Monday, January 29, 2018

LVMH Hopes Hedi Slimane Will Triple Profits At Céline

Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH, has high hopes for his latest appointment: Hedi Slimane at Céline.

“The objective with him is to reach at least two billion to three billion euros, and perhaps more, within five years,” Arnault told reporters at LVMH’s Paris headquarters on Thursday. “Everything is in place for this brand to achieve quite exceptional growth.”

Currently Céline sits just below Fendi on LVMH’s brand leaderboard, with profits close to one billion euros in 2017. If Slimane lives up to Arnault’s “global superstar” hype, he will have to triple the brand’s profits at the French house. During Slimane’s four-year tenure at Saint Laurent he propelled the brand past one billion euros in sales.

Arnault's comments chime with the official announcement of Slimane’s appointment as artistic, creative and image director of Céline on January 21. "I am particularly happy that Hedi is back within the LVMH Group and taking the reins of our Céline Maison,” he said. “I have been a great admirer of his work since we collaborated on Dior Homme, which he launched to global critical acclaim in the 2000s. His arrival at Céline reinforces the great ambitions that LVMH has for this Maison.”

Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior are currently the top two profit drivers within the LVMH stable.

Elton John’s Farewell Tour Will Be A Fabulous Flashy Gucci Explosion

Don't go breaking our hearts. After 50 years on stage, Elton John has announced that he is embarking on a three-year "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour. Naturally, he of rainbow suit and glitter-strewn sunglasses fame will be outfitted in Gucci, with Alessandro Michele creating fabulously flashy pieces for the 70-year-old pop icon.

To make the announcement at a special event in New York’s Gotham Hall, John wore a custom Gucci Flora jacquard tailcoat adorned with hundreds of hand-sewn crystals, pearls and “Gucci loves Elton” emblazoned across the back. If the matching crystal bow tie, ruffle evening shirt and starry shades are a taste of what’s to come when the tour kicks off on September 8, Michele has created a tour wardrobe to rival John’s Seventies stage outfits by glitter king Bob Mackie.

“[Alessandro’s designs are] humorous and fun and beautifully made,” John said of the friendship, which was forged after Michele mined the popstar’s archives for inspiration for his spring/summer 2018 collection. “I used to be so close to Gianni [Versace] and now I’m so close to Alessandro.”

Of the decision to halt his demanding tour schedule, he said: “My priorities have changed in my life. My priorities now are my children - Zachary, seven, and Elijah, five - my husband and my family.”

The 300-date world tour, which will, according to John, be “the most produced, fantastic show I’ve ever done,” won’t see an end to his musical career, however. “I will be making more records, writing more musicals, doing more exhibitions with our photography,” he explained, “but mostly I’ll be taking my kid to soccer academy, which is the most important thing.”

JW Anderson For Uniqlo Is Back

If Jonathan Anderson’s debut Uniqlo collection was all about mining British classics to create a new heritage line, his second homes in on specifics: 1950s Brighton beach.

“I was looking for this idea of British summer,” the Irish designer explained, and clothing “which is very lightweight, very airy, with a lot of linen and cotton that has a 1950s-subcultural movement.”

To you and I, the great British summer time might cue grumbling about the weather, but Uniqlo is well-equipped to dress Brighton beach revellers, come rain or shine.

“Uniqlo’s mission with LifeWear is to create apparel that embodies simplicity, quality and longevity and is always stylish,” said Yuki Katsuta, head of Uniqlo global research and design. “The new spring/summer collection represents an advance in fashioning attractive wardrobe basics” through fit, fabric and functionality. There’s even a pocketable parka made of a DRY-EX fabric that reduces wrinkles and is treated with a durable water repellant.

Last season’s duffel coats and Fair Isle knits have been replaced with seersucker bomber jackets, striped tees, bucket hats and totes printed with seagulls. Yes, seagulls. And naturally, there’s a JW ruffle thrown in too.

Stay tuned for a full lookbook of JW Anderson X Uniqlo 2.0, and get ready to hit the beach come April 19th.

Vivienne Westwood Denounces Documentary

Vivienne Westwood has distanced herself from Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, a feature-length film marrying new footage with old archival shots to convey the designer's artistry, activism and cultural significance.

According to the brand, the original concept from director Lorna Tucker was to focus on Westwood’s social, political and environmental campaign work, but the resulting documentary shows little evidence of this.

“Lorna Tucker asked to film Vivienne’s activism and followed her around for a couple of years, but there’s not even five minutes [of] activism in the film,” a Twitter statement read. “Instead there’s lots of old fashion footage which is free and available to view online. It’s a shame because the film is mediocre, and Vivienne and Andreas are not.”

Though slated for release in the spring of 2018, the Dogwoof production has come to light at the Sundance Film Festival, where it is competing in the World Cinema Documentary category. Tucker, who has previously produced short films for Westwood, as well as for high-profile brands such as Nike and Alexander McQueen, has not commented on Westwood’s Twitter statement.

The news follows the Versace family’s decision to distance itself from The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, and that the nine-part television series chronicling Gianni Versace’s death must be considered fiction.

Hedi Slimane Appointed Céline Artistic Director

Hedi Slimane has been appointed the new artistic, creative and image director of Céline. In a statement by the house's parent group, LVMH, it was announced that Slimane, who has previously held tenures at Dior Homme and Saint Laurent, will commence his role in February of this year, with the first collection debuting at Paris Fashion Week in September.

In his new role, Slimane, 49, will oversee all collections produced by the house along with introducing couture, men's fashion and fragrances.

Speaking of the appointment, Bernard Arnault, LVMH's CEO said: "I am particularly happy that Hedi is back within the LVMH Group and taking the reins of our Céline Maison. He is one of the most talented designers of our time. I have been a great admirer of his work since we collaborated on Dior Homme, which he launched to global critical acclaim in the 2000s. His arrival at Céline reinforces the great ambitions that LVMH has for this Maison. Hedi will oversee and develop all creativity for both women’s and men’s fashion, but also for leather goods, accessories and fragrances. He will leverage his global vision and unique aesthetic virtuosity in further building an iconic French Maison."

Since he exited Saint Laurent in April 2016, Slimane has continued to work on his photography projects but had also spoken openly about returning to design. Commenting on his new position, Slimane said: "I am delighted to join Bernard Arnault in this all-embracing and fascinating mission for Céline. I greatly look forward to returning to the exciting world of fashion and the dynamism of the ateliers."

Slimane will replace Phoebe Philo who, after holding the position of creative director for 10 years, announced her departure in December 2017. During her time there, Philo was credited as reinventing the modern wardrobe and defining aesthetic of the era.

Previous to this announcement, it had been rumoured that Paris-born Slimane would join Karl Lagerfeld in creating a menswear division at Chanel.

Dressed To Protest: Can Fashion Help Bring About Change?

When people surged backstage to ask Miuccia Prada about her New Wave mashup of a spring collection, there was only one point she wanted to speak about. "I am suggesting militant women in a very practical way, through clothes. That's what I do," she announced. All her thoughts and feelings were driving towards "just wanting to change the world," she said. "Especially for women, because there's so much against us, still."

And that was even before the #metoo dam had burst; or British women had woken up to the news that female BBC staff are paid, on average, nine per cent less than their male counterparts; or that, for women in their twenties, the gender pay gap has "significantly grown" in the past six years, according to data released by the Fawcett Society.

As the lids are blown off in all directions on sexual harassment, racial injustice, gender pay inequality, the rolling back of women's rights, the gap between rich and poor - and a zillion other issues, daily - how is the way we dress at all relevant?

Perhaps the only good news at a time when so many political issues are hitting home is that we're now living in an atmosphere vibrating with the possibility of change. Fashion (or clothing; we can debate what we should call it) isn't on the sidelines in this: it's a constant ally in times of trouble, a medium open to infinite nuances of meaning in the hands of ingenious people to show their beliefs. "The more we are seen, the more we are heard": no one has put it better recently than the women who came up with the idea for the Pink Pussy Hat. The words are emblazoned on, which got women all over the world knitting up that brilliant retort to Donald Trump's gross, sexist "Grab them by the pussy" remark as a global - cheerful - symbol of feminist defiance.

In the space of little over a year since Trump's election, the subversive possibilities of visual communication in clothing have unleashed an astonishing, uplifting, do-it-yourselves level of creativity. The like hasn't been seen since the marches and protests of the youth uprisings of 1968 - the revolution that swept from San Francisco to Paris and London 50 years ago, and a generation that dressed to change the world in tight polonecks, flares, minis and duffel coats.

What's fascinating now is seeing how high fashion and the simple, democratic - even no-cost - gestures of street protest are moving along in the same direction in the age of social media. Layers of the history of past movements are liberally cross-coded to take on the punch of new relevance. Look around right now and you'll see one very obvious example echoing the spirit of the 1960s and 1970s: the beret. The irrevocable symbol of the Black Panthers movement is out there and totally fashionable again, thanks to Beyoncé's sizzling channelling of the Panther's uniform on her Angela-Davis-afro-haired feminist dancers at the Superbowl in February 2016 - visual imagery played against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement. A few months later Maria Grazia Chiuri(another fashion feminist-in-chief) put leather berets designed by Stephen Jones with every look on her Dior catwalk. "Suddenly, it was the balance and counterpoint to the clothes," Jones remembers. "She saw it could look like an army of strong, independent women, on their way."

Anyone can pick up a beret for next to nothing and wear it with the same impact as Beyoncé or the Dior models - or just as an on-trend accessory. It's textbook radical fashion practice that ideas should be open-access - that anyone can use the templates as they wish.

What's so often forgotten is that there's always somebody who actually designed the symbol or had the creative brainwave of assigning a meaning to a look. Go back to the bold slogan T-shirt graphics, for a start - they were forged by the original anti-war eco-warrior designer-campaigner, Katherine Hamnett. The peace symbol - horrendously back in currency as thermonuclear war threatens - was designed by RCA graduate Gerald Holtom for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1958. The Gay Pride rainbow - cemented forever as the symbol for LGBTQ identities - was designed by American artist Gilbert Baker in 1978. Who knew?A powerful wordless image can have truly global impact

Hamnett is back again, with her "Cancel Brexit" T-shirt campaign, and reissuing her sustainably sourced cottonBrexit and silk designs from the 1980s through her website. The story of how she made the anti-nuclear-missile "58 per cent don't want Pershing" T-shirt, with which she confronted Mrs Thatcher at Downing Street reception in 1984, is a priceless piece of fashion history. She made it on the day. "I did think it was an opportunity, I suppose. I wasn't going to go until I decided that afternoon. I thought, what are the punchiest graphics? I was passing a newsstand, saw a billboard for The Sun, and thought: that's it! There was no Snappy Snaps or anything where you could get T-shirts done. So I did the lettering, got it exposed on to linen graphics paper, and stitched it on to a silk T-shirt."

Hamnett opened her jacket as she shook the prime minister's hand; the cameras went crazy, and one of the most indelible and forever-copied radical fashion statements in history was made. "The thing is to make the words so big, you can't not see them, you've had it. The words are inside your brain." In one way, it didn't quite play as she'd planned with Mrs Thatcher. "She bent over, read it and squawked," Hamnett laughs. "Then, quick as a flash, she said, 'We haven't got Pershing here, we've got cruise. You must be at the wrong party, dear.'"

Today, when every phrase is instantly dissected on social media, it would be impossible to get away with such an inaccuracy. On the other hand, a powerful wordless image can have truly global impact when encoded in clothes, a strategy that is being ever more brilliantly put to use by young activists. Once seen, never forgotten: the protest of a group of Latina girls on the steps of a town hall in Texas, who stood wearing their traditional quinceañera 15th-birthday gowns and sashes, drawing worldwide attention to Donald Trump's ruthless deportation legislation. Other young women have haunted American senate buildings where anti-abortion legislation is being heard, filing in silently to occupy empty rows of seats dressed in the red robes and white bonnets of The Handmaid's Tale.

They are, of course, only following in the honourable tradition set over a century ago by the suffragettes, who harnessed fashion, and the meaning of colour, as methods of communication in the early days of photography. In 1980, Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence devised the scheme of purple for dignity, white for purity and green for hope - branding for the cause, which triggered Liberty and Selfridges to start selling ranges of tricolour ribbon, underwear, bags and soap. Christina Broom, considered Fleet Street's first woman photographer, documented marches of thousands of suffragists and suffragettes wearing white dresses designed to prove to the country the dignity of their cause.

"Same shit, different century", read a beautifully hand-painted placard in art nouveau script which was waved by three young women dressed in historically accurate suffragette outfits at the Women's March in London last year. As far as women's rights are concerned, there are generations - daughters and mothers (women in their fifties are even worse off, in comparison to men) - who are now realising the extent of the unfinished business left by the suffragettes, and by the first waves of feminism. Can what we wear change anything for the better? Of course not: only fighting to legislate for true transparency and gender parity can do that. But in the meantime, fashion can be a powerful ally as we set out, dressed to protest.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Ugg Boots Have Gone Thigh High Thanks To Y/Project

Y/Project designer Glenn Martens reignited the Ugg boot’s so-füssbett-it’s-fabulous appeal in Paris at the men’s collections with a thigh-high exemplar.

“Like putting your thighs in butter,” was how Glenn Martens, creative director of Y/Project, described the experience of pulling on a pair of the thigh-high Ugg boots he debuted on the autumn/winter 2018 menswear catwalk in Paris this week. That’s one way to sum up the dramatic proportions and enduring appeal of the fuzzy-on-the-inside Californian export. Do you dare?

Y/Project’s sprawling fan base will scream: yes! The Belgian designer has an ingenious knack for amorphous footwear – see the thigh-high boot-jean hybrids he created for the collection that won the 2017 ANDAM Prize, plus the gargantuan, tulle-suede boots-cum-tights he designed for spring/summer 2018 – but combining his off-beat aesthetic with the fuzzy fabrics of the purveyor of the original comfy classic, Ugg, produced an exemplar in the so-füssbett-it’s-fabulous category. "I’ve actually never had Uggs before, this was my first time," he said. "When I was a teenager I knew the brand and always wondered about the people who actually wore them. But after wearing Uggs, through the collaboration, I realise it’s so true that you don’t ever take them off." As for creating a crotch-grazing version? As Martens told Vogue last year: “I set very few rules in my personal life. I tend to project that into my work. This results in very eclectic designs. At Y/Project, we do whatever we want, whenever we want. I think you can feel this freedom.”

Such an extreme streak has put him on the map in a sea of young upstarts in Paris (also interesting to note: the Belgian was once Demna Gvasalia’s fit model). Martens agrees with the Balenciaga and Vetements’ creative when it comes to stimulus: “I get my inspiration from the street. I’m that creepy guy staring at you in the Métro. I love watching people, seeing what they wear, how their clothes affect them.”

Clearly he’s been watching Sienna Miller, whose tanned legs propelled the marshmallow boot to prominence in 2009, and returned them to prominence just four days ago, stepping out in a shaggy pair in New York. Dig them out from the back of your wardrobe and wear with spring’s carpenter jeans and a screen-saver shirt. Just think how warm you’ll be.

Gowns From The Golden Globes To Be Auctioned For Time’s Up

What happens to a red carpet gown after the big night? This question was asked more than usual following the historic Time’s Up red carpet at the Golden Globe Awards, where actresses, actors, and activists wore black to show their support for victims of sexual harassment, abuse, and inequality. Had it been a "normal" awards show, Nicole Kidman might have sent her Givenchy gown back to Paris to be stored in the archives, or perhaps Zoë Kravitz would have re-worn her Saint Laurent column to another party (she seems like the type who wouldn’t fret over repeats). But those dresses became symbols of awareness and social change, so people were understandably curious about their futures.

This year, design houses and celebrities are trying something different. Condé Nast has partnered with Time’s Up and eBay for Charity to host an auction of Golden Globes gowns and tuxedos, with all proceeds benefiting the Time’s Up Legal Defence Fund, which connects victims of sexual harassment with legal representation and assistance. This Friday, January 19 at 9am EST, eBay shoppers will be able to bid on Reese Witherspoon’s Zac Posen gown, Tracee Ellis Ross’s Marc Jacobs dress and turban, Hugh Jackman’s Brioni tuxedo, Claire Foy’s Stella McCartney suit, and 35 further pieces donated by top designers.

“At Condé Nast, we’ve always believed in the importance of swift action to support meaningful social change,” says Anna Wintour, artistic director of Condé Nast and editor-in-chief of American Vogue. “Through this auction, powered by eBay for Charity, and harnessing the compelling pull of both fashion and activism, we’re hopeful that the black dresses worn at this year’s historic Golden Globe Awards will raise funds for the Time’s Up initiative and serve to support the stories and voices of those who have been victims of sexual misconduct.”

Devin Wenig, president and CEO of eBay, adds: “Celebrating, safeguarding, and increasing diversity and inclusion is a value that is core to eBay’s culture — as an employer and as one of the world’s leading commerce platforms. As a company that supports gender pay equity and believes strongly that workplace environments should be free of offensive and hurtful behaviour, we are proud to partner with the Time’s Up Legal Defence Fund and Condé Nast to raise funds for this important cause.”

The auction will last until January 26, and three dresses will be sold via a “sweepstakes model,” in which eBay users can donate $25 or more to the Time’s Up Legal Defence Fund for a chance to win a dress of their choice. Browse the auction today at

Alexander Wang To Break Away From The Conventional Fashion Week Calendar

Alexander Wang will not show his spring/summer 2019 collection during New York Fashion Week in September. Instead, the American designer will adopt a new biannual schedule with collections presented in June and December.

In response to Wang’s move, and the fluctuation the global fashion week schedules are currently experiencing, the CFDA has put into motion plans for an official summer/winter fashion season.

“I could see it happening this summer,” Steven Kolb, CFDA president and CEO, told WWD. “I could see a collective of maybe five or so brands that have the right adjacency and might align to it… Alex is one of many designers the CFDA has spoken to about the idea, and we support him in this business decision. There are others who are part of this idea.”

Proenza Schouler, Sies Marjan, Altuzarra, Rodarte and Thom Browne have reportedly joined the conversation, however Kolb has noted that should a June/December season be actioned, it would not replace the traditional September/February schedule. He also noted that the CFDA has not yet discussed the shift with the other international fashion organisations, including the British Fashion Council, the Chambre Syndicale and the Camera Nazionale della Moda.

“I am very much looking forward to showing in June in New York,” said Wang of the business move, which will see his collections go to market twice a year, instead of four, with more frequent, strategic product drops throughout the season.

“We have been exploring many different approaches to our product launches through collaborations such as Adidas Originals and special capsules to measure customer response,” the designer explained. “Our shows will reinforce our brand’s DNA to our global customers and fans while we continue to be focused in our product offering. This new cadence will allow us to speak to our global customer in different conversations that are not limited to just fashion week twice a year.”

Wang will still show his autumn/winter 2018 collection in New York on February 10th at 8pm at an undisclosed location.

Kim Jones To Leave Louis Vuitton

Kim Jones will exit his role as men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton after presenting his final autumn/winter 2018 collection for the house on Thursday.

“It has been a huge privilege to work with Kim,” said Michael Burke, Vuitton’s chairman and chief executive officer, praising the designer’s “ability to set trends” and talent. “All of us who have been fortunate to work with Kim wish him continued success in his next venture.”

Since taking charge of menswear at the LVMH brand in 2011, Jones increased the brand’s visibility through high-profile collaborations with British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman, and contemporary credibility through a tie-up with streetwear brand Supreme.

Louis Vuitton has not named a successor for Jones, however the rumour mill has already gone into overdrive suggesting that the British designer could be in line to replace Christopher Bailey at Burberry when he bids farewell to the brand in March. Though Jones has no specific experience in womenswear, his CV is an impressive one.

His graduate Central Saint Martins collection was bought by John Gallianoin 2003, and he subsequently launched a namesake label during London Fashion Week in 2003. An opportunity to head up British menswear luxury brand Dunhill came calling in 2008 and he closed his business to pursue the role.

Kaia Turns Designer For Karl

Kaia Gerber: breakout model of the spring/summer 2018 season and now fully-fledged designer. The 16-year-old daughter of Cindy Crawford has been plucked by Karl Lagerfeld to create a capsule collection for his eponymous line.

The Karl Lagerfeld x Kaia collection will comprise ready-to-wear and accessories, including footwear, sunglasses and jewellery, and take inspiration from Lagerfeld’s Parisian aesthetic and Gerber’s West Coast style.

“When Karl first told us his idea to collaborate with Kaia, we were all excited by the incredible potential and power of bringing their two worlds together,” Pier Paolo Righi, chief executive officer of Karl Lagerfeld, told WWD.

“We have been working intensely over the last months with Kaia in LA and at our studio in Paris. It was exciting to see her clear vision, passion and engagement, and the collection will definitely inspire many young women,” he added.

The relationship between the German creative director and rising catwalk star is not a new one. Lagerfeld called upon Gerber to open the Chanel spring/summer 2018 show in October, after watching her storm the runways at Calvin Klein, Saint Laurent, Prada and tens of other brands around the global fashion weeks.

The collection, which is set to be launched with a series of events in Los Angeles, New York and Paris in September before hitting Karl Lagerfeld stores and, is hot on the heels of Tommy Hilfiger’s collaboration with Gigi Hadid. The debut Tommy x Gigi line generated 900 percent increased traffic to in the 48 hours following the see-now-buy-now show in September 2016. The American duo are preparing for their fourth season together in February, which will be shown in Milan.

Kering Reinforces Luxury Status By Distributing Puma Shares

Kering is distributing 70 percent of its stake in Puma to shareholders in order to focus on its luxury portfolio of brands.

“Kering’s ambition is to continue to grow and develop its powerful ensemble of houses in couture, leather goods, jewellery and watches, leveraging on its high cash-flow generation and strong financial position,” the French luxury goods group, which has Gucci, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Christopher Kane and Stella McCartney in its stable, told WWD.

The shift will see Kering reduce its stake to 16 percent from 86 percent, with Kering shareholder Artemis winding up with a 29 percent stake in the sports brand, and about 55 percent of Puma’s stock free-floating on the stock market. Jean-Marc Duplaix, Kering’s chief financial officer, said that the group chose not to sell Puma outright in order to avoid a lengthy sale process that would destabilise the brand, which has seen revenue growth owing in part to its high-profile collaboration with Rihanna.

François-Henri Pinault, chief executive officer and chairman, added that the distribution is a “significant milestone" in the company's history: “Kering dedicating itself entirely to the development of its luxury houses, whose enduring appeal, built on creative audacity and innovativeness, will allow us to continue to gain market share and create value,” he said. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivalled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth.”

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Victoria Beckham To Show At London Fashion Week

Victoria Beckham will join the London Fashion Week schedule for the first time in September for a 10th anniversary show celebrating a decade in the business.

The catwalk event will follow a series of changes to Beckham’s eponymous brand starting with how she presents her autumn/winter 2018 collection in February. Instead of the Sunday morning slot she has occupied for past seasons at New York Fashion Week, she will showcase the clothes during “intimate presentations” at the James Burden Mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side – a throwback to the appointments she held as a fledgling fashion designer in the early days.

The 10-year anniversary, which will also see Beckham launch “special pieces and activations” throughout the year, according to WWD, follows the news that the brand has acquired £30 million from growth equity firm Neo Investment Partners in exchange for a minority stake in her company.

The union will allow Victoria Beckham Limited, as the global luxury fashion brand is officially registered, to enhance its digital and bricks-and-mortar retail presence, drive core categories and launch new categories and collaborations, according to an official statement from VBL announced. The company will move to new West London premises in the spring of 2018.

Alessandro Michele Opens His Gucci Garden In Florence

When Alessandro Michele decided to do up the Gucci Museo next to Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, it had to have the world’s best gift shop. “I wanted to buy something walking through it just now, because I worked on all these things on my iPad and now they’ve come alive,” the Gucci designer admitted on Tuesday afternoon after he’d declared the building open for business.

A jewel in the crown of the Florentine fashion house, the museum has served as a shrine to its history from Guccio Gucci’s beginnings in 1921 to Tom Ford’s tenure and onwards. But on Michele’s watch, Gucci – and the industry in which he continues to make waves – is embracing all corners of fashion history. Orchestrated by curator and critic Maria Luisa Frisa, the gallery’s three floors now encompass pieces by Trouble Andrew and Dapper Dan, embracing the guerrilla interpretations of Gucci that were always part of its story.

But it’s the so-called Gucci Garden store on the ground floor where Michele’s talent for retail innovation comes alive. “Now is the time for fashion to open the doors to something different than dresses, otherwise the market will collapse,” he said, reflecting on the store, which will sell exclusive Gucci items from ceramics to chairs and all the trinkets a gift store calls for. “It’s clear now that the world is not interested in things, which have no soul or meaning. When you go onto social media, you can see how people criticise everything: they don’t want to eat something just because you cooked it. They don’t care. They can live without you,” Michele pointed out. “With this store I was thinking about somewhere I would love to go, and somewhere to have fun. It’s more accessible than our other stores.”

Florence and its high concentration of antique stores and museums have a special place in Michele’s heart. During his time at Fendi in the 1990s he used to live in the city, discovering its secrets and letting its soul into the maximalist aesthetic he would eventually use to create his "Renaissance streetwear" vision for Gucci. “Florence is full of little treasures everywhere. Now it’s harder, but it used be like walking through a museum. Every store was full of little treasures for nothing. I learned a lot from the dealers here. They have huge expertise in every category of art. During the grand tours the English used to love coming here and buy stupid things just to have some Italian treasure,” Michele said, referring to the educational trips of the 19th century when even Queen Victoria travelled to Florence.

“So it’s a good place to make this kind of experiment,” he said of his new Gucci store. “It’s not serious! I mean, this is not Colette. It’s completely different. It’s like when you when to Florence in the past and you went back to London with a piece of paper. It’s not pretentious, it’s just to have fun.” Be as it may, Michele has fuelled a new age of retail in fashion where customers now queue up outside Gucci stores around the world just to get a glimpse of the museum-like shopping experience he’s created. “I have a friend, who always has to call a friend in the office in order to get in!” Michele said, laughing. “I’m thinking, oh my god, because it was honestly not a part of my project in the beginning to become the king of selling. I was more focused on being a good boy, who could hypnotise you in some way.”

Now, Michele describes the Gucci experience as “an ocean rather than a pool”: a bottomless, borderless universe for his customers to explore. “It’s crazy,” he said, reflecting on his retail success, “but I think it’s quite understandable because I’m trying to make fashion accessible, not only whether or not you have money, but in a sense close to rock ‘n’ roll. When I was young I could be on stage with some rock star for just ten lire, without buying anything. It was so powerful, the idea of six minutes of music. With one element you became a piece of this tribe.” The Gucci Garden in Florence allows customers to buy into the brand through objects such as cushions or boxes, which are relatively inexpensive compared to Michele’s ready-to-wear and jewellery.

Fortunately, his new title as king of shops hasn’t put the designer off shopping for himself, even if he now spends less time rummaging through the antique stores of Florence and more time on eBay. “You know, I’m not very technological but in the past years I’ve discovered the antique markets on the web,” he said. “I’m like a kid with a toy. But I love to find and touch things in stores. I think the little villages in Italy outside the big cities are the most incredible places. I spend a lot of time in libraries and antique bookshops. It’s like being Harry Potter. You can discover the most magical things.”

Inside Alexa Chung's Third Collection: Fantastic

Alexa Chung has unveiled the third collection from her eponymous brand, entitled "Fantastic" after one of the designer’s favourite slogan tees.

A celebration of the 1990s music scene and the Britpop culture that pervaded the UK, the clothes pay homage to the swagger of Oasis, the raillery of Blur and the gentlemanly wit of Pulp. There’s a mustard corduroy suit in salute to Jarvis Cocker, a striped orange and black jersey tee inspired by Graham Coxon and a petrol blue hooded parka reminiscent of a 1990s Kate Moss shot by Corinne Day.

"It's important for me to create something both timeless and timely,” Chung said of the follow-up collection to her launch line and second prom-themed capsule. “This collection embodies Brit Pop and translates that creative spirit into silhouettes for the current generation. For want of a better word, it's Fantastic."

Launching on throughout January, with prices ranging from £75 for Chung’s statement T-shirts to £1,000 for outerwear, look out for the other slogan the Vogue contributing editor Chung is championing this season: “Hardcore”. Designed to put a metaphorical two fingers up to anyone who says you can’t party all weekend and still look fresh on Monday, it's a pinch of Coxon, Cocker and Chung rolled into one well-crafted logo.

The International Woolmark Prize Names Its Winners

As the Pitti Immagine fashion fair kicks off in Florence this evening, the International Woolmark Company announced the winner of their age-old prize in a fabulous show in the Tuscan city. Following the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent, who won the prize as young designers in 1954, three new hopes took home the lucrative awards this year. The New York-based label Dyne won the Innovation Prize, while London-based Matthew Miller won the Menswear Prize and the Indian label Bodice was awarded the Womenswear Prize.

“There was heated discussions about the men’s and women’s winners but the Innovation Award was straight-forward,” said judge Elizabeth von Guttman of System Magazine. “We all agreed that Dyne was the obvious winner because innovation is in his DNA.” Working with merino wool knitted on a special machine to give a beautiful range of texture, Dyne used treated wool that’s waterproof as well as laser cutting the material to give very clean edges. “Last but not least we have a date chip embedded in each garment that interacts with your phone so you can, amongst other things, see where it’s made,” the designer of Dyne, Christopher Bevans, said. “It shows you exactly where the clothes were made, so you can zoom in on GPS.

This is important because it retains sustainability and keeps old crafstmen in business,” said judge Sarah Mower of American and British Vogue. “It’s about how people are treated. This is integral to getting through to this stage.” Dyne premiered a water-resistant windbreaker, the inside of which was all wool. “It’s a new way of using wool because we have such traditional views on how to use it,” said judge Tiffany Hsu of “Typically wool isn’t a functional material but he made it that.”

A key name in London menswear, Matthew Miller won because “he was thinking about form following fiction and adaptability,” Mower explained. “He’s developed a coat which bonds sheepskin onto wool, which has never been done before. It’s smart utility.” He based his Woolmark capsule collection - which every nominee is asked to design - on Dieter Rams’ design philosophy that form follows function. “All the garments connect to each other with a clip system and that basically defined it. I bonded merino wool to shearling and vulcanised wool to make it completely waterproof,” Miller explained. “He had a clever and practical design approach to design,” Gutman reflected. “It’s well-tailored and really relevant to how modern men want to dress. It’s adaptable but also stylish,” added Hsu.

For Bodice, the Womenswear Award win was in the stars. “I knew Bodice from the International Fashion Showcase where she was part of the winning Indian group of emerging designers last year,” smiled Mower, chair of said board under the British Fashion Council, “so I’m thrilled to see her picked up from that stage to this next level.” Sourced in India, designer Ruchika Sachdeva worked from a point of sustainability. “Her work is very elegant and artisanal. She really thought about how the fabrics were created,” Hsu commented. Last year’s Menswear Award winners Cottweiler went on to showcase their most elaborate runway presentation to date this weekend at the Natural History Museum in London, underlining the power of the support offered by Woolmark.

Natacha Ramsay-Levi Explores Feminine Reality In Her First Chloé Campaign

When, during Paris Fashion week, Natacha Ramsay-Levipresented her inaugural vision of the Chloé woman, it was to a somewhat rapturous reception. A contemporary version of the brand’s archetypal femininity, hers was a Chloé that paired floral dresses with python-skin booties; layered peachy pastels under sturdy leathers; and visibly toughened its soft-focus appeal. Now, with her first campaign for the house – a short film, directed by Steven Meisel, and a series of stills that have been taken from it – that vision has been compounded.

“Women have a past, they have emotions, they have cracks – and the Chloé woman is not a phantasme,” she explained over the phone from Paris. “She has something very real [about her], and here we wanted to take that reality to a new level. I felt that, on a classical shoot, we couldn’t get that depth.” What has surmounted is a sort of character study, which she describes as seen “from the perspective of someone staring at a woman in the street, trying to understand who they are.” That analogy could hardly be more apt – it is, in a way, precisely what Ramsay-Levi has been doing at the brand for nine months.

There is, of course, no greater man to lens your first campaign than Meisel – as Ramsay-Levi says, “he is the reference of a fashion photographer,” and the two already had a working relationship, having become acquainted while she was working for Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga. But beyond that, “I wanted to work with someone who has a vision, but who also deals with the personality of a woman.” That is precisely what Ramsay-Levi seems determined to establish: the personality of the women she is designing for. “She’s very real, she’s in the street, she’s not in a fantasy world,” she says – and here, that sense is tangible: these are shoes, and bags, and astoundingly pretty dresses made to be lived in. It's certainly an appealing thought – and, perhaps more pertinently here, makes for a very appealing visual.

H&M Apologises Over “Racist” Image

H&M has apologised after an image of a black child modelling a hoodie with the slogan “coolest monkey in the jungle” appeared on the Swedish retailer's UK website.

In response to the controversial image, which sparked a frenzy of Tweets branding it as “offensive”, “irresponsible” and “racist”, The Weeknd has cut ties with the high street brand.

The singer, who has previously sold merchandise through H&M and modelled for the company, took to Twitter to share the news: “[I] woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with H&M anymore.”

H&M responded with the following statement: "We're deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we've not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our offering."

Rapper Sean Combs, American basketball player LeBron James and Manchester United footballer Romelu Lukaku rallied to support Canadian singer Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, who is known professionally as The Weeknd, and share their disappointment at H&M’s oversight.

“Put some respect on it!!,” said Combs (who records under the moniker P Diddy) of his Instagram and Twitter photo, which replaced the slogan with "coolest king in the world".

James similarly altered the hoodie to feature a crown and the new slogan "King of the world", while Lukaku posted a version of the H&M image with the new slogan "Black is beautiful".

H&M has agreed that the image is upsetting, and ended the brand's statement with the promise that an oversight like this would not happen again: “It’s obvious that our routines haven’t been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We’ll thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”

It is not the first time that H&M has come under fire for products that have caused offence. In January 2016, it apologised for a striped scarf that social-media users alleged was a copy of a Tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl. A menswear vest that was produced in 2014 and featured a skull in the centre of a Star of David was similarly removed from sale.

Here Come The Women In Black

R.I.P. “Who are you wearing?” At the 2018 Golden Globes, the hot potato was “Why black?”, as actresses clothed in inky hues sounded the death knell for E! Entertainment’s favourite red carpet question. As revolutions go, it was hardly Bloody Sunday, but it was still an impressive, symbolic show of solidarity with victims of sexual harassment as part of the Time’s Upmovement.

Of course there were pretty Golden Globes 2018 dresses and Colgate smiles for miles, plus E!s 360-degree Glambot – hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. What was startling, however, was that those who had not adhered to the all-black dress code were in a tiny minority. Almost everyone had got the memo – including the men, who wore black shirts and Time’s Up pins.

How to make clothes mean more – more than just a successful reworking of a catwalk look, more than a marketing hit on the front of every website and newspaper, more than a six-figure endorsement deal – had been on people’s minds all week. It was approached in a three-pronged strategy by actresses keenly aware that pulling on an expensive black designer look and a frosting of diamonds is hardly Herculean in its political engagement, and that they needed a bloody good one-liner about why they had decided to do just that.

Strategy one: wear black, and bring an activist along for the ride. Eight pairs opted in on the night, beginning with Emma Watson, whose date was Marai Larasi, the executive director of Imkaan, which defines itself as “the only UK-based, second-tier women’s organisation dedicated to addressing violence against Black minoritised women and girls”. Ditto Meryl Streep, who was accompanied by Ai-jen Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which works to empower and organise domestic workers in the US, most of whom are women. Michelle Williams invited Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, to walk the red carpet with her, while Susan Sarandon brought Rosa Clemente, an activist, journalist and grassroots community organiser.

Laura Dern invited Mónica Ramírez, who fights for farm workers and immigrant rights and Shailene Woodley took Calina Lawrence, an advocate for Native Treaty rights and a member of the Suqamish Tribe. Emma Stone, naturally, was accompanied by Billie Jean King, the American former world number one tennis player, whom she played in Battle Of The Sexes, the role for which she was nominated for the best actress award. As for Amy Poehler? She walked with activist Saru Jayaraman, an Indian-American attorney and a leader in the food labour movement.

Pairing of a different sort comprised strategy two: wear black, and wear trousers. Allison Brie summed up the sentiment, in a pair of slim cigarettes under her classic puff-ball Vassilis Zoulias dress: “Tonight is about women wearing the pants, so I chose to literally wear the pants.” She was joined by Debra Messing, whose black trouser-and-heavily-embellished-tunic Christian Siriano combo was accompanied by a stinging rebuke to E! over wage equality: “I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn’t believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts. I miss Catt Sadler,” she said, referring to the former host who left the network in December alleging that her male co-host was paid twice as much as her. Laurie Metcalf, Christina Hendricks and Maggie Gyllenhaal went the same way as Brie, opting for structured tunics or corsets over sharp trousers. Others went for understated trouser suits: Claire Foy looked sensational in Stella McCartney, as did Sarandon in Saint Laurent, and Ryan Michelle Bathe in a snappy tuxedo.

Strategy three was to simply wear a knock-out black dress. Some went for elegant strapless columns – Zoë Kravitz, Allison Williams, Kerry Washington, Emilia Clarke – and others went asymmetric: Reese Witherspoon, Mary J Blige, Tracee Ellis Ross, Gillian Anderson. Crystal embellishment and lace were employed by Nicole Kidman, Isabelle Huppert, and Catherine Zeta Jones, though bombastic ball gowns were scarce – frivolity and fantasy was in danger of looking like a trivial interpretation of red-carpet activism, though Gwendoline Christie went all out in kick-ass Giles Deacon, and looked suitably incendiary.

Common to all was that peculiarly American sense of “owning it”. Fashion was not exiled from the red carpet, make no mistake, even if its designers weren’t namechecked front and centre. Rather, Hollywood’s women chose to make their clothing a signal flare rather than the basis for a hollow press release. Such an overwhelmingly co-ordinated response put the pervasive nature of gender inequality before froth, fantasia and designer clothing tags.

Will it prove an empty gesture? Only if it isn’t followed up at the Oscars. “We feel emboldened in this moment to stand together in a thick black line dividing then from now,” said Meryl Streep, in one of the most eloquent sound-bites of the night. Will the line be red at the Oscars? Will it be trouser-suited? Should it be make-up and high-heel free? Or should it be gloriously uncompromising in its splendour? The red carpet is dead. Long live the red carpet.

For more on Hollywood’s new era, pick up a copy of Vogue’s February issue, featuring this year’s stars whose roles embody cinema’s new mood in “Best Performances”, co-produced with W magazine, and on newsstands now.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Borderless Fashion: From Unappreciated To Well Accepted

It is fair to say that times have changed immensely over the past decade within the fashion industry, with regards to the way fashion is interpreted, created and accepted in society. African Culture and fashion is one sector which has increased in popularity amongst the inhabitants of the Western society, with the effect that it is now one of the fastest growing and developing economies within in the African Continent. African Culture and fashion has owned its position on the stage and claimed its spotlight. It is making a statement stronger then ever with ambassadors as Queen Maxima, Beyoncé & Obama and one thing is for sure. It is here to stay.

Just now, there is an ongoing narrative of what African fashion is. Certain individuals amongst us see it as traditionally hand crafted and tailor-made items of clothing. On the corners of the streets of different African countries, you will still find authentic sewing ateliers. However, now-a-days it tries to break away from the traditional image including expectations it once had and is ready to take risks. African Fashion is diverse and indeed every country has its own blueprint and its corresponding style. What you are able to recognize from these various styles are still the bright colour and fussed designs that ´pop´ out your eyes in reaffirming their identity. The notion still remains that every single detail can be caught by the eye if you free up your mind and pay close enough attention to them. It can be noted also that bright colours aren’t a distraction or gambit for trying to create chaos. Better yet, they are a flow of emotions which tell you a poetic story - if you are ready to listen to it. More than clothing, every individual design is a centre piece that grabs you by the hand and fills your heart with warmth.

More fashion brands like Junya Watanabe and Valentine are inspired by the different styles within African fashion and as such are implementing these elements in to their own collection, so the diversity within the world of fashion is finally accepted.

It comes as no surprise that there are many varieties of style of African fashion which have claimed its stage and visibility through different aspects. Since 2014, there has been an African Fashion Week Amsterdam, established by a young aspiring businesswoman Diana Tambe. At a young age, Diana moved from Cameroon to the Netherlands where she started off as a model. As an aspiring fashion professional, she always redesigned her own clothes (and later those of friends as well) and after increasing her contact portfolio in the fashion and entertainment industry, she decided it was the right move to make a shift into her own designing career with her own clothing line called Blackpearl Secret. According to Diana, more people from the Western society have an open mind to these styles of fashion. For instance, the Queen of Netherlands is one of the many ambassadors that represent the emerging face of African Culture.

As the interest in African fashion increases, more and more aspiring young designers reveal their flair, as more digital platforms rise from the dark to be enlightened by young artists who are provocatively showcasing their talent. African fashion consists of a wide variety of looks that can help individuals to express their style.From classy to elegant or edgy to extravagant you have the power to be flawless with your look.

Guest Article: Abigail Josepha

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Vetements Debuts Pets Of Instagram Show Invitation

Drumrolls at the ready: the early award for best invitation of the autumn/winter 2018 show season goes to... Vetements, who have summed up the never-ending, ever-increasing global, cross-cultural affinity for the dogs and cats (and goats) of Instagram with a moving image fanfare to their men’s and women’s extravaganza on January 19th in Paris. In a candid Q&A for the January issue of British Vogue titled What Would Demna Do?, creative director Demna Gvasalia teased his love of the cyberspace phenomenon. Asked what he would do to cheer up a sad friend, he answered: "I would show them the cats of Instagram."

Vetements’ homage to social media’s favourite pastime comes in the wake of a 2017 when Gvasalia broke the fashion department of the internet more than once. The IKEA-esque bag he designed for Balenciaga - where he also serves as designer - spawned an entire capsule campaign from the Swedish homeware giant, while his election-inspired Balenciaga motifs, not dissimilar to those of Bernie Sanders’ campaign, got a mention from the presidential candidate in a cable news interview. Vetements now has several fan-fuelled Instagram accounts dedicated to them, including Petememe where cutesy animals feature in fictional campaigns for the brand.

"Those things I don’t react to," he shrugged in another British Vogueinterview in August. "For me it’s a bit like the whole Vetememe thing," Gvasalia continued, referring to the unofficial meme outlet devoted to the brand. "The internet craziness… I don’t want to get involved. It becomes a bit slapstick. I don’t like slapstick." What of that show invitation, then? Gvasalia has a way with transforming life's most basic pleasures into something new and subversive; making the ordinary extraordinary, if you will. "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. You will see," he said of the internet craze surrounding Vetements.

"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.” On January 19th at 7pm Paris time, we’ll get to see for ourselves.

Naomi Campbell Remembers Azzedine Alaïa

Shortly before his death on November 18 2017, Azzedine Alaïa gave Vogue his final interview, telling Tim Blanks about the world he created and his 30-year friendship with Naomi Campbell.

“I am very possessive. Naomi is very possessive, too. And jealous. Because I think that if you love someone, you must be jealous. I love the history of jealousy. If you are not jealous, you don’t love!” the Tunisian-born couturier told Blanks of the supermodel. “Like me, she is intuitive, stubborn, quick, generous and honest. Naomi is an amazing person; nobody truly understands her. She is much deeper than she first appears. She is quite misunderstood… We don’t have to ask anyone to change. We should respect everyone’s individuality. Maybe we have to change ourselves to co-operate with others. Perhaps we can learn something.”

In the accompanying video, which was filmed after Alaïa's death in his Dover Street Market boutique, Campbell said to Blanks: “He did the things my father, who I never met until I was 41, didn’t do. He took me to the dentist, took me to museums, taught me about art, taught me about food, culture. I don’t think I will ever have that again, I definitely lived a very blessed journey with Azzedine.”

Of living with him in Paris, the Vogue contributing editor added, “Growing up in that house, I had the best wardrobe in the world. When I moved in, my bedroom was on the first floor so I would sneak out through the window to go to clubs, dressed in clothes from the boutique. I’d leave the shop door ajar so that I could get back in, but Azzedine knew the staff at Les Bains Douches and they would always call him so that he could come and collect me. He would find me there, in the middle of the dancefloor, fix my outfit so that it looked how it was supposed to, and then he would drag me back home, no matter how much I protested. He loved to tell those stories, and he always wanted to protect me; he was my Papa.”

Friday, January 5, 2018

DVF Appoints Chief Design Officer

DVF has appointed Nathan Jenden as chief design officer and vice president following Jonathan Saunders’s resignation in December 2017.

“Nathan is an extremely talented and technically skilful designer who has a great gift surrounding himself with young, emerging talent,” brand founder Diane von Furstenberg said of Jenden who worked at DVF for 10 years until 2011.

“I want to make great clothes that resonate with women,” said Jenden of his return to the house. “I see DVF as being more relevant today than it ever was in its message of self-empowerment while being dynamic and modern. I want to give the DVF girl what she wants, when she wants it, and with the joie de vivre and sense of purpose that epitomises Diane, DVF the brand and the spirit of women today.”

Jenden will report directly to Diane von Furstenberg and DVF’s board, the Business of Fashion reports. His inaugural collection will be autumn/winter 2018 shown during New York Fashion Week in February.

Prior to his first stint at DVF, English-born Jenden had an apprenticeship with John Galliano and spent three years as design director with Daryl K. While at DVF, he launched his own label and left to pursue this venture, opening stores in Asia. Most recently he worked for Global Brands Group as the creative director of Bebe.