Thursday, April 27, 2017

Amber: Fashion In The Age Of The Insta Model

In the spring of 1989 my mother took me to a modelling agency in my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. We had to pay them to be in the agency. They were to teach us how to mannequin model (this is where a local store hires you to be a live mannequin and you pop and lock into positions like a robot every few minutes! And yes, after my first summer in Milan I came home to the glory of a few fashion shows at the mall and mannequin modelling in the local department store). We were also going to be taught hair and make-up, catwalk, and how to model for the camera. After a few months of classes, a modelling scout from Italy came through Tulsa. They called all the models from the agency to come for a casting.

I had no pictures and had literally just started learning important tools like mannequin modeling and how to walk on the runway. However, this gentleman from Italy Models saw potential even though he said I had elf ears. And I do. Even Richard Avedon once taped them down! Nonetheless, elf ears and all I was off to Milan that summer. After one test and two weeks of being in Milan I landed my first job, an advertorial for Italian Vogue. I cried on my first job because I didn’t know a thing about modelling and quite frankly I hadn’t even looked at a fashion magazine. The photographer and other model were very kind and told me to relax and just vibe with the music. I grew up playing dress up and performing constantly with my cousins so once I relaxed all of those instincts came flooding back and I was on my way. I fell in love with modelling that summer and I knew it was going to change me and my life.

The fashion industry has changed profoundly in the last 28 years. We are an industry that thrives and demands change. If one doesn’t stay current and openminded, you won’t last long in the fashion world. The industry has grown by tenfold - maybe more. There was a fraction of the amount of people working in the business than there are today. For example, when you go on a shoot today there are 25 people when before there would be only five. These days assistants have assistants who have interns! This also means more models backstage at shows like 60 rather than 30. Back in my day, we would break a sweat trying to change three or four times during a show! I am quite happy to only have one or two looks at a show today. Now, there are lots of girls who only do shows or girls who only do editorial whereas in the Nineties if you were in the big editorials - you were in the fashion shows. 

The two were more synonymous. I might be nostalgic but there seemed to be a bigger emphasis on the individual woman and her distinct personality - that is why she was hired. It was the era of the heroine, AKA The Supermodel. Of course, there are women today who are supermodels, but their path has been different. In many ways, it has been on their own terms and ability to maximise a new phenomena, social media. Today, we live in the era of instant, shared, perfected, calculated, hash-tagged, filtered snippets of life. And what counts is counting numbers. It isn’t bad or good in my opinion. It is what it is. Social media has levelled the playing field and again changed fashion.

Models are influencers and can literally build a career from their postings on Instagram. We had to build our book to get booked. The change that social media has brought in fashion is enormous and undeniably intuitive to the millennials. So I am playing catch-up and learning. I see that it is a great tool to share values and build a brand. Models of today are clever at building a following that dictates their ability to succeed in a whole new way. Today, you can express yourself and what you believe in, just through a simple post. Some things haven’t changed. The excitement of seeing what a designer has created from the depths of their imagination and being able to help interpret their dream through the catwalk or a photograph. The chaos and stress backstage before a show is about to start remains like a frenetic energy that is impossible to calm. I still get the butterflies before I step out onto the catwalk. No take backs, just free falling. I love the creativity, energy, beauty, artistry, fantasy and challenges in fashion. However, one big shift in me is that I discovered I wanted to be conduit for change within the fashion business…

Over the past several years, I focused much of my energy looking at the issues facing the fashion industry in regard to sustainability. In 2013, I launched an online store selling responsibly made clothing and accessories called Master & Muse, in an effort to prove one could have both style and substance. However, I realised that the problems are not so simple and are deeply systemic. The solution is not a special T-shirt for Earth Day. I am talking about a massive makeover in how we perceive, design, sell and discard clothing. We are making and disposing things without any thought of their afterlife at a cost to our own wellbeing, in turn using more raw resources and fresh water that are already scarce. Not to mention the toxins and chemicals polluting rivers, air and land. As an industry, this is our next challenge and opportunity for change. Fashion affects everyone and provides millions of jobs globally so if we change fashion we change the world.

Everyone has a place at the table now, in part because of social media’s massive ability to broadcast and showcase people from all around the planet. We have created a communal table for many to pull up a chair and be a part of what was once an extremely exclusive meal for a few. Inclusivity not exclusivity. Diversity today is becoming the norm as it should be in fashion shows and images. Women from different ages and ethnicities are being hired and regarded like never before. We are a connected and global industry, thus our representation of the world must be more accurate. I believe we are seeing that change in front of our eyes at this moment. How truly exciting!

I am so happy to be back in the magazines and on the catwalks; to be a part of this ever evolving industry. I hope that we will continue to grow and strive for the endless possibility of a more glamorous, fun, influential, sustainable and inclusive industry. True change never goes out of style!

The Slow-Fashion Brand With The Most Devoted Fans In Fashion

During Fashion Revolution Week - as the world remembers the victims of the 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy and asks how the fashion industry should ensure the safety and morality of the production and distribution process - Vogue meets Cary Vaughan and Jenna Wilson; the founders of a brand with a mindful and measured approach. Ace & Jig creates handwoven nostalgic pieces in a factory in India that sets the bar high, both for textile quality and for the quality of life of its workers. The limited run of each special weave means that products are highly sought after among fans, creating online forums and real-life swap-meets that any designer brand would be flattered by.

We wanted Ace & Jig - which stands for our first borns' initials; Ace is Cary’s daughter Alice and Jig is Jenna’s son James - to be a textile love story: this marriage of artisanal custom fabric with our favorite silhouettes. You know when you go into the most amazing vintage store or a gorgeous home full of pattern, colour and textiles and you are on sensory overload in a good way? That is what we wanted our line to be like. Surrounded by texture, depth, colour, soul, passion, nostalgia - this was our direct motivation! And of course the glamorous sweat and tears of owning our own business, venturing into the unknown and creating our own path was enticing. We met as interns in SoHo years ago and have worked together, lived together, cried together, and laughed together - we share the same values and morals and our strong friendship has always been the core of this line. 

We originally started creating fabric in a teeny tiny corner of a basement studio in New York's East Village at night. Only at the time, we were making dresses and blouses out of antique lace. We had collected endless amounts of vintage lace, neatly categorised by width, and spent countless evenings draping and forming these pieces that were literal works of art. We soon realised we were not going to be able to quit our day job anytime soon. The most important takeaway was our shared vision of creating cloth that felt worn in and loved - like an heirloom piece to cherish and pass down. After searching all over we found a partner who shares this textile passion in India. When launching Ace & Jig, instead of focusing on a full-blown line of multiple materials such as knits, denim, and wovens we decided to just pick one focus for our brand. This was in 2010, and at the time it was an unusual concept for a collection. Our singular focus was met with scepticism at first, but gradually we became known for our textiles. Ace & Jig was born, a line of effortless yet striking women’s clothing here to stay.

The way your brand produces is very unique – what do you want people to understand about Ace & Jig?

We make textiles stories! Our signature textiles are one of a kind and all are woven yarn-dye fabrics. Creating our own fabrics is a really long technical process that needs constant attention and revision. Many people call our fabrics “prints” but that is not the case. We only create fabrics woven by looms in India. Our process starts with the harvesting of cotton at the cotton farm and seven months later it is made into clothing. Produced by a family-run textile manufacturer who shares our same ethos; each fabric has its own story to tell.

The label was founded by and is still run by women, how does this influence the way you do business?

Having both worked in the fashion industry for years before we started Ace & Jig, we easily identified the kind of environment we did not want. Today we have an open and flexible working environment. We are lucky we have attracted kind, caring and passionate people and that is really the most important thing. We recently took our whole team in a vintage blue VW bus on the ultimate road trip down the California coastline for some team bonding and community spirit. Did this include an amusement ride stop at Santa Cruz’s famed colourful boardwalk? Um, yes! Did we also work our tails off setting up community events along the way including raffles to support the American Civil Liberties Union, swap events and lots of wine and cheese plates? You bet! We have two studios: one in Brooklyn, NY, and one in Portland, Oregon. Our hard-working, talented, bi-coastal team excels at multitasking, positive vibes and non-stop talking and sharing. Women power is a tangible and strong force for us as a team and for our community at large.

Tell us about your production network – I understand it’s very self-sustaining?

Our process takes many hands and is a true labour of love. The art of weaving has a deep cultural history rooted in India and knowledge is passed down from generation to generation. From dying the yarns on the rooftop to achieving just the right textural effect with slub yarns, our fabrics are a collaborative process working one-on-one with the weaver. Our manufacturer practices the kaizen Japanese philosophy of proactive continual improvement and this has its effect on many levels. Whether it is recycling the water from the washing process and reducing the negative impact this has on the environment to having free childcare for its employees, to offering free organic fruit and vegetables from the surrounding garden, we feel very lucky to work in this nurturing, caring and transparent environment.

Your pieces have a real signature to them – in the shapes as well as the fabrications – how would you describe your aesthetic? And who is the woman that wears your brand?

Part of our aesthetic is defined by our custom fabrics, a consistent visual platform that sparks innovation each season. Our strong identity is rooted in a whimsical, sophisticated, colour-rich pattern mix that highlights our timeless silhouettes. The Ace & Jig wearer is a conscientious consumer who wants a stand-out identity. We have many different kinds of women, all ages, all backgrounds, all walks of life who wear and collect Ace & Jig. They are all people who appreciate textiles and the rich history and soulful meaning they evoke. Someone who looks at clothing as a way to add colour, humour, and a little joy to the world.

You have a following of very loyal fans – tell us a little about what you know about the community and the way they interact.

We honestly have the most thoughtful and best fans! These are women who have met through their shared love for Ace & Jig and have created this amazing community which supports each other. Serious long-lasting friendships have been made through our brand. We are floored by their kindred spirits and the stories they share with us. There are swap-meets, bonding lunches, and shared road trips. There are women coming together to buy a friend an art easel, to help track down another’s “unicorn” item, to buy flowers for our team who excel at customer service! It is so inspiring to us to see this authentic community and brand loyalty grow from the ground up. There is a genuine Ace & Jig movement going on and we are honoured to be surrounded by these women.

The clothing you create is never repeated – how does this benefit you as a brand?

We create around 25 new textiles each season and once they are gone, they are gone. Then that volume is closed and on to the next chapter and sources of inspiration. The constant evolving and innovation are what we love about fashion. Each season we are challenged by the parameter of the warp and weft technique. How can we do this differently? How do our styles reflect what we want to be wearing right now? Our process is truly unique as we have to anticipate the amount of fabric needed before our collection is even shown to buyers. This is not a perfect science and we don’t always get it right, but we try our best. We do have avid collectors of our textiles and somewhat of a cult following! We also maintain a strong no-waste intiative: to use all of our scrap leftover fabric from the cutting room floor. This usually manifests in creative ways – many limited-edition fun partnerships with other artist friends.

What are your main concerns as you grow – is there a limit to where you can take the business considering your production network is so homespun?

It’s important to us to not just create more and more product just for the sake of growth. We have self-imposed limitations because we want to try to have that ultimate balanced lifestyle that everyone is seeking! We built our infrastructure to handle measured growth, but we want to grow thoughtfully. We want people to treasure their Ace & Jig pieces and keep them, swap them, rework them or pass them down.

What is the next step for your brand?

We are really focused on our product and growing better not bigger. There is always room for improvement, reducing waste and giving back. Always a focus is quality of life, creativity, and community.

Woolmark Announces British Isles Prize Finalists

The International Woolmark Prize has announced its British Isles nominees for the 2017 prize this morning, as well as changes to the current structure and prize money on offer.

In the womenswear category rising stars Helen Lawrence, Le Kilt, Roberts Wood and Sadie Williams have been shortlisted, while in the menswear group Liam Hodges, Matthew Miller and Phoebe English Man have made the final cut. The designers will each receive AU$2000 to help them proceed to the second round where they will compete with finalists from Dubai, London, Milan, New York, Seoul and Sydney to win the regional prize of AU$70,000 in their respective categories. They will then move forward to the global final that will see them compete for the prestigious winner's title and final prize of AU$200,000.

The prize money has dramatically increased from last year's prize, which last year saw the first round of regional finalists be awarded AU$50,000 and the overall winner taking home AU$100,000. The organisation has also introduced the Innovation Award, which "has been created to celebrate the most unique and creative fabric or yarn development from a finalist", according to a press release. The winner of this award will be granted AU$100,000 and the same commercial opportunities afforded to the main prize winners.

“Due to increasing pressures on young designers, we have restructured our program spend with a greater focus on the design talent and our partners,” said The Woolmark Company’s managing director Stuart McCullough.

“Each year, I am truly amazed with what our finalists present to the judges. Just when you may think you’ve seen it all, along comes an exciting new fabric or innovative new yarn, and that’s why we have established the Innovation Award. It not only keeps competition fierce but it also allows for our prestigious trade partners to get global recognition and ultimately increases the market share of wool.”

Earlier this year designers Gabriella Hearst and Cottweiler took home the final prizes for womenswear and menswear respectively, having been deemed outstanding by the judging panel which included Victoria Beckham, Natalie Massenet and Jefferson Hack.

The Met Gala 2017 Theme: What You Need To Know

Are you ready for the first Monday in May? While many in the UK will enjoy the bank holiday, for America and fashion-enthusiasts alike it is an entirely different thing: it is the Met Gala. This year's theme, for both the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute exhibition and 2017 Met Gala, is Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons.

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

"Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years," Bolton commented to "By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time."

As the exhibition prepares to open on May 4, plenty of celebrities will be preparing to hit the red carpet on May 1. Kawakubo will act as honorary chair alongside Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams - who launched a fragrance in collaboration with Comme des Garçons in 2014 - and Anna Wintour.

Model Jeremy Meeks Deported From The UK

Model Jeremy Meeks has been deported from Britain after being denied entry by UK Border Police. The Californian – who became an internet sensation when police shared his mugshot following his arrest - arrived in London yesterday ahead of a launch party for his Man About Town cover tomorrow night, which he will not now be able to attend.

"We were planning a launch event with his agency SUPA models and Man About Town but sadly Jeremy wasn’t allowed into the country, even after having the correct documentation he was unfortunately sent back to the States," an email from his representatives detailed. The cover, which shows Meeks shirtless and tattooed, was shot by famed photographer Steven Klein – who spoke out in his defence today.

“We are proud of our work with Jeremy Meeks for Man About Town, which we feel helps the public see him in a new light, as the person he is today,” Klein said on his Instagram, where followers including model Jordan Barrett also expressed their support. “Therefore we were dismayed to learn that Great Britain has expelled him – turning its back on a man who has already paid his debt to society for his past and who is now seeking to start his life anew with his family. For him to be so unfairly judged, without any real knowledge of who he has become or what he is hoping to achieve, is to deny each one of us the hope that a man or woman can rise above their past and be a better person – and a constructive member of society. This misjudgement of Jeremy Meeks is worse than ignorant; it deprives all people of their opportunity to change and better themselves, perpetuating what is worst socially while withholding from us the benefit that can flow from such change.”

Meeks spent time behind bars in his early twenties for theft and forgery, but it was his arrest in 2014 on felony weapons charges that resulted in the Facebook post that changed his life. After the picture garnered more than 100,000 likes and earned him the nickname the "hot felon", Meeks was signed to White Cross Management on his release from prison. He made his catwalk debut for Philipp Plein at New York Fashion Week earlier this year and continues to build his profile as a model.

“I heard all my life, you’re so handsome, you have the most beautiful eyes, and I heard it a hundred times a day. To where I would not even pay no mind to it. It didn’t fix it then. I still had a father in prison doing life. I still had a heroin-addict mother and me and my brother and sisters struggling through life’s tribulations,” he told Man About Town, noting that he is now trying to refocus his life away from the crime of his past. “I’m a family man, I’m a father, I’m a husband, I’m an uncle, I’m a best friend, I’m a God-fearing man, a Christian.”

LVMH To Acquire Christian Dior

LVMH has announced this morning that it is to integrate the entire Christian Dior label into the luxury group. The news may seem confusing to many – who believed the French conglomerate already controlled Dior along with fellow design houses including Céline, Givenchy and Fendi – but in actual fact Christian Dior SE is the main holding company of LVMH, which in turn controls the other brands.

Any confusion is forgivable since Bernard Arnault, the chairman and chief executive of LVMH, is also the chairman and majority shareholder of Dior. As well as streamlining the business and simplifying its structure for the market’s benefit, the move will also allow "the strengthening of LVMH's fashion and leather goods division thanks to the acquisition of Christian Dior Couture, one of the most iconic brands worldwide", Arnault explained.Maria Grazia Chiuri On Dior

The €13 billion deal will be made through "a simplified public offer by the Arnault family group for Christian Dior shares — that it does not currently hold — and take form of a primary offer consisting of €172 per share in cash and 0.192 Hermès International shares for each Christian Dior share, and would be completed by two secondary offers, in cash and in Hermès shares respectively", LVMH said in a statement, reports the BoF.

The brand expects the deal - which will unite Christian Dior make-up and perfume, haute couture, leather, men’s and women's ready-to-wear and shoes businesses under one roof - to reach completion at the end of May or early June.

Gucci's Alessandro Saddened By Plagiarism Accusations

Gucci´s creative director, Alessandro Michele, has responded to claims that the brand has plagiarised the work of Central Saint Martins student Pierre-Louis Auvray, telling the Business of Fashion, "It's something that makes me feel really sad."

The accusations centre on the Italian fashion house's alien video series, which it released on its social-media channels last week. BA student Auvray called out Gucci on his personal Instagram account, accusing the brand of a "blatant rip-off" concerning his designs. "I am just a student working hard on building my own stuff and the last thing we need as young creatives is to be ripped off," he wrote. An account run by students of CSM also uploaded an image of Auvray's work and a still from the Gucci short, telling its followers: "Look at both accounts and write below what you make of this. Wherever your influences come from, it is vital to credit. Young emerging designers and artists only have their ideas to trade."

Yesterday, Michele refuted the allegations, explaining that he wasn't aware of Auvray's work before this weekend. "It’s about my memories, so movies from the Seventies, including Star Trek: Lost in Space, that I saw many times. It’s more about space, we have the robots, the aliens... I tried to work with artistic director Chris Simmonds and the guys and photographer Glen Luchford on strong characters," he said, adding that the initial idea came to him months ago, as is required on such large Gucci campaigns.

"I’m so sad, because I think it’s not a good idea for a teacher at a school like this to push a young guy to destroy, in a way, his creativity," Michele continued, referring to the Instagram furore around the subject. "Creativity is not about the fame. I mean, it could be possible that you are thinking something that is in the mind of someone else. The idea that I’m 45 doesn’t mean that I have no creativity. I’m like a student, it’s the same, it’s not a war!"

Michele also said that he would be open to discussing the situation with Auvray directly.

Blake Tells Reporter There's A Time And Place For Fashion

Blake Lively will talk about the designer whose show she sits on the front row of at Fashion Week, and will smilingly respond to questions about her gown at awards ceremonies, but think before you ask her about fashion when it's not appropriate. One journalist was given short shrift by the actress upon enquiring about her outfit at Variety's Power of Women event, where Lively was honoured for her work with the Child Rescue Coalition campaigning against child pornography.

"Really? At this event, you're asking me about my outfit?" Lively was seen to say in a video that a reporter from USA Today shared on her Twitter. "Seriously. Would you ask a man that? I'm here so we become more aware, and that we change, and that we build women up. So, you can ask me another question."

The actress took to the stage during the event and spoke graphically and unflinchingly about the kind of child pornography that is being traded online - and which she is campaigning so vehemently against.

"Thirty to fifty million files a day are being traded, that we know of, and this is happening to every child and to any child. Ninety per cent of children know their abusers, so our children are at risk. You know this person, it may be a doctor, it may be a coach. I always believed that people working with children want to help them, but oftentimes the kind of people who want to lure children in work in a profession that gives them access to children and lots of them."

Lively alluded to the red-carpet incident with a picture of her outfit on Instagram alongside the caption: "Women are... Strong. Brave. Capable. Leaders. Mothers. Daughters. Bosses. Women are... unstoppable."

A post shared by Brandon Maxwell (@brandonmaxwell) on Apr 21, 2017 at 10:02am PDT

The designer who did create her look, Brandon Maxwell, seemed far from perturbed about his name having been omitted from her pre-event interviews, posting her look on his Instagram and lauding her for her important work.

Ivanka Trump Re-Labelled As Different Brand

G-III Apparel Group - the company which owns the license to distribute Ivanka Trump's eponymous fashion label - has revealed that it has been re-labelling product from the first daughter's namesake brand with a different designer tag to sell on to an American discount retailer. The pieces, which were labelled as Adrienne Vittadini Studio, were sold to chain Stein Mart which has over 290 stores in America.

“G-III accepts responsibility for resolving this issue, which occurred without the knowledge or consent of the Ivanka Trump organisation,” a representative for G-III told BoF. “G-III has already begun to take corrective actions, including facilitating the immediate removal of any mistakenly labelled merchandise from its customer. The Ivanka Trump brand continues to grow and remains very strong.”

The motivations for the label swap is unclear, however two main theories have emerged. Firstly, that G-III may not want the Ivanka Trump label (from which the first daughter has stepped down) to be associated with a discount brand (as many high-fashion labels find it damaging) and therefore would prefer to sell the surplus stock anonymously; or secondly, that it was trying to avoid any negative feedback about the brand which has proved divisive since Trump's father became president. Stein Mart CEO D Hunt Hawkins, however, said that the relabelling was not politically motivated.

“We’ve had both labels for a while," he said. "We may see more Adrienne Vittadini in the short term. I’ve had an equal number of customers say that they don’t want and do want the Ivanka Trump merchandise in the store. If we get it, we get.”

While Adrienne Vittadini is a label in its own right (although not owned or licensed by G-III), it is not known if it is aware of the swap having taken place, according to the BoF's research.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Why The British High Street Is A Mixed Bag Right Now

The British high street is emerging as a tale of two stories this morning as Debenhams has revealed its intentions to review whether 10 of its 176 UK stores should remain open as a part of its turnaround strategy, while Primark has announced that it aims to open 29 more stores in the current fiscal year, predominantly outside the UK, as it reported better-than-expected results.

For Debenhams, the move comes as a part of the "Fix The Basics" plan introduced by CEO Sergio Bucher when he joined the company last year, reports Sky News. It is currently consulting on whether its Northamptonshire distribution centre and 10 smaller in-house warehouses could also close, although it is hopeful that around 2,000 members of staff will be able to be redeployed to "customer-facing roles". The British high-street favourite hopes to make its shopping experience more of an omni-channel one, after seeing its revenues from mobile shopping increase by 64 per cent.

"Our customers are changing the way they shop and we are changing too," said Bucher. "Shopping with Debenhams should be effortless, reliable and fun, whichever channel our customers use... We will be a destination for 'social shopping' with mobile the unifying platform for interacting with our customers."

Primark's expansion plan, on the other hand, sees the Ireland-based retailer rely on its stores alone to raise revenues, having tripled its floorspace to 13 million-square feet in the last 10 years, reports the BoF. “There’s a very viable strategy without trading online,” CEO of AB Foods (which owns Primark) George Weston said yesterday. “The best value is to be found on the high street, not online."

Both announcements come in a month that has been a mixed bag for the British high street which has been forced to reflect on its operational strategies over the last five years, and especially since the result of the European Union Referendum last year put increased pressure on the pound.

On April 10, Jaeger announced that it was entering administration, putting 700 jobs at risk in the UK, across its 46 stores, 63 concessions, London head office and logistics centre in Kings Lynn; this week, House of Fraser announced plans to revamp its shops into a "lifestyle-led experience", setting out a strategy to introduce more restaurants and bars to its flagship shops; while yesterday, The Guardian reported that CEO Simon Wolfson had missed out on his annual bonus for the first time in 18 years "amid tough times" as customers' spending habits change and retail rivals up their game when it comes to online experience.

Victoria Beckham's Trip To The Palace

Victoria Beckham received her OBE from Prince William at Buckingham Palace today for services to the fashion industry.

"It was an absolute pleasure to be at Buckingham Palace today. I'm proud to be British, honoured and humbled to receive my OBE from the Duke of Cambridge," Beckham - who was joined at the ceremony by her husband, David (who was awarded an OBE in 2003), and her parents - said, reports the BBC. "If you dream big and work hard you can accomplish great things. I'm so happy to share this very special occasion with my parents and husband; without their love and support, none of this would be possible."

The ceremony comes a few days after the former Spice Girl celebrated her 43rd birthday in Los Angeles with her family, who took to social media to send her sweet messages. See more pictures of her visit to the Palace below.

Zara Responds To Pepe The Frog Controversy

Zara has responded to the controversy surrounding a cartoon patch on one of its skirts, asserting that the character depicted is not what it appears to be. The Spanish store came under fire for selling the cut-off denim skirt featuring a patch bearing a resemblance to Pepe the Frog - a character that has widely come to be associated with hate groups and which was added to the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) hate-symbol database last September. The item has now been removed from sale.

"The skirt is part of the limited Oil-On-Denim collection which was created through collaborations with artists and is only available in selected markets," a spokesperson told us today. "The designer of the skirt is Mario de Santiago, known online as Yimeisgreat. Mario explores social interactions through his work and in his own words: 'The idea came from a wall painting I drew with friends four years ago.' There is absolutely no link to the suggested theme."

The news comes two-and-half years after the Spanish retailer apologised unreservedly after a children's T-shirt in its stores became the centre of a controversy. The garment (a long-sleeved top bearing a yellow six-pointed star) caused consternation among parents and press, who were stunned at its resemblance to the uniform worn by Jewish prisoners in concentration camps. Its latest foray into controversy has caused similar outrage.

While the character itself was originally created by illustrator Matt Furie as a benign cartoon, it was widely adopted by alt-right and anti-Semitic groups for communicating on social-media forums, reaching its peak during the American presidential election last year as it continued to pop up in racial contexts. Oren Segal, the director of the ADL’s Centre on Extremism, acknowledged to New York Magazine last year that while its database is "intended to be an educational tool to give people context so they have a better understand of use of imagery by extremists", it is open to working with Furie to reappropriate the design.

"I think one of the things we’ve tried to focus on, especially with memes, is whether or not there is a way to reclaim this," Segal said. "I know based on interviews he’s given, this cartoon is something that’s close to him and that he rejects the extremist and anti-Semitic use of this image. We would love to talk to him about ways to re-appropriate Pepe the frog, if at all possible."

Diesel Taps Naomi For A Special Collection

Diesel  has revealed its charitable collaboration with supermodel Naomi Campbell today in aid of her Fashion For Relief initiative, called Child At Heart.

Artwork - featuring colourful love hearts and ladybird designs - have been designed by children attending the Diesel HQ kindergarten in Italy, creative director Nicola Formichetti told us, who "were very excited to participate in a project which, on top of contributing to a good cause, was a fun moment for the kids to be creative and think about symbols of love, like the heart and the ladybird". The designs from the children were then turned into a collection of T-shirts and hooded jumpers.

The collaboration came about when Campbell presented Diesel owner, and president of Only The Brave, Renzo Rosso with the Award of Courage at the 2015 AmFAR gala and suggested that they work together to create something meaningful involving both their brands.

"From that moment on, we have been working on putting together this project," Rosso told us. "I’m really proud to be launching this project next week with an event in Paris with Naomi and Nicola," he continued, adding that it is Diesel's moral compass that keeps it involvement in projects like Child At Heart ever prevalent.

"Diesel always has, and always will, be a cultural commentator tackling relevant issues," explained Rosso. "The children of today are our future and Child at Heart is about helping the children in need and giving a hand to those who are left behind. More than ever, we want the world to know that love and togetherness are crucial in creating a society we all want to live in, and the future we all deserve."

The project also plays into Rosso's wider mission for the OTB foundation, which he established in 2008 to "rebalance social inequality and contribute to the sustainable development of less advantaged areas and people throughout the world".

"So far it has supported over 170 initiatives worldwide benefitting the lives of more than 180,000 people," said Rosso. "It’s very close to my heart and I work every day to ensure that all projects we support are sustainable, innovative, have a direct social impact - and operating costs as close to zero as possible. My dream is that this becomes the way any foundation and philanthropic initiative is run worldwide."

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Victoria Beckham Trademarks Harper's Name

Victoria Beckham  has trademarked her daughter Harper's name with intellectual property authorities in Britain and Europe, reports the BBC this morning.

The move ensures that the name of the youngest member of the Beckham family is protected in the entertainment industry, therefore no-one unrelated to the five-year-old will be able to trade off her famous moniker or call themselves the same name.

The application - which was filed just before Christmas - does, however, entitle Victoria to bring out products including toys, clothing and beauty products, should she wish to do so at a later date. The mother of four has registered the names of all of her other children, as well as her own name and husband David's in the early Noughties.

How To Stretch New Shoes

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could avoid the rubbing and blistering of new shoes? Royal couturier Stewart Parvin has spoken about how HRH Queen Elizabeth II sidesteps that issue: “The shoes have to be immediately comfortable,” he told the Evening Standard. “She does get someone to wear them. The Queen can never say ‘I’m uncomfortable, I can’t walk any more.’ She has the right to have someone wear them in.”

While we may not have someone whose sole job it is to break in our shoes, there are ways it can be done without shredding your feet to pieces. Read on for our top tips:

Wear them in a little at a time

The impulse to just wear new shoes out straightaway is sometimes too much to ignore, but if you can fight the temptation (and you should) wear them around the house first – in thick socks, if possible - and begin the wearing-in process.

Spoon straps and backs

Using the back of a spoon, furiously work it into the heel or anywhere a pair of shoes are rubbing. It is essentially mimicking the effect of your foot, but it will make those strappy, tighter places softened up before wearing.

Blast on the hairdryer

Wearing multiple pairs of socks and the shoes in question, hold a hairdryer up to the parts of the shoe that are tightest whilst flexing or moving your feet. This will help stretch them. Just be sure to let the shoes cool with your feet still in them.

Invest in shoe stretchers

Less useful for heels, but flats can easily be stretched using metal or wooden stretchers. Try Amazon for a range of styles. Some will even come with a shoe stretch spray that can help the process along. Just be prepared to put the stretchers in and let them sit tight for a while.

Stuff them with newspaper

Crumple up newspaper, wet it slightly – note: it must not be soaked through, otherwise it will damage the inner sole – let it dry and remove before wearing.

Go to the professionals

Take a cue from the Queen and enlist a professional. Vogue’s go-to shoe repair specialist is The Restory, and they provide a breaking-in service. Just be sure to allow at least three days for them to work their magic. Prices start from £20.

Selfridges Cleared After Email Complaint

A markeeting email sent by Selfridges to its customers has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), after a complaint was made that the model pictured looked "unhealthily thin".

"We considered most people, including young children and women, would interpret the ad as focusing on the design and fit of the dress, rather than on desirable body image," said the ASA, adding that while the image emphasised the model's slenderness through her pose and clothing, she did not appear to look out of proportion. "We considered that, although the model was slim, she did not appear to be unhealthily thin or significantly underweight and therefore concluded the ad was not irresponsible."

Selfridges said the woman "was not positioned in a way that was intended to exaggerate her slimness", reports the BBC, and welcomed the ruling. It did, however, dispute that the email was an advert, saying it was a "fashion image sent to selected customers by email". A spokesperson for Selfridges told us this afternoon: “We welcome the representation of healthy bodies in all shapes and sizes.”

The issue of body image in promotional material is a discussion point which is seldom out of the news, with fashion brands finding themselves under scrutiny to promote a positive message to their consumers. Recently Saint Laurent found itself in the headlines, when it was asked by France's advertising watchdog, the Autorite de Regulation Professionnelle de la Publicite (ARPP), to modify two of its new advertisements after it received 50 complaints calling the ads "degrading to women".

Farfetch Announces Store of The Future

Last week at the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference, Farfetch founder José Neves spoke about his vision for a future retail experience, where advancements in technology (including virtual reality) would start to free up time and can help make the consumer experience more human. This morning, the retail entrepreneur revealed that he is putting plans into motion, unveiling Farfetch's Store of the Future - an augmented retail solution that "links the online and offline worlds, using data to enhance the retail experience".

"Physical retail accounts for 93 per cent of sales today, and even with online growing at fast speed, it will account for 80 per cent by 2025," Neves explained today. "Retailers need a way to collect information about their customers while they are browsing in-store, just as they collect data from online searches. The Store of the Future aims at providing the in-store experience of the future by giving visibility to retailers on what is happening in the store. It’s the offline cookie that closes the loop, between a great online presence and a complete omni-channel offering and, finally, in-store technology which augments the experience of customers in store and overall."

At the CNI Conference, Neves said that employing new technology - including virtual reality, emotion-scanning software, and innovative payment options - can "be a positive force for fashion as it can be transformative in a very informative way”. Today, he reiterated those words.

"The next stage in the evolution of the fashion industry is the connected store, which uses technology to enhance the luxury retail experience to become even more customer centric," he said. "Farfetch is at the crossroads of luxury and technology and is well placed to understand its needs and deliver a tailored solution."

The tailored solution element is crucial for Farfetch. Being a multi-brand platform, the brand is intent on making sure that the Store of the Future technologies will be able to create bespoke experiences for each brand in each city and each store. "Whatever in-store digital tools, technology or services each brand or store uses, the key value is in the data that will drive personalised meaningful customer experiences, and on the business side a significant competitive advantage." read a press release this morning.

The first fashion businesses that will see the Store of the Future technologies deployed will be Browns, which Farfetch bought in 2015, and Thom Browne.

“As we open stores in key capitals around the world and develop a strong direct-to-consumer, omni-channel business, we believe the connected store to be a great opportunity to enhance our in-store customer experience," said the American fashion house's CEO, Rodrigo Bazan. We are very excited to have been chosen by Farfetch, and look forward to starting the global roll out of this new service from the New York store.”

For Farfetch-owned Browns, the introduction of the technology chimes with its plan "to re-establish Browns as the coolest boutique in the world", according to CEO Holli Rogers.

"One of the most important factors in making this happen is to stay completely in tune with the ever changing lifestyle needs of our customers and to keep pushing our product assortment and innovating," said Rogers. "Deploying the digital innovations that make up Store of the Future facilitates us to take big steps towards this longer term vision. Implementing these innovations within our stores will fundamentally allow our customers to enjoy a bespoke and effortless experience that harmonises the best parts of boutique shopping with the speed and convenience of e-tail. We’ve had a lot of fun working through the integration of this approach and we anticipate that our customer will experience a new sense of discovery within the retail landscape of Browns.”

Diesel Black Gold Reveals Shake-Up

Diesel Black Gold  has revealed that it will combine its menswear and womenswear shows moving forward and end its womenswear pre collections. The brand will, however, continue its menswear pre collections, reports the BoF, and move its bi-annual ready-to-wear shows to the menswear schedules in January and June.

The move reflects the rise in popularity and revenues that menswear has enjoyed in recent years. Hugo Boss revealed last year that it too was focusing more closely on its menswear collections, while countless other brands - including Vetements, DSquared2 and Vivienne Westwood - have moved their ready-to-wear collections to show during Men's Fashion Week.

"The timing of the women's shows, especially in Milan and Paris, is really late," said Diesel owner, Renzo Rosso (president of Only The Brave Group). "A good option could be shifting the women's shows to the men's timing. It would not only make sense for the business but also the direction the global industry is taking."

As for moving to a co-ed strategy, the brand's creative director, Andreas Melbostad, said that it "feels like a natural step for us" as "the two collections are designed and developed parallel to each other and there is a lot of crossover”.

"I have always been a big supporter of co-ed shows. We actually launched Diesel Black Gold in New York with a men's and women's show at the very beginning," continued Rosso. "Diesel Black Gold is now a point of reference for the contemporary market and it became crucial to communicate a strong, cohesive seasonal massage."

Louis Vuitton Launches Collaboration With Jeff Koons

Louis Vuitton  has today unveiled its latest venture into the art world - a new line of bags and accessories that they have created with Jeff Koons, marking the first stage of its collaboration with the artist.

The Masters collection features imagery from Koons's Gazing Ball series of paintings - large-scale hand-painted reproductions of masterpieces - on a range of the fashion house's most popular products. Recreations of the most famous works by some of the Old Masters - Da Vinci, Titian, Rubens, Fragonard and Van Gogh - have been transposed onto the canvas of bags such as as the Speedy, the Keepall and the Neverfull with the names of the artists emblazoned across them.

Speaking to us about the collaboration, Koons - one of the most recognised figures in the contemporary art world and whose Balloon Dog (Orange) became the most expensive piece by a living artist when it sold for $58.4 million at Christie’s in New York in 2013 - said: "What’s wonderful about working with Louis Vuitton is that there really aren’t parameters. When they come and speak to you about a project, everybody already has an understanding of what the possibilities are to create something special. We both had the same objective: we wanted to make something that really uses material, texture and colour to communicate and create something desirable. So there was tremendous freedom."

The artist has reconfigured the brand's monogram to bear his initials, the first time in the fashion house's history that it has allowed its famous logo to be reshaped. Each bag also features a tag of the inflatable rabbit, which is a recognisable feature in Koons's work and, inside, a biography and portrait of the Master whose work has been recreated.

Irina And Bradley's Baby Name Revealed

Irina Shayk and Bradkey Cooper have welcomed a baby girl, it was revealed last night. Their first-born, who is said to be two weeks old, has been named Lea de Seine Shayk Cooper, reports E! News.

The couple, who have been dating since May 2015, have kept details of their relationship and pregnancy firmly under wraps, with neither commenting on their union or new addition to date. During her pregnancy, Victoria's Secret model Shayk was seen out and about in LA with Cooper's mother, Gloria Campano, preparing for the arrival of her daughter.

While she has yet to introduce baby Shayk Cooper to the world, the model did take to her Instagram account yesterday to congratulate Edward Enninful on his appointment as editor of British Vogue. "Congratulations @edward_enninful!!" she wrote. "This genius man, now editor-in-chief of @britishvogue. U deserve it all #thebestisyettocome."

Jaeger Goes Into Administration

British high-street retailer Jaeger has gone into administration, following confirmation from the brand last week that it had filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators. It puts 700 jobs at risk in the UK, across its 46 stores, 63 concessions, London head office and logistics centre in Kings Lynn.

The directors of the 133-year-old fashion brand - which has struggled with the increase in competition between high-street retailers and the rise of online shopping in recent years, reports the BBC - are said to have appointed administrators after attempts to find a suitable buyer failed.

Would You Wear A Dress Made Of Manure? H&M Thinks You Should

When T.S. Eliot observed that April is the cruellest month, he probably didn’t have the 235 million items of clothing that will end up in landfill this spring in mind. But according to research published this week, three quarters of Britons undertaking the annual spring clean of their wardrobes will throw away discarded garments. The cruellest detail in that survey: people will dispose of an average of 19 items, seven going straight in the bin, because they do not realise that worn-out or dirty clothes can be recycled or donated to charities.

This research was published in the same week that H&M published its 2016 Sustainability Report, in which it announced a commitment to use 100 per cent recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030. Given that H&M is one of the chief purveyors of fast fashion, having created a plethora of affordable clothes sold in 4,351 stores across 64 markets, you could be forgiven for greeting this latest missive with cynicism. How can a retail behemoth that ostensibly thrives on disposable chic be committed to sustainability?

For one thing, it makes good business sense, as H&M’s CEO Karl-Johan Persson tells me when we meet in Stockholm, on the eve of the H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award (more of which later). “I think there is a big responsibility for companies and private individuals who have size or resources to think a little bit wider – if we all do, I think the world will be better,” Persson says, in his low-toned, methodical English. “Secondly, I care about H&M long-term. We are dependent on resources. In the short-term it’s costing much more because we have to invest, but long-term it makes good sense.”

These aren’t hollow words. Since Karl-Johan, the forty-two-year-old grandson of H&M founder Erling Persson, took the helm as chief executive and managing director of H&M Group in 2009, he has made it his mission to improve the eco credentials of the brand. “My grandmother has a pair of trousers and a blouse from H&M in 1947,” he smiles. “And that’s what we want. We want the garments to last and not just be throwaway fashion, no, because then you will not come back as a customer.” Intrinsic to that is having a positive impact on the climate – the company has also committed to switching to 100 per cent electricity that comes from renewable energy, and to become “climate positive” throughout its entire value chain by 2040. Its garment collecting initiative, launched in stores in 2013, has collected 39,000 tonnes of unwanted clothes and it also produces a Conscious collection, made from organic and sustainability materials. “It’s easy to say that low price is fast fashion,” concedes Persson. “We want to grow like all companies, but we want to do good stuff so that our customers come back.”

A shift is slowing taking hold across the fashion industry. Amongst all the greenwashing and unfulfilled promises, brands are finally acknowledging supply-chain abuses, analysing their water consumption, and looking at textile production in more detail than they ever have before. On the high street, Mango and Zara recently released sustainable collections. In the luxury sphere Stella McCartney, long a pioneer in the field, does not use leather or fur, instead seeking out organic fabrics, low-impact dyes, and regenerated cashmere from off-cuts. And Kering’s 2012-2016 sustainability report names 2025 as the year by which they will cut carbon emissions by 50 per cent and reduce Kering’s environmental impact by 40 per cent, largely by eradicating PVC and other harmful chemicals from product lines, using higher quality skins with a lower environmental footprint and eliminating waste from its supply chain.

H&M has gone a step further in establishing the H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award, an innovation challenge centred on textiles. This year is its second since its 2015 inception, and in Stockholm last week, much of the talk centred on: would you wear a dress made out of poo? How about a leather jacket made out of grapes? Or a silk scarf made from discarded orange peel? (Update: thanks to Ferragamo, you now can.)“I just want people to give a shit about the planet.”

“Manure Couture” was one of the five innovations which won a percentage of the €1 million grant and access to an acceleration programme in collaboration with Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. The mix of scientists, chemical engineers, management consultants and fashion people often made for amusing results. “I just want people to give a shit about the planet,” said the Manure Couture team leader Jalila Essaidi, a sassy Dutch scientist with a gift for one-liners. Her team’s innovation aims to convert cellulose from cow manure into a biodegradeable textile. The overall winner, Grape Leather, conceived of by a group of Italians, aims to use leftover grape skins and stalks from wine production to make vegetal leather. Then there was Denim-dyed Denim, a process which will bypass the traditional (hideously harmful) dyeing process for jeans by extracting the dye from old jeans to colour new, undyed jeans; and Solar textiles, a project that seeks to allow clothes to trap carbon from the environment within their fibres.

Less media-friendly, perhaps, but just as ground-breaking was Content Thread. Context: one of the biggest barriers to textile recycling is that it is very difficult to tell exactly what clothes are made of. Content Thread’s idea is to attach an RFID thread, a digital “ingredients list” tag, to each garment at the manufacturing stage, so that clothes can be easily scanned and recycled at the end of their life. It’s not sexy or headline-grabbing but it could dramatically reduce the April landfill figures that would make Eliot balk.

Crucially, it also requires little or no thought on behalf of the consumer. Recently I met Sebastien Kopp, the co-founder of French sneaker brand Véja. His trainers are made from sustainably tapped rubber, organic cotton and crafted by ethically-employed Brazilians. We agreed that consumers are becoming more clued up on where and how their clothes are made, but that vanity trumps conscience. “Our technique from the beginning was to have a well-designed product that someone would buy without knowing that it was sustainable too. 85 per cent of customers probably don’t realise we’re sustainable,” says Kopp. “What we want is to make that information available, so if you want to see it, you can learn all about how it is made. But if you just want a pair of sneakers? Fine.”Consumers are becoming more clued up on where and how their clothes are made, but that vanity trumps conscience.

Back in Sweden, Persson insists that we should all take an interest in where and how our clothes are made. “It’s really about trying to make conscious choices connected to the purchase, whenever we buy.” But consumers’ relative ignorance could perversely bode well for innovations such as Manure Couture. You might not knowingly wear a jacket made out of poo. But if you can’t be bothered to read the label? Then brown, not green, is the new black.

Vogue Editors Through The Years

As Edward Enninful is named the 11th editor of British Vogue, succeeding Alexandra Shulman after her 25-year tenure at the helm of the title, we take a look back at the editors who have shaped the magazine over the past 100 years.

Elspeth Champcommunal - 1916-1922

Based on the American version, British Vogue was launched in 1916 as a way to navigate importing restrictions in the UK and rising paper costs in the US. Inaugural editor-in-chief, Elspeth Champcommunal, had higher expectations for the publication; Elspeth believed it was important for Vogue to be more than a fashion magazine, featuring articles on news, sporting events, health and beauty, travel articles and editorials. Champcommunal went on to have an eponymous couture label based out of Paris and later took on the role of chief designer at Worth London.

Dorothy Todd - 1922-1926

British Vogue under Dorothy Todd was steered away from "hats and frocks" towards the modernist nature of the Twenties. Todd was passionate about blending fashion and the arts, shifting the magazine’s focus towards literature in her four years as editor-in-chief. Todd commissioned notable editorial pieces including poetry by Gertrude Stein, art criticism by Vanessa Bell and Clive Bell, essays by Virginia Woolf, and articles by Vita Sackville-West and Aldous Huxley. Owing to some of her dramatic changes, Vogue lost much of its circulation and Todd was eventually sacked from her position.

Alison Settle - 1926 - 1934

British Vogue is said not to have taken off until the appointment of Alison Settle as editor-in-chief, under American counterpart, Edna Woolman Chase. Settle expanded the magazine’s readership from aristocracy to middle- and working-class women, and bolstered the book of regular contributors to include notable names such as Edith Sitwell, Vita Sackville-West and Lee Miller. Following her departure from Vogue, Settle went on to write as fashion editor of The Observer and as a fashion columnist for The Lady before publishing her book, Fashion As A Career, in 1963.

Elizabeth Penrose - 1935-1939

At the time, British Vogue was still under the editorial control of American Vogue, in a parent/child format. After the dismissal of Alison Settle in 1934, Elizabeth "Betty" Penrose was sent from the American issue to steer the British edition away from its "excessively sprightly nature." In 1939, Penrose announced her return to the US and with the ensuing World War, she was unable to go back to Europe and continued her career at Vogue in the US.

Audrey Withers - 1940-1960

Audrey Withers began her career at British Vogue as a sub editor in 1931 and succeeded Penrose as editor-in-chief after her departure in 1939. Much like Todd, Withers’ penchant for literature and the arts saw the magazine leaning towards a broad spectrum of features: the title ran pieces on Bacon, Freud and Matisse, and Dylan Thomas, Bertrand Russell and Simone de Beauvoir all wrote for Vogue under Withers’ editorship.

Alisa Garland - 1960-1964

Alisa Garland, an affluent fashion writer, left her role as fashion editor at The Daily Mirror to lead British Vogue as editor-in-chief. Whilst successful, her four-year tenure was cut short when she left Vogue to helm Woman’s Journal, the most popular British women’s magazine at the time.

Beatrix Miller - 1964-1984

Beatrix Miller began her career at The Queen, moving through the ranks and leaving the title as fashion editor. She moved to New York to work as a copywriter for American Vogue, before being invited back to helm The Queen and then going on to become editor-in-chief of British Vogue in 1964. Beatrix - Miss Miller as she was known in the industry, or Bea to close friends - fostered the careers of many Vogue collaborators still synonymous with the magazine today, including David Bailey, Lord Snowdon, Grace Coddington, Lucinda Chambers, Terry Jones, Bruce Weber and Joan Juliet Buck, to name a few.

Anna Wintour - 1985-1987

After stints at Harper’s Bazaar, and Savvy magazine in the Seventies as a fashion editor in New York, Wintour returned to London to be appointed as British Vogue’s first creative director. Anna Wintour became editor-in-chief of British Vogue after Beatrix Miller’s retirement in 1984. After three years, Wintour returned to New York to take over House & Garden and later become editor-in-chief of American Vogue, and one of the most famous names in fashion.

Elizabeth Tilberis - 1988-1992

Elizabeth Tilberis, known professionally as Liz, started an internship at British Vogue in 1967 after the title held a contest. The then-editor Beatrix Miller recognised her hard work and promoted her to fashion assistant where her career really began. Tilberis was offered a position at Ralph Lauren in New York but turned it down after Anna Wintour asked her to become editor-in-chief of British Vogue upon Wintour’s return to the States. The magazine enjoyed a rise in circulation during her four-year tenure. In 1992, Tilberis was tempted over to the US to helm Harper’s Bazaar, where she revamped the title from dull and somewhat outdated, to the magazine we know today. Tilberis passed away in 1999 after her battle with ovarian cancer.

Alexandra Shulman - 1992-2017

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.

Edward Enninful Confirmed As New British Vogue Editor

Edward Enninful has been confirmed as the new editor of British Vogue. Condé Nast International chairman and chief executive Jonathan Newhouse announced Alexandra Shulman's successor this morning, calling Enninful "an influential figure in the communities of fashion, Hollywood and music which shape the cultural zeitgeist", adding that "by virtue of his talent and experience, Edward is supremely prepared to assume the responsibility of British Vogue."

Enninful arrives at the title from his position as fashion and creative director at W Magazine, where he has been since 2011. He will start his new role on August 1st.

"Edward is an exceptionally talented stylist who will no doubt bring an exciting new creative aesthetic to the magazine," said Shulman today. "Every Vogue editor arrives with their own range of talents and experience and Edward is very known, respected and liked within the fashion industry. I look forward to finding out his plans as soon as possible and working with him over the next few months of transition so that British Vogue continues to be the leading magazine in this market."

Ghanaian-born Enninful spent his childhood in London where, aged 16, he was model-scouted and his fashion career began. Not long afterwards, he made the acquaintance of i-D founders Trish and Terry Jones and started assisting the publication, becoming the youngest ever fashion director for an international publication when he was promoted not long after, aged 18. His career to date has seen him work for Italian Vogue, American Vogue and most recently W Magazine, as well as consult on countless high-fashion campaigns.

While the fashion industry has long recognised his talent (he was awarded the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at the 2014 British Fashion Awards, one of many plaudits), the British monarchy has also acknowledged his contribution to fashion, making him OBE - Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire - last October. “Today is one of the most special days of my life. It is wonderful to be honoured by my country while surrounded by my family and closest friends,” said Enninful, who brought close friend Naomi Campbell as his companion to the event.

House Of Fraser Responds To Real Fur Claims

House Of Fraser has responded to claims in a Sky News investigationthat it has been selling real fur despite having a fur-free policy. The British high-street store was found to be selling a pair of gloves by one of its concessions, Moda in Pelle, which tests showed to be made of real animal fur.

“House of Fraser has a strict no fur policy and we ensure all of our suppliers and brand partners are aware of this," a spokesperson for House of Fraser told us this morning. "We would never knowingly mislead our customers, who we believe have the right to know what they purchasing. We are extremely concerned that fur can be mislabelled in this way, particularly for brands that we stock. Our customers want assurances that House of Fraser is not be complicit in such unnecessary suffering of animals and we take this issue very seriously and have communicated this to the brand in question."

The company also pointed out that "all products have been removed from sale and returned to the brand"; it "will offer a full refund on any purchases of this item previously made"; and it will be "launching a full brand partners and supplier engagement to ensure that they are reminded of our no fur policy".

While the brand has reacted quickly to the outcome of the investigation, the exposé of fur being sold through one of its concessions mirrors a similar case back in 2015, when it was revealed that another of its concessions, Silvian Heach, was selling a jacket with real fur trim. At the time, a statement from the brand said that it was notified "that the jacket in question was made of 100 per cent polyester and 100 nylon which we later understood was inaccurate".

In the most recent Sky News investigation, high-street store Missguided was also implicated. A pair of its pointed pumps sold were identified as "having pom-poms most consistent with rabbit fur" by fibres expert Phil Greaves. The brand, which also has a strict no-fur policy, removed the shoes after being informed of the investigation's findings. A spokesperson told Sky News: "We will be launching an internal investigation with the relevant suppliers and will ensure these matters are addressed urgently."

The revelation once again raises the larger question of transparency in the fashion chain, with increasing numbers of garments either not being labelled in the factories where they are being produced or worse labelled incorrectly.

"This is a problem in two ways," said Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International. "Firstly it's a problem for the animals who are suffering awful, deprived lives and excruciating deaths on fur farms and traps around the world to produce these products. And secondly, it's a problem for consumers, who are not being protected from unfair trading, who want to shop ethically and avoid the fur trade."

Meghan Markle Calls Time On Website

Meghan Markle announced this weekend that she is calling time on her lifestyle website, The Tig, after nearly three years.

"After close to three beautiful years on this adventure with you, it's time to say goodbye to The Tig," she wrote on the website. "What began as a passion project (my little engine that could) evolved into an amazing community of inspiration, support, fun and frivolity. You've made my days brighter and filled this experience with so much joy. Keep finding those Tig moments of discovery, keep laughing and taking risks, and keep being "the change you wish to see in the world. Above all, don't ever forget your worth - as I've told you time and time again: you, my sweet friend, you are enough. Thank you for everything."

Markle didn't go into reasons why she has decided to shutter the online platform, which was "dedicated to the love of travel, food, fashion and beauty", but speculation has inevitably settled around her relationship with Prince Harry, who she has been dating for nearly a year. There is, however, no doubt at the moment that she will continue with her humanitarian work, as well as with her role as Rachel on hit US drama Suits.

Last month the actress spoke out about the inequality she has faced while pursuing her career in Hollywood, from being mistakenly labelled on castings to having her features airbrushed in post-production. "For castings, I was labelled ‘ethnically ambiguous.’ Was I Latina? Sephardic? ‘Exotic Caucasian’?" she told Allure, adding: “Add the freckles to the mix and it created quite the conundrum."

Scarlett Johansson "Disappointed" With Ivanka Trump

Last month, Scarlett Johansson parodied Ivanka Trump in a Saturday Night Live skit, playing her in a spoof perfume advert while a voiceover stated “A feminist, an advocate, a champion for women", finishing “Complicit - the fragrance for the woman who can stop all this, but won't.” The actress has now spoken out about Trump following an interview that she gave earlier this week in which the president's daughter addressed accusations that she is "complicit".

“If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit,” Trump told CBS. “I don’t know what it means to be complicit but, you know, I hope time will prove that I have done a good job and much more importantly, that my father’s administration is the success that I know it will be.”

Reacting to Trump's quotes, Johansson - who noted that she has met Trump socially on several occasions and has found her to be "engaging" and "smart" - revealed her disappointment in what the businesswoman, who last week announced that she would be taking on an official unpaid role in the White House, had said.

“It’s such an old fashioned concept that to be a powerful woman you’re going to be seen as bitchy,” she said at the Women of the World conference, reports The Telegraph. “Well screw that. It’s so old fashioned, and uninspired, and really cowardly. I was so disappointed in that interview.”

“If you take a job as a public advocate then you must advocate, publicly. She said the biggest change she would make was behind closed doors. Well I thought to myself, that’s empowering,” Johansson said sarcastically. “How old fashioned. This idea that behind a great man is a great woman. How about being next to them?”

“I can’t imagine how complicated it must be to see your parents in that position," she continued. "But she has an opportunity to make an impact, just by being vocal."

Jil Sander Names New Creative Directors

Jil Sander has announced this morning that husband-and-wife designers Luke and Lucie Meier are taking the helm at the brand, confirming months of speculation and following the departure of Rodolfo Paglialunga last month.

While both have years of experience in the industry - Lucie has previously worked for Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton, before heading up, alongside Serge Ruffieux, the design studios at Dior under Raf Simons and taking the reins between his exit and Maria Grazia Chiruri's arrival, and Luke is the cofounder of menswear brand OAMC - this will be the first time that the couple has worked together.

"My mother is a big Jil Sander fan, those were the only designer clothes she would buy," Lucie told WWD as their appointment was unveiled. "That was my introduction to fashion. She would dress superchic in Jil Sander clothes and I liked their impact, how they would transform her."

As co-creative directors, the Meiers - who met at the Florence fashion school Polimoda - will work on both menswear and womenswear for the Milan-based fashion house, adopting the coed format, and their first offering will be the pre-collections in June.

“We feel proud and honoured to join this beautiful brand,” they said in a joint statement following the announcement. “We hope to show the affection we have for this brand through our work, as Jil Sander has had such a profound influence on our paths.”

The brand's chief executive Alessandra Bettari said of the new appointment that “the creation of very clever collections” could be expected from the Meiers' leadership, given their "vision which is modern, cohesive, and in touch with what is relevant now.”

Their predecessor, Paglialunga, had been creative director at the fashion house for three years - having taken over from the label's eponymous founder - and showed his last collection for the house at Milan Fashion Week in February.

"We decided to terminate our professional journey with Rodolfo Paglialunga together with the designer himself," Bettari said at the time. "We want to deeply thank Paglialunga for his great job at Jil Sander and the respect he paid to the brand's DNA".

Friday, April 7, 2017

Massimo Giorgetti Departs Emilio Pucci

Massimo Giorgetti is stepping down as creative director of Emilio Pucci. The designer will leave the house at the end of April, WWD reported, to focus his attentions on his own brand, MSGM, founded in 2009.

“This experience with Emilio Pucci, one of the most representative and historic brands in fashion, was an inspiring journey, which has also contributed to my professional growth,” explained Giorgetti. “Today, my brand needs more and more of my attention and all my energy. I would like to thank Laudomia Pucci, the LVMH Group, Mauro Grimaldi and all the Emilio Pucci’s team, for supporting me in this beautiful adventure.”

CEO Mauro Grimaldi announced today that the designer's departure came after a mutual decision was reached not to renew Giorgetti's initial three-year contract with the LVMH-owned brand.

“We have decided in total agreement to end the partnership,” said Grimaldi, “I would like to thank, personally and on behalf of the company, Massimo Giorgetti for the great professionalism shown during these two years of collaboration.”

Giorgetti succeeded Peter Dundas when he joined the company in 2015, following in the footsteps of designers including Matthew Williamson and Christian Lacroix. His penchant for print and vibrant hues aimed to guide Pucci towards a youthful feel for the brand.

Giorgetti’s final collection for Pucci will be resort 2018. A successor is yet to be announced.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Pepsi Pulls Its Kendall Jenner Ad

Pepsi has withdrawn its latest ad featuring Kendall Jenner after a wave of backlash. The company apologised for the commercial, which showed Jenner attending a protest and handing a can of Pepsi to one of the policemen controlling the march.

"Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologise," a statement from the brand said. "We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologise for putting Kendall Jenner in this position."

The model hasn't yet commented about her part in the ad, but has deleted the tweets that she shared earlier in the week to promote it. Jenner will likely be hoping that she's able to draw a line under her involvement in the furore now the ads have been removed.

Chanel Finally Breaks Its Silence On Those Hedi Slimane Rumours

It´s one of fashion's most persistent rumours, returning cyclically with just a few details altered like an urban myth: Karl Lagerfeld - vocal supporter of Heidi Slimane (a man whose clothes he loved so passionately, he lost 90lbs in order to be able wear his Dior Homme suits) - was said to be grooming him as his Chanel heir apparent.

As the whispers would have it, the plan was to bring Slimane, who garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success at Dior Homme and Saint Laurent, on board to oversee Chanel menswear - an underdeveloped area of the business and one ripe with possibilities. Then, after some time working side by side, it was said that Lagerfeld would prepare Slimane to take over when, eventually, the time was right.

It sounded like such a neat plan, and one that many wanted to will into fruition. But, it seems, our fantasies were not to be. “The house of Chanel has no projects with Hedi Slimane,” the company told WWD today, adding, “Chanel doesn’t work on the launch of a Chanel menswear collection.”

A very final no, by the sounds of it, and yet we’d bet our bottom dollar the rumours won’t go away.

Meet The 2017 Fashion Fund Winners

Two  winners will share this year’s BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund prize: Mother of Pearl and Palmer//harding, it was announced tonight at Regent Street’s Hotel Café Royal. The two London-based brands will share the first prize since the Fund opened up its £200,000 prize fund to be shared by up to three recipients.

The winners – who were deemed to be at a “pivotal stage” in their growth and development - will still receive a full mentoring programme through the BFC’s Business Support team, including access to industry experts, as well as a share of the prize money.

“I am delighted that Amy, and Levi and Matthew, will be beneficiaries of this year’s award,” Alexandra Shulman, editor-in-chief of British Vogue and chair of the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, said tonight. “Mother of Pearl and Palmer//harding are very different in terms of the clothes they offer and the way they operate, but both convinced us that we were backing brands with strong potential who understood how they could grow and who had an exciting vision.”

The two winning British labels triumphed over a strong field of fellow designers: Huishan Zhang, Osman, Shrimps, Sophie Hulme and Toogood. As well as Vogue and the British Fashion Council, the Fund is supported by Burberry, Harrods, LABEL, Paul Smith and Topshop.

How To Take A Great Profile Picture

Whether you're a fan or not, there's no denying: Melania Trump takes a pretty mean picture. With her powerful stance and windswept locks, she looks pretty much the opposite of most of us as soon as a camera is pointed in our direction. Never fear, we have elicited the advice of Vogue's resident street-style photographer, GarconJon's Jonathan Pryce, to try to improve our pose and poise - and perhaps learn a few lighting tips - so we can get the shot at home armed with just an iPhone and a willing friend.

Find The Best Light

Lighting is 90 per cent of what makes a great photograph. Maybe even 100 per cent. Often moving a few feet in one direction can completely change the look and feeling of an image. As a general rule, direct light is harsh and less flattering then soft filtered light. If you have a moment that you want to capture, take a minute to look around and see where the best light falls. If you're taking a portrait outside, look for a large white wall to use as a reflector to make even light. Often glass buildings can create interesting effects when the sun is bouncing off. Getting as much light as possible when you're indoors is key for a strong photograph. Use a room with many windows and lots of natural light rather than turning on more lamps. For me, the best light is actually not where you'd expect (see next tip).

Find A Shadow

My favourite type of light is found in the shadows. On a bright, sunny day it's excellent to photograph in the shade of a building or inside, by a window. Standing the subject on the edge of the light with the darkest point behind the subject will mean the person will be illuminated perfectly.

Find A Window

It's a well-known Kardashian fact, that all selfies must be taken in front of a window. N.B. This means facing the window, not the window behind you. Using the shade in the background creates the most flattering contrast and usually makes for an even skintone.

Act Natural

It's one of the hardest things to do when someone raises a camera, but the more natural you look, the stronger the image. This means less pouting and posing. Try walking with hands in your pockets, leaning against a wall or getting a friend to make fun of the subject while being photographed in order to get a true reaction. Note that sensitive subjects may prefer not to participate in ridicule.

Use Your Location

If you're shooting spontaneously, think about how to use the whole space. Back up from the subject and take in what's around, rather than focusing only on the person in the frame. The more you do this, the more you'll start to see great locations as you go through life. Maybe make a mental note of interesting locations on your commute to work and start to incorporate them in your photography going forward.

Take Many Photographs

We live in a digital age and not restrained by spools of film and cost of developing. Take many images until you think you have the right one.

Be Selective

The previous tip can only be used in conjunction with this. Take the time to look through all the images you've taken and select the best one. The editing process is as important as the shooting process. Remember you're only as good as your last picture, so select the best of the best and be ruthless.

Shoot From The Hip

When taking a full-length portrait, hold the camera near to hip height. That way the person will be proportional from head to toe.

Use Your Apps

We have so many incredible apps at our disposal, take some time to learn what they do and how to use them. Apps like Snapseed are excellent at editing smartphone images on the go, with selective adjustments meaning minor changes can be made to exposure, contrast and colour in the most specific of areas.

Don't Over-Edit

Yes, use the tools at your disposal but approach with caution. Too much and it can look like a student project. We all have an idea of what we'd like to look like but let's be honest, no one has a completely flat pancake face. If you must use Facetune, make the adjustments as subtle as possible. My preference is using light (see above) and angles to create a flattering image, rather than fixing after the image has been taken.

Have Fun

We live in a time with more cameras at our disposal than ever before. Enjoy the experience, follow your instinct and take photographs of things that inspires you. If you love what you're doing, others will too.

Balmain Sets Its Sights On Your Casual Wardrobe

Balmain has enlisted a new CEO to replace 17-year veteran Emmanuel Diemoz. Massimo Piombini, whose appointment takes immediate effect, aims to take the company’s aesthetic to an even broader audience. Fans of the brand may wonder how it might be possible to reach any wider than £5,000 dresses and an H&M collaboration, but the new regime sees the brand entering the most casual areas of your wardrobe - including the denim it used to be famous for during Christophe Decarnin's tenure - as well as your partywear.

“We want to rethink casual luxury. We want to put more denims, we want to bring more jersey in the collection, knitwear - something more casual, but still keeping it couture and luxury,” creative director Olivier Rousteing told WWD. “You know the Balmain customer for being really rock n roll or hip-hop style or pop star, but I think we’re going to open Balmain to different kinds of ages, different kinds of men, and this is really important. I’m known for the superstar Balmain, but I think now it’s time for Balmain to show another aspect, and this is what excites me.”

As well as helping Rousteing bring more “fragility” and “romanticism” to the usually unapologetically fierce and powerful Balmain woman, Piombini - who has previously held executive positions at Valentino and Gucci – is overhauling the company’s retail structure, as well as focusing on the growth of the brand’s new accessories.

“For us, it’s not difficult to open stores, but it’s more difficult to make stores work, so to make stores work we need the proper concept, the proper retail format, the proper retail culture overall. And this is something that Olivier and I will build together for Balmain’s future,” Piombini said. “There is a great opportunity in the market. Balmain is one of the best hidden secrets, because it’s not developed at full potential yet, and so with the support of Olivier and a structure that we have and that we are going to reinforce, I think we’re going to have a great future.”

Jenna Lyons To Leave J Crew

After 26 years at J Crew, Jenna Lyons is to depart her role as creative director and president, Business of Fashion reports.

Speaking of her time rising through the ranks at the US retailer, Lyons said: "It has been beyond my wildest dreams to work with such an amazing team of people at such an incredible brand and alongside Mickey — one of retail’s most talented visionaries... I am excited about the next chapter for J Crew as well as the opportunity for other creative leaders within the organisation to step up and take on new responsibilities.”

Millard "Mickey" Drexler, J Crew chief executive, said that the decision for Lyons's departure came after the pair "agreed it was time for a change," with no hard feelings being held.

Lyons joined the company in 1990 became president in 2010, said that her departure offered "other creative leaders within the organisation to step up and take on new responsibilities. Having spent the better part of my life with J Crew, I feel an immense pride and love for everyone at the company.”

Somsack Sikhounmuong, current J Crew women’s head of design, has been promoted to chief design officer and will oversee womenswear, menswear and childrenswear teams with immediate effect.

With Lyons at the helm J Crew has amassed a huge influence on the market, impacting wardrobes in its native America and overseas. Reinvigorating classic preppy Americana pieces with sprightly colours and rich embellishment, Lyons created a signature style that felt as at home in the White House (Michelle Obama was often seen in a J Crew design) as it did in the homes of everyday Americans. With few wearing the styles better than Lyons herself. It is yet to be announced where Lyons's next venture lies.