Monday, November 30, 2020

The History Of The Chanel Tweed Suit

Not many fashion items have withstood the test of time quite like a Chanel suit. The iconic two-piece set, originally introduced to the brand by French designer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel in the 1920´s and sustained by Karl Lagerfeld until his recent death in 2019, would not only live on to become a symbol of fashion, but a representation of the liberated woman. Worn by international fashion figures including Jackie Kennedy, Princess Diana, Brigitte Bardot, and Barbara Walters, the Chanel suit has become a representation of sophistication and an permanent staple for the storied brand.

In 1925, Chanel introduced the original idea for the suit at a small show in her salon on Rue de Cambon in Paris. Known for mixing traditional ideas of masculinity and femininity, Chanel took inspiration from the sportswear and menswear that her then-boyfriend, the Duke of Westminster, would wear. Chanel herself would even reportedly wear her lovers' clothes, because she believed menswear to be more comfortable than pre-war women’s fashion of the time.

Chanel wished to find a way to free women from the restrictive corsets and long skirts popular during the Belle Époch (defined as the period from 1871 up until the First World War in 1914.) Chanel wanted women to exude elegance while allowing them to move freely. In 1947, newcomer Christian Dior introduced the famed "New Look" to the fashion world with cinched waists and full-skirts that celebrated ultra-femininity and rivaled Chanel's message to women. In response, Chanel was quoted saying, "Dior doesn't dress women, he upholsters them."

Inspired by sportswear, the iconic course tweed fabric used in the detailed crafting of Chanel suits was initially not considered a glamorous textile. Tweed was primarily manufactured in Scottish twill mills, where Chanel discovered the true diversity of the fabric. Chanel’s passion for feminizing tweed by implementing new colors, materials, and textures to the then-underutilized fabric took the fashion world by storm, inspiring other French couturiers to employ her methods. The slim skirt and collarless jacket dubbed “Chanel’s uniform” became widely known with the help of press coverage, specifically a magazine image of actress Ina Claire dressed in a Chanel suit printed in 1924.

While Chanel's classic suit catered to the principles of First Wave Feminists during the early 20th century, Algerian-born Yves Saint Laurent stepped onto the fashion scene in 1966 with the creation of the "Le Smoking" tuxedo, a style inherent to the brand's aesthetic to today. The jacket aligned itself with the ideas of sexual liberation for the Second Wave Feminism movement, which arose during the '60´s. Few public establishments even allowed women to wear trousers inside, seeing it about as acceptable as wearing a bathing suit to dinner. Saint Laurent embraced the idea of female androgyny, which Chanel initially introduced into her works, but combined it with a cutting-edge sense of provocative sexuality for women that was absent from Chanel's vision.

The Chanel suit soon after caught the attention of some of the most influential women of all time. One of the most notable admirers of the suit, First Lady Jackie Kennedy, historically wore a pink Chanel suit on the day her husband United States President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Texas in 1963. The strawberry pink double-breasted suit was from the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1961 collection and was completed with a pillbox hat in typical Jackie O fashion. An oft-debated topic was the authenticity of the set, as many argued the suit was originally produced by Chez Ninon in 1961. It was later revealed that the suit was part of Chanel’s “line-for-line” system, with Chanel providing the supplies for Ninon. This method was for the purpose of appearing more patriotic by having the garment made on American soil rather than in France. This particular suit worn by the former first lady quickly became ingrained in U.S. history, as highly televised event of President Kennedy’s death led to nationwide recognition of the suit. In 2003, nine years after her mother’s death, Caroline Kennedy gifted the suit to the U.S., where it currently resides in the National Archives. It won’t be put on display until 2103 in order to avoid sensationalizing the horrific act.

A formal reproduction for the suit was later created in 2016 for Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Kennedy in the film Jackie. Reproduced by costume designer Madeline Fontaine, the Chanel team aided in the reproduction of the suit by providing some of the materials, including buttons and chains, and allowing the film to credit the label.

Following Gabrielle Chanel’s death in 1971, several assistants directed the designer’s couture and ready-to-wear lines until German-born Lagerfeld was appointed creative director in 1983, while sustaining his prior job at Fendi. Lagerfeld assumed the role with respect for the traditions of the house, retaining several items and methods intrinsic to the brand’s identity. His vision aligned with Chanel’s original wishes to propel the brand towards avant-garde fashion. Lagerfeld wished to move Chanel away from the pastel-colored boxy suits of the ‘50´s and drive Chanel into the ‘80´s.

Lagerfeld gradually began making slight changes to the timeless piece, all the while keeping in mind the power and popularity of Chanel’s original idea. As the result of a high price tag, Lagerfeld understood the mature appeal towards the suited style and aspired to rejuvenate the idea of the iconic item. He created suits from denim, punk-style tweed, and bright neon wool, paired with tweed bralettes and even some Chanel alpine skis. He did it little-by-little, noting at the time that, “Even if she never did it this way, it’s very Chanel, no?” Lagerfeld was an innovator, he tapped muses and '90´s supermodels including Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington, Vanessa Paradis, and Linda Evangelista for campaigns and fashion shows, challenging the more conservative past of Chanel.

In more recent years, the Chanel suit still inspires modern-era fashion designers. Notorious for his kitschy-chic designs, Jeremy Scott exhibited his debut show as creative director for Moschino for Fall/Winter 2014, which drew more than a few sartorial inspirations from the iconic French house.

The show referenced a hybrid of what appeared to be Lagerfeld-era Chanel suits, cross-bred with McDonalds. The satirical collection sent the fashion world into an uproar with suits that were virtually indistinguishable copies from the Chanel's classic designs (besides a Moschino logo, of course,) calling into question of inspiration versus imitation of heritage brands.

The Lagerfeld-era of Chanel advertisements and campaigns, many of which Lagerfeld himself photographed, preserved the brand’s identity of the opulent, empowered woman while introducing a younger, sexier side to the French brand. Lagerfeld is credited with promoting the logo branding of Chanel that has recently regained popularity. His use of the the iconic interlocking “CC” monograph on items from handbag locks to garments led to worldwide recognition of the insignia. Soon after, Chanel became an it-brand by maintaining their mature clientele, as well as ingratiating itself to new generations of young women.

Today, the Chanel suit remains a symbol of the historical fashion house and is repurposed in new ways every season. The cult classic is remembered as a fusion of comfort, luxury, and elegance, maintaining the same design ethos introduced by Coco over 90 years ago. With Lagerfeld altering the style and audience of the iconic piece, the suit has preserved its role as a true emblem in fashion history.

5 Young Designers Spotted At Fashion Month

This year's Spring/Summer 2021 season persisted in a new norm of virtual presentations and socially-distanced shows. Arguably, even the most high-quality live streams or short films can't hold a candle to the spark of seeing a new collection strut down the runway in real life. But what this limitation means to emerging designers of fashion capitals across the globe, is freedom. These rising stars confronted the industry's faltering reality face to face, and as they affirmed the message of optimism and creativity through garments, they simultaneously broke free of the glam and glory of in-person spectacles and turned to technology to unfold their designs at our fingertips via a single-screen experience. From New York's abstract, underground-influenced designers to London's next-generation talents wielding bold aesthetics, CR looks into five young, emerging designers from this fall fashion month season whose collections are prescient of the future to come.


At London Fashion Week, sexiness was elevated in 16Arlington's Spring/Summer 2021 collection. Known for their more-is-more aesthetic and lavish contemporary eveningwear, the creative duo behind the brand, Federica Cavenati and Marco Capaldo, spent their quarantine rethinking their approach to combat the world’s mercurial, banal domesticity. And the solution was clear: balancing minimalism and maximalism.

The collection delves into the allure and vastness of the ocean with seashell-inspired hues and tie-dyes. But amongst the pastels and pink, the duo decided to champion brown as the new It color in light leather, while a palpable ‘90s femininity gives away to the laid-back elegance of these dresses that exude a delicate opulence in their bias-cut velvet and slinky silk. With lush fabrics impeccably finished in cuts and drapes, 16Arlington delivered a body of art that communicates optimism and escapism for the future of fashion. And the duo’s expressive minimalism that invests in quality and timelessness, might just be the next aesthetic to look out for.

Edvin Thompson

Edvin Thompson, the designer behind the contemporary clothing brand Theophilio, presented its Spring/Summer 2021 collection entitled "Migration" during New York Fashion Week. Marrying the nostalgia of his juvenile years in Jamaica and the progressive culture of Brooklyn where Theophilio is based, Thompson’s mens and womenswear are a reflection and salute of life, of triumphs, and of overcoming tribulations.

At the roots of Thompson’s collection are Rastafarian flag colors (red, green, and gold). There is the soft shirts with extended sleeves, tank dresses in fringe and mesh, pleated and sheer slip tops, leather pants, color-blocked blazers, and wild paisley and leopard prints. Beyond Theophilio's core values of authenticity, Thompson also channeled his personal point of view as an immigrant. His pieces are told through a digital short film that takes viewers on a musical ride down the Dawkins Drive in Portmore, St. Catherine, Jamaica. As each collection staple flashes by, Thompson’s Jamaican roots and Brooklyn spirits clash and combust in Migration, constituting a wearable biography of Thompson, and the brand ideology of Theophilio.

Maximilian Davis

In London, Fashion East’s newcomer Maximilian Davis, undaunted by making his debut digitally, launched his freshman collection titled "J’ouvert". What is, at first glance, an ambitious vocation to unite sophisticated modern fashion with uplifting black creativity in London, is rooted in the rich history of Trinidadian Carnival intrinsic to Davis’ identity.

Emulating the extravaganza of Trinidadian Carnival costumes, the collection conveys an unbridled sex appeal tamed by a subtle reading of poise. The slashed calf-suede dresses with asymmetric straps and the pleated miniskirts and satin shirts decorated with goose feathers address the history of emancipation; the layered dress coats, harness-backed gowns, disjointed silhouettes, and the garment cut-outs throughout the collection echo the spirited attitude of carnival that came out of it. Presented in a lookbook that contrasts the palette of primary colors with the radiating skin of models, J’ouvert is Davis’ deeply personal narrative of celebrating black cultural heritage in all its splendor and nuance.

Maisie Wilen

Coming off her CFDA debut in New York, Maisie Wilen’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection is an exploration of viewing and manipulating the perception of clothes through their designs. Idealized the now inaccessible, her collection was made possible by her quarantine experience. On her inspiration, Wilen explained: “Coincidentally lockdown generated the exact environment of rarely seeing things in person, an ironically perfect setting for this research.”

Wilen’s collection flirts with the blurring of reality and fantasy. Its vivid, abstract prints bleed into each layering of fabrics, and the use of sheeny, metallic woven textiles is accentuated by the looseness of silhouettes, rendering an array of optical illusions in lime greens, neon pinks, and milky silvers. Along with her signature perforation and cut-outs, Wilen’s effortless flow of designs submerges viewers in an ethereal imagery evoked by the cookbook’s idyllic backdrop. Within, a unique air of femininity breaches through what is real and what is not, resonating with Wilen’s artistry as a visionary designer. 

Shuting Qiu

The abbreviated summer of 2020 was deprived of the sun-drenched paradise near the seashore and was marked by a constant impulse to be freed of physical constraints and uncertainty. For Milan Fashion Week, Chinese designer Shuting Qiu responded to these sentiments with a "Summer Wonderland" collection of freedom and light, by harnessing the apocalyptic beauty of summertime and the pensive nostalgia thereof.

Inspired by Russian neo-cubist artist Natalia Goncharova, Shuting Qiu’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection features the designer’s signature juxtaposition of loud, colorful prints splashed over silky jacquard miniskirts and matching tights. While experimenting with light fabrics and short lengths, Qiu also delivered asymmetric frocks and double-breasted blazers realized in beaded floral embroideries, bold checks, and stripe suiting. Her animated collection effortlessly echoes the effervescent memory of a midsummer beach getaway, and her documentary-style short-film presentation is a daring but romantic showcase of strong, elegant, confident heroines, inspired by the intimate beach photography of Martin Parr.

The History of Red Lipstick

Unpacking the deep, cultural history of the famed beauty product, Red Lipstick: an Ode to a Beauty Icon explores the lasting legacy of the legendary shade. Not just stories and anecdotes, but also vibrant, inspiring images from fine art, photography, beauty and fashion editorials and advertisements fill the tome—not to mention the style icons who wore it well.

Veteran beauty writer Rachel Felder has advised women for years on how to wear red lipstick, a trademark of her own style. As she explains to CR, “A lightbulb went off that this was something people were interested in. And the history of it is really deep and that had never been really explored either.” And thus, the book idea was born.

Featured in Red Lipstick are a series of hall of famers. Among them, punk rock stars Debbie Harry and Siouxsie Sioux, as well as pop music idols including Madonna and Rihanna. Felder also salutes the greats of vintage Hollywood including Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly in addition to Marilyn Monroe and her trademark red lipstick Max Factor Ruby Red, which is no longer available in the United States. Also included, of course, is a brief history of cult figure Coco Chanel. Red Lipstick also focuses on the suffragettes, World War II workforce, flappers, politicians, first ladies, and fashion world favorites who have boldly caught the public’s attention. 

During the process of researching and writing the book, Felder immersed herself in this makeup’s past. In fact, some details were new to her. One account involves wearing red as a political move: "Women during World War II wore it as an act of defiance because Hitler famously didn’t like red lipstick,” she says. Another highlight? The broad, societal spectrum: “Over the many centuries of red lipstick, prostitutes have worn it,” Felder shares. "Actresses wore it in an era when to be an actress was not something that was seen as a respectable profession. Then by the time of the 1950s when Queen Elizabeth was going to her coronation, she had a red lipstick created for that coronation specifically to match the red of the robes of her coronation outfit. Three different brands have been credited with creating that lipstick for her.”

Throughout time, one common thread between anyone wearing red is its global appeal and with that, a kind of fearless spirit. “So the thing about red is it’s extremely deliberate,” says Felder. “And putting on something that takes that kind of effort and puts the focus on you, inherently shows confidence. By simply putting it on, you’re doing something that’s empowering and conscious and bold and self assured. And then there’s the part that it’s universally flattering as long as you find your right sort of undertone of red.”

It’s no wonder there’s a faithful following behind the popularity of red lipstick. Both women and men have recognized its enormous influence to this day, and though it might rise and fall in seasonal trends, it remains a beauty staple, similarly as important as the essential little black dress. While countless articles exist online about red lipstick’s history—along with helpful tips—this book captures those poignant moments with richer depth. Through politics or making a fashion statement, its eye-catching allure transcends time, and its power, transformative. And as Hepburn once said, “On a bad day, there’s always lipstick.” 

Tom Ford Launches A Million Dollar Sustainability Prize And A Watch Made Entirely From Ocean Plastic Waste

Tom Ford is taking action to save our oceans. Here, he discusses why designing life-lasting products could be the key to customers shopping with the planet in mind.

The statistics are truly alarming. More than eight million tons of plastic enter the oceans each year, the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck full of the stuff into the seas every minute. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. “It’s one of the greatest issues facing us: polluting the oceans,” says Tom Ford. “If they die, we’re in big trouble.”

So, the designer is taking action. Today, he’s releasing a new watch made from 100 per cent ocean plastic, and he’s also announcing the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize. A $1m award will go to the innovator who designs a scalable replacement for thin-film plastic — the stuff that polybags are made of. The numbers on those are even more startling; up to five trillion are used and instantly discarded each year.

Ford remembers how he got turned on to the problem of single-use plastic. It was about five years ago, when he saw the actor Adrian Grenier talking about plastic straws on TV. “I remember thinking, ‘This is silly, what’s a straw?’ But then I thought, ‘Oh that makes a lot of sense: they’re a problem and they’re something we can cut out,’” Ford says. First he switched to metal straws for his morning coffees (he drinks two or three), and from there he swapped plastic bottles for glass bottles. “I told everyone at home and everyone at the office we’re getting rid of all single-use plastic. It all went off from seeing Adrian talk about straws.”

Now, Ford has partnered with Grenier and 52HZ, the advisory arm of Lonely Whale, an organisation the actor founded in 2015 with producer Lucy Sumner to positively impact the health of the oceans, on the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize. It’s a five-year commitment. A winner will be chosen in 2022, and by 2025, the plan is to bring the product to market. “It has to be scalable, a real actual solution that can be manufactured and produced, that’s a big part of it,” Ford says. “It’s been an education process for me, but I’m so excited about finding an alternative to a polybag.” Fashion, of course, relies on polybags to ship merchandise safely from factories to sales floors and from warehouses to homes, but the applications for this hypothetical alternative extend well beyond Ford’s own industry. “Every single thing you buy is packaged in single-use plastic,” Ford says. “It’s endless. And once your brain is keyed into that, you see it everywhere.”

The ugly truth is that recycling isn’t a long-term solution. There simply aren’t enough end uses for recycled plastic, and so rather than going to recycling facilities, much of it ends up in landfills and water sources that lead to the oceans. Ideally, we’d stop that cycle before plastics end up there — thus, the Innovation Prize. In the meantime, there’s the Tom Ford ocean plastic watch. Each one removes the equivalent of 35 bottles of plastic waste from the ocean. When he sells 1,000 watches, that’s approximately 490lb of plastic waste.

And Ford sees this watch as the first of many that he will make from ocean plastic. “I suppose it feels like plastic, if you know,” the designer says. “But it doesn’t feel like a compromise. It’s incredibly durable. It’s beautifully made. And it says ‘ocean plastic’ on it. You see it on your arm and you think, ‘Wow, you can make great things out of ocean plastic.’”

His customers are more aware of sustainability than ever, he says, but there are caveats. “They’re not going to buy it just because it’s more sustainable, and to be honest they’re not going to not buy it because it’s not sustainable. The thing about what I do: it’s not disposable. We’re producing products that are meant to last — products that if you manage to keep your figure you can wear your entire life, or give to someone else, your daughter, your son, or you sell them on 1stDibs for sometimes more than you paid for them. I think that’s the most ethical thing about what I do.”

Profound, change-the-course-of-Earth’s-history change will require the involvement of governments, such as the sweeping single-use plastic ban Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau announced last year. “We’re a capitalist culture,” Ford says. “You put up a hurdle like that and you have innovation, and so that is going to be the ultimate thing that pushes us: changing laws.” But until then, Ford is proud of his ocean watch. “As far as I know, it’s the first luxury timepiece made from ocean plastic. It’s inventive and I’m really proud of it,” he says. It’s like a straw, it’s a start.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Patrick McGoohan’s Arrival Suit On The Prisoner

The Prisoner debuted in the UK on this date in 1967, a passion project from Patrick McGoohan after his rise to stardom on the British espionage series Danger Man. Mystery continues to surround the series, which has been argued as a surreal explanation of ego and individualism within the trappings of the then-fashionable “spy-fi” genre mix, inspiring more questions than answers over its seventeen-episode run, including the true identity of McGoohan’s character known only as “Number 6”, suggested to be a continuation of John Drake from Danger Man or possibly even an allegory for the actor himself.

For decades, fans and followers of The Prisoners have dedicated themselves to unlocking the show’s mystery and meanings, including an exploration of the “true” order in which the episodes should be watched. (Check out the U.S. home page for The Prisoner, which made fantastic companion reading as I watched the series for the first time this year. I also enjoy the episode studies at Prisoner Pop Apostle.)

Co-created by McGoohan with George Markstein, The Prisoner wastes no time in establishing its unique espionage-meets-sci fi premise through an exciting opening credits sequence that was praised at the time and through the decades since. We follow McGoohan through the streets of London in his distinctive Lotus Seven following his contentious retirement from a shadowy secret service bureau, returning to his flat to hastily pack for what looks to be a tropical getaway… until he falls victim to an incapacitating agent gassed through the keyhole. The man awakens in what appears to be the same set of rooms, though transported to a seemingly idyllic seaside village where the title card tells us he has made his “Arrival”. Is it paradise or is it prison?

His questions pile on until he’s finally brought to the series’ first Number 2 (Guy Doleman, recognizable to James Bond fans as Count Lippe from Thunderball), who slyly confirms the latter when he asks “have you not yet realized there’s no way out?”

There have been several attempts to write about The Prisoner, including the rowing blazer and rollneck that would make up his everyday “uniform” in every following episode of the series, though several readers were also interested to read about Number 6’s own outfit that he wears in London and for his arrival in the village. As BAMF Style reader “Swordfish” suggested of this outfit, “his suit is really his own style and represents the individualism that his captors gradually try to strip away from him throughout the show.”

Mason & Sons has confirmed on their site that Patrick McGoohan was a personal client of Anthony Sinclair, the legendary Savile Row tailor who famously crafted Sean Connery’s suits as James Bond, though Sinclair likely had no hand in the clothing worn on The Prisoner, including the braided-edge blazer worn in every episode; a glimpse at the tag in a later episode instead suggests that Number 6’s everyday blazer was created by the British fashion house John Michael, confirmed by a Bonhams auction listing.

A separate Bonhams listing for this suit mentions a “Major, Hayward Ltd.” label that indicates it was crafted at the Fulham shop run by Dimi Major and Douglas Hayward, both of whom would go on to dress Bond actors George Lazenby and Roger Moore, respectively. (You can read more about the brief Major and Hayward partnership at Bond Suits.)

The charcoal lounge suit has a distinctive shine, suggestive of silk or perhaps mohair tonic, a then-fashionable blend of wool and mohair that was developed by textile company Dormeuil in the early 1960's and was embraced in England as the suiting of choice by mods throughout the decade. I’m more inclined to theorize that silk is the shining agent of choice on McGoohan’s suit as it lacks the subtlety of mohair.

The single-breasted suit jacket has notch lapels that roll to a lower two-button stance, detailed with welted breast pocket, straight hip pockets with narrow flaps, and double vents. The natural shoulders have slight roping at the sleeveheads and each sleeve is finished with three buttons at the cuff. Like McGoohan’s nailhead Danger Man suit that Bond Suits detailed, the jacket has a gently suppressed waist and front darts that extend to the bottom of the jacket, adding fullness to the chest.

Though it’s suggested that he’s a British agent, Number 6 has a less formal approach to daily dress than James Bond or even John Drake, though his choice to wear an untucked knit polo rather than a traditional shirt and tie may also be his way of showing disdain for the secret organization from which he’s resigning.

We never see Number 6’s shirt worn without the jacket, but the cloth is likely a soft, comfortable wool like merino or cashmere, worn over a white undershirt glimpsed as he attempts his desperate run from Rover on the beach. The shirt has three mother-of-pearl two-hole buttons, all worn fastened on a plain “French placket”, additionally detailed with an extra loop-fastened button at the top. Unlike many loop collars on traditional camp shirts, this additional button isn’t concealed by the collar so this exposed fourth button positioned just to the right of the top of the placket provides a distinctive, slightly askew look.

Appropriate for the less formal way Number 6 wears his suit, McGoohan wears black leather Chelsea boots with black elastic side gussets. Though this footwear style was at least a century old—developed during the Victorian era, reportedly for Queen Victoria herself—these elastic-sided paddock boots enjoyed a resurgence from the mod culture in mid-century England, specifically among the fashionable King’s Road set that led to their being dubbed “Chelsea boots.”

Number 6 cycles through a variety of watches across The Prisoner‘s series run, beginning with this steel-cased piece with a yellowed tan dial and worn on a textured black strap. This watch would be ruined by seawater in “The Chimes of Big Men” (the second episode to air but the fifth to be produced), so he would briefly swap it out for an Estonian agent’s steel watch on an expanding band.

In future episodes, we would notably see a stainless Camerer Cuss. & Co automatic watch on on a black leather strap and, on one occasion, a steel Tissot that he would dangle by its steel link bracelet to induce hypnosis in “A Change of Mind”.

Number 6 is told that his stylish suit is burnt during his overnight stay in the village infirmary in “Arrival”, leading to his being issued the now-famous everyday attire of a black piped rowing blazer by John Michael, navy rollneck, khakis, and boating shoes.

After the departure of co-creator George Markstein, The Prisoner grew increasingly surreal with episodes like “Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling” which starred Nigel Stock as Number 6, ostensibly as part of a body swap plot (in fact made to keep the show going while Patrick McGoohan was busy filming Ice Station Zebra.)

Stock was dressed in a manner likely meant to reflect Number 6’s suit from the opening credits, though even a cursory review makes it clear that the actor is wearing different clothes; the suit is a lighter slate-gray, made from a coarser flannel cloth and cut with a full three-button front, and the dark gray (rather than black) knit shirt has a plain three-button top of gray buttons rather than the unique 3+1 button configuration on McGoohan’s shirt.

Another of The Prisoner‘s latter-produced episodes, “The Girl Who Was Death”, brings the suit out of the closet for Number 6, albeit as part of his garb for a nighttime story he’s reading to the children of the Village. This time, he wears the suit with a French blue shirt with gold cuff links and a gold silk tie. He also dons a beige flat cap (with triple-snap brim) and raglan-sleeve raincoat, curiously wearing a pair of sand-colored suede chukka boots that coordinate more with this outerwear than the rest of the outfit.

The surreal sequence in “The Girl Who Was Death” continues with McGoohan wearing the same suit now included as part of a Sherlock Holmes-influenced disguise that includes a fawn-toned plaid sleeveless and half-caped overcoat worn with a white frilly double-cuff shirt, black string tie, and houndstooth tweed deerstalker cap as well as the decidedly non-Holmesian black-framed sunglasses. For this part of the episode, he’s also back to wearing black Chelsea boots.

After Number 6’s series-length struggle to regain his identity, he’s granted a reprieve in the finale episode, “Fall Out”, when the supervisor (Peter Swanwick, born today in 1922) leads him to a closet where a dummy in McGoohan’s likeness wears the clothes Number 6 had arrived in. “We thought you would feel happier as yourself,” the supervisor explains, allowing Number 6 to dress in these familiar duds.

Unlike some fictional English spies, Number 6 isn’t much of a drinker, most prominently imbibing after he receives a warning that his pint of beer was poisoned during the extended story-time sequence in “The Girl Who Was Death”. Number 6 calmly orders a shot from nearly every bottle within eyeshot, subsequently downing Courvoisier cognac, Vat 69 blended Scotch, vodka, Drambuie, Tia Maria, Cointreau, and Grand Marnier in rapid succession.

“Sir, you’ll make yourself sick!” the barmaid warns once he’s finished them all off, but that’s exactly what he intended. Similar to an action Daniel Craig’s 007 would take forty years later in Casino Royale, Number 6 lets the unwisely mixed liquors rebel in his stomach so that he can puke up the poisoned ale and live to spy another day.

Number 6 doesn’t typically have the opportunity to carry or use firearms until the chaotic finale “Fall Out” when he leads fellow prisoners in an armed revolt against the Village guards, mowing them down with his Thompson submachine gun against the juxtaposed reprise of the Beatles’ “All You Need is Love”.

With its vertical finger-grooved foregrip, 20-round box magazine, Cutts compensator, and the bolt handle on the top (rather than the side) of the frame, Number 6’s commandeered Tommy gun is clearly a pre-war Thompson, likely an M1921AC or M1928 popularized during the roaring ’20's “gangster era”.

While booze and guns may not be the standard trappings of Number 6’s preferred lifestyle, we do know that he has an affinity for automobiles, particularly his custom Lotus Seven that Patrick McGoohan drives around London during the famous opening credits.

Lotus introduced its tubular-framed, aluminum-bodied Seven in 1957 as its new entry level model, first rigging the open-top two-seater with a 1172 cc inline-four Ford engine that offered 40 horsepower. Though the Seven’s light weight and aerodynamic frame already aided its performance, it received an additional power boost with the launch of the Super Seven in 1961. This Series II Super Seven was powered by slightly larger engines from the Ford Consul Classic, modified by racing engineers at Cosworth, growing in size from 1340cc through 1498 cc to 1599 cc by the end of the generation’s production run.

The 1.6 L engine would be used in the final two iterations of the Seven, the Series III and Series IV. The latter was the largest, built on a squared fiberglass shell with a slightly longer wheelbase. After Colin Chapman planned to restructure his marque’s image away from the “kit car” styling, Lotus sold the rights to the Seven design to the newly formed specialized auto manufacturer Caterham Cars after the final Lotus Seven rolled off the production line in August 1973.

The Prisoner lore tells that the original choice for Number 6’s car was a Lotus Elan. However, when Lotus marketing director Graham Arnold provided both an Elan and a Seven, McGoohan’s preference for the Seven made it his character’s signature set of wheels, painted in British racing green with a bright yellow nose and registered “KAR 120C”. McGoohan’s character proves to be just as invested in the car as the actor himself, explaining to Mrs. Butterworth in “Many Happy Returns” that he had assembled his Lotus himself from a kit and reciting the engine serial number: 461043TZ. (Curiously, McGoohan does drive an Elan in the episode “The Girl Who Was Death”.)

During the production gap before the finale was filmed, the screen-used Lotus had already been sold so Caterham reportedly converted an earlier Lotus to resemble Number Six’s green-and-yellow Seven for its appearance at the end of “Fall Out”, where it was driven by Caterham founder Graham Nearn

A half-decade after The Prisoner concluded, Caterham Cars was officially founded and took over the reigns from Lotus as official producers of the Seven, continuing to offer both kits and fully assembled versions of the design. Among the thousands of the Caterham 7 cars manufactured in the nearly 50 years since production began, Caterham Cars did introduce a Prisoner-branded trim package in 1989 painted in Number 6’s preferred green-and-yellow livery.

Patrick McGoohan’s Number Six on The Prisoner provides a fashionably informal alternative to more traditionally tailored English secret agents of the ’60's, dressing for what would prove to be a transformative day in a charcoal silk suit paired with a tonally coordinated black polo buttoned to the neck with Chelsea boots.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Model With Down Syndrome Becomes The Face Of The Beauty Brand 'Benefit Cosmetics'

We have always idealized beauty. When it comes to fashion and popular media, we always see skinny and tall models shining up in the ramp and we all try to be like them as we think it to be the ‘beauty’. As a result of these dominant ideas, people with dark skin, short heights, and the ones who are not skinny, never come out and they look down upon themselves as they do not fit into these ideals.

However, in this changing time, many dominant narrations are being subverted and so is the fashion industry. The popular fashion brand, Benefit Cosmetics has chosen a girl with Down syndrome not only for their marketing campaigns but also as the ambassador of their whole brand.

The heroine of our story, Kate Grant is a 20-year-old girl who has dreamt of a career in the fashion industry throughout her entire life. She received the crown in the Teem Ultimate Beauty of the World pageant and that paved the way to appear on national television during the “This Morning” program in 2018.

She always wanted to be the first model with Down Syndrome and yeah, her dream came true. When Benefit cosmetics realized what a kind and a beautiful woman Kate is, they never hesitated to give her this massive opportunity. The company has branches all over the world and now Kate is featuring in their latest eyeliner products.

The company has taken the right initiative in changing the norms of the beauty industry and Kate undoubtfully is the best person for this challenge. This is the high time for all of us to change our conventional mindset and look out of the box and we do congratulate Kate and Benefit Cosmetics for a huge success.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Next-Up On Dua Lipa’s Jam-Packed 2020 Schedule? A Collaboration With Puma

“My very first memory of Puma was when I was around six or seven years old and my Dad bought us a pair of matching burgundy suede sneakers, they were my favourite shoes!” Dua Lipa told British Vogue.

Nearly a decade on from when the singer wore her father-daughter Pumas, she is set to join forces with the brand in a professional capacity, working on a series of collaborations. “From performance rehearsals to hiking in the hills, it’s important to feel comfortable and look good,” she remarks. “I’ve got so many ideas for the projects and campaigns I’ll be taking part in, and look forward to bringing them all to life with the Puma team.”

As the new face of the brand, Dua will feature in numerous campaigns and support empowering initiatives to inspire women all over the world. From next year, she will headline Puma’s She Moves Us project, a female-focused partnership that champions connectivity through sport and culture. 

To kickstart the collab, Puma will serve as the key sponsors of the star’s highly anticipated Studio 2054 project. Set to be livestreamed on 27 November, Dua’s virtual world comprises a series of killer performances: just this week, she announced that FKA Twigs has joined the glittering line-up. 

Teasers of her active calendar appointments and non-stop rehearsals have dominated the singer’s Instagram feed of late. True to her fashion aficionado status, each post has debuted multiple stylish looks, the majority of which have featured new sparkling additions from Italian jewellery brands Eéra and Bea Bongiasca.

Hot on the heels of her Future Nostalgia album launch – whose track list features the likes of Madonna, Missy Elliott, Gwen Stefani, Mark Ronson and Yaeji – Studio 2054 acts as a culmination of Dua’s jam-packed 2020 schedule.

Since turning 25 in August, the singer has released a TikTok music video for her upbeat intergalactic tune “Levitating,” and a similarly melodic song entitled “Fever” co-starring Angèle. And if that wasn’t enough, the former Vogue cover star has hosted an Instagram Live conversation with Elton John, appeared on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and received a duo of AMA nominations for Best Song Pop/Rock and Favourite Female Artist Pop/Rock.

“I guess I kind of never stopped really,” she told British Vogue last month, speaking of her perennially busy diary. “I do really enjoy just like, cooking and being at home. It’s something I don’t really get the opportunity to do when I’m travelling so often,” she added.

The 11 Biggest Autumn/Winter 2020 Trends

In this strangest of years, you could be forgiven for thinking that the autumn/winter 2020 trends are somewhat moot. So much has happened in the world since Louis Vuitton closed out the season in early March. Back then, fears of the coronavirus swirled, and many journalists, buyers and influencers skipped town early. Very few, though, could have predicted the scale of the global shutdown that was to follow – nor predicted the many ways in which it has left the relative weaknesses of the fashion industry exposed.

If the pandemic has given us a renewed sense of perspective on fashion’s relentless pace, its voracious desire for newness, and the pressures this places on people and the planet, it has also reinforced that most basic tenet: at its best, fashion can decorate your day, inspiring and edifying in equal measure. As the countless “lockdown looks” posted on social media in the last few months attest, wearing good clothes can lift the spirits immeasurably. While many fashion houses were forced to stall production on their autumn/winter 2020 collections, the phenomenal creativity on show back in February and March prevails in the pages of Vogue: never underestimate the power of a great fashion story to lift your spirits – nor that of a gallery of fabulous looks from the catwalks of New York, London, Milan and Paris. 

The tale of the autumn/winter 2020 season may yet be best summed up with the idiomatic “all dressed up with nowhere to go”: eveningwear exemplars were all over the catwalks. Even if you’re confined to your living room, you can expect serious fun with the season’s extraordinary volumes, manifesting in everything from ballooning sleeves (as seen at Chanel, Fendi, et al) to exploding skirts (most jaw-droppingly at Gucci, Molly Goddard, Off-White, and Carolina Herrera). Gorgeous gold, too, was a prevalent theme on the runways – Tom Ford’s cut-away number was shown in Los Angeles to its best advantage by Bella Hadid – as was an exuberant weakness for fringing (you can thank Miuccia Prada for that). 

Elsewhere, a somewhat studious theme emerged, equally suitable for these sobering times. Nerdy knitwear abounded, with cardigans and argyle sweaters paired with everything from go-anywhere denim to after-dark silks. As did skirt suits, which are surely the most empowering purchase you can make if you’re planning a serious “back-to-work” look when the office reopens. And when we say there is a lot of head-to-toe black – well, trust us. Black is most certainly back.

Then there are the “just because” pieces that will never fail to delight. Seeking to make one key investment buy this season? Make it a hot red dress, preferably in slinky sequins. (Most of the front row is still dreaming of Adut Akech in Valentino’s paragon.) Here’s Vogue’s edit of the biggest autumn/winter 2020 trends.

The Balloon Affair

Whether you’ve got Anthony van Dyck’s portrait of Queen Henrietta Maria or Dynasty’s Alexis Carrington saved in your iPhone screenshots, there is only one rule when it comes to sleeves this season: pump, pump, pump it up. From refined ruffles and leg o’ mutton shapes at Max Mara to choux pastry puffs at Chanel, statement swathes at Jil Sander and shoulder shelves at Isabel Marant, nothing says “she’s arrived” quite like an XXL sleeve.

Gold Standard

Gold has smashed through a new price record on the global markets as the pandemic continues to take effect, but fashion got there first: the February runways were filled with glistening gowns (Tom Ford and Oscar de la Renta), sumptuous day dresses (Celine), and one-off armoured Joan of Arc-inspired outfits (Paco Rabanne). If you’re shopping for a Christmas party number, this is the hue to pursue.

Cardigan Square

One nil to the street-style set: after seasons of ‘It’ girls and influencers championing the shrug-it-on ease of a cardigan, the librarian favourite is back on all the biggest and brightest catwalks. Worn with everything from Seventies-hued denim (see Chloé) to trouser suits (Coach 1941) and pencil skirts (Fendi, Christopher Kane), our favourite look came courtesy of Jacquemus, where Simon Porte Jacquemus, with the help of Jill Kortleve, made the cardigan sex symbol-worthy.

Reality Check

Gather up those tartans, houndstooths, ginghams and Prince of Wales checks and get to work: this is the easiest trend of the season, and all it requires is an unabashed passion for clashing. From Alexander McQueen to Brandon Maxwell, who offered elegant cross-hatched “yes Marm” dresses at one end of the spectrum, mixed with grown-up leather accessories, to Burberry at the other, where tights, skirts, coats, and headscarves in jubilant house checks were worn altogether, there are multiple ways to wear your squares come autumn.

Swish Swish

The first look out at Prada almost always ends up proving definitive of the season, and autumn/winter 2020 was no different: Miuccia Prada paired a businesslike grey blazer with an ebullient fringed skirt and just like that, femininity was bolstered for another autumn. “I wanted to use fringe as a symbol of what is considered feminine… the quintessential cliché. This is a way of saying that you can be strong and feminine at the same time,” she said, of her new wardrobe equation. Elsewhere, designers fell for fringe in a big way: from ’20s flapper-style tassels at Dior, to wild chunky trails on coats, bags and dresses at Bottega Veneta, these styles are best worn with a forward-march sense of resolve.

Enter The Matrix

Your coat’s vital stats for autumn: take Keanu Reeves’s Matrix character as your muse and make like Neo. Yes, there were XXL coats and shearling coats and trench coats and capes, but it was the buttery-soft leather coats that caught our eye. Structured and a little prim at Fendi and Versace, louche and more Nineties at Khaite and Tod’s, you’ll be surprised with how quickly they add a little polish to your jeans-and-a-sweater combo. Not convinced? As the Architect would say: “Denial is the most predictable of all human responses.”

Red Alert

If the allure of the red dress has passed you by, get thee to Valentino – no one does the fiery hue quite like the Italian brand, after all. Hot on its heels is Bottega Veneta, whose sequin-spangled version was worn with rubber wellingtons – proof, if you needed it, that this is quite simply an item that can be paired with, uh, anything. Fiery, unapologetic, it’s worth investing in this season. As Vogue once opined, “You cannot retreat in red”. Go get ’em.

The New Suit

A skirt suit? For 2020, this slobbiest of years, measured out in working-from-home track pants? We’re serious. If you’re planning a return to the office, why not look the part, in lemon-yellow Marc Jacobs?

Press To Inflate

Already pressed inflate on your sleeves? Well then, you’re halfway to autumn’s boldest look, which deals in extraordinary proportions and even leaves room for lunch. From bulbous creations at JW Anderson to Marie Antoinette-inspired cake dresses with serious presence at Moschino, unexpected volumes lifted numerous collections. Our top: start small, then rise to the occasion.

Borrowed From The Boys

Bella Hadid was all over this traditionally masculine trend before it hit the catwalks. No wonder, then, that Matthew Williams, the newly installed creative director at Givenchy, put her in a leather tie and white shirt combo from his Alyx collection. Doesn’t she look… ravishing? There are plenty of places to grab a slice of that, from Dolce & Gabbana to Gucci and Versace.

Back To Black

As the autumn shows drew to a close, the front row lost count of how many had opened with a head-to-toe black look. Even Pierpaolo Piccioli, the master of colour, fell for it in a big way at Valentino, editing out the striking neons and rich colour pairings that have defined his solo tenure at the house in favour of black sequins, black corsets, black trousers, black coats. It was moody and sexy – and echoed elsewhere, often with some black leather thrown in for good measure (thigh-high, second-skin leather boots alert!) at Alexander McQueen and Victoria Beckham. Even the grown-up tailoring at The Row and Carolina Herrera had a moody edge. And if head-to-toe feels a little severe, well, a pair of stompy boots is non-negotiable.

Elite Model Management To Offer Insurance For Models

Elite Model Management USA is introducing insurance for models, a first in the industry.

Health-care access and coverage will be made available to all models represented by Elite Model Management USA at a low cost, effective Nov. 15.

Models, who are considered independent contractors and not entitled to many employment-related benefits, have typically had to seek out coverage by other means, if at all

Sergio Leccese, Elite USA’s chief financial officer, said, “Modeling is one of the most exciting, yet unpredictable careers possible. We’ve always made it our mission to prepare our models for that unpredictability and protect them so they can flourish at the highest level. Insurance for Models is a natural extension of that core philosophy. We wanted to give our roster of models unparalleled peace of mind. This way, if they face a natural accident or interruption customary for any other profession, they know they’re taken care of — even if they’re on the other side of the world.”

Coverage will include medical assistance, medical expenses (including dental), personal accident, private third-party liability, travel/flight inconvenience (delayed/cancelled flights, missed connections, delayed return of luggage) and cover stay (in case of medical detention ordered by authorities for safety reasons).

The plan will be administered by Strategica Insurance Management, an international insurance broker, and underwritten by AXA Assistance — Inter Partner Assistance S.A., a leader in travel insurance and assistance, in conjunction with Elite. The insurance plan will be accepted internationally. Models can manage their policies with a web app, which features a dashboard for the network and 24/7 emergency medical assistance.

According to Leccese, the insurance plan’s cost to the model is $580 a year, and it can be deducted monthly from their statement. Elite isn’t subsidizing the costs. He is hoping that other modeling agencies will offer this plan to their models as an industry benefit.

He said Elite made this move to be able to give the models additional support, in the same way that they offer advice in banking, real estate and other investment matters. He is offering this plan to Elite’s talent, which includes models, actors, musicians, DJs, influencers and athletes, at its New York, Miami and Los Angeles offices. They will be covered globally under the plan. Elite doesn’t offer 401(k) plans to its models or pay worker’s compensation for its models.

He explained that the plan is custom-made for the model, and an affordable rate is possible because the models are coming in as a group.

In citing some examples, Leccese noted that if a model gets a bad scratch on their face and can’t work, she would be covered, even though a regular working person wouldn’t get covered for a scratch. If a model gets injured on a shoot, the client’s insurance covers it, but if the injury is the fault of the model, she is covered by the model insurance. If the model damages someone or something during the shoot, she also has the third-party liabilities that covers models. Mental health is covered if it’s a consequence of an incident, he added.

Sydney Giordano, associate director of Model Alliance, a New York-based advocacy group focused on models and others employed in the fashion industry, confirmed that modeling agencies haven’t offered health insurance or other benefits to models, “and many models remain uninsured.”

“In the past, we at the Model Alliance have helped to register models who are uninsured to enroll in health insurance plans through the New York State of Health Marketplace,” she said.

Do Fashion Films Have A Future In The Industry?

As another season of fashion shows comes to a close, what once seemed like a giant question mark has...well, came and went. The Spring/Summer 2021 shows confronted designers with different questions than usual: instead of where and when to show a collection, they had to get creative and show their collections in new and more socially distant ways.

While some opted for in-person shows with limited and distanced guests, several designers took to the digital realm to showcase clothing through artistic mediums like film and photography projects. Scaling larger-than-life runway presentations down to the size of a computer screen is no easy task, however, designers stepped outside their comfort zones composing new and inventive approaches to the traditional catwalk presentation in an effort to create engaging virtual experiences for those on the other side of their device screens. Between lush visuals, musical scores, and docu-style formats, there was no lack of excitement despite mandates of social distancing.

The season posed challenges for designers, yet each participating house helped create a new and modernized concept of the traditional fashion runway we all know and love. As the future of the fashion shows seems more and more unclear, the format of the fashion film has provided an alternate strategy for designers to artfully present their collections in a safe and effective ways. While the big production fashion shows may be a thing of the past, we look towards a future of experimental (and socially distant) ways to show off the sartorial splendors fashion month offers up. 

Michael Kors

The unveiling of Michael Kors Collection Spring/Summer 2021 was accompanied by a documentary film, Up On The Roof, which explored the strength and spirit of New York City. Narrated by Kors himself, the short video unearthed the designer's inspiration for the season—nature interpreted through an urban lens.

The essence of the collection was embodied by budding filmmaker, writer, and visual artist Haley Elizabeth Anderson. Showcasing the beauty of the metropolis Kors calls home, the film also featured surprise guest and founder of the New York Restoration Project Bette Midler, whose commitment to transforming urban spaces only affirmed the brand's heartening message.


Becca McCharen-Tran, designer and founder of Chromat, enlisted the activist Tourmaline to create the brand's Spring/Summer 2021 film entitled Joy Run. In partnership with Reebok, the film and collection personify Chromat's long-standing goal of a more diverse and gender-inclusive athletic space. 

The film tells the story of two trans athletes, Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, who became activists for the trans community when Connecticut parents petitioned to ban the two from playing on female sports teams. Olympians who have been discriminated against also tell their stories, including Caster Semenya, who was forced to undergo sex testing and withdraw from the competition after winning the 2009 World Championships.

Tran and Tourmaline juxtapose stories of struggle with stories of activism, hope, and joy, hence the film's title. The duo's goal is to show sports as an enjoyable and joyful space for everyone at any level, regardless of gender identity. 

Salvatore Ferragamo

The Salvatore Ferragamo show took place in person at the Rotonda Della Besana in Milan, but it opened with nine minutes of Alfred Hitchcock-inspired fashion film directed by Luca Guadagnino. Titled Suspense, Intrigue and Beauty, the film features Ferragamo-clad models like Anok Yai, Mariacarla Boscono, and Maggie Cheng strutting through grandiose Milanese locations, heels clacking with each step. Like many of Hitchcock's films, the Ferragamo film presentation evoked an elegant blend of suspense, intrigue, and beauty that climaxed with the opening of the runway show.


Instead of a regular Loewe runway show, creative director Jonathon Anderson opted for a "Show-on-the-Wall": a box filled with everything he wanted his audience to experience, delivered promptly to them ahead of the collection's release. The box included posters of the Spring/Summer 2021 looks, sheet music, a roll of wallpaper, and more. In an exclusive mini film, Anderson walks through the concept of this experience, unveils the posters, and describes each look. 


Jeremy Scott's Moschino collections usually follow the more-is-more mantra, but for this unorthodox season, the designer took a scaled down approach by literally shrinking everything. He debuted the Moschino Spring/Summer 2021 collection through a puppet show with marionette dolls as models wearing miniature versions of the looks. He even included doll versions of typical show guests. 

Thom Browne

The press release for Thom Browne's men's and women's Spring/Summer 2021 collection read, "good afternoon and welcome...reporting to you live from 239,000 miles above the earth, in celebration of the first lunar games." The collection wasn't actually 239,000 miles above Earth, but rather at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where it was shot in a video format. Home to the Summer 2028 Olympic games and many Olympic games past, the Coliseum served as the backdrop for Browne's 2132 Lunar Games: a futuristic version of the Olympics in which models and athletes paraded down rows of steps in a re-imagined opening ceremony. A tailored ode to sport and sportsmanship, the collection included Browne's iconic suits interpreted in new ways.

Stella McCartney

Fashion's queen of sustainability presented her collection through a short video filmed in the gardens of Houghton Hall in Norfolk. Shot by creative duo Mert & Marcus and entitled McCartney A to Z Manifesto, which refers to an A to Z list of brand pillars that McCartney created ("A" for accountable, "S" for sustainable, "Z" for zero waste, etc.), the film expresses a desire for the connection of nature, art and fashion. 

Maison Margiela

For Maison Margiela's Spring/Summer 2021 collection, John Galliano published a nearly 45-minute long film called S.W.A.L.K. II, a sequel to the brand's summer film released during Haute Couture season in July. Nick Knight directed the film in Tuscany, and it features Galliano himself discussing his inspiration for the collection: the tango, translated through fiery reds and accented with whites and greys. Perhaps the best part, though, is the underwater wedding that takes place at the film's closing. A bride and nine accompanying characters are fully submerged, their Margiela looks billowing in the hazy blue water.


In this unprecedented season, Creative Director Casey Cadwallader unveils his ambitious prelude to Mugler's Spring Summer 2021 collection in a short film directed by Florian Joahn. The film is a tribute to the city of Paris, depicting both the bourgeoisie and the suburbs while introducing a global, dynamic cast of models in Parisian skylines and interiors. An almost trompe l’oeil visual effect permeates throughout the collection against a pulsing electronic backdrop in the film, and Mugler's new line emerges in this psychedelic clash between Mugler’s past and present aesthetics. With that said, Mugler's legacy is intact and embraced, as the short film celebrates the fashion fantasia of the Mugler universe like never before.


With a grand note on fashion globalization, Marni's Creative Director Francesco alongside Artistic Director Babak Radboy delivered a collection on a worldwide scale, fusing live-broadcasting and social-distancing for a show spanning four continents and dozens of cities. Dubbed Marnifesto, the presentation engages with viewers and models as human beings, portraying each person walking in the collection (live or pre-recorded) to show a snippet of their daily lives with their complete individual autonomy, in a venue that is anywhere and everywhere imaginable.

Captured on camera phones by their loved ones, the film is truly a manifesto of visual storytelling in a time of uncertainty, and Marnifesto nonetheless affirms that there is power in fashion film presentation: the power of fashion democratization, and the power of creative masses in the future to come.

By Far And Vestiaire Collective Unveil An Upcycled Edit Of It Girl-Ready Accessories

“All our pieces are designed with quality and longevity in mind; we believe a circular approach to fashion lies at the heart of achieving a more sustainable future for all,” say By Far founders Sabina Gyosheva, Valentina Ignatova and Denitsa Bumbarova. Keen to promote conscious consumption, the trio has teamed-up with Vestiaire Collective on a capsule of By Far signature pieces, reworked with a sustainable spin. 

Made up of two parts, the first chapter of the new Future Collectibles edit features six upcycled Mini Rachel bag styles, fashioned from deadstock and pre-loved By Far pieces found on the Vestiaire site. The shoulder bags have been decorated with appliqués that replicate floral motifs, and the distinctive chainlink adornment dangles from the strap.

The three women also cherry-picked 20 archive pieces from their own closets. Customers will be able to get their hands on By Far styles that have been central to the success of the It-girl favourite brand since the beginning – namely the very first Rachel bag and boots ever released, and the now discontinued Scandi mule, which was snapped up by Irina Shayk, Bella Hadid, Elsa Hosk and Priyanka Chopra.

“Fashion resale and recycling is one of the solutions that can have a positive impact on the current climate crisis, allowing fashion lovers to extend the lifespan of their pieces and encouraging participation in the circular economy, which will help address the urgent issue of waste reduction,” Vestiaire co-founder Fanny Moizant tells British Vogue. “More and more we see first-hand brands adapting to include resale and recycling into their strategy, and we hope by partnering with brands such as By Far, that we lead by example and continue to see the change towards a more sustainable fashion future.”

Teaming up with By Far was an easy decision for Moizant and her co-founder Sophie Hersan – hype surrounding the brand has sky-rocketed in recent years. The best part? All proceeds from the collab are being donated to Women For Women International, a humanitarian organisation that supports women in war-torn countries.

It’s part of an ongoing series of partnerships that reflect Vestiaire’s commitment to sustainability. “The Future Collectibles, we feel are the future icons, the ones that consumers will still be searching for for many years to come,” says Moizant. 

A Look Behind Burberry’s New Planet-Conscious Cashmere Project

With winter fast approaching, it’s officially cashmere sweater season. Soft, luxurious, and most importantly warm, it’s the ultimate staple for this time of the year — particularly for those of us who are WFH for the foreseeable future. Sadly, our love of cashmere can come at a tremendous cost to the environment, particularly in places such as Mongolia, where overgrazing and climate change have led to the degradation of an estimated 70 per cent of grasslands, with a shocking 25 per cent turned to desert. 

That’s why The Burberry Foundation — Burberry’s philanthropic arm — has set up a five-year programme to ensure that cashmere is produced as sustainably as possible, as part of the luxury brand’s mission to give back to society (as seen through their recent partnership with British footballer Marcus Rashford to help children living in poverty). Based in Afghanistan, the cashmere initiative provides goat herders with training on sustainable farming, harvesting techniques and animal welfare practices, helping them to achieve higher quality cashmere and, in turn, higher prices for the natural fibre. 

“Cashmere is a really important raw material for the luxury fashion industry,” Pam Batty, secretary to the Burberry Foundation and VP of corporate responsibility at Burberry, tells Vogue. “We chose Afghanistan [for the programme] because it’s the world’s third-largest producer of cashmere after China and Mongolia. We were also very aware of the social and economic challenges [faced by] the people of Afghanistan — it’s suffered from years of conflict and has been impacted significantly by climate change.”

What does Burberry’s cashmere initiative involve?

Despite 90 per cent of goats in Afghanistan producing cashmere, the vast majority of herders are simply not aware of its value as a luxury raw material. “They’re sitting on a goldmine if the right techniques are employed,” says Agnė Baltaduonytė, advocacy manager at Oxfam in Afghanistan, which is partnering with Burberry on the initiative. “It starts with knowledge: ‘This is how you clean it’, ‘This is how you process it’.”

Helping goat-herders to form collectives allows them to get higher prices for their cashmere. Previously, individual herders would have to sell to middlemen rather than the big traders — meaning they’d be paid significantly less. In less than three years, the initiative has helped raise the price of cashmere in Afghanistan from $17 per kg in 2017 to as high as $31 per kg in 2019. “Now herders have access to one-stop shops inside their communities, where they can collect their cashmere [together] and sell a larger amount for a much higher price,” says Mohammad Ali Roshan, cashmere programme manager at Oxfam in Afghanistan. 

Empowering women, who play a crucial role in these herding communities, is another key aspect of Burberry’s cashmere initiative. “Women are often the ones working with livestock, doing the dehairing [separating fine cashmere from the coarser hairs],” Baltaduonytė says, adding that 28 per cent of the herders supported through the initiative so far are women. “We've been trying to promote women in leadership positions, and having female co-ordinators at the stop shops.”

How will the Burberry initiative help to protect the environment?

Ensuring that herders in Afghanistan have financial security is important from an environmental perspective, too. “We are seeing overstocking of pastures, but it’s not cashmere that’s producing that situation — there are a lot of different livestocks that Afghan producers have,” explains Andrew Nobrega, global programmes director at PUR Projet, a bespoke project development company working on the initiative. “If we want to see a reduction of overstocking, we need to improve the livelihoods of the producers so they have the flexibility to help manage those ecosystems in a better way.”

While land degradation from cashmere production is not currently an issue in Afghanistan, the programme offers training in regenerative farming techniques to prevent it from becoming one in the future. “We're seeking to promote the ideals of good pasture management, which should regenerate the pasture and sequester carbon over time,” Nobrega adds. Enabling herders to achieve higher yields of cashmere from fewer goats will also help protect natural resources in the long-term: “We need [producers] to understand how to protect the sustainability of this programme, so they can continue to produce this [cashmere] in perpetuity.” 

Creating a more responsible fashion industry

The Burberry Foundation’s cashmere initiative shows the impact fashion can have on local communities, by building closer relationships with producers in the supply chain. “It’s about livelihoods,” Batty says, describing how the climate crisis is making living conditions in Afghanistan more precarious. “Last year there was a severe drought, and they're becoming more frequent. Building this resilience in the communities on the ground is really important.”

With sustainability now a key concern for consumers, the project will help brands source cashmere more responsibly by diversifying the range of options on offer. While recycled cashmere is becoming an increasingly popular choice for eco-conscious brands, continuing to support the livelihoods of cashmere herders remains important. “Recycling is fantastic from a climate change and resource perspective,” Nobrega explains. “At the same time, there's a real opportunity to actively improve the livelihoods of people in vulnerable positions, and promote net-positive environmental action; it's finding the right balance.”

The programme is a tangible example of what fashion brands can actually achieve on the ground, in a relatively short space of time — allowing us to make cashmere purchases with a clearer conscience. “Burberry has stepped up and said it wants to address this [issue], and improve the sustainability of the cashmere industry as a whole,” Nobrega says. “[Brands] have to take responsibility and say we represent an industry that cares about climate change, social wellbeing and equity.”

Dolce & Gabbana To Stage Digital See-Now-Buy-Now Runway Shows Every Month

As lockdowns keep the future of fashion shows in limbo – and customers away from stores – Dolce & Gabbana have come up with a digital answer to both challenges. Stefano Gabbana speaks to Vogue about the designers’ newest initiative: monthly digital see-now-buy-now runway shows.

If the pandemic has been posing a threat to the runway show, Dolce & Gabbana have no intention of giving in. Today (13 October) the designers are releasing Walking in the Street, the first in a new monthly series of digital capsule shows released on their website, “While everything is in development, we try to make something different,” Stefano Gabbana explains on the phone from Milan. “Not to ‘stay alive’,” as he puts it, but to get with the programme; to embrace change. “At the moment, the problem with the market is that people can’t go shopping in stores. So, it’s about e-commerce and social media.”

Released every 30 days, the see-now-buy-now shows will be captured in a moving runway format with about 10 models, 35 looks, and no audience. They will showcase a mix of the brand’s pre collections and new looks designed with each mini-show’s theme in mind. The capsules are separate to the ready-to-wear collections Dolce & Gabbana intend to continue to present to an audience in Milan twice a year, if Covid-19 restrictions permit. “Pictures are beautiful but they’re too static to speak to a big audience. A show allows an audience to see things much better and understand what you do. Every month we’ll be making a capsule collection with a real show, with models, hair, make-up, everything!” Gabbana says. “It’s a big investment.”

Ever since the pandemic put the importance of runway shows up for debate, Dolce & Gabbana have been staunch defenders of the classic presentation format. When July’s haute couture presentations came around and other houses produced moving editorial, they staged a pre-recorded, audience-less fashion show in the classic runway style. When the delayed men’s shows took place that same month, Dolce & Gabbana were the first to return to the live catwalk, albeit with limited attendance. It was followed by three more live shows in September.

“For Domenico and me, the show is the most important thing. We can give the audience a different story than we can with a picture,” Gabbana says. For these designers, sticking to the runway isn’t about vanity or refusing to move with the times. It’s about a presentation format that has historically worked for their business, and one that the fashion industry – despite many alternative ideas – has kept returning to for that same reason: communicating your vision and product to the customer in the clearest way possible. Right now, that’s more important than ever.

“In Europe, from March until now, things have been working very slowly. We’ve lost a lot of money,” Gabbana admits. “We’re working well in Asia through the stores, and in North and South America through e-commerce. We’ve put a lot into e-commerce in the last few months, so we’re thinking about what we can do to make something new and different. We don’t know if it’s going to work or not, but we’ll try,” he says, referring to the new digital capsule initiative.

The first one, released today, takes inspiration from the urban D&G wardrobe of the 1990s: tailored jackets, lace tops, ripped jeans and trainers. (“The second one will be totally different,” Gabbana says, emphasising the freedom that comes with the monthly initiative.) Made immediately available to customers, the capsule collections are openly a more commercial gesture than the designers’ ready-to-wear collections. In a time of uncertainty, that’s crucial.

Ten days ago, Gabbana says, he and Dolce temporarily halted production on their next Alta Moda haute couture collection – which normally shows in early December – because they simply don’t know when they’ll able to present it. Similarly, “a client from Moscow wanted to try a dress, but we can’t send anyone there to do the fitting. For this reason, we’ll probably also have to do the Alta Moda show digitally in January.” As for the men’s show that same month, and the women’s show in February, “We need to wait and see. Every day is a new day. I hope we will have a [live] show, but for sure we will do something, digital or otherwise.”

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Colour Story

Telling a story through colour

In fashion each season has its colours. Trends influence the selection of the colours in clothing stores, and in our wardrobes. Each colour has its own name, such as an electric shade of blue called 'AI Aqua' that will be trending in 2021. This colour is often described as a positive hue that triggers feelings of clarity and is both sporty and fashionable.

We also have our own favourite colours. We tell stories through the colour choices that we make daily. Have you noticed how colours can evoke feelings and affect our moods?

We can also use colours when we want to make a certain impression, whether this is done consciously or unconsciously. You might choose a different colour when you want to connect to a youthful audience or when you want to strengthen the trust of an elderly audience. My lawyer friend once told me that she chooses the color of her suit or dress in court depending on the case.

Even though we all have our own interpretations and preferences, colour can have different meanings across cultures and geographies. For example, a traditional Western bride would wear white, whilst the preferred bridal colour in India is red, and a Moroccan bride’s dress is often green. There is also the study of colour psychology, which suggests correlations between colour and human behaviour.

The colour of your clothes can impact how others perceive you as they view you through their own associations. Choosing the optimal colours for the occasion can help you to stand out from the crowd or blend into it.

Let me share some of the most common associations for primary colours in the West. As you read through them, I invite you to reflect whether these descriptions match your personal meanings.

Yellow is associated with sunshine and therefore many connect it with happiness, cheerfulness, positivity, and optimism. It can boost energy and enthusiasm.
“The colour red is often linked to passion, energy, and excitement. It can capture attention like no other colour. This might explain 'the red dress effect' in which a person wearing red is perceived to be more sexually attractive than when wearing other colours.” - Katja Rusanen

Blue is the colour of trust and loyalty. It often has a calming and peaceful effect, perhaps because it reminds us of the blue sky that is often associated with no worries. However, this depends on its hue, as it can also have negative associations such as coldness. And we also have the saying 'feeling blue'.

Three secondary colours tell their own stories

Green is highly connected to nature, health, and growth. It also carries some negative associations, such as the saying 'green with envy'. This is synchronistically the colour of American dollar bills, which were given a green design for practical reasons. Green also symbolises stability that is often linked to finance.

As orange is a combination of yellow and red, it radiates the warmth that comes from yellow, and the energy of red. It is considered a vibrant colour that encourages creativity, adventure and enthusiasm.


Purple is associated with spirituality, wisdom and imagination. It can inspire us to explore our thoughts and support us on the path of spiritual growth. It is also considered a royal colour, and connected with luxury. This might be because it is relatively scarce in nature.

Yes, we truly can use the colour of our clothes to tell a story. Next time you open your wardrobe, consider what kind of story you’d like to step into, or what statement you’d like to make, and choose accordingly. 

Article: Katja Rusanen

Photography: Pantone / YSL / Valentino / Venturelli / Contributor / WireImage / Getty Images