Designers

THE DRG STYLE INDEX: KENZO, NOT JUST A LABEL, APPLE

It’s a bit of a retail focus on the DRG STYLE INDEX this week. Here’s the latest weekly ranking of the brands buzzing on my radar…

1. KENZO X H&M

Kenzo X H&M collaboration launches 3rd November 2016
Thoughts on Kenzo for H&M, the latest of H&M’s collabs, launching in November? I think it’s going to be one of their better collaborations. Kenzo’s Humberto Leon and Carol Lim are experts at retail and marketing after all, which are arguably as important as the design elements in these mega collaborations. I contributed to the H&M book, The First Ten Years (which came out in 2014), a celebration of ten years of H&M’s designer collabs. My research revealed just how huge the promotional budgets are for these things, with supermodel and super-photographer print campaigns, TV ad campaigns, extravagant launch parties and the rest. For Kenzo it’s a great move to engage the next gen Kenzo customer, although it’s interesting to see LVMH working with the high street so happily.


2. NOT JUST A LABEL’S AUTHENTIC RADICALISM

Not Just A Label fashion panel Maison Assouline
Loving everything about this version of experiential retail from e-com site Not Just A Label. On 31st May it’s hosting a panel discussion on ‘Authentic Radicalism’ at the fabulous Maison Assouline bookstore in Piccadilly. The line-up is great, including Fashion Revolution’s Orsola de Castro, The Future Laboratory’s Martin Raymond and fashion lawyer Hugh Devlin. So, not only is it an important debate into the creative new ways of working for the fashion industry, but it’s hosted in one of London’s most delightful retail establishments. It’s invite-only but it will be live streamed as well, meaning everyone can watch, even if they can’t be there.


3. APPLE’S NEXT GEN RETAIL STRATEGY

Apple Union Square Store San Francisco

It’s not been terribly rosy for Apple of late, but there is some good news. The new retail concept looks and sounds freakin’ amazing. Just opened in Union Square, San Francisco, it’s the first taste of what the Apple stores of the future might look like. And where Apple leads, everyone else follows. So this could be what all bricks and mortar stores look one day.

A central feature is the ‘plaza,’ an outdoor gathering place for the community, with public Wi-Fi powered by renewable energy (which will be open 24 hours). Meanwhile, in store, creative artists – photographers, gamers, musicians, entrepreneurs – will make regular appearance to host talks and workshops to make the store a creative activity hub, not just a place to sell you stuff. As Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and online stores says, “we are not just evolving our store design, but its purpose and greater role in the community as we educate and entertain visitors and serve our network of local entrepreneurs.”
Apple Union Square Store San Francisco designed by Foster + partners
Apple Store San Francisco designed by Foster + partners

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here.

Graduate Fashion Week 2016 is coming!

Graduate fashion week 2016


Graduate Fashion Week
serves as a very good bellwether of where fashion is at in any given year. I remember in the early years, the overriding influence was a Galliano-flavoured one (think deconstructed slip dresses and bias cutting), followed a few years later by McQueen-esque everything (bumster trousers and severely tailored blazers). This year, I predict it will be all very Vetements-meets-Hood-By-Air – that is, oversized puffa coats, deconstructed bombers and utility-luxe details.

What you get with GFW is a good balance of creative thinking and commercial nous. Now in its 26th year, it’s the go-to event for international brands sourcing fresh blood for their design and buying teams, and as such, there’s an effort to produce newness anchored in wearability. At Britain’s most famous design schools it’s clearly been drummed into students that designs absolutely have to sell.

From the selection of designers spotlighted by Graduate Fashion Week as stars of tomorrow, counter culture and youth culture references both retro and modern are omnipresent. From Edinburgh College of Art, Anna Madelena Currie’s collection is big on techy streetwear inspired by gang culture and historical Elizabethan dressing. Hence pieces like a tactile velvet puffa with voluminous sleeves and 3D graphic lettering that mixes casual comfort with a certain glamour (below).

BELOW: ANNA MADELENA CURRIE
Anna Madelena Currie graduate fashion week

From Manchester School of Art, Louis Trainor-Selwyn is championing the rock n roll dandy, having taken a trip to study the opulent interiors of Versailles. A stylist’s dream, his subsequent collection is colour-rich, textural, fun and energetic. And commercial to boot.

BELOW: LOUIS TRAINOR-SELWYN
Louis Trainor-Selwyn menswear at gfw

Olivia Barclay from Nottingham Trent University is another breakthrough talent to look out for. Observing the importance of bedroom culture, her dreamy gauzy coats have ruching and utilitarian zips that take them straight onto the street. Looking at the styling on this one I’m seeing a Rihanna-shaped paparazzi opportunity waiting to happen…

BELOW: OLIVIA BARCLAY
Oliviia Barclay Nottingham Trent Yniversity

And as fashion itself has become fashionable, there’s been a growth in interest in all the ancillary fashion jobs out there. With the digital fashion revolution, it seems dozens of new job titles have emerged in fashion that didn’t exist ten years ago. I always enjoy checking out the emerging media talent at GFW and this year I’m getting to do that in an official capacity as a judge for the New Media Award.

Graduate Fashion Week is open to everyone from 5th-8th June, with shows every day, plus expert speakers in the Asos talk space. Check out the full schedule of shows and activities at Graduatefashionweek.com and buy show tickets HERE.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here.

THE DRG STYLE INDEX: Coach, Ralph Lauren, Glossier, Unmade, Marks & Spencer, J.W.Anderson

Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…

1. THE COACH COMEBACK
Coach comeback
Sounds like Coach is killing it with its current revamp. The Robin Report unpacks its recipe for success, which owes a lot to Stuart Vevers’ brand of new youthful (read: millennial) luxury… (more…)

My picks from Vogue Festival and Photo London 2016

Vogue Festival 2015 -cover wall

Next weekend is set to be jam-packed with activity from a double whammy of Vogue Festival and Photo London. Vogue Festival in partnership with Harrods, is in its fifth year now and I think the line-up for next weekend is its best ever. I guess that’s to be expected though, when it’s also a celebration of 100 years of British Vogue. I’m particularly excited about the interviews with Grace Coddington, Juergen Teller and Gucci’s Allesandro Michele, all unique creatives who aren’t overexposed as media personalities. (more…)