Wednesday, April 28, 2021

LVMH’s Latest Venture Is A Deadstock Fabric Platform

A few weeks before the launch of Nona Source, LVMH’s new platform selling deadstock, the cofounders have transformed their office into a studio to shoot the fabrics in very high-definition visuals. There are scraps of soft curly llama wool in brown sugar hues, a swathe of electric blue double-faced silk satin beautifully arranged on a Stockman mannequin, and much more besides.

Nona Source, which launches this Monday, is the brainchild of Romain Brabo, formerly a materials buyer at LVMH-owned Givenchy. “In my role, I would go to warehouses, and I saw the multiplication of deadstocks,” he says. “I thought: On one hand, there are young designers seeking beautiful fabrics to make their collections; on the other hand, couture houses are storing materials they have no use for. How to create a link between them?” Nona is one of the Parcae in Roman mythology, Brabo explains. She spins the thread of life, and Source is a reference to “sourcing.”

Brabo moved on to become ready-to-wear industrialization manager at Kenzo, another LVMH house, where he met Marie Falguera, a textile engineer who was material development and CSR manager. They presented the project as part of LVMH’s intrapreneurship program, DARE, and were invited to pilot it full-time.

The two were joined by Anne Prieur du Perray, digital transformation manager at LVMH, in January 2020 and all three have fully dedicated their time to creating the solution since March 2020. The concept is simple, as Falguera explains: “We buy deadstocks from the houses and put them back for sale at competitive prices after appraising them.”

The tool gives young designers access to high-quality fabrics at an affordable price. It’s all the more advantageous for young designers because they are usually obliged to pay more when ordering smaller quantities. “We wanted to put at the disposal of the creatives a performing, simple, and legible tool,” Falguera explains.

Nona Source is a B2B platform, open to all brands, including independent designers, LVMH houses, and competitors. “We want to open up,” says Falguera. Brands owned by rival Kering will be welcome to buy fabrics from Nona Source. The platform makes its debut this week with 500 different fabrics, 100,000 meters of fabrics, and 1,000 meters of leather, all from one house in the LVMH group—the name is undisclosed. Nona doesn’t buy or store rolls of fabrics that have a logo. Those are discarded and broken down for intellectual property reasons, and are meant for recycling, as part of LVMH’s cooperation with waste specialist Cedre on a waste management platform.

Nona Source is a significant innovation, coming as it does from the luxury industry’s largest business, but it is not a wholly new concept. Queen of Raw, for example, is a marketplace that enables users to list, sell, and buy deadstock materials, although it doesn’t own its deadstock like Nona Source.

Stephanie Benedetto, cofounder and CEO of Queen of Raw, who was a finalist for the LVMH innovation prize last year, doesn’t see Nona Source as competition. “This is a big enough problem,” she says simply. Deadstock represents 15% of textile production across brands, retailers, factories, and mills, totaling an annual loss of around a remarkable $152 billion for the industry, Benedetto notes.
Deadstock amounts to an annual loss of approximately $152 billion for the textile industry. Photo: BOBY

The name of the LVMH house initially providing Nona Source with deadstock has been kept secret.

Traditionally there has been a stigma surrounding deadstock with brands fearing that its mere existence suggests poor management or commercial decision-making. However, Benedetto thinks that this wider industry mindset that has impeded progress on this issue before is changing. “LVMH coming out there and publicly stating what they are doing and standing behind it is extremely valuable,” she says. “Everybody’s got this waste. It’s inherent in the fashion production system, at least the way it was done historically. But now we are at a tipping point where we can do better with our waste, make money, save money, have a sustainable story to tell.” She adds that it can also pave the way for powerful collaboration: “one person’s waste, another person’s design collection.”

“We want to start small,” says Falguera. The platform’s product pages provide all sorts of information: origin (not the supplier’s name though), widths, weight, and composition. Clients can search by price or quantity, the latter being useful for larger brands that may require substantial quantities, even for capsule collections. Prices are 60 to 70% lower than the gross price paid originally.

The warehouse is near Tours, in western France. Shipping to clients is limited to Europe. “There is a local stake,” says Brabo. “We want to minimize transporting materials.” Brexit has put a huge question mark over the possibility of shipping to the U.K.

Down the road, the platform is to span beyond fabrics and leather. “We want to be a platform of creative resources in the broadest sense,” says Brabo, citing for future inclusion zippers, buttons, stripes, and wire bobbins. “We would be delighted if a designer made a collection 100% with deadstocks coming from Nona Source.”

The website with high-resolution close-up shots of fabrics is designed to encourage people to buy online: No samples are available. However, there will be a showroom at incubator La Caserne in Paris. The incubator launches in June, with the showroom to follow by the autumn.

Nona Source is a good fit for LVMH’s wider circular strategy, says Alexandre Capelli, LVMH environmental deputy director. The group has recently unveiled its Life 360 strategy, an environmental performance roadmap consisting of four pillars including “creative circularity.” It’s a full program, explains Capelli, including “eco-design, integration of recycled materials in our products, and packaging with percentage goals that will increase by 2023, 2026, and 2030, testing of new business models like rental and resale, and avoidance of any destruction of unsold products.”

The project is certainly timely, launching as France is implementing a law banning destruction of unsold goods. Waste has become a pressing issue across the fashion industry. Stephanie Benedetto of Queen of Raw warns there is no time to be lost: “If [brands] don’t innovate today and start thinking about it, in 12–24 months the problem is already going to be too big for them.”

Princess Diana’s Wedding Dress Will Go On Display In Kensington Palace

Diana, Princess Of Wales’s wedding dress is to go on display at Kensington Palace. The gown, worn by the 20-year-old Princess at her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles, will be the crowning glory of a seven-month long exhibition, Royal Style in the Making, in the Orangery at the Princess of Wales’s former home. Forty years on from its debut, the silk-taffeta, puff-sleeve gown remains perhaps the most famous bridal gown of all time.
When will Princess Diana’s wedding dress go on display?

The wedding gown will go on display from 3 June 2021, and will be open to visitors until 2 January 2022, as a part of a collection of royal pieces – many never displayed in public before now – that illustrate the relationship between the monarchy and the couturiers who have shaped their wardrobes. The exhibition is set to “explore the unique relationship between fashion designer and royal client”, a statement from Historical Royal Palaces reads. “The exhibition will offer visitors a sneak peek into the rarefied world of the atelier, unpicking how some of Britain’s finest designers rose to the challenge of creating clothing destined for the world stage.” Other pieces displayed alongside the Princess of Wales’s dress are expected to include a toile made for Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother, for the 1937 coronation of King George VI, and pieces designed by courtier Madame Handley-Seymour for Queen Mary, the Queen’s paternal grandmother, in the early 20th century.
How can you see Princess Diana’s wedding gown?

Tickets for Royal Style in the Making are available to purchase now, and start at £23 for adults, with concessions available. The fee also covers access to other exhibitions taking place at the Palace, including the King and Queen’s state apartments.
When was Princess Diana’s wedding gown last on display?

Previously the dress, which boasts a 25-foot train embroidered with Carrickmacross lace originally belonging to Queen Mary, featured in a touring exhibition, Diana: A Celebration, before becoming part of a display at the Spencer family’s ancestral home, Althorp House, where she is buried.

Who owns Princess Diana’s wedding gown?

Following her death in 1997, the wedding gown was bequeathed to her sons, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex, who have granted permission for its appearance 40 years after their parents married at St Paul’s Cathedral on 29 July 1981. It wasn’t until 2014, after Prince Harry’s 30th birthday, that it entered their estate on the Princess’s request, and it is believed to be her younger son’s. William received her Ceylon sapphire and diamond engagement ring, now worn by the Duchess of Cambridge.

Why is Princess Diana’s wedding dress going on display now?

The princess would have celebrated her 60th birthday on 1 July this year, and the exhibition of her wedding gown is one of a number of special arrangements scheduled to mark the milestone. It’s expected that her sons will reunite in the summer to unveil a statue of their late mother, created by sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley and commissioned on the 20th anniversary of her death in 2017, to be erected in the gardens of Kensington Palace.

Who designed Princess Diana’s dress?

Described by exhibition curator at Historic Royal Palaces as “show-stopping”, Diana’s dress was designed by former husband-and-wife duo, David and Elizabeth Emmanuel. Shrouded in secrecy at the time, the dress went on to shape bridal trends. “We had no guidelines or instructions, so we came up with this amazing, completely OTT gown that we knew would stand out on the steps of St Paul’s,” Elizabeth Emanuel told British Vogue in 2020.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Felipe Oliveira Baptista And Kenzo Part Ways After Two Years

Felipe Oliveira Baptista’s tenure at Kenzo is coming to a close. After two years at the LVMH-owned brand, the Portuguese designer will step down on 30 June. Where the brand goes next is an open question.

For fans of Oliveira Baptista’s work, the news of his departure comes as a surprise. With most of his time at Kenzo marked by the Covid pandemic – his first show took place in February 2020, when attendance in Paris was already waning – Oliveria Baptista had to think innovatively and chart a new path for the brand from the start. Speaking with British Vogue in September of last year, he lamented the situation, describing the digital fashion show experience as “poorer” than a physical one.

Even with the cards stacked against him, Oliveira Baptista managed to bring a new sensitivity and grace to Kenzo, describing his goal to make “the real, desirable clothes lacking in fashion today.” Looking to the brand’s archives, the designer abandoned the emphasis on saleable streetwear pieces like tiger tees and sweatshirts that his predecessors Humberto Lim and Carol Leon pushed, and instead focused on the wearability of founder Kenzo Takada’s proposition. Bold silhouettes and lively colours were the backbone of Oliveira Baptista’s three collections, ideas that married well with 2020’s new emphasis on comfort. His recent autumn/winter 2021 video was a highlight of a mostly digital fashion season. Models danced wrapped in blankets with moon boots on their feet and critics lauded it as a success.

Before his death from Covid-19, founder Kenzo Takada also praised Oliveira Baptista’s vision for the label. “Felipe very successfully brought his own identity into the brand,” Takada told British Vogue. “It brings Kenzo to a new creative level.”

How Ralph Toledano Discovered Alber Elbaz

Alber Elbaz was nothing short of a wunderkind when fashion executive Ralph Toledano plucked him from obscurity in 1996 and put him at the creative helm of Guy Laroche, then a dusty, almost forgotten French brand.

Recognition came quickly. On Oct. 17, 1997, an ensemble melding leather, tulle and delicate floral motifs from Elbaz’s second collection landed on the cover of WWD with the headline “Smart Move.”

“I received the cover page, and I started to cry,” a rueful Toledano said in an interview on Sunday.

Commercial success was not far behind.

At Elbaz’s suggestion, Toledano agreed to take his first Guy Laroche pre-collection to New York, even though it had not been priced. The executive, who previously logged 10 years running the Karl Lagerfeld fashion house, called up his friends at the big U.S. department stores — Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s — which all dispatched general merchandise managers. By the evening, he had the chief executive officers and presidents in his office fighting to get the first shipments. “They all wanted it,” he marveled. Asked what got them in such a lather, Toledano replied: “It was the femininity,” noting that Elbaz’s colorful, flower-strewn designs stood out amidst the power dressing of the day.

As Elbaz’s third Guy Laroche show approached, word came that the house of Yves Saint Laurent requested tickets. “I understood immediately,” Toledano said, recalling how he stood behind YSL boss Pierre Bergé and overheard him telling French fashion journalist Laurence Benaïm: “It’s exactly what we need.”

To wit: After Elbaz’s fourth show for Guy Laroche came the job offer of a lifetime: to succeed the couture legend at the helm of Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche women’s ready-to-wear. (Hedi Slimane was recruited for men’s wear.)

Toledano said he knew immediately Elbaz was the right person to design Guy Laroche. The assistant of American design legend Geoffrey Beene for seven years, Elbaz was among candidates for Guy Laroche put forth by Paris headhunter Floriane de Saint Pierre.

Elbaz first wrote a letter to Toledano, on red paper with his first name stacked above his last name, as if on a clothing label. “The first thing that came to mind is, ‘This man is super smart. He knows how to stand out.'”

And how. Elbaz strolled into his first meeting with Toledano, at New York’s Carlyle Hotel, wearing a red jacket, red shoes “and no socks,” Toledano recalled.

Interviewed in 2003 by WWD when Toledano was decorated with a Legion of Honor, Elbaz gave his side of the story.

“He was the one to give me the first chance and to introduce me to the broader fashion world,” Elbaz said. “I always say the relationship between a designer and the president of a fashion house is like being a husband and wife.

“And I must say,” he added with a laugh, “Ralph was a wonderful husband.”

“We had a telepathic relationship,” said Toledano, describing Elbaz as “like a brother,” partly because they both have roots in Morocco.

“He designed for women. He thought about women. He cared for women. He gave fashion femininity, elegance and of course creativity. Everything Alber did was relevant,” Toledano said. “I must also mention humanity. Being human was at the center of everything he did, every day. He wanted family around him, to give love and receive love.

“Yves Saint Laurent was the first one who took the heart as a symbol, but Alber deserves it as much,” he continued. “It was all about heart, generosity, love and humanity.”

Toledano called Elbaz’s death at 59 a “big loss” for the fashion industry. “And I will have one regret — not to have seen an haute couture collection by Alber Elbaz. It was my dream.”

Monday, April 26, 2021

Alber Elbaz Biography

Alber Elbaz was an Israeli fashion designer. He was the creative director of Lanvin in Paris from 2001 until 2015, after having done stints at a number of other fashion houses, including Geoffrey Beene, Guy Laroche, and Yves Saint Laurent. He founded the Richemont-backed label AZ Factory in 2019.

Albert Elbaz was born in Casablanca, Morocco, to a Sephardic Jewish family. Elbaz's father was a hairdresser, and his mother was a painter. He immigrated to Israel with his family at the age of ten and grew up in the city of Holon. His mother became a cashier to support her four children (Elbaz had a brother and two sisters) after her husband died. Elbaz later served as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, and subsequently studied at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan, Israel.

His mother encouraged Elbaz’s early interest in fashion (he had begun drawing dresses at seven years old) and gave him $800 when he left home for New York City in 1985 to pursue fashion professionally.

Arriving in New York, Elbaz first worked for a bridal firm, then trained over the course of seven years as a senior assistant to Geoffrey Beene. In New York, Elbaz dropped the last letter of his first name, becoming Alber so that his name would be pronounced correctly in New York as well as because he felt it made a better name for a fashion brand. 

From 1996 until 1998, Elbaz worked for the French house of Guy Laroche, working from Paris as head of prêt-à-porter. Appointed by Pierre Bergé, Elbaz next worked as creative director of Yves Saint Laurent from 1998 until he was fired after three seasons when Gucci bought the company.

Elbaz began designing for Lanvin in 2001. He also held a minority stake in the company of nearly 18 percent. During his 14-year tenure, he was credited with the house’s renewed appeal thanks to Elbaz’s “classic with a twist” takes on silk cocktail dresses and other feminine designs, often playing with color or other unusual variations on hallmark elegance. Looking back on his career, Women's Wear Daily wrote, “His elegant, feminine designs and pulse-pounding runway shows, which had a carnival spirit, catapulted Lanvin to become a top Paris fashion house.” He also created a trend for luxury brand jewelry by launching fabric-covered pearls. 

His humorous sketches of everything from lollipops to his own face became a brand signature. Elbaz's simple, feminine clothing, which has been compared to Lanvin's 1920s outfits, was lauded by the fashion press. In 2005 Suzy Menkes wrote: "Elbaz is every woman's darling. And that includes Nicole, Kate, Chloë Sevigny, Sofia Coppola and a slew of rising movie names." Lanvin's business growth followed, with revenue increasing 60% in two years, from 2005 to 2007.

While at Lanvin, Elbaz also collaborated with Acne Studios on a denim collection, called the Blue Collection, at the end of 2008. In 2010, he led Lanvin’s work on an H&M line, including tulle dresses and bejeweled necklaces. Notably, for his fall collection in 2012, the house’s 10th anniversary, Elbaz chose ordinary people to feature in Lanvin’s promotional campaign, including an 18-year-old musician and an 82-year-old retiree. 

In October 2015, Elbaz announced that he had been let go from Lanvin after disagreements with the company's major shareholder, Shaw-Lan Wang. Elbaz also complained about the lack of strategy and targeted investment of the company. Shortly before he was fired, Elbaz had hired Chemena Kamali from Chloé as women’s design director. Lanvin sales subsequently declined and China’s Fosun eventually purchased the line.

After leaving Lanvin, Elbaz designed all of the costumes Natalie Portman wore in the 2016 film A Tale of Love and Darkness which she also wrote and directed. Thereafter he worked with various fashion brands, including Converse and LeSportsac. In 2016, he launched a perfume called Superstitious, working with perfumer Dominique Ropion for the French perfume house Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. He collaborated in 2019 with Italian shoemaker Tod's, creating bags and loafers.

Also in 2019, he joined forces with Richemont to develop his own line, AZfashion, a brand intended to focus on “developing solutions for women of our times.” AZ Factory launched in 2021. It is Richemont's first involvement in a newly emerging brand and focuses on creating streamlined foundational basics and technical knits, which the designer termed "switchwear."

In 2006, Elbaz introduced new packaging for Lanvin, featuring a light forget-me-not blue color, a favorite shade which Lanvin purportedly had seen in a Fra Angelico fresco. Packaging included shopping bags imprinted with Paul Iribe's 1907 illustration of Lanvin and her daughter Marguerite, and shoe boxes designed like antique library files, tied with black ribbons to emphasize the precious nature of the product and Elbaz illustrated the song "Lady Jane" in singer-songwriter Mika's extended play Songs for Sorrow.

In 2012, Rizzoli published a book of 3,000 photographs documenting Elbaz's work for Lanvin and 2015, Elbaz curated “Alber Elbaz/Lanvin: Manifeste,” a photography exhibition at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris. The show exhibited more than 350 photographs taken during his time at Lanvin as well as sketches and design mock-ups.

In his personal life - Elbaz's life partner was Alex Koo, Lanvin's director of merchandising. Elbaz often spoke of being overweight and how it influenced his designs. In 2009 he told journalist Ariel Levy,

"I do things without décolleté; nothing is transparent...I am overweight, so I am very, very aware of what to show and what not to show, and I am sure there is a huge link with being an overweight designer and the work I do. My fantasy is to be skinny, you see? I bring that fantasy into the lightness - I take off the corset and bring comfort and all these things I don't have. What I bring is everything that I don't have. This is the fantasy."

Despite international acclaim Elbaz also avoided stepping into celebrity circles himself, often likening his work to a “concierge's in a good hotel in Manhattan” who spent his days working with famous and wealthy clients, but went home at night to the outer boroughs, and said this distance from “the fantasy” of fashion helped him maintain its power in his work. Elbaz died of COVID-19 on 24 April 2021 in Paris, France, at the age of 59.

Why Branding Matters Now, More Than Ever

As the Covid-19 outbreak wreaks havoc on the retail industry, some are asking a curious question, namely: will companies boost their spending on branding in the aftermath the crisis?

What I find strange about this question is the assumption that branding is something you turn on and off, like a light switch; that it’s somehow a conscious decision or undertaking that brands embark on as necessary or when it best serves them. I suspect this is because we’ve long confused the concepts of branding and advertising. They are not the same.

Advertising is what a brand says about itself to consumers. Advertising is a conscious effort on the part of a brand to promote itself, its products and its services. Advertising can be bought and sold. Advertising is transactional.

Branding, on the other hand, is a very different thing. Branding is what others think and say about you. And it’s informed by a wide range of inputs, far beyond what a brand says about itself. More critical is what a brand actually does or doesn’t do. Branding reflects the sum total of every organisational action, set against the backdrop of culture, all of which reveals the true character of a company. Branding cannot be bought or sold. Branding is transformational.

To illustrate the point, look at two recent decisions at the world’s largest sportswear players.

In the face of growing concern about the virus and the emerging need to lock down places of gathering, including retail stores, it was leaked to the media that Adidas Chief Executive Kasper Rorsted emailed his frontline employees on March 16 with the following message:

“We have to keep the company going and open for business to ensure that we can pay our monthly bills and salaries to everyone,” Rorsted wrote. “Closing down is easy, staying open in a healthy environment requires courage, persistence and focus."

They say you can judge your lunch partner’s true character by how they treat the waitstaff. Adidas had just proven the same is true for companies. It’s true character and internal culture were on full display in this brief but telling internal memo to employees.

Almost immediately, someone at Adidas reconsidered the move and twenty-four hours later, the decision was reversed, with the brand opting instead to close all of its stores. It subsequently attempted to sanitise the situation with an advertising message.

Branding is ultimately not what you say but who you choose to be. Choose wisely.

“To our athletes, teammates and friends across the world, your health is what matters most. In support of the worldwide effort to keep our communities safe, our stores will remain closed through March,” read the communication. “Our doors may be closed, but our brand remains open and committed to fostering a spirit of unity and connection around the world. To help us stay connected, you can find us online via and the adidas App. This is a tough time — let's look after each other, our families and our communities.”

The problem is, for many, what they perceived to be the underlying character of Adidas had already been revealed and they had formed their own judgements about a company that was seemingly willing to put its own frontline workers in harm’s way to move another pair of shoes.

Nike took a very different approach. A day earlier, on March 15, Nike announced that it would close all stores in the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand until at least March 27. This after the athletic company had already shuttered its corporate headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, and mandated that employees work from home. Furthermore, the brand informed employees that they would be compensated through the duration of the closures.

Six days later, the brand launched a series of communications to the public. The message was not an encouragement to buy Nike’s products or patronse its websites, but rather an emotionally charged plea to its brand community to adhere to social distancing guidelines, a message that rang even more true in light of the company’s own policies.

This is branding. And the difference matters now more than ever because when the Covid-19 crisis eventually ends, consumers won’t begin searching for brands they hope they can trust. They will choose brands they already believe they can trust based on previously observed actions. They won’t seek out new communities of affiliation but turn to those in which they already have faith and already know align with their social, political and spiritual world views.

So, the time to focus on branding is not before Covid-19 or after Covid-19 or any other future crisis. Your company is already branding itself every minute of every day through every decision it makes. Branding is ultimately not what you say but who you choose to be. Choose wisely.

Beloved Fashion Designer Alber Elbaz Has Died

Alber Elbaz, who made his name at storied fashion houses including Yves Saint Laurent and spent a 14-year spell rejuvenating Lanvin, has died at the age of 59 at the American Hospital in Paris. His death, from Covid-19, was confirmed by Richemont, the conglomerate backing Elbaz’s latest venture, AZ Factory.

“I have lost not only a colleague but a beloved friend,” Richemont founder and chairman Johann Rupert said in a statement published on 25 April, the day after Elbaz’s sudden passing. “Alber had a richly deserved reputation as one of the industry’s brightest and most beloved figures. I was always taken by his intelligence, sensitivity, generosity and unbridled creativity. He was a man of exceptional warmth and talent, and his singular vision, sense of beauty and empathy leave an indelible impression.”

The Moroccan-born visionary is best known for catapulting Lanvin into the major leagues during his 2001 to 2015 tenure at the French house. His acrimonious split from the brand, which saw him forced to defend his work and leadership style, was well-documented, and Elbaz subsequently took a five-year hiatus. Returning to fashion on the spring/summer 2021 couture schedule with a fresh perspective and a modern brand proposition, the industry was overjoyed to welcome back one of its leading creatives, who always imbued his work with such joy and put the focus squarely on making individuals feel special.

“It was a great privilege watching Alber in his last endeavour as he worked to realise his dream of ‘smart fashion that cares’,” continued Rupert. “His inclusive vision of fashion made women feel beautiful and comfortable by blending traditional craftsmanship with technology – highly innovative projects which sought to redefine the industry.” His brilliant innovations and ebullient presence will be sorely missed.

Heron Preston Dabbled In Calvin Klein’s Expansive Archive For His New Creative Partnership

“Respect for Calvin Klein himself” was the pivotal focus of Heron Preston’s latest creative partnership with the brand. From memories of his father wearing the cologne, to skating underneath a giant billboard in Downtown emblazoned with vintage Calvin campaigns and becoming a consumer himself, Heron has always had a relationship with Calvin Klein.

With the powerful pairing comes a New York-ified, effortlessly cool collection of highly wearable staples, modelled by a troupe of cultural movers and shakers: Kaia Gerber, Nas, Ashley Graham, Jordan Alexander, Lil Uzi Vert and Heron’s partner Sabrina Albarello are among the roster of names in the campaign, lensed by Renell Medrano.

One year on from when he and Calvin Klein’s global chief merchant, head of product strategy and new product ventures, Jacob Jordan, embarked on the first major creative partnership since Raf Simons’ departure, they soon became aware that not all was to be smooth-sailing. “All of a sudden we were forced to do it in a way like we’ve never done it before,” Jordan tells British Vogue of the challenges the pair faced as a result of the pandemic. Despite the difficulties, the creative vision went exactly to plan. “You’re learning new things from whoever you’re working with. Now, you add on the context of the circumstances that we were working in, and it was like, wow – this is really something new for everyone.”

Wardrobe-binding staples have forever been at the heart of the CK design blueprint, lending well to the unprecedented moment when the world suddenly found themselves living in tracksuits. “We wanted to deliver a wardrobe for a whole new kind of a new world,” Heron muses. The all-rounder creative – who counts djing, creative direction and the pioneering of his own cult namesake label among his skillset – was a natural fit for the role. “Seeing how he approached things, what influences him as a designer, what’s important to him and how he reinterpreted different codes or things throughout the house and use them in like different ways, was really special,” Jordan remarks.

With the expansive Calvin Klein archive (Heron notes it is “like a museum”) and weight of the brand’s influence at his fingertips, Heron was keen to refresh and remodel – but not disrupt – the existing design codes. “I didn’t want to necessarily step on that, but celebrate it amplify it, bring it into the future and modernise it in a way but also still kind of keeping it very Calvin.”

Nods to the archive arrive via direct design homages: a corset dress that he found is elevated in textured fleece; a pair of carpenter pants and a trucker jacket are uplifted with contemporary raw fabrics. Colours, too, were extracted from CK’s wondrous archive. “Klein blue” and chalk – the latter of which Preston spent hours rummaging for – are seen interspersed with his signature bright-orange hue.

Heron admits to obsessing over the details. Unexpected flairs seen throughout the wonderfully minimalist collection, like waistband pops of colour and eye-catching trimmings, he added in hope to “distract a friend” and command attention. Hours labouring over the creation of the “perfect tee,” a lifelong goal of the designer, resulted in boxy, heavyweight styles with a raised rib crew-neck that “almost looks 3D.”

Heron’s personal preferences informed the design approach: years spent wearing hoodies inside-out inspired a style with a pocket in the lining; Heron imagined Calvin Klein’s logo waistbands peeping out from sagging trousers, influenced by his love of skateboarding, and the cuffs of soft sweatpants were loosened to relieve tightness when he “rolls them up to get a pedicure.”

Michael Kors Turns 40 By Lighting Up Broadway With The Best In The Business

On the 40th anniversary of his eponymous brand, Michael Kors pulled off the ultimate power move. Showing how beloved he is in the showbiz industry, fashion’s greatest entertainer invited Broadway’s best to introduce his autumn/winter 2021 show. Billy Porter, Bette Midler, Jane Krakowski, Rosario Dawson, Debra Messing, Alan Cumming, Marisa Tomei and Judith Light, among others, served as the warm-up act for Kors’s love letter to theatre, while raising awareness of the Actors Fund. In lieu of birthday gifts, the designer and his company both donated to the performing arts emergency aid organisation.

The jolly skit making light of Midler’s ineptitude at Zoom and the stars’ gentle bristling over the success of Hamilton would have been enough to secure a place in fashion history. But then, the show happened. Staged in the heart of Midtown under the lights of the Shubert Theater and soundtracked by a live performance from Rufus Wainwright, legendary models and new-gen stars walked the makeshift runway down Broadway. It was nothing short of epic.

Supermodels Shalom Harlow, Helena Christensen, Karen Elson and Carolyn Murphy looked jaw-dropping in the glittering, red-carpet worthy gowns, while Naomi Campbell closed the show in the best shoulder-robing moment of the season. Liya Kebede made a return to the catwalk in ladylike monochrome coords, while brand ambassador Bella Hadid held her own in the throng.

Irina Shayk, Ashley Graham, Adut Akech, Soo Joo Park, Paloma Elsesser and Halima Aden all joined the march down the twinkling streets showing New York at its most fabulous. Wearing the elegant, yet easy pieces that one could imagine going to the theatre in, the transportive film is emblematic of Kors’s career so far: a true celebration of fashion.

Ferrari Is Planning Fashion Show To Unveil Luxury Fashion Collections In June

Ferrari is ready to unveil its new and first luxury men’s, women’s and children’s collections in June. The Agnelli family holding Exor, which owns Ferrari, plans to stage a runway show that will be held in Maranello, Italy, where the Ferrari brand is headquartered, on June 13. It is expected to take place IRL, depending on the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and the rollout of the vaccines.

Ferrari in November 2019 revealed it was launching a new lifestyle project, as reported, tapping designer Rocco Iannone as its brand diversification creative director. Iannone and his team are based in Milan.

Iannone is tasked with developing the creative content, design and image of all of Ferrari’s own and licensed women’s, men’s and children’s apparel and accessories collections and reports to Nicola Boari, Ferrari’s chief brand diversification officer. The line will be distributed through a new network of flagships and online.

Iannone previously helmed luxury men’s wear brand Pal Zileri. Before that, he was head men’s designer at Giorgio Armani and designer at Dolce & Gabbana.

The Ferrari apparel collections will be made in Italy, through a network of luxury suppliers, but contrary to what was announced in 2019, they will not be produced by Armani’s manufacturing sites under a long-term agreement.

Armani, however, has signed a multiyear sponsorship of the Scuderia Ferrari racing team, as reported. Under the agreement, the fashion house is to supply formal attire and travel wear to the Ferrari team’s management, drivers and technicians to be worn at official events and during transfers linked to Formula One’s Grand Prix international races.

Exor and Armani have recently waved away rumors about the former eyeing an acquisition of the Italian fashion group.

Earlier this year, Ferrari inked a license with Richard Mille for the production of high-end timepieces and an agreement to sponsor the brand’s Formula 1 race cars.

On the occasion of the launch of the collections, the storied Ferrari “Cavallino [the prancing horse]” restaurant in Maranello will reopen, led by Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura and designed by architect India Mahdavi. Bottura, whose restaurant Osteria Francescana stands in Modena, a 15-minute drive from Maranello, has famously collaborated with Gucci on a range of projects, including the Osteria at Gucci Garden in Florence and on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles.

Exor has been raising its fashion, luxury profile over the past few months, investing in March in the Christian Louboutin brand, and in Hermès International’s China project Shang Xia last December,

In his letter to shareholders earlier this month, Exor chairman John Elkann, grandson of the legendary Fiat tycoon Gianni Agnelli, wrote that “over the years, we have developed considerable knowledge about the luxury sector and our ownership of Ferrari has allowed us to understand better the art of building luxury brands. This sector is characterized by strong economics and durability. In 2020, it proved its strength and resilience and it is benefiting from strong market growth, particularly in China.”

Elkann pointed to the potential of Chinese consumers, who account for one third of luxury spending today, and are forecast to grow to almost half the total, with China becoming a market of around 95 billion euros by 2025. “We believe that both our luxury experience and our long-term horizon make us the ideal partner to support Shang Xia in its journey to greatness. In doing so, we will be building a 21st-century company that can complement and strengthen our existing ones, which were mostly founded in the 19th and 20th centuries.”

Elkann emphasized its engagement with Ferrari, “which has become our most valuable company” and reported that the board was “making good progress with the search process to identify the right leader who will guide Ferrari into a new era and on to even greater achievements.”

In a surprise move, Ferrari’s former CEO Louis Camilleri resigned his post in December for personal reasons and Elkann took over as interim CEO. As reported, Marco Bizzarri, president and CEO of Gucci, told WWD that he was not headed to Ferrari, contrary to media speculation.

Elkann also remarked on Exor’s 24 percent stake in Christian Louboutin, praising the “outstanding job” done by the designer and cofounder Bruno Chambelland “in creating one of the best-known independent luxury brands in the world,” resonating “with the principles of greatness that we look for in companies.”

“It has sought renewal and change, evolving from what once was a women’s shoe boutique in the heart of Paris in 1991, into a global business with an impressive presence and appeal in men’s footwear, a strong leather goods offer and an ever-increasing legitimacy in the beauty sector. Its unique design and brand positioning have made Louboutin one of the most distinctive brands in the luxury space.”

Monday, April 19, 2021

Inside Hedi Slimae's New Exhibition 'Sun Of Sound'

Black and white photography reaches new depths with Hedi Slimane's fifth solo exhibition at Almine Rech. Elegant style and noir drama unite for an air of rock-and-roll, coupled with classic glamour. For his first-ever exhibition in China, Slimane presents an incredible collection of portrait photographs, each un-retouched and delightfully gritty. How unusual in the age of Instagram.

Known for his ever-presence within fashion and art worlds alike, Hedi Slimane is a creative institution. Beginning his fame at Dior Homme and Yves Saint Laurent, Slimane now holds the Creative Director position at Celine. In 2002, Slimane impressed the entire industry by becoming the first menswear designer to earn the CFDA International Designer Award.

Named "Sun of Sound," the Celine designer's exhibit reverts to Slimane's photography roots for an eloquent grouping of images. As Slimane discovered his love for the camera at only eleven years old, it comes as no surprise that his artistic voice is largely driven by youth culture influences. Often, fashion designers who double-agent with photography tend to remain in the field of shooting clothing or supermodels. However, Slimane takes a different approach. Music.

Rising rockstars and alternative musicians dream of being captured by Slimane, whose wildly famous images are enough to skyrocket their careers. Dive bars and live music venues are frequented by the black and white favoring photographer, especially if they tend to feature young, fresh artists. Alex Needham describes the process as releasing "a secret to the wider world."

Enjoy some of the imagery from his previous collection "Sonic" below, and view the "Sun of Sound" exhibition in person at Almine Rech Shanghai from March 19-April 30, 2021.

Bottega Veneta Takes Over Berlin's Berghain Nightclub For "Salon 02" Presentation

Despite shutting down its social media, Bottega Veneta is continuing to find ways to disrupt the fashion industry and build interest. After launching its first-ever digital magazine, the Daniel Lee-helmed label put together a secret presentation of its latest “Salon 02” collection.

The follow-up to the Spring/Summer 2021 “Salon 01” range showcased back in December 2020 took over Berlin‘s infamous Berghain nightclub. Despite not sharing any imagery of the collection itself, we do have street style snaps of the stars that were invited to the secret showing. Notable attendees include Virgil Abloh, Stefano Pilati, Honey Dijon, Skepta, Slowthai and Burna Boy. While celebrated Berghain doorman Sven Marquardt, Marc Goehring, Maria and Joerg Koch showed up for local support.

Balmain Launches Collaboration With Maluma

What started as a custom, codesigned tour wardrobe for shows that have since been rescheduled has turned into a full-fledged partnership. Balmain and Maluma have unveiled a limited-edition collaboration comprised of ready-to-wear clothing and sneakers, available starting today, inspired by “Miami Vice,” the Latin superstar’s love of color and “optimistic” fashion choices and Olivier Rousteing’s passion for music.

“For me, fashion could never exist without music,” said Rousteing. “So he was just the perfect match.”

On a Zoom call from his Paris office, dressed in a hoodie and baseball hat, Rousteing explained that Maluma’s music has long been one of his go-tos for dancing. They met four years ago during Paris Fashion Week, and finally worked together for the first time last summer, on Maluma’s look for the MTV VMAs.

“From that, we just exchanged texts and were like, ‘Why don’t we work together? Because your aesthetic and your vision of music can really combine with my fashion world,’” Rousteing said.

As part of the collaboration, Rousteing has put together a playlist available on Apple Music. Throughout the design process, which involved many WhatsApp messages between the singer and the designer as well as fabric samples being sent between the French atelier and Colombia, where Maluma was for part of the pandemic, Rousteing of course listened to lots of “Papi Juancho,” Maluma’s most recent album; a favorite being “Hawài,” featuring The Weeknd.

“Working with Olivier and the entire Balmain team was an amazing creative journey for me,” Maluma told WWD in an email. “It’s been one of my goals to work with a respected fashion house on a collection, but this journey was more exciting as Olivier pushed me to design with him, and that process was like making music — connecting the dots to create an energy for the fans. The colors and styles of this collaboration were influenced by my fifth album ‘Papi Juancho,’ which had an edgy style influenced by the ‘Miami Vice’ vibe. Colors and comfort when I made this album during the pandemic was extremely important to me because I couldn’t be on tour at the time to perform my songs, but I wanted colors to give them great energy.”

Rousteing said he was interested in working on something that would initially seem outside of the luxury French purview of Balmain.

“I know that sometimes in the typical fashion world, when you say French or luxury, sometimes it feels like, ‘do you want to bring music to that kind of French house that is from 1945?’ And, I think the reason why I did that is because basically the house is so French, and so from 1945, that for me is such an important moment to be at Balmain as a witness of the time,” he said. “Maluma, more than him being an incredible singer, I think he’s bringing a lot to the fashion community with his joy and his happiness and the fact that he’s always playing his style from different kinds of houses from around the world, mixing different cultures as well. So I think for Balmain, which is a French brand from Paris, I think the collaboration with Maluma is obviously giving to Balmain and pushing the aesthetic more internationally.”

Though having only visited Miami roughly twice in his life, Rousteing grew up “obsessed” by the oversized tailoring in “Miami Vice” and by the glamour of the city in the 1980s. The collection skews casual, with printed T-shirts in bright neon colors, a hoodie, a track jacket, a pair of sneakers, a pin-striped blazer with matching drawstring bottoms and a black-and-white striped shirt and short set.

“I love obviously black-and-white stripes because it reminds me of that ‘Miami Vice’ feeling. And the striped T-shirts and shorts are obviously what I’m wearing all summer,” he said.

Rousteing said he was drawn to Maluma’s embrace of playing with fashion, something more often found in women collaborators than men.

“Maluma is one of the few men that I worked with that when you talk about bright colors, he would never say ‘no,’ because he loves that because it’s part of his aesthetic and this is something really enjoyable for a designer,” he said.

He is open to more collaborations down the line, and sees them as ways to modernize Balmain, something he said has been part of his mission since starting at the house a decade ago.

“As a kid, I didn’t know the name of Balmain. So I want my little cousin who is 10 years old to grow up thinking Balmain is one of the biggest French houses. Thanks to music, I can make the new generation know the name of Balmain,” Rousteing said. “So I think it’s really important because music has such an incredible reach demographically, of crowd and strong community, that this is the key of the success of many fashion houses to bring the name to different generations and not just being close to Avenue Montaigne.”

A Documentary On Pierre Cardin’s Life And Career Gets An Online Release

Last year, a documentary on Pierre Cardin, titled House of Cardin, brought together icons from across the fashion industry to discuss the legendary designer’s life and career, and chart “how one man became a fashion empire”.

Jean Paul Gaultier, Naomi Campbell, Guo Pei, and Sharon Stone were among those that reflected on the future-facing fashion pioneer in the film, alongside equally influential musicians such as Alice Cooper and Dionne Warwick. Cardin himself also made an appearance via extensive interviews, conducted before his death at the age of 98, on December 29, 2020.

Now, House of Cardin — from directors P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes — is set to arrive online in the UK and Ireland, via Blue Finch Film Releasing. The documentary will be released for digital download from April 26.

A trailer shared by Blue Finch ahead of the release offers an insight into what to expect, featuring comments on Cardin’s legacy interspersed with clips and stills from his bold and colourful shows, and footage of the designer at home. “He’s one of the greats,” says Campbell in one interview snippet.

Over the course of a career that spanned seven decades, Cardin reshaped fashion with his modern, avant-garde designs, experimentation, and novel approach to building a label. Read more about the designer’s life and creative legacy — via some of his most iconic and memorable quotes — here, and revisit the House of Cardin trailer below.

5 Things To Know About Gucci’s 100th Anniversary ‘Aria’ Show – And Its Balenciaga “Hack”

Alessandro Michele marked the first chapter in Gucci’s 100th anniversary year with a touch of Balenciaga – and a collection that clarified his own vision to its core. British Vogue’s fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen brings you five things to know about the show.

The show marked Gucci’s 100th anniversary

You could view the first collection for Gucci’s 100th birthday this year as Alessandro Michele’s Re-Invention tour. A lifelong Madonna fan, the analogy won’t be lost on him. It’s the title the performer gave her 2004 greatest hits tour to sanctify a practice attributed to her throughout her career: the reinvention of symbols, icons, art, and herself. Like that concert, Michele’s show – titled Aria rather than autumn, in line with his operatic seasonality – revisited the hyper-referencing that has embodied his six years at Gucci, but reduced those ideas to his most crystal-clear collection to date. Stripped to its core messages, it was an experience for the people: a democratic anniversary tour through the house’s legacy – from Guccio Gucci to Tom Ford – and into a future carried by a surprising team-up with Balenciaga. “Everyone will be invited to this birthday party,” Michele explained in a post-show video conference. “It is an ultra-pop party focused on the brand’s DNA. I wanted to create a rebirth for this brand; for this myth, for this saga.”

It was an exercise in Gucci iconography

“I wanted something that could be understood by everybody, so I chose fashion’s most popular format: the catwalk,” Michele said, describing a Floria Sigismondi-directed film that imagined a secret club fitted with a runway lined with vintage cameras. Their flashes represented the Old Hollywood part of Gucci’s century of life, illuminating Marilyn Monroe-esque silhouettes that epitomised the show’s celebration of popular and obvious icons – something Michele and Madonna have in common, too. “In order to tell a story, I tried to find garments that were very primary, with primitive shapes,” he explained. They included big nods to Gucci’s own history, or “myth” as Michele repeatedly called it, pointing out how facts get blurred with time. Monogram canvas coats piped with leather referenced its beginnings as a luggage house for which Guccio Gucci’s drew inspiration from his years as a bellhop at the Savoy in London. Riding jackets, boots and helmets celebrated Gucci’s equestrian roots, which Michele fetishised into the harnesses and floggers of bondage iconography, much like Madonna before him.

Alessandro Michele paid homage to Tom Ford

Unlike a house such as Christian Dior, as Michele noted, Gucci isn’t defined by a visual universe created by a founding designer, but is a house that means different things to different people. To many of us, it means Tom Ford. Michele paid tribute to Ford’s Gucci in a series of suits that recalled his former boss’s tailoring, and, when styled with fetish gear, evoked the highly erotic culture Ford created at Gucci. “Tom was the first to realise that Gucci had this cult power: the power of symbols, a sort of magnetism, the power of a place I describe as a club,” Michele said. Though his own fetishised lens, that power easily related to the current consumption culture of the social media age, where fashion pieces are photographed, posted and worshipped like never before. In his imagined fetish club, Michele explained, “people make love to the objects of fashion. Fashion carries love, sensuality and many other things because we are passionate.” Those ideas have never been more expressed than through the logo-mania of our time, so synonymous with Gucci and Gen Z stars, like Billie Eilish, who wear it. With his Balenciaga hack, Michele took that mania to an unexplored, extreme terrain.

It featured a Balenciaga “hack”

If fashion shows are turning into blockbuster films in the pandemic era, are designers and brands becoming the new Hollywood stars? Speaking about his Marilyn Monroe influences, Michele compared Hollywood to “an Olympus producing supermen that are part of a very special world”. As looks began to appear in the show, which bore the unmistakable hand of Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia – a skewed silk evening top, an all-over floral graffiti print outfit with thigh-high boots – it was kind of like watching a Spider-Man film where Iron Man suddenly turns up. When outerwear sprawled with Gucci’s double-G monogram with Balenciaga’s diagonal logo plastered on top appeared, the cross-over went full Avengers. If it wasn’t the Marvel-verse, it was the Kering-verse – the parent company that owns both houses. “Demna really enjoyed the idea of me using his styles to transform them into something else,” Michele said. “It’s not fashion stealing from other designers, but I went to a friend’s house to steal. Here, I don’t feel the burden of the history some French brands have.” In merging two logo-spurring giants, Michele may have created the most bullet-proof merchandise of the social media-driven fashion era. It was a meeting of superhero designers.

Michele said the film signified a new dawn

The Gucci film culminated in a bliss-fest set in a Garden of Eden, where fairytale white horses, peacocks and cockatoos frolicked amongst models, who embraced and levitated like there was no tomorrow. Of course, as the soundtrack – Vitalic and David Shaw’s “Waiting for the Stars” – suggested, the point was quite the opposite. A massive part of Michele’s personal legacy at Gucci is his social conscience: the freedom of identity and sexuality, the freedom of choice, the climate, the environment. “The party is the planet. This is the party we want to attend,” he said. “To me it’s not only a film, it’s the dawn of something new. I think we will meet again in a new place.” While we keep our fingers crossed that that place will be a real-life venue with a real-life runway, it was nice to see Michele evoking the feeling of a classic fashion show. His format and the clarity of his collection were proof that fashion in its purest form feels a lot more democratic than we give it credit for. And in his stripped-down transition, Michele also injected his own take on Gucci with new life.

Ahluwalia Reveals Its First Women’s Designs In A Collaboration With Ganni

“It makes so much sense, but it’s so random at the same time – which I really love.” So says Priya Ahluwalia of her new collaboration with Ganni. On paper, the two do seem like unlikely partners –Ahluwalia being a budding menswear label based in London, Ganni a global womenswear brand in Copenhagen – but aren’t those the best matches? Both labels share a core value of sustainability, and were looking to do more than your typical marketing exercise.

Ganni’s creative director Ditte Reffstrup discovered Ahluwalia through a friend and reached out immediately (a message so surprising to Ahluwalia that she checked LinkedIn to ensure the email address was real). They had a few calls and decided to work together on a project that would push Ganni’s upcycling efforts – and then the pandemic hit. The project was put on ice, but within a few months, Ganni found itself with an overstock of garments and fabrics ready to be reimagined.

“We’ve done these small upcycling collections in the past as part of our commitment with the Global Fashion Agenda to work towards a circular approach,” Nicolaj Reffstrup, Ganni’s CEO, explains. “We want to make it a steady component of our business, not just a marketing capsule.”

“And Priya is the expert,” Ditte says. “Working with upcycling can be difficult, because you might be a little tired of the clothes, or it can look a little earthy, so Priya came in and really gave it all a new life. When we saw her first drawings, we knew it was going to be huge.”

Ahluwalia described the collaboration as something of a model for how she’d like to work with brands in the future. “To be honest, a bigger brand will often want to work with a smaller one, but they just want to take and not really give much back,” she says. “But this has been nothing but a pleasure. As well as designing the product together, this has been so instrumental for my business and supportive of me as a small designer. I speak to Nicolaj on a regular basis about business strategy, I spoke to the e-commerce team about my new website, and it’s been really great for me to learn about a womenswear business from the inside. Ganni is so clever in so many ways, from community building to transparency, and it’s become so cult – people love it,” she continues. “I really just launched as a menswear designer because it was just me, and I couldn’t do it all. So it will be really nice to have my voice in the women’s market.”

The collection showcases Ahluwalia’s first-ever women’s designs. You’ll notice a glimpse of her menswear signatures in the piped and collaged tracksuits, but otherwise it’s happily divergent. The minidress is the key silhouette, patchworked in leather and faux snakeskin in one look or in bias-cut panels of zebra jersey in another. “We were talking a lot about wanting to party [after lockdown], and what I would wear to go out and dance with friends,” Ahluwalia says. “How could we make figure-hugging clothes that will make you feel great, without it being too revealing? That was really important. I just want people to wear it and feel really confident.”

The collection will be available in Ganni stores worldwide and online in limited quantities, but there’s a second Ganni x Ahluwalia collection coming later this year. In the meantime, Ahluwalia confirmed she will introduce womenswear of her own (though a date is TBD), and Ganni plans to build on its learnings from their partnership. “There is no doubt that Priya really inspired our team’s approach to upcycling,” Ditte says. “Instead of being something you need to do, it’s something that is actually super fun to do. The way she played around with it was super inspiring and will for sure be part of our collection going forward.”

Gucci’s “Hacking” Of Balenciaga Is A Fashion Power Move

Four months on from the release of the stratospherically successful The North Face X Gucci collaboration, Alessandro Michele is back with another creative union – this time a surprise “hack” of its Kering stablemate, Balenciaga.

To mark Gucci’s centenary year, Michele unveiled a collection “contaminated” with the hallmarks of disruptive creative director Demna Gvasalia’s work. In other words, Gucci’s Aria show incorporated a touch of Balenciaga attitude – and what British Vogue’s fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen predicted could be the “most bullet-proof merchandise of the social media-driven fashion era”.

After the show a simulated text exchange between the two creatives posted on Gucci’s Instagram Stories revealed where Gvasalia’s love affair with Gucci began – his first purchase was a bottle of Gucci Envy perfume he said was the only thing he could get in post-USSR Georgia. Michele was similarly effusive about the house in the ’90s. “Tom [Ford] is a genius”, he wrote.

Michele’s whimsical retro aesthetic was spliced with Balenciaga’s underground boldness: a nostalgic velvet suit (Michele’s nod to the “sexual tension” of Tom Ford’s time at the helm of the house) opened the show, then several looks later, an emerald shorts suit was paired with a jockey hat, horsebit harness, sparkling choker and monogram riding boots.

Pieces emblazoned with the names of both brands instantly set social media alight. The collection included a dazzling diamanté skirt suit covered with strips of “Balenciaga” and “Gucci” emblems, striking logomania blazers, and angular outerwear decorated with the Gucci monogram and layered underneath Balenciaga’s graphic font. Meanwhile offbeat hosiery/shoe hybrids screamed Demna.

The hazy florals that were smattered across TNF puffers here took form as detailed botanical drawings, and bold psychedelic prints enhanced oversized waistcoats, jackets with equestrian buckle fastenings, and an all-in-one bodysuit.

Silhouettes were accentuated by peaked lapels and stiff shoulders that have become Gvasalia signatures, and a sprinkling of kitsch glitter was seen throughout. Nods to the Georgian designer’s varsity motifs took form as Gucci-fied equestrian baseball caps emblazoned with “100”, and normcore Balenciaga corporate wear was given the Michele treatment with feather cuffs, frills and sequins. Gucci’s typically whimsical palette was punctuated by the occasional appearance of Balenciaga’s royal blue, plus a lacquer PVC dress (complete with a whip).

There were also amalgamations of cult accessories from both houses – Balenciaga’s hourglass purse was covered with double Gs, while Gucci’s timeless Jackie 1961 was anointed with Balenciaga logo stripes. The jewellery didn’t disappoint either: one model wore a pair of curb chains adorned with the letters of both brands, while dangling septum gems, chunky jewellery and delicate brooches were the cherries on top of a kaleidoscope of looks.

The British Fashion Council & Swarovski Join Forces On A New Fashion Prize

The British Fashion Council has announced the launch of a brand new award in partnership with Swarovski. British Vogue editor-in-chief and European editorial director of Vogue, Edward Enninful, will join fellow industry leaders Munroe Bergdorf, Tan France, Lily Cole, Farrah Storr, Ib Kamara, Jo Ellison, chief executive of the BFC Caroline Rush and Swarovski’s creative director Giovanna Engelbert on the judging panel for the inaugural Changemakers Prize, which will subsequently be given to three candidates.

Those working within the fashion industry will be nominated by peers, businesses, employers and colleagues to receive one of the three commendations on offer, each of which honour the three pillars of the BFC’s Institute of Positive Fashion: environment, people or craftsmanship and community. The IPF initiative was established in 2020 to encourage an industry shift towards collaboration, circular business models and localised action. “From the shop floor and the studios, to the manufacturers and head offices, we are searching across the country for anyone, regardless of their job title, to find out who has contributed through their work in creating an industry which we are all so proud to be a part of,” remarks Caroline Rush.

Entrants will be recognised for their dedication to the industry, commitment to sparking change and ability to make a positive impact. Swarovski – a long-term partner of the BFC – is a fervid champion of creative trailblazers and it will continue to support inspiring individuals through the prize. “We have the great pleasure of discovering individuals across every facet of the fashion community with a hunger to create a more inclusive, sustainable and impactful world for us all,” says Giovanna Engelbert.

Nominations are open from 13 April, closing on 11 May, with the nine finalists to be announced later that month. The ultimate three winners – honoured in July – will receive global recognition, mentorship support, and a cash prize.

The Costume Institute Announces A Two-Part Exhibition On American Fashion

Homegrown fashion is the focus of the Costume Institute’s upcoming blockbuster, a two-part exhibition to be presented over the course of 2021 and 2022 in two areas of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Part one, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” will open in the Anna Wintour Costume Center on 18 September 2021, and will remain on display when “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” opens on 5 May 2022, in the period rooms of the American Wing. Both shows will run through 5 September 2022.

Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute, has an uncanny sense of timing. Despite the advance planning needed to organise an exhibition, he always seems to land on a topical theme, and stateside the subject of American identity is topic number one.

This “double play” first started coming into focus in 2018 as the curator simultaneously was planning how his department would participate in the museum’s 150th anniversary, celebrated last year, and the Costume Institute’s 75th, this year. “I wanted both shows to be collection-focused exhibitions,” he told Vogue. “About Time,” last year’s exhibition, did that broadly; in contrast Bolton looked to a specific and “in a way neglected” area of the collection for the two-part “In America” show. The curator settled on the theme for two reasons: “The main one was the fact that the American fashion community has been supporting us for 75 years, really since the beginning of the Costume Institute, so I wanted to acknowledge its support, and also to celebrate and reflect upon American fashion.”

It’s a subject that Bolton felt needed revisiting, both in terms of the museum’s calendar – 1998’s “American Ingenuity” was the last big exhibition to cover the theme – and because the industry has changed so much, in particular in response to the political and social justice movements of the last several years.

“I think that the emphasis on conscious creativity was really consolidated during the pandemic and the social justice movements,” Bolton said. “And I’ve been really impressed by American designers’ responses to the social and political climate, particularly around issues of body inclusivity and gender fluidity, and I’m just finding their work very, very self-reflective. I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a Renaissance. I think young designers in particular are at the vanguard of discussions about diversity and inclusion, as well as sustainability and transparency, much more so than their European counterparts, maybe with the exception of the English designers.”

Home: A Short History of an Idea, a book by Witold Rybczynski that focuses on the qualities rather than the functionality of rooms, helped Bolton construct a framework for “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” for which the Anna Wintour Costume Center will be transformed into an imaginary house. Each room will represent a particular emotive quality (well-being, joy, rebellion, nostalgia) and be occupied by an ancestor, and, if you will, related family. “So for the porch, which is warmth,” explained Bolton, “the idea would be to have perhaps Bonnie Cashin’s blanket coat that we pair with André Walker’s coat made from Hudson Bay blankets. In the garden, which is joy, the idea is to have a Mainbocher printed floral dress with the Oscar de la Renta dress that Taylor Swift wore to the Grammys.”

Bolton sees fashion as “a living art form, an emotional art form,” one that’s “all about innovation and reinvention.” The American dream is similarly one of self-invention, yet with its roots in sportswear, it is usually described in terms of its practicality and utility – fashion with a lower case, rather than capital F. “I think that in the past a lot of descriptions about American fashion focused on the fact that it’s non-narrative and it’s not about stories, and that’s diminishing the emotional side of American fashion. So part of the idea of the exhibition is to give American fashion its due, to give back its storytelling abilities.”

The stories Bolton wants to tell in the second part of the exhibition, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” are ones that address the subject of inclusivity. “Who gets to be American?” was a question posed at Prabal Gurung’s spring/summer 2020 show, and it will be addressed at the Met as well. “An Anthology of Fashion” will explore unfinished American stories in the museum’s period rooms, examining the history of fashion in the context of race, gender, and materiality, while also considering who was able to inhabit the rooms and who was barred from doing so.

A Shaker women’s bedroom, for example, will be the site in which stereotypes of American fashion are examined through the work of Claire McCardell. A panoramic mural of Versailles by John Vanderlyn will form the “set” of the 1973 “Battle of Versailles,” a charity event at which American designers vied against their French counterparts, whose work has traditionally been described using a more emotive lexicon. Also on view will be “freeze frame" vignettes made by noted American directors. “In America” presents an opportunity to find new ways of speaking about fashion and identity in the US.

For those looking for more reasons to wave the flag, the Met Gala will return this year. More than a fancy dress party, the benefit evening generates the majority of the Costume Institute’s funding. Pending government guidelines, a slightly smaller celebration is planned for 13 September 2021, timed to coincide with the close of what will hopefully be an in-person New York Fashion Week. The event will then return to regular scheduling – the first Monday in May – in 2022.

Kristen McMenamy Joins Instagram In Supermodel Style

What makes a model a supermodel? Is it being recognised on the street by paparazzi, or defining the look of a specific decade? Is it simply the ability to command millions of dollars for a campaign, or, as Linda Evangelista famously put it once, not getting out of bed for less than $10,000 a day? If you ask us, part of the equation is possessing the strength of personality and style that shines through no matter the setting.

It’s a quality the legendary Kristen McMenamy has in spades. Whether it’s the minimal, grunge-inflected looks of her breakout era in the ’90s, the romantic Grecian draping of her unforgettable Karl Lagerfeld-designed wedding dress, or the gothic glamour of her red-carpet looks by the likes of Alexander McQueen and Valentino, McMenamy’s enduring appeal is in no small part a result of her inimitable personal style.

So while it might come as a welcome surprise to see her join Instagram this week, the sheer fabulousness of her debut felt a little less unexpected. Sharing a snap of herself sitting in the back of a London taxi captioned, “Don’t know where I’m going!”, the model wore a billowing black coat over a neon pink long-sleeve tee and yellow leggings, teamed with red sunglasses and a matching pair of Balenciaga knife boots to lend the look her signature edge.

The final touch? A trompe l’oeil velvet Prada cahier bag from the brand’s Fellini-inspired autumn/winter 2017 collection. Now that’s the kind of detail only a supermodel would add.

Victoria Beckham & Simone Rocha Donate Deadstock Fabric To Students Via Groundbreaking Initiative

Twenty-four brands – including Simone Rocha, Roksanda, Paul Smith and Victoria Beckham – are donating thousands of metres of deadstock and unwanted fabric, as well as trims, embellishments and fastenings, to 33 colleges around the UK. The Student Fabric Initiative, spearheaded by the British Fashion Council and with delivery costs paid for by Burberry, aims to support fashion students, who have been working in restrained and isolating circumstances during the pandemic, and to put sustainability at the heart of curriculums going forward.

The community spirit at the heart of the project sees eco-minded brands, such as Gabriela Hearst and Phoebe English, join forces with emerging designers, including Bianca Saunders and Charlotte Knowles who are only a few years ahead of the students themselves; heritage labels, from Barbour to Begg & Co; and high-street giant River Island, to pave the way for a greener fashion future. With support from journalist Charlie Porter and former Sibling director and all-round fashion facilitator Cozette McCreery, who have been instrumental at ensuring the process is as seamless as possible;, who are helping with fabric pick-ups; and Fora, a storage space provider, the project is a sign of the positivity that can come out of a challenging time for the industry. Burberry, who piloted the scheme via its ReBurberry Fabric Initiative, has been laying the groundwork since last year.

Porter, who is a visiting lecturer on the BA Fashion course at the University of Westminster, has seen the significant impact of donations first hand: “Last year, one of the students I taught was Steven Stokey-Daley, who received fabric for his final collection from Alexander McQueen. The donation was truly life changing for him, and it made me want to see what more the fashion industry could do, not just for students in London, but for those studying around the country. It has been so incredible to see the industry come together, hopefully setting a benchmark for a new way of giving back to students for years to come.”

When the news breaks today students, from Central Saint Martins to Falmouth University, will be buoyed by the knowledge that they can inject their BA graduate collections with Craig Green’s innovative textiles and Halpern’s glitter-strewn swathes (two more participants in the Student Fabric Initiative). With many more brands hoping to sign up in the future, the BFC’s scheme, as part of its new Institute of Positive Fashion and Colleges Council, is not only a beacon of hope for current student trying to graduate without financial ruin, but a sign of the industry’s commitment to nurturing future generations to come.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Takashi Murakami Has Just Released His First NFT

Takashi Murakami has joined the NFT world as he launches his first-ever digital artwork on OpenSea. The recent fanfare from the auction of Beeple’s piece, sparked an interest in the Japanese contemporary artist to further develop his craft within the digital space. Captivated by the way his children were playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons with their friends, the artist was inspired to change his ways of creative expressions and approach to art.

“They were watching some fireworks display within the game while talking with their school friends, who they could no longer meet in person, through Zoom, admiring how beautiful it was,“ Murakami explained. “I saw the reality of the shifting values when I realized that these children could discern beauty within a virtual world.”

Murakami has partnered with Yoshihisa Hashimoto, the former director of Sonic Unleashed and the Hedgehog Engine. Hashimoto is an authority figure in the online gaming world as he previously directed a team of programmers for the renewed MMO RPG Final Fantasy XIV: New Eorzea, led the production of Agni’s Philosophy—Final Fantasy REALTIME TECH DEMO at E3 in June 2012, and became CTO of Square Enix. He is now the representative of ZIKU Technologies, Inc., a company that creates XR, AI, and avatars.

Together with Hashimoto, they’ve released Murakami’s signature flowers in 24 x 24 pixel “evoking nostalgia for Famicom (The Nintendo Entertainment System).” They’ve created 108 variations, as the number symbolizes earthly desires in Buddhism.

Mugler RTW Spring 2021

Casey Cadwallader opens his spring 2021 collection video by grabbing Bella Hadid by the hips and hurtling the model so high in the air she’s practically a speck in the darkened runway theater. Lo and behold, she nails the landing and struts backward in curve-seamed jeans and a sheer top with a dark band swooping across her bosom.

Cadwallader effectively propelled Mugler’s legacy of making women into superheroes without robot legs or stiff corsetry — often just dusting nude tops and dresses with tiny crystals, or arranging narrow strips of fabric over taut torsos, like a protective mesh sleeve tugged tightly over a wine bottle at duty-free.

It added up to a steamy collection, and a dynamic video that depicted Hadid doing somersaults down the runway and Alek Wek pirouetting furiously — well, their body doubles at least. Omahyra Mota, a model from Dominican Republic who made a splash in the early Aughts with her edgy androgyny, made a return with the same scowl and additional facial piercings.

Here is a fashion video so gripping you are apt to revisit it. Cadwallader’s meticulous clothes also command attention, from a streamlined blazer inspired by one Thierry Mugler designed for David Bowie in the early ’90s to all those nearly nude dresses and bodysuits, achieved with a nylon tulle the designer called “bulletproof,” resistant to snags and tears.

“Mugler is about enhancing the body,” he said during a preview at the brand’s Paris showroom, showing off sheer bodysuits offering “impossible” necklines, and a sheer catsuit sheltering essentials only with strategic strips of black, like electrical tape on a nude body. Yep, Dua Lipa already called one in.

Cadwallader has revved up Mugler by dressing the likes of Lipa, Miley Cyrus and French singer Yseult in his body-baring fashions, characterizing it as his way of doing couture.

What he showed in the film will actually be sold, and immediately, as Mugler has fully transitioned to see-now-buy-now. The designer noted with some surprise that Mugler is selling a lot of pants in addition to dresses, though the former are as sexy and anatomically engineered as the latter.

Irina Shayk demonstrated this with her sultry walk and by turning around to show stretch fabric carved into buttock-framing swoops on the back of her jeans.

But the best performance goes to model and actor Hunter Schafer, who leaped onto the runway and crouched like a wild animal — in heels — and barely blinked when she became a live Bill Viola artwork and had a tub full of water dumped on her blonde head.

Gucci's $12 Sneaker Is Virtually Yours

Cresting the virtual boon of pandemic-era e-commerce spending, Gucci has collaborated with Belarusian fashion-tech company, Wanna to unveil a virtual-only sneaker, designed under the artly eye of Creative Director, Alessandro Michele.

The product is a first for Wanna, a business built on the back of augmented-reality fittings, near evaporating the necessity of in-store shopping - save for the ephemeral concept shop, delivering on experience in a very content-driven clime. According to Wanna CEO Sergey Arkhangelski, as more agencies come to bridge the fashion-technology gap, AR shopping will become all but inextricable from the standard fashion modus, nearly essential in protecting a company’s bottom line.

“In five or maybe 10 years a relatively big chunk of fashion brands revenue will come from digital products,” Arkhangelskiy says. “Our goal as a company is to actually supersede the product photos ... and substitute it for something which is way more engaging and closer to offline shopping.”

Gucci has established a stronger foothold in the nascent sphere of digitized fashion, having tapped styling app Drest, 3D chatroom Zepeto, global gaming platform Roblox, Sims 4, and Pokemon in a bid to garner equity within the Gen Z-facing sect.

While the shoes are available through the brand’s app, they can be “worn” into the other augmented worlds of Roblox and VR chat spaces - a crossover that shoulders the gusto of this AR ecosystem; it’s hype and utility in one.

Lady Gaga & Dom Pérignon Are Behind The Most Exquisite Collaboration Of 2021

The collaboration everyone needed but no one saw coming has arrived: Lady Gaga x Dom Pérignon. The essence of celebration, the pop powerhouse called upon her longtime creative collaborator Nicola Formichetti and photographer Nick Knight, who has been shooting the performer since her Monster Ball days, to make a mesmerising campaign showcasing how Gaga does champagne. The message? “Fantasy is one of humankind’s highest achievements,” asserts Knight of the side of whimsy Gaga serves up with her fizz.

“Dom Pérignon will not make a vintage unless it’s right, unless the harvest lives up to their aesthetic ideal, that sort of determination and exigency is very similar to how hard Gaga will push herself artistically,” adds Knight, who has nothing but praise for the “Stupid Love” singer’s bubbly vision. “She always pushes herself to the maximum, never gives up, and will work until she drops. She has total 100 per cent devotion to attaining the best image; I cannot ask for more than that!”

The energising images of Gaga posing with her Dom Pérignon Rosé within the “Queendom”, her frothy pink universe filled with fabulous candy floss-coloured fashion and exquisitely pale champagne, have already gone down a storm with the Little Monsters, Gaga’s dedicated fan base who have been raising emoji glasses via Instagram. “Nicola describes [the campaign] as the essence of Dom, mixed with me, warped in time,” asserts Gaga of the unabashedly bold way to celebrate the 12-year process of harvesting the pinot noir grape into a truly “magnetic” rosé.

It was not solely Dom Pérignon’s skill at creating prestige champagne that drew Gaga to the house, but the story at the heart of its legacy. The mantra of Dom Pierre Pérignon, the Benedictine monk whose life’s mission was to create the best champagne in the world, rang true with Gaga’s own approach to her work. “Ora et labora”, meaning “pray and work”, represents the absolute dedication required to go above and beyond in order to master one’s art. “He had conviction, and he worked hard to make it a reality,” explains Gaga. “He was so focused on his craft, with an uncompromising vision and spirit. I believe very strongly in these things, so it really signified that I had found a creative ally in Dom Pérignon.”

Gaga’s limited-edition Dom Pérignon sculpture, a majestic uber piece encasing jeroboams of Rosé Vintage 2005 which will be sold at private sales, also reflects the “deep purpose” at the heart of the collaboration. Profits from the sale of the 110 collectible pieces will benefit the Born This Way Foundation, which Gaga launched in 2011 with her mother, Cynthia Germanotta. “There’s nothing more important than showing kindness to one another and giving back. Than creating a world where everyone is seen, heard and loved,” asserts Gaga of the organisation’s work promoting the wellbeing of young people. “Generosity can make a change, and I’m honoured that Dom Pérignon is kind enough to give back as part of our collaboration.”

The dedication poured into this meeting of minds does not stop here. Those who develop a taste for Gaga’s wonderfully camp approach to quaffing champagne can look forward to an exclusive run of Vintage 2010 and Rosé 2006 in equally inventive cases this autumn. But for now, what better way to elevate park picnics than with a bottle of Gaga-approved rosé? A star in the sparkling wine world has been born.

“It’s Very DVF!” Diane Von Fürstenberg’s New Homeware For H&M Is Bursting With Colour

The undisputed queen of prints has joined forces with the high-street giant on a collection of treasures for the home: sumptuous, double-faced woollen blankets, scented candles encased in swirling glass jars, lacquer trays, espresso cups and saucers, vases and chic storage boxes all feature in the line-up, which is available to purchase from 16 April.

Workaday items are given a hit of DVF pizzaz with her signature patterns, including a zebra print in shades of hot pink and orange, a lip motif inspired by Andy Warhol’s portrait of her, and the “Diane” pattern she conceived over 20 years ago, when she founded her DVF empire. “It’s very DVF. I mean, you can’t possibly think it’s anything else,” she says.

Soft furnishings also feature, emblazoned with uplifting quotes like, “Own it”, and, “Love is life”. It’s no secret that Diane is a master of aphorisms. She famously said, “I design for the woman who loves being a woman”, when describing the faithful clientele she captivated with her revolutionary wrap dresses in the ’70s. For her H&M partnership, she arrived at the maxim, “When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt”. It appears as a graphic black and white wall print.

Campaign imagery features items from the capsule styled by Diane herself in different areas of her home. Rippled pots are seen stacked on a rustic wooden plinth alongside her grand marble bath; speckled vases take pride of place on a low, angular coffee table, and a tray from the collection is captured on her leopard-print rug.

As for the rest of us, home has been central to the legendary designer’s confinement experience. Her estate houses a vast treasure trove of collectibles, hand-picked over the course of her globetrotting career (“That’s what happens when you’ve lived a long life,” she laughs).

During our conversation, she flips the camera to reveal a gargantuan table, backed by towering shelves bursting with “thousands and thousands” of books. “For me, the table is about intimacy. The table is where you eat, sit around with somebody or with people – it’s about conversation, it’s about meaning.”

Above all, the home has provided a place for reflection. “It was very interesting to actually react and to take time to think about what is important to you,” she remarks of spending time in lockdown. “This will have been such a change of society,” she says, that everybody’s focus will be “around the home”.

Kaia Is A Young Cindy’s Double In Calvin Klein’s Spring Campaign

Were it not for her tousled bob, tiny tattoos, and the absence of a beauty spot on her upper lip, the star of Calvin Klein’s new campaign could easily be mistaken for a young Cindy Crawford. In fact it’s her daughter, Kaia Gerber, who is the mirror image of her supermodel mother in the pared-back ’90s imagery. Gerber’s dark hazel eyes, bushy brows and pert lips are uncannily close to the features that made Cindy a CK muse back in her heyday. Crawford was a runway regular for the brand, and Kaia herself walked for Calvin Klein during her first ever show stint for the autumn/winter 2018 season.

Snaps shared by Kaia on Instagram show the rising star posing in soft cotton separates – adorned with Calvin’s signature elasticated band – and fresh denim for the spring shoot, photographed by Ryan McGinley. Other images show Gerber in a woven shirt, snow-white stomper boots and denim cut-offs – not dissimilar to a young Cindy’s signature Daisy Dukes.

It’s already been a busy spring for Kaia. Just a week ago, it was announced that she will make her acting debut in the 10th season of American Horror Story. Her casting was confirmed by the Netflix show’s writer, Ryan Murphy, who announced it on Instagram. “If I’m dreaming this, don’t wake me up,” Gerber commented on the post.

Prior to that, she starred alongside Helena Bonham Carter, Laila and Nadia Gohar, Paloma Elsesser, Francesca Hayward, Barry Keoghan, Rowan Blanchard, Kelsey Lu and Omari Douglas in an augmented reality pop-up book, to mark the launch of Simone Rocha’s collaboration with H&M.