Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Brides In Japan Are Turning Their Traditional Kimonos Into Extraordinary Wedding Dresses

It's not uncommon for modern Japanese weddings to combine Shinto wedding traditions with various elements of Western nuptials. Traditionally a Japanese bride would wear a furisode long-sleeve Kimono, but some brides are modifying their garments to add their own unique spin on the traditional Western wedding dress. 

By folding the sleeves down and tying them into a decorative bow at the back, their Kimonos are suddenly turned into elegant strapless dresses. The best part is that because the alterations are all superficial, the wedding dress can easily be turned back into a Kimono. So instead of having a wedding dress that you wear once and then leave in the closet to collect dust forever, why not try something different?

Montreal’s Hit Mugler Exhibition Is Heading To Paris

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is to host the hit “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” exhibition that wound up its six-month run at Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts last September. The display, to open on October 22nd - groups some 150 garments made between 1977 and 2014, most never exhibited before, as well as a wealth of unpublished archival documents and sketches.

The retrospective, on the founder who now calls himself Manfred, explores his role as a couturier, director, photographer and perfumer. The show was initiated by curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot at a time when French fashion designers from the Eighties are very much in the headlines. On Wednesday night, Mugler’s contemporary Jean Paul Gaultier is to stage his last couture show after 50 years in fashion, as reported. In tandem with the Mugler expo, the Arts Décoratifs plan to mount a companion exhibition on the Eighties, spanning graphic design, advertising and fashion.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

5 Things To Know About Chanel’s SS20 Cistercian-Flavoured Couture Show

Later in life, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel never referred to Aubazine, the austere Cistercian abbey where she grew up, as an “orphanage”. Instead, she called the Catholic nuns who raised her “aunts”, whom she recalled as “good people, but absolutely without tenderness”. While it was an unhappy childhood, she appeared to have soaked up the stark simplicity: whitewashed walls with black doors, white shirts and black skirts. That simplicity came to define the haute couture spring/summer 2020 collection, designed by Virginie Viard, and informed by a visit the designer had paid to the medieval abbey. Here, everything you need to know about the latest Chanel show.

Pastoral Matters

Under the dome at the Grand Palais, Virginie Viard recreated the cloister garden at the Abbey of Aubazine, the orphanage where at age 11 Gabrielle Chanel was deposited by her father, with her two sisters. Chanel spent seven years of her life with the nuns, wearing white blouses and black skirts. Upon her visit, Viard fell in love with the rustic, unkempt charm of the walled garden and felt compelled to reimagine the scene, complete with red-brick paving, a water fountain and a clothes lines pegged with vintage white linen tablecloths – inspired by the sewing the orphans undertook every evening. “What I immediately liked was that the cloister garden was uncultivated. It was really sunny. The place made me think of the summer, a breeze fragranced with flowers,” she said. “What interested me in this decor was the paradox between the sophistication of Haute Couture and the simplicity of this place.”

The Monochrome Set

Life at the abbey no doubt shaped a young Gabrielle Chanel’s tastes – the stark black skirts and white wimples of the sisters walking through the courtyard likely informed her elegantly austere palette. The collection was almost entirely monochrome, with the odd soft pastel exception, from houndstooth skirt suits and streamlined dress coats to bouclé ivory and sequined gowns. All looks were accessorised with white opaque tights layered with folded white ankle socks, intended to evoke the naive look of pupils. “I liked this idea of the boarder, of the schoolgirl, the outfits worn by children long ago,” said Viard, who also slipped flat pleated skirts, white smocks and bibbed or Peter Pan collars into silhouettes.

Wimple Street

The nun’s wimple headdress and habit informed necklines and collars throughout the collection. From white swooping panels atop ankle-length evening gowns, to dramatic flared collars on suiting and delicate tulle layers nestling on top of sequined strapless dresses, this was a smörgåsbord of neck adornments that suggested old-world romance.

Forget-me-not Fancies

The stained glass windows and paving stones from the abbey formed the starting point for embroideries, the geometric loops in the windows suggesting interlocking Cs. So too, the garden’s flowers – from pastel-hued pansies to herbs from the kitchen garden. Needlework was an essential skill for the orphans: they sewed hems on sheets for their trousseaux. Such a history of craftsmanship was hinted at here, though elevated to exquisite heights by the Chanel petites mains.

And The Bride Wore...

A belted, knee-length, crêpe-georgette button-down with pin-tuck pleats, crystal buttons and a triple Peter Pan collar in tulle, complete with a veil embroidered with branches of wisteria comprised the final bridal look. Those white tights and ankle socks also featured too. Viard cited the hemline as pure modernity.

Kim Jones Pays Tribute To Judy Blame, The “Unsung Hero Of British Fashion”

Since the start of his uprising in menswear, Kim Jones has paid open homage to the influence of his elder statesman in London counterculture. Today’s Dior AW20 menswear show – a pertinent tribute to the stylist, jeweller, art director and visual iconoclast, Judy Blame – was preceded by a deft twist on the Dior logo, with a safety pin added to the ‘O’ of the house insignia. In an accompanying video, Jones referred to Blame as the "unsung hero" of British fashion. The recognition of the Dior show will surely upend a further layer of Blame’s peerlessly cult status.

Rewind to the evening of 11 March, 2019, when London’s fashion demi-monde descended on Union Chapel, Islington to celebrate Blame’s life. The evening crystalised into a perfect kiss goodnight to a momentous talent. Judy Blame’s honorary eulogy was discreetly funded by Jones, reflecting the inspiration, mentorship and loyal friendship that they both shared.

In fact, Jones and Blame's shared interest was vast, extending beyond clothing and accessories into nightlife, art and the environment. The central tenet of Jones’s work – that there exists no distinction between the street and runway in fashion, only a shared, cross-class division based on taste – is divined straight from Blame’s unwritten fashion creed. Blame’s playbook always prized meaning above money. His work was tirelessly driven by ideas. He wove AIDS and ecology seamlessly into editorial during the incendiary work he styled for titles such as The Face and i-D in the 1980s. The Dior AW20 collection will form part of an ongoing latticework of projects – including a forthcoming book – to help protect and prioritise the legacy of the house of Judy Blame.

Blame died on Monday 19 February, 2018, aged 58. Although his passing felt premature, he managed to cram an awful lot of living into those years. He was born Chris Barnes in Surrey and soon moved to an ex-pat community in Madrid, when his father’s work positioned the family in Spain. His artful instinct was ignited while truanting from school and spending endless hours lost in the Museo Nacional del Prado, instructing himself on the rudiments of taste, which developed young and certain.

He arrived back in Britain as a 16-year-old during Punk’s annus mirabilis; a time which he held close throughout his life. In the last Stoke Newington flat Blame lived in – for which he paid three years’ rent in advance, thanks to a previous Kim Jones collaboration (then at Louis Vuitton) – an original poster from a frenetic The Pop Group gig was given pride of place above the living room fire. It bore the legend: “We are all prostitutes.”

Relocating to London as a teenager, taking a job in the cloakroom at the blossoming Charing Cross gay club, Heaven, Chris Barnes was renamed Judy – in honour of Garland – by the glam-rock couturier Antony Price; and Blame, for giving back whichever coat best suited the patron, not necessarily the one they came in with. Blame’s creative hand was already hard at work, too – making his editorial debut in Tatler at the age of just 21, as a young jeweller and designer to watch.

Blame played as hard as he worked. He built a network through pivotal 1980s nightclubs, which bounced to the reverberating fashion beats of New Romanticism, before shifting to the line-in-the-sand moment of Buffalo, rounding off the decade with the utopian mania of Acid House. He absorbed it all, fashioning imagery that reflected the exact mood with a lightness of touch and necessity of purpose, every bit as vigorous and invested as the art he’d absorbed at the Prado.As a stylist, Blame’s CV is littered with iconic moments.

He chose the gold lamé suit Martin Fry wore in ABC’s The Look Of Love video, reshaping the Sheffield romantics as a Soul Train review band. Fry repaid the compliment three years later by dedicating an ABC B-side Judy’s Jewels to him. Blame introduced Björk to Martin Margiela, Juergen Teller and his favourite make-up artist, Topolino. Together, they fashioned the cover for her iconic first solo record, Debut. Blame lent Kylie Minogue a countercultural edge, as she moved subtly away from Pete Waterman’s PWL Hit Factory; and he reimagined Boy George for his Pearly Queen years. As an art director for Massive Attack he took no credit. He’s rumoured to have spent the entire budget for Duran Duran’s Wild Boys video, for whom he was styling the extras, on street amphetamines.

It was with his great muse, Neneh Cherry, that Blame became heroic. Cherry was less a client, more a long-lost sister figure for Blame. They took the entire Buffalo subculture and sold it to the world via MTV on the back of Cherry’s 1989 hit Buffalo Stance. His effortless subversion of sportswear, knock-off jewellery, hand-crafted pieces and the raw sexuality of the designs of his forever favourite Azzedine Alaïa have become a cornerstone of womenswear that endures today.

Editorial god, styling guru, pop savant, craftsman, gossip and original punk rocker, Blame was as loved in life as he was in fashion. Tears were shed and laughter prevailed at the Union Chapel event; and there was one shared memory on which everyone agreed. That truly, he was one of the giants of fashion history as it raced into the 21st century. At Dior today, Kim Jones has ensured a new testament for Judy Blame’s litany begins.

Edward Enninful Joins A Judging Panel Of Industry Leaders For The International Woolmark Prize

Now in its eighth year, the International Woolmark Prize has helped shape the careers of fashion’s finest across the globe. Judges have included acclaimed industry commentators, models and designers, and previous winners have included none other than Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld, who both won in 1954, the year after the prize was established (Saint Laurent was awarded the top prize for dress design; Lagerfeld for coats).

For 2020, it has been revealed that there will be a new award: the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation, to honour the renowned designer and prize alumnus following his death nearly a year ago. It will be awarded to a finalist who “showcases outstanding creativity and innovation” and will be presented by the editor-in-chief of CR Fashion Book, Carine Roitfeld.

The prize is awarded to outstanding designers in the industry who showcase the “beauty and versatility of Merino wool”. This year, after choosing from over 300 applicants across 47 countries, 10 finalists were decided upon. The British label headed by Samuel Ross, A Cold Wall, is in the running, in addition to the flares-obsessed Irish designer, Richard Malone. Each finalist was awarded £47,000 (AU$70,000) following the announcement in October 2019 and have been creating collections before the awards ceremony at London Fashion Week on 17 February, where an overall winner will receive £105,000 (AU$200,000) and a second designer will receive £53,000 (AU$100,000) for the inaugural Karl Lagerfeld Award For Innovation.

Judges on this year’s panel include Editor-in-Chief at British Vogue, Edward Enninful who commented: “I am delighted to be joining this year’s judging panel for the Woolmark Prize,” adding, “supporting young designers is something close to my heart and I think it’s important that the prize both acknowledges credible new talent and champions the wool industry.” Enninful will be joined by other industry greats including the designer Kim Jones, the journalist Tim Blanks, the model Anja Rubik, the journalist Hamish Bowles and the British Vogue cover star and academic, Sinéad Burke.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Indian fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee is celebrated for his distinctly modern take on traditional Indian clothing. Born to a middle class Bengali family in Kolkata, Mukherjee initially planned for a career in medicine, but was drawn to the National Institute of Fashion Technology, which he attended.

After graduating in 1999, with three major distinctions, Mukherjee opened his workshop with a workforce of just three people. From there, he debuted at India Fashion Week in 2002, earning praise for his work from Women’s Wear Daily, who proclaimed him the future of Indian fashion. Subsequently, he won several design awards from the Mercedez-Benz New Asia fashion week and Lakmé Fashion Week, which gave him time to work alongside the studios of Jean Paul Gaultier in Paris. He was then stocked at influential London boutique Browns and given the distinction of being the first Indian designer to show at Milan Fashion Week.

In the years since, he has parlayed feminine, decorative and balanced designs into a self-made apparel company with a lucrative bridal business, as well as important Bollywood costume projects. Using indigenous crafts of dying and weaving fabric, incorporated with modern silhouettes, he has spearheaded a push by Indian designers into the broader international fashion market.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Lululemon’s Roksanda Collaboration Marries Function & Fashion

It’s pretty hard to believe that Roksanda x Lululemon is the first ever designer collaboration in the Canadian activewear giant’s 22-year history. Now on its second drop, the carefully curated 17-piece sophomore collection follows a sell-out first. Designed for “urban nomads”, classic Lululemon pieces have been given the Roksanda Ilinčić treatment with billowing sleeves and her signature colour juxtapositions. The results are elegant and refined; a far cry from flashy neon gymwear – or the all-black uniform seen in so many of London’s fitness studios. And alongside Lululemon’s usual bras, leggings and jackets sit a mustard yellow cape and technical satin skirt – albeit one with a reflective cord that doubles as a locker strap. “Everything we did had to have a certain purpose,” says Ilinčić. “It was a new way of working for me.” In short, this could be the future of activewear for the fashion-conscious woman.

Arriving as it has in mid-January, you would be forgiven for an eye-roll at yet another activewear collection, but athleisure-fatigue is something the designer has also taken into account. “The market is oversaturated, and we really need to offer something special,” she explains. “It can’t just be about function or beauty anymore. Women are demanding both, and want to connect emotionally with the garments they buy. Garments need to speak to who a woman is now. The experience you get when wearing a garment is essential now.”

For Ilinčić, the collaboration was an immediate yes. The result of many conversations between herself and Audrey Reilly, senior vice president of women’s design at Lululemon, technical fabrics and functional details meet high fashion with seamless results. It brings together iconic pieces from Lululemon and iconic elements from the Roksanda main line DNA, like colour blocking and voluminous shapes,” explains the designer. Reilly agrees. “Colour was a way into both our worlds,” she adds.

Where the partnership’s first collection was built around a palette of icy lilacs and mustard, the second drop is warmer, calmer and somehow even more refined. It goes without saying that colour comes naturally to Ilinčić. “I feel so confident with colour. I do it really instinctively. I choose colours with conviction and with belief, and I think you can feel that. I always try to surprise people with my colour combinations. They always have to be beautiful and evoke certain feelings and emotions, but always have an element of surprise. In this second drop there are some very tranquil colour combinations, like mustard and mulled wine, but then there’s a shot of green, something that’s completely unexpected. Sometimes I look at art books or nature, but most of the time I just follow my heart.”

Ilinčić's favourite piece? The sweeping Face Forward Cape, which comes in both black and mustard, a follow up to the £898 Infinity Coat from the first collection. According to the Lululemon website, it’s “designed for the office commute”, but she disagrees: “It looks as good with a couture dress as it does in the rain when you take the dog for a walk. It ticks all the boxes.”

Above all, the collection is a sign of women, quite rightly, asking for more from their clothing. “Performance is non-negotiable in all our designs,” explains Reilly. “Our base fabrics are built around touch, temperature and movement, and the next to skin cut and second-skin sensation and durability is critical, too – you should be able to keep a pair of our leggings for two years.” But, no longer do these hard-wearing properties come at a cost, aesthetically. “It’s designed for a woman of our times,” says Ilinčić. “Her life is busy, intricate, involved and has so many cultural facets. But above all she’s short on the luxury of time, and wants garments that will work for the whole day.”

Could You Give Up Buying New Clothes In 2020?

Traditionally, I have not responded well to abstinence. Though the season of restraint and giving things up is now upon us, my idea of resolutions for the new year doesn’t normally include Dry January, Veganuary, or other such virtuous projects. Instead, I have tended to adopt the principle of moderation, a system which has always served me well in justifying Burns Night cocktails, or the ubiquitous winter sales.

As the ongoing climate emergency makes explicit, though, in certain contexts the time for gradual reform is running out. With regards to the escalating ecological disaster and what the fashion and textile industries can do to mitigate it, change has to be drastic. The statistics are more than alarming; the worldwide damage to water supplies, forests and carbon quotas unremitting. In terms of how we consume fashion, moderation is a luxury we can no longer afford.

When a friend suggested trying out Oxfam’s initiative, last September, of buying only second-hand clothing for a month, I had thought it would be easy. In reality, I had not realised the extent of my dependency on big-brand online shopping. Technically, I failed in the first week: four days into the challenge, I had a job interview, and panic-bought a corduroy boiler suit which I hoped would make me look capable. (That I already had two boiler suits in my wardrobe, albeit in black and white, and not burnt orange, I filed under “irrelevant”.) When it came - swiftly, neatly packaged, obtained without any effort on my part beyond clicking the right buttons, I felt like a cheat. I re-wrapped it in its plastic packaging and took it to my local Post Office, where the staff on duty shot me wearied nods of recognition. Paying a not insignificant amount to ship it back to the relevant warehouse didn’t exactly enhance the experience.

I held it more or less together for the rest of the month, buying only a Matrix-style, vintage leather blazer on eBay. Still, when September ended, I was relieved to go “back to normal”: to buying marked-down items without really thinking, to hungrily clicking on particular pieces on Instagram and seeing if they were on sale. This “business as usual” approach, criticised so effectively by Extinction Rebellion, was not only basically tone deaf, but also, not enjoyable. I didn’t know what was really in my wardrobe. Instead, I was on a kind of permanent merry-go-round of promotional emails and voucher codes. I was addicted to novelty and quick-fix consolations, which are usually a death knell to real personal style.

Near the end of Greta Gerwig’s 2017 film Ladybird, there is a scene in which the titular character and her mother bicker in a thrift store. Marion, who works as a nurse on an over-subscribed psychiatric ward in Sacramento, California, berates Ladybird for slouching and dragging her feet as they flick tensely through the rails. Their argument escalates, until Marion comes across a 1950s gown in immaculate condition. “Isn’t it perfect?” she asks her daughter, softening. “I just love it!” Ladybird replies, all trace of their previous conflict having disappeared.

I can relate to this exchange. Scouring charity shops with my mother is something I have done since I was a teenager, mostly willingly, but occasionally coerced: “Let’s just go and have a look” always the departing rationale. In the privileged north London suburbs, we’ve found Cacharel and Dries Van Noten, impeccable silk scarves, and, borderline incredulously, a Chanel bag we once spent an entire weekend studying for signs of fakery, armed with niche handbag blogs and YouTube authentication videos (spoiler alert: it might not be real). The activity of browsing for second-hand clothing, the flashes of excitement; the wicker baskets of half-broken costume jewellery; the victory-lap conversations with the volunteers behind the counters, is something I know well, but also, lured by shinier and quicker ways of shopping, not a habit I’ve tried very hard to keep alive.

With the ailing state of the planet at the heart of current industry conversations, it is luckily becoming easier to undertake a circular experience of fashion; to re-use and re-purpose already-existing clothes, rather than racking up more items destined for landfill. Resale sites such as Vestiaire Collective, Hardly Ever Wore It, Second Life, the Real Real, Depop and eBay, and vintage Instagram accounts including Imparfaite and Retold have been breaking through for a few years. A newer wave of initiatives including By Rotation, Hurr Collective and in-house services by brands such as Ganni are encouraging renting, rather than purchasing, both buzzy and more classic items for short-term use. It’s a timely solution to the dilemma of wanting to look nice for a wedding, but not wanting to invest in something that will only gather dust on your shelves, because nobody’s lifestyle involves confetti, champagne, and photo-booths more than a handful of times a year.

Given the urgency of the situation, some might argue that going one step further than #Secondhand2020 and committing to a total blanket ban on buying clothing for 12 months would be a more impactful, and necessary undertaking. But I still don’t know if I believe in total prohibitions. It’s more realistic to believe that I can still indulge the odd lapse into frivolity, even if hunting down the precise right shape of square-toe ankle boots will require a bit more effort than telling myself that all fashion purchases are stringently off-limits.

Two weeks into the new year, which would usually already be busy with the static of innumerable e-receipts and traipses to random parcel drop-off points in cycling-supply stores, I am already enjoying swapping Amazon for Etsy, and, in my own local charity shops, learning how the better fabrics – silk, wool, linen – stand out on the shelves. So far, it doesn’t feel like a drab, punishing exercise but a kind of sensory reeducation: making me appreciate and love clothes more than I already do. It doesn’t feel like a form of saying no to fashion, but a different way of saying yes to it. Except maybe not to those novelty costume earrings.

Burberry To Court Chinese Shoppers With Shanghai Show

Burberry is heading to Shanghai in April, where it will restage its Fall/Winter 2020 runway show with additional looks designed for and available exclusively in the world’s largest luxury market.

The show, which will take place on the 23rd at an undisclosed location, is a part of the British brand’s wider strategy to entice Chinese shoppers, who currently account for over one-third of the luxury sector’s worldwide revenues according to Bain & Company data. Other efforts include a Lunar New Year capsule collection and new tech-infused retail store in Shenzhen as part of its ongoing partnership with Chinese tech giant and WeChat parent company Tencent.

Though this will be the first time Burberry shows an entire collection outside Europe, the brand has previously staged shows in China in 2011 and 2014 to celebrate store openings in Beijing and Shanghai respectively. Brands like Miu Miu and Prada have also recently staged runway shows in the capital, whereas Chanel opted for Chengdu in 2017 and Fendi chose Beijing’s Great Wall as its venue in 2007.

Last November, Burberry reported six-month earnings that beat estimates, despite sales seeing a double-digit decline in protest-ridden Hong Kong, where Burberry wrote down the value of its shops by £14 million ($18.3 million). Mainland China, where it currently operates 61 stores, will be more critical for its performance than ever before.

The Chinese market has long been a bright spot for European luxury brands, but an ongoing economic slowdown has threatened to weigh on Burberry’s ambitions. Though China’s gross domestic product (GDP) is growing at its slowest pace in three decades, de-escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington after this week’s “phase one” trade deal could whet consumer appetites for high-end goods.

“The point here is to capture the limelight, and become or stay relevant to consumers in the most competitive environment,” said Bernstein analyst Luca Solca, who reckons that it will ultimately be up to Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci to cement Burberry’s ‘must-have’ status in the region. “Most luxury brands have yet to reconcile how to run a [China-focused] business from Europe. This may be an innovative first step.”

How Happy Is The Fashion Industry

As the saying goes, the fashion industry is built on the stuff of dreams. Cliché or truism, every single year the opportunity for creativity and innovative entrepreneurialism, jet set locations, glamorous clothes and the Instagram-allure of parties with a globe-trotting beau monde, tempt tens of thousands of individuals to follow their heart and seek a career in fashion they believe will fulfil them.

But beyond the fantasy, in the wake of the #metoo movement, the brutal reality of working in an industry infamous for dysfunctional and, at times, dangerous working environments, poor wages and punishing hours is more apparent than ever before. But how can aspirants and those already working in the industry reconcile such diametrically opposed accounts?

To discover how satisfied professionals working within the fashion industry are with their jobs, BoF surveyed over 1400 fashion professionals and further analysed a sample set of 418 respondents, working in the UK, the US, France, Italy and Germany.

In short, the majority of the fashion industry is in fact satisfied with their jobs, with 54 percent of respondents classifying themselves as such. Indeed, in line with these statistics, almost a fifth of individuals working in the industry, a full 19 percent, are very satisfied with their job.

However, the picture is not all rosy. At the other end of the spectrum, over 20 percent of those surveyed were actively dissatisfied with their employment, with 7 percent identifying as very unsatisfied with their role.

Given the UK’s bleak economic outlook under the cloud of Brexit uncertainty (which forecasts estimate dragged the economy down from around 1 to 2 per cent, or £20bn a year to £40bn a year, according to the Financial Times), it is perhaps surprising that professionals in the United Kingdom are the most satisfied with their roles out of the five geographies further analysed. With 57 percent of respondents satisfied or very satisfied, the UK narrowly beat out the Italian and French industries, who scored satisfaction rates of 56 and 55 percent respectively. Seemingly, London continues its tradition of flourishing in crisis.

On the other side of spectrum, again surprisingly given how robust its economy has been, analysing the data through a geographic lens identifies fashion professionals in Germany as the least happy among those surveyed.

According to the survey, fashion professionals in the United States have the most polarised working experience, with 51 percent satisfied and 30 percent unsatisfied in their roles. In terms of job satisfaction in fashion, the land of the free and the home of the brave is divided between the haves and have nots. Indeed, despite having the highest dissatisfaction rating in the survey, American entrepreneurs and business owners scored the highest satisfaction rating of any demographic cohort.

When you cut the data by level of seniority, some interesting trends become apparent in the data. Those at the start and zenith of their careers are notably happier at work. At the top, over 74 percent of entrepreneurs and business owners would classify themselves as satisfied with their roles, with just 2 percent stating they were very unsatisfied with their jobs. Similarly, 59 percent of chief executives described themselves as satisfied or very satisfied (over a quarter scored themselves the highest satisfaction rating possible).

Interestingly, despite accepted wisdom that individuals at the beginning of the career ladder suffer the most in fashion, the results of the survey indicate that middle and senior management find their employment significantly less satisfying than their juniors. Respectively, 29 percent and 27 percent of middle management and senior manager respondents stated they were unsatisfied with their current role, compared to just 16 percent of interns.

For those looking for the most nurturing and fulfilling environments to begin their careers in fashion, the rising spectre of Brexit may complicate matters. The industry’s happiest interns are those working in the United Kingdom, while France’s entry-level and junior professionals are the most satisfied globally.


If you need any proof of the influence South Korea exerts over Gen Z, just search YouTube’s endless videos of European and American girls singing along to BTS songs in a language entirely foreign to their own. It’s a phenomenon that speaks volumes of the international power of this country’s youth culture - so when the South Korean menswear brand Wooyoungmi decided to expands its offering into womenswear, Madame Woo and her daughter Katie Chung looked to the streets of their native Seoul for guidance. There, young people have been expressing themselves through gender-fluid dressing for years, building a magnetic liberal street-style platform.

Wooyoungmi’s first official foray into womenswear felt fairly effortless. For nearly two decades, the family brand has been fine-tuning its casual but slick tailoring and outerwear and inflicting it with streetwear conceits. Those designs have long appealed to female customers but, by adding a women’s collection rather than making the brand genderless, Wooyoungmi is offering the same pieces from its men’s collection to women but in more feminine cuts, as well as conventional pieces such as skirts and dresses.

Going forward, that’s pretty much the extent of what old and new customers need to know. The rest was in the collection. A loose nod to the 1992 film of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando – a literary reference used in Comme des Garçons’s collections by Rei Kawakubo last year, leading up to the opera she designed costumes for in Vienna last month – there was a faint sense of time-travel to Wooyoungmi’s his-and-hers wardrobe.

Elizabethan silhouettes were interpreted in quilted down doublets folded and buttoned at the back, some adorned in fleur-de-lis motifs, others rendered in regal powder blue. Tailoring was princely, cut generously but often cinched at the waist. Leather coats were fashioned like armour, while a little diamond-quilted velvet blouson instantly conjured images of Tilda Swinton. Ever the high priestess of androgyny, the actress discreetly appeared on garments in stills from the film. For Wooyoungmi, its first co-ed show was a harmonious way of opening the brand to both sexes and an appropriate next step.

Balenciaga Is Returning to Haute Couture

Now this is something to get the front rows at today’s Paris haute couture shows talking: Balenciaga, which hasn’t produced a couture collection since Cristóbal Balenciaga himself shuttered his atelier in 1968, is returning to couture. Artistic Director Demna Gvasalia’s couture debut will take place in July for the fall 2020 season.

“Haute couture is the very foundation of this house,” Gvasalia said in a statement, “so it is my creative and visionary duty to bring couture back. For me, couture is an unexplored mode of creative freedom and a platform for innovation. It not only offers another spectrum of possibilities in dressmaking,” he continued, “it also brings the modern vision of Balenciaga back to its sources of origin.”

Cristóbal Balenciaga occupies a special place in the history of haute couture. Christian Dior referred to him as “the master of us all,” and undoubtedly the Spanish designer was a master of silhouette, construction, and drape. The regal elegance of his clothes defined his era, and it’s no coincidence that he closed his doors in ’68, just as the changing mores and styles of the time were ushering in the new prêt-à-porter system.

Half a century later, Gvasalia is rebuilding Balenciaga’s couture foundation. Since his arrival in 2015 the Georgian designer has made a study of the house founder’s couture silhouettes. His spectacular first collection included suit jackets that slouched forward and puffers that shrugged back, both inspired by pieces he discovered in the archive. Fall 2017 concluded with a series of dresses lifted with very little in the way of modifications from Balenciaga’s iconic couture creations of the 1950´s, and fall 2018 used a high-tech computer-enabled process for moulding suits into recognizably Cristóbal-ish shapes.

But this is something different. The house is establishing a dedicated team devoted only to couture and it’s replicating the original salons at Balenciaga’s historical address at 10 Avenue George V. “This project was possible due to the success of the creative vision of Demna Gvasalia as well as the exceptional results of Balenciaga these past few years,” said Cedric Charbit, President and CEO of Balenciaga, in the same release. In conversation, Charbit added, “We’re a French house, we belong to Paris. We have to do our job so Paris couture, the craftsmanship, the people, the houses… we have to keep this alive.”

There’s honor in renewing French tradition, of course, but Charbit sees the business potential of returning to couture, too. “We already have requests for couture,” he said. “So we know there is a customer. She’s there.” What’s more, couture’s made-to-measure methods jibe with the culture’s growing concerns about excess and waste in the fashion industry. “What I feel is right about couture today is the approach is sustainable,” said Charbit. “We don’t make things that won’t be kept forever. It’s also sustainable in the way that we treat each other. I feel that most of the luxury brands today have become brands only and they’re no longer houses. I like the maison concept. When you’re a maison you’re a family. All of us, we’re missing this. I’m glad we’re bringing back that link.”

The Balenciaga announcement comes at a pivotal moment for couture. On Friday, Jean Paul Gaultier took to Twitter to say that his spring 2020 couture show, scheduled for this Wednesday, would be his last. Under ordinary circumstances, Gaultier’s news might’ve prompted concern about the place of extravagantly expensive one-off tailleurs and gowns in a fast fashion world. Now, though? Gvasalia’s influence not just on the look of fashion, but also on how brands operate has been tremendous. He might just spark a couture renaissance.

Radical Artist Judy Chicago Is Designing Dior’s Next Couture Show Space

Maria Grazia Chiuri has tapped radical feminist artist Judy Chicago to design an immersive set for Dior’s upcoming Haute Couture show, which will take place in the Rodin Museum in Paris at the end of this month. The set , which will remain open to members of the public after the show, promises a runway festooned with thousands of flowers in bloom, above which a goddess-like figure will peer down. Titled The Female Divine, the installation is also set to feature banners crafted by female students in India, which will be emblazoned with questions such as, ‘what if women ruled the world?’

Chicago, the 80-year-old artist, author and educator, is best known for two era-defining endeavours: founding the first ever feminist art programme at California State University in the early 1970´s, and her groundbreaking installation The Dinner Party - a table with ceramic place settings inscribed with names of some of history’s most prominent women, from Eleanor of Aquitaine to Virginia Woolf. Speaking to AnOther in 2018 about pyrotechnics, toxic masculinity, and her groundbreaking work, Chicago said: ”nobody seemed to be able to see what I could see at the time. Toxic masculinity is now a global phenomenon. It’s a function of patriarchal control, and it’s a way, you can call it mass terrorism, of keeping women in line.

This is not the first time Chiuri has collaborated with female artists for a show. Since the start of her tenure at Dior, which marked her as the French house’s first female creative director - the Italian designer has consistently celebrated strong women, weaving their art, lives and voices into each collection. Most recently, her beautiful S/S20 collection celebrated Christian Dior’s war-hero sister, Catherine, and in June of last year, for her A/W19 Haute Couture show, Chuiri worked alongside British feminist artist and Another Man contributor Penny Slinger. Chuiri has also worked with American artist Mickalene Thomas, and has previously referenced the works of feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, art historian Linda Nochlin, and artist Niki de Saint Phalle, as well as paying homage to the rebellious Teddy Girls of the 1950´s in her A/W19 collection. 

“Judy Chicago invites us to reconsider the roles and power relationships that determine, through the lens of gender, the way we live together today,” read a statement from Dior this morning. After its reveal at the S/S20 Haute Couture show later this month, The Female Divine will be open to members of the public from January 21st to the 26th, 2020.

Fake Kate And Naomi Walked Down The Vetements Runway Show

From Burberry to Dior, Kate Moss has stormed many a runway, but never has she walked for Vetements, until today. Well, kind of. The subversive Paris collective famously lost founder Demna Gvasalia when the Balenciaga creative director stepped down earlier this fall, but this season they've added a few new (and familiar) names to their roster. For the brand's Fall/Winter 2020 runway show, held today between Paris Fashion Week Men's and Paris Couture Week, Vetements casted models that looked like Moss and Naomi Campbell, surely two of the most famous faces in fashion today, to join a Snopp Dogg doppelgänger on their provocative catwalk.

In fact, the fashion group has long had a fascination with the famous rapper ever since they debuted a $1,000 giant tee featuring a giant print of the artist's face, and the trio of impersonators were also accompanied by a model who resembled Angelina Jolie. No doubt a comment on the celebrity of the fashion show by a brand famous for replicating others, the spectacle was a sight to be seen. Literally.

Jean Paul Gaultier Is About To Take His Final Bow

Jean Paul Gaultier has announced via Twitter that his next couture show, which is scheduled to take place on 22nd January, will be his final catwalk spectacular. “This [spring/summer 2020] show celebrating 50 years of my career will also be my last. But rest assured haute couture will continue with a new concept,” said the designer.

The legendary French couturier, who founded his company in 1976, shuttered his ready-to-wear and menswear lines in 2014, citing the frenetic treadmill of the fashion industry as the reason. He opted out of the endless merchandising, commercialisation and marketing that comes with creating 16 collections per year in order to focus on his profitable couture line, as well as his creative work in the fields of theatre and film.

A firm fixture on the couture calendar since 1997, Gaultier has always brought an alternative lilt to the high-fashion landscape and marched to the beat of his own drum. For his last autumn/winter 2019 collection, which centred around the construction of a hoodie, Gaultier dipped into his storied archive and upcycled select pieces. A soundtrack of ’80s hits, including Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It”, also suggested the one-time enfant terrible was feeling nostalgic.

What will a culmination of five decades of master tailoring, fabulously camp and sometimes shocking Jean Paul Gaultier hold? One heck of a party, that’s for sure.

Graduating With GUNTHER

¨Saturday - 11:00 in the morning. When looking out of the window, there is no contrast to be seen. Everything seems to be wrapped in a uniform white glow. Falling down in large flakes, the snow is settling a white blanket all over the mountain. Outside, the ski tracks have disappeared; so have our bearings. The horizon has become imperceptible. In front of the crackling chimney fire, feeling nostalgic about the day before, we appreciate this moment of calm during the storm. Yet, the irresistible desire to go outside catches up with us. Dressed in GUNTHER´s clothes, we choose to take on the whiteout…

Outside, with the head in the clouds, and our whole body plunged into a thick mist, we wrap ourselves in our hand-knitted scarf while our feet sink into the snow. The comfort of the chalet, the warmth of the wood fire and the winter colours translate into our clothes: their materials, their colours and their look, chic and relaxed. Unique patterns, recycled wool combined with silky cashmere, GUNTHER textures echo our sensations but also the volumes of this winter landscape, wrapped in its most beautiful blanket of snow. In the distance, our destination is gradually taking shape. We hear it, we feel it, and soon we´ll be there¨

¨Made in France, GUNTHER is also highly invested in making environmental-friendly choices. By using bio, natural or recycled materials and by producing in small-scale production the brand tries to be as eco-responsible as possible.¨ Naomi Gunther (Designer)

Born in 1995, Naomi Gunther grew up and lived in Paris her whole life. After a foundation year in Art in Paris, she moved to New York to study fashion design in the prestigious Parsons the New School for Design. After a 4-year BFA Fashion Design, she graduated in menswear fashion in June 2018. She then moved back to Paris and joined forces with Gabin Ducourant (HEC.2018) to start a few months later her contemporary luxury menswear label, GUNTHER.

GUNTHER is a Parisian contemporary luxury brand which offers a men’s wardrobe made up of revisited classics with an urban influence. It is the combination of traditional know-how and a modern aesthetic, a fusion of authentic Parisian landscapes and the creative frenzy as seen in New York. Thus, in sophisticated and high-quality materials are handcrafted elegant pieces, with oversized cuts and original designs.

Friday, January 17, 2020

The Second-Biggest Diamond In History Has A New Owner

The largest rough diamond discovered since 1905, the 1,758-carat Sewelo, was revealed with great fanfare last April, named in July and then largely disappeared from view. Now it has resurfaced with a new owner, and it’s not a name you might expect. It is not, for example, Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, on the hunt for a trophy asset. It is not a royal family, searching for a centerpiece for a new tiara. It is not the De Beers Group, who could be seen as the creator of the diamond market and owner of the Millennium Star diamond, which, uncut, was a 770-carat stone.

It is not even the diamond specialist Graff, the owner of the Graff Lesedi La Rona, a 302.37-carat diamond that is the world’s largest emerald-cut sparkler. It is Louis Vuitton, the luxury brand better known for its logo-bedecked handbags than its mega-gems, which has been present on Place Vendôme, the heart of the high jewelry market, for less than a decade.

And it is the latest sign, following the $16.2 billion purchase of Tiffany by the French behemoth LVMH (the parent company of Louis Vuitton) in November, that LVMH is out not just to compete, but to utterly dominate the high jewelry market. Taken together, the double punch of purchasing (brand and stone) in less than two months is the luxury equivalent of shock and awe.

“There are less than 10 people in the world who would know what to do with a stone like that or how to cut it and be able to put the money on the table to buy it,” said Marcel Pruwer, the former president of the Antwerp Diamond Exchange and the managing director of the International Economic Strategy advisory firm. “To buy and then sell what could be a $50 million stone, you need the technical qualifications, as well as the power to write the check and take the risk.”

Michael Burke, the chief executive of Louis Vuitton, declined to say how much the company had spent on the stone, though he acknowledged it was in the “millions” and that “some of my competitors, I believe, will be surprised” that Vuitton was the purchaser. “Nobody expects us to put such an emphasis on high jewelry,” Mr. Burke said. “I think it will spice things up a bit. Wake up the industry.”

According to Jeffrey Post, the curator in charge of gems and minerals at the Smithsonian Institution, “if you buy a diamond like that, it gives you immediate credibility.” It is also, especially in the case of the Sewelo, more risky than you may imagine.

Discovered in April 2019 at the Karowe mine in Botswana (owned by Lucara Diamond Corp, a Canadian miner), the baseball-size Sewelo is the second largest rough diamond ever mined. The largest was the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond, which was discovered in South Africa in 1905 and eventually yielded two enormous high-quality stones, one of 530.4 carats and one 317.4, both now part of the British crown jewels, as well as many smaller stones.

The Sewelo is also the largest rough diamond ever found in Botswana (a country that has become the poster child for responsible mining) and the third very large diamond discovered in Karowe. The mine also produced the 813-carat Constellation, uncovered in 2015 and sold for $63 million to Nemesis International in Dubai, a diamond trading company (in partnership with the Swiss jeweler de Grisogono) and the Lesedi La Rona, discovered in 2016 and sold to Graff for $53 million.

When Lucara held a competition to name the Sewelo, 22,000 Botswana citizens submitted entries. “Sewelo” means “rare find” in Setswana. Unlike both the Constellation and the Lesedi, however, it is covered in carbon (at the moment it looks like a big lump of coal), which makes exactly what kind of diamond material is inside a “mystery,” according to Ulrika D’Haenens-Johansson, a senior research scientist at the Gemological Institute of America.

It also makes “the risk that much greater,” Mr. Pruwer said. When the stone was unearthed, there was a fair amount of speculation that it may be worth significantly less than its not-quite-as-giant siblings. The profitability of any large stone depends on its yield: how many gem-quality carats can be gotten out of it once cut to maximize the price, which is in turn a function of the impurities in the stone, though, as Ms. D’Haenens-Johansson points out, even the impurities have value in a stone this size. They can reveal when the diamond was created and at what depth in the earth.

The mine, which has examined the diamond through a tiny “window” in the dark covering and scanned it with lasers, describes the stone as “near gem quality,” with “domains of high-quality white gem.” There are thousands of gradations of diamonds, ranging from D-flawless (the most rare) to industrial stones used in cutting and manufacturing.

“Is it D or D-flawless, and how big is the flawless part? I don’t know,” Mr. Burke said, acknowledging that the purchase “took a little bit of guts and trust in our expertise.” (To be fair, LVMH can afford it; its revenues in 2018 were 46.8 billion euros, or $52 billion.) Still, Mr. Post said, “You don’t buy a stone like that unless you have some plan for what you are going to do with it and some belief that there is enough clear material that you can cut it and make a profit.”

Mr. Burke said when he showed the stone to Bernard Arnault, the majority owner and chief executive of LVMH, and “he had it in his hand, he smiled.” A smile from Mr. Arnault, a famously taciturn executive, is the equivalent of a scream of triumph from another chief executive.

After all, along with the potential profits, LVMH also bought the less quantifiable, but nevertheless palpable, bragging rights to the diamond in an industry where mythology and romance are part of the price. Mr. Burke said that when his team suggested that Vuitton consider buying the Sewelo, his initial reaction was: “What took you so long?”

“It’s a big, unusual stone, which makes it right up our alley,” he said. It is also the first time Vuitton has bought a rough stone without having presold it to a client. (According to Mr. Pruwer, most branded fine jewelers buy stones that are already cut and polished.) “We are experimenting with a different way of bringing a stone to market,” said Mr. Burke, who said Vuitton would not cut the stone until it had a buyer, and that the company did not plan to hang on to the stone as a showpiece, the way Tiffany has kept its 128.54-carat namesake stone.

Vuitton’s partners in Antwerp are building a scanner able to see through the stone’s coating, though with the imaging already in place, including a CT scan, they have estimated it may yield a 904-carat cushion-cut diamond, an 891-carat Oval or several stones of between 100 and 300 carats. As for the fact that the acquisition happened around the same time as the Tiffany acquisition, Mr. Burke said it was a coincidence. Yet he acknowledged, with some understatement, that LVMH “typically likes to become leaders in whatever field we go into.” And if the Sewelo doesn’t prove to be quite as lucrative as LVMH is betting? “I’ll go jump in a river,” Mr. Burke said.

Burberry Takes Its Show On The Road

Burberry will be traveling to Shanghai this spring to present its fall 2020 collection, as part of a dedicated program of activities geared toward engaging the Chinese market. The collection will first be presented in London, as part of London Fashion Week in February. It will then travel to Shanghai, where Riccardo Tisci and his team will host another show on April 23rd, which will include new looks that will be exclusive to China.

Other initiatives include the launch of a dedicated Lunar New Year campaign, limited-edition capsule and a new online game to celebrate the year of the rat. Later in 2020, Burberry will also partner with technology powerhouse Tencent to open a social retail store in Shenzhen Bay. The idea behind the new store concept will be to marry social media and retail and offer an in-store experience that will allow customers to “connect their social and online lives to their physical environments.”

“The show is the latest in a series of exciting events we have planned this year in China, one of our most important markets, as we set out on the next phase of our transformation,” said Burberry chief executive officer Marco Gobbetti. “Over the next 12 months we will be focusing our communications on the highest visibility touchpoints to deepen the emotional connection we are building with luxury consumers”

Tisci added that having spent his first year laying out the foundations and defining his identity for the house, he’s now ready to take his vision beyond London: “Doing a show in China is a first for me. It’s a country that has always been so supportive of me and the moment will be a culmination of everything the teams and I have been working toward since I first started. It will be a celebration of our collections and our new attitude in one of the most innovative and inspiring cities in the world,” he added.

IMG Releases February Lineup for NYFW: The Shows

IMG has released its preliminary designer schedule for New York Fashion Week: The Shows, which takes place February 6th to 12th. As reported, the Council of Fashion Designers of America released their preliminary Fashion Calendar last month for the shows that take place February 7th through February 12th, featuring about 71 companies. IMG noted that headquarters for New York Fashion Week: The Shows will once again be Spring Studios. The company will also support select offsite shows in New York and Los Angeles.

The IMG schedule contains many of the same shows as the CFDA’s official Fashion Calendar such as Anna Sui, Jason Wu Collection, Rag & Bone, Badgley Mischka, Rebecca Minkoff, Jonathan Simkhai, Jeremy Scott, Proenza Schouler, Zimmermann, Prabal Gurung, Libertine, Nicole Miller, Naeem Khan, and Christopher John Rogers.

IMG’s lineup also has many shows that aren’t on the CFDA Fashion Calendar such as Cinq à Sept, Christian Siriano, Tadashi Shoji, The Blonds, Chromat, Concept Korea, Chiara Boni, Sergio Hudson, Slashed by Tia, Asia Fashion Collection, Noon by Noor, and Dirty Pineapple.

There are designers on the Fashion Calendar, such as Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera, and Vera Wang, who aren’t on IMG’s schedule. Overall, there are 71 companies on IMG’s schedule. IMG will also present a fashion presentation under the NYFW: The Shows banner in Los Angeles on Feb. 4 featuring M Missoni.

NYFW: The Experience will return for the fall/winter 2020 season, offering exclusive and official access for consumers to select designer shows at New York Fashion Week. Premium hospitality packages for NYFW: The Shows are supported by Endeavor’s experience business and can be purchased at

In addition to its slate of runway shows and fashion presentations, IMG’s NYFW:BTS program, which creates experiences beyond the shows and behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week, will return for its third season. That will include a variety of topics, which will be revealed later this month.

NYFW: The Shows is being presented by lead partners BMW of North America, Visa, Maybelline New York, TRESemmé, Perrier, Papyrus and The Glenlivet, with official media partner E! The digital home for NYFW: The Shows will be and @NYFW across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, which will feature exclusive designer content, live streams and archives of designer shows, and social activations during the week and throughout the year.

Leslie Russo, executive vice president of IMG, said, “This season will bring an exciting intersection of American and international designers to NYFW: The Shows. IMG will continue to support designers on the official central footprint of New York Fashion Week at Spring Studios as well as across the city and country during this important moment for American fashion.”

The CFDA controls the official NYFW Fashion Calendar, including dates and showtimes for NYFW: Women’s, Men’s Bridal and Pre-Collections. To be considered for the CFDA’s Fashion Calendar, the official schedule of NYFW, all designers go through an application process that takes into consideration domestic and international editorial coverage, years in business, retail accounts, and if designers have participated in fashion week before.

IMG’s NYFW: The Shows’ schedule includes designers supported by IMG through international showcases, brand partnerships, representation, digital content production, or ticket sales, who show both on and off the central footprint. IMG’s schedule also includes peripheral days outside of the official NYFW schedule at the request of designers and partners.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Prada Is Taking The Shopping Experience To Another Level

After having set up shop last September in Printemps Haussmann, Prada is now moving to Galeries Lafayette paris Haussmann from January 14th to February 10th, 2020. The Parisian department store and the Italian luxury brand will collaborate for a month on a new project called "Hyper Leaves". The idea is to showcase a selection of Prada pieces from the Spring/Summer 2020 women's and men's collections, all in a stunning setting.

On the program, two limited time pop-ups will be installed in the prestigious boutique. The most impressive: 15 windows that showcase nature in all its beauty. The spaces will also feature wallpapers of various landscapes, all of which will be enhanced by the famous triangular Prada logo in neon green and yellow that can be seen everywhere. A gigantic baobab tree made from metal nets and neon lights will stand tall over the men's section for a month. It's safe to say that these spaces guarantee a sublime fashion escape.

FKA Twigs - The Angel Of Paris Men’s Fashion Week

FKA Twigs made an unexpected and wholly ethereal appearance at Paris Men’s Fashion Week, as she soundtracked the Valentino autumn/winter 2020 show with stripped-back renditions of her singles “Mary Magdalene” and “Cellophane”. Pierpaolo Piccioli might have infused the tailoring in the collection with his couture sensibilities, but, for one night only, male fashion was about celebrating an angel within the models’ midsts.

Twigs, real name Tahliah Debrett Barnett wore look 46 from the haute couture offering Picciolo recently presented in Beijing’s storied Summer Palace. Entitled a “Valentino Daydream”, the exquisite collection also included J-Lo’s Golden Globes gown, with the bouffant bow detail that drew comparisons to Christmas gift wrapping, and the meticulously embroidered floral ball gown that helped bright young thing Kaitlyn Dever graduate into fashion ingenue. The only difference between the catwalk iteration and Twigs’s delicate lace floral gown dotted with sequins was the beaded face mask framed by the high ruffled neckline. Piccioli’s team of premieres; Alessandra, Antonietta, Elide, and Irene, made a Twigs-friendly version of the chainmail-effect accessory that enabled her to sing.

As Piccioli took his bow in front of menswear press and buyers, Twigs joined him for a lap around the Grand Palais. Their friendship was formalised for all to see last summer, when the creative director invited the alt pop star to enjoy a front row view of his autumn/winter 2019 couture collection in Paris. Twigs, wearing a “V” stamped bucket hat, black dress and cow-printed boots, would have also met his heads of atelier then, as Piccioli traditionally takes a bow with them.

This time round, it was Luka Sabbat, Evan Mock, and rising musician Ama Lou who applauded Twigs from the sidelines. May this not be the last we hear of her haunting voice and angelic overtures in fashion.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Tiffany & Co.’s New Temporary Location Opens

Today is a landmark day for Tiffany & Co., as the brand opens the Tiffany Flagship Next Door, a temporary flagship location at 6 East 57th Street. The brand’s iconic 727 Fifth Avenue location, familiar to shoppers and Audrey Hepburn fans alike, will be closed for renovation until late 2021. But, have no fear, the Flagship Next Door will still provide an unforgettable shopping experience in the interim. The four-story, Art Deco-inspired oasis is sure to deliver a fresh take on the timeless brand.

The new 57th street location first opened in December with the Tiffany & Co. Men’s Pop-Up Shop, promoting the brand’s recently-launched Tiffany Men’s collection. The second floor of the Flagship Next Door will remain dedicated this line, while the rest of the store will span the entire Tiffany’s oeuvre, from engagement rings to homeware. “It was a great opportunity to reassess our assortment and redistribute it in a way that feels fresh and new," Reed Krakoff, Tiffany's chief artistic officer, told us.

Each floor has its own visual concept depending on what’s sold - an aesthetically different shopping experience is always just an escalator ride away. The shop also includes private selling rooms on each floor and an exclusive VIP salon, for the fashionistas and influencers in the know. Regarding the space itself, Krakoff said the 57th street location is “believable as a place to find extraordinary things, but also incorporates a more updated, contemporary view on how a customer spends time in the store.”

For the trendsetters among us, Tiffany’s new home also ushers in a series of design partnerships. The 57th street flagship features a floor to ceiling atrium, created solely to house these collaborations, complemented by a changing layout every few months. "The layout of the space allows us to have pop-up installations and exhibitions - things that I think are where retail is going," Krakoff said. "I think first and foremost a store today needs to be an extraordinary space, but also entertaining and engaging, so it makes you want to come back."

The modern space is sure to turn heads, with its vaulted ceilings and classic Tiffany blue accents. While the store may be experimental, the aesthetic is inspired by the enduring Tiffany’s style we know and love. While two years seems like a long time to wait (and forever to be without the Blue Box Café), the Flagship Next Door provides more than enough to satisfy our Tiffany cravings in the interim. And, as absence makes the heart grow fonder, the revamped Tiffany flagship will almost certainly be worth the wait.

Will The Future Of Fashion Be Streaming?

Will the future of fashion be streaming? Maybe. Several shows combining fashion, storytelling and digital commerce are launching in the coming months. On Tuesday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., Amazon announced its new fashion competition series, “Making the Cut,” will premiere March 27th.

“We are excited to be able to produce a show that really looks for the next global brand…and create the situation where [designers] are set up for success when they leave us,” said executive producer Sara Rea. Former “Project Runway” host Heidi Klum and mentor Tim Gunn lead the cast, with Naomi Campbell, Carine Roitfeld, Joseph Altuzarra and Nicole Richie as guest judges.

The program brings together 12 entrepreneurs and designers from around the world who are competing for a $1 million prize and the chance to turn their fledgling businesses into global brands. Challenges take them to New York City, Tokyo and Paris (the crew shot at the Eiffel Tower over the summer), and the winning looks will be shoppable at around $100 or less, and in sizes from XXS to XXXL on Amazon immediately following each episode.

“People can buy it all over the world. We are going into over 200 territories,” Klum said of the difference between working with Amazon versus Bravo, which originally aired “Project Runway.” “You can design as much as you want, but it becomes real when people buy your clothes…all of a sudden it becomes real and we want it to become real for these designers and for people at home.”

“‘Making the Cut’ wouldn’t have happened without ‘Project Runway.’ ‘Project Runway’ is the undergraduate and ‘Making the Cut’ the graduate program,” said Gunn, adding that the new show focuses more on the business side of fashion, with designers being asked to design both real-world and avant-garde looks.

One of the big differences is that the designers are offered the help of a seamstress to help them execute their designs overnight. “We didn’t want it to be a sewing competition, we wanted someone with vision,” said Klum, noting that former “Project Runway” judge Michael Kors “is not sewing things” at this point in his career.

The group of contestants includes Jonny Cota, founder of LA’s Skingraft streetwear brand, Joshua Hupper, founder of e-commerce brand Babyghost and Will Riddle, a veteran of Oscar de la Renta and Kith. “That’s what was one of the most exciting things for me,” Altuzarra said. “As a designer, I know how to sew, but I don’t sew my clothes. I have to know how to put together a tech pack.”

“We got to have insight into their work in progress,” Campbell said of her interest in the show. “It’s who can be a designer and turn this into a brand,” added Richie, who has her own House of Harlow brand, of the judging process.

“Making the Cut” joins two other series in the fashion competition arena, including the original “Project Runway,” which starred Klum and Gunn for 16 seasons, and was rebooted on Bravo last year by Karlie Kloss, with Christian Siriano as mentor, and Brandon Maxwell and editors Nina Garcia and Elaine Welteroth as judges.

Netflix’s “Next in Fashion” is hosted by Tan France of “Queer Eye” fame and designer and model Alexa Chung, with contestants competing for a $250,000 prize and a chance to have their collection sold on Net-a-porter. Guest judges for that show include Hollywood stylist Elizabeth Stewart and Instagram’s Eva Chen.

Megan Rapinoe Pays Homage To Her Victory Face In Loewe’s Latest Campaign

Women’s football is now more visible and more popular than ever – thanks, in part, to USA co-captain Megan Rapinoe, who led her team to victory at last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup. Not only has the American soccer star become synonymous with pink hair, she’s consistently used her voice off the field to fight for change. Is it any wonder, then, that she’s just landed her first luxury campaign courtesy of Loewe?

“I am so thrilled about this partnership with Loewe and Jonathan Anderson,” Rapinoe said of the ongoing campaign – a collaboration between Anderson, Loewe’s creative director, photographer Steven Meisel and creative studio M/M – which will be part of a series of billboards across Paris. “Multiple worlds crashing together, creating something bigger, different, and more exciting than either could alone. To me, the goal of a collaboration should not be to stand next to one another, but rather become something else, together.”

The collaboration sees Rapinoe pay homage to the victory face she makes on the field (her confident victory stance made multiple headlines last summer). The Meisel-captured image shows Rapinoe’s grinning face offset against a bold blue background, playing into the idea of bodily distortion.

“How do I feel? What do I want to convey for myself? With the exception of using my mouth, (fashion) is the chief way that I express myself every day,” Rapinoe told CNN of the campaign. “Any chance I get to do something outside of sport, particularly in fashion, I’m all over that. Particularly in the context of women’s sports, where I feel we’re very boxed in.”

Rapinoe has refused to box herself in as she continues to fight for equal pay. She has addressed the issue at multiple press conferences as the US team continues to sue its federation over equal pay and working conditions. So, for Rapinoe, collaborating with a brand such as Loewe was a no-brainer.

Should Fashion Shows Tell A Story?

Do fashion shows necessarily have to tell a story? The design process, of course, always starts somewhere, but sometimes the initial inspiration gets lost midway and the result in focused on the product, which is perfectly fine. It’s when the storytelling is layered on post-fact that things look a bit forced. Massimo Giorgetti dedicated today’s MSGM show to Dario Argento, Italy’s king of horror movies who has created masterpieces such as Suspiria and Profondo Rosso.

He actually collaborated with Argento on a range of merch - shirts and scarves, primarily, printed with his original movie posters. The show’s soundtrack was a collage of Argento’s most renowned scores, and the show was plunged in a deep red light. But past that, the Argento liaison was nothing more than fodder for chatter. It was a pity, because Argento has always shown a keen fashion sense throughout his oeuvre, matching characters and clothing is some deeply striking and twisted ways.

MGSM Autumn/Winter 2020

The MSGM collection, on the other hand, lacked depth of character. It was very fashion-y: a mash up of pseudo-formality, acid wash denim, streetwear and color, sitting atop catchy cap-toed and rubber soled brogues - a collaboration with Cult, the Dr Martens of Italy. As ever for Giorgetti, echoes of the status quo; Balenciaga and Prada in particular, were palpable, and not particularly elaborated.

Etro Autumn/Winter 2020

At Etro, the narrative was rather mixed, but in the end, it was the setting that stole the show, held in a run-down garage. In stark contrast with the industrial surroundings, the walls were hung with a striking series of painted portraits - part of founder’s Gimmo Etro extensive collection. Kean Etro spoke about ancestors, wardens of tradition, looking over the action, but that was just framing. Running along an Argentinian trail; ponchos, gaucho boots, little capes - the collection was Etro’s usual mix of formality and bohemia, combined in ways that felt lighter than they were in the past, but still a bit formulaic. The corduroy suits suggested a hint of better things to come, with no forced storytelling.

Why A Vintage Louis Vuitton Trunk Is One Of The Best Investments You Could Make

This is the ultimate opportunity to treat yourself to a vintage trunk from Louis Vuitton. The Collector Square online platform is conducting one of the most eagerly awaited sales of the beginning of 2020: an event dedicated to these iconic pieces of the French house. Synonymous with Louis Vuitton's expertise, trunks and other accessories become must-have travel essentials in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Several centuries after its creation, this signature accessory has lost none of its superb quality. From March 19th, a selection of these pieces will be on sale at the Collector Sqaure showroom tucked at 36 Boulevard Raspail in the 7th district of Paris. This event, which promises to bring together both fashion and vintage enthusiasts, will also include a selection of pieces from the Goyard house.

Hugo Boss Captures David Bowie’s Rebel Spirit In Exclusive Capsule

From Ziggy Stardust to The Thin White Duke, David Bowie’s power to help change his persona through clothing led him to be known as one of fashion’s undisputed champions of self-invention. Hugo Boss’s latest capsule collection within its diffusion line Hugo, pays homage to him.

“David Bowie was a rebel spirit who lived life on his own terms,” says Bart de Backer, senior head of design at Hugo menswear. “This capsule is an opportunity for us to celebrate the impact he had on the world and the values that we share.” Comprising slogan caps, graphic T-shirts and jumpers, the limited-edition range, entitled Hugo Loves Bowie, comes in a red, black and white palette.

The brand has homed in on one specific reference point in Bowie’s critically-acclaimed career: his 1977-1979 Berlin Trilogy. The body of work consisted of three albums – Low, Heroes and Lodger – and was inspired by the German capital. The Hugo Loves Bowie collection riffs off Bowie’s album cover for Heroes, shot by Masayoshi Sukita in black and white. Better yet, several pieces have “Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming” emblazoned across them.

Hugo – a sub-division which consistently draws inspiration from popular culture – has woven Bowie’s powers of self-expression into this unisex collection with modern twist. Shop the edit from 15th January in stores and at

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

How Truly Responsible Is Your Cashmere?

Just for a moment, picture the most classic, elegant closet you can. What's in it? A camel trench coat, perhaps, or possibly a pair of buttery leather driving loafers. Regardless of the closet-haver's personal tastes, a perfect cashmere sweater fits in, too, maybe even more prominently than the trench or loafers.

Historically, cashmere has always been luxurious. Cashmere has been aspirational. Cashmere has been timeless. Cashmere has been an investment. But in the last decade, cashmere has been "disrupted" much in the same way that eyewear or fine jewelry or skin care have.

Not only are many of these cashmere disruptors direct-to-consumer businesses, a noted advantage for fledgling brands seeking that inimitable "cool" factor, but they're also embodying a trendy, yet well-intentioned buzzword that millennial- and Generation Z-aged shoppers find appealing: "sustainable," "ethical" or "responsible." And now with consumers putting more of their money where their mouth is, so to speak, "responsible" markets are blossoming in big ways. But with cashmere's centuries-old production practices and challenging environmental precautions, where, exactly, does it fit within the new direct-to-consumer market, and what do those brands owe their customers?

Cashmere has been in use since well before the 13th century, when Marco Polo allegedly encountered wild goats that had been domesticated by humans in caves in Mongolia. It wasn't until the 19th century that the fabric made its way to Europe, at which point it became known as "kashmir," named for the Kashmir Valley region of the Indian subcontinent the goats inhabited.

With temperatures hitting as low as -40 degrees Farenheit, the region's goats have developed undercoats that allow them to survive the six-month winters. This soft, downy wool comprises the fiber we know and love today, but its shearing process has evolved over time. To start, the quality of the fleece is evaluated by three factors, as stated by the U.S.-based Cashmere Goat Association: the hair's length, thickness (measured in microns) and degree of crimping, all of which are direct reflections of the animal's overall health.

While much of the world's raw cashmere is still sourced from pastures in Mongolia, cashmere began being processed, treated and produced in other corners of the world, like Scotland and Italy, in the early 1800s. Both nations have sustained heritage brands such as Pringle of Scotland and Brunello Cucinelli for decades; but in the early aughts, a spike in demand, paired with changes in World Trade Organization rules, brought more cashmere mass-production to China, which put the legacy businesses in jeopardy.

When Cuyana, a digital-first retailer for chic, high-quality essentials for women, began developing cashmere of its own, Scotland and Italy were the first places the brand turned. Co-founder Shilpa Shah explains that the traditional methods in which Scottish and Italian manufacturers treat the cashmere helps with the material’s longevity. In short: They wash it less.

Shah says that most of the world's highest quality cashmere isn't actually soft to the touch, but because the American market buys "on hand-feel," manufacturers will run it through extra cycles. "Cashmere softens over time," says Shah. "They're making the sweaters that last, that really are passed down from generation to generation." For Shah, Scotland and Italy's meticulous techniques for spinning, knitting and weaving cannot be found elsewhere. "They also take a lot of pride," she says. "I know that's a really soft metric, but you can tell with factories when they're actually family-owned and they're working with their clients and they take very few clients."

At what point did the cashmere disruption begin in earnest? A Chicago Tribune article from January 2010 explored the seemingly sudden explosion of low-priced cashmere carried at retailers as mass-market as Costco. "What it seems to boil down to is that there's been a huge increase in demand for cashmere and a decrease in price," says Sarah Hayes, Patagonia's senior manager of materials innovation and development. As the basic economics of supply and demand have unfolded over the years, the broader quality of cashmere has lowered significantly. "It's just led to more cashmere goats being raised than the land can handle."

The issue facing the market right now, explains Hayes, affects both the goats and the pastures on which they're raised. "We know that the goats have sharp hooves that can break through the topsoil. The way they eat is they eat the grass and the plants all the way from the roots up, so that it's really hard for the grass to regenerate," she says. "That combination of having so many goats that the land can't handle, and that [the land] doesn't really have a chance to recuperate - is a big issue, as well as concern for the herders' well-being and welfare."

Though Patagonia did carry cashmere inventory in the past, it put a pause on stocking the fiber three years ago when the Ventura, Calif.-based company realized it wasn't using cashmere in a manner that matched its notoriously high responsibility standards. But it re-incorporated cashmere in late 2017, this time working exclusively with recycled cashmere, or essentially, the deadstock of discarded cashmere bits. Hayes says that one day, perhaps, Patagonia will turn to virgin cashmere again, should it meet all of its sustainability criteria.

Patagonia has been keeping tabs on the cashmere industry and finds recent projects promising. One brand redefining the space is Naadam Cashmere, a New York-based ethical and sustainable cashmere label that supplements its retail arm with a Mongolian NGO it helped found, called the Gobi Revival Fund. Naadam, which was named after a traditional festival in Mongolia, works on the ground with Mongolian herders to both procure and sort all of its wool.

Naadam co-founder and CEO Matt Scanlan explains that they travel to Mongolia once a year, typically in May if the weather permits, to purchase material directly from roughly 1,000 herder families. (They initially did so with "literal bags" of cash. "We don't take as much cash anymore," he laughs. "We'll work with local banks at this point.") During these trips, the Naadam team will buy anywhere between 75 and 120 tons of cashmere. Scanlan says it's really as rough-and-tumble as you might think, with herders sometimes carrying the wool on the side of a horse. They then sort it on-site, breaking down the cashmere into different colors and qualities. Finally, it gets shipped to Mongolia's capital of Ulaanbaatar where the refinement process begins.

All of this occurs in an area in the southwest region of Mongolia that's roughly the size of Rhode Island, an important distinction within the world of cashmere. "A lot of people say they're sourcing from Mongolia, but it's actually Inner Mongolia, and Inner Mongolia is China," says Scanlan. "Mongolia is its own country. And it's what people often refer to as Outer Mongolia, but if you go to Mongolia and call it Outer Mongolia, people get very upset."

Despite visiting Mongolia infrequently, Naadam maintains regular, year-round contact with the herders to get an understanding of the type of nonprofit work its communities want or need. Right now, strategic grasslands management takes top billing: In 2016, Naadam took out about 20 miles of decrepit fencing "it would wrap around all of Manhattan" and replaced it with heavy-duty wiring to better preserve the pasture so that goats can live on healthier land.

The Gobi Revival Fund has opened Scanlan's eyes to the rest of the market, but has also raised concerns about claims other brands are making about their own sustainable and ethical practices. "Knowing what I know and having spent the amount time around actually building nonprofit programs, securing raw material and processing raw material, I see a lot," he says. "There's gossip in the industry at every level. You know at the source if something isn't as legitimate as it's been pointed out to be."

A tenet of many sustainable or ethical direct-to-consumer brands, cashmere-focused or not, is transparency, a heightened relationship between the company and the customer. But has that accountability become more of a marketing technique than a business strategy? "I think where people fall down is by saying, 'Oh, well, consumers want transparency. What parts of our supply chain can we show transparency?', as opposed to building with that focus in mind," says Shah. "In a way, it comes off as more inauthentic because it wasn't the intention on which they built it to begin with."

Scanlan estimates that in the cashmere market specifically, 80 percent of brands operate with "a huge delta in transparency" that starts with where the wool is actually coming from. Materials will often get pulled from all over the world, only to be blended together all at once. "Unfortunately, when someone buys a sweater, they don't really know what they're getting. I would guess that if you tested, like really tested - a lot of the product in the marketplace, you would find that very rarely is it actually 100 percent cashmere," he says. If you don't know where your stuff comes from, he offers, how do you know if it's good?

So, has the cashmere market disillusioned customers? Scanlan notes that right now, we as consumers are all especially keen to buy into a brand's cult of personality, leading us to make assertions about products being something that, in actuality, they may or may not be.

Unfortunately, there's no official cashmere guidelines to help consumers gauge what's really, truly sustainable. Scanlan is part of an international group called the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute (CCMI), which is effectively a governing body over camel hair, superfine wools and, of course, cashmere. But according to Scanlan, the CCMI doesn't have a stance on sustainability, yet. "There's really no governing body over what sustainability is. There's no calling anyone out if it's not real," he says. "It's not possible that there's all this sustainable cashmere all of a sudden."

In December, policy-makers, press, brands and artisan leaders met at the U.N. to discuss similar economic, environmental and social implications within the artisanal apparel space. While no conclusive regulations were drawn, could a similar summit be of use to the major stakeholders in cashmere? Unlike the artisanal community, though, the largest concern facing cashmere is commoditization, the results of which have resulted in what both Shah and Scanlan refer to as a "bastardization" of the marketplace.

"The quality is not what it used to be, and a beautiful cashmere piece should be something you can have for a lifetime," says Hayes. Scanlan also worries that at a certain point, the language could become ineffectual and that "sustainable," "ethical" or "responsible" won’t mean anything to the consumer.

But Shah believes that shoppers will always want to be able to discern what is sustainable and what isn't, and will continue to seek out ways to do so. Like most cashmere retailers, Cuyana sorts its wool into the categories mentioned earlier and labels it internally. (At Cuyana, Grade A cashmere is 14 to 15 microns and usually measures between 30 to 34 centimeters long.) Cuyana has discussed printing "Grade A cashmere" on the label to bring more of that jargon to its customers. This is what consumers want, after all, and Shah says that Cuyana is seeing that more than ever.

From a consumer standpoint, it can be frustrating to shill out your hard-earned cash for a piece of cashmere only to be disappointed in its quality. It can be even more frustrating, though, to learn that the wool in which you've invested isn't as responsibly sourced as you thought. "If we don't as a society start distinguishing the impact of our shopping choices, we're really going to suffer as a whole," says Shah. "Education has to be that first step."

Cashmere is still luxurious. It's still aspirational. It's still timeless. It still fits right into that classic, elegant closet of your dreams. Sustainable and ethical cashmere can be all of those things, too. But the ways in which it's raised and sourced and refined and marketed need work.

"I think in a perfect world, cashmere would be produced responsibly with the right amount of goats for the amount of land, reverting back to the way cashmere used to be sold as a true luxury item where it's very high-quality fiber, carefully raised, carefully produced and yielding in product that lasts forever," says Hayes. "That people treasure and take care of."

A Look At The Mysterious Invitation For The Next Louis Vuitton By Virgil Abloh Show

On Instagram, the designer has just lifted the veil on the invitation for his Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2020-2021 show, a clock rewired to spin backward adorned with the signature French trunk maker's logo. What does this mean?

Last season, Virgil Abloh showed his creative side once again with an invitation in the form of a kite, while he opted for a white glove with rhinestones as a tribute to Michael Jackson for the Fall/Winter 2019-2020 show. This season, the designer at the head of the French trunk-maker's men's collections stormed Instagram to unveil the enigmatic invitation for his next show. "Heaven on Earth"

The result for this season's invitation is a monochrome clock where the signature Louis Vuitton initials replace the hours and the hands turn in the opposite direction. The object served to further demonstrate Virgil Abloh's passion for decoration and design in the broadest and wackiest sense. Be patient, there are only a few days left before we can discover the new Virgil Abloh collection for Louis Vuitton menswear entitled Heaven on Earth.