Monthly Archives: July 2011

Go away for a week in July when things are supposed to be on a restful downward slump post-men’s wear, pre-collections, and couture, and what happens? Action! Kenzo has gone and appointed a new design team, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of US high hipster retailer Opening Ceremony to replace Antonio Marras; Harvey Weinstein and Sarah Jessica Parker have disengaged from Halston entirely; and Bernard Arnault has given an interview to Newsweek announcing the end of the “star designer.” If I was a paranoid conspiracy theorist, I might see all of these as related.

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Who knew lawyers could get so poetic about IP protection? Not me, which is why I wanted to share the following email message, from Susan Scafidi, academic director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School in New York. She is writing about new legislation, being discussed in the US House of Representatives, that would help to protect fashion designers from the jaw-droppingly fast ability of high street shops to pay immediate “homage” to their hit designs the day after said designs are shown on the runway/worn by an influential celeb. Read more

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wore Alexander McQueen again to the royal couple’s “hotly anticipated” black tie BAFTA dinner in L.A. As a super-secret dress choice, it was a little anti-climatic compared to the wedding reveal, but as a choice that could have meaningful repercussions for McQueen the business, it was pretty significant.

After all, you know the rule: once (the wedding) could be a fluke; twice (the sailor dress in Canada) is a coincidence; but three times (last night’s gown) makes a trend. And the winds of trend are indicating that the newest, most-photographed, royal family member has settled on McQueen as the brand that will define her style. Read more

Just so you know, that title is meant literally. If it read metaphorically, I might have had to say “the future of couture” or “the meaning of couture,” for this morning Azzedine Alaia — yes — ended the couture season and was effectively elevated from designer to national treasure.

Returning to the fashion calendar after eight years, he produced a no-frills (well, not literally; there were frills, tiers of them — but no bells and whistles) couture collection in front of an audience that included the French Minister of Education, the ambassador from Jordan, designers Marc Newson and Pierre Charpin, and women in more Alaia than I’ve ever seen, including in the Tunisian-born designer’s own store. And he demonstrated pretty effectively that couture is above all about the clothes, as opposed to concept or image or branding. Read more

Today, Jean-Paul Gaultier introduced a new idea to his women’s couture catwalk: men.

Interspersed with the models in extraordinary elegant feathered and silk creations were dudes in equally elaborate silk and velvet skirts, fur and feather capes, and some very startling beaded leggings. Read more

Chanel dethrones Napoleon - and replaces him with Coco. 

Well, not literally, but conceptually. Following their now-signature “more is more” approach to shows, Chanel recreated Place Vendôme inside the Grand Palais for its couture, complete with nine glass lamp-posts and a soaring neon-tuned plinth topped by - yes - a statue of Coco, instead of the Little Emperor. Not sure about that symbolism, really. What were they saying? We dream big? We are going to rule the world? We forgot pride goeth before a fall? Read more

I just learned something interesting: the made-to-order line is actually the biggest part of Loewe‘s clothing business. Granted, clothing as a category is only about 20 per cent of sales – the rest is leathergoods: handbags etc – but it’s still a notable fact.

Why? Well, if one were looking for, say, ad-hoc proof that consumers are still very interested in spending money on luxury goods, but they want to do so: 1) in privacy; 2) with discretion; and 3) on items with tangible value, well, this is the info you need. Read more

Today Christian Dior effectively opened the couture season with a “team” effort from the atelier under Bill Gaytten, John Galliano’s long term design director. There are earlier shows, but it’s the first big one.

A nice way to describe the result is to say it was a really good example of why a house needs a designer. Or more specifically, a point of view; an idea about what, exactly, it is doing and why. Read more

OK, John Galliano made her actual wedding dress, which was pretty, but also pretty unsurprising (inspired by the beautiful and damned Zelda Fitzgerald, who was also the theme of Kate Moss’s famous 30th birthday celebration). But – and this a big But — Stella McCartney made six – count ‘em! – dresses for the Kate Moss wedding extravaganza that began yesterday and is continuing through the weekend. Now, who do you think is going to get the most press pictures sent round the world, and thus the most profits?
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