It’s almost a cliché now that you wait years for a fashion film and then two come along at once. It happened with two Chanel films in 2009, and now this year two YSL biopics are going head to head.

First up is Yves Saint Laurent which opens in the UK on Friday. Starring Pierre Niney as Saint Laurent, it’s the one that has the co-operation of the designer’s long-term boyfriend and civil partner Pierre Bergé, and director Jalil Lespert was therefore able to work with the Pierre Bergé-Saint Laurent Foundation. And the other? Saint Laurent, set for release in October and directed by Bertrand Bonello, has been backed by François Henri-Pinault, head of Kering, which has OK’d use of the fashion house’s logo and designs. Bergé has slammed the project on Twitter and said he wants to ban it. Read more

Salvatore Resort 2013

As fashion statements go, it doesn’t get much grander than Salvatore Ferragamo’s 2013 resort show at The Louvre in Paris. It wasn’t  just the setting or the clothes themselves, but the reason behind the location. Ferragamo is sponsoring the exhibition ‘The Saint Anne, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Ultimate Masterpiece’ at the museum, and combined showing its collection with private tours of the da Vinci show for guests from all over the world. In return for its sponsorship, Ferragamo gets to be the first label to show a collection in the archways of the Denon peristyle, which frame the Louvre (previous shows have been in the courtyard) and to host  drinks and dinner (serving wine from the Ferragamo family’s Il Borro estate in Tuscany) and most importantly it gets an implied link with one of the greatest artists in history. There was nothing exactly humble, or indeed subtle about the message that was being telegraphed here, namely da Vinci and Ferragamo: Italian genius. Read more

Aquascutum show at London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2012. Image by Getty

Aquascutum show at London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2012. Image by Getty

“Due to unforeseen circumstances the Aquascutum autumn/winter 2012 press day has been cancelled until further notice.”

That was the email that went to the fashion press yesterday, ahead of news that the British label has gone into administration. To be blunt, the autumn issues of glossy magazines aren’t going to collapse if stylists can’t get their hands on an Aquascutum trench to feature in their shoots. The wheels of fashion aren’t going to stop turning.

However, while Aquascutum isn’t one of the labels that shape the style landscape, like a Prada, or a major advertiser, like Armani, because there are few major British designer labels, when one is under threat it’s a big deal. Read more

Anyone looking to drop a few million dollars on some jewellery, and get a warm, fuzzy virtuous feeling at the same time, should look no further than the upcoming sale of philanthropist Lily Safra’s gems at Christie’s.

A diamond, pink and green tourmaline Poppy flower brooch

A diamond, pink and green tourmaline Poppy flower brooch

All the proceeds from the collection belonging to Safra, who was married to the late banker Edmond J Safra, will be donated to 20 different charitable causes, including the Claude Pompidou Institute for Alzheimer’s disease and the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda.

Jewels for Hope: The Collection of Lily Safra was unveiled at Christie’s on Thursday ahead of the auction in Geneva on May 14 when it’s expected to make in excess of US $20m. A highlight of the sale is the largest single owner selection of pieces by JAR, the jeweller to the jet-set, also favoured by Liz Taylor. Read more

British Fashion Awards 2011 - London. Sarah Burton with the Designer of the Year award. Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

Sarah Burton, Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards 2011. Ian West/PA Wire

Take a wild guess who won the designer of the year award at the British Fashion Awards last night. Yup, it was Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. A well deserved win, given her acclaimed royal wedding dress and the sensitive way in which she has interpreted Alexander McQueen’s legacy, but not really a surprise. It was the first of many not-really-a-surprises at the awards, held in London’s Savoy hotel, which is probably a good thing, indicating that there is a consensus behind which British names are ones to be confident about.

Mary Katrantzou, who won the Emerging Talent – Womenswear award, is fast becoming a highlight – if not the highlight – of London Fashion Week. Not only are her bold and unusual prints arresting, they are also tailored to be highly wearable and fairly commercial. The question of when a designer is no longer deemed to be emerging can be a problematic one though; there’s often no clear moment when they become – like a butterfly from a chrysalis – fully formed. Read more

Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre, September 13, 2011. Image by Getty.

Whether you think the new the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre is a job generator, sign of rejuvenation in London’s East End and general source of economy-boosting shopping convenience or a hubristic temple to mammon sullying the pure spirit of the Olympics taking place next door, (and during a downturn to boot) it’s here. And it’s gigantic.

The opening day, Tuesday, was not the best time to evaluate such a behemoth with a cool head, because it was absolutely swarming with shoppers. Some were buying, but most were mouths agape at screens showing former Pussycat Doll singer Nicole Scherzinger, who was performing at the opening ceremony. Also any comprehensive review would take until 2012 because it’s huge, and schlepping round it is akin to an Olympic marathon. Read more

The stylistas attending Milan Fashion Week next month will find themselves with a spare 45 minutes to say, drink 10 espressos in a row, or add up the cost of Vogue’s Anna Dello Russo’s latest look. The reason behind this sudden gap in the schedule on September 25? Brioni’s women’s wear show has been cancelled, because more dramatically, the Brioni women’s wear line has been cancelled.

After speculation on Monday, the label released a statement on Wednesday confirming the news:

“This strategic decision has been made in order for the company to re-focus its resources on the men’s market, which is recently becoming both increasingly competitive and global.”

Brioni spring summer 2011 collection

Brioni spring/summer collection 2011. Image by Catwalking.

Brioni’s women’s wear line was far smaller than its luxury men’s wear business, and enjoyed nothing like the same level of cachet. However, the fact that the label hired designer Alessandro Dell’ Acqua to revamp its women’s wear range in May 2010 means the closure will surprise many.

While Dell’ Acqua’s shows weren’t exactly setting Milan Fashion Week on fire in creative terms, like a Prada or Jil Sander, Brioni showed many stylish pieces rendered in the extremely luxurious fabrics for which the label is known. A highlight of the spring/summer 2011 show was elegantly tailored high waisted red trousers worn with a pussy bow chiffon blouse. Autumn/winter’s tailored trousers were sleek and  flattering. The women’s brand could potentially have forged an identity as a go-to label for classic, but not staid tailoring that didn’t feel aggressive, masculine or corporate. After all, Alessandro knows how to do femininity. And where there’s a women’s brand, however small, if the name is big enough then there’s the potential to launch a fragrance and accessories… Read more

A shoe by Christian Louboutin

Image by Getty

Shoe designer Christian Louboutin’s continuing legal fight to protect his signature red soles from imitators is fascinating. Can you really own a colour? Can the designer really uphold such a simple- but oh-so-effective-USP? Christian Louboutin certainly hopes so. A spokesperson for his eponymous label confirms that the designer plans to appeal a New York judge’s decision last week to deny Louboutin’s bid to block Yves Saint Laurent from producing red-soled shoes in its 2011 Cruise collection.

The story so far: in 2008 Louboutin trademarked a lacquered red sole on footwear ( Pantone No. 18-1663 TP, or “Chinese Red,” FYI). In April this year Louboutin filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in New York saying that YSL had breached its copyright by using the red sole, in July the judge heard preliminary evidence – with YSL’s representative arguing that no brand should have a “monopoly on a colour”- and last week Judge Victor Marrero denied Louboutin’s atttempt to block YSL’s shoes. Read more

The fashion industry has plenty of tactics for confronting economic turmoil, especially when it comes to conflating need and desire. Witness the fact that the ante has been upped on “investment pieces”, and they’re now referred to as “forever pieces”. Beyond imaginative vocabulary, though, decorative escapism, or even bright colours to lift the mood, there’s another more obvious tactic retailers could employ to sustain sales: focusing on career-enhancing clothing. Read more