Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Christopher Bailey To Leave Burberry

Christopher Bailey will leave Burberry at the end of 2018, the company has announced today.

"It has been the great privilege of my working life to be at Burberry, working alongside and learning from such an extraordinary group of people over the last 17 years. Burberry encapsulates so much of what is great about Britain. As an organisation, it is creative, innovative and outward looking. It celebrates diversity and challenges received wisdoms. It is over 160 years old, but it has a young spirit," Bailey said of the fashion house that he joined in 2001 and is currently president and chief creative officer of, in a statement released by the brand this morning. "It is part of the establishment, but it is always changing, and always learning. It has been a truly inspiring place to work and the decision to leave was not an easy one. I do truly believe, however, that Burberry’s best days are still ahead of her and that the company will go from strength to strength with the strategy we have developed and the exceptional talent we have in place led by Marco. I would like to thank all my colleagues as well as Sir John Peace and the Board for all their support and faith in me over the years. I am excited to pursue new creative projects but remain fully committed to the future success of this magnificent brand and to ensuring a smooth transition."

The brand confirmed that Bailey will remain in his roles until March 31 2018, when he will step down from the board. He will then continue to provide support to chief executive officer Marco Gobbetti and the team on the transition until the end of the year. Having joined the fashion house as design director, he was promoted to chief creative officer and CEO in 2014 but handed the reins of the latter position to Gobbetti last year. Prior to Burberry, Bailey - who graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1994 - worked at Donna Karan and Gucci.

Gobbetti said this morning of the departure: "Burberry has undergone an incredible transformation since 2001 and Christopher has been instrumental to the company’s success in that period. While I am sad not to have the opportunity to partner with him for longer, the legacy he leaves and the exceptional talent we have at Burberry give me enormous confidence in our future. We have a clear vision for the next chapter to accelerate the growth and success of the Burberry brand and I am excited about the opportunity ahead for our teams, our partners and our shareholders."

Five Designers To Know From Russia Fashion Week

Thanks to stars like Demna Gvasalia and Gosha Rubchinskiy, post-Soviet fashion is garnering more international attention than ever. But there’s much more to the region’s design scene than a few superstar names. At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, which just wrapped up in Moscow, we saw collections from a handful of designers poised for global success. Here are the names to know.

Alexandr Rogov

You may not have heard his name, but Alexandr Rogov is a big deal in Russia, with a successful career as a stylist and his very own TV show. Now, he’s trying his hand as a designer. Following a favorably reviewed catwalk collection last season, he’s back with a more finely-tuned and wearable sensibility. It was a quirky mix of athleisure separates (sweatshirts, tracksuit-inspired trousers), and feminine styles (mini skirts with ruffles, silk dresses, prim blazers) in a pink, teal and purple palette that felt particularly of the moment. No surprise, Rogov had fun with the styling, adding stretchy logo-ed bands to waists, hems and heads. While at times the show felt a little derivative (those logo-ed bands owe a little something to Dior, the ruffles to Saint Laurent), Rogov’s items will have undeniable appeal in stores - which is no small thing for an emerging designer with an eye on solvency. Particularly cool - and destined to sell out - were the sweatshirts and T-shirt emblazoned with the word “hate” in glitter, and the matching denim jacket and trousers stitched with sequins.

Alisa Kuzembaeva

Alisa Kuzembaeva studied architecture before switching her focus to fashion. A Central Saint Martins and Royal College of Art womenswear graduate, her designs hit that sweet spot between conceptual and covetable. Case in point: Her Spring 2018 collection was a meditation on a Russian phrase which can be translated to “packaged woman.” “On one hand, [it can refer to] a wealthy woman, so it’s kind of like flourishing capitalism,” she explained. “But on the other hand, it can also mean a traditional woman, it’s kind of like the woman as an object.” Kuzembaeva looked to food packaging for inspiration, rendering smock-like dresses and roomy anoraks in shiny, plastic-like materials. Some even came stamped with a barcode and nutritional information. “My collection is trying to make an ironic representation of the patriarchal society, to try to empower women,” she said. But for all the high-minded ethos behind it, the collection was plenty wearable, even practical.

Mach & Mach

For Georgian sisters Nina and Gvantsa Macharashvili, of the Katy Perry-endorsed label Mach & Mach, this collection was about much more than fashion. “It’s really an SOS for every human being that we need to change and protect our oceans,” said Gvantsa. The duo worked with crystals, glitter and shiny plastics to symbolize and celebrate water’s beauty. The looks - clingy net dresses that shimmered in black and red, and sheer dresses adorned with ruffles, embroidery and sequins - were well-crafted and appealing. Particularly attractive were the accessories, including statement purses in the shape of bombs and mules made out of iridescent plastic.

Turbo Yulia

Yulia Vorobieva got her big break in 2014 when Opening Ceremony picked up her futuristic helmets and caps. Since then, she’s expanded into ready-to-wear, releasing small capsule collections in drops throughout the year. Her latest fuses utility-wear with the Nineties-influenced aesthetic she’s already known for. Standouts included a bright yellow parka with reflective tape and an oversize concert t-shirt-cum-dress on which you can just make out the faces of the Backstreet Boys. “The collection is inspired by what I remember of the Nineties, the Russian underground raver scene,” she said. “There’s also been massive construction going on in Moscow for a few years so I got inspired by that as well.”

Artem Shumov

Menswear label Artem Shumov has been a mainstay - and highlight - of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia for some years now. And it shows: Amid many newcomers, Shumov’s label stands out for its well-developed point of view, consistent aesthetic and immaculate construction. He’s best known for tailored separates and suits with idiosyncratic details, like an elastic hem. This season, he mined Russia’s past and present for reference points. “Spring 2018 is a story about a young man, who has just got back home from some party,” he said. “He can be a modern fashionista or a lyceum student from Alexander Pushkin’s times. I was interested in how the idea of rich ‘trust fund’ kids evolved through history. The energy, curiosity, rules, sins and romances of adolescence are all very inspiring.”

Valentino Visits Tokyo, As Pierpaolo Piccioli Talks "Diversifying" Sportswear

At the opening of his sporty Valentino pop-up store in Tokyo, Pierpaolo Piccioli tells Vogue's Anders Christian Madsen how he finds diversity and unification in sportswear, and reflects on his intentions beyond fashion.

Pierpaolo Piccioli is showing me a video of Naomi Campbell and himself giving their all at karaoke the night before we meet in his Valentino pop-up store on a street corner in Harajuku. He’s a fan of the karaoke in Shibuya – “it has to be the room from Lost In Translation” – and Naomi happened to be in town. The creative director of Valentino first came to Tokyo fifteen years ago and fell in love with what he calls “the idea of classic culture mixed with extreme modernity.” Now he’s back for one of the sporadic events Valentino rolls out around the globe every year. This one, a pop-up store based on the luxe tracksuits of his sporty Resort 2018 collection, complete with basketballs, caps and water bottles branded “VLTN”, the house’s newest monogram. “This place is a new way of seeing Valentino; of getting the idea of couture and the traditions of the house, but pushing them into a different world,” he reflects.

"There’s something worrying about this reactionary world. I don’t like the intolerance. I like the freedom of being whoever you are."

Events in non-Western parts of the world have become standard practice for the big fashion houses; a way of keeping in touch with their global markets. But for the contemplative Piccioli, taking his show on the road is more than a clever business trick. “I always felt that fashion had a social responsibility, so delivering values you believe in is an opportunity to try to change people’s perceptions. It gives a sense to what I do — the hope that it can be more than just a piece of fabric.” A year ago, he invited me to Moscow for a similar Valentino happening on what proved to be a momentous day. There’s no way Piccioli could have planned it, but just hours after Donald Trump won the election on November 8th, we arrived in the country that played such a significant part in his campaign. That night, surrounded by likely Trump supporters in an upmarket restaurant in Moscow, Piccioli arrived casually wearing a cap with the slogan “Fuck Donald Trump.”

He still has it, he assures me, although his Tokyo cap of choice is an electric pink number he’s picked up from one of the stores in Harajuku — a more optimistic gesture on Piccioli’s part. “I didn’t expect anything good from what happened a year ago, so it didn’t surprise me,” he says, reflecting on the year that’s passed since our visit to Moscow. “That’s why we have to say every day, if we believe in freedom we have to work for freedom. I feel like I have to deliver with the collection the values I believe in: diversity and freedom. One year later, I think you have to fight for what you already have. You have to deliver through fashion the values of not only clothes. It’s a way to reflect what you believe in.” It was true for his spring/summer 2018 show in Paris last month, a highly philosophical Space Age collection that pictured the world we live in “from a Moonish perspective,” as Piccioli told me at the time.

His starting point was a conversation with his twenty-year-old daughter Benedetta, who had come across the poem Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto in her current studies. Written in 1532, it signified the first time the Moon was referenced as a physical place. “Every collection for me is born with a reflection about the moment I’m living in, and talking to her about this idea of the Moon as a second opportunity, as described in Orlando Furioso,was a starting point for me to reflect on a new perspective on Valentino, given all the things you already know in fashion. It’s a new opportunity to be seen in a different way,” the fifty-year-old designer tells me. His children with his wife, Simona Caggia, also count a son, Pietro, aged eighteen, and a younger daughter, Stella, aged eleven. “Having discussions with them makes me see things through their eyes, which are fresher than mine — less thoughtful, more immediate,” Piccioli notes and laughs.

“My daughters like fashion,” he notes, “but my son is not interested at all. I have the most conservative son. Maybe it’s a reaction to his father,” he quips. Piccioli doesn’t say it, but through his children he is given access to that most elusive of current phenomena: the millennial perspective, a generational point of view that turns stone to gold in the contemporary fashion climate. With their savvy social media ways, they’ve done exactly that to the sportswear sphere Valentino has now zoned in on for their Japanese outing — a contrast, perhaps, to the house’s haute couture disposition? “Yeah, but I don’t think couture is old. I think it’s a human approach to fashion,” Piccioli argues, noting that the white stitching on his Resort 2018 tracksuits were lifted from the hidden process of the couture craft. In Moscow last year, no doubt fuelled by the election that had just taken place, Piccioli reflected on his role as couturier in a contemporary world.

“There’s something worrying about this reactionary world. I don’t like the intolerance, the giving people boxes to stay in. I like freedom of being whoever you are,” he told me at the time. “My whole job at this house today is about individuality and evaluating diversity. Couture talks about a one-of-a-kind uniqueness. It’s about valuing diversity, and in this moment I think it’s super important to talk about diversity as beauty.” A year on, in Tokyo, he’s found the same message in the sportswear, which the millennial generation values as highly as haute couture. “In a way sport is the most universal culture, because it’s not divided into races, sexes or ages. Sport is for everybody,” Piccioli says. “I like it when something is so universal because then it can become very individual. Offering items like a tracksuit, a t-shirt, or a sweatshirt means you can wear them with your own personal style. It’s not a way of uniforming people, but an opportunity to diversify them.”

It’s the hyper-individuality inherent to the young people Valentino’s pop-up store in Tokyo is inevitably targeting, its Internet-like VLTN branding in tow, and an increasingly global spirit of a generation with a mindset set on change. “Sometimes we try to describe the new generation giving them tax. But I think they actually are exactly like this. They don’t care. They just are the way they are,” Piccioli says. “I like their freedom: just being the way they are, floating along with no boundaries.” On the backdrop of Tokyo, with all the futuristic Blade Runner and Ghost In the Shell associations it currently carries, this designer found the perfect scene to play out the humanist philosophies his era of Valentino has come to define. “I think Tokyo perfectly reflects the idea of transition as a starting point for modernity,” Piccioli points out, and no words could be a better conclusion to the newest chapter in his worldly Valentino conquests.

The #VLTNTokyo pop-up store runs until 19 November at QC CUBE, 4-21-8 Jingumae Shibuya-ku Tokyo.

The High-Street Bridalwear Launch Inspired By Bianca Jagger And Kate Moss

French Connection is the latest high-street brand to jump on the affordable bridalwear bus, with a spring/summer 2018 offering set to launch in February 2018.

“In recent years, we’ve seen customers making purchases from French Connection's main collections for their weddings,” design director, Maria Chen, told Vogue exclusively ahead of the launch. “Shoppers are able to buy affordable pieces in every other category except bridal, so it felt like a natural progression to launch a wedding capsule. With the growing trend of wedding dresses that don’t blow the budget, as well as bride’s wearing multiple outfits on the day, the idea was welcomed by our inner circle of brides-to-be.”

So, what can we expect from the £65 to £250 edit? Inspiration came from the wedding gowns of celebrity muses, such as Poppy Delevingne, Kate Moss and Bianca Jagger. Our moodboard was filled with the details that made their bridalwear special,” Chen elaborated. “For example, Poppy and Kate’s beading, Bianca’s tailored separates.”

The standout pieces, according to Chen, are the Cari dress, £250, which “features voluminous sleeves for a very romantic, bohemian silhouette”, the Palermo dress, £295, with “intricate detailing on the bodice and flowing skirts”, and the Comino shirt, £65, and Arta lace trousers, £120, which will appeal to directional brides-to-be.

Thom Browne: My Shows "Are Not As Intellectual As People Think"

Thom Browne has long had a penchant for the theatrical. On the catwalk, he’s conjured up Victorian-era zombie brides with powdered faces and absurdly comedic tropical bird-people next to surfers at the beach. But for his Parisian womenswear debut, Browne upped the ante, even by his standards, greeting guests with a pair of majestic creatures—half-crustacean, half-cosmonaut— resembling blobs of chewed gum, playing the Little Mermaid soundtrack and unleashing a giant tulle unicorn operated by two model puppeteers, which quickly became the highlight of fashion month.

But as any customer of the designer knows, what Browne exhibits at his otherworldly and at-times bizarre shows bears little resemblance to the striped cardigans and button-down shirts one typically finds at more than 200 stores that carry his wares. Why is that? “I feel the shows should be conceptual. They should tell a story, and they should make the more plastic things that you do seem more interesting,” the soft-spoken Browne tells Vogue from his seat at the waterbar in the basement of the Parisian concept store Colette, where he is staging a takeover during the month of October. “I have a strong and classic part of what I do… what people see when they come to the showroom. There’s no reason I need to show that.”

Since establishing his label in 2001, Browne has been awarded, in addition to the CFDA’s Menswear Designer of the Year prize in 2016, 2013 and 2006, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in 2012, as well as the GQDesigner of the Year in 2008. By popularising the slim-and-shrunken silhouette in the Noughties, he launched a revolution in menswear that has transformed men’s tailoring more than anyone else since Giorgio Armani.

Though he’s been showing menswear in Paris for the past seven years, Browne only moved his womenswear show to Paris this season. With womenswear now contributing a third of total sales for the brand, he needed a bigger stage. “It wasn’t really about wanting to leave New York per se,” Browne says. “It does seem that there’s a bigger audience. And also an audience that appreciates more of the conceptual side of what I do.” Last year, Sandbridge Capital, the private equity firm, purchased a majority stake in the company from Stripe International, the Japanese investment firm. The company also appointed Rodrigo Bazan, formerly president of Alexander Wang, as the chief executive to expand the business, focussing on womenswear.

But unlike his Parisian counterparts, who might reference essays, films or the political climate in their collection notes, Browne often forgoes the highbrow in favour of the mundane. In fact, he’s often amused that critics dedicate so much of their time to interpreting his work. “For me, some of my inspirations are very sophomoric, and are not as intellectual as people think they are,” he says. “The idea of this show is the very simple idea of two little girls dreaming: it’s what I thought of when I would think of two little girls dreaming. It was true fantasy, including unicorns, and mermaids, so it was a very charming kid’s story.”

Though the references can be superficial or light-hearted, “the clothing is not a joke,” Browne assures us. “I am very serious about how the clothes are made, and the quality of what people see. Because I think that’s more of the fashion.” So never mind what the critics say, what was the real theme behind his Parisian womenswear debut? “The simple idea—not simple in actualising it—but the simple idea of taking my classic American fabrics and redeveloping it all in a fabric that I thought was very French, which was the tulle. And then also utilising tulle in a way that I don’t think is used very much, in a very tailored way.”

It’s hard to believe Browne didn’t train to be a fashion designer. Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Browne attended the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, where he studied economics and competed in long-distance freestyle races on the swim team. By chance, Browne found himself in the fashion industry after moving to New York in 1997, working in Giorgio Armani’s showroom before being discovered by Ralph Lauren, who hired him as a designer at Club Monaco after seeing Browne wearing one of his signature suits.

Today, Browne wouldn’t be caught in anything but a three-piece suit—except when he’s running—but he confesses he wasn’t born wearing a tie. During his Notre Dame days, “it was more grey flannels, khakis and navy jackets,” he divulges. After university and before moving to New York, Browne lived in Los Angeles, where he tried his hand at acting, and it was there on the West Coast that he developed a devotion to grey suits.

For those unfamiliar with Browne’s predilection for tailoring, it’s not enough that he wears the suits himself—the individuals he employs dress just like him too. Upstairs, where preparations are underway for a cocktail reception later that evening, a dozen or so men and women dressed in Browne’s uniforms are scattered across the shop floor. Soon, Sarah Andelman, the co-founder and creative director of Colette, will change into a Thom Browne suit of her own.

I observe that they all look the same. “We don’t look the same,” he interjects. “For me, I think there is something very strong and very individual and unique about uniforms,” he explains. “I think it does really showcase each person’s individuality. Look at us: we are wearing the same thing, but we look very different, and we are all very different people. I think that’s a very strong message.”

Celebrating 50 Years Of The Levi's Trucker Jacket

This month, Levi’s celebrated the 50th anniversary of its trucker jacket by inviting 50 close creative friends and collaborators (a cross-section of fashionable culture from Vogue Paris’ Emmanuelle Alt to legendary Belgian design duo AF Vandevorst) to redesign its landmark denim piece. The brand toasted it with an exhibition and party in West Hollywood. On the bill: Snoop Dogg DJing and sets by Solange and Chance the Rapper.

Naturally I was honoured to help them celebrate, and in packing came across a completely obscured version of the jacket I forgot I had, originally belonging to my late father. Mercifully returned by an ex- boyfriend a couple of years ago, the jacket bears a label reading “Made in Australia” and family legend has it that the curiously-textured suede is that of kangaroo. I romantically hold on to the notion, and can partially support it with admittedly cursory research.

A quick history lesson on the trucker: born in 1967 as the third generation of the Levi Strauss jean jacket, the trucker was gifted its name by a Japanese market who characterised the classic piece of Americana as typical garb of coast-to-coast truck drivers. Mostly (but not always) hewn of denim, the trucker’s defining features include the diagonal seams beneath each pocket that taper in a chevron to the hem. The same year, that of the nostalgia-steeped Summer of Love, saw George Harrison gather a crowd of followers as he wore his own trucker to visit a relative in San Francisco.

The denim jacket belongs to American pop culture as much, if not more than the blue jean. From Martin Sheen’s Badlands bad boy to Madonna in early incarnation as ingénue starlet, the garment has been a canvas for countless reinventions and projections of youthful, earnest bravado. Indeed it doggedly persists into modernity: Levi’s newest evolution of the trucker comes fashioned in jacquard, a groundbreaking new fabric developed with Google incorporating an intelligent yarn that can read and act upon a wearer’s movement; a still-nascent technology but with untold possibilities for the future. So wherein lies the longevity of the garment? Perhaps it is the well-built nature of the piece. Proven in endless destroyed and deconstructed versions: you can bleach, you can shred, you can wash with stones and the denim will never break - at least not enough to withstand at least one more inheritance.

And so I inherited my father’s trucker, one even tougher and (purportedly) made from a suede 10-times stronger than cowhide. I hope it went with him to the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 and to countless gatherings of mods on Brighton beach he grew up on. I might only have worn it with pseudo-grit to a glamorous gala for its own golden anniversary, but I know enough to say it will mean something else to someone again, somewhere down the line.

The Fashion Awards 2017: Meet The Nominees

The nominees for the 2017 Fashion Awards in partnership with Swarovskihave been revealed ahead of the December 4 ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall. “These designers and brands were chosen from hundreds of international names and they represent the most creative talent and innovative businesses of the year,” BFC chairwoman Natalie Massenet told press at this morning’s briefing. As well as the household names on the list, a handful of industry favourites, including London Fashion Week’s bright young things Michael Halpern and Matty Bovan and Samuel Ross, a protégé of Virgil Abloh’s, have received their first nominations. Breakout runway star of the spring/summer 2018 shows, Kaia Gerber, has also been recognised in the Model of the Year category, and is the youngest of her catwalk colleagues in the shortlist.

British Emerging Talent - Menswear

Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty for Cottweiler
Charles Jeffrey for Charles Jeffrey Loverboy
Henry Holland for House of Holland
Phoebe English for Phoebe English Man
Samuel Ross for A-Cold-Wall*

British Emerging Talent - Womenswear

Faustine Steinmetz for Faustine Steinmetz
Matty Bovan for Matty Bovan
Michael Halpern for Halpern
Natalia Alaverdian for A.W.A.K.E
Rejina Pyo for Rejina Pyo

Business Leader

Adrian Joffe for Dover Street Market
Guram Gvasalia for Vetements
José Neves for Farfetch
Marco Bizzarri for Gucci
Ruth and Tom Chapman for Matchesfashion.com

Model of the Year

Adwoa Aboah
Bella Hadid
Gigi Hadid
Kaia Gerber
Winnie Harlow

The SS18 Model Awards

Urban Luxe Brand
Fenty Puma by Rihanna
Gosha Rubchinskiy

Accessories Designer of the Year

Alessandro Michele for Gucci
Anthony Vaccarello for Saint Laurent
Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga
Jonathan Anderson for Loewe
Stuart Vevers for Coach

British Designer of the Year - Menswear

Christopher Bailey MBE for Burberry
Craig Green for Craig Green
Grace Wales Bonner for Wales Bonner
Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson
Martine Rose for Martine Rose

British Designer of the Year - Womenswear

Christopher Kane for Christopher Kane
Erdem Moralioglu for Erdem
Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson
Roksanda Ilincic for Roksanda

Designer of the Year

Alessandro Michele for Gucci
Jonathan Anderson for Loewe
Maria Grazia Chiuri for Dior
Phoebe Philo for Céline
Raf Simons for Calvin Klein

Rendez-Vogue: Demna Gvasalia

The first in a series of casual interviews, Vetements and Balenciaga designer Demna Gvasalia opens up to Vogue’s fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen about his new lifestyle and the chaotic shoot to fashion fame that went before it.

A traditional Parisian restaurant in the 7eme wasn’t what I had expected when I asked Demna Gvasalia to take me to lunch in late August. He turns up looking ever the rock star, in a graphic geo-print prototype Balenciaga shell jacket and matching cap pulled down halfway over his eyes. “You brought me out of this no-press hibernation period,” he reminds me. In the past year the Vetements designer has evaded the in-depth conversations of the first part of his career in the spotlight, a skyrocket, which – mad as it sounds to anyone with a wardrobe full of his impossibly long-sleeved hoodies and artisanal jeans – only took off in 2014. In January this year, he amazed his industry by relocating Vetements to Zurich (of all places) with his brother Guram Gvasalia, the brand’s CEO. “My lifestyle changed completely in one year. I’m a different Demna now,” he declares, and orders a fresh lemon tea. The brand had become a banner leader for a new avant-garde youth in Paris and around the world, thanks to a social-media generation of millennial streetwear worshippers, whose hearts Gvasalia’s subversive designs pierced at the right time and place.

His adoptive home wasn’t the catalyst for the reformed Swiss lifestyle the 36-year-old designer now swears by, with all the runs by the lake, vegetarianism and no-alcohol-or-cigarettes policies it has entailed. It was the solution. “I felt suffocated by that new wave that we became part of with Vetements. It got to the point where I got fucking bored of it; being associated with nightclubs, Paris youth, the gang,” he admits. “It’s great, but I felt Vetements grew out of it, partly due to the commercial success but mainly because we grew in every way. I felt we needed to get out of it, but it’s a good thing it now exists, for others to evolve it further.” The out-of-nowhere rise of Vetements – and Gvasalia as the star-is-born designer – resonated with a new order in the fashion establishment, where houses suddenly dared to hire emerging or unknown designers (beginning with Alessandro Michele at Gucci, and followed by Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent) and rogue cult brands rapidly took centre stage (Off-White, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Koché, to name a few).

"I felt suffocated by that new wave that we became part of with Vetements. It got to the point where I got fucking bored of it".

Gvasalia became creative director at Balenciaga in that process, and he’s meeting me between fittings – Le Petit Lutetia is down the road from those ateliers. A charming (and suspiciously fashionable) restaurant decked out in Belle Epoque mirrors, wooden screens and the occasional palm tree. “It’s not just because it’s close to Balenciaga,” he insists. “I actually come here on the weekends when I’m in Paris.” Now in a long-term relationship with Loïk Gomez, a metal musician who sometimes walks his men’s shows, Gvasalia is about to move out of his old bachelor pad on Rue Saint-Martin, which has a view to Jean Paul Gaultier’s office, and which he took out at the height of his Prince Bertie-worthy Parisian debauchery years. “I can’t any more. We have people getting run over in the street at seven in the morning. It’s so loud. Plus, I can’t listen to music loud because of neighbours,” Gvasalia says, eyes rolling. His new home away from Zurich? Bois de Boulogne, where he showed his last Balenciaga men’s collection, and “where there’s no outside noise and I can play music as loud as I want”.

So perhaps this trendy bistro wasn’t so misrepresentative of the new Demna Gvasalia after all. The food arrives: parma ham, melon and king crab for the writer; tomato salad and an enormous artichoke for Gvasalia, the awkward desirability of which could easily be a metaphor for the garments he makes. Trying to be ladylike fiddling with the leafy alien, he breaks into laughter. “I feel like Audrey Hepburn!” Is this his life now, then, elegantly nipping at artichoke leaves in bourgeois Parisian establishments? “No,” he says. “My life is happy now.” Was there a time he wasn’t? “Yeah. Remember the show I did in the church?” Gvasalia pauses, referring to his autumn/winter 2016 show with the famous slogan jumper, “May The Bridges I Burn Light My Way.” “That was the heaviest time I ever experienced. A lot of shit was going on in my private life and I didn’t really know what I wanted. In my professional life I was doing what I loved doing, but I had a relationship that didn’t work,” he reflects. “A lot of things changed for me when I started doing two jobs and having less time for friends; taking a healthier path changed my relationships with people.”

Being “the coolest man in Paris”, as I called him when I first met Gvasalia at the dawn of the super-fame that would hit him like an avalanche of groupies, would become a claustrophobic box to live in. Alongside his fellow fashion Soviets – the designer Gosha Rubchinskiy and the stylist Lotta Volkova – he inadvertently became the poster boy for a trend that was simply part of his roots, growing up in Georgia’s now-separatist Abkhazia region and fleeing civil war on a donkey over the Caucasus Mountains at age 14 – a harrowing childhood story too heartbreaking for this jovial lunch to do justice. “Sometimes I have to tell my boyfriend about this period of my life he doesn’t know about. Georgia, the mountains, selling Kalashnikovs... I always feel a bit ashamed, as if people think I’m bullshitting them.” His family eventually relocated to Düsseldorf where Gvasalia spent his late teens, although they briefly lived in Russia.

“This Russian thing, I can’t any more,” he announces, having conquered the artichoke. “They put me, Gosha and Lotta in this one big Russian rustic bucket of post-Soviet dirt,” he laughs. “We’re all friends, we work together. There’s not so many Russian people in fashion. I love Russia, Russia is my home country in many ways, but I don’t like many things about Russia today related to the political mentality.” Those post-Soviet waves were washing over fashion when he did that show in the church and wore the T-shirt backstage about burning bridges. “That was the way I felt at the time. It was about myself. I always tried to do things for other people, or for my parents to be proud of me, but I never thought about myself until the moment I realised it’s quite self-destructive,” he reflects. “But you shouldn’t burn all the bridges.” Slowly, as his fame and fortune grew and Justin Bieber was Instagramming deifying pictures of him, a new Demna Gvasalia began to emerge. “It motivated my decision to discover who I truly am, and to love and appreciate myself and my life, and the people around me – even if it’s only a few people,” he says.

As for those no longer a part of Gvasalia’s reality, “it happened naturally because you don’t have the lifestyle any more. It’s a kind of therapy: to understand what real friendship is, and what people you can actually rely on. I thought, I want less... but more quality.” It triggered his new way of life. “I went to do yoga, can you imagine?” he laughs. “Well, I went once...” Now appropriately illuminated by a complimentary plate of radishes, Gvasalia is full of reflections on mindfulness and wellbeing – worlds away from the chain-smoking encounters we had during the first stage of his career. “When you finally reach the point where you think, ‘There’s nothing else I can talk to Demna about’ – there’s meditation!” he quips. But Gvasalia is in no way annoying or holier-than-thou about his born-again sanity. Rather, it’s clarified the charming no-nonsense casualness that made us fall at his feet in the first place, as the breath of fresh air fashion so needed."It’s a kind of therapy: to understand what real friendship is, and what people you can actually rely on".

“Fashion is sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, but for me it’s also responsibility and my interest in clothing, which I don’t want to become a Fashion-Week experience. I needed the silence and to go and discover myself,” he explains. “I’m still doing it and I’m going to be doing it for the rest of my life.” Practically incognito in Zurich, which he’s affectionately described as “the most boring place in Europe”, he’s had space to geek out on fashion, true to his nature. In June, Gvasalia presented a Vetements collection shot there on locals in the cliché fashion poses he’s been obsessing about. Classic lookbook poses were the inspiration for his previous Balenciaga women’s collection, while he said his spring/summer 2018 outing in October (presented a month after this lunch) signified his most personal work for Balenciaga yet. Both brands continue to make waves on the social-media channels that fuel Gvasalia’s star power. Last season, his IKEA-esque Balenciaga bag spawned an entire capsule campaign from the Swedish homeware giant, while Gvasalia’s election-inspired Balenciaga motifs, not dissimilar to those of Bernie Sanders’s campaign, got a mention from the presidential candidate in a cable news interview. That notion does bring a smile to Gvasalia’s face, but he’s not one for the social-media circus.

“Oh no, those things I don’t react to. For me it’s a bit like the whole Vetememes thing,” he says, referring to the unofficial meme outlet devoted to his brand. Other phenomena include Petements, an Instagram account that imagines pets in Vetements. “The internet craziness... I don’t want to get involved. It becomes a bit slapstick. I don’t like slapstick,” he shrugs. “I’m working on a project that will be my answer to all of that, in January. I’m going to answer with a collection,” he teases. “You will see. Next season is the first season I’ll do it. It’s maybe something most people think you should never do. I feel like this excites me. We had a lot of options: what could it be? So I thought, let’s take the worst and let’s work with that. Something nobody would expect you to do. For me it’s linked to the past of Vetements; where we come from.” He doesn’t mean Georgia, although he happily answers fan mail from kids in his home country. “If someone did that to me when I was a kid, it would probably have had an influence.”"The internet craziness... I don’t want to get involved. It becomes a bit slapstick. I don’t like slapstick"

The fame, however – much as it clings to him – is not a guise Gvasalia wears with ease. “It’s disturbing. It’s flattering, but I can’t do it, because maybe I’m not that comfortable with myself, still. I don’t think it will ever be part of my character.” Rather than basking in the spotlight offered to him on a plate by his social-media-savvy millennial super-fans, Gvasalia has become their friend and defender, in a time when the media paints out the so-called snowflake generation as complacent and fame-hungry. “My millennial friends are not that way,” he argues, now on to a decaf coffee. “The people I know, who are 10 years younger than me, they’re all very ambitious and work hard. They’re also very good people. The values they have in life are good: they don’t want war, they don’t judge, they’re for diversity. There are so many good things about this generation. They just want it different. They want to have fun. They want to have money to have a good life,” Gvasalia says, and pauses. “Why not? That’s not a bad thing.”

Burberry Chooses Net-A-Porter To Launch First September Capsule Collection

Burberry is no stranger to the pages of Net-a-Porter (it's been stocked there since 2005, in fact), but its new exclusive edit for the online retailer is the first time that it has especially created an additional collection inspired by its catwalk show.

Billed as an "an eclectic mix of British iconic staples", the 14-piece edit is a new extension of the brand's see-now, buy-now model and comprises "delicate lace dresses and gowns, plastic waterproof outerwear, form-fitting jodhpur trousers and long tartan check skirts".

When chief creative officer Christopher Bailey debuted his vision for the season back at London Fashion Week, Vogue's fashion critic, Anders Christian Madsen, said, "If his sculpturally romantic last two Burberry collections, years on, whetted a younger audience’s appetite for his new direction, this collection was the climax to that transition." Now fans have even more to covet thanks to this extension of its runway-to-retail model.

Naomi Is Hot On Rihanna’s Saint Laurent Heels

No sooner had they swished down Saint Laurent's spring/summer 2018 runway, had Anthony Vaccarello’s feathered boots become the shoes on every editor, buyer and celebrity’s new-season wish list.

Naturally Rihanna was the first to slip on the new incarnations of the sparkly, slouchy knee-highs that caused a storm last season, and which are affectionately being dubbed “yeti boots”. Posing in a Paris hotel room just days after they had debuted on the runway, the popstar posted her white plumed knee-highs on Instagram with no caption at all. A feathered frenzy ensued.

Fast forward to this weekend and it was Naomi Campbell’s turn to show off Saint Laurent’s quill power. The Vogue contributing editor shared an Insta snap of her wearing a fluffy black pair over jeans and a white shirt from Riccardo Tisci’s latest collection for Nike. The caption? Simply #mood.

Toting fresh-off-the-catwalk creations first might be a form of fashion currency, but both Rihanna and Campbell show that you don’t need a red carpet to air items on. With a combined total of over 60 million Instagram followers, the yeti boots are becoming a celebrity in their own right. No captions needed.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Erdem x H&M Collaboration

H&M asked me, what do you think you might do," begins Erdem Moralioglu, recalling the call he received from the high-street giant. "I invited them to my studio and screened an old Pet Shop Boys video that Bruce Weber had directed in the Nineties, called 'Being Boring'. It was about all these young people invading a country house in dishevelled tuxedos, except the boys were wearing T-shirts and the girls were running around in trainers and bias-cut gowns. I loved the idea of this kind of informality and formality meeting."

Both riotous and refined, the Erdem x H&M collection is all jacquard and frill. Feminine dresses are decorated with his signature wildflower blooms, while coat-hangers heave with "the heaviest silks I could find". Victoriana white blouses hide discreet black ribbons at the nape of the neck. There are sequin slip dresses with ribbon bra straps, black lace Wednesday Addams dresses and sleeveless snowdrop-sprig ballgowns — and an accompanying campaign directed by Baz Luhrmann. The 17th fashion designer to collaborate with H&M (Ann-Sofie Johansson, the brand's creative advisor, calls him "a poetic addition" to a line-up that already boasts Balmain, Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld and Kenzo), Moralioglu speaks in a stream of visual vignettes while flipping through a plump scrapbook.

"So much of the collection was actually quite personal and I found myself reflecting on how we dressed throughout high school," he says. A cropped cable-knit mohair jumper comes in sky blue or berry, and is emphatically "Lara Flynn Boyle chain-smoking and drinking Coca-Cola in Twin Peaks". A slouchier jumper in cherryade with Fair Isle print recalls "those big Norwegian jumpers my sister used to wear with a tea dress and army boots". There's an army jacket informed by the Canadian military, a tweed overcoat based "on my father's old coat that my mum used to wear in winter with a dress underneath, driving us to school", while a croc-print frame handbag is inspired by her clutch that was always left open.

Designing his first ever menswear line as part of the collaboration, Moralioglu's garments passed between genders. "Once I'd finished fitting a Harris Tweed suit, I'd take it off the boy and put it on the girl and it just looked amazing. So then came the Harris Tweed suit for women — it's one of my favourites." His aim was to create a wardrobe that its wearer can put together and take apart. "It's a collection of pieces that have a permanence about them, which is almost the antithesis of this idea of what fast fashion is." It's anything but "Being Boring".

Gucci Announces It Will Be Going Fur-Free

Alessandro Michele's Renaissance aristo woman has long been depicted as one not afraid to raid the 1970s wardrobe vaults - and that includes nicking those Margot Tenenbaum-style fur coats to wear with her tan tights and fluffy loafers. But that's set to change as of this season: Gucci will join the Fur-Free Alliance from spring/summer 2018, CEO Marco Bizzarri announced this evening.

Speaking at the 2017 Kering Talk at the London College of Fashion, Bizzarri revealed he had taken the ground-breaking decision to remove fur from all of Gucci's collections, and hoped other luxury brands would follow suit. "We've been talking about it, Alessandro [Michele] and I, for a few months. Technology is now available that means you don't need to use fur. The alternatives are luxurious. There is just no need," Bizzarri told Vogue. The brand currently sells a wide variety of furs, including a mink coat listed on its website for £25,920 as well as a lamb fur coat for £11,340. Gucci’s fur-free policy going forward will include mink, coyote, raccoon dog, fox, rabbit, and karakul (otherwise known as Swakara, Persian lamb or astrakhan) and all others species specially bred or caught for fur.

Bizzarri went on to reveal that he takes advice from some of the youngest people currently working at Gucci, and recently invited employees under the age of 30 to attend a series of lunches in order to obtain their unique perspective on where the brand was going wrong. "Young kids are more intelligent and more confident than us," he told the talk's host, Eco-Age founder Livia Firth. "Experience can be a prison. To be a leader, we need to learn as well as teach. I asked around 150 young people working for Gucci across the world to tell me three things wrong with Gucci. I was seeing the company from the bottom to the top." He revealed a "shadow committee" of young people had also been set up to mirror the meetings taken by the CEO and senior management. "I wanted to see if they came up with different solutions to us," he explained. "It's important to get a new perspective.""Gucci is so visible, so well-known - we need to use that in a positive way." Marco Bizzarri

When asked about the extraordinary financial success of the company - sales were up 48.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, and 39.3 in the second - he cited company culture as a major factor. "A journalist came recently to the headquarters and said to me, 'All the people are smiling'," Bizzarri said. "At Gucci it's an incredible team. You have to let people take risks, make a mistake - not twice, but once! - and allow everyone to make a difference. It's all about people." The evening also revealed that Gucci will contribute Euro 1 million as a founding partner of UNICEF’s Girls’ Empowerment Initiative. Bizzarri suggested that this will help UNICEF reach more than 50,000 girls directly with programmes aimed at empowering them, and indirectly reach 150,000 more.

Coach Changes Name To Tapestry

As of October 31st, Coach is to change its name to Tapestry. The switch comes after the luxury group made the accquisions of both Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman. Its Coach brand, incorporating handbags, womenswear and menswear lines, will remain unchanged. After a long search for the right moniker, Tapestry is said to reflect the expansion into a multi-brand firm, said the company in a statement.

"We searched for a name to reflect these values while also expressing the cultural diversity of our people and our brands for today and tomorrow," explained Victor Luis, chief executive. “In Tapestry, we found a name that speaks to creativity, craftsmanship, authenticity and inclusivity on a shared platform and values."

"We believe that Tapestry can grow with our portfolio and with our current brands as they extend into new categories and markets. The name embodies our creative brand-led and consumer-focused business, while also representing the deep heritage of the group. Most importantly, we are establishing a strong and distinct corporate identity, which enables our brands to express their individual personalities and unique language to consumers."

Luiz further explained the strength in the three brands lies in both their similarities and differences: "Each of our brands has a unique proposition, fulfilling different fashion sensibilities and emotional needs within the very attractive and growing $80 billion global market for premium handbag and accessories, footwear and outerwear. At the same time, our brands are also built upon the shared values of optimism, inclusivity and innovation."

In January 2015, Stuart Weitzman became Coach's first acquisition, purchasing the shoe brand for $574 million. "In Coach, we have found a strategic partner that respects our culture, and offers the scale, resources and global business acumen to enable us to realise our full potential," said Weitzman at the time. With an eye to continuing to captivate the millennial audience, Kate Spade was added to the Coach portfolio in May 2017 for $2.4 billion.

Three Designers To Know From LA Fashion Week

Like many fashion weeks outside the big four - New York, London, Milanand Paris - LA Fashion Week is still finding its footing. The schedule lacks a major hometown label. Influencers and street style notables weren’t in attendance. The front row included more “friends of the designer” than celebrities. And for all the fashion-related buzz Los Angeles has received this year - with Tommy Hilfiger, Rebecca Minkoff and Rachel Comey skipping New York Fashion Week in February to show in LA - these designers still followed the NYFW calendar instead of showing at LAFW.

To become a must-see for international buyers and press, LAFW needs to both court the big names - homegrown label Rodarte would be a start - and the best emerging talent. LAFW is already showing progress on the latter front. Indeed, we saw several promising young designers that, though commercially unestablished, have already attracted some major celebrity fans. Here were the three who caught our attention this season.

Fashion Week returned to Los Angeles for its fifth season on Wednesday night, picking up where Paris Fashion Week left off. Over five consecutive evenings, catwalk shows were held one after another in a glorious, high-ceilinged ballroom in downtown’s historic Alexandria Hotel.

Marie Burlot and Jimmy Paul Rinsum, the Amsterdam-based design duo behind MaryMe-JimmyPaul, were probably the most well-known designers at LAFW. Their avant-garde pieces are often seen on Rihanna, Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga. Their new collection wasn’t about pop princesses, however. It was drawn from the hobbies of housewives in the Fifties and Sixties – with a twist, of course.

A needlepoint canvas was sewn into a plastic dress. A macramé jacket was paired with matching wide-leg pants that swayed back and forth on the model. “We tried to do it in such a way that it becomes a new form of art,” Rinsum told Vogue. “It is that border between arts and crafts.” Many of the pieces were also made using cheap plastic dry-cleaning bags. There was a shower curtain-inspired dress (hooks included), baggy transparent leggings and a long pastel ombré coat with matching trousers and tote bag that Burlot joked were made out of “real unicorn hair.”


Silicone was the material favoured by New York City-based artist Salcmannova, who debuted her first-ever collection on Saturday evening at LAFW. She stumbled onto fashion while working on a film during a recent trip to LA. At the prodding of one of the organisers from LAFW, she decided to try fashion design, but she didn’t start creating this collection until a month before the show.

Her surreal pieces – flexible silicone dresses, footwear and headpieces – appeared perfectly sculpted on each model. “I’ve only been doing this for three months,” she said. “This came from my movie. I’m an art director, and I like to create a character.” The models wore long braids, blue paint on their faces and elaborate masks that would fit right into an episode of Game of Thrones.


Since hosting his first fashion show at the age of 16, self-taught designer Bishme Cromartie has steadily gained a following for his sexy, sculptural dresses, as seen on Andra Day and Mel B. This season’s glittery frocks and fuschia-coloured separates were all about celebrating a woman’s body. “I want her to walk down the street with a badass kind of confidence,” he said, admitting that he’s not a “sparkle guy,” so working with glitter was a new thing for him.

The 26-year-old Maryland native said he’s going through a time of growth and transition as a designer, so it made sense to draw inspiration from, what else? A butterfly. He sent a pair of oversized butterfly earrings from the show to Beyoncé. Should she wear them, we fully expect they’ll become an accessory trend come spring.

Introducing China's New Luxury Website

There´s a new name in online luxury as of today - Toplife, owned by China's largest e-commerce company, and recent BFC collaborator, JD.COM.

The platform, reports BoF, "aims to bring the personalised shopping experience of luxury brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce" and will allow brands to customise their presence on the platform and take advantage of JD.com's extensive logistics set-up, something which lured Farfetch.com to partner with the Chinese giant in the region earlier this year. Confirmed brands to work with Toplife include lingerie brand La Perla, luggage brand Rimowa, and Italian stalwart Emporio Armani; the first - no doubt - of many international brands that will be looking at what the new site can do to bolster their presence and performance in the Far East.

“Luxury brands understand that the entire retail game in China is online, but they've been late to enter. They’ve been waiting for a luxury-branded site that can give the full experience of going into their offline stores - and that’s what we’ve built," said Xia Ding, president of JD.com’s fashion division, who was in London over Fashion Week to launch JD.com's sponsorship of the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund.

“Working with Toplife, luxury brands are able to directly provide customers throughout China with a true luxury shopping experience previously only associated with high-end offline stores,” said Richard Liu, JD.com's chairman and CEO. “Toplife is a luxury e-commerce ecosystem that provides a truly premium shopping experience, and helps our partners tell their brand story to local consumers.”

The move mirrors a similar one by Alibaba - China's second-largest online retailer - earlier this year, who announced it would be launching a special luxury pavilion on one of its most popular subsites, Tmall.

Cindy On Her Real Concern For Kaia

Cindy Crawford has defended the decision to let her daughter, Kaia Gerber, make her runway debut just days after turning 16, the legal age required of models.

“In some ways, I wish I could have pushed it off a year or two,” the catwalk veteran told The Associated Press. “But she’s 16. That’s how old I was when I started, which is young, but in fashion that’s kind of the normal age when people start.”The Downside To Being A Supermodel's Daughter

Gerber might have been the breakout star of the season, making her debut for Calvin Klein and opening Chanel, but she’s still a teenager in Casa Crawford. “My daughter just got her driver’s license,” her mother revealed. “I’m a lot more concerned about her driving by herself than her entering the world of modelling.”

Of guiding Kaia and son Presley Gerber, who has also followed Crawford’s footsteps onto the catwalk, she said: "The great thing for my kids is that I know a lot about that world. I feel like: Who better to help guide them than me?”

Did it feel surreal modelling alongside her daughter in the Versace spring/summer 2018 spectacular, which saw the original supers join forces to celebrate the life and work of Gianni Versace? “I didn’t know my daughter was doing that show,” Crawford clarified. “The models themselves do not really get booked until the day before or two days before. And finally Kaia got booked for it, and I said, ‘You know I am doing that show, right?’”

“She’s like, ‘Wait, do we have to walk down together?’ I said, ‘No. I don’t even want to walk down with you. I’m going to walk down with the ladies that are my age. You can go with the girls that are your age.’”

Dolce & Gabbana's Christmas Market Comes To Harrods

Stefano Gabbana loves Christmas. Every year on the December 24, he and Domenico Dolce, his design and business partner of 32 years, stay up until midnight to usher in the holiday. Later, on Christmas Day, the pair host a lunch for 25 or 26 – “children, uncles, nephews, brothers, sisters... we mix our families,” Gabbana tells Vogue. There is always a tree, hung with dozens upon dozens of mementoes, the result looking like “total chaos, a flea market.” Everyone is asked to cook a dish – and this being Italy, there is always a meat ravioli – though Gabbana usually cheats and buys something. “I’m not a good cook,” he confesses. “Domenico is very good.”

While only a few can enjoy the privilege of dining in famiglia with Dolce & Gabbana, this holiday season, shoppers in London can at least get a little taste. From November 2 until December 28, the designers are setting up an Italian Christmas Market inside the lacquered walls of Harrods. There will be a tree out front, decorated not like a flea market but in gold ribbons and colourful lights. The windows will be designed in the style of a Sicilian puppet theatre, with Dolce and Gabbana appearing in marionette form to introduce passersby to the story of the house.

On the fourth floor, visitors will walk into a replica Italian piazza strung with coloured lights. Booths will display a variety of goods, many designed exclusively for the department store, including floral and sequin-embroidered women’s evening dresses, festive men’s suits in striped lurex and silk shantung, and children’s ready-to-wear. Those on the hunt for gifts will find displays full of toys, fragrance, fine jewellery, shoes, handbags and other accessories. Dolce and Gabbana have even engaged a painter to personalise any Sicily bags purchased on site.

This is not the first time Harrods has invited a single brand to deck its halls for the holiday. Last year, Burberry installed “A very British fairy-tale” in the store’s windows, with items designed just for Harrods available for purchase inside. In 2015, the brand was Samsung.

“We put our personal [selves] in everything we do,” Gabbana says of this year’s takeover. “For me, Christmas is the tree and the nativity, friends and love and all of the most warming things… and now we are bringing it to Harrods.”

Monday, October 9, 2017

Words Of Wisdom From Edward Enninful and Marc Jacobs

Last night, Oxford Union hosted Edward Enninful and Marc Jacobsin a conversation that spanned everything from the importance of diversity to the fantasy of fashion. Here, we highlight some of the words of wisdom that they shared: an insight into the mind of two of the industry’s most celebrated figures.

“I didn’t grow up with money; I didn’t come from a rich family. But what fashion gave me was an escape into a world of creativity: if I couldn’t afford that Junior Gaultier jacket, then I’d get one from the market and customise it. Fashion brings out your creativity; when he shows a collection, Marc’s not just saying, ‘here’s a dress, go buy it.’ He’s saying, here's an idea of what you can be, or become.” – Edward Enninful

“Fashion is for everyone: owning a dress isn’t what it’s about. I mean, it’s a great thing if you have the ability to buy something – but, like with art, like with music, you don’t have to own it. If you can experience fashion, if you can relate to it, if it moves you or inspires you in some way then you can go out, get that jacket, hack into it, put some shoulder pads in – or maybe it’ll encourage you to do something completely different. But that’s what creativity does: it stimulates and inspires people. Ownership isn’t the important thing." – Marc Jacobs

“When you leave your house in the morning, however you dress is the way you want the world to see you. I think fashion can tell a story about celebrating difference, can talk about how different people are, how diverse people are – and for me, that’s where fashion really succeeds, when it tackles things to do with the world we live in.” – Edward Enninful

“Whether people are into fashion or they aren’t, they still express themselves somehow, with the clothes they choose: whether they want to be a part of something, whether they want to be apart from something. Fashion is just a form of self-expression. I love the idea that all the world’s a stage, and that we all costume ourselves for this great piece of theatre that we perform every day. What has always interested me about fashion is identity, and the idea of creating identity.” – Marc Jacobs

“My memories of London Fashion Week are of starting out and not getting many tickets for fashion shows, but wanting to see them so much that I’d sneak in with my friends, people like Pat McGrath and Craig McDean. We’d try to find somewhere to hide, somewhere to sit on the floor, anything; we were just so excited to be there. Then I remember later, seeing Lee McQueen’s shows, and the fire, and Shalom Harlow being sprayed with paint… and today, you have people like Jonathan Anderson, like Molly Goddard. So, for me, London Fashion Week has always been about setting the trends, about creativity. There might not be a lot of money, but there is always a lot of creativity.” – Edward Enninful

“I always got the feeling that American design schools turned students into good assistant designers – but that, at Central Saint Martins, there were professors who were pushing their students to be creative, to express themselves, and to find a voice to express their vision. It’s very different to the underlying message of fashion education in the US, and I think that’s reflected in the shows: during New York Fashion Week, with a few exceptions, it feels like a presentation of commercial product whereas, in London, it’s about designers expressing their vision. It isn’t a bad thing, it’s just different – but both cities have a youth culture that’s amazing and, in my mind, although they’re very different, there’s a similar energy there.” – Marc Jacobs

“At its essence, fashion is about taking inspiration from everywhere: different countries, different histories. Cultural appropriation is a very delicate subject but, if someone is inspired by something, then as long as they tell you where it’s from, acknowledge the history of where an idea came from, then I’m fine with it. We work in fashion, and it's a dream, but we should credit the source.” – Edward Enninful

“I learned a very valuable lesson after I showed a collection that included woollen dreadlocks worn on the girls’ heads: I had been inspired by Lana Wachowski, The Slits, rave culture, Marilyn and Boy George from the Eighties and I didn’t feel like I was doing anything wrong – those were my references and I didn't think that, by showing that collection, I was saying they were the origin of dreadlocks – but it caused this whole thing. I think that it’s very dangerous to say, you can’t look at that, you can’t use that, you can’t borrow from that or be inspired by that – I think that’s setting people up to stay in their own lane and I think that’s a dangerous way of thinking. But what I learned from that experience was that it’s important to be sensitive, especially when people say something hurts, or feels like appropriation. That you need to listen to what people have to say and that, if somebody is expressing something, some pain or some problem, then you need to listen to why. I don’t believe there should be a border patrol on what’s okay to look at or be inspired by, so I stand by that, but I did learn that a conversation requires listening to the other person talking.” – Marc Jacobs

“Fashion can say a lot about the times we live in: about race, about creed, about size. Now more than ever, people are really embracing that. Diversity really is the word, and it’s about enjoying our difference; I always believe that a diverse range of voices is more powerful than one singular vision or voice. I don’t believe in tokenism, but different people being a part of the conversation in order for us to move forward? That I like.” – Edward Enninful

“Look at women in Fifties advertisements, with corsets on, full skirts, standing in front of a washing machine. That’s what society thought women’s’ role was: to look nice for their husband and take care of the home. But right now, there’s a new desire to see people – all people – doing different things. That’s what’s stimulating. It goes beyond responsibility: it’s just so much cooler, fresher, nicer, more exciting to have your eyes wide open, to take as much in as possible, to hear different voices and see different things. And thank God for that.” – Marc Jacobs

On The Life And Legacy Of Hervé Léger Designer Hervé L. Leroux

Hervé L. Leroux, the French fashion designer who made his name in the 1990s with his second-skin, bandage dresses died on October 6 2017, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode confirmed. He was 60 years old.

Internationally known with the name of his first label, Hervé Léger, Mr. Leroux created one of the defining styles of the Nineties. His form-fitting designs, made by stitching together individual strips of materials that shaped and sculpted the body became the ultimate supermodel uniform. Made in a rainbow of colours, Mr. Leroux’s creations embraced and enhanced every single curve of the wearers’ body, perfectly celebrating the sexually-charged femininity of the era.

Mr. Leroux was born Hervé Peugnet in Bapaume, a small town in the north of France, on May 30 1957. Abandoning his studies in sculpture and art history, in the late Seventies he worked as a hairdresser and a milliner before meeting Karl Lagerfeld in 1981. Mr. Leroux worked side by side with Mr. Lagerfeld at Fendi and Chanel, before opening his first boutique on rue du Pélican in 1984. The boutique – launched under his new name of Hervé Léger, as advised by Lagerfeld himself – specialised in hand-painted dresses and hats, and became one of Paris’ chic shopping destinations.

In 1985, Mr. Leroux launched his own brand, but continued to freelance for other designers on the side, including the house of Lanvin, Daniel Swarovski and Charles Jourdan. The real breakthrough came with his first show in 1991, when he presented 54 outfits in front of a small crowd in Paris. The moulded style of his dresses, and their body-conscious silhouette, caught the eye of the press. “Léger proved why Paris is the center of fashion creativity,” wrote The New York Times after the show. “His collection was original, well thought out, knowledgeably executed and about as incendiary as style can be these days.”

Hervé Léger was acquired in 1998 by the Los Angeles-based group BCBG Max Azria and Mr. Leroux parted ways shortly after, losing the commercial use of his name in April 1999. Undefeated and with the support of his loyal clients, he continued to design custom orders, evening gowns and swimwear under the name Hervé L. Leroux from his new boutique on 32 rue Jacob, Paris. "My clients come from all over the world,” he told Suzy Menkes in 2000. “A woman who likes the silhouette of her body to be made the most of, not with drapes and decoration but with structure.” In 2013, after a 12 year hiatus from the catwalk, he was invited by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode to show as a guest during the Couture schedule in Paris.

Dita Von Teese, one of his most loyal customers, remembered him on Instagram. “I’d say he was the only dressmaker that could accomplish a truly modern Madame Grès goddess gown,” she wrote. “I loved him for his wit, his candour, his sublime elegance and of course, his talent, which came from authentic obsession, with no care for the commerciality of fashion.”

2017’s Sassiest Collab: Victoria’s Secret X Balmain

Victoria´s Secret has tapped Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing to create custom looks for its annual catwalk spectacular, and a capsule collection to launch in stores on November 29 th, the day after the show airs on US network CBS.

Though the lingerie giant has called upon designers to create runway pieces in the past, the #VSxBalmain tie-up will mark the first time the brand has partnered with a fashion house on an in-store collection.

The tie-up is a natural fit, as there’s plenty of crossover between Rousteing’s Balmain Army – the gang of girls who religiously star in his campaigns – and the models Victoria’s Secret calls upon to bring star factor to its runways. Come the Shanghai showcase on November 28, it’s highly likely that the French designer will choose sassy friends Sara Sampaio, Joan Smalls, Alessandra Ambrosio and Karlie Kloss to model his first mainline foray into underwear.

For now, there’s only a carefully curated Instagram collage to glean information from. The black-and-white poster features both brand names scrawled across it, in what looks like a punk tribute to Sex Pistols' album artwork of yore. And is that a little leopard-print we can spot in the top corner? Stay tuned for what will undoubtedly be 2017’s fiercest partnership.

Inside Hermès's Pop-Up Hermèsmatic In Manchester

Hermes orange is unique, but rarely is it seen in quite the quantities now filling the Manchester boutique, relaunched today to host the luxury label's Hermèsmatic pop-up.

For a start, there is the wall-to-wall Tango-tastic carpet. Add to that a highlighted handrail on the spiral staircase - and the steps themselves - followed by washing powder boxes emblazoned with the brand's moniker piled high in the carrot colour. Eames-style plastic chairs sit bright, and Aperol-hued wash baskets are filled with tie-dye silk scarves. From a metal frame hang more scarves, like a chic washing line, completing the retro-style launderette.

Opening for the first time in the UK (the pop-up launched in Strasbourg over a year ago and has since travelled the world), the Hermèsmatic concept is simple: to breathe new life into vintage Hermès scarves by dip-dying them in one of five colours; denim blue, fuchsia pink or vibrant red, turquoise and orange. The colour wash happens at the Hermèsmatic pop-up - you can see the machines in action - and two days later, the new look silk is ready to collect from the Selfridges store down the road.

The Manchester outlet will only be open for a week, through to October 12, and will host free silk styling workshops, teaching shoppers how to transform their silk scarves into headpieces, bags, crowns, clothing and more. A bright idea, if ever there was one.

Why Blade Runner 2049 Could Be Significant For Your Wardrobe

It’s not often that one wonders whether Blade Runner star Joanna Cassidy is following the trends. The industry’s current fling with plastic macs might amuse the US actress, however.

As replicant Zhora Salome in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi epic, she throws on a transparent raincoat to shield her from the heavy downpour while trying to escape blade runner Rick Deckard, who is set on her demise. Underneath her see-through mac for all to see lay a skimpy two-piece and knee-high boots – her stripper’s uniform – as she charged through a dystopian LA like a futuristic gladiator intent on losing her assassin while keeping dry.

From 1982 to the spring/summer 2018 shows, which saw the fash pack wearing Calvin Klein’s plastic-topped checked mac and Miu Miu’s transparent trench – two much-lauded pieces from the autumn/winter 2017 collections. As the trend picks up pace for next season - everyone from Calvin Klein to Chanel and Valentino has experimented with translucent vinyl - Scott's Eighties classic, which predicted what 2019 might be like, seems oddly apt.

With the sequel, Blade Runner 2049, airing in UK cinemas this week, look closely at the costumes - new director Denis Villeneuve might have the same knack for spotting trends as his predecessor, Scott.

Chanel Falls: A Guided Tour

Each season the Chanel set is the talk of Fashion Week. Like the Cecil B. DeMille of fashion, Karl Lagerfeld instructs his team to build epic constructions and create detailed fantasy worlds. The audience leave their dreary realities behind the minute they step inside. For spring/summer 2018 we were transported again. Here's our tour guide to Chanel Falls. Population: 2,500, editors and celebrities. Twinned with Manchester, the UK's rainiest town.

Chanel Falls

The show was set against the backdrop of an 85-metre wall of rock, planted with trees and creepers which took nine days to construct. Down this monumental, 15-metre-high rock face, cascaded six waterfalls, not dissimilar to the Gorges du Verdon, a famous canyon with multiple waterfalls located in the south of France which inspired the set. The models walked on a raised boardwalk above the pool at the bottom of the falls, where the volume of water was equivalent to that of a 25-metre pool. As the lights went down, Chanel's plumber opened the water faucet and the gentle cascade that greeted guests on their arrival became an indoor Niagara. Anyone interested in pipes might like to know that the waterfalls supplied themselves through a closed water system and at the end of the show, all the water flowed back into the Paris sewage system for recycling.

Model Mania

Proud supermodel mother Cindy sat front row to watch her daughter Kaia's latest catwalk triumph. There were 90 models in the show, led out by the coltish Gerber who crowned her debut catwalk season with the coveted opening slot at Chanel. Will a campaign or beauty contract follow?

Plastic Fantastic

If you've spent a fortune on a Chanel tweed jacket, the last thing you want is to let the rain spoil it. Lagerfeld came up with a chic solution, clear plastic ponchos, hoods, scarves and capes that allow you to show off the look beneath, without getting wet. Even the gloves were clear - all the better to see the oversized diamond bracelets worn by the models. Alongside the see-through boots, rain hoods and oversize plastic shoppers, we're obsessing about little Hudson Kroenig's clear plastic baseball cap, created by the Maison Michel atelier. Need!

Samuel Irving "Si" Newhouse Has Died

Samuel Irving “Si” Newhouse, Jr., chairman emeritus of Condé Nast, passed away this morning aged 89, his family has confirmed. Having taken over from his father Sam Newhouse in 1975, he ran Condé Nast for half a century, growing the company into an international powerhouse with a portfolio that now includes 128 publications across 27 global markets.

A statement from the Newhouse family follows:

“Today is a day of emotion, of genuine loss for our family and for Si Newhouse’s extended family at Condé Nast. Si loved Condé Nast. He was proud to publish the finest magazines in the world, and to offer exceptional content on every digital platform.

Si was always the first person to come to the office, arriving well before dawn and bringing to each day visionary creative spirit coupled with no-nonsense business acumen. Those who worked with him remember him as fair, thoughtful, modest and intensely curious, with a sense of irony and the ability to laugh. He single-mindedly pursued an ambition – to create the best content. And he inspired those around him to do so. One of Si’s favorite words, which he used as the highest praise, was 'extraordinary.' It is a word which describes what he achieved and who he himself was.

Si took great satisfaction in Condé Nast’s business success and he believed, as we do, that its best days lie ahead. On behalf of everyone in our family, we look forward to celebrating Si’s legacy by continuing his passionate support for Condé Nast and for your extraordinary work. For Condé Nast, perhaps the best way to honour Si’s memory is to sustain and advance his vision of excellence in every photograph, video, design and story and to continue to inspire audiences around the world. All of us are thrilled to travel with you on this important journey.”

Si Newhouse is survived by his wife Victoria, his children Samuel and Pamela, his brother, Donald E. Newhouse, his five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

How Virgil Abloh Is Tapping Into Youth Culture And Democratising Fashion

What the creative polymath has achieved in his career is remarkable: he initially trained as an architect and first rose to renown as Kanye West’s creative consultant, but got his fashion education interning at Fendi before meeting Louis Vuitton’s artistic director, Kim Jones, sleeping on his sofa and “[forcing] him to teach me in his front room in Maida Vale". He founded Off-White in 2013, and its key codes have since become ubiquitous – notably, the ironic quotation marks around everything, strong emphasis on branding, and a heavy dose of post-modernism. But even more remarkable is the power he seems to hold over a young demographic that most powerhouses are struggling to engage.

What Abloh wants to do is to shatter the ivory tower exclusivity that often alienates people from fashion – and that is remarkably appealing to a group that, up until a couple of seasons ago, has been ignored by the higher echelons. After all, when he first entered into the industry, he was not welcomed with open arms: he was working with West, who was hardly taken seriously in the 2009 fashion industry, and the two of them got into about half of the Paris shows they turned up to. But, he explains, "We’re currently coming out of an era where high-fashion brands are inspired by us, and we’re just consuming what is registered back to us. With Off-White I made a conscious decision that I would not just be a consumer; I wanted to trailblaze and have one of us at the end of a Parisian runway saying, hey, put us on the timeline.”

As well as championing the streetwear culture that he hails from, and which luxury fashion is leaning heavily on right now, what Abloh has tapped into is the collective sensibility that youth culture is really about. Abloh is a prolific collaborator, and an explicit champion of his heroes. “Who wants to be friends with the person who comes to the bar and is like, ‘me, me, me’?” he asks. “The people who are fun to hang out with are normally a collective.” So, when he takes inspiration from an artist or architect, he cites them, or when he gets one of his friends to take photographs of his work, he calls it a collaboration. After all, he says “it feels more modern to specifically cite your influences in fashion; like, you’re saying, ‘this is my squad.’”

Abloh has, throughout his career, made it very clear that he has a squad (when he distributed his new trainers to his friends – to Jones, Naomi Campbell, Drake, A$AP Rocky – they went viral on social media: a solid assertion your squad has your back), but that you’re welcome to be a part of it, too. Just enter a raffle, turn up to one of his DJ sets, come to a workshop, write him an email. Or, you know, buy a pair of trainers, a T-shirt, or a handbag. Whatever he’s selling, it’s working - and the best thing is, it doesn’t even seem to be a tactic.

Gucci's Unskilled Worker Collaboration In Full

Gucci is in a collaborative mood this year. From its unexpected and brilliant union with Dapper Dan earlier this month and team-up with Angelica Hicks in May, to creative director Alessandro Michele's utilisation of Elton John's archives for his spring/summer 2018 collection (shown at Milan Fashion Week), it's proving that fashion is stronger together (its owner, Kering, even partnered with conglomerate rival LVMH recently on a model mandate, as well as Alibaba on curbing counterfeits). But it's always onwards and upwards at Gucci, and its new alliance has come courtesy of young artist Helen Downie - aka Unskilled Worker.

While the fruits of the collaboration - a 40-piece capsule collection of ready-to-wear, shoes, bags, silks and accessories - will shortly be available on October 11, its inception took place in 2015 when, after Michele discovered Downie's work on her Instagram account, he invited her to participate in Gucci’s No Longer / Not Yet art exhibition in Shanghai. As it launches, it will see a return to where it all started, as it becomes available in China at the same time as Europe, the US, Canada, the UAE, Japan, Australia and South Korea simultaneously.

The Cult Accessories Maria Grazia Chiuri Brought To Dior

Since her appointment as artistic director of Christian Dior last summer, Maria Grazia Chiuri has been writing a new chapter in the storied house’s history. Drawing on the brand’s archives – “When I first arrived at Dior, I immediately decided to be a curator of its history,” she told Vogue exclusively before this year’s celebratory 70th anniversary exhibition – Chiuri has reinvented its aesthetic while paying homage to her predecessors. Here are the Maria Grazia Chiuri heirlooms of Dior.

The Metal Logo Bag

Her debut spring/summer 2017 collection, which drew on Dior's New Look and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's book We Should All Be Feminists and inspired those slogan T-shirts, saw Chiuri rework the classic brass logo, and give bags thick guitar straps, in white, black or jacquard. The brand had been looking for a handbag hit to rival the Lady Dior, and Chiuri came up with a hard-edged alternative for the dress-down generation.

The Tape Measure Heels

As soon as the logo ribboned sling-backs hit the spring/summer 2017 runway, the industry knew they would be a sell-out, just as Chiuri's rock stud shoe was at Valentino.

The Black Leather Beret

The Stephen Jones berets that all models wore on the autumn/winter 2017 catwalk gave the collection a militaristic air that would later translate into street-style gold. Rihanna and Winnie Harlow were early adopters, and the flat hat steeped in French history soon filtered down to the high street.

The Logo Saddle Bag

An early lock Chiuri loved on some luggage during one of many visits into the archives was transported onto boxy bags with those thick guitar straps in the autumn/winter 2017 collection. "I like the old logo of Dior too, something a little retro," she told Vogue after the show.

Jonathan Anderson On Cultural Consumption And Working With Steven Meisel

When Jonathan Anderson was growing up in a small town in Northern Ireland, there was one nearby newsagent that stocked international magazines – and, in 1997, aged just 13 years old, he happened to pick up a copy of Italian Vogue. It contained a photo shoot by Steven Meisel, and “it was a piece of storytelling,” he remembers now. “I’ll always remember it because of the lighting – the lighting was incredible – and so you didn’t know what country you were in, whether it was America or Britain. There was this incredible sense that the character was more important here than the fashion.”

Sixteen years later, and when Anderson decided to pitch LVMH to become the creative director of Lowee, it was that same photo shoot that opened the presentation he gave to Delphine Arnault. He had never worked with Meisel, nor even spoken to him, but “he was the person I wanted to help me with the re-brand,” he explains. “There’s not many people like him, who understand fashion like he does, who can do the full package: he could style it, do the make-up, do the hair… I don’t think I could have done this job without him; I think he was able to articulate the dream.”

It was lucky, then, that when Anderson won the pitch, Meisel got on board. Their first campaign together was actually a re-print of that archival photo shoot Anderson had seen in his childhood – and their collaboration since has been intent on pushing the boundaries of fashion advertising. It is a relationship which extends beyond the typical photographer/client dynamic, and sits at the core what Anderson is intent on achieving with Loewe. “Every single time I talk about this brand – and my own brand – I am talking about culture,” he asserts. “It’s about how do we, in the next 10 years, start to evolve culturally; how do we use fashion as a creative tool? The days of seeing fashion in isolation are over – it’s more about the idea of how you give a product value – and for me, a product’s value comes from the culture of it.”

For their new campaign, Anderson and Meisel are presenting Vittoria Ceretti, remarkably made-up by Pat McGrath, in an Edenic exploration of contemporary consumption. This afternoon, one of these pictures will be distributed as the invitations to Loewe’s spring/summer 2018 fashion show, while simultaneously being plastered onto 500 Parisian news kiosks. “Each time we do a campaign, it has to challenge the entire team, and it has to be something we can put in windows, put on the street. It’s propaganda,” says Anderson. Then, on Friday, they will decorate the brand’s newly minimalist show space in the form of giant hanging tapestries.

“The collections over the past three seasons have been based upon the idea of a woman living in her own domestic space,” Anderson says. “That chapter has ended. It’s now a completely different thing, in a white, oval space. It’s about the idea of reduction.” So, amidst a stage of minimalism will stand these giant works of art, 8x4 metres apiece, each woven by specialists in the south of France using up to 40 different colours so as to resemble photographs. While these sorts of tapestries were once used to celebrate historic events or monumental achievements, now they will stand in proud celebration of this new, consumptive ideal. “Everything at the moment is propaganda,” Anderson says. “We consume what we are told to consume. Sometimes you have to reflect what is happening… and Vittoria, well, I think she really kind of consumes you. You feel like you could eat her.”

Remembrance Of Flings Past: Behind Versace's History With Supermodels

Remebrance Of Flings Past.” That’s how Richard Avedon’s book 20 Years of Versace opens - a tome which charts decades of documenting “the impassioned, shameless, opulent, titillating sewmanship of that daredevil magician of art and artifice who was and will always be Gianni Versace". It’s an apt title, because that book showcases everyone from Kate Moss to Kristen McMenamy, Naomi Campbell to Nadja Auermann; Stephanie Seymour to Stella Tennant, wearing his iconic designs. After all, there is hardly a supermodel who Versace hasn’t had a fling with, and no house whose legacy is more intertwined with the phenomenon of the super.

Once upon a time, actresses were loath to be associated with fashion, worried that to get dressed up would detract from the legitimacy of their craft. And so, as Michael Kors once said, the super was born: “Christy and Linda and Cindy and Naomi are movie stars. They’re the pin-up girls of the Nineties.” With Amazonian limbs and flawless faces, they became known by their first names only – and it was Gianni Versace who would pay the most to have them all walk his runway together. Back then, editorial models and runway models were each considered to have their own specialities, and so were confined to a specific field - but Gianni realised the power these women held and commissioned them for print campaigns and fashion shows alike.

In March 1991, Linda, Christy, Naomi and Cindy took to his stage, lip-synching to George Michael’s Freedom (they had all starred in the song’s video after Michael had seen them together, captured by Peter Lindbergh on the January 1990 cover of British Vogue), and it signified a major moment for the industry. “The Versace show wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t done George Michael’s video, and George Michael would have chosen actresses to star in his video if he had not seen the Vogue cover,” Cindy Crawford told Vogue in 2016. “In the beginning those women were a revolution,” said Lindbergh. “They had balls, they had brains.”

It was this sensibility that made them so well-suited for the Versace world: one which was (and remains) fabulous in the truest sense of the word. The women on those runways, in those campaigns, became part of the Versace family: a hyper-glamorous dynasty which has been upheld by Donatella, perhaps the best ambassador of such an aesthetic. With this evening's show marking 20 years since Gianni’s death, and the supers making a return to the runway in his honour, we have been duly reminded that nobody shows a super like Versace.

The Collaboration Manolo Blahnik Couldn't Refuse

For fans of the "high-low" look, Manolo Blahnik's collaboration with Castañer to mark the latter's 90th anniversary hits the nail on the head. Joining Blahnik's signature opulence with the espadrille connoisseurs' traditional Spanish aesthetic, the capsule collection is poised to be on every fashion aficionado’s radar when it drops at Net A Porter, Matches, Harvey Nichols and Browns Fashion in November.

Comprised of two lines - Manolo By Day and Manolo By Night, which each include three models in six different colourways and a stiletto style in lieu of an espadrille's traditional wedge - the collection is one that pleases both parties. For Castañer, it "could not better express our Mediterranean personality, our creative and stylistic richness, and our aspiration to create timeless classics which embody contemporary authenticity and luxury”, according to the family owned brand, while for Blahnik it brings his past into his present - as he told British Vogue exclusively ahead of its launch...

How did the collaboration with Castañer come about?

"It was easy. They contacted my office with a proposal to collaborate for their 90th anniversary. Being Spanish, Castañer is a company that has been there throughout my life and espadrilles are a huge part of Spain’s culture. They were everywhere when I was growing up in the Canary Islands. How could I refuse?"

What are the elements of the designs that are 100 per cent Manolo Blahnik?

"It's a Spanish product and I am a product of Spain - that’s for starters. I wanted to keep the tradition of espadrilles, but give them my touch... the colours, the fabrics, the heel. A bit of whimsy."

What are the defining features of Manolo by Day and Manolo by Night?

"For day, the materials are tougher, like canvas, and are more utilitarian. For night, I've used satin, because I love satin. That little bit of sheen makes it perfect for evening."

What is your earliest memory of the shoe style?

"We had a lady who took care of us when we were young called Maria Soccorro, who I adored. And she always wore espadrilles. I have fond memories of her, so the association is a very good one."

Why do you think collaboration is important to the fashion industry?

"If I like the collaborator, it is always more of a challenge. Sometimes bringing together two names that don’t necessarily gel together at first thought gives the most interesting results."

Is there someone that you would love to work with who you haven’t already

"At the moment, I don’t want to think about it, but if the right designer comes along, then I would be willing to collaborate."

What point are you at in your life: are you scaling back and slowing down, or raring to go?

"I am always raring to go! I can’t stop. Slowing down or scaling it down is never an option with me. It is time that is the enemy. There is never enough time."

What ambitions do you have that you are yet to fulfil?

"I don’t really care about things like that. I am not very ambitious. I consider myself to be very privileged to do what I enjoy doing. If I have one ambition now it is to keep on doing what I do better, and then to spend time with my dogs."

What do you think is the main reason for your ongoing success?

"I stick to what I believe in. I have always done so and will always do so. I don’t compromise, I don’t care about trends, I do what I want."