Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Soundtracks Of John Galliano’s Dior Couture Shows

“They’ve brought those handbags out again, haven’t they?” says Jeremy Healy, of the recent resurgence of the John Galliano-designed Dior saddle bag. “One of my most bitter regrets is that John gave me a massive one. It was literally as big as a real saddle. And I fucking lost it. I was so upset. I was going between three countries in three days and I was really tired and I just left it in a car somewhere...”

London-born Healy is an ex-Blitz Kid, a founding member of experimental 1980s pop duo Haysi Fantayzee and, over a career spanning 30 years, one of the most influential creatives at the intersection of fashion and music. Having collaborated with everyone from Boy George, Vivienne Westwood, George Michael and Katharine Hamnett, it is his work with John Galliano – creating the soundscapes for the designer’s show spectaculars at his namesake label, during his tenure at Christian Dior between 1999 and 2011, and now at Maison Margiela – that he is most noted for. 

Healy first met Galliano in 1984, just after the designer presented his graduate collection at Central Saint Martins. His girlfriend was modelling in the show, and Healy was completely unbothered by the thought of attending (“I was just so not interested,” he says). But after some gentle persuasion, the musician was coaxed into accepting an invite. “It was a two-and-a-half minute show,” he remembers. “My girlfriend came onto the runway and she had wooden clogs on, plants and trees in her hair, and dead mackerel. All the models did. And they threw the fish at the audience. I was just like, ‘fucking hell, what is this?’” Healy was so intrigued that he went backstage to meet Mr Galliano. “He came up to me and said ‘I know you, I know what you do, will you work with me?’”

This meeting marked the beginning of a fruitful professional and personal partnership. Healy and Galliano were both raised in south London and found common ground in their fascination with the blending of ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. At Dior, Galliano revolutionised the codes of the French maison, blending them with contemporary and global pop-cultural references, which were mirrored in Healy’s eclectic mixes. “We would often combine Britney Spears with classical music for example,” says Healy. “It was trying to channel the clothes aurally. John and I always believed you could find ideas everywhere – from the street to the art gallery and everything in between.”

Naturally, Healy has many stories to tell. “I remember when we did Haute Couture A/W00 Steven Spielberg came to the show because he was wanting John to do the costumes for one of his films,” he says. “We mixed the vocals of You’re Uninvited by Alanis Morissette with the sounds of sex moans and whips being cracked. Steven was so disgusted by the music that he walked out!” Here, shared exclusively with AnOther, five more stories behind his epic Haute Couture soundscapes for Galliano’s Dior.

Autumn/Winter 1999 

“This was the second show we did at Dior. We were so bloody nervous! We wanted to mix film soundtracks with heavy beats and I remember there was a slight military theme. So we started out by using clips from the film Full Metal Jacket. We also included Phat Planet by Leftfield and mixed it with When You Believe by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. There was Beautiful Stranger by Madonna mixed with industrial, techno and trance songs – I even included the Nokia ring tone as an interlude.”

Autumn/Winter 2002

“This came from an idea that we had wanted to realise years before but never had the budget to do it. At Dior, we did! So, for this show, I hired the London Community Gospel Choir to perform live along with the mix I did for the show. I remember I was rehearsing with them in London and then we had to fly all the singers out to Paris. There were so many of them it was really expensive to do, but it was absolutely incredible. The choir did a rendition of Madonna’s Like A Prayer. I remember John was so proud of what we’d all achieved.”

Spring/Summer 2004

“John had been to Egypt and had created a collection inspired by the country’s ancient history. This was one of the most OTT shows he ever did. The models were wearing gold armour and the silhouettes were huge. The models moved like Sphynx cats. I did a cut-up of Baby Boy by Beyoncé and Sean Paul and we just used the instrumental and isolated vocals and mixed it with Philip Glass to open the show. I also included You Got the Love by The Source featuring Candi Staton. John had said: ‘I want the soundtrack to sound like gold – to shimmer and shine.’ And so that’s what I tried to do.”

Autumn/Winter 2004 

“The story behind this one is that John came up with this idea of rock’n’roll kings and queens. He wanted to create a royal family, wearing clothes that were blown up to a mad scale. For the soundtrack we got all these early 1950s records – like Little Richard’s The Girl Can’t Help It and Tutti Frutti and we mixed it with Michael Nyman, which was very regal and orchestral of course. My mum came to that show – she was about 80 at the time – and she loved it.”

Spring/Summer 2007

“This was quite a different show to any we had done before. There was so much music in this because it was a very long and very slow paced and emotive show. I remember the set was a load of sort of individual film sets and the girls were taking about 10 minutes each to walk into each scene from the runway. So the music had to be very ambient to carry it through. It started with Madame Butterfly by Malcolm McLaren and we also included Song to the Siren by This Mortal Coil and more of Elizabeth Fraser’s vocals, mixed into Drive by The Cars and Immortality by Céline Dion featuring The Bee Gees. Then there was Maria Callas singing Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro and Songbird by Fleetwood Mac.”

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Vintage Christian Dior Jewellery Has Dropped In Time For Party Season

A rare and remarkable collection of archival Christian Dior jewellery has been sourced by vintage purveyor Susan Caplan to sell on Farfetch. The exquisite 80-piece edit comprises necklaces, rings, earrings, brooches and bracelets dating back to 1976-1998, and was acquired from a former master solderer at the house.

“I received a telephone call from a source of mine in Germany who asked if I was interested in a large private collection from an elderly gentleman who had worked at Dior for more than 20 years, and was considering selling,” Caplan recalls. “Not wanting to lose an opportunity to purchase such an impressive collection, I looked at the jewellery immediately in detail, ensured its authenticity and purchased it there and then.”

Caplan, who has been working in the vintage costume jewellery business for 35 years, had never come across any of the items before. “The entire collection has never been worn, which to me makes the find even more appealing,” she adds, before singling out a pair of shoulder duster earrings created in 1998. “I’ve never seen such meticulous craftsmanship, detail and grandeur preserved in such beautiful condition as these,” Caplan continues. “They have an ethereal presence that will sway effortlessly with one’s movement.”

The period is significant because it spans the tenures of three Dior creative directors: Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré and John Galliano. “Bohan won international respect for continuing Dior’s signature look of elegance but with a modernity that was new for the house. Ferré was widely known for his opulence and his architectural designs. And Galliano, of course, for his theatrical inspirations,” says Caplan in a fashion history 101. “The styles in the jewellery collection showcase fine examples of all the directors’ work, which emerged from different periods and historical events that influenced Christian Dior’s jewellery.”

The treasure trove drops on in time for the looming party season, but is reflective of the e-tail platform’s wider efforts around circular fashion. “We have seen an increased interest in special archive pieces as customers are looking to make more conscious choices,” comments Maxim de Turckheim, Farfetch senior category development manager (watches and preowned). “We are able to continue to grow our pre-owned and archival offering at Farfetch through our amazing partners and pride ourselves on teaming up with the very best specialists in their fields.”

Claridges Commissions Christian Louboutin To Design Its Christmas Tree Yet

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Claridges. The Mayfair hotel has revealed Christian Louboutin as the designer of its famously ornate festive tree. A long-time guest and friend of the legendary establishment, Louboutin will unveil his creation in the lobby on 21st November.

“The design is a bit of a secret at the moment, but as a clue, I’ll be bringing a little bit of Paris to London,” the shoe designer extraordinaire tells Vogue. “London is a very special place for me, it’s so close to Paris but at the same time it’s so different. I’ve been visiting a lot recently to design the tree, as well as working on some of my other projects.” An ephemeral boutique in the city’s historic Burlington Arcade and a Royal Ballet collaboration inspired by the Christmas production of Sleeping Beauty is also in the pipeline for December.

Louboutin is already feeling the seasonal cheer. “Christmas for me is about magic, celebration and lights, but more than anything, it’s all about family,” he shares. “It’s a moment where I can step out of the craziness of travelling and sketching, and be fully committed to the people I love.”

The partnership marks the 10th year that Claridges has invited a creative visionary to put their stamp on the hotel’s decor. Karl Lagerfeld, Christopher Bailey, John Galliano, and Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have previously lent their sartorial prowess to the statuesque fir, while Jony Ive and Marc Newson have brought conceptual flair to the London landmark.

Vestiaire Collective’s Selfridges Space Will Sell Old Celine

Vestiaire Collective has teamed up with Selfridges for its first permanent store space. The mutually beneficial partnership will boost the resale platform’s brand as the consignment space becomes increasingly populated, while Selfridges has its sights set on tapping into this lucrative, growing market. The retail meets resale collaboration also marks a shared mission to make circular fashion an industry standard, and aims to drive positive long-lasting change in how the lifespan of a garment is viewed.

“The move away from traditional ideas of ownership and the rise of social media are driving a shift in the way consumers think about fashion and sustainability,” Vestiaire Collective co-founders Fanny Moizant and Sophie Hersan tell Vogue. Extending the life of clothing by an extra nine months would reduce carbon, waste and water footprints by around 20-30 per cent, according to the pre-owned platform’s research.

The boutique opening, which coincides with Vestiaire Collective’s 10th anniversary, is the culmination of a successful two-week trial residency in Selfridges last year. The modular 40 sq metre shop space – which is designed to be a literal translation of the website with an accessories wall mirroring the ever-changing homepage – includes a drop-off service, where customers can deposit items while consulting Vestiaire Collective’s in-house curators and authentication team members.

“Selfridges has always been an innovator and a disrupter of traditional retail models,” Moizant and Hersan continue. Similarly, Selfridges was drawn to Vestiaire Collective’s ability to “make closing the loop of a circular fashion economy super engaging and community-driven,” explains Sebastian Manes, Selfridges executive buying director.

The first edit of 200 pieces, which will be labelled as “pre-loved” to differentiate from Selfridges’ buy, will include 10 rare treasures that have shaped fashion over the past five decades, from a red velvet Tom Ford for Gucci suit from the 1990s, to a Paco Rabanne silver metallic rhodoid disc dress from the 1960s. Philophiles will also delight in the Old Celine in the weekly rotating displays, and there will be a haul of vintage Versace and Maison Margiela, too.

The trend for resale sites branching into physical retail has come from the US, where The RealReal has opened three retail locations across New York and Los Angeles, and American Rebag boasts seven stores. As the consignment market is projected to reach $36 billion (£28 million) in 2021, according to BCG stats published by Business of Fashion, it is only a matter of time before more UK players in the luxury goods market take their piece of the pie. As Moizant and Hersan reiterate, “Collaboration between resale platforms and brands can be really powerful.”

What Does The Little Women Promo Trail Have In Store For Timothée Chalamet’s Wardrobe?

The news that Timothée Chalamet is taking a break from acting sent ripples of heartbreak and shock through the showbiz industry. But last night it was business as usual for the Academy Award nominee at a special screening of Little Women in Los Angeles. As he posed for photographs alongside director Greta Gerwig – who has turned the volume up on the author Louisa May Alcott’s feminist message for her cinema adaptation – and cast members Saoirse Ronan, Meryl Streep, Florence Pugh and Laura Dern, the mood was familial and jubilant.

British fans of the progressive novel, which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869, will have to wait until 26 December to see Gerwig’s version hit the big screen. The tangible closeness between the actors – which was made obvious through the group hugs and Dern ruffling Chalamet’s hair during the panel discussion – reiterated expectations that it will be a positively charming collaboration.

The event also whet our appetites for the press tour and the style we can expect from the actors. Chalamet, a famously bold dresser prone to colour-blocking and directional tailoring, toned his look down. A crisp white shirt and suit trousers were miles away from the paint-splashed Sterling Ruby dungarees and cobalt satin Haider Ackermann separates we last saw Chalamet wearing on The King trail. Gerwig, wearing Khaite, and Saoirse Ronan, in Preen, also stuck to a pared-back monochrome palette.

The promo trail ahead is long, with myriad opportunities for Chalamet to orchestrate another Louis Vuitton harness moment that would allow him to sign off with a bang ahead of his hiatus. Watch this space – the beaded bracelets lining his wrists suggest there’s another sartorial surprise up his sleeve.

What Kim Jones Learned Designing Luggage For Rimowa

Late last year, Alexandre Arnault, LVMH scion and chief executive of Rimowa, asked the designer Kim Jones to appear in an ad campaign for the German luggage company. Jones, who is Dior Men’s artistic director and a passionate traveller, agreed. The campaign led to a joint capsule collection. And now Dior is considering a new product category: luggage.

On Thursday on the Champs-Élysées, Dior and Rimowa will reveal the collaboration that Jones concocted while the luggage maker's ad campaign was underway. The small grouping of suitcases that will be on display is unabashedly luxurious and aims to be hypebeast material, with prices ranging from €1,900 for a small clutch-like bag called the Personal to €3,600 for a larger bag called the Trunk in a gradient blue. One made-to-order piece, called the Champagne case and sold price-upon-request, contains a leather ice bucket and champagne flutes and will be delivered with six bottles of Dom Perignon. It was conceived with picnicking in mind, says Jones, who doesn’t drink champagne himself. “I wanted something really decadent,” he says.

Pressing to reach young luxury consumers, Dior has also worked with Snapchat for the roll-out, developing three Snapchat lenses that will also be revealed on Thursday. These lenses will allow users to wear a face mask covered in the Dior Oblique pattern – which is a recurring logo across the suitcases. One lens, accessible only at the Champs-Élysées boutique, will reveal the Personal clutch in different colours in 3D.

Following the Paris reveal, the collection will be similarly launched in Japan, China, Miami and Dubai before being made available globally in January, according to a spokeswoman. If the Rimowa collaboration is successful, Jones hopes to add luggage to Dior’s regular product offering. Trained at Central Saint Martins, he formerly led men’s design at Louis Vuitton, where luggage is at the heart of the brand’s origin and product array. Dior, despite its extensive offering of handbags, backpacks and messenger bags, lacks a luggage category.

Luxury travel goods are fertile territory for brands, with the category predicted to grow by 33 per cent to $6.4 billion by 2023 from $4.9 billion in 2018, according to Euromonitor. “If there’s a demand for it, why not?” says Jones. “I came from somewhere that had a bigger offer, so I thought, let’s do a bigger offer.” Jones’s approach reflects luxury’s tectonic shift from the precious to the functional – one he has led as he has moved through posts at Topman, Mulberry, Dunhill and Louis Vuitton before joining Dior Men in 2018. As a youngster, the British designer saw himself as a hardcore devotee of the punk subculture known as “straight edge” (they refrain from using alcohol or recreational drugs).

Jones has an extensive personal collection of streetwear and sneakers that he draws on for inspiration, and shares for similar purposes with designer friends such as Virgil Abloh. He has twice won Menswear Designer of the Year at the Fashion Awards and dressed the K-pop band BTS in Dior for its world tour earlier this year. Rimowa has been on a collaboration tear since the now 27-year-old Arnault convinced LVMH leadership – including his father, LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault – to buy an 80 per cent stake in Rimowa for €640 million in 2016. The luggage-maker was established in 1898 in Cologne, where it is still headquartered, and is known for its sleek metal roller cases. Since Arnault stepped in, those cases have become canvasses for artistic and designer collaborations that have been eagerly covered by streetwear sites like Hypebeast. Past collaborators include Los Angeles artist Alex Israel, Virgil Abloh’s Off-White and Supreme.

Arnault has severely cut back on Rimowa’s once-broad distribution, narrowing it largely to its own retail or speciality shops, as he works to gradually turn the brand into a broader luxury lifestyle player. “We view our products as blank surfaces,” Arnault told me when rolling out the Alex Israel collaboration in February. He added that he has been a fan of the brand since he was a teenager and discovered it while shopping at Bon Marché with his mother, the concert pianist Hélène Mercier-Arnault. “When you’re a young kid and you fly commercial, you can’t use a Vuitton suitcase because it gets stolen,” Arnault explained.

The depth of Dior Men’s commitment to the collaboration and the resulting designs stem from Jones’s interest in travelling minimally. He says he loves to travel but hates airports, and that even on long trips, he carries all of his luggage on board and does laundry along the way. Jones made a hurried trip to Rimowa’s German factory to understand the company’s industrial manufacturing process a few months after his initial conversation with Arnault. He was surprised by the speed with which the luggage could be made: less than a year from start to finish, despite the challenges of creating two new shapes (for the Champagne pieces and the small clutch), finishes and leather linings. Luxury ready-to-wear generally takes a year or more from conception to store shelves.

“I like the fact that they don’t say no,” Jones says of the Rimowa factory workers’ response to his demands. “I don’t believe in ‘no, impossible’. I believe in ‘let’s try’.” Things were temporarily slowed by his desire to line the luggage in leather – something Rimowa doesn’t do. It required turning to Dior’s leather atelier, which had to consider what happens inside a suitcase, such as cosmetic spills. As they worked, Arnault sent Jones videos charting the progress of various parts, including the embossing of the Dior logo on metal. Dior’s handbag team oversaw the work, spending more time at the Rimowa factory than Jones could, to his disappointment.

He says he hopes to spend more time at the factory if the collaboration continues as he hopes. In fact, he says he found the industrial process inspiring – hinting at new future concepts. Jones concedes that he is “obsessed” with a small leather-lined, clutch-style suitcase he designed with a leather strap embossed with “Christian Dior” in block letters. The look is both luxe and street. Jones says he imagines taking the piece on board a flight with his headphones and phone inside. “I did things to please myself,” he says of the collaboration. “I’m going to text Alex now,” he says as he travels to an appointment through London traffic. He chuckles. “I think I deserve one. I think I did a good job.”

Jennifer Lopez Set The Gold Standard At The Governors Awards

The last time the world saw Jennifer Lopez in full red-carpet regalia, it was the Versace spring/summer 2020 show, when the popstar turned model, and she rewore her plunging, jungle-printed Grammys 2000 dress to internet-breaking effect. Since then, she has been on set shooting her next movie Marry Me, but last night she swapped her Uggs and Juicy Couture tracksuit (classic Lopez downtime filming attire) for the spring/summer 2020 collections once more. The popstar attended the Governors Awards wearing resplendent Reem Acra.

The Lebanese designer is known for her megawatt evening- and bridalwear with conceptual twists. Lopez’s strapless golden gown with sculptural back bow was emblematic of her creations, which come in jewel tones next season. Standing next to Scarlett Johansson, who wore Celine, and Charlize Theron in Tom Ford, Lopez was the standout star of the night.

The “I’m Real” singer’s business-at-the-front, party-at-the-back gown won over style watchers, but it was Lopez’s otherworldly glow that elevated the look to awards season-calibre dressing. If the actor receives an Academy nod for her role in Hustlers, this gold-standard moment will be just the warm-up.

Kendall Jenner Gets Star Billing At The H&M X Giambattista Valli Show

Between Titian’s Judith cradling the head of Holofernes on a silver plate and her modern-day doppelgänger Tess McMillan strutting along a pink velvet runway in candyfloss tulle and a matching hoodie, there was only one way to sum up the Giambattista Valli x H&M catwalk show: sensory overload.

“I don’t care about fashion. I don’t care about trends. I just do my own thing,” Valli said, on the occasion of the unveiling of his much-hyped collaborative collection with the Swedish retailer in rainy Rome. “My own thing” translated as hosting 400 giddy guests at the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, one of the largest palaces in the city still in private hands, with models ambling through stunning Baroque frescoed galleries boasting paintings by Caravaggio, Velázquez, Titian and Raphael in extravagant designs that appeared entirely fitting for the lush location.

Kendall Jenner opened proceedings in a pretty pink mini dress cinched with a bow (surely the collection’s most highly prized piece), then led a finale of models in a floor-sweeping red tulle number. Both designs will be available in limited quantities when the collection goes on sale on 7 November, with Kendall having starred in the campaign and unveiled the news of the collaboration way back in May, at amfAR in Cannes, with a limited drop of more couture-like dresses.

“He’s a master of beauty, he does that timeless couture thing so well,” said Ann-Sofie Johanssen, H&M’s creative advisor, of the decision to partner with the Rome-born designer. It was Valli’s idea to divide the collection into several drops. “He wanted to explain his world, he had an idea that he wanted to show his iconic, timeless pieces. He’s kind of old-fashioned in that sense – he’s a true dressmaker.” That said, woven in with the dresses were bleached denim separates, leather jackets and sequined tuxedos for the boys (there was the full menswear complement here) plus a whole load of embellished sweatshirts and T-shirts. “The price spread is super important,” said Johansson. “Everybody should be able to afford this collection.”

H&M has used designer collaborations as a way to bolster its fashion credentials since it first collaborated with the late Karl Lagerfeld in 2004. While there was no suggestion that it plans to scale back the trappings of that tactic – the Rome catwalk show was followed by a buffet in the Palazzo and a frenzied shopping event, then a glamorous party at the fin-de-siècle-style Grand Hotel Plaza – the future of designer collaborations is on the minds of its creatives.

“The collaborations are really fun to do, sharing knowledge and inspiring each other,” Johansson acknowledged, “but we have so many collaborations now throughout the year, often with local designers, such as Angel Chen in China. It’s a question we have to ask ourselves, does this big one still matter? Sometimes it’s hard to find that one designer that everybody knows in the world – someone like Karl Lagerfeld.”

She also acknowledged that fashion’s biggest challenge was climate change. “Sustainability – we address that very seriously but it’s challenging.” Will it force the retailer to produce fewer clothes? “Maybe. We have to wait and see. Depending on what our customers tell us. From 2030, all our fabrics will be sustainable sources [according to an H&M target]. So many fabrics we can’t work with – leather, denim. So maybe new fabrics will appear. We need to explore new fabrics but can we do them in the volumes we need? And by that, maybe we will do less collections. Our customers, they are telling us that they don’t want to shop like they have done for the last 20, 30 years.”

They’ll want to buy Giamba on 7 November. But the designer believes his designs will endure, which in itself is a riposte to so-called fast fashion. “It’s not my personality to do one thing, then the opposite, trashing the season that came before,” he said. “Telling people that ‘this is out of fashion’ and that they need to buy more – this is not my way. My clothes are about longevity.”

Giorgio Armani Reaffirms Its Bond With The Middle East For Cruise 2021

Giorgio Armani is the latest fashion house to outline its plans for the Cruise 2021 season. After showing its previous resort collection in Tokyo to strengthen the designer’s bond with Japan, Mr Armani has chosen Dubai for the same reason. The April show will coincide with the reopening of the brand’s store at the Dubai Mall.

Although a specific date is yet to be confirmed, Giorgio Armani will kick off the vacationwear calendar. Chanel will show its resort offering in Capri on 7th May, Gucci is presenting in an undisclosed location in the US on 18th May, Prada’s presentation will be in Japan on 21st May, and Max Mara has chosen Saint Petersburg for its cruise event on 25th May.

A decade after Giorgio Armani opened its first hotel in Dubai, the brand will enjoy an increased level of media exposure in the Middle Eastern city in 2020, owing to its hosting duties around Expo, an innovation programme, which accelerates creative solutions that improve lives while preserving the planet.

“I’m very happy to be back in Dubai after 10 years, especially on the occasion of the Expo 2020 which will place a great emphasis on the city,” said the designer. “Dubai is a luxurious and fascinating place with a soul focused on the future, always in pursuit of the imagination.”

While the traditional fashion show format has come under scrutiny for its environmental impact, the cruise shows, which see editors and buyers fly around the world to support brands, have not come under fire. Will this change for the 2021 season?

Alber Elbaz Will Return To The Spotlight

It’s been almost exactly four years since Alber Elbaz’s well-documented split from Lanvin – and the world-renowned designer’s absence has been sorely felt throughout the industry. Now, the Moroccan-born visionary is returning to the world of luxury fashion as part of a new joint venture with Richemont. Named AZfashion – a shortened version of AlberelbaZfashion – Richemont described the partnership only as an “innovative and dynamic start up” in its announcement; Elbaz, in a colourful turn of phrase befitting his character, referred to it as the creation of a "dream factory".

The 58-year-old has largely stayed away from the fashion industry since the end of his 14-year tenure at Lanvin, which he has described as his personal tragedy. Instead, he told Vogue earlier this year, he took the opportunity “to look at things from a different angle, not to have this daily stress – to do things only when I want to, and with whomever I want to”. Among the limited projects he's been involved with recently? A collection of shoes and leather goods for Tod’s, released this summer and inspired by his “observations on the street”. 

As he put it, “I looked at women and what they need, what they want and how can we mix the dream with the reality... Luxury is to be free.” With his reference to AZfashion as a space where he will be "developing focus on developing solutions for women of our times,” one can assume the experience was one he found particularly inspiring.

Richemont has yet to comment on whether AZfashion will be a fully-fledged brand, let alone whether Elbaz will be designing collections, but "I was again struck by his creativity and insight," Johann Rupert, chairman of Richemont, said of the decision to partner with Elbaz. "His talent and inventiveness, with his sensitivity toward women and their wellbeing, will be of great value to our group and its maisons." Let the Elbaz renaissance begin.

Off-White Is The Most Popular Brand In The World Again

Earlier this year, Virgil Abloh announced that he would be “shifting gears” and slowing down due to health concerns. He sat out Off-White’s spring/summer 2020 show, residing in Chicago rather than Paris, but his presence was still felt through the streetwear and millennial evening wear presented on the runway and via social media. This connection between Abloh and his cult following pays dividends. As well as the lucrative deal Off-White’s licensee, New Guards, signed with Farfetch, statistics from the third financial quarter show that Off-White is once again the most-popular brand in the world.

The latest edition of the Lyst Index – the quarterly report that analyses the online shopping behaviour of more than nine million shoppers a month searching, browsing and buying fashion across 12,000 designers and e-stores – ranks Off-White at the top of the leaderboard once again. Gucci, which took the top spot in Q2, has dropped two positions to rank third, while Balenciaga comes in second. Versace and Prada round out the top five positions respectively.

Bottega Veneta entered Lyst’s brand billing for the first time thanks to the impact creative director Daniel Lee has made at the Italian house. Searches for Bottega Veneta shoes were up 156 per cent during the spring/summer 2020 shows owing to the popularity of the brand’s cushioned sandals, which sparked more than 27,000 online searches a month last quarter.

Also climbing up the ranks is Jacquemus, which is yet to enter the top 20, but whose Le Chiquito is number two on the hottest product list (after Bottega Veneta’s padded shoes). The micro handbag, which counts the Kardashian-Jenner family as fans, generated over 12,500 monthly searches during the last quarter. Global demand for Jacquemus is currently up 131 per cent year-on-year.

Paco Rabanne is on the ascent owing to the popularity of its influencer-approved 1969 bag, as seen on Priyanka Chopra and Emily Ratajkowski. The accessory is 10th on the women’s product list – the first time Paco Rabanne has landed on there – and global searches for the brand are currently up 31 per cent year-on-year.

Balenciaga and Gucci have consistently ranked in the top three brands since the Lyst Index launched two years ago, and fewer than two new labels have joined the list each quarter. The attributes of the most popular brands – 80 per cent of labels from the first edition are still in the report – are clear. The overall product split is 60 per cent womenswear to 40 per cent menswear, and there is a star designer spearheading the collections. On average, the most-popular brands’ creative directors have two million social-media followers, and the designers are also tuned into the importance of social media and harnessing the pulling power of influencers. Viral celebrity moments, such as Jennifer Lopez rewearing her iconic Grammys 2000 dress at the Versace spring/summer 2020 show, can spike social mentions by more than 1000 per cent within hours.

On the product front, trainers make up 14 per cent of the labels’ overall product range, while the other cult products sit in an accessible price bracket of £155-£390. More than half of the merchandise that has ever appeared in the Lyst Index has featured a prominent logo.

Interestingly, 50 per cent of the listed brands are making moves towards a sustainable future by signing the G7 Fashion Pact. Forty per cent have also committed to going carbon neutral. Whether having an environmental conscience relates to consumer loyalty is yet to be seen in the report, but the pressure for brands to be accountable for their actions while creating era-defining fashion is certainly mounting.

Kaia Gerber And Tommy Dorfman Are Fashion’s Best-Dressed Best Friends

While chic couple’s style is all the rage these days, friendship style is also trending. Unlike the fashion-forward couples who coordinate their outfits – think J-Rod, Nickyanka, and more – best friends reject matchy-matchy dressing in favour of a distinctive BFF style that emphasises each person’s own identity. And no fashion friends are doing it better than Kaia Gerber and Tommy Dorfman.

The pair was spotted in New York heading to the gym in two very different but complementary takes on athleisure. Gerber wore a Carhartt zip-up jacket with leggings, white sneakers, and a New York-themed baseball cap. Dorfman, meanwhile, went for a denim jacket over a graphic hoodie, with Nike shorts, sneakers, and a more discreet baseball cap.

In past appearances during Fashion Month, the two friends showed off more dressier outfits, too. When they arrived at the Fendi spring/summer 2020 show (where Gerber walked and Dorfman watched from in the front row), the model wore a leopard print skirt with an oversized blazer and knee-high boots while Dorfman suited up in a camel suit with a camo-print shirt and square-toe sandals. In September, they also celebrated Gerber’s birthday in style: She wore high-waisted jeans, a tank, and a boxy blazer (her signature piece), walking hand-in-hand with Dorfman, who was dressed in a striped button-up with retro gym shorts and a man bag.

Rihanna Celebrates Her Visual Autobiography In The Most Rihanna Way

Rihanna, the 504-page photographic homage to the popstar, is on sale now. To mark the occasion, RiRi posed nude save for a copy of the 16-inch, 15-pound book clutched to her chest, in the picture-perfect setting of a pink rose garden. What else? More than a million Instagram likes later, the coffee table tome is on a fast track to success.

The candid camera moment is emblematic of the 1,000 glossy pictures within Rihanna. Published by Phaidon in three special editions – “This Shit Is Heavy”, “Drippy + the Brain” and “Stoner” – named according to their exclusivity and the material that binds them, the imagery spans childhood pictures, tour-diary snippets and holiday snapshots. There’s coverage of the star’s iconic Met Gala costumes, documentation of that legendary moment when Rihanna walked out a restaurant holding a glass of wine, and myriad insights into the entrepreneur’s private life.

What the blooming publicity shot doesn’t show is the removable poster that comes with the book, which Rihanna described as a “piece of art” at the Guggenheim launch party. Or the inserts and artful gateway folds between all of her “precious moments”. Race you to Waterstones, the Navy is probably already waiting in line. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview. You’re welcome.

Alessandro Michele Will Take Gucci Stateside For Cruise 2021

Come May 2020, fashion editors will embark on another world tour for the resort shows. Ahead of Prada’s presentation on 21st May in Japan, the industry will head to America for Gucci’s Cruise 2021 showcase on 18th May. The exact location is yet to be disclosed. Alessandro Michele chose the city’s Dia Art Foundation to present his first cruise collection for the house in 2015.

For the past four seasons, the creative director has chosen to unveil his holiday-focused fashion lines in Europe. Each venue – from Cruise 2019’s 4th-century Roman necropolis of Alyscamps in the Provencal city of Arles to Cruise 2017’s enclaves of the 13th-century cloisters in Westminster Abbey – is reflective of the historically informed Gucci-verse.

The Resort 2020 show, which was held at the top of Rome’s Capitoline Hill, closed with a party at Palazzo Brancaccio at which Stevie Nicks and Harry Styles delivered a duet of “Landslide”. The 2021 season will no doubt come with similar theatrics.

Chanel kicks off the Cruise 2021 calendar on 7th May in Capri. It is the first time the brand has presented its vacationwear collections outside of Paris since 2016, and will be the second resort line designed by Karl Lagerfeld’s successor Virginie Viard. Max Mara has chosen Saint Petersburg for its cruise event on 25th May.

Kate Moss & Keira Knightley Model Susie Cave’s New Super-Charged Collection

From Jennifer Aniston to Princess Beatrice, The Vampire’s Wife has amassed a celebrity following too long to list in full. For Susie Cave’s latest line of perfectly formed, polite-yet-overtly feminine dresses, she has called upon fans and friends of the brand to model the pieces in a dreamy, lo-fi campaign captured by photographer Casper Sejersen. Kate Moss, Keira Knightley, Mary McCartney, Bella Freud, Philip Treacy and Greta Bellamacina, to name a few, wear the “Pussy Bow” collection alongside the designer and her husband, Nick Cave.

The project is the first in a series of collaborations with costume designer Alice Babidge, whom Cave met through her son Earl when they worked together on western film True History of the Kelly Gang. Each design, from the popular Falconetti to its sisters, the Festival, the Belle and the Cinderella, features a bow stitched into the sumptuous fabric, whether small and hidden or opulent and overt.

The famous faces all chose what they wanted to wear from the softly coloured, metallic-tinted edit, which features lace and florals in abundance, including Simon B Mørch in the Early dress and Paul-Anthony Smith in the Kaftan. “It was Alice’s idea to ask friends who’ve been very supportive of me as a person and the brand to be in the campaign,” Cave tells Vogue. “I was too shy to ever ask Keira Knightley, Kate Moss – or anyone – to do [that]; I didn’t want to put them on the spot. But they very kindly agreed to be in the photographs.”

The next capsule will be entitled “Frill Seeker”, and will no doubt play on the ruffle trimming on Cave’s romantic dresses. Whether or not the collaborators will enlist more of their creative community for an accompanying picture series remains to be seen. “[Many of people attracted to the brand are] other musicians and actors and people who are in a similar world to Nick,” says Cave. “[They] gravitate towards us fortunately.”

The Louis Vuitton Party Was A Who’s Who Of London’s Social Scene

George Vuitton, the son of Louis Vuitton, selected London for the house’s first store outside of Paris in 1885. The doors to 149 New Bond Street opened in 1900, and the brand subsequently relocated across the road to 17-20 in 2010. After being closed for 14 months for renovations – the sculptural brown logo-ed exterior gave few clues away – the store has reopened with new, colour-saturated interiors masterminded by New York-based architect Peter Marino.

Naturally, fashion’s great and good got a preview of the 17,500- square foot experiential retail space. After exploring the trippy environment housing 43 works of art by 25 artists – nine of which were specially-commissioned – the drinks reception spilled out of numbers 17-20 and on to Annabel’s on Berkeley Square, which also embraced the LV symbol as part of its decor for the night.

Alexa Chung, Poppy Delevingne, Amber and Yasmin Le Bon, and Naomi Scott provided the Brit girl energy, while Gal Gadot, Shailene Woodley and Jason Momoa brought a dash of Hollywood glamour to the Mayfair proceedings. Doutzen Kroes, who is in town for the One Young World summit, stopped by to see Mark Ronson spin the decks, while Noel Gallagher and Kylie Minogue also watched on. Maisie Williams was glued to her partner Reuben Selby as per.

Nicolas Ghesquière’s usual power posse of brand ambassadors, including Alicia Vikander, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Connelly and Sophie Turner, was absent, but the extended guest list proved the enduring pull of the house. London has been home from home to Louis Vuitton for 134 years, but last night was the start of a bright new chapter.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Unlike Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker Actually Doesn't Like Shopping

In news that could make Carrie Bradshaw stumble in her Manolos, Sarah Jessica Parker has revealed she finds shopping anxiety-inducing. “I’m not a crazy shopper. And haven’t been for many years,” the former Sex and the City star quipped to Australian radio host Fifi Box, one third of the Melbourne-based Fifi, Fev & Byron show.

“I think I used to be a little more so but shopping can sometimes give me anxiety. I feel bad, do you know what I mean?” Parker continued. “I buy something and I’m like, ‘uh do I really need that? Will I want that in five years? Is that going to look good on me in five years?’” Parker lamented, adding,“You know I keep thinking like, ‘Oh, what about when I retire? Which Matthew’s like, ‘we’re never going to retire’”.

While it's comforting to know Parker suffers from similar shopping-related afflictions as the general public, it's equally comforting to hear that she may never retire — and for that, we are grateful. It's worth noting that Parker was in Australia to launch her shoe line, SJP Collection. So while the mother-of-three may find herself in some distress when it comes to consuming clothing, she still seems to take direction from Carrie Bradshaw where shoes are concerned.

“I always say it’s like a fever for her,” Parker asserted of her onscreen character's shoe habit. A fever many have no qualms with.

Katie Holmes Is Stylist-Free & Looking Better Than Ever

Since Katie Holmes became a cashmere bra influencer, her wardrobe has garnered an increased level of media attention. Her trips around SoHo with her 13-year-old daughter Suri Cruise – who deserves her own shout-out for her current choice of reading material: The Handmaid’s Tale – are now rife with street style material, owing to Holmes’s choice of elevated daywear.

Shocker: Holmes doesn’t have a stylist. After working with LA-based celebrity dresser Jeanne Yang for years, and eventually launching a label, Holmes & Yang, together, they parted ways. The brand, too, shuttered in 2014, as Holmes’s attention shifted to motherhood and rejuvenating her acting career. She began shopping for herself, scouting new labels and building up a capsule wardrobe of interchangeable quality basics with discreet branding.

Case in point: the Khaite bradigan. The barley-coloured cashmere bra and cardigan set became a social-media phenomenon because of the innate sexiness and self-assuredness woven into that double dose of butter-soft wool. From Holmes’s milk chocolate nail varnish to complement the husk-hued sweater, to her messy ponytail to facilitate maximum shoulder exposure, nothing about the look was off-the-cuff.

Since then, Holmes has turned to Khaite for a gingham woollen trench coat and matching trousers (worn separately), and who can blame her? The descriptions of the Blythe coat and Bernadette pants, which touch on “autumnal spice tones” and “rich textures”, are just as delectable as the Scarlet cardy set that promises to “envelope the body” with its “exceptional softness” and “robust texture”.

Other brands ticking Holmes’s boxes are synonymous with this quiet, conscious style, where there’s a purpose to every piece. Like Gabriela Hearst, whose sustainable luxury proposition and limited-distribution handbags have won her another high-profile fan in the Duchess of Sussex. Wardrobe.NYC, the brainchild of Vogue Australia fashion director Christine Centenera, which designs capsule edits of wardrobe heroes that can be styled cohesively and worn season after season. And Rothy, which recycles plastic bottles and uses 3D knitted technology to craft them into eco-friendly ballet flats that are machine-washable.

Each brand in Holmes’s wardrobe is grounded by the premise that fashion should be about creating foundations to build on, and so, the actor has been re-wearing her investment buys week after week. Now that is street style to get behind.

And The Royal Bride Wore... Oscar De La Renta

History repeated itself this weekend, as Napoleon Bonaparte’s great-great-great nephew wed the great-grand-daughter of Austria's last emperor on 19 October, at the Saint-Louis-des-Invalides cathedral in Paris.

The marriage between Prince Jean-Christophe Napoleon Bonaparte and Countess Olympia von und zu Arco-Zinneberg marks a union between the former Imperial House of France and the Austrian House of Habsburg, echoing the 1810 wedding of Napoleon Bonaparte I and the Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria (without the strategic political motivations).

The bride wore a graphic Oscar de la Renta gown with a cut-out fern motif and a matching capelet, which was removed for the reception at the historic Palace of Fontainebleau.

Olympia is the latest royal to eschew the dainty satin-and-lace wedding gowns of yesteryear. The Duchess of Sussex famously sparked the trend for modernity when she wore a minimal ivory satin dress by Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller for her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018, and Princess Eugenie continued in that vein when she wore a simple silk-jacquard wedding gown by Peter Pilotto to walk down the aisle last October.

Karlie Kloss Shares Emotional Footage Of Her Wedding Dress Fittings At The Dior Atelier

A year ago today Karlie Kloss exchanged vows with Josh Kushner in front of 80 guests at a ceremony in upstate New York in a custom Dior design by Maria Grazia Chiuri. The bride later shared touching glimpses of her big day with her 8 million plus Instagram followers.

Now, Kloss has shared – for the first time – a behind-the-scenes making of the custom gown to mark her anniversary, revealing that it took 700 hours to make in Paris. In the clip, Kloss reveals the sketches behind the final design and her initial hopes for her wedding dress: “When I was a little girl, obviously I always liked the idea of having a fairytale wedding, but I never imagined I would have the chance,” Kloss says in the clip, before flying to Paris to meet with Grazia Chiuri.

It then follows the supermodel and her mother as they visit the atelier in Paris together for the dress fitting, making for an emotional moment. Upon seeing her dress, a tearful Kloss hugs and thanks Grazia Chiuri. Later, the model reveals her plans to forgo heels on her big day: “Oh I am not wearing heels on my wedding day. I want to dance the night away and I feel most happy in flats so I am very happy to have these gorgeous flats."

Earlier this year, the couple threw a wild west-themed reception party in Wyoming with some familiar faces, including friends Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom, joining the fun.

Prada Is Taking Its 2021 Resort Show To Japan

Prada will stage its 2021 resort show in Japan. The Italian house has confirmed the show will take place on May 21, 2020, but has yet to disclose specifics regarding location. This will be the first time Prada has staged a runway show in the country.

Globe-trotting has become a prerequisite for resort attendees in recent years, with brands on the circuit travelling far and wide for the season. Prada held its inaugural resort show in 2017 at Milan’s Fondazione Prada Osservatorio, then staged its resort 2019 and 2020 presentations in New York.

Last month Chanel announced it is taking its Cruise 2021 collection to Capri on May 7, 2020 – the first time the brand has shown a resort line outside of Paris since 2016.

During Milan Fashion Week last month Prada staged a spring/summer 2020 show that was big on sartorial theatrics. The venue was a giant wet room, and the collection heralded a return to Miuccian simplicity. Prada’s long-held obsessions with geometric prints, retro brocades and sheer knits in a show the designer described backstage as an attempt to reclaim “simplicity”.

What can we expect when Prada decamps to Japan? Only time (and Miuccia) will tell.

JW Anderson's New Uniqlo Collection Is Made For Rambling En Plein Air

“It’s a good moment to go outdoors in Britain!” says Jonathan Anderson. He’s in an ebullient mood when we meet in Clapton at the presentation of his fourth JW Anderson collection for Uniqlo – and a seemingly hungry one, too: he chomps through several jam tarts and a shortbread sandwich over the course of the interview.

His autumn/winter 2019 collection, which launches today, was inspired by a train ride Anderson took from London to St Ives, in Cornwall. It made him ponder the nostalgia-laden concept of “the Great Outdoors”. “I was thinking about going from the city to the farthest corner [of England] – what is that? The clothing is more about me, it’s very personal… it’s what I like, what I wear. I wanted something which was quite honest.”

It’s arguably his strongest collection for the Japanese retailer, full of cosy Aran knits, cuddly fleece jackets and tartan blanket skirts as well as hipster cargo pants and puffer jackets in juicy citrus tones – a sort of Hype Beast spin on Ali MacGraw in Love Story. “I spent most of my childhood outdoors in Ireland,” Anderson recalls. “I grew up on a farm, so not much choice. My parents used my grandparents’ as a kind of crèche and shipped me and my brothers off there every summer. We were permanently in fleeces and cycling shorts – quite funny when I look back at pictures. I used to let cows out of fields and hundreds of cows were milling around the roads stopping traffic.”

Today, he rarely gets outside, his time occupied by a cross-Channel commute to design collections for Loewe, its Paula’s Ibiza diffusion line, JW Anderson, plus collaborations. “I’ve been twice this year,” he laughs wryly, when I ask how he likes to spend time at his holiday home in Norfolk. “I would like to be outdoors more. I do feel like I live in an urban jungle because my life at the moment is spent between Paris and London. I feel like this collection is a sort of utopia – of what I would like to be doing.”

I ask what Anderson has learnt from working with Uniqlo. The Japanese retail behemoth, owned by Fast Retailing, is something of an anomaly on the British high street: a mass market retailer that largely eschews trends in favour of good quality basics at low prices. Last month, John C. Jay, Fast Retailing’s president of global creative, refuted the idea that the brand was a purveyor of “fast fashion”, telling Forbes: “It’s not fast fashion, because we will never make disposable clothing.”

Anderson agrees. “When you look at the high street now, there is a thing about authenticity. What is interesting is Mr Yanai’s [founder and president of Fast Retailing] direct vision. It’s very methodical. It doesn’t veer. It’s sort of like: commit to something and make it work. He doesn’t rely on creating new trends from existing catwalks. He is there to create things which are universal. There is a democracy to it. That’s what’s so good about Uniqlo. I don’t see it as a throwaway product.”

How does he feel about the state of fashion more generally? He takes a large glug of water. “What I am finding increasingly more disturbing is that we, as the viewer – it’s happening in other things too, music, film, advertising, the way we build houses – we are in a mirage of low-grade happiness,” he says. “We don’t expect things to be pushed anymore. We don’t want anything that challenges us. Which is slightly disturbing because ultimately things that do challenge are the things that progress us.” How does he rail against the system? “When I am designing, I want to look into the abnormal, look into the things that we don’t see. I think fashion needs that. We cannot stay in a state of low-grade happiness. Because if we just accept it, then the powers that be, win.”

Tod’s Marks The Start Of A New Creative Chapter

There’s a new name rising up the fashion ranks in Italy: Walter Chiapponi. The Milanese designer has been appointed creative director of Tod’s womens- and menswear. His first collections will be for autumn/winter 2021, which will hit stores next autumn.

“Tod’s is a brand that has always represented an excellence in the international panorama of Italian quality and style,” Chiapponi commented. “Being able to contribute to the development of this Italian lifestyle is, for me, a challenge and a reason to be proud.”

Chiapponi joins Tod’s from Bottega Veneta, where he worked under the brand’s former creative director, Tomas Maier. Chiapponi, who studied at the European Institute of Design and cut his teeth at Givenchy, returned to Italy in 2017. Stints at Valentino, Gucci and Miu Miu also populate his CV.

“Walter Chiapponi is a talented Italian creative who knows and is able to combine Tod’s Italian lifestyle with a touch of modernity, without ever losing sight of the high quality and craftsmanship that represents the brand’s DNA,” commented Diego Della Valle, president of Tod’s Group, who has been overseeing the hire since Alessandra Facchinetti, creative director of the women’s collections, exited the house in 2016. Andrea Incontri, who headed up the menswear department, left his role in June.

Despite the absence of a singular creative vision, Tod’s has received critical acclaim and publicity via its Factory project – a series of capsule collections conceived by the industry’s leading creatives, which takes its name from Andy Warhol’s iconic New York studio. Following a debut collaboration with Alessandro Dell’Acqua, Tod’s invited Alber Elbaz into its “creative laboratory” to produce his first major work since his exit from Lanvin in October 2015 – something he has described as his “personal tragedy”. Whereas Dell’Acqua homed in on low-key glamour, Elbaz highlighted that most storied houses are now opening their doors to reinterpretation. What will the next chapter under Chiapponi hold?

Rihanna’s Cult Handbag Makes It To The Pool With Her

Following her boundary-breaking Savage X Fenty show during New York Fashion Week and the announcement of her visual autobiography, Rihanna is enjoying some RnR. The location? Undisclosed, but tropical. The holiday wardrobe? Fabulous.

Rih posted a slow motion video of herself gliding towards the sundeck of a villa wearing a black bikini and a wisp of a beach cover-up. In her hand was Bottega Veneta’s The Pouch, the cloud-like It bag that spawned countless waitlists when Daniel Lee released it as his first major accessory for the house, and which the popstar has in black as well as the mist calf leather iteration (she also owns the Cassette bag and the quilted mules, too).

The look set the tone for a trip that will see her check out of work work work, but keep a toe in the fashion pool and flex her status as an influencer. The entrepreneur has previously credited her stylist and Fenty collaborator Jahleel Weaver as the instigator of her luxury accessory purchases, which have an air of forbidden fruit about them as Bottega Veneta is backed by rival fashion conglomerate Kering. “Thank you for spending all my money on Bottega bags,” Rihanna said in an Instagram shout-out to her “spirit animal”. “Thank you for making sure that I stopped wearing sweats and Uggs in the airport.” Weaver, it seems, was also behind that fleece tracksuit look at JFK.

Remembering Sophia Kokosalaki, The Designer Who Gave Fashion Fire And Spirit

There is a glazed ceramic figurine of an ancient Minoan snake goddess in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum on Crete. Two arms outstretched clasping serpents, exposed breasts circled by a tight bodice and wearing a multi-tiered chiton, the statue dates back to 1650-1550 B.C.

“The snake goddess is a favourite. I must have first laid eyes on her age six or seven. She has exposed breasts, a tiny waist and represents power, beauty and also an element of darkness that framed my aesthetic early on,” Sophia Kokosalaki once told me.

The Greek designer, who has died aged 47, was awarded an Honorary Distinction by the region of Crete in 2018. “Crete is a culture that just keeps on giving. Every time I approach by boat or plane, I feel emotional,” said Kokosalaki, who had family roots on the island and spent many holidays there adventuring to archaeological sites, relishing the sea and the wild nature with her partner, daughter, and friends.

Kokosalaki’s guiding motto was: “Why not? We will do this.” She often made the impossible, possible. With her rare creative talent, honed under the late Louise Wilson while studying for an MA at Central Saint Martins, as well as her innate vision and courage, Kokosalaki scaled challenges professionally, personally and embraced life in all its wondrous and fearsome beauty.

Launching a collection at the turn of the millennium was one such feat. She was at the heart of a fearless creative London uprising led by a new generation that freely criss-crossed street and high fashion, music and art. Kokosalaki brilliantly wove ancient Greek culture with British punkish mores, delivering a tantalising portrait of an empowered yet graceful female identity. Intricate pleating, classical draping, slithery silk jersey, supple, appliquéd leather and breastplate-like bodices were artfully combined to create an aesthetic suggestive of the mythic attributes of goddesses, reworked for the modern world.

Her work stands in a canon of designers fascinated by Ancient Greek culture, including Madame Grès, Vionnet (where she became creative director, in 2006), Fortuny, Halston, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. Their mission was to express a timeless ideal. But Kokosalaki, trained in Greek literature and art, and with vibrant values of feminism instilled in her by her mother, gave that expression a rebellious, provocative and erotically resonant edge.

What fire and what spirit. It was no surprise when Kokosalaki was invited to become the creative director of the opening and closing ceremonies at the Athens 2004 Olympics, creating an extraordinary display with a tiny core team. She time-travelled through civilisations: ancient amphora inspired huge decorated gowns, myths and legends were retold through surrealist living "friezes", while Björk mesmerised millions in a sculpted blue gown that wrapped her body like a breaking wave.

As a tall, striking, blonde figure who was rarely without a little black draped silk blouse or skirt, Grecian gold jewellery, flicked kohl eyeliner, red lipstick and sparkling, trusting eyes, Sophia embodied the female she envisioned in her work. She was inimitable in her capacity to surface and embrace truth in all its myriad, paradoxical layers. A true Greek, she was ever ready to share and celebrate life, its cycles and its bathos, drama, tragedy, comedy and beauty.

“She had the sparkliest eyes and she always smiled brightly even when talking seriously,” says founder of Fashion East, Lulu Kennedy, who got married in a Kokosalaki dress. Kokosalaki was an adventurer, a pioneer, who would never recoil from challenges, even when confronting health issues this late summer.

I first came to know Sophia when I interviewed her for Vogue shortly after her MA graduation and her first New-Gen collection. We photographed her in an open top limo with a toast of designer friends in Hyde Park. At that time, Kokosalaki lived in a small apartment in Covent Garden. I remember her as charming and profound in one measure. She was highly regarded by her peers, a true designer’s designer. Hussein Chalayan and Alexander McQueen would often sit front row at her shows, amongst editors, art directors, stylists, and musicians. On moving to Paris in the mid-2000s to show her collections, she raised her business to an international level: actresses including Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, Keira Knightley and Jennifer Connelly wore her dresses.

Then the banking crash took its toll and Kokosalaki, after a short-lived investment venture with Renzo Rosso’s Only The Brave, ceased making her ready-to-wear line. With her long-time partner, Antony Baker (also her business partner), she moved on to establish vibrant bridal and jewellery collections as well as overseeing numerous design projects. Her Minoan chain link necklaces and Medusa earrings, crafted by Grecian gold and silversmiths, are prized. Her designs are in museum collections worldwide and continue to influence the new mood in fashion as it seeks out a classical sense of grace in these turbulent times.

We became close friends. I will cherish so many joyous times with her, her daughter and partner, friends and brilliant family both in London and in her beloved homeland. She introduced so many to the true riches of Greece, its people, land and culture. We would make visits to the collector and philanthropist Dakis Joannou on the island of Hydra for the Deste Foundation Biennale, inaugurating exhibitions by artists including Kiki Smith, Elizabeth Peyton, Maurizio Cattelan. We headed to the Venice Biennale and to Crete to hunt for shells on beaches and laze in tavernas. Midsummer dinners in the garden at the north London family home, talks, birthdays, festivities – Sophia was a star at rustling up and hosting many an impromptu gathering, always engaged and engaging, shining a light on the beauty, humour and truth in all.

A little black graphic jersey dress from 2008, a white jersey column gown and a leather piped bodice will always remain as my wardrobe treasures. Kokosalaki created and articulated a brilliant portrait of woman on this earth. Rest in peace.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Fashion Awards 2019 Nominations Are In

The nominees for the Fashion Awards 2019 have been revealed ahead of the 2 December ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall. “Each and every one of them is being recognised for their creative excellence and innovation,” commented Stephanie Phair, British Fashion Council Chair.

Among the household-name brands that make regular appearances in the 10 categories, such as Gucci and Prada, there’s a new frontrunner: Bottega Veneta, which is nominated for Brand of the Year. Creative director Daniel Lee is up for Accessories Designer of the Year – no doubt in part down to his cloud-like The Pouch, which sparked waiting lists worldwide (Rihanna has it in three colourways) – and Womenswear Designer of the Year. In the Model of the Year category, Adesuwa Aighewi joins previous nominees Adut Akech, Adwoa Aboah, Kaia Gerber and Winnie Harlow, in what is the most diverse line-up to date. Additionally, Fenty is listed in the Urban Luxe category – the first time Rihanna has received a nod for her solo fashion endeavours and not off the back of a collaboration with Puma.

Earlier this year, the BFC announced that it would recognise Naomi Campbell’s outstanding contribution to the industry by crowning her its 2019 Fashion Icon. Giorgio Armani will also be honoured with the Outstanding Achievement Award, and more special recognition accolades will be announced prior to the event. The industry will also celebrate 100 young creatives, from photographers to stylists, set designers and make-up artists, as part of the New Wave: Creatives scheme, which the BFC launched last year.

See the full list of Fashion Awards 2019 nominees below, which was decided upon by the global voting panel of 2,500 members of the industry.

Accessories Designer of the Year

Alessandro Michele for Gucci

Daniel Lee for Bottega Veneta

Jonathan Anderson for Loewe

Kim Jones for Dior Men

Simon Porte Jacquemus for Jacquemus

Brand of the Year

Bottega Veneta





British Designer of the Year Menswear

Craig Green for Craig Green

Grace Wales Bonner for Wales Bonner

Kim Jones for Dior Men

Martine Rose for Martine Rose

Riccardo Tisci for Burberry

British Designer of the Year Womenswear

Daniel Lee for Bottega Veneta

John Galliano for Maison Margiela

Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson & Loewe

Richard Quinn for Richard Quinn

Simone Rocha for Simone Rocha

British Emerging Talent Menswear

Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty for Cottweiler

Bethany Williams for Bethany Williams

Kiko Kostadinov for Kiko Kostadinov

Phoebe English for Phoebe English

Sofia Prantera for Aries

British Emerging Talent Womenswear

Laura and Deanna Fanning for Kiko Kostadinov

Matty Bovan for Matty Bovan

Phoebe English for Phoebe English

Rejina Pyo for Rejina Pyo

Rosh Mahtani for Alighieri

Business Leader

Alexandre Arnault for Rimowa

José Neves for Farfetch

Marco Bizzarri for Gucci

Marco Gobbetti for Burberry

Remo Ruffini for Moncler

Designer of the Year

Alessandro Michele for Gucci

Daniel Lee for Bottega Veneta

Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson & Loewe

Kim Jones for Dior Men

Miuccia Prada for Prada

Model of the Year

Adesuwa Aighewi

Adut Akech

Adwoa Aboah

Kaia Gerber

Winnie Harlow

Urban Luxe



Marine Serre

Martine Rose

Moncler Genius

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The California Fur Ban

So California has become the first state to ban fur. This sounds draconian. What does that actually mean? It is true that on Friday the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, signed AB44 into law, which bans sales of new clothing and accessories (handbags, shoes, pompoms, key chains, you know) made of fur. But that does not mean that California is saying sayonara to all fur.

For the purpose of the law, fur is defined as “animal skin or part thereof with hair, fleece or fur fibers attached thereto.” For the purposes of shoppers, that means mink, sable, chinchilla, lynx, fox, rabbit, beaver, coyote and other luxury furs. Exceptions have been made for cowhide, deerskin, sheepskin and goatskin. Which means that shearling is totally fine. Exceptions have also been made for religious observances (shtreimels, the fur hats often worn by Hasidic Jews, can continue to be sold) and other traditional or cultural purposes.

Fur that is already in circulation can remain in circulation. So your grandmother’s astrakhan stole is safe. So is any aviator jacket. But how will anyone know if the fur you are wearing is old or new? The law is really about the selling of fur, not the wearing of fur. After all, it is perfectly legal for any California resident to travel to, say, Las Vegas, buy a big fur coat and show it off back home. Some fur partisans are nonetheless concerned that because it is hard to tell what is new fur and what is old fur, they will be ostracized or otherwise seen as having done something illegal if they appear in public in a fur garment. That is a legitimate worry.

What happens if a retailer cheats?

If retailers break the law, they risk incurring civil penalties, including a fine of up to $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for multiple offenses.

I’ve been hearing about various fur bans for a while. This isn’t the first one, is it?

California is the first state to ban fur, but it is following the lead of a number of its own municipalities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Berkeley. A variety of countries have banned fur farming, including Serbia, Luxembourg, Belgium, Norway, Germany and the Czech Republic. And similar bills banning fur sales have been introduced in New York City and Hawaii, though they have yet to become law.

Could New York City be next?

Not really. Over the last year numerous brands have jumped on the no-fur bandwagon, including Stella McCartney, Gucci, Versace, Coach, Chanel, Prada, Burberry, Michael Kors, Giorgio Armani and Tom Ford. H&M, which is not exactly a haven of mink coats, has said it will no longer use mohair. One of the few holdouts is Fendi, which began life as a fur house, still has five outlets in California that sell fur and even has “haute fourrure” fashion shows once a year during couture. (Fendi did not respond to requests for comment on the ban.)

Still, all of this just-say-no-to-fur is not quite the sacrifice it sounds, since for many brands fur makes up a very small percentage of sales (at Coach, for example, fur accounted for less than 1 percent of its business). In California, it was an especially tiny percentage. This is true for department stores, too. Saks does not even have a dedicated fur salon in its California stores. On the other hand, fur is still popular in Miami. Cameron Silver of the vintage store Decades said in an email that while there was “a waning interest” in fur in California, “preloved fur pieces” tend to be the first to sell at trunk shows across the country.

Why is all this happening now?

The anti-fur movement has been growing for a while, but between the general conversation about the climate crisis, a raft of books like “Eating Animals,” by Jonathan Safran Foer, and the sense that fur feels very last century, and contrary to millennial value systems, consumer sentiment has begun to swing against it. And whither consumers, so, too, those that sell to them.

It makes sense, so what are the arguments against it?

They range from fur being a meaningful part of national industry, generating $1.5 billion at retail in the United States, according to the Fur Information Council of America, and accounting for more than 32,000 full-time jobs - to the fact that many of the fake alternatives are made from petroleum and other plastic-based synthetics and are generally regarded as entirely disposable, which means they end up in landfill, which means fake fur is probably worse for the environment than real fur, which is almost never thrown away.

In addition a number of communities, including African-Americans and Hasidic Jews, see fur as an important part of their cultural heritage, one on which lawmakers should not be permitted to impose their own voter-pandering morality.

What happens next?

Retailers are gaming out all sorts of possible scenarios. PETA is currently lobbying, with some success (see: ASOS) to ban the use of cashmere, silk, down and feathers. As a result, there have been a lot of doomsday scenarios floated about the slippery slope we are poised to tumble down.

Keith Kaplan, of the Fur Information Council of America (F.I.C.), issued the following statement after the California news broke: “This issue is about much more than animal welfare in the fur industry. It is about the end of animal use of any kind. Fur today, leather tomorrow, your wool blankets and silk sheets and meat after that.”

Victoria Beckham Is Giving Us Autumnal Knitwear Feels

Victoria Beckham is Stateside on business and, as well as promoting her new lip kits, she’s acting as her best brand ambassador for her autumn/winter 2019 fashion collection. En route out of JFK, the designer shrugged a check blazer over a mint Shetland wool jumper and pressed beige trousers. Of course, the entire get-up was Victoria Beckham, but it was the ultra-soft, fuzzy knit that captured our attention as a snug layering tool.

Fast forward to the following morning, and Beckham appeared on the Today Show wearing another iteration of the cropped jumper style. She styled the bright heather sweater (side note: what a delectable name!) over a check 1970s collar shirt, red flared skirt and matching over-the-knee, open-toe boots.

Head to and voila! The crew-neck jumpers sit pretty on Beckham’s e-tail homepage and are available to pre-order. The £450 autumnal investment buys are reflective of a collection that Vogue described as “sensual, sumptuous, and warmer” than previous edits. It was also the first time Beckham had worked with a narrative – one which she chose to retain an air of ambiguity around, but which nonetheless reflected her playful personality.

As the entrepreneur continues to grow her empire, Beckham’s ability to tap into what her customers want – an insight into her life – is invaluable, and she remains her own best advert for her brand.

Tracee Ellis Ross’s Mood-Shifting Dress

Tracee Ellis Ross’s wardrobe is a technicolour dream. From hot-pink Pyer Moss, Valentino and Christopher John Rogers to sunshine-yellow Sergio Hudson and Aje, bold colour blocking forms the foundation of her public-facing and personal looks. For her latest head-turning moment in front of the paparazzi, Ross tapped stylist Karla Welch for a look from a designer that demonstrates her love of a punchy colour palette and an offbeat narrative. She headed into the Good Morning America studios wearing a fluro check shirtdress by S.R. Studio. LA. CA..

Discerning fashion fans will recognise the brand name as that of Sterling Ruby – the American artist and long-time collaborator of Raf Simons. At Pitti Immagine Uomo in June, Ruby debuted his clothing line, or, as Vogue fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen said, his first solo foray into transforming “his textile art into functional art”.

“Not that I mind that someone has an object and hangs it on their wall,” Ruby said after the catwalk presentation, “but it’s kind of fun to think of something being worn out in the world where other people can see it.” Ross’s neon-green dress errs on the pared-back side of the spring/summer 2020 edit – which featured paint splashes, graphics and multiple textures – but the actor added Stabilo-highlighter yellow Schutz pumps for good measure.

Virgil Abloh flew into Florence to see a front row view of the artist’s latest creative output – which Ruby said was no different to creating a painting or a sculpture – and Timothée Chalamet has already sported a pair of acid-wash denim overalls by S.R. Studio. LA. CA.. Who’s next?

Meet The Kuwaiti Designer Who Creates “Own The Night” Dresses

Yousef Al-jasmi channels the glitzy fashion scene of his native Kuwait into hyper-embellished gowns that look like they have been poured onto the bodies of the Kardashians, Paris Hilton and the world’s pop-music titans.

Yousef Al-jasmi fell into fashion after an enchanting encounter with a scrap of gold fabric. His designer sister left the material on the kitchen table at home in Kuwait and her younger brother couldn’t resist its tactility. He began playing dress-up, draping the luminescent sample over a mannequin, until eventually the blueprint of a one-shoulder minidress was formed. Two days later, his sister informed him that six of her clients had enquired about purchasing the design. “I decided to run with it,” Al-jasmi tells Vogue. Years later, his client list is an A-Z of Hollywood’s biggest names, from Beyoncé and Cardi B to the Jenner-Kardashian clan.

“I create dresses that are meant to own the night,” Al-jasmi says of his USP. “My designs are for those who want to be seen, and to make a scene (a grand entrance of sorts).” He is not wrong: a Yousef Aljasmi (his brand loses the he hyphen after the definite article) gown lights up a red carpet, stage or party owing to the high-shine combination of coloured sequins and Swarovski crystals encrusted onto the mesh tulle base. The secret to their popularity among the A-list is the fact that the perfect beadwork looks like it has literally been dripped over its wearer’s body. From sketch to fruition, the form-fitting confections – which Al-jasmi promises are easy to manoeuvre in – take hundreds of hours to finesse by his 150-strong team in Kuwait.

Al-jasmi’s first pinch-me moment – and, accordingly, his favourite design to date – came shortly after launching in 2015, when Paris Hilton commissioned him to create a statuesque silver gown replete with sheer panels for the Grammys. A call from the Kardashians came shortly after, and pictures of Khloé, Kendall and Kylie partying in Yousef Aljasmi at Kris Jenner’s 60th birthday surfaced on the family’s social media channels.

Beyoncé, too, was an early adopter. “She was actually the muse for one of my first collections,” grins Al-jasmi. The pop titan ended up wearing one of the twinkling bodysuits from this inaugural line in the video for “Sorry” in 2016. “She’s the queen!” chimes Al-jasmi. Scroll down the brand’s Instagram feed and there are five images of Bey wearing a golden fantasy gown to the opening of Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta last week.

This year, the creative realised his dream of dressing Céline Dion, when the singer asked him to design dazzling looks for her Courage album cover and the corresponding tour. “My gowns have been on the bodies of some of the most influential women,” he affirms. “I have been able to accomplish more than I ever dreamed possible.” By “influential”, Al-jasmi is also referring to the well-heeled audience in his homeland, who often stop by his atelier for bespoke pieces to wear to the lavish weddings and galas he says are du jour in Kuwait.

On how Al-jasmi plans to evolve his aesthetic beyond his bauble-esque ballgowns, he says simply: “I always go with my gut feeling and trust my instincts on what the worldly woman would like to wear. My designs capture a character trait rather than an age.” You get the feeling that demand for his unabashed, feel-good glamour is not about to wane.

Angelina Jolie Shines In Ralph & Russo’s Opulent Couture At London’s Maleficent Premiere

It was a family affair at the London premiere of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, as Angelina Jolie wore her most ornate custom tour look to date alongside her children, Zahara, Shiloh, Vivienne and Knox. The glittering silver gown with gold bodice detailing and diaphanous back draping is the work of Ralph & Russo – the first British couture label in a century to gain admittance to the Paris’s Fédération de la Haute Couture in 2014.

The connection between actor and couturier has long existed off the red carpet. Jolie collected her honorary damehood the same year wearing an immaculately cut dove grey skirt suit by the house. It was emblematic of the wealth of separates interspersed among Ralph & Russo’s fairytale gowns that cater to the brand’s young clientele – a fan base that has allowed the brand to quietly rule the couture game since it set up shop in Knightsbridge in 2007.

Speaking of those red-carpet ready gowns dripping in embellishment, the Australian-born couple (Tamara Ralph acts as creative director while Michael Russo is CEO) created a bespoke look for Jolie to wear in her titular role in the Disney film. If the elaborate beadwork on the actor’s London gown – and, indeed, the gold fringed autumn/winter 2019 couture look she wore at the Japan premiere – is a barometer of what to expect, hours and hours of painstakingly detailed work will have gone into the costume.

The shimmering silver confection, which Jolie accented with Cartier High Jewellery, is also a departure from the Maleficent promo looks that have been leading to London. The bewitching black Atelier Versace gowns with their perfect corsetry seem to have referenced the impactful uniform of Jolie’s villainous character in the film series. Whether her shining Ralph & Russo gown is a reflection of Maleficent’s evolution in the film remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Jolie always uses the red carpet as a platform to show off the spoils of her relationships with the world’s most respected couture houses.

Chanel’s Latest Power Move Is Good News For The Future Of Its Craft

Chanel has bought minority stakes in two Italian leather goods makers and a French clothing manufacturer in a bid to bolster the speciality ateliers that make up its supply chain. Building out its network of artisans cost the business $169 million (£138 million) when the deal was made in January.

The new acquisitions consist of Renato Corti, one of Italy’s largest leather manufacturers based in Florence and Milan, and Mabi, which produces luxury handbags in factories in Florence and San Daniele. Chanel now holds a 40 per cent stake in both. The French company Grandis, which the house bought a 34 per cent stake in, is comprised of 12 workshops creating tailoring, flou, lingerie, swimwear and leather.

“If we want to remain the leader in luxury over the next 20 years, we have to make investments and take risks in areas we consider key for the future,” Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s president of fashion, told WWD. “We are not necessarily looking to buy more companies, but rather to ensure these suppliers remain important contributors to the development of our products.”

Chanel is doubling down on skilled leather manufacturers and tanneries after it halted the use of exotic skins in December 2018. “There’s a lot we can do with leather right now,” Pavlovsky continued. “I think the secret in the future will be a mix of approaches blending traditional leather, as we know it today, with new materials and finishes.” The house has invested in research around alternatives to skins, but predicts the resulting leather substitutes will not be ready to share for at least a decade.

Pavlovsky also added that the house will do whatever it takes to safeguard the yarn suppliers of its signature tweeds, whether that means the company making more acquisitions, or signing purchasing agreements. Upping its investments supports the reiterations of Philippe Blondiaux, Chanel’s global chief financial officer, that “Chanel is not for sale”.

Progress on the structural work around a new craftsmanship headquarters in Aubervilliers, France, is also being made. Slated to open in the third quarter of 2020, the site has officially been named 19M – after the number of Parisian districts adjoining the sprawling centre, and the French words in the fashion vocabulary beginning with M, such as “mode”, “main” and “métier”. Six hundred employees of the ateliers that Chanel is famed for working with – including embroiderers Lesage and Montex; feather and flower specialist Lemarié; and milliner Maison Michel – will all be housed in the five-floor building with two additional basements.

The investments secure Chanel’s place at the top of the luxury leaderboard, but beyond that the house is striving to preserve the know-how of the unique manufacturers that are central to fashion’s craft. Chanel’s Paraffection subsidiary division – which supplies 35 brands worldwide, including 19 members of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode – plans to employ 80 to 100 people across its bases in France, Italy, Spain and Scotland every year. It will also partner with 10 schools to organise training and exchanges. “We have to stimulate interest in these careers,” Pavlovsky continued. [Chanel and its affiliate ateliers have] to be a place where young people want to come.”