Monday, June 24, 2024

Milan Mens Spring Summer 2025

A fresh surge of energy invigorated Milan Fashion Week Men’s this season, with a distinct British influence: Martine Rose, known for her idiosyncratic menswear inspired by underground subcultures, made her debut on Sunday afternoon (16 June 2024). Heritage house Dunhill also joined the Milan schedule, with Simon Holloway presenting a collection he termed ‘radically classic’. Meanwhile, London-based JW Anderson continued to showcase its menswear collections in the city, this season presenting a collection titled ‘Real Sleep’ inspired by the slumber state of hypnotherapy.

¨The schedule was rounded out by the titans of Milanese style: Dolce & Gabbana, Zegna, Fendi, and Armani, while Massimo Giorgetti celebrated 15 years of his Milan-based label MSGM. Here, we select the highlights from Milan Fashion Week Men’s S/S 2025.¨ - Charles Daniel McDonald

Other highlights of the weekend included Sabato De Sarno’s second menswear collection for Gucci, which shifted to Monday morning (17 June 2024) at the Triennale Milano, the 1930s design gallery (continuing De Sarno’s aim to foster a link with the arts, having shown his Cruise 2025 collection at London’s Tate Modern last month). Prada, meanwhile, created a typically immersive set alongside OMA/AMO – a ‘fairytale ravescape’ featuring a cabin on stilts in the Fondazione Prada space – as the backdrop for one of the season’s defining collections.


A field of linen was recreated in a vast soundstage-like venue on Milan’s outskirts, near Linate airport, for Zegna’s latest runway show. Artistic director Alessandro Sartori aimed to make the blades of linen – constructed from featherweight metal strips – appear as if they were invading the industrial space. This juxtaposition of man and nature was the catalyst for the collection, which balanced precise tailoring with natural earthy hues of terracotta, beige, and warm yellow, and languid silhouettes. Much of the collection was crafted from linen – titled ‘Us, in the Oasi of Linen’ – leveraging the house’s expertise and innovation with the material, which is more sustainable than other natural fibres like cotton. ‘[Linen is] as malleable and sensual as the idea of summer dressing we are promoting,’ said Sartori, noting that it ‘moulds to individual personalities... [for men] who play buoyantly with their own appearance.’ Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, a house muse for Sartori, closed the show with an elegant runway turn.


Sabato De Sarno shifted Gucci’s menswear show to its final Monday, choosing the Triennale Milano, the city’s 1930s design gallery, as a new venue. The clean white lines and light-filled atrium of the Giovanni Muzio designed space provided a fresh slate for De Sarno, whose second menswear collection felt like his strongest vision for the Italian house yet. There was an optical clarity to the season’s looks, inspired by surfing, with graphic short-and-shirt sets, swim slippers, and luminous wraparound sunglasses worn on Gucci-adorned straps like chokers. The mood was youthful: super-abbreviated shorts (perhaps an ode to house ambassador Paul Mescal, who sat front row in his own pair of Gucci short shorts), sheer net polo shirts, and a vibrant colour palette all skewed younger than the winter season. Flourishes of embellishment, a signature of De Sarno, elevated everyday garments, such as beaded polo shirts or shirts and jackets adorned with dangling tassels, adding a feeling of material richness to an otherwise streamlined collection.


Mr Armani presented his eponymous menswear collection without any accompanying notes, allowing the clothing to speak for itself. This approach, a hallmark of his five-decade-long career, reflects his preference for considered design and quiet elegance over seasonal gimmicks and complex runway sets. Watched by a Hollywood front row including Russell Crowe and La La Land director Damien Chazelle, this collection was an exercise in Armani-isms: unstructured tailoring in generous proportions, diaphanous shirts and waistcoats, and a simple palette of Armani greige and navy. Travel was a theme, another hallmark of the designer, featured in hazy palm-tree-frond prints and straw or cotton sunhats. Joined for his bow by team members Leo Dell’Orco and Gianluca Dell’Orco, ‘Il Maestro’ received a warm standing ovation from the Teatro Armani crowd.


The slumbering between-state of hypnotherapy was the starting point for Jonathan Anderson’s latest collection, a free association of ideas showing the Northern Irish designer at his creative peak, balancing the strange and seductive in polished style. Looks emerged in threes: duvet-like quilted jackets, oversized utility gilets, and blown-up knit cardigans. Proportions were playfully manipulated throughout – silhouettes were stretched or shortened, with an enormous tie gleefully oversized. Coloured satin protrusions and bulbous padded T-shirts lent a sculptural feel, while surreal motifs emerged like repressed memories or dreams, with Guinness-adorned sweaters and knitted dresses featuring house images, as if from a children’s storybook. Part of the inspiration for the liberated, freewheeling mood was a recent trip to Barcelona’s Primavera Sound festival: ‘The experimentation with clothing among younger generations is incredible,’ said Anderson. ‘The eye has changed within menswear and womenswear. People want something that is really challenging.’


Before Martine Rose’s show – which followed Prada, just a few hundred yards away – people wondered how the London-based designer would bring her idiosyncratic, underground-infused menswear to Milan. Presented in a former industrial building with Martine Rose flyers scattered on the floor – reminiscent of 1990s raves – the answer was a resolute no. Models stomped and slithered with prosthetic noses (deliberately haphazard) and wearing matted wigs that almost dragged along the ground. Men wore pencil skirts and fishnet stockings or tailored trousers cut to appear like chaps (the crotch part was leather, an inversion of the expected), while women sported motorcycle jacket dresses. Martine Rose signatures recurred – shrunken football shirts, warped tracksuits, zip-away denim – alongside nods to nightlife and its dress codes. ‘When you’re young, you think your tastes will mature as you grow up,’ she quoted. ‘This is the irony.’



This season, the Fondazione Prada’s Deposito space featured a new installation – a small white hut raised on stilts with a long walkway leading down to the curving white runway below. From its windows and door, left slightly ajar, pulsated the sound of Faithless’s Insomnia, while flashing lights suggested an unseen party within. In this ‘fairytale ravescape’, co-creative directors Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons presented a collection reflecting ‘freedom, youthful optimism and energy’, as Prada reiterated backstage. ‘Youth is the future… it is hope,’ she said. The dynamic silhouettes were purposely creased, warped, shrunken, and exaggerated, ‘like clothes you already live with,’ said Simons. Shirts were skewiff and twisted around the body, narrow trousers sat low on the waist and pooled at the ankle. Some pieces demanded a second look, like trompe l’oeil Breton T-shirts with distorted stripes, or low-slung leather ‘belts’ set into trousers. Enormous visor sunglasses with lenses decorated with rave photographs, Roman statuary, and American highways, and prints by artist Bernard Buffet added a surreal edge. The pair focused on intuition and spontaneity: ‘Sometimes when you are older you start to overthink, and you limit yourself. When you are young, you just go,’ said Simons. ‘We wanted to create clothes that have lived a life, that are alive in themselves,’ they concluded. ‘There is a sense of spontaneity and optimism to these clothes - they reflect instinctive but deliberate choices, freedom.’


A serene Milanese garden near the city’s upscale Via Monte Napoleone provided the setting for Simon Holloway’s second collection for British heritage brand Dunhill, which shifted to Milan after debuting at London’s National Portrait Gallery last season. This collection continued to explore British dress tropes – particularly those for a summer season of sporting and society events – in pursuit of what Holloway called ‘radical classicism’. The collection ranged from casual – suede utility jackets with driving gloves, cable-knit sweaters, and pleat-front jeans – to sporty – rugby shirts, shorts, and striped varsity socks – and grand, like the final look, a black morning suit with an ivory silk scarf and cane. ‘These are not basic clothes for going into the office,’ said Holloway. ‘These are clothes for enjoyment, for a life well-lived.’


Unbridled horses frolicking in the surf, purple fields of lavender: the projections on the wall of the Teatro Armani showspace set the scene for an Emporio collection titled ‘Freedom in Nature’. Mr Armani transplanted his man from the urban sprawl into the wilds. The mood was one of adventure and abandon: plunging shirting paired with voluminous trousers and heavy boots – a nod to equestrianism – while superfine tailoring evoked safari jackets and kimonos. The focus on the waist ran throughout, from belted utility jackets to loops of leather narrowing the waist of the designer’s lightweight tailored blazers. The show ended with the scent of lavender as lederhosen-clad models promenaded with baskets of the flower. Joined by Leo Dell’Orco and Silvana Armani, who oversee the house’s men’s and womenswear collections, Mr Armani received an enthusiastic ovation, celebrating his 90th birthday next month.


Fendi left its usual showspace in the house’s Via Solari HQ (undergoing renovations and expansion), transporting guests to a studio lot-like venue on Milan’s outskirts. The presentation had a grand scale, reflected by enormous mirrored blocks dancing around the runway, reflecting both audience and models. Silvia Venturini Fendi, who heads up the house’s menswear and accessories collections, was inspired by a deep dive into the Fendi archive. The Roman house turns 100 this year, and the designer created a celebratory crest comprising four of the house’s motifs, including the famed double-F emblem, adorning sweaters and shirts. This lent the collection a varsity feel – Venturini Fendi spoke before the show about wanting Fendi to feel like a team, or club – with striped knit rugby sweaters and ties, plaid jackets, school blazers, and a playful riff on the football shirt. This was a uniform for the Fendi clan – and its wide-reaching international fanbase – to sport with pride in its centenary year.


‘Italian Beauty’ was the theme of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s latest menswear collection, marking a subtle shift from the sharp, reduced lines of recent seasons towards something softer, inspired by effortless Italian summers and actors like Marcello Mastroianni. Raffia, a distinct hallmark of Italian furnishings, was a prominent motif, used here for airy summer jackets and oversized polo shirts. Astute tailoring – largely double-breasted and worn with pleated trousers narrowing towards the hem – harked back to the 1950s. The collection was enlivened with embroidery and embellishment, such as delicate red flowers adorning crisp white trousers and jackets.


It was 15 years ago that Italian designer Massimo Giorgetti founded MSGM, celebrated with his latest menswear show in a former industrial garage on Milan’s outskirts on Saturday morning. The crisp, optical collection, inspired by the sea, was backdropped by explosions of primary-colour paint against Perspex boxes lining the runway. They were an ode to an early collection Giorgetti had painted after fearing it was too safe, referencing the broad strokes of colour and graphic motifs he has evoked over the past decade and a half. Here, they appeared in vivid patterns, from nautical stripes and colourful daisies to painterly seaside prints. Giorgetti said it was in his cliffside home in Liguria, near Portofino, where the ideas for the collection percolated. The mood evoked a Mediterranean summer: ‘the rocks, Mediterranean pines, agaves, the scent of salt and resin,’ he listed, transporting guests from a cloudy Milan to the Italian Riviera in typically uplifting fashion.

Milan Fashion Week Men’s S/S 2025 showcased a vibrant convergence of tradition and innovation, where storied heritage and contemporary creativity collided. The collections highlighted a commitment to sustainability, exemplified by Zegna’s pioneering use of linen, while the exploration of youthful exuberance and artistic spontaneity was evident in Prada and JW Anderson's daring presentations. Gucci’s vibrant surf-inspired lineup and Martine Rose’s subversive underground influences injected a dynamic energy into the week. The seamless integration of classicism and modernity by Dunhill and the timeless elegance of Giorgio Armani underscored the enduring appeal of meticulous craftsmanship. As Milan Fashion Week drew to a close, it reaffirmed the city’s pivotal role in shaping the future of menswear, celebrating both the rich legacy and the forward-thinking visions of its designers.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion

In its pursuit of sensory immersion and participatory elements, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion”—the Costume Institute’s new exhibition, opened to the public on May 10, after the 2024 Met Gala, with a mission to break down traditional boundaries. This is achieved physically through the limited use of glass cases, and more intangibly, by engaging multiple senses. Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge, aims to evoke a kind of synesthesia (a neurological condition where stimulation of one sensory pathway leads to involuntary experiences in another) through smell, sound, and sight.

Bolton shares an anecdote from last year’s Karl Lagerfeld exhibition about a young visitor who instinctively wanted to touch the exhibits. Touch is paramount to both wearers and designers, but is typically forbidden in museums to protect fragile fabrics from light exposure and skin oils. Although physical touch remains off-limits in “Sleeping Beauties,” the idea is vividly alive. Bolton notes, “Your sense of sight is a way of touching…touching your feelings, your emotion, your memory.” This exhibition challenges the notion that sight is merely about looking, suggesting it’s far more complex.


Entering the exhibition feels like crossing into another realm, possibly the Land of Nod. The first exhibit is Constantin Brancusi’s ovoid bronze, The Sleeping Muse of 1910, a piece symbolizing an altered state of being. This sculpture, over a century old, speaks to the ongoing struggle of costume departments to justify their place in the art world. It also reflects Bolton’s cerebral approach to fashion exhibitions, which are always multilayered. The exhibition’s theme of nature is straightforward but nuanced with symbolism, portraying fashion’s cyclical and ephemeral nature.

Recent curatorial efforts have explored the Costume Institute’s collection in innovative ways. “Sleeping Beauties” examines how science can safely extract and showcase the sensory aspects of garments. Technological advances, such as dye analysis of a Mario Fortuny dress revealing the use of artificial colours, illustrate fashion’s slow adaptation to technology. Sound recordings in anechoic chambers and tactile elements like 3-D printed models and urethane panels provide a multisensory experience.


Sissel Tolaas, known for her work with Demna at Balenciaga, captured the scents of several historical dresses, including those of Denise Poiret and Millicent Rogers. The exhibition’s climax features a 1931 Callot Soeurs-designed wedding dress, with a customized ChatGPT addition, allowing visitors to ask questions about this “mermaid bride.”

"Experience the fusion of sensory immersion and fashion history at 'Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,' where the past comes alive through sight, sound, and scent." - Charles Daniel McDonald

Garments in museum collections often lose their connection to the bodies they were designed for, transforming into lifeless art pieces. Bolton’s “Sleeping Beauties” references objects too fragile to be displayed upright, lying flat in a resting position. He writes, “Life is the key word in relation to fashion in a museum,” highlighting the radical transformation garments undergo upon entering a museum’s collection.


“Sleeping Beauties” builds on previous exhibitions, exploring fashion’s intangible effects. It follows the themes of simultaneity from “About Time: Fashion and Duration” and the role of technology from “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” This year’s focus is on engaging the senses to provide a fuller experience, particularly for visitors with disabilities.

At a time when culture is leaning into immersive experiences, “Sleeping Beauties” expands our sensory engagement with fashion. Multimedia activations, overseen by Creative Consultant Nick Knight and realized by SHOWstudio, evoke emotions beyond the garments. The exhibition’s spaces connect like molecules, seamlessly integrating sight, sound, and smell. Bolton concludes, “We’ve reawakened garments in the past, mainly through interpretation—never really through the senses. This is the first time we’re literally bringing them back to life.”

Friday, June 7, 2024

Dior Cruise 2025 - Dressed To Kilt

What an array of emotions the skirl of the bagpipes can stir. For the uninitiated, "skirl" refers to that hauntingly beautiful, sometimes headache-inducing wail they produce. Bagpipes, with their mournful and wistful tones, are akin to Bjork in the realm of musical instruments: otherworldly and polarising. Maria Grazia Chiuri began and concluded her Dior resort show in the manicured splendour of Drummond Castle's gardens in Scotland with the evocative sound of bagpipes. As a Scot typically indifferent to their strains, I found myself unexpectedly and profoundly moved.

Chiuri's extraordinary collection undoubtedly evoked a myriad of emotions, intertwining Dior's rich heritage with Scotland's romantic, dramatic, and sometimes bloody history to stunning effect. Desire springs to mind, as this collection was quintessential Chiuri: garments rooted in realism yet transcending it. Her resort shows also provide a real-world glimpse into how women wear her designs, revealing a chic, effortless elegance in hourglass jackets, full skirts, and clumpy boots or beribboned slingbacks, regardless of age or physique.


The designer delved into Scotland's sartorial traditions. “Scotland holds significant influence in the fashion world,” she remarked during a preview. “I aimed to reinterpret it differently. While my generation associates it with punk, there's a rich narrative in the textiles themselves. In fashion, we often focus on shape, but textiles are pivotal—what you can do with them, and the transformations they enable.” Thus, Chiuri reimagined traditional elements—tartans, cashmeres, tweeds, and Argyles—crafting a collection inspired by the geopolitics of fabrics, Mary Stuart’s politically charged embroideries, and a nod to punk, exuding a defiant beauty and energy. Uncompromising, just as modern women must be.

¨Chiuri's extensive travel, expansive thinking, and meticulous research, guided by the writings of Scottish cultural historian Clare Hunter, highlight her quest for meaning in her work. “We often reduce fashion to brands,” she reflected. “But fashion is more than that.”¨ - Charles Daniel McDonald

Classic Dior bar jackets were reimagined in heathery plaid shawls. Corsets bore an armorial strength. Embroidered flowers adorned bodices. Evening dresses in black Jacobean velvet, with white lace encasing the neck and décolleté, were showstoppers. Gunmetal and gold lace, ruffled seams, leather chokers with pearls, quilted leather crossbody bags, and Chiuri’s signature boots completed the look. Collaborations with local designers and artisans, including Johnstons of Elgin for tweeds and cashmere, Esk Cashmere for knitwear, and Robert Mackie for ceremonial headwear, added depth. Chiuri even visited Harris tweed weavers in the Outer Hebrides, braving the November chill. She also partnered with Samantha McCoach of Le Kilt.

At its core, everything begins with Dior and its global legacy. Inspired by images from a postwar 1950s charity fashion show in Scotland, Chiuri was drawn not to its formality but to the candid shots of models mingling with locals. This clash of dream and reality is where the magic lies. This reflection on past shows likely influenced her thoughts on contemporary fashion. While her Scottish-themed resort show retained her signature realism, it was imbued with greater theatricality and flair than previous collections. Fashion’s three-dimensionality—literal and metaphorical—has never been more vital. This collection communicated profoundly, even resonating over the skirl of the bagpipes.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Virginie Viard Bows Out At Chanel

After 30 years, including the last five years as artistic director, Virginie Viard is exiting Chanel. The house confirmed her departure to Vogue Business on Wednesday. Viard was appointed artistic creative director in 2019 after Karl Lagerfeld passed away. The Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2024/2025 collection will be presented as planned on 25 June at the Opéra Garnier.

“Chanel confirms the departure of Virginie Viard after a rich collaboration of five years as artistic director of fashion collections, during which she was able to renew the codes of the house while respecting the creative heritage of Chanel, and almost 30 years within the house,” the house said in a statement. “A new creative organisation will be announced in due course. Chanel would like to thank Virginie Viard for her remarkable contribution to Chanel’s fashion, creativity and vitality.”

Friday, May 31, 2024

Veronica Leoni Is The New Creative Director At Calvin Klein Collection

Veronica Leoni is the new creative director at Calvin Klein Collection, the PVH Corp-owned company announced today in a move that will see the brand return to the runway.

“We are proud to name Veronica as creative director of Collection, the pinnacle expression of the Calvin Klein brand,” said global brand president, Eva Serrano. “It was clear from our first conversations that Veronica’s life’s work had been preparing her for this moment and the opportunity to define a new era for Calvin Klein. I am confident that her purposeful approach to design and work ethic, combined with our shared values, will further enrich our iconic brand and result in a collection that resonates with our consumers around the world.”

Though she is little known, Leoni has quite the resumé. An Italian based in Rome, she is a veteran of Jil Sander, Phoebe Philo’s Céline, Moncler and The Row. She founded her own label Quira three years ago, and was an LVMH Prize finalist in 2023, at which time she described her style to Vogue as a “sharp point of view on femininity with an edge.”

Calvin Klein has been designer-less since Raf Simons exited the chief creative officer role in late 2018, but after several quiet years it’s been making headlines. Jeremy Allen White’s underwear campaign coincided with his awards show victory lap for The Bear, with both the actor and the company benefiting from the exposure, and the latter reclaiming some of the sexy heat that has long been a brand signifier. The K-pop stars Jennie Kim of Blackpink and Jungkook of BTS, meanwhile, are brand ambassador choices that are resonating with Gen-Z. And the company is also making inroads on the red carpet. Zendaya wore a custom Calvin Klein suit to the Rome premiere of Challengers, and a year ago the brand dressed the basketball player Brittney Griner, recently released from a Russian prison, for her first Met Gala.

In Veronica Leoni, Calvin Klein has put a woman in a top fashion job. That’s good optics at a time when a string of white male designer appointments has gotten the industry talking about a lack of diversity in design studios, and a dearth of women designers in leadership, in particular. And Leoni’s aesthetic could make her the right woman for Calvin Klein. Her taste for the classically minimal and her focus on tailoring are aligned with the brand codes honed by the house founder in his ’90s heyday.

“I’m thrilled and honoured to have the opportunity to write a new chapter of the Calvin Klein story,” said Leoni in a statement. “For decades, Calvin Klein interpreted the idea of bold self-expression, and I am willing to empower it with a strong accent on style and creativity. I’m deeply thankful to Eva Serrano for her vision and trust. My career has been marked by inspiring encounters with some of the most visionary women in fashion and she is one of them. I also want to thank PVH CEO Stefan Larsson for the amazing opportunity to celebrate one of the most influential brands of American fashion.”

According to the release, together with Serrano, Leoni will be also be responsible for taking inspiration from the Collection to the main line portfolio and the red carpet. Her first runway show will debut for autumn/winter 2025.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

La Vida Vuitton - Cruise 2025

Park Güell is a realm of enchantment, a dreamscape for any wanderer. Last evening, beneath a perfect sunset, it became the stage for Louis Vuitton's ethereal Cruise 2025 show. Nicolas Ghesquière continues his architectural pilgrimage, encouraging guests to explore or rediscover Barcelona's extraordinary Antoni Gaudí heritage, a singularly unique genius who embraced Art Nouveau, known in Spain as Modernisme, manipulating materials, particularly ceramics, to create undulating corners, edges, and columns. His structures seem almost alive, with colours that pulsate. "It's a utopia," the designer explains, "which I always find appealing! It blends nature with urban design. Gaudí represents a world unto himself, a singular and fascinating perspective, and particularly the distinctive way an architect has shaped the personality of a city." The occasion drew a distinguished crowd, including the likes of Léa Seydoux, Sophie Turner, Zaho de Sagazan, and Lous and the Yakuza.

The show began in the impressive hypostyle hall, featuring 86 massive columns and a ceiling adorned with mosaics. Jackets, seemingly simple, elegantly draped as if suspended on the models. A series of black outfits, from leather jumpsuits to full ensembles, were sharply tailored, highlighted by ‘cordobes,’ wide wicker hats that accentuated and dramatised the silhouette further. The dresses featuring a plumetis effect were truly beautiful. The boots, a hybrid between riding boots and cowboy boots, extended to the thigh and actively contributed to shaping the silhouette.

¨The sand and earth-toned outfits paired picador-inspired trousers with large stoles sweeping over the chest, ending in fringed leather booties, creating an aura of mysterious desert women. Occasionally, a harness of large dark ruffles and lace would wrap around the body, adding a dramatic touch.¨ - Charles Daniel McDonald

Among the bags, there were many, both familiar and new, including a series that echoed the columns of the venue. Additionally, there were some mesh pouches, likely a subtle tribute to Paco Rabanne, the renowned Spanish couturier, and a nod to Julien Dossena in the audience, the Artistic Director of the aforementioned house and Ghesquière's dear friend.

One of the most striking scenes came during the finale, with grand, voluminous skirts in billowing silk faille, vividly pigmented in royal blue, frenetic red, and regal green, evoking a sense of post-modern ceremonial elegance. Nicolas Ghesquière reflected, “What particularly intrigued me was the oxymoron of flamboyant austerity that is so palpable in this country. The chivalric spirit. The Moorish influences. And specifically Zurbaran, for his fantastic use of colour, the admirable drapery, the chiaroscuro, and this very luminous black.” That evening, against the dreamlike backdrop, colours took on a different kind of presence in the fading sunlight. They demanded to be spoken of long after, to be etched in memory like a painting.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Chanel Cruise 2025

As the early tendrils of summer embrace us, heralded by the months of May and June, the fashion world embarks on its glamorous odyssey known as the Cruise shows. This annual pilgrimage sees esteemed fashion houses venture to exotic locales, showcasing their latest haute-summer creations - a tradition rooted in the opulent escapades of the jet set elite of the early 20th century.

While previous seasons took us on a transcontinental journey to Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Seoul, this year's spectacle unfolds closer to home, with European destinations serving as the picturesque backdrop for sartorial splendor. Chanel kicked off the festivities in Marseille, France, with a breathtaking display on May 2, 2024. Meanwhile, the illustrious Gucci prepares to grace the iconic Tate Modern in London, Dior sets its sights on Drummond Castle in Scotland, Louis Vuitton teases an undisclosed location in Barcelona, Spain, and Max Mara promises an enchanting showcase in Venice, Italy.

For Chanel's latest Cruise extravaganza, the maison turned its gaze southward, casting a spotlight on Marseille—a storied port city, brimming with raw charm amidst the polished allure of its Riviera counterparts. Virginie Viard, the visionary creative director, expressed a deliberate intent to broaden Chanel's cultural footprint beyond the hallowed precincts of Rue Cambon in Paris and the affluent locales it typically frequents. This ethos was previously evident in the house's choice of Manchester's vibrant streets for its Métiers d'Art spectacle in December 2023, inspired by the city's pulsating underground music scene.

The stage was set atop Cité Radieuse, Le Corbusier's architectural masterpiece—a vertical oasis of concrete, adorned with bursts of vibrant hues adorning its balconies, now a revered UNESCO World Heritage site. Against this iconic backdrop, Viard unveiled a collection imbued with youthful exuberance, a testament to her creative stewardship. Airy white blouses adorned with delicate broderie anglaise motifs floated alongside whimsical crochet mini dresses and cushioned flip-flops, exuding an effortless charm. Nautical motifs danced across the runway, from charming anchor-charm jewelry to whimsical hand-drawn fish, invoking the spirit of maritime adventure.

True to the house's heritage, Chanel's signature tweed made a resplendent appearance, reimagined through the lens of Le Corbusier's vibrant palette. Grid-like patterns adorned cropped jackets and matching skirts, while bold pinafore-style blazers in hues of crimson, ochre, and pristine white made a striking statement. "Marseille is a city that ignites my senses. I sought to capture its magnetic allure, its invigorating essence, and channel the pulsating energy that permeates its streets," remarked Viard. "And what better canvas for a runway spectacle than the awe-inspiring Cité Radieuse?"

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Here Are The Eight Finalists For The 2024 LVMH Prize

The LVMH Prize has announced its list of finalists for the 2024 edition. They are: Aubero by Julian Louie from the United States, Duran Lantink from the Netherlands, Hodakova by Ellen Hodakova Larsson from Sweden, Marie Adam-Leenaerdt from Belgium, Niccolò Pasqualetti from Italy, Paolo Carzana from the United Kingdom, Pauline Dujancourt from France, and Standing Ground by Michael Stewart from Ireland.

“The semi-final of the 11th LVMH Prize highlighted the diversity and richness of the candidates’ creative approaches,” said Delphine Arnault, CEO of Christian Dior, who noted the designers’ commitment to both craftsmanship and sustainability. “I’m also delighted that two former semi-finalists of the Prize, Duran Lantink and Niccolò Pasqualetti, have reached the final,” added the executive. Lantink was first shortlisted for the 2019 edition of the Prize, which came prior to the wave of popularity and critical acclaim the designer has encountered since his Paris debut in March 2023. Pasqualetti was first a semi-finalist in 2022. Both designers are a testament to the importance of resilience, and also of how essential it is for designers to continue to hone their skills and refine their aesthetic.

The Prize has returned to eight finalists after last year’s nine, though this year they will compete for three prizes rather than the usual two. LVMH has added a Savoir-Faire Prize, which will reward excellence in craftsmanship, sustainability and technical innovation, in addition to the Grand Prize and the Karl Lagerfeld Prize.

Louie and Larsson, as well as Lantink, are known for the distinct ways in which they upcycle deadstock material and vintage or discarded items in their collections, while Stewart and Dujancourt have each developed considerate and sustainable approaches to producing and scaling their collections. The inaugural round of the Savoir-Faire Prize could be anyone’s game.

This list of finalists includes four men, three women and one non-binary individual. While it is one of the Prize’s most gender-inclusive finalists line-ups in recent memory, it is not the most ethnically diverse. None of the Asian, Black or Latin American designers in the semi-finalist round made the final cut this year. This year’s finalists represent only the US and seven European countries.

This year’s jury will include Jonathan Anderson, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Nicolas Ghesquière, Marc Jacobs, Kim Jones, Stella McCartney, Nigo, and Silvia Venturini Fendi, as well as Delphine Arnault, Jean-Paul Claverie, and Sidney Toledano. Pharrell Williams has been added to the roster, and Phoebe Philo, who served as a juror during her Celine years, will return this year.

The eight finalists will meet the jury on 10 September at the Louis Vuitton Fondation in Paris. The winner of the LVMH Prize will receive €400,000 (£344,000) and a one-year custom mentorship, the winner of the Karl Lagerfeld Prize €200,000 (£172,000) and a one-year mentorship, and the winner of the Savoir-Faire Prize €200,000 (£172,000) and a one-year specific mentoring program.

Monday, April 22, 2024

You Can Now Shop Vivienne Westwood’s Personal Wardrobe

It’s been less than two years since Dame Vivienne Westwood died and the chasm she left in the industry that she sought to change for the better is felt as keenly as ever. To put it plainly, there is no one who does what Westwood – an anarchic force who created fashion “to destroy the word conformity” – did. Nor dresses the way she decked herself out in radical, punkish tailoring.

Today: a ray of light for Westwood acolytes mourning the provocateur’s unapologetically bold personal image and everything she stood for. More than 200 items from Vivienne’s wardrobe, as selected by her partner in life and work Andreas Kronthaler, will go on sale at Christie’s via two auctions: a live sale in London on 25 June, and an online equivalent from 14 to 28 June. Even better? Those who perhaps don’t have the pocket money required to purchase pieces from Westwood’s Witches (autumn/winter 1983), Dressed to Scale (autumn/winter 1998) or Propaganda (autumn/winter 2005) collections will be available to view the pieces at a free public exhibition, entitled Vivienne Westwood: The Personal Collection, at Christie’s, London, from 14 to 24 June. Expect even the street style outside to be a brilliant homage to the straight-talking creative and campaigner.

“Vivienne was our heroine,” says Kronthaler, who has decreed that the proceeds of all fashion, jewellery and accessory sales will go to The Vivienne Foundation, Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières and a Greenpeace project called The Big Picture – Vivienne’s Playing Cards. “This will be a unique opportunity for audiences to encounter both the public and the private world of the great Dame Vivienne Westwood and to raise funds for the causes in which she so ardently believed,” adds head of the sale Adrian Hume-Sayer. Her mission, as Kronthaler notes now, “to be different and to explode the system” continues in earnest – a true testament to Westwood’s unwavering commitment, which continues to inspire so many.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Italian Fashion Designer Roberto Cavalli Has Died At 83

Roberto Cavalli, the Italian designer who infused the print-led boho look with sex appeal, has died at 83. His passing was confirmed by the brand. “The Roberto Cavalli company shares condolences with Mr Cavalli’s family. His legacy remains a constant source of inspiration,” said Roberto Cavalli’s CEO, Sergio Azzolari.

By the time shows started to go digital (circa 2000), Cavalli was a well-established golden name in fashion; an elder, even, enjoying a second round of renown. He exuded Hefner vibes (minus the robe) when he took his fall 2001 bow smoking a pipe. (The designer was in fact asked to redesign the Playboy bunny costume in 2005.) By then the leonine Cavalli was living the good life, something that he achieved with braggadocio and brain power – and against the odds. In the context of Cavalli’s life story, the body worship and forthright sexiness of his work could be seen more broadly as an affirmation of life itself, which, from a young age he understood to be fragile.

Born in Florence in 1940, Cavalli’s maternal grandfather was a member of the Macchiaioli group of Italian Impressionists. His father, an anti-fascist who is thought to have been a mine surveyor, was shot by the Nazi forces when Cavalli was just three years old. The psychological impact was expressed physically through a stutter. “It was not easy for me to speak, the shock,” the designer told Luke Leitch in a 2011 interview. To support the family, his mother started sewing at home, taking in seamstresses to help her. At 17, a confident Cavalli enrolled at the Academy of Art in Florence to study art and architecture. There he met and fell in love with his first wife and the mother of two of his children, Silvanella Giannoni.

In 1960, after hand-painting some sweaters for a friend in the knitwear business, Cavalli was spurred to do something of his own with rather traditional floral prints, and started applying them to existing garments. It wasn’t long before the designer, wrote Leitch in a 2011 article for Panorama, “had graduated from teaching himself textile printing techniques on a borrowed ping-pong table to working on his own six-metre printing table (bought by his mother) in a rented garage, to building his first factory,” with some financing from a friend. That factory was flooded away in November 1966, not long before the Summer of Love, which Cavalli would extend ad infinitum in fashion and his personal life.

The designer’s next breakthrough came about while trying to make good on a lie used while girl-chasing. Cavalli related the following anecdote in that Panorama interview. In September 1970, the young divorcé crashed a party at leather designer Mario Valentino’s house. Trying to impress a beautiful woman who had asked what he did, Cavalli replied that he did prints on leather. She then introduced him to the host, who asked to see them. The designer rose to the challenge, by applying his printing technique to the thinnest glove leather. (Hippie florals in a dusty Cacharel palette were all the rage at the time.) Valentino wasn’t the only one impressed; Hermès wanted to acquire the exclusive rights to the technique. “I was flying back from Paris and in that aeroplane I was thinking. I thought, ‘maybe now, if I design one collection, I could meet a lot of models!’ That was always a principle of my life!” the designer told Leitch.

And so Cavalli placed himself at the pleasure centre of the jet set, opening a boutique called Limbo in 1970 in Saint-Tropez, where he made what he called “young, crazy, summer fashion” – and where sex symbol Brigitte Bardot naturally became a client. The boy of summer took his act to Paris in the fall; he’d soon expand his repertoire by patchworking denim. Cavalli showed his womenswear in Florence in 1972. He’d join the Milan fashion week schedule in 1994 after a business slump in the ’80s, spurred on, it is said, by his then-wife, Eva, whom he married in 1977 after meeting her at the Miss Universe beauty contest for which he had been tapped as a judge (she was Miss Austria).

Thirty years into his career, Cavalli had another breakthrough in 1993 when he elasticised denim for a second-skin fit. “Slowly, slowly, I go from the jeans to the red carpet,” said Cavalli, a go-to red-carpet source for the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Victoria Beckham in the ’00s. “I was in America when Roberto was at the top of his career,” Fausto Puglisi, the creative director of the house tells Vogue Runway. “It was the Sex and the City time, it was all about Cavalli, Cavalli, Cavalli. Roberto invited me to Florence, we met in his villa, with his beloved dog Lupo and the magnificent parrots….” The designer, who became a byword for glamour, was even written into the popular series’ script. As reported by the when, “Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie character was forced to clean out her overstuffed closet to make room for her boyfriend’s clothes. Their battle over space later escalates, and she tells him, ‘It’s Roberto Cavalli! I threw it out and I love it. What more do you want?’ 

More, more, more! That is the exuberant Cavalli ethos which has been carried on by the house founder’s successors, including Peter Dundas and the current creative lead, Puglisi. “Roberto was a lion, his life was larger than life,” Puglisi says. “He definitely wrote a beautiful chapter in fashion; Cavalli was the epitome of the bold, the beautiful, the print – freedom.” Adds Dundas: “Roberto’s fashion was exactly how he lived his life: colourfully, joyously and usually [in a way] impossible to ignore. His Florence house, in which he had me live the first year working with him, was a wonderful menagerie of exotic animals, colourful brocade furniture, prints, and religious icons everywhere!” Cavalli lived in a technicolour world in which there was room for neither grey, nor subtlety. His life is for the living, and his pleasure-for-the-taking attitude was infectious, just as his bright, bold, body-confident approach to dressing remains relevant today.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Alessandro Michele Is The New Creative Director Of Valentino

Alessandro Michele is the new creative director of Valentino. The Roman designer’s first day at Rome’s archetypal couture house will be next Tuesday, 2 April. His debut collection under the Valentino flag will be spring/summer 2025: under current plans, it will be unveiled during this September’s edition of Paris Fashion Week at what will be the most anticipated show of the season.

“It’s an incredible honour,” said Michele of his appointment in a statement today. He added: “I feel the immense joy and the huge responsibility to join a Maison de Couture that has the word ‘beauty’ carved on a collective story made of distinctive elegance, refinement, and extreme grace.”

He will work from one of fashion’s most beautiful offices: Valentino’s studio in Palazzo Mignanelli, a few moments from the Spanish Steps. Among his duties will be designing couture collections for the first time.

Speaking of the prospect, he said: “I search for words to nominate the joy, to regard it, to really convey what I feel; the smiles that kick from the chest, the bliss of gratitude that lights up the eyes, that precious moment when necessity and beauty reach out and meet. Joy, though, is such a living thing that I’m afraid to hurt it if I dare to speak its name.”

That joy is not confined to Michele. His appointment has been overseen by Valentino’s CEO, Jacopo Venturini. The two men previously worked as colleagues at Gucci, where Michele spent seven years as creative director, and Venturini was vice president of merchandising and global markets.

Praising Michele’s “profound intelligence” and “wonderful lightness”, Venturini said: “I am very happy and excited to return to work with Alessandro.” He added: “I am certain that the reinterpretation of the Maison’s couture codes and the heritage created by Mr Valentino Garavani, combined with Alessandro’s extraordinary vision, will bring us moments of great emotion and will translate into irresistibly desirable objects.” The newly appointed creative director described Venturini as: “an extraordinary professional, able to combine pragmatism and strategic vision, competence and sensibility”.

At Gucci, Michele’s ability to conjure “irresistibly desirable objects” transformed the fortunes of the house, nearly tripling revenues from €3.5 billion in 2014 to €9.73 billion in 2022. This is one reason why, ever since his departure in November that year, speculation about his next creative home has swirled near-constantly. In the end, all roads led to Rome.

From Tuesday, Michele will embark upon a total immersion within the archive and codes of his new home. He said: “My first thought goes to this story: to the richness of its cultural and symbolic heritage, to the sense of wonder it constantly generates, to the very precious identity given with their wildest love by founding fathers, Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti. These references always represented an essential source of inspiration for me, and I’m going to praise such influence through my own interpretation and creative vision.”

Garavani launched his namesake house alongside his partner Giammetti in 1960. Between its foundation and his retirement 48 years later, Garavani created an enormous treasury of intensely romantic womenswear — and from 1969, menswear too. Michele’s appointment today follows last week’s departure of Pierpaolo Piccioli, who led the house with great aplomb and acclaim from 2008.

In part, Michele’s new role will reunite him with Kering Group, which owns Gucci. Valentino was acquired for €700 million by the investment fund Mayhoola in 2012. Last year, Mayhoola sold a 30 per cent share in the house to Kering for €1.7 billion, in a deal that reportedly allows Kering to acquire the rest of the brand by 2028 whilst also allowing Mayhoola to take a stake in Kering. Should Michele prove as transformational to Valentino as he was to Gucci, that opportunity will look highly appealing on both sides.

Rachid Mohamed Rachid, chairman of Valentino, was instrumental in that deal, as well as today’s appointment of Michele. In a statement today, he said: “The appointment of Alessandro Michele marks another pivotal moment for Maison Valentino. He is an exceptional talent, and his appointment underlines our great ambitions for Maison Valentino.” He added: “I strongly believe that with his unique creativity and sensibility, Alessandro will continue the elevation of the brand’s everlasting heritage… a new page of excellence and endless beauty is ready to be written in the history of Valentino.”

At the time of its investment in Valentino, Kering’s chairman and CEO, François-Henri Pinault, described Valentino as “a unique Italian house that is synonymous with beauty and elegance”. As Piccioli did before him, Michele is now bound to recalibrate Valentino’s sumptuously classical expression of beauty through his own creative lens and instinct. Michele once said that “beauty has no boundaries, no rules, no colours” — and his expansive, inclusive and fiercely intellectual philosophy has seen him interrogate many such perceived boundaries on the runway.

Michele’s decision to remain based in the city of his birth should come as no surprise: as he recently told Vogue: “Rome bewitches you. It welcomes everyone in a dishevelled way.” His new and atmospheric office is barely a 10-minute walk from his home. Michele today acknowledged his good fortune, gratitude and excitement about what lies ahead: “May my bow with arms wide open speak for itself, and salute in this early spring the regeneration of life and the promise of new blooming.” The newest chapter in the history of Valentino – and of Alessandro Michele – has begun.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Pierpaolo Piccioli Is Leaving Valentino

Valentino and creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli are parting ways, the Italian house said on Friday. A “new creative organisation” is to be announced soon. Piccioli joined the house in 1999 as an accessory designer alongside Maria Grazia Chiuri. The pair were appointed co-creative directors in 2008, replacing Alessandra Facchinetti, who had taken up the role a year earlier after founder Valentino Garavani retired. In 2016, Piccioli took on the role of sole creative director, following Chiuri’s departure for Dior.

“Not all stories have a beginning or an end, some live a kind of eternal present that shines so bright that it won’t produce any shadows,” said Piccioli in a statement. “I’ve been in this company for 25 years, and for 25 years I’ve existed and I’ve lived with the people who have woven the weaves of this beautiful story that is mine and ours… Thanks to Mr Valentino and [Valentino co-founder] Giancarlo Giammetti who have blessed me with their trust, thanks to every single person who made this possible in one way or another. It was a privilege and an honour to share my journey, and my dreams, with you.”

Piccioli grew up in the Italian resort city of Nettuno, studied literature at Rome University, interned at Brunello Cucinelli and after graduation, joined the team at Fendi with Chiuri. Speaking with Luke Leitch in a 2011 interview about the way he and Chiuri approached the task of directing design at Valentino, Piccioli said: “We keep the language, but change the attitude.” That translated initially into collections that toughened Valentino staples, including ruffles and bows (not to mention red), and injected new motifs like the Rockstud. His first collection in October 2016 after Chiuri left “revealed the unbridled romanticism and fantasy of Piccioli’s singular vision”, Hamish Bowles wrote.

The autumn/winter 2024 show was a “black on black manifesto for progress explored in 63 ways”, wrote Vogue Runway’s Sarah Mower. “In his spring 2023 summer collection — which began in pristine white — Pierpaolo Piccioli expressed his creative outrage against prime minister Giorgia Meloni’s retrograde remark on women needing to dress conservatively in order to avoid rape. His collection in black followed through, expanding on multiple options for women to show their bodies however they will, from hip-slashed skirts to a full engagement, if desired, in full-frontal red carpet exposure in transparent Valentino lace,” Mower wrote.

In 2012, Valentino was acquired by Qatari investment fund Mayhoola for €700 million, per Reuters. In July 2023, Kering announced the acquisition of a 30 per cent share in Valentino for a cash consideration of €1.7 billion. The deal includes the option for Kering to acquire the rest of the brand by 2028. Kering chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault describes Valentino as “a unique Italian house that is synonymous with beauty and elegance”. Valentino’s revenues in 2022 amounted to €1.4 billion.

“I am grateful to Pierpaolo for his role as creative director and for his vision, commitment and creativity that have brought the maison Valentino to what it stands for today,” said Valentino CEO Jacopo Venturini. “We extend our deepest gratitude to Pierpaolo for writing an important chapter in the history of Valentino. His contribution over the past 25 years will leave an indelible mark,” added Valentino chairman Rachid Mohamed Rachid.

Hermès Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Over Birkin Sales Model

On Tuesday, two California shoppers filed a class-action lawsuit against Hermès, alleging that the French luxury label’s Birkin buying practice is “unfair.” In the anti-trust suit, plaintiffs Tina Cavalleri and Mark Glinoga allege that Hermès unlawfully requires customers to purchase ancillary products before offering them the opportunity to purchase a Birkin bag, in an illegal practice known as “tying.”

“The tying product, the Birkin Handbags, is separate and distinct from the tied products, the ancillary products required to be purchased by consumers,” the suit reads. “Plaintiffs have alternative options for the ancillary products and would prefer to choose among them independently from their decision to purchase Birkin handbags.” Cavalleri explained that after spending “tens of thousands of dollars” at Hermès, she was told that the label’s Birkin bags are reserved for “clients who have been consistent in supporting [the brand's] business.” Glinoga, meanwhile, was told to “purchase other items and accessories,” after attempting to buy a Birkin on several occasions.

The lawsuit uses the “compensation structure of sales associates” as evidence of the company’s unlawful practice, stating that retail employees do not earn commission on Birkin sales. Instead, sales associates earn 3% commission on ancillary products and 1.5% commission on non-Birkin bags. “Although Hermès Sales Associates receive no commission on the most valuable and sought-after products sold by their employer, they are instructed by Defendants to use Birkin handbags as a way to coerce consumers to purchase ancillary products sold by Defendants (for which the sales associates receive a 3% commission) in order to build-up the purchase history required to be offered a Birkin handbag,” the suit states. Hermès has previously denied the claim. “Hermès strictly prohibits any sales of certain products as a condition to the purchase of others,” the brand told Business of Fashion last year.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Annie Leibovitz Becomes An Immortal

Annie Leibovitz has a new title, and a fancy sword to go with it. The U.S. photographer was inducted to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris on Wednesday in a star-studded ceremony filled with pageantry, earning her the title of Immortal, as the French refer to members of the illustrious institution. Anna Wintour, wearing her signature dark sunglasses, handed over the ceremonial sword at the outcome of the ritual staged under the imposing dome of the Institut de France, under the watchful eye of infantry officers of the French Republican Guard.

Dressed in an embroidered uniform designed by Louis Vuitton’s Nicolas Ghesquière, Leibovitz brandished the gnarly sword – resembling a prop from a Tolkien saga – as she received a standing ovation from guests including designers Giambattista Valli, Guillaume Henry and Harris Reed, fashion editor Carine Roitfeld, and Miren Arzalluz, director of the Palais Galliera fashion museum. In a speech punctuated by lengthy silences, the 74-year-old photographer paid a moving tribute to her late partner Susan Sontag.

“Susan Sontag shaped my relationship to Paris and to French culture and art. I wouldn’t be in this room if it weren’t for Susan. She loved France,” she said. Leibovitz was introduced by renowned Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, who wiped away tears at the end of his speech, and was followed on the podium by Patti Smith, who gave a stirring rendition of “Peacable Kingdom,” accompanied by her daughter Jesse Paris Smith on keyboard.

In a special section reserved for fellow Academy members sat choreorapher Blanca Li, in her uniform designed by Chanel, photographer Dominique Issermann, wearing a bandana on her head, and artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, whose suit was made by Dior. “The only thing more daunting than a French fashion show is a French academy, and by a similar principle, the only thing more intimidating than Annie Leibovitz is Annie Leibovitz brandishing a sword, so I stand before you today in awe and some degree of terror,” Wintour said when it was her turn to speak.

The global editorial director of Vogue and chief content officer of Condé Nast has worked with Leibovitz for close to three decades, and suggested a fair amount of sparring was involved. “Annie can parry, be playfully evasive, especially in any attempt to get inside her defences,” Wintour said. “Now with a sword in your hand you may not be d’Artagnan, it’s true, but with a camera, Annie is as dextrous and, better, a formidable and unstoppable force. The thousands of photographs she has published in her life are not just a testament to her imagination and the way it will survive the future, they are her vision and a plea for a better world,” she continued.

“In that way Annie is the most essential thing any artist can be: She is generous. So Annie we salute you, you have become Immortal,” Wintour concluded, her voice cracking. Leibovitz was flanked by four generations of relatives, including her aunt Sally Jane, her sisters Susan and Barbara, her brother Philip and her daughter Susan. “My oldest daughter, Sarah, is somewhere in the Appenine Mountains, studying limestone outcroppings. She is a young earth scientist,” said Leibovitz, who has a third daughter called Samuelle.

She paused frequently as screens displayed images from her book “A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005,” which mixes her portraits of luminaries – including Johnny Cash, Nicole Kidman, Keith Richards, Michael Jordan and Nelson Mandela – with reportage from the siege of Sarajevo in the early ‘90s, landscapes and intimate photos of her family and friends. “‘A Photographer’s Life’ is the closest thing to who I am that I’ve ever done. It made me understand that my work is not one thing or another. It is one thing,” she explained. 

Salgado recounted how Leibovitz started taking pictures in the late 1960s when she was studying painting at the San Francisco Art Institute, before working for Rolling Stone and subsequently Vanity Fair and Vogue, portraying a roll call of international figures ranging from John Lennon to Queen Elizabeth II. He suggested that her images were frequently more powerful that the words that accompanied them, a comment she echoed in her speech.

“I’m not a journalist. A journalist doesn’t take sides and I don’t want to go through life like that. I have a more powerful voice as a photographer if I express a point of view. Portraiture gave me the latitude to pick a side, have an opinion, be conceptual, and still tell stories,” she said. She hinted that photography has also helped her process the most difficult periods in her life. “Susan’s last illness was harrowing. I didn’t take any pictures of her at all until the end. I forced myself to take pictures of her last days. I didn’t analyze it. I just knew I had to do it,” she said.

After the ceremony, Leibovitz and guests headed to the courtyard of the 17th century building, where she showed off her sword to Antoine Arnault, head of communication, image and environment at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the parent company of Louis Vuitton. She explained that the custom-made object was created from branches and a mushroom collected at her property in Rhinebeck, N.Y., that were then dipped in copper by florist Ariel Dearie, using a process inspired by French sculptor Claude Lalanne.

“You look so elegant,” Arnault said. Leibovitz said she was pleased with the Vuitton suit, which took 400 hours to complete, though she added jokingly: “But I like my baggy clothes more.” The photographer joins the ranks of foreign associate members of the Académie des Beaux-Arts alongside the likes of British architect Sir Norman Foster, U.S. director Woody Allen and German artist Georg Baselitz. She fills the seat previously held by Chinese-born U.S. architect I.M. Pei. It was the latest in a long series of honors for Leibovitz. In 2006, she was made a Commander of the French Order of Arts and Letters. She has received the International Center of Photography’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and has been designated a Living Legend by the U.S. Library of Congress.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Philipp Plein Signs Home Textile License

Philipp Plein’s ambition to deliver his flamboyant style directly to his customers’ homes is inching up a notch. The brand revealed Thursday that it has signed a licensing deal with the publicly listed Caleffi SpA for the design, production, and global distribution of home textiles under the Philipp Plein moniker. Mirabello Carrara SpA, an entity controlled by the Caleffi group, is to operate the partnership.

The three-year agreement kicks off in 2025, with the first collection set to be unveiled at the Maison & Objet trade show in Paris in January. “It’s been a true privilege to get in touch with such a company as Mirabello Carrara — and Caleffi Group — which impressed me for its quality, manufacturing prowess and practical and proactive business blueprint,” said Philipp Plein. This marks a new brick in Plein’s plans to build a design and interior ecosystem, plans that commenced in 2022 when the namesake brand revealed a licensing deal for the production and distribution of branded furniture with The Netherlands-based Eichholtz and for wallpapers with Italy-based specialist Zambaiti Parati.

“We are extremely glad and proud to be collaborating with Philipp Plein, a synonym for luxury, extravagance and eccentricity all over the world,” said Guido Ferretti, chief executive officer of Mirabello Carrara and a board member of Caleffi SpA. “Unmistakable for their rock and rebellious spirit, Philipp Plein’s creations represent the perfect combination of comfort and style defined by a futuristic and alluring bent, aimed at a dynamic and cosmopolite consumer who wants to stand out with style and originality.”

Based in Viadana, in the outskirts of Mantova, Italy, Caleffi SpA was founded in 1962 by Camillo Caleffi as a luxury home textile manufacturer. It boasts 2,000 stores in Italy and 600 abroad. Listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, the company’s portfolio includes house brands as well as licensed labels including Roberto Cavalli, Diesel and Trussardi, among others. Plein’s move falls in line with another ambition of the outspoken entrepreneur, who in 2021 unveiled plans to venture into hospitality with a dedicated project in Milan, yet to be completed.

After unveiling stately headquarters in Milan that year, his road map to grow his company’s scope and reach includes the relaunch of the Plein Sport line; new licensing deals and global store openings; significant distribution plans in China, and an overall enhancement of the womenswear business to rebalance the label’s offering, among other initiatives. Last year the company signed a beachwear license with Area B, following similar deals with manufacturer De Rigo for eyewear collections and with Timex Group Luxury Division for watches and jewelry.

Stephen Linard Dead

Stephen Linard, an ’80s London club kid who drew on Gothic, romantic and street dress for his wild, color-drenched looks, has died aged 64, according to his family.Linard, who spent his career working for brands in Japan and Australia before returning to his native England, had been ill for many months and died on March 10 from throat cancer.

He wasn’t the best-known ’80s designer, nor was he the most successful to come out of London, but he was a trailblazer, and a talented artist who lived for color and saw fashion in a broad context. “He was the first person who saw clothing as a ‘story’ — this was pre-John Galliano — and had a visual interpretation of fashion. It was the era of MTV, i-D, and The Face and he was styling for those magazines,” said Stephen Jones.

Jones knew Linard from his university days at what was then Saint Martins School of Art, now Central Saint Martins. Jones later hired Linard as his very first assistant, and made the hats for Linard’s graduation show. “And for his own collections he designed everything — the hair, the makeup — and the attitude,” said Jones who, like Linard, was a “Blitz Kid.”

Both Stephens were regulars at the Tuesday night Blitz club in London’s Covent Garden in 1979 and 1980, outdoing each other with their increasingly flamboyant looks, which they’d often change and tweak multiple times before stepping out. Passionate about creating different personae through the language of clothes, they are credited with birthing the New Romantic movement, in all of its baroque splendor. Those boys and girls were the very opposite of minimalists.

In the ’80s, Linard was among the first designers to create Goth looks, and drew on his menswear background to create things like “an organza shirt for men — it was something that just wasn’t done,” said Jones, adding that color — black, faded navy and chocolate — always played a big role in Linard’s designs. He dressed Boy George, David Bowie, the Pet Shop Boys and even the members of U2, in addition to his friends Galliano and Jones, who argued that Linard’s designs were much more than fashion. “They were costumes you’d put on to ‘become’ someone else,” said the milliner.

Linard branched into womenswear and had a shop near Oxford Street but — as with most young London designers — money was tight and it eventually shut. At other points in his career he worked with great success for Japanese and Australian brands. In the ’90s, Linard joined Drake’s, the Savile Row tailor and haberdashery which had been founded by his second cousin, Michael Drake.

There, Linard applied his love of pattern and rich, drenched color to silk-screen designs for foulards, ties and other soft accessories for Drake’s and a variety of other brands. “He used his talent in all kinds of ways, and we worked on so many designs together — he was my first design assistant, and I respected and trusted his opinion,” said Drake. Linard stayed on after Drake sold the company to its current owner, Michael Hill, and continued to immerse himself in pattern and color.

“He was an expert colorist, and because of his technical background he knew exactly how all the dyes worked when they were printed onto fabric. He could hand-block prints, and color ancient madder designs,” said Hill referring to the silk printing technique that results in unique shades. “He approached everything with flair,” Hill added.

Over the decades Linard’s sense of color endured, and was even celebrated last year with an exhibition of his fashion illustrations at Rogue Gallery in Linard’s hometown of St. Leonards-on-Sea in East Sussex, England. The show, “Stephen Linard: Total Fashion Victim,” featured works from his archives from 1978 to 1983. The gallery’s owner Ray Gange said he was proud to have put it on. “Other celebrated British fashion designers have all had big public exhibitions of their work, and I felt that it wasn’t right that Stephen, with his immense talent and his legendary status, hadn’t. I thought he deserved a show of his own here in his adopted home town,” said Gange. 

He said the show was a hit — so much so that the police received complaints about the street being blocked with so many noisy people — an echo of the clubbing days at The Blitz. “On the night, Stephen rose to the occasion like the fashion star he should have always been,” said Gange. Linard is survived by his sister Beverley. A memorial service is being planned, but a date has not been set.

Walter Chiapponi Exits Blumarine After One Season

Walter Chiapponi has left Blumarine after just one season as creative director. A successor has not yet been named. The brand did not indicate any reason for the departure, but Chiapponi had been open about his grief throughout 2023, which he called a “horrible year” in an Instagram post in January due to the sudden deaths of his nephew, his friend Davide Renne (shortly after his appointment as Moschino creative director), and his dog.

“My thanks for this experience go first and foremost to Marco Marchi [sole director of Eccellenze Italiane Holding, parent company of Blumarine] who made it possible, but also to all those without whom I wouldn’t have been able to express myself as I did. I am especially referring to people I have loved who are no longer with us, but who continue to instil strong emotions in me, to inspire my feelings and my journey,” says Chiapponi in a statement today. “I now want to concentrate on new initiatives and projects with a social and humanitarian scope before returning at a later date, at the right time, to the catwalk.”

Chiapponi’s appointment to Blumarine in November came as a surprise for some, signalling a pivot away from the Y2K aesthetic the label had leaned into under Nicola Brognano, who revived the brand following his appointment in 2019. Chiapponi was formerly creative director at quiet luxury label Tod’s; he stepped down in July 2023 and was succeeded by Matteo Tamburini.

As anticipated, Chiapponi’s first and only collection for Blumarine was a far cry from Brognano’s aesthetic of butterfly motifs and Y2K silhouettes: for autumn/winter 2024, the brand pivoted to romantic lace brogues, sheer gowns and floral prints on dresses and silk pyjamas. Some showgoers thought the collection lacked direction, but the sense was that we’d yet to see what Chiapponi could do with the brand. “This experience will remain unique at a special moment in Blumarine’s history,” says Marchi. “I am grateful to Walter Chiapponi for pouring so much of himself into this collection. It has been an extraordinary adventure. I wish Walter all the best for the continuation of his journey.”

Naomi Opens Her Own Fashion Exhibition

As one of the most famous supermodels in history, it’s hardly surprising that Naomi Campbell is preparing to unveil her own exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The display celebrates her extensive creative collaborations, activism and profound cultural influence. To kick off the exhibition in style, Naomi chose to host a fabulous luncheon at The Dorchester, and wore a particularly rare piece of fashion history for the occasion.

Dressed in Alexander McQueen – specifically look 47 from the autumn/winter 2000 Eshu collection – Naomi sported a black button-up shirt paired with a slate-grey suit, featuring a single-breasted jacket with an ultra-defined waist and matching pleated, cropped trousers. Her ensemble was finished off with silver jewellery and black patent leather pumps, maintaining a classic yet sophisticated vibe.

The exhibition, titled Naomi: in Fashion and sponsored by Boss, promises to be a thrilling experience for fashion enthusiasts. Visitors can expect to see exclusive pieces crafted specifically for Naomi, ranging from creations by Azzedine Alaïa and Valentino to the unforgettable Dolce & Gabbana gown famously worn on the final day of her court-ordered community service. Plus, attendees can marvel at the platform shoes – bearing the inscription “Naomi”, penned in blue ballpoint by a backstage dresser – in which Campbell stumbled at a Vivienne Westwood show. Mark your calendars – the exhibition is scheduled to open its doors on 22nd June.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Dior Will Present Its Cruise Collection In Scotland

Dior will unveil its cruise 2025 collection on June 3 in the gardens of Drummond Castle in Scotland, the French fashion house said Wednesday. The picturesque location in Perthshire near Crieff, a market town famous for its whisky and history of cattle trading, has featured in films including “Rob Roy” as well as the TV series “Outlander,” in which it stood in for the gardens of the Palace of Versailles. Built into a hillside, the castle started life as a fortified tower in the 15th century.

Its Renaissance-style garden combines the styles of Italian terraces and statuary with French parterres, with a striking 17th century sundial at the center. A beech tree planted by Queen Victoria commemorates her visit in 1842. The castle, which is not open to visitors, is now the seat of Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, 28th Baroness Willoughby de Eresby, who was a maid of honor at the coronation of Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Dior staged a ball at the nearby Gleneagles Hotel for its spring 1955 collection, the house said in a statement provided exclusively to WWD. Founder Christian Dior drew inspiration from Scotland for a look in his debut collection in 1947 that he christened Écosse. Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of womenswear collections at Dior, is expected to continue her tradition of collaborating with local craftspeople on the annual collection, which has the potential to significantly boost tourism revenues in its destination.

Since the lifting of pandemic-era restrictions, the Dior cruise show has taken place in Mexico City; Seville, Spain; and Athens, Greece. The last time the fashion pack descended on Scotland was in 2012 for the Chanel Métiers d’Art show at Linlithgow Palace near Edinburgh.

Applications For New York Men’s Day Open

New York Men’s Day (NYMD), the biannual showcase for emerging men’s and genderless brands, is now accepting applications for the spring 2025 season. The presentations are slated for Sept. 6, during New York Fashion Week.

NYMD will feature 10 to 12 designers, each of whom will present in an individual studio space during either a morning or afternoon session. Designers who are selected to participate in the event will have a chance to meet buyers, show their lines to media representatives and network with various industry professionals. NYMD covers 85 percent of the presentation costs for each designer chosen.

The New York Men’s Day committee for this season includes stylist Memsor Kamarake; Aria Hughes, editorial creative director of Complex Media; Joseph Errico, editor in chief of Grazia USA, and Jian DeLeon, Nordstrom’s men’s fashion and editorial director. To apply, designers can visit and fill out an application. Applications will be accepted until April 12th.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

High & Low: John Galliano

“I am going to tell you everything,” says John Galliano mere minutes into High & Low: John Galliano, the documentary on the designer directed by Kevin Macdonald, which will be released in theatres in the US, UK and Ireland on 8 March, with Canada following a week later on the 15th. And when Galliano says everything, he’s not kidding: He doesn’t spare himself over the course of the 116-minute run time of the film – which features contributions from Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Bernard Arnault, Charlize Theron, Amanda Harlech and Rabbi Barry Marcus – as he comes to terms with not just his recent past, but his entire life.

Not about his upbringing in south London in the Sixties with his Spanish and Portuguese parents. Not about his student years, where he went full throttle with the hedonistic club scene of Eighties London while still managing to – notoriously – graduate from Central Saint Martins art school with a 10-look collection, Les Incroyables, which has achieved mythic status. And certainly not the cycle of ascent, descent and reascent with his own label, with Dior, and with Maison Margiela while facing addiction issues, departures from reality, and the racist and anti-semitic outbursts in a Paris bar, which brought him and his world crashing down in 2011. “It was a disgusting thing, a foul thing, that I did,” Galliano says. “It was just horrific.”

On the phone from London, Macdonald – who previously directed the Academy Award-winning One Day In September, about the murder in 1972 of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes – explains why he wanted to make a documentary about Galliano. “There are two reasons,” he said. First, “John is regarded as one of the great designers of the last hundred years – everyone tells me this guy’s a genius. What does that actually mean in the world of fashion? What does it mean to be one of the greats?”

The other, he goes on to say, was around those antisemitic incidents and the subsequent firing of Galliano from Dior and the ensuing court case in Paris. “We’re living in a time in which – and John’s is really the origin of this for me – well-known people, celebrities, are getting caught by some socially unacceptable behaviour and cancelled in one way or another,” Macdonald said. “I was interested in the question of what happens to you afterwards? Is there a mechanism for forgiveness for that in society?”

Much of the power of Macdonald’s film lies in the way that it refuses to neatly lead us to a place of forgiveness – it tacitly acknowledges that the path to that place isn’t one everyone will want to take but is, rather, full of conflicting signposts and complicated diversions. To reduce it to black or white is too simplistic. That Macdonald can do all of this lies in no small part to a subject who, the director acknowledges, was prepared to speak his truth, but understood that not everyone would hear him. (The interviews with the designer were conducted over six days, for four or five hours per day, and with no minder or PR present.)

“John knows he will never be forgiven by everybody,” Macdonald said. “He wants to be understood – to have the opportunity to explain as far as he can what happened. And he wants his case to serve as a warning. But he was also concerned not to make his story too depressing. At the end, he says his story isn’t actually depressing, because he has come out of everything with a renewed life and a renewed sense of vigour and creativity.”

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Art Dubai 2024

Amidst the backdrop of global and regional tensions, Art Dubai 2024 emerges as a beacon of creative exchange and harmonious rejuvenation. With its captivating blend of artistry, design, and intellectual discourse, this year's event promises an unparalleled experience. As the premier platform for art from the MENA and South Asia regions, Art Dubai 2024 presents a rich tapestry of cultural offerings that captivate the senses and ignite the imagination.

(Image credit: Art Dubai 2024. Installation view. Credit_ Spark Media)

Featuring 120 presentations curated from over 60 cities and spanning across 40 countries, Art Dubai 2024 showcases four distinct sections: Contemporary, Bawwaba, Art Dubai Modern, and Art Dubai Digital. Among the myriad highlights are groundbreaking commissions and premieres by globally acclaimed artists. Notably, the debut of 'Heart Space' by visionary digital artist Krista Kim, presented by Julius Baer as part of its esteemed NEXT initiative, promises to captivate audiences with its innovative approach to artistry.

Distinguished as hosting 'the most extensive education, talks and thought-leadership programme of any international art fair', this year's edition of Art Dubai also features the prestigious Global Art Forum. Led by commissioner Shumon Basar and curator Nadine El-Khoury, this flagship summit explores the intricate relationship between extreme weather phenomena and societal transformation.

(Image credit: Art Dubai 2024. Installation view. Credit_ Spark Media)

Under the esteemed patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Art Dubai 2024 stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of cultural collaboration. In partnership with ARM Holding and sponsored by the esteemed Swiss wealth management group, Julius Baer, the fair brings together a constellation of international galleries in a celebration of artistic ingenuity.

´Bawwaba, translating to 'gateway' in Arabic, offers a curated selection of solo presentations from artists hailing from the Global South. Conceived by esteemed curator Emiliano Valdés, this section serves as a platform for contemplation and healing, engaging with pressing social and political themes whilst fostering a sense of community and belonging.´ - Charles Daniel McDonald

Art Dubai Modern, curated by Dr. Christianna Bonin, delves into the geopolitical landscape of the Global South following the Second World War. With a focus on artists who traversed Cold War-era exchanges and studied in Soviet metropoles, this section offers a compelling exploration of artistic expression amidst historical upheaval.

(Image credit: Cedric Ribeiro for Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Art Dubai Digital, curated by Auronda Scalera and Alfredo Cramerotti, ventures into the realm of new media art and technology. Through the lens of advanced technologies such as AI, AR, and VR, this section offers a glimpse into the future of artistic expression and cultural perception. As the 17th edition of Art Dubai unfolds at the prestigious Madinat Jumeirah from 1 to 3 March 2024, visitors are invited to embark on a transformative journey through the boundless realms of artistic innovation and cultural exploration.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Christian Dior’s Defining Silhouettes

In 1947, Christian Dior revolutionised the fashion industry with the launch of his eponymous fashion house and a captivating collection. The backdrop was Paris, recently liberated from Nazi occupation, and Dior himself had just broken free from Lucien Lelong's design house, where he had worked since 1942. Termed the 'New Look' by Carmel Snow, the influential editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, Dior's collection defied the austerity of the post-war era with its opulent designs. One standout piece, the iconic bar suit featuring an ivory, cinched-waist jacket paired with a full, pleated black skirt, quickly gained acclaim for its bold new silhouette. Now, inspired by Snow's apt descriptor, Apple TV+ presents "The New Look," a ten-part drama delving into the history of fashion, chronicling Dior's journey through World War II and the genesis of his groundbreaking style.

Karen Muller Serreau, the show's costume designer, recalls her grandmother's tales of Dior's iconic silhouette, which symbolized hope and progress. Created by Todd A. Kessler, the series introduces us to Dior (portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn) in 1955, as he prepares to address eager design students at the Sorbonne. However, an audience question transports us back to 1943, immersing us in the challenges of occupied Paris, a setting that would later infuse Dior's designs with profound significance. "I can understand its hopeful impact," reflects Muller Serreau. "As we recreated it, we felt the anticipation building, especially when we approached the unveiling of the bar suit. It was a moment of awe and relief, much like it must have been for people at that time, to see such elegance and abundance amidst hardship."

Running alongside Dior's narrative is the story of Coco Chanel, portrayed by Juliette Binoche. While Dior maneuvers through crafting party dresses for Nazi officers' wives to survive the war and worries about his sister Catherine (played by Maisie Williams), who is imprisoned for her involvement in the French Resistance, Chanel's tale unfolds quite differently. Despite purportedly closing her atelier in an act of patriotism, Chanel is depicted living at The Ritz, engaging in an affair with a Nazi agent. The rivalry between Dior and Chanel, along with the evolution of their fashion houses, forms the crux of "The New Look."

Costume designer Karen Muller Serreau found dressing Binoche and Williams' characters particularly enjoyable, although Chanel presented a unique challenge due to the scarcity of visual references from that period of her life. Muller Serreau aimed to capture Chanel's essence while avoiding stereotypical portrayals. Chanel's own fashion philosophy, such as her famous advice to remove one piece of jewellery before leaving the house, served as a guiding principle. Catherine's character, on the other hand, required a nuanced approach, transitioning from being Dior's sister and former model to a member of the resistance, necessitating a more subdued wardrobe to blend into the background.

The stark contrast between the glamour of the fashion world and the harsh reality of wartime was a recurring theme throughout production. Muller Serreau notes the intriguing juxtaposition between scenes of wartime austerity and the luxurious attire featured in Dior's debut fashion show. With only two scripts available at a time, the production team was constantly surprised by the unfolding storyline. "The New Look" offers viewers a glimpse into this captivating era, exploring themes of survival, rivalry, and the transformative power of fashion.