Sunday, January 31, 2021

Inside The New Exhibit Of Paolo Roversi, Photographer And Longtime Comme Des Garçons Collaborator

Italian fashion photographer Paolo Roversi is one of Comme des Garçons’s closest collaborators. He first met designer Rei Kawakubo in Paris in the ’80s and has continued to photograph her artful collections over the years. “I started doing catalogs with Rei in the ’80s, and then every season I started [working] with them,” Roversi says. After four decades, the famously elusive designer and the photographer have a true partnership. “I’m completely free to do what I want,” he says. As a result, he creates indelible images that perfectly capture the moods of Kawakubo’s darkly romantic work; his photography style often makes use of a blurred focus or hazy lighting to match the abstract spirit.

As the brand’s go-to documentarian, Roversi has seen Kawakubo’s work transform and evolve, but he says a sense of innovation has always been present in her theatrical designs, which often seem more like art pieces than wearable garments. “The [beginning] period was very new,” says Roversi. “It was a revolution, because the [CDG] fashion was so different from what was in Paris at the time. She mixes Japanese culture and European culture very well.”

As one can imagine, Roversi has captured countless images for the fashion house throughout the decades—and now, his work with Comme des Garçons is being featured in a new exhibit, titled “Paolo Roversi: Birds,” at the Dallas Contemporary. Running from January 30 to August 22, the new showcase explores his longstanding collaborations with Kawakubo, and serves as an extension of his coffee table book that also explores this body of work. The new exhibit is the largest North American collection of his photos, and it features over 40 images that range in scale and style. “Every shoot was very surprising,” says Roversi. “The work of Rei is so innovative; every time it’s something new and different. I always try my best, because I cannot do something normal or ordinary for Rei.”

The exhibit’s title, “Birds,” is not without purpose. The theme of the show is mobility, and it focuses on Roversi’s special ability to capture Kawakubo’s models and clothes in movement. “His ethereal and dreamlike style is incredibly timeless, but what is most striking is the way his conversations with the models are revealed to the viewer,” says Peter Doroshenko, executive director of the Dallas Contemporary and one of the exhibit’s co-curators, along with Dennis Freedman. “The models’ abstract and mobile poses often evoke birds landing or taking off…and of course, Kawakubo’s creations add another character to the story.”

Roversi’s style is perfectly exemplified in Anna, Paris 2017. The image features the model Anna Cleveland in a shapely red frock from Kawakubo’s spring 2015 collection (one of Roversi’s favorites). She’s looking back at the camera, and Roversi captured her gaze at exactly the right moment before she broke eye contact with the lens. “It’s as if we could see, in the still image, the few steps she has just taken to walk away from the camera, and we are anticipating her face turning away from the viewer, but that has not happened just yet,” says Doroshenko.

Roversi says these candid moments in the studio have always been organic and free-spirited. After all, he admits Kawakubo’s genius makes his job very easy. “Her work is very poetic, so it’s easy to take an artistic photograph.”

“Everything Is Possible”—Sébastien Jondeau's Memoir Of His Life As Karl Lagerfeld’s Right-Hand Man

The name and work of Karl Lagerfeld are known the world over, but few were familiar with the man behind the famous glasses as Sébastien Jondeau, the designer’s personal assistant, who has written a book, Ça va, cher Karl? (Flammarion) with the French journalist Virginie Mouzat.

“It’s not a story about fashion, it’s a story about human beings,” Mouzat says of the book in an email exchange. “It shows the beautiful loyalty that Seb still feels for Karl, who was everything to him.” When asked what she learned about Sébastien in the course of writing the book, Mouzat replies that “Seb is a much more soft, tender, sentimental guy than expected, trapped in a boxer champion body. The contrast between the inner little boy mourning a super powerful father figure (Lagerfeld) and the muscled looking guy was quite a discovery for me.”

One of Jondeau’s goals, he says, was “to show people from where I am now how my life was from the beginning.” That’s reflected in the structure of the memoir, which alternates between scenes of Jondeau’s life with Lagerfeld and elements of his personal story. Ça va, cher Karl? is in some aspects a tale of two worlds colliding. Indeed, the Frenchman compares meeting Lagerfeld to crossing paths with an asteroid.

Before Karl, Jondeau lived in a diverse, working-class suburb of Paris. A boxer, he always preferred sport to school; speed (fast cars, notably) to stasis. Jondeau was about 16 years old when he first encountered Lagerfeld while working for his step-father’s moving company. They came into contact under similar circumstances years later, and Jondeau found the courage to ask Lagerfeld if he could work for him and learn about his milieu. Originally hired as a bodyguard and then driver, he became Lagerfeld’s personal assistant. The two men were in constant contact, and Jondeau cared for the designer to the very end. “I miss the person, everything of him,” says Jondeau.

On a psychological level, Jondeau, the only child of divorced parents, found stability with Lagerfeld. “Karl is the solid element in my life,” he notes. On the other side, Mouzat says that the designer “considered Sébastien like a son. He literally said it to one of Seb’s best friends, who later shared the story with him.” “Karl opens for me the doors to Paris, to the world, socially, culturally, and materially,” writes Jondeau. “He is the Holy Grail. It’s one of the reasons that prompted me to ask to work with him. He represents the openness that I need.”

Like all those close to the designer, Jondeau was the beneficiary of Lagerfeld’s generosity. The perks were notable: private jets, fancy cars, runway cameos. But even as he became accustomed to, and enjoyed, the jet-set lifestyle, Jondeau never disavowed his past or distanced his friends. In fact the reader becomes aware that the Frenchman’s connections to the often invisible people who make Paris hum enhanced his ability to be of service to Lagerfeld. The wife of a friend became Choupette’s cat-sitter, for example.

Besides publishing a book, Jondeau is currently busy being an ambassador for the Karl Lagerfeld brand. He’s still boxing and has been tapped by Silvia Venturini Fendi to apply his sportsman’s eye to an activewear line. It seems safe to say that fashion hasn’t seen the last of him.

Working for Lagerfeld might have taken Jondeau into another orbit, but he seems to have been able to keep his feet mostly on the ground. One of the aims of the book, he says, is to show “that everything is possible.” “[If] you’re alive, [and] you are [in] good health, you have everything. Sometimes,” he adds, “we forget all of this because we are thinking too [materialistically], but we are very lucky.”

2020’s Biggest Fashion Moments

The emotional rollercoaster of 2020 reads like a classic piece of fiction. It opened last winter with a fashion industry carrying on the only way we knew how: by attending fashion shows. In the spring, the pandemic confronted us with the unknown, forcing us to re-evaluate our way of life – in this industry’s case, the fashion system and its environmental footprints. That journey culminated in the summer of Black Lives Matter protests, giving everyone hope for a brighter future.

As our battle against the pandemic rolled on into the autumn and corona fatigue set in, we realised things weren’t going to play out as easy as those classic tales. But as the vaccine is becoming a reality, our annus horribilis finishes on a happier ending than many had dared to hope. When fashion looks back on 2020, these are the chapters we won’t soon forget.

Enter Covid-19

It was a quiet Sunday at Milan Fashion Week when Miuccia Prada took to a podium at her headquarters alongside Raf Simons to announce his appointment as co-creative director. With news of the pandemic hitting Italy, Giorgio Armani had already cancelled attendance for his show that day, and backstage at Dolce & Gabbana, we weren’t doing the double kisses so entrenched in fashion week culture. That afternoon, in the bar of the Grand – always the fashion week situation room – panic set in as flights were being moved forward and Paris plans were discussed. Flying out of Milan that evening felt a bit like being on the run. But as the shows in Paris continued, we had no idea what was to come. In the months after, the industry would be plunged into crisis mode, offices would shut, and fashion weeks would be cancelled. While every brand on earth launched its own signature face mask, designers armoured up to create emergency networks for PPE production.

The great debate: How much is too much?

In many ways, 2019 had felt like a boiling point for the sustainability debates which had been present in fashion for years. With no signs of slowing down, the industry’s hamster wheel was constantly questioned. When the pandemic put that industry in lockdown, many eyed an opportunity for change. Designers and industry voices formed proposals for transformations to a fashion system that was inseparably tied to the words “too much”: too many clothes, too many shows, too many empty promises. As the industry had to face furloughs, redundancies, and massive event cancellations, some brands took “seasonality” into their own hands, aiming to reduce their number of shows. Others warned against the effect such grand gestures could have on unemployment and the environment as a result. In the end, the debates had no concrete impact on the fashion system or its show cycle, but managed to speed up major brand efforts that were already underway – and kickstart awareness with others.

Black Lives Matter changed fashion forever

On a Tuesday in early June, the prolific Instagram accounts of fashion (and other industries) faded to black. In the days after the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, the pledges began to appear: brands, designers and institutions promised their industry would look inwards, do better, and transform the future of fashion. As the industry took to the streets and joined the protests, activist groups and foundations began to take shape, building a long-term foundation for systemic change to the industry. A collage of the September issues of every major fashion magazine in the world will be eternally imprinted on the industry’s retina, each cover devoted to diversity, inclusivity, and hope. Black Lives Matter will be an eternal part of fashion. What these most recent protests set in motion will transform the way we view marketing, promotion and the way it impacts what we wear. Going forward, consumers no longer want to be boxed in, stereotyped, or segmented. In fashion, the future is about the freedom of identity.

The virtual front row reigned supreme

When fashion weeks were cancelled for the first time in about half a century, could the video kill the runway star? Houses such as Chanel and Dior produced short films for haute couture, while Valentino staged a live performance, and Maison Margiela shot two feature films mixed with documentary footage. Detecting a need for the physical experience, Bottega Veneta sent digital projectors to the press along with dedicated footage, Jonathan Anderson invented “the show in a box”, and Balenciaga captured its show in virtual reality and sent everyone Oculus headsets. At the scaled-back fashion weeks in September, brands engaged in “phygicality” – i.e. fusing reality with digital tricks – such as Balmain, which created a front row of screens with illustrious fashion and celebrity profiles watching the show from afar. Time will tell if all this ingenuity will have any long-term impact on the ways fashion congregates and presents its collections.

The biggest catwalk influence? Zoom

For anyone who’s ever been terrified that someone might FaceTime you without at least two-hours’ notice, post-pandemic communication changed our home wardrobes (not to mention hair and make-up) forever. It wasn’t long before our new culture of Zoom calls and Microsoft Teams meetings had us coining terms including “#WFO”, “comfort-wear” and “phygicality”. Around the fashion landscape, stores were reporting increased sales in the loungewear, sportswear and jewellery departments, a phenomenon that would soon be known as “Zoom dressing”: tracksuit bottoms, nice top, big earrings. It translated onto September’s runways where designers adapted trends to that template, presumably wary of how “investment shopping” – another hot topic during lockdown – could affect the trend machine in the long run. But, rest assured, we’ll always have the runaway trend of 2020 to beat it: underwear-as-outerwear, as demonstrated on February’s runways. Maybe it was #WFH premonition?

Designer musical chairs took another spin

What better note to finish our 2020 memories on than musical chairs? No, not a pastime result of lockdown cabin fever, but those of fashion houses and their changing designers. Which brings us back to that fateful day in Milan when news of the seriousness of the pandemic coincided with Prada’s announcement that Raf Simons would become co-creative director of the house. Like Matthew M Williams, who took the helm as Clare Waight Keller exited Givenchy, his debut collection would be shaped by the digital conditions in which we found ourselves. For Kim Jones, who joined Fendi as its artistic director of womenswear later in the year, his first haute couture show for the house this coming January looks to be a more physical experience. The case could be the same in February when Gabriela Hearst drops the curtain at Chloé where she took over from Natacha Ramsay-Levi this month. No matter what – come physical or digital – 2020’s never-ending news machine is proof that no pandemic or lockdown could ever stop the progress of fashion.

Key Men's Fashion Trends For Spring / Summer 2021

2020 has been affected by an unprecedented pandemic which forced the whole world to take on exceptional measures. Designers had to get creative and use their art during the presentation of their Spring-Summer 2021 collections. While some chose to display their collections while respecting the health measures taken by the governments of each country, others proposed new ingenious alternatives, like JW Anderson and Y/Project.

How will men dress for Spring/Summer 2021?

It is no surprise that this season is intended to be optimistic and full of hope. This notion translates into bright colors, suits stripped of all formality, athletic leisurewear (with couture accents, of course), extra-large pants where comfort reigns supreme and pajamas that emerge from the moonlight to take on a starring role in the light of day. Also featured are strong symbolic patterns such as the flower, an explosion of prints of all kinds, the comeback of the forgotten sandals/socks combo and a whole range of pastel colors that emanates softness. Take a look at the top 20 men's fashion trends for Spring/ Summer 2021.

1. The bomber

Designers are seizing a piece generally launched in mid-season, the bomber, with a pilot-like allure and a free spirit, for a relentless allure this summer. Sacai, brought its own interpretation with unstructured cuts and A-Cold-Wall also took on the trend, as did Boss, which did the jacket in a pine green sheen fabric.

2. Workwear

Fashion continues to explore the facets of uniform, crowned this season with an aesthetic borrowed from the world of work with ultra utilitarian pieces. While the Kenzo jumpsuit is adorned with a multitude of pockets, Lemaire gave its silhouettes a monochrome military spirit.

3. Pastel

Pastel was also featured this season, with variations from lilac to candy pink. These tones were among the headliners at Raf Simon, with its 1970s charming pieces, Versace or even MSGM. The prevalence of this shade was, without doubt, proof of an effort to boost the collections with a touch of optimism, a theme sought after more than ever by designers this season.

4. Effortless suits

Because summer is often synonymous with well-being, the formal outfit can be put aside to make way for a suit with effortless accents that you can imagine wearing for a warm evening by the sea. These are pieces highlighting absolute comfort - where linen is preferred - seen at Jacquemus, Lemaire and Botter.

5. Kimono

The Kimono had disappeared from the western male locker room. Now, it is becoming a staple once again this season and is punctuated with Japanese details that pay homage to its origins, all with a very contemporary twist as imagined by Martine Rose, Dunhill and Ambush.

6. Bermuda

This is the must-have of the season: after the XXS shorts seen last summer, ultra-wide Bermuda shorts are the essential piece of the summer men's wardrobe.

7. Colors under acid

With lemon yellow, neon pink, electric green, cherry red and tangerine orange, this summer is looking optimistic and colorful. Versace, Fendi and Dries Van Noten have already tamed them brilliantly.

8. Extra large pants

Forget classic elegance, chic now rhymes with freedom and comfort. As a result, pants are now XXL where any constraint becomes obsolete. Go for natural colors ranging from beige to pastel blue, as seen at Hed Mayner, Armani and Lemaire.

9. Pockets

Several houses produced jackets (Balmain, for example, with its Saharan look), as well as pants with a multitude of patch pockets - ideal for abandoning the superfluous and carrying only the necessary.

10. Revisited sailor shirt

Imagine a modern-day sailor. These silhouettes are decked out in the true nautical panoply including a striped sweater, the signature piece par excellence, as seen at Burberry in a modern knit version with straps, as well as at Boss and Casablanca.

11. Neo print

What if we mixed and matched our prints for the perfect style? Whether in tie-dye, a jungle pattern, or with stripes, Celine by Hedi Slimane, Louis Vuitton and Y / Project all made sure to incorporate prints as their summer leitmotifs.

12. Daytime pajamas

Pajamas command a certain refined elegance this season. Whether with a bohemian-chic look for a stroll in town or the beach or channeling Schnabel or Marcello Mastroianni in Divorce Italian Style, they are emerging from the moonlight to shine bright as daywear pieces.

13. Updated knitwear

Although the knitted sweater is an absolute fashion must against the falling temperatures every winter, it is also an essential for the summer to protect us against the Mediterranean breeze. We particularly appreciate the models designed by Dior, JW Anderson and sacai.
sacai, Dior, JW Anderson

14. Couture tracksuits

It's a fact: the jogger is making its comeback. With 1990s spirit at Y/Project, elevated with gold at Celine by Hedi Slimane, or as a hybrid version at Balenciaga, it becomes our everyday casual ally to wear at home and about town.

15. Flower power

The flower is the designer's main inspiration for this summer. Whether with a retro 1970s aesthetic as seen at Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello or in a trompe-l'oeil version at Kenzo, the flower symbolizes hope.

16. Sliders

We thought the sandal/sock combo was dead and buried. However, some designers and fashion houses like Kim Jones for Dior, Fendi and Versace have had fun bringing it back to life to the delight of streetwear fans.

17. Tucked-in

Next summer: except to see tucked-in T-shirts and belted pants. From Hermès to Balenciaga and Etro, this fashion statement is poised to make its mark on the fashion world.

18. Neon yellow

This season's chromatic sparkle, neon yellow, to be worn in the most subtle way possible. Here, in a Louis Vuitton down jacket, a Dior jumpsuit and an Hermès top.

19. Minimalism

Black, white, a suit with classic elegance, fitted or with an effortless aesthetic: this is the recipe for success at Prada, Jil Sander and Valentino.

20. Swim brief

The swim brief made a noticeable comeback this year at the Versace, Dolce & Gabbana fashion shows, and also stood out as a statement piece from the first Givenchy collection by Matthew Williams.

Junya Watanabe S/S' 22

Since he designed this collection, and we’re reviewing it, in the middle of the deepest, bleakest winter for years, perhaps it’s no wonder that Watanabe felt like gathering up a bunch of comforting knitwear and turning it into his seasonal essay. “Tradition Made New” was the collection title he issued. Nordic sweaters, Aran-style cables, and Fair Isle patterns were transplanted or somehow woven or fused into every piece of outerwear throughout—except when entire sweaters turned up under plain coats and jackets.

Under stripped-back COVID-secure circumstances, Watanabe’s show took place on a casting of regular models who walked along an anonymous back corridor of the designer’s work building. Absent the “real man” character-casting that has won Watanabe so much affection over the past couple of years, the focus was solely directed towards the clothes. What it lost in communicating the warm, fuzzy bro-to-bro feels of his Paris runways, it made up for in the surface complexities of successions of sweater-archetypes melding with quilted coat liners, army jackets, duffle coats, and baseball jackets. Along the way, his long-standing collaborations with Carhartt and Levi’s were also present.

Watanabe has collaged together disparate clothing components for men so often that it’s become part of the brand language, but never quite as much as this seemed. His game in menswear—making fashion jigsaws out of authentic brand materials and garment archetypes—is also typically sensitive to the zeitgeist. There have been many collections in which he’s offered a cooler version of city tailoring for an office worker; this time, it looked more like a practical wardrobe for all the errand-running and walk-taking routines of the new working-from-home reality. Well—even though the models didn’t look like it this season—it’s the same men Watanabe’s addressing. Even if there are no meetings, pitches, and conferences, no dinners or parties or planes to catch, there’s still a need for something just a bit less ordinary for what the new “going out” means—even if it’s a stroll to the corner shop or a couple of laps around the park.

ASOS On Brink Of Sealing TopShop And Miss Selfridge Takeover

ASOS is this weekend on the brink of capping one of the most tumultuous months in the history of the British high street by sealing a deal worth nearly £300m to buy TopShop and Miss Selfridge.

Sky News understands that the online fashion retailer hopes to sign an agreement with Arcadia Group's administrators ahead of a stock exchange announcement that could come as soon as Monday morning.
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Sources said on Saturday that the takeover of TopShop would cost ASOS approximately £250m, with the cost of stock adding roughly £40m to the purchase price.

ASOS confirmed a Sky News report this week that it had become the frontrunner to buy the crown jewels in Sir Philip Green's former empire, which crashed into administration in November.

By taking over TopShop, ASOS - which was founded under the name As Seen On Screen in 2000 - will secure one of the most symbolically potent transactions in corporate Britain for decades.

The dovetailing of its talks with Boohoo Group's deal to buy Debenhams' brand and website - but not its 118 stores - has added to the sense of a permanent structural shift in the retail sector that has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, Boohoo also confirmed Sky News' revelation that it was in exclusive talks to buy the Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis brands from Arcadia's administrator, Deloitte, for just over £25m.

The flurry of takeovers of famous high street names by pure-play digital retailers will herald a further jobs bloodbath in a sector already suffering because of the coronavirus crisis.

The demise of Sir Philip's empire and Debenhams as high street anchor tenants across Britain follows the failure of retailers such as Cath Kidston, Oasis and Warehouse during the past year.

Sir Philip bought Arcadia in 2002 for £850m, and just three years later paid what remains one of the largest-ever dividends - £1.2bn - to Arcadia's registered owner, Lady Christina.

In 2012, he sold a 25% stake in TopShop's immediate holding company to Leonard Green & Partners, a private equity firm, valuing the fashion chain at £2bn.

Sir Philip was later to buy it back for just $1.

The deals to sell Arcadia's portfolio of brands will yield aggregate proceeds of about £340m for creditors, with property assets including a distribution centre in Daventry also on the block.

ASOS and Deloitte declined to comment on Saturday.

Tom Ford, CFDA Chairman, Renames Show Schedule ‘American Collections Calendar’

Tom Ford, chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, sent out a letter to its membership this morning saying that the New York Fashion Week show schedule will be renamed the “American Collections Calendar.”

With a growing number of American designers showing their collections later in the season and sometimes outside of New York, whether that be in Europe, Asia, or other key markets, Ford wrote that the CFDA will now be including all American designers within the calendar and on Runway360, its digital platform, regardless of location or collection release date.

The CFDA hasn’t issued its show schedule yet for the upcoming February shows, but it has become increasingly apparent that many U.S. designers — such as Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and Tory Burch — are planning to present their collections later this season and not during NYFW, which is scheduled from Feb. 14 to 17.

In the letter, Ford wrote, “While the CFDA will continue to encourage American designers to show in New York during New York Fashion Week, we recognize the need for some to broaden their global visibility. In the past few years, many of our members have chosen to show in Europe, Asia, and other key markets and in many cases off-calendar. The events of the past year have only highlighted the need for flexibility within the fashion system.”

Ford pointed out that the chief mission statement of the CFDA since its inception in 1962 has been to promote American fashion both domestically and abroad. “Now more than ever this is one of our primary goals. The world has changed dramatically since 1962 and achieving global brand recognition is key to securing success for American designers,” he wrote.

“To that end, the show schedule that is released by the CFDA each season will be renamed ‘American Collections Calendar,” he wrote. He said that the importance of New York Fashion Week will still remain a priority.

“This season, even more than last, will be a great challenge for all of us as the world grapples with an increasingly devastating pandemic and economic downturn. We at the CFDA are here to support you in any way that we can,” wrote Ford.

In making the decision, Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA, told WWD that they have been looking at the upcoming market and saw the success of Runway360 last September, which was basically a virtual fashion week and a shortened three days.

“We got incredible response from buyers and editors who found the platform really easy, accessible, fluid and helpful,” said Kolb.

He said they knew that the COVID-19 crisis wasn’t going to be any better in February and was likely to be worse. “COVID-19 is raging and many countries are shut down, production chains shut down. This season, even more than last, we’re seeing designers are impacted. That resulted is an even greater need of flexibility around their collections and how they show,” said Kolb.

He pointed out that last season, many designers didn’t show during that three-day period because of supply chain issues, or not being prepared because they couldn’t be in their studios. He said that holds true for a lot of companies again.

As the CFDA looked at that impact on this particular season, they started to think about how designers show collections. He said they acknowledged that even before the pandemic, designers chose not to show during fashion week or decided to show at a different location. They could be showing in Asia coinciding with a store opening, or showing with a special calendar event, such as an anniversary, he said. “We’d already seen American designers, before the pandemic, starting to show outside of fashion week or in other locations,” said Kolb.

In fact, when they conducted a study several years ago on the future of fashion week, the main finding was “Brands should do what is best for the brand.”

“Our mission is to globalize American fashion and to support American designers, big and small, throughout the year, and not just during fashion week. With that in mind, it really made sense to us to look at the market and collections bigger than just New York Fashion Week. That’s where we came up with Tom’s letter, and ‘American Collections,’ and that approach moving forward,” said Kolb.

He said the new calendar would embrace brands that show after NYFW because of supply chain issues, or to connect with a specific event, or a brand that’s on a European calendar, or showing in Asia, when they get back to live events.

“The ‘American Collections Calendar’ is really going to bring all the American shows and presentations together in that calendar. The heart of the ‘American Collections Calendar’ will always be New York Fashion Week. This is not about dismissing or abandoning NYFW. NYFW is the heart, it’s the soul, it’s the foundation of this new modern way of thinking which is really reflective of how the business is operating today,” said Kolb.

The “American Collections Calendar” will come out twice a year. The fashion calendar continues as an online platform that is updated year-round, listing all fashion-related events in New York.

According to Kolb, NYFW from Feb. 14 to 17 will still feature emerging designers and known brands .

He was asked if a year from now, when hopefully things are better, would he want to encourage people to show in New York during NYFW?

“Yes, NYFW is the soul and heart and foundation of this new way of thinking. We are super excited about New York in September and where we might be with the vaccine roll-out and hopefully people will be vaccinated in the summer. We anticipate September NYFW as being important and creative. We’re acknowledging and supporting the brands that aren’t able to show in New York, or have a business strategy to show elsewhere either in time or location,” he said.

During the past few years, Gabriela Hearst, Thom Brown and Altuzarra have shown in Paris, Rodarte and Tom Ford have shown Los Angeles and Tommy Hilfiger has shown all over the world. “This is really aligning with the business strategy those brands see as business opportunities,” he said.

Kolb acknowledged that American fashion is a huge global business.

“When you have a fashion week in a city, there’s power in that. There’s power in the economy of that city, there’s power in the collectedness of brands showing together. ‘American Collections’ has really evolved in a big way in embracing the way designers are showing, and supporting them,” said Kolb.

Asked if they’ve run this by IMG, which owns NYFW: The Shows, Kolb said he doesn’t have to run anything by them. He said IMG is doing NYFW: The Shows, and CFDA is New York Fashion Week and is the fashion calendar. “We are the official scheduler and organizer of New York Fashion Week, and we’re extending that and growing that in now having the ‘American Collections Calendar.’ IMG has their own schedule,” he said.

He said a lot of IMG brands are on the CFDA calendar. “They [IMG] are very focused on producing events. They’re an entertainment company. We’re a not-for-profit organization that represents American fashion. We bought the fashion calendar from Ruth Finley, and we schedule NYFW. We work with IMG during NYFW. We share schedules and support each other. What we’re talking about is furthering and strengthening the mission of the CFDA, which is supporting American designers in the global economy. Some of them will choose different times and different places to show.”

As for the upcoming NYFW, Kolb said he expects to have about the same amount or perhaps more brands participating than in September. Last September, 82 brands took part in Runway360. “The idea of a calendar release is not really necessary. When you have live shows, you have to release the schedule in advance, so people have to plan travel and logistical coordination. We want to take the time and really get things shored up, so people [designers] have time to confirm,” he said.

“We’re going to have a very fleshed-out schedule which we’ll be able to share early next week. You’ll see some brands returning that haven’t been on a calendar for a while, you’ll see some new brands, you’ll see the continued engagement of more diversity. What’s so powerful about Runway360 is open access, we’re supporting emerging talent, it has global reach, and it’s flexible. You can be a brand that has a budget and makes a movie, or you can get a studio and livestream with no audience, and you can be a brand that asks your friend to come over to your apartment, put them in your clothes and ask a neighbor to shoot a look book.”

He said brands can spend as little or as much as they want. Runway360 is also business-to-business. One can see a collection and move into a virtual showroom. “It’s going to be great,” said Kolb.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Iconic 20th-Century Couture Designs To Be Auctioned In Paris

On February 11th and 12th, an expansive collection of haute couture and vintage designer pieces spanning the entire 20th century will go under the hammer at the Cornette de Saint-Cyr auction house in Paris and online.

The sale includes 445 pieces that come from the collections of the Maison de Mode Méditerranée à Marseille, a talent incubator that supports young fashion designers from France and the Mediterranean region. Proceeds will go to the MMM’s endowment fund. Many of the earliest silhouettes — by luminaries from Madame Grès and Mariano Fortuny to Gabrielle Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and Hubert de Givenchy — were often purchased at auction, with MMM’s founder Maryline Bellioud-Vigouroux taking advice from her friend, the late Azzedine Alaïa, she wrote in a preface to the auction catalogue.

Although museum-worthy pieces are expected to hit several thousands and higher, unsigned pieces and accessories, as well as easy daywear pieces, start at around 150 euros to 300 euros.

“Our goal is to give these pieces a new lease on life — be it in a museum for iconic designs or as pieces to be still worn today by people who are looking for [looks] no longer available in today’s fashion offer,” said Hubert Felbecq, director of fashion and Haute Couture at the Cornette de Saint Cyr auction house.

The first day will focus on more than 230 haute couture designs from 1910 to 2000. Among the pieces expected to attract heavy attention from institutions and collectors are a 1922 Chanel evening cape in ruby-red silk velvet and georgette with a marabout trim; a Mariano Fortuny evening coat in block-print silk from the 1930s; an opulent Christian Lacroix gown from 1990, and a 1999 dramatic Belle Epoque-style pink changeant silk gown designed by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, estimated to go for between 4,000 euros and 6,000 euros.

A 1938 Schiaparelli coat from the “Zodiaque” collection, recently exhibited in the “Man Ray et la Mode” exhibition at the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris, is estimated to fetch from 15,000 euros to 30,000 euros. A near identical design was donated to the Philadelphia Museum of Art by the couturier in 1969.

Another highlight of the sale will be costumes designed by Lacroix for a 1988 production of the “Goethe — Wilhelm Meister” play, inspired by the German author’s 1795 novel “Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship,” as well as their preparatory sketches. Magazine collectors will want to snap up a lot of 250 French Vogue issues from 1924 to 1961, estimated around 3,000 euros.

On the second day, the 1980s and its rising designer generation will take center stage, from Alaïa and Kenzo to Thierry Mugler and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. Anne-Marie Beretta contributed 100 pieces from her personal archive, spanning two decades from 1980 to 1999.

A private collector’s wardrobe of designer men’s wear looks from the 1980s will be part of the Feb. 12 sale.

The 100-strong lots include a made-to-measure Michel Schreiber suit once owned by former French president François Mitterand; a selection of striking Jean-Paul Gaultier Homme, including a burgundy double-breasted suit with a black-and-white checkerboard design across the shoulders and chest; a fringed gaucho jacket, and an evening look made of an embroidered cropped shantung spencer and matching trousers with suspenders. Other pieces range from Claude Montana leather jackets circa 1985 to an expansive selection of Gianni Versace looks and accessories.

Ahead of the sale, an exhibition of the pieces is planned to be open to the public from Feb. 3 to 10 at the auction house, subject to public health guidelines, on Avenue Hoche. It will also be accessible online at

Friday, January 29, 2021

Thom Browne Launches Childrenswear For Kids At Work And Play

How did Thom Browne dress as a kid? “Pretty much like this,” he says: Gray suit, gray knit, gray shorts, tie, and oxford shoes. There’s something reassuring in the fact that many years and successes later, Browne hasn’t changed much—and not only in his wardrobe. A sense of childlike wonder and fantasy pervades his work, making his shows, whether IRL or URL, some of fashion week’s most magical experiences. (Who else would turn their dog into a spaceship or create a full zoo of animal-shaped leather bags?) It’s a delightful and welcomed quality in fashion, especially during the bleak and too-serious times of 2020 and 2021.

Now, instead of just dressing adults with a childlike sense of mischief, Browne is adding a full range of kid’s clothing to his offering. He’s launching the collection on the official calendar of Paris Men’s Fashion Week with a comical short film by Cass Bird that sees a group of six-ish- to ten-ish-year-olds enter Browne’s office and get to work. “I don’t think any of them had actually ever seen a typewriter. Shocking,” the designer deadpans. “They looked at it as if it was a foreign object.”

Office machinery aside, he assures me that the children had a blast in their miniature suits. “What they have on is very tailored, very strict, and you would think that they would have acted differently than they normally do as kids, but they were exactly the same,” Browne says. “They were playing and running around just as much as they would’ve been in any other clothing. It was great to see.” The designer’s rigorous construction is every bit as precise in his childrenswear as his adult clothing, but instead of shrinking proportions as he does for ready-to-wear, Browne made sure the children’s clothing is “more true to size.”

Parents should know that while a Thom Browne kid’s kit is still certainly an investment, Browne is proud that the collection offers more than just style. “The kids [in the campaign video] are all wearing the exact same thing, but the individuality of each one of these young kids is so strong and so unique and so special that it stands out beyond their clothing. I think that is the most important message,” he says. “There’s something really charming about their true personality really coming through, as opposed to the clothing being what dictates what type of personality someone has. I think when a lot of people go to buy clothing, they want their clothing to make them individuals as opposed to themselves being the individual.”

That’s not the only wisdom Browne has for a younger generation of fans. Having tuned in to President Biden’s inauguration—and dressed Katy Perry for the evening’s virtual celebration—Browne was struck by poet Amanda Gorman’s recitation. “The way she spoke, I want people to see that quality, see someone that is just so good at what they do. You see the work that goes into creating important moments and important people. That is so important for kids these days to see and to really aspire to.” He continues: “The most important thing is putting the work in, not just expecting it to happen overnight, because sometimes it does take longer.” The good news is that no matter how long it takes someone to really hit their stride, be it 10, 20 or 50 years, Browne now has a complete range of clothing to dress them along the way.

Sidaction Unveils Fashion-Themed Auction Lots

The Sidaction auction kicks off Thursday, and the AIDS-fighting association has disclosed the lots up for grabs — they read like a who’s who of the luxury fashion world. Experiences dominate — fashion show tickets! — but there is also memorabilia and clothing.

“We chose to focus on exceptional things, like a visit to the Hermès museum followed by lunch upstairs on the terrace — things that people don’t normally have access to,” said Jean Paul Gaultier, ambassador of the association.

“Some, like Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and Christian Lacroix, did paintings, there’s a chair by Hedi Slimane — neo-Art Deco, a bit futurist in gold leaf and Plexiglass that is absolutely magnificent — there are unique things like that,” he added.

“I donated a couture dress, there are plenty of lots that are rather exceptional. There’s also spending lunch with this or that person,” he said, coyly.

Reminded that he is one of those people, the designer broke into a grin.

“It would have been perhaps a bit long to spend the night with me,” he laughed.

In fact, there are overnight stays in the mix — including one at Boucheron’s Place Vendôme apartment, which has a bathtub overlooking the famous, spiraled column.

The Yves Saint Laurent package in Marrakech includes two nights in the La Mamounia hotel, as well as a series of private tours, including the Jardin Majorelle and the personal residence of Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent.

Lunches abound — in addition to the one on the terrace upstairs from the Hermès Saint Honoré flagship in Paris, there is also one in the gardens of Kering’s headquarters on the city’s Left Bank, and another at the Louis Vuitton family house in the western suburb of Asnières.

Ruinart and Moët & Chandon are offering Champagne tasting tours, and in addition to lunch with Gaultier, one can bid to dine with Line Renaud, a popular French singer and vice president of the association.

The list of private visits includes a hot new destination in Paris, the Pinault Foundation, and others that have been around for a spell: the Balenciaga sewing salons, Coco Chanel’s Rue Cambon apartment, Azzedine Alaïa’s kitchen — the latter comes with a meal.

Dior is proposing a visit to the archives and tickets to the next fashion show, while tickets to the Givenchy show are also on offer — Matthew Williams’ first — as part of a package that includes handbags. Chloé is offering a meeting with Gabriela Hearst as well as a handbag, and Jacquemus is proposing a personalized handbag.

Set up by Sidaction president Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Renaud, the charity sale is supported by auction house Drouot Estimations with the partnership of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, which has been involved in Sidaction since 2003, and auction house Christie’s. It will be held on the Drouot website and runs to Jan. 31.

The association’s annual charity dinner, which traditionally takes place in January, closing Paris Couture Week, has been postponed until July. The auction has been teased through television shopping-style vignettes on the Instagram site, @fashionforsidaction, hosted by Gaultier and others, and shot by Loïc Prigent.

Benefits will be donated to fight HIV and AIDS. The association funds research on HIV as well as prevention and assistance programs for people living with HIV, spanning about 100 associations in France and abroad.

Clothing on offer includes a bright red Ami coat, covered in Swarovski crystals, a colorful silk pea jacket by Dries Van Noten, and a shirt and trousers ensemble by Yves Saint Laurent from the Seventies, worn by Catherine Deneuve. In addition to the gold Celine chair, there is an Alchemy chair by Rick Owens and Michèle Lamy.

This is not the first auction offering French luxury experiences. The Louvre museum last November held a sale supported by high-end houses that included private visits to the museum at night.

Alber Elbaz’s New Brand, AZ Factory, Is Here

Alber Elbaz is back! Ever since the designer departed Lanvin back in 2015, after serving as its artistic director for more than a decade, the fashion world has missed his whimsical presence. Our wait is over now that his new label, AZ Factory, has officially arrived.

Launching on Net-a-Porter today, the debut AZ Factory collection introduces Elbaz’s new design chapter. Compared to his dreamy, fantasy-filled creations at Lanvin, Elbaz’s AZ Factory is decidedly more streamlined. The line aims to reinvent the basics instead. “We design beautiful, practical, and solutions-driven fashion that works for everyone,” a release for the label reads. “Our products are here to solve problems and create joy. Help, not hinder.” In other words, he’s aiming to simplify wardrobes by designing everyday pieces that can be mix-and-matched.

 The line includes work-appropriate staples such as knitted short-sleeve tops, leggings, bodycon dresses, sneakers, and jewelry; prices range from roughly $250 for tops, to $750 for the dresses. (Later in the spring, AZ Factory will also release activewear and “switchwear,” a collection of pajamas, hoodies, and other luxurious loungewear.) Craftsmanship and innovative technology are a big focus of the brand. His line of “MyBody” knitwear pieces, for instance, includes pieces made with an AnatoKnit that enhances one’s natural curves and is meant to flatter all body types. AZ Factory is also generally size-inclusive, with sizing ranging from XXS to 4XL.

While the look of AZ Factory is more pared-back than we are used to from Elbaz—his Lanvin creations were often frilly and lavish—the line is still decidedly fun. The accessories, in particular, offer that dash of that signature Elbaz playfulness: His pointy-toe sneakers, retailing for roughly $550, are made with mesh and neoprene, and infuse a look with a deliberate, ugly-chic finish. The jewelry also holds plenty of the kitsch that Elbaz was known for at Lanvin, including heart-shaped earrings and a pearl-and-gold necklace. We’ve missed you, Alber!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Meet Leni, Heidi Klum’s Daughter & Emerging Supermodel

Leni Klum, the daughter of Victoria’s Secret angel and “Project Runway” host Heidi Klum, is joining the likes of Kaia Gerber, Lila Moss, and following her mother’s footsteps by pursuing a career in modeling. The emerging model, 16, polished her fashion credentials with a black-and-white editorial shoot wearing designs by Moschino, Alex Perry and Repemption for Hunger magazine, photographed by magazine founder John Rankin Waddell.

She made her fashion debut with her mother on the cover of the January/February issue of Vogue Germany. Last week, she walked her first runway show during Berlin Fashion Week’s relaunch of Berliner Mode Salon, which also featured a 360-degree virtual reality exhibition with 38 selected designers.

The younger Klum, who has already racked up more than 500,000 Instagram followers, is the biological daughter of Italian businessman and Formula One team owner Flavio Briatore. She was later adopted by Klum’s ex-husband and British musician Seal in 2009 and changed her legal name to Helene Boshoven Samuel. She has three siblings from her mother’s marriage with Seal: Henry Günther Ademola Dashtu Samuel, Johan Riley Fyodor Taiwo Samuel and Lou Sulola Samuel.

Demi Moore Was The Surprise Runway Star Of Fendi Couture

Already one of Hollywood’s brightest stars thanks to her decades-long career, Demi Moore has become a style icon in her own right, too. She’s known for her playful approach to fashion, shifting effortlessly from a vampy screen siren on the red carpet to a more casual, Californian bohemianism for her day-to-day looks. As of today, she can also add “runway model” to her list of iron-clad fashion credentials.

Moore opened the show at Kim Jones’s debut couture collection for Fendi in Paris, staged at the Palais Brongniart within a spectacular maze-like set of perspex walls. While her appearance might initially come as a surprise, it seems that Moore and Jones have struck up a friendship over the past few years. In 2019, the star appeared in a book of portraits shot by Nikolai von Bismarck for Dior, wearing a suit designed by Jones in his other role as artistic director of menswear at the storied French fashion house.

Today, Moore stepped onto the runway wearing a billowing open-necked top with a tuxedo-style fastening and loose-fitting trousers cut from shimmering black silk, accessorized with a pair of opulent, waist-length earrings made from sculptural, Victorian-inspired shapes. (For his first collection, Jones was primarily inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando.) Moore was followed by a quick succession of some of the world’s most iconic models including the likes of Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and Christy Turlington. But it was the actor who emerged as the surprise star of the show, bringing a welcome dose of Hollywood magic to Paris couture.

Viktor & Rolf Spring / Summer 2021

Fashion is filled with a sense of spring awakening. It seems everyone wants to spread their wings and mix and mingle. Even self-proclaimed introverts Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren are in the mood to party: they describe their latest collection as a “couture rave.”

At the same time that this lineup projects positive, forward energy, it rejects negative thinking and challenges ideas of what couture can be. Their last collection, notes Snoeren, was a reaction to the global health crisis. “For this season, we were in the mood for something obviously opposite, something that’s...basically an escape into a party atmosphere.”

“We noticed we were doomscrolling,” adds Horsting, “and we felt we needed, as creators, to offer something lighthearted and something with a lot of energy and power.”

The collection video was shot in a Cold War munitions factory, which has been converted into a contemporary art space. Much to Horsting’s delight, it retains the appearance of “a derelict factory”—with the exception of the golden installation made of melted ammunition in the background, a transformation that is in line with the designers’ penchant for sartorial alchemy.

Known for their conceptualism, the Dutch duo took a more instinctual approach this season, making youth and upcycling their main themes. Though the silhouettes were repetitive—bra top and formal skirt and bra top and panty—the pieces themselves were diverse. Taking an “anything goes” approach, they used elements of their own archive, bits of jewelry, sweatshirts, and mere scraps of fabric to create new looks.

“For us it created a tension of things that just don’t belong together,” notes Snoeren. “It was very conscious to put something almost crafty, handmade, almost do-it-yourself in spirit, opposite a very refined couture technique,” he continues. Although couture is made by hand, it has rarely been associated with extreme youth, nor a “made it myself” vibe. Mainly composed of separates, this collection has a bit of a circus air about it as well as a touch of teenage-bedroom-style eclecticism, as such that it pushes against traditional ideas of what couture can, or should, be.

Grand concepts aside, the possibilities suggested by a tiered, open-front, apron-like skirt that might be worn over lingerie as shown, or alternatively on top of a maillot or pants, was intriguing. A beautiful bow-festooned harlequin cape, which acted a bit like the collection’s big top and had continuity with collections past, was really something to rave about.

Louis Vuitton Expands In Tokyo With New Tower And Café

Louis Vuitton’s long, close and fruitful relationship with Japan will reach another zenith in March with an exhibition chronicling its extensive collaborations there, plus a new glass tower in Ginza incorporating a boutique, LV Café, and Vuitton’s latest surprising brand extension: chocolates.

Slated to open March 17, the new seven-story Ginza Namiki building rises from a site Vuitton has occupied for 40 years, while the “Louis Vuitton &” exhibition — drawing on 160 years of cultural exchange and highlighting high-profile collaborations with the likes of Rei Kawakubo and Takashi Murakami — opens March 19 for a two-month run.

Disclosing the twin developments in an exclusive interview, Michael Burke, chairman and chief executive officer of Vuitton, said it’s all about engagement with one of the most advanced and sophisticated luxury markets in the world.

Moreover, he said the twin projects are emblematic of a new era of bespoke stores, events and content.

“It’s not about taking what we did in Paris and replicating that in Tokyo,” he said. “You don’t come to Japan, do a store opening and then come back 10 years later. It’s about engagement that is daily, weekly, monthly. There’s always something going on.

“It’s not about buzz, or image or advertising campaigns or a store opening — the usual suspects,” he continued, calling the readiness of the building now — almost five years in the making — “fortuitous,” and yet another example of cultural exchange, noting its undulating facade evokes the waves of Tokyo Bay, and that the eatery was conceived by famed Japanese chef Yosuke Suga, who also developed the flavors for Le Chocolat V.

“Proper engagement is not just about store openings — that’s a commercial activity. But what we have to be involved with goes way beyond commercial, it’s cultural,” he stressed.

Cue the exhibitions, whose 10 rooms unfurl an impressive array of creative exchanges and artistic collaborations, with a particular focus on Japan, given that the likes of Kawakubo, Fragment’s Hiroshi Fujiwara and the late Kansai Yamamoto have all co-created products or done special projects for Vuitton, as have the artists Yayoi Kusama and Murakami, whose colorful interpretation of Vuitton’s famous monogram —scattered with a few eyeballs — were a blockbuster and had a 12-year run.

Kawakubo, the fashion maverick behind Comme des Garçons, gets her own room at the exhibition, which reminds visitors that her first fling with Vuitton was designing six “party bags” in 2008, which were showcased at a temporary concept store in Tokyo’s trendy Aoyama district.

Asked by WWD at the time if she viewed Vuitton as a peer, or her antithesis, Kawakubo replied: “I think the keeping up of the tradition of making bags from so long ago is wonderful.”

For the new exhibition, Vuitton reproduced Kawakubo’s Bag With Holes — from a 2014 collaboration to mark the 160th anniversary of the brand — in a giant scale. The unusual tote employs the protective cloth sack in which Vuitton leather goods are sold as a liner — to keep the contents from spilling out of the giant openings.

While impressed with the durability and finesse of its monogram canvas, designed to resist everything and never unravel, Kawakubo told Burke, “I want Vuitton to struggle with imperfect” and demonstrated to craftsmen how to fray the edges of the holes punched out of the bags with pliers.

The late Karl Lagerfeld, Helmut Lang, Vivienne Westood, Cindy Sherman, Frank Gehry, Christian Louboutin and Marc Newson are among the varied creative figures who have reinterpreted the monogram over the last 25 years.

It’s well documented that George Vuitton, the only son of founder Louis, winked to a craze for all things Japanese in France around the turn of the century when he created the brand’s brown-and-gold monogram canvas, some of the flower shapes reminiscent of cherry blossoms. A 2016 Vuitton exhibition in Tokyo also documented the monogram’s likeness to Japanese family crests, which hold strong emotional sway and helped fan the island nation’s affection for Vuitton’s leather goods. Meanwhile, Japan-inspired Vuitton with its extreme attention to detail, and obsession with quality products and impeccable service.

The new exhibition at Jing, a glass building in Harajuku, opens with a bespoke multimedia installation by visual and sound artist Ryoji Ikeda, cuing up a dialogue between the historic trunk-maker, founded in 1854, and its dalliances with a range of Japanese and international creatives.

Among interesting historical tidbits highlighted in the show are Japanese Emperor Hirohito’s 1921 visit to Paris, for which Vuitton redesigned the facade of its Avenue des Champs-Élysées store to depict the Land of the Rising Sun. Visitors can gawk at a reproduction of Gaston-Louis Vuitton’s famous window display, depicting a rustic garden with a stone lantern.

More recent artifacts on display are to include ready-to-wear from Vuitton’s 2018 cruise collection by Nicolas Ghesquière, unveiled at the Miho Museum in Kyoto and featuring motifs by Kansai Yamamoto, who paved the way for Japanese designers in Europe. There are men’s looks, too, including Nigo’s Mount Fuji bomber jacket from 2020 and the opening look from Virgil Abloh’s spring 2021 men’s collection for Vuitton, presented in Tokyo.

The seven-story Ginza Namiki tower itself represents a mammoth example of cultural dialogue between two star architects: Japan’s Jun Aoki and American Peter Marino.

“We think that architecture and luxury work hand in hand, and our clients expect us to make an architectural statement today when we open in a location as iconic as Ginza,” Burke explained over Zoom. “Again, it’s not just about ringing the till. It’s about engaging with a Japanese architect, engaging with the urban planning of Ginza, engaging with the origins and the providence of Ginza.”

To wit: Its mesmerizing, color-shifting outer shell recalls that the Ginza neighborhood was once a sandbar peninsula before Tokyo reclaimed more land, and its blue tint evokes the morning sun shimmering on Tokyo Bay.

Water metaphors recur throughout the store interior: A four-story “feature wall” in plaster reinterprets Kimiko Fujimura’s 1977 painting “Wave Blue Line,” while rounded counters, ceiling panels and furniture by Isamu Noguchi contribute to a “sense of flow,” according to Vuitton.

Vibrant color can be found throughout: in the furniture by Pierre Paulin and Stefan Leo; in artworks by Ed Moses and Vik Muniz, and in carpets and design objects. A scheme of pink and orange plays out on the women’s floor; red, turquoise and lime on the men’s.

Marino has cited “fun” and “happiness” as new watchwords in luxury retail. But according to Burke, “even before fun, what we wanted to do is the opposite of replication,” convinced that Japan is leading the return of luxury to its bespoke ways after a long period when “luxury had more to do with exquisite replication.”

“It’s a much more interesting time in Japan because Japan is reconnecting with its past, which is all about uniqueness and bespoke. And that’s what we’re doing with our stores. Every single store is a very unique exercise,” he said.

The store boasts VIP and VIC salons on the sixth floor, a smattering of its travel-inspired design objects, known as Objets Nomades, and a host of exclusive products, including a re-edition of Kawakubo’s Bag With Holes, the men’s LV Ollie sneaker and a slim Tambour with blue and purple sequins.

Le Café LV and Le Chocolat V, located on the uppermost floor, represent a further push into hospitality for Vuitton, which has indicated that eateries and even hotels could be a future expansion avenue for the megabrand.

In January 2020, Vuitton opened its first restaurant within its new flagship boutique in Osaka, Japan, also helmed by Suga.

Burke noted the Tokyo café is a more casual eatery than the “very exclusive” Sugalabo V in Osaka, which gets booked up months, if not years, in advance.

“A store is not just about objects and purchasing objects. The latter is a beneficial consequence of creating engagement, but it’s not the objective. The objective is engaging with your clients in every single city,” Burke said. “They’re demanding a Vuitton point of view on their city.”

The chocolates, to be sold in boxes of four, nine, 16 and 125 pieces, come in squares or molded into the shapes within the famous LV monogram. Given travel restrictions, Burke had not yet had the chance to taste them, though he hinted the packaging is a feat.

“Most importantly, it’s about creating an experience,” Burke said. “How do you translate Vuitton into food? You know, we successfully translated trunks into fashion. So it’s a creative exercise.”

Likewise its fleet of collaborations with various creative figures — from architects and designers to artists — which Burke said are highly appreciated in Japan and seen as an emblem of mutual respect.

Indeed, one unique feature of powerful luxury brands like Vuitton is an ability to bring together creative realms that rarely meet.

“It’s going to be a little bit of an alumni gathering of Japanese artists, and it’s never happened before,” Burke said of the small cocktail planned ahead of the opening, health conditions allowing. “These people have never been together in the same room. So I think it would be a very emotional moment.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman Signs With IMG Models

Less than a week after enrapturing audiences at President Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony, America's youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman has signed with one of the world's biggest modeling agencies. On Monday, the 22-year-old Harvard graduate completed a deal with IMG Models, which represents fashion heavyweights like Kate Moss and Gisele Bündchen, the agency confirmed to CNN.

Gorman was one of the breakout stars of last week's presidential inauguration, where she read her powerful poem "The Hill We Climb." As well as moving onlookers in Washington and around the world, the Los Angeles native also impressed with her vivid fashion choices.

In a yellow double-breasted coat by Italian designer Miuccia Prada and a red satin Prada headband, the poet and activist stood out against the more muted crowd behind her. She completed the outfit with jewelry -- gifted to her by Oprah Winfrey -- by independent designers including New York-based brand Of Rare Origin and the Greek jewelry maker Nikos Koulis.

In the days since being thrust into the global spotlight, Gorman has made a number of high-profile public appearances. CNN's Anderson Cooper said on air that he was "transfixed" by the poet during an interview shortly after the inauguration. During a virtual appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Tuesday, meanwhile, DeGeneres "endorsed" Gorman for president, though she is still 13 years below the minimum age required for a presidential run.

Gorman's forthcoming books, "Change Sings: A Children's Anthem" and "The Hill We Climb and Other Poems," are currently at the top of Amazon's bestseller list. 'Wow, you're awesome': Cooper left speechless by youth poet laureate

As well as representing full-time models, IMG has a variety of figures from the entertainment world on its roster, including Chrissy Teigen and Selena Gomez, as well as musicians, actors and sport stars like Naomi Osaka. The agency's latest deal will see it develop endorsements and editorial opportunities for Gorman in the fashion and beauty sectors.

Though Gorman has yet to issue a statement about the deal, she recently spoke to Vogue about her interest in fashion. In an interview published shortly before the inauguration, she told the magazine that she would be incorporating her "own type of symbolism" into last Wednesday's outfit.

"(Fashion) has so much meaning to me, and it's my way to lean into the history that came before me and all the people supporting me," she is quoted as saying.

Iris Van Herpen Couture Spring 2021

What Iris Van Herpen achieved with her spring couture collection is astonishing. Viewed from a laptop screen at home, her nine-minute video of trembling, fungi-inspired dresses summoned true wonderment and emotion, both rising steadily along with spore clouds from her catwalk — a little CGI magic that was pitch perfect for her otherworldly fashion universe.

By the time Natalia Vodianova emerged in a bridal minidress, feather-y white filaments dancing around her hips and that angelic face, there were tears on the desk mat — and all the ills of the world were completely forgotten. That’s what great fashion can do.

The Dutch designer’s offbeat reference — biologist Merlin Sheldrake’s research suggesting plant life communicates via a complex underground network he dubbed the “wood wide web” — became completely legible on the darkened runway. Embroidery motifs on filmy dresses crawled over torsos like some gorgeous root system — or the wires and cables that enable our connected world — while long skirts erupted in irregular pleats that mimic the gills and rings of mushrooms.

Van Herpen’s inimitable blend of high-tech and organic reached a new zenith with these 21 dresses. While no doubt the 3D printers were whirring away in her Amsterdam atelier, the designer also achieved multiple feats of haute dressmaking. One was hand-twisting pleated silk into stiff but curving tendrils that grow around the body like an ivy hugs a pergola.

“A lot of times when you talk about innovation, people nowadays link it to technology, right?” Van Herpen mused during an interview earlier this month. “But innovation is much more than innovation within technology. Within craftsmanship, there is a whole world of innovation possible as well.”

Van Herpen had planted the seed for this collection last July, when she showed a single dress anchored by an intricate lattice of black branches that erupted into flower-like sprays of white silk organza petals. There were similar, fin-like protrusions here at the top and bottom of gowns, undulating magnificently in her slow-motion video.

Each dress was a staggering feat of haute engineering and couture finesse, and each had a unique personality and quality: Some looked like rivers of molten red metal cascading over the body; some resembled winged creatures, and others almost defied description. What registered was their delicacy, femininity and a regal quality that belongs to some futuristic eco age.

See Bella Hadid Become A Life-Size Puppet For Moschino

Jeremy Scott embraced fashion’s new digital landscape with open arms in September. Unable to call upon his usual supermodel army due to the pandemic, the designer instead collaborated with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop – makers of The Muppets – to realise his spring/summer 2021 Moschino showcase. “The best thing I could do for everyone who is stressed about the election, the pandemic, social unrest, and the future was to give the gift of fantasy and take us away from all of it for a few minutes; let us enjoy this little fashion world of ours,” he told Vogue at the time.

Delicate Moschino garments were downsized to fit a series of marionettes, inspired by the post-war Théâtre de la Mode dolls that couturiers used to showcase their designs to clients after the turbulence of World War II. The 30-inch creations took to the downscaled “catwalk”, as a FROW of fashion press in puppet form – British Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful included – looked on.

 And now, for the brand’s spring/summer 2021 campaign “No Strings Attached”, Scott has transformed Bella Hadid, Irina Shayk, Achenrin, Julia Nobis and Yasmin Wijnaldum into life-size puppets.

In a series of shots shared on the official Moschino Instagram, captured by Scott’s longtime collaborator Steven Meisel, each model can be seen posing with a strings attached to their limbs. In keeping with the vintage references on Scott’s moodboard, the models sport bouffant up-dos and winged eyeliner.

Bella wears look 4 from the miniature presentation, a dazzling champagne and gold dress with boning, a sheer tulle skirt and jacquard coat. Meanwhile Irina dons a flowing LBD (look 32); Achenrin poses in a fitted beige dress (look 3), and Julia Nobis and Yasmin Wijnaldum interchange between looks 28 and 18, and 30 and 23 respectively. It’s our kind of puppet show.

Rose Williams On Falling For Dior Haute Couture & Remaking ‘Mrs Harris Goes To Paris’

Rose Williams’s first Dior haute couture presentation might have looked markedly different than expected given Covid-19, but the Sanditon actor found the prospect of live-streaming the show deliciously nostalgic. “It reminds me of being a teenager in the 2000s when the internet suddenly ‘happened’, and I would be sitting at our family computer waiting for images of a Dior show to load or refreshing the ShowStudio homepage,” she tells British Vogue over the phone from her London flat. “Obviously there’s a magic to being on the front row – but this is a full-circle moment for me.”

That statement is true in more ways than one. While the 26-year-old is known as a star-on-the-rise, her first dream involved a career in fashion. “My mother worked as a costume designer for the BBC in the ’80s,” she recalls. “She encouraged me to be creative in every possible way – sketching, painting, and making my own clothes. There’s a shelf in our house behind the TV that is literally groaning with coffee table books about fashion houses. I used to study them for hours and trace the photographs – taking the outline of a Christian Dior gown and adding my own pattern to it.” At some point during her A-Levels, a work experience placement opened up at Dover Street Market, and she left school to work there part-time in between art courses – studying what she calls the “rule-breakers of fashion” along the way, including Vivienne Westwood, Rei Kawakubo, and, of course, John Galliano.

Another key reason for Williams’s devotion to the house of Dior? “My mother is a spiritualist, and I’ve been raised around tarot cards and geometric stars,” she says.

And while her acting talent may have pulled her away from a career as a designer, she’s on her way to becoming a key figure in the industry regardless – taking on a role in the remake of fashion classic Mrs Harris Goes to Paris alongside Lesley Manville and Isabelle Huppert, expected later this year. Also set to make an appearance in the buzzy comedy? Emily in Paris heartthrob Lucas Bravo. Like the original, the film shadows London maid Ada Harris in the ’50s as she becomes obsessed with going to Paris to purchase a couture gown from the house of Dior. Williams appears as Pamela Penrose, a bombshell wannabe actor in the vein of Diana Dors or Jayne Mansfield, who “tries desperately hard to be fashionable but just ends up being a bit crass”, she explains with a laugh. “The film itself is impossibly glamorous, but Pamela is all about pearls and clashing scarves – a real foil for that effortless Dior style.”

Williams, will, however, be impeccably dressed for the haute couture livestream on 25 January. “I’m wearing a denim jacket and trousers, which have been amped up with some beautiful jewellery,” she says. “Honestly, part of the genius of Maria Grazia Chiuri is that she completely understands female bodies and how to dress them. Ever since 1947, Dior has been about accentuating curves and refining the silhouette – and that’s as true of a denim outfit now as it was of a bar jacket then. There’s also a floral element, which, as a Rose, I love!”

Kate & Lila Grace Moss Are The First To Wear Dior’s Artsy New Collaboration

One of the highlights of any Dior Men’s show is seeing Kate Moss right there in the front row. The supermodel and designer Kim Jones go way back, and each season Moss is on hand to check out what’s new and test drive a few runway pieces before anyone else has the chance. Moss’s inspired take on menswear is always fascinating. Lately, she’s been joined by her equally stylish daughter, Lila Grace, who puts a Gen-Z twist on Jones’s signature pieces. At this morning’s live-streamed fall/winter show, the pair got dressed up to tune in virtually, previewing Dior’s collaboration with Scottish artist Peter Doig.

Kate went retro in a white blouse, peppy pastel-blue high-waisted trousers, and a matching plush fur coat. Moss stayed true to her brand of nonchalant cool with her hair in centre-parted waves and minimal make-up. Subtle details like her shirt’s elongated cuffs and her heels’ glossy patent texture ensured that Moss’s outfit differed from the lilac version of the same look worn by male model, Issa Naciri, as he closed the show.

Lila Grace embraced Doig’s abstract prints in a colourful, belted boiler suit with short sleeves worn over a white button-down. The glossy sheen and the rich shades of sapphire, burgundy, and rust felt youthful and fun. While she and her mother avoided matching, both contributed to the Dior front row’s glamour and provided the men’s collections with a breathtaking model style moment.

Are You Cool Enough For The Grace Wales Bonner x Adidas Originals Literary Academy?

The elaborate bibliographies distributed before every Grace Wales Bonner show are legendary in the fashion world – and the LVMH prizewinner’s autumn/winter 2021 menswear collection is her most distinctly literary yet. (Take the athleisure top emblazoned with the phrase: “Grace Wales Bonner x Adidas Originals Literary Academy”, part of her latest buzzy collaboration with the athletics giant.) The final instalment in a triptych inspired by Caribbean culture, the presentation follows an autumn/winter 2020 showcase nodding to Afro-Caribbean fashions in ’70s London and a spring/summer 2021 presentation devoted to ’80s dance halls in Jamaica. Wales Bonner’s latest joyful range of tailoring, knitwear and accessories, meanwhile, pays homage to the wardrobes of Caribbean poets and Afro-Caribbean students at Oxbridge through the decades.

Among her chief references? Barbadian scholar Kamau Brathwaite, an academic titan and founder of the Caribbean Artists Movement in the late ’60s, who passed away at the beginning of 2020. A graduate of both Harrison College, Barbados, and Pembroke College, Cambridge, he’s best remembered for his poetry – particularly his collection The Arrivants: A New World Trilogy (1973), in which he set out to develop unique verse forms that suited the realities of Caribbean life, incorporating Reggae rhythms and Rastafarian idioms in place of iambic pentameter and Queen’s English.

“I was trying to imagine a fictional university that is a lot more multicultural,” Wales Bonner told Vogue of the collection. “Maybe what their team kits for a track program might look like.”

Another key reference point for Wales Bonner? The works of Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott, who published his verse in a Saint Lucian newspaper at the tender age of 14 and distributed his first collection, 25 Poems, on street corners around the island. His breakthrough came in 1962, with the release of his Green Night anthology, a powerful reckoning with the legacy of colonialism throughout the Caribbean – a theme he would return to again and again throughout his storied career.

As for the final volume Wales Bonner turned to while putting together her mood board? Pamela Robert’s Black Oxford: The Untold Stories of Oxford University’s Black Scholars – which traces the history of Black students from the matriculation of Sierra Leone-born Christian Fredrick Cole in 1873 onwards. Time to ditch your old book club and sign up for Wales Bonner’s literary academy instead.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Rick Owens Tells All About His New Converse Collaboration

“I was never a sneaker person, and it’s ironic that’s how I ended up,” Rick Owens said in an exclusive interview to discuss his new collaboration with Converse, unveiled today at his fall 2021 men’s show in Venice, Italy.

Indeed, although he is partial to platform boots for strolling around Paris and taking his runway bow, Owens has become a guru for sneakerheads and hype beasts, who collect his Geobaskets and Runners and have gone bananas for his collaborations with the likes of Adidas and Veja.

Not bad for a guy who fastidiously avoided sneakers when he was growing up in Porterville, Calif., and would hit the gym for weightlifting wearing a black sweatshirt or hoodie, army-surplus cutoffs layered over leather jeans — and biker boots. “I was very dramatic in those days. It was in Hollywood,” he demurred, also noting, “I don’t perspire that much.”

Growing up, “I just hated the informal and suburban ethos of sneakers,” he confessed.

And then came The Ramones, the American punk rock band whose shaggy hair, biker jackets, beat-up jeans and sneakers convulsed the music scene in the Seventies and Eighties and captivated Owens, who so adored their graphic style that he once named a shoe after them, prompting a cease and desist order.

“They wore Chuck Taylors and that was my Converse image,” Owens said over Zoom last week from his minimalist, travertine-lined apartment on the Lido.

“I’ve been referencing [Converse] for years, so when they suggested a collaboration, it seemed like a good, natural thing to do,” the designer said matter-of-factly. “And it kind of closed this poetic circle since I’ve been referencing them for so long and they were cool with it.”

Not that Owens would ever use the word poetic to describe his interpretation of Converse classics.

Exaggerated, bombastic and “a little grotesque” are some of the adjectives he threw out to describe his approach to sneaker design.

“I always think of it as kind of corrupting something that exists. And I don’t mean that in an aggressive way,” he said, explaining that his “aesthetic gesture has always been about promoting the idea that perfect or traditional beauty can be very strict and cruel” and that pushing the boundaries “signifies tolerance for other ideas.”

The approach also yields some seriously cool kicks.

“I’ve had a cap-toed sneaker in my collection forever, which is an exaggerated parody of a sneaker,” Owens said. “There was some kind of tipping point and they just took off.”

For his Converse collaboration, under the umbrella of Owen’s Drkshdw brand, the designer gave Brutalist airs to Chuck Taylors, adding three toe caps and two layers of rubber outsole, giving the shoe heft and the look of bumper cars.

The pentagram, a recurring symbol of Drkshdw, replaces the star on another style that he described as “mega chunky.” Owens characterizes Drkshdw as “a little bit rougher,” darker and younger than his signature label. “It’s like a Ramones’ song,” he concluded.

Owens first put sneakers on the runway as a guest of the Pitti Immagine trade fair in 2006.

“I never thought it was much of a statement or anything,” he said. “They referenced all of the classic sneakers I’d ever seen. I reduced the detail and simplified them and kind of created my cartoon version of sneakers.”

“Fearless” is how Brandis Russell, global vice president of footwear at Converse, described Owens’ provocative approach.

“Breaking convention to advance fit, form and function” is the goal of collaborations at Converse and “Rick is the master of doing this,” she told WWD. “He’s defined an aesthetic around provocative form and distortion of shape and had referenced our footwear within this approach.”

Russell noted this collaboration marks the first time Converse has introduced a square toe in a century of existence.

The Converse x Drkshdw line is unisex in a full size range, with the initial offering priced at $165 to $170. It includes two TurboDrk Chuck 70s, initially in black, with lily white to follow.

“Rick Owens will continue to reimagine and re-articulate classic Converse sneakers in 2021 through his Drkshdw line,” Russell said. “We’ll continue to work together, and to push the boundaries of our footwear together.”

Asked about the role of collaborations, Russell called them “incredibly important” and “as a brand, we look at the long-term impact of a collaboration and to continue to invest in partners that can mutually evolve with our brand.”

Ongoing collaborators at Converse include Comme des Garçons Play, A-Cold-Wall, Feng Chen Wang, Off-White and Tyler, the Creator. Among newer names to the fold are Telfar Clemens, Chinatown Market and Kim Jones, who has a preppy-tinged range releasing this spring, Russell noted.

In the interview, Owens confessed that he had long bristled at the idea of collaborations, his initial thinking being, “I don’t like too many cooks in the kitchen, and I don’t like committee decisions.”

“Initially, I would just completely dismiss them as just being some kind of hype exercise that was not part of my world,” he said. “But on the other side, I came to realize that it’s a great way to meet new people, and see how other people do things.…And it’s kind of fun working with different teams, and it’s stimulating, it kind of forces me to think of challenges and new ways to approach things. So it’s kind of a healthy thing to do.”

Last year, Owens unveiled collaborations with Birkenstock, Moncler and Champion. He said he chooses collaborations that are meaningful for him “and that have some kind of logic.”

“Opening the doors to collaborations came very, very gradually and very, very late,” he said, adding with a wink and a chuckle: “I’m a lot friendlier than I used to be.”