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.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Sitges Film Festival 2023

The premier fantasy film festival on the global stage is returning for another exciting year, as Sitges transforms into a haven for film enthusiasts. Over the course of a week, this event promises an immersive experience with screenings, exhibitions, and presentations of fantasy films from around the world. With a strong history of delivering top-notch content, the festival provides a dynamic platform for networking, exhibitions, talks, and film screenings.

This renowned festival, initially established in 1968 as the "1st International Week of Fantasy and Horror Movies," has evolved into an indispensable gathering for film aficionados and audiences seeking fresh perspectives and cutting-edge technologies in the realm of cinema and audiovisual media.

The 56th edition of the festival will prominently feature Catalan and Spanish film productions. Notably, Paco Plaza is set to make a triumphant return to present the opening film, "Sister Death." Joining him are esteemed figures like Pablo Berger, Carlota Pereda, and Álex de la Iglesia, all poised to make a significant impact on this year's event.

Stepping beyond borders, the festival will showcase "Acid," a French fantastique film directed by Just Philippo. This thought-provoking film delves into the anxiety of survival in a world facing the wrath of nature. It paints a disconcerting picture where some humans have mutated into animals. In "The Animal Kingdom," a project by Thomas Cailey, starring Adèle Exarchopoulos and Romain Duris, we are thrust into a desperate and unsettling scenario. Sébastien Vanicek's "Vermin" will awaken our arachnophobia, while Stéphan Castang's "Vincent Must Die" narrates the harrowing drama of a man, portrayed brilliantly by Karim Leklou, who discovers one day that an unknown horde is out to end his life.

The festival will also host trend-setting films in the genre, including Cameron and Colin Cairnes' "Late Night with the Devil," Jason Yu's "Sleep," Weston Razooli's "Riddle of Fire," Christopher Murray's "Sorcery," Demián Rugna's "When Evil Lurks," and "Club Zero," featuring Mia Wasikowska, a controversial creation by Jessica Hausner, an established talent in European cinema.

Animation and documentaries will have a notable presence, with offerings like Tian Xiao Peng's "Deep Sea," Áron Gauder's "Four Souls of Coyote," Robert Morgan's "Stopmotion," and Eddie Alcazar's "Divinity," all set to astonish audiences with their exceptional animated sequences. In the non-fiction category, films such as David Gregory's "Enter the Clones of Bruce," Jeremy Coon and Steve Kozak's "A Disturbance in the Force," Sarah Appleton and Jasper Sharp's "The J-Horror Virus," and Yves Montmayeur's "Kaidan: Strange Stories of Japanese Ghosts" will pay homage to the enduring allure of Japanese horror for fans.

Each year, the charming town of Sitges eagerly anticipates its annual rendezvous with fans of the fantastic genre, the film industry, and the press. The festival seamlessly blends the best contemporary genre cinema with retrospectives of films that have left an indelible mark on the world of fantasy. Additionally, it pays tribute to individuals with a special connection to the fantastic genre, making it an event of unparalleled significance for cinephiles.

Moschino Names Davide Renne As Creative Director

Davide Renne is the new creative director at Moschino. The highly regarded Tuscan-born designer will start on 1 November, a statement from parent group Aeffe confirmed this morning. Massimo Ferretti, Aeffe’s executive chairman, said of the new hire: “We are confident that he will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of Moschino, a global house with an Italian heart.”

Renne, 46, has been the Milanese rumour mill’s favourite candidate to succeed Jeremy Scott as Moschino’s creative captain for several weeks. After an excellent decade at the helm, the American Scott left the role in March this year. This September’s show at Milan Fashion Week marked Moschino’s 40th anniversary with four stylist-designed capsules. Now Renne will become the house’s fourth lead designer, following Scott, Rossella Jardini and the founder, Franco Moschino.

Renne appears amply qualified for the role. Until recently, he was the head of womenswear design at Gucci. He rose to that position during nearly 20 years at the French-owned, Rome-based house that spanned the eras of both Alessandro Michele and Frida Giannini. In an autobiographical note, he writes of Michele: “He taught me to dream bigger and pushed me further ahead.” Renne joined Gucci in February 2004 after nearly four years working alongside Alessandro Dell’Acqua, who he describes as “my first teacher and mentor in fashion”. Renne is a graduate of the Polimoda fashion school in Florence.

Franco Moschino founded his eponymous label in 1983 at the encouragement of his then boss Gianni Versace. Aeffe, which had been founded by Massimo and Alberta Ferretti in 1980, produced the collections as a licensee from the outset. In the decade before his death in 1994 from complications due to Aids, Moschino defined some of the most irreverent and confoundingly subversive codes in all of fashion – chief amongst which was a burning disregard for fashion itself.

As he memorably told New York Magazine’s Michael Gross in 1989: “Fashion is absolutely tacky. Being fashionable is not positive at all. Fashion is over. Let’s talk about something worthwhile. Fashion kills people. It is fascism. As a designer, I have to convince you to change – to cut your hair, to change the frames of your glasses. You’re a creature of the fashion system, a Muppet, not yourself.” Moschino used his platform to promote environmental clothing manufacture and to decry racism while producing collections that combined dark humour, irreverent surrealism and – despite his protestations – compelling clothes design. Those codes were then carefully cultivated by his assistant-turned-successor Jardini before Scott arrived to add his adjacently counter-intuitive take.

This is the heritage that makes Moschino one of Milan’s most interesting and potential-rich houses. In his note, Renne shared a glimpse of his own philosophical approach, saying: “I dislike fashion that dictates answers – I’m more inclined to find the right question, then the answers come in the designer’s dialogue with our audience: fashion is inherently bespoke.” As for Moschino himself, Renne writes: “Franco ceases to appear an outlier only once you consider his work not outside but beyond the bounds of fashion, as a contemporary artist. He was the creator of an astonishing modern concept of luxury that still resonates today – his work is present even if he’s not here. 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.”

Massimo Ferretti added of Renne: “We have all been impressed by Davide’s extremely sophisticated vision of fashion’s power to create a living dialogue with the world around us and by his deep understanding of the House of Moschino’s legacy and of our codes.” Renne’s first collection for Moschino will show at Milan Fashion Week in February 2024.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Clever Clothing

With a simple push of a button, the interactive attire developed by Project Primrose, adorned with an intricate scale pattern, initiated a mesmerising metamorphosis in response to the directives of research scientist Christine Dierk. The unveiling of Project Primrose at Adobe MAX 2023 in Los Angeles set the audience abuzz with excitement, as Adobe introduced a groundbreaking interactive dress capable of near-instantaneous design and style alterations.


The captivating demonstration, guided by Dierk herself, left onlookers astounded. Upon the button's activation, Project Primrose's interactive dress, adorned with its distinctive scales, embarked on an uninterrupted transformation, all orchestrated by Dierk's commands. The allure of this innovation extends beyond mere visual appeal. The garment possesses the ability to sense the wearer's movements, prompting the design to gracefully ebb and flow in harmony with the individual's actions. This pioneering technology beckons a fresh era of possibilities in the realm of fashion and wearable technology.

´Project Primrose was conceived with a vision – to create interactive attire constructed from non-emissive textiles, designed to be worn, adjusted, and manipulated like a blank canvas, ripe for the creative expressions of designers and content creators.´ - Charles Daniel McDonald

Adobe, in collaboration with Dierk, affirms that Project Primrose users can project content generated using Adobe Firefly, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Stock, and Adobe Illustrator across the entirety of the scaled dress's surface. This capability empowers them to breathe life into their cherished designs swiftly, introducing animation and dynamism to their creations. Moreover, the project aspires to infuse technology into clothing, furniture, and various surfaces, thereby unlocking an array of limitless style possibilities.

Dierk disclosed that her research team had published studies in 2022, focusing on reflective light-diffuser modules tailored for non-emissive flexible display systems. This preliminary work paved the way for the grand revelation of the interactive dress at Adobe MAX 2023. Adobe's Project Primrose, characterised by its non-emissive nature, exhibits remarkable responsiveness to external influences, functioning as a versatile canvas for innovative designs or an energy-efficient billboard for text-based advertisements. Notably, this material can be sculpted into diverse shapes while dynamically diffusing light. Researchers had previously integrated this technology into fabrics such as handbags, but with the introduction of the dress, Adobe's Project Primrose emerges as a potential transformative force within the creative industries, offering a myriad of inventive possibilities.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Tom Ford Lite

In a much-anticipated fashion moment, Peter Hawkings took his bow on the Tom Ford runway, marking his debut with a collection that could be described as "Tom Ford lite." The runway spectacle echoed the hedonistic heydays of Tom Ford's reign at Gucci in the '90s, a period revered by those within the fashion industry. Hawkings' presentation was a nostalgic trip down memory lane, a reminiscence of the era when icons like Amber Valletta sashayed in slinky white jersey gowns and Gwyneth Paltrow redefined elegance in velvet pantsuits. This era revitalised the spirit of '60s and '70s glam, seamlessly blending into a new age of fashion. However, some felt it lacked the unmistakable showmanship and polish that had come to be associated with Ford.


Backstage, Hawkings, who had worked side by side with Ford for 25 years, playing a significant role in designing menswear for both Gucci and Ford's eponymous label, expressed his desire to craft his own narrative. He spoke passionately about his disinterest in oversized garments, underscoring the importance of showcasing the body's elegance, evident in the collection's impeccable fit. His meticulous nature was evident in every detail, from bags to hardware. Hawkings took particular pride in revamping the shoe line, with a complete overhaul that encompassed manufacturing, comfort, and design. Collaborating with Zegna, the licensee for Tom Ford's women's and menswear, as well as accessories under the umbrella of brand owner The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., Hawkings introduced fabrics developed exclusively for the collection. This offering paid homage to the legendary Donyale Luna, the Detroit-born Black supermodel, through leather jackets, side-slit skirts, threadwork dresses, fringed gold minis, and silk shirts provocatively unbuttoned.


´Peter Hawkings' Tom Ford debut unites timeless elegance with a touch of nostalgia, rekindling the essence of an iconic era in fashion. As he weaves the past with the present, a new narrative is born.´ - Charles Daniel McDonald


Hawkings breathed new life into Ford's iconic velvet pantsuits, infusing them with a touch of cheeky short-shorts. He also revisited the signature slinky jersey dresses, adorned with keyhole cutouts, open backs, and gold buckles. While Ford's appreciation for the '60s and '70s was rooted in the extravagance of Studio 54, Hawkings' inspiration was drawn from his mother's creativity during that era. "I remember her creating amazing patterns," he fondly recalled. "We didn't come from a privileged background – my dad was a builder, and my mom was a nurse. But she would buy those YSL Vogue patterns; she always cared about her presentation. That's what attracted me to work with Tom all those years ago."


Hawkings envisions a harmonious blend of Tom Ford's women's and men's lines. "There's been a disconnect in the past with Tom and his team based in L.A.," explained the London-based designer. He bridged this gap with masterful tailoring, a shared vivid colour palette, and glistening metallic accents. The overall collection exuded a controlled, commercial sensibility, exemplified by the bread-and-butter eyewear sported by every model (crafted by licensee Marcolin). This collection is sure to resonate with those seeking to relive Tom Ford's iconic moments without the need to scour the vintage market. Yet, as Hawkings matures into his role, there's hope that he'll infuse more of his own creative spark into the brand.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Gucci Ancora

Sabato De Sarno was determined to bring Gucci back to the streets, quite literally, with a runway show set against the vibrant backdrop of Milan's Brera district. While impending rain thwarted his open-air runway debut, it certainly didn't dampen his creative vision. In his debut as the torchbearer of the iconic fashion house, De Sarno paid homage to Gucci's rich heritage while charting his unique path. He unveiled an array of sassy, leggy ensembles that the fashion-forward youth of today would proudly flaunt on the streets, or more glamorously, while stepping out of sleek black cars. The spirit of this collection, expertly captured through the lens of the next-gen Ron Galella, left an indelible mark.


Embracing the prevailing trend of clean and elegant daywear as witnessed at Prada and other prominent fashion houses, De Sarno's vision marries the 1960s with the spirit of the 1990s. His collection featured tailored coats that exuded an air of timeless sophistication, super-short shorts, charming logo rompers and jumpers, figure-hugging tanks and knit sets, as well as relaxed, baggy jeans paired with crystal-studded bra tops. The celebrity turnout backstage spoke volumes about the collection's success, with stars like Kendall Jenner offering congratulations to the designer. Her partner, the renowned Bad Bunny, was in close proximity, and the ever-dapper Ryan Gosling patiently awaited his turn to exchange pleasantries with De Sarno, even taking a moment to pose with the designer's parents. Amidst the buzz, Julia Roberts found herself almost engulfed in the adoring crowd, while Mark Ronson, the musical genius behind the show, stretched across shoulders to greet and commend the designer.


De Sarno christened this collection "Ancora," translating to "again" in English. In his own words, "Ancora is a word that you use when your desire is not over yet, whether it's a kiss, an embrace, or making love; it's as if you own something and you want more of it. I wanted to fall in love with fashion all over again - ancora." Drawing a star-studded front row, the fashion show boasted appearances by luminaries such as Jessica Chastain, Julia Garner, Jodie Comer, Halle Bailey, Jodie Turner-Smith, and the ever-stunning model Daria Werbowy, the face of De Sarno's teaser campaign, who graced the occasion in a black bikini bottom adorned with the iconic GG gold monogram.


´In the heart of Milan's streets, Gucci's 'Ancora' collection, as if spoken in the language of desire, invites us to fall in love with fashion all over again.´ - Sabato De Sarno


Pierpaolo Piccioli, De Sarno's former mentor at Valentino, was also present, showing unwavering support. As he commented, "I already know what I expect to see... and I'm very proud. He's the best choice." De Sarno transformed iconic Gucci elements, miniaturising the Jackie and bamboo bags, elevating the Gucci loafer into a stylish platform, and introducing a new house colour, a rich Rosso Ancora red. This shade was inspired by the walls of The Savoy hotel's staff elevator in London, where the founder, Guccio Gucci, once worked as a porter in the late 19th century, igniting his passion to create a luggage brand.


Hidden within the collection's details were subtle references to Gucci's illustrious heritage. Embroideries inspired by '50s era Gucci clutches brought to life crystal-covered baby-doll dresses, tailored skirts, and coats adorned with delicate crystal fringe. The Marina Chain jewellery from the late 1960s appeared throughout, adorning the collection with striking gold statement necklaces and chain slingback pumps. The iconic red-and-green Gucci stripes made surprise appearances, peeking out from the back slits of coats and skirts. In the lead-up to the show, Gucci's Instagram underwent a clean slate, signaling a fresh chapter for the brand. De Sarno tantalised his own followers with a glimpse of what was to come, including Werbowy's striking Gucci jewellery campaign shot at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, a location set to host the LACMA Art + Film Gala in November and grace the attire of numerous celebrities.


In addition to De Sarno's triumphant debut, Gucci is in the midst of significant changes in its C-suite, with Marco Bizzarri, the long-time president and star CEO, stepping down, ushering in a period of transition. Jean-François Palus, Managing Director of Kering Group, assumes interim leadership. François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of Kering, has disclosed the group's intent to commence the search for a permanent Gucci CEO in the near future, with an open-minded approach to candidates from beyond the traditional realms of luxury fashion. The road ahead for Gucci's new leadership involves the challenging task of restoring the brand to a path of growth. As Kering's largest revenue-generating brand, Gucci's resurgence is of paramount importance. De Sarno's immaculate debut collection, a clean sweep of style and substance, serves as a promising stepping stone in this renaissance.

Subtle Saint Laurent

In the ever-evolving world of fashion, success is often measured by the ability to leave a lasting impression, etching the show's memory into our minds with a captivating silhouette and a striking setting. Anthony Vaccarello, the brilliant mind behind Saint Laurent, has masterfully curated this template with his laser-focused spectacles, consistently staged against the iconic backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, while never failing to deliver a bold and unforgettable fashion statement. For Spring 2024, Vaccarello distilled his creative genius into two simple words: cotton and stone. These were the primary materials not only for the stunning garments but also for the breathtaking marble set, which soared high above the lush lawns of the Champ de Mars.

This collection marked a significant departure for Saint Laurent, a brand historically associated with elegant, predominantly black evening attire. However, this season, the runway showcased an array of daytime ensembles, predominantly loose-fitting and adorned in a spectrum of warm, spice-rack hues. Cargo pants even made an appearance, heralding a refreshing twist. Intriguingly, Vaccarello's vision harkened back to the foundations of Saint Laurent, revisiting the pioneering 1960s creations that included the iconic safari jacket, jumpsuits, and a delightful array of pants.

´Clothing should be a canvas for self-expression and an homage to the fearless spirits who carved their names in history. Saint Laurent's Spring 2024 collection celebrates the elegance of simplicity, where cotton and stone weave tales of pioneering women and modern allure.´ - Anthony Vaccarello

Speaking backstage before the show, Vaccarello articulated his vision: "I aimed for simplicity this season, departing from opulent materials and ostentation. This time, there are no suits; it's quite the opposite of the previous season." As grain de poudre stepped aside, gabardine took the spotlight. While cotton sportswear may not be Vaccarello's usual terrain, he daringly undertook the challenge of elevating uncomplicated silhouettes with everyday materials, emphasising that it's all about achieving the perfect proportions.

This collection drew inspiration from trailblazing women, particularly from the realms of race car driving and aviation, exemplified by luminaries such as Amelia Earhart and Adrienne Bolland. This influence was evident in the small leather helmets, statement gloves, and an abundance of zip-front boiler suits, each cinched with a molten caramel-hued high-heel slingback. One thing that remained unchanged was the signature allure and polished demeanor synonymous with Saint Laurent sirens, evoking memories of silver screen legends like Catherine Deneuve, who graced the screens as the most glamorous vampire in 1983's "The Hunger." Each look was impeccably completed with slicked-back hair, smoky eyes, vibrant red lips, and statement bangles and earrings.


Saint Laurent has consistently maintained its dominance within the Kering portfolio in recent years, boasting a 7 percent surge in organic sales during the second quarter of 2023. The brand continues to astound with its lavish boutiques, and word on the street is that the colossal Champs-Élysées flagship under construction will incorporate elements of the stone marvel that graced the Spring 2024 runway, followed closely by a touch of cotton.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

De Gournay

In the world of interior design, where trends come and go and styles evolve with each passing season, one name stands out as a beacon of timeless elegance and luxury: De Gournay. For over three decades, this iconic brand has been creating bespoke hand-painted wallpapers and artisanal interior decorations that elevate homes and spaces to the pinnacle of sophistication. With a rich history, unparalleled craftsmanship, and an unswerving commitment to beauty, De Gournay has become synonymous with the epitome of high-end design.


The story begins in the early 1980s when Claud Cecil Gurney, the founder and visionary behind the brand, embarked on a journey to revive the art of hand-painted wallpapers. Inspired by the exquisite Chinoiserie wallpapers that graced the grand homes of Europe in the 18th century, Gurney saw an opportunity to revive this forgotten art form. One of the most remarkable aspects of De Gournay's work is the meticulous attention to detail as every wallpaper is hand-painted by skilled artists and the level of artistry on display is unparalleled. Each brushstroke, each hue, and each motif is executed with precision, creating a visual symphony that transforms any space into a work of art.

The process begins with the selection of the finest materials, from the silkiest hand-painted silk wallpapers to the crispest hand-carved wooden panels. The artisans then hand-mix pigments to create custom colours, ensuring that each piece is truly one-of-a-kind. From there, the painting process begins, with artists carefully bringing the design to life with unparalleled skill and dedication. It can take weeks, or even months, to complete a single panel, depending on the complexity of the design. One of De Gournay's signature styles is the Chinoiserie, a nod to the East-meets-West aesthetic that was so beloved in European salons of the 18th century. These wallpapers often feature delicate birds, intricate florals, and idyllic landscapes, which are all painstakingly rendered by hand. The result is a breathtaking fusion of art and interior design and a testament to the enduring appeal of this timeless style.


Chinoiserie has long been a hallmark of the company´s work, and it's a style that continues to captivate interior designers and homeowners alike. The Chinoiserie designs, inspired by Chinese and East Asian motifs, have a unique ability to transport you to a different time and place. With their rich colours and intricate patterns, they infuse any space with a sense of exoticism and opulence. One of the most iconic Chinoiserie designs in their repertoire is the "Earlham" design. This particular motif features elegant cranes, flowering trees, and tranquil waters, all rendered in exquisite detail. The Earlham design graces the walls of countless luxury homes and hotels around the world, a testament to its enduring popularity and timeless appeal.

´Today, De Gournay has firmly established itself as a global leader in luxury interior design. Each piece is crafted with the utmost care and precision, a true labour of love that combines the skills of master artisans with a profound appreciation for history and culture.´ - Charles Daniel McDonald

De Gournay's commitment to customisation is another facet of its unparalleled luxury. Clients can work closely with the brand's artisans and designers to create completely bespoke pieces that suit their individual tastes and spaces. Whether it's adapting an existing design or crafting something entirely new, the possibilities are limited only by the imagination. The brand also offers a vast array of materials to choose from, including luxurious silks, fine linens, and even leather. This extensive selection allows clients to create wallpapers and decorations that not only complement their existing decor but also reflect their unique style and personality.


De Gournay's reach extends far beyond its London headquarters. With showrooms and workshops around the world, the brand has a global presence that caters to a diverse clientele. Whether you're in New York, Paris, Hong Kong, or Dubai, you can experience their timeless artistry up close and personal. Each location offers a curated selection of their designs, providing clients with the opportunity to see and touch the materials and gain inspiration for their own projects. In addition to showrooms, De Gournay also collaborates with top interior designers and architects worldwide to create stunning installations in some of the most prestigious homes and hotels across the world.

In an era of growing environmental consciousness, De Gournay is also committed to sustainable luxury. The brand sources its materials responsibly and employs traditional techniques that minimise environmental impact. The longevity of their products and ability to stand the test of time both in terms of design and durability, is an inherently sustainable approach to interior design. As we reflect on the legacy of De Gournay, it's clear that this iconic brand has redefined the world of interior design. Its dedication to craftsmanship, commitment to beauty, and timeless aesthetic has left an indelible mark on the industry. Here hand-painted wallpapers and artisanal decorations are not mere furnishings; they are works of art that tell a story of tradition, elegance, and luxury.


In a world where trends may come and go, De Gournay's creations endure - gracing the walls of private homes and commercial institutions with their timeless beauty. With each brushstroke, they continue to capture the essence of luxury, proving that true artistry knows no bounds and that beauty, when crafted with care and dedication, is eternal.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Orsoni Venezia 1888

Amidst the enchanting canaled streets of Venice, where history and artistry coalesce into a timeless tapestry, one name resonates with reverence and creative mastery—Orsoni Venezia 1888. This venerable atelier, founded in the 18th century by Angelo Orsoni, has remained an enduring emblem of Venetian craftsmanship and ingenuity. Its exquisite mosaic creations, meticulously handcrafted using age-old techniques, continue to captivate the world, rendering Orsoni a cornerstone of Venetian artistic heritage. The saga of Orsoni began in the late 19th century when Angelo Orsoni embarked on a journey to craft exquisite mosaics that would epitomise the spirit of Venice. Renowned for its opulent history and enduring charm, Venice was an impeccable muse for Angelo. He dreamt of capturing the city's ethereal beauty and mystique in the form of luminous glass and gold tesserae, or mosaic tiles.


Orsoni's artisanal legacy was further enriched when Angelo's son took the reins. Angelo Jr. expanded the atelier's capabilities, fostering collaborations with prominent artists and designers. This dynamic fusion of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary innovation catapulted Orsoni into a realm of unrivaled excellence. At the heart of Orsoni's exceptional artistry lies a painstaking process that has been handed down through generations. Each mosaic piece is composed of the finest Murano glass, tessellated into intricate patterns that enchant the beholder. But it's the Orsoni secret sauce—the method of fusing gold leaf between two layers of glass—that imparts an otherworldly luminosity to their creations.

This technique, known as "smalto di Venezia," marries time-honored craftsmanship with the ethereal essence of Venetian culture. It is a process that requires not only impeccable skill but also a deep reverence for tradition and art. The result is a mesmerising mosaic that shimmers with the iridescence of the Venetian lagoon. While rooted in tradition, Orsoni Venezia 1888 has embraced the evolution of design and aesthetics. Collaborations with contemporary artists and designers have propelled their work into the modern era, allowing the atelier to reinterpret classic themes in innovative ways, several of which you may be surprised to recognise.


Orsoni's contemporary mosaics, featuring bold colour palettes and geometric patterns, challenge convention while paying homage to their rich heritage. These designs seamlessly transition from traditional palazzos to cutting-edge urban spaces, encapsulating the adaptability and timelessness of their craft. One of the pivotal aspects of Orsoni's success is its unwavering commitment to fostering collaborations with artists who share their passion for mosaic art. Visionaries such as Emilio Vedova, Marc Chagall, and Lucio Fontana have graced Orsoni's studio with their creative genius, resulting in mosaic masterpieces that blur the lines between art and craft.

´Orsoni Venezia 1888 is a true testament to the harmonious fusion of tradition and innovation. With a legacy dating back to 1888, this venerable institution has continually evolved while remaining steadfast in its commitment to the timeless art of mosaic craftsmanship
.´ - Charles Daniel McDonald

One notable partnership was with renowned contemporary artist Chuck Close. His astonishingly detailed self-portrait mosaic, an impressive 8 feet tall, stands as a testament to Orsoni's ability to translate complex artistic visions into timeless mosaic art. Visiting the Orsoni Atelier in Venice is akin to embarking on a journey through time and artistry. Situated in a historic building, the atelier is a living museum, a sanctuary of mosaic craftsmanship where the legacy of Angelo Orsoni continues to flourish.


Visitors can witness the mosaic-making process firsthand, observing artisans meticulously shaping each tessera with precision. The workshop's shelves are adorned with glass jars filled with a kaleidoscope of colors, a testament to the infinite possibilities that Orsoni's mosaic palette offers. Orsoni's creations grace some of the world's most iconic landmarks and architectural marvels. From the grandeur of the Westminster Cathedral in London to the opulence of the Four Seasons Hotel in Florence, Orsoni's mosaics have left an indelible mark on the world of design and architecture.

Perhaps most iconic is the mosaic adorning the dome of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. Orsoni's artisans meticulously restored this masterpiece, ensuring that the luminosity of Venice's artistic heritage continues to enchant visitors from around the globe. For those inspired by the allure of mosaic artistry, Orsoni offers workshops that provide an intimate immersion into their craft. These workshops, conducted by skilled artisans, provide enthusiasts with the opportunity to create their own mosaic masterpiece using the same techniques that have defined Orsoni for over a century.


Participants are guided through the process, from selecting materials to the meticulous placement of each tessera. The workshops offer a profound appreciation for the art form's intricacies and the dedication required to achieve mosaic mastery. In an era of rapid change and disposable art, Orsoni Venezia 1888 stands as an enduring testament to the timeless marriage of tradition and innovation. Their mosaics, whether gracing the dome of a cathedral or adorning a contemporary space, continue to evoke the splendor of Venice and the spirit of artistic excellence. As you wander through the storied streets of Venice, take a moment to reflect on the iridescent beauty that Orsoni's mosaics bestow upon this captivating city. Each piece, infused with the soul of Venice, whispers the story of a legacy that has transcended time and a tale that has been woven into the very fabric of this enchanting city, of when water met fire.

Mode Et Sport

As Paris prepares to host the Summer Olympic Games next year, a fresh exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs shines a spotlight on the intricate relationship between sports competition and fashion. Titled "Fashion and Sport, From One Podium to the Other," the exhibition is scheduled to run until spring. It starts with a rather striking absence of clothing, as the initial display features an Ancient Greek statue of a discus thrower - emphasising the historical fact that Olympic athletes once competed nude. This intriguing aspect is reflected in vintage posters promoting the Games held back in Stockholm in 1912 and Paris in 1924.

The exhibition offers captivating insights into the evolving social norms that led women to trade in their corsets for more comfortable Lycra bodysuits, as comfort began to take precedence in the world of fashion. This theme dovetails with another ongoing exhibition in Paris at the Palais Galliera museum, titled "Fashion in Motion." Sophie Lemahieu, the curator responsible for post-1947 fashion and textile collections at Les Arts Décoratifs, traces this shift back to the 1920s. During this era, pioneering designers such as Jean Patou, Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Gabrielle Chanel introduced sportswear, dressing prominent athletes like tennis champions Suzanne Lenglen and Lilí de Álvarez.


Lemahieu notes, "There are ancient Roman mosaics that show women wearing the precursor of the bikini and carrying hand weights, suggesting that sporting activity was possible. Having said that, women were historically confined to the home while men were outdoors, honing their bodies." "In the 1920s, we see a huge change as sport becomes increasingly important. During this period, sport is synonymous with youth and a lithe body, which was really the fashionable body shape of that time," she adds.

Before this shift, women were obligated to wear restrictive corsets and bustles for activities like archery and gymnastics. "At the end of the 19th century, individual sports like tennis and golf were popular among the bourgeoisie, an elite that was focused not on performance but on socialising," Lemahieu points out. The invention of the bicycle was a game-changer, allowing women to wear bloomers to prevent their skirts from getting caught in the spokes, although initial attempts to popularise culotte skirts faced resistance.


Lemahieu highlights a photograph from 1911, showing women attending a horse race in this new style, which at the time closely resembled a regular skirt. "There were lots of articles in the press decrying how awful and indecent they were. Some people commented that it might be the look of the future, but they were not ready for it then," she explains. Some rule-breakers emerged earlier on, like a 1783 portrait by Louis-Auguste Brun, depicting Queen Marie Antoinette on horseback wearing breeches, a remarkably modern choice for the 18th century.

´Impressively bridging the worlds of athleticism and style, the 'Mode Et Sport' exhibition in Paris stands as a testament to the dynamic relationship between sports and fashion. With its thought-provoking displays and historical insights, this exhibition offers a compelling exploration of how clothing has evolved alongside sporting endeavors, capturing the essence of this intriguing intersection.´ - Charles Daniel McDonald

The 19th century marked the emergence of sporting competitions with teams, regulations, and specialised sports attire. The exhibition features around 450 items, including a jersey from New Zealand's All Blacks rugby team from the early 20th century, emphasising the challenge of preserving clothing used in strenuous athletic endeavours. The exhibition, conceived by architecture and exhibition design firm BGC Studio, underscores how athletes played a pivotal role in popularising sportswear. For instance, Emilio Pucci was an Italian ski champion, and Ottavio Missoni began his career as a 400-meter runner.


Some figures have faded from memory, like tennis player-turned-designer Jane Régny, while others remain prominent, such as René Lacoste, the founder of the French sportswear brand that is the primary sponsor of the exhibition. Among the showcased items is the earliest-known polo shirt, designed by the tennis star, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. Additionally, there is a limited-edition Lacoste shirt designed by the Campana brothers, featuring hundreds of hand-stitched crocodiles, illustrating the migration of vibrant colors and logos from sports uniforms to fashion design.

Swimwear played a role in the path toward unisex dressing, with men and women adopting similar swimming costumes in the 1930s. Lemahieu notes, "A further illustration of female emancipation is the way beach pajamas worn over swimsuits were one of the first types of women’s pants you could wear without a problem." In the '60s and '70s, prominent brands like Balmain and André Courrèges dressed hosts and delegates at the Olympic Games, demonstrating their soft power. Issey Miyake, convinced that all 21st-century clothing would be inspired by sports, even waived his fee to design outfits for the delegation representing a newly independent Lithuania at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

A section of the exhibition focuses on the '80s, illustrating how sports gear and sneakers became the default uniform for a generation. This era is exemplified by a pink velour tracksuit adorned with a rhinestone Juicy Couture logo across the bottom. In the museum's atrium, mannequins adorned in designer attire are arranged around a track under circular lights inspired by the Olympic rings. Notable highlights encompass designs by Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen, Vetements, and Off-White, as well as examples of prominent sports collaborations, such as a sleek black gown with a three-stripe band by Yohji Yamamoto for his Y-3 line for Adidas, and a patchwork dress made from upcycled soccer jerseys by Koché designer Christelle Kocher for Nike.

The final segment of the exhibition underscores the role of athletes as trendsetters, featuring items like the black bodysuit worn by Serena Williams at the Roland-Garros tennis tournament in 2018, which was subsequently banned from future French Opens, sparking controversy. Advertising campaigns starring tennis star Naomi Osaka for Louis Vuitton and soccer player Zinedine Zidane for Dior serve as modern-day evidence that the enduring romance between fashion and sport shows no signs of fading.

Fashion In Motion

From 16 June 2023 to 7 September 2025, the Palais Galliera is presenting "La Mode en mouvement" [‘Fashion on the Move’], its second collections exhibition in the garden floor galleries.

This chronological exhibition, featuring some 200 works, traces the history of fashion from the 18th century to the present day through the museum’s collections, while also developing a transversal theme on the body in movement.

In resonance with the Olympic and Paralympic Games that are to be held in Paris in 2024, the Palais Galliera examines the part played by clothing in physical and sporting activities, its relationship to the body and to movement, and the social consequences of its development.

Garments designed for physical and sporting activities are presented alongside everyday clothing. This dialogue casts light on the idea of how sportswear became specialised, how women’s wear was adapted for physical activity at the end of the 19th century, the masculinisation of women’s clothing, and the adoption of sportswear as clothing for everyday life. 

The changing image of the body, particularly the athletic body, and the way it has been accentuated by clothing, is highlighted in order to show how the liberation of the body through physical activity has contributed to changing mentalities and beauty standards. Swimming costumes, cycling outfits, side-saddle habits, motoring coats and accessories, jogging suits, and sneakers all reflect the distinct silhouettes of three centuries of fashion history.

The museum has benefited from exceptional loans from the Musée national du Sport (Nice), the Bibliothèque Forney (Paris), Patrimoine CHANEL, the Emile Hermès Collection, Rykiel Creation, and Maison Yohji Yamamoto. These guest items add perspective to the Palais Galliera pieces, reflecting attitudes to physical exercise and sport through the ages, whether competitive or as a leisure activity.

For preventive conservation reasons, this exhibition will be presented as three successive displays, each requiring a five-week closure. It means that many of the items will be replaced, making it worthwhile for visitors to come again and discover more from the collections of the Palais Galliera.

From 16 June 2023 to 15 March 2024, as an extension of the collections exhibition in the Galerie Courbe on the garden floor, the Palais Galliera will be presenting "Les couleurs de la mode" [‘Colours of fashion’], an exhibition of works from the collection of autochromes kept at the Musée des Arts et Métiers (CNAM, Paris).

These exceptional images were created to showcase French luxury in a new type of event that ran from 1921 to 1923 in Paris: the Salon du Goût Français. The originality of the exhibition lay in its presentation: an ephemeral display of autochromes, backlit like «stained glass windows in a cathedral.»

The exhibition at the Palais Galliera of these previously unpublished colour photographs gives us a fresh perspective on early 1920s fashion. Presented as facsimiles, a corpus of around one hundred images reveals the subtle palette of the autochrome alongside the costumes, accessories and documents from the Museum.

Chloé Names Chemena Kamali As Its New Creative Director

Chemena Kamali is the new woman at Chloé, following Gabriela Hearst’s exit this month. President and CEO Riccardo Bellini welcomed her in a statement this morning. “[Chemena’s] extraordinary creative talent, extensive experience and unique connection with the brand’s legacy and values make her a natural choice for the maison. [Her] vision, inspired by her love for the brand, will truly celebrate Chloé’s unique DNA… I am excited to see [it] come to life.”

The 41-year-old German designer, a Düsseldorf native, has already logged two stints at the label founded by Gaby Aghion as a resource for luxury ready-to-wear in 1952, when Paris fashion was still dominated by haute couture houses. Chloé’s free-spirited aesthetic was born in those post-war years, when Aghion pioneered a more liberated, easier way of dressing than counterparts like Cristobal Balenciaga and Christian Dior, whose garments were heavily structured – and often just heavy.

Kamali began her career at Chloé, working on Phoebe Philo’s team, before receiving her Masters at Central Saint Martins under Louise Wilson, and after working at Alberta Ferretti and Strenesse in Milan returned to Chloé to work under Clare Waight Keller as design director from 2013 to 2016. That year, she joined Saint Laurent, as Anthony Vaccarello assumed the creative director role at the Kering-owned brand, working closely with him as women’s ready-to-wear design director.

In a statement, Kamali said, “My heart has always been Chloé’s. It has been since I stepped through its doors more than 20 years ago. Returning feels natural and very personal.” Kamali, who starts today, has been widely rumoured to be next in line at Chloé since the summer, when her predecessor Hearst’s exit was announced.

Her appointment comes amidst online umbrage generated by the announcement last week that Seán McGirr would replace Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, another white male joining the ranks of creative directors at luxury fashion brands in Paris and Milan. Karl Lagerfeld held the creative director role at Chloé for many years, but otherwise the maison has a long history of female leads, from Stella McCartney and Philo, to Hannah MacGibbon and Waight Keller, to Natacha Ramsay-Levi before Hearst. Many of their designs will be seen in the exhibition, “Mood of the Moment: Gaby Aghion and the House of Chloé”, opening this week at the Jewish Museum in New York.

Kamali’s first collection for the brand, for pre-fall 2024, will be shown in Paris in January, followed by her runway debut in February.

Prada S/S´24

In a mesmerising fashion spectacle, the renowned design duo of Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons unveiled their extraordinary Spring / Summer 2024 women's collection on the Prada runway in Milan. This captivating presentation showcased some of the most exquisite dresses to grace the fashion world, with shifts in delicate shades of pale blue, green, and pink silk gazar, adorned with layers of superfine organza that billowed gracefully like ethereal vapor in their wake. The designers embarked on a creative journey, aiming to craft a collection centered around the themes of lightness and fluidity—a pursuit of capturing the essence of material that defies solidity. Simons, speaking backstage, drew attention to the georgette fabric fragments, fringe details, and intricate embroidery that pervaded the collection. Notably, they also reintroduced the iconic slime element from their men's show in June, allowing curtains of translucent pink goo to cascade onto the runway, a surprising addition that remarkably enhanced the overall presentation.


Rather than undermining the collection, this audacious choice complemented it, as the designers fearlessly juxtaposed diverse materials and genres with artistic flair. Devotees of the Prada brand will find cause for celebration in this season's return to decoration. The runway dazzled with fringed flapper dresses and the brand's signature cardigan sweaters, adorned with abstract crystal sprays and silver eyelets, seamlessly blending vintage allure with a futuristic industrial-feminine aesthetic that pervaded the entire collection. Notably, standout pieces included printed fringe shirts and fringe belts reminiscent of jewellery, worn as skirts or layered over shorts. Injecting an element of rugged street chic, the collection seamlessly incorporated workwear elements, featuring distressed leather cargo vests and jackets that could be seen as haute couture counterparts to utilitarian Carhartt.

The tailoring on display is poised to resonate with the younger generations, including Gen Z, with its masculine, structured-shoulder blazers that effortlessly pair with belted high-waisted shorts or pleated pants, all finished off with commanding footwear choices. Prada and Simons showcased their artistry by seamlessly melding both raw and refined materials, ranging from sumptuous leather to delicate organza, from sparkling crystals to sturdy hardware.

´In a mesmerising symphony of elegance and eccentricity, Prada's Spring 2024 collection captivates with its ethereal designs, seamlessly marrying vintage allure with futuristic innovation.´ - Charles Daniel McDonald

In a nod to decades past, the collection intertwined references from the 1920s, 1930s, 1980s, and 1990s, bridging generational divides. A poignant tribute to the brand's patriarch, Mario Prada, was evident in the revival of a bag design he created in 1913, featuring a "mythological face" as an ornamental clasp.

Miuccia Prada reflected on her grandfather's eccentricity, describing how he melded cultures and sourced materials from diverse corners of the globe, including English silver, Austrian crystal, Asian silks, and leathers, ultimately fashioning them into composite objects such as vanity cases, calendars, and travel bags sold at his shop. This spirit of inventiveness continues to define the Prada brand, constantly pushing boundaries and offering fashion enthusiasts a tantalising glimpse of the extraordinary. In the world of Prada, where elegance meets eccentricity, this latest collection stands as a delightful testament to their artistic prowess, perpetually leaving us in awe of what lies just beyond our reach.