Thursday, February 28, 2019

Cult Instagram Brand Staud Steps Out Into Shoes

Sarah Staudinger believes that there is an emotional response to finding the perfect shoe. And that a woman should be able to meet her sartorial match in the footwear department without spending a fortune. Logical, right? After the success of Staud handbags, the brand she co-founded with George Augusto in 2015, she’s branching out into footwear. In three years, Staudinger predicts that shoes will account for 30 per cent of sales – no mean feat for a brand that was born on Instagram and earned “cult” status owing to her inner social circle of It girls – Harley Viera Newton et al – toting her “Moreau” bucket bags.

Why now? The label initially launched with two shoe styles, but put footwear on hold to focus on handbags. Four years down the line, the gap in the market for accessibly-priced shoes “that can be worn day to night and dressed up or down” remained open, so Staudinger and Augusto found a factory in Portugal and set to work. The result: “Classic styles that have just enough flirt to them,” she enthuses of the 1970s-inspired uppers and 1990s-esque heels.

Look closely and there are subtle differences between the pairs – another facet to keep Staud shoes “playful, chic and fresh”. The Gita – a strappy heeled sandal – has an asymmetrical strap on the right shoe to “elevate it into something more than just a simply strappy sandal”. The Billie – a simple wedge – has a dark suede heel and light blue leather strap on the left and the opposite on the right. “I’ve always loved taking risks when it comes to colour combinations and shapes, so mismatching our shoes seemed like a good idea.”

Shoes, however, are just the start of Staud’s grand expansion plan. Confirmed categories are belts and sunglasses straps. But, “all I can say is that we are very interested in travel,” says Staudinger. “There are so many ideas, we can just keep adding!”

Stateside fans will soon be able to try on the shoes, which are currently only available to buy online, in a showroom in New York. “As a West Coast-based brand, we want more facetime and interaction between the products and customers,” says Staud of the appointment-only space, which will open in March. “Retail, or our version of it, is definitely in the works.” Watch this space.

The Life And Times Of Karl Lagerfeld

Chanel's creative chief Karl Lagerfeld, who reigned as fashion’s most famous and revered designer in a career spanning seven decades, died on 19 February 2019. His exact age was disputed, but he was in his mid-eighties.

Unwaveringly brilliant and endlessly quotable, the German-born designer Karl Lagerfeld not only revolutionised some of the industry’s most iconic brands, he changed the direction of fashion itself. His vision broadened fashion’s reach to span everything from celebrity to fine art, and he injected an industry once famously fusty and white-gloved with daring, youth and irreverence.

Propelled by a dizzying forward momentum, even in later years the man’s workload was formidable. He designed fifteen collections per year for three visually distinct houses - Chanel, Fendi and his namesake label. He often photographed and filmed advertising campaigns for the houses under his creative direction, as well as capturing editorials for leading magazines. Lagerfeld was an enthusiastic collaborator, kickstarting the high-street/designer partnership phenomenon with the Swedish retailer H&M in 2004 and lending his design talents to everything from Steiff bears to Steinway pianos. He even owned a Paris bookshop. Lagerfeld was also, of course, the keeper of Choupette, the white Birman cat that commands more than 100,000 Instagram followers.

Lagerfeld’s skill was in capturing the mood of the moment. He was an avid reader and observer, distilling everything he saw, heard and read into potent fashion images. (His library, mainly comprising photography and art books, is estimated to total more than 100,000 volumes.) “I get bored very easily. The thought of spending my life reworking the same theme over and over again is a nightmare”, he told the Guardian in 1985. This tireless determination to stay ahead required a lack of sentimentality and ruthless detachment from his own work. As he told Suzy Menkes in an interview for British Vogue's June 2018 issue, his work process comes naturally: “I do it like I breathe. I wake up in the middle of the night and have an idea. I put it on a card I have next to my bed and I make the sketches in the morning before I forget it.”

And then there were the muses: Inès de la Fressange, Anna Piaggi and Amanda Harlech, right through to Rihanna, Kristen Stewart and Lily-Rose Depp. These women may not always have stayed in his affections – and outwardly share little in common – but each possesses a discernible strength of character and idiosyncratic beauty. They are, he said, essential to his creative process. “Without ‘muses’ the process would be very abstract and lifeless,” he told a journalist in 2014. “They help to give things expressions and form.”

Born to a wealthy family in Germany in the mid-1930s (there is some discussion over his actual birth date) Lagerfeld moved to Paris aged 14, where he completed his education at Lycée Montaigne, and learnt to sketch. He achieved early success, winning the coat award in the 1954 International Wool Secretariat competition (now known as the Woolmark Prize) aged 21. (A 19-year-old Yves Saint Laurent won the cocktail dress category, and the two became friends.) Lagerfeld was immediately hired as a junior assistant and then apprentice at Balmain, the haute couture house, who also reproduced his winning coat design. This was followed by a stint at Jean Patou as designer in 1958.

When he left Jean Patou in 1963 he also left haute couture, apparently tired of creating formal clothing for the rich. At the time, the decision to become a freelance ready-to-wear designer was regarded as bold, even foolhardy. His friend, the designer Fernando Sanchez, said that Lagerfeld understood that the fashion landscape was changing: “He totally grasped the epoch”, Sanchez said in an interview with Alicia Drake, author of Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent’s twin biography The Beautiful Fall. “He knew he wanted to do his own thing and not in some old couture house”.

Lagerfeld began working at Chloé in 1964. Chloé’s founder, Gaby Aghion, encouraged him to escape from his formal couture training and take a freer approach to design. By the early '70s, Chloé had evolved from an in-the-know Parisian label into an internationally-recognised powerhouse.

In 1965 Lagerfeld added Fendi, the Rome-based fashion house, to his client list. Collaborating closely with the Fendi sisters, Lagerfeld helped catapult the Italian brand to global fame with a focus on designing luxury furs. And despite his self-professed short attention span, his six-decade tenure at Fendi is unparalleled by any other designer. (In context: Lagerfeld began designing for Fendi before man walked on the moon.) His work at the Italian house was not without controversy. At a 1993 show he put porn star Moana Pozzi and a series of dancers in lacy swimwear, causing American Vogue's editor Anna Wintour to walk out, and the use of fur in collections led to much public criticism from PETA and elsewhere.

The designer founded his eponymous ready-to-wear label in 1984. It was later sold to the Tommy Hilfiger Group, in 2005, and is currently owned by investment fund Apax Partners. But Lagerfeld always seemed most at home designing under someone else’s name - most famously that of Coco Chanel.

In 1982, the chairman of Chanel, Alain Wertheimer, asked Lagerfeld to design for the house. The announcement was met with mutterings about whether this German styliste - and not a couturier - was up to the job of tackling this national monument. Lagerfeld had spent much of his career loudly criticising haute couture, insisting that it was a relic from the '50s and “pas du tout moderne”. But from his first Chanel couture collection, for spring/summer 1983, Lagerfeld made his detractors eat their words. “Without disturbing the Chanel spirit, he managed to enliven the character of the clothes”, the New York Times reporter wrote of his debut couture collection.

His genius was in his irreverent manipulation of the Chanel oeuvre. Lagerfeld made cult items of the house’s bouclé tweeds, pearls, gilt buttons, two-toned footwear and interlocking C’s for a new generation. He shrunk the jackets, shortened the skirts and blinged up the accessories. In doing so he helped build a multibillion-pound luxury empire - and created a blueprint for designers such as Tom Ford, Nicolas Ghesquière and Marc Jacobs, who have since gone on to revitalise languishing fashion houses.

“Tradition is something that you have to handle carefully, because it can kill you. Respect was never creative. What I did, in a way, was to update the Chanel… it’s an exercice de style”, he told Vogue in 1984. Lagerfeld’s relationship with haute couture’s petites mains, the highly skilled artisans who painstakingly bring the clothes to life, marked him out from other designers. In 2003 he conceived Chanel’s Métiers d’Art, an annual runway show designed to highlight the rare craftsmanship of storied French workshops such as Desrues and Lesage.

Lagerfeld’s Chanel fashion shows perfectly illustrated the designer’s belief that fashion cannot exist in a bubble. “Fashion is also an attempt to make certain invisible aspects of the reality of the moment visible,” he wrote, in the catalogue that accompanied Chanel’s 2005 show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From the off, his Chanel shows revealed an astute understanding of the power of image and hype. The runway sets became legendary, and he sent models down the runway with branded hockey sticks and surfboards and, more recently, pushing shopping trollies in a Chanel supermarket. “Lagerfeld’s strength is that he as good at creating context as he is good at creating fashion”, Joan Juliet Buck, his friend and the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris, wrote in 1979.

His desire to reflect popular culture wasn’t without its provocative moments. In autumn/winter 1991 he presented a rap and hip-hop themed show considered risqué and distasteful for the venerable French fashion house. “Rappers tell the truth - that’s what’s needed now,” he said, with a shrug, in a filmed post-show interview. More recently, the spring/summer 2015 show, in which models stormed down the runway holding signs stamped with well-worn feminist slogans such as ‘History is Her Story’, received criticism from some camps for appropriating a political message to sell clothes.

The ability to defy expectations extended well beyond the runway. In 2001, Lagerfeld lost 92 pounds so that, he said, he could be slim enough to wear Dior Homme suits. Ever savvy, his subsequent book, The Karl Lagerfeld Diet, became an international bestseller.

In 2004 H&M launched its first-ever designer collaboration with Lagerfeld. The unprecedented concept of a high-street brand piggybacking on luxury fashion helped break down the divide between high and low fashion. Its success made designer collaborations an annual part of the fashion calendar, with subsequent collections by Comme des Garçons, Lanvin and Maison Margiela.

Indeed, it seemed Lagerfeld’s personal fame was inevitable. As he told Suzy Menkes in 2018: “I want to have a superficial image – I don’t want to look serious. You can be serious, but you mustn’t show it.” Elsewhere, it is difficult to identify Lagerfeld with a specific design ethos; his tastes have been described as straddling the rich baroque and the strictly modern. “I am not one of these people who feel they have established their look and want to keep on re-doing it,” he told the New York Times in 1979. He leaves a legacy that is as rich and varied as the library in his Paris apartment.

Legendary Designer Karl Lagerfeld Has Died

Karl Lagerfeld, one of the most prolific and widely popular designers of the 20th and 21st centuries, has died in Paris. He was 85.

Lagerfeld was creative director of Chanel, the French house founded by Gabrielle Chanel, for an era-defining, age-defying 36 years. Upon assuming the reins in 1983, Lagerfeld swiftly revived Chanel, reinterpreting the house founder’s iconic tweed skirtsuits, little black dresses, and quilted handbags. He did it via the lens of hip-hop one season and California surfer chicks the next—he was a pop culture savant—without ever forgetting what the revolutionary Coco stood for: independence, freedom, and modernity.

In more recent years, as the company’s fortunes grew and grew, Lagerfeld became known for the lavish Grand Palais sets he conceived for the six Chanel collections he designed a year. There was a rocket ship, a reproduction of the Eiffel Tower, and a supermarché stocked strictly with Chanel-brand products. Florence Welch sang on the half-shell at the Spring 2012 show. Most memorable of all was the improbable giant iceberg from Scandinavia that Chanel shipped across the continent for the Fall 2010 show. Lagerfeld also pioneered the concept of the traveling pre-season show. The Karl caravan has landed variously in Versailles; West Lothian, Scotland; Dallas; Seoul; and, spectacularly, Havana, Cuba.

“What I love best in life is new starts,” Lagerfeld once said. And thank goodness. In addition to his duties for Chanel, Lagerfeld was the creative director of fur and ready-to-wear at Fendi, a position he assumed in 1965. In an era of designer musical chairs, when creative directors are given three years—or even less—to make a brand work, Lagerfeld was the éminence grise that broke the rule. The multitasking designer also designed collections under his own name, but despite his international fame, neither his eponymous collections or the ones he did for Fendi achieved the status of his work for Chanel.

Lagerfeld was the worthiest of successors. The public’s fascination with him rivals its interest in Chanel herself, who was the subject of numerous biographies, plays, and films both recent and vintage; Katharine Hepburn played her on Broadway in the 1970 musical Coco. There is no musical about Lagerfeld’s life yet, but don’t count him out. He cut an indelible figure with his omnipresent sunglasses, black leather gloves, Chrome Hearts rings, and powdered white ponytail. In the early 2000s, he shed nearly 100 pounds in order to wear the narrow-cut suits designed by Hedi Slimane for Dior Homme, and wrote a book about the process with his doctor called The Karl Lagerfeld Diet. More recent testaments to his notoriety include the public’s fascination with his Birman cat, Choupette, who is also the subject of a book and the popular Where’s Waldo? parody Where’s Karl? In the second season of A Series of Unfortunate Events, which aired in early 2018, the actor Neil Patrick Harris’s character, Count Olaf, donned a very Lagerfeldian disguise—high-collared shirt, strictly tailored jacket, ponytail wig—and went by the name of Gunther.

Karl Lagerfeld was born on September 10, 1933, in Hamburg, Germany, to Otto Lagerfeld and Elisabeth Bahlmann, though, as his peer Azzedine Alaïa was wont to do, Lagerfeld often lied about his age, as well as the occupation and background of his parents. This much is inarguable: His name has been in lights from the very earliest moments of his fashion career.

In 1954, at barely 21, Lagerfeld won the International Wool Secretariat in the coat category, sharing the stage with a man who would become his rival in fashion (and in love), Yves Saint Laurent, who won for his dress design. The recognition landed Lagerfeld a job with the couturier Pierre Balmain, where he designed for films and dressed stars including Sophia Loren, after which he became head designer at Jean Patou. In 1963, he began freelancing for Gaby Aghion at Chloé, which is widely considered to be France’s first ready-to-wear label, and took a full-time spot there in 1974, but not before he assumed the creative director job at the Roman furrier label Fendi, a post that he held until his death. His stint at Chloé paralleled the rise of designers from backroom workmen to stars worthy of the spotlight. Lagerfeld shared that spotlight with Yves Saint Laurent, who is similarly credited with introducing the concept of ready-to-wear to the world with his Rive Gauche line, launched in 1966.

In 1983, Alain Wertheimer, the co-owner of Chanel, asked Lagerfeld to breathe new life into the iconic French house, which had been in sleepy decline since Coco Chanel’s death at the age of 87 in 1971. Lagerfeld obliged in spectacular fashion. Capitalizing on the burgeoning post-modernism of the 1980s, he quoted Coco-isms with such verve his Chanel became the paragon of heritage brand revivals. He didn’t so much honor the Chanel codes as subvert and amplify them—see that Fall ’91 hip-hop collection. And he delivered the goods off the runway, too. “Fashion without wit is disastrous,” he once said, and he was rarely, if ever, without a quippy soundbite. But even as the shows became spectacles, the Chanel signature tweed suit was the canvas Lagerfeld returned to and reinterpreted again and again. The marvel of his many scores of collections is that although the silhouette changed dramatically, often from one season to the next, they all looked recognizably, archetypally Chanel.

That goes for his ready-to-wear collections, his couture, and the annual Métiers d’Art show the house stages every December—most recently Karl and co. took over the Temple of Dendur at the Met. Lagerfeld launched the Métiers d’Art concept in 2002 in order to celebrate the workmanship of the ateliers that Chanel acquired via its Paraffection subsidiary. There are 26 maisons in all, including Lesage (embroidery), Goossens (goldsmithing), Lemarié (feathers), and Maison Michel (millinery), some of which Coco Chanel herself worked with.

Longevity is Lagerfeld’s greatest achievement, but his career has been marked by countless smaller ones. At Chloé he defined the easeful look and feel of ready-to-wear, which was then a nascent category. In the 1990s, he began developing a second career as a commercial photographer, which enabled him to shoot his own advertising campaigns and portfolios for various international magazines, Vogue included. In 2004, Lagerfeld lent his imprimatur to H&M’s first designer collaboration. Labels from Comme des Garçons and Maison Margiela signed on with the Swedish fast-fashion giant in his wake, and collaborations remain the lingua franca of the fashion industry to this day. The one constant in his life was drawing; he was fashion’s most prolific and gifted sketcher. His drawings have fetched thousands of dollars at auction over the years. Recently, he’s used his prolific skills in this medium to wade into politics and social commentary, skewering the German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her immigration policies and the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in the wake of his sexual misconduct scandal.

Lagerfeld’s ceaseless pursuit of the new at work—with six collections a year at Chanel, just for starters, it was a job requirement—was reflected in his homes. Museum-worthy collections of Louis XV, Art Deco, and Memphis have been amassed and summarily sold off. Before the advent of the iPhone, he was famous for owning 300 iPods, each one programmed with different music. The only collection he never de-acquisitioned was his “zillions” of books. His home in Biarritz was said to hold “three miles” of them. So passionate a bibliophile was Lagerfeld that in 1999 he opened a small bookshop in Paris’s seventh district, 7L, and the following year launched an imprint with the German publisher Steidl.

Lagerfeld received many accolades over the years. Nicole Kidman presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2002, and the British Fashion Council recognized him in 2015 with its Outstanding Achievement Award. He received France’s highest honor, commander of the Légion d’Honneur, from then–President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2010. And in 2005, Chanel was the subject of a Costume Institute exhibition that juxtaposed period pieces with Lagerfeld’s creations.

As for his successor, Lagerfeld once claimed he’d like Haider Ackermann, though he later denied it. More recently, Hedi Slimane was rumored to be launching menswear for the house, but that claim was likewise refuted. Today Chanel said that Lagerfeld’s right of hand Virginie Viard, who came out in his place at the January couture show, would take over creative work for the collections. Nonetheless, the truth of the matter is that Karl Lagerfeld is irreplaceable.

What The Future Of Chanel After Karl Lagerfeld Looks Like

Upon the death of Karl Lagerfeld on February 19, Chanel announced that Virginie Viard, director of the creative studio of the house, would take the reins “so that the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Lagerfeld could live on." On February 27 – just six days prior to the autumn/winter 2019 presentation at Paris Fashion Week – Chanel reiterated that the brand leadership would remain internal, thus quashing rumours of a round of musical chairs in fashion (the industry’s favourite party game to predict).

Viard will oversee all haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessories going forward as Lagerfeld’s longstanding right-hand woman is officially appointed artistic director of fashion collections. Eric Pfrunder, Chanel’s director of image for the last three decades, will stay as artistic director of fashion image. “[Chanel chief executive officer] Alain Wertheimer confirms his confidence in the team that worked with Karl Lagerfeld for over 30 years, and in all the fashion teams at Chanel under the leadership of Bruno Pavlovsky, fashion president for the house, to further develop the creativity and vitality of fashion at Chanel,” the company said in a statement.

Viard’s appointment promises continuity, but it is also a landmark moment at the house. Not since Gabrielle Chanel first introduced her brand to the world in 1910 has another woman been at its head. After joining Chanel as an intern in 1987 and following Lagerfeld to Chloé in 1992 and 1997, Viard took on the role of coordinator for Chanel haute couture, and then ready-to-wear in 2000. She has been taking a bow alongside Lagerfeld since the cruise 2019 show in May 2018, and took a solo turn around the Grand Palais at the close of the couture spring/summer 2019 show in January, when Chanel announced that Lagerfeld was “feeling tired”. The first presentation without the legendary creative director, who built up an insurmountable legacy over his 36 years as its leader, will be emotional for Viard and everyone invited to the witness Lagerfeld's last work for the house.

Brie Larson’s Custom Valentino Gown Makes Her The Ultimate Captain Marvel Hero

Kapow! Brie Larson might have been out of the spotlight shooting her next string of films, but, this week, she came back with a bang on the promotional tour of Captain Marvel, the 21st film in the comic book franchise and the first with a female lead.

As the titular role, Larson had two options at the London premiere. Downplay the superhero connotations and opt for a classic red-carpet gown which would make an impact of its own accord – much like the Celine by Hedi Slimane design that she wore at the Oscars 2019. Or, get into character and commission a fantastical dress to acknowledge that it’s a kick-ass – albeit long overdue – moment to be celebrated. Larson chose the latter.

With the help of her stylist Samantha McMillen, the actor worked with Pierpaolo Piccioli to create a custom Valentino gown that used the accents of a superhero’s uniform as its blueprint. The rich royal blue gown with cascading cape feature that could be shrugged off the shoulders comprised cut-outs and flecks of gold, and fanned out into the same diameter as all Piccioli’s couture ball gowns (read: XL). Even McMillen marvelled at the creation. “I seriously have no words to express my awe and gratitude to Piccioli and his incredible couture team at Maison Valentino for creating this gown,” she wrote via Instagram.

Larson’s co-stars Gemma Chan and Lashana Lynch wore equally punchy red-carpet confections (a red Brandon Maxwell two-piece and a fuchsia slashed-thigh Michael Costello dress) to celebrate the blockbuster, which is set in the ’90s and acts as a backstory to the present-day happenings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here’s hoping the casting paves the way for more Marvel female roles to take flight. There’s always room for more capes on the red carpet.

Burberry Announces A New Diversity Initiative

Burberry has announced a series of new diversity and inclusivity initiatives, which aim to “make real change happen”. Burberry’s chief executive Marco Gobbetti issued an official statement on Instagram, followed by a further apology for the controversy the brand faced after it showcased a hoodie that received negative comments during the autumn/winter 2019 shows during London Fashion Week. “At Burberry, we have always sought to build a culture that is diverse, open and inclusive and one where all perspectives are valued,” Gobbetti wrote. “The distress we caused with one of our products last week has shown us that we are not where we need or want to be. We are determined to learn from this and have spoken with our employees, experts and communities we impacted, we have developed a plan to increase our consciousness and understanding of social issues and fully embrace diversity and inclusion.”

As part of its new plan, Burberry has launched a three-stage initiative to achieve its goal. Firstly, the brand will increase its understanding of a range of sensitive topics by rolling out additional training for all employees. It will also establish employee councils and create an advisory board.

Additionally, the brand plans on attracting a diverse line-up of talent by expanding its creative arts scholarship internationally – with the goal of providing full-time employment for 50 of its graduates – and expanding Burberry Inspire (an in-school arts and culture programme designed to help young people overcome challenging circumstances) internationally, too. And it will continue to actively support organisations which promote diversity and inclusion and charities such as Samaritans.

Just last month, Prada also announced the launch of a new Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, which aims to “amplify voices of colour within the industry”. Both director and producer Ava DuVernay and artist Theaster Gates have been appointed as co-chairs to assist the brand with its “initiative to elevate voices of colour within the company and the fashion industry at-large.”

Selfridges Pledges To Ban The Sale Of Exotic Skins By 2020

For over a decade, Selfridges has never wavered from its pledge to not sell fur. Now the British department store has added exotic skins to the list – with the goal of having phased out all products made of python, lizard, crocodile skin and python, and only selling leather from agricultural livestock by 2020.

“We are dedicated to being at the very forefront of future-thinking retail. For us, that’s a future where luxury is defined by craftsmanship and material innovation,” said Selfridges’ buying director Sebastian Manes. Just last month, Victoria Beckham announced that it would cease using exotic skinsin all future presentations as of its autumn/winter 2019 ready-to-wear presentation. The move followed on from the footsteps of Chanel, who vowed to halt the use of skins in its future creations in December 2018. The decision resulted from the brand consistently finding it difficult to source skins that met the house’s quality and ethical standards. A whole of host of brands – from Versace to Michael Kors – have also stopped using fur.

For Selfridges, though, this announcement is part of a larger strategy it is rolling out: Buying Better, Inspiring Change was launched in 2016 in a bid to ensure 50 per cent of its products are eco-friendly by 2022, keeping ethical and environmental considerations at the forefront. This move has only been furthered by its recent launch of Project Ocean, which has involved the store removing all single-use plastic bottles from its shelves since 2015, and all single-use carbonated drinks bottles since last year.

Since 2011, Selfridges’ Bright New Things initiative has also been spotlighting brilliant up-and-coming designers – with a specific focus on designers championing sustainability since 2016. “As a leading global retailer, Selfridges seeks to use its influence to encourage partners and people to buy responsibly, respect the planet and protect our future,” said Selfridges’ director of sustainability, Daniella Vega. This season, newcomers ELV Denim, Permanent Clothing, Elliss, Good News and Stay Wild have made the cut. From swimwear made from regenerated sea fishnets to denim fashioned from upcycled vintage jeans, all the designers are showcasing how stylish sustainable options can truly be.

New Details Emerge About Rihanna's LVMH Deal, Dubbed Project Loud France

Rumblings of a deal between Rihanna and LVMH first emerged in January, and now, new findings from French accounting firm Ledouble show that the venture – entitled Project Loud France after the popstar’s fifth album Loud – is firmly in motion.

Transactions filed show that Rihanna has invested €29,988,000 worth of in-kind contributions to the business and Project Loud France, the majority shareholder controlled by LVMH, has pledged over €30 million into the brand. A document on the recent cash flow (€29,960,000 was deposited on December 20 2018, in addition to the initial equity of €40,000 which dates back to June 29 2017) was signed by Antoine Arnault on behalf of a company called LV Group, according to Business of Fashion. Rihanna is a 49.99 per cent shareholder in Project Loud France via her company Denim UK Holdings.

Project Loud France’s purpose is the “conception, fabrication, distribution, commerce, importation and exportation” of products across a range of categories including menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, footwear, eyewear, leather goods, sportswear, “goods linked to lifestyle”, high-tech products, office supplies, home decor and garden products, the new reports find. Jean-Baptiste Voisin, LVMH’s chief strategy officer, takes the role of president at the new business, which has central premises on 24-32 Rue Jean Goujon – the same address as the LVMH Fashion Group. Any speculation about whether the deal was a product of the rumour mill has thus been put paid to. However, the breadth of the category selection does not throw up any concrete evidence as to what the product offering will look like, or, indeed, when it will come to light.

If you're not one of Rihanna's 69.7 million Instagram followers, now is the time to click on the little blue tick. The Barbadian entrepreneur teased both her Fenty Beauty brand and Savage X Fenty lingerie lines via buzzy social clips, and subsequently whipped the world into a Fenty frenzy. Upon launching, her inaugural edits flew off the shelves and then she teased out newer, fresher product lines to go wild about. Her universal, inclusive appeal is magnetic – and the world can't stay away. Stay tuned for RiRi's next internet-breaking initiation day.

Dua Lipa On Making Fashion “Accessible” And Spreading Kindness In 2019

It’s not often that the UK produces a female artist who can not only carry off triple denim with aplomb, but is also just as renowned for being vocal about feminism and spreading kindness as she is at putting out records. “It’s good to scroll through social media and see something nice that makes you feel better about yourself, rather than something that’s going to bring you down,” Dua Lipa says, speaking exclusively to Vogue. “Let’s actually stand up for women, let’s actually be nice to each other because people are becoming keyboard warriors where they can hide behind a screen, and they can say what they want.”

It’s instantly apparent why Lipa, Vogue’s January 2019 cover star, is a natural fit for Pepe Jeans London's spring/summer 2019 campaign. Regardless of her having already mastered her own sense of style – thanks in part to “experimenting and trying out styles, without being afraid of fashion” – Lipa is a 23-year-old woman who represents the change she wishes to see for women everywhere, including making “fashion feel like something that’s accessible to everyone”.

And accessibility is certainly at the heart of the Pepe Jeans London brand: having first emerged in 1973 on London's Portobello Road, it's brought timeless denim pieces to the market ever since. It’s something Lipa - who says she grew up wearing Pepe Jeans London - can relate to. “It’s a British brand and I feel like it has kind of followed me through my life,” she explains. “I remember when I was younger seeing the campaigns – featuring Sienna Miller and Alexa Chung – women who are really iconic, and I’d see them on posters and on the side of buses.”

Maybe that’s why when working on the black-and-white campaign – photographed by David Sims – it felt “like a very natural collaboration”. It shows in the final pieces: a collection of well-cut jeans, laid-back slogan tees and effortless denim jackets, all made using new eco-technologies thanks to the brand's newly created Tru-Blu programme, which focuses on sustainable denim manufacturing.

Born in London to Albanian parents, Lipa makes her mark as the first musician to front a campaign for the brand – a feat she was thrilled to achieve. But in truth, Lipa has been racking up milestone moments ever since she first released her self-titled album in 2017. She made history after being nominated for five categories at the 2018 Brit Awards – becoming the first female to do so. Not to mention the fact that she's held the title of most streamed female artist in the world for the past two years.

“People are starting to slowly wake up to the fact that it’s not that women haven’t been working hard or that we haven’t been pushing ourselves forward,” Lipa explains. She's talking about her Grammy acceptance speech, which saw her make a direct reference to Recording Academy president Neil Portnow's suggestion that women needed to “step up” in order to be recognised within the music industry, a comment he made in response to the public’s disappointment regarding the lack of female winners at the 2018 awards show. “It’s just that we haven’t been taken seriously, or been given opportunities. I hope for years to come we’ll just bring sprinkles and sprinkles more of that, to the point where we feel equal to men, and where we have equal opportunities [to them]." But for Lipa, the formula for women’s success is simple: “I think it’s about the public not being so hard on women for wanting to be ourselves.”

Billy Porter On Why He Wore A Gown, Not A Tux, To The Oscars

At tonight’s 91st Academy Awards in Los Angeles, California, Posestar Billy Porter defied fashion norms by stepping out onto the Oscars red carpet in an unapologetically fabulous gown. The custom creation by designer Christian Siriano included a sharply tailored tuxedo jacket overtop a full-skirted strapless velvet gown. A play on masculinity and femininity, the look challenged the rigid Hollywood dress code and was boundary-pushing in all the right ways.

For the actor and singer, the fashion choice was deeply personal. Below, Porter reflects on coming to terms with his queer identity and how his fashion choices have became a powerful tool for self-expression and representation.

"I’ve always been inspired by fashion. My grandmother, my mom—they were always stylish. I grew up loving fashion, but there was a limit to the ways in which I could express myself. When you’re black and you’re gay, one’s masculinity is in question. I dealt with a lot of homophobia in relation to my clothing choices. [Even] when I had my first working contract at A&M Records, I was silent for a long time. I was trying to fit in to what other people felt I should look like. When I landed a role in Kinky Boots, the experience really grounded me in a way that was so unexpected. Putting on those heels made me feel the most masculine I’ve ever felt in my life. It was empowering to let that part of myself free.

"Now I’m in a space where, being on Pose, I’m invited to red carpets and I have something to say through clothes. My goal is to be a walking piece of political art every time I show up. To challenge expectations. What is masculinity? What does that mean? Women show up every day in pants, but the minute a man wears a dress, the seas part. It happened to me at the Golden Globes [when I wore a pink cape], and I was like, really? Y’all trippin’? I stopped traffic! That Globes outfit changed everything for me. I had the courage to push the status quo. I believe men on the red carpet would love to play more. This industry masquerades itself as inclusive, but actors are afraid to play, because if they show up as something outside of the status quo, they might be received as feminine, and, as a result, they won’t get that masculine job, that superhero job. And that’s the truth. I’ve been confronted with that.

"I’ve always wanted to wear a ball gown, I just didn’t know when. I was inspired [this past New York Fashion Week] because there’s a conversation happening about inclusion and diversity. There were so many people of different races and voices. At Palomo Spain, genderless boys floated down the runway in gorgeous chiffon dresses and capes. It was lovely. Fashion has the ability to touch people in a different way. I also went to Christian Siriano’s show. I’ve loved him ever since he was on Project Runway. He was the first person who understood that everybody wears clothes—not just size zeros. He’s become the go-to person for all of the Hollywood women who are rejected by the fashion industry. The fashion industry rejects you if you’re above a size four, it’s ridiculous! I’ve always wanted to work with [Siriano]. I got this Oscars gig [hosting a red carpet pre-show], and at his party after the show, I just dropped it in his ear and said, “Do you think you’d have time to make me a gown?” And he said, “AAAAA-BSOLUTELY.”

"We wanted to play between the masculine and the feminine. This look was interesting because it’s not drag. I’m not a drag queen, I’m a man in a dress. He came up with a tux on the top, and a ballgown that bursts out at the bottom. I wore it with Rick Owens shoes. Rick is very gender-bending and rock’n’roll. It’s a high, 6-inch chunky boot that makes me feel really grounded. And I rocked some Oscar Heyman fine jewellery with it. They’re known for coloured jewels and gemstones. I wore their brooches for my Golden Globes look.

"Since I had a job to do that night, we came up with a [more practical] option for the actual [gig]. Christian had a day-to-night idea, where I would walk the carpet in the gown, but change into a tuxedo and palazzo pants for my interviews.

"[At the first fitting in the gown,] I felt alive. I felt free. And open, and radiant. And beautiful! Which has not always been the case for me. I haven’t always felt so good about myself. It really is astonishing how much of an affect clothes have on your spirit. My aunt Dorothy used to always say, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” That’s why I look good every time I leave the house. I want to run shit. From this [Oscars] moment, I want people to understand that you don’t have to understand or even agree with other people’s authenticity or truths, but we must all respect each other.

Met Gala 2019: 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 Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, to Manus x Machina, Punk: Chaos to Couture and China: Through the Looking Glass. This year's exhibition theme is Camp: Notes On Fashion.

Since 1995, the event has been chaired by US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who enlists public figures to serve as her co-chairs. Past hosts have included Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Amal Clooney and Rihanna. The Met Gala 2019, which marks the event's 71th anniversary, will be co-chaired by Lady Gaga, Alessandro Michele, Harry Styles and Serena Williams.

The Met Gala takes place on the first Monday of May, which this year falls on May 6th. Red-carpet coverage normally begins at 7pm local time, when team Vogue will begin reporting on all the outfit details.

Where will the Met Gala 2019 take place?

The Met Gala always 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 and the evening's performances. The odds are on Lady Gaga and Harry Styles, this year's co-chairs, to take to the stage.

What is the Met Gala 2019 theme?

Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute, has framed the exhibition around Susan Sontag’s seminal 1964 essay Notes on "Camp", which posited different ways in which the concept could be construed. Bolton told Hamish Bowles that he found Sontag’s writings so timely with what is going on culturally and politically that, “[he] felt it would have a lot of cultural resonance.”

Featuring some 200 fine art and fashion objects, the contents of the exhibition will trace the origins of the subject from the 17th century, specifically the court of Versailles, to the present day. "Basically, we go from sun kings to drag queens,” American Vogue editor Anna Wintour said at a press conference in February. A preview of the Johnny Dufort-lensed catalogue indicates that looks from Moschino’s spring/summer 2017 collection, Gucci’s autumn/winter 2016 offering and Off-White’s pre-fall 2018 edit will feature within the walls of the Met. That Marjan Pejoski swan dress will sit in the display cases alongside a fabulous Schiaparelli flamingo ensemble. And there are myriad Jeremy Scott – “the king of camp” – pieces on offer.

Speaking at the February press summit, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele said: “This is a very important moment because we will collaborate on the creation of this fantastic exhibition that has a DNA that is related to my work, working to the expression of human nature... Camp is a beautiful word.” Michele also paid tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, adding, “I would like to seize this opportunity to thank Karl, who is no longer with us, who has been a great representative of fashion, and who had a great love for life and this kind of work.”

What will everyone wear to the Met Gala 2019?

“Camp: Notes on Fashion” is a fitting theme for the annual Met Gala, which itself is usually a stage for camp costumes, writes Vogue contributor Osman Ahmed in his exploration of the proposition. From Gucci, which is sponsoring the exhibition, to Valentino, Schiaparelli and even Demna Gvasalia’s Internet-fuelled camp fashion.

Meet The Gucci Muse Who Inspired The Brand’s Latest It Bag

Gucci has a new It bag to covet – and it isn’t covered in rhinestones, studs, or tiger embroideries, nor is it shaped like a basketball or a Mickey Mouse head. In fact, it’s almost startlingly ladylike, with a boxy silhouette, a single top handle, and shiny hardware merging Gucci’s classic horsebit with interlocking Gs. The hybridised “logo” could be considered a nod to the house’s past and present, but Alessandro Michele actually discovered it deep in the archives; struck by how modern it looked so many years later, he decided to bring it back for 2019.

Dubbed the Zumi bag, it was sported by a number of celebrities at yesterday’s show: Saoirse Ronan’s was hunter green leather, Salma Hayek chose a miniature red one and Lou Doillon slung her mini Zumi over her shoulder on a detachable chain. Another woman – one you likely didn’t recognise – carried a large black version with a sparkly suit, a pink silk blouse and about a dozen chain necklaces. Her hair was chopped into messy bangs, and she’d drawn exaggerated Cleopatra eyeliner across her lids. In many ways, she looked like the ultimate Gucci muse – and she sort of is. She’s Zumi Rosow, the musician, jewellery designer and newly minted Gucci model after whom Michele named the bag.

Rosow first debuted her namesake bag on Gucci’s spring/summer 2019 runway, though you may have missed it. Carrying it again in “real life” (and seeing it on so many other attendees, too) was even more surreal: “It feels completely insane, like a dream,” Rosow wrote to Vogue. Flipping through her Instagram, you begin to understand why Michele wanted to bring her into the Gucci fold: She has a highly individual sense of style and expresses herself fearlessly; she’s unedited, uncontrived, and doesn’t seem particularly interested in capital-F fashion (aside from Gucci, of course). In her email, she described her look as such: “I’m like, part Bastet, the Egyptian cat goddess, part bat, vampire, Zarina, a leather daddy, Joan of Arc, the wild child...”

How did that translate to such a chic and minimalist bag? you wonder. According to Gucci, it’s “a kind of in-joke” between Michele and Rosow, because the Zumi’s refined, sleek lines contrast so sharply with its namesake’s aesthetic. “[Alessandro] is magical,” Rosow continues. “Everything he does reflects this wisdom and mysticism. I feel like his creations articulate my dreams.” On experiencing the show from the sidelines for the first time, she said: “It’s like witnessing Zeus throwing lightning bolts and being showered by their golden dust. I was honestly blown away by everything... I can still hear the sound of the metal on the boots of two of the men’s looks as they walked by. It sounded like a cowboy’s spurs! Punk cowboy warriors in a Greek tragedy! It felt very me!” If that’s speaking to you, too, the first drop of Zumi bags has already arrived in Gucci’s stores and online (including one that’s printed, inexplicably, with cartoon strawberries).

Moschino's AW19 Collection Is Full Of Winning Looks For The Met Gala 2019

Katy Perry and Madonna must have been licking their lips at the sign of the “TV dinner” cape on Moschino's autumn/winter 2019 catwalk. There was plenty of fodder for the duo, who has historically attended the Met Gala on the arm of the house’s creative director, Jeremy Scott, to consume and start plotting this year’s red-carpet looks for the Camp: Notes on Fashion dresscode.

It was fitting, then, that the theme of consumption – in particular, the consumerism encouraged by the consumerism encouraged by game shows, such as Wheel of Fortune and Price Is Right – set the tone for Scott’s most flamboyant presentation yet. “I’m the king of camp,” he told Vogue fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen joyfully backstage after he had taken his bow between the rotating platforms chocka with prizes.

Irina Shayk, come on down! If the sight of Kaia Gerber, Joan Smalls, Bella Hadid and Adut Akech wearing Dynasty-esque gowns, dollar-printed denim, Dolly Parton wigs and ultra-kitsch bags in the shape of champagne bottles, cash registers and hairdryers don’t inspire some absolutely fabulous looks for the annual fashion extravaganza, Scott may as well eat his vegetable medley coat.

While the main takeaway was certainly "more is more" – as fashion’s great and good ogled at gold leather suits littered with Quality Street-coloured gemstones, gowns printed with slot machine motifs and detergent patterned minis accented by rhinestones – another important message, Scott explained, was the fact that everyone is a winner in his eyes. Nice to see you, to see you nice! Bring on the first Monday in May.

Edie Campbell Reveals She Was Considered “Too Big” To Open Show At MFW

Edie Campbell is continuing to call out the fashion industry. The model – and Vogue cover star – took to Instagram on February 21 to reveal that she was told by a brand that she was “too big” to open its show during Milan Fashion Week.

Campbell – who closed the Alberta Ferretti show on February 21 – instead ordered a “slap-up brekkie” with her friend, artist Christabel MacGreevy in their hotel room in the city, shared the details on Instagram Stories. Pictured eating a croissant, she then added: “And by ‘too big’ I don’t mean ‘too famous’, I mean too fat.”

It’s not the first time Campbell – who has previously walked for Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton and Dior – has taken aim at the fashion industry. In 2017, she published an open letter on WWD, criticising the treatment of models. “We operate within a culture that is too accepting of abuse, in all of its manifestations,” she wrote. “This can be the ritual humiliation of models, belittling of assistants, power plays and screaming fits. We have come to see this as simply a part of the job.”

Karl Lagerfeld’s Final Fendi Collection Was Filled With His Personal Style Tics

Karl Lagerfeld, who died on Tuesday of this week, was named creative director at Fendi in 1965. That’s four years before man first landed on the moon. Five years before the Beatles broke up. Sixteen years before Prince Charles married Diana. Nineteen years before Steve Jobs invented the first Macintosh computer.

While Lagerfeld is synonymous with Chanel, which he transformed from a dusty brand into a multi-billion dollar company (total sales for 2017 were $9.62 billion), he is also an honorary Fendi. The ultimate mentor to Silvia Venturini Fendi, who currently heads up the house, she also considered him flesh and blood. “I first met him when I was five years old,” she said, in an interview last year. “In a lot of ways, Karl is family. Here is the kind of magical place where these values are very strong.”

That meant that today’s Fendi slot in Milan, for its autumn/winter 2019 show, was Lagerfeld’s last. Small cards had been left on each seat, inscribed with Karl’s signature and 19.02.2019, the date of his passing. “In his perpetual search for beauty and innovation, Karl’s commitment to his craft never waned,” read the show notes. A quote attributed to Silvia Venturini Fendi read: “The bond between Karl Lagerfeld and Fendi is fashion’s longest love story, one that will continue to touch our lives for years to come. I am profoundly saddened by his passing and deeply touched by his constant care and perseverance until the very end. When we called just a few days before the show, his only thoughts were on the richness and beauty of the Collection. It’s a true testament to his character. He shall be so missed.”

The atmosphere was sombre. “Love KL”, in Lagerfeld’s florid script loomed large over the catwalk, while a calligraphic F, apparently also in his hand, had been stitched into the taupe catwalk that comprised the runway. Then a piano started up and Fran Summers walked out in a vague approximation of what Karl might have worn had he been a woman: a giant snowy white bow at the throat crowning a sharply tailored mushroom-coloured double-breasted jacket. There were more starched white collars, frock coats, a flash of yellow patent, and of course, ponytails - all memento mori for one of fashion’s last kings.

As an emotional Silvia Venturini took her bow, David Bowie’s Heroesboomed out over the audience. Lagerfeld, who had a uncomplicated way with words and wasn’t afraid to roast celebrities grand and ignominious, was famously complimentary of Bowie. When he died, Lagerfeld told the Associated Press that Bowie was “a great artist and a timeless fashion icon... who will remain a reference.”

A video then flashed up on a screen above the catwalk: “54 years together”. It was Karl, being asked to draw a sketch of himself as he was when he arrived for his first day at Fendi. “Well that’s prehistoric,” he joked. “You know, in the Sixties, we didn’t hold back.” He begins drawing himself with a black sharpie: Cerruti hat, long hair, dark glasses, a printed lavallière tie, Norfolk jacket in Scottish tweed in red and yellow, French culottes, boots, and “a bag I found in Milan.” As he said of Bowie - Lagerfeld will forever remain a reference.

Ahead Of PFW, Ralph Lauren Launches A Pop-Up Café In The French Capital

Multiple coffee pit stops are a given during any fashion week, which is exactly why Ralph Lauren is aiming to please with its café pop-up in Paris. Launching ahead of Paris Fashion Week, Ralph’s Coffee will cater to press, buyers and models, alike, as they make a swift exit from one show to the next.

The Saint Germain pop-up will serve up an array of sweet treats and drinks. From Ralph’s signature five-layer chocolate cake to brownies and caramel popcorn, there’s plenty to pick from on its à la carte menu. Not to mention, its first-class coffee, which is made from USDA organic coffee and features organically grown beans from Central and South America and Africa.

The move follows the success of the brand’s newly opened locations in New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Ralph’s Coffee Truck in the Big Apple’s Rockefeller Center. Just last year, the iconic brand showcased its spring/summer 2019 in its flagship store on Madison Avenue, turning it into an immersive café experience. From its gold finishings to decadent chandeliers, it made for an opulent show.

Ralph’s Coffee is located on 173 boulevard Saint-Germain 75006 and will be open from February 22 to March 5th.

Who Is Virginie Viard, Karl Lagerfeld’s Successor At Chanel?

Not since Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel first introduced her iconic brand to the world in 1910 has another woman been at its helm – until now. After the news of the death of the brand’s artistic director Karl Lagerfeld broke on February 19, a statement soon followed confirming his successor: his long-standing right-hand woman Virginie Viard.

Viard – who stood in Lagerfeld's place at the Chanel Haute Couture spring/summer 2019 show in January because Lagerfeld was “feeling tired” – has been by his side for decades. She started as an intern at Chanel in 1987, and left Chanel with Lagerfeld to join Chloé in 1992, where the pair worked together for five years. When Lagerfeld returned to the French fashion house in 1997, she took on the role of coordinator for haute couture, and then ready-to-wear in 2000.

Working in fashion wasn’t always Viard's goal. Instead, she wanted to “make theatre costumes”, she told to French magazine Crash in 2011. “I started in costume production as an assistant to Dominique Borg, who notably produced costumes for Camille Claudel; then I was a costume designer for films and plays, until I met Karl, who suggested I work at Chanel and then Chloé.” She created the costumes for 1993 film Trois Couleurs: Bleu [Three Colours: Blue], with Juliette Binoche, and 1994 film Trois Couleurs: Blanc[Three Colours: White] while working with Karl at Chloé.

Tasked with continuing the creative work for the Chanel collections, “so that the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld can live on", by Chanel chief executive officer Alain Wertheimer, Viard has been an integral part of the design process for many years now. “I make the collections come to life with the ateliers and the Métiers d’Art houses, based on Karl’s sketches,” Viard explained to The Telegraph in 2017. “I coordinate the teams, liaise with suppliers and choose fabrics. Then, of course, I do fittings with Karl. As soon as I receive his sketches, the process begins. I try to please him, but I like to surprise him too.”

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Climate Change Protests Disrupt London Fashion Week

On a day when some of the biggest names in British fashion were showing their autumn/winter 2019 collections in London, protestors were chanting, “There’s no fashion on a dead planet.” During Victoria Beckham’s show at Tate Britain on February 17, they blocked Mercedes-Benz-sponsored cars, dressed in grass coats, and carried signs that read “Ethical is always on trend,” among other pointed slogans.

Extinction Rebellion, the environmentalist group that made headlines in November by shutting down the city intermittently for several days, “swarming” areas of heavy traffic and blocking major roads and bridges in order to call attention to the climate change crisis, had disrupted the runway. A decentralised coalition now with hundreds of outgrowths in dozens of countries, the founding British faction turned its sights to one of the world’s most wasteful industries, during one of its most important weeks.

“Everybody needs clothes, but we don’t need as many clothes as we make today,” says Clare Farrell, an Extinction founding member and environmentalist who helped lead the LFW actions. “The reason why we’re going to the fashion industry is because it is one of the most polluting on earth. It is using a vast quantity of the carbon budget that we have left to produce products that we don’t need.”

Clothing underutilisation and waste costs the global economy £400 billion a year, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The extreme linearity of the textile industry means that large amounts of nonrenewable resources are used to produce clothes that are most often incinerated or turned into landfill. Textile production creates 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

So the need for industry reform is huge. “If you look at the consumer price index, it’s the only commodity that has pretty much flatlined in price in the past 30, 40 years,” says Farrell, who is also a lecturer specialising in fashion and sustainability, “so of course people just buy more of it.” But the vast majority of consumers who are buying fast fashion or high street retail don’t think about the consequences. “It’s important for people who don’t think about where things come from to be reminded,” she continues. “It’s possible that clothing relies solely on agriculture or petrochemicals for raw material, which are the two spaces that I would suggest are going to be a very volatile industry in the future. There’s a duty of care for people who understand that to educate not just the public, but even young designers who might not necessarily think about how they won’t be able to make cotton clothes when there’s no topsoil and no water.” Farrell cites UK designer Bethany Williamsas an up-and-comer who is “very principled – she is receiving this year’s Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.”

Now Farrell and her cohorts are asking players at the highest level of the industry to do their part. Last week, Extinction addressed the British Fashion Council directly via an open letter, calling on it to “use its influential position to tell the truth about climate change.” It insisted that the BFC declare a climate emergency (London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, declared one last year, after Extinction made its debut). Though a formal declaration has yet to come out of the appeal, it did get Farrell and others an audience with Caroline Rush, the British Fashion Council CEO, ahead of the shows this season. On the phone to Vogue that same day, Farrell said organisers stressed that they weren’t targeting individuals or brands, but the industry as a whole: “And the response is almost always to make something new. That’s the opposite of what we need to do.”

What’s more, the fashion industry’s current rhetoric on sustainability might actually impede systemic overhaul more than anything else. Already this February, London Fashion Week played host to sustainability-focused events, with Mother of Pearl designer Amy Powney partnering with BBC Earth and the BFC in a series of talks on micro-plastics. “I absolutely advocate for material innovation and kelp farms and a diversity of fibre sourcing,” Farrell says. “There’s tons of stuff going on, and the issue is that that’s just not enough.” She thinks that schemes like vintage resale or return incentives at stores make consumers believe clothing is being “recycled” when it really isn’t. And fashion’s penchant for turning political movements into viral runway moments and T-shirt slogans makes Farrell skeptical. “The fashion industry is so good at co-opting anything and then making it fashionable and then selling you something,” she notes. Though she hopes that Sunday’s actions recruited some “fashionable allies.”

But did it? Designers have yet to speak out in support of the actions, though clearly Extinction Rebellion has made its presence felt. Ultimately, no one was arrested at the demonstrations, which in addition to blocking roads outside Beckham’s show, shut down traffic on the Strand. Police and rebels cooperated to let emergency vehicles through.

The real change will come when “less is more” becomes not just a design adage but an ethical impulse. After visiting a recent exhibition of new designers at Somerset House, Farrell admitted to feeling a twinge of missing creating things. “It made me feel really sad, because I looked around and thought: Oh, I really miss making things and feeling able to,” she says. But as an educator and organiser, she now has a new creative outlet. “What we’re trying to say to individual industries is this: Governments are not going to do this for us. You need to think very hard about the consequences of the business that you’re in and have urgent conversations with everybody whom you encounter about what could be done.”

Karl Lagerfeld Has Died

Karl Lagerfeld has died at what is believed to be the age of 85. Concern was sparked about the German couturier’s health after he was absent from the Chanel Haute Couture spring/summer 2019 show in January. The artistic director asked Virginie Viard, director of the creative studio of the house, to represent him and greet the guests, because Lagerfeld was “feeling tired”.

“Thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, Karl Lagerfeld was ahead of his time, which widely contributed to the house of Chanel’s success throughout the world," said Chanel chief executive officer Alain Wertheimer. "Today, not only have I lost a friend, but we have all lost an extraordinary creative mind to whom I gave carte blanche in the early '80s to reinvent the brand." Wertheimer has entrusted Viard with the creative work for the collections, “so that the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld can live on."

One of the industry’s leading creatives and a household name, Lagerfeld has been paramount to the success of two other labels over his lifetime: Fendi and his eponymous brand. As the pace of fashion has fluctuated, he has been a stalwart figure producing over a dozen collections a year – and often photographing his own campaigns – yet never bowing to trends or expectations. “Fashion is about change – and I like change,” Lagerfeld told Vogue international editor Suzy Menkes last year. As for his process, “I do it like I breathe."

“Working with Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi allowed me to catch a glimpse of the secret of the continuous renewal of the House," said Serge Brunschwig, Fendi chairman and CEO. "I profoundly admire Karl’s immense culture, his ability to rejuvenate at all times, to taste all the arts, to not overlook any style, along with a persistent refusal to turn to his past, to look at his work in a mirror. He was restless and his exigent nature would never leave him. The show was just ending that Karl would always say, 'And now number next!' He leaves us an enormous heritage, an inexhaustible source of inspiration to continue. Karl will be immensely missed by myself and all the Fendi people."

The effect of his loss on the industry is immeasurable, and will certainly be felt at Milan Fashion Week, where Fendi is due to present the label's autumn/winter 2019 collection on February 21, and during Paris Fashion Week, where Chanel is scheduled to show on March 5. He told Menkes that his contract at the latter was until 2045: “I have a lifelong [agreement] and I am enchanted. My work conditions are fabulous and don’t exist anywhere else.”

Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion at Chanel, commented: “Fashion show after fashion show, collection after collection, Karl Lagerfeld left his mark on the legend of Gabrielle Chanel and the history of the house of Chanel. He steadfastly promoted the talent and expertise of Chanel’s ateliers and Métiers d’Art, allowing this exceptional know-how to shine throughout the world. The greatest tribute we can pay today is to continue to follow the path he traced by – to quote Karl – ‘continuing to embrace the present and invent the future’.”

"I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Karl Lagerfeld," Vogueeditor-in-chief Edward Enninful added. "He has exerted an incredible influence over the fashion industry over the past six decades, and it goes without saying that the world has lost one of the greatest designers in the history of fashion. But it has also lost one of its greatest teachers."

"I first met Karl in the late '90s, at a Chanel party," Enninful continued. "I was working for Franca Sozzani at Italian Vogue, and he was extremely welcoming to me. When I later became fashion director at W magazine, he was very supportive. He continued to offer support and friendship when I took the editor position at British Vogue. I remember sitting with him for an hour or so every season while he was preparing his latest show, and I was always struck by his intelligence and wit. He had a very no-nonsense approach to life. I frequently left our meetings feeling I had learnt so much about art, history, politics and fashion. The world has lost an icon."

Joan Collins Is The Toast Of LFW

As fashion editors found their seats at Erdem’s autumn/winter 2019 show and browsed the works of art on the National Portrait Gallery walls, another guest was having slight difficulty navigating the lift system. Minutes ticked on and the 11am show did not start. Then, Dame Joan Collins waltzed in – shades on, flanked by team members and unflinching in attitude. Never mind the hold-up, that swagger was exactly what London Fashion Week was crying out for on a Monday morning.

To take in a front row view of the collection alongside Helen McCrory, Damian Lewis, Michelle Dockery and Alexa Chung, Collins plumped for a midnight-blue sequined floral dress, a cropped, collared black leather jacket and matching leather gloves, suede boots and a clutch squashed under her arm. Two pearls punctuated her earlobes. It was Hollywood Joan toned down for England.

Collins might have missed the show notes, but we like to think that she would have enjoyed the history lesson on Princess Donna Orietta Doria-Pamphilj-Landi, who wore the paintings from her Rome palazzo as kilts and sewed jewels into her clothes, when she was forced into hiding. While the Downton Abbey cast and theatre set, who religiously wear Erdem’s dresses, kept the style barometer of the front row at a safe level of "refined", the 85-year-old showbiz doyenne brought a pinch of the Italian royal's attitude behind the collection to the National Portrait Gallery. When in doubt, style it out, as Collins might say.

Liberty London Launches Emerging Talent Initiative At LFW

Liberty London has launched a new initiative, entitled Liberty Discovers, to mentor, encourage and showcase emerging British creatives. “It will support not just fashion but craftspeople across the board," Madeleine Macey, communications director and founder of Liberty Discovers, tells Vogue exclusively. "Our unique set-up allows us to offer insight to our discovery talent depending on the stage of their development – from finance to marketing, design, fabric and product – and then routes into production and wholesale.”

Three London Fashion Week designers – Matty Bovan, Duran and Daniel Tanner – have been selected to help launch the programme during the autumn/winter 2019 shows. “To get to work with such an iconic brand is so exciting – the heritage and history is so inspiring,” says Bovan, who delved into the fabric archives to select prints and textures for his brave, through-provoking designs.

Duran, who caught the attention of many in the industry thanks to his debut collection, “Straight from the Bin Sales”, which comprised re-worked items from Liberty’s previous ranges as a response to mass consumption and Black Friday, has upcycled Liberty London products again for this season. Daniel Tanner, who Liberty has supported with fabrics since his MA at the London College of Fashion, has sought advice from the brand’s womenswear buyer, Alex Gordon, as well as using Liberty fabrics.

Matty Bovan

Aside from archive access and mentorship from the buying team, each creative will receive help from the brand’s communications platforms to heighten exposure, and be able to use its in-house product and fabric design studios, too. “There will also be a combination of events, installations and exhibitions with their creations over the year,” says Macey.


For Bovan, the success of the programme lies in having the platform to truly showcase British craftsmanship and heritage: “I really want to inspire people and show Liberty in a fresh way,” Bovan explains. “I’ve always been such a fan. Liberty is such a quintessentially British brand and I love to showcase British craftsmanship and heritage.”

All Of The Political Talking Points Vivienne Westwood Brought To Her LFW Show

From global-warming to Brexit and free speech, Vivienne Westwood took aim at an array of politically-charged topics as she presented her latest collection at London Fashion Week. Held at St John’s Smith Square, Westminster, Westwood used the catwalk to showcase her autumn/winter 19 collection – and the joint women’s and menswear’s show was as powerful as ever.

First up, Westwood sent a host of people down the runway with something to say as they all read poems and gave powerful speeches. Actress and #MeToo activist Rose McGowan, wearing a hat with “Angel” written across it and knee-high metallic boots, told the crowd that “we need more heroes”, possibly referencing the number of women who’ve come forward to share their #MeToo stories since the movement sparked in October 2017 – with McGowan leading it.

Never one to shy away from addressing the uneven wealth distribution of the world, Westwood sent some models down the catwalk with long prosthetic noses (like the character of Pinocchio) saying, “tax the poor and give to the rich, that’s the lie with the long nose”. And McGowan made a clear statement on it, saying: “Democracy will only thrive when we can achieve a favourable balance between the wealthy and the poor”.

Of course, sustainability and climate change were big topics weaved throughout the collection – with Westwood emphasising the importance of buying less, choosing well. “Fashion is all about styling, buy less, choose well, make it last,” said one model, while the message was emblazoned across accessories.  

The UK director of Greenpeace, environmentalist John Sauven, addressed the destructive forces of some of the world’s most powerful sources and individuals: “We aim to save the arctic from motherfuckers like Shell and Putin.” And like previous shows, Westwood took a sartorial swipe at Brexit, with one model protesting: “Brexit is a crime, we should be cooperating, not cutting ourselves off from the world.”

Not one to do things in small steps, Westwood also let it be known that she aims to raise £100 million in the meantime to save the rainforest. What would a Vivienne Westwood show be without a performance picket line and politically-charged statements?

Anya Hindmarch's Weave Project Sets Fashion Editors A Climbing Challenge

It took a team of weavers three days to construct and seven days to erect the The Tube, the electric blue woven climbing frame that comprises Anya Hindmarch’s latest London Fashion Week installation. Following the wild success of last season’s Chubby Cloud, the giant squishy beanbag that Hindmarch installed beneath the famous Rubens ceiling at Whitehall’s Banqueting House for the benefit of tired fashion editors as well as the general public, the Weave Project was a more energetic proposal: attendees can bomb through the suspended climbing nets, in just “three minutes”, claims Hindmarch. She’s tested it, of course.

“It’s a real feat of engineering,” she told Vogue, on a tour of the top floor of London's Brewer Street car park, where the nets were fixed from ceiling to floor to create twisting tunnels. The creation of artists collective Numen/For Use, 3,000 metres of rope were required to construct the suspension, while 11,000 square metres of net were commandeered to create the tunnel structures, which will be repurposed as part of the collective's continued installations in art galleries. The Tube is intended to tie in – quite literally – with the relaunch of Hindmarch’s Neeson collection, comprising a hand-woven leather cross-body bag and a large tote (it takes six days to make one bag) that can be customised with initials, tassels and symbols.

Hindmarch is leading the way with consumer-facing experiential initiatives. Having switched to a direct-to-consumer model in 2018, the Weave Project is characteristic of her inclusive approach: it will be open until Tuesday 19 February, and members of the public can sign up to 30-minute slots – more than enough time to accommodate kicking off shoes, donning a boiler suit, and roaming through woven tunnels. The bags will be on sale in a room adjacent to the Tube, along with Hindmarch's signature kooky confectionary - think waffles with googly eyes.

“We want all our brand experiences to be interactive, and to involve our customers,” Hindmarch said. “It's interesting actually how different it looks from the inside, spatially. It’s meant to help you unwind, feel like a child again.” Judging from the grins on the faces emerging from the net, she’s succeeded.

Chloë Sevigny Leads A Cast Of Fabulously Real Women At Simone Rocha

The first model out at Simone Rocha hinted that something was up: Conie Valese, a New York-based artist, is not your typical Rocha wraith. Then Chloë Sevigny, another New Yorker, as well as actress, director and all-around style legend, stepped out onto the parquet flooring of the Royal Academy, her trademark sexy smirk fixed in dark plum lipstick. By the time the model-turned-director Lily Cole appeared – her first appearance on a catwalk in well over five years – the audience was in raptures. Rocha had scored the best casting at LFW. It was only day two.

“This collection I was thinking about security, privacy and intimacy. That made me think of the human body and I thought it was really important to show it on all these different bodies,” Rocha told Vogue, backstage after a show that put the female form centre stage. Elsewhere in the diverse line-up, assembled with the helm of casting supremo Samuel Ellis Scheinman: Helmut Newton muse Marie Sophie Wilson, ’80s-era model Jeny Howorth, '90s counterparts Kirsten Owen and Jade Parfitt, the singer Evangeline Ling, Lindsey Wixon, plus a roster of current It models including Adut Akech, Fran Summers and Primrose Archer, as well as Pre-Raphaelite beauty Tess McMillan.

“I was thinking about all these women and it was all about their shapes, and how to make them look their most beautiful,” said Rocha. “And also looking at Louise Bourgeois’s work, and how all her shapes could be manipulated. So, these phallic shapes could be made into jackets but then belted, they were still beautiful and kind of almost late ’50s.” The mood was high on female empowerment, Rocha’s clothes instantly imbued with an elegant grit lent by curves, wrinkles and grey hair.

Rocha was particularly enraptured with Howorth: “She was so inspiring. She came in and put on the sequin dress, and she was so modern and poetic. It was mind-blowing.”

Stella McCartney On Why Women Deserve More From Their Sportswear

Why is the sportswear market dominated by males? It’s a question Stella McCartney asked over a decade ago when she began working with Adidas, and one at the core of her mission to create ethical performance sportswear women can actually work out and push themselves in. “We were being talked down to,” she tells Vogue upon the launch of her spring/summer 2019 line for the brand. “There wasn’t an authenticity in the melange grey or soft pink sweatpants and T-shirts – I thought we deserved more.”

McCartney is a go-getter. When Adidas suggested yoga and running as key categories to explore for women, she quite simply said no. Tennis, skiing, cycling, swimming and dance were promptly brought to the table, as she imagined what a modern woman, who mixes up her sports like she does, would want in her gym bag. “The sentiment of the collaboration has always been about working into people’s lives,” she states. “We’re trying to encourage sports, wellness and a sustainability conversation while making life easier.”

Clad in head-to-toe Adidas for every (daily) workout, McCartney knows what works. If it doesn’t, it never gets made. But, as well as being well cut, breathable, lightweight, technically brilliant and comfortable, each piece must be fashion forward and environmentally conscious. “It’s what makes us stand out from the competition.”

Seventy per cent of the clothing and fifty per cent of the footwear in the new collection has been created from recycled materials. Eighty per cent of the polyester used is recycled. It’s a testament to McCartney's mission and commitment to be an agent for change. “When I started out on this journey with Adidas, it felt like I was a one-man band trying to change the world,” she says. “But attitudes have changed, it’s now cool to be sustainable and I’m just happy to have as much company as possible on this side of the road.”

McCartney makes no bones about the fact that it’s not easy to fuse environmentally friendly practices with cutting-edge gym gear. “The biggest challenge was maintaining the performance features of the fabric when it has been recycled, because the basic structure of the molecules changes,” she explains, before praising the innovation team at the German company. Thanks to an uncompromising workforce, items like the Alphaedge 4D trainer, which was created using years of data collected from elite athletes, and the Lycra Fitsense + tops, realised from a breathable compound that shapes, contours and hugs the body, are part of the “Change Creators” line.

“Slowly, it feels that many businesses are going in this direction too, which can only be a good thing,” she muses when asked if she’s still as concerned about our planet as she was when she began designing. “There is a lot more to do, but it's certainly encouraging to see there's a real movement starting. Fashion businesses won’t be able to ignore it for much longer."

An increased level of customer engagement helps, too. “They are the ones that demand this level of transparency more than ever before,” adds McCartney. “They want information on where their sportswear is coming from, what sustainable raw materials are being used and what innovative technology has been used to reduce footprints... they're a [real] driving force."

Now, it’s up to customers to ask for more across every category and not accept what’s been the blueprint for too long.

Why You Need To Listen To The New Hermès Podcast

Podcasts are brilliant, and Birkin bags are iconic. Is it of any wonder then that the two have been fused together to give us all an insight into the brand behind the bags? Aimed at giving listeners a behind-the-scenes look at how Hermès operates as a successful brand in 2019, the podcast, entitled “Le Faubourg des Rêves” (translation: “Faubourg of Dreams”), is available to download now.

It’s an incredibly insightful listen. Comprising eight episodes – each one 12 minutes long – the podcast, named after the first Hermès store’s Paris address, 24 rue de Faubourg Saint-Honore, features various interviews with employees of the brand.

From the silk counters to the leather woodshop, the interviewees, who are far too discrete to talk about the Birkin bag's celebrity fanbase, include employees with envious (and intriguing) job titles, such as Pierre-Alexis Dumas, “The Dream Master”; Antoine Platteau, “The Man Behind The Windows”; and Henri d’Origny, “The Pencil Man”. “Each character is heard on-site describing their day-to-day schedule, their work, their chosen paths, and the qualities they consider make Hermès the unique, particular house it is today,” the brand said in a statement.

How Mother Of Pearl Persuaded BBC Earth To Take On London Fashion Week

Amy Powney, Mother of Pearl's creative director, embarked upon a quest to make her supply chain simpler, tracing materials right back to source: Uruguay and Peru. London Fashion Week is hardly a hotbed of sustainability. A locus of trends, with an overriding emphasis on spectacle (a catwalk show’s lifecycle is fifteen minutes) it’s distinct aim is the promulgation of newness. Amy Powney is seeking to change that by aligning her brand, Mother of Pearl, where she has pioneered ethical and sustainable practices, with BBC Earth. This London Fashion Week, their shared emphasis will be on highlighting sustainability issues within the fashion industry, under the hashtag #SustainableMe.

“When David Attenborough issued his rallying cry about the devastating effect of plastic in the oceans in Blue Planet II, that documentary really changed the nation,” says Amy Powney, speaking over the phone from her east London studio. “BBC Earth was behind that documentary, so when we were approached by them in September last year, I was inspired by their broadcasting power. They are able to talk to a vast number of people and their subject matter is always about trying to make a change, which is something I’ve been trying to do on a smaller scale with Mother of Pearl. What we want to do at LFW is use the week to start a conversation, talk about the issues, but also offer solutions.”

Part one comprises a talks series. Working with the BFC, Powney and BBC Earth have curated a series of talks on Saturday 16 February bringing together voices for change from the fashion industry, such as the designer Christopher Raeburn and Dr Orr Yarkoni, co-founder of Colorfix, the textile dye company which uses engineered organisms to produce pigments, with experts from BBC Earth, including Liz White, the national history unit producer of Planet Earth II and the upcoming Frozen Planet II, and Julia Kenyon, the global brand director for BBC Earth. Up for discussion: Circularity – and what that means now; how revolutionary technologies are changing the fashion industry; and what brands can do to be more sustainable.

“We don’t want it to be all doom and gloom – this is about positivity, and we want to offer solutions,” says Powney, one of the chirpiest, best-informed voices in the fashion sustainability space. “Nature’s ability to rejuvenate is something to be celebrated. But it goes without saying that we need to be modern-thinking, and we need to make some serious changes to the fashion industry.”

Part two: in June, Mother of Pearl will release a capsule eveningwear collection of nine pieces exclusively with, designed in conjunction with BBC Earth, which builds on the success of its ground-breaking No Frills line of truly sustainable clothing. “We’re using 100 per cent certified peace silk, working with Cocccon, a vertically integrated company that has managed to create a very simple supply chain, from certification to dye to print, all under one roof,” she says, excitedly. “It’s going to be fancy – all those beautiful silk dresses you want to wear to summer parties in the sunshine.”

And if you can’t wait that long, on Monday, Mother of Pearl unveils its spring/summer 2019 collection (some of which is immediately available for purchase) in a chapel alongside an installation of giant (recycled) plastic balls intended to draw attention to the microplastics issue. “But don’t worry – every element of the show has been hired so there’s no waste,” she reassures me.

If anyone can convince you to ditch your fast fashion habit, it’s Powney – though even she occasionally has her slip-ups. “I’ve been so busy over the last few weeks I’ve practically eaten takeaway every night!” she laughs. “My new year’s resolution was to write down what meals I’m going to cook every night for the week ahead, and then order them from Riverford, an amazing company of organic farms that delivers convenient, easy, packaging-free food. My recycling bin is basically empty as a result – which is good, because we know lots of things we put in our recycling bags never make it to a recycling plant.”

She pauses for thought. “Oh, and I also changed my toilet paper to a company called Who Gives A Crap! It’s a subscription service of 100 per cent recycled or bamboo toilet paper, with minimal packaging, delivered to your house, and 50 per cent of its profits are donated to help build toilets in parts of the world where people don’t have them. We get it delivered every quarter and store it in our loft.”

Why Riccardo Tisci Chose Dover Street Market To Launch His First Burberry Collection

It’s a new dawn, a new day, a new story both for me and for Burberry,” Riccardo Tisci told Vogue in an exclusive interview in the February issue. “I want to sustain the Burberry heritage, but I also want to go with the times, with modernity." The designer's choice of stockist to launch his inaugural spring/summer 2019 collection is indicative of this. On February 15, the opening day of London Fashion Week, an edit will go on sale at Dover Street Market.

Why the detour past Burberry's Regent Street flagship, which, as it happens, is just a hop, skip and a jump from DSM's Haymarket home? The building was the original headquarters of the brand almost a century ago, and thus ties in neatly with Tisci's mantra to mix the old and new. "We're pleased to be a part of the next chapter for this storied British house," DSM vice president Dickon Bowden explained to Vogue. "Seeing such an iconic brand adapting and changing is always interesting."

Indeed, there are clear parallels between the leader in British luxury and the disruptive multi-brand retailer. "Being able to offer a unique point of view is very much aligned with DSM values," shared Bowden. Tisci's first campaign, in which he asked six photographers to share their perceptions of the brand, "is reflective of the collaborative and creative spirit of DSM," he continued.

Added to this, the "Kingdom" collection pays tribute to eclectic subcultures across Britain, from streetwear kids to city boys, because “that’s what fashion should be: every age, every culture, every lifestyle”, said Tisci. From his reworks of the beige trench to the monogrammed silk blouses and scarf prints, the DSM buy (featured below) is a concentrated edit that epitomises this ethos. Shop it first at 18-22 Haymarket and pick up a slice of history, too.

NEWS Rising Stars: The BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund Shortlist Is Announced

Today, the shortlist of applicants for the British Vogue/BFC Fashion Fund is announced, recognising seven of the country’s most innovative designers, who each embody the creativity innate to the British fashion scene while exhibiting a strong international presence. “I like when young talent push barriers, and present something exciting,” reflects Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful. “When they’re brave – but still maintain a strong business acumen. That, to me, is what this year’s shortlist showcases.”

Starring luminaries including subcultural pioneer Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY, preternatural talent Grace Wales Bonner, rising star jeweller Rosh Mahtani of Alighieri, contemporary accessories brand Neous and the quintessential modernity of A.W.A.K.E Mode’s Natalia Alaverdian, alongside beloved former Fashion Fund finalists Rejina Pyo and David Koma – this year’s line-up might well be the best yet.

“For the 11th consecutive year, the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund is committed to nurturing and supporting the most exciting young talent,” says Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council. “This year is no exception as proven by the talented shortlist that we are announcing today. All seven brands have the potential to become the next global fashion house and I am delighted that our panel of Funders will be mentoring them in the next few months before we announce the winner in May.”

Today, the shortlist of applicants for the British Vogue/BFC Fashion Fund is announced, recognising seven of the country’s most innovative designers, who each embody the creativity innate to the British fashion scene while exhibiting a strong international presence. “I like when young talent push barriers, and present something exciting,” reflects Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful. “When they’re brave – but still maintain a strong business acumen. That, to me, is what this year’s shortlist showcases.”

Starring luminaries including subcultural pioneer Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY, preternatural talent Grace Wales Bonner, rising star jeweller Rosh Mahtani of Alighieri, contemporary accessories brand Neous and the quintessential modernity of A.W.A.K.E Mode’s Natalia Alaverdian, alongside beloved former Fashion Fund finalists Rejina Pyo and David Koma – this year’s line-up might well be the best yet.

“For the 11th consecutive year, the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund is committed to nurturing and supporting the most exciting young talent,” says Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council. “This year is no exception as proven by the talented shortlist that we are announcing today. All seven brands have the potential to become the next global fashion house and I am delighted that our panel of Funders will be mentoring them in the next few months before we announce the winner in May.”

After a round of interviews and presentations with the judging committee comprising industry experts Edward Enninful, Caroline Rush, Erdem Moralioglu, Gemma Metheringham, Maria Hatzistefanis, Paul Price, Sir Paul Smith, Rod Manley, Sarah Mower and Xia Ding, one of these designers will be awarded the grand prize of £200,000 and be initiated into a year-long mentoring scheme dedicated to helping them build their brand.

Supported by British Vogue with partners including Burberry,, Inc., Label/Mix, Paul Smith, Rodial and Topshop, the prize has previously been awarded to the likes of Molly Goddard, Christopher Kane and Erdem. This year’s winner will be announced on May 1st.

Christy Turlington Burns Makes A Catwalk Comeback For Marc Jacobs

The closing day of New York Fashion Week saw Christy Turlington Burns come out of runway retirement to walk the Marc Jacobs autumn/winter 2019 show.

After starting her fashion career in earnest at the age of 14, Turlington Burns hung up her heels to pursue her studies in 1994 aged 25. While her contemporaries Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista were at the peak of their careers, the supermodel chose to enrol in a Comparative Religion and Eastern Philosophy course in New York. "I thought about it for a long time,” she told fellow model Iman in an interview with Humanity magazine in 2015. “I remember somebody telling me that they were in a location van and they saw me walk by with my backpack, and they were like, 'Oh, poor thing.' And I'm thinking, 'Poor thing?' I'm getting my education, you fools.”

Turlington Burns, who turned 50 on January 2, has never been out of fashion’s gaze, however; an armful of campaigns for household-name brands including Maybelline, Louis Vuitton and Calvin Klein – she even featured in a Calvin Klein Eternity fragrance advert alongside her husband Ed Burns – have kept her supermodel status intact. As she explained to Iman: “I really haven't fully given modelling up, but in my mind I did, because I went back to school and moved on in my life.”

The black feathered ballgown in which Turlington Burns closed the autumn/winter 2019 show was certainly a departure from the previous Marc Jacobs clothes she has worn on his catwalk. The last time she made a Marc Jacobs exit was in 1993, when she wore his famous grunge collection for Perry Ellis alongside Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss. February 13 2019 saw her walk alongside the new generation of supers, including Karlie Kloss, Gigi Hadid and Kaia Gerber, all of whom Turlington Burns later thanked via Instagram for inspiring her daughter, Grace.

“I turned 50 this year and have arrived at a place where 'why the F not' is the answer that comes up when I ask myself questions," she wrote. "I have a 15-year-old daughter who I desperately want to see and hear me and this is a medium that 'speaks' to her. So, thank yous are in order, @karliekloss @gigihadid and @kaiagerber and all the lovely young women I have met briefly in the recent past or met tonight. You are all women I would want my daughter to emulate in your grace, confidence and elegance.”