Fashion

Regular readers of this blog will know that I like to top off my fashion month with a visit to the Alaia atelier to see what the designer is doing and experience the fashion equivalent of a cleanse: Mr Alaia, after all, works exactly as he wants, shrugging off the demands of seasons and showing and trends. Ayn Rand would have loved him. Read more

Humility has not always been a word associated with either the name Louis Vuitton (the powerhouse of the LVMH luxury engine) or Nicolas Ghesquiere (the ex-Balenciaga creative director who got in trouble for bad-mouthing his former employer in an interview). Yet humility was exactly the way Mr Ghesquiere approached his first collection for Louis Vuitton. Read more

It’s interesting, in all the breathless reports about Fast Retailing’s maybe-possibly-hope-so acquisition of J Crew, Andrew Rosen has not really figured. It’s all about Fast’s chairman, Tadashi Yanai, and his desire to acquire, along with the accessible luxury brand, its CEO, Millard “Mickey” Drexler (though presumably creative director Jenna Lyons is also a plus). Yet Mr Rosen, who is a group senior vice-president of Fast Retailing, and instrumental in their US operation, being the CEO of Theory and Helmut Lang (which Fast bought fully in 2009), happens to be very, VERY (I could say that again, but won’t, because I think you get the point) good friends with Mr Drexler. See where I’m going with this? Read more

By Vanessa Friedman and Elizabeth Paton

Once upon a time it was all so easy: everything rode on who had the prettiest dress.

That shot would go around the world, making the brand that made the dress lots and lots of money in free editorial. But today, the red carpet has become a major marketing vehicle.

Not only is EVERY possible item that goes on a celebrity’s body on awards night – be it jewels or shoes or makeup -being identified, dissected and therefore promoted, but celebrities themselves are also monetizing their appearances by cutting exclusivity deals. This means it is getting harder and harder to call a winner.

Because its not just about who looks good anymore. Its about which brand has the most pulling power, and the deepest pockets to snag the most stars who will in turn benefit the most from their investment in the evening. Read more

“What was that designer thinking?” This is the sort of question that gets asked a lot when faced with, say, a languorous evening dress from Hussein Chalayan decorated not with multicoloured beads or paillettes but fake nail tips (brilliant repurposing of basic beauty object?) followed by a smoky organza gown with a peekaboo panel opened in the front to reveal the bustier that lies beneath (here is what you do not see?).

Blame Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel (or maybe even the eight female ministers that make up half of the cabinet of Matteo Renzi, Italy’s new prime minister), but these days trouser suits and women in power just seem to go together like, well, jackets and pants.

This Sunday is the Oscars, which as we all know is the be-all and end-all of red carpet dressing, and may explain the notable lack of Hollywood celebrities at Paris Fashion Week thus far: they’re all back in Hollywood, juicing in order to get their stomachs flat. Or, in fact – and here’s what I am thinking – there may be something else going on. Something that has to do with changing markets, and marketing. Read more

Because today is Dries Van Noten’s show, the first biggie of Paris Fashion Week, and given the interest in his Lunch with the FT last Saturday, following are some out-takes from our interview: moments that did not make it into the final draft because of space or continuity, but that illuminate something about the man, or the industry. They’re not quite as funny as Adam Sandler out-takes, but they’re very revealing. Read more

Today is travel day, as the fashion flock leaves Milan and heads to Paris, the last leg of the four-week marathon that is the womenswear collections, and often the week one that produces the most highs and lows and sheer spectacle. So what are we looking forward to? Four major debuts are taking place this week – more new names at old houses than in any other city. Here are the big ones to watch: Read more