Monthly Archives: January 2011

There’s a big Tom Ford interview in this month’s interview magazine, by the artist and FoT John Currin, in which Mr Ford makes two pretty provocative statements.

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Does retail need retailers? This is not a rhetorical question. Mark Lee, the CEO of Barney’s, has finally appointed his Woman’s Fashion Director, thus completing his makeover of the store’s executive suite.  Read more

I’m interested in the news that Prada has decided to hold its long-postponed IPO in Hong Kong, though not only for the reason everyone else seems to be (namely that it marks the beginning of what will become a flood of western brands listing in HK). Personally, I’m more interested in what this suggests about the Chinese consumer. Read more

The couture shows, which ended yesterday, were lovely, but not particularly buzzy; even Jean-Paul Gaultier’s decision to make Andrej Pejic, the boy model who looks kind of like a girl model, his bride, didn’t elicit more than slightly raised eyebrows from his audience: “Oh, him again?” Instead, the most-talked-about award goes to a 25-year-old Parisian called Maxime Simoens, whose clothes are fine – they are actually very high-end ready-to-wear, and involve well-cut little dresses in interesting prints, pieced long gowns, the occasional feather or leather applique – but whose strategic mind, when it comes to building a modern fashion business, is really interesting. Read more

I think you could have guessed at the message of unity and compromise (kind of) even before President Barack Obama opened his mouth last night. Or any art major could.

Instead of opting for his classic signature tie in that nice shade of True Blue (worn at least 90 per cent of the time over the last two years during public appearances, the meeting with Hu Jintao last week being a rare exception), or swapping sides entirely to wear Reagan Red in a direct appeal for fellowship to Republicans, he opted for a sort of bluish lilac shade.

Or, as one friend wrote, “Wisteria.”

And, if you look at the two guys behind him – Biden in blue stripes, Boehner in pink – and then combine the colours of their ties, you get….sort of a bluish lilac.

Compromise! A little of his agenda, a little of their’s! Read more

Image by Catwalking.com

I suppose it’s a natural extension of the high/low give and take that currently fuels fashion: if H&M and Zara can be inspired by what they see on branded catwalks, and ready to wear brands can make their own premium jeans, why can’t couture?

Well, one might say, because, paying couture sums (the average couture dress or suit clocks in over €10,000) for jeans is just – dumb. But apparently Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s designer, has a little PT Barnum in him, and is out to prove there’s a sucker born every minute, because today he showed faded, skinny jeans with diamante ankle buttons as part of his couture. Read more

I spend yesterday at the DLD (Digital Life Design) conference in Munich, and was struck by two things, one I found amusing and one that was just very smart: Read more

Gosh, fashion pundits are cranky these days. Following Bridget Foley’s treatise on the dumbing down of fashion in WWD, Imran Amed, the guy behind the site www.businessoffashion.com, has taken out his critical stick and started wacking the Milan men’s wear brands: he says they don’t understand jack about the digital world. Read more

I admit: at first, when I saw pictures of Michelle Obama at last night’s state dinner in her Alexander McQueen dress, I got excited. It marked her second english designer outfit in as many days during Hu Jintao’s state visit (she wore Roksanda Ilincic for their arrival), and seemed to suggest an end to the conventional use of dress in such occasions, which says the First Lady has to either fly the national flag and wear a local designer, or, if she wants to be rebellious, only go so far as to wear a designer from the country of her guest (ie, Naeem Khan to the India state dinner).

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The start of NY fashion week, which begins the fashion marathon that swings from here to London, Milan and Paris (and truncates the years of those of us who run this hamster wheel to 10 months instead of 12), may also be the start of a new trend — or what one American accessories designer hopes is a new trend: crowdsourcing the fashion show stylist. Read more

Comme des Garcons has announced the closure of the Tao Comme des Garcons label, the young brand launched in 2005, shown in Paris, and designed by Tao Kurihara under the CdG umbrella. It’s unclear whether the decision is personal or financial. Read more

Which companies will get a business bounce from last night’s Golden Globes? The pictures have been sent round the world, and will play out not just today, or throughout the week in various newspapers and weekly gossip mags, but for months as other glossies re-visit celebrity looks of the year. Read more

Last Saturday I wrote a column about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the way he dresses, looking at his decision to stick with the hoodie uniform even as he becomes part of the establishment, and ever since it was published letters have been pouring in, at least half of in his defense (even though, to be fair, I never criticized how he looks; I simply noted it).  Read more

For the last few days I’ve been exploring Post, the new iPad-only fashion mag and the first of a host of such publications to appear. It beats, in other words, the much-discussed Rupert Murdoch iPad-only newspaper, a Virgin project, and another lifestyle mag that is so under wraps, if I told you who was behind it, I’d have to kill you (just kidding). In some ways, this is good – the first product to define a space can sometimes own a space (can you say “Apple”?) but it’s also risky: you work out your kinks in public. And I have to say, at this stage, I think the Post folks, and anyone else planning something for this space, have a few things to consider. Read more

WWD has launched an attack on the dumbing down of fashion. “In the zeal to court and clad the proletariat, is it becoming no longer PC, or even of interest, to celebrate the levels of research, of design, of intricacy, of detail, of materials (all fabrics are not created equal) that go into high-end fashion?” writes Executive Editor Bridget Foley. And that’s just the tip of the whiny iceberg.  Read more

Barneys, the department store currently owned by Dubai-based Istithmar that was as close to synonymous with a way of life as any department store ever came, is getting a new creative identity: out with the old, ironic, insider, kitsch-meets-cool force of Simon Doonan, who has been “promoted” from creative director and the man behind the store’s windows (effectively its primary interface with the outside world) to “creative ambassador-at-large” (a minister without portfolio title if I ever heard one) and in with the new vision – whatever that may be – of Dennis Freedman. Read more

After the much-publicised sell-out success of their pre-xmas collaboration with Lanvin, high street megalith H&M has announced their next partner: Elin Kling, a Swedish fashion blogger and stylist.

Yup. The bloggers have moved from commentators to creators.
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International has finally named a new editor for French Vogue after former editor Carine Roitfeld resigned pre-xmas. Emmanuelle Alt, Ms Roitfeld’s tall, skinny, jeans-and-stiletto-wearing, not-so-mini-me fashion director has gotten her ex-boss’s job. Read more

So eBay has gotten itself a creative director, in the form of ex-Lucky mag staffer Andrea Linett, to gloss-up its fashion offerings. At least we know they can recognize a trend when they see one.

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Today the AMF, the French securities regulator, approved the defensive plan of a group of Hermes family shareholders to pool their stock to create a holding company for over 50% of the company equity without having to make a public tendor offer for other minority shareholdings. Given that the holding company has been engineered solely to make it impossible for LVMH, which before Christmas announced they owned over 20% of Hermes shares, to acquire a majority of the heritage brand, this seems to me to imply the belief that 1) the AMF accepts Hermes’ position that LVMH does not have the best interests of the brand at heart, but just Wants To Make Money (horrors!); and 2) Hermes has somehow transcended product status to become synonymous with France, or a certain French heritage/craftsmanship, and the regulators think this deserves protection like any monument.
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