Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Why Stella McCartney Buying Back Her Business Is A Fashion Triumph

On March 28, it was confirmed that Stella McCartney has bought back the 50 per cent of her business owned by luxury conglomerate Kering. The British designer is now the sole owner of her London-based brand after 17 years of co-ownership with Kering (formerly Gucci Group and PPR).

“It is the right moment to acquire the full control of the company bearing my name," said McCartney, in an official statement. "This opportunity represents a crucial patrimonial decision for me. I am extremely grateful to François-Henri Pinault and his family and everyone at the Kering group for everything we have built together in the last 17 years. I look forward to the next chapter of my life and what this brand and our team can achieve in the future.” The designer will remain a board member of the Kering Foundation and will continue to collaborate with the conglomerate regarding its sustainability projects.

François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of Kering, added: “It is the right time for Stella to move to the next stage. Kering is a luxury group that empowers creative minds and helps disruptive ideas become reality. I am extremely proud of what Kering and Stella McCartney have accomplished together since 2001. I would like to thank Stella and her team wholeheartedly for everything they have brought to Kering - far beyond business. Stella knows she can always count on my friendship and support.”

The announcement marks a significant moment for British fashion that may result in the McCartney relocating her show to London Fashion Week. The vegan designer is the last of her generation to own a namesake brand on a global level (the late Alexander McQueen joined the conglomerate at a similar time as McCartney; her former assistant Phoebe Philo departed LVMH-owned Céline late last year).

After taking the reins at Chloé just two years out of Central Saint Martins - from an unimpressed Karl Lagerfeld nonetheless - McCartney struck a rare deal with Gucci Group at the turn of the millennium. It was uncommon then and would certainly not happen today. Heeding the advice of her uncle, the lawyer John Eastman, the then-29-year-old McCartney negotiated equal ownership, 50-50. "They were fighting for 51 per cent, and I just kept holding out," she told the New York Times in 2012. "The very healthful part of the relationship is that we're doing well, and they allow us to work in a fairly separate manner. Luckily, we're a strong enough brand, and a different enough brand, so they can see the value in the 50 per cent they don't own."

By teaming up with the conglomerate, McCartney was able to acquire its production and distribution network. What set McCartney apart, however, was her devotion to animal-friendly materials and sustainable production - something that she spearheaded within Kering's roster of brands, paving the way for megabrands such as Gucci to go fur-free. Her boutiques are powered by renewable energy, with wood floors made from sustainably managed forests; fabrics are organic where possible (34 per cent of denim, 36 per cent of jersey); and most importantly, no leather or fur is used.

"My product becomes more expensive to make, but I don't pass that cost on to my consumer," she said, in 2015. "I absorb it myself. I have people who want to work with us now because of our company values, and I'm really proud of that."

McCartney holds a special place in the hearts of the fashion-obsessed. "The customer aspires to her 'celebrity' life but also resonates with her being a wife, a mother and businesswoman," says fashion consultant Julie Gilhart. "I think Stella McCartney is one of the most relevant brands for women. Her ethical stance is authentic and she does the environmental due diligence in her materials and supply chain. She understands that a fashion business built on a circular economy is the future."

In 2010, after a successful children's-wear line for Gap, she started Stella McCartney Kids. And at the 2012 Olympics in London, British athletes wore uniforms her company designed for Adidas, the team sponsor. Four years later, McCartney launched a line of menswear with a star-studded concert at Abbey Road Studios. A lifestyle segment of the brand may not be out of question.

"Stella has used her platform to really champion this message which is incredibly admirable, especially as no-one else of her profile was doing the same," says Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director at Net-a-Porter. "She has strong sense of who she is, and clear principles, and this translates into her designs. Not only do you feel good wearing them, but you can also feel good about buying into the brand."

Christy Turlington Burns Unpacks H&M's Conscious Exclusive 2018 Collection

“When you feel the materials against your skin, you can't believe what they once were,” Christy Turlington Burns tells Vogue of H&M’s Conscious Exclusive 2018 collection. The campaign star is referring to the embroidered, printed pieces crafted from organic linen, cotton and silk, TENCEL®, recycled polyester and for the first time, ECONYL®, a 100 per cent regenerated nylon fibre made from fishnets.

“I was really impressed that a lot of the fabrics had been basically created from scratch in order to incorporate sustainable fibres,” Turlington Burns explains. “The floral metallic jacquard, for example, is made mostly from recycled polyester, but it looks, feels and moves like a more traditional jacquard. That kind of dedication to crafting the pieces is felt throughout the whole collection.”

As well as ECONYL®, which was developed to support the quest for clean oceans, Turlington Burns was impressed by the recycled silver jewellery in the collection. “Each piece is made from material obtained from above ground sources and industrial scrap, such as old candle sticks, sterling silver flatware and coins. Not only does each piece stand for something, the designs are equally appealing.”

Now in its seventh edition, the Conscious Exclusive 2018 collection is at the forefront of sustainable fashion innovation, but is rooted in the home of the former Swedish artists Karin and Carl Larsson. The abstract prints and colour palette reference the handcrafted tapestries and needlework made by Karin and her love for their garden, which featured in many of the husband and wife's collaborative works.

Family is at the heart of Turlington Burns’s own commitment to sustainability. “I have two children and young nieces and nephews so anything that helps protect the environment is important. I am especially interested in the health and wellbeing of the people who make garments.”

She’s encouraged by the moves made by global companies, such as H&M, to push the population towards an eco-focused future. “Fashion and sustainability is no longer a contradiction in terms. It seems to me that everyone who has means and choice is more invested in the brands they choose, and in the way that those products are made and how the people who make them are treated.”

The super's own focus has shifted from modelling to Every Mother Counts, her non-profit organisation which focuses on improving safe, respectful and quality maternity care for every mother, everywhere. Now, she's got a mindful wardrobe to continue her pioneering work in. See the full collection below, and shop it at from April 19th.

Louis Vuitton’s Factory Expansion Will Cut Handbag Production Time Down To One Week

Louis Vuitton is opening two new factories in France in order to meet the growing demand for its leather goods, and to cut production time down on internal orders to one week.

The French house, which is the biggest earnings driver within the LVMH stable, is planning to hire 500 people for two sites in western France. The first will open in July 2018, the second in early 2019, with a third opening predicted by 2020, Louis Vuitton industrial director, Emmanuel Mathieu, told Business of Fashion.

By early 2019 Louis Vuitton will have 16 French leather workshops and around 4,000 leather goods specialists. The expansion will enable store managers to react to sales trends and deliver handbags within a week of internal orders coming in. The current production time is two weeks.

 "When we launch a new product we can adapt very quickly to demand," Mathieu explained of the 250 specialists that will work on one bag within a factory.

Though Louis Vuitton trades off its "Made in France" appeal, the brand does have several factories elsewhere in order to keep lead times on all goods down to a minimum. Two California plants cater to the US market with another planned for Texas, while workshops in Catalonia and production facilities in Portugal and Romania bolster its European offering.

News of the brand’s expansion come just days after it announced Virgil Abloh as artistic director of the menswear division. Appointing fashion’s latest luxury streetwear phenomena to take the helm is not only a step in the right direction for diversity, his designs will speak to a new generation.

Richard Quinn's Studio Is Spearheading A Sustainable Revolution

Richard Quinn’s studio is surprisingly hard to find. Hidden down an unassuming street under the railway arches in Peckham, it sits beside garages and construction companies, with little to distinguish itself except for the designer’s name, which is written discreetly above the door. Inside, tables are piled high with rolls of fabric and a small team of textile designers and pattern-cutters are hunched over desks, quietly working on Quinn’s next collection.

It’s a far cry from last month, when the prolific young designer and his team were at the centre of a media maelstrom after the Queen attended his autumn/winter 2018 show at London Fashion Week to present him with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. “The press coverage has been a bit nuts since then,” admits Quinn. “Before the show, we were on the radar of people in fashion, but the average person on the street certainly wouldn’t have heard of us. We only had 15 stockists last season and then after the show it rocketed to 45. I didn’t even think the news would be big in the UK, but then my friends in New York called me because they saw my name running across the Fox building.”

Despite the publicity, Quinn insists that nothing has changed about the way he intends to run his business. South London has always been his natural habitat. “I was born in Lewisham and brought up in Eltham. My dad has a scaffolding yard about eight arches up from me. He’s had it since 1996 and I’ve been in this area my whole life. I don’t connect that well with East London - it’s not really my scene, so it feels right to stay here, even after all this attention.”

Did it ever feel overwhelming? “I’m a calm person so I don’t really get starstruck,” he replies. “It was a celebration of the team and the studio and everything we’ve achieved.” He says the best part of the experience was how his parents reacted. “I was told that the Queen was coming three days before the show and I obviously couldn’t tell anyone. On the day, my parents were sitting opposite her, and they were just so shocked. It was even funnier when they met Anna Wintour later on. My mum knew who she was but my dad didn’t. He just nodded at her and said, ‘Alright?’”

For Quinn, the important thing about his recent success is the impact it will have on his studio. He founded the enterprise last year partly out of necessity, having previously struggled to find affordable studio spaces and screen-printing facilities in London. "When I won the H&M Design Award, I had about £45,000 to invest in a studio and I got all the equipment straight away,” he explains. “I wanted a space where I could create my collections all under one roof in a sustainable way, and help other designers do the same. At the time, I was already working with Charles Jeffrey on stuff for his menswear show, so it was great to have a proper workspace.”

Collaboration is key to the ethos of the studio, which functions both as a business for Quinn as well as a hub for emerging talent. His clients include Mimi Wade, Dilara Findikoglu, and Jeffrey alongside bigger fashion houses like Burberry, JW Anderson and Ports 1961. “It’s a great network of people and it’s exciting to have that dialogue with other designers,” says Quinn. In accordance with his vision of inclusivity, students are also welcome to use the services. “It’s something I really wish I’d had when I was studying – then I would have been even more inclined to do print.”

The prints that fill every inch of Quinn’s workspace are striking: floral silk scarves, baroque botanical prints on velour, thigh-high boots in dotted Lycra and ball gowns made of glistening silver foil. “I always wanted to shatter the stereotype and make luxury products from unexpected fabrics,” he says. “Clothes made from polyester, vinyl and viscose are luxurious in their own subversive way.” The challenge for Quinn has been to print onto these complex fabrics without his signature patterns looking diluted. “Digital printing was my solution. I make everything onsite with an Epson textile printer and another machine that produces paper, vinyl and film coverings that can wrap 3D objects.” This technique was useful when it came to creating the floral-printed motorcycle helmets worn by his models in the autumn/winter 2018 show.

Far from being a means to an end, digital printing has completely transformed Quinn’s business. Compared to the traditional textile printing process, it allows him to use up to 70 per cent less water and 80 per cent less energy when creating his garments. The ease with which pieces can be customised also means that retailers can request exclusive design compositions so that no stockist has to carry the exact same item. By producing everything onsite, Quinn can deliver exact quantities to his retailers without any additional waste.

"Before my BA, there were elements of sustainability in my work, but it wasn’t ingrained in me,” he admits. “I would paint calico to make my garments look like couture dresses, but that was purely because I had no money.” Everything changed when he met Stella McCartney, who saw his graduate collection at Central Saint Martins and offered him a scholarship for an MA. “As a part of the scholarship, she had talks with the university and educated us on waste. It was a really good way of working because the more I was told I couldn’t do certain things, the more resourceful I became. I couldn’t use leather so I developed techniques to counteract it and in the end, the clothes looked better. I don’t think you can be a designer now without being sustainable and socially aware."

2018 is set to be an even busier year for Quinn, but he is adamant that the studio’s principles won’t be compromised. “I’d like for us to employ apprentices and grow locally instead of moving elsewhere and losing control over quality,” he explains. “For now, I’d like to get another arch and physically split the business, so that my line and the open access studio are separated. With the projects we have coming up, we’ll definitely need more space.”

These projects include an exclusive collection designed for Debenhams due to launch in May, an interiors installation at’s private shopping townhouse in Marylebone and possibly even a new homeware line. What is he most excited about? “I’m collaborating with Liberty on a second collection of bags using a patchwork of their archive prints. They’ll come out next month, and I really want to get a cardholder. I think it’s the first thing I’ve made that I can actually own without people being confused,” he says, laughing. “I don’t think I could pull off the scarves.”

In Seoul, Young Fashion Talent Turn A Blind Eye To Politics

When I last visited Seoul Fashion Week in October, the South Korean capital was gearing up for the February Olympics amidst growing tension with its North Korean neighbour. Going to fashion shows just thirty miles from the border, it was surreal to think how close you were to the communist dictatorship on which President Trump was waging weekly Twitter wars. Only a season on, a successful Olympian residency has seen the two Koreas parading under a unified flag. Kim Jong Un’s sister even attended. And come May, the North Korean ruler and the American president are set to meet in a historic first between the rival nations. When it comes to unpredictability, it seems fashion finds its own rival in politics. I was curious as to how this schizophrenic political climate is affecting the exuberant youth in Seoul. An increasingly documented phenomenon, South Korea’s cosmopolitan millennials couldn’t cut a greater contrast to the uniforms of the North.

Everywhere you turn outside the fashion shows held at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza – Zaha Hadid’s rather charmless spaceship of a conference centre – young Koreans are embracing the newest waves in fashion to a degree that would make influencers in Europe and New York blush. You just don’t see impeccably styled determination like this anywhere else in the world. “Being a young designer in Seoul now is full of excitement and tension,” Maxxi Jae-Hyung Lee told me. “The political situation with North Korea is a national tragedy and I think now it is up to our generation to take responsibility.” A former anthropology student, the Seoul-born designer changed academic lanes to London College of Fashion before launching his collection at Seoul Fashion Week last year under the brand name Maxxij. His show on the emerging designer runway on Thursday morning was easily one of the week’s most impressive.

Gargantuan protective silhouettes fused sportswear with textures from the ladylike wardrobe in a collection that felt current without the copycatting of which the South Korean fashion scene is sadly guilty too often. “My design philosophy is about liberation and recreation of identity through fashion,” Lee said, echoing the energy of Seoul’s fashionable – and, in Western eyes, quite fearless – youth. “The culture of Seoul and Korea is making very brave moves with its unique character, which is now being recognised more by other nations,” he told me. “I think the world is eager to seek different content, and Korean culture has great potential.” Most remarkably, young men in Seoul are beyond advanced when it comes to the idea of gender-fluidity, casually applying make-up, intricate hairstyles and womenswear to achieve their perfectly measured looks.

It’s expressed in the unisex runways that define almost every show at Seoul Fashion Week, from the futuristic athleisure of Heta and Vanon Studio – two other promising emerging talents – to the city’s most celebrated designer duo, Blindness, who competed in the LVMH Prize last year. (This year, the equally talented nominee Younchang Chung of the label The-sirius flew the flag for South Korea.) One of the Balenciaga-clad young men, who caught my eye, was the model Na Jae, who had just returned from his first season abroad, already with runway walks including Maison Margiela, Kenzo, Charles Jeffrey’s Loverboy, Dries Van Noten and both Givenchy’s haute couture and ready-to-wear shows under his belt. “Gender-fluidity and Korean boys, who dress well, are actually co-related,” he told me, “because they are growing up in K-Culture: K-Pop, drama, and entertainment.”

You only need to turn on Korean MTV in your hotel room to see the pretty-boy bands of twenty-something men covered head-to-toe in labels like Saint Laurent and Vetements to get his point. In Korean mainstream fashion culture, avant-garde isn’t a daunting concept. As far as their unique locality on the world map, Na said it’s not something that troubles him and his peers. “Young people in Seoul are very affected by celebrity and social media, specifically on Instagram. They are obsessed with fashion, uploading their daily looks and sharing their fashion information with the internet community. For sure, they really don't care about the North Korea situation, It doesn't mean they’re one hundred percent optimistic about it, but they don't give a shit,” he told me and laughed.

“Seoul is the most rising fashion city in Asia because of things such as K-Pop, K-Beauty and K-Food. It’s not only a fashion and beauty city but also always looking for new vision in fashion.” In the case of many of the designers, who fill the vast and not easily navigated six-day show schedule at the seasonal Seoul Fashion Week, it’s expressed in a sense of de- and reconstruction like this season’s Kiok and R.Shemiste collections, or various adaptations of sportswear such as the Charm’s show, whose commie berets and military suits looked like post-Soviet nostalgia… perhaps by way of North Korea. “These days I think of the gender-fluid trend as part of a human evolution to be more ‘flawless’,” Katie Chung told me. “As a city of early adaptors, Seoul is probably presenting this phenomenon more rapidly than others.”

Designer of the menswear brand Wooyoungmi, which shows at Paris Fashion Week and is arguably the most successful brand to come out of South Korea, Chung studied at Central Saint Martins and took the creative helm last year at the company founded by her fashion entrepreneur mother, Madame Woo, in 2002. “Compared to other markets, Korean consumers tend to be early adaptors in the fashion field and sensitive to trends,” she said. It explains the massive attention and budget put into Seoul Fashion Week, which now needs to push local stars like Blindness and The-sirius into the international spotlight more than ever. Because unlike South Korea’s K-Pop industry, which – due to language barriers – doesn’t effortlessly sieve into Western radio play, fashion is a language spoken universally, yet dependant on an international platform in one of the four fashion capitals in order to gain global recognition.

In that sense, Seoul Fashion Week is an excellent breeding ground for talent, but could do with a few tweaks in execution to present these designers at their best. The show schedule could be edited down and show venues added away from the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, which would also promote the city of Seoul better to international guests. In a political climate that has all eyes on South Korea, now is the time for Seoul to show off its exports. As for that situation to the North, Katie Chung told me it’s not always as easily ignored as many young people in Seoul will have you believe. “It’s hard to say that it necessarily affects me, however, I’m not living without being conscious of it. I believe most people, who live here are half-and-half minded. As a metaphor, it’s like the earthquake in Japan. You never know.”

Supreme Announces Nan Goldin Collaboration

There aren’t many brands who capture the modern zeitgeist like Supreme; fewer still that encapsulate modern masculinity in the way that they do (the “fraternity of Supreme” even inspired a 2016 novel, Supremacist, by Adam Shapiro). And it's precisely those points that makes their newest drop – a collaboration with Nan Goldin’s photographic archive – so particularly brilliant. In many ways Goldin’s work, which offers a look into queer spaces through the female gaze, is diametrically opposed to skate culture – but now it is being pasted onto it in a fashion that is fabulously appealing.

Instead of a traditional pin-up, we have Kim – a transsexual performer at the Folies Bergere – in a rhinestone-bejewelled thong decorating a T-shirt; or Nan herself, in dominatrix drag, covering a skateboard. “I did this for the kids,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing teenagers skating on my images and wearing them. To my mind, people have become so conservative, especially the millennials – its like the 1960s never happened – so I like the idea of them being exposed to my real world.” That world is one that explores Misty and Jimmy Paulette (her image of the two drag queens in a taxi in 1991 is what Nan terms her “most popular picture”); the gay bars of 1970s New York; women like Kim (“the queen of Paris… she was transsexual long before that was the norm [and] being so close to her in her dressing room was like a religious experience.”) “Drag queens are the real Queens,” continues Goldin. “A lot of people feel like someone else but are only brave enough to dress up for Halloween. My friends were pioneers. They paved the way for LGBT communities of today.”

“Nan Goldin's work is real and raw - in the time, places and subject matter she shot,” says Supreme. “It comes from an era where the subjects she documented were taboo by society’s standards. To do this project with Nan Goldin is to celebrate the diversity her work represents and expose young people to it.” To take work like this, which celebrates those relegated to the outskirts of society, and champion them through the prism of the Supreme phenomenon is a nuanced subversion of streetwear culture – and one that is resolutely desirable. “I can’t wait to wear the hoodie,” said Goldin. Neither can we.

Virgil Abloh Is Appointed Louis Vuitton Menswear Artistic Director

Louis Vuitton has named Virgil Abloh its new menswear artistic director, with his first show taking place at Paris Fashion Weekthis June. “Virgil is one of the few designers who truly marries street culture with high fashion – and the first black designer to be given such a position in the gilded halls of LVMH," said Vogue editor Edward Enninful. "His appointment is a step in the right direction for diversity, as well as a particularly exciting creative moment for the industry.”

"Having followed with great interest Virgil's ascent since he worked with me at Fendi in 2006, I am thrilled to see how his innate creativity and disruptive approach have made him so relevant, not just in the world of fashion but in popular culture today," Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton chairman and CEO said in a statement shared on Instagram today. "His sensibility towards luxury and savoir-faire will be instrumental in taking Louis Vuitton menswear into the future".

"It is an honour for me to accept the position of men’s artistic director for Louis Vuitton. I find the heritage and creative integrity of the house are key inspirations and will look to reference them both while drawing parallels to modern times," Abloh - who will continue to work on his Off-White label - said of his first major appointment.

37-year-old Abloh's profile has risen steadily since he first met Burke as a Fendi intern alongside long-time collaborator Kanye West in 2006 and his appointment marks a more consumer-lead shift for Louis Vuitton and its menswear line. Since the announcement that Kim Jones - a friend of Abloh - would step down from the role in January, Abloh has remained a frontrunner in the speculation over who would succeed.

A keen collaborator, Off-White and Abloh have partnered with Jimmy Choo, Nike and soon Ikea, which is likely to permeate at Louis Vuitton, as doubt Abloh's hybrid ability to bring together the worlds of luxury fashion and streetwear will take centre stage.

Alexandre Arnault - the son of LVMH CEO, Bernard Arnault and co-chief executive at Rimowa - was quick to take to his own social channels to share the news: "I am proud to welcome this great friend and talent to the group, and look forward to all the amazing stuff he’s going to achieve." Arnault concluded by revealing news of a Rimowa x Off-White collaboration arriving this summer.

Ghanian-American Abloh who was raised in Illinois's appointment makes him - alongside Olivier Rousteing at Balmain - one of the few black designers to head up a storied French house.

Jones - who was at Louis Vuitton for seven years - remains within the conglomerate with a new role at Dior Homme, which he commences today.

Cannes Film Festival Bans "Ridiculous" Red Carpet Selfies

Ahead of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, Thierry Fremaux, festival director, has outlined a series of changes to this year’s proceedings. Fremaux has previously tried to curb the practice of selfie taking on the red carpet, but has now decided to ban self portraits and fan photographs, which he deems "ridiculous and grotesque", entirely.

“On the red carpet, the trivial aspect and the slowing down provoked by the disorder which these selfies create tarnishes the quality of [the red-carpet experience] and of the festival as a whole,” he said in an interview with Le Film Francais.

To help “revamp the attractiveness of and gloss to gala evenings” it will also eliminate morning press conferences. Critics will see films in the Debussy theatre at the same time as guests inside the main auditorium will view the evening world premieres, in order to reduce early reviews that can make or break a film’s prospects.

This year’s festival, which is celebrating its 71st edition, will also begin a day earlier than in the past, on a Tuesday (May 8), in order to have the closing ceremony take place on a Saturday.

Naomi Campbell To Receive CFDA Fashion Icon Award

Her decades-spanning career and impact as a supermodel surely defies labels, but now Naomi Campbell will be officially recognised by the industry, when she receives the Fashion Icon Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

In accepting the honour, Campbell joins past icons Rihanna, Beyoncé, David Bowie, Pharrell Williams, Kate Moss, Lady Gaga and Iman.

“It is truly an honour to be recognised by the CFDA with this year’s Fashion Icon Award,” said Campbell. “Being from London, my personal style has always been tremendously influenced by both the dynamic, ever-changing nature of street culture and the music scene. I grew up in this industry and I’m forever grateful to the iconic American fashion designers who have supported me and celebrated me throughout my career.”

The Vogue contributing editor will join editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, who will receive the Media Award in honour of Eugenia Sheppard, at the June 4 ceremony held at the Brooklyn Museum and presented by Issa Rae.

Fellow award winner Diane von Furstenberg, who will take home the Swarovski Award for Positive Change, summed up Campbell aptly when she heard the news: “From enfant prodigy to goddess of fashion, Naomi represents beauty, activism, and joie de vivre.”

Other honourees include Carolina Herrera, who will be presented with the Founder’s Award in honour of Eleanor Lambert; Narciso Rodriguez, who will receive the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award; and Donatella Versace, who will be recognised in the International Award category. The winners of the other categories, such as Menswear and Womenswear Designers of the Year, will be announced on the evening itself.

Olivier Lapidus To Exit Lanvin

Olivier Lapidus is stepping down as artistic director of Lanvin, effective immediately. The women’s collections will be designed by an in-house team in the interim, and Lapidus will resume designing for his eponymous brand, Maison Lapidus.

Manager Nicolas Druz is also exiting the house, and Joann Cheng, president of Fosun Fashion Group and chairman of the board of directors of Lanvin, will fill the role during an interim period. The senior management shifts mark the first big business moves of Fosun International after the Chinese conglomerate bought the French label last month.

Lapidus presented his first Lanvin collection during the recent Paris autumn/winter 2018 shows after joining in July, at the request of Taiwan-based majority owner Shaw-Lan Wang - then owner and president. He succeeded Bouchra Jarrar, who took the creative helm of the brand for two collections, but left in July after a mutual decision to end the collaboration.

“Olivier steered the maison through a transitional period between ownerships,” said Cheng in a statement. “We thank him for that, and wish him every success for his own brand and future endeavours.”

Lanvin has experienced a period of unrest since Alber Elbaz departed the brand in October 2015 after 14 years. In response to his removal as creative director, which was acrimonious after the designer was forced to defend his work amid poor-quality claims, the Lanvin staff revolted. At the time, the house - still controlled by Wang - seemed nonplussed by the dissenters.

“Lanvin has been in existence for 125 years. It must go on,” a spokesperson said. “We are not going to close the house because our creative director is gone. The teams are hard at work. They continue to work, even if it is an emotional time."

Over two years on and two creative directors and a major management overhaul down, the same sentiment has been echoed by Cheng, but with a focus on the benefits the brand will have now it is backed by the Fosun Fashion Group: “Lanvin is a truly iconic and storied brand with immense potential. By being a part of the Fosun Fashion Group, Lanvin’s future growth can leverage resources from the expansive global platform of Fosun’s established companies and experts.”

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Dior Homme Appoints Kim Jones As Artistic Director

Dior has confirmed Kim Jones as artistic director of Dior Homme. He will succeed Kris Van Assche, who announced that he is stepping down after 11 years at the brand this morning, and is expected to take up a new assignment within the LVMH Group.

Jones, who exited Louis Vuitton two months ago, will present his first collection for Dior Homme in June as its new creative head of ready-to-wear and accessory collections. His appointment marks the first major business decision of Pietro Beccari, who became chairman and chief executive officer at Christian Dior Couture six weeks ago after stints at Fendi and Louis Vuitton, where he worked with Jones.

“I am delighted to welcome Kim Jones, with whom I had the chance to collaborate previously at Louis Vuitton,” Beccari told WWD. “I admire his creative vision, which combines both his own inspirations of contemporary culture and his own reinterpretation of specific codes and heritage of a house. I am confident in his ability to recreate his universe within the Maison Dior and imagine for Dior Homme an elegant and resolutely modern wardrobe.”

"Kim Jones is one of the most revered designers of his generation,” said Vogueeditor-in-chief Edward Enninful. “From the very beginning of his career he has always pushed the boundaries of menswear and brought it into a realm of newness and excitement. His work at Louis Vuitton really took the best elements of the street and mixed them with luxury – and I am very much looking forward to seeing what he does at Dior.”

Jones shot to fame within the industry after John Galliano snapped up his graduate Central Saint Martins collection in 2003. After pursuing his own eponymous streetwear label for eight seasons, he took the creative helm at Dunhill between 2008 – 2011. His CV also includes stints at Alexander McQueen, Mulberry, Hugo Boss and Umbro, and is indicative of his expertise at straddling the luxury and streetwear spheres.

A House Of Hackney Collaboration With & Other Stories Is Coming

We're living in a maximalist era, and this spring there will be ample limelight-stealing ammunition in the form of House of Hackney's collaboration with Swedish high street retailer & Other Stories. The collection is full of House of Hackney's signature decadent prints, fed through a Scandi filter.

"House of Hackney transcends trends and plays in a quirky world of its own. We had a lot of fun co-creating a collection that invites women to play more and mix and match fearlessly without any restrictions," says Anna Nyrén, head of co-labs, & Other Stories.

The collection of ready-to-wear, accessories and shoes will "encourage a style filled with playfulness and extravagance" and has a sustainable spin: fabrics are primarily made from materials such as TENCEL® and organic cotton.

House of Hackney launched in 2011 primarily as a homeware brand, when its founders Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle saw a gap in the market for a trend-led interiors brand that blended traditional Victorian hothouse maximalism with modern wit. It has dabbled in clothing before; in 2012 it established its clothing line via a collaboration with Opening Ceremony. It specialises in easy shirt dresses and pyjama-style separates boasting its knock-out prints, and its homewares have found fans in Alexa Chung, Blake Lively and the jeweller Sabine Getty.

While this first reveal focuses only on the Damas dress, priced at £69, which sports a dramatic lilac floral pattern, those looking to reinvigorate their all-black winter wardrobes should circle the end of May in their diaries.

Pallas: The Brand Inflecting Traditional Tailoring With Smoking Appeal

What could be more Parisian than Helmut Newton’s photograph of YSL’s le smoking? The women’s tuxedo pioneered by Saint Laurent in 1966 and photographed by Newton for French Vogue in 1975 is the epitome of louche glamour. Inspired by the satin-lapelled smoking jackets worn by men (cigar ash would roll off the satin) and the gender-nonconforming women who wore them, such as Marlene Dietrich and Niki de Saint Phalle, it even took on a sense of social subversion around the world. It was banned from restaurants and the women were still legally forbidden from wearing trousers in some countries.

While Saint Laurent ignited the craze for le smoking, today there are interpretations of it that deserve their own spotlight. The best of them all come from Pallas, the self-described Parisian equivalent of Savile Row for women. The small couture house has been making tailoring for decades for the likes of Mugler, Ghesquière-era Balenciaga, Céline and Proenza Schouler. However, the label actually began in 1960 as a more traditional tailoring firm led by David Pallas — upstairs in the atelier is a photo of HM The Queen wearing a tweed Pallas creation for Norman Hartnell — and in 1991, David’s son Daniel took over the business with his wife Véronique.

Quite quickly, the couple realised that their elderly customers were getting older, and the risk for fizzling out with tweed suits and gloves was getting greater. So, confident in the ability of their atelier and keen to survive another half century, the husband-and-wife tried to pivot the business in 2013 and re-launch the Pallas ready-to-wear label with an emphasis on sharp, sexy le smoking tuxedo suits, crafted from satin-trimmed crepe or grosgrain with silk lapels by one artisan from start to finish. Theirs, by the way, is lighter and more sinuous than Saint Laurent’s hallmark. For autumn, the suits will come in delicious colour combinations of shocking pink and scarlet.

Since that lightbulb moment, the brand has expanded beyond tuxedos and into pencil skirts, blouses and coats, maintaining the sleek aesthetic that initially clicked with editors and buyers. Today, it is sold at luxury meccas such as Net-a-Porter, Harrods and Matchesfashion. However, beyond its ready-to-wear, Pallas often attracts smart women who want something unique and custom made — hence the Saville Row comparison. In recent years, one of those clients was Claire Thompson-Jonville, editor of heavyweight style title Self Service, whose patronage led to a collaboration in the form of a capsule collection that we can safely described as the ultimate Parisian wardrobe.

Born in Scotland and raised in England, the stylist was a self-described eclectic English girl growing up. Then she arrived in Paris just over a decade ago and went through a classic Birkin-esque transformation into a storage-poor Parisienne with an edited wardrobe of perennial classics. Her encyclopaedic memory of realist fashion photography — and the discreet-chic clothes that have starred in it — came in handy when it came to executing her particular eye for the collection. Many of the pieces pay homage to icons of the 1990s — Kate Moss in a strapless jumpsuit, Caroline Bassette-Kennedy in a leopard coat, Tom Ford’s red velvet bombshells — but with a dose of practicality and simplicity that cuts through the noise with perennial hanger appeal.

There’s a claret velvet trouser suit with just the right amount of flare and a satisfyingly wide peak lapel. A perfectly proportioned boiler suit with buttoned pockets, crafted from navy men’s suiting flannel and worn a white polo underneath and crisp white sneakers. A wide-lapelled camel coat roomy enough to be worn over a hoodie. A surprisingly soft faux ponyskin leopard pea coat. A hot-white tuxedo with a slightly contrasted lapel. Refreshingly, the list goes on, but not excessively so.

“These are things you can keep in your wardrobe and mix up and it’s not of-a-moment,” says Thompson-Jonville. “You want to be able to wear them with things with like a denim jacket and just keep it timeless. You want to be able to go to a dinner as well and not necessarily have everybody know what you’re wearing.”

What’s just as impressive is that every item is still handcrafted in Paris by a single craftsman from start to finish. The garments start from the patterns (cut in Daniel’s childhood bedroom, now a workroom) which are packaged up into brown paper parcels with handwritten client cards and the workmen take it home to work on it. On average, it takes a whole day for one of them to make a full suit. The in-house label now accounts for more than half of Daniel and Véronique’s business and more collaborations are in the pipeline. Business appears to be booming, and as for those tuxedos — as long as there is Paris, it will always be smoking.

Bill Cunningham Left Behind A Secret Memoir

Upon his death in June 2016, legendary street style and society photographer Bill Cunningham left behind an archive valued at $1 million, and, it transpires, a secret memoir.

The manuscript was discovered by his family, who sold it to Penguin Press at auction. “It seems so unexpected,” Christopher Richards, an editor at the publishing house, told The New York Times. “He really didn’t divulge anything about his life to his friends and his colleagues. He was so private. I think it was a shock.”

Details on his adult personal life are scarce. Rather, the book - titled Fashion Climbing - charts his early years ascending a fashion ladder deemed disreputable by his Catholic family. On one page of Cunningham's manuscript, he sketched a young Bill climbing a ladder, with a line attributed in the book to his mother: “What will the neighbours say?”

Fashion Climbing, which foreword writer and New York Times staff member Hilton Als describes as “having Breakfast at Tiffany’s flavour", touches on his love of fashion from a young age (trying on his sisters' dresses at the age of four led to a beating), his time serving in the Korean war (during which he decorated his helmet with flowers), his millinery endeavour under the name William J, and his first attempts to break New York Fashion Week as a photographer.

“For me, this book is really for those of us who came to New York with a dream and saw New York City as a real oasis of creativity and freedom, a place to be who we want to be,” Richards added. “It’s a really beautiful story about a young, artistic man finding his way in the city, in a particular kind of bohemian world that doesn’t quite exist anymore.”

It is not known when Cunningham wrote the book, however Penguin's edit, which will piece together “multiple drafts of certain sections” within the two clean typescripts he left behind, will hit shelves in September. This will be just in time for New York Fashion Week, where Cunningham would have once been cycling round the streets and diving between crowds to capture what he first coined "fashion on the street".

Britney Spears On Her Kenzo Campaign And How She Defines Mum Fashion

Britney Spears has one not-so-fond memory of the 1980s. “I used to wear big bows on top of my head,” she says on the eve of the debut of her first luxury fashion campaign (it’s hard to believe there’s something she hasn’t done). “I mean, ugly was the way to go in the eighties, it was all just completely obnoxious - but there was also something so refreshing about that and the fact that we didn’t care what anyone thought about our clothes.” When Spears was approached by Kenzo’s creative directors, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, about becoming the face of the label’s second nostalgia-based La Collection Momento for spring/summer 2018 (a tribute to the debut of Kenzo Jeans in 1986), she was excited by the prospect of bringing back that loud, no-holds-barred, 1980s attitude.

The bright campaign was shot in Paris by Peter Lindbergh and features pieces like a cropped denim jacket, thigh-high lace-up boots, and a sweatshirt and baseball hat stamped with a throwback version of the original Kenzo logo. “This collection is very youthful,” says Spears. “We had fun on set, even though it was a bit weird for me at first. I am used to shooting in a studio or a small space, and this was on the street. We were out there and I had really promiscuous clothes on, which felt odd, but, of course, on film it turned out to be really cool.”

Let us not forget that Spears is a 36-year-old working mum of two. The days of schoolgirl miniskirts and red vinyl catsuits are far behind her, and she tends to gravitate toward more practical, bohemian-inspired clothing, mostly in a palette of soft ivory and white. “It’s tricky because as a mother, you don’t take as much risk with your style,” she says. “I think when I was younger I took so many risks and really went for it. There was no planning what I wore, and it was like, okay, I am just going to put on the most outrageous thing. I think as a mother you hold back from that out of fear of embarrassing your kids and out of respect for them.”

When Spears is home with her boys, Sean and Jayden, she is “in a nightgown most of the time.” And while she may not be wearing things like meat dresses or thongs on the red carpet, she does say that “there is something very courageous about the younger generation just wearing whatever they want all the time, but I don’t know if I could do it at this point. I think I would go and hide under a rug or something, because I’ve been dressing a certain way the past 15 years and I wouldn’t know how to react to a big change.”

The Kenzo campaign has given Spears a new outlook on embracing playfulness in her current wardrobe. And playfulness, after all, is something that comes naturally to her - just watch one of her incredible Instagramvideos featuring her own idiosyncratic version of a runway walk. The giant hair bows might be long gone, but Spears is not afraid to step out of her comfort zone and get experimental. And her sons sometimes give her the confidence she needs to mix things up. Watching them wear things that clash or have wild prints, she says, is “intoxicating because you are like, You know what? I’m not going to care what I wear today.” She adds, “As a mother, I used to be very strict about what they wore, but, at this point, they are growing up and becoming their own people. I want them to do their own thing - I respect that.”

Salvatore Ferragamo Continues Its Counterfeit Crusade

An injunction was delivered against 60 unidentified holders of illegal online profiles that were operating under the Florence-based luxury brand’s name. The court highlighted some 150 domain names that were infringing upon the brand’s rights, however the offenders are hard to locate. The $60 million sum, therefore, is exemplary and unlikely to be collected, as in most counterfeit cases of this type.

“We are extremely pleased with the decision of the New York court, which also comprises exemplary damages, the highest ever awarded for this type of violation,” Ferruccio Ferragamo, chairman and chief executive officer, told WWD. “The internet is the prime channel for traffickers of counterfeit goods and it is therefore the focus of our monitoring and control efforts. In recent years our group has implemented a series of anti-counterfeiting measures, both on and offline, to protect our customers and the value of our brand.”

The battle against counterfeit goods is one the family-run brand takes seriously. In 2014, it began inserting microchips and radio frequency identification tags into its women’s pre-fall 2014 shoes to guarantee product authenticity and facilitate the tracking of products. It extended the microchips to men’s shoes in its cruise 2015 collection, and inserted them into women’s small leather goods, luggage and bags for autumn/winter 2015.

Salvatore Ferragamo has been awarded $60 million by the New York Southern District Court in compensation for the sale of counterfeit Ferragamo products.

These strict measures helped Ferragamo to intercept and seize more than 268,000 counterfeit products around the world last year, with 62,000 counterfeit products in China, an area that needs strict preventative efforts.

“We are very satisfied with the results of the steps we have taken to protect our registered brands and our trademark rights on the internet,” Ferragamo continued. “Rest assured that we will continue to fight counterfeiting with unfailing determination.”

Kris Van Assche Is Leaving Dior Homme

Kris Van Assche is stepping down as artistic director of Dior Homme after 11 years at the brand.

Van Assche will take up a new assignment within the LVMHGroup, and an official announcement stating his successor is expected imminently, WWD has learned. The rumour mill has already gone into overdrive suggesting that Kim Jones, who exited Louis Vuitton two months ago, is in pole position. Such a move would reunite him with Pietro Beccari, who he previously worked with at Louis Vuitton and who was appointed chairman and chief executive officer at Dior Homme six weeks ago.

Beccari said of Van Assche’s decision to exit the brand: "I thank Kris Van Assche for contributing to the amazing growth of Dior Homme by creating an elegant and contemporary silhouette for men. He wrote an important chapter in the history of Dior Homme and played a key role in its development."

"After 11 years at Dior Homme, my mind and heart filled with experiences, I am leaving this beautiful house to pursue new challenges," added Van Assche. "I wish to thank Bernard Arnault for the trust he placed in me, Sidney Toledano and Serge Brunschwig for their warm welcome at Dior and their continuous support during all those years of collaboration."

During his tenure, Van Assche elaborated on the legacy of slim tailoring by former artistic director Hedi Slimane, whom he worked underneath before taking the creative helm himself. He broadened the brand’s influence by staging a series of fashion shows in Asia and recruiting brand ambassadors such as A$AP Rocky, Boy George and Depeche Mode singer Dave Gahan.

Edward Enninful To Receive CFDA Award

Yesterday evening, the Council of Fashion Designers of America took to Instagram to announce the nominees and honourees for the CFDA Awards 2018.

British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful OBE will receive the Media Award in honour of Eugenia Sheppard, recognising his outstanding contribution to the industry throughout his prolific career and, most recently, since taking the helm of the publication in 2017.

"I’m very happy and honoured to receive this award from the CFDA," Enninful said this morning. "Thank you to my team at British Vogue.”

Other honourees are Diane von Furstenberg, who will receive the Swarovski Award for Positive Change for her role in women’s empowerment; Carolina Herrera will be presented with the Founder’s Award in honour of Eleanor Lambert; Narciso Rodriguez will receive the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award and Donatella Versace will be recognised in the International Award category.

The rest of the winners will be announced at the ceremony (now in its 17th year) on June 4 at the Brooklyn Museum, hosted by Issa Rae. Raf Simons for Calvin Klein and Virgil Abloh for Off-White are nominated for both Menswear and Womenswear Designer of the Year. Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen for The Row have also received two nominations, in the Accessories and Womenswear Designer of the Year categories.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Dipti Sharma On Breaking The Rules For Balenciaga

"I've been a rebel since childhood," 20-year-old Dipta Sharma tells Vogue. But, unlike most unruly youngsters who swerve chores or skip school, Sharma went against the wishes of her parents and entered a modelling competition that would transport her out of India and onto the global runway.

"It just came from inside suddenly," she explains of her desire to swap Indian tradition for travel. "For a long time, I was looking for my real path. When I started watching runway shows on Fashion TV everything inside me suddenly started screaming, 'This is it!'"

She taught herself about the industry via Google on borrowed mobile phones, and quietly ignored her society's beliefs on how girls should act and live their lives - and what they should wear to do so. "My parents had to endure a lot of criticism from other people," she says of breaking away from the mould. "People kept asking my younger sister how could I choose such a low profession: Did I change in front of men? Did I wear a bikini? Did I compromise myself in order to get work? It's ironic because the same people now say they are so proud of me. It makes me laugh at the kind of world we live in."

It took three years of sending her own Polaroids to agencies in New York, London and Paris, before she signed to a local agency, Anima Creatives, which helped bridge the international gap for her. Then Balenciaga came calling.

"I remember walking for [creative director] Demna Gvasalia and [his muse] Lotta Volkova, and the next thing I knew I was walking down the runway in Paris." She was promptly cast in the paparazzi-style SS18 campaign, and had her first pinch-me moment. "Being the only Indian female model ever to be in the campaign was a huge honour for me and everyone in India. I can't thank Demna enough for it."

Her star continued to rise when she was included in Marc Jacobs's and Katie Grand's vision for the Marc Jacobs Beauty Shameless campaign, her second career highlight.

“I’m very straightforward, and sometimes, people think that’s blunt…. I don’t really like to pretend.” @deeptisharma511 wears Shameless foundation in R380. What makes people think you’re #SoShameless? #MarcJacobsBeauty⠀

Sharma has since swapped India for New York, and is living and learning the ropes with a fellow model. Sometimes her inner rebel rises up: "I can't plan anything, which annoys me because I like to make decisions for myself," she says, "But in this profession you have to sit back and go with the flow."

The industry's work ethic has surprised her. "Everyone is so driven to make things happen and to be respectful of other peoples' visions," she muses, before adding, "I was surprised when I heard and read about models' experiences with exploitation."

She has one piece of advice to aspiring models who might read this from their bedrooms in India, or elsewhere: "If you want to be something in life start now and never give up. You may fail millions of times like me, but keep going. If I can get here, so can you."

Guillaume Henry To Leave Nina Ricci

Rumours swirled during Paris Fashion Week, only to be quashed by the in-house press office, but now there is confirmation: after three and a half years as creative director, Guillaume Henry is leaving Nina Ricci.

A joint statement released by the French house on March 15 said: "After three years of mutually gratifying creative collaboration, Nina Ricci and Guillaume Henry have together decided that the designer will depart the House after the presentation of the Fall-Winter 2018-19 collection. Pending the arrival of a new creative director, the next collections will be designed by the Nina Ricci Studio."

WWD, who first reported the departure in early March, alleged that the reasoning was financial: Henry was apparently frustrated by what he perceives as a lack of investment on the part of Ricci's Spanish parent company Puig. Whatever the reason, he has certainly struggled to make as comprehensive an impression on the brand as the one he effected at Carven, where he spent five years transforming the heritage label into a cool girl's go-to.

He is a well-liked face in the Paris fashion stable, having begun his career at Givenchy, where he was employed immediately after having left Institut Français de la Mode, and Paule Ka. His designs at Nina Ricci have found famous fans in Gigi Hadid, Rita Ora and Beyoncé, who recently wore a fantastical feathery silver look from the spring/summer 2018 for an image on Instagram.

Guillaume joins a list of unemployed designers that includes Phoebe Philo (ex-Céline), Alber Elbaz (ex-Lanvin), and Peter Copping (ex-Oscar De La Renta). Empty chairs include men's artistic director at Louis Vuitton. A move to the French menswear giant is unlikely; however, with fashion in a state of flux, nothing is off the cards.

Donatella Versace Vows To Stop Using Fur

Donatella Versace has announced that her family's eponymous brand will no longer use real fur in its products, making it the latest high-end fashion house to go fur-free. Gucci, Tom Ford, Michael Kors and Armani are among the labels to have denounced its use in recent years.

"Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right," the Italian designer told Luke Leitch in an interview for The Economist's 1843 magazine. The publication points out that its something of a quick turnaround for the brand which, at the time the interview was published on Wednesday, was still promoting "fur-embellished coats that turn heads" on its website.

The news that the luxury label - known for its glamorous and extravagant aesthetic, and which has a long history of using fur as a staple in its collections (including mink, raccoon dog and fox) - was turning its back on fur was welcomed by the Humane Society International.

"Versace is a massively influential luxury brand that symbolises excess and glamour, and so its decision to stop using fur shows that compassionate fashion has never been more on trend," said Claire Bass, the executive director of HSI in the UK.

Mark Oaten, CEO of The International Fur Federation, also commented on the news, saying: "I am very disappointed to hear that Versace has said they won’t use real fur in collections. The majority of top designers will continue to work with fur as they know it is a natural product that is produced responsibly. With growing concern about the environment and plastics in fashion, I truly believe fur is the natural and responsible choice for designers and consumers."

Why Women Have Fallen In Love With Craig Green

Craig Green has just been announced as the guest designer at Pitti Uomo 94 in June, but as his spring/summer collection and newly-launched denim line drop into the womenswear departments across the country, Osman Ahmed discovers how women became such a large portion of the menswear designer’s customer base.

As one of London’s marquee menswear designers, Craig Green’s is a success story loved by men of all ages for his romantic and pragmatic transformations of functionality and uniforms. His work has already been acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and the Design Museum in London, as well as winning best British Menswear Designer at the 2016 and 2017 Fashion Awards. Yet despite showing on the menswear schedule and initially selling predominantly in menswear stores, Green’s relaxed tailoring has won over a diverse range of female fans due to its generous sizing, courtesy of unstructured fits and judo drawstrings and quilted cricketing panels.

Yep, that’s right — women have been hopping over to the menswear section of department stores to get their hands on a piece of Craig Green since the launch of his label in 2014. Tilda Swinton and FKA are fans, and Rihannaeven got the award-winning designer to create custom looks for her world tour in 2015. It’s little wonder as Green is arguably one of the most talented designers of his generation, but it’s also because he’s one of the most considerate when it comes to making clothes that work on any body size or shape. And now, he’s finally being seen in womenswear departments from to Selfridges.

Throughout his work, the use of low-fi fastenings and cords allows jackets and shirting to adjust to all bodies, especially perfect for women who want a waistline or slimmer sleeves. There are also never any shoulder pads or rigidly structured internal construction. “They’re kind of soft in terms of their internal structures or they’re structured through their seaming or layering a fabric,” explains Green. “That is maybe why a lot of women feel more comfortable wearing it because it kind of fits to your shoulder shape and your body shape a bit easier, rather than making a statement by wearing a man’s tailored jacket with big shoulder pads.”

For SS16, Green actually paid homage to his lady fans with a handful of female models in his show: “I’ve never been a designer who has a had a ‘Craig Green man’” he says. “It’s always been an idea or a visual or a feeling, which I think helps it be a bit more gender neutral.” However, it wasn’t until two seasons later — after he went back to showing purely on boys – that womenswear buyers came knocking. Rather than launching a line devoted to women, the adaptable menswear retains authenticity for a designer who addresses modern-day masculinity. It is also an antidote to the pervasive ‘boyfriend fit’ — menswear-inspired womenswear that often comes with contrived feminised details like an accentuated waist or bust, or tightened sleeves and lower neckline. “Maybe it’s that thing again if it looks like it’s specified for a female customer maybe it’s more contrived,” he continues.

Helen Price, Green’s right-hand woman, wears the label every day because it allows ease in her physical line of work, as well as a sexless kind of uniformity. “I’ve got big boobs and a big bum and I don’t want to feel sexy when I’m going to work. Some of the pieces I wear in the evening, like the kimonos, with cigarette pants and heels, but it’s generally more for when I’m doing active work and don’t want to feel fashion conscious.” Price and Green both point out that the womenswear market is much bigger than the men’s, and its custom can make all the difference to a fledgling business — JW Anderson is a prime example of a menswear label that exploded once it focused on womenswear.

This spring, the label has launched its first denim line as part of the SS18 collection — crafted from Japanese selvage denim and marked by Green’s signature punched holes and stitched quilting. True to form, the line is unisex. “There are two classic jacket shapes — one of them is a uniform jacket which is kind of a little bit more fitted and has a classic denim construction in terms of closure, and the other jacket is our classic worker jacket shape with the pockets on the outside, which we’ve developed based on it being relaxed.”

The approach goes back to Green’s perennial interest in uniforms. “I feel like with uniforms you do have a difference between genders, but a lot of them are very similar in terms of fabrications and cut and there’s this idea of one size fits all, which I find beautiful,” he says. Looking forward, womenswear may play a much larger role in Green’s business. “It’ll be interesting to explore in the way that we approach the menswear but completely differently in the way that we style it and trim it into womenswear. It’s like it’s got its own voice. It’s got its own strength — equal to the men’s.”

First Look: Erdem's Costumes For The Royal Ballet

Aworking day for London’s Royal Ballet dancers can exceed 12 hours. Following a 10.30am class, they are in rehearsals until 5.30pm - rotating between as many as five productions at any given time - with an hour’s break for lunch and a sprinkling of physiotherapy appointments. And that’s before they even get to the performances.

There’s just one week to go before the opening night of Christopher Wheeldon’s new single-act ballet, Corybantic Games, on March 15 and the dancers are in the middle of their first stage call. “It’s almost like a new beginning because it’s the first time anyone in the artistic and creative teams gets an image of how [the production] will look on stage,” principal Lauren Cuthbertson tells me as we emerge from the Margot Fonteyn Studio at the company’s Covent Garden headquarters. She has just practiced her pas de deux - a dance consisting of sculptural and delicately interlacing movements - with fellow principal Ryoichi Hirano, as Wheeldon fine-tuned their every lift, pirouette and développé. “Until now we have been in our practice clothes in the studio - a completely different setting. It’s always a bit stressful because there can be so much change. The hair changed twice already; I was side stage with my hair being undone and sprayed and pinned all over again.” Yet amidst all the brouhaha, this morning Cuthbertson says she experienced a “magical moment,” as she paused to take stock and realised: “Wait, I’m standing on the Royal Opera House stage, wearing Erdem.”

Steered by the choreography and Leonard Bernstein’s orchestral score Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium), the costumes contain a multitude of subtle contrasts that - especially en masse as an army of elegant kouros - is a striking sight and a noticeable departure from the lace and brocade of Erdem’s runway designs. The ballerinas' champagne-coloured silk satin bodices and high-waisted pants are tailored with angular seams emphasised by boning, and their delicately pleated tulle skirts - which cascade down to the ankles - have velvet ribbon painstakingly hand-stitched along the hem. The men’s leotards meanwhile are such a low denier they almost appear naked above the waist of their white tights. All the dancers’ torsos are sheathed in different black velvet harnesses; a graphic detail that resembles the spontaneous drapes of a chiton.

“I love the idea of examining the time when the piece of music was created (the 1950s) and combining that with something very Grecian,” Erdem Moralıoğlu says when we meet in the Royal Opera House’s plush, red velvet-clad Bedford Retiring Room. “The lines are very bold; it’s almost like I’ve drawn over the body with a marker. I also found myself looking at previous collections,” he continues. “The bustier shape from spring/summer 2018 that had so much to do with 1950s underpinnings, and even the latest autumn/winter collection, with all these hand-pleated skirts, worked its way into the show.”

From Christian Lacroix’s elaborate tutus for the Paris Opéra Ballet, to Dries van Noten’s casual outfits for Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Rain, fashion-dance partnerships have a rich history, and Wheeldon’s collaboration with Erdem for Corybantic Games continues this legacy. When it was time to choose a designer to create costumes for the 21 dancers, Moralıoğlu seemed a natural fit for Wheeldon. The pair met six years ago when the designer invited the choreographer to his fashion shows, having seen a number of his ballets - including A Winter’s Tale (an adaptation of Shakespeare’s romance) and abstract work After the Rain. It’s also not the first time Cuthbertson has been dressed in Erdem - she wore one of his gowns to attend the Laurence Olivier Awards in 2015 - so this collaboration is born out of friendship as well as mutual admiration. But why was he drawn to this ballet in particular? “I think it was the idea of doing a completely new piece that was modern - something that hasn’t existed before,” he says.

Designing ready-to-wear is a somewhat different challenge to designing costumes for ballet. For one, fashion is about enabling someone to express themselves through clothes. Costumes, on the other hand, help a dancer embody a character. Then there are the practical requirements. “Someone being able to lift their leg above their head wasn’t something I had to think about when I was designing my last collection,” Moralıoğlu says. “The costumes have to [withstand] being washed after every performance, each costume is custom made to the dancer’s body, so the fittings are extraordinarily rigorous and last minute because you are working around their schedule.” During the stage call, the loose velvet ribbons attached to the harnesses hinder the dancers' movements but, before long, Moralıoğlu and the costume team find a solution: small concealed loops to hold the ribbons in place without being too restrictive.

As for his foray into designing garments for men, can we expect to see Erdem menswear showing up on the London Fashion Week schedule anytime soon? Not for now - he’s sticking to womenswear - unless, he adds with a laugh, “it’s for dancers.”

Self-Portrait Opens Its First London Store

In under five years, Self-Portait, founded by Central Saint Martins graduate, Han Chong in November 2013, has fast become the go-to occasion wear brand for the discerning, modern woman. Already stocked everywhere from Selfridges, Matches Fashion and Net-a-Porter to Barneys Japan and Nordstrom, this month the London-based label opens its first freestanding store in the heart of Mayfair, at 49 Albermarle Street. "I always knew that I wanted to open my first store in the Mayfair area," Han Chong, founder and creative director of Self-Portrait explained to Vogue. "I used to go to all these shops in the neighbourhood that I couldn't afford when I was a student. Now, I wanted to bring our brand to the area where customers can have that luxury shopping experience but at our price point. I chose Albemarle because it’s off of Bond Street and I liked being slightly off the beaten path."

The just-opened 233-square-metre space has been designed by Casper Mueller Kneer Architects, who have worked with the White Cube galleries and Céline. Set over the ground and lower ground floors with a sequence of elegant areas flowing into each other, the store offers personal styling appointments, a tailoring service and 90-minute door-to-door delivery within London. Your last-minute Saturday night party dress panic is now a thing of the past. "A physical store like the one we've created at Albemarle allows us as a brand to really let our customers see how the brand lives. It's like inviting someone to your home," Chong continued. "In today's world you think you know someone really well because of social media and you definitely do know aspects of them, but being in someone's home allows you to know them intimately. I wanted to invite everyone to get to know Self-Portrait personally."

The store will carry the brand's luxury ready-to-wear as well as accessories collections and to celebrate the opening, Self-Portrait has designed a selection of exclusive styles from the SS18 collection. But for those who can't make it down to Mayfair, fear not, as Chong has plans to open stores in other cities in the near future. Additionally, the designer has some special collaborations hidden up his sleeve, teasing us with the promise that "there are some exciting projects that we are working on at the moment that I can't wait to share with everyone when the time is right."

So what has been the key to growing a hugely-successful global brand in less than five years? "I think it's really having a clear vision and identity. You have to create a handwriting that is distinctly your own that customers will connect with your brand. Also, in my case I really made sure to always think of our customers first. Making sure that they feel the love in the work that I do."

Hubert De Givenchy Has Died

French designer Hubert de Givenchy has died, a statement made by his family confirmed today. Givenchy, who was 91 years old at the time of his passing, founded his eponymous brand in 1952 and was quickly given the moniker "Le Grand Hubert".

Clare Waight Keller, current artistic director at Givenchy, told Vogue: "I am deeply saddened by the loss of a great man and artist I have had the honour to meet and get to know since my appointment at Givenchy. Not only was he one of the most influential fashion figures of our time, whose legacy still influences modern day dressing, but he also was one of the chicest, most charming men I have ever met; the definition of a true gentleman, that will stay with me forever. My deepest thoughts are with his loved ones in this difficult time.”

Givenchy was just 24 when he opened his own couture house, and in February that year presented his debut collection, featuring the Bettina blouse, which became an early emblem of his aesthetic.

Givenchy was one of the first designers to form on - and off-screen - design collaborations with celebrities, including one of his most famous clients and dearest friends, Audrey Hepburn.

Designing the slim-cut black jumpsuit and the strapless, embroidered organza gown immortalised in Sabrina, Givenchy forged a friendship with Hepburn that was to span seven subsequent films, creating some of the most iconic looks in cinematic history - including the famous black sheath dress worn by Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Givenchy also designed for Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Greta Garbo, Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman, amongst others.

After stepping down from the brand in 1995, Givenchy handed the reins to John Galliano, who was then followed by Alexander McQueen, Julien Macdonald and Riccardo Tisci. Tisci remained at the house for 12 years, redefining modern luxury through sportswear infusions and further mirroring Givenchy's own focus on close celebrity partnerships. In May 2017 Waight Keller took the top job, the first women to hold the position.

Remembering the late designer, Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful added: "Hubert De Givenchy was one of the great couturiers of the century. He was a true pioneer, especially in the way he cultivated designer and celebrity relationships and, with his work with Audrey Hepburn, he practically invented the Little Black Dress. With his namesake house, he left a rich archive for designers like Lee McQueen, John Galliano, Riccardo Tisci and now Clare Waight Keller to carry on the Givenchy legacy. I never had the pleasure to meet him myself, but today the fashion industry has lost one of its most revered designers."

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Why You Need To See "Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up"

Tickets for Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, the V&A exhibition charting the Mexican artist and countercultural icon through her never-before-seen personal belongings, go on sale today.

"The timing couldn't have been more perfect," Claire Wilcox, senior curator of fashion at the V&A, tells Vogue of the publicity surrounding the 200 plus items that until 2004 had been locked away for 50 years. Upon her death in 1954, her muralist husband, Diego Rivera, shut her belongings in a room in their home - the Blue House on the outskirts of Mexico City - as a mark of "respect for her as an artist, as a woman and his life companion. He had the foresight and understanding to know how important she was going to be."

The exhibition opens with an "introduction to Frida's early life with her German father and Mexican mother, and charts her discovery of politics and communism, her rejection of Catholicism, her near fatal accident in her late teens and her meeting with Diego," says Wilcox. It goes on to explore the significance of her native Mexico at this point in the late 1920s, how the country was rediscovering its pre-Columbian roots and why her decision to honour traditional dress was as much of a political statement as it was an allegiance to Mexican history. "It ends in a crescendo of the beautiful, colourful, joyful garments that she is known for, and her amalgam of traditional Mexican traits with clothes from Europe," adds Wilcox.

Her relationship with fashion plays out throughout the retrospective. "Frida was attracted to the way the extraordinary women from the matriarchal society in the Mexican state of Oaxaca dressed, for multiple reasons. One was political - these were proud women who had a certain dignity," Wilcox explains. "And the clothing was not only very beautiful, but served the purpose of disguising her bad leg, her back braces and her corsets. She could dress in a flamboyant manor to disguise herself, and the more unwell she got, the more she dressed up. She presented a construction that was entirely her own and bore no resemblance to any women in her peer group. She stood out then just as she stands out now."

As an artist, Kahlo used her clothing as a metaphor for her mixed identity. In one painting, which will go on display, Wilcox notes, "She dresses herself in a man's suit with her cut-off hair on the floor, as a symbol of her marriage." In other self-portraits, she depicts herself in forensic detail, painting every single facial hair onto the canvas.

"Her face is timeless, captivating, charismatic," muses Wilcox of her enduring appeal. "She wasn't particularly famous as a painter at the time, but she was a photogenic celebrity. As the power of her art increased over the decades, the power of her image has been disseminated through the internet so more and more people recognise her as a strong woman."

Personal items in the V&A collection include her eyebrow pencils - "Diego referred to her brows as magnificent bird wings, and she used to sign off her correspondence with a sketch of wings" - and the bespoke boots for the prosthetic leg she wore in the last year of her life, which she accessorised herself, "because she never wore anything she wasn't in total control of".

The object Wilcox finds most touching, however, is "a necklace made from pre-Columbian beads from old excavations and grave sites, which Frida strung together. On one of the jade beads there is a tiny dab of green paint, where she tried to meticulously match her paint to her necklace. This material evidence shows that as an artist and a woman she regarded her appearance as a powerful tool, something that still resonates today."

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Paris Fashion Week: The Verdict

Fashion will always reflect whatever is going on in society, but in the current debates relating to sexual misconduct and gender equality designers have newfound purpose in life. This is something that relates directly to clothes: the signals we send through how we dress to present ourselves. Over the past week in Paris, I’ve been enlightened and elated by some of the things these designer philosophers have told me. “Sometimes it feels as if women have to renounce their femininity to be stronger. I don’t think you need to be authoritarian to be assertive. Today, romanticism is not a weakness, it’s a strength. You can be assertive and not be aggressive,” Pierpaolo Piccioli said before his Valentino collection, which turned the stereotypes of romanticism into something bolder and stronger without ever venturing into masculine territory. I loved his gentle proposal for a uniform to face the world in. “Every hero or heroine in romanticism has had to pay sacrifice. If you’re rational you’re fine but if you’re a romanticist you have to pay sacrifice,” he told me. “I think it’s time to say you can be a romanticist and everything can still be fucking good.”

Everywhere you looked, someone was reflecting on these revolutionary times. “Clothes are communication and that communication very often is about seduction. What does that mean now and what are the results that people are looking for?” Rick Owens said after an avant-garde show, which embodied the extreme sense of seductive self-expression fashion can deliver. “I don’t think we’ve had a cycle like the current one we’re in exactly, but I thought to not notice it is not the right thing to do,” he told me. “I thought I had to at least observe. It was a reflection of it, even if I don’t have anything amazing to say about it.” By “it”, did he mean #MeToo? Second-wave feminism? Time’s Up? “I’m not saying it, you are. The world has become such an ultra-sensitive place. I’m scared to say anything anymore,” he shrugged. “I could never presume to know how women feel, but I think, what is appropriate for me to propose to people? And I don’t know why it felt appropriate but it did.”

As his extraterrestrial dresses came out, Marlene Dietrich and Liza Minelli sang "Baubles, Bangles and Beads", one of the raven-haired, eternally black-clad designer’s favourite show-tunes. “I listen to Peggy Lee and that stuff every day,” Owens noted. In that idea of camp, Rei Kawakubo found similar relevance. She said so in notes for the brilliant madness of a tiered tulle skirt skewed onto a silhouette from the side so it was sticking out, effectively turning the whole profile on its head. Or a sequinned bustier and skirt applied wonkily to another silhouette, kilted naively to the side. Or how about the layered dress that looked like trifle? It was good fun; unpretentious and engaging like intelligent comedy. “There are many so-called styles such as punk that have lost their original rebel spirit today,” Kawakubo wrote. “I think camp can express something deeper and can give birth to progress.” In her jazz-handsy theatre, she proposed a previously unexplored solution to the gender politics of our time: a camp way of life, rooted in humour, exuberance and inclusion.

Asked how much the current women’s rights debates had played on his mind, Nicolas Ghesquière answered swiftly: “Every day. Everyone is exchanging. It’s a dialogue we have all the time. Working in fashion we have to be very, very aware of what is going on. I think it’s good to talk about it.” If his collection was the Louis Vuitton proposal office dressing in a post-Time’s Up era, it was certainly a bossy look, even if skirts and dresses were in the high seat rather than trousers. “We forget that some very strong women wore very feminine outfits, and I love this idea of women, who were changing the world and did not have to dress like men, or for men. The women I tried to show today are that,” he reflected. The notion that women need to armour up to exude strength was really shot down during the Paris shows. In her sophomore ready-to-wear collection for Givenchy, Clare Waight Kellerlooked to early 1980s cinema and Berlin, taking in the brutalist cityscape to paint a picture of its roguish nightlife through the atmospheric lens of film noir.

You could see her long-line tailoring, sharp leather coats and slithering lingerie dresses roaming the arid metallic streets of Berlin by night, like something out of the black-and-white filtered minds of Helmut Newton or Robert Mapplethorpe, Bowie and Iggy scoring that fantasy. She talked about sleaze and sass, nonchalantly bringing a sense of sexy to the table in a time when everyone seems scared of it. Stella McCartney joined in, embellishing bustiers and negligees onto done-up lace and velvet tops, quite literally pushing the old underwear-as-outerwear chestnut. “We embrace realness here, and definitely sexy. We are not scared of being sexy,” she told me. Neither was Anthony Vaccarello, who showed one of his typical minidress collections for Saint Laurent. “Always,” he said, asked about those scanty hemlines. “If it’s a long dress nobody says, ‘Long?’ Short, for me, is the best way to describe modernity. Legs are not something we have to hide for I don’t know which reason.” You couldn’t argue with that, especially in these explosive times.

In her second show for Chloé, Natacha Ramsay-Levi talked about women’s conversations with their own wardrobes: how one tweaks one’s own character through dress. “She really plays with herself. It’s her going into different characters to enhance herself. When you get dressed that’s how you want to communicate with other people.” Her mix of cinematic and medieval references conjured a bohemian air that had a certain retro Roberto Cavallivibe about it. These clothes may have been rooted in French flair, but you could easily picture a sexy Eva Cavalli zipping through the alleys of Florence wearing them. We may find ourselves in sensitive times, but European designers aren’t giving up on sexy that easily. “I don’t know if you heard about the letter Catherine Deneuve signed?” Ramsay-Levi asked me, referring to the letter signed by the legendary actress in response to the #MeToo movement. “I think it was very intelligent. Some of the women who signed it are saying shitty things, but if you read the text, the text is very right. It’s just saying, ‘We are women. We are different.’ In France there’s something interesting about that. You never get too much into one direction. You always balance more.”

At Vivienne Westwood, Andreas Kronthaler went to town on the sexually liberated, gender non-binary quality that’s always defined the house. Alternative go-go dancers were placed strategically as a wealth of genders and non-genders paraded around the glass box at Pavillon Ledoyen in bulgy rubber trousers, super tight floral dungarees, exaggerated 1940s skirt suits, knitted evening dresses and mad ball gowns. “It takes time to talk about this, to be fair,” Dame Vivienne told me when I asked her about #MeToo. “I think you have to put more balance into it, that’s all. It can’t just be that every time a woman indicts a man or every time a man indicts a homosexual man for abuse…” she paused. “I think it’s very difficult for men sometimes. I feel sorry for someone like Keith Richards, who had such a hard time. But it does happen, and you’ve got to be careful that we don’t condemn these people before they’ve been proven guilty. But yeah, it’s very important that women do this.”

Maria Grazia Chiuri, whose own stylist Karl Templer is going through such allegations and took a break from working on Christian Dior, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the youth revolts of 1968 with a collection that reflected the changes to the everyday women’s wardrobe triggered by 1968: trousers, blazers and denim. “What I think is unbelievable is that the questions are the same. The way we talk about them has changed, but the arguments are the same. What’s important now for the young generation is gender, race and the environment.” She opened her show with a knit that said “non, non, non,” likening the sentiment of refusal to today’s millennial spirit, using her 21-year-old daughter Rachele Regini as an example of the woke mindset: “I call Rachele the No-Girl. Whenever I ask her something she says, ‘No!’ And I think sometimes it’s good to say no, because it’s difficult. It’s not easy. I wanted to start this collection by saying, ‘No, no, no!’” she told me.

Chiuri never mentioned #MeToo or Time’s Up, but the connection was evident. “The relationship between fashion and change was very important. Now, in a different way – with the web – it’s the same. Fashion has a huge influence on the young generation so we have a huge responsibility in what we do.” Nothing could have summed up the winds of change blowing through fashion from the outside world better than Sarah Burton’s collection theme at Alexander McQueen: “Metamorphosis,” she said. “All the expressions of femininity.” She used the life cycle of butterflies – from egg to caterpillar to pupa and wings – to express the many stages of femininity. “Extreme nature, extreme women,” as Burton put it. The idea came full circle in fine fringed evening dresses in silk, the very life of which would have begun with a silkworm pupa only to end up in a butterfly-motif garment. There was something very organic about that idea. “It’s paradise found, not paradise lost,” the designer reflected. “There’s a sense of euphoria and positivity.”

It was a mood echoed at Chanel where Karl Lagerfeld erected an autumnal forest inside the Grand Palais and took a breather from all the debates with a collection simply based on the autumn season. “You know, I’ve always loved autumn. This is a kind of Indian summer with all the leaves. It’s a beautiful mood,” he said. “Autumn was always my favourite season.” At Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia made a brilliant decision in unifying his men’s and women’s collections in one show to rule them all, orchestrated in several woman-to-man segments, beginning with the opening look of a black skin-tight devoré cocktail dress followed by the male version of that look: a black skin-tight devoré rollneck, which, by the way – nodding at the times we live in – sexually objectified the male body just as much (or little) as its female counterpart. But it was in garments featuring LGBTQ+ rainbow flags or the slogan “Balenciaga supports the World Food Programme” that Gvasalia got to flex the humanitarian muscle that means more to him than anything these days.

“If I do a print it needs to have more to it than just being a print,” he said, adding that Balenciaga makes considerable donations to the WFP. The collection felt like Gvasalia had found his footing at Balenciaga, something shared by John Galliano in his Maison Margiela collection, which exuded the confidence of having accomplished some of the missions he set out to achieve there. Carrying over his theme from haute couture in January, "relaxed glamour" informed the collection, like a coat worn as a dress under a jumper worn as a jacket. Look around the emerging designer landscape and Galliano’s front-running proposal of a new glamour has been warmly accepted. Designers like Matty Bovan and Molly Goddard find a new understanding of glamour in make-do and mend eveningwear and casual throw-it-on ball gowns. “It’s taking the idea that outerwear becomes the dress,” Galliano told me. “It’s almost like dressing backwards.” In a time when fashion has the opportunity to break new ground, you could apply that metaphor to the entire Paris season.

Bugging Out At The Craftsmanship At McQueen

It always pays to take a second look. A visit to the Alexander McQueen showroom to see Sarah Burton’s designs up close revealed some startling fashion facts. Burton was inspired to create one of the most stunning pieces in the collection by a trip to Brazil, where she shot her last campaign.

A tulle column, the dress is covered with 1483 individually embroidered bugs depicting 37 different species. A skirt version of the same look featured 873 bugs and 97 different bug species. Each bejewelled bug was made by hand then stitched onto the dress.

Displayed next to these gowns was a series of bird of paradise inspired capes and dresses featuring lengths of lavish fringing. Each gown was constructed to a couture-level complexity that has become a hallmark of the McQueen atelier. The threads are individually colour blended by hand, then stitched into place in layers to create a thick fringe. Anyone thinking of buying one of these pieces should know this: the best way to keep it looking shiny, silky and smooth is with a pair of hair straighteners. Each look was combed and coiffed before its catwalk moment. McQueen said that GHD’s don’t come with purchase, but maybe they should...

Julien Dossena Decodes His New Paco Rabanne Campaign

Paco Rabanne's dreamy, seductive campaigns have made a splash in an image-saturated industry. As it releases its new spring/summer 2018 imagery, Vogue meets the brand's creative director Julien Dossena to discuss his "no fashion" look.

When was the last time you were stopped in your tracks by a visually arresting fashion campaign? Chances are it was when a plastic-wrapped, kidney-shaped sofa loomed large on your Instagram feed. You may have not even realised it was a fashion campaign in the first place; negating obvious product placement, devoid of a Pied Piper influencer or ubiquitous supermodel, the photograph in question, which comprised Paco Rabanne's autumn/winter 2017 campaign, was conceived as a counterpoint to the workaday fashion ad. Now, creative director Julien Dossena is back with a spring campaign that's just as evocative.

Developed in conjunction with frequent collaborators, the Dutch artists Maurice Scheltens and Liesbeth Abbenes and the art director Marc Ascoli, the images for the spring/summer 2018 campaign are similarly merchandise-free. "Putting product in the picture in a less marketed way creates strength in the image," says Dossena, speaking over the phone from Paris. "It's not a fashion campaign, or a brand campaign - it becomes an image you want to think about. As if it were a set."

And where are we this season? At first glance, the dingy bedsit appears to be a window on scrappy student life. "Exactly," says Dossena, when pressed on the lifestyle he's promoting for spring. "I wanted to express intimacy, delicacy, that kind of grunge and cool thing, but feminine at the same time. The Paco girl is dreamy, a fine art student or a musician, a performer, an artist. The atmosphere is like the old Chelsea hotel. I was thinking of [Robert] Mapplethorpe and that creative feeling that you are living at certain points in your life - but expressed in a more dystopic way."

What little product can be seen in the images also reflects what the Paco customer is actually buying. "We wanted to create a 'no fashion' look," says Dossena. "This is what our real customer is buying: the body line, the Paco knickers, mixed with just a black top. I wanted it to have that undone feeling, as if you are half in the middle of something, totally free and chilling in your house."

The undone aesthetic is something Dossena actively pursues at the brand, which this season was shot through with an energy characteristic of the French designer's disco-heavy youth spent in The Tiffany Club, in Brittany, a club owned by Dossena's father. "I always try to push that effortless effect - I'm getting more and more confident in my job, it's getting easier to just have a shirt, a pair of jeans, and some boots," says Dossena.

"Of course, when you do a show, it has to be performative, but it's always quite simple looks - that says more to me than a look where all the references are clashing together. The super cool feeling that you don't have to pretend to be anything, you don't have to pose." As for the Paco Rabanne alphabet, he's adding to it all the time - but slowly. "There are so many clothes in the world - you have to be impactful."

See the new Paco Rabanne campaign video at