Friday, December 30, 2022

Dame Vivienne Westwood Has Died Aged 81

Dame Vivienne Westwood, the trailblazing British fashion designer who brought punk and politics to the rarefied world of high fashion, has died on 29 December, aged 81. She passed away peacefully and surrounded by her family in Clapham, South London, a representative for Westwood confirmed.

Before the bustles, bustiers, and bottom paddings, the tartan and tailoring, Vivienne Isabel Swire was born on 8 April, 1941, in the village of Tintwistle, Cheshire, to a sausage factory worker father Gordon and greengrocer’s assistant mother Dora. She attended Glossop Grammar School before moving to the London suburb of Harrow in 1957, where her parents ran a post office. Westwood then took a silversmithing course for a term at Harrow Art School (now the University of Westminster), but feeling daunted by the art world, she enrolled at secretarial college instead and later trained as a teacher. At a dance in 1961, she met Derek Westwood, a Hoover factory apprentice, and married him – wearing her own design – in 1962. They had a son together, Benjamin Westwood, born in 1963, but split up when he was three.

After meeting then-art student Malcolm McLaren, Westwood gave birth to her second son Joseph Corré in 1967, and her two sons grew up together in South London, where she taught in a primary school. “I was a very good teacher,” Westwood told The Guardian in 2007. “Except I always liked the kids that everyone else thought were a pain in the arse. The little rebels.”

In 1971, Westwood and McLaren opened a boutique (for a few hours every evening) on the King’s Road called Let It Rock, selling 1950s memorabilia and dandy suits. There, they made teddy boy trousers, drape coats, and mohair sweaters, before going on to costume the 1970s punk band the Sex Pistols – around the same time, they began selling slogan T-shirts with colourful words styled from chicken bones, trousers with zips from front to back, and trampled-on tie-dye tops.

The shop notched up several new names over the years, from Too Fast to Live Too Young to Die in 1972, to Sex in 1974 (with the introduction of fetishist rubber dresses, nipple clamps, and spike shoes), Seditionaries in 1976, and finally World’s End in 1979. “I got this reputation for being a bit of a sex maniac and things like that, and I’m not,” Westwood told The Guardian in 2007. “I love that Jean Shrimpton quote: ‘Sex has never been high on my list of priorities.’” Westwood and McLaren designed the iconic 1981 New Romantic-inspired Pirate collection together under the World’s End label before parting ways, with the frill-sleeved blouses, stiff felt hats, and jacquard pants covering British Vogue the same year.

“It changed the way people looked,” said Westwood of some of her landmark collections, including Buffalo/Nostalgia of Mud, 1982; the creation of the mini-crini in 1985; and the launch of her diffusion line Anglomania in 1993. “I was messianic about punk, seeing if one could put a spoke in the system in some way,” she said. “I realised there was no subversion without ideas. It’s not enough to want to destroy everything.”

Just a few years after her first Paris show in 1983, fashion critics were calling Westwood’s designs “the British answer to those of Christian Lacroix in Paris”, crediting her with the revival of the British fashion scene. In 1989, Women’s Wear Daily publisher John Fairchild described Westwood as “the Alice in Wonderland of fashion” in his book Chic Savages, and named her one of the six most influential designers of the 20th century. The same year, Westwood dressed as the serving British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, for the cover of Tatler, wearing a Westwood suit Thatcher had ordered but not yet received.

As much as Westwood retains a place in fashion history, she flourished as a fashion historian throughout her seven-decade career. Her billowing Pirate shirts, 1990s tartan derriere padding, and 1980s mini-crinis were all inspired by 17th-century style, while her Empress Josephine gowns and abundance of corsets originated in 18th-century dress. Westwood’s name is also stitched to some of the most memorable moments in fashion – among them Naomi Campbell crashing down from purple python platforms on the runway for autumn/winter 1993, and a near-naked Kate Moss eating ice cream while wearing a miniskirt, hat, and heels for spring/summer 1995.

Westwood famously collected her OBE from Queen Elizabeth II in 1992 wearing no knickers. “I wished to show off my outfit by twirling the skirt,” she said. “It did not occur to me that, as the photographers were practically on their knees, the result would be more glamorous than I expected… I have heard that the picture amused the Queen.” Westwood became a dame in 2006 and her designs have have been worn by clients as diverse as Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (now Queen Consort), Princess Eugenie and Miley Cyrus, who married Liam Hemsworth wearing a Westwood dress in 2018. Westwood’s moves with Her Majesty had always been risqué. To mark the Silver Jubilee in 1977, the designer pierced the lip of the Queen’s printed face with safety pins on God Save the Queen T-shirts designed for the Sex Pistols.

An exhibition in Westwood’s honour opened at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2002, and her punk roots were again celebrated in 2013 at the Costume Institute’s “Punk: Chaos to Couture” show. One of the exhibition’s seven galleries was inspired by her Seditionaries shop. In 2004, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London held a retrospective, and Westwood won British Fashion Designer of the Year in 1990, 1991, and 2006 from the British Fashion Council. In 2007, she was handed the BFC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Design, and in 2018, the Swarovski Award for Positive Change, for her constant climate-change activism.

Westwood’s runway has long been her political platform. T-shirts in her spring/summer 2006 collection read “I Am Not A Terrorist, Please Don’t Arrest Me”, while models in her autumn/winter 2008 show carried signs demanding fair legal trials for Guantánamo Bay prisoners. A banner in the spring/summer 2013 show called for a climate revolution. Other times she has shown support for US whistleblower Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as well as political parties, environmental charities including Cool Earth and Greenpeace, and the Occupy demonstrations in 2011.

“We’re trying to tell everyone the end of the world is here,” Westwood told Women’s Wear Daily backstage at her spring/summer 2016 show, where placards were penned with the slogans “fracking is a crime” and “austerity is a crime”. In 2014, Westwood shaved off her rooster-red hair to raise awareness for climate change.

Westwood’s namesake label carried couture, bridal, and men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections. She met Austrian fashion student Andreas Kronthaler in the late 1980s when teaching at the Vienna School of Applied Art and they married in 1992. They partnered under the Westwood label, but in 2016 he became creative director of the brand, with the mainline being renamed Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood.

Westwood’s slouchy pirate boots swashbuckled back into the spotlight on Kate Moss and Sienna Miller in the 2000s, while the brand enjoyed a more recent moment in the spotlight with Gen Z scooping up Rococo painted corsets from her 1900 Portrait collection. Independent always, her conviction and dedication never budged an inch.

“I own my own company, so I’ve never had businessmen telling me what to do or getting worried if something doesn’t sell,” she told Time in 2009. “I’ve always had my own access to the public, because I started off making my clothes for a little shop and so I’ve always had people buying them. I could always sell a few, even if I couldn’t sell a lot, and somehow my business grew because people happened to like it.”

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Gucci Opens First Stand-alone Luggage Store in Paris

Gucci is setting down its suitcases on tony Rue Saint-Honoré for its first permanent boutique dedicated to its Gucci Valigeria travel line.

Sitting opposite Moynat and a few doors away from Goyard in a space formerly occupied by Off-White, the 2,900-square-foot unit located at 229 Rue Saint-Honoré opened Tuesday.

“The opening of our first Gucci Valigeria boutique on Rue Saint-Honoré represents the next stage in our ongoing strategy to reinforce our leadership in the travel category,” the Italian house’s president and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri told WWD in an email.

The house’s travel range holds a particular place in the house, as trunks, suitcases and hatboxes were the first items that founder Guccio Gucci offered after opening his store in Florence in 1921.

Bizzari explained that the concept for the travel line’s permanent locations had been inspired at once by the original Florentine store and a three-month pop-up in London coinciding with the launch of the Savoy luggage line that started in October.

The three-month residency in London, which concludes at the end of the year, nodded to its origins story by taking over the tea shop at The Savoy in London, where Guccio Gucci had been a luggage porter at the turn of the 20th century. His observations of guests coming in and out with their exquisite luggage inspired him to start an artisanal luggage atelier.

“Gucci Valigeria is a powerful reminder of our Florentine roots and our timeless craft,” said Bizzarri, calling the line a “symbol of [the Gucci] legacy, reinterpreted through the ages for the travelers and modern-day explorers of every era.”

The Saint-Honoré store, in particular, was created to be “a portal into our ever-expanding world of travel and discovery,” the executive continued.

Its 2,000-square-foot retail space is spread over two floors, inspired by the heyday of rail travel during the Belle-Epoque, vintage light fixtures and all. Window displays take cues from luggage carts, while the interior’s neutral-hued canvas surfaces and dark walnut furniture and finishes go for an impression of well-traveled opulence.

The ground floor evokes a tony train station, with the cash register masquerading as a welcome desk and piles of luggage as decor. Travel essentials such as pajamas, eye masks, beauty products and pet accessories will be offered here. Exotic-skin versions of its weekender duffel and one-of-a-kind trunks also take pride of place.

On the first floor, brass shelving nods to the racks found in old-fashioned trains, while the ceiling is modeled after the arched roof of carriages. A loom-woven carpet in a tartan motif and plush banquette seating give a cozy vibe.

The Paris store offers the full range of Gucci’s travel line from totes and backpacks to garment bags, hat cases and suitcases. Among the styles showcased are the Gucci Savoy line, which plays with the brand’s monogram, its distinctive stripe and the double G hardware, as well as the top-handle Gucci Bauletto handbag model.

Trunks will also be available as well as its newly launched and “Off the Grid” version in regenerated Econyl nylon. It will also be the first retail debut of the freshly launched aluminum trolley suitcase, created in collaboration with Italian luxury luggage specialist FPM Milano.

Sold in Gucci’s physical retail network and online, the travel category has seen a “very positive momentum,” following the early November launch of the Valigeria campaign featuring Ryan Gosling and shot by photographer Glen Luchford. This was particularly visible in the “U.S., Europe and South Asia, where travel and tourist flows have restarted strongly following the relaxation of COVID-19-related restrictions,” Bizzarri continued.

Meanwhile, vintage luggage pieces included in Gucci’s Vault Vintage drops had also generated “great excitement,” he said, attributing this to the “timelessness that is naturally associated with travel.”

Bizzarri said the brand would continue to enhance its offer, both with vintage pieces and innovations in terms of functions and materials such as the recently launched aluminum trolleys.

Further Gucci Valigeria stores in “other iconic city destinations” around the world are in the works, but Bizzarri did not further detail a timeline or locations.

Travel itself is also a longstanding source of inspiration in the Gucci-verse that saw former creative director Alessandro Michele, who exited the brand in November, say that “travel had never been something purely physical” for the brand at the launch of the Gosling-fronted campaign.

“A Gucci suitcase is a magical suitcase,” Michele continued at the time, describing the creatives who had chosen items from the brand as people who “realize the importance of creativity in service of the construction of imaginary places.”

H&M Pulls Justin Bieber Collection

Less than 24 hours after stating that it would continue to sell a collaborative collection with Justin Bieber — despite the musician publicly criticizing those designs and saying he did not approve them — H&M has reversed course and has stopped selling the pieces.

On Monday, Bieber posted to Instagram Stories that he hadn’t approved any of the H&M collection, posting “All without my permission and approval [SMH] I wouldn’t buy it if I were you.”

He later posted to his 270 million Instagram followers: “H&M merch they made of me is trash and I didn’t approve it. Don’t buy it.”

The Swedish fast-fashion chain countered that claim on Monday, telling WWD that “as with other licensed products and partnerships, H&M followed proper approval and procedures.” At that time, the company said the merchandise would remain on sale but said “we need to look into this more to understand, before we take action.”

By Tuesday, however, H&M had changed its tune a bit. In a statement, the retailer reiterated Bieber’s involvement, but noted that the designs are no longer being sold. A company spokesperson told WWD Wednesday, “As mentioned in our previous statement, H&M has followed proper approval procedures. Out of respect for the collaboration and Justin Bieber, we have removed the garments from our stores and online.”

Bieber’s image was featured on a dress, sweatshirt, T-shirt and tote bag. A phone case and one $40 hoodie were imprinted with “I miss you more than life” — a reference to the lyrics from his song, “Ghost.”

The alliance was not a one-hit wonder for the Grammy winner and the Swedish retail behemoth. The two parties had teamed up back in 2017 for a “Stadium Tour” collaboration, after Bieber had canceled the last leg of his “Purpose” tour dates. The assortment consisted of hoodies, T-shirts with graphic designs, bomber jackets and sweatpants that were reminiscent of his official tour merchandise.

Given their social media reach, global superstars like Bieber have the influence to sway millions of consumers toward or away from a brand. In the past few years, select incidents have led to legal action, including a lawsuit that Ariana Grande brought against Forever 21 in 2019.

The country or region in which the agreement was filed is critical as the laws of copyrights, trademarks, design rights and image rights vary or in some cases don’t exist, according to Stephen Sidkin, partner at Fox Williams LLP and chair of its fashion law group. Citing Rihanna’s 2015 legal action against Topshop [for the use of her image on a T-shirt without her permission], he said that was successful in broad terms, but maybe not to the extent that she had anticipated.

From his view, the worst-case scenario would be for Bieber and H&M to wind up in court, because the litigation would likely to become public record and could potentially impact whether other brands choose to work with them.

While having a well-drafted agreement is one thing, “properly policing, monitoring or enforcing that agreement” is another matter, Sidkin said. All in all, wherever possible parties that can protect their intellectual property by registration, “they should grab it with both hands,” Sidkin said.

Another attorney Danielle Garno, a partner at Holland & Knight, who has worked with talent and brands in similar collaborative deals, said brands looking to avoid similar situations like this one, which could have been great publicity, really need to understand which approvals they are giving to the talent, as well as following the contract. “If you can, it’s always good to give them a sample. Approval is always a battle between brands and talent, because you don’t want talent standing in the way of marketing and getting things out into the market,” Garno said.

A common mistake with collaborations is the rush to get the product into the market, she said. “I would caution brands to make sure the product looks like and is aligned with the aesthetic and quality of what you are trying to put out there and what the talent bargained for. It’s one thing to see a tear sheet or something on the screen. It’s another thing to see it in real life. It’s really a quality control issue.”

The H&M spokesperson did not respond immediately as to whether the retailer is considering or has taken any legal action against the 28-year-old musician. A representative for Bieber did not respond immediately Wednesday to a request for comment regarding any potential legal action against H&M.

He and his wife Hailey have an abundance of endorsement deals and business ventures, including her recent launch of Rhode Beauty.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Valentino Launches A New Sustainable Fashion Initiative, “Valentino Sleeping Stock”

In the heart of Paris, among the narrow streets of the Sentier district is the Tissu Market fabric store. Not too far away, on the Rue Saint-Honoré, stands the Valentino boutique with its colourful windows – which are now switched off after 10pm in accordance with the brand’s sustainability initiatives. Since September 2021, the maison and the specialist fabric store have been working together in search of more responsible ways of operating. Now, they’re unveiling their newest collaboration, titled Valentino Sleeping Stock.

The initiative promotes a creative and responsible use of leftover fabrics from Valentino’s haute couture and ready-to-wear collections together with the Parisian fabric reseller. “At the origin of this initiative there is a profound personal and shared conviction: the importance of upcycling as an engine of change that we intend to establish in the fashion sector,” says Tissu Market founder Franck Lellouche. “The pursuit of excellence, inclusiveness and engagement through the creative process are some of the core values we share and will guide the next steps of this unique partnership.”

Chiffon, taffeta, dévoré satins, floral print crêpe de chine, silk georgette, and guipure lace – a trove of dreamy materials and examples of fine craftsmanship are kept in the Valentino archives, otherwise destined to never be used again. Now, they are able to gain a second life via costume designers from the worlds of opera, theatre, cinema, as well as other fashion designers; in the process, avoiding the CO2 emissions that would have been generated from the production of new fabrics. It’s a historic step for Valentino, the first couture house that has made its deadstock accessible to the public in a transparent way, providing a new springboard for creativity.

Proceeds from the sales of fabrics at Tissu Market will be donated to the Bottega dell’Arte di Valentino, the training programme for the atelier that aims to pass down the label’s savoir-faire to future generations. Valentino Sleeping Stock is another piece in the puzzle, with the goal to build, together, a future that is increasingly aware of the need to protect our planet and that creatively involves the brand’s community.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Making Augmented Reality Work For Fashion

At VOICES 2022, BoF and Snapchat hosted a conversation between fashion leaders and innovative thinkers on how brands can utilise augmented reality to increase acquisition and deepen relationships with consumers.

Deloitte research for Snapchat found that by 2025, nearly 75 percent of the global population — and almost all smartphone users — will be frequent augmented reality (AR) users. But despite the trillions of times users have engaged with the technology already, fashion’s use of AR in the path to purchase is nascent, with early adopters typically utilising the technology for marketing.

That is expected to change. Virtual try-on technology is becoming increasingly accurate. Currently, some businesses are achieving less than $0.01 US cents per virtual try-on for their products according to Snapchat, positively impacting return rates and decreasing waste.

But AR is not only good for try-ons, it’s also a powerful tool for storytelling and customer experience. “Lenses” — AR social photo and video filters used every day by 250 million Snapchat users — are supported by a community of over 250,000 creators, developers and partners who build millions of AR experiences for end consumers.

At VOICES 2022, BoF’s annual event where global thought leaders and experts gather to spark innovation with the future in mind, Snapchat’s global head of luxury Geoffrey Perez and creative technologist Ommy Akhe discussed with guests the ways in which brands can utilise AR to increase acquisition rates and deepen their connection with consumers.

The discussion was conducted under the Chatham House Rule, which precludes the attribution of statements made by specific individuals or companies, allowing attendees to share freely and openly with their peers.

From left to right, Snapchat’s global head of luxury Geoffrey Perez, creative technologist Ommy Akhe and BoF's Robin Mellery-Pratt host the salon conversation. (Business of Fashion)

Improving Acquisition and Retention Rates

“Today we have over 350 million daily active users on the Snapchat app in the US, and more than 70 percent of them — so more than 250 million people — are engaging with augmented reality,” were some of the opening remarks made at the start of the conversation. “Our research shows that when people experience a product through AR, they have a better understanding of the size of the product and how it looks, leading to a decrease of up to 28 percent of returns.”

One attendee shared data that reinforced the value of AR for fashion brands mindful of consumer acquisition and retention. “The click-through rating for 3D models is anywhere between 20 and 40 percent. Your conversion rate can go up to 200 percent, and then your return rates will be halved.”

Supplementing Physical Experience With AR

“You can create virtual stores,” said one attendee of AR activations. “Users can have gaming and entertainment experiences around them with AR. It’s another dimension to storytelling.”

One attendee challenged that, similarly to physical fashion, virtual fashion also runs the risk of being exclusionary. “It is still a wardrobe for your digital avatar. It’s only accessible to you, unless I’m wearing AR glasses. Isn’t that just going to create a hierarchy anyway?”

Users can have gaming and entertainment experiences around them with AR. It’s another dimension to storytelling.

Another attendee disagreed, stating the potential of AR as a tool for personal validation rather than exclusion: “People are now starting to mould experiences to match their preferences, rather than changing themselves to match these experiences. Through the power of technology and AR, we have a digital playground of ideas and the ability to experiment without fear of real-life repercussions. Curating an experience that is truly authentic and helping people realise its purpose or objective is where AR’s real value lies.”

Storytelling Through a New Medium

“One thing that is very novel, very interesting about AR is that it’s a new medium, and people opt into it as an advertising experience,” said one attendee of AR’s ability to foster a personal connection between brands and consumers.

“I feel like AR is one of the very few online digital use cases where consumers choose to engage with this experience, they want to engage with this brand or they want this brand to enhance their own image.”

Platforming Consumers’ Self-Expression

Some attendees agreed that the additive nature of AR, whereby it sits atop the real, physical world, is what enables users to use it as a tool for personal expression. “Augmented reality as a concept is additive, as opposed to virtual reality which is a completely immersive environment,” said one attendee. “Brands that allow an element of storytelling and customisation tap into AR very well.”

Through the power of technology and AR, we have a digital playground of ideas and the ability to experiment without fear of real-life repercussions.

“Giving consumers the ability to personalise products in real-time, whether it’s based on factual information like their location or what they want to express, eliminates the need to buy a hundred iterations of the same product. You can get your toolbox together, remove barriers and encourage immediacy without having a physical product made in excess, which is so easy using AR.”

Nurturing Dedicated Communities

All those in attendance agreed that targeting tech-savvy consumers with AR initiatives requires an authentic approach. To nurture a sense of community, brands should “inspire people to be themselves, and teach them that they can create for themselves,” said one attendee.

“By creating that conversation you create a sense of community and a sense of belonging. The ability to dip your toes in the water without having to plunge deep inside is essential, and that’s where AR comes in handy.”

However, they noted some mediation between the physical and digital worlds is still required. “Our community connects with us because of our courage to live our authentic truth in real life. You can post amazing photos on social media, but if you do it in real life there’s still that respect for the way you’re putting yourself out there. So that’s something AR needs to marry, the values that we all have as human beings and their manifestation in real life.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Chanel Pre-Fall 2023

“Salam Alaikum Africa!” So sang Obree Daman, flanked by dancers from the École des Sables, at the start of what will surely go down as a milestone Chanel Métiers d’Art show both for the house that presented it and the country that hosted it.

For Chanel to choose to present its first-ever show in Africa—and simultaneously the first show to be presented by any European or US house anywhere in Sub-Saharan Africa—was an ambitious move indeed. At a fittings appointment pre-show, backstage in the Senegalese capital’s former Palais de Justice (now home to its art Biennale), Virginie Viard said that the idea first took hold three years ago. Two years of Covid-enforced hiatus followed, before scouting began. “When we first came to this place, Dakar, it was really incredible, and we knew.” she said.

As one of 800 guests you felt the experienced context of this show had been designed as precisely as the collection itself. The first stop post-arrival was on Gorée island, just offshore from the city, a place that was once a hub of the African slave trade under colonial rule and which is now a monument. There was a visit to the studio of sculptor Ousman Sowe, a tour of local artisan markets and an art-filled medina, and a “literary rendezvous” between Marie NDiaye, Charlotte Casiraghi, and Rokhaya Niang (alongside a performance by rapper Nix), plus a stop to see the beautiful furniture design of Ousmane Mbaye. Chanel’s President Bruno Pavlovsky announced a series of upcoming interactions between Chanel’s le19M and Dakar’s IFAN Museum of African Arts that will see exchanges of artisanal expertise between the two. As Pharrel Williams put it before the show: “There’s a serendipity in it being a French maison, and coming back to a place that was once colonized by the French, with a sense of equity… it’s a super-beautiful exercise in humanity.”

The best descriptor I could find for this exercise is “roofoo,” a word in the Wolof language—the lingua franca of Senegal—that was displayed and explained in an exhibition at the Atiss Gallery. According to the Atiss’s caption, roofoo is “the intimate mixture of threads, of fibers, [that] can be considered as a metaphor of weaving, which creates a fluid and welded matter, inseparable from the materials intrinsically linked. The absorption of the color in the fabric also reflects the intimacy that binds them. Textile art and its innumerable paths highlights the multitude of possible agreements between materials and techniques.” Added our guide, Olivia: “this is also a word that can be applied to people. It means a kind of chemistry.”

From inside the experience at least, this Métiers d’Art event felt like a well-considered exploration of cultural affinities—an interweaving of the pre-existing to create something entirely new. Much of that atmosphere was generated by all of the many Senegal-facing activities, but it was also inherent—albeit more discreetly—in the fabric of the collection itself. The lion motif that reappeared on jewelry and bags was a dual reference to the emblem of Senegal and the sign of Coco Chanel. Viard also looked beyond Senegal. The tailoring and menswear shapes were informed by Congo’s sartorialist Sapeur subculture, as were the heftily commando-soled shoes. Almost invisible after long and complex processes of fabric development, some of the beading materials and patterns were rooted in source material from Africa. Talking drums and surfboards were other talismanic symbols of place and connection integrated into the language of the pieces. The broader context was 1970s-inflected: casual, unpretentious, and free. Michel Gaubert’s soundtrack of freshly-released Sault tracks provided a dreamy dimension.

At the end of this show guests lingered and the hubbub of conversation steadily increased. Those guests included Senegal’s first lady, Madame Marième Sall, and four government ministers (three of them female). The models changed into their off-duty clothes and joined the party. Said Viard: “This conversation is not going to end here today. And it’s not a question that we have to continue it—we don’t. We are going to do it because we like it very much.”

Giorgio Armani’s Neve Show In The St Moritz Snow

On Saturday afternoon, Giorgio Armani took his runway to the slopes of St Moritz for the reboot of his 1985 skiwear line, Neve. British Vogue fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen reports.

The show took place in the snow

As far as exclusive fashion shows go, Giorgio Armani’s skiwear presentation in St Moritz this weekend takes the prize. Tucked away in the fairly remote grounds of the city’s Olympic stadium from 1928, the small wooden structure erected for the Neve show – the name of his skiwear label – was literally covered in snow, with just a small path cleared for the models to walk on. Wrapped in ski jackets, scarves and gloves, the just 300 guests invited for the event sipped hot apple juice from Armani-branded thermo flasks as the designer reminded them – and his vast global digital audience – who first saw the connection between skiwear and fashion now so prevalent in the street-style landscape.

Armani was a pioneer of fashion skiwear

Armani is no newcomer to the ski-inspired wardrobe that’s become big business in fashion, on sidewalks as well on slopes. He first created the Neve line in 1985 as a label “dedicated to moments in the mountains, with a focus on outerwear and sports and a stress on that understated elegance which is so essentially Armani,” as he explained before the show. After a hiatus, he brought it back in 2019 as an extension of his successful sports-focused line, EA7. Three years underway, the St Moritz show – hosted in collaboration with the city, MySwitzerland and Swiss Air – was meant to take place in 2020 but was delayed because of the pandemic.

The collection epitomised fashion’s current affinity for a ski-inspired wardrobe

“St Moritz is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and popular mountain destinations in Europe, but it has kept its authenticity, which makes it so special. It is one of my winter retreats: I own a house here,” Armani said, referring to the Japanese-inspired chalet he and his family use for ski trips and occasional Christmas holidays. With its grand hotels and luxury stores, St Moritz served as the perfect setting for the Neve show, which captured the expensive but understated dress code you find on the city’s pistes and streets. Armani styled authentic ski suits, onesies and down jackets in black, navy and checks with fashion-statement faux fur coats, knitted leggings and sweaters that epitomised aprés-ski glamour.

Armani leaves skiing to his Neve customer

As a part-time St Moritz citizen with a huge skiwear business (in the two weeks before the Neve show, Armani sold ski jackets worth €500,000) it may come as a surprise that the designer doesn’t actually ski. He sticks to sledging and walking, or, as he quipped: “I prefer to swim.” Notably, the St Moritz house is Armani’s only cold-climate residence. Other homes include Milan, Broni, Forte dei Marmi, Pantelleria, Portofino, Paris, New York, Antigua and his super-yacht. When he’s not spending Christmas in St Moritz or Broni, “We fly to Antigua to have a little bit of summer right at the peak of winter,” Armani said. “I do love the sun and warm weather, but I also appreciate the different seasons throughout the year. Crisp sunny cold days on the snow are actually beautiful, and I enjoy them a lot.”

The Neve experience was pure alpine glamour

Armani’s guests in St Moritz weren’t just treated to the show in the snow, but the full alpine experience. Booked in the fabled Kulm Hotel, attendees including Emily in Paris’s Lucas Bravo, actor Pepe Barroso, actress Mélanie Laurent and socialite Naty Abascal hit the slopes in head-to-toe Neve skiwear and dined in the city’s classic chalet-style restaurant Salastrines on the eve of the show (where a World Cup-fuelled dinner soon turned into Italian pop music singalongs and a conga line through the wood-clad dining rooms). After the show, Armani took out the ballroom of the Badrutt’s Palace for a formal dinner which concluded in a performance by house favourite Alessandro Ristori and a night of dancing in the downstairs King nightclub. The morning after, guests were ski-lifted to mountain-top restaurant Paradiso for an al fresco luncheon in the alpine snow. As the Italian version of “My Way” that played during the Neve show’s finale reminded us, no one does it quite like Armani.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Polished, Posh And Punk: Jockum Hallin Of Our Legacy On Matchesfashion Capsule Collection

The cult Swedish brand Our Legacy has collaborated with luxury retailer Matchesfashion on a 12-piece capsule collection titled “Work Shop,” made from deadstock fabrics and highlighting British craftsmanship.

The brand has installed a workshop pop-up inside Matchesfashion’s London town house 5 Carlos Place until Sunday, where customers can get complimentary customization added to their Our Legacy pieces, old and new, by British-Indian designer Namita Khade and multidisciplinary artist Hank Grüner.

“We’ve always had an admiration for the British Isles, especially coming from Sweden and Scandinavia, where we romanticize it a little bit and so many pop cultural things came from here when we were young,” Jockum Hallin, one of the three founders of Our Legacy, told WWD on Wednesday afternoon at the town house.

The relationship, however, is deeper than that: it’s one of appreciation, especially as a fashion label that features craftsmanship techniques such as weaving, knitting and shoemaking.

Hallin wanted to emulate British style in the collection with the Harrington jacket; raincoat and the double-breasted suit — which he calls “classic diehards that will live forever.”

The brand found British fabrics in their warehouse by accident that it used on the pieces. The company used deadstock yarns for the knitwear and old Our Legacy suiting fabrics for the barracuda jackets.

“That’s what ‘Work Shop’ does, it’s repurposing and taking care of old things and conceptualizing, but with a British vibe,” added Hallin.

Hallin grew up ingrained with British hard-core punk, which he was introduced to by his father, who also listened to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

“I’m really into music and I think British post-punk is really blowing up again with indie guitar-based music,” said Hallin, who listens to High Vis, Chubby and the Gang and The Chisel.

What Hallin finds most fascinating about the British aesthetic is that it can be “so polished and posh, but have a punk attitude at the same time — that’s what we wanted to bring to this collection.

Our Legacy is experimenting with expanding its reach. The brand is deepening its work with Dover Street Market in Tokyo, Japan and is planning to open more locations in South Korea. Meanwhile, for Europe, a bigger space in London is in the cards.

“I haven’t been to London since the pandemic and coming back here, it feels like stuff is really happening and it’s a good energy,” said Hallin, whose brand has a dedicated community in every city around Europe.

He sees the stories as a family home, whether in London or Berlin — for the project with Matchesfashion, he has partnered with store staff who are already models or photographers, with the campaign shoot taking place in both cities.

The brand has enlisted the help of former employers Khade and Grüner for the London pop-up.

Khade has set up an embroidery station inside the town house, where she’s stitching intricate details and symbols onto the garments — and next to her, Grüner has his airbrushing and painting stall, decorating T-shirts and boots. On the opening day the demand was high with waiting times already reaching two hours.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Everything You Need To Know About The Balenciaga Scandal

Latest update: On December 2, creative director Demna addressed the controversial campaigns with a written statement posted to his Instagram account. “I want to personally apologize for the wrong artistic choice of concept for the gifting campaign with the kids and I take my responsibility,” he wrote. “It was inappropriate to have kids promote objects that had nothing to do with them.” He added that though he strives to create thought-provoking work, it was never his intention “to do that with such an awful subject as child abuse.” The designer said he needs to “learn from this” and noted Balenciaga’s commitment to taking steps “not only to avoid similar mistakes in the future but also to take accountability in protecting child welfare in every way we can.”

December 2: Balenciaga took to Instagram to announce that the brand will be dropping its $25 million lawsuit. Vogue notes the decision to no longer pursue litigation comes after widespread industry support towards North Six and Des Jardins. The statement reiterated Balenciaga’s apology, writing in part, “We want to learn, help and contribute to protect children.”

November 28: Balenciaga released another statement on Instagram, taking full responsibility for the holiday campaign and sharing details about the lawsuit for the spring 2023 campaign. “All the items included in this shooting were provided by third parties that confirmed in writing that these props were fake office documents,” the statement read. “They turned out to be real legal papers,” it continued. “The inclusion of these unapproved documents was the result of reckless negligence for which Balenciaga has filed a complaint.” The brand finished by listing an internal action plan, including “laying the groundwork with organizations who specialize in child protection and [aim to end] child abuse and exploitation.”

November 27: Kim Kardashian shared her thoughts on Balenciaga’s controversial campaign on Instagram Stories, writing in part, “I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened.” The Skims founder and mother of four went on to say that she was “shaken” by the campaign’s “disturbing images” and continued: “The safety of children must be held with the highest regard and any attempts to normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society — period.” Kardashian concluded by saying that while she believed the Balenciaga team understood the gravity of the situation, her future with the brand was unclear. “I am currently re-evaluating my relationship with the brand, basing it off their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with,” she wrote.

November 25: Balenciaga initiated a $25 million lawsuit regarding the spring 2023 advertisement which features paperwork from a Supreme Court decision on child pornography laws. The complaint, which was filed by Balenciaga to the New York State Supreme Court, reportedly details legal action against North Six, the production company for the shoot, and Nicholas Des Jardins, the set designer for the shoot. According to The New York Times, the document claims that North Six and Des Jardins’ actions were “inexplicable,” adding that their “omissions were malevolent or, at the very least, extraordinarily reckless.” In response, a representative for Des Jardins told The Washington Post that the set designer is “being used as a scapegoat.”

Courting controversy is arguably what Balenciaga does best. In recent years, creative director Demna has built a reputation for stealing the world’s attention time after time with weird, unconventional and often downright startling marketing. And so far, it’s proven to be a pretty successful publicity strategy. But as viral backlash from Balenciaga’s latest campaigns intensifies, it appears this time, the brand has crossed the line.

On November 16, the label released a gifting campaign — shot by renowned photographer Gabriele Galimberti — which was meant to promote items on par with Balenciaga’s randomness, like studded dog bowls and candle holders shaped like beer cans. The accompanying photos, however, were received as anything but amusing. In the images, children are seen holding stuffed bears dressed in bondage gear like collars with locks, leather harnesses and fishnets. If that perceived implication of child sexualization wasn’t enough, a set of explicit props in another advertisement felt even more disturbing. In one photo from their spring 2023 campaign, released just five days later, a handbag is perched on a pile of paper, which reportedly includes documents referencing a U.S. Supreme Court case about child pornography.

The troubling visuals have proved to be one of Balenciaga’s biggest controversies in years, with calls to cancel the brand growing on social media. And instead of embracing conflict as they regularly would, the fashion house has moved to damage control. After removing the images from all platforms, Balenciaga took to Instagram Stories on November 22 to formally address the backlash. “We sincerely apologize for any offense our holiday campaign may have caused,” the statement read. “Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign.”

The fashion house went on to apologize for the “unsettling documents” in question. “We take this matter very seriously and are taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including unapproved items for our spring 23 campaign photoshoot,” the Balenciaga statement continued. “We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form. We stand for children safety and well-being.”

But despite pulling the campaign and apologizing, the world is not exactly ready to forgive and forget. In fact, the newly released statements have arguably sparked more outrage: some criticize the brand for deflecting responsibility, while others suggest the entire debacle is yet another outrage marketing scheme. “Do they think we’re stupid?” wrote fashion influencer Louis Pisano. “That campaign went [through multiple] people including DEMNA before it went out and here they are trying to scapegoat the ‘parties responsible.’”

As fallout grows, the prevailing response is more of a question: Could this really be an accident? After all, Balenciaga thrives off of carefully crafted chaos. The brand hosts fashion shows in unconventional environments like simulated snow storms, mud pits and the New York Stock Exchange. It has collaborated with entities like The Simpsons and Fortnite, while enlisting unexpected celebs for catwalk cameos. It regularly releases absurd designs, from “destroyed” sneakers to trash bag totes. In recent years, Balenciaga’s meme-worthy style has become so unpredictable that theories suggest the fashion house is, in and of itself, a social experiment. Through it all, Demna has been known to weave deeper meaning and critical commentary into each of his astonishing antics. All things considered, some feel it’s hard to believe a misstep like this is just an oversight.

TikTok fashion commentator Jasmine Darya (@jasminedarya) argues the Balenciaga holiday campaign is not an ignorant mistake, but a result of the brand’s quest for clickbait. “I feel like in the last few couple of years, they’ve really gone towards this ‘anything to get a headline’ mentality,” she said in a recent video. “When you start relying on headlines and cheap publicity to sell your clothes as a fashion brand, that’s when you’re too far gone,” she wrote in the caption. But even with this problematic promotional look, is Balenciaga actually cancellable? Is any brand?

The thing is, in the world of fashion, social media outrage is reliably short-lived. Take Dolce & Gabbana. Despite having a track record of blatant misogyny, racism and homophobia, the Italian label has remained relatively unscathed, with seemingly unconditional support by A-list celebrities like the Kar-Jenners. And as chance would have it, Balenciaga, too, has star power on its side.

After reliably repping it over the past year, Kim Kardashian has basically become synonymous with the label. Despite calls for her to condemn this campaign, at the time of publishing, the beauty and shapewear mogul has stayed notably silent on the scandal, which is a statement in and of itself. We may never know whether the campaign was an intentional scheme or a tone-deaf blunder. But does the answer really matter? Despite how murky the ethics may be, it seems shock factor never goes out of style.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Éric Pfrunder, Karl Lagerfeld’s Photography Wingman, Dies At 74

Éric Pfrunder, Karl Lagerfeld’s closest creative associate for his varied photography projects, died Monday in a Paris hospital at age 74 after a long illness, his son Jasper confirmed to WWD.

Services are scheduled for Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

Pfrunder was Chanel’s director of image for three decades, and remained as artistic director of fashion image for a brief period following Lagerfeld’s death in February 2019.

“A man of conviction and loyalty, a passionate worker, ‘vorarbeiter’ as Karl Lagerfeld affectionately called him, Eric tirelessly devoted his exceptional eye and vision to the excellence of Chanel, generously sharing his knowledge and insights with the image team and more broadly, the fashion division,” Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel fashion, said in a statement shared with WWD, using the German word for foreman. “His contribution to Chanel is immense. We offer our most sincere condolences to his family and friends.”

Lagerfeld frequently said he had three key accomplices at the Chanel fashion house: Pfrunder, Pavlovsky and Virginie Viard, his longtime studio director, who would succeed the designer as creative director.

Indeed, it was Pfrunder who first suggested that Lagerfeld try his hand at photography.

Back in 1987, Lagerfeld expressed frustration with the images done for press kits at Chanel and so Pfrunder, flummoxed, suggested that Lagerfeld do them himself. It wasn’t long before Lagerfeld was shooting fashion spreads for French Vogue, and later campaigns for all the brands he touched, including Chanel, Fendi and the Karl Lagerfeld house.

Silvia Venturini Fendi, now Fendi’s artistic director for accessories and menswear, said the Roman house worked with Pfrunder for more than 30 years on all the Fendi women’s campaigns.

“He was the perfect creative match with Karl Lagerfeld bringing great value to our collaborations,” she said. “He was brilliant, eclectic, visionary and restless.

“His talent and great personality will be never forgotten.”

Pier Paolo Righi, chief executive officer of Karl Lagerfled, said Pfrunder was “Karl’s eye for photography and there were no limits for him when it came to Karl. Eric was a precious member of the Karl Lagerfeld family, he will be sorely missed and will always be remembered as a crucial part of Karl’s history.”

Sébastien Jondeau, a Karl Lagerfeld brand ambassador and product consultant, said with “anything involving image, Eric was there. He and Karl were very close, he was not only a work colleague, even if he was a workaholic for Karl.”

Jondeau and Pfrunder often vacationed with Lagerfeld, who treated all members of his entourage like family members.

Pfrunder worked at Chanel’s fashion division from 1983 until 2019 on image creation. On Tuesday, Pavlovsky described him as “an essential and active part of the creative trio” he formed with Lagerfeld and Viard, thereby “establishing Chanel as the ultimate luxury fashion house.”

Indeed, Pfrunder was forever at Lagerfeld’s elbow as the indefatigable German designer produced numerous books, catalogues and advertising campaigns, in addition to couture and ready-to-wear collections.

Outside advertising clients included Dior Homme, Dom Pérignon, Adidas, Coca-Cola and Pirelli, while the duo produced editorial shoots for scores of fashion magazines, including English and American Vogues, Harper’s Bazaar, Paris Match, V Magazine and Numéro.

The studio welcomed a host of models, Hollywood stars and European royalty, and Lagerfeld and Pfrunder would often set up impromptu photo studios at Chanel’s roving fashion events.

Inès de la Fressange, the face of Chanel in the ’80s, recalled how Lagerfeld ended up behind the camera. “We used to take Polaroids of each look for the fashion show,” she recalled, and the ones the designer snapped of her were strong. “I said, ‘Next time you should do the press kit.’ Karl said, ‘Oh I would love to but I don’t know the techniques.’”

Enter Pfrunder, who, knowing Lagerfeld’s deep admiration for German photographer Helmut Newton, wound up engaging one of Newton’s assistants to help the designer hone his craft, perfectly setting up the conditions for Lagerfeld to succeed.

“Suddenly, it was a new hobby for Karl and Eric was very happy,” de la Fressange recalled in an interview. “And with all these photo sessions, Karl had organized a new family.”

She said Lagerfeld had a lot of respect for the tailors, seamstresses and embroiderers that turned his sketches into sumptuous garments — and equally for all the contributors to a high-quality image.

Ultimately, Pfrunder would also help Lagerfeld organize exhibitions of his photography, and discover new ways of printing images, which excited the designer immensely, de la Fressange added.

“I spent a huge amount of my fashion career with Eric, who was in charge of everything to do with Karl Lagerfeld when he wore his photographer’s hat,” said Claudia Schiffer. “Eric was Karl’s ‘Monsieur Image,’ aka Chanel fashion director of image. I worked with the dynamic duo around the world – from New York City to Hamburg, Berlin, Nice, Buenos Aires and many more, which was so exciting. And of course, in Karl’s photo studio in Paris which is where our projects always started. Eric was the one who first encouraged Karl to pick up a camera and he was also a wonderful curator.

“Eric was both a family man and a gentleman with the finest manners, and a professional through and through,” she added. “He was so very knowledgeable and one would find him working away quietly in the background. I often think of him and Karl was very lucky to have found him. Eric admired Karl and was the most loyal, calm, and stable influence in the midst of fashion craziness. He gave up a part of himself to support Karl and I always felt in awe of him. There are not nor likely to be, many people like him in fashion. He was one of a kind and will be greatly missed.”

Born in Constantine, Algeria, Pfrunder moved to France at age 13. Like Lagerfeld, he was a self-taught photographer and also ran a communications and advertising agency whose clients included Norma Kamali, Emanuel Ungaro and Blackglama.

A tall, elegant man who shared Lagerfeld’s penchant for sharply tailored jackets, heeled boots and high-collared shirts, which he wore unbuttoned, Pfrunder largely flew under the media radar, and was in his element at the designer’s photo studio behind the 7L bookstore on the Rue de Lille.

Jondeau said Lagerfeld designed a special white shirt for Pfrunde, and had his go-to Paris maker Hilditch & Key deliver him a steady supply.

Among his projects after leaving Chanel, delayed by illness, were to digitize Lagerfeld’s vast photo archive, and publish a book, his son Jasper said.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Dior And Denim Tears’s Tremaine Emory To Reveal Capsule Collection In Cairo

Dior Men’s artistic director Kim Jones is teaming up with Denim Tears’s founder and creative director of Supreme, Tremaine Emory, in the latest crossover between streetwear and luxury.

Dior will reveal a new capsule collection guest-designed by Denim Tears during an event at the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo on 2 December. “This line celebrates the inventiveness of the house of Dior and the strength of its creative dialogues,” Dior said in a laconic statement.

Jones’s previous guest designer was Californian designer Eli Russell Linnetz of Californian-based brand ERL. They presented their capsule as part of the resort show against the backdrop of the Los Angeles beachfront. Jones, a master of collaborations, has previously also joined forces with the likes of Sacai, Kaws and Daniel Arsham. In 2017, as Louis Vuitton’s men’s artistic director, Jones also oversaw the brand’s iconic collaboration with Supreme.

The new tie-up with Emory demonstrates the hold streetwear still has on luxury, five years on from when Supreme’s logo plastered Louis Vuitton bags. Emory, who has worked with Virgil Abloh and Kanye West, now known as Ye, founded Denim Tears in 2019 and joined Supreme in February. His brand is no stranger to collaborations: Denim Tears worked with Levi’s in 2020 on pieces adorned with a cotton wreath print, in a nod to his African American background; and Ugg in 2022.

The event will take place on the eve of Dior’s pre-fall 2023 menswear show at the Pyramids of Giza at Al Haram. According to HSBC estimates, sales of Christian Dior Couture surged to €8.8 billion in 2022.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Pantone Unveils Magenta As 2023 Colour Of The Year

Viva magenta, a red tone, will encourage optimism and allude to the rise of the virtual world as well as technology such as artificial intelligence in the months to come, Pantone said in a statement.

“We are creating a dynamic world that encourages experimentation, one that leverages the virtual within the physical realm and emboldens our strength and spirit to explore groundbreaking possibilities,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute.

The release of the colour is accompanied by an immersive experience called the “Magentaverse,” a collaboration between Pantone and ARTECHOUSE, an art exhibit space. It will be on display in Miami starting December 3 as part of Art Basel Miami Beach.

Just a handful of luxury stalwarts are so synonymous with a colour that consumers can instantly equate the shade with the name. So, how does a brand own a tone, and should smaller labels try?

Haider Ackermann Plans To Explore Jean Paul Gaultier’s Quieter Side

Jean Paul Gaultier’s first haute couture show happened some 25 years ago, but Haider Ackermann still remembers its sublime chic and showed the goosebumps on his forearms as he described a sleek black suit with colorful feathers erupting from the sleeves.

As the latest guest couturier at Jean Paul Gaultier, slated to show a one-off collection in January during Paris Couture Week, Ackermann cited a wish to exalt the legendary designer’s quieter side, including his tailoring prowess.

“I wanted to explore this purity, which is absolutely magnificent,” he enthused. “Sometimes all those millimeters are forgotten, how perfect couture can be.”

In an exclusive interview with WWD, the two designers described their long admiration for each other’s work and their mutual belief in original creativity and technical excellence.

For his part, Gaultier remembers reading in Le Figaro about a hot new Belgian designer named Haider and being dazzled by his sophisticated colors and unexpected silhouettes.

“It was different and at the same time classic, but with a twist,” he said.

He described in detail a bomber jacket with an extra-long zipper that undulated down the front of the garment like a ruffle and confessed thinking: “Ah, it’s a pity I didn’t have that idea myself.”

Seated opposite each other on black sofas in Jean Paul Gaultier’s couture salon designed by Philippe Starck, the two men shared a laugh after that quip, demonstrating an appreciation for design peers that inspired them to further sharpen their creativity.

Ackermann put in a plug for Marina Yee, one of the lesser-known of the Antwerp Six that put the small Belgian city on the international fashion radar in the ’80s and ’90s. “No one talks about her, but she was highly, highly talented,” he said.

For his part, Gaultier argued that Martin Margiela should have been included to make an Antwerp Seven, even though Margiela graduated a year earlier than the famous graduates of the Belgian city’s Royal College of Fine Art. “When I went there, I discovered how good they were: They were knowing everything, so professional. It’s a very good school, I should say better than the French one,” he said.

Gaultier famously hired Margiela as his design assistant in 1984 and three years later the Belgian wunderkind would branch out on his own. Gaultier lauded the unique spirit around fashion emanating from the north and how its designers interpreted tradition in new ways.

Ackermann confessed that Gaultier was on his radar from his days as a fashion student in Antwerp, when he would come to Paris and sneak into fashion shows.

He recalled the fall-winter 1994 collection dubbed “Le Grand Voyage.” Gaultier staged the show in some frigid warehouse in the 15th arrondissement and had Björk modeling looks inspired by Inuit costumes.

Ackermann recalled being “transported to other worlds” at Gaultier shows. “He made you travel with your mind,” he said. “You just had to take the Metro a few stops and you would completely enter a different world, and that was very mind-blowing for us.

“Your imagination was just exploding, which was really, really beautiful,” he said.

Gaultier interjected with a few unknown tidbits about that 1994 show. For one, he didn’t have official authorization to use the venue.

Second, “everybody was crying but not because of the beauty of the show but because I had put fake snow on the ground and it was very irritating to the eyes,” the designer said with a long and hearty laugh.

After retiring from the runway in early 2020, Gaultier had the idea to invite a guest designer each season to realize a couture collection, drawing on his 50 years of fashion creation. He came up with the concept way back after the house of Jean Patou, where he worked early in his career, found itself without a designer.

Ackermann referred to himself several times as “No. 4,” following one-off Jean Paul Gaultier couture collections by Chitose Abe of Sacai, Glenn Martens of Y/Project and Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain.

Gaultier underscored that his intention was to invite accomplished and established designers with strong signatures to interpret his oeuvre, bringing ideas that would never had occurred to him.

For example, he motioned to a corner of the vast couture salon, where a Stockman was dressed in a striped top sculpted from glass — a direct reference to Gaultier’s hit 1995 fragrance Le Male. It was the opening look in Rousteing’s one-off couture effort last July.

Likewise, Gaultier marveled at the way Martens elaborated on his corset dressing in a way that he would never have considered.

“I think it’s important that they bring their personality. So what is interesting is inviting someone who has character, and who has a style that can add to my style,” he explained. “He or she has to bring something else.”

Both men said good fashion from their peers encourages them to give the best of themselves.

“When Comme des Garçons first came to Paris, I loved it, but I didn’t wish to make anything like that. But in reality, when you discover a very good collection, it gives you energy for yourself to do something nice,” Gaultier said. “I don’t take their idea, but I will try another one. You must not be influenced by the other, because it’s your personality. Of course, it depends if you want to create or you want to follow.”

Ackermann said he also finds motivation from certain designers, headlined by Gaultier: “When you look up to people, it makes you want to move forward as well, and that’s great.”

While he never attended a Haider Ackermann show in person, Gaultier said he was always struck by the sophisticated colors, often acid-tinged, shown in interesting combinations. Gaultier also lauded Ackermann’s shapes, minimal and focused “without a lot of effects… which I think is great and I respect because sometimes I add a little too much — the contrary of minimal.” He laughed again.

For his part, Ackermann said Gaultier “opened his mind” also because he “pushed the envelop in culture and society,” referring to the designer’s very early celebrations of sexual and racial diversity and his embrace of high and low cultures.

“Every conversation we are having nowadays in 2022, he had them back in 1994 or even earlier,” Ackermann marveled.

“I came from a very Catholic surrounding, very protected,” said the Colombian-born designer, who was raised in Africa and the Netherlands. “Suddenly there was somebody else talking about other subjects… about the gay community, about the Black community… He opened up a wider world for me.”

Now he’s opened up haute couture to a rotating cast of newbies, a gesture that Ackermann lauded as generous, courageous and open-minded.

“It’s a difficult exercise, but it’s a beautiful exercise,” he said. “When the house approached me, strangely I immediately knew what I wanted to do. It was an instinct.”

His mind went immediately to Gaultier’s couture debut, rich in immaculate tailoring, and he wished to honor him by exalting that legacy.

“We all know the madness, the craziness,” Ackermann said, alluding to the designer’s theatrical and outlandish side. “I mean, the Jean Paul Gaultier dictionary is so big, there’s so much to be taken in, so much to absorb.”

While the designer knows that dictionary well, he still took a dive into the Gaultier archive.

“It’s a luxury, seriously, you should it do one day,” he enthused. “Also because you recognize how much he has been doing, it’s remarkable. I mean, it’s embarrassing to talk in front of him about this. But the things we are doing nowadays were already there back in the ’90s. I think any fashion student should come look at the archives. Because the references go a long way back, even though we’re thinking they’re from yesterday.”

Gaultier and Ackermann had dinner together once the contract was signed but the conversation kept clear of the project at hand.

Gaultier stressed that each guest designer gets carte blanche, and he does not wish to influence him or her in any way — and discover the couture collection along with the rest of the audience during the couture-week show.

“It’s because of respect and also confidence in the person,” he said.

Gaultier said when he’s collaborated with filmmakers, for example, it is risky to accept too many recommendations because then you end up wishing to please the person instead of “doing the spontaneous things that I should do.”

Echoing other guest designers, Ackermann said it’s been a longtime dream of his to touch haute couture.

“Since a child I was dreaming of couture. Christian Lacroix was also one of the people I admired,” he said. “When you work with the atelier, you really feel the love and the passion they have for this job. It’s not like a regular job. There’s intimacy and love in the details, in the time devoted to it…. And everyone has so much admiration for Monsieur Gaultier. It’s really sweet to listen to them. It’s very tender.”

Gaultier interjected, motioning to Ackermann and chuckling: “And from what I heard, they have a lot of respect for him.”

Yet he is relishing the surprise of the big reveal next January. “It’s a little pleasure I give myself,” he said, recalling the thrill of attending a few shows by other designers, including Thierry Mugler, early in his career. “I was loving to discover what he did, and be surprised,” he recalled. “I loved how strongly he was into his own style — to have the audacity to be outrageous sometimes.

“When you see people that have talent, it’s always very good and very positive, bringing good energy and we need that, you know. It makes you dream.”

Ackermann said he’s relished the project so far, stressing that haute couture is “much more focused and concentrated” than ready-to-wear. “The exercise is more beautiful, you go much more in the details. And also because you take the time, which is a true luxury nowadays, to make a collection…. I’m really blessed and happy to be here, seriously.”

Ackermann demurred when prompted to give some hints about the collection.

“He and I are very different people. He’s very open, generous, very joyful. I’m much more discreet and shy,” he said of Gaultier.

Yet after his trawl though the Gaultier archive, Ackermann found “that we both talk about different cultures; we both talk about masculine and feminine; we both have an admiration for tailoring. I think we are both in love with women. So I think all those subjects that he and I share are things that I’m going to try to put out there and show what we have in common.

“Also, I’m going to try to find this fine line of playfulness,” he continued. “I will explain afterwards when the collection is done how every reference came from Monsieur Gaultier, but then I translate it in my own way, how I would say it in 2022.”

Ackermann, whose last runway show for his signature ready-to-wear collection was for fall-winter 2020, has been largely flying under the radar, making a big splash here and there by dressing the likes of Tilda Swinton and Timothée Chalamet for key red-carpet appearances.

According to market sources, the designer recently settled a trademark tussle with his previous backer, which will free him to relaunch his eponymous label in future. He was mum on the timing for that project.

In the meantime, he has been absorbed in the haute couture project, and a co-ed collection for Italian sportswear brand Fila that he unveiled at a runway show in Manchester, England, last month.

Asked if he had a favorite collaboration during his long fashion career, Gaultier spoke about some that got away: In the early ’90s, he was approached regarding collaborations with Nike, Adidas and others, which he would have loved to do but could not because of contractual reasons.

“Sorry to interrupt, but how avant-garde is this man?” Ackermann interjected, agog at this revelation.

“I have been influenced by sportswear, of course,” Gaultier added. “It’s why I did Junior Gaultier at that time.”

Asked if there’s any collaboration he would dream to do now as a personal project, Gaultier said he’s “more into musicals and things like that.”

To wit: He has been conscripted by the Friedrichstadt-Palast theater in Berlin to help mount another show. “I like doing those kind of things, which are around fashion, but not real fashion that you have to wear.”

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Ludovic De Saint Sernin Has Been Named Creative Director At Ann Demeulemeester

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for fashion. Following Alessandro Michele’s departure from Gucci, the shuttering of Raf Simons’s eponymous label and Estée Lauder’s agreement to buy Tom Ford, there’s news today from the Claudio Antonioli-owned Ann Demeulemeester brand that Ludovic de Saint Sernin has been named its creative director.

De Saint Sernin’s appointment signals a creative change for the company. Antonioli, who co-founded the New Guards Group, bought Ann Demeuelemeester in 2020 and until now has run it with an unnamed design team. Though she stepped away from her namesake label nearly a decade ago, Demeulemeester herself is tangentially involved. It’s an an unusual arrangement, but she and Antonioli are friends, and so she oversaw an exhibition of her archive at Pitti Uomo this summer and has given her blessing, it would seem, to collections made very much in her image.

Like Demeulemeester, De Saint Sernin was born in Belgium. The Paris-raised, l’ESAA Duperré-educated designer launched his eponymous label in 2017 and quickly garnered notice for the hedonism of his aesthetic and a binary-breaking approach to clothing design. De Saint Sernin is a proponent of what could be called equal opportunity nudity, putting all genders in sheer suits, crystal mesh tanks, lace-up briefs and “body-formatted” knits, and he has built a starry fanbase of It-girls and It-boys for them – Dua Lipa, Hailey Bieber, Bad Bunny and Troye Sivan among them.

His collection’s sex positive glamour is attention getting, but it also comes from the heart. He’s just as likely to be wearing his stretch tank top as Ms. Bieber is. “The way that I design for the brand is like a journal, it really is autobiographical,” he told Vogue recently.

The pictures the company has released suggest he’ll be taking a similar approach to his new gig. The Willy Vanderperre-lensed shots are portraits of De Saint Sernin in archival Ann Demeulemeester. In one he wears a black shearling collar, for the others he chose a single-breasted suit, a see-through knit, a one-shoulder sheath and a bias-cut silk maxi skirt. The press statement reads “authorship and autobiography gain centrality, as Ludovic de Saint Sernin shapes the Ann Demeulemeester traits around his vision, proclivities and individuality, offering a first-person reading and the connection with today’s audience that comes from that.”

In her time, Demeulemeester built her own cult of personality, making devotees who went back to her Couvent des Cordeliers location season after season for poetic shows full of fluidly constructed tailoring, slouched-on shirting, bias cut dresses and her signature butch-femme mix of leathers and feathers. Her celebrity muses included Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith.

In an interview with Vogue Runway’s Laird Borrelli-Persson on the eve of her Pitti exhibition, Demeulemeester said, “I was interested in the tension between masculine and feminine, but also the tension between masculine and feminine within one person, that is what makes every person really interesting to me because everybody is unique.” She and De Saint Sernin have that sentiment in common.

Jimmy Choo, Timberland Collaborate With Harlem’s Fashion Row

Luxury accessories brand Jimmy Choo has collaborated with Timberland on a second capsule collection inspired by the Big Apple.

The two brands have enlisted the help of Harlem’s Fashion Row, an agency that bridges the gap between brands and designers of color in fashion.

The agency has introduced Jimmy Choo and Timberland to New York-based designer Shanel Campbell, whose work focuses on the Black experience in America.

“Collaborating with two brands was one of the most interesting things I’ve ever done. I was constantly asking myself, what does it look like when these worlds, Jimmy Choo and Timberland, collide? It was an amazing experience collaborating with another woman in a creative director role,” said Campbell.

She said she was inspired by Jimmy Choo’s creative director Sandra Choi’s position within the fashion and luxury space.

The capsule collection includes seven styles for men and women available now. The most distinct styles are the two hot pink velvet boots; the classic nubuck boots with a graffiti script that reads “Jimmy Choo”; a black boot with Swarovski crystal embellishment, and a thigh-high black leather harness boot with dual styling functions, transforming into a 6-inch boot.

“Working with Harlem’s Fashion Row and Shanel Campbell brought a new dimension to the collaboration. Shanel infused the collection with her authentic New York creative lens, a true New Yorker living and breathing the heartbeat of this vibrant city. I love to mix it up by getting together with interesting creative minds, combining our DNA to create beautiful and surprising pieces,” said Choi, describing the collaboration as a celebration of urban glamour, resilience and the eclecticism of the city’s dynamic community.

The campaign shot on a New York rooftop features musician and actress Justine Syke and rapper and producer Pi’erre Bourne. It is accompanied by an interview with Campbell.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Felix Mas Fine Art

Felix Mas has enjoyed a vibrant success across the international art world. Born in 1935, in the Catalan capital of Barcelona, he began his initial studies within the fine art world at the city’s famed college of fine arts, Sant Jordi. After a period of military at La Vall d'Aran, Mas returned in 1957 to apply his talents at the Spanish art agency, Seleciones Illustrada. It was here that he engaged in commissions for a variety of projects such as romance comics Valentine and Fleetway. He continued working within this genre to draw for detective story Lt. Kane for T.V. Heroes. During the mid-60’s, he worked in Northern Europe and Scandinavia as an illustrator, before returning to comics and working with D.C. Thomson's Romeo in 1969.


Mas was contracted by Warren Publishing from 1972-75 and during his tenure, he produced around 17 horror stories for cult magazines Creepy and Vampirella. The Vampiress Stalks the Castle at Night from Vampirella #21 was incorporated within the list of top 25 Warren stories in the book, The Warren Companion by David Roach. After commercial success, Mas left Warren, where he stopped producing comic work and moved to Venezuela with his family. It was here he chose to focus on painting and a lifestyle which would take him to the cosmopolitan climes of Florida, a whole new client base and an increased passion and control of colour.

‘Felix Mas has always possessed a passion for art since his childhood and developed his fine art and illustration skills as he matured into adulthood. An attendee of the Reial Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi, he received a great deal of traditional training which is reflected across his works. Mas has also travelled extensively across Europe and the United States which he says has enriched his perspective and skills.’ - Charles Daniel McDonald

Felix Mas is an internationally recognised fine artist and famed for his artistic portrayals of “sensual elegance.” The majority of his works are dedicated to the female form as the subject matter, in a style which has been hailed as intoxicating and alluring. His works take inspiration from a multitude of travels and cultures, with influences from the historical grace of ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece, through to the fashions of India and the richness of Japanese woodblock prints.


The method in which Felix Mas selects colours for his artwork is quite unique, with many of them being personally created using natural pigments. His vibrant and controlled use of colour within his paintings act as expression of the emotion of his work, notions which are evident upon a multitude of mesmerising glances that are derived from the complete beauty and breath-taking intricacy of his work. Whether it is a woman adorned with iridescent gossamer butterfly wings or one clad within an imposing magenta kimono, Mas truly knows how to capture the grace and femininity of his subjects with a depth and passion that is unparalleled within his genre.

‘Mas’s inspiration comes from the diverse array of beautiful women he has encountered throughout his travels. His works are particularly influenced by ancient Rome and Greece, as well as his travels to Asia, Egypt, and India. Each of his subjects are painted using a precise elegance which is enhanced by a vibrant backdrop, carefully thought out to add a narrative and individualised flare to the central figure.’ - Charles Daniel McDonald

The talent of Felix Mas can immortalise a woman's soul and beauty on canvas in a way that very few artists can translate with such complexity. His work is subjective and left intentionally up to the viewer's own thoughts and translations. Mas currently lives between La Sénia and Barcelona, where he still indulges his passions on a daily basis, both on canvas and on his digital platforms.


You can discover more about the works of Felix Mas through his latest feature interviews for World Radio France and on his official website and social media channels.

Louis Vuitton Takes Over Tokyo For Yayoi Kusama Collaboration Launch

Louis Vuitton will launch its second collaboration with Yayoi Kusama on Tuesday with a takeover in Tokyo featuring a mix of physical installations and augmented reality activations.

The French luxury brand unveiled its first tie-up with Kusama in 2012 as part of its longstanding tradition of working with artists and designers, which the company traces back to Gaston-Louis Vuitton, the grandson of the house’s founder.

In the spirit of Kusama’s immersive happenings, the company will tease its second collection with the 93-year-old Japanese artist, set to hit stores in January, with a citywide event that will include landmarks such as the Tokyo Tower, Zojoji Temple and Tokyo station.

An anamorphic billboard in the buzzy Shinjuku district will take onlookers inside a Louis Vuitton trunk decorated with Kusama’s signature polka dots, via an avatar of the artist. At Shiba Park, strollers will be able to see chrome sphere sculptures and a hot air balloon in the shape of a pumpkin.

Tokyo Tower, an Eiffel Tower-inspired communications tower, will be transformed into a colorful holiday tree and the Tokyo station installation will include a fish-shaped food truck.

In each location, AR filters will unlock lively animations, while selfie features will allow participants to blend in among imaginary characters or dots, or to try on virtually items such as Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama sunglasses.

Some pieces from the collection, including handbags decorated with hand-painted dots or metallic spheres, debuted as part of creative director Nicolas Ghesquière’s women’s resort 2023 fashion show in May at the Salk Institute in San Diego.

Vuitton will offer a further glimpse of the collection during Art Basel Miami from Thursday to Saturday, where the brand will host a booth dedicated to its artistic collaborations, in line with its presentation at the Paris+ by Art Basel show in Paris last month. Its new partnership with the art fair is surfing on the euphoria of post-pandemic social gatherings and trade events.

“When you’re given that opportunity to have that type of discourse and engagement with this crowd, who is still very, very hungry coming out of the pandemic, you want to contribute to that,” Michael Burke, chairman and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton, told WWD.

“I think before the pandemic, we were so serious in everything we did, and then having been gone for over two years, when you come back, everybody’s a little bit giddy,” he said.

Could Alessandro Michele Go To Chanel?

Sylvia Mantella has mixed feelings about creative director Alessandro Michele leaving Gucci. “I had heard rumours within the fashion industry about the possibility of him leaving,” shares the prominent Gucci collector via email. “It was just hard to believe a move of this magnitude would actually come to fruition.” And, of course, we know what happens next.

On November 23, Kering — the Italian house’s parent company — announced that Michele would be leaving, effective immediately. While rumours were swirling the morning of the announcement, like Mantella, no one was quite prepared for them to be true. Luckily, the vice-president of marketing, sponsorship and philanthropy at Mantella Corporation made the most of his tenure.

As detailed in FASHION’s Winter 2023 issue, Mantella has amassed an unimaginable amount of Gucci products, making her the foremost collector in Canada. While the Italian name was always on her radar, she didn’t become a gigantic Gucci fan until 2015, when Alessandro Michele took over as creative director. “When he first came into the brand, I think we were all left a little bit speechless because he completely restructured everything we had known Gucci to look like,” she explains. “But it was beautiful, and he took huge risks.”

Thinking of herself as part collector and part curator of her own mini Gucci museum, Mantella reveals that almost from the very beginning, she knew Michele would “leave behind an enormous legacy, very much on the level Tom Ford did when he departed the house in 2004.” And now that she has an opportunity to look at Michele’s work as a whole, she thinks of it as “lovingly adding onto the existing DNA” of the brand.

So what does the future of Gucci look like? Mantella believes the brand’s aesthetic will drastically pivot with the arrival of a new creative director. After all, we’ve had almost a decade of Michele. “I’m sure the wheels are already well in motion within the company,” she muses. As for the former designer, the collector is sure we haven’t seen the last of him yet. “Alessandro’s style is thoughtful, meticulous and intentional, so I think he would make an incredible addition to any house. It would be very interesting to see him at Chanel.”

That would be a true shakeup, indeed. But for now, she will continue revelling in her Gucci reservoir while keeping an eye out for any missing pieces to her collection. “My eyes are always open for Alessandro Michele accessories,” she shares. “From the flower pins to the sunglasses to the shoes, it’s all super fun and collectable!”

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Jimmy Choo’s Sandra Choi On Designing A New Type Of Christmas Tree For Claridge’s Hotel

It’s a Jimmy Choo Christmas. The luxury accessories brand’s creative director Sandra Choi has unveiled her Christmas tree design for London’s Claridge’s hotel in Mayfair.

The brightest and most animated in the hotel’s history, the tree is a minimal geometric shape lit by white lights with a double-knotted neon pink bow.

“The bow as a symbol of bringing things together and this united ceremony is what I wanted to portray,” Choi told WWD on the morning of the tree’s big unveiling.

“The tree itself was a symbol to the core of our brand because what does Jimmy Choo mean? Glamour always comes like a boomerang,” she added. Glamour is a running motif in the brand’s winter 2022 campaign shot at the famous hotel, starring Iris Law, Mica Argaňaraz and Stan Taylor, photographed by Angelo Pennetta.

The tree has been given the name of The Diamond, a nod to the brand’s regalia-like accessories. The designer wanted to translate the allure of Jimmy Choo’s through light in collaboration with set designer Simon Costin who worked on the tree that stands more than five meters tall and took more than 350 hours to construct.

“We chatted and we dissected what it means to use light as a whole idea into the future. It’s about stepping inside the jaw, which I talk about often. Claridge’s is a place of heritage, it’s iconic and for us at Jimmy Choo, we needed to bring that glamour that Claridge’s has,” Choi said.

Simplicity and upcycling were at the forefront of Choi and Costin’s ideation when they met to plan the project.

“We produce a lot of stuff and Christmas is one of those times where you’re overloaded with things to bring the festivities alive, but we wanted to minimize the stuff element and have the ability to upcycle certain parts of the tree. We haven’t got there yet, but it’s something we discussed last night. What do we do with the materials and what do they mean to us?” said Choi, who will be hosting a cocktail party at the hotel on Wednesday evening to celebrate the tree commission.

Christmas for Choi is all about treating others. Her most memorable memory of the holiday is from 2019 when her family took a trip to Lapland in Finland, she said.

“We packed our bags, went to the cold and had a white Christmas. It was incredibly magical because it’s not about stuff, but rather just being together,” said Choi, who will be celebrating Christmas with her sister in Wales this year.

“I have volunteered my sister to treat me,” she said, jokingly.

Choi has already started forward planning for 2023, and hinted at a mentoring program in the works.

“I’m really into seeing what the new generation is looking at. I’ve got teams of people I work with and I always chat to them about what they see and how they feel. I’ve been in this brand for so long, I’ve seen it all, but to actually see it from another lens is very important,” she said.

Choi hinted at another project set for spring 2023 that she describes as a “nostalgic childhood project that is really artful, creative and feminine at the same time.”

Monday, November 28, 2022

Get To Know Canadian Fashion Designer Charles Lu

They say what’s meant to be, will be — and Charles Lu is a testament to that. When his career serendipitously kicked off after an unfortunate snub, Lu proved to the world that regardless of any setback, he’s destined to rise to success. From starring in the inaugural season of Netflix’s Next in Fashion to launching his eponymous label and having a runway show at Fashion Art Toronto’s annual spring showcase earlier this year, there’s no slowing down. Nicknamed “Panda,” Lu has established a signature black, white and grey palette on some of the most distinct silhouettes in the game.

For FASHION’s Winter issue, Lu spoke to us about how he got his start designing clothes, the hurdles faced along the way and the icons he dreams of dressing.

You were born in Hamilton, Ont., but your parents are from Vietnam. How has your background influenced your relationship with fashion?

“My parents came to Canada because of the Vietnam War and literally left everything behind. So I always remind myself to be fearless, and when I say fearless, I mean it’s OK to be scared — you just can’t let that fear paralyze you. But I’ve always been the dreamer of the family, and I took a very non-traditional route. I had to prove to my parents what I was capable of, and I said, ‘If I’m going to go into fashion, I’m going to succeed.’”

Is it true that your first fashion show was at age 12?

“Eleven or 12. When I was a kid, my mom never let me use her sewing machine, and I was like, ‘If you’re not going to let me use it, then I’m going to make clothes out of recycled materials.’ So in Grade 6, I proposed doing a stand-alone fashion show at my school and made dresses out of plastic bags, pop cans, tape and things like that.”

You’ve previously said that the fashion world wasn’t very kind to you when you were in London, England. Can you expand on that?

“During my time in London, I worked for a brand where I designed the collection as a full creative director. But before the show, I was demoted to a ghost designer and they took credit for everything I made. The company even took my sketchbook — the whole thing was crazy! Serendipitously, a couture buyer who attended that show started following my career and years later passed along my name to Netflix for its new reality competition series Next in Fashion.”

With a second season of Netflix’s Next in Fashion on its way, what advice would you give to the new contestants?

“Be willing to adapt, and keep everything honest. Remember that it’s a TV show first and a competition second.”

Where does your love of black and white come from?

“The first black-and-white piece I made was while I was studying at Istituto Marangoni in London. I was 21, and something just clicked that day. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I really love this.’ Now it’s what I’m known for — also because I only wear black and white in my personal life, which is why my nickname is ‘Panda.’”

What was the inspiration behind your latest collection?

“This collection was all about lines. If you’re creating clean lines, you can’t hide behind anything — they have to be perfect. So, really, it was the ultimate flex of my skill. I also wanted to marry the worlds of couture and streetwear, so I took utilitarian fabrics, like parachute nylon, and made them look more classically beautiful.”

What’s next for Charles Lu?

“I want these looks to be available to the public, so eventually I’d love to set up e-commerce and a physical store with the help of a business partner and financial backer. In the meantime, I’ll probably do a few mini releases. The next collection is almost entirely designed in my head. It would just be a continuation of this one as I love the direction I’m heading in.”

Charles Lu shares three celebrities he would love to see in his latest looks:

Lady Gaga

“Gaga is the queen of avant-garde fashion, and she uses it as performance art. I’d like to see her in this look because it’s severe yet soft and balances feminine and masculine qualities.”

Gwen Stefani

“It’s always been a dream of mine to dress Gwen because I really admire her bold and experimental style. Not many people can wear black and white without having the garment consume them, but she can.”

Megan Thee Stallion

“Confidence is key when you’re wearing my designs, and Megan embodies that to the fullest. I think she could wear an oversized structural puffer and still have all that strength shine through.”