It’s London Fashion Week, so pretty much everyone is giving us major style envy. And last night, it was the turn of curve models Felicity Hayward and Iskra Lawrence to have us weeping over our wardrobes. Felicity was the ultimate golden girl as she rocked up to the CIROC x MTV & Wonderland bash at The Ned in London in a statement dress.
The 29-year-old wore a plunging yellow dress featuring ruffled shoulders and a thigh slit, teamed with purple boots and a pink handbag. Now that’s what we call a look. Meanwhile, fellow model Iskra was serving Barbie realness in a pink textured bandeau, a pencil skirt and a pink satin duster coat. The ladies were seen hugging inside the venue, where celebs and fashionistas mingled, sipped on CIROC cocktails and ate mini hot dogs and truffle mac and cheese.
Because Fashion Week doesn’t have to mean salads and sparkling water. Also at the party was Tyga’s ex Demi Rose Mawby, who was dressed in a very Kardashian-esuqe white bodycon dress. Professor Green and his girlfriend Fae Williams looked loved-up as ever as they snapped selfies at the event, while they were also seen hanging out with producer Naughty Boy.
Because what’s a fashion show without stylish clothes and a star-studded f’row?
LONDON – Newcomer Simone Rocha and veteran Jasper Conran are among the designers showcasing their latest autumn and winter styles at London Fashion Week, as British luxury fashion powerhouse Burberry prepared to round out a busy Day 2 with its show later Saturday.
Some highlights from the style extravaganza:
PRETTIFIED TAILORING AT SIMONE ROCHA
Dainty lace, ruffles, pretty bows: Simone Rocha’s latest collection may include every girly cliche, but there’s more than meets the eye.
The young designer, known for her modern take on sweet, doll-like looks, dressed models in frilly gold or black tulle and lace dresses over slim tailored pieces such as a buttoned-up shirt or a trouser suit. The outfits were finished off with mannish brogue shoes or furry flat slippers.
There were exaggerated puff sleeves, embroidered roses, fur trims and rich floral brocade fabrics, perhaps a nod to the John Constable portraits Rocha referred to in her show notes. They were certainly a match with the show’s venue, an ornate red and gold room adorned with giant candlelit chandeliers in London’s palatial Goldsmiths’ Hall.
Rocha did break away from delicate dresses, and those were some of the show’s strongest looks: Belted, double-breasted patent leather coats that came in a striking red or military green, as well as red and navy plaid outfits adorned with a tinsel-like trim.
ELEGANCE AND RICH COLORS AT JASPER CONRAN
Designer Jasper Conran pared down the in-your-face, bombastic style some rivals have adopted for London Fashion Week. Instead, Conran showed an elegant collection that relied on many monochromatic outfits with subtle shifts of texture and drape to set them off. The apparent simplicity, offset by the detailing and workmanship, made for an often captivating result.
“I think it’s very much what I’ve learned in my career. These are the things that I know,” said Conran, one of the founding designers of London Fashion Week. “So it’s an expression of quite a long time of learning.”
Conran described the basic elements he used as navy, white and sulphur yellow, with a wide variety of other unusual colors and textures weaved in. He found expressive ways to mix and match, but also relied on one color from head to toes walking the runway in matching, understated shoes. Most models wore their hair long and natural, giving the collection an airy, ethereal feel.
When shades were mixed, it was frequently striking — as in a surprisingly effective dress that paired olive green with dark brown.
Trousers and some dresses were often pleated, and lightweight parkas set off some outfits. Conran seemed to show a special flair in various shades of yellow, including a hooded yellow parka that seemed both practical and sexy.
On Thursday, Kensington Palace announced that Kate Middleton and Prince William will be attending the upcoming British Academy of Film and Television Awards, or BAFTAs (which makes sense, since the Duke of Cambridge is president of the organization). But given that BAFTA attendees are expected to black out the carpet just like they did at the Golden Globes, this puts Middleton in a difficult position. Does she wear black to support the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and risk making a political statement, or does she avoid black and risk being the only woman on the red carpet in color?
In late January, a letter began circulating among the British entertainment industry that was sent “on behalf of a collective of U.K.-based female film and television industry leaders.” The letter asked BAFTA awards-show attendees to “follow suit from our sisters who attended the Golden Globes” by wearing black — saying that doing so would make a “strong, unifying and simple statement.”
We can only assume that Middleton would ordinarily have no problem standing up for women and against sexual assault, especially given the charity work she’s done around mental health and motherhood. But as we learned from bingeing The Crown, members of the British royal family are supposed to “remain strictly neutral with regard to political matters.” And, for better or worse, both Time’s Up and #MeToo are political movements.
So despite her personal stance on the subject, it would appear that Middleton may need to carefully consider whether to don black at the event. But of course, last year, she did wear a black gown with splashes of color (pictured above), so perhaps she’ll go down the same route. After all, some actresses incorporated color into their black ensembles at the Golden Globes as well. We’ll have to tune in February 18 to see.
She’s a hard-working actress with a stealthy resume.
But Katie Holmes added fashion muse to her lengthy set of skills as she posed in Zac Posen’s 2018 Collection in a series of shots shared to Instagram.
The 39-year-old actress looked positively stunning in billowing couture pieces, with Posen admitting that his latest beautiful creations marked ‘this time and our Beautiful friendship.’
Katie’s short brunette hair was slicked back for the gorgeous images featuring her friend’s latest designs.
Heavy pieces of crimson-colored fabric were draped across her body as she struck poses in front of the camera for photographer Daniel King.
In one sultry black-and-white image, Zac wrote, ‘Friday vibes!’ before plugging his new collection.
Holmes showcased vibrant ensembles with classic designs throughout the series of images, looking like a seasoned professional model.
‘I wanted to present my collection in an intimate portfolio of my dear friend @katieholmes212,’ Posen wrote of Holmes.
Behind-the-scenes video caught the mother-of-one perfecting her poses in front of a dark backdrop.
‘I will cherish these images forever! Thank you @katieholmes212 and the whole #zacposen family!,’ the designer wrote in one post shared to his more than one million followers.
Zac and Katie reportedly met over french fries at a mutual friend’s birthday party before making plans of their own for their friendship to flourish, according to Vogue.
They’ve attended the fashionable Met Gala twice as each other’s dates and have shared many a red carpet together.
‘It’s inspiring to collaborate,’ Katie said to Vogue. ‘I really respect and admire the work and precision that goes into every piece.’
TRUST Vetements and the brand’s cultish cool to tackle the touchy subject of overproduction heads on. Launching today, four of Harrods’ store windows on Brompton Road will be dedicated to the Swiss label’s call for action. “We have the luxury of being a young, independent brand, which has the opportunity to speak out without being afraid of powerful backers,” its CEO Guram Gvasalia says over coffee in the suite of his Mayfair hotel. “The problem with sustainability today is that people look at it from the wrong perspective. Yes, where you produce and how you produce is super important. But what people are overseeing is something that’s right in front of our eyes: it’s about how much brands produce and how much consumers buy,” the 31-year-old brother of Vetements’ creative director Demna Gvasalia argues. “Since my first-ever interview I’ve been saying this: the basic thing of economics is the supply meeting demand. If you go to a shop and you see something on sale, it means it’s been overproduced.”
Over the past year, Vetements has been highlighting issues of overconsumption, staging waste-focused events at Maxfield in Los Angeles, Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, and Browns East in London. “But in this age, doing something once or twice isn’t enough. Our phone screens refresh so quickly that our attention spans have shrunk,” Gvasalia quips. He’s devoted the next twelve months to shining a light on the issue of overproduction with plans of fifty events worldwide starting with the windows at Harrods. Unveiled to the public this morning, they feature stockpile installations of clothes donated by Harrods’ four-thousand employees as well as original Parisian donation bins for charity, a regular occurrence on Instagram due to the “Vetements” logo featured on their fronts (simply meaning ‘clothes’). Throughout February, Harrods’ customers are invited to donate their own garments, the proceeds of which go to the NSPPC.
Gvaslia, who has been working on the projects for over a year, says he approached all the big fashion brands asking them to donate their stock. “Nobody wanted to take part. Not a single brand; really huge corporations. Everyone is afraid of admitting that they make more clothes than they can sell.” He spends his year travelling the world, trawling through department stores and boutiques, analysing the stock on display at various points of the season. “I find it particularly hard travelling in the United States during the sale, seeing all these luxury items on extreme discount,” he says. “There are mountains and mountains of clothes that were overproduced. Part of it is sold with huge markdowns, but what’s left becomes dead-stock. Statistically, thirty percent of what brands produce ends up in landfills. Garbage.”
What needs to change, Gvasalia explains, is the pride of the biggest companies in fashion, whose reported gross turnovers can only increase if they sell more merchandise. “At the end of the day, you only have a certain amount of people, who are actually willing to buy your clothes. No matter what you do, this number is limited. So instead, they have their own stores that they force their merchandise upon, just so they can increase their numbers.” In other words, the annual figures reported in designer interviews and reviews shouldn’t always be taken for granted. Nor should they necessarily be a source of pride. “For brands to become more sustainable today, they need to do one simple thing: have their supply meet their demand. It’s like throwing away food in a world full of hunger. Our planet is sick because of us, because we want more and more and more, without thinking of generations to come,” he reflects. And it goes for the customer, too. “Try to think, ‘Do I need all these clothes?’”
Gvasalia isn’t a big shopper himself. On this day – as any – he’s clad in his trusty uniform of all-blacks: jeans, a T-shirt and a hoodie. His wardrobe can be counted on a few hands, and whenever he acquires a new item of clothing he donates an old one to a relative. Asked if he publicises Vetements’ turnovers he rolls his eyes. “Of course not. It’s not the main goal. The goal is to create amazing clothes for people who want to buy them.” How do he and his designer brother take responsibility, then? “First of all we don’t have our own stores. Secondly, we don’t push stores with minimums. We’ve started to limit quantities,” Gvasalia says, admitting he sometimes puts a stop to buyers when they try to buy stock beyond their customer demand. “Of course, there are buyers that are amazing. Natalie Kingham bought 250 of our unicorn hoodies,” he says, referring to the buying director of MatchesFashion.com, “and they were gone in a day. But some buyers put debts on pieces that are just insane.”
What of all those coveted, perpetually sold-out it-items we hear about, then? “What brands do – which is very smart – is to limit the online stores, giving one store maybe forty pairs of the hottest sneaker. So of course it sells out,” Gvasalia explains. “I sold four-thousand pairs of sneakers on Ssense.com in four days, but this is not my goal anymore. It breeds greed. I’m not chasing numbers. I don’t need my company to be worth a billion. You can make money like that much more easily outside of fashion.” It’s perhaps an easy thing to say for the owner of a brand like Vetements, which sky-rocketed in sales just a year into their existence, in 2014, shifting hoodies at £600 and denim trousers – sustainably made out of recycled jeans, by the way – at £1200. “Our stuff is expensive because it’s limited,” Gvasalia asserts. “But then people go and buy the high street items that look like our work. I want to tell people: buy less, buy quality and buy long term.”
Last year, Vetements relocated their studios from Paris to Zurich in a move interpreted by some as tax conscious. Gvasalia begs to differ. “We moved the company to Switzerland because I wanted to protect myself from an industry I feel is toxic and wrong. I don’t want to be distracted by the wrong business strategies. I moved the company because I wanted to be left alone in a world where we can operate without distractions.” So there. Vetements, of course, stills show in Paris, like in January when the brothers borrowed an old flea market free of charge and invited guests to watch the show – styled in copious layers as a reflection of overconsumption – from market chairs already in place. “My show was completely sustainable,” Gvasalia nods. He says his commendable outlook is the result of age, of running a growing business, but also rooted in a childhood of extremes
In the early 1990s, the brothers and their family fled their native Abkhazia amidst the Georgian civil war. “When you see stuff as six years old that I don’t even want to share as public knowledge, you start to appreciate life. You start to understand that if you have to cancel a T-shirt because of a minimum, you don’t have to care. It’s not the end of the world,” Gvasalia says, raising his eyebrows. “I appreciate life because I know that things can change in one second.”
Talk about fighting for eyeballs. Squeezed in between the Super Bowl and the Oscars, competing with the Olympics for attention, the first fashion month of the post-Weinstein era may be easy to overlook.
And yet, as the style circus moves from New York (where it begins on Thursday) to London and Milan, before finally coming to an end in Paris on March 6, there will be much to see, including designer debuts, political statements and many rumors to tease the ears. Here’s what we’ll be watching for, and what you need to know about the forces that will shape our wardrobes in the months to come.
Time’s Up and #MeToo
Last year at this time, fashion became, at least in New York, as politicized as it has ever been, with words and phrases themselves appearing on catwalks and clothing. There’s a good chance the trend will continue, given the recent popularity of using fashion to make a statement everywhere, from the Golden Globes to the State of the Union speech. Curious showgoers will keep their eyes peeled not just for pins (Time’s Up and Recy Taylor are possibilities, judging by the president’s address), but also for slogans and shapes. And speaking of Time’s Up …
Marchesa is back, Kanye and Rihanna are not.
Or rather, Marchesa is back … kind of. Once a red carpet stalwart, thanks in part to Harvey Weinstein and his understanding of film-fashion synergies and strong-arm tactics, the label has been conspicuously absent from the awards shows. But after going extremely quiet after the Weinstein exposés were published in The New York Times and The New Yorker, Marchesa, designed by Mr. Weinstein’s estranged wife, Georgina Chapman, and Keren Craig, is back on the schedule.
Originally the designers had considered the usual runway show, which sent the watching world into a lather, but in the end they opted to tiptoe back into the industry eye with one-on-one appointments for retailers, who have remained Marchesa friendly and insist that the label continues to sell.
Discreet as it is, the fashion week appearance will be the first time Ms. Chapman and Ms. Craig have raised their heads above the professional parapet since the world changed. Will the clothes they make, once heavy on fantasy and fairy tale, have changed, too?
It remains to be seen, but one change is certain: Arguably the two biggest draws of NYFW (at least the buzziest), and the names that changed the tenor of the city, placing it at the forefront of fashiontainment, are off the schedule. Last week Kanye West, gazumping fashion week at its game, opted to replace his traditional show with direct-to-consumer Instagrams of his wife, Kim, in his collection and viral memes of famous Kim-a-likes in the same clothes. As for, Rihanna, well, all we know is that her Fenty x Puma brand is not on the schedule, and the company is staying mum about future plans.
This will make for a very quiet New York Fashion Week, even taking into account Philipp Plein, whose characteristically humble self-titled show “Space Invasion: Conqueror of the Universe” will feature a guest appearance by Migos.
And those are not the only hellos and goodbyes.
These days it just isn’t fashion week without at least some designer churn or experimentation with format. In New York, Victoria Beckham is eschewing a full show and scaling down in favor of intimate small group chats, the way she did when she was first starting out — preparation, perhaps, for next season when she is leaving New York for London to celebrate her 10th anniversary. This will also be Alexander Wang’s last show during official New York Fashion Week — he is moving to June and December later this year — though what sort of #Wangfest is in the offing is still a mystery.
The big goodbye in London will be Christopher Bailey, holding his last show for Burberry after 14 years as designer. And in Paris, Céline’s first post-Phoebe Philo collection will be created by the internal team in order to better clear the decks for Hedi Slimane’s big debut come September. (Ms. Philo’s last collection was pre-spring, which will be released in May.) Bruno Frisoni is also saying farewell, to Roger Vivier, after 16 years.
New names to watch include Nathan Jenden, introducing his first collection for DVF in a low-key presentation — logical, given that he only got the chief design officer job in January. Bottega Veneta is ocean hopping from Milan to New York to celebrate the opening of its biggest store in the world with the first-ever show at the American Stock Exchange, where the designer Tomas Maier collaborated with Scott Pask (“The Book of Mormon”) on the set, followed by a blowout party.
In return, Tommy Hilfiger is bringing his #Tommynow fun-fest to Milan. And Poiret, the French design house that closed in 1929, will return to the Paris runway under a new chief executive, Anne Chapelle (of Haider Ackermann and Ann Demeulemeester), and the designer Yiqing Yin.
What else should we watch out for?
The treatment of models is still very much on the agenda, with health issues now having expanded to include sexual harassment. Condé Nast has put a new code of conduct in place to protect models on magazine shoots, but Sara Ziff of the Model Alliance is skeptical about the efficacy of single-player action, and has corralled a host of industry insiders to lobby for a third-party watchdog and enforcer to truly change the culture. And models themselves are getting evermore vocal, using social media to call out brands that they felt behaved badly. People will be watching.
As they will Miroslava Duma, a front row fixture and fashion-tech proselytizer who was at the center of a social media uproar at the coutureshows thanks to allegations of racism, homophobia and transphobia. She was effectively cast out of the front row as her behavior spurred a discussion of fashion’s history of willful blindness. Will she be back? Or will some long-awaited industry soul-searching actually occur?
The next four weeks will tell.