Unveiled today, Vetements is taking over four Harrods windows to create awareness around the corporate overproduction the brand’s co-founder Guram Gvasalia says is destroying fashion and its surrounding world.
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.”
As the menswear collections shifted to the Milanese streets, so did a cacophony of textures with plush cords and muted tweeds electrified by flashes of Gucci and sunshine brights. Retro florals mingled with suited silhouettes, sharpened by trademark fine Italian tailoring. Naturally, the plummeting temperatures continued to bolster the Milan fashion crowd’s style credentials. Take notes for your winter wardrobe with Vogue‘s edit of the best street style from the Milan Fashion Week Men’s shows.
From left: 18-carat white gold and diamond ring, £9,600, Chanel. White gold and diamond bracelet, £153,200, Van Cleef & Arpels. White gold and diamond ring, £34,700, Dior Joaillerie. White gold and diamond necklace, £66,600, Chaumet. Titanium, sapphire and diamond earrings, price on application, Adler. Muse morganite and 0.35-carat pave diamond earrings, £7,000, and snowflake 1.48-carat diamond cluster stud earrings, £6,500, both Birks, from Mappin & Webb. Pearl necklace, £2,190, Mikimoto. Snowflake crown diamond necklace, £108,000, Birks. White gold, black rhodium and diamond ring, £10,500, Annoushka. Rosee du matin double row flex diamond bracelet, £7,000, Birks, from Mappin & Webb. iamond and pearl bracelet, price on application, Mikimoto. Blouse, £350, Bella Freud, from Browns. Cards (part of set), £65, Thomas Lyte.
From top: snowflake diamond and akoya pearl necklace, £150,000, Birks. 18-carat rose gold and diamond interlocking bracelet and 18-carat yellow-gold and diamond interlocking, £4,950 each, both Shaun Leane. 18-carat white gold and diamond ring, £26,000, Messika. 18-carat white gold and diamond bracelet, £25,500, Chanel. 18-carat white gold and diamond ring, £32,728, Fabergé, from Harrods. Blazer, £720, Bella Freud. Champagne glass, £75, Lee Broom. Poker chips, price on application, Geoffrey Parker. Dice, £5, Aspinal of London.
From top: 18-carat white gold, diamond and tourmaline ring, price on application, David Morris, from Harrods. white gold and diamond, opal, sapphire and emerald necklace, price on application, Moussaieff. multi-strand diamond bracelet, £36,850, William & Son. 18-carat white gold and white diamond bangle, price on application, Stephen Webster. 18-carat white gold and diamond ring, price on application, Boucheron. Chess set, £690, Luke Honey. Dress, £580, MaxMara
Clockwise from top left: 18-carat white gold and diamond ring set, £12,600, Shaun Leane. White gold and diamond double row bracelet, £8,450, De Beers. White gold and diamond link bracelet, price on application, Pomellato. White gold and diamond fringe earrings, £16,000, Mappin & Webb. White gold, aquamarine and pave diamond ring, £8,400, Bulgari. White gold and diamond bow ring, £14,000, and white gold and diamond necklace, £66,600, both Chaumet
From left: platinum and diamond bracelet and platinum and diamond ring, both price on application, Harry Winston. Platinum and diamond collar, price on application, Boodles. Tourmaline and diamond ring, price on application, Garrard. 18-carat white gold, Mother of pearl, diamond and sapphire watch, £96,000, Breguet. Backgammon board, £4,250, Geoffrey Parker
Photographs Emma Thaler
Styling Bettina Vetter
Fashion assistant Stephanie Sofokleous
Make-up Amy Conley at Stella Creative Artists using Tom Ford Beauty
Nails Kimberley Nkosi using Chanel Le Vernis in Rouge Noir and La Crème Main
Celebrated Kenyan fashion designer and wedding connoisseur Wambui Mukenyi has unveiled her latest luxury bridal line, dubbed “Wambui Mukenyi Luxe”.
The event, unlike most others witnessed locally, happened on a “runway” 20,000 feet above sea level. The launch is apparently the first ever of its kind in Eastern, Western and Central Africa. The launch was an exclusive, invite-only affair and in partnership with Moët & Chandon.
Among invited guests were NTV‘s Kobi Kihara, model Pinky Ghelani, stylist Connie Aluoch, Couture‘s Olive Gachara, Kris Senanu and K24‘s Anjlee Gadhvi. They were served with free flowing champagne during the flight to Malindi and the experience extended to Diamonds Dream of Africa Beach Resort over an exquisite lunch.
“Well synchronised event, creative chic designs, great crowd and brilliant execution,” said Senanu, an entrepreneur and investor in the TV programme Lion’s Den.
16 BRIDAL GOWNS
According to Ms Mukenyi, Kenya is ready for luxury fashion. “Growing demand and support from our customers is the main reason we unveiled Wambui Mukenyi Luxe, ” she said, adding, “The miles-high launch was to signify the leaps that the brand is making. From Kenya to the world, by bringing the best of Kenya to the rest of the world. Making great strides together with partners who believe in us, like Moët & Chandon, and our consumers who trust us to take the journey together.”
Every collection showed the designer’s love for luxurious fabric, while at the same time instilling her African heritage to produce timeless, feminine pieces. The dresses, in particularly, stand out because of the statement they make. They have a contemporary and elegant edge perfect for today’s modern woman that needs to be unique without making too much effort.
During the unveiling, 16 bridal pieces were showcased. The first catwalk was in the plane, which saw the models display the four designs. The collection featured elegant and trendy pieces, each of them an easy fit with the power to make an ordinary woman feel and look stylish.
On landing in Malindi, the models took turns to showcase the rest of the designer’s work on the beach. Wambui admitted that it was not easy and that she wanted to do something that has not been done here before; to test unchartered waters. “This was a good experience. I showcased the new designs that are definitely going to take wedding gowns to the next level.”
SAMANTHA’S BRIDAL SHOW
“The feminine gowns are carefully made with every bride in mind. This is showcased by the daring, strapless necklines, complemented by delicately boned bodices that are reminiscent of Victorian corsetry,” she said.
The shy and soft-spoken mother of one has an eye for detail, perfect designs, fabric choices and silhouettes, while at the same time guaranteeing her clients’ style and confidence on their big day. She embraces both classic and new styles, which are effortlessly eye catching and capture many a bride’s fantasies.
Founded in 2009, the Wambui Mukenyi label is the brainchild of the self-taught designer. She joined fashion company JF Fashions as a finance intern, but her destiny twirled on the wheel of fortune, resting on fashion and design.
Ms Wambui began by making custom-made pieces for her clients in 2009, before she branched out to wedding gowns and ready-to-wear clothes full of creativity and style. Her big break came later in the year when her products were used by the cast of Shuga, a drama series themed on love, sex and money. Since then, demand for her label has been soaring. Her pieces have been featured in prestigious fashion magazines in Kenya.
In 2012, Wambui participated in Samantha’s Bridal Show and The Hub of Africa Fashion Week. She described the fashion week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as a learning experience. In the same year, she collaborated with media personality Janet Mbugua to launch the Janet Collection, which boasts 20 designs.
Together they came up with designs that Ms Mbugua would be able to wear while travelling and for other formal occasions. Ms Wambui helped bring the combined ideas to life. Asked what is next for her, she said: “All we can say is, this is just the beginning. Stay with us, grow with us, and you shall see what awaits”.
Fashion Week is a circus, and no one relishes the big top more than Jeremy Scott.
The designer’s February runway show had fashionistas sweltering in an 80-degree room as they waited for attendee Kylie Jenner to appear, 45 minutes late and with TV crew in tow. Gate-crashers stole seats, relegating top editors from Elle and Teen Vogue to watching a live stream of the presentation in a screening room. Model Gigi Hadid stormed the runway in velvet bell-bottoms emblazoned with the face of Jesus; Anna Cleveland sashayed in a gaudy, Vegas-era Elvis cape.
The industry Web site Fashionista.com called the event a “s – – tshow,” while other critics scoffed at the C-listers, such as Sofia Richie, mugging in the front row. But for Scott, that embrace of chaos, celebrity and kitsch is the whole point.
“I’ve always been inspired by pop culture,” the 42-year-old designer told The Post. “I’ve always been very democratic about my view of fashion and iconography.” As for his haters?
“I would say that they’re stuffy and they could go to another show.”
They do so at their own peril. This Fashion Week marks the 20th anniversary of Scott’s namesake brand — his show on Friday will be a retrospective of his career — and, love him or hate him, his postmodern, cartoon aesthetic is everywhere.
It’s on TV, with Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus strutting in his eye-popping designs at the MTV Video Music Awards. It’s on newsstands, where reality stars are on the cover of Vogue. It’s even on the Paris runway, with revered labels such as Vetements and Gucci splattering images from “Titanic” or Disney cartoons onto their clothes.
Having begun her career with small roles in CSI: NY and 90210 – as well as a small stint as a ‘briefcase girl’ on Deal or no Deal –Meghan Markle shot to fame in 2011 when she was cast as paralegal Rachel Zane in Suits.
Not her only reason for being in the spotlight, however, Markle has also been dating Prince Harry for the last nine months.
Confirming their relationship last November, Harry made an emotional appeal for the couple to be left in peace.
Instructing Kensington Palace to issue a statement on his behalf, Harry called Markle his “girlfriend” and noted that she had been the “subject to a wave of abuse and harassment” including a torrent of racist and sexist slurs by “social media trolls”.
Previously relatively quiet on the celebrity circuit, Markle met Prince Harry in Toronto in May 2016 during his promotional visit for the Invictus Games. Soon after she was photographed taking her seat in the royal box at Wimbledon.
While she is an ambassador for World Vision Canada as well as an advocate for United Nations Women, Markle’s father is a Hollywood lighting director and her mother a yoga instructor.
And while you may think balancing a role in a hot legal drama alongside humanitarian work would keep the young star busy enough, the star has also shown a keen interest in fashion.
Sitting front row during a number of shows at New York Fashion Week, Markle has shown her support to designers such as Tory Burch, Wes Gordon, Marchesa, Herve Leger and Tracy Reese.
here are many sad things about coming back from holidays. For one, it’s the beginning of the end for that glowy skin you only get after about a week away from your desk and in the fresh air. But with a little prep and a bit of shimmer, you can fake that dewy look all year. Here is how I do it.
Prepping your skin is the most essential part of this process. I use exfoliators and pore-cleansing masks as part of my regular routine, which helps other products sink into my skin easily. My favourite is NSPA’s glow mud mask (Asda, £7). I also use a combination smoothing lightweight emulsion moisturiser (Bare minerals, £30), which adds loads of dewiness but has a lightweight texture that feels comfortable on the skin.
Apply a liquid illuminator all over your face as a base. I like the Buxom Cosmetics liquid highlighter in Divine Goddess (Debenhams, £21) for a really subtle “wet skin” glow.
I use a Real Techniques sponge (Superdrug, £3.99) to blend my foundation properly without leaving too much excess on my face. My favourite for a natural dewy look is the Bare Minerals bare skin foundation in the colour Walnut (Bare Minerals, £28).
I use concealer under my eyes, down my nose, and on the centre of my chin, which brightens the places the sunlight naturally hits my face. Decide where to put your concealer depending on your face shape. I use Too Faced born this way concealer in Medium tan (Debenhams, £20), which stays dewy even when it has been set with powder. I use pressed transluscent powder, rather than loose, such as Inglot Cosmetics HD pressed powder in shade 404 (Inglot, £12).
For extra glow I add a light contour to my cheeks using the Buxom Cosmetics hot escapes bronzer in the shade Maldives (Debenhams, £21). To bring back warmth to my skin, I add a touch of blusher, then complete by dusting a shimmery golden highlight on the highest point of my cheekbone, and the tip of my nose. Focus this shimmery highlight on the areas you want to enhance and bring forward. I love to use the Nip+Fab travel palette in Medium/Dark 2 (Superdrug, £9.95) which has the contour, blush and highlight in one.
Finally, add a little bit of a shimmery lip gloss to compliment your dewy skin. I am using the Buxom cosmetics lip polish in Sugar (Debenhams, £15) on top of my Nip+Fab lip liner in Espresso (Superdrug, £5.95).