Tuesday, October 19, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 18, 2021

Fiorucci And Lakwena Celebrate Their Rousing Collaboration In Colourful Style

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

A History Of Chanel Handbags

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old Hollywood Gaga Is Back Baby

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

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

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

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

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

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

The show took place in London

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

It was based on storm chasers

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

Sarah Burton used storm chasing as a post-pandemic message

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

It was all about the cast

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

Expect Alexander McQueen to keep doing things its own way

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

Bella Hadid And Cindy Bruna Transform Into Bond Girls For Michael Kors

Today’s Bond girl is more powerful and savvy than ever – think of the likes of Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Léa Seydoux as Madeleine Swann, and Ana de Armas as CIA agent Paloma. No wonder, then, that MICHAEL Michael Kors has partnered with the 007 franchise on a limited-edition collection to mark the release of the new film No Time To Die.

Featuring 11 unique pieces that embody Bond girl spirit, the capsule includes monogrammed bags, swimwear and footwear in signature black and gold – perfect for anyone on the move or hiding out from enemies in the Bahamas.

Fittingly, campaign stars Bella Hadid and Cindy Bruna live out their action-film dreams at The Ocean Club – the exact location in the 2006 Bond film Casino Royale. “I love the independence and the multi-faceted character of each different Bond girl,” says Hadid, who models a sleek swimsuit and an Agent 007 T-shirt in the shoot. “She can be anything and everything. Anywhere and nowhere. Classic, cool and independent.”

Monday, October 11, 2021

5 Key Takeaways From The 2021 Copenhagen Fashion Summit

The Copenhagen Fashion Summit, which sees key industry figures gather to discuss all things sustainability, happened digitally once again this year via its online platform, CFS+. The theme? How to tackle fashion’s continuous pursuit of growth and reduce its hugely damaging impact on the planet.

With a focus on highlighting voices who haven’t previously appeared on the summit stage, there were some fresh takes on how it might be possible to achieve a greener and more equitable future for fashion. And with the recent UN report being described as a “code red for humanity” this summer, there was a resounding agreement that now is the moment to take action.

Below, see our five key takeaways from the 2021 Copenhagen Fashion Summit.
Fashion needs to rethink growth

With “Prosperity vs. Growth” being this year’s theme, discussions centred around how the industry must redefine what success looks like. “Most business growth is still predicated on more people buying more goods, but these current business models are unsustainable, putting immense strain on our planet and people,” Federica Marchionni, the new CEO of the Global Fashion Agenda, said in her opening remarks.

Moving to more circular business models, including resale and rental, is one way forward. Another is addressing the vast levels of overproduction in fashion – it’s estimated that a shocking 30 per cent of garments that are produced are never sold.

Eco-labelling can help consumers

As many of us become more conscious about what we buy, there was talk of how to help consumers make more informed choices, as well as navigate greenwashing. One idea? Eco-labels on our garments, covering both environmental and social sustainability, to break it down for shoppers. It’s all about “transparency, transparency, transparency”, according to marketing and branding consultant Arjeta Muja.
Fashion can be a tool for change

A conversation between Tommy Hilfiger and actor and activist Yara Shahidi touched upon the role that fashion can play in creating social change. “Fashion really has the opportunity to lead the way in terms of saying this is how we can produce responsibly, and also set standards for what consumers can expect,” Shahidi said. “And on the social justice side... what happens when you have the idea of being socially responsible ingrained in what you do.”

We need greater protections for garment workers

The need for greater protection for garment workers was highlighted in a panel discussion on ethics within the fashion industry – an issue that has been exacerbated during the pandemic, when brands cancelled billions of dollars worth of orders, leaving many out of work. “What we need, and what we’re starting to see, is a trend towards smart legislation,” Ayesha Barenblat, CEO of non-profit Remake, commented.
On-demand models can reduce waste

Advances in technology mean that we can reduce waste both in the design phase and the production phase, as well as rethinking the way we produce fashion. “By moving to on-demand models, brands and retailers can meet consumers’ growing demand for customisation, while reducing the waste of heavy inventory,” Philippe Deniset from fashion technology company, Chargeurs*PCC, explained.

5 Things To Know About Chanel’s Nostalgic S/S'22 Show

The show was an ode to fashion shows

When the pandemic triggered the great debate about the future of fashion weeks, Chanel stood its ground. For a house synonymous with epic show experiences, nothing could replace the magic of the seasonal défilé: the ceremonious gathering of the industry travelling in from near and far, the hallowed runway and its prophetic energy, and the history that gives it so much soul. “I used to love the sound of flashbulbs going off at the shows in the ’80s, when the models were on a raised runway,” Virginie Viard recalled in her show notes. “I wanted to recapture that emotion.”

It evoked the late ’80s and early ’90s

In place of the Grand Palais, which is closed due to refurbishment, Chanel erected a “Grand Palais Éphémère” on Place Joffre, a temporary home for its shows. Inside, a nostalgically raised runway stretched towards a picture of the model Vivienne Rohner holding a camera to her face, the three-dimensional letters of Chanel’s logo placed in front of her as at old-school shows. As the lights dimmed, photographers rushed to the side of the runway like it was 1989 again. Why? “Because fashion is about clothes, models and photographers,” Viard asserted.

Virginie Viard wanted to pay homage to fashion photographers

“Today, I call upon photographers. I love the way that they see Chanel. It supports and inspires me,” Viard said. Honouring that sentiment, Inez and Vinoodh had shot a series of portraits featuring Lily-Rose Depp, Alma Jodorowsky, Jennie, Rebecca Dayan, and Quannah Chasinghorse-Potts all holding cameras. “It’s a magical object and a sexy gesture, which evokes so many memories,” Viard noted. She presented her collection like a show in the late ’80s, models twirling mid-walk and posing up a storm for the photographers lining the raised runway. George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90” even played at the end.

Viard did her take on the new sexy

Viard opened the show with a string of bathing suits, bikinis, cycling shorts and sporty miniskirts, joining the “undressed” conversation that’s been going on between designers this season. Chanel isn’t shy of #hotgirlsummer, although there was a maturity to these clothes that rendered the idea from a politer perspective – even the midriff-bearing wet-look dresses Viard sent out next. Little Chanel suits captured the same spirit, the skirt replaced with a mini short and a matching crop top; the jacket transformed into a slender cardigan with a sculpted shoulder. She continued sculpting those shoulders throughout the collection, in shapes that felt decidedly appropriate for the era her set conveyed. Viard closed the show with a series of butterfly prints on floaty dresses made for a sashay down the runway.

It was very Viard

Whether it was designed like that or not, the nostalgic premise of the show imbued the collection with an early ’90s spirit that felt natural for Viard. Since she took the reins at Chanel, her expressions have taken many different forms but all shared a retro disposition undoubtedly rooted in her formative years: the ’80s and their wake, and the pure glamour and wholesome sense of chicness that defined the runway back then.

It’s a smiley, slightly cheeky and quaint approach to Chanel, which hails the virtues of an era in fashion that firmly established the mechanics of the industry today. Fashion without a show, you might say, is like religion without a church.

John Galliano’s S/S'22 Film For Maison Margiela Is An Ode To Post-Pandemic Youth

Revealing his forthcoming Maison Margiela collection once again via the medium of film, John Galliano worked with director Olivier Dahan to paint a portrait of “utopian youth”, devoted to environmental and communal awareness. Here he reveals why film is still the most powerful way for him to tell his story.

“Revellers of the night,” John Galliano whispers under the screeching electric guitar of the film’s soundtrack, his delivery as tantalising as the cinematic imagery unfolding before our eyes. We are in the white-painted converted convent (and one-time nightclub) of Maison Margiela on Rue Saint-Maur, sitting on two bianchetto salon chairs for a screening of his ready-to-wear film. His newest vision is a slickly beguiling follow-up to July’s haute couture spectacular, A Folk Horror Tale, directed – like its prequel – by Olivier Dahan, who helmed Marion Cotillard’s La Vie en Rose and Nicole Kidman’s Grace of Monaco.

With a rock ‘n’ roll score on full blast, it’s a different experience to the haunting celluloid poetry of his last film. Seditious and seductive, it snaps you out of the time-travelling universe he created this summer, and transports you into a decidedly disruptive disposition. Quite literally, the camera extracts from the frames of the fantasy to reveal the set. If the haute couture film was full-on illusion, this one goes behind the scenes, only to infuse that scenario with more make-believe on a very meta level.

Galliano explains it best: “The artisanal film was shot in a studio with a 360 LED screen. Here, in the co-ed film, we thought it fun to actually reveal the backstage element of it, so there’s an authenticity. We suspend belief, if you like.” “Artisanal” is Maison Margiela’s term for haute couture, while “co-ed” signifies the ready-to-wear collection. In the pyramidal structure that defines Galliano’s creative process – where he invents techniques for haute couture and filters them into ready-to-wear – these nuances are key. It’s the very notion that underpins the dialogue between his last film and the new one.

If haute couture represents the hand – the elemental purity of dressmaking, with all its might and magic – ready-to-wear is the industrialisation. In essence, this collection draws on the themes of July’s haute couture and translates them into a wardrobe you can buy into. In the spring/summer 2022 film, “The water isn’t water, it’s biodegradable cellophane that we can play with to evoke the idea that they’re on a raft in the water,” Galliano explains, referring to a scene where the coastal fisherman motif of the first film has been re-interpreted: industrialised. “By the way, the raft is pieces recycled from the first film. It’s suspending belief: a backstage approach where we reveal the tricks of theatre or film,” he adds.

What happens in the film is – true to Galliano’s storytelling tradition – left up to the spectator to decrypt. Throughout the pandemic, his choice of epic filmic productions have reflected on the challenges of our moment in time, from aspects of communication to the hankering for information and transparency we all felt during the crisis, and the interdependence so crucial to our collective experience. More than anything, his newest film feels like an expression of community: these post-pandemic “revellers of the night”, as he calls his protagonists, once again able to gather after the great isolation. But they are revellers with a cause.

Within the film, Galliano inserts a series of backdrops evolving from countryside mises en scène to more arresting images of environments splintered by earthquakes, his models marching through the scenery. “They’re meant to provoke a questioning,” he says, adding: “Though we’ve marched through many things, there’s still a lot going on.” Supported by the collection’s nature-centric themes of outdoor pursuits, animal motifs and what Galliano calls “a utopian youth”, it feels like a portrait of a post-pandemic youth more devoted to environmental and communal awareness than ever.

Galliano agrees that it is a generation that sees the pandemic as a lesson – a warning signal from Planet Earth – and that hasn’t forgotten what happened, tempting as a return to “normality” may be. With their carton crowns and armour-like silver rings and hand-plates worn over Fair Isle knitted gloves like DIY knights, there’s an against-all-odds heroism to the community Galliano portrays in the film.

It conveys a sense of hope above all. “It’s something that we’ve always believed in here. Community is part of our creative process, and for others looking on it’s a way of belonging to people or a brand with ethics and beliefs that are shared.”

Shantay, You Stay: Drag Queen Fall Fashion Campaigns And Runway Moments

It’s no surprise to see the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race step off the main stage and sashay into the world of high fashion — after all, the art of drag can be informed by the runways of Paris, London and Milan (and vice versa).

The VH1 reality series, which first aired in 2009, has become a pop culture phenomenon in recent years, thrusting drag into the mainstream and prompting designers such as Prada, Moschino and Coach to tap stars of the show (and it’s Canadian and UK spinoffs) for ad campaigns and catwalks. Just this past week, season 13 winner Symone and season seven contestant Miss Fame were in attendance at Paris Fashion Week, taking in the Spring/Summer 2022 collections.

In challenging the norms and embracing over-the-top aesthetics, drag queens consistently push the boundaries of fashion, influencing designers and paving a glamorous path forward for the next generation. It’s only fitting, then, to mark LGBT2Q+ History Month, a time to reflect on the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Two-Spirit people, and the changing seasons, with a look back at some the best fall fashion campaigns and runway moments featuring the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Drag Race favourites Gigi Goode, a finalist on season 12, and Symone were dripping in old Hollywood glamour for Moschino’s Fall/Winter 2021 campaign, photographed by Marcus Mam with Jeremy Scott as creative director.

Symone — the self-proclaimed “Ebony Enchantress” — was also tapped to star in Baja East’s fall 2021 collection lookbook alongside season 13 contestant Gottmilk, the first out trans man to compete on Drag Race. The Los Angeles-based luxury brand channeled the ‘90s and vintage Versace ads for the campaign, which saw the queens don lamé gowns and trenches, a cascade floor length top and velvet flare pants.

Violet Chachki, the winner of the seventh season of Drag Race, starred in Prada’s Fall/Winter 2018 womenswear campaign. The short movie “Neon Dream” also featured model Amanda Murphy and actress Sarah Paulson, who move through the glowing nocturnal landscape of Las Vegas and its famous Sunset Strip.

British drag queens Bimini Bon-Boulash, runner-up on the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, and season two contestant A’Whora walked the runway at London Fashion Week for unisex label Art School’s Autumn/Winter 2021 collection. “So honoured to be part of this cast,” Bimini, who sported a leather jacket and slashed satin skirt, wrote in an Instagram caption. “It’s out of this world beautiful. Art school are pushing the boundaries in fashion and it’s so wonderful to see. Diversity, sustainability and hot as f*ck clothes!!”

Thursday, October 7, 2021

What Is SEO? A Beginner’s Guide To Search Engine Optimization

In today’s world, we turn to Google to find the answers to pretty much all of our questions. So it’s no wonder that business and website owners everywhere do what they can to make their information findable on Google. Which is exactly what SEO is—the practice of optimizing your content to appear higher within search results.

The first step in accomplishing great SEO is creating a website on a platform that facilitates easy customization and content updates, and provides the tools you need to optimize your site elements. We suggest using a website builder like Wix, which enables simple site updating and has built-in SEO tools.

Once you have the foundations of your site ready, you’ll need to pay attention to many small details such as metadata and linking, which can help improve your rankings. This article will cover what it takes to implement those details and make sure that they are meeting SEO standards.

Once we've taken you through some of the basics of what defines SEO, we recommend you check out our Wix SEO hub - for all things SEO related, from beginner to advanced.

What is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing websites so that they rank well on search engines through organic (non paid) searches. This is one of the most crucial marketing strategies for any business.

Because Google aims to provide a positive user experience for its searchers, it wants to present the best possible information available. Therefore the focus of SEO efforts should be the process of making sure search engines recognize your content as the leading information on the web for a particular search query.

How does SEO work?

Search engines use robots that crawl webpages across the internet in order to determine what content they contain and, in turn, what the pages are about. These bots scan the code, picking up the written text, images, videos and more that appear on webpages to gather all information possible. Once they’ve gathered enough intel about the type of information available on each page and determined that this content will be useful to their searchers, they add these pages to their index. The index is essentially all possible web results that a search engine stores to provide to a potential searcher.

Search engines assess what the best result is based on what searchers are looking for, as well as what other information already exists online. When someone searches, their algorithm matches the user’s search query to the relevant information in their index, providing searchers with an accurate answer to their query. The platforms then use hundreds of signals to determine the order in which the content will appear for each searcher. These signals are what SEO experts try to master.

It’s important to note that Google does not release specifics about their algorithm or process, so it’s impossible to know exactly what factors impact indexing and rankings. SEO, therefore, isn’t a perfect science and even when it seems that all optimizations have been implemented, it often requires patience and continual tweaking to see results.

On-page vs. off-page SEO

Since there’s no way to know exactly what influences search engine rankings the most, experts recommend that your SEO strategy contain a variety of tactics. Those tactics can largely be broken down into two categories: on-page and off-page SEO.

On-page SEO refers to the strategies that you implement on your webpages themselves, including everything from the design and written content, to your metadata, alt text, sitemap, canonical tags and more. Off-page SEO refers to the steps you take outside of your pages. This includes elements like external links, social posts and other website promotion methods.

Both on-page and off-page SEO are essential in driving traffic to your site and in ultimately signaling to Google that your site is a significant player on the internet. By letting Google know that your pages are important and that people are interested in learning about what you have to offer, you can help your pages rank higher and gain more traffic.

How to implement SEO

The first step in implementing SEO best practices is creating an outstanding website. Make sure that your website is easily navigable, provides a great user experience and clearly presents the information you want to convey. This ensures that you’re on the right track to providing an excellent answer to searchers’ queries.

However, SEO is much more than just a great website. Here are some practical steps you can take to get started with SEO:

01. Make an SEO plan

Search engine optimization requires work and consistency, making it essential that you have a plan in mind before diving into the specifics. Be sure to think about your SEO strategy in line with your larger goals, so that you can understand whether your efforts were successful. For example, if you’re an online store looking to utilize SEO in order to bring more traffic and make more sales, your SEO plan might look different than if you want to raise brand awareness or get more foot traffic to your brick and mortar store. Be sure to have these goals in mind ahead of time and to optimize your site accordingly.

Specifically, think about details like your site’s URL, as well as larger aspects like if you'll have a dedicated employee for SEO, or if you plan to optimize your site alone. Also, be sure to plan from the get-go how and when you'll take stock of your pages’ SEO performance and optimize. Consider how you will check your rankings and what you consider a success.

If you’re unsure what the best route is for various optimizations, consider trying one option and storing the others in a list for potential future use. Take note that SEO success takes time, so be sure to be patient.

02. Do keyword research

Arguably one of the most important parts of understanding and implementing SEO is doing keyword research. Keyword research is the process of finding the most relevant words to use on your webpages. By doing some investigating, and using professional keyword research tools, you can understand how people around the world tend to search for things related to your product or service.

Keyword research helps you understand what phrases are most searched for and therefore guides you in the creation of pages that can be optimized for those queries. Choosing to use the right words on your webpages can make a huge difference when it comes to how much traffic your site gets.

We suggest thinking of a number of topics that are related to your brand and using these as driving forces in your keyword research and content creation. In recent years, Google has gotten better at understanding that beyond the specific words that pages can be optimized for, there are overarching topics that pages can provide an answer for. Instead of searching for just one keyword upon which to base your SEO strategy, consider the general group of keywords that your page could rank for based on the given topic. You can still choose a top keyword to use in your page title or URL, but think about your pages as providing complete answers to the topic, rather than focusing solely on that one keyword.

So, let’s say your name is Jenny and you sell flowers. You may think the best route is to optimize your homepage for the keyword “flower shop.” While this may be a fruitful choice, it shouldn’t be the only word that you focus on. Instead, think of the various topics that you specialize in and that someone searching to buy flowers will want to know. Consider subjects like flower delivery, flower freshness or types of flowers. Including information about these topics will ultimately make your site a better resource for someone who wants to buy flowers. By providing a better user experience, you are also signaling to Google that your pages are strong contenders for anyone searching for a complete flower solution.

But keyword research does not end there. Continuing with the flower shop example, you may notice that the search results page for “flower shop” is dominated by big name brands that your small store can’t compete with. In this case, you might want to focus on your geographical location (local SEO) or a niche that you specialize in. Including this information on your webpages will let Google know that you are a strong option when people are searching for something that you specifically provide.

03. Optimize page speed

One of the factors that Google takes into consideration is page speed or loading times. How fast your website loads is an important element of user experience. A slow website will turn users away from your site before they even see what it has to offer. It’s therefore essential that you pay close attention to this and make sure to optimize your website speed.

Page speed can be broken down into three main categories that are often referred to as core web vitals. These are:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): The time from a click on a URL until a user can view the most prominent content on a webpage.

First Input Delay (FID): The time between a URL click and when someone can interact with your site elements. In other words, when a user can click on something on your page.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): How stable your site elements are while your page loads. This number is ideal when it is low—indicating that as your page loads, the elements are more or less in the place they will be once your page is fully loaded.

Together, these elements make up what Google considers important when it comes to loading times. Some of the easiest ways to ensure that your site loads quickly include not overloading it with media or features, optimizing image sizes and sticking to one or two fonts throughout. These will make your site look cleaner and feel more professional, as well as keep your loading time down.

04. Write your title tags and meta descriptions

Metadata refers to the information that you provide Google to describe what your webpage contains. Important aspects of metadata include title tags and meta descriptions. When you conduct a search on a search engine, each result is presented with a headline and description letting you know what kind of content you’ll find on the page. Providing Google with that information will help both searchers and Google understand the most important parts of your pages.

Many SEO experts consider your meta titles, or title tags, and meta descriptions to be some of the strongest SEO signals that you can send Google. It is therefore critical that you try to include your most important keywords in your title tag.

Title tags and meta descriptions also have an underlying SEO advantage. They give you control over the text that searchers see when they first encounter your website. Including enticing text that clearly answers the searcher’s query can lead to more clicks to your website. The more people that click on your site, the more Google notices that it is a good match for their searches and the higher they might rank you.

It is essential to note, however, that Google does not commit to using the metadata that you provide. They can choose to change your headlines or descriptions as they see fit. In fact, in recent months it seems as though Google is moving increasingly towards a model of not using provided title tags and meta descriptions. That said, the titles and descriptions that you write for your page still have the potential of being used on SERPs (search engine result pages) and are worthwhile to optimize.

05. Implement alt text

Alt text, or alternative text, is the small description that you give to the images on your site. It is embedded into your site’s HTML and is an important SEO asset. Bots that crawl webpages can quickly read alt text to understand what an image contains.

Alt text is also an important accessibility feature, helping blind web browsers get the full picture of your pages, even without seeing them. Tools that read webpages aloud can read alt text to help explain what images contain to those who cannot see them.

This alternative text also makes your images more likely to appear on Google searches, both in the Google images section, but also increasingly at the top of regular search result pages. Images are becoming more and more standard across Google searches, and the better your alt text, the more likely that your image will rank. Of course, if your site is getting exposure both from ranking for images as well as content, you are likely to gain more traffic. Google also perceives webpages that utilize alt text to be more optimized in general. This can help your site appear better in the eyes of search engines.

An important thing to consider is exactly how to write alt text. When you look at an image you can likely think of various ways to describe what you see. For SEO purposes, it’s recommended to think strategically about your alt text and try to include some keywords to give your site an extra push. However, alt text cannot be only keyword focused; it should still accurately explain what the image depicts.

06. Create internal links

Links are an important factor for SEO. When one page links to another it helps Google navigate your site and build a network of connections between pages and their content. This can help with the categorization of pages, and perhaps more importantly enables Google to index your pages (or add them to the list of sites Google considers when displaying search results) more efficiently.

One of the best linking strategies is internal linking, or linking between pages within your own website. This is simple as you have control over all your pages and can easily add links from one to another. Internal linking also helps boost site authority. By linking lesser visited pages to stronger pages within your own site, you are sending Google a signal that both pages are important.

Internal linking is also important for user experience. By connecting relevant pages to one another, you’ll make your site more navigable and ensure that your users can easily find what they are looking for. Internal linking can therefore drive traffic between your website pages, bringing attention to all of your assets.

07. Work on external links

External links, or backlinks, are when other sites link to your site. This is an important SEO tactic as it drives up the authority of your site. When an important webpage references your content, it sends a signal to Google that your pages are a good source of information. External links also help your pages gain exposure, allowing more potential users to reach them and learn about your product or service.

External links work best when they are genuine and natural. This happens when another platform has noticed you and has decided that your site can add value to their content. They therefore link to your page as a way to help their own readers or users. The more authoritative or important the other site, the more valuable their link is. While there’s no short-cut for gaining genuine external links, the best way is to strive to consistently create good quality content.

08. Check that your site is mobile friendly

Another essential element of SEO is ensuring that all searchers can reach your site and have a positive user experience. In today’s world, over 50% of all traffic comes from mobile devices. That means that it’s well worth your while to ensure that your site is mobile friendly.

Not only will this boost your business and ensure that people searching from their phones can use your site, but it is also important to Google. The search engine often employs mobile first indexing, which essentially means that it crawls the mobile version of your site in order to determine how it should rank amongst its results. That’s why the mobile version of your site deserves your undivided attention.

When you create a site with Wix, a mobile version of your site will automatically be created for you. You can find this version by toggling to the mobile icon in the editor. We recommend reviewing this mobile version to ensure that it looks the way you envisioned and that all site elements are easily findable. Specifically, look out for navigation on mobile and ensure that your site menu and buttons are clear.

09. Analyze results

Since SEO is a living and breathing task, you have to be sure to consistently assess your pages’ performance and tweak accordingly. You can check your page rankings and performance with SEO tools like Ahrefs and Google Search Console in order to get a sense of the direct impact of your optimization. These tools can help you understand if your site has improved in the rankings and note which keywords your site is ranking well for. If you’re unhappy with your rankings or traffic, you can consider all of the previous items on this list and tweak your content accordingly.

Other important analytics tools include Google Analytics and Wix Analytics. These can help you gain insights into your traffic and build a deeper understanding of where it is coming from. You can also assess how users interact with your pages, which can help you understand and optimize your content accordingly.

Authoritativeness and SEO

An important element in gaining trust from both people and Google alike is proving your authority. We tend to trust the experts and seek out advice from people who are particularly knowledgeable in their field. Google does the same thing. It determines what sites have the most information and qualifications to report on a given topic, then prioritizes them by presenting them to searchers. Google refers to this as E-A-T or Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.

Gaining authority can be done in a number of ways. The simplest way is to accurately discuss the item or service which you know the most about. Thus, if your service is an online store selling flowers and your site has a blog, this blog should discuss topics surrounding flowers and flower care.

Being an authority on a given topic can also be achieved with some simple steps. For example, make sure that your site content is updated. This freshness factor isn’t always the most important SEO strategy, but it is nonetheless a best practice.

Now that you know what the main SEO strategies are, you might be wondering what to do next. You can start by going through the aforementioned steps and ensuring they are implemented on your site. A simple way to do this is to utilize Wix SEO tools such as the SEO Wizard. This tool will give you personalized SEO recommendations according to the needs of your site. Of course, you can also implement each of the strategies independently.

We also suggest exploring a complete SEO guide that can help you understand many more SEO details and take your site to the next level. Additionally, consider these SEO tips which can help you learn how to make the necessary changes to your pages in order to give them the best chance at ranking for your desired keywords. In addition, you can check out Wix Learn SEO tutorials for more in-depth guidance.

You’re off to a great start if you have in fact added all of the tactics mentioned. However, keep in mind that SEO work does not end there. An important facet of SEO is maintenance. You will have to continuously check in on your site to make sure everything is working properly and is up-to-date. Often, slight changes on your site can break links or harm site functionality, which is why it’s essential that you check in and maintain your site.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Matthew M Williams Unveils A Partnership With Artist Josh Smith At Givenchy

Fashion designers are coming out of the pandemic looking not only for new ways of working, but new moods to reflect the purgatory-like state of late 2021. Matthew M Williams has found both at Givenchy with the help of the American artist Josh Smith, whose ceramic sculptures and Grim Reaper paintings are rendered in vibrant, joyous colours. Together, they’ve translated the happy-freaky mood of Smith’s artistic practice to Williams’s Givenchy spring/summer 2022 collection.

“Collaboration and dialogue with other artists is a great way to bring the work to a new place,” said Williams over a Zoom call with Smith. “Josh’s basket weaving, wood work, and different source materials were great starting points for me and led the collection into a really special and unique place.”

Even in the small preview seen here, the tonal shift in Williams’s Givenchy is evident. The most obvious change? A lot less black and a lot more colour, with Givenchy logos and motifs pulled from the psychedelic palette of Smith’s Reaper paintings. Williams also recreated specific pieces from Smith’s studio in New York, like an art handler vest that’s been made in classic tailoring material and a simple mesh hat. “Everything in the collection, from the embroideries to the trim, is all inspired and from source material that Josh created with me or gave to me,” Williams said.

“I’m always looking for something to take me out of my routine,” Smith said of the partnership, which was encouraged by Williams’s girlfriend Marlene Zwirner, a director at David Zwirner gallery who works with Smith. “There is a lot to be gained artistically for both of us, and the reason I wanted to do this was to learn and to feel a different way of working and of generating and forming ideas.”

Smith and Williams met about eight months before they started seriously planning this collaboration. “I went to Josh’s studio and spent time there for a couple of weeks. We hung out, listened to music, he showed me his work and things that inspired him. I showed him fabrics and materials and projects that I had been inspired by and been dreaming of doing,” Williams said. “I love how honest his work is and how obsessive it is to paint the same motif over and over and over again. He has his own way, a really efficient way of working where he’s pulling from the environment around him. It’s so textural and American; that’s something that I really connect with.”

After spending time in the artist’s Bushwick studio, hundreds of items were shipped to the Givenchy ateliers in Paris and each created separately with the other in mind. In the lead up to the show, they’ve been working side-by-side (both wearing Givenchy) in Paris to make final adjustments and generate new ideas. “We’re both learning things that we could apply going forward,” said Smith, “and what I know about Matt is that he makes a lot of monochromatic, no-nonsense, fashion-forward pieces, and in this partnership we’re trying to make the same thing with flair and even a little more general humanity, without losing the austerity for sure.”

“I think when you look at the collection, you see that it’s really been touched by hand, that it’s been loved, even in the simple jersey pieces,” said Williams. “Everything has a real soul and emotion to it. I think it’s amazing that together we can create a product like that.”

The Simpsons Make A PFW Cameo For Balenciaga

If you’d have told us at the start of Paris Fashion Week that we’d see Chief Wiggum strutting down the Balenciaga catwalk, we might have said, “Eat my shorts.” But walk the runway – baguette in hand – Clancy did, along with The Simpsons family.

What began as a mysterious Balenciaga red-carpet event, which saw models – from Amber Valletta to Naomi Campbell – do their best Kim Kardashian West in full-look latex, turned into a special screening of The Simpsons. In the episode, the population of Springfield relocates to Paris – under the proviso of checking out the new finger-lickin’ good KFC on the Champs-Élysées – only to end up walking in Demna Gvasalia’s latest show.

From Patty and Selma Bouvier’s (quite literally) smouldering approach to the architectural outerwear, to Smithers’s Isabelle Huppert moment in the brand’s infamous thigh-high stretch-satin knife boots, the cartoon characters are unexpectedly quite fabulous as the new faces of Balenciaga. Marge could well front the spring/summer 2022 campaign.

Martin Margiela Has Secured An Art Gallery Deal

Renowned Belgian fashion designer Martin Margiela has reemerged, this time using art as his medium. The designer is set to present his first collection of work at Lafayette Anticipations during the International Contemporary Art Fair, or FAIC, in Paris next month.

13 years ago, Margiela left his eponymous avant-garde fashion house, citing frustration with the overloaded fashion system. Bothered by the number of collections produced each year, Margiela shifted his gaze towards other artistic mediums. He has now announced his readiness to debut his artwork and has signed a representation deal with Antwerp-based gallery Zeno X.

Zeno X Gallery is very pleased to announce the representation of Belgian artist Martin Margiela. Ever since he left the fashion world in 2009, he has devoted himself exclusively to the visual arts.#martinmargiela #margiela #zenoxgallery #zenox

“Very early in my life I became obsessed with fashion and developed my own vision by presenting it in the most conceptual way possible,” Margiela told Artnet News. “After many years, the human body as my only medium felt too narrow and the system became suffocating. I needed a wider spectrum with total freedom in creative expression, and rediscovered my roots as a young boy in art school, enjoying pure creation without boundaries.”

The International Contemporary Art Fair begins October 20. Additionally, Zeno X will present three sculptural pieces from Margiela, ranging in price from €10,000 EUR (about $11,500 USD) and €60,000 EUR (about $69,500 USD).

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Dries Van Noten S/S'22

Celebrate love, life, and color with Dries Van Noten's Spring/Summer 2022 collection. Inspired by the Indian festival Holi, known as the festival of love, color and Spring, a shedding of the old to embrace new energy and joy beams at the center this collection. India reoccurs as inspiration for the Antwerp-based designer over the years, with a love for exoticism.

The collection involves many colors, silhouettes, and fabrics, not shying away from over saturation. Wool gabardine, cotton taffeta, photo-printed silks, silk mousseline and pongee nod back to previous Dries Van Noten collections, including the first. An array of fabrics feature, the aforementioned being just a few, from heavy, thick, masculine types used to create sculptural and structured shapes to light, airy, feminine types draped elegantly.

Long silky dresses in fabrics of baby blue doused in pinks, deep blues, and yellows find structure in their shoulders causing a draping effect along the chest. A floor-length woven coat appears in bright teal, styled with a canary yellow structured and scrunched tube top and dark blue wide leg pants. There are fringe dresses in kelly green, magenta, burnt red, and faded yellow. There are over-exaggerated balloon-like structures creating avant-garde inspired silhouettes. There are smocked dresses in lime greens, entirely different from the bedazzled denim. The collection runs in every direction highlighting fun, vivid and passionate.

The images shot by Rafael Pavarotti create a visual for the overall emotion driving the collection. Blurred images evoke similar senses of being at a festival. A film for the collection inspired by free exploration was also created in collaboration with director Albert Moya.

Bianca Saunders Is Championing Sustainable Denim In Her S/S'22 Collection

While denim is a staple in many of our wardrobes, you may not be aware of just how damaging it can be for the planet. Shockingly, one pair of jeans can require up to 10,850 litres of water to produce, due to the vast amount of resources involved in growing cotton and the intensive dyeing and treatment processes.

Luckily, an increasing number of designers are finding more eco-friendly alternatives – including Bianca Saunders, who is championing sustainable denim in her spring/summer 2022 collection. “Denim has become an important element to the brand, alongside tailoring,” she tells Vogue. “I love the idea of using traditional heavy-duty fabrics and transforming them with my signature designs.”

Saunders has worked with eco-friendly manufacturer ISKO for the second time to create her bomber-style denim jackets and twisted-seam jeans, after previously trialling the material in her autumn/winter 2020 collection. “ISKO is the best denim manufacturer to partner with, mainly because sustainability is so intrinsic to the brand,” she says. “It was so great to partner with a responsible company.”

For this collection, the designer used ISKO’s R-TWO denim, which contains a mix of reused and recycled fibres, reducing the amount of raw materials needed in the process, while the ecru denim was produced using ISKO’s EFD technology, which eliminates the pre-bleaching process, reducing water and chemical usage.

Saunders is the latest rising designer to be won over by ISKO’s eco-credentials, with Matty Bovan also opting for the material in his spring/ summer 2022 collection. “[These] collections demonstrate how simple it is for designers to incorporate sustainable materials into their designs, creating responsible garments without compromising on quality, style and durability,” adds Keith O’Brien, ISKO’s marketing and business development manager. Here’s hoping we see more designers following suit in the future.

You Can Now Buy And Sell Pre-Loved Luxury On Net-A-Porter

It’s strange to recall how a few years ago, resale was kind of a sticky subject in fashion. Now, brands and retailers aren’t just encouraging second-hand sales, they’re introducing their own in-house programmes with unique twists. Last week, Gucci unveiled Gucci Vault, a digital concept store with customised vintage pieces and new garments by emerging designers, and now, Net-a-Porter has announced a first-of-its-kind resale platform powered by Reflaunt. Starting this autumn, the e-tailer will become a destination for buying and selling designer clothes, jewellery, handbags, shoes, and accessories all in one place.

It’s a marked shift from the way most of us have engaged with resale in the past: we buy new pieces in one place, then sell them in another. In contrast, Net-a-Porter’s resale pilot will instantly position every item on its website as one you might eventually sell back. The hope is that it will inspire more confidence in customers to invest in luxury goods, touting precisely where they can resell them at a later date. (For handbag lovers, there’s a special incentive: you’ll be paid instantly for an accepted luxury bag, rather than waiting for another customer to buy it through Reflaunt.)

The platform also aligns with Yoox Net-a-Porter’s sustainability strategy for 2030, which emphasises the need for long-lasting garments and circularity. After debuting on Net-a-Porter in the UK this autumn, the “re-commerce” experience will expand to the US, Germany, and Hong Kong, as well as on the company’s other sites, Mr Porter and The Outnet.

“More than ever, our customers are looking for fashion that is not only designed to last, but can go on to be re-loved,” Alison Loehnis, company’s president of luxury and fashion, says in a release. “We are thrilled to partner with Reflaunt and offer our customers an effortless service that allows them to resell their designer pieces with ease. We see re-commerce as a true enabler to tap into greater product longevity by extending the lives of pre-loved purchases. This collaboration represents an exciting step in our long-term mission to drive the change at Yoox Net-a-Porter to a more circular fashion ecosystem.”

It’s worth mentioning that buying a one-year-old designer handbag – an item that’s unlikely to be thrown in the trash – isn’t really going to save the planet. Research has shown that we actually consume more when we believe something is “recycled” or “circular.” Last year, Maxine Bédat of the New Standard Institute provided some insight: “It’s terrific that more people are waking up to this concept [of second-hand] and that brands are getting in on it and finding a way to adjust their business models. Having said that, we can’t just ignore the research that has found that recycling symbols lead to more consumption… In order for us to actually curb our impact, it has to be [implemented as] a shift in the business model, and not just an additional revenue stream.”

The real change will come when second-hand surpasses fast fashion in terms of demand and aspiration, and when our access to gently-used clothing grows to a point where brands can actually start producing less. That will take time, but Net-a-Porter’s investment is a big step in that direction.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Grunge Fairytale Fantasy

DSquared2's newest collection for Spring/Summer 2022 is a dreamy, deconstructed, 70's-inspired fantasy entitled "Fairytale Grunge." Presented in two men and women collections, the clothes are "designed with soul — with a past, future, and a presence." The textures range from patchwork upcycled denim, laminated lace, shredded knits, bubble wrap outerwear, glimmering velvet, metallics, and glitter.

Mesh was a theme throughout the women's range; in velvet floral patches placed atop a dress of sheer net (look 13), a black gauzy wrap top (look 1), and a relaxed pink tutu (look 3). Shiny leather, punkish rips, and edgy details reframe the feminine elements — a practice of combining dichotomy that Dsquared2 is known for. For men's, military shirts are patterned with florals and styled with vinyl pants. A motorcycle jacket, chrome vest, and patchwork denim jacket were hard amongst open-weave knits and soft trousers and shorts made from cotton and satin. The men took flight with fairy wing accessories to match their outfits.

Sparkling heart and butterfly jewels, fruit pendants, and handmade crowns adorned models as they fluttered down. They wore leopard print heart bags and weighty chunky boots and platform sandals kept them grounded to the runway.

“I Pay Attention To The Ingredients”: Gabriela Hearst On Chloé Craft And Her S/S'22 Collection

If sophomore collections are meant to be difficult, it wasn’t something that fazed Gabriela Hearst. Her second runway collection for Chloé was an empowered push for social entrepreneurship, which saw a string of non-profit artisans create pieces for the brand, which will be sold under the label Chloé Craft. 

Presented on the sunny river bank of Quai de la Tournelle, with a view to Notre-Dame, the show felt like a breeze for Hearst, who continued her fusion of Chloé’s girly bourgeoise with her own hand-spun and rootsy South American signature. During a preview of the collection, the designer gave Anders Christian Madsen a glimpse of the creative process that underpins the sustainable and charitable approach that embodies her work.

ACM: A designer’s second season at a house is always key. How did you approach yours?

GH: The first collection we did was about showcasing Gaby Aghion’s values and paying respects. Your job is to be a link in the chain to make sure that this brand, which has lived nearly 70 years, continues. The second collection had to be about what is my driving force – what pushes me – and it’s love: a love for craft.

What does that mean for the collection?

We’re launching Chloé Craft because I started to realise that this thing that we’re calling luxury fashion feels so industrialised. It looks very machine made. I think it’s important to go into a re-education of what craft looks like. So, everything that is entirely made by hand is identified by a special label. This way, people start to notice the difference; also, if it’s made from deadstock, by a non-profit, and so on. We are using so many different non-profits to make the collection that I have to study and memorise them. And I love them.

What are some examples of the non-profits’ contributions to the collection?

Akanjo in Madagascar does all the shells you see on necklaces and on the dresses, which are all embroidered from deadstock. Ocean Sole did the soles of a lot of the shoes. It’s a Kenyan-based non-profit where they recoup flipflops from the ocean and make different forms and shapes out of them, pressing them into blocks. They’re all one-of-a-kind. Mifuko in Kenya have done all the artisanal bags for us. They’re all made by women.

And the show set?

The set is made by a non-profit in France, Les Bâtisseusses, from Senegal where women are involved the making of houses. When she moved to France she started this non-profit, which employs immigrant women and allows them to get into a workforce that’s mostly male-driven.

Does using non-profits to produce all this craftsmanship make your products more expensive in-store?

Some things yes, some things no. It depends on the craft and the time. It’s a conversation we’re having now. A Chloé Craft product that’s 100 per cent made by hand would be on the higher end.

How did you design these pieces? Did you see the craftsmanship first, or the other way around?

Ocean Sole, for instance, I already knew what they made, so we designed around it. Mifuko do baskets, so you design around it. But at Akanjo, they’re so crafty they can do whatever we ask them.

Does your creative process start with material?

My way of cooking is that I pay of a lot of attention to the ingredients. They have to be interesting to me. They’re fabrics I find fascinating. It starts with a sketch, which I pass on to the team. We work on the details and approve swatches. It’s important for me to create branding through materials and details. It comes through the fabric, through the ideas, and through the sketches. And what you want to wear.

You’re not a mood board type of girl.

No, I’m a sketch type of girl. That’s my initial process. My sketches are not amazing but they give an idea. I draw it, then I tell the team, “I see this as a knit rib with ceramic buttons”. I have all these little notebooks [for sketching], which I carry in my purse. They have to be handy.

Cardi B Brings Schiaparelli’s Surrealism To The Streets

Ever since American designer Daniel Roseberry took the helm of Schiaparelli in 2019, he has been continuing the label’s long legacy of surrealism. His recent autumn/winter collection included whimsical details such as large gold brooches formed into the shape of ears or doves; knit dresses with golden breast plates built into them; even sunglasses with a built-in beak! It’s no wonder Cardi B is a fan. The musician just brought some of his bold new fall pieces to the streets of Paris today.

Now, Cardi B has a history of taking style risks, so Schiaparelli’s otherworldly designs fit right in with her aesthetic. With her partner Offset by her side, the rapper strolled down the street in a tweed-style coat complete with a gold breastplate, a hefty chain necklace, and — most notably — a gigantic gold headpiece that doubled as sunglasses. You may be thinking to yourself that this was clearly for some grand occasion, perhaps a photoshoot or a fashion show. It actually seems that she was simply partaking in a regular ol’ outing. We relish in the thought of her heading to the corner store to pick up a chocolate bar, casually clad in one of fashion’s kookiest fall collections. We can always count on Cardi to take it there.

Dolce & Gabbana’s NFT Experiment Is A Million-Dollar Success Story

When it was announced ahead of Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Moda show in Venice that the designers planned to auction off NFTs (non-fungible tokens, FYI), the fashion world was intrigued. Would anyone – even someone from the rarefied world of couture – spend six figures on something so intangible? Evidently the answer was yes.

An item from the Collezione Genesi NFT, called the Glass Suit and designed by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, has fetched a little over $1 million (£740,000) at auction – which is 351.384 ETH, to be all crypto about it. To be clear, in addition to their NFT, the new owner will also get a physical suit – tailored to their specifications – for that price. It is the most valuable suit that Dolce & Gabbana has ever sold. Two versions of the Dress from a Dream – one gold, one silver – have also been bought by successful bidders, who will receive bespoke, physical versions of the gowns. Both fetched more than $500,000 (£370,000).

But the digital-led pieces are selling, too. The Mosaic Impossible Jacket – a piece of digital wearable art “inspired by one of Venice’s most spectacular sights”, has been snapped up for around $300,000 (£222,000), as has the “Impossible Tiara”. The digital-led lots were listed with some “experiential” bonuses – the new owners will have access to Dolce & Gabbana couture shows for a year, and enjoy private tours of the Milan atelier.

Collezione Genesi NFT, created in collaboration with the digital marketplace UNXD, was the first collection of its kind to ever be unveiled by any major fashion house – and has undeniably been a success. The blurring of the lines between the physical and virtual becomes ever more apparent.