Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Fashion World Pays Tribute To Wardour News

It's been a mecca for thousands of design, art and fashion fans who make the monthly, quarterly and bi-annual pilgrimage to stock up on the latest editions of their favourite magazines. But soon the well-trod wander through the streets of Soho in search of a rare publication will prove fruitless: on 25 May Wardour News, the exemplary newsagent on Wardour Street, will close its doors after nearly 34 years in business.

"We are closing because of rent going up, and the time is coming for me to have a break," Raj Patel, the 65-year-old co-founder of Wardour News, tells Vogue. "You can’t help it. We have to move on with our lives," agrees his brother and co-founder, 83-year-old Ash Patel. "It's very sad that we have to leave but I'm taking with me good things, all my customers, they keep me going. Without the customers I wouldn't be here. I'm always grateful and thankful," Raj adds.

The Patels opened the newsagent on July 16 1984. Initially they offered delivery services to publishing houses and entertainment and model agencies in the area, before expanding to stock a staggeringly comprehensive range of magazines, from Condé Nast's Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ and Wired, to independent titles such as The Gentlewoman, Fantastic Man, and Self-Service. Fledgling issues have found their feet here. "Any small one who comes here, we support them, give them promotion," says Raj.

Numerous celebrities have patronised Wardour News, Dustin Hoffman being the latest boldfaced name to have popped in for a magazine in the past month. But the Patels don't go in for famous faces. "There are a lot of TV stars, big celebrities, but I don't see TV much so I don't recognise them," says Raj. The only one that springs to mind? "This guy, Jonathan Ross. He's a regular."

Which issues through the years are his favourites? "All fashion, I like to look at these ones," says Raj. "But your Vogue magazine, we do fantastically. Vogue, everyone loves. We always order 100 copies of every issue. Every issue without fail we sell." As for Edward Enninful's first issue, for December 2017? "That one! Must be 300 or 400 copies that we sold. We put a restriction on two copies each, because some people sell it on eBay. But I couldn't get any more copies. We sold out completely and we couldn't get any more."

The Patels still believe in print's power, even after having taken the decision to close. "Today, people are saying online is the best way but still people want the print version. They like the smell of the print. They want to come and look and feel it and buy it," says Raj.

In tribute, Vogue asked five people in the industry to share their Wardour News memories.

Jefferson Hack, CEO and co-founder Dazed Media

It was the summer of '91. Justin Robertson’s remix of The Stone Roses "Waterfall" was playing in the clubs and the first issue of Dazed & Confused, a black and white, poster magazine was spat out of a printers in south London. I was 19. Wardour News was iconic even then. We used to drink on Wardour Street and we used to buy iD, The Face and import copies of Interview magazine from Wardour News. I remember going in and asking them to take some copies of that first issue. They took them and instead of putting them straight on display they put them behind the counter. I was so impatient I put a few extra copies on one of those metal revolving displays outside on the pavement. Dazed & Confused was now eye-level in front of the International Herald Tribune and Newsweek. I remember sitting there all afternoon to see if anyone would buy a copy. It took about three hours and then some kids bought one and it was legit. Dazed & Confused was a real magazine. It's amazing that for the last few years the Dazed logo has been on the awning above the shop. We literally have come full circle. I'm really sad to hear their era as London’s best magazine agent is now coming to an end. The rent hikes in Soho have closed down so many of the small business that have been the heart and soul of the city centre. Thank you Wardour News for being such great supporters of the indie press and particularly Dazed & Confused.

Frances von Hofmannsthal, editor-in-chief, Luncheon Magazine

Wardour News was the biggest source of joy for anyone passionate about magazines. Mr. Patel and the staff at the newsagents had so many years of expertise; they would guide you to new titles or recommend different kinds of mags. It is this dialogue and knowledgable exchange between the owners and the buyers, often students being introduced to titles for the first time, that will be so sorely missed. I cannot describe the feeling of excitement and pride at seeing the first issue of Luncheon at Wardour News amongst so many other brilliant magazines.

Ben Reardon, journalist

Wardour News was an institution for everyone interested in print media. You were always guaranteed to discover the latest, greatest magazines that would go on to inform and inspire. From biannual to independent fanzines, their selection was second to none - and with the added accessibility of being a newsagent. During my tenure as editor-in-chief at Man About Townmagazine we were based in Soho, and it was a perfect street level barometer to see how the latest issue was performing. When the magazine launched, we would pop down during various points of the day and pretend to be customers and it was always a thrill when they would say it was a best-seller. The guys working behind the counter achieved their own moment of cult cool when they launched an issue of Marfa Journal with a drinks reception in-store of which they were the cover stars. RIP VIP.

Alice Rawsthorn, author of Design as an Attitude

What very sad news, not only for everyone who loves magazines, but for Soho. It's silly to wax nostalgic about the demise of Soho’s seedy side, which was synonymous with sleaze and exploitation. But Wardour News was a legacy of its feisty, cosmopolitan culture from the 18th Century onwards. For years, I’d arrive early to meet friends in Soho, just so I could browse around Wardour News. Walking in and seeing so many newspapers and magazines from all over the world was always a thrill.

Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief, British Vogue

I remember popping in often when I was growing up. It’s really sad to see it go. It’s the end of an era.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Ikea To Unveil Virgil Abloh Collaboration Via Live Broadcast

Since Ikea announced its collaboration with Virgil Abloh in June 2017, little information has been leaked about what the Swedish retailer and Off-White founder have been up to. Images of Abloh with a new prototype of the famous Frakta tote, this time in beige rather than Ikea’s signature blue, and pictures of slogan rugs reading “Keep Off” and “Blue” in Ikea’s Älmhult prototype shop, are all we have seen of the capsule collection of furniture and decorative pieces designed especially for generation Y.

On April 30, this is set to change. Ikea announced via its Ikea TodayInstagram account that it will live stream a conversation with Abloh on his creative practice at 9.30pm GMT. “Get access to the process, the ideas, the prototypes,” the teaser video reads. It has garnered close to 200,000 likes since it was posted yesterday.

"We've been curious about Virgil Abloh for some time," Henrik Most, creative leader at Ikea Range and Supply told press at the Democratic Design Day last summer. "Him being a multi-creative persona who doesn't care about boundaries combined with his close connections to young people, their needs and wants. It made us curious."

"Ikea wants to explore the first home and how to make it inexpensive and fashionable," he added of Abloh’s brief to create furniture for the dorms and halls of a millennial consumer. “We believe Virgil Abloh and Off-White is the perfect match to do that with."

Despite being one of the busiest men in fashion (as well as working on his Off-White line, which has a handful of collaborations on the go, he has recently taken the helm of Louis Vuitton’s menswear division), Abloh took on the challenge. "We’re in a moment where Ikea is transcending, and people are bringing this ‘do it yourself’ culture to the blue bag. What I’m most interested in is doing that process in partnership with the brand,” he added. “It’s allowing me to put my opinion on a classic. It’s unique, and distinctly as much of Off-White as it's Ikea."

He has bolstered his knowledge of architecture (he studied civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, then architecture in Illinois, before graduating to work at a small architecture firm) with student conversations on what young adults really want to furnish their homes with. Watch his research come to light in the live stream on Monday at

Introducing The House Of Osman

It’s difficult to find one word to describe the new townhouse space Osman Yousefzada has opened just north of Oxford Street. The building dates from the 1760s and like many on Fitzrovia’s Percy Street, was once an opium den, but Osman has put it to new use. Yes, you can shop his latest collection here (it hangs on custom-made copper rails designed by Yousefzada to look like large-scale pieces of jewellery), but you can also snap up a Charles Dickens, leather-bound first edition from the antiquarian bookshop in the corner of the downstairs parlour, or acquire contemporary art pieces such as Celia Hempton’s intimate Self Portraits or Prem Sahib’s Breathing Neons, which elegantly exhales on and off from the ceiling. “Of course you can buy clothes here but fundamentally it’s more than a shop,” says the designer, standing in the main downstairs space on a plush, teal-coloured carpet that feels springy underfoot.

Osman thinks of the place, which opens with a housewarming party on Wednesday, as “a cultural space - a 3D version of The Collective,” he says, referring to the glossy, art and culture publication he curates annually.

Yousef zada, who also plans to host readings, talks and book launches at the townhouse, has drawn upon his talented group of creative friends to bring the space to life. His catwalk jewellery dangles from a wall display of curvaceous metal hangers by the artist George Henry Longly, which are on sale for £500 each. In the entrance hall, (painted in Little Greene’s French Grey), beneath industrial light fittings salvaged from a Czech factory, is a large-scale painting by Satoshi Kojima, the much sought-after pupil of the renowned Scottish painter, Peter Doig.

The townhouse opening marks a stellar year for Osman, who has seen sales rise by 72 per cent in the past 12 months. The designer has also attracted new backing from a private consortium. This financial security has allowed him to think big, professionally (his successful Perfect Five capsule is now being sustainably made) and creatively. This June, he’s putting on an exhibition and arts festival in his native Birmingham, exploring the immigrant experience from a second-generation perspective. Yousefzada’s Afghan parents came to the UK in the 1970s and the designer learnt to sew by helping his dressmaker mother as a child.

His new fashion and art filled Georgian townhouse is a world away from the working-class Balsall Heath terrace in which he grew up. As well as looks from his spring/summer 2018 collection, there are over 30 pieces of art on display. Several are for sale and others are on loan from the Nicoletta Fiorucci collection. Yousefzada aims to re-hang the rooms every few months. “We’ll do exhibitions and allow young artists to take over the space,” he says, at the request of many artist friends who are increasingly looking to display their work in settings beyond the typical white walled gallery context. The townhouse offers an intimate backdrop for some of the newest and most interesting names in contemporary art. “We can support people we love in a different way,” says Osman and everywhere you look, special pieces nestle. An Erika Verzutti bronze dazzles on a navy-blue wall and nestled at the top of the stairs, Maria Loboda’s mural “Raw Material Coming From Heaven”, (it looks like a melting black sun) is painted directly onto the wall. In Osman’s office, with its rubber studded “leisure centre” floor, a Leidy Churchman Giraffe painting takes pride of place alongside a serenely beautiful collage from 2008 Turner prize nominee Goshka Macuga.

Before the house opens to the public later this week, it will be blessed by a witch who will kiss the walls and burn wormwood to purify the place. Once she’s done, if you want to see good art and interesting clothes up close, be sure to drop in.

Met Gala 2018: Everything You Need To Know

The Costume Institute Gala at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art is the biggest event on the fashion fundraising calendar. Founded by publicist Eleanor Lambert, the benefit was first held in 1948 to encourage donations from New York's high society. In its modern incarnation, the most famous faces from the realms of fashion, film, music and art come together to raise money for the Met's Costume Institute and celebrate the grand opening of its latest exhibition. The night is centred on the theme of the new exhibition, with previous themes encompassing everything from Manus x Machina and Punk: Chaos to Couture to China: Through the Looking Glass. This year's exhibition theme is Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.

Since 1995, the event has been chaired by US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who enlists public figures to serve as the event's co-chairs. Past hosts have included Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Marc Jacobs. The Met Gala 2018, which marks the event's 70th anniversary, will be co-chaired by Amal Clooney, Rihanna and Donatella Versace. From the number of guests to the price of a ticket.

When will the Met Gala 2018 take place?

The Met Gala takes place on the first Monday of May, which this year falls on May 7th. Red carpet coverage will begin from around 7pm local time. Viewers in the UK can follow Vogue's coverage from 1am GMT.

Where will the Met Gala 2018 take place?

The Met Gala takes place in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The night begins with a cocktail hour, in which guests walk the red carpet and explore the new exhibition, before sitting down to dinner in the Temple of Dendur, in the museum's Sackler Wing. This year's exhibition will be spread across three venues: the Anna Wintour Costume Center, the medieval galleries at the Met’s main location, and at the Cloisters, further uptown.

What is the Met Gala 2018 theme?

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination will feature some 40 Vatican vestments and accessories spanning 15 papacies, which curator Andrew Bolton is said to have visited at least 10 times to secure pieces which have never left the Vatican's possession before. Items such as Pope Benedict XV's white silk cape embroidered with gold thread and the pointed bishop's hat of Pope Leo XIII, will go on display alongside pieces by Coco Chanel, who was educated by nuns, John Galliano, Cristóbal Balenciaga and Donatella Versace, who is a sponsor of the exhibition.

Unpicking The 2018 Met Gala Dress Code

The Met Gala 2018 theme is being cited as the Met's most controversial yet, owing to the positioning of these fashion garments alongside sacred artefacts. Bolton, however, has defended his curation: "Some might consider fashion to be an unfitting or unseemly medium by which to engage with ideas about the sacred or the divine, but dress is central to any discussion about religion," he said at a press conference in Rome. "It affirms religious allegiances and, by extension, it asserts religious differences."

"Fashion reflects the world around us and nobody understands that more clearly than Andrew," Wintour, museum trustee and Met Gala 2018 co-chair, told the press. "When I go to these fashion exhibitions. I'm always so amazed to see people from all sides of the globe and all walks of life really studying the exhibitions, understanding that fashion does not operate in a vacuum."

How the famous faces of the fashion world will negotiate religious iconography into red-carpet wear is a feat the world is waiting to see.

How can I watch the Met Gala in the UK?

E! will broadcast the event live from the red carpet, starting from 12.30am GMT.

A First Look At The McQueen Documentary

They say success in business is all about timing and for The Modist, a luxury fashion site dedicated to modest clothing, there is no time like the present. In the year since its founder Ghizlan Guenez launched the site, on International Women’s Day 2017), there has been an explosion of interest in modest fashion and beauty. In the past twelve months, the charismatic beauty, Halima Aden, has emerged as the first hijab-wearing supermodel - walking mainstream fashion week catwalks and becoming the first hijab-wearing Vogue covergirl with the covers of British and Arabian Vogue in the same month. (“Somebody needs to be the first and it makes me happy to know that I definitely not going to be the last,” she has said of her trailblazing). Elsewhere, Nura Afia became the first hijab-wearing woman to star in a CoverGirl beauty campaign, and Muslim beauty bloggers like Huda Kattan and Sabina Hannan are among the most influential in the world.

The modest market is booming and The Modist, (pronounced Mode-ist) which stocks a modern mix of designers including Christopher Kane, Erdem, Marc Jacobs, Ellery and Mary Katrantzou, expects to grow 350% this year. No wonder the site has been described as the Net-a-Porter of modest clothing. “The Modist comes from a personal place,” says Guenez who worked in finance for 15 years, splitting her time between London and Dubai, before setting up the site. “I grew up in a family surrounded by women who dress modestly, and they did that for various reasons: some of us loved it as a style preference and others did it for religious reasons. It was truly a diverse group of women and just like the women in my family, there are millions of women out there, whether in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, America, that decide to dress this way and yet there wasn’t one platform that offers them modest yet fashionable pieces that are already curated for them.”

Unlike other online specialists in modest wear (such as Shukr) Guenez describes The Modist as “agnostic” explaining that she set up the site with a diverse global audience in mind rather than one religious group. Its largest market is the Middle East, closely followed by the US and the the UK but shoppers come from all denominations.

“The modest fashion market is a niche and yet it’s a huge niche and often times when people talk about modest fashion they speak about the Islamic fashion spend which is at $260 billion (USD) globally and estimated to reach about $360 billion by 2020. The reality of the woman that we speak to is that she’s not just a Muslim woman, she’s a Muslim woman, she’s a Christian woman, she’s across religions,” or as Guenez explains, she could have no religion at all and simply be looking for fashion-forward clothes that suit her lifestyle and need. “She could be a curvy woman,” explains Guenez - the site has plenty of fluid flattering pieces designed to skim the body as opposed to cling. Older women, “who prefer a more chic and elegant look,” are also keen shoppers says Guenez because The Modist is a great place to find stylish dresses with long sleeves (particularly for evening).

It’s also attracting businesswomen who don’t want to wear the usual black or dark suit but do want something work appropriate yet interesting and fashionable. “If you think of all those different consumer segments then the markets that we are looking into are quiet large and they are across the globe, from the East all the way to the West,” says Guenez.

The Modist edits designer collections for modest pieces, but also works with brands on exclusive pieces in longer lengths, special fabrications and with sleeves. After a stellar first year, the next step in The Modist’s evolution is Layeur, its own-label of fashion forward pieces that are directly inspired by its customer base.

“Ultimately, Layeur is a brand that was created by the community of women, by listening to them and by capturing data about their needs. Our knowledge has evolved and progressed, and we now have an even clearer understanding of what this woman is looking for,” says Guenez. They don’t want to sacrifice an ounce of style, but there are conditions. “You could find a blazer anywhere, but we think about the length of it and how it covers the right parts of the woman’s body and ensures that she’s comfortable in it. It could be a simple white shirt, but the opacity of the fabric is taken into consideration, the thickness of the fabric whilst keeping it breathable is also something that we’ve considered very closely, and the list goes on. So, it really is around the nuances that we consider in every piece.”

The Modist (and Layeur) is taking modest fashion to the next level but the beauty of it is that you don’t have to be into modest wear to appreciate the value of a maxi skirt that is properly maxi, silk joggers that can be dressed up or down and long sleeved jersey layering pieces that are super-lightweight but don’t show the shadow of a bra underneath.

Beyoncé Dominates Coachella Once Again With New Stage Outfits

Hot off of Beyoncé’s much-discussed set at Coachella last week—dubbed #Beychella, and rightfully so – the singer returned to the music festival’s stage for her second performance last night and, naturally, she came to outdo herself.

Featuring a new crop of outfits designed by Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing, which you can read all about here, the performance once again featured special guests such as Destiny’s Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, husband Jay-Z, and sister Solange, while a surprise appearance by J Balvin gave fans some new material to salivate over. (Though the set wasn’t live-streamed, a quick search on social media will offer up a bevy of footage.)

But onto more important news: The fashion. For her encore act, Beyoncé debuted pink iterations of the Balmain outfits she wore last weekend. A pink sweater, embellished with “ΒΔΚ,” was once again worn with denim cut-offs and custom Christian Louboutin boots, while a pink sequinned jersey dress was worn over patent thigh-highs. Her dramatic Egyptian-inspired cape—with a crown fit for a Queen (B)—was done in high-shine silver this time, as opposed to black. A new ensemble also came out during the Destiny’s Child portion of the act, where Beyoncé wore a shimmering wrap-tied bodysuit that matched Rowland and Williams’ sparkly outfits, natch. All in all: A few adjustments, but the same stellar lineup. Coachella will never be the same.

First Look: Inside Fondazione Prada’s New Milan Space, Torre

Three years since it first opened, the sprawling campus of Fondazione Prada is finally complete with the unveiling of Torre today.

Fashion insiders had a first look at the space in February, when Miuccia Prada hosted Prada’s autumn/winter 2018 show at the space, set amidst neon lights. The public unveiling on April 20 coincides with the end of Salone del Mobile, the international furniture fair which brings the world’s top design talents to the Italian city.

At 60 meters tall, the white concrete, glass and iron tower presides imperiously over the OMA-designed complex, wedged into its northwest corner. Masterminded by Rem Koolhaas with Chris van Duijn and Federico Pompignoli, the foundation’s Milan venue officially opened in May 2015 to critical acclaim. Torre is the final addition to the foundation, which transformed a former distillery dating back to the 1910s into one of the city’s foremost cultural spaces. Beyond the seven renovated structures - including the Haunted House with its famous golden façade - OMA added three new buildings into the mix.

Split across nine levels, Torre’s internal structure is full of surprises – or as Koolhaas puts it “radical diversity within a single volume”. Floorplans alternate between rectangles and trapezoids; each level increasing in height as you climb up the tower (the first measures 2.7 meters; the top a lofty 8 meters). Light pours through the huge glass windows from every direction. A roof terrace crowns the tower - its mirror-clad balustrade and monochrome floor cleverly erasing the boundaries of the building and the skyline.

Torre opens with the permanent exhibition, Atlas, which showcases a series of works created between 1960 and 2016 by the likes of Carla Accardi, Jeff Koons, Mona Hatoum, Damien Hirst, John Baldessari and Carsten Höller. The restaurant too has a series of artworks, specially created for the foundation by prominent artists, including Thomas Demand, Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, Elmgreen & Dragset, Joep Van Lieshout, Tobias Rehberger, and John Wesley, as well as original furnishings from Philip Johnson’s iconic Four Seasons Restaurant.

Naomi Campbell Announces Theme For Cannes Fashion For Relief

Naomi Campbell will return to Cannes next month with her Fashion For Relief charity gala and this year's theme is Race To Equality (focusing on education, health and culture), she has announced today.

In support of Save the Children and Time’s Up, amongst other charities, the event will take place on May 13 in the picturesque Cannes Mandelieu Hangar. As in previous years, Campbell will enlist some of her famous friends to join her on the catwalk for the Fashion For Relief show, accompanied by a special live music performance, following a gala dinner and live auction, all of which raises vital funds for its chosen causes.

Set to be a star-studded affair on the Cannes calendar, last year's attendees included Leonardo Di Caprio, Donatella Versace, Kate Moss, Uma Thurman, Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Heidi Klum. Founded in 2005, Fashion For Relief has since raised millions, supporting charities supporting the fight against Ebola, disaster relief after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the Haiti earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, and child refugee crises.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Gucci Unveils A Centre Of Creativity, Craftsmanship & Sustainability

Situated near the historical HQ of the Italian fashion house in Casellina just outside of Florence, and quietly active since the beginning of 2018, today Gucci has officially unveiled ArtLab, a 37,000-square-metre hub of creativity, craftsmanship and sustainable innovation. Staffed by a workforce of 800 people, the ArtLab will be the centre of product development and lab testing with in-house prototyping and sampling activity for leather goods, new materials, metal hardware and packaging. The new centre will further bring to life the bold vision of Creative Director Alessandro Michele by developing the sought-after Gucci products of the future and help meet the high demand for Gucci’s items, which has nearly doubled in the last three years since Michele's appointment. Decidedly un-clinical and lab-like, the building’s outside walls are hand painted, featuring artworks by young talents who have recently worked with the house, including Unskilled Worker, Ignasi Monreal, Angelica Hicks and Coco Capitan.

"The unveiling of Gucci ArtLab definitely represents one of the most remarkable achievements of Gucci’s unprecedented journey of the last three years, and one of the most significant industrial investments today in our country," Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci asserted in a press statement.

"It is a testament to our belief in creativity, artisanal craftsmanship, innovation and technology, and sustainability, and our bond with our territory. I couldn’t be more grateful to all those who have made this dream come true, from the local and national authorities, to Kering, to all of our colleagues who have been so visionary in absorbing new ideas from best-practice all around the world, to further strengthen our leadership."

"Gucci ArtLab," concludes Bizzarri, "is the perfect expression of the corporate culture that we have been building and nurturing within the company. It is the tangible expression of a place to learn skills and techniques, a workshop to generate ideas, and ideas are the lifeblood of culture."

Despite being just four months in, 2018 has already been a key year for Gucci and its legacy to Florence with the opening of the Gucci Garden in January, in Piazza Signoria, and its historical headquarters in Casellina embarking on a progressive transformation to reinforce its industry-leading role. The unveiling of the ArtLab is further proof of Gucci's commitment to sustainability after announcing that the house was going fur-free in October 2017.

Inside The V&A's Fashioned From Nature Exhibition

I think if we are going to change our mind-sets and the way we consume, we need to remind ourselves what we really value about nature,” Edwina Ehrman, the curator of the new V&A exhibition affirms at a private preview. “One very human way in which we've expressed our delight in nature, our pleasure in it, our curiosity to learn more about nature is through textiles and fashion.”

Spanning 400 years, Fashioned From Nature, opening at the Victoria and Albert museum on April 21st, explores the garments and accessories that have been inspired by nature's awesome power and beauty throughout history but also investigates fashion's impact on the natural world and the devastating effects of manufacturing on our environment. Showcasing popular styles from as far back as the 17th century up to present day, the compelling and vital exhibition includes items such as an 1875 pair of earrings formed from the heads of two real Honeycreeper birds – a hugely popular item sold in enormous volume at the time – and an 1860s muslin dress decorated with over 5000 iridescent green wings pulled from live jewel beetles.

As you begin to walk around the exhibition, the sound of birdsong and animals in their natural habitat is intercepted by the sounds of man’s devastating impact on the planet with the din of heavy machinery and machetes cutting down trees. Similarly, the exhibition cases also become increasingly busy to reflect man’s insatiable demands on the natural world. “It’s all about production speeding up and our population growing incrementally,” Ehrman explains. “The cases will get crowded, too crowded sometimes.”

The exhibition moves through the 18th century, looking at the principle fibres i.e. flax, cotton, silk and wool as well as man's greedy use of feathers, furs and even bones. “Whalebone was a very important material used for lots of inner structure and through featuring [a section of a whale’s skeleton] we've tried to bring home the cruelty of whale fishing. It’s quite brutal really. Richard Sabin, who is an expert on whales at the Natural History Museum, has made a video for us.”

Before the exhibition moves upstairs, there are unsettling images of mill chimneys belching out smoke whilst another area explores our fascination with all the exotic species brought from overseas through trade, exploration and the Empire, from Australian ferns to plants from Mexico.

At the top of the stairs on the first floor, the dress worn by Emma Watson to the Met Gala 2016 stands on display amongst terrariums. “In collaboration with Calvin Klein, every part of the gown was produced with sustainability in mind - from the use of Newlife (a yarn made from post-consumer plastic bottles) to the zippers fashioned from recycled materials,” Watson explains in the foreword of the book that accompanies the exhibition. “The threads of this dress were woven in a reinvented tale of our consumption. We even designed different layers so that separate components could be worn again in different ways. I am proud of this dress."

"Clothes are something that touch our lives every day, and I admire the Victoria and Albert museum for creating this exhibition and book to highlight the importance of questioning where, how and by whom our clothes are made," Watson continues. "Regardless of social or economic status, we can all dress and shop more mindfully and sustainably. It is so important and timely that we now re-conceptualise what it means to wear and consume, and what is fashionable."

On display upstairs are more contemporary designs inspired from nature, such as a 2016 Giles Deacon haute-couture dress featuring a pattern of delicate bird eggs, and a 1997 Jean Paul Gaultier leopard print gown. Importantly, the exhibition also presents a range of solutions to reducing fashion’s impact on the environment from low water denim and the use of wild rubber to more conceptual and collaborative projects. A section on fashion protest highlights seminal designs from Vivienne Westwood and Katherine Hamnett alongside posters from sustainability campaigners, Fashion Revolution and, of course, pieces from sustainable pioneer Stella McCartney.

“We've really tried to find clothes that we as a team like because you’re not going to convert anybody unless these garments are fashionable and appealing to a wide range of tastes and incomes,” Ehrman explains. “I think my aim is that one day sustainability is no longer seen as something special. When I read that sustainability is the new luxury, I often think 'I don’t like that very much'. It shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be every day, it should be absolutely hotwired right from the very, very beginning.”

Students from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion have also created interactive installations which explore ‘Fashion Now’ and ‘Fashion Future’, delving into the fashion cycle and necessary improvements.

“Doing the exhibition has been a big learning curve for me and I've learnt a huge amount. I'm technically a 19th century specialist, so I knew a lot about pollution but it’s been a real eye opener,” Ehrman confesses. “I think there’s a lot to surprise people [in this exhibition]. There’s so much interdisciplinary research going on between designers, technicians, scientists and a lot more sharing of information than I think we've had in the past. What we want is to inspire debate and discussion and to encourage people to find out more.”

This Sunday, the day after the exhibition officially opens to the public, the world celebrates Earth Day and then Monday 23rd April marks the fifth anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse which killed and injured thousands of garment workers in 2013. The V&A’s essential exhibition couldn’t come at a better time when we should all be challenging brands and industry leaders to create clothes that are both beautiful and sustainable and striving to make more socially conscious decisions in terms of our wardrobes. Fashioned From Nature isn't just a captivating exhibition to get lost in for a few hours, but an urgent call to action to us all to readdress the way we think about fashion and more importantly our precious planet.

Fashioned from Nature, supported by I Love Linen by CELC, with further support from G Star RAW, opens at the V&A on Saturday April 21st until January 27th 2019.

Meet Halima Aden, The First Hijabi Model On The Cover Of Vogue

“What a great time to be yourself. It’s 2018, it’s the year of female empowerment, it’s the generation of uplifting other women. We are finally getting our voices heard, and it’s not just one certain woman, it’s all of us from different backgrounds, different walks of life – it’s a great time to be a girl.” So says Halima Aden, the diminutive but dazzling 20-year-old model, activist and humanitarian - and the first hijabi woman on the cover of British Vogue.

A former refugee whose refusal to remove her hijab for the 2016 Miss Minnesota USA beauty pageant catapulted her into the spotlight, and ultimately fashion's major leagues, Aden has challenged industry norms since day one. Born in Kakuma, a refugee camp in Kenya, to a Somali mother, she moved to Missouri aged seven, then finally settled in Minnesota.

After the beauty pageant, she was approached by her agency, IMG, where she laid down her conditions: wearing her hijab at all times, being styled in clothes that do not reveal any skin, a cordoned-off changing cubicle, and female-only fashion, make-up and hair assistants to work with her. To her surprise, IMG agreed to everything.

Here, she shares her opinions on everything from the importance of representation to Donald Trump.

On asking for more

I do a good job of saying what I am comfortable with. In my first meeting with [model agency] IMG, we sat down and we talked for four hours. Now, every time I go on set, they already have a good idea of what I can wear, what works. I feel like it’s my job to set the precedent for other girls, so that girls entering the industry shouldn’t be afraid to ask for a private dressing area or a female stylist. I’ve already done it. It hasn’t held me back: I dress differently from other girls, but if some skin is showing, I say, can we switch it? Doing it the right way, it’s about who you are – it’s not always about fitting in.

On representation in the media

You go through a magazine, it’s very rare to read about somebody who has the same background as you. And I’m Muslim, but it’s not about ISIS, it’s not something bad, it’s something positive. We had women in the past in our community, doctors, lawyers, those amazing women we could celebrate and look up to. But we never really had somebody in fashion. So for young girls it’s about having representation in mainstream media.

On looking to your community for support

Growing up in a refugee camp taught me: you can be stripped of everything, stripped of title, whatever privilege you have, money, but the one thing you will never lose is that sense of community. So early on I was very social, we didn’t have cliques or groups, that’s something I was introduced to in America. I came here for 2nd grade, and I was the kid no one talked to. In their defence, I didn’t speak the language, but they don’t play together. During recess, these kids aren’t all together in one group. They’re all in tiny groups. It was so weird to me.

On the importance of dreams

I want to go back to the camp – it’s important for people to see others who have left. I want to say, ‘I’m here! I’ve lived a day in your life, but I grew older and I grew wiser and now I’m doing this’. Not – ‘Now I’m a model!’ – but still, 'I left the country'. A dream beyond the border – kids don’t see that. You don’t dream. I didn’t even learn to “dream, dream” until I was much older. That concept was so foreign. I dreamed for my mom to be happy, or to eat, realistic things – but never things that weren’t immediately in reach.

On President Donald Trump

Maybe it’s because of my mom, but I also see the positives. We’ve never had this many people fighting for Muslims, fighting for immigrants. Every comment [Trump] makes, Americans are stepping out and saying, ‘that is not us’. People are having refugee dinners, rallies, protests at airports, to make sure people know: you belong. So, even though I don’t agree with everything he says I am still very appreciative. People are making a conscious choice to stand beside us. I feel like that stirred so much anger in people. I’ve never felt more accepted, this year. That’s what my mom taught me. Turn the bad, mix it, mix it, get your emotions out of the way – and turn it into a positive.

On how modelling has changed her

I think I’ve become more aware of who I am. I feel like I’m very…cautious of what comes with this new job. That’s what people don’t understand; ‘Why are you modelling with your hijab – the whole point of hijab is to not attract attention’. But the day and age we’re living in, hijab does attract attention anyway, when you walk through a door. It doesn’t make me pass judgment on other people’s choices – if you wanna wear a mini skirt, fine. Let’s not get it lost in translation. It’s not about the clothing, it’s about the person inside. What are your values, characteristics, are you a kind person, first and foremost? That’s what we should be judging people on.

On her proudest moment

Going back to Mexico last August with Unicef was very eye-opening for me. I can relate to poverty. I talked about my journey and right away I could see even the posture of the kids – they’d lean closer. It’s one thing to have somebody who’s a missionary come and talk; and another to have someone who has been a refugee, lived on a camp for seven years. It doesn’t get easy the minute you leave the camp. It gets harder.

On her faith

This platform is very important for my story: I’m putting a face to Muslims besides what you see on the news. Even though we have bad people within the faith, there are also a lot of good people. I always say, you don’t have to 100 per cent agree on everything. I hope more people have that, you don’t have to see eye to eye with someone on every single issue. I’m not expecting that.

On proverbs

Oooh, I love proverbs! If people work together they can mend a crack in the sky – that’s a Somali proverb. We can solve any obstacle that’s thrown our way.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A First Look At The McQueen Documentary

Premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival this weekend, on April 22nd, Bleecker Street have released the official trailer of McQueen, a compelling new documentary looking at the extraordinary life and career of Alexander McQueen. Showing in the Picturehouse Central in London from June 8th, the film, directed by Ian Bonhôte and written by Peter Ettedgui, paints an authentic portrait of the legendary designer through exclusive interviews with his closest friends, collaborators, and family, footage of his most boundary-breaking fashions shows as well as arresting visuals and archive audio.

The 111-minute film spans the breadth of McQueen’s prolific career, from his fashion beginnings after graduating from Central Saint Martins in 1992 and his appointment at Givenchy in 1997 to the pinnacle of his oeuvre, such as his spring/summer 1999 show, when Shalom Harlow stepped out onto the catwalk in a strapless white dress, before being rotated slowly on a revolving circle as she was sprayed with paint by two robotic guns. The film also explores McQueen’s final years as a designer before his suicide in 2010.

A live panel will take place following the film's premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, including his sister Janet McQueen and nephew Gary McQueen, friend and first assistant designer Sebastian Pons and Detmar Blow, the husband of McQueen’s mentor, the late Isabella Blow, who famously bought his entire graduation collection.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Maison Alaïa Opens London Flagship Store

When Azzedine Alaïa passed away in November last year, his death had a profound impact on an industry within which he was particularly beloved and unanimously revered. "Azzedine was able to transform a woman’s body into something special; to make you look great and still like a woman,” Naomi Campbell said after his death. “He captured the essence of femininity.” Now, his uniquely elegant perspective has been translated into the Maison’s first flagship outside of Paris: a three-floor store situated on Bond Street, designed by Azzedine himself and filled with the artists whom he loved most.

“Azzedine loved London… and he came to this space many times,” explains Carla Sozzani, the long-standing friend of the late designer who collaborated with him on the interiors. “The last time we were here was only in October – and this is exactly the way he wanted it: super light, transparent, and easy to move around in.” Indeed, handbags and shoes sit atop Naoto Fukasawa’s glass benches; perfume bottles stacked within Shiro Kuramata bookshelves; enormous lights designed by Alaia’s close friend, Marc Newson, illuminate the space. It is clean and modern, bright and airy, but far from sterile – in fact, there are even cosy (albeit sculptural) sofas dotted about the place. “Women should feel at home here a little bit… that’s why we did the sofas,” continues Sozzani – but of course they are the best sort, designed by Pierre Paulin. Even the singular carpet in the space has been designed by Gio Ponti; having said that he’d never have one in his stores, Alaïa made special exception for the Italian architect.

Amidst a host of world-famous names, that is what is perhaps most appealing about the space: how directly it reflects both Alaïa’s genius in simplicity and his warmly inviting spirit. It is those same principles upon which the Maison will continue into the future – although new pieces will arrive quietly onto the rails, without fashion shows or fanfare, the house will continue to create clothing (the atelier remains staffed by the same 30 people who worked there previously; since Azzedine’s death, nobody has left). “It’s the way he would have wanted it,” says Sozzani who, in 2007, set up an association with Azzedine and his partner Christophe von Weyhe to preserve his work. “He was always thinking about the future… how to be immortal! Azzedine would say that the Maison had to go on with the people who had always been with him; for them to learn from the Maison, to work from his work. Not to invent and destroy the brand – because Azzedine is more than a brand. It’s Alaïa.” This store is a fitting tribute to that sentiment, and the perfect place to invest in his remarkable vision.

American Apparel Returns To The UK

Two years after going into administration, cult Los Angeles fashion basics brand American Apparel celebrates its UK return with a new approach focusing on body positivity and diversity. After closing down 13 stores across the UK in late 2016, the brand relaunches in the UK on April 23rd with a shiny online store and a new campaign, entitled Back To Basics. The product range will feature more inclusive sizing as well as new price points but loyal brand fans will still be able to find classic styles including T-shirts offered in a wide variety of shades, the much-loved Disco Pants, high-waisted jeans, bodysuits, metallic leggings, unisex hoodies and fisherman pullovers.

Following the controversy surrounding American Apparel’s hyper-sexualised images and numerous allegations of sexual harassment against brand founder, Dov Charney, the brand's new owner Gildan - a Canadian retail giant - brought in an almost entirely female executive board. Spearheading the brand's return is Sabina Weber, the Vice President of Brand Marketing. "We did not want to change the brand, rather to refocus it on its positive and powerful aspects. We went through the archives of AA imagery to re-inspire our team and evolve from our own DNA," Weber told Vogue.

"We feature real people, unretouched and authentic. We still use the same flash photography and minimalist design approach. What really changed is our approach to sexy: our models are over 21 and we celebrate their sexiness with confidence, from a woman's point of view – they are in control and we simply celebrate their unique ways of being sexy and body-positive."

The new campaign is certainly reminiscent of the brand's original imagery but whilst previously young girls stared coquettishly into the camera, often stretching in risqué poses, here the models take back control. And though there may still be some way to go in terms of diversity (the majority of the models featured are young and slim) the images are raw and unretouched with models proudly revealing stretch marks and their natural beauty.

"We have a passionate marketing team – mostly young women – who have been passionately contributing to the evolution of the imagery and voice of the brand," Weber continued. "[We] scrutinise every model, every piece of copy, every picture. We want to emphasise body positivity, diversity, inclusivity, empowerment, in a fresh, thoughtful, and culturally relevant approach... There is something deeply personal and special when you are driving every aspect of the brand with a team that is fully focused on the same objective."

The brand is committed to broadening its inclusivity and representation in the coming months. "We just shot our Pride campaign and we used LGBTQ people from all across the gender spectrum to launch our new graphic tees: “They OK’ (celebrating all pronouns across the gender spectrum) and “Still Here, Still Queer”," Weber asserts.

But for now, Back To Basics, the new campaign features a line-up of male and female models all over the age of 21, cast from an open call via American Apparel's social media channels. The launch campaign will be rolled out digitally and across billboards in London and Manchester. The cast sport the colourful wardrobe staples so many of us are more than familiar with, from the mid '00s. "We wanted to tap into the sense of nostalgia that people have for the brand," Weber states. "Everyone has a memory and history of shopping with the brand and those key pieces create a visceral feeling for our customer. And the good thing is they are basics so they never go out of style."

While the brand is wholeheartedly committed to turning around its tarnished image is it equally devoted to ensuring that the clothes are produced ethically and sustainably, especially now they are available at lower price points? "American Apparel has always been ethically made, in facilities where employees were treated with respect and dignity and paid fair wages. Since acquiring the brand we have continued to manufacture our products in facilities governed by the same strong values within the Company’s Genuine Responsibility™ programmes. One of the industry’s leading corporate social responsibility programs is diligently applied everywhere our products are manufactured. Gildan is deeply committed to the development and implementation of innovative solutions that reduce the environmental impact of our operations throughout our entire supply chain."

The marketing team in Los Angeles went to Honduras to see the factory ourselves and learn more about what we did there and we found it quite inspirational. We created a series of documentary videos called Sweatshop Free Stories.

The UK launch begins with just an online offering, however, there are plans to reopen bricks-and-mortar stores. "Our relaunch strategy is digital first: but we are in the early stages of exploring a new innovative concept in retail. We want our store of the future to be a house for the brand, a place where we can interact with our customers…and of course a key component of our multi-channel presence. We are planning on doing it right this time with a selective and strategic presence and an innovative and engaging new concept... The store is the next big thing and it’s going to be a great destination for people so that they can touch and feel our product again."

Versace Releases Eyewear In Tribute to Gianni’s Archive

When Donatella Versace presented her Spring/Summer 2018 collection, designed in tribute to her late brother Gianni, the internet was set aflame. Starring a line-up of the original supers, reprisals of archive Versace designs and a soundtrack that paid homage to “his risk-taking, his innovative genius, and above all his allegiance to women,” it was a remarkable celebration of that iconic Versace allure – one which was translated into suitably glamorous sunglasses.

“When I designed the Tribute collection I also thought about the accessories,” explains Donatella. “Not only bags and shoes, but the eyewear as the perfect complement to each look.” So, girls swathed in silken scarves bearing baroque graphics had matching sunglasses; the tropical Trésor de la Mer print, resplendent with corals and shells and pearls, was applied to swimsuits and eyewear alike. “These prints were the starting point to create the collection, and the element that I used to pay homage to the work of my brother,” continues Donatella. “They complete the look and give an instant aura of mystery and seduction to any woman wearing them.” Mystery, seduction and glamour in one single accessory, on shelves now – what more could you want for the summer? Say it with us: Versace, Versace, Versace.

Why The Never-Heard-Of-It Factor Is Fashion's New Selling Point

Once upon a time, designer labels took years to establish. Customers had to recognise a brand before splashing serious cash on it. Now, with a speeded-up fashion cycle and an appetite for newness that’s seemingly insatiable, buyers are emboldened to actively seek out exciting, unknown brands that will give their look a unique edge. Never heard of it? All the more reason to buy it. Now stores compete to sign hot new designers, because small unknown brands offer a level of individuality that their customers crave. At the recent event in New York, the never-heard-of-it factor was in full force, with the internet giant throwing its considerable weight behind little known, emerging talents. Here are the three new names to put on your shopping list:


Since graduating from St Martin’s, 24-year-old Kevin Germanier has been working for Nicholas Ghesquière at Louis Vuitton, whilst simultaneously setting up his own brand. Germainer’s principles are rooted in the concept of sustainability but his aesthetic is high glamour. Decorative and dressy, these clothes are also radical in fabrication. Germanier achieves his dramatic, sculptural shapes and vivid colouration because his clothes are made from rubber, set with plastic beads that the designer rescued from an Indian landfill. “It’s glamorous - like a modern Ellie Saab but you can wash it in the machine,” says buying director Natalie Kingham. Yes to that.


Not all emerging brands are founded by newly hatched designers. Summa was launched in 2016 by Jane Chung, who co-founded DKNY with Donna Karan. When it comes to taste and designing pitch perfect, covetable luxury, Chung knows what she’s doing. Her design pedigree and connoisseurship is evident in every piece. This is a brand for women who appreciate extreme, up-close attention to detail and a refined level of taste. Shapes borrow from menswear and fabrics whisper luxury. Philophilles form an orderly queue.


When her obsession with vintage Laura Ashley and Holly Hobbie became overwhelming, Batsheva Hay left her job as a New York attorney to set up her own fashion brand. Specialising in Insta-friendly prairie dresses Batsheva has quickly found an eager fan base amongst New York’s arty, intellectual crowd. Hay’s frilled, feminine dresses have plenty of retro charm, and each collection is made from small runs of vintage fabrics.

Olivier Rousteing On Dressing Beyoncé In Balmain For Coachella 2018

It all started when stylist Marni Senofonte approached Olivier Rousteingafter his autumn 2018 runway show for Balmain and explained to him that she was trying to find the right designer to create custom looks for Beyoncé’s upcoming Coachella performances. “Marni told me that the shows were all about survivors and that B was looking for something in a military style,” Rousteing says. “Our silhouettes and our sort of Mad Max, futuristic take on military looks for Fall were a perfect fit.”

But, of course, Queen Bey was not about to wear something that was going to be mass-produced, so Rousteing went to work with Senofonte and the rest of Beyoncé’s team to create two custom Balmain stage wardrobes, one for each of her performances on the two Saturday nights. Rousteing also dressed the 200-some dancers on stage, as well as Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, who will reunite with Beyoncé for a Destiny’s Child throwback moment. Rousteing only had a few weeks to pull it all together, spending sleepless nights and long days creating the Egyptian-inspired gold-and-black cape with intricate embellishments; as well as a hologram-fabric black jacket and bodysuit; a collegiate-style embellished yellow hoodie with “BAE” written on the front; a camouflage and mesh minidress; and a top decorated with a 2018 Beyoncé crest that shows a bee, a raised fist, a panther, and an Egyptian goddess. “By the end it felt like Marni and I were in a relationship,” the designer said with a laugh. “We went to bed texting and emailing one another and woke up doing the same.”

Rousteing not only worked in close contact with Senofonte, but also with “B,” as he calls her, and her entire creative team. He flew out to Los Angeles to be a part of the rehearsals, making sure that the clothes moved well for the complex choreography and that every outfit change was precise and well executed. “B is a perfectionist,” Rousteing says. “She has such a distinct vision for fashion and for her music, I really learned a lot from this experience and from watching her work in those rehearsals.” Though he has worked with Beyoncé before, on her 2016 tour costumes, and has collaborated with an impressive roster of celebrities that includes Frank Ocean and Kim Kardashian-West (not to mention brands and organizations like Victoria’s Secret and the Paris Ballet), he emphasizes how different and intimate this experience was for him. “If I am being totally transparent, it is very, very rare in this kind of process to have so much communication with the artist and the ones closest to her on her team.” He adds, “I was able to be in the room with her and she would give me direct feedback about how the lighting should hit the clothes, what the music had to emphasize about each look — I never had to guess what to do next.”

Rousteing believes that these couture pieces for Beyoncé will go down in music history, not only because of the immense amount of work that went into them but also because they highlight the dynamism of the performances themselves. Still, despite the glamour and excess involved in this collaboration, Rousteing’s favorite memory was a much quieter one. “I think the thing I will always remember is sitting on the floor with B and cutting fabric,” he says fondly. “Blue comes in and runs over to B, and B holds her in her arms while talking to us about the cuts and silhouettes. To me, it was just such a beautiful moment because here you are with this megastar but also, she is a strong woman and a loving momma to her daughter.” Blue did not officially give her approval on the Coachella ensembles, but her father, Jay-Z, did. “Jay saw the Egyptian goddess cape and when B put it on, his eyes went wide and he was so excited, he said, ‘Oh, wow!’ That gave me a lot of satisfaction.”

H&M Announces Moschino Collaboration

This morning, H&M confirmed its latest designer collaboration, with Italian fashion brand Moschino. News of the collaboration was first revealed late on Saturday evening at Jeremy Scott’s 11th annual party, held at the Coachella music festival. The announcement, which is always one of the most anticipated on the fashion calendar, came via an Instagram live call from Gigi Hadid to the designer. Both were dressed in looks from the Moschino [tv] H&M collaboration, giving a first taste of the playfulness and humour - synonymous with Scott's designs - that we can expect to see in it.

"I am so excited about Moschino [tv] H&M," said Scott today of the announcement. "My life’s work has been to connect with people through fashion, and with this collaboration I’ll be able to reach more of my fans than I’ve ever had the ability to do."

After Scott's long-standing collaboration with adidas ended in 2017, this partnership will offer fans a chance to snap up his collections again at a more accessible price point. Prices will range from approximately £25 to £300. “There’s a silver sequinned parka dress,” Scott told Vogue. “Denim pieces are all twisted into something else. Puffers and jackets are reconfigured into cropped things or double-long things. There’s a sportswear-with-evening kind of feeling, like a hockey jersey with a train.”

H&M's creative advisor, Ann-Sofie Johansson, said that the partnership is "the perfect collaboration for fashion right now" and mixes "pop, street culture, logos and also glamour".

"Jeremy Scott is amazing – he knows how to have fun with fashion, and to connect with his fans around the world," she added.

Moschino will follow in the footsteps of the hugely successful 2017 Erdem collaboration, with a collection including womenswear, menswear and accessories. It also joins an impressive history of fashion houses that have collaborated with the high-street brand, since Karl Lagerfeld did it first in 2004, including Balmain, Marni, Kenzo and Versace. The (often star-studded) campaigns and launches each year are as tailored by the respective designers as the collections are. This year is set to be no different, with the campaign said to be a "radically innovative TV concept enmeshing social and traditional media to create a multi-platform takeover – a captivating new “zapping” experience for the digital world".

The Moschino x H&M collection will be available online and in-store from November 8th.

Harrods Unveils First Charity Pop-Up Shop

Today, Harrods opens its doors to the first standalone charity outlet in its 184-year history. Situated around the corner from the Knightbridge emporium on Sloane Street premises that have been donated by Cadogan Estates, the pop-up boutique, named Fashion Re-told, will run for one month.

All designer and high-end pieces on sale have been donated by Harrods customers, employees and brands, including Mulberry, Loewe, JW Anderson, Céline, Victoria Beckham and Anya Hindmarch. Prices of the womenswear, menswear and childrenswear range from £100 to £200 for both vintage and current-season pieces.

All proceeds will go directly to the NSPCC, Harrods’ long-standing charity partner, whose mission is to end child abuse in the UK and Channel Islands. NSPCC staff have been trained by Harrods managers on how to serve luxury customers within the millennial-pink store, which happens to be one of the corporate colours of the NSPCC.

“Number one for myself is that it is completely Instagrammable, because when you’re doing a charitable initiative, if you don’t generate noise on every platform, you’re never going to make it a success,” Alex Greco Wells, head of visual merchandising at Harrods, told WWD.

The pop-up comes just months after Vetements used Harrods as a platform to call out the issue of overproduction within the industry. Four of the store’s Brompton Road windows were dedicated to the Swiss label’s call for action, with customers invited to donate garments to the stockpile installation of clothes.

Now, the donations from the 4,000 employees – including an Alaïa dress donated by Helen David, chief merchant of Harrods – are available for purchase on the daily-changing rails in Fashion Re-told. “We just want to create something fun, a visual interpretation of an appropriate aesthetic for the collaboration, without the ostentatious and overpowering feel of a luxury store,” Greco Wells added.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Artist Ignasi Monreal On #GucciHallucination And Why Alessandro Michele Is A Modern Medici

Spanish painter Ignasi Monreal is seeing double Gs everywhere. The artist has spent the last few years working alongside Alessandro Michele to create public and digital advertising campaigns for Gucci that feature runway clothes depicted in Renaissance-style portraiture.

“For the spring/summer 2018 images, I was working for several months straight, 14 hours a day with no free weekends,” Monreal explains. “So by the end of it I was literally having Gucci hallucinations.” Those aberrations gave way to his latest project with the Italian fashion house: a numbered, limited-edition capsule of 200 T-shirts and 100 sweatshirts printed with Monreal’s artwork from that same spring/summer 2018 campaign inspired by Greek and Roman mythology. It is aptly titled #GucciHallucination.

The collection officially launched this week, and Monreal is excited but exhausted. “The big party for the launch was a late one,” he tells Vogue with a laugh. “I’m recovering from it all, it was intense but it was amazing. This was like my love letter to painting and I enjoyed merging the realism with all of these different references from art history.”

Monreal likes working with Gucci because it has given him the opportunity to bring the Old Masters to a much younger audience. In the same way that Gucci has broken through the boundaries of targeted luxury fashion marketing and appealed to a more diverse group of people, Monreal’s artwork is speaking to a new, visually inundated generation. As he says, “We live in a world that is so saturated with images. I will go to an art museum with someone who is young and they will just speed past the works and say, ‘Oh it’s just an old painting, who cares?’ I want to help educate them or at least get them to understand the importance of these works.”

Dressing Ophelia in Gucci logos is certainly a clever strategy and it’s one that designer Alessandro Michele has done well to promote in his time at the helm of the brand. “Gucci is more than a fashion brand at this point,” Monreal notes. “It is a part of pop culture and is instantly recognisable to those who may not have ever connected with a luxury European fashion house before. My 13-year-old brother and his friends are obsessed with Gucci. When I was that age, I didn’t know a thing about Gucci, I was concerned with music videos.”

Michele and Monreal are a duo that has injected humour and relatability into the worlds of art and fashion. More importantly, they’ve brought them together, along with all of the other artists, meme-makers, and influencers who have lent a hand. “Alessandro is like a modern Medici,” Monreal says of his friend and collaborator. “It’s incredibly smart because he surrounds himself with so many different types of artists and image-makers. He takes risks, and without risk there is no glory.”

Unpicking The 2018 Met Gala Dress Code

“It’s not a costume ball or a fancy-dress party,” Vogue contributing editor and celebrity stylist Elizabeth Saltzman muses of the Met Gala. “It’s a benefit for fashion, and a wonderful, glorious opportunity to create business and buzz about the industry.”

This year’s theme – Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination – comes with a myriad of complications when it comes to What To Wear. “I’m sure you’ll see a pope or two,” she says of the diehard dress code followers who push the boundaries each year. Madonna, Katy Perry and Rihanna will, of course, take on Catholic tropes literally, while others will gently nod to the Vatican with red, white and gold colour schemes, heavy embroidery and cross jewellery. But, she cogitates, it’s more complicated than picking out papal tiaras, there’s a hierarchy involved before outfit moodboarding can even begin.

Saltzman starts to receive calls from designers a week after the Met Gala has been and gone, quizzing her on “who’s cool?”; “who will be interesting in a year’s time?”; “who will be a good fit for the brand?” It takes months and several offers before a designer and a celebrity are matched, as agents dance around potential contracts and financial agreements, while keeping friends of each brand happy. Once the deed is done, then the fun starts.

“A designer has to think about who else is sat at their table,” Saltzman explains. “So only one person can wear white, only one person can wear red, etc.” Then they have to consider whether the brand wants to be associated with the theme at all. Many, this year, will want to remain neutral on the subject of religion.

It the job of stylists, like Saltzman, to piece the jigsaw together and make sure her clients feel confident on the red carpet, and the brands are happy with the reception of the dress. She has a deft tactic that always works. “It’s important to me to have beautiful gowns on the women I work with, because photographs live longer than the gala,” she says. “People don’t remember the theme, they just remember the dress. So, it’s my job to make sure the women look amazing, and then adapt the dress to the theme when I can.”

She admires the creativity and the real "fashion moments" on the red carpet, but it all boils down to the person, and not the theme. “The Katy Perrys of the world are performers and have had stage costumes throughout their careers, so they know what the attention feels like. Others won’t feel confident in fantastical dresses because that fashion just doesn’t relate to them."

For those women, the politics of the event can make “the fun become unfun,” and the rigmarole of jumping through hoops hard work. One of Saltzman’s favourite Met moments, she recalls, was Stella McCartney with her gang of girls - Cara Delevingne, Rihanna, Kate Bosworth and Reese Witherspoon - in 2014. “It felt authentic, fresh, and true to Stella, but true to the individual women. A real tribe having fun,” she remembers.

That buzz word, "fun", is perhaps not one you would immediately question when it comes to the gala, but when unpicking it, there's more behind the gloss and glamour than meets the eye.

The Rarest Vintage Pieces To Buy Now

No matter how experienced you are in the art of vintage shopping, it can be an exhausting endeavor: either scrolling endless pages of poorly-photographed garments, or flicking through rails of ill-treated clothes. “It’s a myth that just because it’s old means it’s good,” explains Gill Linton, the founder of Byronesque, a sort of personal shopping service for aficionados which sources everything from early-years Margiela to rare examples of Comme des Garçons. “But there is a lot of ugly and irrelevant vintage in the world. We are ruthless in our edit.”

Accordingly, what Linton has spent the past five years building is a voice analogous to that of a fashion brand: one which champions subcultural moments in fashion history which appear as relevant today as they did when they first appered on the runway. Now, determined to prove “vintage should be worn and not put on an untouchable pedestal,” Byronesque are extending their reach – and, on the 17th April, they are launching a carefully-curated edit of 200 exceptional pieces with Vestiaire Collective.

Ranging from an iconic Johnny Rotten mohair jumper authenticated by Vivienne Westwood herself, to a Comme des Garçons fashion show uniform from 1986, it is a remarkable exploration of recent fashion history. “Byronesque are as good as it gets when you think of contemporary vintage,” explains Marie Blanchet, Vestiaire Collective’s Head of Vintage of the reasons behind the collaboration. “My admiration for Gill Linton is limitless: she dictates the rules, she sets the path, she breathes what she believes in, and she is as irreverent and relevant as the fashion rebels whose work we are celebrating with her.”

Here, Linton presents some of the collection’s highlights: the sort of pieces ordinarily reserved for fashion archives, now made available to integrate into your wardrobe. Get your shopping lists at the ready: 17th April is less than a week away.

Power Dress and Power Trench by Jeremy Scott, 2000

"We have been looking for this collection for five years. We have been lucky to source quite a lot, and these two pieces are a taster of what we have. People are surprised (or in denial) that Jeremy Scott is now a vintage brand, especially as his style has evolved considerably since his early days. But they are still so current: with the current trend for logo mania, the wait list for these pieces is never ending."

"Couture" Harness by Helmut Lang, 1995

"Fashion – vintage or otherwise – is having a Lang resurgence at the moment, from those of us who were there the first time around to a younger generation who are being educated by the brand's re-editions. We have a large collection of classic Lang in this sale - this ‘couture’ harness is the least classic piece in the collection, but still very simple. The thing about Lang is it’s how you pull it off that makes it’s simplicity so special."

Leggings by Ann Demeulemeester, 1992

"Proving that not all leggings are created equal, these are as quintessential Demeulemeester as you can get. Of course her designs were much more accomplished than a pair of leggings, but the nuance of design and fabric captures her signature ‘90s goth, grunge, luxury moment perfectly. I’m going to buy these if someone doesn’t get them first. If you do, please style them as she would."

Hidden Heel Boots by Maison Martin Margiela, 2000

"Margiela's Spring 2000 oversized collection is one of the most requested ever, let alone from the Martin days. These boots are the opposite of what you’d except from an collection that exaggerated everything. The subtlety of the hidden heel makes them more than just a pair of black boots. Again, the nuances of great design."

Mohair Sweater by Seditionaries, 1977

"We shot Suzi Leenaars in this and she looks epic. It may be a particularly early piece of punk history, but Suzi shows that not everything rare belongs in a museum. As we say, buying and wearing it for a long time = punk. This piece has been authenticated by the Westwood company and comes with a Letter of Authenticity."

Tube Dress by Worlds End, late 1980s

"Another side of Westwood’s Kings Road, Worlds End evolved after Punk became too mainstream for her and McLaren. We’re not certain of the exact date of this tube dress, which isn’t a runway piece. I think that makes it more interesting and the beginnings of Viv’s posh punk direction."

Safety Pin Bag by Versace, 1994

"Vintage Versace has been given new life thanks to Donatella’s recent homage to her late brothers peacock punkness. Think of this instead of Liz Hurley."

Salvatore Ferragamo Outlines Social Responsibility Plans

Since 2014, Salvatore Ferragamo has pledged a commitment to undertake a corporate social responsibility, and be transparent about its operations. Now, as analysis of the company’s 2017 Sustainability Report comes to light, it has outlined a three-year plan with six main target areas to encourage sustainable development and to minimise environmental impacts caused by production.

“Ensuring transparency with stakeholders, we aim to share not only the milestones that we have achieved, but the challenges that lie ahead and our future goals as well,” Ferruccio Ferragamo, chairman of the Salvatore Ferragamo Group, said of the six areas of focus, which include “people”; “Made in Italy”; “products and relationships with suppliers”; “territory and culture”; and “environment”.

At the heart of the project is the company’s workforce, which the chairman maintains is the very essence of the brand. “We firmly believe in our local community, synonymous with history and culture, and in the talent of young Italians, who are capable of resolving today’s problems and updating Italy’s creative legacy,” he continued. “It is in Ferragamo’s DNA to both preserve the past of Italian tradition and cultivate its future, and we have sustained this legacy by financing, on one hand, restorations of important works of art, like Neptune’s Fountain in Piazza della Signoria, Florence, and promoting, on the other, experimentation with sustainable materials, while remaining steadfast in our commitment to 'Made in Italy' products and our respect for the innovative spirit of Salvatore Ferragamo’s founder.”

"Made in Italy" is central to the brand ethos, and it takes its commitment to upholding the family legacy seriously. In 2014, it began inserting microchips and radio frequency identification tags into its women’s shoes to guarantee product authenticity and facilitate the tracking of counterfeit products. These strict measures helped Ferragamo to intercept and seize more than 268,000 counterfeit products around the world last year.

“More than an affirmation, this is a call to action to strive for continuous improvement and raise the bar ever higher, to promote a responsible business every day, based on respect for people, the territory, the environment and the community," Ferragamo added of the socially-conscious code of conduct.

To read the full report, including information on the company's new logistics hub at the Florence site, which, once complete, will mean standards of efficiency are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certified, visit

Kenzo In Hot Water With Levi's

Levi Strauss & Co has reportedly accused Kenzo of trademark infringement for putting tabs on the back pockets of its jeans.

The complaint, which The Business of Fashion reports was filed with the US District Court in San Francisco, after the launch of its "Kenzo presents Britney Spears-La Collection Memento No 2" line last month.

Levi's has alleged that Kenzo's activities threaten to cause the denim brand to lose sales, suffer ”, and confuse shoppers. It has sewn its signature folded cloth ribbons in the seams of its trouser pockets since 1936, to provide "sight identification" for its products.

In the filed lawsuit, Leo Christopher Lucier, Levi's national sales manager back in 1936, is reported to have said that “no other maker of overalls can have any other purpose in putting a coloured tab on an outside patch pocket, unless for the express and sole purpose of copying our mark, and confusing the customer.”

At the time of writing, Kenzo has not responded or complied with the cease-and-desist letters to stop selling clothing bearing similar tabs to Levi Strauss & Co.

Alexa Chung Takes Japan

"Pure magic,” Alexa Chung muses backstage at the latest of her “travelling circus of presentations” at the Earth Studio at the foot of Tokyo Tower, Japan. It’s how her father, who came up with the initial concept of the set – a diorama inspired by Charleston, the country retreat of the Bloomsbury group - described the photograph his designer-daughter sent via text. It’s the best feedback she’s ever been given.

Chung senior’s influence was traceable in the “Virginia” collection modelled by 23 girls milling around the expansive, hand-painted set. Originally titled “Work of Art” and influenced by Georgia O'Keeffe, Alexa had to rethink her muse when Dior launched its O'Keeffe inspired cruise 2018 collection. It was her dad who reminded her how cool Vanessa Bell and her peers – the painter Duncan Grant and her sister Virginia Woolf, the collection's namesake – were. Accordingly, “Virginia” celebrates the leisurely uniform of the artistic set, chock full with silk pyjamas and paisley robes, heavy knit jumpers and embroidered smock dresses.

“The collection felt quintessentially English, so I wanted to put it into a very surreal context,” she explains, of her decision to promote the collection, her fourth, in Japan. Surreal is how you could describe the fanfare Chung received when taking her bow in front of the Japanese press. Where the east Londoners that lurk near her De Beauvoir studio are too cool to ask for Insta snaps, in Japan she’s a bona fide celebrity.

“Sometimes I have a weird floating thing when the attention gets too much,” she says. “I feel like I’m watching an avatar version of me that people presume they know.” How does she keep herself sane? “I don’t think I do,” she deadpans. “I think I’m mad. But I don’t really know a life that’s not like this, so to me it’s not really that alien. It would be weirder if it was different.”

She describes herself as feeling old; but her brand is still very young. Launched in May 2017, partly out of a mission to end her “freelance” lifestyle and go “in-house”, she explains: “I felt like I had no autonomy over my next step. I was constantly paranoid about thinking of the next thing, and I could never enjoy the moment. Starting my own business was a way to assert some kind of control and stop floating around.”

Her previous creative collaborations – Marks & Spencer, AG Jeans, Superga– taught her the design basics, but everything else has been based on instinct. The see-now-buy-now model, for example, was a decision to align the brand with Supreme and Palace, and to have the freedom of dropping products at any time. “I wanted there to be an immediacy, because, for me, that’s where the future of fashion lies. We're going to need a few more phases before this happens across the board though.”

She doesn’t lie about the challenges – “the shady bits of running a business are really shady” – but she’s relaxed about giving her team leeway to get things wrong. “We're still taking risks because we don’t want to become all 'Corporate Susan'. Obviously there are really tough days, but you have to find the glimmers of joy in getting jazzed about a new T-shirt shape.”

What’s the water cooler conversation like at Studio Chung? “I don’t think we actually have a water cooler, we have a tap and mugs though,” she says, before affirming: “We’re more of a smoking area company.” The Christmas party saw the team take a Hummer limo to a roast dinner in an Islington pub, make a pit stop at another pub in Angel, followed by The Ned and then The Dolphin for karaoke. “It was a rager,” she laughs. “I'd never had an office party, because I've never had an office, so I was really happy. We went big and we didn’t go home.”

As the team grows (it numbers 25 and counting), so does her confidence. “In the beginning, there was a certain sense of trepidation, because I really wanted to communicate that it was my thing. The collections [Fantastic, Prom Gone Wrong and the inaugural offering] were retrospective and introspective because I was designing for the woman I was. Now, I’m designing for the woman I am, and the woman I would like to be.”

“Suddenly my icons are not men from the 1960s but older women,” she continues. “I think about badass females I’m curious about and would like to dress, like Tracee Ellis Ross, or Miuccia Prada, who has maintained her inner child, but is intellectual in a non-patronising way.”

Though picturing the future is, “phew, unthinkable”, she wants the brand to have an emotional resonance. “I hope someone has a great romance in one of our blouses, or they use our shirt to save someone’s life in the sea when they nearly drowned,” she adds. “I hope that each piece has a more exciting life outside of the paper bag it arrives in. I hope that it goes on to mean something to people in memento mori terms, because that’s how I think about clothes. I form an attachment to them.”

As I leave her preparing for a Q&A at her pop-up shop at Isetan, the Japanese department store titan, and musing what her own store might look like one day, there can be no doubt that Alexa has hit her stride. Fashion with “meaning and depth” is her aim, and she’s out to get it with her travelling circus, one spectacular jaunt around the planet at a time.

H&M’s New Brand /Nyden Unveils First Drop

In December, H&M announced the launch of a new, affordable luxury line aimed at millennials called /Nyden.

The brainchild of Oscar Olsson, who has headed up the H&M's innovation lab since 2013, /Nyden takes its name from two Swedish words, “ny” and “den,” meaning, respectively, “new” and “it.” Its logo - a bold slash - symbolises what the brand calls “co-creation.”

By “co-creation,” /Nyden means it will recruit personalities, or “tribe leaders”, chosen for their “integrity and humble arrogance” to design capsule collections. Tattoo artist Doctor Woo, who is behind the inkings of Brooklyn Beckham and Cara Delevingne, and the Swedish actress, Noomi Rapace, have already been signed up as co-creators.

Its mission statement goes on to decree that there will be “no collections, no seasons – just a stream of relevant drops and events. We [will] put tribe leaders at the centre of the design process, sharing their stories and helping their creativity make an impact.” So far, so cryptic.

Then, yesterday, /Nyden broke its musings on redefining the future of fashion, by releasing a pre-launch selection of T-shirts. In their simplest form, the black-and-white unisex tees have “tribe” printed on the chest, and in their most graphic iterations, bold images printed with “/Nyden pre-launch” are emblazoned across them.

The brand is keeping details of its first official clothing drop close to its chest, but, so far, the hype seems to be working. Those €60 T-shirts have already started to sell out. If there's one thing H&M's innovation lab has cracked, it's harnessing the humble tee as an item of affordable luxury. Follow Wearenyden on Instagram to keep up with the millennials.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Vivienne Westwood's Son Denounces Documentary

Back in January, Vivienne Westwood distanced herself from Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, a feature-length film celebrating the artistry, activism and cultural significance of the designer.

Now, Westwood’s eldest son, Ben Westwood, has echoed his mother’s disappointment at the “mediocre” documentary, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival and is currently showing at London cinemas. In a statement given to Dazed, he denounced director Lorna Tucker’s use of free archive footage, rather than focusing on Vivienne's social, political and environmental campaign work, which was the original concept.

“She chose to miss the real story,” Westwood said of Tucker’s narrative, which she formulated over three years following the designer. “Let alone illustrating Vivienne’s world view or her environmental work, the film does not even show her fashion properly… That film is on the cutting room floor.”

To make amends, Westwood goes on to suggest that Tucker returns all of the footage to the Westwood family, and uses the profits to make a generous donation to one of Vivienne’s charities - “One of the many charities you will not have heard about in Lorna’s film.”

Just recently, I have had the chance to watch the film that Lorna Tucker has been making for the last three years, about my mother Vivienne & I would like to make the following statement:

Lorna asked Vivienne if she could make a film about her activism, Vivienne agreed because she wanted to help her. Vivienne asked for no money & everybody was extremely generous with Lorna. She had access to Vivienne’s home & her family & friends & we provided her with personal photos & archive material.

But what was Lorna really doing for those three years? She had access to everything & yet she chose to focus on what was not important. She chose to miss the real story. Let alone illustrating Vivienne’s world view or her environmental work, the film does not even show her fashion properly. Vivienne had done great work in fashion during those three years of filming, but she hasn’t shown any of it.

That film is on the cutting room floor. I would like to suggest that Lorna returns all of that footage to us, as it is the only record of these events & that since she is bound to make money from this film, that she makes a generous donation to one of Vivienne’s charities, one of the many charities you will not have heard about in Lorna’s film.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Vetements Responds To Claims Of Declining Sales

If you’re one of the 2.7 million people who follow Vetements on Instagram, a statement from Demna Gvasalia may have prompted a back-scroll on Friday afternoon. “Vetements does not support wannabe journalism based on lies and gossip,” the brand’s creative director wrote. It was an unusual move for Gvasalia, who made it his principle not to engage with the internet circus surrounding Vetements since it rose to fashion super fame in 2015. He was, by all accounts, responding to a story published on Highsnobiety that day in which the independent news site – by way of unnamed buyer sources – concluded: “Two years after they broke the internet, it looks like nobody is buying Vetements.” The story claimed that sales are declining as a result of Gvasalia only feeding new ideas into his other creative directorship at Balenciaga, leaving Vetements with “reissued or reworked pieces” and “prices too high for the quality offered.” Curious to see what Vetements’ CEO had to say about that, I phoned Guram Gvasalia in Zurich where the brand is based.

“It seems rather strange to talk about the financial results of a privately run company,” he sighed when I asked him the big question of revenue, something he and Demna have never disclosed. “But as it seems there’s been a certain obsession with our financial state, we could give you a little peek behind the curtain,” he smirked. “We have been profitable from season one and our total annual turnover has been increasing ever since. We had a fifty percent growth in the current financial year and a ten thousand percent growth in the past three years. Currently we are making eight digits each season.”

Add to that their relocation to Switzerland last year – a move Guram put down to “getting away from a toxic fashion industry” – and the picture painted isn’t exactly that of declining business. “The only reason to talk about valuation of a non-public company is if you were planning to sell it,” he noted. “We are very happy where we are now; however to satisfy your curiosity, the value of the company is not in the M but rather in the B-region.”

Having just returned from the major fashion weeks and a stint in Seoul, I couldn’t quite match the notion of dwindling sales with the parade of Vetements logos I saw everywhere around the fashion landscape, either. As it turned out, neither could the buyers I posed the question to today. “Generally, Vetements has always been a top-selling brand since we started working with them,” Kei Lee of BoonTheShop in Seoul told me. The famed South Korean boutique first bought the brand for autumn/winter 2015 and experienced a ninety percent sell-through. A few seasons on the budget put into Vetements is four times bigger.

“The sales volume is bigger than Céline, Saint Laurent, Loewe et cetera,” Lee said, noting that they’ve already crossed the 40 percent sell-through mark for spring/summer 2018 making Vetements this season’s “number one selling brand” for the store. “We have waiting lists not just for the current season but for autumn/winter 2018. No doubt it’ll do very well next season as well.”

In the neighbouring Japan, the message is the same: “Even though our budget increased more than double from last spring/summer, as of March 31 sell-through of spring/summer 2018 is already 62 percent in comparison to 64 percent for spring/summer 2017,” Sakiko Hasegawa said of the brand’s sales in Tokyo’s Adelaide. “Our sell-through before sales has never gone under 90 percent.” Last November, I attended one of Vetements’ typically packed customer events at Joyce in Hong Kong where fans from around Asia queued overnight to get their hands on limited edition merchandise. More than a thousand people attended, frantically filling their bags anything that bore the brand’s logo, from hoodies to fridge magnets and even Swiss cowbells, a nod to their new home in Zurich. “Vetements is still one of the strong-performing brands in our portfolio,” Joyce’s merchandising manager Michael Mok told me. “Its sell-through is above our departmental average in both men’s and women’s. Our sales recorded double-digit growth versus last year.”

Joyce has carried Vetements since its very first season and seen significant growth ever since. “We grew the brand in an organic way and the sales have increased organically every season,” Mok said. “To be fair, every brand has their good or bad season but I think Vetements and Demna are still influencing the current fashion market.”

Over in Russia, SVMoscow Tatiana Strekalovskaya told me that selling Vetements has to be matched with the Gvasalia brothers’ own untraditional approach to design and marketing. “The brand is really strong and did a lot to sell itself well. However, stores should put a lot of effort into selling it well. For example, having a good client base. If you put a high budget into Vetements and expect it to bring you millions in a second without doing any activity, it's better just not to buy it.” Since the Moscow store bought the brand in its first season it has never dipped out of their top-five bestseller chart.

“Though we are slightly raising the budget, Vetements doesn't go down. For our store the average performance for the brand is 60 percent sell-through before the 30 percent markdowns start. Vetements always jumps over this mark and shows better performance,” Strekalovskaya added. “Nothing more needs to be said, I think.” In the fashion industry, Vetements have always been operating on unchartered territory. The first in a wave of social media savvy streetwear brands that would include Yeezy, Off-White and Fear of God, they represent an irreverent new generation of contemporary fashion with ideas above its station. The Gvasalias were hailed and hyped to previously unparalleled heights when they broke that glass ceiling. And so, as pioneers on this millennial frontier of the industry, they are also the first to experience the expectation level that comes with such success: an insatiable desire for more and newer ideas every season, at least as far as industry critics are concerned.

But while Vetements so resolutely placed their extortionately priced sports and streetwear on a heritage luxury market built on £4,000 suits and dresses, they never said they were going to stick to that market’s rules of seasonal renewal, endless pre and capsule collections, and whatever else defines the old-fashioned spinning wheel of fashion. In fact, Demna has only ever reiterated the statement he echoed in Friday’s Instagram post: “Fashion is not about hype, nor about useless gossip or opportunistic pseudo journalism. Fashion is about clothes. So is Vetements.” The brand never played by the rules of the establishment, so why would they start to once they were considered a part of it? Designers like Rick Owens and Ann Demeulemeester – and more recently, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele and Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello – have proved you can build good sales on sticking to your core concept rather than forcing a seasonal and inevitably self-disserving strive for innovation. (The brands best known for that approach, by the way, aren’t doing terribly well these days.)

Considering the revolutionary impact Vetements has had on the fashion industry, you might argue Demna and Guram have already done their part for innovation for the foreseeable decade. “Vetements is a brand that changed the way people dress this century,” Natalie Kingham, the fashion and buying director of, told me. “We believe in good design with authenticity and a point of view. As do our customers. Regardless of trends and hype, Demna and Guram are creatives that will continue to drive forward fashion. Our customer responds really well to the buy.”

When I approached North America, the same pattern continued. “We are very happy with the performance of Vetements at Dover Street Market New York,” the store’s buyer Jamie Gilchrest said. “Vetements continues to be one of our most important partners and remains among our top ten selling brands on a daily basis," said Brigitte Chartrand, womenswear buying director at Ssense in Montreal.

Riccardo G Dallai Jr, owner of Boston’s Riccardi, reflected that Vetements’ vision “of disrupting fashion and becoming an industry leader” was always going to take time. “While in the early seasons sell-throughs were close to 100 percent and not what they are now, Vetements has remained one of the top-performing brands at Riccardi since 2016,” he told me. “In addition to the timing of the brand's rise during the boom of social media, pop-ups, and broadening consumer knowledge, these impressive numbers and their unparalleled consistency are a direct result of the brand setting a precedent and giving its retailers a longer ‘full price’ selling period than any of its peers.” If all is well under the sun, you wonder what spawns the kind of rumours Vetements was subjected to last week. Is it simply an industry overload caused by too much fame and too much success too quickly, or does fashion – not unlike Hollywood – now expect that “what comes up must come down,” as the High Snobriety story suggested?

I asked Guram Gvasalia if he ever senses an industry willingness for Vetements to fail. “I don’t want to think that someone might not wish us well as we never stepped on anyone’s toes or crossed anyone’s way,” he said. “We have always worked extremely hard to get where we are, and if someone doesn’t share our understanding and aesthetic we don’t need to force them to do so. The brand started in a very niche luxury segment but managed to develop a loyal following that goes beyond the initial demographics. It’s important that the person, who wears our clothes doesn’t buy them because of blind following but because he or she truly understands it.”

What of those infamous price points, then? “We know that for many our prices are expensive. We are working on expanding the collection to make sure there are also more affordable items in it,” Gvasalia said and paused. “Today we live a world of extreme political, financial and ecological problems. At the end of the day what happens in fashion is not the end of the world. We all should relax a bit and try to concentrate on joy and good things in life. Namaste!”