Thursday, September 24, 2020

Camping Never Looked Chicer, Thanks To Gucci’s Collab With North Face

A single tent flag that read “The North Face x Gucci”, blowing in the wind against a mountain vista, was all it took to drive fashionistas into a frenzy on Instagram. Details of the incoming collab between the American outdoor recreation brand and the Italian house are scarce, but it’s an interesting move from both parties.

Gucci is a major step up from The North Face’s previous fashion tie-ups with brands including Junya Watanabe, Supreme and Maison Margiela. And a move into technical outerwear is surprising for Gucci, a luxury behemoth which this year announced it was reducing its output by concentrating on seasonless collections shown twice a year.

Creative director Alessandro Michele recently shared his love of the great outdoors via Gucci’s Off The Grid capsule, comprised of recycled, organic, bio-based and sustainably sourced materials and modelled by Jane Fonda and Lil Nas X in a tree house. Its pre-fall 2020 campaign, entitled So Deer To Me, followed in the footsteps of its previous animal-populated photo shoots and featured, in no particular order, deers, fawns, owls, bluebirds, skunks, squirrels, frogs, ducks and rabbits. There’s a particularly sweet moment in the Sleeping Beauty-esque video when a hedgehog finds a new home: nestled on a Gucci-clad model’s beanie.

The North Face tie-up plays into the post-pandemic appetite for “the essential”, which Michele touched upon during his “radical” restructure of the house’s output in May. “We are a big brand, so we have a responsibility to take care of our industry,” Michele explained of the importance of reducing output and increasing sustainability. “We need to give it the time that’s needed. The things we make have a longer life than what we have allotted to them in the past.” The North Face’s longtime efforts to reduce its carbon footprint support Gucci’s positive changes for people and the planet. Buy a down jacket or waterproof from The North Face and you’ll be wearing it for life.

The social-media video is also a clever marketing ploy during Milan Fashion Week, where there is a Gucci-shaped hole on the spring/summer 2021 schedule. Show-goers might be missing out on the brand’s usual opulent runway spectacular, but with a single Insta post Gucci has already taken them to the fashion summit.

Dolce & Gabbana Dedicated Its SS´21 Collection To Resourcefulness – And Patchwork Galore

Ever since Italy came out of lockdown, Dolce & Gabbana have been prolific in their quest to regenerate their country’s fashion and tourism industries. While many brands at Milan Fashion Week are only getting back into the swing of runway shows this month, the one Dolce & Gabbana presented today – women’s spring/summer 2021 – was their fourth twirl on the catwalk since quarantine, following a men’s show in Milan in July and two bespoke shows in Florence in early September. With a creative output like that, it’s no wonder the designers found themselves inadvertently self-referencing during the making of this collection.

It was titled ‘Patchwork of Sicily’ because Domenico Dolce (who is from Sicily) and Stefano Gabbana decided to pay tribute to the multicultural history of their favourite island by patchworking single garments from elements belonging to each cultural influence, from the Spaniards to the Arabs and the Normans. “We realised that in ’93 we had already done this type of work, taking inspiration from a completely different world, which was the ‘70s,” Gabbana said in a video message. “So, we went into the archive and we recreated the same jacket, the same vest, the same skirt, the same shirt, the same trouser,” he explained, albeit in more contemporary cuts.

“At this point, we’re not talking about fashion,” Gabbana argued. “We’re talking about style, because such a strong theme presented itself to us again without even recalling our past.” After the global soul-searching of 2020, the notion of style over fashion has newfound relevance. The promotion of sustainability has as much to do with battling ideas of disposability and obsolescence in the way we shop and dress as it has to do with how brand’s manufacture. Following last season’s push for young people to appreciate the work of artisans – the theme of their February show – Dolce & Gabbana dedicated this collection to resourcefulness through repurposing: making a new wardrobe from your old one.

“It’s about not throwing away even the oldest thing,” Dolce said. “You might have old sweaters, trousers, shirts, and you can recreate from other things something new that is yours. But what’s important to us is that every piece is interpreted by skilled hands,” he said, emphasising the importance of supporting artisans. Reimbuing the old with new value has already been a theme this spring/summer 2021 season. In August, Virgil Abloh debuted his ‘Upcycling Ideology’ for Louis Vuitton menswear, which postulates that “no season is an old season” and vows to freely use pieces from previous collections in new ones, alongside an extensive sustainability plan.

For his spring/summer 2021 collection for Coach, Stuart Vevers mixed in pieces from last season, adding new surface decorations. On the morning of Dolce & Gabbana’s show, Angela Missoni announced her new in-season show format, which aims to increase appreciation for current-season collections by showing them when they actually hit stores. And on the same day, Silvia Venturini Fendi showed a collection dedicated to the passing down of clothes from one generation to another.

As for Dolce & Gabbana’s ‘Patchwork from Sicily’, it illustrated the designers’ point in a sensory collage of beautiful garments jigsaw-puzzled together from all the fabrics and colours of the eternally evolving island. “We hope that the young generations can treasure this type of art,” Gabbana concluded.

Angela Missoni Debuts In-Season Show Format at Milan Fashion Week

When Missoni’s video presentation opened the spring shows in Milan today, 23 September, spring was the last thing on Angela Missoni’s mind. “All of a sudden, I thought, why do I have to communicate summer in winter? It’s illogical. And crazy. So, I said, you know what? This season the autumn collection hit the store 15 days ago. I need to push the autumn collection.”

The film she produced as part of Milan Fashion Week showcased the collection she presented in February rather than her new spring 2021 proposal, which does indeed exist. “We are selling part of the new collection this week, but I’m not going to go public with it,” the creative director says, on the phone from Milan.

Missoni’s move follows brands such as Louis Vuitton, which repeated its fall 2020 menswear offering as part of its spring 2021 men’s spectacular in Shanghai this August, and Coach, which incorporated pieces from its fall 2020 show into its spring 2021 collection video this week. Like many in the fashion industry, Missoni sees the events of 2020 as an opportunity for industry changes she considers much-needed. During lockdown – which she spent with her 89-year-old mother Rosita, who co-founded the family company with her husband Ottavio in 1953 – she hired Armani veteran Livio Proli as the new CEO of Missoni. Since April, they have been “fixing, fixing, fixing,” as she puts it.

What was broken? “Many things. All the problems of the lockdown, and maybe other problems that were there. It’s taking a new direction for the vision of the company, planning our future, and reorganising.” In July, when Missoni sold her pre-collection to buyers, she was reminded of the at-times confusing ways of the industry. “For a long time, I’ve thought there was something out of tune. Fifteen years ago, the fashion show was there to sell to the trade. Then, it became more important. Now, you are selling pre-collections to cover 70 to 80 per cent of your season budget without a show, and then you’d make an event as big as a fashion show is for the last 25 per cent. They’ve become communication events; social media happened.”

A medium-sized brand, Missoni depends on wholesale and retailers to fuel its business, unlike super brands, which largely sell to their own stores. “It’s very different for brands that don’t do wholesale. They can do fashion shows all around the world, not to sell collections but as communication events,” Missoni points out. Going forward, showing her collections in-season (i.e. at the same time they hit shelves) won’t mean a departure from the promotional structure of fashion. “We’ll find a way of sending pictures to the press so you can work with the merchandise. We want to see your point of view,” Missoni says.

Nor is she going to abandon the traditional fashion show format she loves for its “emotional” value. “Maybe next spring, I go back and do a fashion show in Sumirago like the first show after my parents left Florence. This would be my dream: to do a show at the factory,” she suggests, referring to the Lombardian hills where her own villa is also located, its sprawling gardens begging to be used for a fashion show. “Yes, yes, yes! That’s my dream already. But then the timing is so crazy. You cannot take people out of Milan for two hours. Maybe in the future, who knows? If things get different, slower,” Missoni says.

The quarantine period spawned countless industry debates about changes to the fashion system, but the first fashion weeks post-lockdown are largely following its classic setup. What made Angela Missoni act upon big ideas when others didn’t? “Because I always act,” she responds, laughing. “We confuse fashion with luxury only. The meaning of fashion is something for now, so we need to be in the moment and understand it. Fashion is usually the first to anticipate and accept change. There’s been something wrong with the system for a long time. We need to change it.”

“Kim Is A Friend. I’m Happy”: Silvia Venturini Fendi On Fendi’s Future Under Kim Jones

When Silvia Venturini Fendi took the womenswear reins at her LVMH-owned family company after the death of Karl Lagerfeld in 2019, it became the most female-centric fashion house in Italy.

Along with stylists Charlotte Stockdale and Katie Lyall, who had worked alongside Lagerfeld, Venturini instilled the brand’s collections with a powerful multi-faceted femininity that felt entirely right: diverse, body-positive and age-embracing fashion made by women, for women. On 23 September, her final solo bow on the women’s Fendi runway before the arrival of Kim Jones – its new artistic director for womenswear as of next season – illustrated the dance between female and male roles so unique to the Fendi family and its business.

For the first time, Venturini was able to design the men’s collection (of which she’s been in charge since the year 2000) alongside the women’s collection, merging the genetics of the two into one co-ed show. “I conceived the collections together in the same moment. There are many boys’ looks that are worn by girls and vice versa,” Venturini says on a video call from Milan. “It’s been a real pleasure. I liked the energy, working with separate teams at the same time.” In 1946, 20 years after founding Fendi, Venturini’s grandparents Adele and Edoardo brought on their five daughters to steer the ship. When they hired Lagerfeld in 1965, he became a lone male amongst women. “Fendi has always been many women and one man. We will have the same formula again,” Venturini notes, referring to Jones’s arrival.

Enclosed with the invitation for this season’s show was a linen envelope with pictures of her mother Anna, Venturini herself, her daughters, her son-in-law and her grandchildren wearing the new collection: fashion’s strongest matriarchy on display. With more than 20 members of the matriarchal Fendi clan gathered during lockdown on their compound in Rome, Venturini spent the period thinking about family and the symbolic value of clothes – and cloths – within it.

“Sometimes I see my daughter dressed in a dress that was mine when I was her age. It’s so nice to see something you’ve loved being loved by someone you love. And also, to see that the dress is still beautiful and relevant, and still has the same focus it had when you were wearing it yourself,” she says. “Passing down clothes is a way of passing down memories and values with time.”

Inspired by the linens traditionally handed down between generations at Italian weddings, she chose this fabric to express the importance of permanence and family values in fashion today. “It’s the most ancient fabric. Egyptian mummies are still wrapped in linen.” It clothed a co-ed wardrobe that felt like a first for Fendi, historically defined by somewhat different directions for its women’s and men’s collections. At Venturini’s female hand, the values of the Fendi matriarchy manifested in a dialogue between women’s and menswear and the roles represented by each. Here, the female voice was louder. It was great. “You know, women are very hard to silence. But you have to find the men who want to listen to them, not the men who want to be macho men,” Venturini says.

“The woman stays the same: strong and independent,” she explains, referring to the direction she first set in February’s show, “but doesn’t refuse to be portrayed close to a man. It’s very natural.” If she’s talking about herself, she knows what she’s talking about. Venturini began frequenting the Fendi studio during Lagerfeld’s visits to Rome when she was in her early teens. When she was 31, he asked her to join his design team. Four years on, she single-handedly created the massively successful Fendi Baguette, birthing the age of the It-bag. After infusing Fendi with her a newfound female perspective over the past year, Venturini says she has prepared the house for a new era. “This is the intro to a new chapter. I’m ready to jump into something new. It’s going to be very interesting. Kim is a friend. I’m happy.”

“Being A Good Human Being Is Coming To The Forefront Of Fashion” – Samuel Ross’s Latest Collection Reflects A New Era

“People in positions of creative power have been elected,” asserts the founder of A-Cold-Wall, “If they want to hold their spot, they need to do the right things.”

There was an evening a few months ago, in the midst of the civil rights movement that swept through America and then across the world, when A-Cold-Wall posted an Instagram both calling for submissions for series of grants the brand was allocating to independent Black business. “Defend and support by any means necessary,” the brand wrote. “Black liberation, families, business and resources.” It was one of the first public statements of action from the fashion industry, and spoke powerfully to how A-Cold-Wall has established its identity: not simply as a Black-owned British brand, but a business agile and confident enough to quickly respond to the world it reflects. “We’re not too big, but not too small,” smiles founder Samuel Ross a few months later. “That allows us a unity which big companies don’t have, and a proficiency which small companies don’t have.”

It is that responsiveness echoed within his latest offering of the brand, showcased through a three-chapter short film in lieu of a runway. “It’s impossible to not talk about politics in terms of what we’re creating right now, because we’re about adapting to our common needs,” the designer explains. For spring/summer 2021 that materially manifests in a softened approach to the brand’s tailoring – less nylon, and more stretch fabrics that are “luxurious and wearable and comforting on the body” – alongside a more significant emphasis on (very good) knitwear. “It feels elegant but can still carry a visual language,” Ross says. “I foresee it replacing 50 per cent of what we do in jersey in the next few years.” Alongside the utilitarian aesthetic Ross is renowned for there is, essentially, an array of what he describes as “luxury loungewear,” designed for an era in which that category appears of paramount relevance.

Equally, the messaging that underlines his precisely-formed yet eased elegance speaks specifically to the cultural moment we are inhabiting: not only in terms of the ever-shifting directives about where and how we might be working (today, commuter style adapted for the sofa appears the reality of the foreseeable future), but the identity politics that underline 2020. It’s a sentiment Ross endeavours to explore through his film with Pierre Debusschere – which follows a loose arc of solitude and self discovery/redefinition and returning to work/modern maturity in a narrative which somewhat reflects his own experience of the year. 

Through lockdown, Ross has restructured his business model – leveraging the profits from his three sell-out collaborations alongside the brand’s e-commerce success “to fuel the level of development and hires we required to open up new categories.” He has brought on new fabric technicians and accessories consultants while doubling down on his brand’s visual codes and core values. Now he finds himself in phase three, whereby he is determined both to dress a generation while addressing the issues that plague Britain.

“My long term, mid term and immediate goal is to support Black infrastructures and economics – not just talk to fashion, but sectors from agriculture to fintech,” he says. “I want to make sure that the Black British community gets the support it needs. We need to start developing and articulating our own specific stories. Of course there are shared experiences with my brothers in America, Australia, Belgium, across the world. But it’s naïve to have an umbrella of “Black” that fits every single person of the diaspora under it. Yes, we can support what’s happening in America, but my identity is Black British and I can’t live my brothers' experience. We need to tackle our issues and live ours.”

Ross has long imbued his clothing with his reflections on his world – but as consumers navigate their responses to uniquely tumultuous times, and where they’ll be investing their money ahead of a looming recession, that messaging appears more important than ever. “Right now, collections appear to be coming from more of a socialist spirit,” he smiles. “This is where the power of actually having personal value system, of being a good human being, is really coming to the forefront of fashion. It’s critical right now. We’re in a free market, and people can put their money where they want. People in positions of creative power have been elected. If they want to hold their spot, they need to do the right things.”

Osman Yousefzada Is Resetting His Business With His “Last Yards” Collection

A predominantly digital London Fashion Week format didn’t faze Osman Yousefzada. The multidisciplinary designer has been focusing on film in recent seasons having taken a break from releasing collections; in June, for instance, he produced “Her Dreams Are Bigger” a four-minute depiction of garment workers in Bangladesh asked to imagine who will be wearing the clothes they are making in the factories (they envision that they are worn by blond, blue-eyed women).

For SS21 he has reverted back to his full name for his 50-piece capsule collection (he has parted ways with his previous investors) and released a film titled “Here to Stay”, a reference to the phrase his uncle and cousins used on the streets of Balsall Health, the working-class, inner-city area of Birmingham to which many from his Afghan-Pakistani community emigrated in the 1960s. It sums up the defiance of an immigrant group invited to the UK to work as cheap labour in the foundries, who were then faced with racist abuse and police brutality as well as economic hardship when those factories subsequently closed.

Osman co-wrote a poem for the film with Makayla Forde, an artist and academic currently working on a PhD on Black women’s health. “I grew up with [the message] ‘here to stay, here to fight’,” says Osman, speaking in a preview with British Vogue at the Mandrake hotel in Marylebone. “My family were activists in that sense.” His film is a moving musing on the politics of slavery existing as undercurrents to capitalist business models, an issue that has been occupying Osman in recent months as he watched his Birmingham community fall prey to coronavirus. “Fundamentally I don’t want to do business the way I have been doing it. The market is set up for profit, it’s not really inclusive,” he says. “I have tried to have investors, but it hasn’t given me sustenance.” Instead, he is looking to the ancient trading route, the Silk Route, for inspiration, “where everyone actually gains wealth.”

His collection comprises an edit of the well-tailored pieces he is best known for, predominantly made from deadstock fabrics – though the designer has christened them “last yards”, which certainly sounds more appealing. “It’s all pre-existing fabric that I’ve found, so there are limited-edition pieces of only 20 to 30 pieces depending on how much fabric I find” – he gestures behind him at some dramatic ruffled party dress creations – “and then others where I have partnered with small artisanal operations.”

Block print poplin fabric has been dyed using vegetables dyes in Multan, in Pakistan, and made into easy shirtdresses, while other fabrics dyed with beetroot and okra dyes in India have been used to create pyjama sets. Equally eye-catching were Nehru-collar suits in muted mushroom and classic black, worn in the lookbook with traditional Afghan wedding jewellery. The only drawback? “It’s difficult to build what fabrics you find into a cohesive story. Please don’t critique me on that!” he laughs. “It’s a different way of building a collection.”

Milan Fashion Week SS´21: What To Expect

If the post-lockdown fashion weeks in New York and London looked starkly different to what we’re used to, the Milan show schedule is heralding a return to (a new) normal for the fashion industry. The runway show is back.

What’s new?


Miuccia Prada is not one of the Milanese designers planning a return to the runway this season, but her collection with Raf Simons as co-creative director is still one of the most anticipated events on the schedule. The digital presentation will be unveiled on Thursday 24th September at 1pm GMT.

After skipping his men’s collection amid lockdown this summer, Pierpaolo Piccioli will present a co-ed runway show for Valentino – in Milan. For the Roman couture house, which traditionally shows in Paris, the relocation is temporary. The live-streamed show, which will have intimate attendance, takes place on Sunday 27th September at 1pm GMT.


Following the appointment of Kim Jones as artistic director for womenswear of Fendi, this season marks the last women’s collection under the sole creative direction of Silvia Venturini Fendi, who will still be in charge of accessories and menswear once Jones arrives. Fendi was originally planning to show in Rome but moved its plans to Milan, where the house will be staging a live-streamed runway show with limited attendance on Wednesday 23rd September at 1pm GMT.

What’s live?

Next to Valentino and Fendi, a number of brands are staging live runway shows…

Dolce & Gabbana

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were among the first designers in the world to return to the runway format – with guests – after the lockdown period. In July, they hosted an outdoor menswear show in aid of Covid-19 vaccine research, and in early September they took their Alta Moda and Alta Sartoria shows to Florence. True to tradition, they will present a runway show in Milan on Wednesday 23rd September at 5pm GMT.


In July, Etro presented a small men’s runway show as part of the presentations in Milan. This week, the house is returning with a women’s show staged within the Etro Garden, a new installation in the courtyard of the Four Seasons Hotel. The show kicks off on Thursday 24th September at 5pm GMT.

Max Mara

Ian Griffith will host Max Mara’s return to the runway with a live-streamed show on Thursday 24th September at 8.30am GMT.

Salvatore Ferragamo

At Salvatore Ferragamo, Paul Andrew is joining in on the live action with a runway show taking place on Saturday 26th September at 6.30pm GMT.

What’s digital?

Along with Prada, here are the designers choosing the digital presentation format…


Giorgio Armani was the first designer to cancel attendance for his show after Covid-19 broke out in Milan during fashion week in February. This season, the most senior designer in the industry is sticking to the same procedure with digital shows for two lines. Giorgio Armani will be broadcast on Saturday 26th September at 8.15pm GMT, while Emporio Armani is scheduled for Thursday 24th September at 10.30am GMT.


Following her music video-style collection film for menswear in July, Donatella Versace will broadcast a show from behind closed doors with no audience. The show will be held on Friday 25th September at 5pm GMT.


In collaboration with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, Jeremy Scott has produced a film for his Moschino show to be premiered on Saturday 26th September at 2.30pm GMT.


Starting this season, Marni will be dividing its season into two volumes – 1 and 2 – allowing for Francesco Risso to work within one creative process. After the release of Vol. 1 in early September, Marni will host a digital presentation on Friday 25th September at 3pm GMT.

Alberta Ferretti

Alberta Ferretti will hold a classic runway show with an audience, live-streamed for those unable to attend. The show is scheduled for Wednesday 23rd September at 4pm GMT.

Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini

For his live-streamed Philosophy runway show, Lorenzo Serafini is taking over the garden of La Vigna di Leonardo, one of the most beautiful locations in Milan. The show takes place on Saturday 26th September at 3pm GMT.


Teasing its digital presentation, MSGM sent out a blurry picture of an unidentified person with the words “A Portrait of a Generation” scrawled across it. More will be revealed on Sunday 27th September at 11am GMT.


GCDS has created a “virtual reality fashion arcade” for its digital presentation. Made available to all through the brand’s website, the format will take audiences through a backstage area, a game room, a bar and a show space, allowing viewers to win prizes and interact with VIP guests. The presentation is scheduled for Thursday 24th September at 7pm GMT.

New Dad Stuart Vevers Has Created A Coach SS´21 Collection Inspired By Family

As if the events of 2020 weren’t monumental enough, in the middle of lockdown in June, Stuart Vevers became a first-time father of twins. “It’s been a busy few months, let’s say that,” the Coach designer smiles on a video call from his New York office the evening before his spring/summer 2021 presentation. The arrival of the twins – named River and Vivienne – fuelled a new perspective for Vevers, who had the option to extend his paternity leave and skip a season, but decided not to. “I thought, actually, it’s really important that we continue creating and try to understand what Coach’s role is in the world now.”

The answer to his question was to be found in the way his team’s interactions changed during quarantine. “We had a lot of conversations as a team. We were more a part of each other’s lives. You saw into each other’s worlds. You had to turn up more human. That’s how we approached designing the collection: what felt important to us as designers, what we wanted to convey.” Like many in the fashion industry, Coach was faced with an autumn/winter 2020 collection that inevitably “wouldn’t get a lot of airtime” once it hit stores, as Vevers put it. “People had other priorities.”

Sensing the winds of change in fashion – from calls for sustainability and anti-disposability to an appetite for anti-obsolescence – he decided to make his last collection part of his new one (the two effectively are integrated on It inspired him to dig deeper into the existing treasures of the brand and unearth his favourite pieces from Coach’s history. From Bonnie Cashin’s bags from the 1960s to jumpers and slippers from Vevers’s own seven-year residency at the brand, he re-issued garments and accessories he felt deserved a second wind.

Then, he added the season’s touch: childlike doodles on otherwise sophisticated coats, meant to imbue the garment with a certain sense of history and soul, as if someone had been scribbling on them over an extended period of time. Through their many emotional conversations as a team, the Coach gang arrived at the idea of family. “We talked about how we’d connected more with our families during this time,” Vevers recalls, “which led us to think about our Coach family.” He invited a cast of famous faces, all part of his own history at the brand, to star in a campaign shot around the world through iPhones, orchestrated remotely by Juergen Teller in London.

Vevers’s friend Megan Thee Stallion is pictured in a desert setting in Los Angeles wearing a re-issue of the first bag Bonnie Cashin designed for Coach in 1963. Shot in London, Kate Moss wears the Jean-Michel Basquiat-adorned coat from autumn/winter 2020 layered over a new dress, with an upcycled vintage bag embellished with seasonal doodling embroidery. Kaia Gerber is photographed in New York City wearing a dress that looks like an old hand-me-down with her name embroidered on it. Other guest stars include Cole Sprouse, Debbie Harry, Kiko Mizuhara, Jeremy Lin, Jon Batiste, Paloma Elsesser, Hari Nef, Binx Walton, Lexi Boling, Xiao Wen Ju, Kelsey Lu, Bob the Drag Queen and Rickey Thompson.

Captured – also remotely – in a short film that serves as Coach’s presentation in lieu of its traditional runway show at New York Fashion Week, the collection is an illustration of the themes that have filled the minds of the fashion industry and its consumers since our worlds changed this spring. Resourceful, thrifty and with a stripped-down, back-to-basics quality that seems to resonate with the our current mindset, it’s Vevers testament to the monumental makeover we’ve all experienced this year. And, no doubt, the new perspective gained with fatherhood.

Kenzo Debuts A New Tiger Logo – And A Partnership With The World Wildlife Fund To Double The Wild Tiger Population

Getting through all eight episodes of Tiger King – you know, the Netflix series that defined the early days of quarantine back in March – was something of a feat. You could certainly find the entertainment value in Joe Exotic’s “cowboy drag” wardrobe, his charisma, and his ongoing feud with Carole Baskin, but only if you could get also past the show’s more troubling qualities. If Exotic’s metallic shirts proved too distracting, the series ended with a laundry list of sobering facts about the tiger population – namely that more tigers live in captivity (in zoos and “rescue centres” like Exotic’s and Baskin’s as well as in private homes) in the United States than in the wild. Due to illegal trade and habitat destruction, the world’s population of wild tigers has declined by 95 per cent in the past century to just 3,200, pushing the species to the brink of extinction.

Beyond that crushing detail, their dwindling numbers have a vast ripple effect: As predators at the top of the food chain, tigers play an important role in maintaining balance in forest ecosystems, which support thousands of other species and people too.

All of this was on Felipe Oliveira Baptista’s mind last year when he joined Kenzo, the French label known for its distinctive tiger logo. One of his first tasks was to redesign it, and he’d recently come across an article about the World Wildlife Fund’s efforts to double the global tiger population by 2022. Baptista reached out to the WWF to discuss a collaboration, and the first capsule is debuting today: T-shirts, hoodies, and “essential garments” in GOTS-certified organic cotton (the worldwide textile-processing standard for organic fibres) printed with Kenzo’s new tiger, with $10 from every purchase going to the WWF. A new capsule will drop every six months to continue driving support for the cause.

“If I can help raise awareness in our industry, which is responsible for some of this environmental damage, I think it’s vital,” Baptista says, adding that the clothes were sustainably dyed and printed with water-based inks. Further to that, he’s pushing himself and his team to embrace sustainable alternatives throughout Kenzo’s offering, from recycled and organic materials to plastic-free packaging, and will work with the WWF to improve Kenzo’s cotton supply chain and freshwater footprint. Baptista’s upcoming show at Paris Fashion Week, which will take place outdoors on September 30 with a small audience, will also debut a scaled-down collection that puts sustainability at the fore. “I think now is the time to be very pragmatic, but also very creative,” he adds.

This project follows a similar one Baptista launched as the creative director of Lacoste back in 2018: a collection of polos featuring endangered species in place of the brand’s signature crocodile logo, like the Iberian lynx and the Hawaiian monk seal, with a percentage of proceeds supporting the International Union for Conservation of Nature. “It goes beyond fashion,” he says. “I think customers are becoming more and more sensitive to this too, and will demand [action] in the future. We have to question everything we’re doing, and it all starts with one step.”

Christopher Kane’s Painterly SS´21 Collection Took Him Back To His Art Student Roots

If you were quite chuffed with your newfound crafting or baking skills during lockdown, Christopher Kane sees your efforts and raises you some 100 mind-blowing paintings. The Scottish designer spent quarantine brushing up on his fine art skills (it was his foundation course before fashion), taking to his London garden and studio to paint what looked like a never-ending series of fictional portraits and abstracts. Some of the canvases were big enough to fill the windows of his store in Mount Street, where the designer hosted previews in the days leading up to the release of his spring/summer 2021 film.

It showcased a collection covered in those stirring and wildly colourful motifs. “I hadn’t painted for 14 years,” he said. “I forgot I could actually paint.” Faced with limitation, zero socialising and a lot of time on his hands, Kane took to his garden – glue and glitter in hand – and began to paint the portraits that came to mind, figuratively filling his home with people in a time when human contact was impossible. “They’re portraits of girls I don’t know,” he explained of the expressive faces he referred to as his “spoiled brats”.

“I was having a laugh and a good time, not thinking about the pressures of it all,” he recalled. “Then, it just started to feel right.” Kane transferred his colourful motifs to a series of 1960s silhouettes, constructed in Tyvek fabric that gave the textured effect of a real painter’s canvas. Shape ranged from a dainty nipped-in dress to pyjamas he said were also a nod to his own wardrobe during lockdown. “It was so therapeutic in the sense it took my head out of the reality we were in,” he reflected. “It was an outlet to be creative again.”

Collection was an apt illustration of the power of time in the creative process. Different to anything he has done for a long time, you could feel in the garments his reinvigoration, his strictly personal touch, and – in the expressions on those fictional faces – the rollercoaster of emotions we all went through during lockdown. In a corner of Kane’s store was the self-portrait he had painted as part of the project. Dark, gloomy and full of fear, it was the total opposite of the relaxed and resolved designer, who greeted press a few months on. That’s the difference a creative outlet makes.

“Now Is About Taking Action”: Erdem On Fashion’s New Era And His Susan Sontag-Inspired SS´21 Collection

The Canadian-born designer tells us why the industry has so much further to go when it comes to inclusivity, and how The Volcano Lover became the starting point for his latest collection.

“Next February will be my 15th anniversary, and during that time I’ve been able to work with extraordinary women who I greatly admire,” says Erdem Moralıoğlu. It’s something of an understatement when you’ve dressed the likes of Michelle Obama, the Duchess of Cambridge and Gwyneth Paltrow, but it’s a statement that speaks to his nature. When Vogue joined the 42-year-old Canadian-born designer on the set of his pre-recorded SS21 show, he busied himself offering coffee and tea to the crew between takes.

With his affinity for combining historical and contemporary references, Erdem has established an aesthetic that’s immediately identifiable for its signature mid-century floor-length gowns in an abundance of botanical prints and brocades. This season is no exception: a dreamlike amalgam of 18th-century tailoring, toile de jouy, Grecian prints and hand embroidery, in pink, cream, navy and olive.

Ahead of his presentation, which premiered on the British Fashion Council website on 21 September during London Fashion Week, Erdem revealed his team’s experiences of producing a collection during the pandemic, the trinity of muses that inspired his designs and his hopes for the future of the fashion industry.

How did your interest in fashion and clothing come about?

“I’ve always been fascinated by how women looked, walked and dressed. I grew up with a twin sister, so I was acutely aware of someone who was like me and is part of me, but is also the opposite. The power of femininity was something I was always preoccupied with. Eventually I focused on what women wore. All the way from elementary school right up until high school, I was always drawing and preoccupied with the idea of narratives. I grew up in the suburbs of Canada, so there was a lot of dreaming that I had to do.”

You’ve got a knack for layering historical references. How do you begin a new collection?

“It can happen in so many different ways. The Cecil Beaton collection [AW20] came out of meeting curator Robin Muir and walking through the exhibition [at London’s National Portrait Gallery] early on. The SS20 collection from last year was inspired by a trip to Mexico, where I discovered the images of Tina Modotti. SS19 was based on [the Victorian crossdressing couple] Stella and Fanny, that was from moving to Bloomsbury and seeing a blue plaque [on one of the houses] dedicated to them. My eyes are always wide open.”

Tell us what sparked inspiration for SS21.

“SS21 was very much inspired by Susan Sontag’s book, The Volcano Lover. It was a gift from a friend and I read it during lockdown. The book is set around a time of upheaval and uncertainty, the characters [British model, actress and lover of Lord Nelson, Lady Emma Hamilton and her husband Sir William Hamilton] were living in the shadow of [Mount Vesuvius] — something that’s much bigger than them. That sense of uncertainty spoke to me and about the current climate.”

What details from Susan Sontag’s The Volcano Lover and its characters inspired your new collection?

“William Hamilton was a collector of Grecian vases. He was obsessed with antiquity and was also a volcanologist. So I started looking at some outerwear and parkas, as well as nipped-in little jackets that were typical for aristocracy from the 18th century. That inspired the tailoring and the parkas, this idea of traipsing up the side of Vesuvius, which happens in the book. Some of the prints have a Grecian border, which combined with the wallpapering motif toile de jouy, echoed antiquity.

“I found an amazing portrait of Emma Hamilton, where she almost looks like she dressed up as a man. She’s wearing a white scarf, the kind that a typical 18th-century man would wear. That image is so inspiring; as if she is almost becoming her [own] lover. A white neck-piece features on most of the outfits.

“I was also thinking about Susan Sontag and New York in the 1960s and 1970s. There’s pared-down denim, cotton poplin and a mohair cardigan that’s falling off [the model]. Almost a wonderful contradiction of decadence.”

You filmed your show at Gibberd Garden in Essex. Why did you choose this location and how did it feel to show to no audience?

“There was a natural runway [created by an] avenue of trees. There’s something so beautiful about having an almost-secret fashion show. I didn’t approach it like it was a digital presentation, I wanted to have a runway show but without an audience. Normally a show happens in 10 minutes and it’s just one take, whereas the way that we did it, time was stretched. There’s a wonderful freedom to that.”

You used a drone to shoot the film, correct?

“Yes, we were able to film it in ways that maybe we wouldn’t necessarily be able to with a live audience. Using as many different tools as possible to create something that felt quite cinematic. The footage feels more like a camera on a crane, as opposed to a drone. We captured strange angles, like between the trees, in slow motion and up close.”

You’ve started collaborating with the stylist Ibrahim Kamara. How does his vision feed into your work?

“He’s a dreamer and someone who loves to be carried by a narrative and a story. We first started working together on resort last year and we’ve worked on five collections together now. I admire him and his world, and what he’s created. Working with him is a purely collaborative and creative thing, and that feels so wonderful.”

The casting of the show was wonderfully diverse. With fashion finally addressing its diversity and inclusion issue, do you think the industry is still falling short?

“There’s definitely so much more to be done. I think what is so important is that there is a dialogue about it, but now it’s about taking action.”

What have been some of the biggest challenges for you and your team while working through the pandemic?

“The resort collection was created entirely in lockdown. The first part of [SS21] was created during lockdown. There’s something about this strange time that affords a new kind of focus because you spend a lot more time by yourself. With that comes the challenge of not being with my team and working with them. It’s been an incredibly challenging time, but to look at this body of work that we were able to create in the circumstances is amazing.”

You’ve dressed some incredible women over the years. Who have you enjoyed working with recently?

“For American Vogue’s September issue, we dressed Aurora James, who is extraordinary.”

What are your hopes for the future of the fashion industry?

“It’s interesting how the situation has forced us to think about other ways of communicating [fashion], these methods can be as beautiful and valid [as a show]. But for me, there’s just something wonderful and tangible about a live event. It’s so important and critical to what we do.

“The excess and travel inevitably has to change. Even since reopening my store in Mayfair [earlier in the summer], it’s interesting to understand how my customer is changing. What we all want is evolving. I don’t think we’ve ever seen such a gigantic reset.”

5 Things To Know About Burberry’s Forest-Bound SS´21 Show

“I think fashion needed a big shake. Now, there is no way back.” So said Riccardo Tisci in an interview for British Vogue’s September issue. Having spent the lockdown period with his 92-year-old mother in a house his father built near Lake Como, he has been doing some serious thinking in recent months – and clearly, he had been indulging in some forest bathing, too. His spring/summer 2021 collection for Burberry, dedicated to the natural world, was testament to that period of reflection. Billed as a “digital experience for unprecedented times” the show – livestreamed and without a physical audience – went heavy on the “nature as tonic” narrative. On the first day of London Fashion Week, here’s everything you need to know about the Burberry spring/summer 2021 show.

The show was introduced by a host of celebrities

Live-streamed to over 42,000 people worldwide, Burberry became the first luxury brand to partner with Twitch – you know, that livestreaming platform beloved of gamers including Drake – with a pre-show, livestreamed chat (known as a “squad stream”) hosted by musician and actor Erykah Badu. In conversation with the artists Rosalía and Steve Lacy, and model Bella Hadid, Erykah was throwing out the questions in a pre-show preamble not unlike pre-match coverage before a football game. “The show is set in the English countryside. Where do you all like to escape to, and why?”, asked Erykah, before remarking that the natural world was, for her, the most relaxing place to be. “My grandmothers are both 92 years old, they’re still here. Nature is what kept my people alive for so very long,” she observed.

The quartet went on to discuss Riccardo Tisci’s reinvention project at Burberry, with Bella noting: “Riccardo brings his flair, his radical cool side, something that [has] elevated everything up until this point. It’s such a perfect connection between a person and a fashion house.” Rosalía agreed, describing Tisci’s approach as “experimental”. “Even if I feel like Riccardo has always so much respect for the classic, at the same time there’s an always an attitude of pushing forward,” she said. “He is experimenting, he’s having fun. You can tell.”

A creepy clearing in the English countryside served as a show location

Badu’s chat about the natural world segued to a live-streamed show filmed in the depths of the English countryside. As the stream began, models including Mariacarla Boscono and Anok Yai were shown getting dressed in looks from the collection in mirrored changing rooms, while birdsong played in the background. Once they were layered up and ready to walk, the mirrored doors opened out into a forest, through which models wended their way, headed towards a clearing surrounded by tall pine trees. The creepiest detail? They were escorted through the woods by Men in Black-style heavies wearing security-detail sunglasses. Once they arrived at the clearing, they took their places in the round, observing choreographed dancers on raised platforms wearing lockdown sweats, and serenaded by the guitar-wielding musician Eliza Douglas.

The show comprised a creative collaboration with the artist Anne Imhof

The German performance artist Anne Imhof received top billing at the Burberry show, which was described as “a radical meeting of fashion and art”. You may remember her from her 2017 Venice Biennale project, where she transformed the German Pavilion into a bunker with military barbed wire fencing and snarling Dobermans on patrol. Eliza Douglas gave a performance in Venice, and has continued to collaborate with Imhof (you may recognise her as a Balenciaga model), so it was no surprise that she should reappear on the Burberry scaffolding, playing her guitar and thrashing her head around enthusiastically. Those performers, meanwhile, dressed in white, symbolised waves – “an ebb and flow of bodies, models and performers as one – a swelling and falling tide of figures moving through the space,” as the show notes put it.

Glamour and practicality made for a very British take on eveningwear

Anyone seeking ideas on rebooting their summer festival fashion template will find plenty in this collection. Despite the streak of glamour that manifested in a series of sparkling silver dresses, the clothes felt resolutely grounded and, dare we say, practical. From a rubberised tangerine-coloured trench coat modelled by Joan Smalls, to chainmail-inspired trousers, the sense was of a very British take on eveningwear. And those fishnets studded with crystals will pair nicely with wellington boots.

Beware of the great Burberry shark

Tisci’s show notes mused on the meeting and “love affair between a mermaid and a shark”, which the discerning fashion show goer took with a pinch of salt – until they saw shark hazard labels emblazoned across many pieces in the collection. “Swim with the great Burberry shark at your own risk!” read patches and pockets on denim and dungarees. Elsewhere, the symbol of water harkening back to the launch of Thomas Burberry’s first technical gabardine was present in fisherman’s hats, fishtail illustrations and crystal netting.

“We Can’t Keep Filling Fashion Weeks With Endless Product”: Marques Almeida Is Launching A Sustainability Manifesto

Talk to any designer about the fashion industry and it’s likely the phrase “hamster wheel” will come up in conversation more than once. For Marta Marques and Paolo Almeida, the defining metaphor of the modern fashion industry is something they’ve been trying to hop off for a while. Now, having experimented with the see-now-buy-now model, swapped London briefly for a catwalk season in Paris, cut back on the size and number of their collections, and introduced an upcycled diffusion line of one-offs made from deadstock, the duo’s latest Marques Almeida project in service of a slower, more realistic pace comprises a magazine.

Titled ‘See-Through’, the zine is the result of the last six months they’ve spent with their young family – the couple has two daughters, Maria, three, and Alice, eight months – and their parents and relations in their native Portugal. The duo has always split their time between Porto, where Marta grew up, and London, though this is the longest they have spent “at home” in a very long while. “It’s very hard to make any concrete plans – we’ve been just going with the flow,” Marta told Vogue, in a recent phone conversation.

The pandemic has been a time for reconnecting: with family, with nature (“I’m picking figs and olives straight from the trees – it beats Tesco on the Hackney Road!”) and with their manufacturers. They have a second, six-man studio set-up nearby, which works in tandem with their existing studio in London, and have been closer than ever to the Portuguese craftspeople who produce their off-beat, cool-girl clothes (on that note, a capsule collection with local artisans is in the works).

But back to the magazine, which comes in two parts. The first is what Marta calls “a community book”, curated by her sister and filled with photographs of friends, teachers, mentors, supporters and family in Portugal and London accompanied by quotes. “We asked them, ‘Who are you and what’s important to you right now?’ It was interesting to set our communities side by side, to share their struggles and vulnerabilities.” The second is a manifesto for sustainability, a driving force for the brand. 

Marques Almeida will release a small collection to market at the end of September or early October. Ultimately, however, the designer duo’s adventures in upcycling have radically changed their mindset. “After launching Remade [the upcycled collection they launched in June], which was in response to all our concerns about sustainability, we knew we couldn’t go back to just releasing collections as normal,” Marta explained. “We decided to set out our pledges – everything we do from now on will abide by those rules.”

These rules include talking to manufacturers to ensure fair pay; conducting a full-scale audit of the fabrics they use, and never using petroleum-based fibres unless they’re recycled; producing fewer collections a year that are more focussed. Other brands, energised by their approach to deadstock materials, are lining up for collaborations. Nevertheless: “For LFW we didn’t want to release a collection per se, we wanted to talk about the change that needs to happen, creating clothes that are geared towards finding solutions rather than trends,” said Marta. “We can’t keep filling Fashion Weeks with endless product.”

There is lots that remains uncertain. Everything – from weighing up whether organic cotton is “better” for the environment because it doesn’t require pesticides, though it does use more water, to whether the young family will come back to London in the immediate future – is up for discussion. “I miss the city, I miss the people, the proximity. But here, there is this whole other way of life that is calm,” she said. They are determined to remain experimental and curious. “Our motto was always about making a meaningful difference in fashion,” said Marta. “That’s what powered us to put an emphasis on diverse casting years ago, empowering the fashion industry to become more inclusive. But then you’re in the hamster wheel. And you realise – we can’t be part of this problem any more.”

She continued: “We are going to make mistakes, whether it’s in terms of social responsibility or community. It involves so much research. But lockdown totally reignited in us the problem-solving mentality. Hopefully amazing, beautiful, creative things will come out of it.” 

Models, Artists & Activists Unite For Vivienne Westwood’s Punk-Infused SS´21 Film

If anything has galvanised people this year, it’s the new generation of activists that has vocally protested everything from racism to climate change; the government’s mishandling of Covid to social injustice. Their determined spirit comes under the spotlight in Dame Vivienne Westwood’s punk-infused new film, which was captured by Louis Simonon (the son of the Clash bassist Paul Simonon, and thus a direct descendant of the original punk movement), narrated by Brian Nasty, and which simultaneously showcases the designer’s spring/summer 2021 collection. 

Starring a cast of models, artists and activists – among them poet and campaigner Kai-Isaiah Jamal, Skinny Girl Diet musicians Delilah and Ursula Holliday, and make-up maestro Isamaya Ffrench – the video is a distillation of Westwood’s core values, made ever more relevant by the current global climate (even their face masks read “TRUE PUNK”).

The collection features prints designed by Pretenders front-woman Chrissie Hynde, a long-standing friend of Vivienne (“great voice, great guitar, punks together,” she says), who, in lieu of a fee for her contribution, accepted a donation to her non-profit Ahimsa Milk, an ethical and sustainable dairy farm that doesn’t kill its cows (“The little dears have a wonderful life of leisure, not much work for them but they love it,” says Westwood). 

Crafted from a wealth of eco-friendly fabrics – organic silks, cottons and linens; forest-positive viscose and acetate; recycled polyester; mulesing-free wool – the collection has been made in accordance with the principles Westwood has been advocating for decades. Principles the rest of the world is now catching up to. 

Her equally long-standing aesthetic codes are also very much in evidence. There is plenty of the corsetry she executes better than anyone else, visible in gorgeous dresses, or stuffed into cleverly-cut trousers with ribcage-level waistbands. A plaid suit paired with towering, blood-red platforms is Westwood’s original style at its best, likewise a studded harness strapped over slouchy tailoring.

All of the designs are unisex. As Westwood puts it: “Fine-knit twinset and pearls for men… or better still just the button-up cardigan – bare chest.” That the pieces are made to be shared is a reflection of her “buy less, choose well, make it last” ethos. To that end, “Our aim is to show only one collection a year,” she says. It’s a suitably anti-establishment goal for the reigning queen of punk. 

Rihanna’s Ground-Breaking Savage X Fenty Show Is Back

While fashion brands continue to grapple with the industry’s new digital frontier, Rihanna coolly announced the date for volume two of her Savage X Fenty show streamed on Amazon Prime – a format that broke the internet the first time around, and will likely do so on its second airing.

On 2nd October, Rihanna and her diverse cast of savages, including Paris Hilton, Irina Shayk, Lizzo, Shea Couleé, Willow Smith and Demi Moore, will showcase the latest collection from her lingerie line. Models and Fenty family members Cara Delevingne, Normani and Bella Hadid will make return appearances, while Travis Scott, Rosalía and Miguel, among others, will perform.“Y’all ain’t ready,” Rihanna teases in the social trailer, before quipping, “Savage, not sorry.” Cue a meltdown in the comment box of @badgalriri.

Rihanna’s first Savage X Fenty lingerie show has become somewhat legendary. Presented at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during New York Fashion Week spring/summer 2019, the designer called upon the industry’s most buzzed-about models, street cast newcomers, and a troupe of dancers led by Parris Goebel to push the boundaries of society’s preconceived notions of what sexy looks like, and smash apart the constructs of a traditional catwalk show in the process. The multi-layered performance piece, which Rihanna herself called a “fashion musical”, was a celebration of body positivity, inclusion and sensuality for a woke audience that had begun demanding more than the outdated Victoria’s Secret model.

Creative director Willo Perron – the same brain also behind the blockbuster tour concepts of Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Lady Gaga – told British Vogue at the time that, “The Savage X Fenty show is how fashion should approach its messaging moving forward.” The industry certainly received the message and is making strides to become truly inclusive, but Rihanna, who is pictured in the clip wearing a protective face mask and a visor, is about to come and shake things up again.

What To Expect From A Pared-Back LFW This SS´21 Season

The dreams of designers who had hoped to stage intimate salon shows as part of London Fashion Week were abruptly shattered earlier this week when the government introduced the “rule of six”, setting new limitations on public gatherings amid a spike in Covid-19 cases.

“The British Fashion Council can confirm that the limited number of physical shows and appointments for London Fashion Week are still due to go ahead,” the schedule’s governing body initially said. “We are working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the further implications of the new cap of six on social groups.” But in the end, the designers didn’t think it felt right, and labels including Victoria Beckham, Molly Goddard, and Simone Rocha cancelled their plans for micro-scale shows in favour of even more intimate presentations.

In a season where the video is the new fashion show and the sofa is the new front row, London Fashion Week will instead make a case for the elusive phenomenon that is “the appointment”. An activity normally exercised by fashion editors before or after a runway show – previews, pre-sees, re-sees – the British capital’s post-lockdown “show” schedule sees the humble appointment elevated to new prominence (all within social distancing rules), while collection videos and other pre-recorded contributions continue to keep the wheels of fashion week spinning.

On Thursday 17th September, Burberry opens London Fashion Week with a live-streamed experience that sees a collaboration between Riccardo Tisci and the performance artist Anne Imhof.

On Friday 18th September, London Fashion Week regulars including Halpern, Hillier Bartley, Vivienne Westwood, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and Matty Bovan will screen their collection videos, while, in real life, members of the industry will meet with designers in highly limited showroom appointments.

On Saturday 19th September, digital presentations include fan favourites Simone Rocha, Molly Goddard, Richard Malone and Art School. After toying with the idea of intimate and distanced salon shows, Rocha and Goddard are now sticking to the video format.

On Sunday 20th September, Emilia Wickstead embraces the digital fashion presentation before Fashion East celebrates its 20th anniversary – also on video.

On Monday 21st September, the London establishment comes out in full force – at least online – when Victoria Beckham, Erdem, Christopher Kane, and David Koma unveil their collection videos. JW Anderson will follow on 28 September.

On Tuesday 22nd September, Bianca Saunders, Charlotte Knowles and Richard Quinn are among the designers closing out a London Fashion Week without physical fashion shows.

This London-Based Shoe Designer Is Cher’s New Obsession

It’s not unusual for an emerging designer to be taken by surprise when an A-lister posts a picture wearing one of their pieces, whether due to an unknown purchase by a celebrity stylist or a look pulled from a showroom without their knowledge. The game is changed somewhat, though, when the source of that attention is none other than Cher — and even more so when expressed through her social media platform of choice, Twitter.

In a post on 15th September, the superstar showed off her latest shoe purchase: a pair by the cult London-based shoe designer Ancuta Sarca. It wasn’t what you might immediately expect given Cher’s style evolution over the decades, from the glitzy Bob Mackie gowns and extravagant headpieces she wore back in the ’70s and ’80s, to the more classic, all-black red carpet looks she’s opted for more recently, which also prove she’s still not averse to the odd sequin.

But back to the shoes. Since launching her shoe brand in 2019 after stints at Meadham Kirchhoff and Ashish, the Romanian-born designer has proven to be a particular hit on Instagram, with industry support coming by way of her inclusion on the roster of the prestigious Fashion East. In Sarca’s signature style, the hybrid footwear piece designed for Cher featured the tongue of a neon green Nike sneaker combined with a pair of black kitten heels.

Still, she wasn’t necessarily expecting to find a fan in the goddess of pop herself. “Cher must have found my Instagram somehow, and her stylist got in touch saying that her client was very interested in buying this particular pair of shoes,” Sarca tells Vogue. “I had to Google her name to check, because at first I wasn’t sure if she was talking about the actual Cher. I was like, this can’t be real.” 

After she received a picture Cher had saved from Instagram of the pair she liked, Sarca set to work. “All my shoes are one-of-a-kind, so I sent her some options and let her choose what she liked to make something similar,” Sarca explains. “It was nice because a lot of celebrities just expect things for free, but these were commissioned especially and they wanted to buy directly from me, so it felt very personal. For a small brand, that’s really helpful.”

It was also a boost for Sarca to see that the appeal of her unique designs could extend beyond the usual demographic of her fans and followers. “Most of the people that buy from me are in their 20s or 30s, but I never think about that when I’m making them — I want them to be for everyone — so it felt nice to have that validation from someone as cool as Cher,” she says. “I love everything she’s been tweeting about recently. She’s very political, and she really stands up for what she believes in. I admire her so much, and I’ve always looked up to her, to be honest. So it was all quite shocking for me.”

Indeed, Cher’s Twitter has slowly become one of the social media platform’s most beloved accounts, amassing nearly four million followers for her candid, off-the-cuff remarks. These range from late-night musings on her future — “what’s going on with mycareer [sic],” she wrote in 2012 — to brilliantly pithy clap-backs. When a fan once asked her how she celebrated Madonna’s birthday, she explained she “got a colonic”. Being the enduring icon that she is, however, she also uses her platform to advocate for a variety of political causes, from LGBTQIA+ rights to the abolishment of ICE; after all, if there’s one thing Cher has proven over her six decades in the entertainment industry, it’s her extraordinary versatility.

To praise Sarca’s designs, Cher wrote in her typically colourful, emoji-riddled stream of consciousness, while also offering her fans an impromptu guide to how she might go about styling them. To paraphrase her description, this hypothetical look would include black fishnets, a “teeny-weeny” mini skirt, a neon green hoodie, and “ridiculously long neon green earrings”. (The final addition being written in all caps to emphasise the crucial role they will play in this eye-catching ensemble, naturally).

“Looking through [my] bead chest now. Wait… you’ll be neon green with envy,” Cher concluded, followed by a ghost emoji. If Cher’s illustrious history of iconic looks is anything to go by — and with her avant-garde shoe choice serving as just the latest chapter in her ever-evolving style journey — you can be sure we’ll be left feeling green with envy indeed.

Quarantine Crafts Inspired Anna Sui’s Optimistic SS´21 Collection

Anna Sui, who never cooked a day in her life, spent quarantine at home in New York teaching herself how to. “I shocked my mom whenever I’d call her: ‘How do you make this?’” To the designer, the lockdown period was a time of learning, from cooking to crafting and everything hand-spun. It inspired the spring/summer 2021 collection she presented in a video at New York Fashion Week. “I always start by putting stuff on my inspiration board. I thought, let’s take the gamble and start working on a little collection! As I was working on it, so many things were going on,” she says over the phone from her office. Gradually, a collection began to take form.

“When all the stores got boarded up, I was looking around to see if I could find graphics that I liked. I saw these adorable drawings that Stevie Shao had done in Seattle. I got in touch with her, and we ended up using the graphics for some of the T-shirts and sweatshirts.” Walking down the street in New York, Sui saw a lady carrying a crochet bag. “I said, what an adorable bag! She said, ‘I just learned how to crochet!’ It proved my theory that people are learning how to do hobbies and crafts.” Remembering the beer can hats people used to crochet as a hobby, Sui felt compelled to follow the sign.

“I ordered this great crochet beer can hat and when I got it, my invoice said, ‘We make beer can hats’. I thought, who makes beer can hats? So, I called this woman, and that’s what she does. All my nieces and nephews love Spindrift, and we always have these cans left over. I love the colours, so I thought, maybe I can make really pretty beer can hats.” And so, the collection’s key piece was born. “Crochet is such a thing right now, people are taking up these hobbies to use up their time at home,” Sui adds. “Little by little, all these things influenced the textile designs and the print sensibility. I wanted the clothing to be comfortable: something you could feel good in and wear for a Zoom meeting, because you want to make yourself feel good.” Now, Sui is employing her optimism to look forward to a new era in fashion.

“I’m the ultimate optimist. Show me a piece of fabric that I fall in love with and I’ll see a collection! People need to be inspired right now. We’re bombarded with the economics and the violence. We need a bit of an escape,” she says. “Out of adversary always comes a big surge of creativity. After World War One, suddenly there was the Roaring Twenties and flappers and Art Deco. I can’t wait to see what this is going to generate. Young people are growing up in a very different way than we did. They’re going to have a different influence, but what comes out of that will be amazing.”

Gareth Pugh Returns To LFW With An Explosive Visual Album In Collaboration With Nick Knight

“I really felt like it was a conversation to be part of again,” Gareth Pugh tells British Vogue, of his return to London Fashion Week. Spring/summer 2019 was the last time the Sunderland-born designer showed in London, with a presentation that comprised a high-energy homage to his dear friend and collaborator, the late Judy Blame.

Following a two-year break from the fashion schedule, during which Pugh focused on various creative projects including the revival of work by ’80s icon, Claude Montana, the events of 2020 inspired him to make a comeback. “With all of the stuff that’s happening: Black Lives Matter, Trans Lives Matter, monuments being torn down, the pandemic... it’s kind of been an insane year,” he remarks. “I think that the only way that one can honestly create work is to react to the world around you. Fashion doesn’t exist in a vacuum.”

There seems no better time for the avant-garde creator, who is renowned for his anarchistic, architectural approach to design, to make a return to LFW – albeit in a suitably unconventional way. Back with a bang, Pugh admits he is “never one to [merely] dip his toes in” and is set to present an expansive body of work with the famed photographer Nick Knight.

The designer, who made his debut as part of the Fashion East collective in 2004 after he graduated from Central Saint Martins, has united the realms of music, fashion film, stills and – with the help of pioneering artist, Jon Emmony – a series of digital worlds for his latest endeavour. Music, in particular, was the driving force and Gareth referred back to a playlist he listened to in the park after lockdown restrictions were eased. “We felt [the soundtrack] was a nice place to start. It signals the dawn of a new day; coming out all bleary-eyed from being locked inside for three months and starting to feel a little bit more hopeful.”

Absence of commercial pressure meant that Pugh was able to enjoy a liberated process, and was given free rein when choosing fabrics and silhouettes. Thirteen looks, 13 songs, 13 explosive movies shorts and stills feature in the project, which Pugh mentions is best described as a “visual album” entitled, The Reconstruction. 

Activists and change-makers from across the UK comprise the cast of the project. Musicians Rina Sawayama and IAMDDB; artist and activist Sakeema Crook; The Royal Ballet’s principal dancer Matthew Ball; artist and performer Jenny Bastet; dancers Travis Clausen-Knight and James Pett; performers Finn Love and Georgie Bee; the model Jade O Belle and Georgia Moot bring unique dynamism to the garments. “We wanted people with a point of view,” Gareth says. “They’re people you’d wanna hang out with or have next to you in a fight.”

True to his distinctive aesthetic, the fashion pieces boast shapely, battle-like design tics. The opening look, for instance, worn by his model muse Maggie Maurer, features a slinky, bias-cut dress worn with a rigid, structural vest. In Emmony’s AR space, a virtual version of Maurer can be seen in a deserted expanse standing alongside a fire. Apocalyptic references are rife in the accompanying imagery, though the overall message wasn’t intentionally dark. “It’s the first time I’ve ever done a collection where there’s zero black in it,” Gareth observes. “We just wanted to do something that was with a little bit more of a positive spin.”

Determined to ensure that the clothes acknowledged the current climate, the collection will exist as a temporary exhibition at Christie’s from 16 September with all proceeds from the purchased tickets (sold at a nominal fee) going towards Refuge, a charitable organisation that supports victims of domestic violence. Gareth explains: “It’s heartbreaking to think people have been in these situations, so we just wanted to leverage our work and use our platform to do something that was good for us and good for others as well.”

On that note, the pieces are not for sale, so a capsule of printed T-shirts created in collaboration with emerging designer, Melissa Mehrtens, will be launched in an exclusive partnership with online retail platform Hit + Run, which champions the zero-waste model. His final thoughts on returning to LFW during this strangest of seasons? “One of our favourite expressions is go hard or go home – so we did that!”

Chanel Is Taking Over A Spectacular French Château For Its Métiers D’Art 2020 Show

The “phygital” spring/summer 2021 season is just getting into its stride, but Chanel has already set its sights on its next blockbuster high-fashion showcase. The French house will present its Métiers d’art 2020 collection – the second under the creative reign of Karl Lagerfeld’s successor Virginie Viard – on 1st December at the Château de Chenonceau in France.

The nothing-short-of-spectacular Loire Valley castle, which is also known as Château des Dames, is a postcard-perfect setting for Chanel’s annual celebration of artisanship. Whether or not there will be a live audience there to take in the painstakingly intricate work of the embroiderers, feather makers, paruriers, pleaters, shoemakers, milliners and glove makers remains to be seen. But, Chanel has been vocal about the importance of a traditional runway show to its storytelling.

The dramatic location is a departure from Viard’s first Métiers d’art show, for which she recruited Sofia Coppola to transform the Grand Palais into a magnified version of Gabrielle Chanel’s 31 rue Cambon apartment. Within a setting that represented the very heart of the brand, Viard honoured and reimagined the house symbols, such as ribbons, camellias, the double C and the No. 5 fragrance bottle. “I like mixing them up,” the creative director told British Vogue of her take on “the codes invented by Gabrielle Chanel and rendered sublime by Karl Lagerfeld”.

The December showcase will see her work with the 11 ateliers Chanel owns to carve out her own space within the Métiers d’Art legacy. Viard oversaw 17 Métiers d’Art collections with the opulent embroiderers Maison Lesage prior to her appointment in February 2019, so we should expect a sublime showcase of craft come December.

Can’t Afford A Couture Dress? Rodarte Has The Answer

As the Rodarte collection pictures are hitting the internet, Kate and Laura Mulleavy are driving down a Los Angeles freeway veiled in the dark clouds of wildfires. “There’s no sunlight coming through. It should be 100 degrees but it’s 70. It’s so weird,” Laura says. Ten days after the fires started blazing through the Californian hills, they are now just 13 miles from the Mulleavy house. “We don’t know what will happen, but we’re far enough away from the foothill that we seem to be okay. They’re the worst fires you’ve ever seen. We get them really bad, but this is pretty intense.”

Before the fires, the Los Angeles-based designer duo had taken to those hills – albeit a different area to where the fires broke out – to shoot their spring/summer 2021 look book. They spent the lockdown period hiking there, embracing the Californian nature they’ve always loved, and reflecting on the brand they founded in 2005. “We were thinking about what Rodarte is, and about making a collection that would touch on the things that we are consistently inspired by: the ethos of the brand,” Laura says. “It’s a story of us.”

Shot serenely in the Los Angeles hillsides, the collection is a genepool of the components that have to come to define the brand, and earned the Mulleavy sisters their loyal following. “You have time to reflect on your own path and the language you create. This collection is a step forward towards really defining the brand in a strong way,” Kate says. “There’s a romanticism to what we do and an innovation within that: a subversive element. Our hand is in flou and in silhouettes that can be voluminous with a soft hand rather than a hard hand,” Laura says.

In its 15-year lifespan, Rodarte has developed an haute couture sensibility, which culminated in a slot on the Paris couture schedule in 2018, but refuses formal definition. Illustrated in the meeting between tracksuits and evening dresses, the Mulleavy sisters’ new collection epitomises their constant balance struck between traditional wardrobe poles; both directions, however, created with intricacy and integrity.

“For Rodarte, the idea of couture should translate into everything from a blouse to a floor-length dress. It’s also about understanding how couture can evolve: How can things be special for people who can’t buy a couture dress? I don’t want to be part of a culture of consumption where things are worn and thrown out. As designers, we all need to be invested in that. The challenge in our time is: How can you make beautiful clothes that make people dream, but which can also be versatile?” Laura says. “The sensibility of couture is that things are timeless, and that’s how we always approach a collection.”

The CFDA Awards Celebrates Its Most Diverse Cast Of Winners Ever At A Digital Ceremony

The biggest change of the 2020 CFDA Awards might not be the move from a splashy gala to a succinct 10-minute video hosted by Tom Ford, but the designers who received its top prizes. For the first time in its history, the CFDA and its voting body of journalists, editors, retailers, and other fashion industry figures awarded three Black designers top prizes in a single year: Kerby Jean-Raymond won menswear designer of the year for Pyer Moss; Telfar Clemens won accessories designer of the year for Telfar; and Christopher John Rogers won the American emerging talent award. This is the first time since Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow won in 2014 that a Black designer has taken home the menswear prize; previously Puff Daddy won for his Sean John collection in 2003. To date, a Black designer has never won the top womenswear award.

Gabriela Hearst’s win represents the first time that a woman has won the womenswear prize since Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen won for The Row in 2015. Among this year’s winners, Hearst is the only woman, despite having female nominees in the majority of categories. Other winners include Dior Men’s Kim Jones for international menswear designer of the year and Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli for international womenswear designer of the year. 

In a release, the CFDA noted that this year’s winners represent “the most diverse group of recipients in the 39-year history of the awards.” It’s a continuation of the CFDA’s move to become more diverse of late through partnerships with the Black in Fashion Council, Bethann Hardison, Harlem’s Fashion Row, and the appointment of CaSandra Diggs as president, working alongside chairman Tom Ford and CEO Steven Kolb.

This year’s new cast of winners also reflects fashion’s hopes to change its ingrained systems. It’s significant that the CFDA is honouring designers of different racial backgrounds after celebrating predominantly white designers for decades, but more so, it’s important that the CFDA is celebrating those who boldly challenge the status quo – and sometimes go against the CFDA’s grain. With Pyer Moss, Kerby Jean-Raymond insists on only hosting one fashion show per year; of late, he’s gravitated away from traditional runway formats and toward concerts at King’s Theater and this year’s planned drive-in cinema in Brooklyn. Telfar Clemens also shows on his own schedule, popping up in London, Florence, and New York with innovative show formats that showcase his unisex designs. His Shopping Bag, unquestionably the It bag of this era, has rewired the retail system too, selling at an affordable price directly to consumers, giving both shoppers and Telfar the power to dictate retail trends.

Gabriela Hearst is arguably one of New York’s most environmentally minded designers, having carbon offset a recent show and promising to present her future collections in Paris to reduce the amount of shipping for her samples. Together, these winners represent almost every change fashion needs to make now: racial inclusivity, flexible runway-show scheduling, a stronger bond with consumers, and a sustainable practice in both materials and mindset.

Will this inspire other designers to try a new tack throughout 2020 and beyond? We can hope. As New York Fashion Week celebrates its first digital season, it’s the innovators and those who challenge the system who are poised to define fashion’s future.

Now We Know What Hailey & Bella Were Doing In Sardinia

Cast your mind back to June. While the rest of the world began to daydream about the merest possibility of a summer holiday, Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber were spotted tanning on a yacht in Sardinia. The paparazzi had a field day, contemplating how two of the world’s most in-demand models made it across the Atlantic for a spot of R&R when lockdown was still in place for many countries.

Now, the pictures from the girls’ trip have come into fruition – and they are not your average Instagram holiday snaps. Bieber and Hadid, who are the faces of Versace’s Dylan Turquoise and Dylan Blue women’s fragrances, respectively, shot new-season campaigns for the Italian house. Needless to say, they are as glamorous as you’d expect from all parties involved.

Captured by Harley Weir on the remote island of Cavallo, situated between Corsica and Sardinia, both sun-kissed twenty-somethings pose against the scenic Mediterranean vista. Bieber, in a glittering aquamarine crop top and mini skirt, drapes herself across the sands. Hadid sits on a rock, wearing a midnight-blue dress complemented by the sun setting behind her. There’s gold chains, featuring the house’s signature Medusa head logo, galore on anklets, belly chains, and earrings made all the more impactful by the pair’s slicked-back hair.

For Hadid, who has been an ambassador for the Dylan Blue scent since 2017 and featured in Versace’s autumn/winter 2018 and spring/summer 2019 ready-to-wear campaigns, working with the high-octane Italian house is familiar territory. This marks Bieber’s first campaign for the brand, although she has walked on the Versace runway prior to this. The California beauty is the perfect choice to front the newest Dylan fragrance, which evokes “warm sun and summer days” and will launch in the UK in February.

During a season when the creativity of campaigns has largely been dictated by Covid-19 restrictions, Versace’s souped-up, sensual perfume advert is one of the first power moves to emerge. Whether the photographs can be taken as a barometer of the label’s spring/summer 2021 showcase at the “phygital” Milan Fashion Week remains to be seen. Something tells us house favourite, Bella, will be involved.

Vanessa Paradis Brought Exceptional French Style To The Deauville American Film Festival

This past week, the 46th annual Deauville American Film Festival occurred in France. The event kicked off during the same week as the Venice Film Festival in Italy, and both events saw returns to physical, in-person red carpets. While the Venice festival drew the bigger names – A-list celebrities such as Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton made appearances on its step and repeats – the Deauville festivities saw one particular style star steal the show. That would be French musician, model, and actor Vanessa Paradis, who brought glamorous and understated looks to the affair.

Paradis, who was a jury president for the Deauville festival this year, played up her signature French-girl style for the event, crafting looks that were simultaneously timeless and modern. As an ongoing face for Chanel, Paradis wore multiple looks by the French label for the occasion, all designed by its current creative director, Virginie Viard. For the opening ceremony on September 4, Paradis kicked off her slew of winning looks with a silk, watercolour-style Chanel dress with a feathered trim from its pre-Fall 2020 collection, which opened the festival on a dazzling, energetic note. At a screening for Les Deux Alfred later on 6 September, a film in which she stars, she then stripped things back with a sleek, more menswear-inspired black suit and a high-neckline blouse in white lace.
In Chanel

The best part about Paradis’s red carpet style was that she utilised different silhouettes and vibes rather than relying on one standard look (even though she exclusively wore one brand). The outfits ranged from playful to proper, sexy to modern. She also played with unexpected colours during the festival. At the inauguration of the new Gabrielle Chanel Place on 11 September, for instance, Paradis wore a buttoned-up frock with a tiered skirt in the softest shade of robin-egg blue, before changing into a sheer silk black cape and matching skirt (also Chanel) for dinner later that night. Meanwhile, for the festival’s closing ceremony, Paradis made her final appearance in Chanel sporting a black sheath dress that was worn over long black trousers. It was a fresh take on cocktail attire. 

Nicolas Di Felice, A Protégé Of Nicolas Ghesquière, Has Been Named Artistic Director Of Courrèges

News out of Paris today: Courregès has found a new artistic director – Nicolas Di Felice. The Courrèges appointment is Di Felice’s first director role. A Belgian who graduated from La Cambre in Brussels, Di Felice has worked at Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton under Nicolas Ghesquière and at Christian Dior with his countryman Raf Simons.

“I’ve always dreamed of Courrèges, with its radical and enveloping universe,” Di Felice said in a statement. “It is a house which means a lot to me and in which I see myself. Its simplicity, clarity, not to mention its optimism – I am honoured to keep these values alive, and I hope to do so with as much passion and enthusiasm as the house’s founder.”

Di Felice’s appointment seems written in the stars. André Courrèges, the house’s enigmatic founder, started his career at Balenciaga under Cristobal in the 1950s before taking his own brand of Space Age futurism global in the ’60s . When the house was revived successfully circa 2015, it was yet another Balenciaga alum, Sebastien Meyer, at the control panel. Not only that: Di Felice’s instalment chez Courrèges expands Ghesquière’s Paris diaspora. Paco Rabanne’s Julien Dossena and Chloé’s Natacha Ramsay-Levi come from the school of Nicolas, too. The trio are frequent front-row guests at each other’s shows, and a scroll through Di Felice’s personal Instagram suggests that they all could turn up at his Courrèges debut next March.

The house’s official Instagram account was recently scrubbed, and overnight a symbolic set of keys and new photographs of iconic Courrèges pieces were posted, among them a spring 1965 black-and-white striped double-breasted jacket and a fall 1969 prototype organza cut-out dress with vinyl details. Before the end of the year, Di Felice will revive a selection of these pieces for sale at the brand’s rue François 1er store in Paris.

Following In Karl Lagerfeld’s Footsteps, Kim Jones Is Taking On Fendi Womenswear

Kim Jones is joining Fendi as artistic director of haute couture, ready-to-wear and fur collections for women. He will continue his role at the creative helm of Dior Men’s, thus giving the British designer the reigns at two major household-name labels within the LVMH luxury stable.

Jones’s first womenswear role will see him work closely with Silvia Venturini Fendi, who will create the accessories and menswear collections at the marquee Italian brand. The third generation of the Fendi family has maintained all divisions since the death of Karl Lagerfeld, who had been a firm figurehead at the brand since 1965, designing womenswear collections for the label for over half a century. “My warmest welcome to Kim, to whom I am bound by deep respect and friendship. I am looking forward to taking the Fendi universe to the next level with him,” commented Venturini Fendi in a press release. For his part, Jones said it was a “true honour” and a “huge privilege” to work across “two such prestigious houses”.

The news puts an end to the rumour mill surrounding Lagerfeld’s Fendi successor. The uncertainty was in contrast to the situation at Chanel, where Lagerfeld also held the position of creative director for over 30 years, and where Virginie Viard, director of the creative studio of the house, took over the reins following his death. Jones, an industry trailblazer responsible for transforming the menswear market, seems to have been an obvious choice for the chief executive of LVMH, Bernard Arnault. “Kim Jones is a great talent and since joining, he has continuously proven his ability to adapt to the codes and heritage of the LVMH houses while revisiting them with great modernity and audacity,” commented Arnault. “At Fendi, I am convinced that his vision and passion will highly contribute to the success of the women’s collections.”

Jones, who founded his eponymous brand after John Galliano snapped up his Central Saint Martins graduate collection, and then rose up the ranks at Dunhill and Louis Vuitton, brings to Fendi an encyclopaedic knowledge of streetwear, sportswear and countercultural style. His off-beat, ultra-luxe accessories and subversive collaborations never fail to go viral, awaited with the same avid sense of anticipation by his friendship circle, which includes the Beckhams, the Kardashian-Jenners and Kate Moss.

“What I love about Kim is that he never looks back or rests on his laurels,” British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful said of his friend last year. “He’s brought so much to fashion and evolved from a cool, streetwear pioneer into the chicest international designer – someone who caters to youth but exhibits a natural sophistication that appeals to all generations.” Now, Jones’s influence spans two of the biggest brands in the world.