Tag Archives: Karl Lagerfeld

Luxury Kidswear: The Next Big Market for Luxury

Gucci Kids SS 2017

In this current retail climate, luxury brands are downsizing. That is to say, they’re creating kid versions of their adult lines, catering to an ever younger market through luxury kidswear. Thanks to millennials and the growing number of celebrity couples churning out million dollar babies, the resulting social media frenzy from the Beckhams, Wests and Jolie-Pitts have changed the conversation from one of discovering new mediums for consumer engagement to now appealing to an entirely different class of consumer – the kids, through the most emotionally compromised shoppers on the planet, their parents.

Business of Luxury: Childrenswear, The Next Big Luxury Market

When popular English footballer David Beckham arrived at JFK airport in New York City in 2014, little was said about him, many of the reports were focused on his young daughter Harper and her chic hat and peacoat ensemble.

From Kingston and Zuma Rossdale (Gwen Stefani’s kids), to the scions of English Royalty: Prince George (UK Kidfluencer Prime according Forbes no less) and Princess Charlotte, fashion influencer clout is no longer wielded by over-exposed parents like Kim Kardashian but rather their celebrity offspring: North West, Suri Cruise and the like.

Left: Harper Beckham arriving at JFK with father, David. Right: Kingston Rossdale, son of Gwen Stefani

Their innocence, wrapped in a trapping of luxury, style and sometimes, attitude contributes to the appeal of whatever ensemble they happen to be rocking at the moment and luxury brands are only just beginning to entertain the idea of luxury kidswear, especially in developing economies like India, China, Indonesia and Singapore.

Luxury Brands taking Baby Steps

According to The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, the luxury kidswear market in India is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20%, hitting 95,000 crore or US$14 billion in 2016, making India one of the fast growing markets for the luxury kidswear segment.

All aboard the luxury childrenswear train. Image: Gucci Kids A/W 2017

Similarly, the luxury kidswear genre is also growing in China, fuelled by twin phenomena – the now defunct one child policy, which led to parents indulging in lavish gifts for their progeny as well as the issue of that of fu er dai – a Chinese term which literally refers to the second generation wealthy, millennials used to growing in such opulent lifestyles that the children they sire, also lead similar lifestyles and a propensity towards luxury. These are trends which statistics from the China Research Centre for Children’s Industry also reflect where the projected baby boom through till 2021 will see the mainland’s under-16 population grow over 400 million. In the Asia-Pacific region, luxury kidswear is expected to grow at a pace of 5.3% per annum in Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore as well.

The phenomena of burgeoning luxury sales in the children’s segment is reflected not just in the numbers but in media as well. According to Business of Fashion, Hypebeast, an industry pioneer in online luxury streetwear commentary launched Hypekids in March 2017, a new children’s vertical when Founder Kevin Ma, saw big data trends in his Hypebeast audience growing up and having kids.

“I think it’s a natural progression for us,” – Kevin Ma, Founder, Hypebeast

Launching with Kids Foot Locker as a sponsor, Hypekids will include style news and features on designers with their kids, as well as sell children’s items on Hypebeast’s global e-commerce platform, HBX. The site further posits that millennial parents — who are dressing their children in the same clothes as they dress themselves — are the driving force of the industry.

Balmain Kids

Additionally, rising purchasing power serves as another driver growth in the luxury kidswear segment and the market for designer childrenswear has also been spurred by increasing brand consciousness and the proliferation of online digital platforms which not only grow interest for ensembles for million dollar babies but also serve as a kind of new status symbol – you are no longer judged by what you wear but also what your kids wear, that aside, the reality is that while many millennials aren’t too fussy with what they wear, they certainly are cognisant of the fact that their children are growing up in cultural environs vastly different from that for their era.

 The Business of Luxury Kidswear

In 2013, the first Global Kids Fashion Week launched in London to mixed reception but even with social criticism, the genre continued to grow, encouraged by Burberry, an early adopter, selling $91 million in luxury kidswear in 2014, encouraging the entry of major luxury brands into the arena of childrenswear: Gucci, Armani, Fendi and recently Karl Lagerfeld in 2016 (UPDATE: Givenchy has just launched their kids line) have each launched clothing and accessories lines targeted specifically at children. Given that high street apparel brands like Zara, H&M and Marks & Spencer had found lucrative business in the childrenswear genre, it was only a matter of time before the bigwigs caught on.

Marc Jacobs Kids, officially – Little Marc Jacobs 2014

Gucci Kids 2017

According to Singapore Tatler, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands Singapore was leading the charge in children’s luxury retail, opening a slew of standalone boutiques in 2014 –  Baby Dior, Fendi Kids and Ralph Lauren Children; and then adding to their portfolio of luxury children’s stores: Dolce & Gabbana Junior and Armani Junior in 2015-16.

“In today’s environment of exclusivity and quality, the retail experiences that the market is catering for adults and children are on par, this can be seen in numerous aspects, from the calibre of designs released by renowned fashion houses, to the extensive selection of apparel, right down to the VIP treatment.” – John Postle, vice president of retail at Marina Bay Sands to Singapore Tatler

In China alone, as many as 90% of kidswear labels have their own standalone boutiques but the rise of e-commerce is threatening to move this major market online: Net-a-Porter, a trailblazer in luxury eCommerce, registered the Petite-a-Porter domain name in 2013 (Though nothing has been launched at the moment).  Currently, former Vogue editors Sylvana Ward Durrett and Luisana Mendoza, have themselves launched Maisonette, a Farfetch-style platform that sells a curated selection from children’s boutiques.

Oscar de la Renta kids 2017

That said, while luxury childrenswear is booming, it isn’t exactly a new segment. In the early 70s, Dior and Ralph Lauren were pioneers to the kidswear genre but it must be said, they were likely too early as a nearly four decade drought persisted until Burberry, Chloe and Marc Jacobs reignited the furore. They were followed by Stella McCartney, Lanvin, Marni and Gucci, the latter being the most aggressive (by definition of campaign marketing). Even Oscar de la Renta is in on this, there’s no doubt that every self-respecting designer needs to have a children’s collection under the auspices of their brand. Surely a decisive strategy of building brand loyalty early and deepening their relationships with existing customers.

Currently, European and North American markets account for a major slice of the global kidswear market.  According to Euromonitor, 2015 sales for luxury kidswear reached $135.6bn worldwide and accounted for 12% of the overall clothing market, Meanwhile, research firm NPD Group Inc expects the luxury childrenswear market to hit US$ 173.6 billion by 2017 at CAGR of 4.2% driven by aggressive growth developing economies, particularly India and China where a healthy and growing middle class as well as targeted marketing by brands, increasing social media engagement and a spurt of international travel has created a cocktail of elements driving on luxury childrenswear consumption.

Will luxury watch brands follow suit? Image: Romain Jerome Hello Kitty

That said, rising labour costs do not bode well to the two largest consumers of luxury childrenswear as more and more luxury labels are forced to maintain margins by heading to Bangladesh where Zara, Massimo Dutti, Marks & Spencer, G-Star Raw and H&M are already present. Still, markets like Thailand and Taiwan are largely untapped and growth potential is immense and more importantly, imminently renewable as parents will attest to how quickly the little tykes outgrow their outfits.

 

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Luna Bijl fronts Chanel Eyewear Fall 2017 campaign shot by Karl Lagerfeld

It’s a dream held by many a self-confessed fashion devotee: walking down an elaborately decorated runway, swathed in the finest couture from Paris. For Luna Bijl, however, it’s a reality that she got to experience not once, but thrice — at Chanel, no less.

Besides a Vogue cover, Bijl’s portfolio boasts appearances on the runway shows of the iconic Maison’s Haute Couture Fall 2017, Resort 2018 and ready-to-wear Fall 2017 collections. The 20-year-old’s charms doesn’t seem to be wearing off anytime soon, least of all on Chanel’s creative director, Karl Lagerfeld.

This season, Lagerfeld has made the rising Dutch model the new face of Chanel’s Fall / Winter 2017 Eyewear campaign. Shot by the designer himself, the campaign features a series of monochromatic shots in which Bijl sports the French label’s latest eyewear collection against a metallic, industrial-style backdrop.

The collection itself includes a good mix of optical frames and sunglasses that play on contrasts (retro and futuristic; conservative and rock ’n’ roll) while staying true to the Chanel code with a touch of modern elegance. Some of the standout pieces presented in the campaign are the double-bridge aviator frame — remarkable for the black nylon thread wound round the arms — and a pair of butterfly optical frames with mirror clip-on shades.

After a slew of campaigns fronted by girls born into celebrity (such as Willow Smith, Lily-Rose Depp and, more recently, Kate Moss’s younger sibling Lottie Moss), Chanel’s latest eyewear campaign with Luna Bijl feels like a breath of fresh air. It’s also a reminder that with the right casting decision and a talented model, a couture house can deliver stunning images that sells effortlessly.

Karl Lagerfeld for Swarovski: The Kaiser collaborates with crystal brand for a fashion-forward collection in 2017

Earlier this year, legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld revealed plans to collaborate with jeweller Swarovski. This collaboration between the fashion and jewellery world is finally at our doorsteps, with Karl Lagerfeld recently sharing the first images of his work. The designer will collaborate with Swarovski to create two collections of jewellery per year, including necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings.

The collection is divided into three groups: Ikonic, with a rock-chic aesthetic influenced by musical styles; Klassic Karl, inspired by Lagerfeld’s famous cat Choupette will see signature designs; and Essentials, made up of classic key pieces such as crystallised chains and necklaces that are iconic to both brands.

This collaborative collection will feature Items such as personalised charms, ear jackets, pearls, chains and studs encrusted with Swarovski crystals, finished with gold plating, rose gold plating and rhodium plating.

The collection will be launched later in the year in September at Karl Lagerfeld stores and website, Swarovski Crystal World locations and selected retailers. The collection will be launched across the world in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the US, with retail prices ranging from €50 to €250.

Chanel Métiers d'Art runway show

Chanel’s Metiers d’Art show 2016 stars Cara Delevingne and Pharrell Williams

For 13 years Salzbourg, Rome, Dallas and Edinburg, have served as the enviable locations to celebrate Chanel’s annual Metiers d’Art show. This year, the label picked Paris, a fashion capital and home to the brand’s founder.

Last Tuesday, the Ritz Paris was transformed into an extravagant theatre from the 1930s, that was the stage of Chanel’s annual show. The French label indeed decided to pay homage to its founder Coco Chanel – in a joyful, festive way. Why that specific venue? “The Ritz is very Paris, but men and women from all over the world come here, so it is a temple of cosmopolitan elegance,” declared Karl Lagerfeld. But there is more to the story.

Coco Chanel herself has lived a large part of her life in one of the majestic hotel’s suites – bringing in an air of scandal, when she was sharing her bet with a German intelligence Officer, during WWII.

Chanel Métiers d'Art runway show

Focusing on a lighter, more insouciant part of Coco Chanel’s life, Karl Lagerfeld revived the 1930s glamour to perfection. As a perfect tribute to Chanel’s style and spirit, Pillbox hats with netted veils, long woolly jumpers and glittery tweed suits reigned on the catwalk — mixing aristocracy and glamour in the finest way. Contrasting with the usual austere runway faces, Chanel’s models were facetious and smiling.

Chanel invited some of its most famous models, including Lily-rose and Cara Delevingne on the runway — Both of whom embraced the glorious Chanel spirit.

Chanel Métiers d'Art runway show

Pharrell Williams at Chanel’s Métiers d’Art runway show

Pharrell Williams also took the catwalk, wearing a navy tweed jacket and strings of pearls. Levi Dylan, grandson of a recent surprise Nobel laureate and up-and-coming model Sofia Richie were also part of the stunning cast. With all the plumes and camellias adorning the heads, The Ritz Paris, looked like a flashback from the 1930s in all its decadent glory. 

Chanel, Caroline de Maigret Launch CdMDiary Site

Chanel, Caroline de Maigret Launch CdMDiary Site

Caroline de Maigret can add another title to her impressive portfolio with the CdMDiary website. Apart from being a producer and model, she will now the person behind the new Chanel lifestyle portal; while it is not explicitly stated, you can guess the CdM in CdMDiary stands for Caroline de Maigret. The model and the brand share a long history with each other. Back in 1998, de Maigret walked the ramp for Karl Lagerfeld during his presentation of the spring/summer ready-to-wear collection.

Since then, she has seen herself not only model for the brand but also become its spokesperson and most recently its ambassador. As the narrator of the lifestyle portal, de Maigret will share her journey and passion, which is linked to the French fashion house. Her focus, on fashion and art, will be split into six sections.

“N°1” will be on of the sections that focus on essential pieces, womenswear must-haves and tips on how to wear them. “Dressing Talks,” explores various celebrity wardrobes, and “Backstage,” offers a glimpse behind the scenes at catwalk shows and major events. Like its narrator — a multifaceted character, passionate about music, books and photography — the site doesn’t just focus on fashion. The “Crushes” section features Caroline de Maigret’s current cultural highlights, “Best places” lists her favorite haunts and “Music Itw” sees special guests share the songs and music that shaped their lives.

“I am extremely proud to have been chosen by Chanel because I love the Chanel woman and what she represents. I love how Gabrielle Chanel was involved in the arts, in literature, in painting.” explains Caroline de Maigret. She added that “When Chanel asked me to be a spokesperson for the brand, we thought about means of communication to decide how I was going to express myself and talk about the fashion house. Straight away, we thought about creating a lifestyle platform,”

Karl Lagerfeld with Barbie

Karl Lagerfeld Launches Own Hotel Brand

Now you can move yourself into Karl Lagerfeld’s vision because he is launching his own hotel brand.

After high fashion, short films, his own Barbie doll (pictured top) and editorial magazine spreads, the creative director of Chanel and Fendi is making a grand but perhaps predictable leap into the hotel industry with an international hospitality brand that will bear his name.

Karl Lagerfeld Hotels & Resorts will include hotels, residential properties, restaurants and private clubs.

The venture into hotels is in partnership with Brandmark Collective BV.

The move comes as little surprise given The Kaiser’s lengthy list of design collaborations with luxury hotels.

One of the most hotly anticipated hotel openings of 2017, for instance, is the Karl Lagerfeld Hotel in Macau, which he has designed in its entirety.

Part of Lisboa Palace, the Karl Lagerfeld Hotel will be comprised of 270 guestrooms and suites. We were really hoping he would call it simply The Karl but it may yet happen.

The palatial resort will also house a wing designed by another iconic fashion label, Versace, with the Palazzo Versace Macau.

All told, the destination resort will house 2,000 hotel rooms, Michelin-starred restaurants, a retail mall, wedding pavilion and multi-purpose theater. The resort will also feature 700 gaming tables and 1,200 slot machines.

Lagerfeld has also been tapped to lend his impeccable taste and vision to design luxury suites and hotel interiors around the world.

At the recently reopened Ritz Paris, Lagerfeld designed the Coco Chanel suite, paying homage to one of the hotel’s most famous residents with Asian lacquer, gilded mirrors and the simple pairing of black and white.

Other hotel design collaborations include the Sofitel So Singapore and the Patrick Hellmann Schlosshotel in Berlin.

Robert Pattinson Fronts Dior Homme Spring 2017

Robert Pattinson Fronts Dior Homme Spring 2017

Robert Pattinson proves that he is more than just a glittering vampire thanks to the new campaign for the Dior Homme spring 2017 collection. Set in Paris, the black and white images are captured by none other than Karl Lagerfeld. Of course, Pattinson has been closely associated with Dior for awhile now, being the face of Dior Homme and having fronted well-received fragrance campaigns for Dior in the past.

Dressed in a biker jacket, tuxedo and suit — one of which is embroidered with lily-of-the-valley motifs, Pattinson shows off a collection that was overseen by Dior’s creative director Kris Van Assche. The campaign is meant to evoke film noir.

“I’m always floored at the undeniable beauty of Paris,” said Pattinson in a statement. “And at night in the alleys and the side streets, emptied of crowds it’s almost more breathtaking. Contrasting shadows make everywhere you look seem like a frame from a movie.”

Chanel 2017 Spring/Summer ready-to-wear © AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK

Chanel SS17: Digital Femininity

Every Chanel show is highly anticipated for many reasons, only one of which is the current collection, this time Spring/Summer 2017 ready-to-wear. The other reason is pure showmanship, courtesy of the man known as the Kaiser. This time, Karl Lagerfeld transformed the Grand Palais into a Chanel ‘Data Center’.

The Spring/Summer collection took on the theme of ‘intimate technology’, expressed as an ode to feminine softness. Yes, hard to believe but Lagerfeld made it work. Ruffles, a prominent trend of the season’s fashion weeks, was seen adorning sleek blouses. The collection’s palette included blue, red, yellow, pink, and purple, with some pastels and electric shades.

Chanel 2017 Spring/Summer ready-to-wear © PATRICK KOVARIK / AFP

Chanel 2017 Spring/Summer ready-to-wear © PATRICK KOVARIK / AFP

Lagerfeld integrated the technology theme into Chanel’s contemporary feminine style. Delicate silk, lace and crepe georgette were juxtaposed with modern details of touch fasteners, rubber and vinyl strips alongside the house’s famous tweeds, and threads resembling electronic cables. It sounds weird (or perhaps wired) but the pictures say otherwise. Silk dresses bore digital-inspired motifs and sequins resembled electronic components. Models wore big pendant necklaces and carried futuristic robot clutches, topped with a cap worn sideways.

The Chanel DNA was still very much ‘programmed’ into the presentations. The house’s traditional tweed jackets topped off silk and lace negligees. The feminine lace was seen on shell guipure petticoats and a chic pair of silk pyjama trousers.

Gucci Milan Fashion Week 2016

3 Beauty Trends: Milan Fashion Week

Milan Fashion Week is over and we are gearing up for the next round of runway shows that we will certainly cover in due course. However, before we hop over to Paris, we took a look at some of the beauty looks that made an appearance on the ramp. The three beauty looks here may even be key trends to look out for this season.

Glittery FunFendi Milan Fashion Week 2016

The vibrant trend was out in full force starting with Fendi. Bringing his love for fun and games to the runway, Karl Lagerfeld decked Gigi Hadid and the rest of his lovely models out with winged eyeliner and glittery pouts (above). The result was a striking and sequin-like effect that captivated the audience. Over at Giamba, models sported the glitter in a way that created an illusion of floating brows. Versace featured the trend as well but concentrated on the inner eyes, making their take on the trend slightly more wearable. However instead of using actually glitter, the brand chose to use just a dab of iridescent metallic shadow that captured the light.

Youthful HairDiesel Balck Gold Milan Fashion Week 2016

The trend saw a playful vibe carried over from the beauty looks to hairstyles with unsophisticated styles dominating the runways. From miniature top knots (above) at Diesel Black Gold to the pigtails at Fendi, the designers added a little bit of fun to their collections. At Emanno Scervino, models walked the runway with ruler-straight schoolgirl bangs and pastel hair shades.

Surreal FashionAtsushi Nakashima Milan Fashion Week 2016

Of course, fashion week would be a yawn without a few daring designers who went to the extreme with their looks. At Atsushi Nakashima, models presented the designs while sporting painted-on misplaced lips (above). Over at Cividini, prismatic eye shadow in colorful hues made for a bold look while Gucci embraced exaggerated wigs (main picture) that played with proportions.

Doodle with Karl Lagerfeld Faber-Castell

Doodle with Karl Lagerfeld, Faber-Castell

Karl Lagerfeld is lending a helping hand to artists with the Karlbox professional toolkit from Faber-Castell. Known as the Kaiser to millions who have no idea what a Kaiser even is, Lagerfeld is offering fans the chance to channel (or perhaps Chanel) their inner artist via a collaboration with the German stationery and art company.

The Karlbox is a limited-edition kit for amateur artists, containing 350 pencils and accessories for painting and sketching, contained in a slick wooden presentation box.

The German designer said Faber-Castell, which he uses for his own work, brought back memories of his childhood. Each Karlbox comes with an authenticity certificate because, at this price you need one. The boxes went on sale last week, priced at €2,500.

Catwalk on Water: Fendi Stages Trevi Fountain Show

Shimmering models wearing the latest Fendi creations appeared to walk on water last week at a fairytale show in Rome’s Trevi fountain to mark the luxury fashion house’s 90th anniversary. The show has already taken the Internet by storm and you can see the video at the bottom of this story, if you missed the livestream itself. The action begins at the 9:20 mark.

Above the sparkling waters of the Baroque fountain, models wearing hand-painted dresses in pale pink, blue and cream, adorned with hand-stitched flowers or starlit scenes, glided across a transparent catwalk in the basin. If this sounds familiar to you, it might be because the show was heavily promoted, even though invitations only went out to 200 guests.

The soft, luxurious collection of 46 outfits was inspired by Danish fairytale illustrator Kay Nielsen, who painted color plates for the book Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen in 1924 and also later worked for Disney, including on sequences of the film Fantasia.

Glittering evening gowns with slits up the sides transformed their wearers into modern-day fairy tale characters, the reflection of lights scintillating in the turquoise waters echoing the shine of pebbles glinting in the moonlight (think Hansel and Gretel) or even cobblestones, if one is in a Wizard of Oz frame of mind.

Dresses were nipped in at the waist or featured a bell skirt, the house’s trademark fur coat made an appearance in lynx, but what wowed the 200 exclusive guests was a patterned cape, in grey silk, which opened at both the front and back.

Bags looked like they were made of fur but were actually tiny pieces of silk, sown together to look like snakeskin.

As the models, including Americans Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, wound up their catwalk, designer Karl Largerfeld, wearing his trademark gloves, came out to take a bow along with the Italian house’s accessories designer Silvia Venturini Fendi.

Fendi Trevi Fountain Show Close Up

Coins in the fountain

Reaching the middle of the glass bridge he threw three coins over his shoulder into the fountain with a grin — a tradition that is said to ensure a return to the eternal city.

The fountain, made famous by a scene in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita in which Anita Ekberg wades through its pristine waters, was restored last year in a clean-up funded by the fashion house, which first opened its doors in the capital in 1926.

Commissioned by Pope Clement XII in 1730, it is the end point of one of the aqueducts that supplied ancient Rome with water.

The tradition of throwing coins into the fountain was made famous by Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “Three Coins in the Fountain” in the 1954 romantic comedy film of the same name.

Fendi, now part of French luxury giant LVMH, said it wanted to capture the romance of the nearly 300-year-old monument, visited by millions of tourists every year, where tradition has it visitors can ensure eternal love by drinking its waters.

For those not lucky enough to bag tickets to the show, the house put on a sumptuous dinner for 600 guests at in the city’s Villa Borghese park, decorated for the occasion with Roman fountains.

As part of its anniversary celebrations, the fashion giant is also hosting an exhibition in the Square Colosseum, its headquarters in Rome, from July 9 to October 23.

Entitled “Fendi Roma: The Artisans of Dreams”, the show explores the creative history of the Italian house through a video installation and drawings by Lagerfeld of his most prized creations.

Chanel Paris to Rome 2015/16 Visits Beijing

Is there nothing the Kaiser can’t do?  For his latest Paris to Rome 2015/16 Métiers d’art show, he brought a little piece of Rome with him to Beijing. This isn’t only the first Chanel show to be held there but is also the first time a fashion house and social platform WeChat have collaborated on a show.

Kristen STEWART_Métiers d'art Paris in Rome 201516 show in Beijing_Photocall pictures

Amidst a black and white old-school backdrop of Paris, the show saw models walking through and around film set café terraces and fountains. The idyllic Beijing setting was transformed into a black and white movie set where celebrities, guests and models all partied to grooves by supermodel Ming Xi, Chinese actor William Chan and Bai Baihe.

Song HYE KYO_Métiers d'art Paris in Rome 201516 show in Beijing_Photocall pictures

As always, the Chanel show delivered on star power. Chanel ambassador Kristen Stewart rocked a signature edgy look in a strapless leather dress and kohl-rimmed eyes, while Descendants of the Sun actress Song Hye Kyo channelled gamine chic in a printed blouse and A-line skirt from the label.

Read more about the show and view more pictures at L’Officiel.com.

Insight: Why So Few Female High Fashion Designers

Recent times have moved feminism beyond the bra-burning fringes to a full-on topic of social commentary and activism. Remember Chanel’s Spring 2015 runway show? The big march of thin models in high heels, waving protest signs that said ‘LADIES FIRST’, ‘HISTORY IS HER STORY’ amongst other silly syncopatic phrases, clad in Karl Lagerfeld’s personal take on Coco Chanel’s legacy. That season’s show sent a tremor through the industry: here was Lagerfeld saying ‘let’s get political’ while essentially treating the issue as a fad by sending a meaningless faux protest down the runway of one of the world’s most influential brands, albeit with nice clothing. The facts are plain: in the established gender dichotomy, women have been exploited by men to social, political, and economic ends. In fashion, we can say this with much less pedantry: male designers are telling women what is beautiful and therefore what to wear.

Phoebe Philo’s designs for Céline, Claire Waight Keller’s for Chloé and Julie de Libran’s for Sonia Rykiel have earned consistent praise for their ‘wearability’. That’s not a dirty word suggesting pedestrian clothes – what it means is that their designs are for women who live, work, play, and travel in, using it as the proverbial armour against the world. The shared beauty here is that these creations are pieces of clothing made by women for women, that understand that the expectations and standards of feminine beauty are often unnecessary and restrictive. The ladies thus offer us a liberated beauty.

While men may understand cut and fabric, there is the unavoidable political whisper of the male gaze. Thierry Mugler, Gianni Versace and Hervé Leger’s skin-tight dresses, for example, highlight the powerful feminine sexuality yet can’t be rid of the societal expectations of it to please the masculine. The psychological freedom from clothing designed by women, then, is that its celebrations of femininity and sexuality come from common ground that says ‘we know what we want to wear.’

Luckily, we have stalwarts of women in fashion to look up to. Miuccia Prada has been helming her brand since 1978 and shows no signs of stopping. Consuelo Castiglioni built up Marni to celebrate maximalism and considered excess. Diane von Furstenberg took sexy back and wrapped a dress around women to flatter the body. Rei Kawakubo made Commes des Garçons her cerebral and experimental laboratory where beauty has never had a fixed definition beyond variety.

Gladly, societal attitudes are in motion and change, and women are taking a louder and more visible fight for equality. A slow march, but movement nonetheless. The end goal of fashion remains the same, of course. We want it to make us dream of beauty we never thought possible; to keep looking towards the new, the creative, the exciting. Wouldn’t it just be nicer if more women were telling us how?

This story was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.

Chanel Opens Saint-Tropez Summer Store

You know summer is truly here when French fashion icon Chanel takes up its summer residence at the private mansion La Mistralée in beautiful Saint-Tropez. This year, the Kaiser works his magic (together with his very talented team of interior designers) to transform the pop-up store.

08-boutique_saint-tropez_2016-photos_olivier_saillant_HD

The love affair between Chanel and Saint-Tropez began when the Mademoiselle herself used to sojourn there every summer. Karl Lagerfeld then picked the city as the venue for the house’s cruise collection for 2011, and has returned annually ever since.

12-boutique_saint-tropez_2016-photos_olivier_saillant_HD

Inside, the boutique is an exquisite representation of the revered fashion house. Swathed in the Maison’s iconic shades of black, white, beige and gold, the boutique opens to an entrance hall with wooden panels that swivel to reveal bottles of the iconic Chanel No5 perfume. Monochromatic walls are punctuated by splashes of gold. Clothes and handbags are presented on two rails that run across the room, its minimalist charm a juxtaposition to the avant-garde sculptures and vintage chandelier that lights up the orderly space. The troves of display units and alcoves are now home to the new J12 Mirror and the other watch models.

10-boutique_saint-tropez_2016-photos_olivier_saillant_HD

Outside, the La Mistralée pool shimmers with the light, its golden mosaic tiles reflecting the sun with an intensity that highlights the season’s shoes – the highlight of the pool house.

The Chanel Saint-Tropez boutique will open from 23 April – 5 October 2016.

Chanel Celebrates Havana with Cruise Collection

It was an unusual sight for Cubans as international celebrities and Cuban bigwigs gathered on a quiet street in Havana for the nation’s first international runway show.

Handpicked by Karl Lagerfeld for his Cruise collection presentation, Chanel transformed the Paseo del Prado, a long seaside boulevard into a runway, complete with models clad in Carribean-infused mannish jackets, frothy skirts and sequinned dresses.

13_Cruise 2016-17 collection - Decor pictures by Olivier Saillant

The show is the latest in a stream of international cultural events, as Cuba continues its efforts in opening up diplomatic and commercial relations. “The world is finally opening up to Cuba. Everyone wants to come taste the forbidden fruit. Everyone wants to discover it, savor it, enjoy it, explore it,” said Mariela Castro, the daughter of President Raul Castro and a prominent gay-rights activist on the island.

Meanwhile, other high-profile attendees included Hollywood stars Vin Diesel, who was in town shooting the latest Fast and Furious movie, Tilda Swinton and Geraldine Chaplin. The show ended with the Kaiser’s brief appearance, as ordinary Cubans applauded from outside the tightly guarded venue.

Chanel_Cruise 2016-17 collection_Photocall pictures by Stephane Feugere_Tilda SWINTON

“What a sight. But I would have liked to be closer to the models,” said 52-year-old Mireya Correoso, who told AFP she had never seen so much luxury and showbiz in one place.

 

This story was written in-house, with the official press release and an AFP story as the source.

 

 

 

 

Karl Lagerfeld Visions of Fashion at Pitti Uomo

A man of little words but a whole lot of talent, Karl Lagerfeld perhaps prefers to express himself with fashion design and photography. This year, he celebrates his extensive photographic career with “Karl Lagerfeld_Visions of Fashion” at the Pitti Uomo, a biannual tradeshow for menswear.

The retrospective, held at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence and curated by Eric Pfrunder and Gerhard Steidl, is a journey through his uniquely sophisticated photographic style, which he applies to a wide range of advertising campaigns, editorial features and portraits.

Starting from the grand staircase, Scalone del Moro and then winding its way through the rooms of the Galleria Palatina, the Sala Bianca and the two rooms of the Appartmenti degli Arazzi, the exhibition is an extensive journey through the lens of the Kaiser. His exhibition is one of the many high-profile extracurricular events scheduled during the menswear fashion event and runs alongside a special fashion show by ex-Dior designer Raf Simons.

“Karl Lagerfeld_Visions of Fashion” will be open to public on 15 June 2016, with a closing date yet to be announced. Pitti Uomo runs from 14 – 17 June.

 

 

Fendi Turns 90 with Fourrure Show

Back in 1926, Fendi opened its doors in the Italian city of Via del Plebiscito. 90 years later, under the watchful eye of Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion house is now a powerful name in the fashion industry with an illustrious history. To celebrate the milestone birthday, the Italian label will be hosting a “haute fourrure” fashion show in Rome on July 7.

“An haute fourrure show in Rome is the best way to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Fendi to express our roots and our DNA while transmitting bold creativity and the unique expertise of fur,” said the brand’s CEO Pietro Beccari.

The decision to host a fashion show with a focus on fur is a controversial one to say the least. In recent months, several other key fashion brands such as those owned by Giorgio Armani and Hugo Boss have announced plans to go fur-free. Other fur-free fashion labels include Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Stella McCartney. Animal rights activists have been pushing for the fashion industry to readjust their policies and a move such as this probably will not sit well with those supporting the fur-free moves. However, this is Fendi and fur is a central part of the brand’s offerings so the anti-fur lobby was never going to get onboard anyway.

Fashion Week: 9 Models in the Spotlight

We shine the spotlight not on the clothes, beauty or designers; instead we take a look at the models to look out for in the upcoming seasons. Several have already made an impact in the world of fashion as we see their presence at almost every turn. Others are still flying under the radar and we can’t wait to see their talent showcased next season.

Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid

Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid

A favorite of designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Olivier Rousting, Kendall Jenner was a familiar face on the runways of Paris, Milan, London and New York. Other big names that picked the 20-year-old model were Vera Wang, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Fendi, Chanel and Bottega Veneta. Another member of Taylor Swift’s squad, the other star model of the moment Gigi Hadid walked for fewer designers than Jenner. Selecting her shows carefully, the blue-green eyed blonde model was picked by Chanel, Balmain, and Sonia Rykiel and even closed the Fenty x Puma show.

Edie Campbell

Edie Campbell

Other models that were not far behind Jenner and Hadid in their catwalk appearances were Lexi Boiling and Edie Campbell. The models were seen on the runway, walking for Prada, Marc Jacobs and Fendi amongst others. There is one model who is dubbed to be the most in demand right now and she is none other than Mica Arganaraz. The Argentinian model, with a lean figure, messed-up hair and androgynous looks is another favorite amongst designers such as Hugo Boss, Marc Jacobs, Chanel and Chloé.

Mica Arganaraz

Mica Arganaraz

But the rising star who really got fashion month buzzing was Lineisy Montero. The young Dominican was already tipped as one to watch in 2015 after an exceptional season, and her success looks set to continue into 2016. With around 30 appearances across the four fashion capitals, she’s without a doubt one of the most-booked models of the latest round of autumn/winter collection previews — if not the most-booked model. Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Lacoste, Tory Burch, J.W. Anderson, Topshop Unique, Burberry, Prada, Moschino, Etro, Diesel Black Gold, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, H&M Studio and Loewe — to name but a few — all picked Lineisy Montero to show off their latest collections.

Lineisy Montero

Lineisy Montero

While notable names get our attention during Fashion Week, it is also a time for spotting new faces and observe the steady rise of up-and-coming models such as Alana Arrington, Ruth Bell and Paulina Frankowska. While not every designer books them, these models have indeed made their presence known. While Arrington opened Altuzarra’s show, Bell’s shaved head and masculine looks starred at Jason Wu, Burberry and Moschino. Polish model Frankowska also attracted attention with appearances at Prada, Mulberry, Deisel Black Gold and Marni.

Paulina Frankowska

Paulina Frankowska

Milan Fashion Week: 4 Memorable Looks

The curtain came down on Milan Fashion Week earlier this week, giving us no breathing room before the scene shifted to Paris. Nevertheless, we must revisit the runways of Italy and that is exactly what we managed to do, while piecing together our Academy Awards coverage. Here then are four labels who caught everyone’s attention in Milan. They certainly caught our eye here, against the backdrop of the Italian city known for its style.

FendiFendi-Milan-Fall-Winter-2016

All sorts of funky and chic, Karl Lagerfeld injected lots of color into the fur filled collection for Fall/Winter. With Kendall Jenner opening the show for the brand, we were treated to some thigh-high boots not only in numerous shades but also in materials so supple that they looked more like wrinkled woolly tights.

 

Dolce & GabbanaD-G-Milan-Fall-Winter-2016

The duo upped the ante and the glitter for the fairy tale themed collection. From the invites to the décor (witness Cinderella’s bed on stage), they would have made any fairy godmother jealous. Closing their princess parade was a shimmering squadron of models who sashayed out in mini-dresses.

ArmaniArmani-Milan-Fall-Winter-2016

While D&G were all sunshine and roses, Armani went in the opposite direction. Both Emporio and Giorgio Armani collections saw black dominating the show. The suit-based collection saw the Milanese maestro incorporate his favorite material, velvet.

PradaPrada-Handbag-Milan-2016

With news of dwindling fortunes and no revival in sight, the brand needed this collection to be a hit. The show saw models walk down the runway with bundles of over-sized gold keys, intending to signify that these were women with responsibilities.

6 Models to Follow During Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week is the season when the hottest models tread the Paris runways for the biggest ready-to-wear labels. With the shows running through the first nine days of March, savvy fans can sneak a peek behind the scenes by following the current trending models on Instagram. We take a look at who to follow, to catch a glimpse backstage at the upcoming shows:

The Hadid Sisters, Gigi and Bella, both post actively on Instagram and are sure to share the backstage happenings (except at shows that ban social media, possibly). Last season Gigi Hadid took to the catwalk for Giambattista Valli, Elie Saab, Balmain, Versace and Anna Sui, while Bella modeled for Balmain. Both are bound to treat their followers with their upcoming stints in Paris.bella_hadid-Insta

Mica Arganaraz’s account is unverified by Instagram — for now. The Argentinian model was picked by Karl Lagerfield to open and close for the last Chanel haute-couture show. With the discerning designer’s approval, and her appearance as the face of Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2016 Campaign, Arganaraz promises a strong gain in followers during the Fashion Week itself. Last season she appeared for Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Sacai, Mugler, Loewe, Balenciaga, Isabel Marant, Dior and Haider Ackermann.mica-arganaraz-insta

Lily Donaldson has quite the presence online, despite being less active on social networks. Nevertheless, she’s certain to be booked. This British model may take the runway for Balmain, Elie Saab or Mugler.lily_donaldson-Insta

Jourdan Dunn is another British model to follow, especially for aspiring Fashionistas. Though she didn’t appear much last year in Paris, sticking mostly with Balmain, she could come back to surprise us this time. With over 1.6 million followers, fans can expect a few backstage snaps during the shows.jourdan-Dunn-Insta

We can’t end a list like this without the Instagirl herself, Kendall Jenner. She needs no introduction, but the famous brunette can definitely be expected to document her catwalk shows photo-wise on the social media site. She’s tipped to star in Balmain and Chanel catwalk shows, but could also appear for labels like Elie Saab or Givenchy.kendall-jenner-Insta