Given the diversity debate that raged during New York Fashion Week – and which is making its way over the ocean to London, where the shows began today — thanks to a letter Bethann Hardison sent to the fashion councils of the four fashion week cities pointing out, in no uncertain terms, the extreme uniformity of the runway, I thought it might be interesting to keep a scorecard of sorts during NYFW to see if all the talk had any effect. Here’s what I found.
I’m amazed that fashion, which loves to complain about fashion weeks (which start this week!), has thus far said almost nothing about changes to the New York and Paris schedules. Maybe everyone is simply in end-of-summer re-entry shock and hasn’t had time to focus? Whatever the case, and despite the constant rumblings about the need to condense the season, truth is this time around New York and Paris have pulled a fast one that should extend their “weeks” by another day. Which may not seem like a big deal, until you start adding up the costs.
Sometimes, reading about brand expansion plans makes you long for the good old days when designers big market grabs had to do with sunglasses and fragrance. Today Marc Jacobs’ opened his new all-beauty store on Bleecker street in Manhattan, bringing his stores on the block to five. But why stop there? CEO Robert Duffy “hinted” that the future could hold “fine jewelry and furniture.” I bet he’s not the only one at LVMH who thinks so.
President Obama has just nominated Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg as the ambassador to Japan. Assuming the Senate confirms her, you know what this means: the crowning of a new style icon. It’s not quite as big a deal as a royal baby, but it’s going to take Prince George awhile to grow into his Look and start influencing clothing sales, while Mrs Kennedy-Schlossberg will have to unveil her own pretty soon. Let the who-will-dress-her wars begin!
During the couture shows the hottest topic of conversation runway-side was, unquestionably, whether or not Marc Jacobs (left, at the last Vuitton womenswear show) was going to stay at Louis Vuitton – and if he wasn’t, if Nicolas Ghesquière, late of Balenciaga, was going to get the job. Well, since then, the rumour has only gotten stronger on the blogosphere — google “Marc Jacobs leaving Louis Vuitton” and you get over 3 million responses. But amid all the speculation, there’s one fact no one seems to know.
In more LVMH news, after Stuart Vevers announced his departure from Loewe, Delphine Arnault (below), Bernard Arnault’s eldest child, announced her arrival at Louis Vuitton. Lose some, add some. Ms Arnault is being moved from deputy managing director of Dior to deputy managing director and executive vice-president (the latter title for use in the US; the former for France) of LV, in charge of products, especially leather goods, aka the profit-generator of the brand. Now let’s read the tea leaves!
These days we all hold certain truths to be self-evident: 1) that the Chinese market, while slowing, is still expected to be the biggest fashion market in the world; 2) that the Chinese are attracted to the idea of European heritage and skills; 3) that there is an increasing drive in China to support home-grown design (or to create it); 4) that the Europeans are trying to figure out how to exploit all those two realities to their own profit. Hence, for example, Kering’s purchase last year of Qeelin, the Chinese jewellery brand, and hence Iceberg’s decision to partner with Chinese video artist Yi Zhou for a capsule collection of menswear, womenswear, and accessories, to be launched next Christmas. What’s interesting about both these choices is they are focused much more on East than West. Fair enough: you go where the money is. And with the Iceberg case we reach example number 2 of this approach, thus bringing us ever-closer to critical mass for a trend.
The resignation of creative director Emma Hill from Mulberry yesterday for “strategic differences” with new CEO Bruno Guillon, has opened up a whole can o’ speculation, centring on whether on not the designer might end up at Coach, the American handbag behemoth that is looking to turn itself into a lifestyle brand, and – according to insiders — looking for a name designer to do it, replacing current creative director Reed Krakoff, who resigned earlier this year. Of all the possibilities that have been floated for the post Ms Hill makes the most sense to me, for a number of reasons.
John Galliano’s First Big Interview since his fall (OMG! OMG!) for alleged anti-Semitic remarks uttered while under the influence is in this month’s Vanity Fair. To be honest, for anyone who knows fashion even a little bit, it’s not that revealing (his statement that it was his first sober interview echoes Kate Moss’s long-ago revelation that she never walked the runway sober) – except for its inadvertent airing of two buried fashion world realities.
This weekend marks the opening of designer Marc Jacobs’s first feature film. A “social media thriller” directed by Henry Alex Rubin and entitled “Disconnect”, it stars Jacobs (as well as Jason Bateman, Alexander Skarsgard and Andrea Riseborough) in a supporting role as an sort of e-pimp who provides runaways with shelter and employment doing internet porn. Judging from the trailer he’s pretty good – and really looks the part. In other words, he seems like a legitimate actor, which takes the whole fashion/film thing to a new level. It is a fluke or the future? That si the question.