Archive: October 2009

I’ve made Fashion Editor

I’ve just found out that I have been made fashion editor of my University newspaper and want to say thank you so much to Ben for chosing me over the equally amazing competition. I am very excited and really want to do well. (more…)

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Slava Zaitsev’s A/W 2009 collection

I’ve just been doing some more research for my Global Consumer Issues essay and I’ve just found the A/W 2009 collection of Russian designer Slava Zaitsev.

Slava Zaitsev creates exciting, over-the-top haute couture. In early April, when the Russian a/w 09/10 fashion shows took place, Zaitsev’s collection ‘Red Dior’ was his haute couture collection dedicated to the 100-year anniversary of Dyagilev’s Seasons in Paris. Sergey Dyagilev was the world-famous ballet impresario and founder of Ballets Russes, which gripped Paris in the beginning of the 20th century.

After looking at his designs, it’s easy to understand why Zaitsev is one of the most revered fashion designers in Russia. It’s such a shame he didn’t have the opportunity to show in Paris during his early years; under the communist regime, the only country outside of the USSR where Zaitsev was able to work was Czechoslovakia.

But just look at these images, they’re absolutely stunning. The use of colour and the intricacy of the designs are incredible; the folk-inspired shapes just scream Russia.

The Guardian launches online fashion store

I read on Drapers that newspaper group, the Guardian News & Media, has launched an online fashion store. Guardianfashionstore.co.uk links the newspaper’s fashion editorial content and allows Guardian and Observer readers to browse over 150,000 products, featuring 2,000 brands and retailers including All Saints, Whistles, French Connection and Browns.

I decided to go on and have a look around; it might have talked me into spending £30 for an umbrella. But it’s a Lulu Guiness bird cage umbrella! Ok, I have no self control.

Anyway, I thought the idea was quite clever, when readers want to buy a product they’re linked to the retailer or brand’s website to complete the transaction, so nothing is really done through The Guardian, other than browsing. The site has been created in partnership with LynkU.com, a fashion shopping search engine which displays products for online and bricks-and-mortar retailers. It’s a good idea if it will promote independent labels and give the opportunity to new British designers to sell their work.

Rachel Dixon, life & style editor for guardian.co.uk, said: “I’m really excited about our fantastic new fashion store, which stocks fashion and beauty products from hundreds of great labels – from exclusive designers right down to familiar high street names. Now readers can buy the products recommended by our writers with the click of a mouse, or read about the latest trend and find the look in store in moments.”

Net-A-Porter head office relocates to Westfield

According to Retail Week, luxury fashion etailer Net-A-Porter is to move its head office to shopping centre Westfield London.

The retailer, which runs the online shops (and website of torture to every poor fashion student) Net-A-Porter.com and fashion outlet website theOutnet.com, will occupy a unit located above the Luxury Village.

Net-A-Porter chairman Natalie Massenet said: “We are very excited about the possibilities presented by our office move to Westfield London. It is a fitting location and a substantial space that will allow us to increase our organizational capacity and make real headway towards achieving our growth goals.”

Footfall at Westfield has exceeded expectations, pulling in 22 million shoppers; one of which was me when I visited the centre in November 2008 (it opened in October). I thought it was amazing; to those who haven’t visited I really recommend it just because it’s incredible to see the designer boutiques and high street labels together in one building. One minute you could be admiring Mui Mui, a minute later you could travel up the escalators and be in Topshop. I love it, and I genuinely believe it’s only in Britain where high street and high end would combine together.

BNP on Question Time tonight

BNP leader Nick Griffin is to appear on Question Time tonight at 10:35 on BBC1, alongside Justice Secretary Jack Straw and Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne.

Earlier today, anti-fascist protesters broke into BBC Television Centre; about 25 people were thrown out by police after breaking through a gate at the main entrance. There are several hundred protesters outside the West London building.

According to BBC News, Deputy director general Mark Byford earlier defended the BBC’s decision to invite Griffin onto the show saying it was part of the corporation’s “responsibility of due impartiality”.

Griffin is now inside television centre after being driven in through another entrance.

As he walked towards the studio for the recording, he said he expected it to be a “fair old political rough and tumble”.

He earlier accused the protesters of “attacking the rights of millions of people to listen to what I’ve got to say and listen to me being called to account by other politicians,” adding: “It really is a disgraceful thing.” That’s disgraceful? Is it really, Mr Griffin?

Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism accused the BBC of “rolling out the red carpet” to Mr Griffin and said his appearance on the flagship discussion programme “will lead to the growth of a fascist party” and promote violence against ethnic minorities.

I’m excited to see how they’re going to handle this; they could either speak to him as an equal politician, remaining fairly uncontroversial (which would probably increase BNP popularity) or rip him to fucking shreds, exposing the racist party that they are.

Jimmy Choo unveil collection for H&M

Next month, the average high street shopper can purchase their very own pair of Jimmy Choo’s, as today hype (and if past collections are anything to go by- mass hysteria) was built with the unveiling of the collection by H&M.

Consumers are generally expected to fork out an extortionate amount to get their hands on the coveted heels, a staunch favourite amongst A-listers (and Carrie Bradshaw), with the average pair costing £500.

But for a credit-crunch friendly-ish £79.99, shoe-lovers can bag a bargain just in time for the party season, as the collection hits shelves on November 14.

The Jimmy Choo for H&M range features more than 40 pieces including clothing as well as footwear and handbags. Prices range from £14.99 for statement jewellery, through to £149.99 for a leather dress and £179.99 for thigh high boots. Key footwear styles include red patent strappy heels, studded pumps (£49.99) and zebra print sandals (£79.99).

There is even something for the men as a selection of ankle boots, bags, wool blazers, leather biker jackets, silk and cashmere mix sweaters, shirts and trousers will also be available in store.

Jimmy Choo was co-founded in 1996 by Malaysian-born Choo and former Vogue accessories editor Tamara Mellon. It has since become a major global upmarket brand with stores on six continents. Mellon, who set up the designer empire with a £150,000 loan from her father, said: ‘It’s such a privilege to design a collection to appeal to fashion savvy, street smart women.

‘Jimmy Choo will bring to H&M a sophisticated, fashion forward, accessible and glamorous collection – the perfect party pieces to wear out at night.’

The partnership is the latest coup by H&M, who have cashed in on collections by designers including Stella McCartney, Matthew Williamson, Madonna and Kylie Minogue.

The day fashion ended – Alex Curran for Vogue?

I’ve just read this on the Daily Mail website, hopefully it’s lies.

Professional scallie, Alex Curran who is married to Liverpool and England footballer Steven Gerrard, has been shot for the December issue of Vogue.

“It seems the surgically enhanced 27-year-old Northerner – who is best known for stepping out in Juicy Couture tracksuits and nail extensions – has been shot for a diary-style spread for the leading fashion magazine and may even appear on the cover.

“Alex was shot over several days during London Fashion Week and had a separate studio shoot arranged,” said a source.

“The spread has been pencilled in for five pages and she may even be the cover. Alex is over the moon about it and can’t wait – she has always wanted to appear in the magazine. She has been very careful to tell only close family members and friends.”

Last year, I [Daily Mail] revealed how Vogue received a number of complaints and cancelled subscriptions when Victoria Beckham became the first footballer’s wife on the cover.

In February this year, Cheryl Cole followed suit.”

Ok, I can understand the use of the other two “WAGS”, Victoria Beckham was famous before David Beckham, as was Cheryl Cole before Ashley; I can respect them both as business women. But Alex Curran is a professional wife and/ or girlfriend, a celebrity for the sake of celebrity.

Urghhh. It will be a sad day for fashion if this is true.

Scarlett Johansson for Mango

In the past, Spanish store, Mango, has worked with Milla Jovovich and Lizzie Jagger but new poster face Scarlett Johansson is Mango’s most high-profile celebrity model to date.

The Girl with the Pearl Earring actress, who took over from co-star Penelope Cruz as the face of the High Street label earlier this year, has posed in a series of stunning images to promote the store’s new collection, taken by famed fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti.

The fashion label said of its new star: “She is an extraordinary personality, fun, young. She’s Mango’s ideal urban woman, independent and cosmopolitan.”

The photos show the 24 year old with short peroxide blonde hair, smouldering against a graffiti-covered wall. The shoot sees her wear pieces from an Eighties-inspired collection; including T-shirt dresses, embellished miniskirts and polished tailoring, flaunting her famous curves. While the edgy rock-chic leather remains, the leopard-print of early autumn has been replaced with inky blues, black and pale grey.

Scarlett, who recently married fellow actor Ryan Reynolds, made an appearance in Munich, Germany earlier this week to launch the campaign. Dressed, naturally, in head-to-toe Mango, she wore a sleeveless printed pussy-bow blouse with a beige pencil skirt and co-ordinating platform peep-toes (see images to the right, top image). It was a far cry from Scarlett’s usual vintage-inspired look, which is often compared with the style of Marilyn Monroe.

However, it’s these images that have prompted a mixed reception from the fashion press, with some, like Instyle, praising the ‘strong direction’ being taken by the chain and others, for example OSOYOU, criticising its bland neutrality. I’m just surprised that this shot has been publicised as heavily, as it really doesn’t do justice to the collection, let alone to Johansson.

Megan Fox for Armani

Fashionistas worldwide have been left unimpressed as 23 year old idiot Megan Fox has be announced as the new face for high-end fashion line Armani. According to published reports, Fox will receive a six figure payment to pose in underwear for the fashion retailer shot by fashion photographers, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.

Hours after the rumour was confirmed, fashion blogs begun dissecting the news and have reached a fashionable verdict. They don’t want her. The move has struck some bubbling controversy amongst the fashion crowd, with some claiming Fox is “not notable for being credible” and is somewhat undeserving of her fame, let alone a prestige celebrity endorsement.

One blogger said, “How can Victoria Beckham, a globally known fashion icon, be replaced with someone who has no brains, no talent, no style and no respect? There are a million better picks than Megan Fox.”

Others believe Fox’s otherwise ‘trashy’ image will taint the sophistication and stylish appeal of the Armani brand and that although she is a popular choice, she may not be a suitable one.

Fans of the actress support her new endeavour, claiming the project may encourage the seriousness of her career, while others speak of its counterpart, stating Fox does lack seriousness in her career and would be a more suitable spokesperson for Target.

Ouch.

Fox, famous for leaning over a broken down Camero in the first Transformers flick and for learning over a motorcycle in the sequel, hinted at the prospect some weeks ago. According to the now confirmed reports, the star will appear in a series of print and billboard advertisements for the brand but will not be photographed with male spokesperson, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Flannels adds fuel to Grazia promotion debate

Designer mini chain Flannels has inflamed the debate about out-of-season promotional activity after it launched a 25%-off promotion with women’s glossy Grazia, just one week after York indie Sarah Coggles ran a similar 30%-off campaign with the magazine.

Flannels, which stocks brands including Paul Smith London, Luke and Vivienne Westwood and has 11 full-price multi-brand stores in key shopping locations such as Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham, took part in a wider Grazia promotion this week, joining high street stores such as Warehouse and Wallis in offering readers a 25% discount between October 13-21. In addition to offering the discount in its shops, it also gave shoppers a code to use on its website.

Last week, Sarah Coggles was lambasted by rival indies for offering 30% off more than 200 brands on its website, which the indies said had damaged the sector and harmed their own sales. Several indies remained incandescent that two of the leading multi-brand indies were discounting so early in the autumn season, particularly via their websites.

According to Drapers, Grazia does not charge retailers and brands to take part in its promotions. Instead, it uses them to drive newsstand sales of its magazine, which has a weekly circulation of about 228,700 copies.

Jan Shutt, owner of Sunday Bestin Rawtenstall, Lancashire, said she could understand the temptation of taking what was effectively a free full-page ad in Grazia, but added: “Where does this all end? This might be a quick fix for some retailers but it could change the shape of retailing forever. Why would anyone buy anything from a store if it can be bought cheaper online?”

Rhona Blades, co-owner of five-store north-east indie Jules B, added: “Everybody has to think cleverly but this is just wrong. This kind of behaviour is leading the industry nowhere.”

However, the attitude of some indies to the discount strategies had softened this week. One rival to Flannels said: “It’s a minefield out there and retailers have to take a realistic view. Each retailer needs to do whatever they need to do to keep their business healthy. No multi-brand retailer would choose to discount because the margins are so small, but the mild weather just isn’t shifting stock.”