The powers that be are spinning the British Fashion Awards as the triumph of the women — Victoria Beckham took home designer brand of the year; Stella McCartney, the red carpet award; Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton, designer of the year; Mary Katranzou, emerging talent — but as far as I am concerned the real stories are elsewhere. Of the above, only one, Katrantzou, shows in the UK. Meanwhile, two (Tabitha Simmons and Dellal) are actually shoe designers. And a third (Christopher Kane) won a new award invented for this year’s ceremony. Hmmmmm.
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
The London 2012 Olympics may not start until July, but Stella McCartney’s personal marathon begins in February. The designer, who is creating the uniforms for Team GB, has agreed to return to London Fashion Week for a one-off extravaganza on February 18. This follows a pre-collection presentation in NY in January and a perfume launch, and precedes her usual autumn/winter collection show in Paris. Expect drumrolls of pre-publicity, fights for tickets, clogged thoroughfares — expect, in other words, an effective dry run for the Olympics proper. Especially when it comes to competition.
Image by Getty.
Image by Getty.
Ah, the difference a dress makes — at least when it comes to a designer’s family politics.
Though Stella McCartney had nothing to do with stepmother #1 Heather Mills’ wedding dress (that lace number was designed by Ms Mills herself), hence telegraphing the lack of common ground between the two, she very happily lent her skills to creating the dress of stepmother #2, Nancy Shevell, as worn on Sunday to Ms Shevell’s registry office wedding to Sir Paul in London.
Indeed, Ms McCartney has a history of making dresses for her friends: she created the gown for Madonna’s wedding for Guy Ritchie, as well as six of the outfits Kate Moss wore during her wedding weekend in July. Read more
OK, John Galliano made her actual wedding dress, which was pretty, but also pretty unsurprising (inspired by the beautiful and damned Zelda Fitzgerald, who was also the theme of Kate Moss’s famous 30th birthday celebration). But – and this a big But — Stella McCartney made six – count ‘em! – dresses for the Kate Moss wedding extravaganza that began yesterday and is continuing through the weekend. Now, who do you think is going to get the most press pictures sent round the world, and thus the most profits?
I was struck this morning by the news that Ron Johnson, head of retail at Apple, is becoming CEO of JC Penney. He’s the third fashion CEO I’ve heard of that got his start at Apple, and learned according to The Book of Jobs. Think that’s a coincidence? I don’t.
Well, the rumours have proven true, and Hannah MacGibbon has left Chloe, to be replaced as creative director by yet another English woman, the fourth in a line that began with Stella McCartney: Clare Waight Keller. Read more
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced its next great Costume Institute theme: Alexander McQueen! And the underwriter of show as well as the opening night party, aka the Party of the Year, aka the ultimate nexus of fashion and celebrity and society (chairs are Stella McCartney, Colin Firth and Anna Wintour; honorary chairs are PPR chief Francois-Henri Pinault, owner of McQueen, and his wife, Salma Hayek), is…Alexander McQueen! What a surprise.
We all know children are the future, but at least two brands in Gucci Group apparently think they will play a significant role in the conglomerate’s financial future too. Today Gucci announced they will launch kids’ collections in November, while earlier Stella McCartney spilled the same news. Stella, of course, already had two very successful test runs with kids’ collections for Gap, so her decision to take the profits in-house isn’t really a surprise. Gucci, on the other hand, is entering the market with a splash — and a couple of big assumptions about consumer behaviour that may, or may not, be true.
Jennifer Lopez for Gucci — copyright Gucci