In fashion, history is often synonymous with chic. And the Spanish, who've had to surrender their pride to exalted French glamour (Cristóbal Balenciaga is perhaps the most stinging loss, though he'd surely have contended he's Basque), continue to boast that Loewe hails from the Iberian peninsula. “There’s so much goodwill for Loewe in Spain,” says Jonathan Anderson, the London-based designer who, in 2013, succeeded Stuart Vevers as the company’s creative director. “They see it as their only luxury brand, so they’re very protective of it.”
The name is a little difficult to pronounce (something akin to low-ay-vay), in effect discouraging gratuitous name-dropping among competitive fashion chatter. But make no mistake, Loewe is on many lips. In his new role at the storied house, Anderson is luring so-called millennials with an easy charm and a subversive cool. By placing an emphasis on craftsmanship and soft carnality, he's piquing intrigue among jetsetters and Snapchatters alike.
Then there are those ingenious campaigns by — and of — Steven Meisel. Just today the house pre-released another image from the upcoming fall campaign, a picture of the enigmatic photographer when he was a child. So while Loewe doesn’t enjoy manic rounds of devotion, at least not to the extent of its flashier siblings — Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Céline — under their parent company LVMH (which acquired a minority stake in Anderson’s own label, JW Anderson, just two years ago), you can bet that's changing quickly.
New York photographer Quentin Shih bought counterfeit goods — none costing more than $9 — and schlepped them to the industrial city of Linfen, China, where he spent three weeks shooting them on factory and mine workers. The rich-poor juxtaposition of expensive-looking cheap fakes bought in New York by a Chinese-American and worn by unimpressed Chinese locals makes for a poignant statement on the insidious nature of Western materialism and China's willingness to copy it.
Sometimes designers are forthcoming about their inspirations, sometimes...not. Where not, a newish Tumblr page, Where I See Fashion, offers possible explanations. Bianca Luini, a budding designer based in Milan, casts a net far and wide to match runway collections and magazine editorials with their visuals doubles from the realms of art, design, photography, nature, and so on — confirming that great minds indeed think alike...
Céline fall 2013 + forest with green moss
Dior couture spring 2015 + Burning Off by JERRI FINCH (2011)
Alexander Wang spring 2015 + La Vague (IKB 160 C) by Yves Klein
Alexander McQueen spring 2011 + painting by Michele De Agostini
Iris Van Herpen spring 2012 + old tree bark
Valentino couture spring 2014 + Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)
Dolce & Gabbana fall 2014 + interior of the Duomo di Monreale in Sicily, Italy
Jessica Chastain wearing Olivier Theyskens, by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue (2013) + Flaming June by Fredrick Lord Leighton (1800s)
Raf Simons spring 2015 + Mount Fuji in Clear Weather by Hokusai
Chanel spring 2015 + Swan Lake by Megan Weston
Of course, they all had an adorable baby phase; many of them had a geeky phase; some even pulled out a dashing adolescent phase. Eventually they all did their part to shape fashion as we know it. Here, the fashion set when they were young...
The UK's reigning avant-gardist, Gareth Pugh will return to London Fashion Week for the fall 2015 collections, following a prolonged stint in Paris and a one-off show in New York last season.
He'll also stage a retrospective at Galeria Melissa (43 King St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8JY), marking his label's ten-year anniversary. We hope the homecoming is every bit as bat-sleeve crazy as our all-time favorite Pugh looks...
The Maasai Cricket Warriors, the only tribal cricket team in Kenya and possibly all of Africa, are not only sensationally stylish, they may be the tribe's future.
Semi-nomadic and cattle-dependent, the Maasai face catastrophic peril on nearly every front. They've experienced the ravages of HIV/AIDS, and the loss of land and livestock to outside threats. Meanwhile, they continue to suffer the entrenched practices of female genital mutilation and child marriage. The villagers' safety, livelihood, and very existence hang in the balance.
So while the cricket players are out to win, they're also on a mission to bring education and equality to the tribe, and restore a sense of unity. If they happen to reach another goal, playing a cricket tournament in England, where the lawn sport was born, then all the better.
A film documenting their noble quest, Warriors will hit film festivals as early as this summer. Here's the trailer...
Suddenly the whole world is unisex. Or is it androgynous? Transitioning? However you chop it, Vivienne Westwood has long espoused the concept. In her fall men's collection, she trotted out a number of women in men's garb, along with a spate of other houses. Now Westwood is making it official with a collaboration with Opening Ceremony, under her iconic Worlds End label.
The capsule collection of reworked archival Worlds End pieces reflects the gloriously inglorious history of the London boutique she founded in 1971, formerly known as Let It Rock, SEX, Seditionaries, and Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die. This was homebase for Westwood as she forged her signature punk-rebel-dandy look — with its utter disregard for gender, among other formalities — along with Malcolm McLaren. If crossdressing was a taboo, they were there to break it.
Reimagined pieces include that most important of Seditionaries items, the Anarchy shirt (1976), as well as the Savage sweater (1982), the Clint Eastwood bomber (1983), Pirate trousers (1981), and Tongue sneakers (1983), thought to be the first sneaker shown on a runway. "When we started to do punk," said the Dame, "we put all of these things together to create the look of an urban guerrilla — a rebel. It was a creation that evolved through our shop. I think it was the first time people saw clothes like ours."
The collaboration comes on the heels of an unusual announcement from Selfridges, that it's launching a space called Agender in mid-March. The retailer’s London flagship on Oxford Street will replace its distinct men’s and women’s departments with three floors of unisex clothing, beauty and accessories. It's also doing away with male and female mannequins.
Another champion of men in dresses, London designer Jonathan Anderson has been a force for gender-blending for several seasons with his J.W. Anderson label. Quieter than Westwood, though no less radical, Anderson effectively channels the shock of seeing a flouncy mini-skirt on a man's albeit ectomorphic body on the runway — enough to catch the attention of LVMH, who've installed him at the helm of the Spanish label Loewe.
Inspired by their own grooming rituals, Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford have both introduced unisex cosmetics of late, ranging from lip balm to brow mousse. They share the opinion that men should be able to openly peruse and purchase make-up without embarrassment or ridicule. Would they earn more in the process? Definitely. However the sentiment seems genuine.
Meanwhile, it's full steam ahead for Brooklyn's own sexless label, Hood By Air, which has not only been picked up by Barneys, but launched an e-store of its own. HBA joins a raft of other labels that have long embraced gender-less dressing: Jean Paul Gaultier, Acne Studios, Gareth Pugh, Rad Hourani, and the footwear label Underground.
Vivienne Westwood Worlds End X Opening Ceremony
Vivienne Westwood Worlds End X Opening Ceremony
Vivienne Westwood Worlds End X Opening Ceremony
It's a sad day — and wake-up call — for fans of over-the-top, form-over-function vanguardism. Today came news that Viktor & Rolf will end its ready-to-wear line at the close of the fall 2015 season. They'll forgo the runway in March in favor of a smaller presentation. Further, their standalone store in Paris, which opened less than two years ago, will be jettisoned, as well as the men's line, presumably. However, the core of the business, couture and fragrances (Flowerbomb remains a global top-seller), will remain intact — so not a complete loss.
The Dutch duo, whose company was acquired by Only the Brave's Renzo Rosso in 2008, has seemed increasingly at odds with the accelerating pace and demands of RTW. "We feel a strong need to refocus on our artistic roots. We have always used fashion to communicate, it is our primary means of artistic expression," Viktor Horsting told WWD, adding, "[We] started to feel creatively restricting. By letting go of it, we gain more time and freedom.”
Last year, the French label Faith Connexion, created in 2004, reinvented itself as a collective of designers and artists in an effort to tap into the power of groupthink.
In addition, Alexandre Allard, a French entrepreneur and former Balmain shareholder, acquired the brand and moved its headquarters to the Hotel de Pourtalès, a sumptuous 19th-century hotel particulier smack in the 8th arrondissement. He then assembled the new team of creatives, many of whom worked at Balmain. The fall 2015 men's collection, the first for the brand, was presented during the Paris shows in January — an assortment of popular styles, including rock, sportswear, punk, preppy, and glam. Meanwhile, the Finnish designer Petteri Hemmila, who also hails from Balmain, created dandyish feather brooches.
The new endeavor was celebrated at a bash attended by fashion's current rap darling, Zebra Katz, who's modeled the collection in a series of soon-to-be-released images. Plus we hear there's more Zebra Katz-Faith Connexion news to come.