Karl Lagerfeld

Forget reality TV; nothing has been more mesmerising than the Dolce & Gabbana soap opera of summer. I mean, first they were convicted of tax fraud. Then they appealed. But not content to appeal to the court, they also appealed to the court of public opinion, closing their Milan stores “in indignation,” and announcing they would be bankrupted if they had to pay their fine.  Read more >>

Marc Jacobs. Getty images

The post I wrote about the fashionisation of life? Well, today comes the news that stubbly zeitgeist-channeller/designer Marc Jacobs is the 2013 creative director of Diet Coke. See what I mean?

Diet Coke’s gig is a year-long stint involving the redesign of some bottles and cans, and a commercial that seems to feature Jacobs mostly shirtless. Previously they worked with Karl Lagerfeld, who, post-2001-diet became famous for his love of Diet Coke (he drinks 10 cans a day), and Jean-Paul Gaultier. Marc says he drinks two to three cans a day, so the choice makes sense – though the Coke folks have missed the boat with buzzy new Dior designer Raf Simons, who told me he used to drink two big litre bottles of Coke Zero daily, but quit this January in fear of aspartame.

Anyway, the point is less that fashion has a thing for Diet Coke – what else would anyone expect, given the industry’s body image issues? – but rather that Coca Cola, the behemoth that is #3 on Forbes’ most powerful brands list, has sussed that having a fashion name design their bottles gives them a new reason to get consumers to buy. Read more >>

Getty Images

Diego Della Valle, the chairman of Tod’s, has been making a big ruckus lately about the need for Italian brands to protect Italian heritage – their own (ie their artisans and their skills) and their countries. First, he put his money where his mouth is, funding the restoration of the La Scala opera house to the tune of €2m and pledging to restore the Colosseum for €25m, and then he statred castigating his peers for not following his lead.

Well, now someone has. Yesterday Fendi announced it was going to single-handedly provide the funds to restore Rome’s famous fountains, starting with the Trevi fountain for €2m, and following with unspecified contributions for the nearby Le Quattro Fontane (the four fountains). Designers Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Fendi made the announcement in front of a sketch of the fountain (above). It’s even got a catchy logo: Fendi for Fountains, or FFF, a play on Fendi’s own double F. Chic, no? Fashion to the rescue – what governments cannot do, luxury can. Branded philanthropy. Read more >>

Francois Lesage, widely acknowledge as the greatest couture embroiderer and an iconic figure inside the fashion world, died last night at age 82. M Lesage’s death will reignite the debate about the purpose of the sartorial art form, and its role as an expression of French culture.
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By now it’s a truism of the Facebook age that social media allows relatively small brands or individuals to attain audiences far larger than they would traditionally have reached; the barriers to entry are so low, and the potential users so high. So it’s a bit of a shocker to see the latest study from L2, the digital think tank, which looked at small-to-mid-size European luxury fashion brands and their “digital IQ” (ie, how well they use the digital space for etail/communication/marketing) and discover they pretty much…suck.

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More details are emerging about Karl Lagerfeld — aka “Kaiser Karl,” he of the white-powdered ponytail, high-necked white shirt, leather gloves, and Chanel fame — and his new business, which for the last year has been code-named “Masstige.” It has now been christened…wait for it!…Karl. But there’s more.

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Chanel shows are about maintaining the myth that the surrounds the brand as much as revealing the clothes, so it was appropriate that the venue for this season’s Cruise collection on Monday night was immortalised in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night. Read more >>

Something interesting is percolating up in Milanese fashion, and it has nothing to do with runways.

It has to do with things like “sustainability” and “long-term thinking” and “self-preservation” – also “procreation”, with emphasis on the latter part of the word.

To be specific, it has to do with the industry finally thinking about its own future, and the fact that if it’s going to have one, it has to start working on the logistics. Which means, at its most basic level, supporting young designers. Read more >>

Fashion, especially during show time, is not politically correct. This we know. It is, despite momentary urges to prove itself otherwise, sexist (when it comes to models, there’s a big gender imbalance in pay, though not necessarily the way you think); ageist; and size-ist (the latter two do not really need explanation).  Read more >>

The Vanity Fair New Establishment 100 list has just been unveiled, and its criteria for picking “the 100 most influential” are increasingly impenetrable. Read more >>