In the game of fashion telephone, by which a rumour gets whispered to someone on the benches, which gets passed on, and so on, we have reached a new level of nuttiness: over the weekend, the New York Post speculated that Donna Karan’s tears as she took her bow at the end of her 30th anniversary show for her main line (left) — which they identified as her DKNY second line — somehow indicated she might be leaving, a rumour that was picked up by British Vogue’s website, and applied only to the second line – which then got picked up and spread by businessoffashion.com, a taken-seriously-by-the-industry website, which gives the whole thing a certain sheen of corporate credibility (it brought it to my attention, anyway). But let us pause for a minute to consider the likelihood of all this.
I know this is heresy of a sort, but sitting in the opening shows of New York Fashion Week, a thought keeps niggling away at the back of my mind: maybe being marketed by Mrs O (because, let’s face it, when she wears your dress it’s free global marketing on an unprecedented scale), is NOT helpful. Maybe, in fact, it creates expectations some designers are simply not ready to bear. Before you rant and rave, hear me out.
Having now spent an entire evening mulling over Nicolas Ghesquière’s move to Louis Vuitton – OMG! Time to think! Such a radical concept – I can’t help feeling a little tinge of regret that M Ghesquière ended up at another major brand, instead of opening his own house. Sure, I’m excited to see what he does at Vuitton, and how the brand gets re-imagined with a new team, both corporate and creative, but at the same time, the fashion world feels smaller, rather than larger: instead of adding a new brand, and maybe a truly new designer to an old brand, which would create two new opportunities, we’ve simply engaged in yet more musical chairs. And I keep wondering why?
Forget “who to watch,” or “what shows to watch” – when it comes to New York Fashion Week, “what to watch” is far more exciting. And by what to watch”, I do not mean what digital video channel, though they are unquestionably proliferating, but rather what issues will be revealed during the next round of shows, which start – ahem – tomorrow. I guess a more colloquial way of putting it would be “what to watch for”. And when it comes to “what to watch for”, I have four main areas of focus.
So yet another Brit has landed atop a fashion brand, adding fuel to the idea that London is having a moment not seen since its Cool Britannia heyday. Coach, the billion-plus American accessible luxury handbag line that is in the process of trying to become a “lifestyle brand” (like, dare I say it, every other brand on the planet), has announced that they have poached Stuart Vevers (below) from Loewe, the LVMH-owned Spanish leather house, to be its new executive creative director. Start date still TBD. But ooooooh, already the implications are huge!
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.
If anyone wants to know the difference between Milan and New York fashion, the two cities that are most often seem as similar in their focus on the commercial as opposed to the insanely creative/conceptual, simply consider two recent pieces of news from over the pond: first, in her official term 2 Flotus portrait, Mrs O is wearing Reed Krakoff; second, the CFDA has hired Boston Consulting Group to help them determine their goals for the next five years. Fashion-as-business! It doesn’t get any clearer than that.
Mitt Romney and his wife Ann Romney celebrate their victory in the Illinois GOP primary. Getty Images
The elevation of Mitt Romney to Republican nominee presumptive appears to have acted as a sort of spur to his wife Ann when it comes to her entrance into the imagineering race.
Michelle Obama famously has a blog (mrs-o.org) devoted to her style, after all, which puts her front and centre in many cultural conversations and positions her as a champion of business without her or her camp having to say a word — other than “J Crew” or “Jason Wu” or ”Narciso Rodriguez.” It’s taken until now for Mrs Romney to begin to fight fashion fire with fashion fire.
Mitt and Ann Romney on 'CBS This Morning'. CBS image
Or so it seems. After a primary season marked mostly by a sea of unidentifiable red suits, earlier this week Mrs R appeared with her husband on “CBS This Morning” wearing a T-shirt printed with bird images by the New York designer Reed Krakoff. It was the first time as far as I know that Mrs Romney had dipped a public toe in the branded fashion world.
And it was an…interesting choice, for two reasons.
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?
This morning PPR revealed YSL CEO Valerie Hermann was leaving the company, but would not say where she was going. Well, this afternoon, the answer was revealed: Reed Krakoff.