Monday, October 26, 2020

Olivier Theyskens S/S'21 - ´L´Horloge´

Olivier Theyskens S/S´21 collection was presented as a tribute to the style of the iconic French singer, Mylène Farmer. Titled ‘L’Horloge’, his latest Paris Fashion Week offering paid homage to the ´Ange Rouge´, who had a profound influence on Theyskens youth. His inspiration was referenced around the height of her 1987-1992 fame and taken from hits such as Sans Contrefaçon and L'Autre. Whilst revisiting his childhood during the lock-down, Theyskens was influenced by reminiscence within his Rue Réaumur atelier loft, explaining that ¨during confinement, I watched clips of Mylene from that era and I realised that a lot of things common to my aesthetic came from her. It was interesting for me as an adult to dive back into that nostalgia. ¨

The silhouettes of his latest 21-piece spring / summer offering owed as much to the designer’s propensities as they did to the chanteuse´s personas. We saw presented, a recognition of Farmer’s 80´s androgynous waif phase which was embodied in the exquisitely tailored masculine cut grey suit, complete with high-waisted and fluid-legged trousers. This look was juxtaposed next to looks such as high-collared voluminous blouses with influences from the 17th century; such as Theyskens muted marigold silk ensemble which danced on the boundaries of feminine-flou and traditional tailoring to become a 40´s influenced day wear dress.
“Actually, people used to tease me for being a little naff for liking Mylène Farmer, but she encompasses a lot of what the Theyskens woman represents. Guts, character, style and independence.” – Olivier Theyskens
Other characteristics of the collection saw Farmer´s more sensual chapters represented by lascivious slinky jersey slip-dresses, embellished with an ´X´ and a coquettish taffeta mini dress that hinted the outline of an exposed garter belt at the hem. Within his retrospective, the Belgian wunderkind´s selection of materials was also comprehensive - ranging from rich chenille velvet and luscious leather to organised organza and flowing fluid silks in flawless constructions.

The palette of ‘L’Horloge’ was mostly mono-chromatic or neutral with the occasional shot of deep red and powder tones. This offering, direct from Theyskens Marais showroom served as an affirmation that even in the time of live-streaming industry events - fashion, like music, can only truly be experienced when it is lived live and performed at full volume.


Gabi Asfour, Ange Donhauser and Adi Gil started producing face masks at the start of the COVID pandemic. Their PPE was manufactured from ´upcycled´ fabric that had been left over from their threeASFOUR spring / summer 2012 ´InSalaam, InShalom´ collection. Their aesthetic, which paid homage to the blended patterns archived within the Jewish and Arabic cultures, came with a very clear message for society today, that “under not the most pleasant circumstances, humanity has unified.”


If there was a way to make light of an international crisis, then threeASFOUR had achieved it through their mask-making project. “We feel good about our place,” Gil explained. “The mask success is nice proof that we do make sense in this time.” The trio known have been designing for over twenty years, but they are still viewed as ´Avant-Garde outsiders´ within the New York fashion scene. This is somewhat due to their irregular presentations which saw their last runway show take place over a year ago as a celebration of their 20th anniversary. To date however, they have produced a new spring / summer 2021 collection that unites their experimental and artistic tendencies within a more wearable collection.
´ This collection is an ode to the plant world and the significance of Vesica Piscis - the almond shape made by the intersection of two circles, which is also called the Womb of All Creation and the Eye of Horus.´ - Gabi Asfour
threeASFOUR´s sculptural creations are constantly inspired by sacred geometry – a subject which connects geometric designs with nature and God. This is a narrative which has appeared on their thoughts several times this season, and it looks to make yet another one more. Their recent collection was ´an ode to the plant world´ and the significance of Vesica Piscis - the almond shape made by the intersection of two circles, which is also called the Womb of All Creation and the Eye of Horus. Within religion, it is believed to symbolise good health, power and protection - fitting theme for the reality of today´s environment.


This classic ´almond shape´ was given a strong three-dimensional form across the artistic and experimental looks which composed the current collection. The transformation of these Op-Art prints graced the fabrics of easy-to-wear tunics and leggings which were made in collaboration with Japanese digital printing company, Mimaki, for the perfect marriage of science and tradition.


Renowned fashion talent Diane Pernet recently celebrated the 12th chapter of her internationally acclaimed 'A Shaded View on Fashion Film' festival (ASVOFF). Due to the current pandemic, the sartorial spectacular was broadcast on-line from the 6th to the 9th of October. Streaming from California’s FNL Network, the four day event saw over 40 short films, 68 #LockdownHomeMovies, 11 documentaries and an ‘Industry Tea Zoom’ talk series featuring an array of international talents. The celebration attracted names such as Pulp Fiction’s Oscar-winning screen writer Roger Avary, Gossip Girl’s costume designer Eric Daman, art director Tim Yip and actress Maria de Medeiros. Despite ASVOFF not having a physical presence, its virtual substitute was one of the most comprehensive to date and held no punches within its portfolio of visual decadence.

“First and foremost, this edition of the festival is about returning to the very essence of what ASVOFF is all about. By that I mean supporting talented, passionate young creatives who need and very much deserve a spotlight,” Pernet explained. “We all know that opportunities are hard to come by this year, so my focus has been on trying to support the independent voices in fashion and film – those who are inevitably at the sharp end of the crisis – by giving them even more space in the programme than usual.”
“Although its delivery had changed, ASVOFF’s raison d'être hadn’t - with the film festival’s mission continuing to give a voice and an international platform to emerging visual and fashion talents. This philosophy was reinforced through Pernet by featuring six student films as well as a collaboration with emerging student artist and designer platform, Art’s Thread – a network itself with over 300,000 active followers. The pandemic also inspired her to commission ‘#LockdownHomeMovies’, which saw an array of independent artists directing short films during the lock-down.” – Charles Daniel McDonald
“We’ve all heard the word ‘resilience’ far too much recently, but this roster of young and young-at-heart visionaries are the very embodiment of the word in my opinion,” Pernet continued. “From stylised funeral tributes for a family member who perished while the filmmaker was in confinement on the other side of the world to outrageous kitsch excesses of an imperial catwalk, the talented individuals who make up ASVOFF 12 are nothing if not defiant, and proof to me that we will overcome this surreal period of science fiction that we’re living through.”

Within its main offering, ASVOFF’s complete programme saw screenings for Jean-Paul Gautier’s final couture show (Gianluca Matarrese & Guillaume Thomas); Marée Noire, a surreal short film which was part of a series for Marine Serre’s S/S 2020 collection (Rick Farin & Claire Cochran); 'a coming-of-age Spaghetti Western film' entitled Spirit of Freedom (Molly Ledoux for Spencer Phipps) and Catholic Fairy tales - an extravagant imaginary 3-D catwalk which was part fantasy, part carnival and all talent. Maybe, with all this fledgling talent waiting to sprout during these darker days, the world actually isn’t that bad – especially within the realms of Pernet's vision for fashion film.

Curfew Or No, Paris Has No Shortage Of Fashionable New Exhibitions

Fiac, the most important contemporary and modern art fair in Paris, typically delivers a similar experience to Paris Fashion Week: constant visual stimulation, excessive schmoozing, personal style flaunting, and corporate choreography. And in a parallel, non-pandemic world, it should have been taking place right now.

Serious collectors would have already descended on the Grand Palais to make their eye-wateringly expensive purchases. Everyone else would be attending to see, be seen, and post their own ‘curated’ selection. There would be giant installations erected throughout the city, temporarily attracting more attention than historic monuments. At night, were there not a 9 pm curfew, the art scene would be toggling between private dinners and parties, many sponsored by luxury brands.

Think what you will of such showing off (several years ago, I jokingly dubbed the fair a “fiacalypse”), the cancelation of this edition marks another blow to the city’s cultural and economic rhythms. But in typical Parisian resiliency, many of the city’s gallerists and institutions have carried on with their Fiac-related programming. The curfew did not prevent an abbreviated art crawl on Thursday evening, for instance. Several galleries have gone as far as recreating their stands within their own spaces. Independent satellite fairs such as Asia Now, the Outsider Art Fair, Paris Internationale, and Salon de Normandy are welcoming visitors. And this weekend, the Grand Palais will be put to use, after all; Perrotin has hidden 20 works by its artists—including Takashi Murakami, Daniel Arsham, and JR—throughout the space like a treasure hunt, with thousands of people booking time slots once word got out. 

As for new museum exhibitions, it just so happens that several are themed to satisfy a two-for-one fix for fashion and art. Some, such as Man Ray and Fashion were initially programmed for earlier this year only to be postponed until la rentrée (September). Others, such as Gabrielle Chanel, Fashion Manifesto, and the reopening of the Palais Galliera, had always been scheduled to overlap with PFW—except, of course, organizers had probably hoped for a more international turnout.

At a moment when everything fashion-related feels loaded with existential questions, these seven exhibitions stand like beacons of inspiration, creation, and context. To some extent, they offer a brief escape from reality. Yet speaking personally, walking through them over the past few weeks has also been reassuring. For all their variety, each show demonstrates an appreciation for fashion that feels true and long-lasting.

“Sarah Moon, Past Present”

Shortly before the show bowed, Augustin Trapenard, the radio host known for his eloquent questioning, asked Sarah Moon what makes an image perfect, to which she replied, “It’s not about the technique—whether the image is blurry or clear; it’s about whether it expresses something.” Paradoxically, this non-chronological retrospective of the 79-year-old photographer throws her characteristically blurry style into sharp relief. Curated by Fanny Schulmann, it comprises hundreds of nuanced stolen moments, black-and-white melancholic landscapes, and distinctive soft-focus fashion images.

Fashion highlight: While Moon is largely associated with her work for Cacharel, her eye for Yohji Yamamoto’s poetic silhouettes and the sober elegance of Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel designs through the ’90s are what stand out here.

September 18th through January 19th, 2021 at the Musée de l’Art Moderne de Paris.

Cindy Sherman Retrospective at the Fondation Louis Vuitton

Not to trivialize her extraordinary body of work, but it’s impossible to walk through this show (overseen by Suzanne Pagé and co-curators Marie-Laure Bernadac and Olivier Michelon) without wondering how and where Cindy Sherman has kept her wardrobe over the 45 years that she has been taking self-portraits. Spaced perfectly through the vast galleries of the FLV, her photos reveal her endless character range, talent for expression, and stylistic flourish, while perhaps never revealing the real Cindy Sherman. Glamorous suburban housewife, high Renaissance maiden, nightmarish clown, 1930s screen star—she embodies them all and more.

Fashion highlight: If every image speaks to her understanding of fashion as a powerful extension of the self, the show singles out many of her fashion series, starting with a portfolio for Interview magazine in 1983 with designs from Jean Paul Gaultier and Comme des Garçons, to her latest androgynous male portraits dressed in Stella McCartney men’s looks. Just past the halfway mark is a stunning series originally destined for Pop magazine in which she is surrounded by the sweeping seascapes of Iceland and Capri wearing Chanel tweeds. A slightly disturbing image from 1995 of two masked figures is on loan from Raf Simons.

September 23rd through January 1st, 2021 at the Fondation Louis Vuitton.

“Man Ray and Fashion”

First presented in Marseille last year, this exhibition curated by Xavier Rey introduces a few of Man Ray’s surrealist works (his iron embellished spikes; the mobile constructed from clothes) before presenting his work for fashion glossies on both sides of the Atlantic, advertisements (the famous glassy tears image), and his urbane society portraits. As a mostly-chronological presentation of original photographs, modern reproductions, archive fashions, and magazines, it recounts how the artist’s meeting with Paul Poiret was the first of many designer collaborations, namely Gabrielle Chanel, Madeleine Vionnet, and Elsa Schiaparelli.

Fashion highlight: Some of the dresses that he photographed are showcased alongside their two-dimensional likenesses (two Chanel evening silhouettes in gold and champagne, a statuesque black number from Vionnet).

September 23rd through January 17th, 2021 at the Musée du Luxembourg.

“Gabrielle Chanel, Fashion Manifesto” at the Palais Galliera

As Palais Galliera director Miren Arzallaz told Tina Isaac, my fellow Parisian contributor, last month, “No one has ever seen so much Chanel in one place.” As she reported, this is a resolutely ambitious exhibition that underscores how Gabrielle Chanel innovated over and over again, from sporty daywear to timeless evening creations, with detours through fragrance, accessories, and costume jewelry. As for the ‘manifesto’ aspect, Chanel told Elle magazine in 1957, having relaunched her couture house a few years earlier: “We always begin by making dresses of dreams. Then we have to cut, trim, remove, never add.”

Fashion highlight: For all the purity of design that comes through in such an expansive range of silhouettes, there is something indescribably profound in the framed ink print of her hand at the start of the exhibition. Also worth noting: the new lower-level galleries considerably expand the exhibition space for fashion exhibitions.

October 1st through March 14th, 2020, at the Palais Galliera.

“From One M/Museum to Another, M/M (Paris)”

Select works from graphic design practice and artistic studio M/M (Paris) are currently on view at the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. While these ‘interventions’ barely scratch the surface of Michaël Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak’s prolific partnership creating typography, logos, and visual identity for luxury brands, they act as striking displays that coincide with the release of their new tome M to M of M/M (Paris) Volume II.

Fashion highlight: At the Musée d’Orsay, The New Alphabet, their elaborate letters integrating portraits of contemporary stars (Katy Perry, Naomi Campbell, and Xavier Dolan plus, evidently, 23 others) are on view for the first time as poster-sized prints, suspended within a sleek frame system surrounded by Art Nouveau objects and furniture. “Their work is both minimalist and maximalist,” explained co-curator, Donatien Grau. “In a way, the key to understanding what they do is that they are both those things, and the 19th century is both those things.”

October 13th through January 10th, 2021 at the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.


Crossing civilizations and collapsing time, this exhibition examines shifting notions of luxury embodied through an impressive array of objects and fashion. Curated by the museum’s director, Oliver Gabet, it reimagines “Ten Thousand Years of Luxury,” presented in partnership with the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Where some visitors might linger on the precious antiquities within the distant historical sections, others will be drawn to more recent interpretations, whether gowns from Balenciaga and Guo Pei or a Supreme x Rimowa suitcase.

Fashion highlight: A three-way toss-up between the beautifully restrained room titled, “The strange luxury of nothing” (attributed to writer Francois Mauriac) composed of furniture by Jean-Michel Franck and radically modern dresses (for the 1930s) by Chanel and Vionnet; a swatch of Calais linen lace dating back to roughly 1690, and a small recreation of a Tiffany’s window display of a dock adorned with jewels conceived by Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg from 1957. “The word is everywhere but luxury is not just a handbag; it is a fundamental question regarding civilization and it’s important to show this through different time periods,” said Gabet. On that note, the Céline tote sculpted in bronze and platinum by Sylvie Fleury is pretty awesome.

October 15th through May 2nd, 2021 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

Matisse, Like a Novel

If this week’s debut of a major Matisse exhibition at the Centre Pompidou would have coincided with the opening of Fiac, it will most certainly draw throngs of admirers for months to come. The retrospective is somewhat erudite in concept: nine chapters or sequences that take cue from a writer’s interpretation of his work (Louis Aragon and Clement Greenberg among others). But it’s entirely possible to visit the show under a completely different guise: the way Matisse collected, studied, and rendered textiles, clothing, and decorative motifs. “He was very knowledgeable about fashion and textiles and he dressed with extreme care,” confirmed curator Aurélie Verdier.

Fashion highlight: They are everywhere, really—from the artist’s pencil sketches of jabots and pleats to La Blouse Roumaine, a woman wearing an embroidered shirt that is said to have inspired Yves Saint Laurent in 1981. One of the show’s main attractions, the loan of Intérieur aux aubergines, features no fashion, yet the arrangement of patterns and colors conjures the inspired textile mixing you would expect from Dries Van Noten only with eggplants. “You could do an exhibition that would be very serious but also very joyful on the question of Matisse and fashion; you have given me an idea,” Verdier mused in our brief exchange. Should it happen, the inspiration started here!

October 21st through to Feb 22nd, 2021, at the Centre Pompidou.

Marc Jacobs Launches A Short Film About His Life During Lockdown

Is Timothée Chalamet The Ultimate Athleisure Influencer?

It is no secret that Timothée Chalamet loves a baseball cap. An avid wearer of various peaked styles that still allow his cherubic mane to peep through, the actor has deemed it an essential wardrobe staple. Worn like a badge of honour, his caps speak volumes (he supports Chelsea FC, for instance, according to a style worn in London back in March).

The fashion aficionado often favours a casual dress code, curated with effortless ease to minimise any risk of appearing slobbish. Take his latest colour-coordinated athleisure look: he was seen donning a McDonald’s-esque palette of red, yellow, black and white while roaming the streets of New York, one hand clutching a coffee. High-fashion credentials upped the anti on his off-duty look, comprised of a colour block Burberry track jacket, a sunshine-yellow sweater, loose joggers, New Balance trainers and a Nike cap. 

A week earlier, Chalamet debuted his winning style formula on Instagram. His 10 million followers were treated to a selfie from the star, who has recently used his feed to promote his upcoming film Dune, in which he plays the lead role of Paul Atreides. Brilliantly normcore and blasé, he snapped himself in front of a door, donning a cap and a mask that was pulled-down to show his face – to wild enthusiasm from his Call Me By Your Name co-star Armie Hammer, who commented “OoOOOoOoooo KING SHIT!!!” followed by a flurry of emojis.

Plentiful coffee runs have served as opportunities for Chalamet to flaunt his hypebeast-approved arsenal of labels. His formalwear, too, embodies a similarly relaxed approach. For the Oscars earlier this year, he topped best dressed lists with his Prada zip-up tracksuit-tuxedo hybrid, fashioned from the Italian brand’s entirely sustainable Re-Nylon material.

Safe to say, any guilt you may feel from slipping into your sweatpants can be well and truly eradicated thanks to Timothée’s ongoing encouragement. Baseball caps at the ready.

Claudia Schiffer’s New Barbie Is Decked Out In Balmain & Versace

At 50, Claudia Schiffer is living her best life. To mark five decades of the catwalk star, who has walked for virtually every luxury fashion brand and graced countless covers of British Vogue, Barbie is now releasing two new mini Claudias, inspired by her inimitable style.

This isn’t the first time Barbie has made a Claudia doll: in 2017, they launched her first Barbie, dressed in a golden Versace dress. This time around, however, Barbie enlisted designers Olivier Rousteing of Balmain and Donatella Versace to create two new custom creations. They both created reinterpretations of looks that Schiffer has worn in the past, making them miniature but just as fabulous. “I love both Versace and Balmain, and these two dresses made strong fashion statements when I first wore them,” Schiffer tells Vogue.

The strapless Versace dress her Barbie wears is actually a throwback: it’s a recreation of a look that Schiffer wore in the Italian brand’s autumn/winter 1994 show. “It’s a dreamy blue dress with a signature Versace corset bodice and a floor-length, semi-sheer, shimmery A-line skirt,” Schiffer says. For Versace’s part, the designer says Schiffer has always reminded her of a real-life Barbie. “When Claudia first stepped onto the runaway, with her blonde, long hair and the angelic face, the whole world immediately saw her as the personification of Barbie,” says Versace. “Two strong women who do not need to be empowered by anyone, because they have always been the makers of their destiny.”

The Balmain dress that Schiffer’s Barbie wears is a recreation of what Schiffer wore in the label’s recent spring/summer 2016 campaign. “It’s very dramatic, featuring a beautifully-embellished, long-sleeve macrame top, a waist-cinching belt, and a long skirt with faux cut-outs throughout,” Schiffer says. Rousteing says, like Versace, he’s continuously inspired by Schiffer’s strong style and confidence. “She’s the definition of a supermodel,” he says. “Over the decades, she’s inspired millions with her distinctive mix of confidence, style, and beauty. The Balmain campaign that she shot for me will forever remain one of my favourite memories.”

Barbie continues to hold a special place in Schiffer’s heart, and the supermodel says seeing the new ode to her at 50 was a touching tribute. “It’s such an amazing birthday gift,” says Schiffer. “To dress Barbie up, select different poses, and create new realities was one of my first childhood experiences with fashion.” If you’re looking to get your hands on the new Claudia Barbie, however, you’ll be out of luck: The high-fashion dolls were created solely for an editorial on the @BarbieStyle Instagram page. Even Barbie dresses purely for the ’gram.

Using Leftover Ropes And ‘Vegetable Fur’, Hyères Winner Tom Van Der Borght On His Mood-Boosting Creations

This year’s edition of the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography, postponed from April, comes at a time of great uncertainty due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic — with many of us, understandably, feeling rather gloomy right now.

Fittingly then, the winner of the Première Vision Grand Prix, Tom Van Der Borght, provided a dose of much-needed optimism with his playful designs, constructed using upcycled rope, plastic tubing, vegetable fur, and sequins. The 42-year-old Belgian designer — who graduated from the Stedelijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten (SASK) in 2012, a fine arts academy in Belgium — follows in the footsteps of the likes of Anthony Vaccarello and Viktor & Rolf in claiming the festival’s top fashion prize.

Describing Van Der Borght as creating "a totally new type of form” Jonathan Anderson and the jury considered self-selected looks that best illustrated contestants' sustainable practices.

“What we really admired in the work of Tom Van Der Borght is that it was a totally new type of form, a new type of commitment to a silhouette and it was uncompromisable,” Jonathan Anderson, president of this year’s fashion jury, says of the winner. “In this moment we are in, we as a jury believe that it was about starting off this new decade with newness, originality.” 

The 35th edition of the festival featured a strong focus on sustainability, thanks to a digital mentorship programme launched by Mercedes-Benz and Fashion Open Studio, offering guidance on eco-friendly practices to this year’s finalists. “Mentoring the Hyères finalists was a way to share our knowledge and inspire,” Orsola de Castro, creative director of Fashion Open Studio and co-founder of Fashion Revolution, tells Vogue. “We have seen some impressive progress from those who were perhaps more tentative, and a roaring confidence in those who had really taken the sustainability issue to heart from the beginning.” 

As part of the new initiative, each designer was asked to pick a look from their collection that best illustrated the sustainable practices they have learned, with French designer Emma Bruschi, who also won the Chanel Métiers d’Art Prize, acknowledged for her work incorporating traditional farming techniques. Bruschi will now showcase her work as part of a Mercedes-Benz fashion event next year, while Van Der Borght will show at Berlin Fashion Week in January 2021.

Here, we caught up with Tom Van Der Borght about the inspiration behind his collection, his design ethos, and his love of upcycling.
Huge congratulations on winning the Hyères Première Vision Grand Prix. How does it feel to win such a prestigious prize?

“It’s crazy. I’m a little bit overwhelmed — I’m feeling a hundred emotions at the same time. It’s been a fantastic experience. I’m so happy the jury picked up the message that I come with, a message of hope and for the right for existence, and that it touched them in their hearts.” 

How did your interest in fashion first begin?

“My mother is trained in sewing and pattern cutting, so I grew up with fabric and a sewing machine. When I was five or six, I started to create my own imaginary fashion brand. I always had this love for clothes, and making things from stuff that I found around my house.”

What was the inspiration behind your collection, ‘7 Ways to be TVDB’?

“The collection is an extreme self-portrait. I started working on it when I was going through a more difficult time. In this moment, I learned that we all deal with our own problems in an individual way, but we all sometimes feel that we’re not good enough for this world. So I wanted to create a collective feeling that everything that is non-conformist or outside the box has a right to exist. It’s translated in my work as a vision for a contemporary urban tribe, where I research what luxury and haute couture can be in the future.”

Your pieces in the collection are sculptural, almost like pieces of art. Is this reflective of your design ethos more generally?

“My mother always says, when people ask her how I’m doing with my fashion career, ‘Tom is not a classic fashion designer. He is more like a fashion artist who expresses his stories through clothes.’ That really is the point of view that I start from. I built this collection intuitively. Whereas in the past I would draw first, now I create on the mannequin — it almost feels like a sculpture with all the layers on top of each other.”

What’s your approach to sustainability, and what did you learn from the Mercedes-Benz x Fashion Open Studio mentorship programme?

“I’ve always had a love for things that other people don’t find useful anymore, or are easily thrown away. I wanted to use plastics that are normally disposable, and translate them into timeless luxury. I also developed knitwear using leftover wool and worked with a supplier who produces vegetable fake fur, which is an amazing material. The mentorship programme really made me look in different directions and search for materials that have sustainability qualities.

“For me, sustainability goes further than just the ecological aspect. There’s also an important social aspect; we have to redefine the way we deal with each other as human beings, and support each other in any possible way. We need to find a harmonious way to live together with each other and also with our planet.” 

What’s next for you?

“I’ll go home and rest, and then I’ll keep an open mind about opportunities that come my way. I really believe the future is ready for me.”

Virgil Abloh Creates A Pioneering Resource Centre For Young Talent

Virgil Abloh is sharing “the exact notions and tools that [he] used to formulate [his] career” via a new mentorship series, entitled “Free Game.” The step-by-step programme, which includes online lectures and learning tools, is part of the Off-White founder and Louis Vuitton men’s artistic director’s mission to level out the playing field in fashion.

“As part of my longstanding initiative to see design, art and culture more inclusive to young Black designers and those coming from non-traditional backgrounds, I wanted to assist in providing the means for them to advance on the road to ownership of their ideas and brands,” explained Abloh of the new forum on

Free Game follows in the footsteps of Abloh’s Post Modern Scholarship Fund and, according to the African-American creative, opens doors “for those that come from the fringe and helps them be awarded opportunities usually left for the centre. Ultimately ensuring that the future looks different from the past.”

The educational platform will be updated with insights from the Illinois-born designer and his inner circle, but the most essential tools for young talent can be found in the Resource Centre. Conceived while Abloh was working his way through his most frequently answered questions, the centre is essentially a library listing everything aspiring designers need to know, from “how to name your brand” to “how to shoot a lookbook”. While other funds and mentor schemes offer brilliant advice on the building blocks of business, Abloh’s free-of-charge service gives unprecedented access into the minds of one of fashion’s boundary-breaking creatives.

The pandemic and the recent wave of Black Lives Matter protests surrounding the murder of George Floyd has enforced the need for systemic change, beyond the hashtags and donations the industry has been swept up in. “Everyone’s on a race to get back to normal, to a clean image. But this is the critical moment to actually understand,” Abloh told British Vogue earlier this month. “I hope for conversations that are long lasting. But I’m an optimist. I believe the world will be a better place – and it’s great that everyone’s hearts and minds are open. It’s broadened the message about how change needs to happen.” Abloh, as always, is at the forefront of these conversations – and crucially, makes an effort to give everyone a seat at the table.

Bella, Kylie And Kim Are Among The Star-Studded Cast Of The New #GivenchyFamily

When Matthew M Williams was appointed creative director of Givenchy back in June, he knew he’d have to tackle things a little differently. With just three months until the spring/summer 2021 collections were due to be unveiled and no sign of the Covid-19 virus ceasing, Williams was forced to think outside the box — and he did. 

For while some Paris Fashion Week designers, namely Louis Vuitton and Chanel, chose to show physically in September and October, Williams instead photographed his Givenchy debut in all its splendour against a pristine white background with no distractions – and no accompanying digital activation. Understated, fierce and hardware-heavy, his 54-look collection oozed simplicity and sophistication, ensuring the focus was plainly on the clothes. And the accessories: in the time it took for fashion editors to screenshot their favourite pieces, his unusual arm candy rocketed to the top of wishlists the world over. 

As for phase two? A fortnight on from his inaugural showcase, the American designer welcomed a starry fanbase into his #GivenchyFamily. An avid Instagram user himself (he has amassed nearly half a million followers on his personal account) it is unsurprising that Williams used the power of social media to introduce his celebrity devotees. 

Bella Hadid, who was familiarised with the forward-thinking IG campaign format after her Jacquemus Zoom shoot, had the honour of wearing look one. Styled remotely by styling powerhouse Lotta Volkova, the supermodel shared an album of shots to her feed, in which she can be seen posing on a staircase sporting a daring mesh top with a sash overlay, tailored trousers and a pair of statement shoes. Hot on the heels of her Michael Kors campaign shoot in the Big Apple, Bella apologised for her busy schedule and captioned the carousel: “Shot this at midnight after work. Sorry I’m late.”

Next up: the Kardashian-Jenner clan. Longtime supporters of Williams’s work at 1017 Alyx 9SM, the streetwear label he founded back in 2015, the designer enlisted Kendall, Kim and Kylie to join his newly-formed Givenchy gang. The trio modelled looks 54, 45 and 50 respectively and the latter was photographed with Travis Scott, who was dressed in look 30.

Newlywed Natalia Vodianova, tennis star Maria Sharapova, actors Laura Dern, Liv Tyler and Julianne Moore, rappers Playboi Carti and Skepta plus photographer Nick Knight were also among the expansive cast of the unique campaign, in addition to the artistic director of both Dior Men’s and Fendi womenswear and couture, Kim Jones. Williams even took his turn in front of the camera and was pictured wearing a pair of marbled trousers and a sleek black blazer.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

How Millennial Men Are Redefining Fashion

We can follow the evolution of fashion throughout history, but there hasn’t been a time when all aspects of human culture transformed so rapidly as they do today. One of the major factors responsible for this kind of change is the sheer interconnectedness of the world and the newly born strong ties that are springing between different people and cultures, thus unfolding new ideas and realms of consciousness.

What does this mean for fashion? Well, not so long ago, the color pink, skirts, tight pants, and even long hair held feminine connotations and were considered unacceptable for men, while pants were similarly male-coded and considered inappropriate for women. Now, as we have become more widely aware of other cultures and their fashion, knowing that some of them nurture completely different standards puts us in a position to re-evaluate our own.

For instance, the “bun” hairstyle had been considered inappropriate for men in the west, but learning that there is nothing womanly or feminine regarding the same hairstyle when it comes to sumo wrestlers and samurai (as a fashion theorist Anja Aronowsky points out) naturally makes one stand and reconsider their point of view.

It is now clear that we’re looking at the peak of experimentation, of combining the incompatible and bringing both class and street, designer and second-hand looks on the throne of fashion.

Men’s fashion is just now flourishing and expanding in many directions. So, if fashion was formally defined relatively recently, in the 19th century by Charles Frederick Worth, how are millennial men redefining fashion today?

Millennial men love shopping

Fashion, style, and shopping have been considered "women’s things," but today, menswear has its rightful place in the shops, and male and female fashions are treated almost equally.

The array of clothes, accessories, and creative innovations in men's fashion is vast. The popularity of men’s accessories is especially growing – men have also found ways to make the best out of rings, scarves, necklaces, and good eyewear. Even something as simple as a money clip for men can add that special touch to one’s personal style.


Opening to feel a glimpse of what it is like to feel in the skin, or at least in the clothes, of the opposite gender, was a brilliant breaking point in a fashion which can be located somewhere around the start of World War I when Coco Chanel and Paul Poiret introduced women’s trousers into fashion. Nevertheless, the androgynous look is now maybe at its peak, as it has evolved tremendously with the change of our understanding of gender.

While we’re not completely used to the sight of a man wearing a skirt, the so-called androgynous look, or gender-fluid look, has become extremely popular and widespread as a particular and original style. Even gender-blended dressing rooms are becoming more and more popular.

The androgynous look has a plethora of benefits and reasons for becoming and staying so trendy. It is a wonderful chance for female and male polarity to finally make up their differences and recognize the beauty of the other side by experiencing it first-hand.

Millennial men allow themselves to be vulnerable

Crying, expressing feelings and worries, and showing vulnerability, in general, had been a touchy, almost a taboo subject for men. This led to various complications in behaviour and, paradoxically, to various distorted reactions regarding masculinity. How so?

Well, femininity and masculinity are two sides of one coin – yin and yang – and the repression of one automatically damages the other by disturbing the natural balance. Luckily, the tides are changing, and the fashion scene mirrors this change tremendously.

We can see skirts in men’s fashion shows, makeup is a fact of life for male models, and they are free to proudly bounce their long curls down the runway or complete any look with dyed hair. Nevertheless, only some of these fashion ideas make their way outside of the runways, as feminine clothes are only partly embraced in men's style, while makeup and dyed hair have become almost completely common.

Experts even predict that menswear shopping will go ahead of womenswear sales in the following years. We, the millennials, are witnessing various fights for women's rights, but meanwhile, let's not forget that it's a man's right to enjoy shopping, look and smell nice, take care of himself, and it doesn't make him less of a man.

Fendi And Chaos Join Forces On A Selection Of Savvy Charms And Tech Accessories

When Chaos debuted its collaboration with Fendi on the Italian house’s February runway, nobody could have foreseen quite to what extent technology would come to define the months to follow. The logo-emblazoned EarPod holders or jewel-like smartwatch casings, which appeared clipped onto cinched waist belts and golden lanyards alike, went on to find a new resonance during a year when those sorts of devices have proven so instrumental to our existence – and so frustratingly prone to misplacement. “As a reflection of the world we are living in now with video calls… my favourite would be the smart earphones case,” reflects Silvia Fendi on the collaboration. “It’s a fun, whimsical play on such a practical object which we now have to use everyday.”

But the partnership speaks to a far longer-standing alignment between Silvia and Chaos founders Charlotte Stockdale and Katie Lyall. Having worked alongside Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi for over a decade, the duo has found a foundational role within her creative circle, and the irreverent perspective which defines their brand operates in harmony with the spirit of the house. “We share a great sense of fun and creativity, which is always present at Fendi,” Silvia continues. “And Chaos has a practical attitude which I like: a charismatic spirit with functional designs that I can really connect with. I like the idea of giving a purpose to things, which is what Chaos is all about.”

“Each piece was chosen for its usefulness, or how delightful it could be,” explain Stockdale and Lyall, who founded their brand with the simple desire to “create specific solutions for needs in our everyday life: beautiful, well-crafted, desirable solutions.” Having evolved their offering since they first launched in 2015 with their Chaos Zip lanyard necklace and iPhone cases (whose monogrammed leather exteriors soon became a fixture in the mirror selfies of everyone from Bella Hadid to Naomi Campbell and Victoria Beckham), their collaboration with Fendi takes the handy essentials they have become renowned for up a gear.

Now, there are leather shot glasses (as suitable for a morning dose of ginger as a late-night tequila); a smartpen which can be worn as an earring; a wealth of alluringly crafted monogrammed casings. Drawing inspiration from their love of “precious and useful objects, traditional and new” – from vintage cigarette holders to Old Hollywood evening clutches – it’s a desirably witty take on luxury which translates the spirit Karl Lagerfeld imbued the house with during his tenure there.

“Karl had a great wit, sometimes very sophisticated, and sometimes almost childlike in his delight of a really silly pun,” the duo reflect. “While he had an intense work ethic, taking any commitment very seriously, he also felt that fashion is a craft rather than an art, and he fully subscribed to the idea that one could work like a dog and enjoy oneself while doing it. Humour – maybe more accurately, a gentle irony – plays a big part for both Chaos and Fendi.” Does fashion need more of that? “Perhaps, although maybe it’s not so much needed in the design as us all needing a sense of humour about ourselves! Fashion can be a place of high drama and stress – which we love! – but also it’s important to remember how lucky we are to work in this creative space.” Certainly if we all need anything right now, it’s a sense of humour and a wealth of gratitude. Plus, of course, not to lose our earpods. Perfect timing for the launch, then.

Adidas Unveils Its Most Eco Trainer To Date

“When it comes to UltraBoost DNA Loop, we didn’t take the easy route!” Adidas’s VP of brand strategy James Carnes tells British Vogue. He’s talking about the sports giant’s brand new eco “made to be remade” trainer. Its credentials are impressive: the shoe is crafted from 100 per cent recyclable single TPU material and zero glue, meaning that it can ultimately be returned and reimagined as a new running trainer.

Innovative and futuristic, the DNA Loop joins a family of UltraBoost footwear that prides itself on advanced technologies and pioneering manufacture techniques. “We over-invest in bringing these principles into our sports products – particularly as we know this is a generation of consumers who have significant power to create change,” Carnes says.

In April last year, 200 “creators” around the world were asked to road test Gen 1 of the UltraBoost. Following the trial, each piece was broken down and remade to produce Gen 2, which went through the same rigorous assessment process in November 2019. Now, the result of all that road-testing has been made available to 1,500 fans, who will join the sustainably-focused micro-community and help shape the future of its design journey through a 21-week cycle that will encourage still more feedback.

The UltraBoost DNA Loop launch will kick off Adidas’s immersive Creators Club Week experience, a seven-day festival that will see the largest-ever drop of exclusive shoes (70 new designs will feature). The digital event will invite consumers to interact with their favourite footwear, and limited-edition versions of the most sought-after styles – including the Ninja, Ultra4D, Superstar Tattoo and NMD – will be available to buy throughout the week, along with a new addition to its Parley range, the 4D model made from ocean plastics.

A host of famous faces will take to the virtual stage at the event, including supermodel Karlie Kloss and rapper and record executive Pusha T. Kloss and Carnes will introduce the cutting-edge technology used to make the new trainer. “Through this shoe, Adidas is leading an incredibly important conversation around circularity and fabric innovation. We hope this launch inspires creators to join us as we strive to create a more sustainable future together,” Kloss said of the release. Pusha T will talk about the impact of ’90s street culture on the music and fashion industries, in addition to the coveted Ozweego style he collaborated on in the past.

Members who sign up for free to Adidas’s Creators Club loyalty programme will have the chance to win prizes including a piece of art by fashion designer Paolina Russo, who specialises in up-cycling, and a pair of Adidas Predator football boots signed by World Cup winner Paul Pogba.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Olivier Theyskens S/S´21

When Olivier Theyskens found himself sheltering in place this spring, he pondered how his aesthetic had developed. He remembered receiving a CD of [Franco-Canadian] singer Mylène Farmer in his early teens. Curiosity drove him to look up her music videos online.

“I would listen to her on loop. I loved, and still love, her voice very much, but I was quite thrown by the realization of the imprint she left on me at that age — a moment where the things that touch us become fundamental to our perception of things, a muse of sorts — and the influence this had on my personal universe and the manner in which I create,” he said during a preview at his new showroom.

So the silhouettes of this spring collection owed as much to Theysken’s proclivities as they did to the artist’s personas. There was Farmer’s androgynous waif phase, embodied in the mannish cut of a fluid gray suit, with wide-leg trousers and a high waist, or in the blowsy volumes of high-collar blouses nodding to 17th-century shapes. A pale marigold silk number played on the border of tailoring and flou, to become a Forties-influenced dress. Elsewhere, Farmer’s sensual phases were represented in slinky jersey slipdresses barred with an X that made them almost lascivious, or in a taffeta minidress that mimicked the outline of an exposed garter belt at the hem.

If floor-sweeping taffeta coats and body-hugging gowns may look out of sync with these uncertain times in pictures, in person, the whisper of fabric and details of their construction spoke of another Theyskens obsession: the idea that clothes can only truly to be experienced, just like music — live and at full volume.

threeASFOUR S/S´21

Adi Gil, Ange Donhauser, and Gabi Asfour began making masks early in the pandemic. Upcycled from leftover fabric from their spring 2012 collection InSalaam, InShalom, which blended patterns from the Arabic and Jewish cultures, they were masks with a message. “Under not the most pleasant circumstances, humanity has unified,” Asfour said over a Zoom call from their New Jersey studio.

If that’s an optimistic way of looking at the pandemic, the mask-making project did energize them. “We feel good about our place,” Gil elaborated. “The mask success is nice proof that we do make sense in this time.” The Threeasfour trio have been at it for two decades, but they remain avant garde outsiders in New York fashion, showing only irregularly on the Fashion Week calendar. After skipping last season—the last time we saw them on the runway was a year ago, when they were celebrating their 20th anniversary—they produced a spring 2021 collection that balances their artistic, experimental tendencies with more wearable ones.

Their sculptural collections are often inspired by sacred geometry. It’s a topic linking geometry with nature and God, that has come up more than once this season, probably because it feels like Gaia has decided it’s time to fight back. Their most recent collection was an ode to the plant world. On Zoom today they riffed about Vesica Piscis. The almond shape made by the intersection of two circles is also called the Womb of All Creation and the Eye of Horus, and it symbolizes protection, power, and good health. “For our new type of reality it’s the perfect theme,” Asfour said.

That almond shape took three-dimensional form on the more artistic, experimental looks in the new collection—conversastion starters, all of them—and transformed into Op Art prints on easy-to-wear tunics and leggings made in collaboration with the Japanese digital printing company Mimaki. The digital prints also have the distinction of looking uniquely their own.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

“We Have A Chance To Reset”: Why The Copenhagen Fashion Summit Is More Critical Than Ever

With time running out to tackle the climate crisis, the annual meeting of fashion’s leading figures to discuss sustainability is even more significant. We speak to founder Eva Kruse about this year’s digital event, and why now is the chance for the whole industry to reset.

For the past decade, fashion’s leading figures have gathered at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit every year to discuss how the industry can achieve a more sustainable future. This year’s event though — which will be taking place virtually for the first time, from 12 to 13 October — is arguably the most important to date, with time quickly running out to tackle the climate crisis.

“We have a chance now to use this moment to actually reset,” Eva Kruse, CEO of the Global Fashion Agenda and founder of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, tells Vogue. “It’s ever more relevant to discuss exactly how sustainability can be a huge part of the rebuilding of the fashion industry after [the Covid-19] crisis.” Eva Kruse, President and CEO, Global Fashion Agenda talks at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2019.

Taking place via the new CFS+ platform, the digital event will feature a series of conversations between the likes of H&M CEO Helena Helmersson and professor of environmental science Johan Rockström, as well as Omoyemi Akerele, founder of Lagos Fashion Week, and Samata Pattinson, CEO of Red Carpet Green Dress. Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri will also be taking part in a live interview, while other speakers will include Chanel president Bruno Pavlovsky, Ganni founder Nicolaj Reffstrup, and Amina Razvi, executive director of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. All talks will remain on the site beyond the virtual event, and there will be a digital matchmaking service for brands and innovators to meet, too.

The new format reflects the way in which industry conferences are having to adapt during the pandemic, with the Circular Fashion Summit taking place via VR technology earlier this month. “This disruption with Covid has made us think about how we bring these conversations to life in a different way, and create something that can have a much longer life than just one day,” Kruse says. “We can reach a much bigger audience [virtually]. I’m very excited that the CFS+ platform is open to everyone — there is no expensive ticket, and it doesn't require a flight.”

Including diverse voices was a key focus, particularly in light of the global reckoning on racial injustice we’ve seen in 2020. This year’s event has, however, faced criticism for not including the voices of garment workers — considering how heavily they’ve been impacted by cancelled orders during the pandemic — although Mostafiz Uddin, founder of manufacturing company Denim Expert Ltd in Bangladesh and an advocate for workers’ rights, is on the lineup.

“We haven’t been good enough at prioritising [diversity] in the past,” the Copenhagen Fashion Summit CEO admits. “We’ve been more focused on getting those in power to speak and unfortunately, it is still [the case] that there are not enough diverse voices in leadership positions.” 

The value of fashion

It’s fair to say the past few months have given most of us a chance to slow down and reflect on what’s important to us — with early indications suggesting that shoppers are becoming more eco-conscious as a result. Fittingly, then, the theme of this year’s virtual summit is ‘redesigning value’, highlighting why we all need to value our clothes more. “How can we get back to a place where you appreciate a thing has a price because it has cost something not only for the worker, and the fabric, but for the forest, the water and pesticides used, the CO2 emitted?” Kruse questions.

It’s a subject that was also addressed in the open letter to the fashion industry, led by Dries Van Noten, calling for delivered collections to coincide with the appropriate season, and discounting to happen only at the end of the season (not mid-season, as it does now). It’s a proposal Kruse agrees with: “Massive discounts have decreased the value of the product and made us as consumers used to getting things at a discounted rate. When everything is discounted, you also often buy too much.”

On a personal level, the question of value is central to the former magazine editor’s approach to her own wardrobe. “I have to value products that I buy more; I have to need it more,” she explains. “It’s about reducing, reusing and recycling. When I buy something new, I have to get rid of something as well — either resell it, give it away or recycle it — so there's a flow in my wardrobe.”

The need for urgent action

While sustainability has been the talk of the fashion industry of late, real progress is still slow. “In all of our surveys, we can see about 50 per cent of the industry is doing something in the space of sustainability, but still 50 per cent is lagging behind,” Kruse says. “The question is if they will [take action] on their own, or if they need to be pressured by legislation, say, a price on water and on CO2, a ban on incineration.”

The Global Fashion Agenda CEO hopes the impact that Covid-19 has had on the fashion industry will speed up the process. “The pandemic has shone a light on sustainability as a business imperative,” Kruse says. “We’ve seen how a company that has a leaner supply chain, more control over their natural resources and their production, are the brands doing better. Sustainability is not just the right thing to do in terms of what’s right for people and the planet, it’s also the right thing to create more resilient business models in the future.”

The Copenhagen Fashion Summit has certainly come a long way in moving the conversation forward over the past decade — when it first launched in 2009, sustainability was rarely talked about within the industry. Does this make Kruse hopeful for the future? “I’m definitely optimistic,” she concludes. “I really hope that people will take this opportunity to not just go back to what we had before. It’s about being focused, and narrowing down what really matters. I think that can drive us to a good place.”

Valentino Celebrates The Rockstud’s 10th Birthday With A Surprising Collaboration

Happy Birthday Rockstud! It seems like barely yesterday that Valentino’s signature pretty-tough pumps trod the global fashion circuit on street-stylers who fell for the easy charm of the quietly punky footwear. To mark the 10th anniversary of the brand’s once sell-out accessory line, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli is revisiting the Rockstud along with some famous friends of the Italian house.

Kicking off the “Valentino Garavani Rockstud X” collection is Craig Green. The British menswear designer will put his spin on the label’s leather products with hand-applied metallic pyramid accents, inspired by the notches on Roman doors. Green, who has previously lent his utilitarian design nous to Moncler Genius, Adidas Originals and Champion collections, is an interesting choice for Valentino. He has a diehard millennial clientele who fawn over his artisanal workwear; one that Piccioli will no doubt want to tap into in order to take the Rockstud series into the mainstream again.

Both Valentino and Craig Green are currently keeping the product design and launch date under wraps. In the meantime, Rockstud fans have a new supersized take on the edgy-meets-elegant accessory line to covet for spring/summer 2021. At Valentino’s recent Milan Fashion Week show, Piccioli sent souped-up versions of studded bags and point-toe pumps down the runway. The message was clear: the Rockstud is back and it means business. Stay tuned for a first look at Green’s take on the iconic accessory once beloved of everyone from Alexa Chung to Emma Stone and Jennifer Lopez.

Miuccia Prada Is Auctioning Off Her Last Collection Without Raf Simons

As the pandemic ruptured the very seams of society, Prada announced in July that it would be partnering with Sotheby’s – a first for the Italian house – to auction off collectible fashion items and raise money for UNESCO. Now, the sale of autumn/winter 2020 menswear and womenswear pieces and props is here. The landmark collaboration between broker and brand is not only an opportunity to help vulnerable people around the world, it is a chance to secure a slice of fashion history: Miuccia Prada’s final Prada collections without her newly instated co-designer Raf Simons.

Bids for the lots from Prada: Tools of Memory are open until 15 October, and items including a fabulous wool coat with beaded fringing are already drawing in thousands of pounds from investors. The 72-piece edit spans backstage photographs, invitations, runway décor, and a vinyl LP of the show’s soundtrack. Saffiano leather handbags abound, and there’s a handful of the vanity case bracelets up for grabs (translation: catnip for handbag collectors). The prize ticket – a full look comprising a hand-sewn organza dress, choker, metal headband, bracelet, and leather Mary-Janes – is expected to raise over £12,000. Photos of Gigi Hadid and Freja Beha Erichsen backstage prior to the autumn/winter 2020 presentation will surely fetch close to that.

On her decision to partner with Sotheby’s and rehome her beloved brand artefacts, Mrs Prada told British Vogue: “I think that in this moment what I can do with my work is do something that is meaningful, real, that can express various intentions, different meanings. The collections are about personality, craft, a creative contribution. The meaning and usefulness of fashion today: use and utility, function. Clothes as tools, tools for life – fashion with a purpose.” You heard it from the legend herself, these autumn/winter 2020 pieces are not just investment buys, they are tools for life.

Gabriela Hearst Is Launching A New Deadstock Capsule Collection – And It Redefines Sustainable Luxury

Trust Gabriela Hearst to come up with a link between upcycling and Ridley Scott. The designer today (5 October) opens an installation in Selfridges as part of its Project Earth sustainability initiative, and is launching an exclusive capsule collection, titled “Retro Fit”, alongside it. And as with every clever plan she comes up with, there’s a backstory.

“I always loved Blade Runner as a movie and I suddenly had this realisation a few years ago that we live in a retrofit world,” she says, speaking over FaceTime from Paris the day before her spring/summer 2021 show takes place in the city. “We have an air purifier in the house, we have ways to clean our water. We are always retrofitting and fixing everything that we are screwing up on this planet.” It made her think of the way she works at Gabriela Hearst, the eponymous womenswear line she founded in 2015, which is worn by women as discerning as the Duchess of Cambridge, who recently debuted a repurposed denim Hearst dress to meet David Attenborough, and Jill Biden, who wore a three-year-old silk dress for the presidential debate on 29 September. “In the last show we took existing coats from current inventory, cut them up and pieced them back together, reshaped and remade them. And nobody noticed that they were older coats.”

Retrofit, then, is a new label from Hearst made entirely from upcycled pieces of existing stock. “It’s about looking at what you have and giving it a new life,” she says. “We have been looking at our inventory and thinking about what we can dye, what we can embroider, can we change the belt, can we change the length – something we all used to do before we had access to cheaply made clothes.” The accompanying Selfridges installation will contain pieces of ex-display furniture from De La Espada, the Portuguese furniture brand with whom she also worked on her Mayfair store. “The directive was: it has to look great, not like an airport lounge. No overuse of mid-century! But we wanted to work with things that already exist and that we have access to.”

As for the clothes, headline pieces in the line-up include cashmere wraps and skirts that have been hand embroidered with new statement stitching; linen-silk shirt dresses (Hearst is a major fan of linen for its sustainable properties) that have been dip-dyed by hand in new colourways; and cashmere rollneck dresses that have been cut and re-tailored to become tunics. Plus, there’s a new limited-edition bucket bag, the Ana, which “basically looks like two of our bags had a baby,” as Hearst puts it. Made up of old stock from two existing bags, only seven will be available (she is famously controlled about her distribution when it comes to accessories). She laughs: “I thought, if it looks like a mess then we’re not doing it. But when I saw the bags in person, I was like, ‘These are cute! I’d like to wear them! We’re good!’” 

“Upcycling” is a much-used word this strange old catwalk season, with numerous designers using deadstock fabrics and reworking existing stock after a disastrous season of sales in the wake of the coronavirus. But Hearst has always done this out of choice, rather than financial necessity (though she’s quick to point out that one happy upside is that it’s far kinder on the purse to make environmentally-friendly choices, such as switching the transportation of clothes to being shipped by boat rather than plane). When she staged the first carbon-neutral runway show in New York, for her spring/summer 2020 collection, other major brands followed suit. “I’m happy,” she says, when I ask if it grates that so many designers are co-opting language and ideas she has been promoting for years. “We are not going to have any new natural resources – we need to work out how to work in a circular economy sooner rather than later.” 

Hearst has worked hard to make her sustainable clothes desirable – and though it’s been a tough year financially, the wholesale business in particular has held up well. “We were extremely surprised to see that wholesale was even to last year – it would have been up if we hadn’t been caught in the pandemic during spring shipping. So, it was a huge boost to know that people still want to invest in the product. I am full of gratitude.”

Her other challenge is to figure out how to continue to support the craftspeople whose work she continues to spotlight in her collections. One particular coat from her autumn/winter 2020 collection, which she calls “the dream” coat (as in, Joseph and his technicolour variety), and which retails at a not inconsiderable £6,590, sold out instantly. Now, she’s taking orders directly from customers and putting them in with the cashmere weavers in Uruguay who hand-make them.

She is intrigued, too, to see what other designers come up with when it comes to upcycling. As she points out, there is an inherent challenge in making old clothes look new. “From a creative perspective it shows what your taste level is – it can be a hot mess to do something with deadstock fabrics!” She takes her phone through the showroom and flips the camera around to show me a dress from her spring/summer 2021 catwalk, where two deadstock fabrics have been joined in the middle with hand-knotted leather. “This has been hand-worked. It’s all about how you put it together to make it look good. And it’s not so easy!” 

This Senegalese-Italian Model Walked More S/S'21 Shows Than Anyone Else

Since British Vogue last spoke to Maty Fall Diba in July, when she closed the Dior Cruise 2021 show, the Senegal-born, Italy-based model has starred in a whopping 37 spring/summer 2021 shows. She beat rising runway stars Malika Louback and Mika Schneider, who took second and third spot respectively, to take the crown as the most prolific model of the season. Rather apt, given that her starring turn on the Dior catwalk saw her wear an actual crown that created a luminous halo around her braids.

“I have a lot of highlights,” professes the 19-year-old, now back in Chiampo in the north of Italy after modelling her final spring/summer 2021 look for Chanel at Paris Fashion Week. “Dior, Fendi, Alberta Ferretti… My favourite look was the one from Ferragamo, because of the colour. I love orange!”

This season has been “so much more chill”, explains Maty Fall, because of the phygital format, which saw brands pivot to lookbooks, static presentations, and small salon-like shows, with just a handful of the traditional big-budget runway spectaculars. “You had time to do things… Last season was crazy, I was running everywhere!” she laughs. Despite pandemic-imposed restrictions and precautions, Maty Fall notes, “The atmosphere was kind of the same, there was the same craziness backstage.”

The season didn’t round out with celebrations, but with a return to her language studies. “Books are going to be my best friend until next June,” she says of juggling Spanish, French and English syllabuses via a mix of Zoom and IRL lectures.

“Hopefully I’ll be working whenever I can,” Maty Fall, who is signed to IMG, adds swiftly. She’s staying open to opportunities thrown her way by the big-name brands, such as Dior and Prada, who now consider her one of the family. “I feel like everything for me is still so new, everything is just [the best] job. Being able to wake up and do this is a dream.”

It might come as a surprise, after the sweet Fendi shorts sets, vibrant Versace playsuits, and delicate Victoria Beckham slips she has spent the last month wearing, but Maty Fall describes her style as homely. “I’m really a lazy person, so I like to be cosy and away from cold,” she shares. She’s equally modest when quizzed on the beauty products that keep her skin fresh and dewy. “I don’t know if we consider face moisturiser as an essential, but I can’t live without it!” The best advice she has ever received from the industry titans who have welcomed her with open arms is simply to “be yourself”. This is far from the last we have seen of this wonderfully self-effacing queen of spring/summer 2021.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

5 Things To Know About Chanel’s Elegant S/S'21 Show

The day before Chanel’s SS21 show, the house released a one minute and 46 second-long teaser video. The white capital letters of the Hollywood sign had been replaced with the Chanel logo in an arty black-and-white film by Inez & Vinoodh that panned over a palm tree-studded LA landscape and suddenly morphed into Paris. Sure enough, clips of Romy Schneider in La Piscine, Anna Karina in Pierrot le Fou and Jeanne Moreau in Ascenseur pour l’échafaud – three of French cinema’s starriest leading ladies and most famous movies – were spliced with the city-panning shots. On the morning of the show, more film clips were released that captured the models Mica Argañaraz, Rianne Van Rompaey and Louise de Chevigny in “recurring cinematic situations”: on the telephone, looking out the window sitting on a bed or walking down the street.

The scene was set, then, for a cinematic Franco-fest at a relatively scaled-back Chanel spring show at the Grand Palais, in Paris. Six towering white letters spelling out the brand’s name, dotted with neon lights, were positioned on a white painted catwalk in front of which white scaffolding chairs had been arranged at an appropriate distance. The letters were an evocative symbol of both simplicity and might – and Virginie Viard took the opportunity to hammer home the house codes. “This collection is a tribute to the muses of the house,” she said. Here are five things to know about the Chanel spring/summer 2021 show.

The show was a love letter to cinema – and life on the other side of the velvet rope

“I was thinking about actresses at the photocall, on the red carpet, that moment when they’re being called to by the photographers: their faces a little distracted, their attitude a little out of sync with the outfits they’re wearing,” said Virginie Viard. “This very lively side to cinema that happens beyond cinema.” In other words: life on the other side of the velvet rope, and one which Chanel has always had a big hand in defining. As the pre-show videos alluded to, Romy Schneider and Jeanne Moreau were famously friends of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, dropping in to her Paris apartment for tea and a fitting, discussing literature and lovers. And here, Viard showed everything a modern starlet might want in her wardrobe, from wide-legged jeans with a white Chanel-branded T-shirt with a bouclé jacket for popping to the shops, to an array of elegant, red-carpet-worthy evening gowns in black and white.

Pink denim was the surprise entry

Amongst all the feather-dusted gowns and trailing plumes of chiffon were some surprises: bubblegum pink denim, for one. Amongst pink denim jackets and quilted bags, Jill Kortleve showed off the high-waisted pink jeans to their best advantage, paired with a black bralette (another major trend for spring), a sheer cape and with a mini Chanel bag strung on a quilted chain strap around her waist. Note, too, the return of the Chanel T-bar sandals.

The jewellery was a highlight

Needing to spruce up a tired T-shirt? Layer up Chanel pearls and chains. As for a classic black pencil skirt? Try a pearl-and-rhinestone-studded chain belt slung across the hips. Chain-link leather chokers are easy-chic partners for black off-the-shoulder dresses, and a cream tweed short suit really should be worn with bows adorning the pockets, and a mini bag on a string of pearls dangling from the neck.

Chanel isn’t giving up on glamour

Trackpants? Please. Refusing to bow to potential pressure to reveal a collection entirely made of Chanel loungewear for all those double-C customers in plush lockdown situations, Viard sent out gowns destined for the red carpet, and the red carpet only. The first look out was a floor-length dress with an asymmetric neckline, paired with heels and a netted hair piece, with bows at the wrists. Elsewhere there were tweed and chiffon creations sporting a key detail and a micro trend we’ve seen elsewhere this season: cape detailing, which wafted in statesman-like fashion behind models as they walked.

The shoes had a retro vibe

Woven slingback sandals – the kind Schneider might have worn in La Piscine – were paired with multiple looks, lending a French-girl summer insouciance to the proceedings. Elsewhere, Viard brought back heeled T-bar sandals reminiscent of a style Keira Knightley, a face of the house, used to favour, back when she frequented the red carpet on the regular.

Lila Grace Moss Describes Her Catwalk Debut, Backstage At Miu Miu S/S'21

From the TV show that she and her mother, Kate Moss, were obsessed with during lockdown, to the beauty essential she takes everywhere — this is your one-minute catch up with Lila Grace Moss.

As far as autumns go, it’s been a major fortnight for catwalk star-in-the-making Lila Grace Moss. Just days after celebrating her 18th birthday, the daughter of Kate Moss and Dazed magazine co-founder Jefferson Hack made a blockbuster runway debut on Miu Miu’s SS21 catwalk. The show, which was broadcast from Milan on 6 October, is the exclamation point to end an extraordinary fashion month that’s seen the virtual FROW become something of a new normal.

From the lifestyle changes she’s making for the health of the planet, to the TV show that got her and mum, Kate Moss, through lockdown — this is your one-minute meet up with the fashion world’s brightest new star.

Hi Lila, congratulations on your first catwalk show! First up, the details: what should we be zooming in on?

“The make-up was very natural, but with extra attention to detail — look out for the eyebrow slit.”

You’ve already worked with luminaries including David Bailey, Tim Walker and David Sims. Which fashion creatives are you excited to collaborate with next?

“I’d love to work with Gray Sorrenti and Edward Enninful.”

When it comes to your own closet, which three items of clothing do you wear on repeat?

“Flared jeans, a cosy jumper and Nike Air Jordans.”

If you had to pick one investment piece for autumn, what would it be?

“Saint Laurent’s ‘Kate’ boots.”

What’s your signature beauty product?

“I take my Marc Jacobs O!Mega Coconut bronzer everywhere.”

Who do you follow for beauty inspiration?

“Pat McGrath and her team are incredible.”

What’s the best tip for taking care of your skin?

“Use SPF50 sunscreen on your face.”

What TV show got you through lockdown?

“Me and my mum watched [Michael Jordan basketball documentary] The Last Dance together — we couldn’t turn it off.”

Do you have a secret for getting a good night’s sleep?

“Rescue Remedy night spray.”

Our world is undergoing enormous transformations. What three lifestyle changes have you made this year for the benefit of the planet?

“Cutting down on eating meat, supporting sustainable brands, and avoiding single-use plastic wherever possible.”

Is there a cause close to your heart that we can also support?

“Project Zero does an amazing job of protecting our oceans.”

If we could teleport you to any restaurant in the world for a celebratory post-show dinner, where would that be? And what would you order?

“An amazing Japanese restaurant in Malaga [Spain] called Ta-Kumi and I’d order everything!”

Levi’s Wants To Help You Breathe Fresh Life Into Your Favourite Jeans

“Love what you wear and live with it longer,” says Richard Hurren, vice president of retail for Levi’s Europe. He’s referring to the denim brand’s latest sustainable initiative, Levi’s by Levi’s, which encourages customers to breathe new life into old pairs of jeans.

The project’s key focuses can be summed up in three Rs: repair, reimagine and recycle. To “repair”, the brand is inviting shoppers to upcycle their pre-loved denim with the help of tailors and the experts on hand at the Levi’s Haus concept store in Soho. The process of customisation involves patchwork and stitching and requires little energy – meaning jeans are given a fresh spin without further damage to the environment. 

On “reimagine”, Levi’s partnered with Indigowares on a well-crafted collection of 501 signature styles created using organic indigo dye and dip-dye or Shibori techniques. The best part? Every piece is one of a kind.

The brand’s final strategy, “recycle”, repurposed donations from the Levi’s community, along with its own store of returns and faulty items, into a range of new accessories. Tote bags, bucket hats and bum bags have been produced in collaboration with the Sew and Support vocational training programme, which was founded by the Worker Well Trust in Tower Hamlets, a charity that helps people struggling with mental health issues.

It’s no secret that the manufacture of denim has a destructive impact on the planet – according to Fashion Revolution, making just one pair of jeans uses around 9,500 litres of water. Through innovative new techniques, a dedicated sustainable focus and projects like Levi’s by Levi’s, brands are taking note – and shoppers are being urged to think differently about how they consume.

Longchamp’s New Fishnet Shopper Is Among A Plethora Of Mouthwatering S/S'21 Hits

Buttery, flaky croissants; warm baguettes; just-out-of-the oven brioche; if those absent from Paris Fashion Week this season were in any need of a reminder of what they’re missing, they needed only to dial in for a Zoom call with Longchamp creative director Sophie Delafontaine. She took over the Parisian grocery store La Maison Plisson to display her spring collection alongside its delightful produce.

Situated in the 1st arrondissement, just along from the Longchamp offices, Maison Plisson is one of the finest gourmet shops in Paris and has plenty in common with Longchamp. Firstly, it’s a Parisian family maison (like Longchamp – Delafontaine is the granddaughter of founder Jean Cassegrain), and secondly this store’s founder Delphine Plisson is fixated on quality, only working with the best suppliers. Ditto Longchamp. It’s easy to see how a friendship was struck up. “I loved the idea of presenting here because we wanted for it to feel like a warm, welcoming moment, and I think we all need that now, to share something with people we love,” explains Delafontaine.

Hanging by the fruit and veg section is Longchamp’s new fishnet bag, a collaboration with Filt, the original, Normandy-based house who created the net bag back in 1860. In six delicious colours it takes its inspiration from the typical grocery bag that you see Parisians carrying everyday but simply elevated with Longchamp’s recognisable leather flap-fastening and handles lifted from its famous Le Pliage carry all. “This grocery shopper is such an iconic Parisian bag; I love the simplicity of it, and I wanted to come back to Paris with a very Parisian spirit, and to give a touch of that Parisian spirit to the world,” says the designer who, for the last few seasons, has presented her collections in New York.

Delafontaine carried that fishnet motif through to ready-to-wear with macramé crop tops and maxi dresses intended as layering pieces, and elsewhere as “bibbed” necklines to punctuate super-feminine floral-printed silk dresses. Other highlights here included utilitarian jumpsuits, dungarees in camel-coloured butter soft suede, and silk blouses with sweet embroidery details.

And good news if we’re still working from home come spring: there are plenty of chic trackpants that you’d feel good about leaving the house in, you know, should you need to go grab some groceries. In other bag news? The Brioche, nestled here in the bakery section, is bound to be a hit. Quilted, and super lightweight it takes its name from the rich French bun, says Delafontaine: “Light and delicate with a gentle puff.” Mouth-watering in equal measure.