It’s been a weird past few weeks for me, probably because of the constant need to nominate the top five of this, or person of the year for that. Now, it’s time to think of other things.
This is my last post of the year. Though I have been hanging on in terror that some perverse power play on the part of Dior will cause them to announce their designer WHEN EVERYONE IS AWAY FROM THEIR DESKS – hah! Panic in the fashion newsroom – I have finally decided to turn off the computer, and in a few hours I’m off to the not-entirely-frozen north and the great Canadian woods to hang with the coyotes. The real kind, not the metaphorical human kind. I will leave you with one of the few virtual cards I received this Christmas that actually made me smile.
Anyone else notice anything surprising about the Duchess of Cambridge’s appearance yesterday at a homeless shelter in a 350 GBP Ralph Lauren polo-neck dress? Let me repeat that: a GBP350 RALPH LAUREN polo neck dress. Ralph Lauren? An American designer on the Princess-to-be? Shocking!
Cheering emails have been landing in my in-box with a noteworthy regularity this week – and I am not referring to, as you might expect, those idiotic e-christmas cards that seem to be the latest trend. Rather, I mean actual bits of news that are like stocking stuffers of gifts because of the optimism they engender. What are these glittering gewgaws? Proof that luxury is taking a more pro-active approach to ever-greening their business.
The other day I got a nice email informing me that Marigay McKee, formerly Harrods’ Fashion & Beauty director, had been promoted to “Chief Merchant Officer,” a relatively new title in the luxury world as far as I can tell (and one not to be confused with that other CMO, chief marketing officer), but one that, I think, reflects not just a titular promotion, but a systemic change in industry thinking.
Here is a Christmas wish, courtesy of Diane von Furstenberg, who issued it during a conversation last friday: Bernard Arnault should take his place as the elder statesman of fashion (after all, he pretty much invented it as an industry) and solve the fashion week date problem once and for all.
‘Tis the season for … pre-fall. Hah! Bet you thought I was going to say something about chestnuts roasting on an open fire. But no. For while outside it might be all bell-ringing santas and frost-covered store windows, in showrooms from New York to Paris it is next June. Or May, in some cases.
As I’ve been making the (endless) pre-collection rounds I’ve noticed a few trends/innovations I wanted to pass on. Here they are, from most original to most accessible:
1. The Spant
This could also be called a “skant,” though since scant is an actual word already, I think it risks confusion and “spant” is better. As to what this exciting new hybrid is, think silk palazzo pants-meet-long-skirt, so what looks like soigné trousers from the front swish like a train in the back.
The garment comes courtesy of Olivier Theyskens at Theyskens Theory, and though it may sound weird, paired with a tank top or t-shirt (though it’s called “pre-fall”, it hits stores in June) it also may be the coolest new proposal for how to dress up for evening. Also — just say the word. “Spant.” Spant. Fun, right?
Image by Getty
We know celebrity sells clothes, but does it also sell stocks? The news that Michael Kors, which began its life as a public company today, was the biggest IPO in American fashion history, suggests the answer is yes. It sold more shares than expected in a deal that will value the company at nearly $4bn.
After all, Mr Kors has talent — specifically an ineffable ability to make a cashmere pencil skirt and polo neck look like a platonic ideal — and a very good business (majority shareholders Silas Chou and Lawrence Stroll are masters at creating a base of accessories and a second line that broadly support the high-end rtw). But he also has the benefit of a potent tv personality.
Looking back over 2011, which I am currently doing for a Christmas Eve column, I’ve been struck by the fact that one trend dominates all others by a significant margin, having held true from last March through year end: the IPO.