- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
While a catwalk show may still be the traditional and most preferred showcase for most designers, more and more are loving the freedom and ability to tell the story of their collection vision by embracing a static presentation, and FashionUnited has rounded up its five favourites from London Fashion Week.Sophia Webster
For spring/summer 2018, Sophia Webster has been inspired by the Cottingley fairy phenomenon of 1917, where a series of photographs by Elsie Wright appeared to show the existence of fairies, and transformed Somerset House’s Portico Rooms into a fairy flower garden.
The footwear and handbag designer is known for her quirky and elaborate presentations, this season however, there seemed to be a new maturity, yes the fun and creativity was still there, with some shoes featuring fairies in the heels, but it felt more grown up, especially across the growing collection of eveningwear styles with new shoe featuring velvet, satin and embroidered finishes.
There were also new techniques seen throughout with shoes and handbags featuring leather florals, crochet seam raffias and grosgrain frills that added textured and detailing to the growing collection.
The quirky was still seen with slogans such as ‘Roses are Red’, ‘I’ll Bring You Flowers’ and ‘Chickflix and Frills’, and her showstopper knee-high caged boots have been encased in gems and vintage brooch inspired crystals.
“I’ve loved working with this more sophisticated tone for SS18 and layering on these fairytale elements,” said Webster. “I wanted the collection to be poetic, but also modern and wearable.”
Webster also unveiled her jewellery collaboration with British jeweller Alex Monroe featuring handmade wing-inspired earpieces, delicate dandelion leaf cuffs and rings.Alice Archer
Emerging fashion designer Alice Archer brought her trip to an organic Sicilian lemon farm to life with her spring/summer 2018 presentation to offer a beautiful and slightly kitsch collection.
Cherries, strawberries, grapes and lemons were seen across the summery collection, with one of the statement pieces featuring embroidered cherries tumbling down the tulle overlay of a red-and-white gingham maxi dress.
For SS18, Archer has also introduced new sculptural shapes to her growing collection to include relaxed day dresses, silk linen suiting featuring cherry-blossom embroidery on it, silk printed separates, including cherry printed wide-leg trousers, as well as decadent evening gowns.
Archer’s signature silk Kimono has also seen an update, with over-sized lemons and green leave scattered across the blue silk, while her signature gingham shirts have been emblazoned with lemons.
Feminine touches can be seen across the summery fruity prints to the back and waist tie detailing to the cherry-shaped pompoms dangled from the edges of a sleeveless dress.Markus Lupfer
An ode to a Slim Aarons photograph with women decadently lounging around a swimming pool was brought to life at Markus Lupfer’s spring/summer 2018 presentation, with the Lupfer girl being “part old-Hollywood, part new disruptor, a Slim Aarons muse, but with much more attitude”, the show notes explains.
As you would expect the collection was bright, a little naughty, with mischievous monkeys seen swinging from vines on the print used on everything from the cabana shirt dresses to pool turbans and even the set’s furniture.
Highlights included psychedelic floral printed blouses tucked into matching pleated georgette skirts that featured a sheer black organza overlay for added glamour, while retro swimming caps inspired the sheer skirts and blouses adorned with pink and blue sequinned flowers, and the vibrant orange print that popped against the green, pink and blue hues.
Accessories have also been updated with the sunglasses continuing to be large in nude and navy blue colours, while platform heels were fastened with straps in the shape of sequinned rainbows and jewelled parrots, and the earrings dangle to the collarbone.Alistair James
Each season, fashion duo Nicholas Alistair Walsh and David James Wise, behind the Alistair James label dedicate their collection to a different muse, for autumn/winter 2017 it was a love letter to the Brontë sisters and for spring/summer 2017 it was Wendy from Peter Pan, and this season the collection takes inspiration from the fable of Sleeping Beauty and Briar Rose.
Entitled ‘Love Conquers All’ the collection has a romance and strength about it, from floor-sweeping ruffle-clad shirt dresses to a silver sequin jumpsuit evoking 1970s glamour, which all paid homage to Ossie Clark’s silhouettes that the designers referenced as a key inspiration.
The setting of Fitzrovia Chapel created drama and intrigued to the presentation, with the models surrounded by floral cages that added whimsy to the beautiful collection, from the shimmering gowns embellished in Swarovski crystals and the playful ruffled day dresses, and shoes featuring oversized bows.
“This season is our first presentation,” said co-designer David James Wise. “Storytelling has always been a central part of our process, embracing this platform has allowed us to deliver a clear narrative.”
The British fashion label also worked with Swarovski this season, using crystals throughout the collection, from draped chains to bespoke heart and star embellishments to portray the magical ambience of the fairytales that inspired the collection.
“As a brand Swarovski has always championed craftsmanship and creative expression, both of which are central to our ethos,” added co-designer Nicholas Alistair Walsh. “By using Swarovski crystals we have been able to elevate pieces to bring our story to life.”Holly Fulton
Scottish designer Holly Fulton returned to the London Fashion Week schedule after a one-year hiatus to showcase a presentation that acted as a retrospective remix of her key ideas and motifs from the labels ten-year history.
The spring/summer 2018 collection has a strong 1960s feel to it, with mini skirts and in a checkerboard pattern, while dresses, skirts and coats feature zebra prints, and Art Deco motifs embrace sporty tops, maxi skirts and trousers.
Fulton also continues her knitwear collaboration with John Smedley, creating a capsule collection of knitted sports tops, graphic coats and long line track pants that complement signature silk separates.
The vibrant presentation, which was set against Fulton’s signature graphic prints, also showed the designers aim to make her label a 360 vision by adding interior designs, with sofa’s from Moooi upholstered with placement black and white Bloom print, as well as printed wallpaper, Perspex checkerboard side tables, and printed bone china plates adorned with leaping zebras and pop targets. In addition, there was also giant jacquard throws and cushions made in collaboration with John Smedley.
Images: Sophia Webster and Markus Lupfer taken by Danielle Wightman-Stone / all others courtesy of Alice Archer, Alistair James and Holly Fulton.
- AFP |
Karl Lagerfeld chanelled tropical chic on Thursday, unveiling a collection that was all see-through and skin with colours cool enough to soothe your sunburn.
The latest designs from the veteran German designer emerged "in a swirl of Caribbean colour and flavour", as he said in his notes on the Spring/Summer 2018 collection for Fendi at Milan Fashion Week. Superstar models Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner helped show off the looks to the selfie-snapping crowd that included fashion godmother Anna Wintour in the front row.
To the sounds of jungle electro, there were stripes big and small on display as well as skin peeking out from just above the hip. Fringes fanned out like palm fronds on the strap of one of the bags -- which are among the accessories the house is famous for.
There was not a dour trace in the collection, which comes just over three months after the death of Carla Fendi. She was one of five sisters who inherited a small leather goods workshop that they turned into a luxury juggernaut.
Lagerfeld, who has designed collections for the house for over 50 years, has often been referred to as the sixth Fendi sibling. On the catwalk the gauzy skirts and coats came in colours of ocean blue, seafoam green and coral pink. Pin-striped cotton skirts hugged high on the waist. Amid all the seaside holiday vibes, Lagerfeld sent down the runway a wide denim trench coat and a brown leather dress that looked fit for a frontierswoman.
The collection also saw Fendi unveil the latest addition to the eye-wateringly expensive range of accessories that drive the company's revenues. The Mon Tresor bag is leather with metallic pearls and the new Runway tote is transparent mesh with rattan handles.
French luxury group LVMH, which owns Fendi, said earlier this year that it was cautiously confident for 2017 after posting record results last year. Bottom-line net profit grew by 11 percent to 3.98 billion euros and revenues were up five percent at 37.6 billion euros. All eyes will be on flagging giant Prada and rebellious Moschino later Thursday when they unveil their new collection to buyers, bloggers and fashion lovers gathered in Italy's economic capital. (AFP)
- Vivian Hendriksz |
Dsquared2 have teamed up with anti-cyberbullying movement "Be Cool Be Nice" and created a capsule collection to raise awareness for the cause.
The collection consists of t-shirts, denim, sweatshirts as well as accessories which bear the name of the movement "Be Cool Be Nice." The garments and accessories were designed to share the message of strength, positive and confidence, while advocating feelings of goodwill both online and offline.
"Online bullying is a powerful and scary issue that can have a lasting, negative impact on young people’s lives," said Dean Caten to WWD. "We were bullied as kids and we understand how destructive it is," added Dan Caten. Both founders and creative directors at Dsquared2 were keen to join the cause as "it’s important to give kids and teenagers who are forming their personalities space to discover themselves without judgment, criticism, and hate."
A part of the proceeds from the sale of the capsule collection is set to go towards the foundation to help halt online bullying among young adults and children. The Dqsquard2 x Be Cool Be Nice collection is set to launch in selected flagship stores and specialty stores around the globe towards the end of November.
- Isabella Naef |
INTERVIEW E-commerce, considered by experts as one of the sectors with the most potential within the fashion industry, is a very interesting employment area. International retailers such as Yoox Net-a-Porter group (YNAP) offer many working opportunities for young talent in numerous countries. For example, YNAP recently opened its new technology hub in White City this June. The new Tech Hub in West London is a key element in YNAP growth strategy and is part of the group's 500 million euro investment plan in technology and logistics to double its business by 2020. In order to learn more about its career paths, FashionUnited spoke to Alessandro Salustri, Yoox Net-a-Porter group’s HR Director, about the most popular career paths, such as which areas offer greater career opportunities and what you need to do to impress your future boss during the interview.
Which job openings are currently in highest demand at YNAP? And over the next 12 months?
"Innovation has always been Yoox Net-a-Porter Group’s "mantra". This passion for innovation is what allowed us to position our group as a global leader in e-commerce luxury fashion. Today at YNAP we’re looking for technology experts for our offices in Milan, Bologna and London, specialising in smart data, artificial intelligence, cognitive commerce and omni-channel. Over the next two years, we expect to create 100 new jobs in the technology team in Bologna and an additional 100 resources to be included in the technology team based in our brand new Tech Hub in London, a true digital innovation temple, which we inaugurated in West London in recent months."
Which positions are currently open within the UK market?
"In the UK we are looking to fill the positions of; junior photographer, junior producer and video product sales and customer care consultant for the Net-a-porter team, Mr. Porter and The Outnet, in addition to a senior product writer for Mr. Porter’s team. You can apply on the website under YNAP people."
Which educational background best suits the profiles you are looking to fill?
"These are mainly graduates in computer engineering, maths, internet sciences and statistics for the technology positions. For other teams, however, we select profiles with a Master's degree or a degree in humanities, fashion and economics. YNAP constantly invests in the development of our talents by creating integration pathways for the most junior profiles, for example through programmes such as the 'MBA Internship Programme’, which provides the best students from leading universities from all over the world with internship opportunities. While for senior profiles, professional growth is consistently followed within the group through ad hoc training activities."
What is the winning approach for someone about to enter the workplace in this area?
"Talents are and always have been the key to YNAP’s success, so we aim for the very best. We believe it is very important to have an international background, an excellent knowledge of English and an open and dynamic mental approach, unconventional, suitable for creating innovative solutions."
Who are the senior figures who currently have the best chance of success with YNAP?
"Innovators, managers with international experience, who want to seize a challenge and become part of our unique and special dream team: more than 4,200 people working in 8 offices around the world, 75 nationalities, an average age of 33 and 61 percent women. Even the leadership team mainly consists of women, with 51 percent fulfilling senior and middle management positions. Believing in diversity means believing in the value of "making a difference", fundamental to creating innovation."
Homepage photo: Alessandro Salustri, YNAP HR Director, ph. Paolo Bona, YNAP Press Office
Other photos: White City, courtesy of YNAP. Credits: Gabriel De La Chapelle and Philip Vile
- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
Fashion platform Couturissimo, which aims to broaden the reach of couture designers by providing a bridge between couture and ready-to-wear, has officially launched in the UK with a catwalk show during London Fashion Week.
Based in London, Couturissimo is backed by the Asian Couture Federation, and aims to revolutionise the face of couture by offering its couture inspired designs at an affordable price point, with designs on its website currently ranging from 70 to 1,200 pounds. A far cry from the many thousands of pounds that couture designers usually command.
“The brand’s goal is to provide greater access to beautifully crafted, quality collections that capture the spirit of couture at a price that is within reach for the modern woman,” explains the label in its show notes. “Couturissimo is a dressing room of possibilities offering access to a new democratic model of luxury.”
Couturissimo aims to revolutionise the couture market with UK launch
That democratic approach includes having multiple designers take part each season, with the spring/summer 2018 collection showcased in London featuring designs by Dubai-based designer Michael Cino, who has created outfits worn by Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Beyonce, and Sebastian Gunawan, who has been named the pioneer of ‘fashion-culture’ in Indonesia.
Both designers were part of the international team who contributed to this season’s collection, which has been overseen by the creative directors behind Parisian brand On Aura Tout Vu, Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov.
To launch the brand to the UK market, Couturissimo held a catwalk show at The Orangery at Kensington Palace, which showcased an extensive collection ranging from intricately embroidered evening gowns to cocktail dresses, and sequin jumpsuits, as well as tailored options including tuxedo-style dresses, high-waist trousers paired with white shirts, and striking feminine floral print dresses.
The label is hoping that the accessible price points and global access to unique collections will “galvanise a new and modern generation of couture fans”.
Images: courtesy of Couturissimo
- AFP |
Gucci's Alessandro Michele unveiled on Wednesday a loud and proud ode to the 1980s on the opening day of the latest Milan Fashion Week, with big bangs, square suits and enough sequins to drown a disco.
Michele burrowed further into his love for the bookish chic that has led the once-flagging house to enjoy white-hot success since he took creative control in 2015.
In a smoky near-darkness pierced by flashes of light, Gucci showed off a Spring/Summer 2018 collection that, along with fringed foreheads, had plenty of large round glasses, satin and even a striped and shiny track suit. The idea guiding the show, according to Michele's notes, is a refusal "to turn the page and stubbornly dwelling on a narration that consolidates on the beauty of the show".
That meant a runway, best described as Atlantis on a foggy night, set among massive sculptures of some of humanity's greatest symbols including a smiling Buddha and Thoth, ancient Egypt's long-beaked god of magic and wisdom. The clothes were confident in their embrace of the past, including a satin outfit trimmed in sequin stars that looked like something out of David Bowie's wardrobe.
There was also a brown three-piece suit that you could almost imagine in a faded Kodachrome photo -- except that the model wearing it had slick white shades and hands encrusted in rings. "It requires courage to slowly linger; to stay with care," Michele's notes said.
He certainly did that and took a bow to the applause of celebrities like Salma Hayek -- whose husband Francois-Henri Pinault heads the French group Kering that owns Gucci. The show was Gucci's first since Kering announced a pledge earlier this month to ban ultra-thin models from its brands' advertising and runways. Judging by appearances, it seems to have kept its word.
The power of zips
Milan kicked off with shows from smaller up-and-comers, including Japanese designer Atsushi Nakashima, who unveiled bright colours, space-agey silver ponchos and clothing bisected with lots of shiny zips. For Nakashima the zips are a reminder of humanity's better impulses in an uncertain time that has seen North Korea fire missiles directly over his homeland.
"This is the reason for the collection... putting together, understanding each other to have more communication," he told reporters through a translator. "We can connect with each other." Milan's opening day closed with a fresh face from China's fashion boom, Angel Chen. The product of London's prestigious Central Saint Martins College, a hub of design talent, Chen only began showing in Milan this year.
The collection she sent down the runway was prepared for the unexpected, with lots of bright yellow rainslicker-looking jackets and models wearing hoods cinched tight around their faces. There is still plenty more to come over the next five days left of Milan's runway strutting.
Expectations are building for British talent Paul Surridge, who will on Friday show off his maiden collection since being named creative director in May of Roberto Cavalli, known for its sexy rock'n'roll attitude. Husband-and-wife team Luke and Lucie Meier are presenting their first designs on Saturday since being tapped in April as creative leads of minimalist stalwart Jil Sander.
The Meiers, a rare married duo of co-directors, come from Dior for her and Paris-based menswear brand OAMC via iconic streetwear label Supreme for him.
Very good times, for some
"Lucie and I work together very naturally," Canadian Luke Meier told Vogue in June of his Swiss-born wife. "We have had an open dialogue about the approach to design for over 15 years and have often spoken of working together one day."
Newcomers to the Milan calendar also include the-sirius, a young Seoul-based label known for futuristic designs, which will indulge its ultramodern urge with a show Thursday on the campus of Milan's Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology.
But it would not be fashion week in Italy's capital of clothes and accessories without the kings and queens of the multi-billion euro luxury goods industry like Fendi, Ferragamo, Versace, Moschino and Prada. These European behemoths -- or some of them, anyway -- are seeing sales jump after years troubled by the triple whammy of a slowdown in Asia, currency volatility and customers staying at home after a string of terror attacks in Europe.
The rebound has been led by houses like Gucci which saw its sales in the first quarter of 2017 grow at their fastest pace in 20 years. But the flip side is labels like Prada that just cannot seem to remember where they put the secret sauce. (AFP)
Photos: Courtesy of Gucci, by Dan Lecca
- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
Fashion Scout has gained a reputation for championing the very best in emerging design talent during London Fashion Week and this season it showed the strength of talent from around the world with its Ones to Watch platform that introduced four new, exciting international designers that you need to know.
Ji Won Choi
A graduate of Parsons School of Design, and the winner of Kering Empowering Imagination Award and the Yooxygen Award by YOOX, Ji Won Choi came into London Fashion Week with a lot of confidence for her first London Fashion Week showcase.
“To be part of the Ones to Watch show has been incredible, there’s such a support team and everyone has been kind and supportive, said Won Choi. “It has been amazing to come straight out of school in May and to be part of London Fashion Week, that’s incredible.”
Her ‘Excessivism’ collection of billowing silhouettes, featured linear patterns and stripes, in a colour palette of black, white, pink, red and blue. The genderless designs were striking and made for a cohesive collection of tunics, floor sweeping coats and trousers, featuring waist ties to accentuate the figure.
“Its about over consumption and the excess waste in all of our closets and how we tend to hoard things we don’t really need, while wearing disposable clothing,” explains Won Choi. “Sustainability is the core concept and I’m working on producing this collection with Net-a-Porter and that’s going to be a completely ethical collection.”
The most colourful collection to hit the catwalk was from Starcisa founded by Ike Seungik Lee from Seoul, inspired by the idea of “what if aliens came to the Earth just for a holiday”.
The brand originates from the “Star Seeker” a character in a fantasy novel and the spring/summer 2018 collection showcased the brand’s colourful and experimental approach to fashion. With tulle and ruffle dresses, cropped flared trousers, tailored outerwear, and oversized jumpers, teamed with artificial grass bags, skyscraper heels and florescent coloured accessories, as well as models covered in stickers.
“Being part of Ones to Watch is a great stepping stone, I’ve heard a lot of stories about Eudon Choi, he’s also Korean, and I decided to follow in his path as he has been very successful,” said Seungik Lee. “I’ve been impressed with the support and passion of the Fashion Scout team and I believe it is a great opportunity for me to grow my brand internationally.”
Estonian fashion designer Triinu Pungits, who has taken part in numerous fashion shows before, has seen her designs featured in Vogue Italia and British Vogue for her use of texture and shape, and was also a finalists at the International Talent Support competition in Trieste.
For spring/summer 2018, Pungits takes inspiration from her dreams and the idea that mind and body should be in harmony. Her collection of bold designs impressed from the opening model, who strutted down the catwalk wearing a digital printed leotard with a foam constructed cape constructed with arms and hands that moved independently from the model.
Other pieces included a number of grey, and black and white trench coats, dresses and jumpers featuring zig-zag lines, and an oversized black and grey knit with a red heart in the middle.
“It was a great opportunity to show during London Fashion Week,” said Pungits. “It can be quite a challenge for an emerging designer to break through and show their work to a wider audience and I’m grateful for the support I’ve received from Fashion Scout.”
Serbian label Neo Design wowed with its all-black collection, which had an element of Game of Thrones about it with the tribal jewellery and layered, texture approach to the clothing. The label strives to connect the last and the future in its designs and did so with its bold layered silhouettes and details from quilting to appliqué, across its genderless collection of tailored jackets, drop crotch trousers, and capes.
“This wasn’t my first show, but if was completely different, as we were the stars, the ones people came to watch and that’s why it was so exciting as well as being challenging,” said Neo Design. “The award motivated me to push myself to do better and to test my boundaries, ideas and possibilities.”
Established in 2014, Neo Design has been awarded multiple awards in the past year, including Fashion Scout’s South.East.Europe Award, which allowed them to showcase during London Fashion Week, and they also qualified as a European finalist in the Woolmark Prize.
Fashion Scout founder Martyn Roberts added: “This season’s Ones to Watch truly demonstrates what the award was created to showcase. Our most international show to date, the diverse nature of cultures and styles was exhibited by our winners for this season.”
Fashion Scout’s Ones To Watch is now in its 9th season, previous winners have included Eudon Choi, Georgia Hardinge, Phoebe English, Helen Lawrence, Edda, and Joanna Berling.
Images: courtesy of Fashion Scout
- Vivian Hendriksz |
Sainsbury’s has expanded Tu menswear offering with the launch of its first full range of formalwear for Autumn/Winter 2017. The formalwear range, which includes tailored shirts, suits and trousers, marks the first time a supermarket offers tailoring for men with fabrics produced in the UK.
The new 29-piece Tu Formal collection was launched online and in 250 selected stores last week, with prices ranging from 6 pounds for ties and 20 pounds for trousers to 130 pounds for a Harris-Tweed jacket. It features trend-led tailoring, such as three-piece suits, double-breasted jackets and patterned shirts.
The colour palette for the Tu Formal range is neutral, with colours ranging from classic grey and blues to burgundy and houndstooth patterns. Sizes for the collection range from W30/29 to W44/33 for trousers and 38S to 52L for jackets.
The new range builds on Tu increasing formalwear sales, as well as positive customer response to its first Harris Tweed collection launched in 2016. The Tu formal collection includes four British Wool Jackets and two British Wool suits. Tu is set to launch additional party options for late winter, such as velvet jackets and jeweled-toned shirts.
The Tu Formal launch comes ahead of Sainsbury’s first premium menswear collection launch. Set to launch online and in 60 stores on October 17, the collection will include wool-blend knits, shearling jackets and a crombie coat. Tu Premium menswear collection will offer 20 high-end garments and accessories, which prices ranging from 8 pounds for a beanie to 60 pounds for an overcoat.
Photo: Sainsbury Tu Formal
- Vivian Hendriksz |
Sportswear leader Nike proudly unveiled its latest innovation in material earlier this week, namely ’Flyleather’. The new ‘super’ material is said to be both sustainable as well as premium, as it is made from at least 50 percent recycled natural leather fibre, as well as water power.
Nike claims that the new material has the potential to revolutionise the industry as its Nike Flyknit did when it was launched in 2012, as it sees Nike using discarded leather scraps from the floor of tanneries and using them together with synthetic fibre to create a new material. Up to 30 percent of a cow’s hide is discarded during a typical leather manufacturing process according to Nike, but its new innovative material takes waste scraps to create something new.
However animal rights organisations PETA argues that this innovative material is still harmful to the planet as it still uses real leather. “Consumers beware: Half of Nike’s Flyleather is made from the skins of sensitive cows who didn’t want to die—the same struggling animals from the same bloody tanneries that produce any other leather, with nothing “recycled” about it,” said Tracy Reiman, PETA Executive Vice President. “PETA urges Nike to embrace the vegan half of Flyleather and switch entirely to high-performance, sustainable vegan leather.”
The sportswear giant argues that Flyleather uses 90 percent less water and has a 80 percent lower carbon footprint than traditional leather manufacturing, which has the second-highest environmental impact on Nike’s carbon emissions and water usage. One pair of Nike Flyleather shoes is said to have half the carbon footprint as a pair of shoes make from traditional leather and as the material is produced on a roll it creates less waste than traditional leather.
However because the new material also consists of a blend of natural and synthetic fibres, it makes it more difficult to recycle the fibres used to make Flyleather once more, raising questions concerning the sustainable nature of the material.
Photo: Nike Flyleather tennis shoes
- Sponsor |
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