Like it or not, the biannual fashion weeks are becoming increasingly consumer-focused. From the sea of bloggers in the Somerset House forecourt (who can watch the shows on the giant screen outside the main tent), to those viewing and shopping via online live stream (pioneered by Burberry), the scope for interaction and calls to action is wider than ever before. The lines are blurring between brands, retailers and publishers, and all are bringing the buzz of LFW directly from the front row to their loyal customers. Continue reading
As LFW becomes ever busier, with shows, presentations, retail events and launches at Somerset House and beyond, sometimes help is needed to navigate the never-ending schedule. This season I’m working with Amex to experience all they have to offer at Fashion Week, which is where Amex Insiders come in. Continue reading
Bam! That’s the sound of London Fashion Week going off with a bang. Well it did for me, because my first show was London College of Fashion’s MA show – its first as part of LFW. The show was edited to the ten strongest collections, of which my favourite was from Na Di, a menswear graduate whose punchy printed tailoring mashed up traditional references with hiphop attitude. Continue reading
It might be Fashion Month but life isn’t all about Marni-esque print and wacko Celine ‘fur-kenstocks’. Sometimes you want a palate-cleanser, a just-so silk shirt with double cuffs for example, or a high quality trench that will travel with you from spring to winter without the Rue Saint-Honore price tag. Continue reading
Well who’d have thunk it? Six years ago today, I started a fashion blog. This very one, in fact, albeit on a Blogspot platform with a slightly clunky white-text-on-black-background layout. If you scroll back far enough, you can see my early posts; embarrassing though they are, I’ve not deleted them as it’s good to remember the journey.
My six year anniversary coincides with a pithy New York Times T Magazine story by Suzy Menkes lamenting the blog mob and the changes in fashion media and critiquing. Do read it, it’s certainly thought provoking. Alas, Menkes does come across as slightly jaded in her disapproval. Flagging up the common practice of ‘bloggers’ (read: the Fashion Week style blogger elite) who get photographed in next season’s looks, often gifted by designers in exchange for coverage, she reminds us that real reporters don’t play the gifting game (or ‘bribery’ as she puts it). It’s a funny one I admit. On the one hand, why not help give young designers exposure by wearing their clothes, if it will give them a leg-up and boost your visual presence as well? On the other hand, when the pre- and post-show peacocking starts to get more attention than the shows themselves, then that clearly signals a change in how things are working. Is it dumbing down though? or is it just an evolution in how fashion is seen and consumed now?
Six years ago, no-one even considered any of this stuff. As a phenomenon, it simply didn’t exist yet. Instagram didn’t exist, Vine didn’t exist, Twitter was in its infancy and Anna Dello Russo was just another jobbing fashion editor. How would fashion have weathered the recessions were it not for fashion blogs, Fashion Week street style and the powerful role they played in opening up the fashion industry to the masses? More pertinent still; where will fashion, blogging and the street style strutters be in another six years time? I guess that’s for us to witness, while documenting the process…
Thanks for the last six years of support!
Image: Stefania Yarhi/Textstyles – NYT
“Louis Vuitton has become too common!” LVMH’s Bernard Arnault didn’t quite say last week. But the sentiment was there. Speaking at LVMH’s annual results presentation, he revealed that Louis Vuitton is scaling back on global expansion and focusing more on its high end products and superior customer service to avoid cheapening the brand.
This is a trend, not just at Louis Vuitton, but other luxury houses, who have stripped away the obvious logos and boosted product that shows off house ‘codes’. Dior recently reignited its ‘bar’ jacket and ‘comma’ heels, Gucci, the horsebit loafer (which is 60 years old this year), Chanel flagged up its pearls and Saint Laurent, its tie-neck blouses and iconic tuxedos. At Vuitton, the overexposed monogram has been sidelined for SS13 by the Damier check.
At Louis Vuitton’s pre-fall 13 preview on Thursday, my main highlight was the collection of Noe bags, a heritage Vuitton bag refreshed in new colours and sizes. Originally a carrying case for champagne bottles (what else?), the design celebrates its 80th anniversary this year.
My other highlight was the Icons collection, a capsule collection that updates pieces from the archive. I love this sheepskin balmacaan, a collarless coat that can be worn reversed with the leather on the outside. Delicious, no?
Pre-tail site, M’oda ‘Operandi has been going for quite a while now and even though I’m still a novice online shopper when it comes to fashion (honestly, I can count my total clothing purchases on two hands), I do think it’s a clever concept.
For me it works as a research tool. It bridges the gap between seeing things on the runway (styled to the hilt as per the designer’s vision) and seeing them on a rail in store. We get to see clothes ahead of season styled in a more wearable way, including those by some of the lesser known designers. This week’s ‘trunk shows’ (the M’O name for its limited-time pre-order sales) includes Bouchra Jarrar’s winter couture collection (a designer I love, who was shortlisted for the Balenciaga gig and M’oda ‘Operandi’s first ‘couture’ designer) and J.W. Anderson pre-fall.
But like a lot of start-ups, it seems the plan is to develop the concept beyond its original, well, moda operandi. Since December, the site has also offered conventional, in-season etail in its ‘Boutique’, giving the M’O consumer the option to buy their favorite pieces and wear them the next day. As CEO Aslaug Magnusdottir says, “We want to better serve our current customers and reach a new customer base. We’ve been able to establish a name in various pockets of the world and we want to take advantage of our positioning and build our market share quickly.”
You can pre-order Bouchra Jarrar’s winter couture collection until 5th Feb and J.W. Anderson Pre-Fall 2013 until 4th Feb. Happy shopping!
Hands down, one of the biggest menswear trends for AW13 is all things traditional, homespun and British. So think Harris tweeds, Scottish cashmeres and Savile Row-style tailoring using textiles from our oldest mills. Nicely timed then, is Made In Great Britain from Marks & Spencer, its heritage line that will be launching in selected stores in the autumn. Continue reading
Like the music industry, the publishing industry has become about selling product as well as content. So brand extensions are flourishing like nothing before. But what Vogue has is quite unique – its content is its brand extensions. It uses its incredible archive of photography, illustration and editorials to produce all manner of products, from books to beach towels. Continue reading
Five months ago, BON magazine commissioned me to write about 3D printing and its potential impact on the fashion industry. The best bit was researching it (with some great help from Jen Eleto). I got some incredibly generous insights from the likes of Dutch product designer Sjors Bergmans who made the first wearable 3D printed shoes, Chris Norman, CEO of 3D printing company Kraftwurx, and Peter Hill who runs the fashion digital studio at London College of Fashion. During my interview with Ron Arad, he disappeared to unearth some 3D printed earrings from the back office of his studio. They were made nine years ago – “the first 3D printed consumer accessories”, according to him.
I also spoke to legal expert Kenneth Mullen and commercial strategy consultant Ceci Guicciardi to get their views on how the ease of 3D printing in future will affect copyright laws, while LCF’s Peter Hill even let us use the LCF 3D printers to make some possible designer ‘fakes’ – with interesting results. (Conclusion: it’s early days for this technology but it’s developing fast.) The article has just been published and has had a good response. Some people are calling 3D printing the third industrial revolution, but if you still think 3D printing in fashion means creating 3D textures on a T-shirt, then maybe you need to go to 3D Printshow at The Brewery in Clerkenwell this weekend. (Admission is £19.95 and boooking is advisable. Info here.)
UPDATE: You can read an edited version of the article on Business of Fashion