Archive: September 2009

London Fashion Week – Burberry Prorsum

Taken from Drapers:

Christopher Bailey’s exquisite Burberry Prorsum collection was a fitting end to London Fashion Week’s 25th year.

Victoria Beckham, Anna Wintour, Claudia Schiffer and brand ambassador Emma Watson were all on hand to watch Bailey’s return to London with baited breath, and were not disappointed.

Following on from the ultra-feminine feel seen leading the charge through the London collections this week, Bailey also plumped for sugary tones, twisting, knotting and wrapping shades of mint, baby pink and duck egg blue chiffon into gently swathed takes on his signature trench and girlish dresses.

Pleating on shoulders added subtle volume to the upper half of the body, which draped down from the waist and out from the hips. Ruching offered the most surface texture options – other than a silver encrusted coat and jacket at the end of the show – and was deployed on trenchcoat sleeves, all the way down skinny trousers and used to add impact to nude slip dresses.

Chiffons were interspersed with stiffer satin fabrics which were bunched and tied into voluptuous peaks along the bottom of double-breasted shirt dresses and cap-sleeved minis.

Watch the runway video on the Vogue website.

The final day at LFW is traditionally not quite as exciting as the penultimate one, but this season London saved the best until last, and alongside Burberry, the day’s guests were also treated to in-your-face colour pop prom dresses from Nathan Jenden, a clean and Nineties-inspired sugary-hued collection from Jonathan Saunders and some ultra-pretty floral print gowns at Erdem.

Lagerfeld and Starck design cover for Wallpaper* magazine

Design legends Karl Lagerfeld and Philippe Starck are guest editors for October’s “peelable” edition of Wallpaper* magazine.

Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of French fashion house Chanel, has teamed up with designer Philippe Starck this month to create a special edition cover for Wallpaper* magazine.

Starck has developed a new technology of paper allowing the cover to be constructed from three layers of tracing paper which has never before been used on a magazine. The publication has a peelable cover, featuring Baptiste Giabiconi in Dior Homme, which can be removed to reveal the other cover with the model naked.

Lagerfeld and Starck have each edited large sections of the October issue. Lagerfeld, also a sought-after photographer, has shot Giabiconi in a variety of historical settings across continental Europe, including Rome and Paris. He also writes about his collection of houses.

Starck has chosen a more philosophical subject for his pages, focusing on mankind’s quest to discover the meaning of life and interviewing scientists, physicists and cosmologists. “It is my mission to make intelligence sexy,” he said.

Editor-in-chief, Tony Chambers explained, “Like their illustrious predecessors, (including Jeff Koons, Dieter Rams, Hedi Slimane, Zaha Hadid, Rei Kawakubo and Louise Burgeous) Lagerfeld and Starck have made full use of their prime piece of Wallpaper* real estate.”

London Fashion Week – Row over plus size models

Fashion Week is back in London for its 25th anniversary, but aside from the glamour, the hedonistic designs, the glitterati and the parties; this season also receives hundreds of column inches on sizing used on the runway.

This time the issue has been raised because of the use of plus size models. According to reports (read The Guardian article here) a back-stage row erupted at London Fashion Week after knitwear designer, Mark Fast) chose to use ‘normal-sized’ models in his show.

Fast, who is known for his sculpted ‘bodycon’ dresses, used three models who were sizes 12-14 to showcase his designs – which prompted his stylist to resign.

The news emerged after a journalist from the fashion magazine Elle posted a message on Twitter within an hour of the show. Fast’s managing director, Amanda May, said she was ‘so happy we stuck to our guns over the casting’ adding that she was ‘really grateful’ to another stylist, Daniella Agnelli, who had stepped in at the last minute.

Fast used size 12 model Hayley Morley in his catwalk show after working with her for the London Fashion Week photography exhibition, All Walks Beyond the Catwalk.
It launched on Friday at London’s Somerset House with a party attended by prime minister’s wife Sarah Brown (who admitted she had “sneaked out” of a number 10 reception for British designers she was hosting) and Alexandra Shulman, editor of British Vogue, who wrote to leading designers asking for larger-sized clothes for the magazine’s photo shoots. She said: “We have now reached the point where many of the sample sizes don’t comfortably fit even the established star models”.

The exhibition features models aged 18 to 65, in sizes 8 to 16, wearing outfits created by young London designers. It aims to change the narrow vision of beauty offered by the fashion world. The size issue is always a sore point within the industry. The 2007 Model Health Inquiry was launched by the British Fashion Council in response to the death from starvation of several models who had been slaves to the size-zero trend. It failed to set out any firm industry guidelines but the debate has gained momentum; this month, plus-size model Crystal Renn launched her autobiography at a glittering Manhattan party and talked of a new vogue for women “lush and sparkly without a jutting collarbone in sight”.

All Walks Beyond the Catwalk aims to change the perception of young designers towards age and weight. Exhibition curator and fashion TV presenter Caryn Franklin said: “Working with designers early in their career to introduce this shift is crucial.” In Fast, she may have found her first true convert.

R. J. Cutler on The September Issue

Ahead of Friday’s UK launch of the must-see movie of the moment, The September Issue, here’s an interview from the film’s director R.J. Cutler about his time spent behind the scenes at Vogue and up close and personal with icons of fashion Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington. Forget what you think you know – Ugly Betty this certainly isn’t. (Read the full interview at Shots.Net.)

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Chad Pitman for VMAN

VMAN magazine’s PR sent Design Scene advance previews of 3 fashion spreads by Chad Pitman, photographing some of the most wanted in the fashion industry.

The spread features Garrett Neff and Baptiste Giabiconi (photographed by somebody other than Mr. Lagerfeld). I think they’re really rather good.

VMAN’s (Issue #15) is hitting the newsstands September 15th.

Christopher Kane’s autumn collection at Topshop

A crowd of over 100 shoppers queued outside Topshop’s flagship store today as the third High Street collection by, one of my favourite designers, Christopher Kane went on sale. Some had been waiting for over an hour and a half, desperate to get their hands on the young British designer’s third line for the store, available at a fraction of the price of his mainline collection. In scenes reminiscent of the launch of Stella McCartney’s collection for H&M, customers gathered piles of embellished neon dresses, printed T-shirts and platform boots – although, like the first Kate Moss collection, the store imposed a five-item-per-customer limit to ensure stock did not sell out too fast.

The 39-piece womenswear collection went into 39 Topshop stores at 9am and on the chain’s website from 6am. This is the largest designer collaboration that the young fashion group has commissioned.

I haven’t had a chance to see any of the pieces yet but I’m sure I’ll be buying a signature crocodile print dress for £60 (pictured) which I love because it’s reminiscent of Kane’s famous gorilla print dress from the spring 09 ready-to-wear collection (which will set you back around £220). Other key pieces from the range include black, pink and lime bodycon mini-dresses with eyelet embellishment for £125, a “hard handbag” with rivet and fringing detail for £65 and a one-shoulder lace mini dress for £75.

John Lewis forecasts less discounting at Christmas

The effect of the recession on Britain is set to continue over the Christmas period with less discounting and festive sales on the high street. This week Drapers reported that John Lewis managing director Andy Street has forecast that there will be less high street discounting during the crucial festive period as the department store said that sales fell by 2.9% to £1.21bn over the first half.

In this report Street said like-for-like sales at the retailer fell 4.7% in the first half to August 1. Operating profit, excluding property profit, was down 49% to £20.1m. He went on to say that the performance was better than expected and that the department store was bullish about the prospects for Christmas.

However, it seems that it is the fashion part of the department store has been continuously doing well as sales rose 2.2% over the first half. Total online sales rose 11.6% to £151.5m over the half and the retailer has re-launched its fashion website with 200 brands. It will open its 28th store in Cardiff on September 24. It shows that even during the recession, when people are cutting back on luxuries, customers are still willing to spend on clothing on looking good.

See also Retail Week

Agent Provocateur launches new line

Dressed in just the new line of Agent Provocateur underwear, a host of models descended on London’s Oxford Street today to launch the new Agent Provocateur bra. Clad in thigh-high boots, zip-up pants, braces and bra, topped off with aviator sunglasses and caps, the army of lingerie models marched on Selfridge’s department store.

Described as the AP Super Army the collection of models were to promote Agent Provocateur’s New World Order campaign and Nikita range of underwear, including the £75 push-up bra. The promotion coincides with the release of the underwear label’s new advertising posters which feature 13 different super hero style characters dressed in the company’s trademark raunchy styles.

It may take more than a suspender belt and basque to conquer the world but Agent Provocateur seems to be bucking the recession after it announced an annual 8% boost in sales back in March.

Uma Thurman for W magazine

Being a fan of Tarantino films, I’ve always been a fan of Uma Thurman; considering her one of the most attractive women in the world.

This month, the actress and former model does an editorial shoot for W magazine, in which the 39-year-old smoulders on a couch, clad in a feathered stole and black stockings and suspenders, with Marilyn Monroe style peroxide hair; I love the glamorously dark aesthetic as she looks like a tragic actress on the way down the greasy pole of celebrity.

Photographed by Stephen Kleine. Read the full story on W’s website: here.

Emma Watson’s ethical range

Taken from The Guardian: Emma Watson, the actor best known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, is to release a clothing collection in collaboration with the ethical fashion label People Tree.

Watson has been developing her interest in fashion this year, appearing on the front row at several catwalk shows in February and March. She is already linked with the British heritage brand Burberry, recently becoming the face of itsAutumn / Winter advertising campaign.

The collection for People Tree is aimed at bringing fair trade and organic fashion to the 16-24 age group. Watson is acting as creative advisor, injecting her personal style into the range.

“I was excited by the idea of using fashion as a tool to alleviate poverty and knew it was something I could help make a difference with,” she said.
“I think young people like me are becoming increasingly aware of the humanitarian and environmental issues surrounding fast fashion and want to make good choices but there aren’t many options out there.”

The People Tree line, comprising 26 women’s styles and 15 for men, plus a small accessories range, will enter stores in late February 2010. The collection, which includes knitwear, cotton T-shirts, jersey dresses, poplin skirts and shorts, is described by People Tree as “clean, sexy and easy to wear”.

Much of the range uses organic and fairly traded cotton. The clothes are made entirely by hand by fair trade groups using weaving, knitting and embroidery, helping to create livelihoods for disadvantaged groups in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.