Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Dior’s Beat-Inspired Pre-Fall 2022 Menswear Show In London

For Dior’s pre-fall 2022 menswear show, Kim Jones chose to hold his first show in London, his hometown, for nearly 20 years. Here, we bring you five things to know about the Beats-inspired collection.

The show was dedicated to Jack Kerouac

Kim Jones has a library of some 20,000 books shelved in tall bookcases with ladders like something out of a film. A significant part of the collection is devoted to the authors of the Beat Generation. Kept in his Notting Hill home – many of them first editions – it was perhaps only appropriate that his first show in London since 2003 would centre around the literature of Jack Kerouac. “I have a huge collection of Kerouac books at home inscribed to different people in his life,” Jones said during a preview of the collection, for Dior Pre-Fall 2022. “I have the letter he wrote to Hal Chase depicting how he was going to write On the Road, and I have the letter from his mother congratulating him on it.”

Kim Jones mirrored Beat in the history of Dior

In the grand hall of Olympia, Jones sent his models down a runway-sized scroll printed with the pages of On the Road as Robert Pattinson recited excerpts from Kerouac’s 1957 book in the French-Canadian author’s accent on a pre-recorded soundtrack. “He wrote it in Paris the same time that Christian Dior was revolutionising fashion and shocking people. It’s nice that it comes from an outsider perspective, which became something very important – the Beat movement – on the Left Bank,” Jones explained. “I thought it was interesting that it was happening parallel to the evolution of the house in the beginning.”

The collection was based on Kerouac’s own wardrobe

Jones, who said he wanted to collaborate with the estate of Kerouac to keep it going, looked at the author’s own clothes – so characteristic of the Beat Generation – in the making of his collection. Owned by the Beat Museum in San Francisco, it’s epitomised by a modern idea of American tailoring. Sporty, work-y, and casual, Jones translated Kerouac’s wardrobe into a chilled-out collection of rootsy heartland tropes adopted by Beat culture – checked blazers, fair isle jumpers, boxy and cropped jeans – zhuzhed with touches of sequins through the knitwear and on collars, cuffs and socks, and adorned with various references to Kerouac’s works such as prints and badges.

It was timeless

To Jones, who first read On the Road in his late teens, the collection seemed like a nostalgic experience. “American sportswear is probably for me the modern men’s wardrobe. America was always something I looked at as a child and was obsessed by. All the films I loved came from there,” he said, noting how some of his young models had been quoting passages from On the Road during castings. “They’ve read it more recently. The interest is there sixty years on.” In Jones’s elevated classics and earthy palette, there was a nostalgia that felt as relatable as Kerouac’s novel, a school book classic that continues to serve as a timeless rite of passage for young people.

It was a homecoming for Jones

It’s been nearly twenty years since Kim Jones last showed a collection in London. He took the opportunity to invite his friends – including Roksanda Ilinčić, Sam Smith and Princess Julia – as well as design students from Central Saint Martins, who also got a tour of his book collection before the show. “It’s nice for them to see how you come up with the idea for a collection,” he said, calling the show “a homecoming in a sense”, although under different circumstances than 2003. “There [are] people I’d love to be here that are missing, like Louise, Lee, Judy…” Jones said, referring to Wilson, McQueen and Blame. After the show, runway turned into a disco and Grace Jones took the stage.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

How Fetish Wear Is Taking The Fashion World By Storm

The fashion and fetishism pairing has been around for a while. However, it had a starring role at the Met Gala and the VMAs ceremony to mark its return. The comeback is proven by the appearance of Kim Kardashian, wrapped from head to toe in a black cotton Balenciaga "T-shirt."

This look was closely followed by Madonna, dressed in a total leather look in an S&M maid spirit. The singer is one of the few stars who never gave up the style. She is the goddess of provocation, the aficiononada of the whip, the hot clips which see lovers tie themselves to the bars of the bed, the ace of the harness and the author of the book Sex, that scandalized puritan America in the 1990s. Let's not forget her last opus, entitled Madame X... One can then legitimately wonder about the reasons for this great comeback.

"“The re-emergence of fetish fashion is in part a reaction to lockdown," Professor Andrew Groves explained to The Guardian, earlier this month. He recently curated Undercover, an exhibition revisiting the wearing of surgical face masks in public spaces during the pandemic. If this is the case, it's not really surprising. For many months, the government has dictated its own rules, controlled our bodies and our every move.

The pandemic and the obligation to wear a mask have arguably raised tensions and the desire to indulge in new fantasies. A theory that is of course felt in the fashion scene. For several seasons, houses and designers have been playing with the BDSM aesthetic and pushing the limits. They explore gender and sexuality to achieve looks that can be as poetic as they are libidid-fuelled. We can't help ut think of Ludovic de Saint Sernin who, with his signature eyelet briefs, has managed to create a real craze every season. Also, Moschino by Jeremy Scott who operated, without anyone expecting it, a 360 degree shift during the men's Fall-Winter 2018-2019 Fashion Week. He abandoned his regressive fluo looks for a Dominatrix wardrobe in due form: zipped leather hoods, latex briefs, harness, leather mask and gloves, biker caps ... All presented in a warehouse in Milan, to the soundtrack of techno playing at full volume.

Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner and Evan Mock have been quick to adopt the fetishwear trend, which was previously associated with intimacy and sexual fantasies... Is this new attraction to BDSM - meaning sadomasochistic sexual practices - a way to reaffirm one's freedom?
What is sexual fetishism?

Let's start at the beginning. According to the official definition, the term "sexual fetishism" is a “ sexual excitement in response to an object or body part that’s not typically sexual, such as shoes or feet.” What happens in the bedroom stays in the bedroom, you might say. However, every season, fashion tends to break the codes, taboos, and barriers of normality.

"We went from a very repressive society to an over-sexualized society. We have the impression that revealing ourselves and showing everything makes us feel very free and liberated. I believe that ultimately, it is kind of the opposite" - Valerie Tasso, sex therapist

It is rumored that corsets and skirts-- in the 1700s-- were an early sign of fetish fashion, others claim that it appeared during the Second World War, in the UK's gay community.

However, it was not until the 1970s and the arrival of Vivienne Westwood that the fetish, which she made her trademark, was democratized in fashion. At the age of 24, the British designer met Malcolm McLaren, an emblematic figure of punk, manager of the Sex Pistols. Together, they set up a store -which changed names several times but which we all know as SEX- at 430 Kings Road in London, for which Vivienne Westwood made clothes that McLaren designed. The clothes were inspired by bikers, fetishists and prostitutes - the manifesto of a new fashion era.

Sex and fashion on social networks

It is impossible to discuss the role of fetishism without incorporating the role of social media...? Why do social networks play such an integral role in the combination of sex and fashion? It's simple, Instagram is the ideal showcase to get exposure and "sell" yourself, especially when you're followed by a plethora of fans. However, the limits are sometimes tricky... "On social media, there is a hyper transparency, a hyper visibility at the level of sexuality, especially of young people," explains Sylvie Tasso a French sex therapist based in Barcelona, to Vogue. “We went from a very repressive society to an over-sexualized society. We have the impression that revealing ourselves and showing everything makes us very free and liberated. I believe that ultimately, it is the opposite.”

It is often said that social networks are not a reflection of real life. On the other hand, they allow us to be daring, to show what we want and above all, to show who we want to be - even if sometimes the image we portray is far from the reality. For some people, social media functions as an outlet to express their's fantasies, and to display them in broad daylight like banners.

There are many sexual, homoerotic Instagram accounts, more or less subtle. One example is @ecce____homo, operated by Simone Cotellessa, an enigmatic fashion influencer. With an account created in 2016 and now swollen to more than 125k followers, he supplies his feed every day with unconventional images of inspirations that can be unnerving -or on the contrary, exciting: shots of curled toes, stilettos allied with a pair of holey sports socks, close-up of a pair of Calvin Klein boxer shorts... His singular and daring eye has managed to attract a large community of enthusiasts from the four corners of the world.

For the past few weeks, celebrities have been making appearances in outfits with a strong BDSM element: Billie Eilish appeared in a pin-up corset on the cover of the June 2021 Vogue UK , Kim Kardashian doesn't leave home without a full face mask, while model/actor/designer Evan Mock, recognizable by his pink buzzcut, recently tread the red carpet of the 2021 Met Gala with Thom Browne latex hood on his head. Provocation or revenge against the pandemic? A bit of both...

Apart from intimacy, fetishism accessories such as leather, Lycra, and other materials have the potential to form a chic and daring fetishwear panoply on the red carpet (or as a street style). Remember Timothée Chalamet who, in 2019, dressed from head to toe in Louis Vuitton by Virgil Abloh, wearing a harness. Subsequently, the look became that year's leading trend. A starry and elegant transition that was unanimous, and already marked a fashion moment, especially in menswear.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Balenciaga’s The Lost Tape Pre-Fall 2022 Show

There was an analogue mood about Balenciaga’s pre/fall 2022 show. From the video tape invitations to the lo-fi polaroids that comprised the lookbook, creative director Demna – who revealed he will no longer use his surname in a professional setting, going forward – transported viewers back to the ’90s. Here, British Vogue’s fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen brings you five key takeaways from the presentation.

The digital show referenced 1990s runway footage

Fashion nerds who spend their evenings scouring YouTube for old runway films will know this season’s Balenciaga reference well: gritty, dusty footage from some warehouse 1990s fashion show that became the stuff of legend, complete with arrivals and post-show commentary from industry icons. The Lost Tape, as Demna titled his digital show (and it is just “Demna” now, but more on that later), was his ode to the era that shaped his aesthetic, but also to his anti-fashion approach to the industry.

It reflected on the origins of the way we dress today

Don’t call it nostalgia. “I don’t like to look back to the past, I find this useless,” Demna wrote in an email after the film went live. “The Lost Tape is more of a poetic artefact that highlights the importance of emotion in fashion: this raw, unpolished, smudged and somewhat nasty aesthetic of ’90s fashion; the era that really pre-defined not only my sense of style, but also most of what we see people wear today. This was my very ‘analog’ effort to fill up a historical gap in Balenciaga’s fashion history.”

It was decidedly Belgian

Demna has never made a secret of the fact that the subversive meta universe that defines his work – and not least this collection, which his show notes wittily dubbed “avant-goth” – is founded in the philosophies of the Belgian designers he grew up loving. This includes Martin Margiela whose house Demna worked for after the designer sold it, but whose anti-fashion principles can seem far-removed from the mainstream, household stature of Balenciaga today. “Haha, I have really never felt like a mainstream household fixture,” Demna said.

It reconfirmed Demna’s core values

In essence, The Lost Tape could be seen as a reminder for Demna’s industry of his core values in a time when Balenciaga is tying strong bonds to red carpet culture – by way of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West – and conquering greater territory. “In fact, regardless of Balenciaga being a global brand, I am still the same designer I was 10 years ago that was formed and shaped by that esoteric, cultish, somewhat Belgian style,” he said. “Fashion is a roleplay for me, as it always used to be. The difference is that I finally have enough confidence in myself to enjoy it and to really have more fun than ever.”

Demna will no longer use his surname

The show notes confirmed a rumour that’s been going on for a while: Demna no longer uses his surname – Gvasalia – in a professional context. “You know how often people actually misspelled and mispronounced my family name in the Western world since I arrived here 20 years ago? I certainly could not count the number of times,” he said. “But what I do know is that I’m lucky to have a first name that is weird enough for me to be the only Demna you probably ever heard of. So, to make things easier and really separate my professional and personal identities, I decided to communicate my work only with my first name. This is an artistic choice and decision that is an inevitable step of my creative journey.” Demna it is, then.

Where Do Colour Trends Come From?

Most in the fashion world will remember the scene from “The Devil Wears Prada” when Miranda Priestly pointedly tells her then still fashion-averse assistant Andrea Sachs that the hue of “that lumpy blue sweater” she’s wearing trickled down from an Oscar de la Renta collection of cerulean gowns, to a department store, to “some tragic Casual Corner” and was, in fact, selected for her “by the people in this room,” for which the IRL equivalent would be fashion’s trend-driving elite.

But even fashion’s trend-driving elite are getting color cues from somewhere.

Many might point to Pantone, which revealed its Color of the Year Wednesday evening to much fanfare and, soon, to a greater prevalence of the Very Peri hue. But the company admits its influence alone isn’t the only thing that would have determined Sachs’ sweater color.

Really, in the after-social-media era, it’s life that sets color trends and certain people are appointed to notice it.

“Because of our global connectivity through social media and the focus on individual self-expression, color trends today can happen everywhere and anywhere, and anyone and everyone can influence trends in color,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. “Both fashion and beauty are often thought of [as] forerunners to a trend, providing very visible ways in which we express ourselves, but I don’t know that they have the same power as they might have in the past when they truly dictated.”

In pre-internet times, when people would wait for the runways or, if they couldn’t attend, for WWD to digest the trends in the next day’s daily, fashion largely led the pack. Colors seen on the runway would, in fact, find their way into department stores and tragic Casual Corners just like Priestly said. Before the runway debut, though, designers — or the trend researchers whose eyes they enlisted — would have been traveling for inspiration, taking in art, looking at the colors of life and bringing that all back to the design room. But the industry has relinquished some of its stronghold on setting color trends.

“To sum it up, it’s social media,” Pressman said. “I think that really changed everything because trends now originate everywhere.”

“I still think fashion has a big part to play,” said Jenny Clark, head of color at trend forecaster and analytics company WGSN. “I wouldn’t say it leads because it depends, but certain colors do still come from the fashion sphere or luxury brands. But I do think multiple industries are having influences and social media is having a huge, huge influence, of course.”

Today, while color leaders like Pantone and WGSN and Benjamin Moore are still mobilizing their respective trend troops to scope out what’s next, they’re not only looking at traditional trend-driving cities like Paris, Milan, London and Tokyo. They’re looking everywhere for it — and that extends well beyond fashion.

“Color is a language that expresses what is taking place in our global culture,” Pressman explained. “As trend forecasters, we take an anthropological look at the world continually on the lookout for new color influences around the globe. Spotting future trends is much like detective work. It’s not the one big ‘aha’ moment that hits, but rather a string of clues which we connect that leads us to the ultimate realization. It is very important to look at what is taking place at the world around us, to view the big picture first as it precedes the micro and lays the groundwork for color expression.”

The pandemic, for instance, brought with it a resurgence of clean whites, per Pressman, “because they’re hygienic. We think of whites and they’re clean and they’re technical.”

With most color experts, forecasting looks like examining the environment, what society, broadly, is seeking, as well as art, beauty, automotive, interiors, science and technology (including but not limited to what’s happening in Roblox), among other things.

At WGSN, it also means examining retail point of sale data as well as data that can comb social media posts and reveal what colors are tracking. (Turns out, in today’s world, Sachs herself could have unwittingly contributed to the popularity of that blue if she was posting selfies wearing it).

At Benjamin Moore, “any points of inspiration are fair game” in its color research process, according to Andrea Magno, the company’s director of color marketing and development.

“With there being so much access to information and everything moving at a faster pace than in the past, it seems that industries take inspiration from one another more than ever. The lifecycle of trends also differs from one industry to the next, so some industries are looking many years into the future, while others are looking at the near future,” she said. “When it comes to colors that are used to paint the walls of a home, the way colors evolve from one year to the next is apt to be at a slower pace than fashion. In the end, there are often commonalities or threads that connect the color preferences we see in fashion to colors we see gaining popularity in the home, contributing to the overall prevalence of colors we see in the marketplace.”

That means it’s not so simple as fashion is first, then beauty follows and interiors and automotive are peering at what they’re doing to make decisions on house and wall colors.
So where does it all begin?

Two years before a season starts, Pantone releases its PantoneView Colour Planner, its macro color trend forecast across all design industries.

“We have just completed PantoneView Colour Planner for A/W 23/24,” Pressman said, which means, before designers even begin a season’s collection, color trends have been floating around for about a year. “This would be the book that dye houses would turn to for guidance on colors they are using for fabrics which, in turn, will show up on runway.”

Companies like Archroma, a global dye and chemical company, are the ones that then produce those colors for fibers and fabrics for fashion. And even Archroma partners with Carlin, a Paris-based firm that has been anticipating trends since 1947, to help it get the right insight for its own color offerings.

The Carlin team, beyond its field research, works with an actual human painter to create colors and then with Archroma to “translate” those colors into a language for producing clothing, according to Carlin senior stylist Thomas Zylberman, who is also a fashion designer.

“She’s developing colors with a brush, with pigments…and out of this we notice that, depending on the depth of the color, the type of pigment the painter has employed, it was not so easy to get an industrial reference which is really reliable,” Zylberman said. “Of course, Pantone is also in our cupboards at the office, but the thing is that the spectrum of color at Archroma is much wider…and that’s why when we started to work with Archroma it was like a breath of fresh air because [of] all these new shades of colors that were offered to us to translate our color intuitions.”

As Archroma’s director of global color management services Chris Hipps explained, “[We] translate those inspirations into a color from the Color Atlas System…5,760 colors that are dyed already on cotton and on polyester. And using the color ID for the color in the Color Atlas, that becomes the reference for that hue or for that shade….We’ve engineered those colors to be repeatable in production.”

The two-years-in-advance timeline for forecasting color trends is the same at WGSN, which in partnership with sister company Coloro, even announces its own color of the year 20 months in advance. The 2022 color of the year, revealed in April 2020, is Orchid Flower, a saturated magenta just like one of the Yeezy Gap hoodie colorways that dropped in September and the one in the Fendi x Skims collab that will see a restock release Friday. In October, WGSN and Coloro said the key colors for A/W 23/24 will be Digital Lavender, Astro Dust, Galactic Cobalt, Sage Leaf and Apricot Crush.

Collaborations like Fendi x Skims, as they increase in popularity, are also having increasing influence on color trends.

“You have leading designers or celebrities, they’re collaborating with multiple brands in multiple industries and they’re putting their sort of signature and blending their color trends as well. So, I think it’s really interesting now how things work, it’s quite hard to track specifically where the starting point is,” WGSN’s Clark said. “But what’s really interesting, particularly because of the pandemic, is the connection between fashion and interior design is so much closer, and then seeing high fashion brands now opening hospitality spaces and working really more on their retail environment and bringing color into that. So, it’s not just about a color on a bag or shoe or a piece of clothing. It’s about the whole brand persona and the way those colors are reflected in an interior environment as well as a retail environment or even a café. Fendi did a café pop-up in Miami that was bright yellow.”

Jacquemus and its all pink everything comes to mind. The brand’s new 24/24 shopping experience mimics walking into a pink vending machine (that’s open 24 hours a day) to purchase all pink merch. It’s purveying pink as the essence of its brand.

Ninety automated lockers will be available 24 hours a day until midnight on Dec. 5, offering the new “Bambino Long” bag and a selection from the Pink 2 holiday capsule.
“I feel color, it’s gone beyond fashion for sure. And it’s all a lot more connected than it was before,” Clark said. “You could buy a cosmetic, a skin lotion of some sort, and the packaging might be the same color that you have just bought an item of clothing or a bag.”

Where do designers fit in?

So, how much influence are designers having on color today? Really, it depends on the designer.

Some, the late Virgil Abloh a leader among them, are still very much driving trends when it comes to color. The multihyphenate was Louis Vuitton’s men’s artistic director and founder of the brand Off-White, and his final collection for the French design house was a festival of color — reds, blues, greens — amidst the darkness cast over the show, which came just days after the designer’s death.

“He was such a pioneer and he was amazing with color and his collaborations with Mercedes for example, multiple brands, that has an impact across industries,” Clark said. “His work really demonstrated a really strong sense of color and particularly when you see some of the pop-ups that were happening around when he first joined Louis Vuitton and the really bold use of red and green and multiple hues, it’s just amazing really.”

While one of 2021’s most popular colors was decidedly Bottega Green, which was first introduced late in 2020 during the brand’s spring ’21 ready-to-wear showing, courtesy of now-departed creative director Daniel Lee, green had been brewing on the scene even before then.

“When green started, it was a kind of emerald green, but then this green trend didn’t disappear, it was the opposite, it spread in many other directions and it gets a wider palette of green to expand to the different seasons. So, we started with an emerald green and then appeared some more bluish green and then appeared some more yellowish greens [which is roughly where Bottega’s falls],” said Carlin’s Zylberman. “[With] the color trends, there are two options: either it bursts out and then disappears or it truly corresponds, it really matches with a deep need in the society. Society needs green for many reasons and so the palette of green expands and that’s why when thinking two years in advance, you’re thinking about the major color trend orientations.”

Does that mean most luxury designers have little to do with actually setting color trends?

“Luxury designers are in somewhat of a bubble, which is not always completely connected to what people really wear every day…I think that the luxury designers, their job is not necessarily to be trendy, their job is to make a statement…but it’s not necessarily bound to be a trend at the end. That’s an important difference,” Zylberman said. “Trend is really something that to be trendy, a phenomenon or a color because we’re talking about color, it needs to be somewhere in the society. It needs to be an expectation which is in the society and that’s our job to find it.”

How Pantone’s Colors Of The Year Have Changed Over The Last 22 Years

Since 2000, the Pantone Color Institute has revealed its predictions for the color of the year based on a myriad of factors.

Pantone’s colors of the year — which have largely been bright, eye-catching hues that range across the entire color spectrum — are chosen through in-depth trend forecasting by the institute. Pantone looks at everything from the year’s mood to fashion, entertainment, art, music, travel and social media, among others, to make its decision.

“Each year, our Pantone Color of the Year is a color we see crossing all areas of design,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. “It’s a color that serves as an expression of a mood or an attitude on the part of the consumers, a color that will resonate around the world, a color that reflects what people are looking for and what they feel they need that color to answer.”

In certain years, Pantone sees socioeconomic or political issues having a bigger influence on its color of the year prediction. For instance, in 2006 Pantone chose Sand Dollar — a neutral beige shade — as a reflection of the nation’s concern about the economy.

While each year typically has one color of the year, Pantone chose two hues for the first time in 2016. The year’s colors, Rose Quartz and Serenity, were chosen because the combination of the warm rose tone and the cool blue tone were meant to symbolize a “soothing sense of order and peace” heading into that year’s tumultuous presidential election. The two colors were also said to represent the advancements in social movements toward gender equality and fluidity.

Pantone chose two colors again for its 2021 color of the year prediction, deciding on Ultimate Gray and Illuminating to represent hope, optimism and stability following the uncertainty and stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the presidential election.

“Because the mood or what is taking place in our society changes or evolves from one year to the next, the color we select will always change,” Pressman continued. “Color is a language that expresses what is taking place in our global culture.”

Now going into the third year of the pandemic, Pantone’s color of 2022 is Very Peri, a dark blue-purple hue. Very Peri is described as a “dynamic periwinkle blue hue with a vivifying violet red undertone,” which blends the “faithfulness and constancy of blue with the energy and excitement of red,” according to Pantone.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Burberry Becomes The Latest Luxury Brand To Enter The Rental And Resale Market

Burberry’s iconic trench coat with vintage check in cotton gabardine can set customers back over £1600. Now, fans of the British luxury brand can rent one for £170 a week, or buy secondhand for £750, through Burberry’s new partnership with My Wardrobe HQ.

Launching today, the move into rental and resale from the UK’s biggest luxury brand throws weight behind its drive towards circular fashion and gives support to rental in particular, where luxury adoption has been relatively slow and largely limited to one-off collaborations with platforms such as Rent the Runway.

The selection, including handbags, coats and accessories will be available to rent on My Wardrobe HQ for four, seven, 10 or 14 days. Burberry is providing the bulk of inventory, with additional authenticated donations from VIP clients and the My Wardrobe HQ community. Weekly rental prices will range from £41-£170, while resale prices will range from £111 for accessories such as scarves, up to £750 for trench coats. If customers want to keep an item they’ve rented, they have the option to buy it. By giving customers more ways to interact with and buy from the brand, Burberry is aiming to build loyalty with existing customers and attract new ones. Rental in particular is a big bet for the heritage brand; while Burberry officially partnered with The RealReal in 2019 to encourage consignment, rental is a more nascent category for luxury brands that has raised concerns around dilution. Burberry sees it fitting into its sustainability strategy.

“Our partnership with My Wardrobe HQ is complementary to our broader strategy to become climate positive by 2040, supporting the principles of a circular economy for luxury,” says Pam Batty, Burberry VP of corporate responsibility. “This includes expanding reuse, repair, donation and recycling routes and developing new partnerships and revaluation solutions.”

Burberry was one of the most-requested brands on My Wardrobe HQ’s peer-to-peer service before the brand partnership, says My Wardrobe HQ co-founder Tina Lake. The rental service is only available in the UK for now, but resale orders can ship across Europe, with scope to expand to the US next year.

Forty per cent of profits from each Burberry transaction on My Wardrobe HQ will be donated to Smart Works, the UK charity which provides high quality interview clothes and coaching to disadvantaged unemployed women. This give-back programme follows the blueprint of socially conscious designers like Bethany Williams, who donates profits from her upcycled collections to London-based womens’ charities. Burberry has donated inventory to Smart Works since 2013. My Wardrobe HQ chairwoman Jane Shepherdson, a British fashion executive famed for her creative roles bringing Topshop into fashion in the aughts and turning around Whistles, is also trustee and patron of the charity so helped link the two companies.

Partnering with rental and resale platforms can help to gauge production volumes, relevance of archive collections and broader consumer preference, says Adam Cochrane, analyst at Deutsche Bank Research. What’s more, the proliferation of rental and resale sites means large volumes of luxury goods are being rented and sold without brand involvement.

“Luxury brands have been slow to adopt a number of trends including e-commerce but we can expect further brands to go down the rental route, because control of brand distribution is paramount,” he adds.

Rental plus resale: covering all bases?

Brands have been hesitant to take on rental and resale because of heavy costs involved in cleaning, returns, inventory management and merchandising, leaving it to third-party platforms with built-in scale. However, encouraging luxury investment purchases for younger shoppers down the line for brands including Burberry makes it increasingly attractive, experts agree. Luxury resale heated up in 2021, becoming first-choice for brands aiming for more circular business models. Isabel Marant launched a proprietary resale site in June, Gucci began selling restored vintage via its retail platform Vault and brands from Balenciaga to Simone Rocha partnered with US resale platform The RealReal.

“Rental and resale allows younger generations who don’t have as much disposable income to actually get a feel for a luxury brand,” Lake says. “They can rent it out, see if they like the brand and actually perhaps save up to buy that special item. They can then rent it out to make the money back.” My Wardrobe HQ’s rental customer is usually between 25 and 35 years old; the typical resale shopper is aged 35 to 45.

“Generally we believe [resale] is additive for the luxury brands as it allows a new customer base to access the luxury market at a generally lower price point and the proceeds from the seller are likely to be recycled into new products,” says Cochrane.

Rental is slightly less mature as a concept with greater customer scepticism from both the product owner and the end customer, he adds. Ralph Lauren and Jean Paul Gaultier launched their own rental platforms in the last year. In the UK, Harrods, Vivienne Westwood, Roksanda and Christopher Kane already partner with the My Wardrobe HQ on rental and resale. Brands including Ganni and Jacquemus and retailers such as Selfridges have partnered with rental platform Hurr.

The UK could be a good place for Burberry to test the waters. In a UK survey of 2,000 consumers from discounts website Voucher Codes, over a third of adults said they’ve rented clothing, with the top driving forces being “environmental guilt” and the ability to wear high-ticket items at lower cost.

My Wardrobe HQ is a unique platform because 50 per cent of rentals convert into a purchase, says founder Lake. This could set the company apart from other rental platforms like By Rotation, Hurr or Onloan, as rental is often criticised for high volumes of shipping and cleaning between multiple uses.

Luxury brands are well suited to rental and resale because they are higher quality and more durable, says Lake. However, brand dilution is a concern. My Wardrobe HQ uses luxury-standard product photos and descriptions to win luxury clients. It enlisted red-carpet photographer and chairman of London’s Southbank centre Misan Harriman for the Burberry campaign to ensure the branding was elevated. The images, shot outdoors in London on a diverse group of models, look more like luxury marketing than the typically lo-fi shots on peer-to-peer rental or resale sites.

Can resale and rental actually boost sustainable credentials?

Despite the sustainable connotations of renting, one Finnish study made headlines in July when it questioned the positive impact of rental, taking into account the shipping and cleaning required between rentals. Lake refutes the claims, stating that the Finnish report only focuses on carbon emissions and ignores other important metrics such as water, according to Compare Ethics.

“The average pair of jeans requires [an estimated] 7,800 litres of water for production,” she says. “If 20 people each buy a pair of jeans this requires 156,000 litres of water. If 20 people rent one pair of jeans and the jeans are washed between rentals (25 litres/wash) the total water cost to the planet is 8,300 litres in total. That's a huge 147,700 litre water saving. ”

My Wardrobe HQ provides in-store pick-ups and returns from its London store or Harrods pop-up, to help minimise shipping, Lake says. Currently 20 per cent of its rentals are returned in-store. The platform, like many rental services, uses ozone cleaning instead of dry cleaning to reduce chemical and energy use. With such a high purchase rate on its rentals, half the rentals on My Wardrobe HQ are actually extended try-on periods, which don’t then require ozone cleaning or further shipping at all, Lake adds.

“We believe both rental and resale are important to the sustainability journey that everybody is going on,” says Lake. “We’re all guilty of having bought that item that was a poorer quality or just never wearing it. We give all of our brand partners, all with exceptional quality, the opportunity to give their customers that experience of luxury without having to commit to buying upfront.”

How High Fashion Does Furniture In 2021

At Design Miami, the avant garde furniture fair that sets the stage for home decor trends to come, a household fashion name, Fendi, took a center booth. Their exhibition, titled Kompa, featured ten works from the mind of Peter Mabeo, founder of Botswana's Mabeo Studio. There was the “Chicara” credenza, a wavelike woven cabinet with drawers; the “efo” stool, a piece that reshaped the iconic Fendi “F” in clay and Panga Panga wood; the Maduo Chair, which took inspiration from jewelry designed by Delfina Delettrez Fendi. Mabeo took creative meetings with Fendi artistic director Kim Jones, Silvia Venturini Fendi, and Delettrez Fendi in Rome, where broad strokes for Kompa were born. Then, he traveled throughout Botswana to employ artisans and their specialized techniques to help execute the collection, from wood carvers, to potters, to weavers. Oftentimes, multiple people from varying regions lent their hand to one piece—with Mabeo’s vision melding it all together. The result? A collection that served as an homage to the storied Italian fashion house while also showing off the African country’s exquisite craftsmanship—proving that innovative, collaborative design can be accomplished across borders and cultures.

“The whole idea was to bring different people together,” Mabeo told Vogue. “I prefer to engage people who work in different types of material, are from different geographical locations, and have different mentalities. It’s less ‘Oh, here’s what I want to do’ and more ‘Okay, let’s see what we can come up with.’”

A few miles away in Miami’s Design District, Louis Vuitton was showing off its Objets Nomades, their collection of travel-inspired objects. New this year? An outdoor furniture collection by Frank Chou. His curved, colorful pieces, upholstered in both Louis Vuitton waterproof and Paola Lenti fabrics, were inspired by the terrace fields of China’s Yunnan province and the curving canyons of Arizona’s Antelope Valley. The store’s fourth floor had completely turned into a showroom, courtesy of Patricia Urquiola. In addition to Chou’s work, there were new hanging cocoons and meringue poofs from the Campana Brothers, as well as petal chairs by Marcel Wanders Studio. “It’s meant to be a flower that blossoms,” creative director Gabriele Chiave told Vogue, also noting the design was inspired by the flora motif on Louis Vuitton’s iconic monogram.

Meanwhile, over in Italy, Dolce & Gabbana released a trove of objects in early December from their debut home collection, Casa. It featured dinnerware—colorblocked Murano wine glasses, blue-and-white patterned plates—as well as textiles like zebra-print pillows and leopard throws, all easily order-able online from Farfetch. A week earlier, Altuzarra announced their first foray into the textile space with sustainably made cashmere throws and blankets.

Fashion brands with home lines aren’t necessarily new: Fendi, after all, has shown at previous iterations of Design Miami, and Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades has been around since 2012. But what is new? The fervor that surrounds them—and home decor trends as a whole. ​​ A recent report found furniture and appliance spending grew from $373 billion to $405 billion over the year. The number is supposed to reach $481.11 billion by 2025. As the pandemic causes all of us to spend more time at home, we’re all, understandably, spending more time furnishing it.

So is it any wonder that fashion houses are ready to meet demand? Louis Vuitton’s foray into outdoor furniture, for example, comes at a perfect time: that category has seen triple digit growth since 2020. In August 2021, Dolce & Gabbana told Vogue that they’ll be focusing more and more on home goods: “The circumstances we have experienced recently have led us to live the home environment even more intensely and to devote to it the attention that the daily frenzy often makes us lose,” Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana said. Personal style, it seems, is no longer just defined by what you wear. It’s what you put in your home, too.

Monday, December 6, 2021

All The Winners From The Fashion Awards

The British fashion industry was joined by celebrities including Dua Lipa, Demi Moore, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, at the Royal Albert Hall in London tonight for a celebration of the world’s top designers and other creatives at the Fashion Awards. Back in-person for the first time since 2019, the ceremony served as both a warm reunion and a touching memorial to the African American designer Virgil Abloh, whose unexpected death on 28 November is still reverberating.

Idris Elba, a friend of Abloh, gave a heartfelt speech honouring the designer and read a Maya Angelou poem “When Great Trees Fall”, and presenters including Adut Akech, Alton Mason, and host Billy Porter handed out awards that were voted on by editors, stylists, buyers and other members of the fashion press.

Here are all the winners.

Isabella Blow Award:

Ib Kamara

Trailblazer Award:

Alessandro Michele

BFC Foundation Award:

Nensi Dojaka

British Independent Designer:

Simone Rocha

Leaders of Change, Creativity:

Virgil Abloh

Alessandro Michele

Demna Gvasalia

Kim Jones

Jonathan Anderson

Special Recognition Award:

Dylan Jones

Leaders of Change, Environment:

Bethany Williams

Gabriela Hearst

Phoebe English

Priya Ahluwaliya

Stella McCartney

Designer of the Year:

Kim Jones

Leaders of Change, People:

Edward Enninful

Harris Reed

Kenya Hunt

Samuel Ross

Telfar Clemens

Outstanding Achievement Award:

Tommy Hilfiger

Virgil Abloh Has Died Aged 41

Virgil Abloh, the founder of Off-White and the Men’s Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton, has died, his Instagram account confirmed this afternoon.

“We are devastated to announce the passing of our beloved Virgil Abloh, a fiercely devoted father, husband, son, brother, and friend,” the post reads. “He is survived by his loving wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh, his sister Edwina Abloh, his parents Nee and Eunice Abloh, and numerous dear friends and colleagues.

For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma. He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture.

Through it all, his work ethic, infinite curiosity, and optimism never wavered. Virgil was driven by his dedication to his craft and to his mission to open doors for others and create pathways for greater equality in art and design. He often said: “Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,” believing deeply in the power of art to inspire future generations.

“We thank you all for your love and support, and we ask for privacy as we grieve and celebrate Virgil’s life.”

“We are all shocked after this terrible news,” said Bernard Arnault, LVMH’s chairman and chief executive. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom. The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow, and we are all thinking of his loved ones after the passing of their husband, their father, their brother or their friend.”

Friday, November 26, 2021

The International Woolmark Prize Announces Its Finalists for 2022

The International Woolmark Prize is fashion’s longest-standing award for young designers; Karl Lagerfeld took home the top honors back in 1954 at the age of 21. Challenging on-the-rise talents to create a collection made entirely of Australian merino wool, lately the IWP has become a study of sustainability, natural fibres, and responsible sourcing. In June, Matty Bovan became the second designer to win both the 2021 top prize ($200,000 AUD, or £108,000) and the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation ($100,000 AUD, or £54,000) for his collection “Ode to Sea,” which featured intarsia sweaters and architectural, pannier-like silhouettes rarely seen in knitwear.

While 2021’s theme was on supply chain innovations – Bovan worked with local suppliers in his hometown of York – next year’s competition comes with a more whimsical prompt: “Play.” In a release, the IWP called it “a true celebration of forward-thinking design and innovation, [calling on] finalists to experiment with textiles, design, and business practices to drive change and innovation for a brighter future.”

It’s an upbeat pivot after our nearly two year pandemic, which found the industry feeling anxious about its future (as well as the planet’s). Transparency is still at the heart of the competition, though, and this year’s group of seven finalists – Ahluwalia, Egonlab, Jordan Dalah Studio, MMUSOMAXWELL, Peter Do, Rui, and Saul Nash – will be expected to dive into their supply chains and find innovative ways to improve upon them.

“Sustainability is the ‘new black’ – today, too many people use this word for marketing purposes,” Florentin Glémarec and Kévin Nompeix of Egonlab tell Vogue. “Greenwashing is a real scourge for the fashion industry and others. This is why it is increasingly complicated for emerging designers to source ethically and sustainably. Thanks to its expertise and transparency in this area, the Woolmark Company is an essential ally,” they continue. “Egonlab aims to improve every aspect of its eco-responsible process. Protecting our home, the Earth, is essential, and we still have a lot to learn about this subject in order to find innovative and respectful solutions for all.”

Rui Zhou echoed a similar sentiment about learning from Woolmark’s supply chain experts: “As a brand that just started our journey, we’re young in experience,” she says. “But with the knowledge this program provides, we hope we can produce more responsibly in the long run, which requires us to engage in a healthy relationship with our supporters, environment, society, and economics.”

“Designers want to make meaningful change, but it all usually comes back to resources,” Saul Nash adds. “I’m incredibly excited about gaining a greater understanding of wool’s potential, particularly through the lens of performance-wear. I’m ultimately interested in function, so exploring non-synthetic fabrics which could perform for movement and sport is a wonderful opportunity.”

Over the next few months, the seven finalists will work with the IWP to develop their collections. The final projects will be revealed in April 2022, and a panel of judges (to be announced) will select winners for the top prize, the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation, and the Supply Chain Award. The finalists will also have the opportunity to stock their collections in IWP retail partners, including, Ssense, Browns, and Net-a-Porter.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Matthieu Blazy Is Bottega Veneta’s New Creative Director

Kering has announced that Matthieu Blazy is assuming the creative director role at Bottega Veneta, following Daniel Lee’s abrupt departure last week.

The news that Lee was stepping down stunned the industry. He did more than revive the Italian luxury house; he set the style agenda, as anyone who’s browsed the racks at a fast-fashion chain can tell you. Blazy’s appointment isn’t quite as surprising. He was Lee’s number two at Bottega Veneta from mid-2020, and Kering has had enormous success moving behind-the-scenes designers into the spotlight, see: Alessandro Michele at Gucci.

Also, Blazy is not the unknown that Lee was. The Belgian 37-year-old has been widely respected and liked since he first attracted notice at Maison Margiela Artisanal, where he was head designer in the early 2010s. Though he maintained the anonymity that the influential house founder was known for, Blazy’s work was distinguished, both attuned to the Margiela codes and of its time. Kanye West famously co-opted the crystal encrusted masks from Artisanal’s autumn/winter 2013 couture show for his Yeezus tour.

From Margiela, Blazy went to work for the exacting Phoebe Philo at Celine, who is said to have headhunted him herself (he and Lee overlapped there). And after that he joined Calvin Klein 205W39NYC, where his partner Pieter Mulier was the creative director under chief creative officer Raf Simons (Blazy and Mulier met at Simons’s Antwerp headquarters).

Elevating a company insider suggests that we’re in for a subtle shift at Bottega Veneta, rather than the wholesale reinventions that have become the norm across fashion. The Puddle boots that became unlikely status symbols under Lee’s tenure seem sure to remain, same with the oversize intrecciato motifs that gave an edge to the brand’s long-held artisanal codes. Indeed, in a statement Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman & CEO of Kering, said, “I am confident that Matthieu Blazy’s wealth of experience and broad cultural background will allow him to bring his creative impetus to the task of carrying on the legacy of Bottega Veneta.”

Now There’s A New Label To Help You Shop Fashion More Sustainably

An industry-wide product label to identify clothes made with sustainable practices is coming. The Impact Index, created by the Responsible Business Coalition, Accenture and Vogue, and developed with major fashion brands and retailers including Saks, Selfridges, Capri Holdings and Ralph Lauren, is intended to make it easier for brands to communicate their efforts with customers and ultimately accelerate the industry’s sustainability progress overall.

The digital logo will appear on product websites for garments — it may expand to physical product labels eventually — and will show, once a person clicks on it, the environmental or ethical criteria the garment meets. The initial categories are raw materials, animal welfare, chemical usage and education and empowerment, but these are likely to expand. The Impact Index seeks to fill gaps in three main areas: defining and communicating sustainability at the individual product level; bringing clarity to the crowded certification landscape; and establishing effective methods for data collection across the entire industry. It will launch late next year, but is being piloted now by a major brand and a major retailer.

Over a dozen companies were involved in developing the index, including Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Bonobos, Capri Holdings, J.Crew, JCPenney, Kenneth Cole, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, PVH, Saks Fifth Avenue, Selfridges & Co., Shinola, Macy’s, Gap, Tapestry, Eileen Fisher, Ralph Lauren and VF Corporation. The goal is not to endorse any specific products or brands, but to increase transparency with consumers and enable them to make more informed decisions, says Frank Zambrelli, executive director of the Responsible Business Coalition at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business.

“It is not a green light or a red light. It’s merely a platform. Nobody's saying this is a better skirt than this one; we’re just saying, ‘This skirt was produced this way, with these certificates.' Providing consumers with information is part of the solution, says Cara Smyth, managing director and global sustainability lead for Accenture’s Retail industry group. “Every dollar is like a vote. The more consumers make their buying decisions on information about environmental and social issues, the more the industry reacts.”

In that sense, the label is primarily a communication and education tool. While the fashion industry has stepped up its environmental efforts in recent years, brands don’t always know how or whether to communicate their efforts to consumers. That’s despite it being increasingly important for them to do so. Consumers often don’t know which brands to trust or what many of the claims or certifications mean. Some experts think this could partially explain why consumers, despite saying they value sustainably-made products, have so far not been willing to pay more for them. The coalition behind the Impact Index wanted to establish a way to help consumers cut through the noise.

A number of platforms already exist with a similar goal, such as Remake’s Seal of Approval and Good on You’s ratings platform, but they have not reached the scale that organisers hope the index — by both engaging with some of the industry’s largest companies and collaborating with Vogue to maximise consumer reach — can achieve. Products that earn the label have met standards set or approved by third-party organisations such as Canopystyle, Bluesign and the Global Organic Textile Standard.

“We think it's going to be a game changer. We hope, as consumers understand the value, that they'll start supporting value, rather than the cheapest price,” says LaRhea Pepper, CEO of Textile Exchange, one of the independent nonprofits participating in the Impact Index.

While the consumer-facing label will be the most visible component of the index, the behind-the-scenes work being done to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the label will be critical to its success.

Smyth explains that while they were doing research on the consumer side to determine what types of information would be most important to provide and how, they were also working with brands, retailers and nonprofits on the backend to figure out how to reliably collect, verify and ultimately share the information publicly.

When the Impact Index launches with consumers, the logo will appear on a product’s website (and at some point, potentially also on a physical on-garment tag) if the garment meets any one of the four criteria areas. By clicking on the logo, consumers can then learn more about which criteria that product meets, including which organisation was involved for verification purposes. The creators say that expanded metrics for data collection, as well as stricter minimum standards required for participation, will come with time as the index gains traction with both brands and consumers. They also hope that the index will spark a positive feedback loop, increasing the pressure brands feel to participate and engage in more of the standards that consumers are looking for and that are needed for meaningful progress towards climate and other goals.

Zambrelli recognises critics’ concerns that brands have been too involved in deciding their own sustainability credentials, but says that’s why the nonprofits were so crucial in developing the index. The process involved significant pushback and debate from all sides, he says. “Without the brands and retailers, this wasn't going to go anywhere. We all know, an NGO without the intervening industry is a lovely organisation saying wonderful things, but unfortunately never getting the platform to disseminate that information.”

Wider consumer engagement may be key to unlocking the ability of brands to scale their use of more sustainable materials beyond the limited seasonal collection, says Pepper at Textile Exchange. Using those materials does cost more, and in order to do that at scale, experts say, brands need to communicate openly so consumers know what they’re paying more for — and to foster trust and support in making the transition.

In its corporate fibre benchmark survey, Pepper says Textile Exchange has found that the brands with the greatest increase in adoption of “preferred” fibres are also doing the most consumer education.

“It's a really important step if we're going to get to that 45 per cent,” she says, referring to Textile Exchange’s 2030 goal for the industry to reduce emissions from fibre production in order to align with a 1.5°C pathway. “A small percentage of consumers are aware and are asking for [more sustainable products], but we need to do more. We need to get consumers to send that clear market message: ‘We're ready to shift out of a price-only paradigm, to really paying for the value of that product.’”

Friday, November 12, 2021

Daniel Lee Exits Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta and Daniel Lee have announced that they are parting ways. Lee showed his first collection for the Italian luxury goods maker for fall 2019.

Leo Rongone, CEO of Bottega Veneta, said in a statement: “I would like to thank Daniel for his dedication... He provided Bottega Veneta with a fresh perspective and a new sense of modernity, while remaining respectful of the brand’s 50-year heritage. The remarkable growth of the brand over the last three years bears testimony to the success of his creative work.”

Bottega Veneta was Lee’s first creative director assignment; he was plucked from the Celine studio, where he was womenswear director under Phoebe Philo. Lee’s first runway collection received mixed reviews, in part because his Bottega Veneta aesthetic was rougher-around-the-edges than the one he helped hone at Celine, but his accessories hit almost instantly. The buttery leather Pouch bag sparked a trend for softly structured leather bags and his square-toed pumps and sandals had a similar agenda-setting effect in footwear. Thereafter, he was embraced by the fashion establishment. At the 2019 Fashion Awards, held in London in December of that year, Lee was nominated for the four top prizes and won them all. Rihanna and Hailey Bieber were both seen in his statement-making fringed shearling outerwear for the label.

The pandemic slowed Lee’s roll, as it did the entire fashion industry’s. With the traditional runway show system in question, Bottega Veneta adopted a salon concept in which the house would present its collections off-calendar to local audiences; Lee said he didn’t believe in digital fashion shows. London was first, and not long after that show the brand deleted its social media accounts. A second salon in Berlin was a showcase for his studio’s experimental knitwear silhouettes and flair for colour and unlikely embellishments, but an after-party attended by unmasked and unvaccinated revellers attracted negative press. Last month, Lee and his team showed his spring lineup for the label at the Michigan Theatre in Detroit. The collection was a pivot to a sportier, more casual sensibility.

In the same statement, Lee said: “My time at Bottega Veneta has been an incredible experience. I am grateful to have worked with an exceptional and talented team and I am forever thankful to everyone who was part of creating our vision. Thank you to Francois-Henri Pinault for his support, and for the opportunity to be part of Bottega Veneta’s story.” The release said that “a new creative direction” for the house will be announced soon.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Silvia Venturini Fendi Invites 20 Craftsmen To Interpret Her Baguette In A New Exhibition

In a fashion climate obsessed with limited edition merch, can rare hand-crafted objects spark the same desire as a pair of sold-out trainers? “I’m not sure, but these kinds of projects can help educate young people about it,” Silvia Venturini Fendi said during a preview of her new exhibition Hand in Hand. Open to the public at her Roman headquarters through November 2021, the interactive experience sees artisans from 20 regions of Italy interpret Fendi’s Baguette handbag using craftsmanship passed down through generations. “Limited edition isn’t just about small quantities. It should be limited because it’s made from limited materials, or because it takes time, or because of the person who is able to do it,” Venturini said.

Through the run of the exhibition, the artisans will demonstrate in person the delicate artistry that embodies their respective crafts, and create their visions of the Baguette as guests look on. A captivating display, it is loaded with history and knowhow: take the looms of the Su Marmuri women’s cooperative from Sardinia, or the lacework of Dodino in Puglia, or the gold-plated silver bezel adornment of Massimo Maria Melis from Lazio, or the tarsia sorrentina inlaid woodwork of the Stinga Tarsia workshop in Campania – to name but a few. Interpreted across techniques like metalwork, coral embellishment, leather sculpting and mosaic tilework, every Baguette stands out like an object of curiosity and wonder. Only, they are actually for sale, made to order through Fendi’s stores.

“We’ve sold more than 100 bags already. Some are incredibly expensive, but our customers love exceptional things,” Fendi’s CEO Serge Brunschwig explained. “This project makes tremendous sense. In the end, the artisans get paid for it, and if a bag sells – and some sell very well – they have to make another one. But some of them will also be inspired by this: they’ll get publicity, clients, and – I hope – young people interested in joining them. That’s the main goal of all of this.” Above all, Fendi wants to encourage a new generation of artisans to learn and save Italy’s heritage crafts. “Many of these people we have worked with for years, and you see the product, but you don’t know who is behind it. There’s a need to talk to these skilled people. I want to put them centre stage,” Venturini said.

It took 18 months to curate the exhibition. “It’s not like there’s a big directory that you just pick from. We had to search in order to find the right techniques, the right people, and the right creativity,” Brunschwig said. “They’re not on the internet. Some of them are at risk of disappearing because they don’t have enough visibility, or don’t have interest from the next generation in taking over. That’s why the project is interesting.” One of them is Bottega Intreccio from Marche in central Italy, a wicker workshop run by a 23-year-old, who has decided to carry on the willow-weaving tradition of his father and grandfather. He serves as an example of the generational effect Fendi would like to create.

“I’m fascinated by what the cooking industry has done,” Brunschwig said. “Before, it was the same situation: who wants to become a cook? It’s the toughest job on earth. Now, they all want to do it because there’s been the right communication: the restaurants, the TV shows, Masterchef. How can the fashion industry do the equivalent and attract the young generations to these jobs?” One way is to make savoir-faire as covetable as the “collabs” and capsule products Fendi is more than familiar with. Over the last month alone, the house has launched collaborations with Donatella Versace as well as Kim Kardashian West’s Skims. But in the age of awareness, young generations are becoming increasingly discerning not just about which brand created something, but how it was created. And what could reflect that mentality better than a one-of-a-kind bag handmade with rare savoir-faire passed down through centuries?

As Venturini acknowledged, there is still some way to go for that to become a reality. “I’m so happy when I see young girls wearing their grandmothers’ or mothers’ Baguettes. It’s a very healthy approach to fashion,” she said. “But I still see a lot of kids who are ‘disposable’ in their consumption of fashion. It’s important for people like us and you to spread the word and make the change happen.” It reminded her of how she gained her own appreciation of craftsmanship as a child. “One day I asked my mother, ‘Can you please change the sofa and the two armchairs? They are very uncomfortable when we watch television.’ They were made of wood. No pillows. She said, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t change them. Those chairs are made by Arne Jacobsen.’ From that moment, I understood that an armchair is not just an armchair. There’s a story behind it.”

Bottega Veneta’s Detroit S/S'22 Show

For the third instalment of Bottega Veneta’s Salon shows – following the brand’s ready-to-wear presentations in London and Berlin – Daniel Lee staged a Detroit takeover inspired by his love of the technical and creative spirit at the heart of the Michigan city. Here’s everything you need to know about the celebrity-filled spring/summer 2022 show.

Detroit’s where it’s at

Car superfan (niche intel for Bottega fans) Daniel Lee set up camp in Detroit, the heart of the US automobile industry, for spring/summer 2022. Specifically, the Michigan Building, a former theatre turned parking space and now a multi-faceted co-working venue – as is so often the way. The former club-night hotspot pays homage to another of Lee’s loves: techno (second piece of trivia for Lee acolytes). Music nerds will know Detroit’s reputation as the original “Techno City”, but for anyone simply watching the Moodymann-soundtracked live stream of the show, it was a throbbing reminder of what clubbing used to be like. Sigh.

Bottega Firehouse will make you want to book a trip to Michigan

During his time in Detroit, Lee also pooled his efforts into Bottega Firehouse on 1201 Bagley Street. The creative hub, featuring an Underground Music Academy, a reading room by Asmaa Walton, design works by Chris Schanck and Aratani Fay, textiles by Substudio, furnishings by Donut Shop, ceramics by Hamtramck Ceramck, relief sculptures by Sophie Eisner and a selection of printed matter curated by Ruben Cardenas – as per the press notes – will be open until January. Similar collaborations with other US cities are reportedly in the pipeline.

Naturally, big names flew in for the show

Bottega’s Salon shows have become a who’s who of music’s elite (Kanye, Neneh Cherry and Stormzy have FROW-ed in the past), but spring/summer 2022 was a true party. Mary J Blige, Lil Kim, Burna Boy, Kehlani and Selah Marley joined Zazie Beetz, Slick Woods and Sasha Lane at the Detroit takeover. Just imagine the after-party.

As always, tactility was at the core of the collection

Last season’s undulating micro feathers have been swapped out for equally painstaking (bio-based) rubber beadwork, which must have been thrilling to see IRL in the Michigan Building. From the shimmering paillette-covered dresses (again sustainable), to the parkas stitched with metal thread to manipulate their silhouettes, Lee’s treatment of fabrics is never anything but a delight to behold. Packing light for your trip to Detroit? Spring/summer 2022’s high-performance daywear, inspired by the engineering expertise of the city, can be “squashed and crushed”. Next season is all about function – as well as looking fabulous.

Of course, there were accessories to salivate over

Hailey Bieber’s neck must have been craning over the live stream to see Lee’s latest accessory proposition. At this point, it’s a prerequisite that the delightfully squishy, supple bags and sculptural yet wearable shoes will be a stratospheric success. But somehow Lee still manages to reinvent the wheel. New triangular sandals, sling-backs and colour-pop trainers come in “spongy technical towelling”, and the intrecciato Cassette bags, too, are treated to new textiles. For anyone concerned about their emotional support purse options for next season, Lee assures, “puffy and comforting bags are reassuringly soft to hold”.

Kim And Kim Unleash Fendi X Skims

Just one month on from Kim Jones and Donatella Versace’s “job swap” – which resulted in the star-studded, monogram-tastic “Fendace” runway show at Milan Fashion Week – Fendi’s artistic director has joined forces with fashion’s other Kim, shapewear queen Ms Kardashian West, on a new power collab.

Rumours of the partnership had been floating in fashion circles, and on 25 October friends Jones and Kardashian West confirmed on Instagram that they have indeed collaborated on a limited-edition capsule.

According to the two Kims, the project “unites the luxury of Fendi with the innovation of Skims”, and as is now customary with her Skims drops, Kardashian has modelled the pieces herself. In one campaign shot, captured by Steven Meisel, Kim is joined by Precious Lee, Tianna St Louis, Jessie Li and Grace Valentine, all of whom are dressed in zingy purple dresses, separates, leggings and gloves.

More shots of Kardashian West find her in tights scattered with Fendi’s Zucca emblem and the Skims logo, a matching bralette and Jones’s cult F-heeled shoes; or a sculpting khaki bodysuit worn under a monogrammed puffer.

Macaulay Culkin Is Now A Gucci Model?

Seeing an actor on the Gucci runway is nothing new. Creative director Alessandro Michele’s Gucci family is nothing if not star-studded. But while no one watching was surprised to see house muses Jared Leto and Jodie Turner-Smith on the Love Parade runway, the arrival of former child star Macaulay Culkin was something of a plot twist.

The Home Alone star strode along Hollywood Boulevard in the suitably nostalgic combo of a Hawaiian shirt under a floral bomber jacket. The finishing touches? Seventies-style tinted sunglasses and a pair of horsebit clogs. It was all rather Romeo + Juliet, the Baz Luhrmann take, which fittingly marks its 25th anniversary this year.

Has Culkin, who has kept a comparatively low-profile since a string of smash hit films made him the most famous kid on the planet in the ’90s, witnessed the world’s growing obsession with his little brother and decided to take back the limelight? Kieran Culkin, who demonstrated his comedy chops at eight as Macaulay’s cousin Fuller in Home Alone, has won an army of fans as Roman Roy in the critically adored HBO hit Succession. 

Elsewhere, guest of honour Gwyneth Paltrow turned heads wearing the red velvet suit Michele debuted at Gucci’s centenary show earlier this year. It was an ode to Paltrow’s 1996 VMAs look, which was Tom Ford-era Gucci. The actor complemented her retro suiting with a pale blue Oxford shirt and her hair slicked back into a low chignon – just as she did 25 years ago.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Gucci x Hot Wheels Cadillac Seville Lands On 'Hot Wheels Unleashed'

The limited-edition 1:64 scale replica of the iconic “Seville by Gucci” Cadillac revealed earlier this month for Gucci‘s centennial celebration is now landing on the new Hot Wheels Unleashed video game.

The joint project between Mattel Creations and Gucci serves as “a paradigmatic expression of the late ‘70s flair and a testament to the Maison’s forward-thinking that was the original car.” Now partnering with game developer Milestone, Gucci’s classic ride joins a host of unique automobiles including the DeLorean from Back to the Future, the Batmobile from DC Comics, and real-world supercars in the action-packed arcade racing game Hot Wheels Unleashed.

To commemorate this occasion, Nostalgia-infused illustrator H3C, and photographers Duane Shoots Toys and Felix Hernandez Dreamphography, who specialize in evocative miniature scenes, were invited to use the Gucci x Hot Wheels Cadillac Seville to express their creativity and showcase the essence of the legendary car.

The Gucci x Hot Wheels Cadillac Seville is set to arrive in-game in the coming weeks, and the replica model will be available globally at the Mattel Creations website and select Gucci locations globally on October 18 at 9 a.m. PT (12 p.m. ET). Hot Wheels Unleashed can be found on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch and PC. Head over to the dedicated Gucci site to learn more about its centennial festivities.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Fiorucci And Lakwena Celebrate Their Rousing Collaboration In Colourful Style

The power of connectivity is at the heart of Lakwena and Fiorucci’s bold collaboration. “My name means ‘messenger’ in Acholi,” says London-based artist, Lakwena. “It’s about speaking truth and hope into spaces.”

This week, their short film starring a gospel choir – encapsulating Lakwena’s idea of speaking truth and delivering an uplifting message of joy, perhaps in a time when we need it most – is projected high over Knightsbridge.

But Lakwena’s work has been seen internationally: from Tate Britain to Somerset House and Facebook, to a juvenile detention centre in Arkansas and a monastery in Vienna. Lakwena employs bright colour in paintings, which can be understood as “escape routes; afrofuturistic portals to utopia”.

Drawing upon Fiorucci’s archive and its original book Tyes and Tribes, “the clothes were almost secondary, the primary thing was about musicians and artists uniting and the organic creativity that ensued,” explains Lakwena.

Disco is the essence of Fiorucci, and for Lakwena, Gospel is central. In celebration of Black History Month, the brands staged a unifying London celebration, complete with Afro Caribbean canapés by King the Chef and harmonies of the Soul Sound Gospel Choir.

In reverence of Keith Haring – who collaborated with Fiorucci in the ’70s and ’80s and straddled the world of fine art as well as street art – this immersive crossover demonstrates the potential for greater accessibility to art.

In fashion terms, Lakwena has seized the chance to adorn the wearer in visible culture. A satin colour-block bomber is accompanied by hoodies, sweatshirts and T-shirts featuring an original hand motif by Lakwena, in a gesture of praise. After creating this collection during lockdown, her reverie has come to fruition. “It’s about having fun – the spirit of the collection is of celebrating life together,” adds Lakwena.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

A History Of Chanel Handbags

To appreciate the history of Chanel handbags, one has to start with the origins of the purse itself. For the society ladies of Western Europe in the 18th century, bags were effectively pockets, detached from garments and worn around the waist with a band beneath layers of skirt. By the end of the century, however, narrow neo-classical silhouettes could no longer camouflage a pocket, so it became a visible purse: a pochette with looped handles. This went on for about a century and a half before Gabrielle Chanel came along and thought, Can’t a girl get something hands-free? And thus, the chain-strapped crossbody bag came into fashion.

In 1909 the House of Chanel was born, founded by the elegant yet swashbuckling Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Though she’s best known for her nubby bouclé jackets, she started off making accessories—hats, to be exact—at a millinery shop on Paris’s Rue Cambon. As it so famously goes, her Catholic orphanage upbringing instilled in her a unique appreciation for the austerity of the ecclesiastical garb of nuns. (Her rearing with the sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Aubazine, France, stopped short, however: It’s believed that Gabrielle’s frequent dalliances with aristo men introduced her to jersey fabric, then a textile for men’s undergarments.)

By the ’20s, Chanel was the It label it is today. Gabrielle was churning out impossibly chic couture, she had expanded to fragrances with her iconique No. 5, and, yes, she was making covetable handbags—though she hadn’t given the world the quilted bag just yet. In the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s, Chanel’s bags were mostly cloth bags with dainty kiss-lock closures and elegant straps to be carried by hand—though there were some forebears of the famed 2.55 bag that would arrive in February of 1955 (hence the name); the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art includes in its collection a chic bag of gray wool with topstitching from the 1930s that winks to the quilted leather bags of the future. And, in 1933, Anton Bruehl photographed for Vogue a cream-colored leather bag from Chanel selling at Bergdorf Goodman that featured a gold chain.

In 1955, the world finally received a quilted, chain-strapped Chanel bag, and it hasn’t been the same since. Adding even more honey to the pot, the maison has dreamed up scores of other leather goods that still send women (and men!) into a tizzy. From the 2.55 to the Classic to the Boy bag, a whimsical retelling of Chanel handbag histories, below.

In the fateful month of February 1955, Gabrielle Chanel presented a bag that would forever define the house of Chanel, even sans logo! (It was Mr. Lagerfeld who thought to apply the interlocking Cs to the bag; more on that below.) The exterior was quilted wool, inspired by the saddle blankets at the horse races Gabrielle frequented. Now the bags come in a variety of leathers and the interiors are a burgundy color, allegedly the same shade as the uniforms Gabrielle wore in the convent. (The chains on which the nuns’ keys jangled was another point of reference, inspiring the ingenious chain strap that converted a shoulder bag into a crossbody.) The front lock, now dubbed by the house as the Mademoiselle, is an elegant rectangular closer. In 2005, the 2.55 was famously re-issued by Karl Lagerfeld, who then watched the heritage handbag ascend to It-bag greatness.

Though you’d be forgiven for assuming that this bag debuted in November of 2012, that’s not the case. Here, 11.12 refers to the bag’s style code, A01112; its actual origins have a longer story. Following Gabrielle’s death in 1971 and a lull in the brand’s influence, Karl Lagerfeld claimed the reins of the fashion house in 1983; and in an attempt to rekindle its old spark, he introduced his take on the 2.55. Relatively minor interventions were made to the bag, but they were enough to make the 11.12 (known as the Classic Flap until earlier this year) one of the most coveted purses in fashion history. Lagerfeld threaded leather through the gold chain strap and swapped the elegant rectangular closer for those double Cs, and now, the bag comes in finished leather, calf leather, pebbled calf leather (dubbed “caviar”), square or chevron quilting, tweed, and other varieties. There’s no mistaking this bag for anything but a Chanel creation, and even today, under the care of current creative director Virginie Viard, the bag maintains its towering status.

For fall 2011, Lagerfeld gave us the Chanel Boy bag, its name alluding both to Gabrielle’s boyish qualities (as a lover of sports and pared-back dressing) and to Arthur “Boy” Capel—a polo player with whom she enjoyed a long love affair. This Boy bag is designed with same defining features as the 2.55 and 11.12, however, it’s boxier in shape and its hardware is more of a gunmetal color—less girlish than, say, the 2.55’s plated gold. 

Furthermore, instead of the braided leather chain strap, this version comes with a strip of leather meant to rest on either the top of the shoulder or the crook of the arm. Since 2011, Chanel has imagined several iterations of the bag, with everything from iridescent metals to PVC quilted outers.

Old Hollywood Gaga Is Back Baby

Lady Gaga is going back to Las Vegas to continue her residency, and to psyche herself up for the string of jazz shows, the performer is doing what all pop megastars do and posing for selfies in a private jet. But wait, is that a scarf made of dollar bills hanging around her neck?

The wildly campy accessory which she draped over a sweet polka dot chiffon dress seems appropo for a week in the city of slot machines. Even more so for a woman whose hit “Poker Face” put her on the map. We digress. Gaga’s cash-rich version of a feather boa was not the only accessory vying for attention in the plane cabin.

Lady Gaga’s hot pink Hermès Kelly pulled her look together with a masterful slick of a coordinating Haus Labs lipstick, while her bumper cat-eye Valentino sunglasses gave her an air of fabulousness that seems to follow the powerhouse performer around.

Gaga beauty fans will also note that she has switched up the beehive she modelled for her recent shows with her friend Tony Bennett, with whom she released the album Love For Sale, for playful short ringlets. If this means her return to Old Hollywood Gaga – previously seen in full regalia on the promo trail for A Star is Born – is here to stay, then the upcoming House of Gucci tour is going to be all about the kitsch glamour she does so well.

Alexander McQueen’s Storm-Chasing S/S'22 Show

To mark Alexander McQueen’s first runway show since the pandemic, creative director Sarah Burton invited guests to a transparent dome within London’s Tobacco Docks to present her spring/summer 2022 collection. Here, British Vogue’s fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen delivers the key takeaways from the show.

The show took place in London

Locked down in London during the pandemic, Sarah Burton rediscovered her love of the city that created Alexander McQueen. Her last two collections were designed around ideas of London and shot in its streets (and river). The city became her inspiration. So, when fashion decided to go back to Paris last month, Burton decided to stay at home. “We spent the last year-and-a-half working here. London is where McQueen is from, where it started, where the studio is. It’s where everybody works and lives and breathes. That’s why I wanted to do it here,” she said after her first runway show since the pandemic, staged atop a 10-story parking garage on the Tobacco Dock.

It was based on storm chasers

Wrapped in a brightly-lit plastic dome, the rooftop venue kind of called for the dramatic weather London normally delivers by the bucket load, but today, Burton’s storm chasers had to settle for sun. The hazardous pastime inspired her collection: a post-pandemic image of mankind accepting the powers of nature rather than fighting it. “In the studio, we’re surrounded by the sky,” Burton said, referring to the big windows that frame her ateliers. “The sky can be beautiful, it can be turbulent, it can be passionate, it can be frightening, it can be dangerous. I wanted to express that in the collection: things are beyond our control. We’re part of nature, and we have to respect it. We have to live through all of it, storm chasing.”

Sarah Burton used storm chasing as a post-pandemic message

Burton translated the idea into stormy motifs on dramatic plissé dresses that looked as if the wind was carrying them off the models’ shoulders; in the couture-like volume of a peacoat that morphed into a billowing windbreaker; in dresses and skirts structured to evoke the impression of headwind; and rigid leather and denim silhouettes made for storm chasing action (well, figuratively speaking). “It represents what we’re all living through. There are times of sunshine and moments of turbulence. You have to confront and not hide away from it. It’s about being brave enough to have the courage to deal with it,” Burton said. “I think everybody learned from the pandemic. It changed many, many things, and I don’t think that things are quite the same, or will be the same again. Maybe it’s shifted people’s way of thinking. We designed this in a slightly different way.”

It was all about the cast

If there was something different about Burton’s approach, it was underpinned by a cast that felt more diverse than ever, crowned by a closing exit courtesy of Naomi Campbell. Changing her approach to designing and presenting her collections during the pandemic, Burton had grown closer to her models (many of which aren’t professional models), and discovered how rewarding those connections were. “It made you focus on the individual. It became about this community of women, and how these clothes look on women. I made clothes for them as people. It was about them inspiring you as much as you inspired them,” she explained. “It’s about treating each of them as an individual and enhancing their personality, and how they feel. It’s about being sensitive.”

Expect Alexander McQueen to keep doing things its own way

As for the future of Alexander McQueen’s show cycle, Burton said she quite enjoys doing things on her own terms. “The rhythm has been slightly different, and it felt like our own rhythm, in our own time, without having to be formulaic. If anything, it’s made me appreciate my studio even more: how hard they work and what that means.” Thankfully for Burton, wherever she decided to show, we’ll be her storm chasers.