Friday, December 1, 2023

Matthew Williams To Exit Givenchy As Luxury’s Creative Director Shake-Up Continues

Matthew Williams is stepping down as creative director of Givenchy after three years in the role, the house announced on Friday. Williams’s departure will be effective from 1 January 2024, and the men’s and women’s pre-fall 2024 collections, to be unveiled this month, will be his last for the brand. A successor has not yet been named, and the house’s studio teams will lead design in the interim, according to the statement.

Williams is the latest in a series of recent creative director shake-ups, including new appointments at Blumarine, Chloé, Alexander McQueen and Ann Demeulemeester. Other brands awaiting new creative directors include Moschino, whose creative director Davide Renne tragically died in November, just 10 days after taking over, and Tod’s, whose creative director Walter Chiapponi stepped down in July to join Blumarine.

During his tenure at the LVMH-owned house, Williams was known for drawing inspiration from the archives, constructing elegant evening wear and introducing a distinct tailoring style. The house’s statement credits Williams with “modernising its entire product range” under his creative vision, calling out the U-lock jacket and Voyou bag as notable releases. Prior to his appointment, he completed a stint at Dior Men’s under Kim Jones and was shortlisted for the LVMH Prize in 2016. His predecessor, Clare Waight Keller, also lasted three years in the role.

“I would like to thank Matthew for all the energy he brought to Givenchy. His collections, resolutely creative and contemporary, have sparked a new dynamic and found their audience. I join everyone who has had the pleasure of working with Matthew in wishing him every success in his next ventures,” said Renaud de Lesquen, president and CEO of Givenchy, in a statement.

In the meantime, the release states the American designer will “fully dedicate himself” to his own brand, 1017 Alyx 9SM, which he has remained involved in. Williams founded Alyx in 2015 and, since then, the brand has clocked collaborations with the likes of Nike and Moncler. On 17 November, the brand announced a business partnership with Hong Kong entrepreneur Adrian Cheng.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Pharrell Williams Defines The Future Of Dandy

Hong Kong welcomed Pharrell Williams with open arms. With one of the world’s most memorable skylines as the backdrop for the Men’s Pre-Fall 2024 show, the first Louis Vuitton (PARIS:MC.PA +0.87%) men’s collection to ever be shown in Hong Kong, brought in guests from around the world, including global superstars from South Korea, China, Japan and more. Located right on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront overlooking the picturesque Hong Kong skyline, the location set the tone for both the collection and gave a nod to the brand’s strategic direction and focus towards the Asian market.

Pharrell’s debut show set the bar high as it saw pop culture’s royalty — Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Rihanna and more — attend. The pomp and circumstance of Pharrell’s first show with the house saw a live gospel performance by Voices of Fire as well as one from Pharrell and JAY-Z to cap off the night. For his second showing, Pharrell brings Louis Vuitton to the vibrant and eclectic city of Hong Kong, a spectacle in itself. As a part of their invitation, show attendees received a t-shirt featuring a playful and colourful graphic of a beach island scene, setting the tone for the collection ahead. As evident in this show and the last, Pharrell is no stranger to using vibrant colors to accent traditional patterns like the Damier, as seen on cloud like sandals and Keepall bags. Almost an ode to the colorful cityscape and sunny beaches of Hong Kong, the collection itself is resonant and astounding. In an exclusive conversation with Hypebeast, Pharrell explains the concept of the show and how the city of Hong Kong inspired the collection and presentation,

”It was inspired by the idea of a businessman in Hong Kong who has decided to spend a week or so in Hawaii on holiday. But in the middle of his trip, he has to go back to Hong Kong for one day for a meeting he couldn’t move. The archetypes that we chose were like a sailor one and an another archetype was one on holiday. There’s a lot of floral inspiration, a deep dive into exotic colorways, interesting pairings of colors. The silhouette that you’re going to see is consistent with what I’m infatuated with when it comes to formal…which is the future of chic, dandy in a sailor suit, dandy in resort holiday.”

Significant to some, the show in Hong Kong lands a couple days following the second anniversary of Virgil Abloh‘s death. As a subtle nod to the late-designer, Pharrell continues his legacy, bringing his own unique play on colors with heritage Louis Vuitton emblems, patterns and styling. Hypebeast spoke to Pharrell about how he hopes to carry on Abloh’s legacy while moving forward with his own at the house and in a matter of conviction Pharrell said, “V’s legacy for me is something I want to hold up and always want to give reverence to while I’m at Vuitton.” Pharrell remembers the past, talking about when he first started with Marc Jacobs 20 years ago and the viral photo of Kanye West, himself and Abloh wearing the Millionaire sunglasses, “Never in a million years did I think I would be doing anything after sunglasses.” Pharrell talks about how when Abloh was appointed he felt that they were “intrinsically” tied.

In the conversation, the multihyphenate designer shares a story that highlights where he got the idea of “LVERS” and it starts with Abloh attending his first ever Something In The Water festival in his home of Virginia and later Pharrell going to Paris to support him when he was appointed at LV, “He came from Paris to VA. Paris to VA…and when I got appointed, I’m from VA and we went to Paris. In Virginia, our state slogan is ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ so when you see ‘lovers’ it’s where it all started.” It is evident that Pharrell holds Abloh close in everything that he does with the house of Louis Vuitton and that it is all tied together at the end of the day.

Under Abloh, skate culture has always been incorporated into his design ethos and Pharrell carried this on. Much of his influences continue on to footwear in the form of sneakers and bold patterns. Modern silhouettes adorned the runway to match the theme of Pharrell’s modern day dapper man. Versatile silhouettes take you to from beachy to formalwear in an instant, making it fit for the modern day businessman. Footwear saw exaggerated sandals and sneakers inspired by the formality of loafers arriving in vibrant hues. For the minimalist, the Damier pattern arrives on the suede mule in tonal camel brown. As for the beach theme, the island getaway fantasy was a common print on button down shirts, Keepall duffle bags as well as full suits. Staples including denim shirts, varsity jackets and more adorned Pharrell’s signature “LVers” motif, matching the drone show at the end where the text was seen in the sky.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Fashion Critics Will No Longer Wake Up For Less Than $10,000 A Day

At a late-evening show on the penultimate day of London Fashion Week, a staff writer at a competitor magazine turned around to me and said: “When am I going to be cast in something? What’s wrong with me?” Fitting, because he spent a large proportion of our conversation listing all of the times he had been included in street-style galleries recently. But this wasn’t a question of an outsized fashion ego. The past couple of seasons have seen a steady increase in the number of industry insiders taking turns on the catwalk. That an aspirant cool-kid journalist should be waiting in the wings for his big “debut” is now entirely plausible. There’s real kudos in being positioned as that kind of cultish figure on the scene.

This interaction took place weeks before fashion critic Cathy Horyn joined the cast of Demna’s spring/summer 2024 show at Balenciaga, alongside blogger Diane Pernet and publicist Robin Meason. The fashion designer Mowalola Ogunlesi then made a cameo in Mugler’s makeshift wind tunnel, following Sinéad O’Dwyer’s appearance at Chopova Lowena during London Fashion Week, while i-D writer Joe Bobowicz walked for Olly Shinder’s debut at Fashion East. His editor, Mahoro Seward, was cast on Chopova Lowena’s spring/summer 2023 catwalk, the same season that Acne Studios’s CMO and former Dazed editor-in-chief Isabella Burley was trundled out at Vaquera.

In casting members of their own professional (and social) circles, it would seem these designers have realised the value of running a fashion person’s fashion brand. “I think we all love an ‘if you know, you know’ moment,” says casting director Sarah Small of Good Catch, who works with Chopova Lowena. “And runways are perfect for this because you have the opportunity to bring a group of people together with shared attitudes. So it makes sense not to base casting decisions on aesthetics alone.” Small’s work (along with Emma Matell and Troy Fearn’s) has given rise to a new genre of model, one that puts an emphasis on street-cast faces: real, eccentric and often unpolished, revealing a sense of humanity beneath the clothes.

“Street casting has paved the way for less expected beauties to make an appearance on the runway,” she says. “It’s connected to, but different from, casting insider talent, which is more closely linked to what those people represent.” A co-sign from a well-respected name is perhaps worth more to a designer than hiring a professional billboard for a couple of minutes. It’s why Jo Ellison walked for Dolce & Gabbana in 2017 and Matthew Schneier walked for Vaquera in 2018. These relationships go deeper than those of a traditional model-designer set-up. It’s a dialogue. The same goes for Alexander McQueen, who modelled for Rei Kawakubo in ’97, and Martin Margiela for Jean Paul Gaultier in ’98.

And yet this all felt markedly different from those ’90s cameos. Since lockdown ended, celebrity, spectacle and the collision of the two have been central to fashion month’s rebooted IRL offering. The image of Dua Lipa licking her lips on the spring/summer 2022 Versace catwalk haunts me like a World War II flashback. See also: Balenciaga’s bomb craters and Bella Hadid clasping her breasts as a latex dress is sprayed onto her in real-time. The clothes have been just as attention-seeking. This shift has been met with scepticism from critics, who consider these antics concept-thin, attention-grabbing stunts. Case in point: the publicity-starved Tommy Ca$h aping as a homeless person at Y/Project.

But this season, it felt as though the industry was turning its gaze back on itself: presenting post-meme wardrobes on pre-Instagram models like Agyness Deyn and Malgosia Bela. There were some VIP cameos (among them Troye Sivan and Cailee Spaeny at Miu Miu, Angela Bassett and Paris Hilton at Mugler, and Mia Khalifa at KNWLS) but there were fewer headline-generating appearances. In general, the appetite for A-listers wasn’t quite there. “There will never be a time without models and celebrities, but once anything becomes conventional, it no longer creates the stimulus necessary for someone to pay attention,” says W David Marx, the author of Status and Culture. “And so you have to keep subverting those conventions.”

“The idea of using very attractive, model-like people has felt quite stale for a long time,” he continues. “So to use a different kind of person is a good marketing trick. Relevance is such a scarce currency at the moment, and there’s so few ways to drum up the right kind of attention.” Was Balenciaga’s SS24 casting an attempt at pandering to the fashion establishment? Even if the collection had lacked in substance (which it didn’t), the presence of Horyn would have bathed Demna in a halo of intellect. “It works both ways,” Marx adds. “The insider gets a level of fame they might not have had before, and the brand acquires relevance. Remember, not all insiders want to be hidden behind the scenes anymore.”

If someone wants to create a name for themselves, there is now an expectation to be an active participant in the fashion circus. Brands will continue to rely on celebrities to disseminate their message to as wide an audience as possible, but it’s perhaps a much nobler task to win the approval of the in-crowd. To cast an esteemed journalist over a famous supermodel is an explicit endorsement of the virtues they’re seen to uphold: knowledge and integrity and hard-won connoisseurship. It’s a small gesture, with enormous subtext for those who happen to be in the know. And if you don’t know? Well, you might look at the clothes these people are wearing instead.

Monday, November 27, 2023

The Surprising Return Of Analog Cameras

A generation used to unlimited access to information and tools is recovering the charm of objects that invite the opposite of smartphones’ immediacy. Interest in old-fashioned film cameras is increasing, especially for those whose childhoods are documented on film. “We take a lot of photos that last only until we change phones. But almost all of us keep albums from when we were little that are memories of our lives, places to return to and revisit,” say Cristóbal Benavente and Marta Arquero, managers of the Sales de Plata store, a stop for lovers of analog photography.

We are seeing a return to analog documentation of events: at festivals, people put away their cell phones and take out a disposable camera instead. Only once the film is developed does one encounter the final result, which becomes a treasure. Film photography is synonymous with beauty, melancholy and memory. It is also a limited service: since a film roll is not infinite, it forces photographers to choose with precision the moments to capture, creating an emotional bond with the subject, something which has been lost with smartphones. “Currently, we have images of absolutely everything we do and experience, whether it has value or not. Now, your wedding photos are interspersed with the image of the toast that you had for breakfast the previous week,” reflects Clara Sanz, Social Media Strategist at the creative agency Porque Pasado.

Normally, after taking a selfie or asking for a photo for a potential social media post, there is an almost obsessive scrutiny of all the supposed defects of the face and body. This image is studied from all angles and, on some occasions, editing and filters are used, modifying the people who appear in it beyond recognition. Researchers at the Boston Medical Center speak of “selfie dysmorphia,” referring to the disorder suffered by those who undergo plastic surgery with the purpose of looking like the version of themselves they see with social media filters.

Alternative social networks like BeReal, which was born in 2020 to fight against this lack of reality and the complexes that derive from Instagram and other applications, offer a less artificial option. Members of Generation Z, who have shown a clear concern for mental health, have embraced them. But, as Clara Sanz points out, “from the moment you can choose the moment to take the photo and you can repeat the image, it loses a bit of its meaning.”

Analog photos may not be perfect, and everyone may not look their most attractive. But they capture the memory of a certain moment and what it felt like then, as well as a window to understand how others see: “Analog photography is authenticity and reality. It’s seeing your birthday photos around a cake with a stain on the tablecloth. It is having chocolate on your cheek and remembering how much fun you had at those parties,” says Sanz.

These imperfections are what millennials miss so much. The youth of Generation Z long for what they never experienced. The rise of analog cameras comes as a response to the need for naturalness lost after so many years of feigned perfection. Photography once again becomes a means of expression and a tool to materialize memories. In the case of disposable cameras, there is also the added attraction of not knowing what the result will be like until the roll is developed, which for many young people is a totally new experience.

The owners of Sales de Plata say that they receive a lot of questions every day regarding the management and characteristics of cameras, since many people who are curious about the subject have never had contact with it before, not even as children. “The curious thing is that the question is very common among older people: does this still exist? There is a great difference in perspective according to age regarding analog photography: those who see it as a creative medium full of possibilities and those who experienced its decline in the early 2000s, sold all their equipment and feel that it is obsolete,” say Benavente and Arquero.

There are countless photo editing tools that create a vintage look. This fixation has existed for a while. Many young adults now remember those teenage years when they spent hours in front of the computer screen visiting Tumblr accounts where this aesthetic reigned. It was common to want to live inside the music videos for Lana Del Rey’s Video Games and Summertime Sadness, which were suffused with the romanticism of home videos, found footage — fake documentaries— and, in general, a nostalgic, dreamy atmosphere.

“Going back to the past means returning to comfort, to the familiar, to the place where one feels safe. Perhaps this explains why there are now young kids taking photos at trap concerts with cell phones from years ago and taking the trouble to transfer these photos to the computer. Or people shooting video clips with MiniDV cameras. It is the same type of nostalgia that Wim Wenders includes in the film Paris, Texas, scenes from years ago in Super 8 films: it takes us back,” conclude Benavente and Arquero.

Hashtags like #filmphotography have 40,764,153 followers on Instagram. In videos on social media, couples imitate photographs of their parents when they were their age, filling social networks with flashbacks to the 1980s and 1990s. “People want to feel natural again, to have references on which to base ourselves without fearing that everything is false. We are tired of not being able to believe what we see, of being bombarded with messages that are not real and that generate toxic feelings for no reason. I think it is a trend that should be maintained and promoted by all creators and that would give them added value,” says Sanz regarding the trend of images taken with analog cameras on social networks.

The analog camera industry experienced an evident decline with the arrival of digitalization. In 2012, the journalist Ramón Peco wondered in an article in this newspaper whether analog photography would survive. “It may seem like a romantic statement, and it probably is, but we must not forget that the photography business fuels many dreams. And for some, those dreams cannot be captured with digital technology,” he reflected at the time.

Maybe that is the crux of the matter. Charlotte Wells manages to capture all that melancholy with Sophie’s home videos in the film Aftersun. It is not a coincidence that a film about memory and the survival of images in the brain revolves around those files, nor that the memory of Sophie’s last night with her father in Turkey is an instant photograph taken with a Polaroid. That crucial moment, materialized with an analog camera, is physical proof that all those scenes existed, even though they are now blurred and confused with those in your mind. The Polaroid stops being an image and becomes a treasure, something that can still be touched when everything else is gone.

As Y2K becomes fashionable again, so has the use of digital cameras. Surely many millennials remember carrying one in their bag alongside their keys or mobile phone, as well as arriving home after a gathering with friends or a trip, plugging it into the computer and downloading all the photos. They may remember the flash that dyed the eyes red and the skin nuclear white. Celebrities like Paris Hilton carried them on their wrists. Now, social media influencers are recovering those cameras: they may appear in videos in which current couples imitate their parents’ photos, filling Instagram with a retro aesthetic thanks to digital cameras.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Would You Wear Louis Vuitton’s Optical Illusion Boots?

Lately, fashion loves to make you do a double take. Optical illusion attire has been all the rage on the runways, as designers have taken everyday silhouettes – hoodies, coats, heels – and given them a surreal twist. At Loewe, Jonathan Anderson has debuted dresses that are spray-painted to appear like smaller dresses; at Bottega Veneta, Matthieu Blazy created sock-boots, jeans and dress shirts that are (surprise!) actually made out of buttery leather. It’s been a chic game of trickery – and Louis Vuitton is the latest label to get on board. The French fashion house’s new stiletto pumps are, well, in fact not pumps at all.

Debuted during the label’s autumn/winter 2023 presentation in Paris, Louis Vuitton sent below-the-knee boots down the catwalk that are constructed to appear like a leg wearing white ribbed socks and black pumps, both of which have been hand-painted onto the upper. Dubbed the “Illusion High Boot”, the trompe l’oeil style comes in two different skin tones, and they retail for £1,880 (They even come in a calf-length version, too.) They’re a cheeky – if not provocative – shoe silhouette, but not out of line with Vuitton’s house codes, which are all about innovating in the leatherwork space.

Now, are the boots off-kilter? Definitely. Not everyone wants to wear a shoe that looks like something else. However, they do come at a time where unexpected shapes are ruling the accessories realm. Very on-trend. Have you seen Loewe’s make-up-brush heels? Or Balenciaga’s five-toe sheepskin booties? Or GCDS’s wedge pumps with built-in chrome teeth? If ready-to-wear is all about stealth wealth (where quietly luxurious brands, such as Phoebe Philo and The Row, designed by women for women, are dominating), then the shoe world is all about having a sense of humour, and injecting your look with a bit of kooky personality. Not everything can be so serious. To quote Sex and the City, “No one’s fun anymore! What ever happened to fun!”

Thursday, November 16, 2023

This Balenciaga Towel Skirt Will Make You Look Like You Just Hopped Out Of The Shower

From the brand that brought us the Croc heel and the bin bag handbag comes a £695 towel skirt. Balenciaga unveiled (or, perhaps, unrobed) their latest viral moment: a grey terry cloth towel worn as a unisex, mid-rise, knee-length skirt. The piece comes from the label’s spring/summer 2024 collection, however it did not seem to appear on the runway during the Paris Fashion Week show and appeared online for the first time this week. While it is made of towel material, it is fitted with two buttons and an internal belt and comes in beige, black and stone grey. What apparently sets this look apart from every other bath towel is the embroidered Balenciaga logo on the front of the skirt, and – perplexingly – the fact that it’s dry clean only.

Unsurprisingly, the towel skirt inspired many strong opinions on social media. “Remember someone actually pitched this idea, managers agreed to it, someone manufactured it, someone made the marketing for it, someone uploaded it on the website, and still no one thought this is a bad idea,” one person wrote on X. “I can literally buy one that looks like that for $15 at Kmart,” another added. Others, however, seemed to be here for the controversial item. “Oh I will be buying,” one user commented, while another wrote, “How much is the Black Friday price? Asking for a friend.”

The eyebrow-raising skirt comes months after Balenciaga’s creative director Demna told Vogue that he was planning to turn away from gimmicky pieces and pare down the brand’s image. “It’s a serious job, you know, to make clothes. It’s not about creating image or buzz or any of those things,” he said in a February interview.

And this may not consciously be a gimmick at all. While plenty have created memes of this look already, Balenciaga is far from the first to present towels as a high fashion item. For spring/summer 2020, Prada, Fendi and Ludovic de Saint Sernin sent towel skirts down the runway, while Miu Miu and Acne Studios did it in 2017 and 2015, respectively. In 2018, Donatella Versace even revived a butterfly-printed terry cloth ensemble from Gianni Versace’s 1995 collection. Marc Jacobs made a sequined take on a towel dress that was featured in the February 1989 issue of American Vogue.

The intimacy of wearing only a towel has long been captured by photographers and models. Scores of past issues of Vogue have featured models in various stages of the getting-ready process. A 1954 image by John Rawlings features a model posed in a strapless one-piece swimsuit with a white terry-cloth towel wrapped around her head. And in 1967, Franco Rubartelli caught Veruschka with just an orange towel and a string of beads. Arthur Elgort has also photographed the likes of Linda Evangelista and Patti Hansen in various states of undress – post skinny-dip or fresh out of the shower.

While towels have largely been associated with women’s getting-ready routines, Balenciaga joins in the long tradition of towel dressing, making it a genderless experience. For anyone with £695 to spare, that is.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Balenciaga Is Chic And A Little Street With SS24 Campaign

It’s no secret that Balenciaga remains one of the foremost houses in contemporary fashion – continuously crafting its own universe of styles that blend chic, couture, street and everything in between. Now the Paris-based luxury house has revealed its new Spring/Summer 2024 campaign.

Shot in an elegant Parisian apartment, the new campaign reveals Balenciaga’s air of chic refinement alongside subtle street stylings. But what remains impressive about its design skillset is the ability to blend the two style codes in blissfully tasteful ways. The lineup of shots reveals pieces like sleekly strong-shouldered overcoats paired with thigh-high moto boots, exaggeratedly oversized denim, cacoon coats, an eye-catching crystal dress, knitted dresses and more.

The star of the show is Michelle Yeoh, who is Balenciaga’s newest house ambassador. “Wearing Balenciaga makes me value the artistry and craftsmanship behind every piece,” said Yeoh. Alongside Yeoh, the campaign sees brand ambassador PP Krit Amnuaydechkorn and Balenciaga’s friends Malgosia Bela, Arthur Del Beato, Eva Herzigova, Soo Joo Park, and Khadim Sock. Alongside ready-to-wear pieces, the campaign also reveals bags like the Le Cagole Sling, 24/7, Crush, Crush Sling and Monaco.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Davide Renne, The Creative Director Of Moschino, Is Dead At 46

Davide Renne, the newly-appointed creative director of Moschino and former longstanding stalwart of the Gucci design team, has died today in Milan. He was 46.

Renne’s death after a “sudden illness” was confirmed by Moschino today. In a statement issued by its owner Aeffe, executive chairman Massimo Ferretti paid tribute to Renne: “Even though he was only with us for a very short time, Davide was able to immediately make himself loved and respected… Our deepest sympathies go to his family and friends.”

It is only 10 days since Renne assumed his new role as creative director of Moschino. When the appointment was announced last month he had said: “I can’t wait to begin.”

Last month’s elevation of Renne to the lead design role at Moschino by Ferretti was widely celebrated in the city’s close-knit fashion community, where he was extremely well-regarded. Renne had been due to present his first collection for the house next February.

Anticipating that moment, Renne had considered the legacy of Franco Moschino in a personal statement last month. He wrote: “Franco taught us that fashion cannot be explained, can only be lived because it’s essentially, intimately, about life – about the world around us. This is, to me, the poetry of fashion. I see fashion as a dialogue where the creation of beauty happens. So, thank you Mr Ferretti and thank you house of Moschino for giving me the keys to your playroom.”

“We still can’t believe what happened,” said Mr Ferretti today.

Before his recruitment to Moschino, Renne was a pivotal member of the design team at Gucci. He joined the Kering-owned house in 2004, working under both Frida Giannini and Alessandro Michele. He rose to the position of head of womenswear design, and had overseen the autumn/winter 2023 collection presented this February between the tenures of Michele and Sabato De Sarno.

In the personal statement that accompanied his appointment to Moschino’s creative director position, Renne had described his professional progress, noting: “Fashion, like life, is about discovering ourselves.” He was born and raised in the seaside town of Follonica, Tuscany. “I realised in high school while studying at Liceo Scientifico that for some mysterious reason I kept drawing women’s clothes,” he wrote. Renne studied his vocation at the Polimoda fashion school in Florence, an educational experience which he said: “endowed me with a sense of absolute freedom, paving the way for a journey of creativity that, I soon discovered, became my life.”

After graduation he moved to Milan, where he worked for four years in the studio of Alessandro Dell’Acqua, who he described as “my first teacher and mentor in fashion.”

In 2003 Renne briefly worked at Ruffo Research, a label whose other alumni include Nicolas Ghesquière, Sophia Kokosalaki and Riccardo Tisci, before his recruitment to Gucci. He wrote: “There, I spent the past eight years with Alessandro Michele who taught me to dream bigger and pushed me further ahead, and helped me to make my dreams come true.” Davide Renne, fashion designer, born July 7 1977; died November 10 2023.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Primark Launches Grinch Collaboration For Christmas

Can you feel the magic in the air? Michael Bublé is awakening from his deep slumber. Mariah Carey is dusting off her Christmas hat. East 17 are getting out their parkas. Yep, it’s time to put away the pumpkins and start reaching for the wreaths because Halloween has been and gone and the countdown to Christmas is well and truly on!

Now, not everyone properly embraces the Christmas spirit and some prefer to take a more curmudgeonly approach to the holiday season. Well, to celebrate these lovable grouches in our lives and because everyone deserves to feel seen this Christmas, Primark has teamed up with Dr. Seuss to launch its epic Grinch collaboration!

And this year, they’ve really gone all out. Including matching family pjs, Christmas jumpers and loungewear, the collection features pieces ranging from womenswear, menswear and accessories to home and gifting, so you can embrace your inner Grinch and steal the spotlight this Christmas. That’s your outfit sorted for the work’s Christmas party you’re being forced to go to!

Even the dog can get involved with outfits and bandana sets as well as a number of toys, inspired by the Grinch’s best four-legged friend Max.

Whether you’re buying for yourself or your favourite Grinch, items in the range start from just £1 and there really is something for everyone. After all, one man's toxic sludge is another man's potpourri!

And if dressing the part wasn't enough, Primark is offering customers in Birmingham and Edinburgh an immersive Grinch experience as the brand’s in-store cafés transform for the Christmas season. The Grinch Café will also be opening in Manchester from mid-November.

Until the 29th December, customers can relax (or seeth if you prefer!) in the green surroundings of The Grinch Café and enjoy a host of limited-edition menu items including a Grinchmas Shake made with mint ice cream and decorated in red sugar sprinkles, delicious Cindy Lou Who Waffles topped with vanilla ice cream, meringue and red velvet cake pieces and warming hot drinks including Orange and Salted Caramel Hot Chocolates.

The Grinch collection is available in Primark stores across all 16 markets from 23rd October. It is also available via Click and Collect; to browse the range and check your local store visit the website.

Meet Thebe Magugu

Ahead of hosting the launch of this year’s Confections x Collections at Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town, we spoke with South African designer Thebe Magugu about creativity and his career. Based in Johannesburg, Thebe launched his namesake label in 2016 and three years later won the 2019 LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize. Showcasing South African fashion to the world and supporting the next generation of talent is foundational to his work.

Growing up in Kimberley, South Africa, was a career in something creative always your dream?

Looking back now, I realise just how many things were in my head, you almost had to create your own reality in that sense. It was a small mining town and there weren’t a lot of opportunities to cultivate my creativity. I remember it quite fondly and I wouldn't change it for the world — I found creative outputs because there wasn't much else to do. When my Mum bought a satellite for our television and I watched MTV and FashionTV for the first time I was like: whatever this is, I want to be a part of it.

How do you want people to feel when they wear a Thebe Magugu design?

I think our industry is incredible in how it creates both characters and armour for people. I want my clothes to feel practical but also, I want them to be a way into a subject matter. Although some of my references can be very niche to South Africans or African people, I want everyone who wears my clothes to be curious about them and read through exactly what went into the thinking behind each garment, from the references to the motifs.

What do you think defines South African design and makes it so evocative?

It’s all about the juxtaposition. It doesn’t matter if it’s art, design, or photography — I feel like there’s always a tension. I think this is a result of our past and taking that history on, but it’s also a projection of what we want for the future.

Looking back on winning the LVMH prize in 2019, what does that mean to you now?

It was an incredible validation, especially because truthfully speaking, I felt quite out of place. Historically, design talent has been scouted predominantly from Europe — it's seldom from emerging markets, let alone the African continent. The way it gave me visibility made it possible for me to have a luxury brand in a place where the industry is in its infancy in many ways. You can be incredibly talented and create the most amazing dresses, but if no one knows about you… the award flies in the face of all that, so I’m very grateful.

What’s your favourite way to spend time in Cape Town?

I love the water, so I’m always drawn to the beach when I’m in Cape Town. I think the nightlife here is really important too. I look at what our music is doing all over the world, I can be in Paris, New York or London and our music is playing in the clubs.

You’ve been a guest at Mount Nelson many times, why is it so special to you?

Based on just the aesthetic alone, I'm a sucker for things that feel just a bit camp. The precision of all the details makes it feel like it was taken from another time and beautifully preserved. I think there are so many synergies between myself and Mount Nelson, actually. Dedication to an aesthetic and wanting quality no matter what is important to me. When I was last there, I was lucky to have a few days off work. I’m always thinking about something or doing something, so to get to be able to lie by the pool, relax in my room and sketch is very special.

This November you’ll be back at Mount Nelson to host the Confections X Collections launch event. What are you looking forward to most?

I’m so excited to host this year's launch event for Confections X Collections at Mount Nelson. The five designers are ones that I really admire, and I think supporting them is so important. I believe that once you’ve reached a certain place in your career you need to send the elevator back down to help other people in your industry.

Confections X Collections is putting good design in the spotlight and each of the designers is so different from one another — they lift up the idea of what South African fashion is. It’s so much bigger than just the event itself and will have a domino effect on the wider industry.

Where Anya Taylor-Joy Shops For Vintage, And How She Styles It

Anya Taylor-Joy shops for vintage in the packed booths at London’s Portobello Market, while she’s travelling to cities like Tokyo for work, and in her hometown of Los Angeles.

“I recently got an incredible Victorian mourning bracelet with a lock of hair inside from one of the stalls at Portobello,” the actor tells me over Zoom. “I want to put something different inside of it, but haven’t quite figured out whether I’m supposed to bury the hair to respect it or what. I love the history and the karmic energy behind vintage pieces like this. Everything has a story.”

Taylor-Joy’s obsession with vintage is apparent in everything from her beauty styling (which typically includes a mod feline flick) to her fashion choices (vintage Dior, Courrèges, and more), to her roles in The Queen’s Gambit and One Night in Soho, and her new partnership with Jaeger-LeCoultre, the 190-year-old watch maison. She was drawn to the brand in much the same way as she’s drawn to vintage pieces: “Because of its history, and I love that there is a story behind it.” A special favourite of hers is the Calibre 101 watch worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation, which she calls “a watch, but also stunningly beautiful jewellery”.

When at home in Los Angeles the actor spends time combing the racks of Aralda Vintage (“I’ve worn it a lot for press opportunities, it’s so well curated”), and when in Japan she picked up “the most incredible boiler suit that fits me so well” at Jarmusch.

“Anytime I’ve gone vintage shopping with a very specific idea in mind, I never end up with the thing that I wanted,” she says, with a laugh. “I think it’s part of the magic that garments find you.” What sets a “maybe” apart from a “must-buy” for Taylor-Joy is the wearability. “If I can put it on and it will elevate any outfit, it’s coming home with me. I bought a white pair of go-go boots recently and I’ve worn them to death because they spruce up every outfit immediately.”

When I mention the influence her costumes in Emma had on a supreme amount of dumb and difficult-to-wear vintage purchases I made, Taylor-Joy kindly offers some moral support. “Talking about dumb purchases: the amount of velvet vampire capes that I keep buying and trying,” she says. “Honestly, every time I’m about to go out, I’m like, ‘Maybe today is the day for this cape?’ But it’s never the day.”

Burberry To Open Knight Bar In New York

Burberry is taking its Streets project to New York, opening the Knight Bar, a temporary takeover of Temple Bar in NoHo, and recreating a small, quiet corner of London in the city that never sleeps.

For seven days, from Friday to Nov. 16, the bar will be decorated in a new Burberry red check and serve a special menu curated by Norman’s, the North London café famous for its English muffins, scrambled eggs, sausages, battered fish and hash browns.

Burberry will also host a special evening event at the bar on Thursday. Next door to the Knight Bar there will be a window installation that draws inspiration from a London street. It will also be decorated in the brand’s new red check.

The Knight Bar takes inspiration from designer Daniel Lee’s Knight bag for fall 2023, and the refreshed Equestrian Knight design, which has been part of the house’s archives since 1901.

“We are thrilled to announce the fourth installment of Burberry Streets, landing in New York for the holidays. Following successful events in London, Seoul and Shanghai, we’re looking forward to celebrating the season as well as the launch of the Knight bag at Knight Bar,” said Rod Manley, chief marketing officer for Burberry.

Inside Burberry’s Knight Bar.

Streets started in London in September, and later traveled to Seoul, where it offered fashion, food and special retail experiences showcasing Daniel Lee’s first collection for the brand. It later moved to Shanghai.

As reported, Burberry Streets is meant to draw attention to the fall collections; the brand’s British heritage, and its signature designs, which include the famed check in a new shade of cobalt blue; the English rose print, and the leaping Equestrian Knight.

During London Fashion Week, a traveling Norman’s food truck was park on The Strand in central London and on Duke of York Square on the King’s Road serving snacks and British breakfast classics to showgoers and members of the public.

There was even a little Norman’s food truck parked outside Burberry’s fashion show tent in Highbury Fields, north London.

Flags with Burberry’s new rose print were hoisted above Bond Street while the mega screens at Piccadilly Circus showed videos from the brand’s fall 2023 campaign.

The brand turned the Bond Street tube station into Burberry Street, wrapping it in the new blue branding and Equestrian Knight design.

In Seoul, Burberry launched a project called Seongsu Rose, which ran until Nov. 5.

The Seongsu Rose hub, at 73 Yeonmujang-gil Seongdong-gu, was located in a vast former factory space. At its center was the Petal Maze, an installation inspired by the English rose, a new motif that features big in Lee’s collections.

The interactive maze featured handcrafted, sculpted shapes such as petals, stems and leaves. They served as a backdrop for Burberry’s fall 2023 collection, with areas dedicated to shoes, bags and ready-to-wear.

Outside the main space there were two smaller pop-ups: Seongsu Shoe and Seongsu Bottle, offering footwear and hot water bottles, respectively, from the fall 2023 collection.

In addition, a purple rose print flew on flags and buildings on the streets of Seongsu, while Burberry symbols popped up in multiple locations across the capital.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

“Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” Is The Met Gala 2024 Theme

Cutting-edge curation and technology will together reveal precious masterpieces of fashion as they’ve never been seen before at next year’s Costume Institute exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Announced today, the spring 2024 exhibit will be entitled Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion. Approximately 250 items drawn from the Costume Institute’s permanent collection – some very rarely seen in public before – will be displayed in an entirely new way. Max Hollein, The Met’s Marina Kellen French Director and CEO, said: “This innovative show will push the boundaries of our imagination and invite us to experience many facets of a work, to learn more about its history, and, ultimately, to gain a deeper appreciation of its beauty.”

From a 17th-century English Elizabethan-era bodice to 21st-century acquisitions by designers including Phillip Lim, Stella McCartney, and Connor Ives, the core exhibit will span 400 years of history. Other pieces featured will include designs by Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, and many other canonical fashion creators. These will lie at the heart of a curation that aims to unstitch and enlighten our understanding of the natural world through the fashioning of dress and textiles.

Speaking in advance of this morning’s announcement, Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, said: “Fashion is one of the most emotional artistic forms because of its connection to the body. It is imbued with memory and emotions, and we relate to it very much via our senses. One thing I hope this show will activate is that sensorial appreciation of fashion.”

Bolton explained that the exhibition will be structured around approximately 50 historically significant and aesthetically beautiful pieces from the collection that are far too fragile ever to be worn again. “These are the ‘Sleeping Beauties’ of the title,” he said. Instead of fulfilling their original worn function, these pieces – including that Elizabethan bodice and a silk satin ballgown by the American couturier Charles Frederick Worth from 1877 that was the show’s original inspiration – will instead be transformed through display.

Many will be exhibited in tandem with contemporary fashion works that unwittingly echo their elders. The illusion technique known as Pepper’s ghost will be used to revivify some, while video animation, light projection, soundscaping, AI, CGI and other forms of sensory stimulation will be variously employed to weave a contextual fabric of understanding around each piece. Bolton added that the exhibition will be shaped around three main “zones” – Land, Sea and Sky – as it traces evolving attitudes to the natural world through craft and the manipulation of natural materials to create garments. He said: “It is very much an ode to nature and the emotional poetics of fashion.” The contemporary emphasis on sustainability and regenerative forms of production will be represented by recently acquired pieces from some of modern fashion’s most innovative creators.

Bolton has recruited the image maker Nick Knight, founder of SHOWstudio, as creative consultant on the visual presentation of the show while the artist Sissel Tolaas, known for her work with Demna at Balenciaga, has developed scents to accompany certain key installations. The exhibition’s spatial arrangement will be designed by the architecture firm Leong Leong in partnership with The Met’s Design Department.

Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion will be made possible by lead sponsor TikTok, with additional support from Loewe, as well as Condé Nast, the publisher of Vogue. It will run from May 10 to September 2 2024, and will open to the public following the May 6 Met Gala, which provides The Costume Institute with its primary source of funding for all activities.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Rebel: 30 Years Of London Fashion

London, a renowned incubator of cutting-edge design talent spanning multiple generations, has made an astonishing transformation in the last thirty years. It's hard to fathom that just three decades ago, the city's fashion industry was in a state of crisis, dismissed as a fashion wasteland by British fashion editors during collection season. However, a new exhibition, "Rebel: 30 Years of London Fashion," opening this Saturday at London's Design Museum, is a testament to how far the city's fashion scene has come.

In 1993, an article about an unknown designer named Alexander McQueen began with the line, "As usual at collection time," highlighting the skepticism towards London's fashion prowess. The same year marked the launch of the British Fashion Council's sponsorship initiative, which evolved into Newgen, a program aimed at supporting emerging fashion talent. Newgen has since played a pivotal role in catapulting the careers of designers like Kim Jones, Jonathan Anderson, Simone Rocha, and Grace Wales Bonner.

Sarah Mower, Vogue's chief critic and the guest curator of the exhibition, has not only witnessed this evolution but actively contributed to it. In recognition of her dedication to championing young designer talent, Mower will receive a special recognition award at the Fashion Awards in December. She acknowledges that people often ask her how London consistently produces remarkable individual designers, and the exhibition aims to provide an answer.

Collaborating with the Design Museum's senior curator, Rebecca Lewin, Mower has divided the exhibition into separate rooms that showcase the various factors fostering fearless innovation in British fashion. These spaces pay homage to the critical role of British arts education, the city's vibrant and fashion-forward nightlife, and the underground spaces and DIY spirit of its most electrifying fashion shows. Mower's intention is for the exhibition to capture the essence of the culture surrounding the clothes as much as the clothes themselves.

´One of the exhibition's most significant aspects is the technical prowess demonstrated by these garments, often created with limited resources by designers in their late teens or early twenties. Despite the challenges, London's designers have consistently pushed boundaries, a testament to their resilience and creativity.´ - Charles Daniel McDonald

The exhibition subtly frames London's success as a fashion capital within the context of education, inclusivity, and multiculturalism. At a time when arts and education funding faces cutbacks, and anti-immigration rhetoric looms large in Britain, the importance of these values cannot be overstated. Mower emphasizes that British arts education, which once offered free or grant-based opportunities, has been significantly eroded. She wants to underscore that talent is not determined by one's background or birthplace; London attracts individuals from around the world who come for the freedom to express their true selves.

The exhibition, designed to engage both those familiar with British fashion and newcomers, aims to inspire the next generation of creative minds and designers. Mower hopes that young visitors will see the extraordinary creations on display and realize that they too can pursue a career in fashion. It's a critical moment to reaffirm that creativity is a potent force in the country.

As we walk through the art-school room, Mower points out a poignant quote by the emerging designer Paolo Carzana: "Imagine you could be the one to change it all." The show's most exhilarating aspect is leaving with the knowledge that Newgen is thriving, with a new cohort of designers ready to debut at London Fashion Week, pushing the boundaries of fashion in a more responsible direction.

In celebration of this legacy and the spirit of London fashion, there will be a party where different generations can come together and mingle. What better way to honor London fashion than with a party, embodying the city's vibrant and ever-evolving creative energy?

Monday, October 30, 2023

Phoebe Philo: The Big Reveal

Philo facts first. Today, Monday, October 30, is offering up the first delivery of the first “edit” (A1, it’s called) of “a seasonless, continuous body of work” under the banner of the designer’s long-awaited, LVMH-backed namesake label.

There are 150 styles, priced both high and low, sold directly to customers (no wholesale) and produced in numbers “notably less than anticipated want,” according to a brand factsheet, which said the focus on scarcity is intended to create “a responsible balance between production and demand.” Sustainable, in other words. High margins, no unsold inventory. And a sense of urgency: grab ‘em or they’re gone. The second edit, A2, will follow in Spring 2024, with future edits to come at yet-to-be defined intervals.

Phoebe herself has always been positively sphinx-like about her motivations, and she’s not about to change the habits of a lifetime for today’s launch. Given the influence she came to wield during her decade-long tenure at Celine, the scaled-down specifics of her new incarnation are sure to raise all sorts of questions. She is, as usual, staying stumm. The obvious inference has always been that she’s happy to let the clothes do the talking.

On the evidence of her debut collection, I’m pretty sure that the designer’s ardently loyal constituency, the Philophiles who have been patiently waiting for something, anything, since Phoebe walked away from Celine in 2018, will also be happy with that arrangement, because the clothes are up for the conversation. There is no branding other than her name so discreet on a small label that it underscores her own instinctive reticence. But there is no such withholding in the sass and the scale of the vision.

One immediate and unexpected impression is rawness, with a confrontational sexual edge. Maybe that’s Philo’s acknowledgement of this increasingly uneasy world. Or maybe she’s digging up her roots, flaunting the flashiness of her youth in the face of all the Celine-weighted expectation (and tapping into the flow of a Nineties undercurrent). Trailing ripped and torn skirts border on punk (could also be a flamenco flourish — either way, there’s some passion at play). Flurries of ragged fringe chase seams. Trousers flout the soft bondage of wide-strapped legs. Some of the straps slip under the foot to form a stirrup.

Philo has toyed with the idea of restraint and release before, but there is bare-assed cheek here in the pants that unzip all the way up the back to the waistband. Choose to go all that way, and you could underpin them with a pair of studded short shorts to accentuate the buttage. Takes me back to Phoebe and her posse of hotties chooglin’ round West London in the mid-90s. This part of the collection sits with the Carrera-like, Miles-Davis-in-the-70s sunglasses as a reminder that Philo was street before she was chic. There’s also a solid ID necklace whose links spell MUM, and a silver pendant which secrets a lethal-looking toothpick.

For those who aren’t quite ready to rump-shake, familiarity awaits in the form of straightforward tailoring, almost normal, like a boiled wool trench and a long and strong-shouldered coat in black cashmere, slit high on the sides (a future staple of Philo’s own closet, I’d wager). A suit features a high-waisted, floor-length skirt as an alternative to trousers. Its deep back slit allows for a forceful Philophiliac stride. The jacket has a slight peak in the shoulder pads and a governess-y rigour. (A sly reminder, perhaps, that Philo has been corralling three kids through her career in fashion.) Tie the jacket around the waist and you’ve got yourself a bustle. Cut from a silvery wool, it has an alluring starkness. Same with a severe wool dress, slightly shaped, also riding a high back slit, or another dress, full-skirted with a slight lamb chop sleeve that has a distinct whiff of the Forties. I could see it paired with the elongated-toe pumps.

Less structured is a cargo-pocketed jacket-and-pant combination that could pass for a safari suit if you slap a wide belt round the waist. It’s showing in the khaki you’d expect. The drapiness harks back to the suits that Philo won hearts with, especially those pants of hers that puddled on the ground. She composes a slam-dunk pair of these from razor-thin, laser-cut strips of leather bonded on a transparent background for a plissé effect. For the launch, the pants are paired with a tailored jacket that flares architecturally from the waist. The yin and yang is a definite best-in-show.

And now an inevitable caveat. Because the launch is online only, the textures that are an important part of the story can only be guessed at from images — a mix of look book, portrait and mood. One showpiece is a huge, bouncy coat shaggily feathered in combed white viscose. Swan-like, it also comes in pale pink. Philo revisits the same feathery effect in a scaled-down version, more fluffy duckling than swan, as suits a fledgling collection (sorry, couldn’t resist the metaphor).

These baby birds sit next to substantial leather jackets nipped at the waist and wrapped in clip-on capelets with the incongruous heft of highwayman’s garb. Or maybe they’re a theatrical echo of fallen fashion idol Claude Montana, which would jibe with the impression that Philo is using her new freedom to explore ideas that were percolating long before Celine.

Oh, accessories, the commercial foundation of any modern fashion business. Structured quilted bags, massive leather totes, peep-toe shoes with maximum toe cleavage, fringed and tasselled footwear, and a delightful mule with an undulating sea urchin of leather fronding. There’s too much detail for the collection to be considered a blank slate of any kind. Think of it more as a tapestry out of which she will tease threads across her coming edits. And, bearing in mind the power of the unique connection Philo has with her fanbase, exactly how this will enhance that relationship is going to be the running watch-this-space story of the year to come.

Billie Eilish Is The First To Get Her Hands On Gucci’s New Vegan Horsebit Bag

When Gucci’s new creative director Sabato De Sarno unveiled his spring/summer 2024 collection last month, it represented a reinterpretation of the house’s codes, brought up to date for the modern day. The same can be said of the brand’s latest launch: its Horsebit 1955 bag, made using Demetra – a vegan alternative to leather.

Gucci is releasing two asymmetrical designs using the next-gen material: one in black and another monogrammed version, which also contains certified hemp and Econyl’s recycled nylon. It marks a major milestone for the brand’s sustainability efforts, given animal leather’s large carbon footprint.

The first to get her hands on the new bag? Billie Eilish, who has long been outspoken on environmental issues. “I am honoured to be part of Gucci’s evolution in rethinking tradition,” the singer, who stars in the brand’s new campaign, tells Vogue. “It’s a new understanding, and one that isn’t afraid to evolve in a new direction, that truly matters to me.”

Demetra, which has been developed in-house at Gucci, is 75 per cent plant-based, comprising responsibly sourced viscose, wood pulp, and non-GMO corn-based plastic – meaning that it has a lower impact when it comes to climate change and water usage. While the rest of the material is currently made from fossil fuel-derived synthetics (including the coating), Gucci is now looking at ways of increasing the percentage of bio-based inputs without reducing its durability.

Of course, Gucci isn’t the only luxury brand to explore vegan alternatives to leather. Back in 2021, Hermès partnered with MycoWorks to launch its Victoria shopper bag in Sylvania, a bio-based material made from mycelium, or mushroom roots. Meanwhile, Stella McCartney has worked with a range of new innovations, including Mylo, also made from mycelium, and Mirum, a 100 per cent bio-based alternative made from plants and minerals, including natural rubber, cork and coconut husks.

With many of these innovations, though, scale has been a problem. (Bolt Threads, the producer of Mylo, confirmed in June that it has now ceased production due to a lack of funding.) That’s what sets Demetra apart, according to Gucci. As the material is made from widely available inputs and involves a pre-existing tanning process, it doesn’t face the same challenges as other new-gen materials.

The launch of the Horsebit 1955 in Demetra comes after Gucci launched three sneaker styles in the leather alternative in 2021, with the fashion house now looking to expand its use of the material across its product categories. Could this mean a vegan version of its iconic Jackie bag is on its way? Watch this space.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Phyllis Cohen - Bowie To Blitz

When Phyllis Cohen, a graduate of an art school, embarked on her career as a makeup artist during the glamour-centric 1980s, her avant-garde makeup styles unquestionably drew attention. However, with the exception of a few forward-thinking editors and photographers, her creations didn't resonate with the majority. Despite her groundbreaking approach to makeup, which transformed faces into vivid, conceptual works of modern art rather than the meticulously powdered looks of her peers, fortuitous encounters with key creative figures of that era eventually led to an impressive list of credits. These included iconic Bowie album covers and fashion editorials for publications like Blitz. Now, through her newly established Instagram account, @phylliscohen_archives, this Canadian-born makeup artist is delving into her extensive portfolio to shed light on the inner workings of the 1980s fashion and beauty industry.

However, it's important to note that this Instagram account is not a mere showcase of her greatest achievements or a platform for highlighting the predominant trends of the era. Instead, Cohen's captions offer valuable insights into the social and industry changes that place her makeup artistry within the broader cultural context. In the following interview, Cohen discusses her significant contribution to makeup culture and reflects on the profound transformations the beauty industry has undergone.

What do you consider the turning point in your career?

One pivotal moment was when I collaborated with David Bowie on an Observer magazine cover. Prior to that, people often considered me eccentric because of my desire to turn makeup into an art form. This cover demonstrated that I could produce makeup that was both aesthetically pleasing and imaginative, which garnered me more respect in the industry.

Was it challenging to find like-minded individuals?

I had photographer friends from ArtCenter College of Design in California who were always willing to embark on unconventional projects with me. There were also a few magazines that understood my vision, such as Linea Italia, with whom I worked on a series of minimalistic images featuring only eyes against a white backdrop, inspired by Erwin Blumenfeld's 1950s Vogue cover. Harriet Jagger, a fashion editor from the Observer magazine, provided me with opportunities to experiment with makeup. My partnership with photographer Robyn Beeche was also pivotal; she was capturing the Blitz Kids and Zandra Rhodes' work. Working closely with women was unusual in the 1980s, as it was still largely a male-dominated field.

You mentioned on Instagram that by the late 1980s, the fashion world had shifted towards a more refined beauty aesthetic. How did this impact your career?

Before this period, I received numerous requests for editorial work, and editors allowed me the creative freedom to express myself. However, by 1987 or 1988, the demand for my unconventional approach dwindled. I became somewhat of a makeup outcast. Fashion evolves, and that's the nature of the industry.

So, what was your next step?

I decided to return to Goldsmiths to study fine art in depth and became deeply engrossed in conceptual art. I aimed to gain a profound understanding of beauty, its impact, our perception of it, and its significance. My research led me into the realm of perceptual science, which didn't directly translate into makeup-based artwork, but it revitalized my makeup career. I developed a keen interest in the semiotics of beauty and attempted to pitch stories to beauty editors about topics like the symbolism of red lips, although they didn't fully grasp the concept. I might have been ahead of my time with these broader ideas.

Where do you find inspiration?

I've consistently drawn inspiration from the art world. I adore the work of Jean Cocteau, including his films and drawings. Robyn Beeche introduced me to "The Recreation of the Triadic Ballet" by Oskar Schlemmer from the Bauhaus era, which truly fascinated me. I have an extensive collection of books at home, ranging from references on African makeup to decorative arts, which I find particularly inspiring. I also stay updated on the latest trends from fashion shows. While I do peruse Instagram occasionally, relying solely on social media can limit one's perspective.

What is your creative process like?

Research is a crucial aspect of my creative process and one of my favorite activities. When I'm seeking new ideas, I inundate my surroundings with visual inspirations. I cover every surface in my home with printouts, photographs, and other images, allowing me to immerse myself in them. By overloading my mind with visual stimuli, I create a reservoir of creativity that eventually finds its way into my work.

What motivated you to establish this Instagram archive?

I've noticed a significant amount of discussion on Instagram related to claims of plagiarism and disputes over who did something first. It's becoming somewhat excessive. For example, someone posted a lip look on Instagram that I had done back in the 1980s. Instead of asserting, "I did that first," I thought it would be more productive to post it and let people draw their own conclusions. Presently, there's an excessive focus on technique in makeup, often overshadowing creativity. Makeup has transformed into a technical exercise in replication. However, I believe that people appreciate the alternative perspective I offer. They enjoy hearing the stories behind my different looks and the creative processes involved.

Are there any parallels between the beauty world of the 1980s and today?

If I were 23 again, it would be wonderful to have a platform for all my creative ideas. I could easily film myself doing makeup in my bedroom, and with social media, you can always find your audience. However, I would miss the invaluable experiences gained from working with others. The most exciting ideas often emerge from collaborative efforts.

Who are some makeup artists that currently inspire you?

My contemporaries, such as Alex Box, Val Garland, and Pat McGrath, continue to inspire me. With the rise of the Instagram generation, everyone is compelled to carve out their niche, thinking more like fine artists. For instance, my friend Vanessa Davis (@the_wigs_and_makeup_manager) has made skulls her distinctive identity. With these new Instagram phenomena, people are fixated on youthful beauty. However, comparing them to someone like Kabuki, who has only around 50,000 Instagram followers, is unjust. He is a true genius.

Is there anything about the modern beauty industry that you find particularly problematic?

The issue of animal cruelty is alarming. I conducted research on the adhesives used in my brand, Face Lace, and when I contacted various manufacturers about their animal testing practices, they all indicated that they had conducted tests on their products years ago and had no intention of changing their formulas. When I reached out to certification bodies, they informed me that to obtain certification, I merely needed to state that I would not conduct animal testing from that point forward. People often overlook the fact that testing has already taken place. Even if you purchase a cruelty-free product today, further examination of its ingredients would likely reveal that at some point, one of those ingredients was tested on animals. It's a complex issue, and it seems like the industry is playing along, hoping that consumers won't take the time to investigate or ask questions.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Maggie Smith’s Loewe Campaign Is What Fashion Fans Needed

Few things are better than an unexpected casting choice. Think: Joan Didion’s turn as a Celine model, or Willem Dafoe walking for Prada’s fall 2012 men’s show. This week, Loewe debuted its new spring 2024 pre-collection campaign – and 88-year-old actor Maggie Smith stars at the centre of it. Alongside fashion fixtures such as Greta Lee, Josh O’Connor, and Taeyong, Smith proved to be the most refreshing cameo of all – because, let’s face it, did you really ever expect to see Professor McGonagall carrying a Puzzle bag?

Smith – who’s known for her legendary roles in the Harry Potter franchise and Downton Abbey, among others – wears thee distinctive looks, both photographed by Juergen Teller. In one, she sports a giant fuzzy coat with Loewe’s signature Puzzle bag. In another, she dons a white and black turtleneck dress with a ruffled skirt, holding the label’s Paseo bag. Fashion fans were instantly obsessed with her fabulous modelling skills. “Maggie Smith for Loewe is everything I never knew I needed,” wrote one user on X, formerly known as Twitter.

It’s not the first time a major fashion brand has cast a surprising figure in a campaign. Smith’s photos instantly drew comparisons to Didion’s 2015 ads for Celine, in which the iconic American writer sported the label’s giant sunglasses and sleek black turtleneck. “Maggie Smith for Loewe is Phoebe Philo Céline Joan Didion coded,” wrote another X user. Pamela Anderson also made internet waves last year, when she starred in a Jacquemus holiday campaign – marking the beginning of her fashion (and career) renaissance. There’s something especially imaginative about Smith’s high-fashion world, though. It goes to show that great style – and killer posing skills – are ageless.

Get Ready For Kylie Jenner’s Clothing Line

Kylie Jenner officially announced that she’s launching a clothing line by simply captioning an Instagram photo, “Meet Khy”. The reality star and beauty mogul posted a picture of herself wearing a leather trench, fresh from the forthcoming collection. The label’s just-launched site revealed a closer look at the design, a sleek black coat featuring a high collar, cinched waist, and oversized shoulders. “Coming soon,” the caption reads. “Sign up at” (As of now, users can sign up for “early access” to the collection on the website, though no official release date has been announced.)

It’s not surprising that Jenner is launching a clothing venture, considering that her sisters already have successful fashion businesses. Kim Kardashian has shapewear at Skims; Khloé Kardashian has denim at Good American. Puck’s Lauren Sherman reported in July that Jenner was working with Emma and Jens Grede – who also work with Kim, Khloé and their mother Kris on their businesses – on a fashion line. Sherman wrote that the idea was “not to be Shein – the controversial, wildly popular Chinese fast-fashion outfit – but to offer something better. (Responsibly sourced, less junky, nicer looking. The Gredes don’t do bargain-basement.)”

Jenner is no stranger to running a successful business: let us not forget Kylie Cosmetics, which launched in 2014 and propelled the TV star to billionaire status. It’s not even her first fashion brand. Back in 2012, Kylie and sister Kendall Jenner started their tween-friendly label Kendall and Kylie, which has since become a PacSun sub-brand.

Based on first impressions alone, it appears that Khy will have a polished, luxurious feel that’s reminiscent of the clothes at Balenciaga or Bottega Veneta. Still, it’s too early to tell quite what the collection will look like based on one coat (unless Jenner posts another fit pic in the days to come). If we had to guess, based on Jenner’s recent street style, we’d say Khy will be filled with form-fitting dresses – jersey and otherwise – minimalist blazers, and sheer prints. Guess we’ll find out soon.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Galerie Alice Pauli

In the heart of Lausanne, a city known for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant arts scene, Galerie Alice Pauli stands as a beacon of contemporary art. This prestigious gallery has become a sanctuary for art enthusiasts seeking to explore and appreciate the ever-evolving world of modern art. Galerie Alice Pauli is situated in a historic building that exudes a sense of timelessness, offering a captivating contrast to the bold and cutting-edge artworks it houses. The gallery's mission is clear: to provide a platform for emerging and established contemporary artists, and to offer an immersive experience to visitors who wish to engage with the art of our time.

Established in 1999, Galerie Alice Pauli has been a pioneering force in the contemporary art scene of Lausanne. The gallery's founder, Alice Pauli, is a visionary curator who has dedicated her career to promoting artists who push the boundaries of artistic expression. With a discerning eye for talent, Pauli has played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of numerous artists, many of whom have gone on to achieve international acclaim. One of the distinguishing features of Galerie Alice Pauli is its eclectic roster of artists. The gallery proudly represents a diverse group of talent, both Swiss and international, working in a range of mediums and styles. From avant-garde sculptures to thought-provoking installations, and from vivid abstract paintings to mesmerising digital art, Galerie Alice Pauli's collection is a reflection of the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary art.


Sophia Dubosc: Known for her striking mixed-media works that explore the complexities of identity and memory, Dubosc's pieces often incorporate found objects and a blend of traditional and unconventional materials.

Hugo Renard: A rising star in the world of digital art, Renard's interactive installations challenge our perceptions of technology and its relationship with the human experience.

Elsa Müller: Müller's paintings, characterised by bold and expressive brushwork, take inspiration from the natural world and offer a refreshing take on abstract expressionism.

Nina Choi: Choi's intricate sculptures, often composed of recycled materials, evoke a sense of whimsy and nostalgia while addressing themes of consumerism and sustainability.

´The gallery's commitment to showcasing cutting-edge art is exemplified through its dynamic exhibitions. Galerie Alice Pauli's carefully curated shows provide a space for artists to experiment and push their creative boundaries. Each exhibition is a journey into a different artistic realm, offering visitors a unique opportunity to engage with the art on a profound level.´ - Charles Daniel McDonald

Transcending Boundaries: This exhibition featured a series of installations by international artists, exploring the intersection of art, technology, and human connection.

Voyages of the Mind: A solo exhibition by Hugo Renard, this immersive showcase allowed visitors to step into a digital dreamscape, blurring the lines between reality and virtual reality.

Fragmented Memories: A group exhibition that delved into the power of found objects and their ability to evoke memories and stories, curated by the visionary Alice Pauli herself.


Galerie Alice Pauli is not just a space for viewing art; it is a hub for artistic discourse. The gallery regularly hosts artist talks, panel discussions, and workshops that encourage a deeper understanding of the works on display. These events offer visitors a chance to interact with the artists, gain insights into their creative processes, and engage in conversations about the broader themes and concepts in contemporary art. One of the remarkable aspects of Galerie Alice Pauli is its commitment to embracing innovation. The gallery continually adapts to the changing landscape of contemporary art, supporting artists who explore new media, technologies, and concepts. This willingness to evolve keeps the gallery at the forefront of the Lausanne art scene and positions it as a beacon for cutting-edge creativity.

For art enthusiasts seeking a journey into the captivating world of contemporary art, Galerie Alice Pauli is a must-visit destination. With its rich history, eclectic roster of artists, engaging exhibitions, and commitment to innovation, this gallery offers a truly immersive experience that transcends the boundaries of traditional art appreciation. In the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary art, Galerie Alice Pauli remains a steadfast advocate for artistic expression, pushing the boundaries of creativity and inviting visitors to explore the limitless possibilities of the art of our time. Whether you are an established art aficionado or a curious newcomer to the world of contemporary art, a visit to Galerie Alice Pauli is an opportunity to embark on a transformative journey through the vibrant and ever-changing landscape of contemporary art.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Blumarine And Creative Director Nicola Brognano Part Ways

Nicola Brognano is exiting Blumarine after four years as creative director. A successor has not been named. Brognano helped to breathe new life into the Italian fashion label, which hit a peak in the 1990s but lost traction in the 2010s. His debut collection for Blumarine – which revived the Y2K aesthetic it was once known for, with colourful crop tops, low waisted trousers and an iconic butterfly motif – went viral on TikTok. Its runway show last September was one of the hottest tickets in Milan.

“We are very happy with the work Nicola Brognano has done so far,” said Marco Marchi, founder of Eccellenze Italiane (the holding company that acquired Blumarine parent company Blufin Group in 2019) in a statement announcing his departure. Blumarine is the biggest brand in the Blufin portfolio, which also includes contemporary line Blugirl, childrenswear label Miss Blumarine and upmarket womenswear brand Anna Molinari. “Nicola has successfully interpreted Blumarine’s DNA, presenting it in an original and contemporary key and thus reviving sector and customer interest in the brand,” Marchi added.

Brognano began his career at Giambattista Valli after graduating from Milan’s Istituto Marangoni, eventually launching his own brand. In 2016, his eponymous label won Vogue Italia and Altaroma’s “Who is on Next” competition. Brognano’s brand has been put on pause since he joined Blumarine.

“Working as Blumarine’s creative director, a brand I have always followed with keen interest, has been profoundly enriching on a professional, creative and personal level,” said Brognano in a statement. “Shining the spotlight once again on the brand has been a unique and thrilling experience. I would like to thank Marco Marchi for this opportunity and my team for the extraordinary work we have done together.”

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Il Marchesato

Nestled in the enchanting landscape of Florence, Il Marchesato emerges as a beacon of timeless class and unparalleled craftsmanship in the realm of luxury. As the distinguished purveyor of handcrafted luxury umbrellas, the brand epitomises a bygone era when artistry, quality, and elegance were paramount in every creation. With a legacy spanning centuries and an unwavering dedication to the craft of designing exquisite, functional works of art, Il Marchesato has successfully redefined the concept of ´shelter from the elements´. Its rich heritage is deeply rooted in the heart of Tuscany, reflecting a storied lineage of artisanal brilliance. For generations, the Marchesi Gerini family has been at the helm of this revered institution, steadfastly upholding the legacy of masterful umbrella-making. Every piece that emerges from their workshop carries the torch of a proud history and is meticulously crafted to provide both shelter and style, without compromise.

At the heart of Il Marchesato's essence lies a commitment to traditional craftsmanship that reverberates through every painstakingly assembled umbrella. The meticulous process commences with the selection of the finest materials, where each element is chosen for its aesthetic and functional merits. From the opulent wooden handles to the sumptuous fabric canopies, these umbrellas are designed to be more than just protective shields against the elements; they are a seamless extension of one's personal style. In an age where mass production prevails, the brand stands as a testament to the beauty of handcrafting. The artisans work with unwavering dedication, meticulously assembling each umbrella using techniques passed down through generations. They painstakingly hand-stitch the fabric, ensuring precision and quality that no machine could replicate. It's a labour of love that extends to the finishing touches, such as the hand-carved wooden handles, which are sourced from the finest materials.


The Classic Collection pays homage to the timeless elegance of traditional umbrellas. Canopies are fashioned from luxurious fabrics like silk, cotton, and cashmere, offering an aesthetic experience akin to a tailored suit. These umbrellas are the embodiment of the traditional Italian art of understated luxury, exuding grace and sophistication. For those with a penchant for avant-garde design, the Contemporary Collection beckons. Crafted using innovative materials and modern aesthetics, these umbrellas redefine the boundaries of what a luxury accessory can be. The result is a fusion of utility and art, where the umbrella becomes a statement piece in its own right.

´Il Marchesato offers an array of umbrella collections, each exemplifying a distinct personality - from classic to contemporary, catering to the preferences of discerning individuals.´ - Charles Daniel McDonald

Additionally, the Bespoke Collection offers an unparalleled level of personalisation. Here, clients can collaborate with the artisans to create a completely unique umbrella that reflects their taste, lifestyle, and aspirations. From the choice of materials to the design of the canopy and even embroidery, every detail is curated to ensure that the final creation is a testament to your individuality. In an era marked by environmental consciousness, Il Marchesato places a strong emphasis on sustainability. The company takes great care to source materials that are ethically produced and eco-friendly. This commitment extends to the disposal of waste materials, which are recycled to minimise the impact on the environment.


Il Marchesato is a staunch advocate of preserving the tradition of craftsmanship, ensuring that these skills are passed on to the next generation of artisans. The company's dedication to ethical practices goes beyond the creation of umbrellas; it extends to the nurturing of the craftspeople who bring these works of art to life. To them, an umbrella is not merely an accessory; it is a statement of a refined lifestyle. It is a symbol of discernment, embodying a legacy of beauty and functionality that transcends time. An umbrella from this venerable brand is a lifetime investment, a loyal companion in moments of inclement weather, and a distinctive marker of luxury and taste.

Il Marchesato stands as an oasis of tradition and craftsmanship in the bustling landscape of luxury. In an age where convenience often overshadows artistry, this distinguished brand rekindles the romance of handcrafting, offering umbrellas that are not just utilitarian objects but expressions of individuality and elegance. Each umbrella is a testament to the enduring beauty of timeless design and meticulous craftsmanship. It is a symbol of the past, the present, and the future, an heirloom of luxury that transcends generations. The company's commitment to quality, sustainability, and personalisation makes it a pioneer in the world of luxury handcrafted umbrellas; a brand that is redefining the concept of shelter from the elements with an unswerving commitment to elegance and artistry.

Aire De Barcelona

Nestled within the vibrant heart of Barcelona, one finds the epitome of luxurious relaxation at AIRE Ancient Baths, a sublime oasis where the relentless march of time seems to halt, and serenity knows no bounds. Housed in a meticulously restored 18th-century warehouse, adjacent to the historic El Born Market, AIRE Barcelona is a sanctuary dedicated to the rejuvenation of both body and spirit. Here, one embarks on a profound journey back in time, evoking the cherished wellness rituals of ancient Ottoman, Greek, and Roman civilisations. These timeless traditions blend harmoniously with holistic therapies and the rejuvenating power of water, inviting each guest to rediscover the intimate connection between their physical and mental well-being.

Stepping into this tranquil realm is akin to entering a sanctuary, where the rituals of well-being and relaxation, spanning centuries, cocoon you in a tapestry of timeless tradition. This experience has been thoughtfully restored to meet the needs of today's busy and fatigued souls, offering an escape from the demands of the outside world.


Upon arrival, you are ushered into sumptuously appointed changing rooms, where you are welcomed with fresh robes, plush towels, and specialised footwear to be worn within the tranquil baths. The luxury and care lavished upon you set the tone for the entire experience. AIRE Barcelona pampers you with private shower rooms, opulent bath products, and professional grooming amenities, ensuring that you depart as comfortable and refreshed as when you first arrived.

Aesthetic grace infuses every facet of your journey, guided by the gentle, flickering illumination of candles. Upon entering the baths, you are led through each thermal pool, each one imparting unique benefits for different aspects of your well-being. From the Caldarium, where the water simmers at a toasty 40ºC, to the two Frigidariums, the Tepidarium, the Balneum with its myriad jets, the Vaporium, the Floatarium with its rejuvenating salt bath, and finally, a wine bath.


Privacy and tranquility are the cornerstones of this experience, with hidden chambers and concealed pools affording you the space to completely disconnect, all within the embrace of a no-mobile-phone policy. Every element within, from the fragrances to the sounds that envelop you in the thermal baths, has been meticulously designed to serve a purpose. Soothing meditation music graces every chamber, harmonising with the gentle symphony of running water, providing a therapeutic progression from mind to body.

´Surrounded by history and with a commitment to crafting a unique experience, your journey begins and ends in the soft glow of candlelight. Here, distractions are banished, and every sound has been meticulously curated to induce a profound sense of ASMR, coaxing each of your senses to take a well-deserved respite.´ - Charles Daniel McDonald

When selecting a Ritual for your AIRE experience, the staff offers expert guidance to suit your current state of being. On my visit, I was encouraged to indulge in the 'Ultimate Blossom Experience,' a unique offering that stands apart from the other treatments. Crafted from the essence of flowers, this ritual leads you towards complete renewal, a true reconnection with oneself. What sets this experience apart is its sensorial completeness, touching upon each of your five senses. Your journey commences with a tour of baths of varying temperatures to relax both body and mind, culminating in a sensation of floating weightlessly. Subsequently, I was directed to the Vaporium to prepare my skin for the upcoming stages.


Nestled in a candlelit waiting area, sipping on ice-cold water and delicate green tea, I embarked on the next stage of sensory delight. Scents and sounds engulfed my consciousness as the ritual unfolded on a heated marble bed, encouraging me to surrender to my surroundings and release any residual tension. The warm water drops cascading down my spine, preparing me for the next step: exfoliation.

A floral exfoliation ensued, employing Himalayan pink salt for cleansing and purification, and Kukui oil, renowned for its regenerative qualities, to leave my skin feeling utterly rejuvenated and velvety. After this, a jasmine and lotus mist enveloped my body, transforming the products used into a delicate floral oil in readiness for the final stage: a nurturing body massage and moisturising treatment. At this juncture, my senses had reached a state of unparalleled tranquility; I had never felt such profound serenity. The murmur of running water, accentuated at this point, further encouraged my open-mindedness.


The subsequent phase entailed a soothing body wrap mask, crafted from white clay and infused with sacred Hindu flowers. This mask, offering hydration and purification, served to refresh the skin, leaving it renewed and velvety. As the ritual concluded, a gentle head massage carried me deeper into the embrace of the warm marble bed. Upon its conclusion, a fresh juice rekindled my senses, and I left the marble beds feeling utterly reborn, more alert and rejuvenated than I had in months. The entire journey was a symphony of natural elements and botanical scents.

I entered the baths burdened by stress and feeling disconnected from myself, so the experience was gentle yet expertly tailored to address my specific needs. The thermal baths, in conjunction with the innovative 'Ultimate Blossom Experience,' worked wonders for both my mind and body, leaving me feeling rejuvenated, renewed, and profoundly serene. This is an experience to share with a loved one or relish as a personal indulgence. For an exquisite breath of fresh AIRE, 'The Ultimate Blossom Experience' at AIRE Barcelona is an unparalleled choice, a gateway to renewal and revitalisation.