Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Take A Moment To Appreciate The Hedgehogs In Gucci’s New Campaign

Did you have an imaginary pet skunk as a child? A hedgehog or frog perhaps? It’s a question Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele pondered when envisioning the brand’s pre-fall 2020 campaign, which is an ode to our childhood preoccupation with fairytales. Shot by Alasdair McLellan with art direction by Christopher Simmonds, the video and stills star, in no particular order, deers, fawns, owls, bluebirds, skunks, squirrels, frogs, hedgehogs, ducks and rabbits, alongside Gucci-clad models.

There’s a particularly sweet moment in the short Sleeping Beauty-esque video, entitled So Deer To Me, when a hedgehog finds a new home nestled on a model’s beanie. Another when a spiky companion appears to nibble its owner’s ear. But, by and large, the campaign’s human interactions garner as many heart pangs as the hogs and bouncy deer do. Dropped during an unprecedented period of isolation, the visuals of people holding hands and hula-hooping with wild abandon feel particularly pertinent.

The campaign is “an ode to retrieved innocence, a return to the infant world, a call for a real engagement with nature and, with that, with life,” read the notes from the house. For 90 seconds, Gucci offers escapism into a utopian realm that’s different to its previous animal-populated campaigns. There’s no Harry Styles hanging out with piglets, but the humanist angle will have you pressing replay again and again.

Gucci’s gift of happy fawns and fluffy bunnies falls in line with a new collaboration with The Lion’s Share Fund, which works to protect endangered species and their natural habitats. “By donating 0.5 per cent of its media spend every time an animal is featured in advertisements, as all the partners involved in The Lion’s Share Fund do, Gucci can give ongoing contributions to drive tangible on the ground results for this urgent cause,” explains the house. To mark the partnership, Gucci posted clips from David Attenborough’s 2017 documentary Richmond Park: National Nature Reserve. Tune in to see the nature historian have a memorable interaction with a stag beetle. You’re welcome.

Luxury Vegan Shoes Are Finally, Actually Happening

The sustainable fashion conversation is riddled with misconceptions, exaggerations, and straight-up fake news. Consider the popular belief that fashion is the “second-most” environmentally damaging industry on the planet, a statistic that can’t actually be traced to a single source. (Don’t get us wrong, it’s definitely high on the list, but it’s difficult to parse fashion’s impact from the broader textile industry’s.) Here’s another common myth: That leather is natural and biodegradable, and thus “better for the environment” than any vegan synthetic alternative. Sure, leather comes from a natural source, but on its way to becoming a jacket or shoe, it’s treated with chemicals to keep it from drying out or, you know, decomposing in your closet. (Vis-a-vis, it is definitely not biodegradable.)

As for the vegan materials, there are certainly less-than-ideal options out there, but to label them all as “bad” is too short-sighted. Especially if you pause to consider the leather industry’s symbiotic relationship with the food industry, which the Drawdown Project lists as the actual second-most damaging industry, at least in terms of its greenhouse gas emissions. Leather comes from cows, which produce the heat-trapping methane, a problem compounded by the fact that Amazon deforestation, 90% of which is attributed to cattle farms, is killing the very trees responsible for sucking carbon out of the atmosphere.

There are plenty of reasons we’ve been motivated to believe leather is the “better choice,” of course, chief among them being the fact that we haven’t been presented with many good alternatives. This is especially true when it comes to shoes: With the exception of sneakers or novelty fabrics like velvet, you could probably spend hours on the designer shoe level of your favorite department store and find exactly zero pairs of non-leather stilettos or ballet flats.

But now that’s changing thanks to two new vegan, sustainable luxury shoe brands. Alfredo Piferi, formerly the head designer at Jimmy Choo, debuted his eponymous collection at Milan Fashion Week in February, comprised of sleek (and 100% vegan) boots and curvy sandals with removable components, like a rhinestone bracelet or “soquette” ruffle at the ankle. “I wanted to create a brand with purpose,” he said on a call from London. “Five years ago, I stopped eating meat and discovered so many other flavors I’d never considered until meat wasn’t an option anymore. I thought, maybe I can do the same thing with shoes. Nobody was doing sexy and sustainable.”

Piferi focuses on bio-based materials—shoe linings made from corn oil, for instance—as well as recycled synthetics. The soquette is made from recycled polyester and recycled lurex, and his faux suede comes from reclaimed plastic bottles. Those materials initially posed a challenge to his factory in Parabiago, Italy—“they had to find a completely new way to mount [and assemble] the shoes,” he says—but he was surprised to find that they also outperform leather in many cases. His vegan leather won’t stretch or crease as easily with wear, and his ultra-thin rubber sole is waterproof and more durable (and less slippery) than a traditional leather sole. “I’m working with what exists, but some materials haven’t been explored [in a sustainable way] yet, like patent leather. I’m trying to get the fashion customer to buy my shoes without even thinking about the fact that they aren’t leather. It’s a balance—if I find a material that isn’t as sustainable [as I would like], I’m transparent about it.” Still, he’s confident that these alternatives still have a smaller footprint than leather. “Once you get to know the details of leather and the chemicals you need to finish it, the impact doesn’t even compare.”

Of course, most of us don’t buy something just because we know it’s better for the planet; we buy it because we truly love it. The luxury shopper has particularly high standards for craftsmanship, quality, and comfort, but Piferi believes his shoes more than live up to them. The retail response suggests so, too: His collection will launch with an exclusive pop-up at Harrod’s in November, followed by Brown’s, Level in Dubai, and On Pedder in Asia. “As a designer, you want to be remembered for the way you changed the perception of a product, not just the product,” he says.

Tina Bhojwani and Jean-Michel Cazabat have a similar vision for Aera, the vegan and “110% sustainable” label they launched online last year. Their story is serendipitous: Bhojwani was shoe shopping at Bergdorf Goodman when she ran into Cazabat, who had recently sold his eponymous line. Both had been thinking about fashion’s environmental footprint and how they could address it, and the idea for a vegan and sustainable shoe line crystallized. The duo’s third partner, Alvertos Revach, became an investor when Cazabat made him a pair of vegan shoes that felt as comfortable and luxurious as the real thing. He also understood the business opportunity: The team’s research yielded very few luxury vegan shoe competitors, and surely, he thought, the demand would only grow as the public becomes more aware of leather’s environmental impact.

Bhojwani explains that Aera’s shoes are roughly 50% bio-based and 50% synthetic, often in the form of recycled plastic or polyester. At first glance, you wouldn’t know the slingback sandals or snakeskin boots weren’t actually leather; Cazabat says they not only look and feel like the real thing, but also won’t wear out like leather. “Our materials aren’t perfect, but they have one-third the impact of leather, because there’s fewer chemicals, less use of fresh water, and of course there’s the cruelty-free aspect,” she says. “Animal farming and agriculture is one of the biggest threats to our environment and global warming, [from the] water use to deforestation and greenhouse gases. We wanted to first and foremost be cruelty-free, and then do what is better for the environment.”

Cazabat actually began using vegan materials when he launched his namesake line 20 years ago, though it was more of a happy accident at the time. “I wanted the linings of my shoes to be red, but red [dyed] leather linings can fade or transfer the color onto skin,” he says. “A friend suggested a vegetable-based synthetic that [held its color]. I thought it would make you sweat, but it didn’t. I’ve never been disappointed by this material.” Still, he says their factory in Veneto, Italy, was skeptical at first: “They thought I was crazy,” he says with a laugh. “They work with the best quality leather, but we explained our vision for the planet.”

Bhojwani adds that their “110% sustainable” promise isn’t just marketing: “We aren’t just being sustainable, we’re also giving back to the planet,” she says. “We calculated every environmental impact in our process and published the Life Cycle Assessment on our website, and it helped us come up with meaningful carbon offsets.” So far, they’ve restored 470,000 gallons of fresh water in American rivers and planted more than 2,000 trees.

Clearly the question is no longer whether it’s “possible” to make a luxurious, vegan, and environmentally-conscious shoe; it’s if the rest of the fashion industry will get on board. “I think it’s about awareness and education right now,” Bhojwani says. “But once companies and consumers realize they don’t have to compromise quality [and design] to do the right thing, there will be growth.”

This Year’s Met Gala Has Been Postponed

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced Monday that the annual Met gala, scheduled to take place on May 4, has been postponed indefinitely. The gala, often referred to as fashion’s biggest night out and the subject of its own documentary, The First Monday in May, is yet another victim of the new coronavirus, as cultural institutions around the world, from La Scala in Milan to Carnegie Hall in New York, have taken drastic measures to try to slow down the progress of this global pandemic. Last Thursday the Met itself announced it was closing “until further notice” after two employees showed symptoms of the virus.

In an internal email sent to Met staffers this afternoon, it was announced that the museum “will remain closed through Saturday, April 4.” Additionally, because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised over the weekend that there should not be any gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks, the museum has decided, according to a Met spokesperson, that “in deference to this guidance, all programs and events through May 15 will be canceled or postponed,” including the gala.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Saint Laurent To Depart Paris Fashion Week Schedule

Saint Laurent announced today its withdrawal from this year's Paris Fashion Week schedule. Instead, the French fashion house is opting to run its own calendar for the remainder of 2020, launching collections on its own terms. The announcement follows the cancellation of both Paris Fashion Week Men's and Haute Couture shows, which were originally scheduled for the summer prior to the global pandemic.

The change comes as the luxury label's response to the world's radically changing situation during these uncertain times. "Saint Laurent has decided to take control of its pace and reshape its schedule," the brand said. "Now more than ever, the brand will lead its own rhythm, legitimating the value of time and connecting with people globally by getting closer to them in their own space and lives."

Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2021 is still scheduled for its original format in September, despite the recent announcement that London Fashion Week will be entirely digital for the first time ever. Other high-profile fashion events have also been cancelled or postponed this year, including the Met Gala and CFDA Fashion Awards.

Meet The Designer Making Fantastical Corsets Out Of Upholstery

During the daytime, Kristin Mallison works at a curtain customization company, dressing windows with one-off drapery. In her spare time, the Brooklyn-based 29-year-old designer creates corsets using similar fabrics. One corset is made from a Rococo tapestry. Another corset shows blown-up florals (the type that might be on a fancy grandmother’s couch); its back is fastened by a lavender ribbon. A standout is a corset that has several tapestries fused together, including the image of a picturesque 18th-century couple strolling through a garden that is paneled with a dainty floral print.

Mallison started making corsets about a year ago for a pop-up for the arty, downtown store Café Forgot. The concept was simple: She was already surrounded by upholsteries and tapestries and knew that these fabrics could stand the test of time. “I have been working in interior design for the last two years, and those fabrics are geared towards things that are supposed to last for a long time,” says Mallison. The idea of clothes with that kind of staying power appealed to her. “Unlike [most] fashion...home furnishings last 30 years or more.”

When she began to make tapestry-based pieces, Mallison would scout flea markets and thrift stores. (Using secondhand fabric was something she had learned at her program at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, which encouraged students to repurpose materials. “I was already focused on that [repurposing] and it further developed how I think about design and that approach,” she says.) She also started to use Etsy and eBay as sources. “It is easier to find weird and oddly specific materials that way than [to] go to 20 different thrift stores and not find anything,” she says. Rarely does she find enough fabric to make one corset, so instead, she will patchwork multiple parts of tapestry together, which adds a fresh twist to the pieces.

Mallison often searches for fabric that will show scenic imagery of, yes, women wearing corsets. “It creates another layer of intrigue.” Another reason why Mallison has been gravitating toward creating corsets is the hyper-femininity aspect. She’s not far off from runway trends, either. The vestigial wide-hipped 17th- and 18th-century pannier popped up in several collections. And the Vivienne Westwood corset has been one of the most coveted archival pieces. “I think there is a lot of feminist politics and thinking about what it means to be feminine,” she says. To add some adjustability to the pieces, she will use ribbon to lace up the back of the corset. “I don’t think there is anything more feminine than a corset or these historical silhouettes, and I want to interpret them in a modern, more playful way that is not at all constricting.”

Friday, April 24, 2020

Stella McCartney On Why Every Day Is Earth Day

Stella McCartney was convinced of the need to treat every day as Earth Day long before her Central Saint Martins graduate fashion collection made headlines thanks to the calibre of the models – including Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Yasmin Le Bon – wearing her conscious clothes. “Challenging and questioning things has been drilled into me since I was a kid,” McCartney tells British Vogue. “Over the years I have sat back, quietly working on my sustainability projects in the background. But now, more than ever, there is an urgency for change. If we have to scream and shout to achieve it, then we need to do that to drive action.”

And so, despite the fact McCartney firmly believes the topic of sustainability “is a conversation that shouldn’t be saved for one day or week a year”, the designer has rallied her friends to help her orchestrate a mindful version of shouting from the rooftops to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Amber Valletta, Jony Ive and Charlotte Rampling are among the “global celebrity change agents” who can be seen reading lines from Jonathan Safran Foer’s We Are the Weather on McCartney’s social platforms. Dr Jane Goodall previously read the author’s musings around saving the planet with our dietary choices for Stella McCartney’s autumn/winter 2019 campaign, and the brand recently launched a We Are the Weather capsule collection using samples of Foer’s handwriting, in order to ask consumers, “What would you do to save the planet?”

“The world is crying out for change,” says McCartney. “The younger generation is telling us that our house is on fire and that we need to respond like we are in a crisis – because we are, in fact, in a crisis. Initiatives like Earth Day provide the opportunity for everyone to pause and really think about the devastation that is happening around us and what they can do to make a difference.” This year in particular, McCartney believes that we have been given a second chance to address our collective impact, to learn from the coronavirus pandemic and to make better choices going forward.

To highlight how nature carries on when humanity pauses, McCartney is screening ocean videos on the advertising screens at Piccadilly Circus from 21 to 26 April. Of course, few will witness it (the UK has already seen 70 per cent less road traffic than normal), but that’s sort of the point. “I hope that being forced to stop will allow us to be kinder and more mindful, so that nature can reclaim its rightful place at the centre of our lives,” explains McCartney.

Helping to revive our planet doesn’t require drastic changes, she says. Not eating meat for one day a week (McCartney and her father, Paul, have long been campaigning for Meat Free Mondays) has a bigger impact than not using transport for an entire week. And, when it comes to what we’re wearing, it’s simply about asking more questions. “The more educated, aware and conscious we all are of what goes into our garments, the quicker we will see changes being made,” says McCartney.

For her part, McCartney is working to make her collections more sustainable each season. The autumn/winter 2020 edit includes Koba: the first biodegradable fake fur made of plant pulp and recycled polyester, which uses around 30 per cent less energy and 63 per cent less carbon emissions than other fake furs on the market. And Coreva: the world’s first biodegradable stretch denim, created by wrapping organic cotton around a natural rubber core, and dyeing it using a biodegradable ingredient derived from mushrooms and seaweed. Remember: this was the collection that saw McCartney swap supermodels for super furry animals on the runway to hammer home the need for humans and animals to coexist with one another. “Without animals, we’re nothing,” says the designer. “Bringing humour to hard-hitting messages makes them more palatable for everyone.” McCartney’s message on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is not only palatable, “it’s a gentle, loving reminder,” she says. “Every day is Earth Day.”

Billy Porter And American Vogue Invite You To Take Part In The #MetGalaChallenge

With this year’s annual Met Gala postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are mourning what is typically one of the glitziest red-carpet events of the year. The star-studded affair was supposed to be held on 4 May this year and in the past, it has produced some iconic red-carpet looks. (Rihanna’s much-memed Guo Pei gown in 2015, anyone?) For those still craving the glamour and extravagance that usually comes with the night, however, American Vogue and Billy Porter are teaming up on a new Instagram challenge that captures the night’s peacocking spirit: meet the #MetGalaChallenge.

The task is simple: recreate your favourite red carpet look from a past Met Gala at home. Which ensemble you replicate, and what you use to make it, is entirely up to you — think outside of the box. Porter’s fans may recognise that this is inspired by Porter’s recent viral fashion challenges on Instagram, where the Pose star has been encouraging his fans to express creativity while social distancing at home. 

First, he asked them to recreate his 2019 Met Gala “Sun God” look by The Blonds; afterwards, he followed it up with a call for users to show off their best at-home runway walks — modelling their “chicest couch potato lewks,” of course. Now, it’s time to up the ante even further, by diving into the Met Gala’s rich archives of outré fashions, all of which are waiting to be revived.

Want to take part in the challenge? Here’s all of the details to enter: The #MetGalaChallenge begins today and runs through 3 May. To enter, post a photo of yourself in a red carpet look that you have recreated from a past Met Gala on Instagram, using the hashtag #MetGalaChallenge. Both Billy Porter and American Vogue will select winners of the challenge. Once they are chosen, they will be announced on 4 May in a post on, and a selection will also be posted to the official @voguemagazine Instagram page.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Burberry Is Launching Trench Coats Made From Recycled Fishing Nets

In ‘Get Your Greens’, an ongoing series in line with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, British Vogue explores how the industry is advancing towards a greener future.

Seeking ways to reboot your classic Burberry trench coat? Now, you can take it in nylon developed from castor oil and a polyester yarn made from recycled plastic bottles. In celebration of Earth Day 2020, Burberry has launched the ReBurberry Edit – a collection of 26 styles made using the “latest innovations in sustainable material science”.

The British brand has focused on reinventing pieces from its spring/summer 2020 showcase, including the classic Burberry trench, a series of car coats, plus Cannon belt packs and backpacks. The outerwear has been reimagined in a series of fresh prints, and the selection of accessories will feature additional details and appliqué. But it’s the sustainable switch-ups that really impress. 

Materials including bio-based acetate have been used to create sunglasses, while Econyl (a recycled nylon made from regenerated fishing nets, fabric scraps and industrial plastic) has been used to make trench coats, parkas and accessories. The featured parkas and capes have also been made at facilities that pride themselves on reductive energy and water techniques, the recycling of textiles and chemical management. Other outerwear exemplars have been made using a nylon developed from castor oil, and a polyester yarn made from recycled plastic bottles.

Transparency is another aim of the collection. A global roll-out of pistachio-coloured “sustainable labelling” across ready-to-wear lines will provide insight on each product’s credentials – including the garment’s organic content or recycled natural fibres, and its delivery against carbon emission standards at the facilities where it was produced – as well as highlighting positive social initiatives. According to the brand, two thirds of its products “now make a positive social or environmental contribution,” and it aims to expand these attributes to all products by 2022.

Burberry’s latest initiatives are part of its “Responsibility Agenda” – a five-year plan that focuses on sustainable products, renewable energy and the support of its communities. By 2022, the company aims to be completely carbon neutral and to obtain 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy sources. As Pam Batty, vice president of corporate responsibility at Burberry remarked in a statement: “We strongly believe that driving positive change through all of our products at every stage of the value chain is crucial to building a more sustainable future for our whole industry.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Biggest Spring 2020 Trends

Whether you’re brushing up on what you’ve read or seen in past months or are simply a little late to the party, there’s no time like the present to get informed on what the must-have S/S 2020 trends are. Considering the fact that there are hundreds of runway shows each and every season, we certainly don’t expect you to go digging through them all to unearth the trends that will rise to the top. That’s what we’re here for.

This S/S 2020 season is one we are really excited about, and we know you will be too. Designers gifted us with collections that were the perfect marriage of wearable and innovative. The trends you’ll see highlighted for you below are the ones we saw repeated most frequently throughout the collections. They’re the ones that are the most digestible and the ones we’re predicting will be the heavy hitters all season long. Our list includes an assortment of styles that are equal parts fresh and nostalgic. With that being said, it is with great excitement that we present to you our official spring/summer 2020 trend guide. Just keep scrolling to dive in.

You’re probably familiar with the slip dress and bustier tops, but this season, lingerie is taking center stage in the ready-to-wear world as opposed to its usual seat underneath it all. The title for this trend theme couldn’t be any clearer: Lingerie dressing is going way beyond the confines of the bedroom as traditional lingerie detailing such as hook and eye clasps, boning, garters, sheer paneling, tons of silks, lace, corsetry, and much more have worked their way into some of the most prominent spring collections. From Olivier Theyskens showing us that much less is much more to Dion Lee’s exciting take on all things boned and bound, the three trends ahead are our suggestion of where to start when it comes to tackling lingerie dressing this season.

Garters—a belt traditionally used to hold up women’s stockings—were referenced multiple times throughout the season. We saw both the literal take via garter belts underneath blazers at Mugler in addition to more subtle odes to the piece at Helmut Lang. Whether you choose to show your support of this trend via a sultry night-out look or a cool tank with garter-like straps dripping from the hem, this detail is one we’re expecting to show up on dresses, tops, and skirts all season long.

We know, we know—slip dresses are nothing new, and by now you probably own at least three in various colors, but this spring, we’re seeing a more literal take of the chemise work its way into everyday looks. We’re talking all the lace and colors that read a bit more boudoir (i.e., soft pinks, whites, and nudes) and a lot less street style. But that’s what we love about this fresh take on the familiar dress for spring.

Before you cover your eyes and cringe at the idea of literally wearing a bra as a top, hear us out. While, yes, we saw many designers such as Loewe and Olivier Theyskens display bras that looked more like contents of a negligee drawer and less like tops, we saw the opposite as well thanks to satin bra tops at Givenchy and kitschy co-ord sets at Maryam Nassir Zadeh. Style yours under a blazer or as a top all of its own. Either way, this is one trend we’re daring you to dabble in this season.

Surprise, surprise—suits are still a thing, but we wouldn’t be talking about them in yet another trend guide if they weren’t still just as important. Luckily, there have been a handful of fresh updates to the world of suiting that will relight your fire for all things tailored and coordinated this season. With the addition of vests and waistcoats resulting in the return of three-piece suits, as well as Bermuda shorts for the more casual gal, the sartorial world has proven that when it comes to a well-rounded wardrobe, a good suit is a must. There were certainly many suiting separates styled on the S/S 20 runways, but today, we want to highlight the more literal takes for spring so that you can suit up and shop accordingly.

If you’re more of a “limbs out” kind of gal, then this next take on the suit is for you. Remember Bermuda shorts? Well, they are back and were spotted all over the runways showcasing a more casual take on the business-ready trend. Similar to vests, we saw longer shorts of all kinds appear on the runway as a trend on their own, further proving the importance of the shorts movement this spring. From Tibi’s cool-girl take to Givenchy’s office- and night out–ready ensemble, this is one major trend to watch this season.

The addition of a tailored waistcoat is the spring 2020 update we were looking for amid the recurring suiting trend. We also saw these tailored vests make a strong name for themselves as an individual trend (so be sure to keep an eye out for them), but it was the three-piece suit that stood out the most. Investing in at least one three-piece suit will prove to be more beneficial to your spring wardrobe than you might think. We promise—once you open your closet and find sleek trousers, a tailored blazer, and a trendy vest, you’ll be writing us a thank-you note.

Not into vests and long shorts but still looking for something that will make your suit feel fresh for spring? Then we have your answer: pinstripes. It’s been a while since we’ve seen this print work its way into the major trend circuit, so it is with open arms that we welcome it back. This print is subtle and versatile—two qualities you would want from a suiting trend. As you can see from the runway images, these fine lines were represented both classically at Michael Kors and modernly at Balmain and Sacai—meaning no matter how you identify your personal style, there’s bound to be a pinstripe look for you.

It’s common for a particular decade to surface as the major inspiration behind a collection, but when you see designer after designer send out models that look like they just stepped out of an episode of That ’70s Show, we know something’s up. What now feels almost a tad necessary among the ongoing rise of simpler bourgeois dressing is the colorful stark contrast of mod prints, bohemian layers, and retro accessories straight out of the ’70s. From Victoria Beckham’s more buttoned-up approach to Louis Vuitton’s retro minis and decadent layering, this is one decade we’re expecting fashion girls to channel from their heads (aka giant sunglasses) to their toes (aka clogs).

Classic button-down shirts have become one of the most sartorially talked-about basics over the past couple of seasons, but this groovy 2020 take is bringing us back to the disco days, and we are not complaining. It is customary to keep your shirt collars tucked beneath your blazer lapels, but this spring, designers styled their ’70s-esque collections with big (emphasis on the big) collars pulled out from their usual hiding places beneath blazers and jackets alike. You know what they say: The bigger the collar, the more stylish the look.

While collars made a major splash within this trend theme, so did the overall styling of all the iconic pieces from the decade. I mean, it’s hard to see shearling-lined suede vests paired over a mod floral minidresses and not think Jackie Burkhart, which is why we’ve come to terms with the ’70s as an overall vibe being just as important as the individual components. When it comes time to re-create this look, be sure to hit up the designers listed above, especially since the styling of disco collars and cropped sweater vests might not come naturally to you (or to us).

You can’t participate in the ’70s trend without at least a little something suede. Or in this case, a lot of suede. Fringe jackets made their triumphant return to the ready-to-wear scene and thanks to brands like Khaite and Celine, the incorporation of this strong outerwear piece finally feels chic as opposed to costumey. We also saw stunning suede midi skirts at Altuarra and more modern takes on the fabric at Longchamp with those hot-pants co-ord sets.

Neither of the editors writing this trend report necessarily enjoys being “one with nature,” but give us a tropical print or a utility jacket and you’ve got our attention. There were many odes to an outdoorsy lifestyle among the spring collections this season—including everything from raffia dresses and bags to vacation-ready getups that had us craving summer more than we ever have before. The good news (for some of you) is that none of the trends listed below actually require you to be outside. Basically, consider this your official fashion girl’s guide to dressing like a nature lover.

Of the many materials we saw walk down the S/S 20 runways, few were as prominent or as welcomed as raffia. Made from palm leaves, it’s a natural, sustainable fiber that can be utilized for anything from dresses and skirts (as shown at Dior and Oscar de la Renta) to handbags, which every brand from Celine to Stella McCartney debuted their own version of. Most importantly, however, is the fact that both the prevalence of the raffia and the fashion world’s embracing of it is just one small part of the bigger shift toward prioritizing environmental consciousness. In short, consider this trend a step in the right direction.

Ready for a getaway? Whether there’s an actual trip on the horizon or you’ll be stuck in the city like the rest of us, thanks to this particular spring and summer trend, you’ll at least be able to dress like you’re headed on the tropical vacation of a lifetime through nature- and fruit-inspired prints. Channel your inner J.Lo with one of Versace’s bold dresses or go more casual by way of a Dolce & Gabbana–style matching set. Either way, feel the island breeze and try not to notice that it’s just air coming from the subway grates.

It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s another utility trend? Season after season there seems to be at least one utilitarian-inspired trend or movement gracing the runways, but this time, the takeaway was that this trend is finally feeling a bit more refined. Instead of the expected utility jumpsuit or classic cargo pants, we’re seeing large cargo pockets and starchy fabrics on blazers, dresses, suiting. So if adventure is what you seek this spring, let the 2020 take on the utility trend lead the way whether you’re headed on a chic safari or a quick jaunt down the block. Clearly, the theme here is more about what you’re wearing while on the journey, not necessarily about the journey itself.

What’s hot, you may be wondering? Well, a lot of things. The (aptly named) overarching theme refers to not only the impending weather but how designers are planning to combat spring and summer’s highly anticipated sizzle with equally alluring wears. From leg-baring—almost brief-like—shorts from the likes of Jacquemus and Alberta Ferretti to the resurrection of the ’90s tube top we all owned and loved back in the day, the limbs are out and skin is in. But if that sounds like baring too much to you, don’t worry—there’s a scarf-inspired styling moment that anyone can make their own and get behind.

There is just so much to love about the return of the tube top. Aside from the ’90s nostalgia and minimalistic nature of the trend (and sheer comfort associated with actually wearing a one), tube tops are also a breeze to style and can be worn in any season. That means that if the above images have already put you into a frenzy of needing to own one of the strapless wonders, you can absolutely justify buying one now and start styling it over sweaters until the temperatures rise sufficiently to wear it on its own with jeans, skirts, or any other bottom of your choosing.

While scarf-print pieces and even literal scarves as tops are typically relevant in the warmer months regardless of what’s trending, this spring, designers have taken even more inspiration from the classic accessory, utilizing it in a number of ways across a variety of RTW pieces. From draped dresses at Altuzarra and Elie Saab to scarf-inspired separates at Burberry and Bottega Veneta, consider beating the heat in one of this season’s many silky, slinky stunners in the coming months.

“Who wears short shorts?” Our apologies in advance for getting that song stuck in your head, but we couldn’t let the opportunity to remind everyone of that catchy chorus pass. Especially when, if the S/S 20 runways were any indication, the answer to that age-old question will actually be everyone. That’s right—if you trust brands like Jacquemus, Saint Laurent, Dior, and Alessandra Rich to set trends, then all signs point to this leggy trend making it big. With that said, if the idea of hitting the streets in hot pants shakes you to your core, we suggest giving it a go on your next beach vacation.

Knowing how interested our readers are in what colors are trending at any given moment, we wouldn’t dream of putting out such a monstrous trend guide without devoting a good portion of it to the hot hues of the season. Well, we are pleased to say that there’s actually something for both ends of the spectrum as well as anyone who falls in between. From the ice cream–inspired tones everyone will be wearing come March to the colorless combo that’s making a big statement to the approachable shade anyone can get into, keep scrolling for the lowdown.

From multicolored moments at Emilia Wickstead, Loewe, and Jacquemus to single-hued stunners at Gucci, Peter Pilotto, Tibi, and more, there was almost an explosion of sherbet shades on the spring runways in every way, shape, and form. Conveniently for consumers, designers also played around with both pastel and highly saturated takes on the hues, so whether you like to go bold or fly under the radar with your color choices, there’s likely an iteration that will speak to you.

With everyone from Loewe to Alexander McQueen to Stella McCartney on board, bold black-and-white pieces (with a strong emphasis on dresses) just might end up being the tie-dye of 2020. Like many a long-lasting trend, there are countless iterations ranging from Balmain’s in-your-face takes to more approachable striped options. While the trend is nothing new to the world of fashion, brands are making it feel modern, desirable, and most importantly, wearable. This is one buy you definitely won’t regret.

Now, for the middle ground: mint. Consider it a cousin of the pistachio trend we saw so much of for F/W 19, but just a pinch more spring-ready and easier to style. As seen through Batsheva above, the color pairs well with other pastels, while Gucci styled a pair of mint trousers with a camel blouse for a stunning look. Valentino also paired a mint-colored feathered dress with a hunter green bag and gold accessories. This happy color can be incorporated into your wardrobe through dresses, separates, handbags, or shoes, giving all your outfits a fresh feel (see what we did there?).

Ready for the deets? Aside from all the overarching themes you saw above, there was also a plethora of fabrications and textures that made waves back in September and are setting out to be beyond big for S/S 20. In fact, narrowing them down to the below three was no easy feat, but the runway moments you’re about to encounter are those which felt both the freshest and the most prominent. Whether you opt to let them inspire a full look by way of a satin suit or choose to simply incorporate pieces like a net top here and there, these are the tactile touches you’ll want in your wardrobe once spring rolls around.

Random, we know—but aren’t the best trends a little unexpected? This season, netting is the underdog we didn’t see coming but are so happy that it showed up. From large-scale fishnet seen at Off-White, Toga, and Nanushka to party-ready crystal-embellished iterations from Burberry, Blumarine, and Gucci, it’s the perfect touch of texture to drape over or layer under a garment or outfit.

In addition to the satin we saw utilized in the lingerie-inspired pieces back in Beyond the Bedroom, designers also incorporated the high-shine fabric in almost everything else from suits to dresses to separates. So if you want to go corporate with your look, prefer something slinkier, or would rather a happy medium, there’s every option to make the trend your own—and in any color your heart desires.

But close! While the shapes and uses may differ, designers’ affinity for the above, very specific style of openwork lace for spring surely does resemble the doilies our beloved grandmas had on nearly every surface in their homes. You know, the ones they put under plates, cookie trays, teacups, and more? The nostalgic textile is also a welcome update to the typical lace we usually see in RTW and feels more casual and festival-ready—highly appropriate given when these collections will hit the market.

London Fashion Week Is Going Digital And Gender-Neutral

How to stage a fashion show amid social distancing regulations? Go digital. On 21 April, the British Fashion Council announced that London Fashion Week will go ahead in June, merging menswear and womenswear showcases to form a “gender-neutral platform”. The digital-only event will take place between 12 and 14 June, when London Fashion Week Men’s was slated to run, with the website relaunched to host content, commentary and capture the “humorous spirit for which British fashion and London are known”.

Caroline Rush, the chief executive of the BFC, said in a statement: “The current pandemic is leading us all to reflect more poignantly on the society we live in [...] The other side of this crisis we hope will be about sustainability, creativity and product that you value, respect, cherish.”

She continued: “By creating a cultural fashion week platform, we are adapting digital innovation to best fit our needs today and something to build on as a global showcase for the future. Designers will be able to share their stories, and for those that have them, their collections, with a wider global community; we hope that as well as personal perspectives on this difficult time, there will be inspiration in bucketloads. It is what British fashion is known for.”

In terms of content, the London Fashion Week website promises everything from interviews and podcasts with designers, to webinars and digital showrooms. It follows a growing trend across the industry to engage with communities online, via Instagram Live, Zoom webinars and tutorials on Youtube. Webinars in particular have boomed: just last week, Vogue hosted Vogue Global Conversations, a series of live conversations held over a period of four days with luminaries from the fashion industry.

Many brands have been engaging with their customers in much more intimate ways: Alexander McQueen has launched McQueen Creators, a project which invites followers to create art – sketches, embroideries, beetling – via a series of digital tutorials, posting the results on its Instagram feed; Bottega Veneta is hosting a “Bottega Residency”, with associated talent taking over the brand’s social channels; Loewe has launched “En Casa”, a series of online events and workshops on Instagram Live, led by artists such as Alvaro Barrington and Anne Low. In early April, Chanel hosted a performance by the Belgian singer Angèle on Instagram Live, and Chloé has launched Chloé Voices, a series of chats with names including Ellie Goulding and Pauline Klein and the creative director Natacha Ramsay-Levi, as well as the Chloé Club, a DJ set from Phoebe Collings-James, which took place on Instagram Live.

Opening up fashion shows in digital platforms is one way to make fashion feel more inclusive, as Balenciaga’s CEO Cedric Charbit argued in a conversation with Vogue Runway’s Nicole Phelps. Each season, he revealed, the brand invites around 600 guests to its physical fashion show at Paris Fashion Week. Over 8,000 people watch the shows streamed live on Youtube; 60,000 watch the shows on Instagram; and 300,000 discuss the shows on Twitter. “If you combine all this together with the replays [of the streams], we have an audience of over 10 million viewers,” said Charbit. “I think there is a digital reality that is already happening that one needs to embrace and face. Our audience has to be reconsidered.”

Holding a digital fashion showcase when other fashion weeks, such as Pitti Uomo, Milan’s menswear shows and Paris’s menswear and couture shows have been cancelled, will also offer the fashion industry some much-needed newness – the fuel on which the industry thrives. As Virgil Abloh revealed in his Vogue Global Conversations talk, hosted by Vogue China’s Angelica Cheung, the lockdown has made him even more productive. “This is the time to prove our industry is a valuable one,” he said. “Not for a second will I cancel, or pause, or take time off the calendar…Everything on my end will proceed. I’m finding ways to work harder, more efficient. I’ve started another collection on top of the collection I was working on for June because I have more time.”

There are numerous drawbacks, however, to the decision not to present physical clothes. In addition to manifesting a brand’s creative vision and generating excitement around a collection, fashion shows are a crucial tool for wholesale buyers who visit designer showrooms immediately after the show to get a closer look at the products. Wholesale teams will have to get creative: virtual appointments can offer an insight into the designer’s mindset, but perhaps individual samples will have to be shipped to buyers so that they can touch and physically assess new products.

London Fashion Week’s new digital iteration, though, can learn from those that went before it: Shanghai Fashion Week went digital in April, with the help of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, who lent its Tsmall live-streaming channel to the shows. Many of the clothes were available for purchase straight from the runway, and the organisers also prepared digital showroom presentations where designers talked through their collections piece by piece for viewers.

As Jonathan Anderson pointed out in a recent interview with Vogue Runway, getting away from the idea of a fashion show being a brand’s definitive seasonal statement could help everyone adapt to the new reality. “I think this is the big illusion in this industry, that it’s just about shows, but it’s not, really,” he said. “It’s about visual merchandising, it’s about stores, it’s about advertising, and those things take up at least 70 per cent of my job.” Let the digital interaction commence.

The Cult French Brand Bella Loves Started Life As A Vintage Treasure Trove On Ebay

Bella Hadid’s lockdown uniform appears to have been approached with the same vigour as her street-style looks during show season. While many are nesting in a rotating selection of muted loungewear, Hadid has been orchestrating home photo shoots in menswear; bringing back old-school sportswear brands; and single-handedly hailing the return of the boob tube. Among the ’90s athleisure and crop tops, Hadid has afforded herself a cosy moment or two. As well as Ugg’s snow boots (a puffer jacket in shoe form, according to the Australian brand), the super packed autumnal-coloured Sézane knitwear for her stay at her mother Yolanda’s Pennsylvania farm.

Hadid has been wearing her mottled yellow Sézane Johnny pullover with customised Juliet Johnstone jeans for an outdoorsy look that veered towards Woodstock territory, rather than typical French-girl style. Brand founder Morgane Sézalory sent Hadid the alpaca-merino sweater during London Fashion Week. But the model, who is often in the fashion capitals where Sézane has L’Appartements, has likely frequented its impossibly chic shoppable homes. (Let’s not forget this is the 23 year old who has framed pictures of Audrey Hepburn on her bedroom walls).

Sézalory – who started out in fashion aged 18 selling flea market finds on eBay and launched cult customised vintage edit, Les Composantes, in 2009 – is in a similarly remote position to Hadid. She is holed up at her family’s house two hours outside of Paris. But instead of frolicking with farmyard animals like the Hadids, the designer is entertaining two small children while simultaneously trying to create Sézane’s spring/summer 2021 collection. The successful brand – which grew out of her vintage platform – is worlds away from her first entrepreneurial efforts selling retro pieces via scheduled online “rendezvous”. “We try to work on a day to day basis because things are changing so quickly,” Sézalory tells British Vogue of the team’s flexible mindset (Sézane was Paris’s first direct-to-consumer model when it launched in 2013). “Coronavirus has not changed much because we are always reinventing ourselves. I am still very much focused on sustainability and our philanthropic programme, Demain.”

The brand had to halt its Sézane Tour – its shop openings in Madrid and Austin – due to Covid-19, but Sézalory feels buoyed by the label’s growing Instagram community during this uncertain time. “It makes me happy and proud to see people wearing Sézane in their homes and supporting us – it’s a real gift,” she says with regards to the #sezaneathome social movement. Consumers the world over – whose obsession with Parisian style runs deep – are still shopping her charming, accessibly-priced takes on French staples.

To keep Sézane’s 1.6 million Instagram followers engaged during the pandemic, when the world’s screen time is drastically up, the brand has been sharing simple modes of escapism, including dance classes, recipe tutorials and book clubs. “Share your moves with us,” urges one post in that impossibly insouciant manner that only a French brand can muster. On the 21st of every month, Sézane also orchestrates a Solidarity Call, or L’Entraide – which means mutual aid – whereby it shines a spotlight on a social group in need and sends donations, sweet words and ideas to those affected.

Sézalory’s home kindergarten means that her own extracurricular activities involve more craft and game playing than dancing, but, she says, “I have also taken this time to look at things differently. I have a new interest in interior decoration… Maybe some new ideas will bloom in the future.” Hadid’s Hepburn portraits might one day have company from Sézane homeware.

Are You Ready For A Wardrobe Reality Check?

In ‘Get Your Greens’, an ongoing series in line with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, British Vogue explores how the industry is advancing towards a greener future. Vestiaire Collective, the pre-loved fashion platform and editors’ secret weapon for sourcing past season pieces that got away, is asking its followers to take a long hard look at their wardrobes during lockdown. Do you know the environmental impact of the clothes crammed in your closet?

Chances are you didn’t consider the carbon footprint of the new trackies you just clicked to buy from that household-name brand, either. In line with Earth Day’s 50th anniversary on 22 April, the online marketplace has launched the Wardrobe Reality Check, urging consumers to build an eco-conscious clothing edit that will stand the test of time and not end up in landfill, like the £140 million worth of clothing currently being buried in the UK each year.

The challenge runs in tandem with Vestiaire Collective’s #fashionshouldfeelgood social campaign. “The topic of sustainability can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, especially when you consider the long journey the industry is on,” Vestiaire Collective co-founder Fanny Moizant tells British Vogue. “We want to empower people to realise that they can drive meaningful change by making small steps they can feel good about. In the end, it’s not the big statements that will drive the most impact, but the changes taken by individuals every day.” 

The crux of the Wardrobe Reality Check guidelines is of course the message that Dame Vivienne Westwood has been singing from the rooftops for years: “Buy less, choose well, make it last.” Moizant’s team has simplified the cleansing process, and promises that the initial clear-out stage only takes two hours. On average, between 53 and 79 per cent of a person’s wardrobe has not been worn in the last 12 months. So asking, “Do you feel good in that piece of clothing?” as a barometer of whether or not to keep an item soon clarifies which category it should sit in: keep, resell, repurpose, recycle or donate.

Moizant herself has a strict one-in, one-out wardrobe policy, and always considers shopping pre-owned or vintage options before purchasing a new item. But, until the Vestiaire Collective guidelines came to light, she was not aware of the damaging microplastics released when machine washing clothes. (The washing of textiles releases 0.5 million tons of harmful microfibres into the oceans every year.) For her, like the rest of the Vestiaire staffers – including a newly hired Chief Sustainability Officer – it’s about doing their best to be mindful consumers. Often a wardrobe overhaul is the best way to press the reset button, so we can start shopping and caring for our existing clothes with intent.

Go back to the start

Good quality staples made to stand the test of time should ideally form the core of your wardrobe. Investigate options from sustainable brands or resale sites which can act as the basis of your outfits today and for years to come. The next section of your wardrobe can consist of more trend-led pieces. These should still be of good quality, but it’s more likely you might want to switch them out after a couple of seasons. Consider reselling them when you’re ready for a change and investing carefully each season.

Shop vintage

Classic or unusual pieces of fashion history can be tricky to locate but are definitely worth the effort, giving your wardrobe a spin that’s unique to you and kind to the planet.
Consider a virtual aspect to your wardrobe Temporary needs for special one-off occasions can be met by borrowing a piece from a friend or a rental company, rather than buying something you’ll only wear once.

Try a simple hanger trick

Always try to remain conscientious of how you’re using your wardrobe – constantly evaluate how much of your closet you’re wearing versus what is left unused. A great way to keep an eye on this is to turn the hangers of the pieces you wear in the opposite direction to the rest. At the end of the season, you’ll clearly be able to see the pieces you didn’t wear once.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Must See Online Exhibitions Of The Moment

From Frida Kahlo and Versailles to cats in art history and the myth of Pompeii, take an online tour of the most beautiful virtual exhibitions to visit from the comfort of your own home.

Faces of Frida

In 2018, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London paid homage to the non-conformist Mexican artist with a major exhibition of clothing, archives and precious objects from her personal collection. And for those who were not lucky enough to discover this exhibition, Frida Kahlo's work is now accessible from your iPhone. How, you might ask? By connecting to the Google Arts & Culture platform, which has listed more than 800 paintings, photographs and objects belonging to the artist, which users can examine in the finest detail thanks to an ultra-precise magnifying glass system. Faces of Frida has come to light thanks to an exceptional collaborative efforts of Google and 33 museums worldwide.

Cats in Art History

Marvel at works of art honoring the cat, without going to a museum. This is what the Universal Museum of Art (UMA) in partnership with the Réunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais is offering with Cats in Art History, a virtual reality exhibition that can be visited in just a few clicks. Playful and instructive, the exhibition looks back at the place of the feline in art and its various symbols that have evolved over the centuries. As the centerpiece of a painting or discreet presence in the background, the cat wanders through many works of art, from a painting by Géricault to a poster for Rodolphe Salis's cabaret, not forgetting paintings from Ancient Egypt, where it was considered a true god. Overall, the interactive virtual reality exhibition aims to teach us a little more about our much-loved, enigmatic house panthers.

Louis Vuitton Foundation: Le parti de la peinture

From February 20 to August 26, 2019, the Louis Vuitton Foundation presented the exhibition Le parti de la peinture, a rich selection from its collection, which included works by Joan Mitchell, Alex Katz, Gerhard Richter, Ettore Spalletti and Yayoi Kusama. Among the highlights was her signature Infinity Mirror Room. Created in 1965 during her stay in New York, the installation Phalli's Field was Yayoi Kusama's very first Infinity Mirror Room, which crystallizes the hallucinations of the artist she has had since childhood, totally obsessed with peas. She often muses, “My life is a pea lost among thousands of other peas”, and the selection of works at the foundation encapsulates this idea. The exhibition was themed “A Vision For Painting”, in which a small room in entirely covered in mirrors, with psychedelic mushrooms sprouting from the ground and clusters of giant red peas peppered throughout. It is a dizzying immersion into a completely otherworldly hallucination, the mirrors reflecting into infinite, creating an overwhelming sense of endlessness. On Wednesday, April 1st, the Louis Vuitton Foundation is offering a virtual tour of the exhibition with commentary by its curators. See you on April 1 on the Foundation's website.

From Station to the Renovated Musée d'Orsay

The Musée d'Orsay, a former railway station that has become a temple of Impressionist, Realist and Pointillist painting, opened in 1986, today covers Western art from the second half of the 19th century to the end of the 20th century, a period that is as short as it is rich. It also links the collections of the Louvre with those of the Centre Georges Pompidou. Among its treasures are L'Origine du monde by Gustave Courbet, The Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia by Edouard Manet, Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh and The Gleaners by Jean-François Millet. Now closed during this period of confinement, the Musée d'Orsay is offering fun podcasts and virtual exhibitions. We are particularly interested in the exhibition entitled From Station to the Renovated Musée d'Orsay, which reveals the major stages in the museum's transformation, under the aegis of Google Arts & Culture.

In Tune with the World

In April 2018, the Fondation Louis Vuitton presented its major exhibition Au diapason du monde (In Tune with the World), which featured some of the great classics of contemporary art (one of Dan Flavin's neon radiant tubes), monochromes by Yves Klein, a series by Giacometti, canvases by Gerhard Richter alongside a video by Cyprien Gaillard and a suspended sculpture by Maurizio Cattelan in a didactic tour highlighting the connections between human, animal and plant life. The high point of the exhibition was the vast space devoted to Takashi Murakami, which explored themes dear to the artist, namely a Kawaii aesthetic that refers to the earthquakes that affected the country, such as the atomic bomb or the tsunami, through all the mediums he used (painting, sculpture and video). On Wednesday March 25, the Fondation Louis Vuitton, currently closed, will offer a virtual tour of this successful exhibition with commentary by its curators. We (at last) take a look back at its agenda for the good cause.


In 79 AD, the city of Pompeii vanished under the ashes of Vesuvius. Today, the world's most famous archaeological site is still fascinating. This month, the Grand Palais is devoting a fine exhibition to the lost city in a chronological tour that honors this city of flourishing arts and trade before the tragedy. The exhibition's main asset is the immersive 3D device that plunges visitors into the bustling streets of Pompeii on the day Vesuvius erupted. This spectacular experience is complemented by the rare display of life-size frescoes that decorated the sumptuous Pompeian villas and numerous discoveries from new excavations, such as a treasure trove of amulets, earthenware utensils, a marble rabbit and a mosaic of the nymph Ariadne and Dionysus. To make up for our current frustration, the Grand Palais decided to offer a preview of the contents of the exhibition on its website on March 25. On the programme, 4 immersive videos will plunge us into the heart of the new excavations, a mosaic restoration and the sumptuous discoveries of Orion's house. The best part? The podcast of the exhibition, which can be downloaded free of charge via the Grand Palais application.

Fashion at Versailles

Versailles is the birthplace of fashion. In the 1780s, during the reign of Louis XVI, men and women of the Court drew the outlines of a male and female fashion, which espoused every day's formal ceremonies. On its website, the Château de Versailles offers two virtual exhibitions dedicated on the one hand to the male cloakroom and its codes, and on the other to a study of the style of Marie-Antoinette, one of the first fashion icons as much adored as she was hated.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Dior Puts Its Enchanting “Designer Of Dreams” Exhibition Online

As Dior makes its Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition available to view virtually from the comfort of your own home, look back at British Vogue’s exclusive preview of the V&A’s adaptation of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs exhibit, before you explore the original via the brand’s YouTube channel.

From Princess Margaret’s 21st birthday gown to the thousands of paper roses blooming in the garden-themed chamber, the mood of Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams is decidedly British. The exhibition is a reconfiguration of the 2017 Paris show, Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, with a different thematic journey, 60 per cent new content and an original installation celebrating the country a 21-year-old from Normandy fell in love with upon his first visit to perfect his English.

“The relationship between Monsieur Dior and British culture is fascinating,” the current creative director of Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri, tells Vogue during a preview. “He came here because he wanted to be free – it’s the same story of many. Britain is a place that is strongly about freedom and this comes across in its fashion. I’m lucky to have this important legacy to move the brand forward.”

Led by fashion and textiles curator Oriole Cullen and set designer Nathalie Crinière, Designer of Dreams is the first fashion exhibition to be staged in the V&A's new Amanda Levete-designed galleries, and the largest of its kind at the museum since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015. From the recreation of the Avenue Montaigne Dior boutique façade that welcomes visitors, to the temple de l'Amour in Versailles in the "Historicism" section and the expansive ballroom at the exhibition’s close – which features a seven-minute reel of shooting stars and golden glitter rain on the ceiling and walls – this is the V&A in its full glossy regalia.

The first rooms – “The New Look” (a focus on Dior’s famed Bar suit); “The Dior Line” (the designer’s 10 defining looks from his 1947 and 1957 tenure at the house) and “Dior in Britain” (the romance Dior embraced because it made business sense) – look at the clients who embodied Christian Dior’s time as creative director. There’s a sequin-encrusted, Hollywood-esque spring/summer ’50 gown worn by Margot Fonteyn that represented Dior’s experimental phase in the ’40s; the Nonette (Little Nun) suit Dior created for house model Jean Dawnay, who was dismayed that the tailoring did not suggest a more cosmopolitan version of herself; the blood-red silk organza dress novelist Emma Tennant selected for a debutante look that would rock the boat of society conventions; and, of course, the princess-appropriate creation Margaret wore in her 21st birthday portrait.

The off-white gown with straw, raffia and mother of pearl embellishments is displayed next to the Cecil Beaton photograph in order to show the difference between the real version and Beaton’s artistic interpretation. “[Beaton] wanted a very strong, striking image, so he played around with the colours,” Cullen explains during the walk-through. “It's interesting because the Swiss technique of using straw complements the golden colour of the dress, but it’s not something you would normally associate with the royal family.”

The narrative of the exhibition then moves away from Christian Dior’s lifetime and on to the themes that inspired him, as Cullen starts to bring in the artistic directors who succeeded him: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Chiuri. The sumptuous “Travels” section looks at the idea of cultural appreciation and what it means today; “The Garden” room is a sensory delight with paper wisteria, clematis, lily of the valley and Princess Margaret-roses cascading from the ceiling; and “Diorama” is a curiosity closet of colour-coded accessories, trinkets and 123 magazine covers from 1947 to the present day. Look out for the vial of fake Dior blood (the brand did a line of film make-up in the ’60s and ’70s) and the bottle of Bobby perfume (a special gift for loyal customers shaped in the form of Dior’s beloved dog, Bobby).

And then, to “The Ballroom”: the all-out unabashed celebration of the glamour of Dior and the fantasy that’s contained within a ballroom (or today’s equivalent). Displayed within the last section are the liquid-gold numbers Charlize Theron wore in the J’adore fragrance adverts during her 20 years as brand ambassador; the first dress Galliano designed at the helm of the house for Diana, Princess of Wales to wear in 1996; and other extravagant Galliano creations that took six people to mount and are a testament to the strength of the models that wore them.

“When you see fashion presented like this, you can reflect on it in a different way,” says Chiuri. “Fashion is not an image, it’s an experience, and the exhibition is a beautiful experience.” The glorious finale seems fitting considering the designer’s own mission at Dior. “I hope to speak about all the women around the world in a contemporary way,” she surmises. “We’re all different, we all have different styles, but Dior is a place where all women can find a place.”

Should Fashion Be Labelled By Its Carbon Footprint?

Four years ago, Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger launched Allbirds with one pair of wool sneakers. Whether you’re in New York, London, or a small town in Ohio, there’s a good chance you’ve seen them — or dozens of them. Barack Obama is a fan. Allbirds trainers (of which there are now several styles) are popular for their simple design and heathered wool uppers; they’re lightweight, comfortable, and have a softer look than traditional running shoes. “Most sneakers are made with a lot of synthetics, so we looked to the natural world for alternatives,” Brown explains. “We wanted to find materials that wouldn’t compromise the product, but would also be better for the environment.” They landed on New Zealand merino wool for its natural and biodegradable properties, and the rest of the sneaker incorporates castor bean oil, sugarcane, tree fibres, and some recycled polyester.

In short, Allbirds sneakers are definitely gentler on the earth than the average pair, which might be comprised of a dozen plastic parts. That’s enough to attract an eco-minded shopper, but Brown stressed that materials are just one factor in a brand’s environmental footprint. “We’ve started to understand that sustainability means so many different things – it’s air quality, micro plastics, biodiversity, fair trade labour,” he says. “All of these things are important, but ultimately, the singular ‘score card’ is carbon output. Carbon is a universal idea that we need to rally around. It has to be your north star.” To the uninitiated, carbon emissions released into the atmosphere trap heat and warm the planet, hence the term “greenhouse gas.” According to the 2020 Drawdown Review, approximately 21 per cent of all greenhouse gases today come from industry — i.e., the production of goods like clothing, cars, laptops, etc., and the associated raw materials sourcing and waste disposal.

Allbirds’s ambition is to one day reach a “net zero” carbon footprint, and the company’s next step toward that goal was to conduct life cycle assessments across the brand’s entire supply chain. The team calculated the carbon footprint of every single sneaker and sock down to a 10th of a kilogram – and today, Allbirds is the first fashion brand to label its products with those numbers.

A pair of classic Wool Runners emits 7.2 kilograms of carbon dioxide, while the Runner-Up high-tops release 10.5 kilograms. The Tree Breezer wooly ballet flats create 5.3 kilograms. Those numbers are the result of calculating every step in the shoe-making process, from the materials to the packaging to the shipping. An infographic shows that nearly half of the Tree Breezers’ footprint is due to the materials, and the other half is attributed to manufacturing; only 0.1 kilograms comes from actually wearing the shoes.

Brown compared the concept to the way our food labels show calories. “No one really understands what a calorie is, but they use it as a guideline to make decisions,” Brown says. “It isn’t the only reason we choose what we eat, though. That isn’t what we’re suggesting — we aren’t saying you should stop eating ice cream. We’re saying you should be aware of the impact and choices you make, so you can make better ones.”

That barometer just doesn’t exist for clothes or shoes or anything else we purchase; in fact, the average person probably doesn’t know the carbon footprint of anything they consume, whether it’s a handbag or a transatlantic flight. Is 10.5 kilograms of carbon considered a lot for a pair of trainers? Allbirds confirmed the average pair of running shoes has a 12.5-kilogram carbon output, and offered some other helpful comparisons: A pair of jeans comes in at 29.6 kilograms, while a T-shirt emits 13.6 kilograms. An economy flight from New York to San Francisco emits 688 kilograms, while a banana’s footprint is less than one kilogram. “You have to think about carbon in terms of how you travel and eat and shop – all of these things add up,” Brown says. “It’s about understanding how the small actions and decisions we make contribute to the global emissions we need to collectively reduce.”

Brown is hopeful that if every shoe, jacket, and bicycle clearly shows its carbon footprint, it could greatly influence consumer behaviour. Of course, the first step is getting other companies on board: “Our great hope is that this will catalyse other people to share the science [behind their products], and it’s going to take some time,” Brown says. “The good thing is that this invites competition – if there are people who see our numbers and think they could be better, that’s great. We all need to be working incredibly hard toward making products with a net-zero impact. That problem isn’t going to be solved just by Allbirds – it will be solved by sharing information and pushing each other.”

Brown is confident that other brands will join him, particularly in light of the current Covid-19 crisis. “We’re seeing the incredible power of people wanting to help and businesses stepping up,” he says. “It gives you hope to see how people can work together in pretty impressive ways. This isn’t the time to point out who’s doing everything right and who’s wrong – everyone is welcome to this conversation.”

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Earth, Wind, And Fire: An Ode To The Outdoor Fashion Show

Spending time outdoors is a luxury at the moment. With everyone confined to their homes and practicing social distancing to help flatten the curve of coronavirus cases, we don’t have the opportunity to, say, leisurely stroll through the park, hike up a mountain, or at the very least, get caught in an unexpectedly refreshing spring rainstorm.

Ironically, April also marks Earth Month, which not only serves as a reminder of how important sustainability practices are during this crisis but also just how beautiful Mother Earth is, even if she seems out of reach at the moment. But for those fashion lovers among us, one place to find a momentary visual escape back into nature is through the vibrance of outdoor runway shows. During the last decade, many designers exposed their collections to the elements, some choosing far-flung, exotic destinations like Rio de Janeiro and Morocco. Others have taken advantage of their own public city spaces in Paris and New York.

There has been fire (thanks, Rick Owens), as well as rain and wind and a lavender field. Some were memorable for the not-so-favorable adventure of it all, namely, Kanye West’s Yeezy spectacular saga on Roosevelt Island in sweltering heat. But there’s something transcendent about watching beautiful clothes be paraded in a spectacularly organic setting. Karl Lagerfeld was really the first to put an emphasis on the destination show, having once brought attendees to places like the harbor of St. Tropez and a historic promenade in Havana. 

Since 2015 or so, designers beyond Lagerfeld and other major luxury brands have become more and more experimental with their en plein air shows, creating elaborate set designs to underscore natural landscapes. They are transcendent, and even as we all continue to stay at home, the outdoor fashion show can serve as a reminder of what’s on the other side of quarantine. They can bring some of Mother Earth’s magic from the outside, in.