” he says, “But if I did reply to all of them I’d never have time for anything else.” As a Mormon, he’s also planning on abstaining from sex until he’s married.

Lucky says he’s equal parts thankful for, empathetic towards, and confused by his fans. He repeatedly stresses that he doesn’t want to let them down and also that he’s not entirely sure what has made him so popular.

“I don’t want to be one of those kids who gets famous and then changes and becomes cocky. That’s why it’s so important to me to try and take a photo with every girl who comes to see me. I don’t really get why they seem to like me so much, but if I can make them feel happy by sticking around and that makes their day better, then what’s an extra 30 minutes to me? What else am I going to be doing?”

Back in the Tuileries, a girl is slumped against a wall, heaving breaths and crying uncontrollably. When Lucky sees her, he asks everyone to move aside to allow him to go and talk to her. He and Sheridan crouch down next to her. He holds her hand as she looks up at him and smiles and cries. She’s so overwhelmed she can hardly talk, but she hugs him for 15 seconds and kisses him on the cheek before letting go. The moment he turns and walks away, she faints cold on the wet ground. The police run over. “This is finished!” they shout in French. “Please exit the Tuileries!”

We hustle him through the crowd and flag a cab on Rue de Rivoli. The girls beg him to stay. “Please Lucky! One more photo!” He sits in the front seat, winds down the window and tells the driver to wait so a zealous crew of three who’ve stopped oncoming traffic, can poke their heads in for a final shot. As we pull away, he slumps back in his seat. “Wow, that was way bigger than yesterday. I used to think my friends in LA who do organised meet-and-greets with security guards were just being cocky, but now I think I get it.”

He stops talking for a moment, so he can reply to a direct message sent from one of the girls who had just showed up in the Tuileries. She runs the fan page @luckysfacts and he's thanking her for coming. “That was kinda crazy.”

From Gucci To Calvin Klein, Where Top Fashion Brands Recruit

Want to work at Tommy Hilfiger’s design headquarters in Amsterdam? Consider applying to Kingston University. Its students have collaborated on projects with the PVH-owned brand. Passionate about tailoring? Brioni, the menswear house owned by Kering, partners with London’s Royal College of Art each school year to hold talent competitions and recruit interns.

Gone are the days of the shot-in-the-dark application. In order to burnish their reputations as employers and recruit top talent, leading luxury houses are developing formal programmes with the best universities. These feeder programmes — from Kering’s partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) at the London College of Fashion to Sup de Luxe at Paris’ École des Dirigeants et des Créateurs d'entreprise (ECF), which offers both a master’s and bachelor’s degree in global luxury management and is supported financially by Richemont-owned Cartier — are now often the key to landing an entry-level position at a top fashion company.

“It’s more about partnerships these days,” says Karen Harvey, an executive recruiter who places c-level candidates in positions on both the creative and business sides of fashion. “Through these long-term relationships, companies get to meet with the students more than once or twice. It’s not just about glancing through their portfolios.”

But which schools offer opportunities at which brands? BoF examined three of the industry’s top conglomerates to identify both formal and informal partnerships between their labels and the world’s leading fashion schools.


Top Brands: Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Brioni.

Kering’s formal programmes with universities span both disciplines and regions. "A key objective of the group is to attract, recruit and develop the best people for every aspect of our activities, wherever they may be," a spokesperson for the group told BoF. "We want to create an environment where each of us is encouraged to learn, to grow, to fulfil our potential and to have a positive impact. Diversity in the workplace — of gender, nationality, age, background, sexual orientation and talent — enriches us all and is a key driver of creativity and growth."

For MBAs, the luxury group sponsors the “Kering Luxury Certificate” at international business school HEC in Paris. The programme includes seminars led by Kering managers and visits to Kering brands, as well as an annual competition judged by HEC professors and Kering directors. In 2017, 38 participants from 15 different countries were admitted into the programme, which, according to Kering, regularly results in appointments within the group.

On the creative side, Kering participates in several initiatives, including its partnership with the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF), which includes a master’s course in sustainability supported by the company as well as the annual Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion — a monetary prize and/or an internship placement — and an annual talk given by a Kering executive. (At this year’s talk in October, Gucci chief executive Marco Bizzarriannounced that the white-hot brand would no longer use real fur in its clothing and accessories.)

At Parsons School of Design in New York, Kering awards two BFA fashion design graduates the opportunity to intern or apprentice at one of its brands, while its partnership with the University of Tsinghua in Beijing includes two programmes: the artistic innovation studio, which helps students create their own workspace, and a scheme that offers financial support to 10 female students.

There are also more specialised programmes within Kering’s brands, including a partnership between La Scuola dei Maestri Pellettieri, Bottega Veneta’s workshop, and University IUAV of Venice, which offers post-graduate training in creating handbags and other accessories. At Brioni, tailors are trained through its own sewing school — Scuola di Alta Sartoria — while other talent is tapped through the Royal College of Art, where the brand supports competitions and recruits interns. Gucci recently partnered with Italian fashion school Polimoda to launch a master's course in fashion retail management.


Top brands: Louis Vuitton, Céline, Givenchy, Dior, Loewe, Marc Jacobs.

With more than 70 maisons under its umbrella, it’s no surprise that LVMH’s formalised partnerships are quite varied. While the company recruits from traditional design schools including Institut Français de la Mode, Central Saint Martins and Parsons School of Design, it also looks to Harvard Business School, INSEAD and HEC to hire MBAs.

At ESSEC business school outside of Paris, students can be selected for the LVMH chair, a luxury brand-management programme with seminars led by LVMH managers, complemented by company visits and internships. Students also get to work on a real-life project with an LVMH brand manager. LVMH and Dom Pérignon also support ESSEC’s “Savoir-Faire d’exception” chair, a 20-student course that explores the importance of heritage in the luxury industry.

At HEC Paris, LVMH supports a chair in general management in excellence and client experience. Prospective students interested in supply chain and logistics might look to engineering university CentraleSupélec, where the group backs a course on the topic. Milan’s Bocconi University has established a fashion and luxury management professorship in partnership with LVMH, which also supports the luxury track of its MBA programme. In Asia, the conglomerate has teamed with Singapore Management University on a research initiative that aims to shed light on the luxury goods market in the East through unbiased case studies and field reporting.

On the design and creative side, LVMH often recruits interns and entry-level designers from Central Saint Martins as well as Parsons School of Design. In 2016, the group launched "Sustainability and Innovation in Luxury," a strategic partnership with Central Saint Martins to identify "cutting-edge solutions to address future sustainability and innovation in luxury." LMVH also offers vocational training through its Institut des Métiers d’Excellence (IME).

For Burak Cakmak, dean of fashion at Parsons, formalised partnerships are not only about work placement, but also about résumé building.

"The immediate benefit for a brand is the ability to learn from the talent and to be able to hire the individual," Cakmak says. "But it will always be a small number of students who achieve that. No matter if you are directly hired, what matters is what you have on your CV and diversity is critical."


Top brands: Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger.

The New York-based group welcomes 300 to 350 summer interns into its 10-week programme. And that’s not including those placed in its offices in Europe. (PVH hires 20-25 percent of its interns each year.) “They do real work,” says Dave Kozel, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at PVH. At Calvin Klein, 50 new interns are welcomed each semester.

PVH has working relationships with more than 250 schools globally. While many senior executives graduated from schools located on the east coast of the United States — including the Fashion Institute of Technology, Philadelphia Universityand the Savannah College of Art and Design — certain schools are pinpointed for certain skills.

For instance, Lehigh University and Penn State University, both in Pennsylvania, often breed good candidates for supply-chain related jobs, while the University of Delaware boasts a strong fashion-merchandising programme. Parsons and FIT are the primary feeders for entry-level design positions. In Europe, PVH regularly works with the London College of Fashion and Kingston University, as well as Hong Kong University in Asia.

Rendez-Vogue: Amber Valletta

In a new era of superstar models keen to use their platforms for activism, Amber Valletta stands out as the first supermodel to break that glass ceiling. Once again a fixture on the runway – and current face of Mercedes-Benz – she tells Vogue fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen about her fight for sustainability and her political ambitions.

The day before Donatella Versace would reunite four of the original supermodels on her September runway, I am at the Baglioni in Milan having lunch with another member of that exclusive club. Amber Valletta, of course, already walked Versace last season. The week after, in March, she led an ensemble cast of models from the 1990s down Dries Van Noten’s catwalk to mark his 100th show, fronting a new wave in fashion where models are once again encouraged to be more than just mannequins. “I wouldn’t normally be running around with a bunch of 20 year olds trying to get into every fashion show, but everything I did last season was appropriate,” Valletta asserts. At 43, age-appropriate is hardly something she needs to be concerned about. Fair-skinned, blonde and built like a racehorse, she somehow fuses grace, sophistication and sex appeal in one all-American package, dressed head-to-toe in sparkly Isabel Marant, whose show she also walked last season. “You can wear glitter in Milan in the day,” as she points out. When Valletta returned to modelling a few years ago following a break to focus on her acting career, you couldn’t call it a comeback. Much like her famous peers, from Christy Turlington to Lauren Hutton – both of whom she name-checks – it runs through her veins. “It’s like a classic automobile, or a house like Chanel: those things don’t go out of style,” Valletta quips."Would she run for office herself? 'Yes, but I’m not sure anybody would listen. I definitely thought about it.'"

The day before Donatella Versace would reunite four of the original supermodels on her September runway, I am at the Baglioni in Milan having lunch with another member of that exclusive club. Amber Valletta, of course, already walked Versace last season. The week after, in March, she led an ensemble cast of models from the 1990s down Dries Van Noten’s catwalk to mark his 100th show, fronting a new wave in fashion where models are once again encouraged to be more than just mannequins. “I wouldn’t normally be running around with a bunch of 20 year olds trying to get into every fashion show, but everything I did last season was appropriate,” Valletta asserts. At 43, age-appropriate is hardly something she needs to be concerned about. Fair-skinned, blonde and built like a racehorse, she somehow fuses grace, sophistication and sex appeal in one all-American package, dressed head-to-toe in sparkly Isabel Marant, whose show she also walked last season. “You can wear glitter in Milan in the day,” as she points out. When Valletta returned to modelling a few years ago following a break to focus on her acting career, you couldn’t call it a comeback. Much like her famous peers, from Christy Turlington to Lauren Hutton – both of whom she name-checks – it runs through her veins. “It’s like a classic automobile, or a house like Chanel: those things don’t go out of style,” Valletta quips."Would she run for office herself? 'Yes, but I’m not sure anybody would listen. I definitely thought about it.'"

Whereas the new generation of household name models are largely children of celebrities with a knack for social media, supermodels like Valletta were created out of nowhere. “I do think we felt like there was more character then, because there was. There was only, let’s say, 50 girls who were working all the time, and then you had the top 20. I think there was more character because there was more time to develop these women, but it was also that you didn’t see them on a constant basis,” she points out. “That’s one of the problems with social media: there’s no mystery left in anything. It definitely affects how we feel about people, because you see these kids don’t have much going on except for selfies and going to parties or whatever. It doesn’t feel like the life experience is there, even though it might be.” With an Instagram following of 312,000, Valletta isn’t a stranger to social media, but contrary to the new generation of models, she limits her activity to work. “Listen,” she says, “those girls are hard workers and all that social media stuff is a talent in itself. I’m obliged to do it for work, but if I wasn’t obliged, would I do it?” As you’ll quickly come to realise, Amber Valletta isn’t one for fluff. A wild child in the 1990s, she’s been sober for nearly 20 years and has devoted her spotlight to the struggle for sustainability in the fashion industry and beyond.

This season, she and her 6’5 tall, 17-year-old model son Auden McCaw – whose father Chip McCaw Valletta divorced in 2014 – feature in Mercedes-Benz’s #MBCollective 2018 campaign for Concept EQ, the automobile giant’s new electric car. They manufacture an electric smart car already, but it’s too small for the gruelling traffic Valletta has to brave in Los Angeles where she lives with her boyfriend Teddy Charles, a hairdresser. Next to his Mercedes GL 63 (which has a power-saving start/stop engine) she drives a Tesla, a competitor that’s surely putting pressure on energy-saving competitors like Benz? “Absolutely, and they should!” Valletta says, exercising her unswerving no-nonsense approach. “People are buying Tesla because it is good for the environment and represents those values, so it’s just logic.” For all the higher ground Valletta takes in life, she never comes across priggish or self-righteous. After placing her meticulous salad order of cucumber, carrot, tomato and “maybe some grilled chicken on the side” – negotiations with the waiter that eventually result in an avocado compromise – she leans back. “You know when you just feel like all you’ve done is eat pasta?” Apparently even Vogue cover girls (13 times over) cave in to the temptations of Milan. “I’m going to have the mozzarella, even if I’m having lunch with a supermodel,” I say apologetically. “If I hadn’t eaten two pizzas back to back, I’d join you,” Valletta retorts.

She’s not holier-than-thou about her passions, either. While she’s not a fan of animal products, she does wear leather. “Besides my shoes most of my leather goods – and I only have three leather jackets – two are up-cycled leather and I keep them forever. My leather pants I’ve had for, like, eight years,” she tells me. Fur? “I’m not a huge fan. I don’t think it’s necessary where I live. I’ve worn it but it was vintage, but I wouldn’t do advertisement on it. If they put it on me in a story, I’m not going to fight them but I’ll ask them, can we do something different? I don’t love that,” Valletta says. “But sometimes you’re in a situation where you can’t get around it. You show up and the whole story is exotic skins and furs and they didn’t tell you. What are you going to do? Walk off the job? We have to stop being black and white about issues. If the animal is treated humanely and not clubbed to death, and the by-product can be used for food, and it’s someone who lives somewhere like Scandinavia where it’s freezing, it makes sense. But when it’s just a luxury item on a handbag it’s kind of stupid.” Faux fur, she explains, is often completely toxic and “almost worse.” And so, we venture into sustainability, a topic even fashion hasn’t managed to make glamorous yet. “It’s because it sounds like ‘corporate responsibility’,” Valletta says in a mock-nasal voice, eyes rolling.

“It’s like, nobody wants to hear that! Karlie Kloss wore a gown that was sustainable and ethical, and she looked hot. That’s how it needs to be. And it also needs to be accessible to people, who are working hard all day just to put food on the table. It’s not for the elite.” Every summer, Valletta presents the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, which gathers industry power players in the name of sustainability. She lists Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Reformation and Re/Done as the best examples of sustainable brands, and says that H&M “do a lot but they need to not produce so much stuff.” And she has a way with putting things into mind-boggling perspective, too. “The fashion industry employs, I think, a third of the population if you talk about textiles all the way to fashion-fashion, marketing and advertising,” she tells me. “We have the opportunity to really influence society. It should just be smart business: if you’re less wasteful you’re going to save money. If your factory is capturing energy and reusing it, or recycling water, you’re going to be much more profitable. Instead of making new fabrics, recycling and using biodegradable fabrics is just logic. Think of all the job creation with all this innovation! They’re going to do some crazy shit in the next couple of years, like leather grown in factories and not from animals.”

Valetta was born in 1974 and grew up Tulsa, Oklahoma. Asked where her environmental awareness stems from, she tells me about childhood weekends spent in nature at her grandparents’ farm; about her activist mother, who stopped a nuclear power-plant being built and served food to the homeless. “We didn’t have a lot but she would always tell us, ‘There’s way worse. Shut up and figure out how you can be of service to people!’” Valletta started modelling at age 15, and became one of the highest paid supermodels in the 1990s before starring in films such as What Lies Beneath and Hitch, and TV series like Revenge. She loved The Fall, Ozark and Downton Abbey, and confesses to watching American Idol and The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. As for The Real Housewives? “Oh god no, I can’t stand it. They’ve asked me before, actually. ‘Hell no!’” Offer her a role on Transparent, however, and “I’d be on there in a heartbeat,” Valletta says. “I’ve had some great work as an actress, but I’m looking for something that’s more artistic and interesting: an independent cable show or Amazon show. Just something that’s a good story.” For now, however, she is planning her entrepreneurial future in the fight for sustainability, by way of her first profession.

“I thought about talking to some of the models, who have collaborations with designers, to get them to use their power. How great would it be if Gigi’s line with Tommy was sustainable? Fucking awesome. I’d buy it in a heartbeat. They have the opportunity to do all organic and recycled denim. The price point is perfect, and she can push the shit out of that.” They’ve met already, Valletta tells me, but “backstage at Versace isn’t really the time to talk about it.” When the day comes, Hadid better brace herself. Amber Valletta doesn’t chat; she converses, passionately and compellingly. Every morning she meditates and prays. “I don’t subscribe to religion, it’s just a spiritual side. Literally, I pray to the universe for everyone to have safe travels to good health to friends of mine, who are struggling. I pray for Donald Trump,” she says, deadpan, “and for people that are being devastated by earthquakes,” comparison most definitely intended. “I just wish he’d get off Twitter. It’s so shameful,” Valletta notes. An acquaintance of Hillary Clinton, she resents the way Trump’s campaign treated the presidential candidate during the election. “She’s incredibly intelligent. She’s a lot warmer than people think. There was a lot of failure to accept a woman: women against women, and men having prejudice against women. She was speaking to the issues but people don’t want to hear it. They want a soundbite. They’re not listening.”

Nor does she seem to remember Melania from the New York modelling scene. Valletta laughs. “She was a supermodel? Honestly, I do feel sorry for her. I actually don’t think she’s that bad. I mean, the poor thing has to suffer with that guy.” But Valletta says the troubles in America are only reflective of a scary global zeitgeist. “I can see why someone would want to become an anarchist,” she notes. “We’ve taken all these steps backwards, and yet so many of us are stepping forward and want equality for women and gender and sexual orientation and race. Not to mention that we want to do it on a safe and healthy planet. It just seems like we’re inviting such poles. It’s like good and evil.” Like the struggle for sustainability, Valletta argues the issue starts with greed. “I don’t believe that in order for me to have great things and live a prosperous life, everybody else has to suffer. I don’t think that’s true. We have enough fresh water if we all share and start pumping the water out of flooding areas. We have ways to get food to places in Africa but we don’t. We have ways to cure illnesses but we don’t.” Would she run for office herself? “Yes, but I’m not sure anybody would listen. I definitely thought about it. All my dirty secrets are out, anyway. The nude pictures are online, I’m clearly open about my sobriety… I mean, there’s not much else to tell.”

JW Anderson Subverts Gender Binaries Once More By Going Co-Ed With His Shows

“When it comes to my relationship with gender and fashion, as much as it keeps coming up as a bloody trend, it’s really not a trend,” Jonathan Anderson told me earlier this year. “I just believe that garments are for garments sake. Anyone can wear them.” Such a sentiment has now translated in how he will present his collections: from February, his JW Anderson men’s and women’s shows will be combined and shown during London’s womenswear fashion week.

The decision makes perfect sense – not only is it strategically in line with the rest of the industry (only last week Balenciaga announced the same decision, while brands like Burberry and Gucci have eschewed the binary division for seasons now), but Anderson’s designs have always subverted traditional gender tropes. His early menswear collections incorporated the likes of floral organza suiting and frilly shorts; his womenswear played with a masculine sort of femininity with boyish knitwear, or aprons worn over tracksuits.

While that side of his aesthetic has become less explicit over the years (and, accordingly, increasingly commercially viable), his designs still retain those same tenets of subversion. “I think that was my whole thing when I started doing clothing,” he says. “I never believed that there was a binary – but it wasn’t as though I was playing around with costume, it was just about proportion.”

That being said, the brand’s official statement simply decrees that “The decision to consolidate and transform its fashion show is to align with the brand's new strategy, to shorten the traditional gap between the runway moment and retail availability.” Perhaps it’s just another savvy commercial move from one of fashion’s savviest designers – but, as ever with Anderson, it’s likely not to be as simple as it seems.

Victoria Beckham On Christmas At Beckingham Palace And Dressing For New Year's Eve

Last night, Vogue celebrated Christmas with a little help from the Beckhams. At the Victoria Beckham global flagship store on Dover Street, Vogue fashion news editor Julia Hobbs held a captive audience as she and Beckham discussed party-season dressing, family traditions and just what one buys David Beckham for Christmas. Here are the takeaways to note.

On Christmas Day At Beckingham Palace…

I’d never wear a rainbow onesie. Never. I’d love to say that I’m dressed up - I don’t want to shatter the illusion that I walk around like this at Beckingham Palace - because Christmas Day is such a great time for the kids and there’s wrapping paper everywhere and absolute chaos in the house. And because I'm undoing boxes and trying to find batteries for Harper’s toys I don’t really have a lot of time to get ready. From my cover shoot, I got a Vogue dressing gown, and little Harper got one as well. I’ll probably be wearing my Vogue dressing gown on Christmas day.

On Cooking For The Family…

Do you know, I can’t. But I try. You know one of the kids said the other day, ‘What? What is this?’ One of the kids said, ‘Mummy made that with so much love.’ I was like, ‘That’s really sweet and kind because it was horrible.’ So it’s not my forte, but I try.

On Dressing For your In-Laws…

I think it’s nice when you don’t look like you’ve tried too hard but you’re being respectful. I don’t think you want to be casual but you want to be comfortable. There’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable — that just reflects how you are and how you feel. You’re nervous enough as it is.

On Celebrating New Year’s Eve… 

I love New Year’s Eve. We always spend New Year’s Eve with the children, and my kids know how to party. Last year, I mean goodness they stayed up so late, they really are party animals. It’s a good time to get a little bit dressed up and let your hair down, have some fun and just go for it. This year, Brooklyn is coming home from New York, and I won’t talk about it too much because I’ll start crying. We haven’t seen him for quite a while. So, he’s coming home, and he is good fun. We like to have fun as a family. We spend so much time working and travelling that when we do have time to just be the six of us, we really do make the most of that.

On New Year Resolutions…

I don’t do anything silly like ‘I’m never going to drink again’ because that’s not going to work. I know this might make people’s eyes roll but I just want to continue to be the best person that I can and try hard to be the best mum that I can and really try to get that balance right between work and life. That is a really difficult thing when you’re a working mum. I don’t know if it’s a New Year's resolution or just a little word I have with myself. I think the one thing that I probably should do is have a New Year’s resolution that when it gets to six o’clock at night I’m going to turn my phone off. Or I’m going to put it on silent or put it in the other room and then I’ll just pick it up again at eight o’clock the next morning because I am such a workaholic and I probably will say to myself, let’s try to do that.

On 2018…

I have brought partners into my business because up until about three weeks ago, the business was owned by myself, my husband and our business partner Simon Fuller. What we have done is going to enable to me to do a lot of things that I have always really dreamed of doing and I can really put my foot on the gas: new categories, more shop space. Really expanding on the beauty category, for example. Bigger collections and also trying to change things up a little bit. I like to be quite entrepreneurial about the way that I run this brand and think outside of the box and come up with new innovative, creative ideas. That excites me. There’s just so much I want to do. I always say it’s great to dream big and I genuinely mean that. So, who knows what will happen? And it’s my 10-year anniversary!

On Her Business Turning 10…

I can’t believe that it’s been 10 years in September. I mean it has gone so quickly and I really have accomplished a lot with my honestly incredible team. They have given me so much and a lot of my team has been with me since the very beginning and we really have built something very special together. So, we’re excited to be celebrating that.

On The Fabulous Harper Shoe…

I called it the Harper slipper because when I came back from New York, on my last show, I pulled out these sparkly shoes. My daughter, who is 6 years old, and like most little girls and big girls — love a bit of sparkle. She couldn’t believe the shoes. She was like "Mummy, I want to try them on!" She was running around the house, she’s got down that running in heels thing, I’m very proud. She was over the moon, so I had to call it the Harper slipper because she did not take it off and she kept clicking her heels together saying, "There’s no place like home." She’s obsessed with the Wizard of Oz, which is actually where we got the idea to do this shoe. When I was in New York, it was autumn time and I was wearing a high-waisted slim jean, a vintage blouse and the Harper slipper, and I was just going to an art gallery. It felt really cool to have something that’s really quite sparkly and dressed up with something that’s dressed down. I’m really quite fun when I’m wearing these shoes.

On Her Christmas Capsule…

I wanted to do a Christmas capsule. About two months ago, I said to the team "You know I want some sparkle in the shop." What do you wear when you’re going to a Christmas party? For me, I want to wear a great tuxedo pant whether it’s slim or baggy, I want to wear a great blouse, I want to wear either a jacket or a sort of tuxedo coat. So, quite minimal but really really good shapes, really well made, good tailoring pieces that you’re not just going to wear at Christmas but you’re going to wear the rest of the year as well. They really are staple pieces that everyone should have in their wardrobe and then I’m going to jazz it up with a really jazzy shoe and bag.

On Getting Ready…

If I’m going out somewhere nice and I’ve got time, I think it’s just fun to have your hair done, have your make-up done. But day-to-day, I don’t have very long at all. It’s about taking the kids to school, trying to get a quick workout in, sticking your hair up in a ponytail, getting ready in 15 minutes and I’m literally out the door. It depends what I’m doing. Quite simple, I actually think it’s good when you have less time to get ready, it’s better, less time to fuss.

On Her Estée Lauder Collection…

I love the skin-perfecting powder because it really does even out skin tones. You can put it on throughout the day and it doesn’t get too thick and clumpy. I use the bronzer to contour. So, at the end of the day, when you’re feeling a little bit washed out and tired, you can just dust the bronzer all over. The Victoria lip liner I’m obsessed with and I have them in all my handbags. The cheek cream is actually fantastic as well. You can do so much with it. You don’t have to throw too much into your handbag with that one product. When Estée Lauder came to me about this collaboration, it really was about me creating what I want. Those must-have items that you think would be easy to find, but you search for and you can’t. I spent so much time making sure it was exactly what I wanted, so I’m proud of the make-up. I enjoyed the whole process and I think also the packaging is beautiful. I love to empower women and make women feel like the best version of themselves, whether it’s through fashion or the beauty side as well. It really does feel like a treat. I appreciate things that most people don’t think about but it does make a difference. It’s limited edition, so we don’t have huge amounts to sell and I really wanted to keep it that way. I wanted people to feel special when they found that lipstick because it’s not going to go on and on.

On Her Festive Soundtrack…

Spice Girls. Duh! Probably a mega mix of them all. No, really. I like old school R&B and soul. That’s what I like. I’m a bit of a soul girl. But it depends, with the kids around, they have completely different ideas. Romeo is normally the one that puts the music on in the house. He’s got really, really good taste. Really good taste. You know he’ll put things on that obviously we know because it’s from the Nineties or from the Eighties and he’ll say, "Hey mummy have you heard of this song?" and I’ll say "I remember it the first time around!" He’s like, "Really? You’ve heard of Michael Jackson?" And then you’re like "No, I’ve been living under a stone."

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Susan Sarandon On Cars, Clothes And Keeping It Real

"I'm painfully aware of the lottery of birth. Injustice really bothers me,” Susan Sarandon, actress, activist and the new face of Mercedes-Benz told Vogue. “In my business you are constantly developing empathy and imagination - once you can put yourself in another mother’s struggles you can’t resist activism. I want to leave the world a little better or at least know I tried. You create your life and passion with the energy you put out there.”

The star’s latest off-screen project sees her collaborate with US filmmakers Luke Gilford and Bryn Mooser on a "fashion story" for Mercedes-Benz’s #MBCollective 2018 campaign for Concept EQ, the automobile giant’s new electric car.

“We must understand that fossil fuel is done - so the Concept EQ is the future. That is the focus of my story and ultimately why I connected with the brand for this project,” she explained. “They were not afraid of my activism. I was curious how they would wed that to their brand, but the idea of picking me as a creative protégé is very forward thinking.”

Of the decision to work with Gilford and Mooser, who are known for surrealist and virtual reality film projects respectively, Sarandon said: “I always hope to work with challenging people. It had to be different from anything I’ve done previously. I wanted it to be fun and it has to scare me. Now that my children are grown I no longer need to consider school schedules.”

Looking back at 71, my "lifestyle really went through the biggest change when I had three children. Now I’m mostly simplifying. I have the means to buy things of better quality that last,” she revealed of both cars and clothes - now not mutually exclusive owing to her Mercedes-Benz campaign.

The best piece of advice she has ever been given with regards to the latter is, “Be comfortable as well as beautiful. Don’t let clothing overpower you, let it enhance,” and her fondest fashion memories anchored in the films where period dress was required: “Doris Duke in Bernard and Doris. Annie Savoy in Bull Durham - she was so inventive, outside the box but feminine and sexy in an unusual way.”

Pretty Baby, another favourite owing to the retro, waifish clothes she wore as Hattie, also led to her biggest faux pas. “My first trip to Cannes was for the film,” she recalled. “I wore a beautiful and simple vintage dress that became see-through once the paparazzi started shooting and of course I was braless.”

If she could do it all again, she’d advise her younger self to, “Make your mistakes more quickly and enjoy your beauty more. Other than that I really am fine with the way I’ve dealt with my life.”

Her #MBCollective project might be an unusual one, but it certainly proves you can’t predict where Sarandon will go next.

Candice's Baby News

Candice Swanepoel has announced that she is expecting her second child with fiancé Hermann Nicoli.

The Victoria’s Secret Angel took to Instagram to share the news with her near 12 million followers, posting a picture of her cradling her bump alongside the simple message, “Christmas came early”. Congratulations from fellow Angels, including Lily Aldridge and Romee Strijd, poured in amidst messages from her fans.

The model couple welcomed their first child, a son called Anacã, which is a Brazilian word for a type of bird, in October 2016. In May 2017, she gave Vogue an insight into life as a parent.

“Becoming a mother makes the world feel so much better. Nothing can get me down. I just look at [Anacã] and see him seeing the world for the first time, and it’s just such a pleasure to see it through his eyes," the 29-year-old said. "I’m loving being a mum and this new stage in my life. It’s always been about me, and my career, and it’s so nice to have this shift and put all my love and energy into something else.”

The news follows fellow Brazilian Angel Behati Prinsloo’s announcement that she is also expecting her second child. The close friends both documented their first pregnancies on Instagram, but unlike Swanepoel, who walked in the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, Prinsloo took her second year's hiatus from the catwalk to focus on her family.

Vivienne Westwood Documentary Set For 2018 Release

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, a feature-length film celebrating the artistry, activism and cultural significance of Vivienne Westwood, is slated for release in the spring of 2018.

Directed by Lorna Tucker, who has previously produced short films for Westwood, as well as for high-profile brands such as Nike and Alexander McQueen, the Vivienne Westwood documentary will feature interviews with Westwood’s collaborators, friends and family, including her son Joseph Corré.

Tucker will marry new footage with old archival shots to convey the artist’s steadfast path to success, her chaotic creative world and well-documented relationship with Malcolm McLaren in the Seventies.

Dogwoof, the leading film distributor in the UK, is known for championing critically-acclaimed documentaries, with Dries, Bill Cunningham New Yorkand Dior & I previous success stories in its archive. Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist is up for the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, which will take place on January 20th.

Jonathan Saunders To Leave DVF

The Scottish designer, who closed his eponymous label in December 2015, joined DVF in May 2016, and lent his famed flair for print to all product categories.

His resignation is effective immediately, making Saunders’s pre-fall 2018 collection, which was inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Pointand presented earlier this month, his last collection for the brand.

“I am grateful for Diane’s support and for the opportunity of guiding this iconic brand. I am so proud of everything we have accomplished in the past 18 months,” Saunders said in a statement. “I thank the incredible team for their dedication and support, and will continue to be a friend and admirer of the brand.”

Von Furstenberg added: “I am so thankful for Jonathan’s beautiful work and the effort and dedication he has put into DVF in the last 18 months. He will leave an important and lasting heritage to the brand.”

Though Von Furstenberg had brought in creative talents before, hiring Saunders allowed her to step back from the day-to-day duties of a creative director. “Until [then], this brand was so much about me and my life, and all of that, which has positives and negatives,” the Belgian-American designer told WWD in 2016. “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.”#SuzyNYFW: DVF has found a kindred spirit

After viewing the Warhol-inspired spring/summer 2018 collection, Suzy Menkes reported that Von Furstenberg seemed to have found a kindred spirit in Saunders, and that in an era where many houses were handing the creative baton to new designers, Saunders had integrated himself in DVF's DNA. “The brand was founded in such an incredible decade, in such an incredible city, at that moment where all of these creatives were creating so many wonderful things – how could you not have all these references to go from?” Saunders said of the collection, which he found "wonderful to work on".

The news comes days after Von Furstenberg announced that she plans to sell a stake in her company, which has been without a chief executive officer since November 2016, when Paolo Riva parted ways with DVF.

The Design Museum Honours Azzedine Alaïa With A New Exhibition

When the Tunisian-born couturier Azzedine Alaïa passed away in Paris on November 18, tributes began pouring in from the fashion world, as his friends and fans celebrated his work and sought to preserve his legacy. Now, London's Design Museum has announced that it will honour the legendary designer with a retrospective entitled Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier, due to open in May 2018.

The retrospective will feature over 60 examples of Alaïa's work from the past 35 years, handpicked by the designer himself, who had been working closely with the museum to co-curate the exhibition at the time of his death. Once dubbed "the king of cling", Alaïa was renowned for his mastery of tailoring and created innovative garments that had the fluidity of sculpture. Fittingly, his designs will sit alongside specially-commissioned architectural pieces created by artists and designers he admired, including Tatiana Trouvé, Kris Ruhs, Konstantin Grcic and Marc Newson. The exhibition will also provide a rare insight into the master couturier's creative process, and present his work as he himself intended it to be seen.

This public tribute followed a celebration of his life and legacy at last week's Fashion Awards, where Vogue contributing editor Naomi Campbell spoke about her long-time friend alongside models Stephanie Seymour and Veronica Webb. "Everyone in this room knows that Azzedine was able to transform a woman’s body into something special," said Campbell. "I am proud to be honouring, along with his daughters, a giant of fashion and a true master of humanity."

Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier opens at London's Design Museum on May 10 2018.Naomi Campbell Presents Tribute To Azzedine Alaïa at the Fashion Awards.

Anya Hindmarch Changes Strategy

Anya Hindmarch´s shows are a highlight on the London Fashion Week schedule - a visual feast that has seen the designer's team construct suburban houses, human conveyor belts and fairground rides - but the brand will take the Sunday morning slot no more.

The company, which has been ramping up its ready-to-wear offering in recent seasons, has announced that it will abandon a traditional biannual show format and instead orchestrate four “consumer happenings” each year. Plans for a special project during London Fashion Week in February are already in motion, and will demonstrate the new see-now-buy-now strategy.

The goal is to allow the consumer “to really engage with the brand’s creativity on and offline when the product is available in store,” WWD reports of the business decision, which follows the success of its Build-a-Bag collection in May and Anya Smells in November.

The announcement is the latest in a series of industry shifts to fashion week show schedules. Earlier this week Creatures of the Wind declared that the brand’s business model would work on a project basis, while last week Balenciaga committed to combining its men’s and women’s shows for AW18to join the likes of Gucci, DSqaured2, Bottega Veneta, Burberry et al, who already do so.

Though Hindmarch joins British brands Mulberry and Burberry in adopting a see-now, buy-now model, many brands who originally adopted the format have pulled back. Tom Ford, one of the first major houses to test out the reactionary way of selling, said that "the business model is ahead of the current retail environment", and that the decision had "lost a month of selling" rather than facilitating consumer reach and sales.

The Sustainable New Denim Line We Want Now

There is a new era of sustainability in fashion. No longer is such a word exclusively associated with hand-hewn hemp or hessian sacking, but simply with the understanding that, if we don’t start changing our patterns of consumption pretty soon, our collective futures will be in question. Brands from Gucci to Prada are investing in new models of corporate responsibility – but even more remarkable is the fact that this movement is being driven by emerging talent in the industry.

Samantha McCoach is one of those young pioneers: her brand, Le Kilt, is rooted in that fabulous adage of Vivienne Westwood: “buy less, choose well, make it last.” Inspired by the traditional kiltmaking techniques that she learned from her grandmother, the Scottish designer explains that, “We believe that the passing down of family values is connected to how we buy clothes. Quality and understanding make us want to care for clothing and ensure its longevity.” While, up to this point, those clothes have revolved around traditional kilts and hand-made knitwear, now her young label is branching into the domain of denim.

This week heralds the standalone launch of her line of classic denim pieces (they first debuted at Sarah Mower's emerging talent curation at Liberty). This line comprises a pair of jeans, a dress, a jacket and a skirt, all made locally in an east London factory (Blackhorse Lane Ateliers who, incidentally, are also worth further investigation: they create and sell brilliant denim of their own). Created with entirely raw and unwashed denim – to reduce the abundant water waste that goes into most denim production – each piece is hand-finished and made to last, as well as being remarkably designed.

At Vogue, we’re particularly coveting the sharp-tailored denim jacket (which sits perfectly over thick knitwear and under a big winter coat) and the perfectly-cut midi skirt. Worn together, they are double denim at its very best – and, perhaps most importantly, won’t require replacement in a couple of months. We’ll say it again, when it comes to fashion, we’re in Westwood’s camp. Go off cost-per-wear, and invest in pieces that last. These are some of those.

COS And Studio Swine Take Fashion’s Art Obsession To New Heights In Miami

If the time difference between London and Miami hadn’t messed enough with your head, what unfolded in the optical white space at Temple House on Tuesday night during Art Basel had that covered. A bright, white tree towered inside the chalky hall as Scandinavian heritage retail giant COS opened the doors to its collaboration with the London-based artist duo Studio Swine. From the tree’s descending branches, milky white bubbles expanded like blooming flowers, only to fall and burst into ashy smoke as they hit the heads of guests gathered under the crown, each bubble spreading its own fragrance in the room, echoing the scents of Miami Beach. “We wanted to create a moment, like the cherry blossom in Japan, which only lasts one week a year. People come out together and experience this ephemeral thing that reminds you of the passing of things,” Alexander Groves explained the following day, his partner Azusa Murakami by his side.

"They delve into the past and present of the city where nature is still felt so vividly amongst the art deco buildings and their glitzy nightlife"

The young artists behind Studio Swine, the couple first created the installation with COS for Salone del Mobile in April this year. “It’s joyful, but there’s a tinge of melancholy in there as well,” Groves reflected. “We like that there’s something clean and mechanic about it and the architecture of it, but it’s also quite messy. It plays with natural phenomena: fluid moving around, the bounce of it, the mess on the floor.” The event marked COS’s first event at Art Basel and cemented the brand’s ongoing devotion to the art scene and its emerging talent. “From day one we’ve done a lot of research on art and created our seasonal directions in-house,” its creative director Karin Gustafsson explained. “That’s not unique in the fashion world, but that’s the approach we’ve taken. Art is what makes us think and therefore we felt quite early that it would make sense for us to do collaborations.”

In a time when any self-respecting designer is joining forces with artists – or the estates of dead ones – for COS, working with artists isn’t about translating art into garments for retail purposes, however. “So far we haven’t felt that we wanted to collaborate on a project, but rather collaborate in a sense of giving back to the art world that gives us so much inspiration,” Gustafsson pointed out. “It’s a way for us to talk to our customer.” With the brand’s minimalist aesthetics and meticulous attention to technique and fabrication, COS has long been favoured by the art crowd. Somehow the fuss-but-no-fuss sensibility of its clever Scandinavian clarity just speaks to the vernissage-attending segment of urban consumers, and seeing Groves and Murakami – young, beautiful, sophisticated – clad in the brand’s clothes, it made sense.

The duo, who met at the Royal College of Art, had visited Miami several times for inspiration, going to museums such as the contemporary collections at Pérez, and the natural history centre at HistoryMiami, delving into the past and present of the Floridian city where nature is still felt so vividly amongst the art deco buildings and their glitzy nightlife. “It was really surprising how the nature is so incredible. I’ve seen so many flocks of birds, I’ve seen natural sponges washing up on the beach, pelicans… it’s incredible,” Groves effused. “We’ve been smelling the city,” he laughed, “and chose scents that could evoke certain aspects of it. There are different smells at night that come out from the plants, and the quiet and the dark heighten your sense of smell.” He waxed lyrical about the notes they conjured up, from pepper to fig, cut leaves and chopped hardwood, and “a bit of tobacco for Cuban influence.”

For Studio Swine, branching out into the fashion industry felt as natural as fashion’s current obsession with art. “In COS, you can feel the engagement with art and design and the creative industries, and it’s very genuine,” Murakami noted. “They’ve given us a total open brief and been very supportive in everything. Neither of us really wanted to do something that was just a branding exercise for a week and then be gone and create a lot of waste. We wanted to do something that had longevity and was timeless: a piece of art that can come out again and again and continue to tour around and be relevant,” she said. “We don’t have a hierarchy of disciplines,” Groves added. “The question we ask ourselves isn’t: what discipline is it?’ It’s: is it good and interesting and engaging in terms of the times?”

Is Adriana Lima Hanging Up Her Wings?

Adriana Lima, the longest-serving Victoria’s Secret Angel, has announced that she will no longer take off her clothes "for an empty cause”.

The Brazilian model took to Instagram to vocalise her opinion on society’s expectations for women to look a certain way. "I am tired of the impositions," she shared, "we can't [continue] living in a world with such superficial values, it's not fair."

Her epiphany came after a friend expressed dissatisfaction with her body. “It made me think,” Lima wrote, “that every day in my life, I wake up thinking, how do I look? Was I going to be accepted in my job? And in that moment, I realised that majority of woman probably wake up every morning trying to fit in a stereotype that society / social media / fashion etc. imposed.”

Though the 36-year-old mother-of-two told People in September that her plan was “to stay [at Victoria’s Secret] as long as my body allows me, at least until I am 40, so that’s four or so more years,” her social declaration would suggest otherwise. “I will make [a] change… I will start with me,” she said.

Commenters on her social letter have raised the point that she seems to have unfollowed many of the Victoria's Secret Angels and senior creative Ed Razek, however Lima does not directly mention the brand. Her parting message "#Embraceyouself #natureisbeautiful #naturalissexy" suggests a shift away from the bombshell persona she has to adhere to as an ambassador, while a decision to leave the brand would see the lingerie giant lose two of its most-famous models this year.

Fellow Brazilian model and friend Alessandra Ambrosio hung up her wings after the 2017 Shanghai catwalk spectacular in order to focus on her swimsuit line, Ale by Alessandra, and build her acting career, something that Lima has also hinted at in the past.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

JW Anderson On His Most Exciting Product Yet

Jonathon Anderson has a lot to be chipper about in the run-up to Christmas. The Irish designer scooped up two prizes at the annual Fashion Awards – Accessories Designer of the Year for his creative direction at Loewe and British Womenswear Designer of the Year for his eponymous brand JW Anderson.

To top it all off he’s collaborated with Converse to create the most exciting product of his career so far. “The collection for me feels more like an intimate portrayal of myself,” he told Vogue exclusively of the trainer line. “It’s the tactility of it. It’s a self-portrait of what I’m into and what I wear.”

Fans of his androgynous, avant-garde designs will perhaps be surprised to see that Anderson’s image of himself in trainer form is a multi-coloured glittery high-top Chuck 70s baseball shoe and equally loud Thunderbolt trainer. “I wanted to work on something new and unexpected for the brand,” he explained of the unisex Glitter_Gutter line. “It’s the first time I’m excited about projecting myself into a product, which is a weird and new thing for me.”

On the synchronicity between brands, he said, “Converse is a subcultural icon! You can define its sneakers by three adjectives - quintessential, comfortable and affordable. It's an item that all the brands would like to create! It's amazing how the design hasn’t really changed since 1917.”

Since purchasing his first pair of Cons at 15, he added, Chuck Taylor has “served an incredible purpose to me. The brand he created is universal and I would love JW Anderson to be that universal.”

What an All-Star start to the party season.

Chanel's Métiers d'Art Paris Hits Hamburg As Karl Lagerfeld Pays Homage To The City’s Sailors

Karl Lagerfeld brought his audience, including Kristen Stewart, Lily-Rose Depp and Tilda Swinton, back to his birthplace, Hamburg. We weren't here because he felt nostalgic for his home town - that's far too indulgent an emotion for Lagerfeld, who never likes to look back. "I don't have the notion of home too much. I'm at home wherever I go. I bring myself with me," he said backstage. "I'm used to the place even if I had left it very young." What drew Lagerfeld back to Hamburg was not sentiment but architecture. The city has a fabulous new opera house, the Elbphilharmonie, which played host to the show. "I think this building is genius. It looks like no skyscraper on earth," enthused Lagerfeld. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, a vast modern concert hall has been built on top of Hamburg's biggest dockside warehouse. The breathtaking building, which rises like the prow of an enormous ship over the river, inspired Lagerfeld.

Just like the Elbphilharmonie, which re-appropriated an industrial building to make a stunning, modern arts centre, he re-appropriated the working wardrobe of Hamburg's sailors, to make something fresh.

A 35-piece orchestra played music specially composed by British cellist Oliver Coates, as models stalked the terraced seats of the concert hall in oversized navy cable knits, button front trousers and sailor caps (also appropriated by The Beatles after their spell in Hamburg in the early 1960s).

The brand's famous tweed suit came with a sailor collar and was worn with Chanel's hot new bag - an oversized duffel. Other boxy bags hung on chain straps and looked like miniature versions of the shipping containers stacked on Hamburg's dockside.

The suggestion of the cityscape seemed to pervade the collection. Tweed skirt suits were shot through with shimmering lurex as if to mimic the lights of Hamburg reflected in the water that surrounds it. Those tweeds, by the way were hand-made by artisans.

The Métiers d'Art show is dedicated to the small specialist ateliers that Chanel owns, and whose craft and traditions the house preserves. Their skills were on show tonight. The show closed with Anna Ewers and Kaia Gerberwearing nautical striped mini dresses that mimicked sailor's tunics. On closer inspection, the stripes were made entirely from feathers, individually dyed and stitched to create the effect. Those evening pieces were typical of a collection that majored on clothes ladened with craft. The overall look was sober but beautiful - an aesthetic that spoke directly to Lagerfeld's Hamburg roots. "Hamburg was always kind of discreet. It's not a red-carpet city," said the designer. "Hamburg people - they never showed how rich they were but they were very rich," he said and with this un-showy but beautifully crafted collection, Chanel people will do the same.

Why Balenciaga Is Going Co-Ed

How will fashion change in 2018? On the Vogue wish list: let’s hope it becomes more ethically and environmentally conscious, as well as more racially diverse; that people working in the industry, particularly the young and the vulnerable, should not have to suffer harassment and mistreatment at its hands; that its relentless pace slows to a more manageable rhythm; that there is less waste, less angst… we could go on. One thing is certain, however; designers will continue to tinker with the show system.

The latest brand to “go co-ed”, in the wake of Gucci, DSquared2, Bottega Veneta, Salvatore Ferragamo Vetements, Burberry et al, is Balenciaga. March 2018 will see the brand combine men’s and women’s collections for the first time, starting with the autumn/winter 2018 collection. The brand will also launch a men’s pre-collection from January 2018.

Demna Gvasalia successfully relaunched the menswear line for spring 2017, sparked by a coat he found in the Balenciaga archive, which turned out to be Cristóbal Balenciaga’s own – and, one better, a coat that he never finished. Gvasalia completed the coat and opened his show with it, in June 2016, and his menswear line has since gone from strength to strength, most recently with a collection that paid homage to a Casual Fridays dad, complete with children. Acne Studios was quick to follow suit, combining its men’s and women’s collections, and will also move to show on the couture schedule, during the Paris haute couture week.

There are multiple reasons why the move makes sense. Financially, it’s cheaper to show once rather than twice. Creatively, many of the collections are conceived of and designed together, so showing them together buttresses the brand’s seasonal statement and its ongoing identity. Humanely, it relieves designers of the pressure to deliver multiple collections in an ever-shrinking time frame.

We all know customers are shopping less prescriptively, dipping into, or sometimes whole-heartedly raiding, collections that aren’t technically designed for their gender. (It’s worth pointing out that girls with long legs and gangly arms – yes, yours truly – have been doing this for years, as have men on the more petite side, for reasons of practicality as much as aesthetics.) Time and money saved and a happier customer? It’s a no brainer.

There are always contrarians. Miuccia Prada has a penchant for sprinkling men in her women’s shows and vice versa, though this season she showed a separate women’s resort collection – the one which usually crops up during the men’s show. “I am against [combining men’s and women’s shows],” she told WWD last year. “To do two creative shows in one is a massacre. And it has to be a huge show, if you want to do it seriously.” Still, never say never.

Have Yourself A Very Cara Christmas

Just before hosting her megawatt Burberry Christmas party, the supermodel and actress sat down with Vogue to talk about how to do the festive season Delevingne style. This year, she's heading home to the countryside to spend it with "My sisters, my mum and dad, all my nieces and nephews and cousins." The clan indulge in classic Christmas traditions including Christmas stockings, carol singing, secret Santa and the Queen's speech. As well as handing out the presents from under the tree it’s Cara’s job to direct epic rounds of charades, Perudo and Cards Against Humanity. "I'm the games master."

The dress code? Cara loves a Christmas jumper and comes armed with enough animal onesies for the whole family, "because I want everyone to wear the same thing for three days." If there's a party to go to, the model will break out her favourite fancy dress costumes: "Classic Elf or Father Christmas." Her tip for getting the dancing started? "I get people on the dancefloor by using mistletoe to lure them in," she says.

Gift shopping is a priority. "I buy presents all year round, but for Christmas, buying kids Christmas presents is my favourite thing, because it’s an excuse for me to be in a toy shop." On her shopping list this year are guitars and drum kits for the nieces and nephews, a life-sized unicorn for her mum and a fresh bone for her dog Leo. As for herself? The model says she doesn’t need presents because "every day is Christmas" for her. Instead, she will be giving to her favourite charities Lady Garden and Girl Up.

She’s looking forward to a busy 2018 with Life in a Year hitting screens (she shaved her head to play a cancer sufferer) plus filming the new Amazon sci-fi series Carnival Row. As for New Year’s resolutions, the supermodel puts giving up meat and adventurous travel on her to do list.

Naomi Campbell Presents Tribute To Azzedine Alaïa at the Fashion Awards

This evening, Naomi Campbell - alongside an assemblage of models who were dear to the late Azzedine Alaïa - gave a speech that paid tribute to his life and work. Standing on stage, proudly dressed in his creations, they presented a powerful message: that, while Alaïa might have passed away, his legacy will live on. Here, we present Naomi’s speech in its entirety, a heartfelt tribute to the man who she moved in with at 16 years old, the designer who she knew as her papa.

“Everyone in this room knows that Azzedine was able to transform a woman’s body into something special; make you look great and still like a woman. He captured the essence of femininity. But beyond his work as a designer, from the second day I met him, he became my papa.

He was the most generous, kind, compassionate and humble man I have ever known, with a mischievous sense of humour in the glint of his eye, and he filled my life - and the lives of the women on this stage, and all of you in the room who met him - with light and joy. I moved into his home at 16 and he opened my eyes to the world: to artists, art and design, architecture, French and Tunisian culture. How blessed was I to have papa show me these different worlds?

Imagine being put on Concorde and sent to New York at 16 years old, to work with Steven Meisel for American Vogue, dressed head to toe in Alaïa - it was not reality. He never did advertising: he always said that we were his advertising.

Back in the day, our fridges weren't stuffed with food: we bought what we ate on a daily basis and if there was one egg left in his fridge, papa would offer it to me to make an omelette. There is no man who understood me like him, or who saw me in the way that he did. Always when I was with him he would make me feel like my 16-year-old self - and without him, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.

He protected me in every way possible - even when I was attacked in Paris in 2012, papa came rushing out to stand in front of my attacker while I was pulled to safety. Azzedine was a protector, a teacher, a seeker and defender of all that is good and positive in this world. I am proud to be honouring, along with his daughters, a giant of fashion and a true master of humanity.”

Are You Ready For The Hadids’ Reality TV Show?

Fans of America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway and The Rachel Zoe Project, take note! A new model TV show is about to air and Yolanda Hadid – the industry’s most famous momager, second only to Kris Jenner – is behind it.

The eight-episode series, Making A Model With Yolanda Hadid, will show the mother-of-three teaching six pairs of aspiring teen models and their mothers the secrets of working together to create a successful brand. $5,000 is at stake every week as families take part in fashion shoots, catwalk shows and workout regimes as part of Hadid’s strict brand training camp. The end prize is a management contract with Hadid and the opportunity to be represented by IMG Models.

"With enough social media followers, today's it girl can become tomorrow's supermodel," Hadid says in the trailer for the show, shared by Entertainment Weekly. The Dutch-American television personality and former model, who has helped forge the successful careers of Gigi and Bella, calls upon her daughters to share their words of wisdom with the young hopefuls in the series.

Nike Pro Launches The First Sports Hijab With UAE Ice Skater Zahra Lari

As Nike announces the launch of its first Nike Pro hijab today, Vogue talks to one of the faces of the campaign, Zahra Lari, the first Emirati competitive figure skater. At just 22 years old and the first ever athlete to compete in a hijab and with her sights on the next Winter Olympics, Vogue catches up with Zahra to discuss her involvement in the Nike Pro hijab.

How important is it for you to wear a hijab when you compete?

The hijab is part of who I am, so to me, whether in school, at the gym, on ice or just hanging with friends, I am always wearing it. When I am not wearing it, I feel something is missing . In the skating community, I'm different because I am covered and come from a desert country, but that makes me feel unique, special and empowered.

Were you nervous to compete in a hijab?

Never. When I started skating I’d get deductions for being covered. The judges had never seen covered skaters before but I am now proud to say that today, hijabi women can skate free of fear. No matter what the outcome, I want the world to know that Emirati athletes are strong, confident women who know what we want and we work very hard to accomplish our goals

How did you feel when Nike told you that they were making a hijab for you?

Everyone including myself was so surprised and happy to see such a large company like Nike do something like this to cater specifically to Muslim athletes. It’s like a dream that we [hijabi athletes] never really thought it would happen.

What has been the overriding attitude towards you when you have competed in a hijab?

The positivity has overwhelmed me in the best way possible. My fans, family, friends and everyone around me were extremely excited to see the change. I think the wave of inspiration transcended from the hijabi community to the wider Arab and Muslim communities, which is so amazing! I could see that many Arab and Muslim girls, even if they weren’t necessary covered, felt empowered and inspired.

Did you work with Nike to create the hijab? Are there any special technical requests that you gave them?

I was given the opportunity to test the Nike Pro hijab and provide my feedback throughout the development of the product. I have tried several types of performance hijabs before, but they never worked for me. It was a real challenge. The ideal sports hijab must be light, breathable, and steady. I move very quickly across the ice and can’t be using my hands to adjust anything. The moment I put on the Nike Pro hijab and took it for a spin on the ice, I was completely blown away by the fit and how lightweight it is.

When will you know if you have made the Olympic team?

I am now the first athlete to represent the UAE nationally. This year I made it to the Olympic qualifications for the first time, it was a great experience and I learnt so much and I had received an immense level of support and love from the international community although I didn't qualify. My ultimate goal is to make it to the Olympics, so I am back on training for the next qualifications in four years.

What does it mean to you to represent your country?

When you are motivated, driven and have the support of your family and country, you are unstoppable. I am extremely grateful and take great pride in the fact that I am the first Emirati figure skater in the world. For me, that’s enough.

Max Mara Strikes Up Coat Mania In Seoul

This week, Max Mara descended upon Seoul for the launch of Coats! A sprawling retrospective of the house’s coat history, the exhibition illustrates the evolution of the coat into the status symbol it has become today.

Max Mara sells over 200,000 coats a year. “Recently we’ve seen coat mania,” creative director Ian Griffiths reflected on a tour of the house’s Coats! exhibition in Seoul, which launched this week. “I think the scale of it underlines what Max Mara is about. Luxury is often taken to mean something that costs a lot of money and isn’t necessarily useful, but Max Mara has a use. It’s clothes to get on in the world in.” The third instalment in the exhibition series, which previously visited Berlin and Moscow, the retrospective showcases Max Mara’s outerwear evolution over the past sixty years. Erected in Zaha Hadid’s spaceship-like Dongdaemun Design Plaza, the history of the house unfolds under a monumental dome of screens projecting artworks of the ages. It’s the exuberance of the Sixties when founder Achille Maramotti first set out to “make the ordinary extraordinary,” as Griffiths explained, to the Seventies when consultants such as Karl Lagerfeld and Jean Charles de Castelbajac brought the brand into the fashion establishment.

“The perfect coat is the one you’re still wearing in twenty years’ time, which you pass on to your daughter,” Griffiths said. “I can remember my mum having a belted wrap camel coat with a white fur collar. It wasn’t Max Mara but to me seemed like the epitome of glamour. My mum is 81 now and still wears Max Mara, and I still think of what she would have worn. She was probably my first role model.” 

The designer grew up on Manchester’s punk-rock scene and was trained by Ossie Clark. “I’m not saying the first coat I ever designed was the perfect coat, but it must have been pretty good because I gave the prototype to my mum back in the Eighties and she wore it for years. Then my sister stole it, and now my niece has stolen it from her. The quality of a Max Mara coat is that you never get tired of it.” Griffiths arrived at Max Mara in 1987, only a few years after Anne-Marie Beretta had joined the brand and contributed its ultimate fashion trophy in 1981, the classic 101801.

An eternal bestseller, Griffiths put the coat’s longevity down to its architecturally clever design. “It’s got that powerful shoulder shape that gives you a really strong silhouette, and yet the shape to the body is quite fluid and straight. It’s not difficult in any way. It doesn’t depend on your shape. It’s got its own shape. The collar is very bold and direct, it’s double-breasted, and it goes over anything.” It hangs in the room devoted to the Eighties in the exhibition, which takes place in appropriately coat-weathered temperatures in chilly Seoul. “When I come to places like Seoul, I see some women wearing Max Mara coats and a lot of women wearing imitations. And I take that as a positive sign because I know that those women, as soon as they can afford to, will go out and buy an original,” Griffiths said, admitting he’s somewhat averse to a cheap coat. “The ones where I can see that the fabric has gone all pillowy,” he remarked quietly.

“A coat should be a quality item, and a cheap coat really does make me cringe. I think everyone should try and buy the best quality coat they can, because it will last a lifetime.” Walking through the sprawling exhibition, Griffiths pointed out the parallel between Max Mara’s designs through the decades and the way in which women were dressing for social and cultural change. The house’s traditional camel coat, he explained, was the property of the men’s wardrobe until the house appropriated it for its women’s power dressing. “It was the time of Working Girl,” he noted in the Eighties room. “Anne-Marie Beretta built the coats around the body: big, defensive structures that gave you status and made you feel confident.” Moving into the Nineties, Griffiths stopped at one of his own sketches, an almost brutalist Bauhaus-inspired linear coat from 1998, the realised version of which Richard Avedon shot on Maggie Rizer. Now, it’s the official image for the Coats! exhibition.

“It’s very moving for me to find, after thirty years, something I’ve forgotten about, but I can remember making this sketch one morning after my coffee break. I must have made thousands and thousands of sketches in my career, but I remember this one,” he smiled, noting that his own contribution to the Max Mara handwriting were coats in “a slimmer, more constructed shape than the Eighties volume, which seemed to be getting too big.” By 2000, Max Mara had taken off globally. Griffiths recalled the “almost weekly store openings” of the prosperous decade when Giambattista Valli was brought in to head up the more couture-like Atelier line, and “there could never be too much fur.” But it was also the decade when Griffiths began working with Carine Roitfeld, who still serves as his stylist on Max Mara. She contributed to a more glamorous Max Mara, which paved the way for what Griffiths considered his personal favourite piece in exhibition.

Inspired by his own youth, the duffle coat from 2006 was covered in gold sequins on Roitfeld’s advice. “I just love the contrast between this tough Mancunian-looking duffle coat, quite grim, but completely covered in sequins,” Griffiths reflected. He was wearing a bespoke grey pinstripe suit with a camel coat over his shoulders. “It’s Max Mara fabric tailored by Timothy Everest in London, so if Max Mara made menswear this is what it would be like,” he explained. “But we’re never going to make it, because for too long women had to borrow from men. Now, if men want Max Mara they’ll have to borrow from women.” His pin-board at Max Mara HQ in Reggio Emilia counts coat icons such as Katharine Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe. “I’ve got this trope that I adore of a movie star arriving at the studio in the morning in a white car with a white coat wrapped at the waist with a belt, and dark glasses and her hair swept back. Off-duty movie star glamour is what I want to give to every woman when she puts on her Max Mara coat.”