Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Kwaidan Editions, the Hyper-Chic, Cinematic Label You Need to Know

Kwaidan Editions is a marriage made in fashion heaven - in more ways than one. The London-based label is the work of husband-and-wife duo Léa Dickely and Hung La, who between them have an impressive decade of combined experience working for Rick Owens, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Céline. “It was never our intention to start a brand,” says La, but when the pair found themselves free from in-house roles for the first time, it appeared the next logical step. “We thought the best way to challenge ourselves and to empower ourselves would be to start something of our own,” he continues.

Having met at Antwerp’s prestigious Royal Academy - La is American-Vietnamese and Dickely is French - the couple bonded over cinema. In fact, their first date was spent watching The Shining and their label takes its name from Japanese director Masaki Kobayashi’s 1965 film, based on a series of traditional ghost stories. Dickely and La are film buffs and begin designing their collections by creating cinematic sets. “We really work around a place, a time, a setting,” says La. “We construct these intricate movie sets and the clothes have to exist within that.” “It's like putting together a puzzle,” adds Dickley. “The texture, the smell, the lights and the character.”

For their current, spring/summer 2018 collection, it began with sinister-looking motel rooms and Dressing for Pleasure, a compilation of photos sourced from AtomAge, the 1970s fetish bible devoted to rubber, vinyl and leather in domestic settings. When I visit, the mood board in their Kensal Rise studio is an orderly composition of mid-century motel interiors, brutalist architecture, skater girls and Thin White Duke-era Bowie - all through a primary-hued filter. “There’s always a twinge of darkness,” says La. “We embrace ghosts and spirits.”

A tension between high-end classics (French-made, nonetheless) and subversion is central to the collection. There’s slightly kinky black papery polyester coating, nipped-in Italian wool tailoring, floral chintz prints hand-painted by Dickely, slouchy flares and exaggerated shirts and floor-sweeping shirt-dresses. There’s even a perfectly swirled tie-dye T-shirt, a collaboration with a couple of local hippies in Vermont who toured with the Grateful Dead for 30 years. “They came back to us with pine needles in because they hang them out to dry on the trees,” La points out.

With an LVMH Prize nomination, the couple will spend the next week in Paris pitching their label to industry insiders and titans including Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs and Maria Grazia Chiuri. They’re adamant that they want to remain under the radar and take it one step at a time, working with their stellar stockists to create in-store installations. “All in good time,” says La of staging shows and expanding their offering. “It’s about staying the right size for us. We saw the madness that goes into the whole fashion industry. Once you get on the train it doesn’t stop and the industry is always asking for more. We have a long term vision and we don’t want to burn out.”

With retailers including, The Broken Arm, Ssense, The Store and Dover Street Market, where Kwaidan Editions can be found between Céline and Calvin Klein - the label’s already on a fast-track to success, and preparing for the spotlight. “We fly under the radar intentionally,” says La - but “I think it’s time for us to take a step up and to put it out there.”

The Story Behind Dior’s AW18 Slogan-Heavy Set

Dior sets are always a spectacle, but for autumn/winter 2018, Maria Grazia Chiuri is returning to the Musée Rodin with a statement: the set for the latest collection comprises an eye-catching collage of 3,000 posters.

Conceived by set designer and frequent Dior collaborator Alexandre de Betak, the backdrop takes its cue from the autumn collection, the unveiling of which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the protests that shook Paris in May 1968. The series of strikes proved to be a turning point in France, igniting a deeper conversation about society and its values. 

It took 150 people three weeks to build the set: covering the double runway - seats, walls and all - with posters inspired by that urgent anti-authoritarian spirit of 1968. An expansive mirrored ceiling reflects the cacophony of visuals beneath: fragments of feminist slogans, vintage magazine covers - British and American Vogue included - and archival protest images, patched together as a collage of insurgence, reinvention and strength. Through the commotion, one poster stands out, black writing on a white backdrop at the end of the runway: “I AM A WOMAN.”

All of which serves to ignite a guessing game: what will the clothes look like? Our money’s on more berets, mini skirts and a load of slogan T-shirts…

Met Gala 2018 Details Reveal

As Milan Fashion Week drew to a close, the fashion set made a pit stop in Rome before heading to the Paris autumn/winter 2018 shows. The reason for the pilgrimage to the Palazzo Colonna, a one-time papal residence? A sneak preview of the Vatican treasures that will go on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imaginationexhibition, which will open in May.

The Vatican culture minister, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, joined US Vogueeditor-in-chief Anna Wintour, Donatella Versace and Pierpaolo Piccioli at the press conference, which examined fashion's relationship with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism.

"Some might consider fashion to be an unfitting or unseemly medium by which to engage with ideas about the sacred or the divine," curator Andrew Bolton said on Monday. "But dress is central to any discussion about religion. It affirms religious allegiances and, by extension, it asserts religious differences."

The exhibition will feature some 40 Vatican vestments and accessories spanning 15 papacies, which Bolton is said to have visited at least 10 times to secure pieces which have never left the Vatican's possession before, the Guardian reports. Items such as Pope Benedict XV's white silk cape embroidered with gold thread and the pointed bishops' hat of Pope Leo XIII, will go on display alongside pieces by Coco Chanel, who was educated by nuns, John Galliano, Cristóbal Balenciaga and Donatella Versace, who is a sponsor of the exhibition. The theme is being slated as the Met's most controversial yet, owing to the positioning of these fashion garments alongside sacred artefacts.

"Fashion reflects the world around us and nobody understands that more clearly than Andrew," Wintour, museum trustee and Met Gala co-chair, told the press. "When I go to these fashion exhibitions. I'm always so amazed to see people from all sides of the globe and all walks of life really studying the exhibitions, understanding that fashion does not operate in a vacuum."

The annual Met Gala, which is dubbed the Oscars of the fashion industry, will take place on May 7, with the dress code taking on the theme of the exhibition. How the famous faces of the fashion world will negotiate religious iconography into red-carpet wear is a feat the world is waiting to see.

Introducing Marine Serre, The Young Dynamo Designer Lighting Up Paris

If Paris is the fashion world's current hotbed of design talent, Polly-Pocket-sized designer Marine Serre is the name to drop. The Balenciaga alumnus has garnered a cult following on account of her athletic, form-fitting silhouettes fused with eclectic prints - not to mention accolades in the form of the prestigious LVMH Prize. Beating 1,200 contestants to take the top award in 2017, the judges' decision was unanimous, as panel member Nicolas Ghesquière told Vogue at the time: "It was the way she represents dressing today: the sports clothes, the body consciousness, and a kind of romanticism and femininity. It really speaks of [this] generation."

We caught up with the French designer ahead of her Paris Fashion Weekcatwalk debut, as she shared with us an exclusive portfolio of images photographed in Beirut by her friend, Tanguy Poujol.

So, you're about to do your first catwalk show - how do you feel?

It's very exciting. At this point I feel proud of my team, my friends and all of the people that have helped us. I'm also very proud that I am slowly starting to manage this fashion storm and filter all the madness that surrounds it. I'm still only a 26-year-old woman, you know!

Can you tell us a little bit about your references for the autumn/winter 2018 collection?

I will keep most of it secretive and mysterious for now. What I can say is that my challenge has been to remain as radical as possible. The new collection will be floating between very hard and very sensible, really trying to make styles that respond to the world we are living in today, in the image of what we think people actually live and feel and need nowadays. A lot of my energy has been spent to try to find new ways to produce. This is very difficult, and takes time, but I really think it is one of the major real things in fashion today, and I think we can make some funny things work with AW18. We continue from our four cornerstones: hybrid garments with many contrasting references, playing with time, the crescent moon, and what you could call a political edge. I also continued with my favourite fabrics such as moire and jersey, like before.

So much has changed for you in the past year - personally and professionally.

Well, the short story is that before 2017, there was barely a brand at all! The first thing that happened was the selection of my "Radical Call for Love" collection for the Hyères Prize, and then for the LVMH Prize. Then came the fashion week in March, with the first international buyers contacting me so they could look at my garments in my tiny apartment. To my surprise they bought the entire collection, and this really marked the start of everything.

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From there I set up my first production, while my boyfriend did the liaison with the retailers - both in the evening hours, on top of our day jobs - before getting selected for the next round of the LVMH Prize, and for the ANDAM Prize too a few weeks later. I went to Hyères with my sister, who also kept helping us during the summer. A few weeks later, again, fully in the middle of our first production, we won the LVMH. Naturally, the ANDAM Prize cancelled afterwards, but from that moment on, with buyers including Dover Street Market, SSENSE, and the LVMH Prize win, I knew that I needed to get ready for things to change.

We took on our first interns and assistants and focused first on finishing production. Then, we moved to a slightly bigger apartment to be able to design a small follow-up collection for SS18, called "Cornerstones". It was very hard, as I was still working under contract at Balenciaga until the show in September. Afterwards, we sold "Cornerstones", moved to a proper studio, and started working toward a new autumn collection.

What did you learn from your time at Balenciaga?

I started working there in October 2016 after graduation and left when my contract ended a year later. For most of the time that I was there, I was also going through all the above… so things were incredibly intense. I had a good time there, and I think we made some great things. The key experience for me was to see how the fashion machinery really works from the inside, today, in the big houses. I must add however: I also learned a lot from internships at Alexander McQueen, Dior and Maison Martin Margiela as a student.

How did winning the LVMH prize change your business? You've mentioned before how it allowed you to start paying people properly.

We had already started working with some major retailers, but with the network, prize money and visibility that came with winning the LVMH Prize, it was possible for us to really take things to whole new level. The great thing about winning the prize is that we have the freedom to do whatever we want, and are not reliant at all on investors or banks. LVMH leaves us very free too. On the other hand, it is also difficult to deal with all the attention and the responsibility that comes with suddenly being ejected into the world as a brand, and as a 25-year-old, and to keep focussed on what it is actually all about: the garments.

As for the prize money… Most of it has been spent on the great people that are now working with me, and in the production of the spring collection. We have around 10 people working with us now, and the team is very young and, though it was not really planned that way, very feminine and international. So that makes things very special and gives us a great spirit. The rest of the money has enabled us to acquire a studio annexe showroom in Paris, in the second arrondissement, which is not cheap at all and very hard to find, and finally on developing the new collection for February. We will soon need our incoming profits!

What's your best-selling piece?

My crescent logo that has this huge sense of relevance and excitement about it that is hard to grasp precisely, but it is, I feel, undeniable. So, our bestselling pieces are our boots in either Belgian tan or white jersey, with our signature crescent moon print, alongside the cat-suit which is also in the moon print. Ariane Grande also wore our jumpsuit during her tour, so that sold very well too.

How do you want people to feel when they wear your clothes?

I want women to feel armoured and strong, ready for battle and survival, which we need to be today, but without giving up shape, colour and a sense of humour. The garments can envelop you and make you feel both feminine and tough and protected at the same time. The woman I'm dressing, in my mind, has a strong sense of herself, does not make compromises and is a fearless dresser - but is also simply feeling like a nice person.

Are you sick of people talking about millennials? Do you see yourself as a designer for young people, a new generationn?

Yes, I'm not really in favour of dividing up over generations. There are plenty of young girls like myself that I really like, but also a lot that I don't want to speak for. There are also plenty of old and deceased people that I feel really close to. I see myself as a designer for all those who have a sense of engagement and style, whether that person is 15 or 50.

Simon Porte Jacquemus Finally Reveals That #NewJob of His – He’s Launching Menswear

He´s a one, that Simon Porte Jacquemus. For the last few weeks, plenty of his 403,000 Instagram followers - not to mention whole swaths of the fashion industry - were left gagging as to what exactly he meant by his copious use of #NewJob. Now, in true Jacquemus fashion, we all know. He came out at the end of the catwalk of his autumn/winter 2018 collection wearing a beige sweatshirt with "L’Homme Jacquemus" emblazoned across it.

Speaking a few days before that show from his studio in Paris, Jacquemus filled Vogue in a bit more about the launch. But first off, all that teasing. “There were a lot of rumours,” he said, laughing. “That I was going to Céline, that I was going to Versace... Everyone thought I was going to another house but I’m staying at my own. You can have a new job even if it’s at your own house.”

He may have said that “it was a bit naive, me being a kid” to announce his news this way - “I’m having so much fun” - but, in fact, it underscores two things: Firstly, he’s super smart about how to use social media to promote who he is, what he does, and what he stands for - he’s perhaps the best example of brand-building using the digital world without spending a whole load of cash of any designer working today. Secondly, it’s kind of exhilarating and thoroughly welcome to see a designer poke a little fun at the industry’s never-ending soap opera of who’s going, who’s staying, who’s arriving. In our hyper-corporate, ultra-strategised, mega-controlled era, bring it on, we say.

And bring on his men’s, too. We’ll see it sometime in the middle of the year, though location and the exact nature of the presentation is TBD. What he did say was that he’s already done his first preparations. “It was so weird to do a fitting with a male model,” he said. “I usually drape the clothes directly onto the girl, but this was different... so I am learning something new. I don’t want to do the men’s exactly like the women’s. Everything comes from the heart with me, so I am going to discover myself as I design it. My woman was very naive when I started, and she became more sophisticated with time. The men’s is going to be same. It’ll be serious, even if I am not!”

Selfridges Stakes Its Claim On Sneakers

Begone, bejewelled kitten heels and feather-sprouting sandals: the shoe of the season is undoubtedly the 1990s meets sci-fi "turbo" trainer in all its globular glory - the more impossible-to-get-hold-of, the better. But where should a self-respecting fashion fan go in pursuit of those elusive BalenciagaTriple S kicks? How can she get hold of a pair of Acne Studios' Manhattans or Pharrell x Adidas's HU Holi Blank Canvases? As of Monday, it seems setting one's compass to Selfridges might be the answer.

The mammoth department store is the latest business to register the rise of the female sneaker geek. Today, it opens its sneaker gallery, a brand new 187sq m space within its newly renovated shoe floor in the Oxford Street flagship. The space will offer over 700 styles and will be split into two categories: "the fashion sneaker", with 264 options from big-ticket luxury labels such as Chloé, Gucci and Balenciaga; and the regulars, with 500 styles in partnership with sports shoe haven Offspring. It will also be the only bricks and mortar store to stock Nike's 1 Reimagined collection: the reworked designs of the Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1 shoe styles currently blowing up the internet.

"There has been a massive shift in the streetwear side of the business: it's far less male-dominated," says Eleanor Robinson, director of accessories at Selfridges. She noted the swing during a much-hyped event for the launch of Virgil Abloh's collaboration with Nike. "It was a ticketed event and people queued overnight in the street, from 10pm. There were quite a few girls in the crowd. The purists have always been into it, but more and more girls are becoming attracted by the cool factor of limited-edition releases: they're credible, hard to get your hands on, and they signpost that you're in the know."

In particular, Selfridges has doubled the buy on Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen. Robinson says the Triple S will take the lead as the most coveted trainer of the year. "Right now, supply can't keep up with demand. We're yet to be able to display a pair on the floor as they have already been pre-sold via a waiting list.

Can't stretch to £595 for a pair? It isn't just Balenciaga whose shoes are enjoying sell-out status. At Kurt Geiger, fashion trainers are now the biggest-selling category, overtaking boots in both volume and sales. Its trainers range has grown by over 30 per cent this season on the back of the astounding success of Carvela's Lamar trainers, of which Kurt Geiger sold two pairs every hour last year. From Feburary 22 the brand is launching a dedicated trainer shop online and in its flagship Covent Garden store.

"This Is Bigger Than Me" - Anok Yai On Being The First Black Model To Open Prada In 20 Years

Anok Yai recently made fashion history by becoming the first black model to open a Prada show since Vogue contributing editor Naomi Campbell in 1997. Her second turn on the catwalk for Prada - she made her first at the menswear show in January - the 19-year-old knows the important message her casting projected to the industry.

"It was an honour and I'm proud that I was the one chosen to open, but this is bigger than me. Me opening for one of the top fashion houses is a statement to the world - especially for black women - that their beauty is something that deserves to be celebrated," she told Vogue of the moment.

With Vogue contributing casting director Ashley Brokaw heading up the model booking for the Italian house, the brand has built a reputation for quickly tapping fashion's rising stars with a Prada global exclusive (where a model will only walk for one brand in a season) becoming a rite of passage for many.

"The Prada campaign was my first ever job in fashion - I was booked by the incredible Ashley Brokaw and flew to LA to shoot with Willy Vanderperre," Yai explains of her entry into the fold. "Casting for Prada this season was so quick and simple. I had a few digitals taken and then I walked. It only lasted a few minutes, but it was nerve racking since there was such a short amount of time to make a good impression."

"I will remember the experience of opening the show as my breakthrough moment. Just modelling for Prada alone is a huge opportunity and the fact that Miuccia and Ashley put me front and centre sets the tone for my career." Yai currently has two Prada shows and three campaigns sitting pretty on her CV. "I am just so excited about where this will take me, and I couldn't be happier."

Being confirmed to walk, let alone open, is not decided by Miuccia Prada, who she calls “sweet-yet-strong”, until the last minute. As Yai explained: "I only found out I was going to be opening about an hour before it started. When I was backstage, I noticed that the production team was really going crazy about making sure my hair and make-up was done, but I didn't really think anything of it. Before we all changed into our looks, the production team had me do a walk-through of the runway for a third time. I asked her why I was the only one doing it and that's when I was told I was opening. I was pretty anxious before walking but the second I got on the catwalk all the nerves went away."

Scouted at Howard University during homecoming celebrations in Washington DC, the Egypt-born, Sudanese teen who grew up in the US was soon snapped up by Next Models and her long-time dream became a reality.

"I had always wanted to be model, but I was very hesitant. I wasn't sure how well I would do in the industry because it's always changing. Now, I want to become the best model I can be and take my career as far as possible," she added. "However, I'm also passionate about making an impact in the world whether it be through art and fashion, social media, or science."

Yai opening for Prada will not only be a landmark in her own career, but for the industry too. Previously, Prada has been called out for its lack of diversity with no models of colour taking to the catwalk between Naomi Campbell (1997) and Jourdan Dunn (2008).

What To Expect From The Autumn/Winter 2018 Shows At Paris Fashion Week

Between fan favourites like Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Maison Margiela, it’s not as if Paris Fashion Week is ever short on anticipation. As last season’s string of creative director debutantes settle in for their second ready-to-wear collections, the French fashion capital is relying on those trusty hype-makers while it braces itself to see what the future looks like for houses such as Givenchy, Chloé and Lanvin.

Last year’s winner of the LVMH Prize, Marine Serre opens the ball with a standalone show on Tuesday morning, bringing some emerging designer energy to Paris Fashion Week. When Anthony Vaccarello took over Saint Laurent, he moved his show to Tuesday evening to bring in foreign press for the young designers, who traditionally show that day. With Dior occupying a Tuesday slot as of last season, designers like Serre and Koché are sure to get a prominent turnout.

This Paris Fashion Week is a season of sophomore shows: following her critically acclaimed haute couture collection, all eyes are on Clare Waight Keller’s second ready-to-wear outing for Givenchy. Natacha Ramsay-Levi’s challenge is to repeat the runaway hit that was her first collection for Chloé in September. And will Alber Elbaz’s successor at Lanvin, Olivier Lapidus, win over his predecessor’s clientele? Finally, Serge Ruffieux is set to roll out his follow-up proposal at Carven.

While we wait for Hedi Slimane’s first collection for Céline in September, the house sits out the autumn/winter 2018 shows but will present a collection to buyers designed by the team put in place by former designer Phoebe Philo.

What's Next For Gigi Hadid?

After two years and four collections, Gigi Hadid bid an emotional farewell to her hit collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger. The experience she said had given her a huge confidence boost.

“From the get go I really enjoyed every second of my design meetings," Hadid revealed. "They were hours long for multiple days. I felt really lucky to have that responsibility and I took it really seriously. With each collection I learned more how to step into my power in a way in terms of being confident in myself.”

She plans to build on her success and the skills she’s learnt with Tommy and continue designing, but don’t expect her to rush into a new project. “I want to take some time and think about what I could be really good at. I want it to be something I really think about and something I know I can make well. I want it to be great quality and for people to know it is mine when they look at it.”

Whatever she does, she plans to consult Hilfiger. “I’ll always have a mentor in Tommy. Whatever I come up with, I’ll run by him and see if he thinks it’s a good idea.”

See all the facts from the fourth and final Gigi x Tommy collection here;

The location

2,000 people watched the show. Designed as an indoor race track, the catwalk was lined with F1 cars and merchandise stores so that the audience could shop the catwalk.

The catwalk

The racing track catwalk was one of the longest ever created at 212 metres. Gigi Hadid went around it three times in total clocking up a whopping 636 catwalk metres walked.

It was a family affair

Hadid’s sister Bella and brother Anwar walked in the show and Hilfiger’s wife Dee and children were in attendance.

The line-up

Gigi’s catwalk crew included Joan Smalls, Hayley Baldwin, Fran Summers, Dilone and Snoop’s son Cordell Broadus. Jeremy Meeks (AKA the hot felon) was a surprise catwalk presence. He was mobbed for selfies backstage.


Hilfiger laid on bulgar wheat salads (meat, fish or veggie) and fruit cups for the models backstage.

The last hurrah

This was the fourth and final collaboration between Gigi and Tommy. She said she plans to carry on designing and will consult him on her future projects. "Tommy will always be a mentor to me.” He is expected to announce new collaborators soon.

Milan Fashion Week AW18: The Verdict

With their no-nonsense Roman approach and taste for the sexy, Milan was an interesting place to play out the season’s newfound sense of woke. From show to show I detected an excitement for the brave neo-feminist world changed by the wave of #MeToo still raging in fashion, but a certain ambivalence towards the blurring of gender roles, too. How, for instance, is a brand like Roberto Cavalli supposed to interpret its sexy, glamorous, glitzy legacy in this new climate? “In the last six months we’ve seen a lot of things happening, and you have to keep your finger on the pulse,” Paul Surridge said. For his second Cavalli show, he tried to decipher what sexy looks like in a woke world, revealing more legs and décolleté than his debut show. “What does glamour mean in 2018? For me it’s power and attraction,” he argued, paving the way for body-con dresses with cut-outs and cleavage. Miuccia Prada and Silvia Venturini Fendi both spoke about not losing a sense of “inherited femininity” while we redefine our gender properties.

“It’s the constant struggle between retaining femininity and being strong,” Prada said after her show, where pretty princess tulle dresses tied in big blooming bows behind the neck were armoured with voluminously draped strapless dresses or dense bustiers, fusing the fragile with the fierce. “The constant duality between what you have to be in order to be strong and able to protect yourself, and what we’ve inherited: the sweetness, the femininity.” At Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld and the Fendi matriarch embellished their menswear-informed 1980s working girl silhouette with handkerchief embroideries, retaining “a touch of how we were,” as Venturini Fendi put it, referring to women. “In our country, which is kind of patriarchal, we’ve always been considered an emblem for women,” she said, referring to her house historically run by her sisters and aunts. “They were using soft power,” she said, gradually breaking down a male-dominated industry. “It’s not a time to fight anymore, especially at Fendi.”

The working girl look also took centre stage at Alberta Ferretti and at Max Mara where Ian Griffiths got to live out a life-long dream: merging the punk he lived and wore in 1980s Manchester with Max Mara’s elegant but masculine tailoring. He was waiting for the right zeitgeist to back it up. “Max Mara power-dressing and the dress codes of the 1980s enabled women to get into the workplace,” Griffiths said. “Meanwhile, people like me, who were punks, adopted chains and studs as a complete sign of refusal to participate.” In his runway amalgamation of these values, Griffiths called full throttle on the fighting spirit but retained a decided sense of super-feminine sexy, which also felt very 1980s. Punk was on the agenda at Versace, too. Through her Italian looking glass, Donatella Versace-fied British heritage in tartan kilts, trench coats and football scarves, saluting the check-tastic appetite for heritage garments we’re seeing everywhere this season.

“Aristocracy today doesn’t come from birth. It’s who you are, not which family you were born into,” she said. You could transfer that whole view of humanity to the Gucci show where Alessandro Michele decked out his show space like an operating theatre and styled up a millennial fantasy storm of dragons, severed heads and snakes carried by models with third eyes stuck to their foreheads. “Nature has not given us an untouchable body,” Michele argued, talking about the relationship between “what we are and what we want to become.” What he meant was that you can transform yourself entirely by what you wear, and that in these revolutionising times you are the master of your own identity: simply pick who and what you want to be. If that’s a dragon tamer with three eyes, Godspeed to you. Michele’s woke-ness may have ruffled some religious feathers in the room, but fortunately there’s always Dolce & Gabbana to out-provoke everyone else.

Stefano Gabbana did say that the days of catholic Italy getting shocked by religious references in fashion are long gone. It paved the way for a tongue-in-cheek collection that celebrated all the trademarks of the Catholic Church where Gabbana still worships every Sunday. “We’re playing with our religion, but our religion is also fashion,” he said. Before the show they talked about their love of beauty, how beauty generates love and love creates more love. It’s these philosophies that materialise in the high-octane opulence that now defines Dolce & Gabbana, and which they genuinely believe will make the world a better place. “If you talk about all the bad things in the world, you kill the bellezza,” Domenico Dolce reflected. The doom and gloom that surrounds us in the news had made Lucie and Luke Meier imagine a more optimistic future in outer space for their second Jil Sander collection.

“We imagined going to space but taking a lot of things with you that make you feel comfortable. A very human touch,” Luke explained. The Meiers came at the idea of futurism with positivity, replacing our usual hard-edged technological view of the future with something homely and approachable. “Going to space in a cosy, comforting way,” Lucie offered. They interpreted the feeling in tactile softness: garments loosely based on space suits, which swathed and moved with the body. Using all natural fibres – no hi-tech stuff here – tops, skirts, and trousers were intricately knitted or woven to expand and contract with movement, an entirely futuristic look rooted in something hand-spun and human, characteristics also seen at Marni where a similar dystopian optimism (how’s that for an oxymoron) held court. At Moschino, Jeremy Scott had been thinking about life in space, too, albeit via unusual alleyways.

“The two conspiracy theories that have endured the longest are JFK’s assassination and Marilyn Monroe’s death,” he said, laying out his inspiration. “JFK told Marilyn Monroe about the fact that there are aliens. She was gonna come public with this information so they had her assassinated. And then he had to be assassinated for leaking the information, and… this whole thing about the aliens,” Scott elaborated. “Now here’s your leap forward: was Jackie actually an alien? Was she behind this whole thing? How could she be so stately and stoic if she was human? How could someone endure all that pain and still be perfect? Was she real? Is she an android?” he quipped, eyes wide open. Scott portrayed that idea in candy-coloured little skirt suits and above-the-knee coats with pillbox hats and wigs that spelled out Jackie O perfection, and models entirely covered in technicolour paint. “In my country, illegal aliens are a constant topic,” he reminded us, bringing his reference into current Trumpian affairs.

“So what is really an alien? Are they blue, yellow, green, purple, pink? Or are they just like you and I? What’s really different?” His sentiment was summed up on Saturday by Giorgio Armani himself, who proposed an ethnically eclectic collection, plucking characteristics from around the world. “We all live in the same sphere, and I don’t understand why one has to create the problems that are happening in the world,” he said. “This is a message to say we’re all on the same level.”

Jeremy Scott, A Designer Built For The Instagram Age

Two things that Jeremy Scott was made for? Social media and Moschino. The American designer’s 2013 appointment at the Italian heritage label was the ultimate career coup for someone whose creative tendencies lean towards all things feel-good-fun and pop-culture cool. Amidst the quickfire comings and goings of creative directors during the past few years, from Raf Simons at Dior to Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent, Scott - a Pratt Institute graduate who came to the role armed with nearly two decades of experience running his own eponymous brand - has stayed put.

“I’ve been having the time of my life,” says the Kansas City-born designer, who describes the fit as “hand in glove”. We’re speaking by phone from the Moschino studio in Milan, where he is putting the final touches on Moschino’s Autumn/Winter 2018 collection. Scott is the incarnation of everything Moschino was under its original founder, Franco Moschino, his own aesthetic so incredibly in-keeping with that irreverence and fashion satire that set the brand apart from its ‘80s contemporaries at the time. “I never really imagined this [role] until it was offered to me and then I realised... there isn’t another person who could do it or do it better,” he says. “I have a respect for Franco and a respect for his legacy and I wanted to do something that would honour that and bring back the lustre to it.”

Where Franco did teddy-bear toys on dresses and silverware on suits, Scott continues that trompe l’oeil trope of surrealism. McDonald’s, My Little Pony, Barbie and Sponge Bob Square Pants have all played muse; candy wrappers and household objects have been fashioned into ball gowns. He sees the world through an iconographic lens and his clothes, informed by tongue-in-cheek visual puns, embody humour, sexiness, are whimsical and playful yet come with a thought-provoking social streak.

While some designers and pundits have bemoaned the impact of Instagram on fashion - arguing that it favours photogenic, bi-dimensional clothes over those with more nuanced artistry - Scott has an automatic affinity for it. “I think I was built for social media and not in the sense that I’m a selfie person,” he says. “Social media now is really about Instagram, it’s about a picture that is less than the size of the palm of your hand. What is impactful is not an all-black look. It’s about being colourful and bold and my work was already that and has always been that way,” he reflects. “It’s kind of like that world has caught up to me.”

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Meet The Over 60´s Supermodels: How A “Greynaissance” Is Sweeping Through Fashion

Daphne Selfe, an 89-year-old supermodel, looks almost impossibly elegant as she glides onto the stage at a fashion event in Edinburgh. She’s tall and slim, with a mane of silver-grey hair piled perfectly on top of her head, and she’s impeccably dressed in a red, crushed-velvet jacket and long leopard-print skirt. She’s at the event to talk about diversity in fashion, and her eyes flash when she’s asked if she thinks people only hire her as a “token” effort to seem politically-correct.

“Not at all,” she fires back. “I’ve been modelling since the 1960s, I’m professional. If you do a shoot with me, you’ll be finished very quickly. Photographers say I have more energy than any other model they’ve worked with. I do yoga every day, and I can still do almost anything a younger model can. I’m proud that I’m still working and proud that I’m still considered beautiful. And I’m pleased more older models are finding work than in the past. It’s certainly fun for me.”

Selfe is represented by renowned agency Models One, which has the largest number of classic (over-50s) models in Europe on its books. Manager Uwe Herzstein has been asked about this so-called “greynaissance” many times. He’s a warm, friendly man who jokes on the phone about wishing he still had a six-pack, and acknowledges that customers of both high street brands and fashion houses want to be be represented by fashion models who are closer to their own age.

“Our older models are busier than they’ve ever been in the past,” he says, raising his voice over the hubbub of his busy office. “Many of them have been working in the industry with well-known designers like Versace since the Sixties. They’re iconic and have huge status within the industry, and the kudos they give to a designer if they choose to work with them is incredible.”

Models One also represent legendary 72-year-old model Jan De Villeneuve, who walked for Simone Rocha during last year’s London Fashion Week in February 2017, and who started modelling in 1966. De Villeneuve is, like Selfe, tall, slim, and poised, with a crisp bob of steely grey hair and striking aquiline features. But although she seems formidable, she’s anything but.

“I think I do prefer modelling now that I’m older,” she says in her soft, thoughtful Michigan accent during an hour-long phone conversation one February morning. “It’s more compatible with my general spirit. Here I am, wrinkles and all, and people simply have to accept that. When I was younger, I never really felt that I was beautiful, I was very insecure. These days I’m much happier. I stopped colouring my hair years ago, and it felt very good to not worry about keeping up with some impossible image. It’s easier getting older, I look the way I look and that’s that!”

“People seem to prefer the pictures where I look most wrinkled, old, and in need of sleep!” she laughs. “But I don’t mind that at all as the comments are so positive. I get a lot of very supportive messages from teenage girls and girls in their early 20s, they seem particularly inspired by the images and tell me how beautiful I look. And older women say how happy they are to see someone who has aged naturally. I haven’t had any work done, and it seems to give women a sense of relief to find you can still look good in your 70s without expensive or invasive surgery.”

However, when it comes to ageism in fashion, as with other diversity issues, there is always more work to be done, as 25-year-old business owner Jacynth Bassett is at pains to point out. In 2014, she founded a clothing website called The Bias Cut after a series of particularly bruising encounters when she was out shopping with her 60-year-old mother on the high street.

“I couldn’t believe how rude some of the shop assistants were,” she says on the phone, her voice is brimming with indignation. “One designer told my mother that the only thing in the store that was “suitable” for her shape was a black shrug. Like most women, her figure changed when she went through the menopause. Many women put on weight around their stomach, so I founded The Bias Cut with that in mind. We use non-professional older models drawn from our customer base: women who are a wide range of shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and ages.”

“It’s wonderful that older models like Daphne Selfe are being seen in campaigns on a more regular basis,” she continues. “but at the end of the day, she and other high-profile classic models are almost all very tall, slim and caucasian with long silver hair. That simply isn’t true of most older women, so the industry still has a long way to go when it comes to representing all types of aging. It’s about redefining what they, and we as a society, consider to be beautiful.”

Selfe acknowledges that too. She’s famously very honest (“once,” says Herzstein, “she was at a Gucci shoot for Harper’s Bazaar, she called out ‘this really is the most hideous outfit’”) and when asked by an audience member at her panel event why she was still getting work in her late Eighties, Selfe replied, “It certainly helps that I have the right look, and that I’ve kept my figure.”

Selfe is a uniquely beautiful, characterful, and talented woman, but admittedly not a typical 89 year old. It remains to be seen whether the fashion industry can expand their representation of older women. Still, a combination of the grey pound and greater awareness of diversity have certainly set things strutting down the right path.

11 Epic Prada Sets We Loved

Milan Fashion Week rolls round again, and anticipation is mounting for the Prada show. But it's not just about the clothes - we're just as eager to see the sets. A long-standing collaborator with Rem Koolhaas' design studio, AMO (it also designed Fondazione Prada in Milan), Miuccia Prada has, since 2007, been welcoming her guests with scenographic theatres of all types at Prada HQ on Via Fogazzaro, minus a couple of exceptions. Her most recent pre-fall show, for instance, was held in the warehouse that holds pending artworks for Fondazione Prada, causing fashion insiders to speculate on this season's location. Here, we relive 11 spectacular sets that still pack a visual punch.

Autumn/winter 2013 menswear: "The Ideal House"

This was the season that AMO studio collaborated with American-German company Knoll on a series of design objects for the 'ideal home', with an interior populated with geometric furniture, objects and manifestations of everyday life, with screens that featured interior and exterior views onto a cityscape.

Spring/summer 2014 menswear: "Menacing Paradise"

Conceived by AMO studio as an abstract representation of a small town, the spring menswear set was lined with murals of tropical palm trees, sunsets, helicopters and "menacing" shapes. Helicopters whirled on the soundtrack to add to the threatening mood.

Spring/summer 2014: "In the Heart of the Multitude"

Artists came together to collaborate with Prada on a series of murals and illustrations that mused on themes of femininity, representation, power and multiplicity. Inspired by the politically-charged murals of Diego Rivera, muralists including Gabriel Specter and Stinkfish and illustrators Jeanne Detallante and Pierre Mornet saw their work almost enveloping the audience - and making its way onto clothes. The main surprise? Britney Spears was on the soundtrack.

Spring/summer 2015: "Outdoor / Indoor / Outdoor, 2"

For the previous menswear show, AMO had transformed the show space into a swimming pool. They reversed the impulse for the womenswear show, erecting purple dunes which were a stunning and unexpected backdrop, with models pacing through the desert on a brown carpet that lined the edges of the set.

Autumn/winter 2015: "The Infinite Palace"

Blue and black "fake" marble lined the walls of the men's show, which sported metal ceilings and metal floors; Frédéric Sanchez put Front 242 on the soundtrack.

Autumn/winter 2015 womenswear: "The Infinite Palace"

A Wes Anderson-like palette of pale greens and sugary pinks covered the walls of the womenswear show space, punctuated by aluminium inserts on doors and floors to create a hyper-intimate environment. "Sweet…" said Miuccia Prada, of the sugar-spun saturation of colour on the clothes and the set, "but violent. I wanted impact. How can you be strong with pastels?"

Spring/summer 2016: "Indefinite Hangar"

Billed as an investigation of "the perception of continuous space through an invasion of the ceiling", the spring set featured fibreglass and polycarbonate "stalactites" hanging from the ceiling, illuminated by an orange glow.

Spring/summer 2017: "Total Space"

This was the show where AMO Studio built a mesh ramp on the remnants of the previous season's set. Defined as "layers of different architectures", the ramp was illuminated by lights, and was conceived by American director David O. Russell as a surreal dreamscape, and featured a preview of his collaborative short film with Prada, Past Forward.

Resort 2018: "Suspended Ensemble"

For the first time, Prada showcased its resort show in its newly renovated Osservatorio, a top-floor exhibition space for contemporary photography in the Prada store in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. Millennial pink and mirrors combined with benches oriented towards a rooftop view of the Galleria's dome.

Autumn/winter 2017: "Teen Dream"

Inspired by the "bare simplicity of everyday life", AMO studio constructed a series of domestic set-ups lined by an extending wooden 'boiserie', a partition between the private, Seventies-inspired teenage bedrooms and an urban front covered in posters.

Spring/summer 2018: "A Story Within a Story"

Designed by AMO studio in collaboration with NYC-based design studio 2x4, the spring set featured the work of eight visionary artists - including Brigid Elva, Giuliana Maldini, Trina Robbins and Fiona Staples - whose artistic aim was to illustrate women in a "uniquely empowering way". The graphic panels also included archival work of Tarpé Mills, creator of the first female action hero - which popped up again in the collection.

Richard Quinn: "I Don't Think A Gimp Mask Will Shock The Queen"

Richard Quinn´s second collection since graduating from the Central Saint Martins' MA programme in 2016 went down in history yesterday, as the Queen sat front row. Her audience was requested by the British Fashion Council to present Quinn with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, a royal stamp of approval the Peckham-based designer found out he was receiving just weeks before his autumn/winter 2018 show.

"I remember getting the bus back from the BFC meeting with Caroline Rush at Somerset House, and thinking 'right, let's do this'," Quinn tells Vogue the day after his presentation. "Caroline told me it would be massive and that so many people would come, so I thought I might as well just go for it, rather than thinking about whether it was going to sell, or what people would think. I looked back on what I had done so far and what people had reacted well to and really saturated the collection with it."

He transformed the foils from his MA collection into ballgowns emblazoned with botanical prints - "She liked those," he laughs referring to Her Majesty's reaction, "That's where all the pictures of her cracking up come from" - and his signature florals into trapeze-shaped coats and thigh-high boots.

The scarves were a direct tribute to Her Majesty's Balmoral wardrobe, but Quinn was at the mercy of multiple NDAs and couldn't even put a picture of her on his moodboard. "People kept asking why there were so many scarves, and then it finally made sense once the Queen arrived at the show."

Did he feel the need to mute the bondage themes that have become his signatures? "No! We thought we would ham it up a bit," he says. "She's known for her sense of humour, and she's seen a lot in her life. I don't think a gimp mask will shock the Queen."

In fact, Quinn was relaxed throughout the entire show process. "It was the first time I haven't felt pressure, because everything was done on time and in place. I treated it like a celebration rather than a pressured event." His family, none of whom he leaked his royal secret to, were in the audience, and had a date at Five Guys planned for afterwards.

"I had the feeling that I was watching it all on TV, not in real life," he recalls of seeing the Queen seated on her royal-blue cushion, suited in aquamarine. As she handed over the rose-shaped award that was designed by Angela Kelly, who has served as Her Majesty's personal assistant and senior dresser since 2002, he was shocked by her voice. "We always watch her Christmas speech as a family, and she pronounces everything so clearly, but actually she's very quiet and soft."

"She kept emphasising that the award is for young designers," he adds. "That sentiment was so nice, because I was collecting it on behalf of everyone who has got me where I am, and for the studio because it really is a young community. Our door is always open to anyone."

For now, he's deciding where his statuette - a replica of the one seen in the pictures - will sit, and trying to get the self-described "bomb site" in order for the BBC, who, as we speak, is waiting to interview him for tonight's news. "It's all happened so fast," he muses as he clatters around the studio. With collaborations with Debenhams, Lane Crawford, and a second with Liberty already in the pipeline, we have a feeling 2018 will go by even faster.

Eight Wild Accessories From Gucci's AW18 Catwalk

Last season in Milan, guests complained of difficulty in seeing the Guccilooks that comprised the spring collection - it was dark, misty, with guests sat far back from a cavernous runway filled with relics and ruins. There could be no mistaking what came down the runway for autumn/winter 2018, however: a sparklingly clean, turquoise operating theatre set the scene, with rather ominous hospital beds lying empty in each room as models wended their way around them in typically loaded looks (ripe for journalistic dissection). As per, the accessories were fantastical and delirious in equal measure - but this season Alessandro Michele went one step further in his pursuit of Gucci-fied eccentricity. 

Citing the feminist Professor Donna J. Haraway in the characteristically gnomic show notes, he was keen to explore the notion of what he called the Gucci cyborg. "Gucci cyborg is post-human," read the notes. "It has eyes on its hands, faun horns, dragon's puppies and doubling heads. It's a biologically indefinite and culturally aware creature. The last and extreme sign of a mongrel identity under constant transformation." Suck on that - and on the question on fashion editors' minds the world over: will Gucci enforce a full look policy? Here's Vogue's edit of eight nuts accessories on the Gucci catwalk for autumn.

Balaclavas R Us

Alessandro Michele surely had Leigh Bowery on his mood board for autumn: the headgear overtly referenced the complex looks the Christian-boy-turned-club-kid magicked up with the Paris-based corsetier Mr Pearl and those balaclavas he tore round London in during his Blitz! heyday. Gucci's balaclava count was high: knitted striped and pom-pom-sporting styles were combined with turbans and diamante grids, sleek black styles came with angular Sci-Fi sunglasses, others came with diamante fringes.

There Be Dragons

Thought you needed a new Gucci beaded clutch to complete your quilted velvet evening look? Think again! A "dragon's puppy" is all that's required this autumn.

Queen Bee

Elizabeth II might not have been in attendance at Gucci, instead favouring the front row at LFW rising star Richard Quinn, but that doesn't mean HM didn't make her presence felt. In a trend we've seen elsewhere this week, Gucci's floral foulards were secured at the chin, but featured swinging diamante chains and crystals. Guess this is how Princess Margaret would have worked it.

Seeing Snakes

Michele has made snakes talismanic emblems of the house of Gucci - his autumn/winter 2017 collection's show notes referenced the Ouroboros, the ancient Egyptian symbol of a snake eating its own tail, which points to infinity. Now he's literalised the notion with a snake as a pet. Time to get over your phobia.

All Horns And Rattles

Hello, horns. Faun's horns, to be precise, and the only thing that should be peeping out from beneath your carefully tousled locks. Previously only revered for his red knitted scarf, Mr. Tumnus takes centre stage as your autumnal muse.


In the most disturbing manifestation of the "cyborg" concept, Michele sent models holding mock-ups of their own heads down the runway. It was a twisted take on the cephalophore, a saint who is depicted carrying his own head, which is a nice word to drop into conversation every now and again.

Yankee Ingenuity

Michele is so wedded to his ratty old NY Yankees baseball cap that for pre-fall, and now autumn, he decided to partner with Major League Baseball on a line of accessories and clothing. Beanies and caps came with the famed NY logo, which also found its way on to pockets. Head to the Bronx for the budget version.

Social Chameleon

Snakes too slithery, and dragon puppies too hazardous? Try the humble chameleon. As companion accessories go, an Old World Lizard is a useful acquisition: they can shift colour to match your outfit, so you need never worry about clashing again.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

London Fashion Week AW18

Once in a while, a special kind of fashion week comes along. It’s when there’s something in the air; a unique sense of unpredictability. You wake up every morning with zero idea of what the day has in store. The autumn/winter 2018 shows in London were one of those fashion weeks. Who would have thought that by Tuesday evening we’d have seen Her Majesty The Queen front row at a gimp-masked Richard Quinn show? Or that we’d watch as Erdem’s ball gowns dragged through the narrow corridors of the National Portrait Gallery, only to have dinner in those majestic surroundings that same night? I saw a pair of stilettos made out of Donald Trump rubber masks in the Central Saint Martins show, and a girl wearing an inflatable swimming pool. And Mary Katrantzou’s runway was stormed by a fur protester clad in an elongated snood. Was it a full moon? Nah, just London doing its thing.

On the list of expectations was Christopher Bailey’s farewell show at Burberry. After 17 years at the helm, one of fashion’s most genuine and personable designers took his final bow (for now) in a massive production featuring a few surprises of its own: an art installation with swaying lights, a time-travelling, quite bonkers collection that most emotionally referenced his own teenage years in 1980s’ Halifax, American royalty Chelsea Clinton front row, and a cast including Prince Nikolai of Denmark and Cara Delevingne, both introduced to fashion by Burberry. “There’s a timing for these things and I feel like you’ve got to be sensitive to them. When people are most not expecting it, it’s the moment to play with it,” Bailey said, reflecting on the many stages he’s lived through at Burberry. “I’ve always tried to experiment a little bit and try new things.”

Half way through the ready-to-wear shows, we’ve already seen our share of references to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. No one, however, could have seen Christopher Kane’s bold statement coming. “I’m not getting into the whole moment we’re in, but the fact is, yeah, it’s human behaviour and to me it’s fascinating,” Kane said of his sex-centric show, which unapologetically played on all the tangents of eroticism, from the suggestive to the full-blown. “It’s a creative process and I’m not going to stop being myself or feeling the way I feel,” Kane asserted, echoing a statement you hear a lot - anywhere but on the record. “It’s not to in any way disrespect anything that’s happening, but every season there’s always an element of sexual and human behaviour, and that’s just reality.” In fashion there’s nothing better and more surprising than bravery, especially when it’s founded in a no-nonsense approach like Kane’s.

I’m not sure I expected to find myself in a tuxedo on Sunday night, or when I found time to put it on, but there I was at Edward Enninful’s glamorous BAFTA party at the new Annabel’s where Naomi Campbell, Steve McQueen, Princess Beatrice, Raf Simons, Kate Moss, Matty Bovan and Leonardo DiCaprio may all have been in the same room at the same time.

After a weekend of fun young designer shows - Bovan, Molly Goddard, Fashion East - there was something new and exciting about the sense of glamour that’s hitting this city hand-in-hand with this new wave of talent, represented in the #NewVogue and beyond. We’re all one in this city, yet the contrast between that party and Edwin Mohney’s graduate collection, which closed the Central Saint Martins MA show, couldn’t have been greater. His fetishised orchestration of blow-up water-sports equipment, foam things, and human dummies (or condoms?) bordered on infantilism, nailing the subversive nature of emerging London fashion. (Those presidential stilettos, the Trumpettos, were Mohney’s too.)

Michael Halpern - brand name simply Halpern - reflected the current tension between grit and glamour in a collection he called “inappropriate glamour”. Tackling his image as a formalwear designer head on, Halpern covered daywear in colourful sequins and couture-like draping. “Why can’t you wear a sequinned jacket during the day? I don’t mind being called an eveningwear brand, because most people wear it like that, but it’s nice to challenge it,” he said. Sequins at Halpern weren’t unexpected but seeing them cycling down the street on a Tuesday morning definitely will be. That’s the great thing about London Fashion Week: some of these ideas might seem unfathomable now, but in a few years’ time we’ll all be calling Halpern a change-maker. That’s why our 91-year-old Queen of England, who has never been seen on the front row of a fashion show in her life, decided it was time to join in this season.

“From the tweed of the Hebrides to Nottingham Lace and of course Carnaby Street, our fashion industry has been renowned for outstanding craftsmanship for many years, and continues to produce world-class textiles and cutting-edge, practical designs,” Her Majesty said in the speech she gave on Tuesday evening at Richard Quinn’s show. She presented the emerging designer with her first award for new and young fashion talent, noting how Quinn - who makes his expert print equipment available to students and peer designers - exemplifies the fellowship and team spirit that makes London fashion thrive. The Queen called the award “a tribute to the industry and my legacy to all those, who have contributed to British fashion.” Sworn to secrecy an hour before the show, I was fortunate to join the monarch and the British Fashion Council’s Ambassador for Emerging Talent Sarah Mower backstage as she introduced Her Majesty to some of London’s brightest young design talents, who were only told about the meeting when I was.

It was an emotional but above all epic experience, perhaps illustrated best in the contrast between the Queen in her neat, sparkly powder blue skirt suit and Charles Jeffrey in his New Rock platform boots and Mozart makeup. Call me biased, but it’s this dynamic diversity that makes London the world’s best breeding ground for ideas.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Queen Swaps The Throne For The FROW At LFW

Pictures emerged of Her Majesty exploring the BFC Show space, alongside Caroline Rush and Dylan Jones, before heading to Richard Quinn's autumn / winter 2018 presentation, where she sat alongside Rush and Anna Wintour on the front row. A plush blue cushion was placed upon her seat along with the show notes, and throughout the show she made comments to both her front row companions. The AW18 looks accessorised with motorcycle helmets garnered smiles from her.

The royal family confirmed via Twitter that the Queen is "visiting London Fashion Week today to present the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design." The award initiated in recognition of the role the fashion industry plays in society and diplomacy, will be awarded annually to an emerging British fashion designer who shows talent and originality, whilst demonstrating value to the community and / or sustainable policies.

Handing the award to Quinn she commended his work as "wonderful". Sarah Mower added: "We wanted it to be a surprise. It's so special for him, he's built this amazing business, he's a working class boy, his parents, who are here, are scaffolders. I love the prints and it all just felt so perfect with the scarves. I was a tiny bit worried he might do the gimp masks but luckily that didn't happen."

Victoria Beckham On The Spice Girls: It's About Protecting The Legacy

"There have been so many people talking about the Spice Girls, but for me it's nothing tangible," Victoria Beckham said during a run-through of her Victoria, Victoria Beckham autumn/winter 2018 collection today. "It's not about touring, it's not about recording any more material, it's about protecting the legacy and thinking about what girl power looks like in the future."

"It's really not about us five doing things," she reiterates, grazing her hand along the rail of her latest V,VB designs, which she refers to as "the other side to my wardrobe, the easy-to-wear part of my suitcase".

"V,VB is always going to have an element of me poking fun at myself," she explains, referring to the white logo T-shirt she's wearing that reads: "It's A Dark Happy Place". "I really loved the "Fashion Stole My Smile" T-shirt. I say these things all the time, I really should just write them all down. This [T-shirt] is me poking fun at myself with my sunglasses on."

She's done two shows in two weeks, but there's little time for celebration. "It never stops," she laughs. "The minute one is over you're onto the next, and this year we have lots of fun things planned for our 10th anniversary." Scouting venues for the September show, which will see her return to London Fashion Week, is a priority. "I need to think outside the box and do something different," she muses, before adding: "I don't know whether it's going to be a one-off, I don't know where I will be in February, but September will be exciting."

She's as modest as ever when talk turns to the musical chairs within the industry: "Doing what I do with my own brand and trying to juggle four children and a husband is enough for me," she says. "I'm just trying to do the best I can. I'm trying to be the best professional, the best mum, the best wife. It's not easy, I don't think being a working mum is ever easy."

Dakota Fanning On Fashion, Film and Feminism

"It was an exciting and challenging experience I'd been wanting to have for a while," Dakota Fanning told Vogue of her directorial debut for Miu Miu’s Women’s Tales latest short film, Hello Apartment. "You want to get it right, and you're constantly worried that you're messing something up. I found I really enjoyed the process of putting together the film in post-production. I loved the editing, the sound mixing, getting to work with a composer and talking about music. As an actor, you're not really involved with those elements. That was all new for me and such a learning experience.”

Miu Miu's short-film series - that in the past has seen the likes of Chloë Sevigny, Ava DuVernay and Agnès Varda behind the lens - was created to celebrate femininity in the modern day, so what does that mean to Fanning? "I think it's so different to each and every person, and it changes for me from day to day," she explained. "Society is having this conversation about how people express themselves, what makes them feel like themselves, what clothes represent who they are. I think the most important thing about what we're learning is that it changes all the time.”

With major figures using opportunities like the Baftas and the Golden Globes to make a statements in support of movements like Time’s Up through their sartorial options, what’s Fanning's – who has long been admired for her personal style and as a leading light of young Hollywood – take? "I wasn't at any of those events where women wore the black dress code, but I think that however people choose to express themselves and their femininity, feminism or support of women's rights is valid. I support women supporting other women. I think that having conversations about these inequalities and getting the message out there is always a good thing. It's a conversation that we have to keep having."

Despite being just 23, the actress - and budding director - already has over 17 years of experience in the industry. "I think the world has changed a lot, and so I think ultimately all industries change," she says looking back on the time since she made her cinematic debut. "One of the most obvious ways is just thinking about social media and how that's changed the world. For better or worse, it’s changed every industry.”

A supporter of the #femalefilmmakerfriday hashtag, Fanning stresses the need for female representation in film to be addressed – as the lack of women included in the 'Best Directors' category at both the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs made clear. "I think it's so important," Fanning adds. "I think that different points of view and different perspectives are so important in art and in the stories we tell. I think having more female representation is important and necessary. With this project it was exciting to feel a part of something. I was a female filmmaker that was telling a story about a female. I'm proud of that."

Now taking on a new position within the industry, it’s clear Fanning remains fond of her field. "I think the most important part about any job is that you really should love it," she explains. "Ultimately, on a film set is where I feel most comfortable and most excited. It’s where I have the most fun even when it's not glamorous. That's the other thing - if you think that it's glamorous, you should probably go find another job."

Kate Moss's Marilyn Moment

We interrupt our London Fashion Week broadcast with news of both supermodel and baking origin.

Kate Moss surprised Mert Alas at his birthday party in Mayfair's MNKY HSE by jumping out of a tiered (cardboard) cake and serenading him - Marilyn Monroe style - with a breathy rendition of "Happy Birthday".

The novelty was not lost on Alas, who took to Instagram to post pictures of Moss and a video captioned, "I mean I literally had Kate Moss jump out of my birthday cake."

While the fashion set dispersed across the capital to Buckingham Palace for the launch of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange and the annual LOVEparty at Lou Lou's, it was refreshing to see Alas's birthday revellers, which also included Lindsay Lohan and Doutzen Kroes, tearing up London's social scene with some good old-fashioned fun.

Judy Blame Has Died

Accessories, designer, art director, fashion stylist and punk iconoclast Judy Blame has died aged 58.

Blame came to prominence on London's 1980s club scene, where he made an impact through his signature punk aesthetic and the original jewellery he fashioned himself from modest resources, such as chains and bones plucked out of the Thames using a technique known as mudlarking.

In 1985, Blame helped John Moore to set up The House of Beauty and Culture in Dalston, a craft collective of like-minded artists including Fiona Skinner, Dave Baby, Fiona Bowen, John Flett, Peter Foster, Mark Lebon, Alan Macdonald and Fritz Solomon, Richard Torry and Christopher Nemeth.

This hub would be the first of many collaborations straddling various creative fields. Over his career he consulted for John Galliano, Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garçons, Gareth Pugh, Marc Jacobs and Kim Jones at Louis Vuitton, produced fashion editorials with photographers including Mark Lebon, Jean Baptiste Mondino and Juergen Teller, and helped shape the images of Boy George, Björk, Kylie Minogue and Neneh Cherry.

Blame continued to make his DIY jewellery throughout his career and last year presented his first major solo exhibition at the ICA. Judy Blame: Never Again showed an arrangement of artefacts, including clothing, collages, jewellery, fashion editorials, sketchbooks and T-shirts, with Blame considering it a "montage", rather than a "chronology" of his work.

The Duchess Of Cambridge Hosts Fashion's Finest At Buckingham Palace

London Fashion Week has been punctuated with glittering parties. Sunday evening saw British Vogue take over the new Annabel's for a Fashion and Film party that brought together talent in both creative fields following the BAFTAs. Last night, it was the turn of royalty and the style set to merge, as the Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie, Countess of Wessex hosted a reception to celebrate a new initiative, the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange.Introducing The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange.

Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful joined his US Vogue counterpart Anna Wintour and Vogue contributing editor Naomi Campbell, as well as Livia Firth, who co-created the initiative, and Stella McCartney, who partnered with another Commonwealth designer to create a one-of-a-kind look for the reception.

The project, created and managed by Eco-Age, with support of the Commonwealth Fashion Council and the British Fashion Council, and in partnership with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and, builds on the premise of fashion as a common language to support sustainable designers and artisans, share resources and reduce poverty.

Following last night's reception, which saw the Duchess look to trusted designer Erdem for a maternity dress befitting the formal occasion, and nod to the artisanal work on display, the exhibition will be made public at Australia House on February 21. Digital partnerships with and Google Arts and Culture will mean those who cannot make the London presentation will be able to engage with the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange via online platforms, and start conversations on how to take the initiative further.

Anna Dello Russo On Selling Her Fashion Archive: "I Had To Make Space For Life"

Anna Dello Russo, the original fabulous street-style maven, is selling almost everything in the personal archive she has amassed over the last 30 years. Yes. Really. The peacock of fashion week is paring it right down.

A series of private sales for friends will culminate in a flash sale of 150 pieces on Net-a-Porter's Instagram Stories, and a Christie's auction of 30 of her most-precious archive pieces on February 24. The price? Peanuts. The reason? Love.

Falling for boyfriend Angelo Gioia put her clothes-packed second apartment and her bonus remote archive into perspective. "When I met him, I asked, 'Angelo, where should I put my clothes?'. He said, 'No space, sorry!' And I knew in that moment that I had to give space to life," she tells Vogue. "I think sometimes my life in fashion can be really insane, it gives no respect to the real life, the real relations."

"I waited for the right moment," she explains. "A collection of clothes is good when you're younger, but when you get older collecting stuff can be a little macabre. You know, like the bone collectors in those terrible horror movies."

She has chosen not to profit from her "manic and extreme" collecting - Net-a-Porter prices will start from £15 for accessories and reach £700 for outerwear, with all proceeds donated to the British Fashion Council Education Foundation - because, she notes, "My clothes are like my children, I don't want to sell any children!"

Did sustainability cross her mind while ruthlessly editing down 4,000 pairs of shoes? "Oh yes," she says. "If I'm born again, I want to do things properly. Garbage is no good as a message. Before I used to say, 'Wear what you want.' Now I say, 'Recycle clothes!' Times are changing."

For Net-a-Porter, she chose to focus on the Noughties. "That was my real street-style era," she recalls. Her boldest fashion week looks worked well for web. "When I edit fashion, I make pictures, I make stories, so I wanted to reflect my street-style story," she says proudly of her "best flashy, splashy items."

Ask her to pick her favourite and she can't. "It's like furniture," she sighs. "You can't say one piece, because it works as three pieces. And, like children. You want to say my daughter is better than her brother? No!"

The sales precede the publication of AdR Book: Beyond Fashion, Dello Russo's first ever book, published by Phaidon, which Net-a-Porter will sell exclusively for two months prior to its April release. Conceived with the help of her long-time friend and collaborator, Vogue Italia art director Luca Stoppini, it charts Dello Russo's career so far and the friends that have helped her build it.

Does a stripped-back wardrobe mean no more shopping? "I mean I can die for catwalk pieces any season," she says. "But, for the next obsession, who knows what's next? This project sucked the life out of me, but when I'm ready I'll tell you." We'll hold her to that.

Symonds Pearmain: A New Chapter For London's Brilliant New Brand

When Symonds Pearmain first appeared during London Fashion Week, it was the talk of the town. The brand's remarkable set-up, which saw Lily McMenamy theatrically assume various roles while dressed in their designs, was part salon show, part performance art - and if that sounds a little "student show gone wrong", rest assured it was brilliant.

"When I went to Vivienne Westwood's first show, it was just so amazing, like nothing I had ever come across before," explains one half of the brand, Anthony Symonds. "And I suppose [our presentation] was partly to do with wanting to recreate that sense of uncertainty." Accordingly, they enlisted McMenamy as their muse (besides being a model, she is currently studying at mime school in Paris), dressed her in cut-out leggings and ruffled track tops, and shouted out instructions like "depressed cheerleader!", while changing her into various outfits. It was electric.

What is so particularly compelling about Symonds Pearmain is that the brand has managed to harness the DIY excitement that often accompanies an emerging project and blend it with the experience of its founders. Symonds is an industry mainstay, having worked with the likes of John Galliano and Westwood in the 1990s before setting up his own label; Max Pearmain is an esteemed stylist who works for the likes of Vogue and Chloé. The two first met when Pearmain came across one of Symonds's garments in a magazine, thought it was "the best thing [he] had ever seen" and subsequently sent him an email. They met, realised they were both tired of an industry that often settles into comfortable familiarity and started "just making some work together."

Fast forward to this weekend and they are staging their first London catwalk show as part of Fashion East's seasonal extravaganza. "This time we are on the schedule but we're not going to be showing two collections every year in London," they say. "It just depends on what feels right, and what's interesting."

While the pieces that have previously been worn in their presentations have been sold in numbered editions through an art gallery, now they will be offering clothes intended to go into retail-friendly production runs: hand-printed, twisted rugby shirts; trousers cut with volume. "At the beginning, there wasn't a great meta-strategy behind it all - we were just searching for a brand that was honest," explains Symonds. "Now, designing things to become accessible - on our terms - is quite interesting."

The pieces themselves speak to the zeitgeist in fashion design; they are, in their words, "about taking generic things as a starting point… the basic building blocks of the clothes we all wear." Accordingly, there is denim (printed; plain; jacquard); polyester; T-shirts - but all warped into weirdness.

"The core here is knowledge," says Symonds; "you can only fuck with something when you know it well," continues Pearmain. They're right - there's an exacting precision in the form and finesse of each piece, and an elegance in their finish which speaks of experience. "When you see a piece from McQueen, you know it from 50 feet away - you can see that guy knew how to cut. And there really hasn't been anyone since then who knows anything about cutting," says Pearmain, before stopping and laughing. "So, there's your headline: 'Symonds Pearmain: The New McQueen'." Who wouldn't want to go and see that?

New York Fashion Week AW18

The autumn/winter 2018 shows in New York were defined by the women’s movements conquering America over the past months, and a couture-driven appetite for clothes beyond the ordinary.

The most ironic thing about this New York Fashion Week was designers’ wistful thirst for haute couture on a commercial show schedule that seemed all about survival. Wherever you go in this industry the concerns persist: fashion isn’t selling like it used to, and everyone’s trying to crack the code. New York has always represented commerce rather than creation, so the current industry climate isn’t exactly helping creativity. Except, of course, for those who can’t help themselves. 

Ringing out the city’s autumn/winter 2018 shows, Marc Jacobs amplified his ongoing romance with the sculptural drama of savoir-faire in a ceremonious collection that pushed all the polygonal tangents, bending exaggerated sizes in and out of shape on the body. This was basically haute couture on a ready-to-wear runway, and a huge middle finger to the marketeers and their dismal forewarnings. Thank god for designers like Jacobs, who still believe that the fantasy of fashion is what will save us all in the end.

The desire for something more artisanal – often synonymous with eveningwear – penetrated other corners of New York, too. At the democratic Coach, Stuart Vevers talked about interpreting a sense of “dressing up” in his blue-collar take on America. Was he talking about eveningwear? “I can’t even quite say the word!” he laughed. “‘Dressing up’ sounds a little bit more off-hand.” He jazzed up his rock ‘n’ roll prairie look with gothy metallic dresses and accessories, but introduced an increased sense of cut to his silhouette that felt more refined in that evening-y sense. Vevers also collaborated with Colorado-based artist Chelsea Chaplain, whose hand-painted vintage Coach bags he’d found on Instagram. The glamour British Vevers finds in the American heartland is observed by the Flemish Raf Simons, too. In his most accomplished Calvin Klein collection so far, he zoned in on the allure of the frontier dress, adding a sense of design to his work for the brand that went beyond the kind of ‘designer merchandise’ of past seasons.

In Simons’ show notes the word “couture” appeared alongside “pioneer, Western, heroes, Hollywood, Civil War, cotillion,” and “New World.” His show radiated the mood of defiance against the current American establishment you feel all over New York. The word “safe,” Simons said of the collection, “was an important reference for the feeling.” You could interpret that literally in the colossal volumes that framed it: huge torn knits, armour-like knitted breastplates, oversized men’s coats, orange reflector suits, and protective utilitarian gloves and wellies. Or, you could take it as an acute desire for some sanity at the top of the political pyramid. You could certainly detect in the New York shows a longing for a more civilised and polite mentality. Tory Burch referenced the laid-back elegance of Lee Radziwill and covered her show venue in carnations, which she referred to as “humble”. Eckhaus Latta proposed a glamorous new take on their woke aesthetic in a collection that also echoed those haute couture principles.

Handing over the reins of her house to Wes Gordon as she retires, Carolina Herrera finished her farewell show with a finale full of the crisp shirts styled with full taffeta skirts that have come to define both her legacy and the image of practical American glamour. It harked on those no-nonsense values of a time when people behaved a little bit better than they do now, at least in the public forum.

The Monse designers Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim reflected on that same idea, imagining a 1950s wardrobe in a neo-feminist world. “We were kind of laughing at this idea of the 1950s housewife and how different it is from today’s woman,” Garcia said. The women’s freedom movements of the past months – from #MeToo to Time’s Up and the Women’s March in January 2017 following the election of Donald Trump – had to play a major part in the New York shows. Tom Ford’s bold baroque show featured a bag that said “Pussy Power”, while Alexander Wang dedicated his collection to the women he works with.

“I wanted to have variety and the sense that she’s just as comfortable dressed up as she is dressed down,” he explained after the show, which interpreted the corporate women’s wardrobe for a woke world. “And also to knock down the stereotypes of power-dressing, which is really an individual approach; how she sees herself. Just because she’s tough doesn’t mean she can’t be playful. Just because she’s sensual doesn’t mean she can’t have strength. Sexy but on her own terms. She is always in control. She dresses for herself. With all the power comes also the playfulness. I wanted it to feel like there was strength there and discipline but also the sense of wit.” Since she conquered the world with the Spice Girls in the 1990s, Victoria Beckham has been synonymous with Girl Power. Her autumn/winter 2018 collection drew on all those values, albeit for a slightly different audience, in modernist coats and dresses that ha a real sense of realness to them. “When I first started it was about the empowerment of a woman and her silhouette,” Beckham said.

“It feels like an evolution of where I started with certain pieces: a nice neat shoulder, a nipped-in waist, and lots of layering.” In its intricacy, her collection also nodded to the appreciation of the artisanal that sieved through New York despite fashion’s challenge to break with declining retail figures. It was something Michael Kors may have found the solution to in a show that mixed that sense of Park Avenue dressing with New York streetwear and all the positive messages that echoed through New York. “I’ve always believed it was my job to take someone who feels confident and make them more confident. And if you’re not as confident, how do I let you feel confident? Now more than ever we need the power of the right things in our closet to get on with this complicated life and juggle a lot of things, quite frankly,” the designer said. His solution was to create the definitive wardrobe for women: the every-wardrobe, if you will, for the everywoman. “I believe that fashion can make you feel better, so we’re gonna have a love letter to people who love fashion, who aren’t down on fashion, who have fun with it.”

The Brand About To Take Disneyland By Storm

Opening Ceremony is the latest brand to break away from the traditional fashion week schedule, and explore pastures new.

Carol Lim and Humberto Leon will host the first fashion show to be staged at the Disneyland resort in Anaheim, California, for 40 years. (The last - FYI - was entitled "Evolution Of The American Woman" and took place in 1978, according to a Disney spokesperson.)

The March 7 spring/summer 2018 show is the latest in a string of alternative show formats explored by the New York-based brand. Previous fashion week stints have included an interpretative dance show and a one-act play. In June last year, the two founders returned to their hometown Los Angeles to stage a martial arts spectacle.

The big question: will Mickey and co be involved? Disney is no stranger to Planet Fashion. On the back of his 2016 Disney x Coach 1941 collaboration, Stuart Vevers, creative director of Coach, created a custom outfit for Minnie Mouse to wear when she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Modern interpretations of Disney princesses have also received high-fashion treatment, such as Lily James, who wore Christian Louboutin's iteration of Cinderella's glass slippers on the 2015 press tour of Cinderella.

In 2013, Disneyland Paris invited international brands to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the theme park with a catwalk show of bespoke designs. Alber Elbaz of Lanvin redesigned Minnie Mouse's spotty frock on behalf of France, and Sister by Sibling reimagined Cinderella's famous ball gown for the UK.

What To Expect From The Autumn/Winter 2018 Shows At London Fashion Week

Last season, the contrast between the New York and London shows was striking. While designers were abandoning the American runways, the British show platform was flooded with brands from all walks of fashion. Things didn’t look up for New York this season, and as things go in this unpredictable fashion climate, it seems to be the same case in London. 

Most notably, Topshop is foregoing its traditional Unique show. Missing are last season’s Emporio Armani, Versus and Tommy Hilfiger shows, which didn’t just draw in the crowds but added such excellent tension between the fashion establishment and London’s experimental emerging designers in September. The city’s youth game, however, is still strong and unmatched in the competing capitals. This season, these designers are carrying the torch for London Fashion Week.

The Kids

On an early Saturday morning in September, Richard Quinn presented his debut show at a packed hall in Liberty. This season sees his sophomore offering where the young designer’s gimp masks and subversive floral prints will stand the test of progress.

Joining the emerging designer line-up is AV Robertson, who previously designed for Marc Jacobs and presented at Fashion East. On Monday evening, she is staging her first standalone presentation in the show format, marking the designer’s biggest independent outing to date. Dilara Findikogluenters the schedule with a Monday afternoon presentation, while fan favourite Matty Bovan – part of the line-up The Kids Are All Right in British Vogue’s January issue – takes the stage for his first fully individual show on Friday afternoon.

Finally, after taking the Emerging Womenswear Designer nod at the Fashion Awards in September (and dressing Adwoa Aboah for the occasion), Michael Halpern is orchestrating his biggest production to date when he unveils the perhaps most anticipated collection of the week.

The Grown-Ups

After seventeen years at Burberry, Christopher Bailey bids farewell to the house in a swan song show on Saturday evening.

But that’s not the only reason this show is a hot ticket. Over the past three seasons, Bailey has reinvigorated his work at Burberry and shown some of his best collections ever, upping the ante for his final bow.

Mulberry’s Johnny Coca detoured to Paris, the city he lives in, last September but on Friday afternoon he is back in the city that houses his office.

Hopping on the bandwagon of designers leaving New York, Delpozo is bringing its ball gowns to London, taking the place of Ralph & Russo, whose ready-to-wear show is missing from the schedule this season.

In line with the increasing New York trend of downsizing the show format to more intimate and interactive presentations, Pringle of Scotland is doing just that, perhaps giving designer Fran Stringer some breathing space after giving birth to her son Dylan in October.

Fuelling the changing show cycle, JW Anderson – whose usual men’s show didn’t appear on the London men’s schedule in January – is premiering his co-ed format this season, combining his women’s and men’s collections in one show.

David Koma, who quit his other job at Mugler last season, is set to blow some new life into his eponymous show when he relocates to an intimate new church venue, heralding a new era for the brand, which is now his sole focus.

We may be missing the guest designers of seasons past, but names like Erdem, Christopher Kane and Roksanda are still holding down the fort at London Fashion Week. And let’s not forget the celebrations: Matty Bovan and Gareth Pugh are hosting parties while Michael Halpern will will throw a soiree in collaboration with Browns on the night of his show. Sunday there’s one event to rule them all when Edward Enninful hosts a star-studded British Vogue BAFTA party to follow the award ceremony.