Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The British Retailer Smashing Records

British retailer MatchesFashion.com had an impressive end to 2017, the company revealed today, with sales up 82 per cent in the six weeks to January 8. The huge spike in sales was not, as you might assume, down to sweeping end-of-season discounts, rather customers were logging on in December for a taste of something new.

“This was a record growth period and continued the growth acceleration trend we’ve seen all year,” Tom Chapman, executive co-chairman, said. “Across all metrics - including new customer acquisition and average order value - we improved our performance, which underpins our continued confidence in the year ahead.”

Shifts in the fashion calendar over the past 12 months have seen retailers push for earlier deliveries of new-season collections, and it seems with good reason if these figures are anything to go by. Matches Fashion received the first resort (pre-spring/summer 2017) pieces in late November, and saw a 120 per cent growth in new-season sales as a result, as well as a 52 per cent increase in new customers.

The increase in popularity of the site overseas is also a contributing factor to its overall success: 77 per cent of all sales were from outside of the UK, with 145,000 items shipped to 122 countries over the six-week period. Fifty per cent of the total sales were made via mobile, reflecting the shift from desktop to mobile across the digital sector, and explaining why the average order value is up 16 per cent as it becomes easier and easier to find, fall in love, and head to the checkout.

“The move to mobile and app is a driving engine of our growth,” the company’s CEO, Ulric Jerome, said. “We’ve invested significantly in technology to improve the customer experience and, as we can see, that investment has seen consequent industry-leading growth.”

Of all the records the company beat over the Christmas period, however, one is more eye-popping than all the rest: MatchesFashion.com recorded its highest ever sale in one transaction. One customer, who remains nameless, spent £94,000 in one go; making us feel simultaneously jealous and better about our own Christmas spending.

Introducing Winnie Harlow

Winnie Harlow has come a long way since America's Next Top Model. The 22-year-old has become one of the most recognised faces on the international fashion scene and a vocal advocate of body confidence, frequently giving honest and inspiring accounts of living with the skin condition vitiligo. As she is announced as one of this year's Red Nose Day ambassadors for Comic Relief, we caught up with the Canadian-born star to talk dream projects, body confidence and dealing with those tabloid rumours.

What made you want to get involved with this year's Red Nose Day campaign?

"It was an honour to be involved with Comic Relief and I love the fact that it supports charities in the UK and globally. There are so many issues in the world so it’s great that it treats them all with such urgency."

How do you choose projects like this? You must get approached so much.

"I always try and choose projects that really resonate with me. When I learned more about the work Comic Relief does I was really moved. I think everyone should do their part when it comes to charity so I jumped at the opportunity."

What is on the horizon for you in 2017?

"I’m just excited to work more - Fashion Week, editorials, campaigns, the whole lot! I love modelling and the fact it’s given me the opportunity to have a voice too. It really is a dream and although it can be very tough, I’m very blessed to be in this industry."

What would be your dream fashion project?

"So many! Any project that pushes boundaries is a dream. I would love to do a collaboration with Dior for example. I love how the brand is classic but in the same breath always so new and fresh and really speaks to me as a millennial. I would also love to walk for Victoria’s Secret and become the face of a make-up brand. I think they are the dreams for most girls."

What’s your earliest fashion memory?

"Falling in love with my grandmother’s leopard-print tights because they were so different. I enjoyed watching my grandmother in her sewing room creating outfits for herself and her friends."

How would you describe your style?

"I like to try new things when I'm going out. On a day-to-day basis I enjoy wearing matching gym gear (my daily uniform) mostly because it gives me the push to work out more often. When I go out or when I'm working on the red carpet, I love a full-glam look: colours, lace, beading, diamonds and sparkle - the whole nine yards!"

Whose style do you admire and why?

"I'm currently loving A$AP Rocky's style because I like the way he switches things up. I feel like he's very adventurous while staying true to who he is and I love that."

Do you have a motto?

"I just try to live my life every day with a few main things: honesty, respect and love. Those things are very important to me and help me grow."

Do you have a mentor?

"I call Nick Knight 'my fashion godfather' as he was the one who really made me want to model after we worked together. I have so much love for him and his wife Charlotte. They are the best."

You have become more prominent in the last year - do you pay attention to tabloid rumours about your social and private life?

"I'm not blind to the tabloids so now I try not to fixate on anything anyone else says for better or worse. It’s so easy to have pre-conceived notions of how people are when you read stuff about them so I try to ignore it. I know myself and so do my loved ones and I think that's what matters most."

What is the most important thing to you right now?

"The most important thing to me is my career and my loved ones. I'm very focused on both. I love to be away and travelling for work, but then love going back home to Toronto to spend time with my family. Having a balance is important. This year I want to take more trips with my family and friends."

And finally, why is your Instagram name Don Pablo?

"I really enjoyed the series Narcos on Netflix because it reminded me a lot of Scarface which is a favourite movie of mine. I think our favourite characters have an impact on our lives and I personally like to channel the boss character of Pablo or Tony. Sometimes you just have to boss up in life!"

This year's Red Nose Day T-shirt collection is available online at Tkmaxx.com and Rednoseday.com from tomorrow, February 1, and exclusively in TK Maxx stores nationwide from February 13th.

Fashion Week: The Movers And Shakers

Aside from the see-now, buy-now model, there's another big shift on the horizon for the approaching Fashion Week: increasing numbers of brands are opting to either move city, or shake up their schedules completely. Here, we chart the changes as they happen.

Proenza Schouler

Proenza Schouler announced that it would be permanently moving its main and pre ready-to-wear collections to fall in line with the Paris Couture Schedule that takes place in January and July. Its autumn/winter 2017 collection will show in New York on February 13 as planned, and the move will commence in July. By showing earlier, the brand hopes to have its collections on shop floors for longer, and said that showing in Paris would not only ensure it has a “more pronounced international presence” but will also make communications with L’Oréal Luxe, which it plans to launch a fragrance with in 2018, easier.


Vionnet announced that it would be moving from its usual slot on the Paris Fashion Week schedule, to a new one a week earlier during Milan Fashion Week. While it came as a surprise to some, the brand explained: "While Vionnet continues to adhere to its French roots, Paris remaining inherent to its structure and essence, it is a 'Made in Italy' product and has strong ties to Italy today as it has had in the past with Madeleine Vionnet."


Rodarte designers Laura and Kate Mulleavy will take leave of their native New York for Paris with immediate effect, but rather than show their autumn/winter 2017 collection on the runway, they will hold private one-on-one-appointments in the City of Light. Like Proenza Schouler, they intend to show thereafter in July and January during Paris Couture Week. That's not the only news on the horizon for the brand: when announcing their new format, they revealed that they will be introducing pre collections also.

Chloé Confirms Clare Waight Keller's Departure

French fashion house Chloé has confirmed that its current creative director, Clare Waight Keller, will be leaving her position on March 31, after the brand's forthcoming autumn/winter 2017 show at Paris Fashion Week.

"Clare has been a remarkable partner at Chloé over the past six years,” Chloé's president, Geoffroy De La Bourdonnaye, said today. "She helped rejuvenate the legacy of Gaby Aghion, the first ever Chloé girl, by infusing a cool and easy breeze into the Chloé wardrobe, effortlessly mixing graceful and feminine flou with a free-wheeling and boyish take on tailoring. Clare has a unique talent in directing a large studio of strong creatives. I would like to personally thank Clare for her loyalty and dedication to Chloé.

Rumours first surfaced about Waight Keller's exit from the brand - which is said to be a mutual decision between the designer and management - towards the end of 2016, but it was earlier this month that her successor was mooted as Natacha Ramsay Levi. Currently womenswear designer at Louis Vuitton, Ramsay Levi is expected to be officially announced as Chloé's new helmer imminently, although the brand did not comment on its future designer today.

“After six extraordinary years at Chloé I would like to thank Geoffroy and all my colleagues for their enormous efforts over the past years,” said Waight Keller, who took the Chloé reins in May 2011 from Hannah MacGibbon, who had been artistic director since 2008. “Working for this maison has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. Chloé is a brand with values close to my heart and I have truly enjoyed working with some of the best talents in the industry. I feel privileged to have worked for a maison with such a heritage and I am very proud of all that has been achieved.”

Monday, January 30, 2017

One Night Of Couture In Milan

There is nothing quite like the Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda experience. When Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce conceived the idea of hosting a series of shows in their Italian homeland - to demonstrate their vision of women and men’s couture and jewellery to an audience primarily of clients rather than press and buyers - I was one of the people who thought they were pretty misguided in this ambition. Who would want to fly to Italy for one brand’s shows when there was the whole razzamatazz of the long-established Paris couture already in existence? Well, wrong.

Now in its fifth year, the Alta Moda has grown clientele and sales, and the duo have more than proved that their idea has legs, and long, expensively clad ones at that. Last night in Milan, the series of warehouses where all the industry behind the sets, costumes and rehearsals for the hugely prestigious performances of La Scala takes place, became instead the set for the latest show. Guests were guided through a series of workrooms where the tables were ready for the next day’s stitching, rails of costumes either completed or being constructed lined room after room, and through an atmospheric billowing smoke could be seen the vast wooden carpentry involved.

Room after room, metal walkway after metal walkway, it was a journey into the heart of La Scala except what we finally reached was something entirely different – the heart of Dolceland. A space lit by a thousand candles accompanied by several thousand crimson roses, and where figures in operatic costume mingled with the invited guests who themselves were in costumes equally fantastic and mainly purchased from an Alta Moda collection.

The divide between the show to come and the cocktail party was slim, and in this it was a replica of the way couture originally functioned. It was not, like the last week in Paris, a time where designers of all kinds could utilise the presence of a large number of industry folk to show pre-collections, presentations, early ready-to-wear and a little couture. The week used to be a focal point where women who could afford to buy couture and who appreciated the whole notion of not only the skills but the lifestyle that accompanied it would gather twice a year in Paris and lunch, party, mix and mingle in a series of events designed to allow them to wear the expensive and bespoke clothes.

My neighbours for this show, which took place next to the opening cocktail party, were a Paraguayan couple, she a pretty blonde woman in full-length gold lace Dolce & Gabbana right down to her gold sandals and he in matching gold brocade tux from the Alta Sartoria collection. They, like many others in the audience, come to meet their fellow devotees as much as to see the collections. The occasion has come to feel like a gathering of a wildly international club, the membership of which extends far outside Europe and America. And it provides a great venue to actually wear the clothes, for where else would your fellows be adorned with pearl headdresses and velvet capes, and wearing corsets and embroidered jackets, or in head-to-toe sequins finished off with fur opera coats?

The show – in the region of 100 outfits – was an opportunity for the pair to show their favourite design ideas, executed to the most extravagant and highly crafted degree. A heavily embroidered mink sleeveless jacket would have been fit for a Tudor, a rose-print pyjama outfit in satin was followed by a gold-sequinned evening coat, its hem trailing behind, the sleeves kimono-style lined in silk.

A few classic black cocktail dresses appeared, their simplicity ramped up several notches paired with an extraordinary theatrical headdress, but in the main this collection was for the woman who had no desire to meld in with a general crowd. If there was any link it was in the roses that could be found everywhere, in sequins, prints, needlepoint and appliqué. They appeared on a beautiful midnight velvet cap-sleeved dress (one of the more sober items on show) and on a yellow plaid skirt. They found their way onto furs and velvets, satins and tapestry. As the final cyclamen outfits wound their way back up the long staircase at the end of the catwalk, Stefano and Domenico arrived to take their bow, but also to join in with the audience and chat and pose for pictures in a mark of the sociability of this occasion.

Dinner later was in yet another vast warehouse space, allowing us to see en route the small maquettes used for decades of designing the operas, like really wonderful miniature theatres of childhood. A fairytale woodland of illuminated trees as table decorations continued the party feel of the occasion and as I left, the dancing had begun, the nightclub was taking off and the guests who had come to Milan to indulge in a few days of Dolce festivities were ready to boogie into the night.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Vuitton's Sloane Street Store Robbed

Louis Vuitton's Sloane Street boutique has been burgled for the third time in three years.

Officers attended the premises following reports of a smash-and-grab raid in progress in the early hours of yesterday morning. The responding officers found a silver Ford Transit van, which had been driven into the front of the shop and abandoned there, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police confirmed on its website. Reports taken at the scene suggested that “a number of suspects” had entered the shop and removed goods, the value of which is not known at this time, before fleeing on mopeds.

Although the Vuitton store has not been targeted since 2014, Gucci’s Sloane Street flagship fell foul of raiders in 2015, following a raft of similar crimes the previous year with stores including Chanel and Valentino being targeted by a smash-and-grab gang who then fled on mopeds.

No arrests have been made as yet, and those with any pertinent information are asked to contact detectives at Kensington and Chelsea on 101, or to contact police on Twitter via @MetCC.

The Supermodels’ Super Biker Jacket

How  many leather jackets does one need? Or if not "need", then how many can a person reasonably justify owning before the shopping police come calling? Three? Five if you're counting sheepskins or are brave enough for a coloured option? It seems that if you ask the Victoria's Secret Angels, Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley or Blake Lively - you can never have too many if they're from Nour Hammour. Almost every member of clan Kardashian-Jenner owns one, and one of the world's most famous singers owns two or three, but the brand has flown under the radar until now. While the little-known label used to produce only bespoke orders - often for well-known names - in its Parisian atelier, it now boasts a ready-to-wear offering, which means the model secret is out.

"Models these days have such busy schedules, they travel non-stop and are constantly running from shows to dinners to parties – they need key pieces that they can just throw on to pull together an outfit without putting too much effort into something so stylised," one half of the design duo behind Nour Hammour - American ex-pat Erin Conry Webb - told us. And while that's certainly true, there are hundreds of other leather jacket labels that they could choose to wear, so what's so special about this one right now? Turns out that je ne sais quoi is tricky to pinpoint.

"Our client wants to stand apart, but also retain the Parisian aesthetic of chicness and wearability,” Webb shrugged. “She just throws on a jacket over her T-shirt and is ready to go out to a dive bar or a five-star restaurant." Accessorised presumably with a handsome but surly musician, or gaggle of equally beautiful friends.

Wandering backstage at the Victoria's Secret show, it was impossible to miss the jackets worn by Angels galore - some embellished with their name in studs on the back and lined with pink rabbit fur, others more subtle in grey or black but obviously much loved - and they are definitely not your standard fare. The jackets adopt a more-is-more approach to outerwear and, while plain black leather styles do exist, what's keeping fans coming back for more than one (despite the not insignificant price tag) is the fact that it is an outfit all of its own. Perfect for standing out as you're stalked by a street-style photographer, or turning heads as you walk through the aforementioned restaurant, these are jackets with fanfare built in: fringes, studs, tassles, straps. Wallflowers need not apply.

Conry Webb launched the brand with fellow founder Nour Hammour - who lends her name to the label - and the duo have been taken aback by its success among some of the world's most beautiful women. Nice though that is, they're focusing on the roots of the label - and why they launched it in the first place.

“We wanted to make the perfect leather jacket collection and all of our jackets are designed, hand-cut, produced, and studded in Paris,” Hammour explained. “It was important for us to capture the savoir-faire of this leather industry that is slowly disappearing from the city. To do that we chose a team who are all specifically specialised in leather and outerwear. The artisans we work with have been in the industry for over 30 years and they are true artists when it comes to leather and the shape of a woman's body. This is why we concentrate on one product - for now.”

Eventually, a ready-to-wear line and the (probably quite attainable) dream of dressing Beyoncé are in Nour Hammour's future, but for the moment the duo will focus on making leather jackets that make supermodels look even more super.

Vogue Managing Editor Frances Bentley To Leave

Frances Bentley, who has been Vogue's managing editor for 24 years, has announced that she plans to step down from her role this summer. The news comes on the same day as the announcement that editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman plans to step down after 25 years in her role.

"It has been my privilege and pleasure to work alongside so many brilliant, inspiring and very hard-working people at Vogue and within Condé Nast," Bentley said today, following the announcement. "I thank my lucky stars for the opportunity to be here for so many happy years."

Bentley began her Condé Nast career in 1983 as assistant to the managing editor of Tatler, where she assumed various roles over the next few years before becoming managing editor. She arrived at GQ in 1990 in the same position, and then was appointed in her current role at Vogue in 1993.

"Fran has been my longest-term colleague as well as one of my great friends, but her decision was made entirely independently of any other changes at Vogue House," Alexandra Shulman said today. "She has been the essential companion cog and everyone that works with her knows that she has brought to her jobs complete dedication and commitment. As well as managing the complexities of a huge magazine like Vogue, Fran has been a pivotal figure in the wellbeing of the team, regarding a key aspect of her job as making sure that everyone feels fairly treated. She has nurtured hundreds of young people through work experience and helping them on their first steps."

Bentley will remain in her role until June and her successor will be announced in due course.

Taylor Hill Launches Denim Collection

Taylor Hill has become the latest model to launch a denim collection under her name. The Vogue cover girl has collaborated with American label Joe’s Jeans to create a line of around 20 styles of jeans, jackets, shorts, dungarees and T-shirts retailing from $44 to $350.

“I really loved it. I thought it was something different. As a model, you don’t really get to see this part, and I thought it was really cool to be a part of the process, and have an input, and make it my own,” Hill told WWD. The Victoria’s Secret Angel was involved in the design process, bringing Pinterest images and moodboards along to creative meetings. She will also front the campaign images for the collection, shot by Mario Sorrenti, which will bear her name along with the Joe’s Jeans brand.

“I think she’s going to be the next It-girl,” Joe Dahan, founder and creative director of Joe’s Jeans, said. “She’s so natural, super-stylish and almost seems like she’s not aware of her beauty and talents, and it’s effortless, and I love that.” Dahan added that of all the celebrities and models who they have discussed collaborating with, “She stood out the most. She was so natural, and her relationship with Mario Sorrenti was such a natural. It was almost like bringing the Nineties back with Kate Moss.”

The collection will be available at several department stores across the US, as well as online at Shopbop.

Vogue Editor Alexandra Shulman Steps Down

Alexandra Schulman, editor-in-chief of British Vogue for more than 25 years, is stepping down. Shulman intends to leave her role this summer.

"Although I have had months to acclimatise to the idea of leaving Vogue, it hasn’t made the moment of announcing this any less sad," Shulman said this morning. "I have been incredibly privileged to have been able to look after such a great magazine for so long and even more to have worked with so many people over those years who have made the experience so interesting and rich."

Shulman began her career in journalism at Over-21 magazine, before joining Tatler in 1982 and working her way up to features editor over the next five years. In 1987, she joined the Sunday Telegraph as editor of the women’s pages and then moved to deputy edit their current-affairs/photo reportage based tabloid. She arrived at Vogue as features editor in 1988, before joining GQ as editor in February 1990. She took the helm at Vogue in 1992 and since then has steered the magazine through a period of great change. Her long-term colleague, managing editor Frances Bentley, announced today that she too will stand down this summer.

"It was difficult to decide to leave but 25 years is a very long time and I am tremendously excited that I will now look forward into a different future," Shulman added, "but I know that nothing will be quite like the years I have spent at Vogue. Nicholas Coleridge and Jonathan Newhouse have given me the space to edit this important magazine in exactly the way I wanted to and for that, and of course the opportunity in the first place, I am tremendously grateful. I will miss the people who surround me daily at Vogue House more than I can say and I am very pleased that I will be here for several months more concentrating on the next issues and new initiatives for this magazine that I love."

"Alex has been the longest serving and most successful editor of Vogue in its 100-year history," Nicholas Coleridge, managing director of Condé Nast Britain, said today. "She has edited the title for a quarter of its existence, through its period of highest-ever circulation, and its simultaneous transformation into a global digital brand. She has been the towering figure of the British fashion press throughout her tenure: a superb journalist and editor, who understands and exemplifies every quality. Imaginative, hard-working, perceptive and a brilliant leader, Alex is also a valued friend to so many of us. It is impossible to sufficiently express the contribution she has made to Vogue, to Condé Nast and to the British fashion industry." An announcement regarding a successor will be made in due course.

Jennifer Lopez On Her Shoe Heaven

Giuseppe Zanotti is known for his high-wattage, super-sexy shoes, but what happened when he collaborated with the queen of high-wattage, super-sexy style, Jennifer Lopez? Did two positives make a negative? Did the union of the forces of uber-feminine sparkle actually create a sensible understated flat brogue? Of course not.

"We wanted to delight our customers with designs that exude Jennifer’s essence of a modern woman – strong yet feminine, elegant and playfully sexy," Zanotti told us. "It is exactly the refined strength, contemporary attitude and energy which we wanted to express through creating this collection."

"These shoes can make any woman feel fierce, confident and sexy," Lopez added. "My favourite pair changes almost daily, but today I’m obsessing over the Emme High. It’s no secret I love animal prints and this pink python is sexy and modern. I also love gladiator or lace-up heels and this one hits at the perfect part of the shin - it's wearable with so many different shapes. This shoe is fearless and beautiful."

Zanotti made headlines recently for a collaboration with Zayn Malik, and the link-up with Lopez is done in the same vein: a collection created with a star with whom he feels an affinity. Lopez is a loyal client, wearing Zanotti's shoes both on and off duty - just one of many stars whose feet he has dressed over the years.

"I remember the very first moment like it was yesterday when Madonna wore a pair of my sandals in one of her music videos, it made me feel very excited," Zanotti recalled fondly. "Twenty years on many celebrities have come to love and wear my designs, and the thrill is still there for me after all this time."

Lopez has shoe labels lining up to offer her heels one would imagine - and her signature style certainly involves a heel, hence the scarcity of flats in the collaboration - so what shoes would she never set her foot in?

"I’m not a big fan of chunky heels or any shoes that feel and look heavy. I love sleek, refined, and feminine, with a bit of sparkle."

A pretty accurate description of what the twosome have created, which is just one of the reasons that this collection may not be a one-off.

"There was so much natural synergy and enthusiasm between us throughout the creative process, we could not stop talking for hours," Zanotti said. "Jennifer has been a dream to work with and it would be fantastic to join creative forces with her to produce another exciting collection inspired by her unique style and energy."

Hillier Bartley On Being A Brand of Tomorrow

Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley know more than a thing or two about being successful in the fashion industry, as their eponymous label, Hillier Bartley, proves. It's something that Walpole has picked up on, too, resulting in the design duo's label making its debut on the collective's Brands Of Tomorrow 2017 list. We caught up with them to see how they feel about winning and what they're up to next.

Congrats on the win, do accolades like this help or change anything?

Walpole plays a very important role in supporting British luxury and craftsmanship, so it is an honour to be recognised. Also, the potential to work with Walpole and benefiting from expert coaching will be hugely beneficial.

You're being celebrated as a brand of the future, what does the future hold for the fashion industry do you think?

From the start of Hillier Bartley, we decided that our decisions would come from instinct versus industry formulas and we will continue on this pathway. We want to find a way of having a more direct and personal relationship with our customer.

What does the immediate and long-term future hold for your brand?

We're working hard to seek new opportunities and ways of stepping outside of the traditional environment through collaborations and conversations and ways of connecting with our customer.

What are the most important things you brought with you into your joint brand from previously running your own fashion houses and working for other major brands?

Our experience, mutuality and desire to create a sensibility that reflects what we've learnt as women. We've worked together for over 20 years and have built a relationship of trust, honesty and near telepathy!

What has it been like to start a new label together when you are already established names?

It's enabled us to take a more patient approach and we're clear about the scale of our ambitions. We feel strongly that the quality of message and of the product comes before excessive growth and hype.

Have brand sales met your expectations and how have you had to adapt?

We have purposefully tried to keep our distribution at a level our infrastructure can support. We have established very collaborative relationships with stores like Matches Fashion, and we are excited to also be growing into an environment like Net-A-Porter for spring/summer 2017.

What has been your proudest achievement so far with the brand?

Our team and working together with them to create something that we believe in and seeing that connect with women, stores and magazines that we love and respect.

Joining Hillier Bartley on the list are Agi & Sam, Capstar, Helen Amy Murray, Tessa Packard, Alexandra Llewellyn, Duke & Dexter, The New Craftsmen, Camilla Elphick, Exmoor Caviar, Rory Dobner and Troubadour Goods. To be eligible, companies had to have had an annual turnover of a minimum of £100,000, be a UK registered company that is no older than 10 years, and demonstrate the highest standards of quality, design and craftsmanship.

Woolmark Names Its Worthy Winners

The International Woolmark Prize final took place in Paris last night and saw designers Gabriela Hearst and Cottweiler take home the womenswear and menswear awards respectively.

The designers - who both won the regional heats in America and the British Isles last year which automatically entered them into the global final - had tough competition, but it was ultimately their accessible aesthetic that swung it for each.

"I think Gabriela's very creative in what she does and also very smart," womenswear judge Victoria Beckham told us straight after the prize giving. "Ultimately it’s about being creative but also creating clothes that women want to wear and I can relate to her collection. It was the right level of creativity versus commerciality."

For Hearst, winning the Woolmark prize is especially apt since as a child she grew up on a Merino Wool sheep farm in Uruguay. The AU $100,000 prize that she received last night (in addition to the AU $50,000 that she was awarded as winner of the USA regional final), will mark a turning point in her eponymous brand's history.

“I would have been ugly crying if I didn’t win! I’m so happy it went that way,” an elated Hearst told us, adding that she hadn’t slept in three days as she brought her youngest child with her from the States who has been jet-lagged ever since. There were no signs of said fatigue however as she presented her collection to the judges, who were unanimous that it was her ability to communicate such a strong vision that won her the top prize.

“From my first meeting with Woolmark I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve with the collection and that clarity helped me,” Hearst, who by her own admission has been “surrounded by wool all her life", explained. “I wanted to show the ultra luxurious side of Merino and how soft it is. The American market especially thinks that wool is itchy, and Merino can be so soft. When you use it against your body there are so many amazing qualities, like it regulates your temperature, and so demonstrating the lightness and the luxurious side of Merino was one of my priorities.”

In the UK, both Hearst's and the Cottweiler boys’ Woolmark collections will now be stocked in Harvey Nichols, whose group fashion buying director, Anita Barr, has established a process that ensures their maximum selling power is realised.

“What happens now is that they come to the store and we hold events around the winners; one PR event, but then also the guys present their collections to the teams on the shop floor to bring it to life within a space in Harvey Nichols and it goes from there,” explained Barr, who revealed that last year’s womenswear winner, Teatum Jones, enjoyed a 70 to 80 per cent sell-through at the store. Barr also revealed that she has had her eye on Hearst’s collection for the last two-and-a-half years, echoing Beckham’s reasons for crowning her the womenswear winner.

“For us, when we’re building our floors, we have the commercial brands that make the profit, but you also need a number of brands that give you credibility and bring the customers in," she explained. "You know that you’re not going to have the same sell through, but it gives you a profile and attracts a different consumer."

While Gabriela Hearst and Cottweiler are now expected to fall into the covetable bracket of ticking both boxes, they also join a list of Woolmark alumni that includes elite fashion legends.

"I think it’s the heritage that’s pretty incredible when you think back to the fact that when they were young designers Karl and Yves Saint Laurent won it. For the people who took part today, I think they have a special future," womenswear judge, and BFC chairman, Natalie Massenet told us. "Some worked with mills in Jakarta who had never woven wool before, the finalist from Australia, for example, created a form of lace out of Merino wool that had never been done before. The manufacturer is now putting it into production, so what started off as a competition here will probably end up in the collection of many designers. Beyond what it does for the winner, I think having this incubation and level of research, being among the most inspiring young designers and seeing how they use this fabric in the most modern of ways is very important."

Meet The BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund 2017 Finalists

The BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund 2017 shortlist has been announced: Huishan Zhang, Mother of Pearl, Osman, Palmer Harding, Shrimps, Sophie Hulme and Toogood. The seven labels will compete for the prize of £200,000 plus mentoring and support, which this year, "in recognition of the increasing pool of deserving talent", will be shared by up to three of the finalists.

The judging committee - chaired by Vogue editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman and comprising fashion-industry insiders including Caroline Rush, British Fashion Council; Gemma Metheringham, Label; Helen David, Harrods; Ian Lewis, Harrys of London Limited; Joan Burstein, Browns; Lisa Armstrong, The Daily Telegraph; Mary Homer, Topshop; Samantha Cameron, British Fashion Council ambassador; Sarah Manley, Burberry; and Susanne Tide-Frater, Farfetch - chose companies that they felt had the potential to become global brands with the right support.Vogue Fashion Fund Reveals New Format

"This year’s shortlist is an excellent demonstration of the breadth of fashion talent in this country," Shulman said. "Any one of them will be a worthy recipient of funding that is specifically designed to help their business in a very targeted way so that it can grow into a greater role on the global fashion stage. I congratulate all of the shortlisted designers for the tenacious creativity that has got them to this point."

The next phase of the competition will take place on February 2, when the shortlisted designers present their vision for the future to the panel, and the winner will be announced on April 4. The BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund is supported by British Vogue, Burberry, Harrods, LABEL, Paul Smith and Topshop.

Hanne Gaby On Revealing She Is Intersex

Model Hanne Gaby Odiele has revealed that she is intersex, a decision that she took in order to encourage more open conversation on the subject.

“It is very important to me in my life right now to break the taboo,” the Belgian model told USA Today. "At this point, in this day and age, it should be perfectly all right to talk about this."

Although almost two per cent of the population is born intersex - that is possessing characteristics, either genital or chromosomal, which do not fit the typical definition or male or female - the condition, and its resultant and often unwelcome surgeries, is rarely discussed.

The model was born with a chromosomal intersex trait known as Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, in which a woman has XY chromosomes more typically found in men. Doctors urged her parents to consent to surgery to remove undescended testes, which meant “I might develop cancer and I would not develop as a normal, female girl,” Odiele recalled they were told.

“I knew at one point after the surgery I could not have kids, I was not having my period. I knew something was wrong with me. It’s not that big of a deal being intersex... if they were just honest from the beginning. It became a trauma because of what they did.”

The model, who is pictured on street-style blogs with her fellow models almost as often as on the catwalk, married her boyfriend John Swiatek last August with model friend Anna Ewers as one of her bridesmaids.

First Look: Raf Simons' Calvin Klein

“Handcrafted and made to measure in NYC” reads the text that accompanies Calvin Klein’s new campaign, its first under chief creative officer Raf Simons, quietly unveiled on Sunday. Fourteen looks shot by Willy Vanderperre and styled by Olivier Rizzo, both Simons favourites, feature models such as Natalie Westling and the actress Millie Bobby Brown in bespoke looks that play on American sartorial tics: a tulle prom dress (“the Debutante”), a “Cheerleader” dress, a stars-and-stripes “Majorette” fringed skirt. Each image is presented alongside one of white Calvin Y-fronts which serves to underscore a quote attributed to Simons: “Calvin Klein is not only about iconic underwear and jeans – it’s about so much more.”

This is the brand’s first foray into bespoke-for-all. Entitled ‘By Appointment’, the campaign signals the launch of an individual line born of the New York atelier’s celebrity by-appointment service. “No longer solely for celebrities”, reads the accompanying text on Calvin Klein’s website, the line will be “an open made-to-measure service” and a “tribute to the Calvin Klein atelier: a full range of handcrafting skills from embroidery to tailoring.” Appointments are available from April 1 2017, an email address conveniently supplied.What Raf For Calvin Klein Means For Fashion

Naturally, the internet has got excited over the appearance of Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown. More interesting, however, is Calvin Klein's commitment to ‘Made in the USA’. Usually this would be cause for celebration. It seems no coincidence that the bespoke line was unveiled to coincide with the spring haute couture shows in Paris – this is one way for the brand to push its minimalist aesthetic and reassert its authority as a fashion brand that is, as Simons says, about more than just that famous logo-branded product.

Unfortunately, however, the campaign also coincided with the inauguration of President Donald Trump on Friday, whose message of “America First” and promise to set American manufacturing alight – “buy American and hire American”, he said in his speech – has unhelpfully taken the sheen off the ‘Made in the USA’ supply chains that so many brands have fought to preserve. Calvin Klein will hope Brown is a distraction.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Monse And Oscar De La Renta Combine Shows

Oscar De La Renta and Monse are to combine their New York Fashion Week shows in February. The two labels, both headed up creatively by Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, will show one after the other with no break, and Monse will go first.

The autumn/winter 2017 show will be the design duo's eagerly anticipated debut for Oscar de la Renta. To mark the difference between the two collections, there will be a "reveal factor", reports the BoF, to make it clear Monse has finished and De la Renta is about to begin.

"We wanted to attack it head on: Can we do two different collections that have an identity on their own and be brave enough to show them together?" Garcia said. "Having them be consecutive does not mean that there is necessarily a blending of the ideas. There’s going to be different styling for each show, and it’s going to be very apparent where the change happens. The clothes are very different."

The decision is an unusual one for both brands. While designers for established houses have frequently carried on designing for the fashion labels they formerly created, they have aways kept proceedings completely separate - often even in different cities. Oscar de la Renta, however, invested in Monse when Kim and Garcia came on board last year, hinting at the complementary nature of both collections. De la Renta CEO Alex Bolen said that the decision was made to show that the two houses are "a part of the same brand family".

"We talk about brands' DNAs, and I think that, on some level, if Fernando is part of the Monse DNA and part of the Oscar DNA, it’s impossible for them to be totally separate," he explained. "And guess what? I don’t think they need to be totally separate. It’s going to be a happy day for me when I see a real customer with an Oscar blouse and a Monse skirt."

While the decision undoubtedly presents more of a logistical challenge for Kim and Garcia, who will juggle overseeing the completion of both collections with the same deadline, Bolen pointed out it will be easier for show attendees as there will be "one less show that somebody has to run across town for".

The show, set to take place on February 13, was thrown into question towards the end of last year when Kim's former employer, Carolina Herrera, started legal proceedings claiming that Kim had breached a six-month non-compete clause in her contract by joining the rival New York fashion house. If successful, Kim's debut for the house would have been delayed, however the two New York houses settled the case last week.

Meet The New Name At Temperley London

Temperley London has appointed its company president Patricia Sancho as its new CEO. Sancho will "continue to actively drive the company’s vision and strategy working closely with Alice Temperley", the fashion house's founder and creative director, according to a statement.

“My job is to think always about the future of our company and how to move it forward," said Alice Temperley. "Patricia and I have a strong personal bond and share a vision for the future of Temperley London. I appreciate Patricia’s unique sensibility, her leadership skills and strategic foresight. We now have a great management team and with this appointment all the pieces are in place to position our business for continued growth."

Sancho first joined the brand in 2013 as senior vice president of global sales, before which she clocked up positions at brands including Burberry, Club21 Armani and Juicy Couture, according to WWD.

"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead such an amazing organisation and to continue working directly with Alice Temperley and the great team we have," she said about her new role. "I believe the company has tremendous potential to continue expanding in the global marketplace as it broadens its appeal to all consumers."

Sancho, who will oversee the management of the ready-to-wear and bridal collections, replaces Ulrik Garde Due, who had been with the company since 2013, before which he worked at Céline and Burberry and Georg Jensen. He replaced Lars von Benningsen, who co-founded the business alongside Temperley.

The fashion house, which currently shows its collections on the London Fashion Week schedule, is slated to show its autumn/winter 2017 collection on Sunday 19th February.

Carven Appoints Serge Ruffieux Creative Director

Carven has appointed Serge Ruffieux as creative director, following the departure of design duo Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud in October last year.

Ruffieux hails from Christian Dior, where he has been for nearly 10 years, most recently as head designer of the women's ready-to-wear collections and couture studios. He also took the helm, alongside Lucie Meier, in between the departure of Raf Simons and the arrival of Maria Grazia Chiuri. His new position at Carven will be the first time he has taken the spotlight on his own.

"I am thrilled to embrace my new creative role at Carven, feeling a real affinity for Madame Carven and her vision of fashion," he said following the announcement today. "I look forward and am very honoured to be leading the creative direction of the house as it enters a new chapter."

He will officially join the fashion house on February 1, with his first collection debuting for resort 2018. His first Carven catwalk show will take place this October during the spring/summer 2018 Paris Fashion Week showcase. The brand said today that he would be overseeing "a new stage of growth and development of the house".

"It is with great pleasure that I welcome Serge Ruffieux as the new creative director of Carven," said CEO Sophie de Rougemont. "His innate sense of modernity married to his impeccable and exacting couture techniques are in absolute synchronicity with Carven's fabled heritage of Parisian chic and effortless elegance."

Why Versace Won't Show At Couture

Versace´s CEO, Jonathan Akeroyd, has outlined the reasons why Versace won't be showing its Atelier Versace spring/summer 2017 collection at Couture Fashion Week this weekend - or in July at the autumn/winter 2017 couture shows.

“At the moment, we do six shows a year, and my feeling is: that’s a lot of shows,” said Akeroyd (referring to two men's, two women's and two Versus Versace shows), reports The New York Times. “Eight, if you count couture, seems excessive. And we all know the model is changing quite a lot, so why not take the opportunity to try something new?”

The changes he is referring to concern the adoption of the see-now, buy-now model by multiple brands (something Versace was one of the first to do with its Versus Versace brand); the amalgamation of menswear and womenswear; and the decision made by a handful of women's ready-to-wear brands to come off the official womenswear schedules in February and September and move their shows to fall in line with the menswear showcases in January and June, giving their collections longer on the shop floor.

Instead, Versace will hold "major client events" to present its couture collection designed by creative director Donatella Versace - a savvy move that has the potential to be more client facing than industry focused, but not one that has been designed to save the house money according to Akeroyd. “It’s the time and intensity of producing a show,” he explained of his reasons to shake up its presentation methods. “The investment has not changed; the atelier is the same size.”

Akeroyd joined Versace last year from Alexander McQueen where he was CEO for 12 years. "Versace is an iconic lifestyle brand recognised globally as a premier name in luxury," he said at the time. "I look forward to implementing a long-term business strategy that supports the visionary and creative direction of Donatella Versace and her team."

Reed Krakoff Appointed Tiffany & Co Artistic Officer

Tiffany & Co has appointed Reed Krakoff as chief artistic officer, the brand confirmed this afternoon. Krakoff, who has been working with the American brand in a collaborative role since last year, assumes his new role immediately, as current design director Francesca Amfitheatrn of steps down.

“I’m honoured to join Tiffany as chief artistic officer and fully dedicate my creative focus to this storied American luxury brand," said Krakoff, reports WWD. "The exceptional opportunity to further Tiffany’s riche creative legacy of design and craftsmanship, and join the incredible talent within Tiffany, is truly inspiring."

Krakoff, who has previously headed up fellow New York-based label Coach, put his eponymous label on hold in November 2015, revealing last April that he didn't feel it was responsible to keep asking people to support it. "I saw it getting worse, and I decided to go to my investor group and talk about it. And we agreed to not go forward." His new venture at Tiffany & Co will put him in charge of the jewellery and luxury accessory categories, areas that he has a proven record of making a success.

"Reed’s extraordinary talent and deep understanding of iconic American design, and Tiffany’s defining role in its legacy, make him poised for great success in this new position," said chief executive Frederic Cumenal today. "His expertise and creativity will continue to help build Tiffany as a global house of luxury."

Francesca Amfitheatrof has been with the brand since 2013 - her next moves are unknown at this point.

Victoria Beckham Leads The Woolmark Line-Up

Victoria Beckham, Lanvin creative director Bouchra Jarrar, and chairman of the British Fashion Council Natalie Massenet will join a host of fashion's most influential names to judge this year's International Woolmark Prize, the Woolmark Company announced this morning.

Set to take place in Paris on January 23, the event will see Beckham, Jarrar and Massenet joined by editor-in-chief of Vogue Germany, Christiane Arp; group fashion buying director for Harvey Nichols, Anita Barr; singer and actress Lou Doillon; Buro 24/7's Miroslava Duma; fashion and lifestyle editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair, Virginie Mouzat; chief brand officer at Lane Crawford, Joanna Gunn; general manager of womenswear at David Jones, Damian Burke; contributing editor to Vogue Paris, Suzanne Koller; senior vice president and fashion director of Hudson’s Bay Company, Suzanne Timmins; co-founder and co-CEO of Boutique 1 Group, Lena Jabbour Matta; founder of System Magazine, Elizabeth Von Guttman; and Stuart McCullough, managing director of The Woolmark Company to select the womenswear winner.

They will be selecting from six womenswear designers from six regions: Toton from Asia; Macgraw from Australia and New Zealand; Faustine Steinmetz from the British Isles; Tim Labenda from Europe; Nachiket Barve from India, Pakistan and the Middle East; and Gabriela Hearst from the USA.

Also joining proceedings in Paris at the end of the month will be the menswear contingency of the prize. Munn from Asia; Ex Infinitas from Australia and New Zealand; Cottweiler from the British Isles; Tonsure from Europe; Bounipun from India, Pakistan and the Middle East; and Rochambeau from the USA will be vying for the top prize, which will be judged by some of the most esteemed names in menswear.

Imran Amed, founder and editor of the BoF; Rami Atallah, co-founder and CEO of Ssense.com; Jefferson Hack, CEO and co-founder of Dazed Media; Michael Hadida, director of development and men's buyer at Leclaireur; Olivier Lalanne, deputy editor at Vogue Paris and editor-in-Chief of Vogue Hommes; Michèle Lamy, Owenscorp partner; Benn McGregor, senior buyer of menswear at Harvey Nichols; Nelson Mui, VP of men’s fashion director of Hudson’s Bay Company; Shayne Oliver, creative director at Hood By Air; Fabrizio Servente, global strategy advisor of The Woolmark Company; Takehiko Suzuki, general manager of men's and sportswear at Isetan Mitsukoshi; Stefano Tonchi, editor-in-chief at W Magazine; and Leilah Weinraub, CEO of Hood By Air will be making the big decision.

All the brands that have reached the finals have already been awarded an AU $50,000 lump sum and mentoring for the last six months. If they win the grand final, they will win a further AU$100,000 prize and will have their collections hosted in top retailers around the world - including Harvey Nichols in London.

To mark the occasion, The Woolmark Company has commissioned Rankin to shoot the accompanying campaign entitled Unravelled, starring Jefferson Hack, Tim Blanks and Carmen Kass and featuring looks from this year's finalists. An accompanying trailer, shot by Isaac Lock, will be released tomorrow.

Louis Vuitton Joins Alibaba Alliance

Louis Vuitton has joined forces with Alibaba - China's biggest e-commerce company - to fight counterfeit designer goods being sold online, reports WWD. The new Alibaba Big Data Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance, as it will be known, comprises 18 other companies, including Swarovski, Samsung and Shiseido.

Alibaba said that the new alliance "aims to pool resources and increase collaboration to promote a safe and healthy global e-commerce ecosystem where brands are protected from IP pirates" with the assistance of the advanced technology that it has created and the input from member brands who will share their IP authentication knowledge and anti-counterfeiting data.

With regards to Louis Vuitton and Alibaba specifically, the announcement shows a new willingness on both parts to work together moving forward, in contrast to last year when Vuitton filed a legal suit at Beijing's Haidian District Court regarding the sale of counterfeit goods on TaoBao, Alibaba's e-commerce marketplace. Alibaba has since announced its own intention to file legal proceedings against third-party users on Alibaba platforms selling unauthorised product.

Also last year, Alibaba was embroiled in controversy when the IACC (International Anti Counterfeit Coalition) suspended its membership, one week after big-name brands - including Gucci, Michael Kors and Tiffany & Co - were said to have departed the coalition as a direct result of Alibaba being admitted.

"The only way to solve the complex, industry-wide issue of counterfeiting is through strong industry collaboration and we believe that intermediaries, like Alibaba, must be an integral part of the solution," said Jennifer Kuperman, head of international corporate affairs at Alibaba Group, at the time. "Whether or not we are a member of the IACC, we will continue our productive and results-oriented relationships with brands, governments and all industry partners."

Burberry CEO Start Date Confirmed

Burberry has confirmed that its new CEO, Marco Gobbetti, will start with the company on January 27. He will initially hold the role of executive chairman, Asia Pacific and Middle East, reporting to chairman John Peace, until July 5 when he will become chief executive officer and join the board.

Gobbetti joins Burberry from Céline, where he was chairman and CEO, a position he held since 2008. News of his appointment at the British powerhouse came after continued speculation about the management set-up at the house, with many of its shareholders calling for the business and creative responsibilities to be split up. Now Gobbetti's managerial experience and Bailey's creative expertise are being mooted as an astute fashion match.

"As soon as I met Gobbetti, we had a very, very strong chemistry,” said Bailey last year. “ He has a profound understanding of retail and retail execution. He has also got an incredibly global experience; he is somebody that has done a lot of work in the US, of course in Europe but also in Asia, so he thinks very globally and that is relatively unusual."

“Marco brings incredible experience and skills in luxury and retail with him that will be invaluable to us,” he continued. “On a personal level, I know that we are going to enjoy a wonderfully collaborative partnership that makes me very excited for our future at Burberry."

This year marks the continued see-now, buy-now approach adopted by the brand in 2016. As one of the first major British fashion houses to do so, Burberry has spearheaded the change in fashion format, and will be looking to repeat the commercial success of its critically acclaimed September show, which saw the brand take over a disused site in London's Soho and transform it into Maker's House.

Lord Snowdon Has Died

Lord Snowdon has died at the age of 86, the BBC has confirmed this afternoon. The English photographer, who was married to the Queen's younger sister, Princess Margaret, was one of the most popular image makers of his generation, capturing thousands of photographs in his lifetime.

Lord Snowdon, full name Antony Charles Robert Armstrong Jones, started his career in fashion photography straight from university. While his work became popular editorially, he became best known for his royal portraiture, famously capturing the Queen and Prince Philip on their 1957 tour of Canada.

In the Sixties and Seventies he cemented his sought-after reputation, becoming artistic advisor to the Sunday Times Magazine and enjoying widespread acclaim for his work, which appeared in the pages of Condé Nast titles including Vogue and Vanity Fair. In 2001, he was honoured with an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Entitled Photographs by Snowdon: A Retrospective, the exhibit featured more than 180 of his photographs.

"Tony Snowdon’s career with British Vogue was a remarkable one, spanning over 60 years, our longest-serving contributor by far," said Vogue contributing editor, and former picture editor, Robin Muir. "And it’s a career that only Vogue could shape. Because of who we are, we could give him access to the greatest names in art and literature, fashion; because of his own extraordinary connections he gave us photographs that no-one else could get, from members of the royal family to prime ministers, to friends in even higher places. A sitting with Snowdon - and it was always a sitting, never a shoot (‘Bang! Bang!' he would say if you used that word) - was always an event. 

He went out of his way to make those that were in awe of him relaxed and those that were nonchalant or did not take the day seriously were kept on their toes. He could use his tongue, like his camera, as a scalpel if need be. He was remarkably down to earth and terribly kind to office juniors. Deadly bores or the most pompous of stuffed shirts were given the cold shoulder. And it could be Siberian. A sitting with a very famous author, (was it Graham Greene or Kingsley Amis?) says it all. When the sitting ended at lunchtime, the famous author, who had been name-dropping all day, ushered him forward with a flourish of hands: 'Oh Tony, you and I can go through to the dining room. I’ve dismissed your driver and your assistant. They’ll walk to the pub. You see, I’d like to...' Snowdon cut him off: 'Thanks awfully. I think I’ll walk to the pub.'"

"Tony Snowdon was one of the great photographers of the age," said British Vogue editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman this afternoon. "His relationship with British Vogue over more than half a century has been one of the most important in the magazine’s history. Working across fashion, portraiture and reportage, his body of work contains many of the most memorable images of the time and demonstrated an eye that simultaneously framed what was before him whilst making that subject completely his own. His acute sense of style, his prowess as a raconteur, and his passion for his work made him a remarkable colleague and contributor."

Following his divorce from Princess Margaret in 1978, he was married once more to Lucy Mary Lindsay-Hogg, from 1978 to 2000. He is survived by his four children, David Armstrong Jones, Viscount Linley; Lady Sarah Chatto; Lady Frances von Hofmannsthal; and Jasper William Oliver Cable-Alexander.

Grazia Chiuri Joins LVMH Prize Jury

Dior artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri has joined the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers jury for the initiative's fourth annual edition.

The former Valentino designer, who debuted her first collection for the French fashion house in October, joins fellow directors from the LVMH stable, including Loewe's Jonathan Anderson; Louis Vuitton's Nicolas Ghesquière; Marc Jacobs; Karl Lagerfeld, for his work with Fendi; Kenzo's Humberto Leon and Carol Lim; Céline's Phoebe Philo; and Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci.

The designers are joined on the jury by executive vice president of Louis Vuitton, Delphine Arnault; advisor to Bernard Arnault and director of patronage at LVMH, Jean-Paul Claverie; and LVMH chairman and CEO Pierre-Yves Roussel.Why Chiuri At Dior Is The Right Choice.

They will all come together to decide the winner of the prize, which was won last year by British menswear designer Grace Wales Bonner. The successful candidate will be given a €300,000 grant and year-long business mentorship, helping them to develop every area of their brand.

The selection committee, which puts the shortlist together for the jury to decide upon, also sees new members this year. Former Japanese footballer Hidetoshi Nakata; sound director Michel Gaubert; luxury retailer Ikram Goldman; creative director of Barney's New York Dennis Freedman; editor of Madame Figaro Anne-Florence Schmitt; art director of Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche Frédéric Bodenes; and journalist and author Derek Blasberg join esteemed fashion names such as Vogue international editor Suzy Menkes, supermodel Karlie Kloss, and British fashion editor Sarah Mower.

The prize opens to applications today and will close on February 5. Designers aged 40 and under who have produced and sold at least two womenswear or menswear ready-to-wear collections are eligible to apply. The jury will announce the 2017 winner at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in June.

Lady Gaga Not Playing Donatella Versace

Contrary to reports last year that Lady Gaga was to portray her friend Donatella Versace in the forthcoming American Crime Story drama set to focus on the 1997 murder of Versace's brother, Gianni, the show's creator has confirmed that it won't be the case.

“Not really," he said, when asked if there had ever been talks. "She’s a friend. But she’s very busy this next year - she’s doing Super Bowl and then she’s doing A Star Is Born and I believe that she’s going on tour. And when you’re going to do a show like Versace, it’s a five-month commitment, it’s a very big show, we’re shooting it all over the world. So I just don’t think with her schedule, I knew that it would never had worked. But I would love to work with her on something in the future."

Murphy's not wrong when he speaks of Gaga's busy year. Following a momentous 2016 - which saw her release her sixth studio album, Joanne; win a Golden Globe for her work in the television series American Horror Story: Hotel; become the first woman to have four US number-one albums in the Noughties; take headline slots at the Grammys, the Oscars and the Victoria's Secret show, and hit the campaign trail for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton - 2017 looks to be no different.

But if not Gaga as Versace, then who? Few could fit the bill as perfectly as the original mooted choice.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Kendall Denies Cosmetic Surgery

Kendall Jenner has denied rumours that she has had cosmetic surgery - after an image posted on her sister Kylie's Instagram account in November provoked speculation - calling the guesswork "upsetting".

"All of a sudden, photos of us came out with headlines like, 'OMG Kendall got her lips done and got full facial reconstruction - look at her cheekbones, look at her nose!' I was like, this is crazy. I didn't even address it at the time. Because if I address it, people are going to be like, 'Oh, so she's defending herself - she must be guilty.' Kylie saw it all unfold and felt bad, so she went on Snapchat and took the blame," she wrote on her website. "It's all so exhausting. As a model, why would I have my face reconstructed? It doesn't even make sense. It's crazy because sometimes I feel like people just want me to lose."

The model, and Vogue cover girl, also took the opportunity to explain how saddening she finds it when she discovers social-media accounts dedicated to criticising her famous family.

"I found this Instagram page devoted to Kardashian-bashing and it has a lot of followers. I don't ever take that stuff personally, but it was upsetting for me for to look at because this person dedicated an entire page to just dissing the whole family and being like, 'These people suck.' I just felt sad for whoever's behind it - who has the time? People forget that they're talking about real people who have real feelings and actually live their everyday lives (for the most part) just like everyone else."

Olivier's Dream Girl

Dreams do come true, especially for Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing. Not only has he achieved his life-time ambition of becoming a major fashion designer, but now counts one of his childhood pin-ups, Cindy Crawford, as a friend.

"Cindy was my dream when I was a kid. You know when you dream of the model that’s going to give you the feeling of, 'What is fashion?'" he told WWD as the supermodel presented him with an Image Maker award in LA last night. "We shot our campaign two years ago with her and Steven Klein. She was my dream and today she is my friend."

The designer also counts many other famous stars as his friends - most notably the Kardashian-Jenner family, of which he said, "There is so much diversity as well that I love and that I enjoy" - but the notion that he only dresses well-known names couldn't be further from the truth.

"There is never a strategy in my mind," he revealed. "I just dress people who I love and I never dress people that I don’t like. A lot of people say, 'You dress famous people and it’s all about being famous.' It’s not true. There are so many people who are famous, but there are few people that I dress, if you think about it. I just dress people that my heart belongs to and they are my friends."

Ivanka Steps Down From Fashion Label

Ivanka Trump has stepped down from her role in her eponymous fashion company, a spokesperson has confirmed. The businesswoman will also relinquish her role in her father’s company, The Trump Organisation – and sell “all of her common stock and restructure her participation in The Trump Organisation transactions so that she no longer benefits from the profits,” Vanity Fair reports - as she and her family prepare to move to Washington DC ahead of her father’s inauguration.

The decision comes after her husband, Jared Kushner, accepted a role as a senior adviser to his father-in-law, president-elect Donald Trump, drawing on his experience running his family’s real-estate empire and New York newspaper The New York Observer. Like his wife, Kushner has stepped down from his roles - as chief executive of Kushner Companies and publisher of the Observer – and will divest key holdings in the coming weeks.

The move complies with Washington ethics and could pave the way for Ivanka Trump to accept a White House role alongside her husband. Both have a decade of business experience, assuming their senior roles in their respective family companies aged just 23 and 25, but neither have held any kind of public office. Donald Trump, unlike his daughter and son-in-law, has not yet revealed any intention to divest his stake in The Trump Organisation.

Herrera And De La Renta Settle Lawsuit

Oscar De La Renta and Carolina Herrera have settled their lawsuit over the employment of designer Laura Kim.

Kim, who formerly worked at Carolina Herrera, was appointed as the new creative director of Oscar de la Renta - alongside Fernando Garcia (with whom she founded the label Monse) - in September. Last month, Carolina Herrera claimed that Kim had breached a six-month non-compete clause in her contract by joining the rival New York fashion house.

“Carolina Herrera Ltd, Oscar de la Renta LLC and Laura Kim have reached a settlement of the lawsuit filed by Carolina Herrera Ltd," read a statement on behalf of the two brands, reports WWD. "The terms of the settlement are confidential, except that Laura Kim has returned to Oscar de La Renta LLC, subject to the conditions agreed upon by the parties."

There has been no further comment on claims made by Kim that Carolina Herrera was attempting to transition its eponymous founder out of her position as creative director without her knowledge. Kim's legal team claimed that it was upon discovering this information that she decided not to pursue a career with the brand.

The news means that Kim will be able to make her debut alongside Garcia at Oscar de la Renta's autumn/winter 2017 show next month at New York Fashion Week. The duo replace Peter Copping, who departed the role in July last year. It marks a return to the label for Kim, who previously worked at the brand for 12 years, before leaving in January 2016 for Herrera.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Macy's Closes 68 Stores And Cuts 10,000 Jobs

Macy´s  – the American department store chain – has begun 2017 with the announcement that it plans to close 68 stores and cut more than 10,000 jobs. The restructure, announced via a press release, is set to save the company an estimated $550 million a year – some of which will be invested in growing the digital business, the company confirmed.

“As we’ve noted, it is essential that we maintain a healthy portfolio of the right stores in the right places,” Terry J Lundgren, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s, said. “Our plan to close approximately 100 stores over the next few years is an important part of our strategy to help us right-size our physical footprint as we expand our digital reach. We are closing locations that are unproductive or are no longer robust shopping destinations due to changes in the local retail shopping landscape, as well as monetising locations with highly valued real estate. These are never easy decisions, and we are committed to treating associates affected by these closings with respect and transparency.

Of the 68 stores, three have already shuttered during 2016, 63 will be closed in early spring 2017, and two will be closed in mid-2017. Three other locations were sold, or are to be sold, and are being leased back, the press release detailed.

Macy’s is not alone in taking action to combat challenging retail circumstances. Several other American household names are in strife: JC Penney has closed 80 locations since 2014, Racked reports, while Sears has closed nearly 300.

Naomi Remembers George's Freedom

Naomi Campbell has been remembering her friend George Michael, who died on Christmas Day, recalling her experience on the set of his famous 1990 music video for Freedom 90. Campbell appeared lip syncing the song words along with fellow supermodels Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, and Tatjana Patitz – and has revealed that the day was not without its challenges.

“We were all different days. Linda and Christy were together, and I was the first day,” she told the panel on American chat show The View yesterday. “I was coming straight from a Thierry Mugler show where we did five shows from 6.30 in the morning till 3am the next morning, and then had to fly out on the first flight from Paris to London and go straight to set! I was exhausted, but I was so happy to be there, to work with David Fincher - and so happy that George chose the five of us from the British Vogue cover that we did. We were all singing the song anyway because we loved the song.”

Campbell remained friends with Michael throughout the years that have passed, and revealed that one of her fondest memories of him was in fact quite a recent one.

“I’m very sad that he’s not here. I got to spend a very special moment with him backstage at the Olympics in London. He was in his dressing room and we heard all this music, we could hear gospel music, and he was in there rehearsing with these gospel singers. Kate and I just sat and watched him; it was amazing. Really gone too soon.”

Despite her sadness at the loss of her friend at the end of last year, Campbell is beginning 2017 with much to look forward to as her new television show, Star, prepares to air. She’s also not immune to a New Year’s resolution, and alongside wanting to “better herself” and “mature”, she is also tackling a problem that’s familiar to many. “I still have a problem with smoking; it’s the hardest one,” she confessed. “It’s less now, but I’m going back to the hypnotist.”

First Look: Rosie's M&S Activewear

She is already responsible for one of Marks & Spencer's best-selling brands with her Rosie For Autograph lingerie line, and - in addition to a growing cosmetic offering - Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has now added another string to her design bow: activewear. The collection, launching in selected stores and online today, features the kind of pieces we're used to seeing the model in as she hops from car to gym: leggings, bra tops and fitted jersey cover-ups. "

Just like with great lingerie, it’s important to feel fully supported when exercising," she told us. "The extra-high-intensity sports bra is perfect for this; I'd team it with the relaxed racer-back vest and cropped leggings for a complete and stylish active look." Prices start from £22.50 to £65, and sizes range from 6–22 and 32-40 in A–G cup.

No Comment From Chloé On Clare Rumours

Chloe has declined to comment on rumours that creative director Clare Waight Keller is set to depart the brand when her current contract comes to an end in March. Speculation has been mounting about the announcement since late last year.

Current Louis Vuitton womenswear designer Natacha Ramsay-Levi (who is Nicolas Ghesquière's second-in-command) is the name currently in the frame to take over from Waight Keller should she decide to leave the brand, which she has helmed since May 2011. The brand's CEO, Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye, described Waight Keller as "the ultimate Chloé girl" at the inaugural Condé Nast International Luxury Conference.

Waight Keller took the Chloé reins from Hannah MacGibbon, who had been artistic director since 2008. During her tenure, Waight Keller has perpetuated the ethereal, nostalgic romance that has become synonymous with the house (started by Gaby Aghion in 1952) through her designs.

Schiaparelli Officially Crowned Haute Couture

Schiaparelli has officially been awarded Haute Couture status by the French Ministry of Industry and the French Couture Federation, the brand confirmed this morning. Despite showing its collections during Couture Fashion Week each season since its high-profile relaunch in 2014, the fashion house has only enjoyed guest status until now.

"Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, the house of Schiaparelli - created in 1927 by Elsa Schiaparelli - recovers the official Haute Couture label that had disappeared when its namesake founder decided to close her couture house in 1954 in order to write her autobiography, Shocking Life," read a statement from the brand. "Today Schiaparelli’s unique spirit of Haute Couture merging art, innovation, craftsmanship, quality and audacity enters a new chapter of its story."

Creative director Bertrand Guyon - who was brought on board in 2015 from Valentino, after Marco Zannini's short-lived tenure - won praise from fashion editors for his last couture collection shown in July.

Looking back to the Surrealist roots of the house with a fantastical-inspired collection based on the circus, Guyon was heralded as being the right "man to resuscitate brand Schiap", according to Vogue international editor Suzy Menkes.

Alongside Schiaparelli, Julien Fournié was also given Haute Couture status today, ahead of the spring/summer 2016 couture shows which are slated to start on Sunday, January 22nd.

Boden Announces 2017 Future British Designers

Following Boden's launch of Future British in 2016, an initiative established in collaboration with the British Fashion Council to help support emerging designers, the brand has revealed the three new fashion talents that will be receiving its counsel for 2017.

Ready-to-wear label Loxley England, footwear brand Dorateymur and jewellery fashion favourite Alighieri form the line-up for the next 12 months, and can expect to benefit from financial support, business mentorship, digital-strategy guidance, and access to Boden's studio space to develop their brand message and create PR and marketing material. They join Arthur Yates of Bruta and Alice Ashby of Blake LDN who were recruited to the programme in June and will remain a part of it for another six months.

While the labels have already forged strong visual identities on the fashion scene, it is well documented that young brands starting out need the most support when it comes to the business side of the fashion industry. To that end, this year's participating brands will also have access to Boden's leadership team - including chairman Johnnie Boden - and access to the BFC's Fashion Business Network, which offers legal, accounting, production, banking and communication support.

Founded by siblings James and Tess Andrews in 2014, Loxley England has a focus on clean lines, simplicity and timelessness."Future British is an exciting collaboration between Boden and the BFC, highlighting young, product-driven designers to a new audience," said BFC CEO Caroline Rush last year. "Utilising the resources and infrastructure of Boden, Future British aims to help young talent create great product at a good price point to establish viable business models, and ultimately, successful brands."