30/09/2009

Paris Fashion Week Schedule

Anne Valerie Hash kicks off proceedings this afternoon followed by Limi Feu, returning house Rochas and Rue Du Mail by Martine Sitbon.

Also showing today is British enfant terrible Gareth Pugh, who will showcase his spring/summer 2010 womenswear collection at the Palais de Tokyo at 7pm tonight.

Some big names - including Balenciaga and red carpet favourite Balmain - will show tomorrow, whilst Friday's schedule boasts Christian Dior and Lanvin.

The weekend sees Jean Paul Gaultier, Comme des Garcons, Dries Van Noten and Givenchy take to the catwalk, whilst things are not winding down next week with Stella McCartney, Chanel, Chloe, Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu and Hermes all showing between Monday and Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Roland Mouret shows his second RM collection since his return to fashion - and on Thursday Giles Deacon will show for the first time in Paris after securing the prestigious ANDAM award.


Source Vogue.com

Advertising: Internet vs TV

Internet outstrips TV but total ad spend plummets 17%

by Daniel Farey-Jones, Brand Republic 30-Sep-09, 09:15

LONDON - Internet ad spend has overtaken TV for the first time but total UK spend fell by £1.5bn in the first half of 2009, compared with the same period last year, according to figures released by the IAB today.

Based on figures from the Advertising Association and WARC, a report from the IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that internet advertising was the only sector to grow in the first half, taking a total of £1.75bn.

Net-a-porter ad on Vogue.com

The 4.6% growth in all forms of online advertising -- paid-for search, display and classifieds -- came within an overall market that fell 16.6% to £7.5bn.

Guy Phillipson, chief executive of the IAB, said: "Internet advertising has beaten all expectations to achieve growth in the most challenging market conditions."

TV revenues fell 16.1%, according to the figures, meaning it has lost its status as the medium with the biggest market share to the one that had the smallest share only six years ago.

Online now has a 23.5% market share compared to TV's 21.9%.

Phillipson said that online had overtaken TV around six months earlier than expected because of the recession, which has accentuated marketers' search for certainty.

"The internet is the medium they are least likely to walk away from," he said.

He predicted that marketers' increasing exposure to the measurability of the internet would lead them to require greater measurability of other media. "The whole research industry will be working hard on that, to solve that conundrum, over the next few years."

Eva Berg-Winters, online advertising expert at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: "Perhaps surprisingly, a slowing economy has accelerated the migration to digital technology and hence the continuing shift from more traditional forms of advertising to online.

"The only certainty is that this transgression demands fundamental structural change of business models across all industries."

Reiss ad on Vogue.com

Other media suffered greater revenue reverses than TV, notably print sectors. Press classified was worst off, down 37.3%, followed by directories, down 25%; outdoor, down 22%; and press display, down 20.4%.

However, press display is still the third largest sector with a market share of 18.5% and press classified has a market share of 11%.

If they were combined, as the online display and classified sectors are, they would have the biggest share of overall spend.

TV ad marketing body Thinkbox, issued a critical response to today's figures.

Lindsey Clay, marketing director at Thinkbox, said it was "interesting but meaningless to sweep all the money spent on every aspect of online marketing into one big figure and celebrate it".

Clay said: "Online marketing spend is made up of many things including email, classified ads, display ads (including online TV advertising), and, overwhelmingly, search marketing.

"They should be judged individually."

D&G Anthology Fragrances Television Ad

Clay added that TV was the most effective ad medium "p


ound for pound" and that it was even more effective when put together with online.

Clay said: "They are the perfect marketing marriage. To set them up in competition is a mistake and misses their complementary relationship."

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Print first, Internet second and TV third? Although print is currently the highest form of advertising, will this change in the future? will people get bored of print, or get bored of the internet and crave to read something on paper rather than pixels? Or will we crave for technology to expand more and demand everything on our mobile and then that will be the highest form of advertising? Will television soon be obsolete? Perhaps not, but adverts are a debatable idea. Yes, we like them, as it gives us a break from our program to make a cup of tea and go to the toilet, but we also hate them when it gets to a really good bit in a film, and it ruins the atmosphere. People are downloading films, buying dvds and trying to completely outrule advertising altogether. The other day I had put a dvd in and a malteasers advert came up before the trailers. Is it just me or is advertising really trying to put itself everywhere without thinking about how annoying it could be?

Dolce & Gabbana Fragrances

Super Scents

TO THE strains of George Michael's Nineties classic Freedom, the supermodels announced during Fashion Week in Milan yesterday that - whilst they may not be gracing the runways as regularly as they once did - they are still the last word in glamour.

Eva Herzigova, Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell turned out for their designer friends Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana on Friday evening to help launch the duo's new fragrance anthology.

Naomi Campbell said: "I'm overwhelmed, this is amazing," as the trio of supermodels were cheered by a crowd of almost 3,000 people as they arrived at the Rinascente department store - where they signed autographs and posed for pictures to promote the scents they each front.

Mario Testino, director of the scent collection's television and print campaigns, decided at the last minute to capture the models completely nude, WWD reports, and convinced the three supermodels to bare all, despite the fact it had not been specified in their contracts.

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The concept of creating more than one fragrance during a single campaign brings a better chance of sales, but to have 5, for men and women, and each one related to a famous model is ingenious. How many people do you think will want to smell like Claudia Schiffer? I think many.

The fragrances have been made exclusive in the UK to Selfridges, and so makes them even harder to buy, and so all that more limited edition. Although I've yet to test the scents, out of the 3 or women I'm sure there'll be one I like, and definately one of the men's that I'd buy for my boyfriend! However, am I willing to trek it all the way to London Selfridges only to find they've sold out? Or should I wait for ebay? Sorry LVMH, it might be the latter, but I don't think Dolce & Gabbana will be suing ebay over one purchase, they advertise on YouTube.

Vogue Newsletter

28/09/2009

Versace Show

Show Report

EVERYBODY may have hailed Donatella Versace as having come of age when she gave up the mega wattage sex-on-legs dresses and presented a slightly more demure muse some seasons ago, but today she reverted to what she really loves: tight, cutaway, glossy, studded, corsetted, shiny - and only to be worn by the sort of women she casts for her shows. This afternoon's starred Lily Donaldson and Natasha Poly, to give an idea of the sort of standard she's talking.

Whether you can see yourself in a bright yellow and green printed sheer jersey or lace top, with long sleeves and a base-of-spine low back, worn with a micro mini of transparent PVC, featuring the same print (and matching big knickers under that - in fact they were pretty much the biggest thing in this show) - is immaterial, you can't help but enjoy a Versace runway for its glamazonian, perfect women, their bodies tested to the fashion limit.


Strapless mini dresses - blatantly shirking the adage that a girl should show off her legs or her cleavage, but never both - carried the same popping prints, green and yellow or lilac, white and black, and featured studded seams or were held together by rows of metallic staples.


Sportier versions came in strips of yellow, white and turquoise fine mesh fabric with metallic bodywork, while fine black-on-white polka dots made for the most bodycon trouser suits possible.



A flesh-coloured leather dress had a fine pattern stamped out of it, while a white cross-backed cocktail dress was slightly less full on, but then Donatella brought back her brother's signature metallic mesh, collaging triangles of it amid panels of leather, jersey and bare flesh in the most difficult of places - one dress was cutaway from under the right breast in a half moon all the way to the hip bone below, another was sliced below the ribcage at the back - breathing in won't help you there.



The longer dresses she finished with had heavy metallic detailing at the shoulders, making high fashion warriors of her girls - and the finale saw the curtains fall away to show them all standing with their fiercest possible expressions on a staircase above us, with Donatella in front of them smiling - do you dare to disagree?

Vogue Newsletter

Bluewater needs More

Bluewater puts CRM work up for grabs

LONDON - Bluewater is seeking a direct agency to handle its customer relationship marketing.


Lend Lease Retail and Communities Group, which owns the shopping centre in Kent, has contacted agencies with a brief to increase repeat visits and attract new customers. The winning agency will develop Bluewater's online marketing, including better use of its mailing list.

Bluewater set up a database in 2002, but most of its activity to date has consisted of newsletters informing customers about events and special offers. It is thought to be looking to protect and expand its catchment area ahead of the opening of the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, East London in 2011.

The company's advertising is handled by Klein O'Rorke, which created a Christmas ad campaign last year. Footfall increased by 4 per cent over the festive period and 2 per cent in January.

The shopping centre has also developed a marketing package - aimed at encouraging brands to use its media space for advertising and experiential activity - through iblink, the consumer specialist agency.

American Apparel BANNED

American Apparel 'naked' ad banned by watchdog

LONDON - A magazine ad for the fashion retailer American Apparel that showed a young girl partially naked has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.



The watchdog upheld a complaint that the ad was offensive and irresponsible as the girl appeared to be under 16 years of age.

American Apparel said the ad was intended to appeal to women, and that the model was shown to be in a relaxed "home" environment, wearing the hoody as a consumer might.

The retailer told the ASA the model was 23. It did not believe the ad to be gratuitous as the model remained clothed, wearing the hoody and a pair of shorts. The ad was intended to focus on the hoody as opposed to the model, and she was not portrayed as a sex object or in a negative light, it said.

The ad appeared in Vice magazine, which the retailer understood was targeted at 18- to 34-year-olds. It had previously advertised in Vice with similarly styled images.

The ASA considered that although the model was 23, the natural and minimal styling of the ads made her appear under 16.

The watchdog concluded that the ad was inappropriate and must not appear again in its current form.

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First the BBC calls for over 50's, now American Apparel's advertising style makes the models look under 16. Apparently the model must wear make up in order to look old enough, and looking natural makes you younger, so being older makes you unnatural?
Although some believe it was correct action by the ASA, it's a bit over the top. The advertisement was in Vice magazine, and we've seen more nudity in Vogue and i-D. Advertising needs to relax a bit more if it wants to develop. Banning this ad just makes the UK advertising authority seem prude; is it really that offensive?

Dolce & Gabbana

Take a deep breath – the corset is back.

Twenty five years after they first launched underwear as outerwear, the designers at Dolce & Gabbana staged a magnificent tribute to that most saucy item in a woman’s wardrobe, at Milan Fashion Week, yesterday (Sunday).

“Because it’s feminine and sexy,” said one half of the design duo, Stefano Gabbana, backstage, after the show.

The collection, in fact, hailed The Corset as the one single piece of must-have-clothing for next spring/summer.

The Dolce & Gabbana corset appeared in rose prints, black lace, denim, leopard-spots and multi-coloured florals. It was bedecked with lace, fringing, embroidery and beads; accessorised with bucket-loads of gilt jewellery; and worn with high-heeled tulle and lace ankle-boots.

The corset’s fashion comeback was cheered on by a battalion of Brit ‘It’ girls, in the front row, including Peaches Geldof, Alice Dellal, the teenage daughters of singer, Annie Lennox, Tali and Lola, and the model, Daisy Lowe, who, appropriately, was wearing a pair of red and black, leopard-print Dolce & Gabbana knickers.

There were ‘real’ clothes, too, of course; slip-dresses, pencil skirts and, even, trench-coats. But when these appeared they were in sheer tulle, see-through black or white lace, and latticed mesh, ensuring the corsetry was never entirely hidden from view.

Bras, bodices and lacy knickers were also shown as dressing-up options for next season: Ballet-style, wrapover cardigans, for example, with black lace bloomers, or a sexy version of Bridget Jones’s ‘big knickers’. There were bustier dresses, too, which were little more than a corset with an extra layer of fringe or lace.

For the girl who feels the need for a little more in the way of outerwear, Dolce & Gabbana also introduced a new version of ‘black tie’ in the form of satin dinner jackets with jodhpur-style trousers.

The focus on women’s underwear, which has been a predominant feature of these Milan Fashion Week shows, follows on from the bra and bustier trend which surfaced at the recent London Fashion Week shows.




Hilary Alexander
Published: 3:15PM BST 27 Sep 2009

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Maybe it's just because I'm from a younger generation, but I don't think this collection is as visually or trend appealing as the D&G. This show seems to be a repeat of many of their previous collections with the women wearing suits, tight corsets, white on black, even lace coming into it again. It brings an element of John Galliano with it, but to me it's nothing special. I expected more.

Barely There

Alberta Ferretti Spring Summer 2010
YOU can't go wrong in an Alberta Ferretti gown - you'll always be asked who made it and you'll always leave a lasting impression of having looked chic, rich and confident.

Her latest collection is no different - muted to the point of being colourless, it accentuated the idea that a Ferretti woman never looks like she tries too hard, but in reality each look was a complicated set up of finely gathered and pleated chiffon that made every one entirely unique and suggested that Ferretti had been working with couture in mind.

Purple and green floral applique adorned the length of smoky chiffon dresses, with wide gathered straps crossed at the back, while Maria Callas on vocals kept our minds on earth-shattering romance.


Ballerina-length coats featured delicate smocking while mini dresses in the palest tan, lemon, grey or white came tied as aprons over sheer underlayers.

If next season is looking as feminine as can be, this is surely the benchmark of femininity, with spaghetti straps holding on backless Grecian gowns that dispersed around the models' legs in clouds of yellow and green layered silk chiffon.

Fendi Spring Summer 2010

By Hilary Alexander, Fashion Director at Milan Fashion Week
Published: 5:48PM BST 27 Sep 2009

Fendi spring/summer 2010 collection from Milan Fashion Week
Unbelievable weightlessness. A longing for the boudoir infused the show

“Airy, weightless,” said Karl Lagerfeld of his spring/summer collection for Fendi. He could just as well have talked about ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being”. These were clothes that were barely-there, both in terms of colour and fabric: parchment and pastels, liquid silk-jersey, diaphanous tulle, washed silk.

A longing for the boudoir infused the show, from the silken romper-suits, slips and lace-trimmed French (or should that be Italian?) knickers, right up to the flowing, peignoir-like beige tulle gown, interwoven with feathered strips of fur (this is a fur house, after all), and worn over a satin top and knickers, which closed the show.

The pale palette and soft materials veiled the technical artistry and hand-craft which went into the collection. Devore appliqu├ęs were as soft as butterfly wings; needlepoint, tracery and tattoo embroidery traced fragile motifs on pale linens and silks.

The ‘Miss Haversham’ quality was underscored by the delicate deconstruction which was interwoven throughout the collection, disclosed in frayed edges and unfinished seams. In keeping with the lingerie theme there were small pochettes and clutches which could be ‘undressed’ by removing the covering linen and lace ‘slips’.

27/09/2009

New Look for the Stock Market

New Look on course for £1.7bn float

Fashion retailer New Look is drawing up plans for a £1.7bn-plus stock market float.

The company, which is backed by private equity firms Permira and Apax, could list on the stock market as early as January.

A formal "beauty parade" of investment banks is due to begin imminently, with advisers expected to be appointed within weeks.

New Look is one of a number of private equity-owned groups understood to be being lined up for flotation.

Following the financial turmoil of the past two years there is pent-up demand from private equity groups who are under pressure from investors to sell a number of their investments. According to a recent survey by Ernst & Young, private equity groups saw a slump of nearly 70pc in the number of major investments sold in 2008.

Acromas, which owns the AA and Saga, and Birds Eye Iglo are among the private equity-owned companies tipped to float next year. The size and success of the New Look float will be the first real test of investor appetite for these debt-laden businesses.

New Look, which was founded in 1969 by Tom Singh, was taken private by Permira and Apax in 2004 for £699m with Mr Singh retaining a 22pc stake.

New Look's private equity owners abandoned an auction of the company in 2007 after bidders failed to meet their near-£2bn asking price. The highest bidder – US buy-out giant TPG – tabled an offer of £1.75bn.

Having abandoned the sale, the business re-financed its borrowings, which currently stand at £1.1bn. The new borrowings include an onerous £359m "payment in kind" (PIK) note held by Goldman Sachs that accounts for 10-15pc of the debt facility. Interest payable on PIK notes is "rolled-up" and paid at the end of the loan term.

Earlier this year New Look said that earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) increased by 10.2pc to £217.6m over the year to March 2009. Like-for-like sales were up 1.4pc, and total sales grew by 14.9pc to £1.33bn. It is expected that the ebitda figure for 2010 will reach between £230m and £235m.

But figures filed at Companies House reveal that in 2008 the company made a pre-tax loss of £1.8m over the period down from a profit of £5.7m the previous year. In its last year as a public company New Look made a pre-tax profit of £85.2m.

At the time the company said the credit crunch and a reduction in customers' disposable incomes had made a material impact.

During the last year, however, the company has managed to increase its margins by squeezing suppliers and pushing down sourcing costs as well as benefiting from currency movements.

Trading in the most recent six months is said to be "strong". On the back of this performance management is confident of a successful float.

The retail sector has been a favourite of the private equity industry, although a number of former private equity owned retailers – including Debenhams and Jessops – have struggled as public companies.

The company is expected to use audited half-year figures to September 2009 in any prospectus.

Over the summer, New Look took over five stores being disposed of by Borders UK, the book chain. The portfolio included Borders' flagship store on London's Oxford Street, opposite Topshop.

Management headed by Carl McPhail, chief executive, and Phil Wrigley, chairman, are also thought to have an equity stake in the business.

US private equity groups have already floated a number of investments. KKR raised $745m (£466m) when it floated Avago Technologies, while Emdeon, the health record manager backed by General Atlantic and Hellman & Friedman, was floated for $422m.

Maps Makeover


Google gives Maps a social media makeover

by Darren Davidson, revolutionmagazine.com 25-Sep-09, 15:45

LONDON - Google has enhanced Google Maps with the addition of a social media element that provides detailed information on destinations and points of interests.

The new feature -- called Place Pages -- allows users to get all of the information they want on a restaurant, for example, in one place, instead of locating a service and then undertaking a separate search.

A user can activate a Place Page by clicking on 'more info' in search results, or by clicking 'more info' in the mini-bubble that appears over the location.

Clicking on these two options will produce an entire page of rich details such as photos, videos, a Street View preview, nearby transit, reviews and related websites.

Google announced Place Pages on its official blog, in which it said: "Place Page is a webpage for every place in the world, organizing all the relevant information about it.

"By every place, we really mean *every* place - there are Place Pages for businesses, points of interest, transit stations, neighbourhoods, landmarks and cities all over the world."

The move is a threat to established online businesses such as Yelp, which already provide a similar service.

Product Placement on TV

Product placements add realism to TV shows says public

The majority of consumers interviewed in the latest Brand Republic video felt that product placement in TV programmes would add a sense of realism to shows if it was carried out in a "discreet way" which was "not very frequent".



Versace Video SS10

Bottega Veneta Spring Summer 2010

Show Report

LIKELY to be voted one of the most beautiful collections of the season, Tomas Maier's show for Bottega Veneta this morning was the perfect respite from the Milanese rain - which feels even more unfair because we know London is gloriously sunny.

It was a strange sight to see Janet Jackson in the front row - of all the Versaces, Guccis and even, these days, Emilio Puccis she could have chosen, it was surprising to see her here. But she seemed as taken with it as we all were - shaking her head at the end, it looked like she was fighting back tears.


Founded in 1966 and acquired by the Gucci Group in 2001, which almost immediately brought Tomas Maier on board, Bottega has a reputation for old school elegance and unwavering standards.

Today it took on a slightly more casual persona as if the BV woman will be off duty, but certainly no less chic, next summer.

White cotton, edged in cream, made up milkmaid dresses with slashed or funnel necklines and wraparound blouses. Panelled white bra tops came under roomy jersey vests and white silk all-in-ones were accessorised with a purple or yellow scarf thrown around the neck and totes and espadrilles made of what looked like woven raffia but were in fact nappa leather.

Possibly the most luxurious tracksuit bottoms in the world were teamed with creamy leather cropped jackets, while tailored long silk shorts had matching shirts tucked in to them.

Pintucked cotton spaghetti-strapped white dresses and fine linen strapless ones, with a wisp of pale gold chiffon spun around the top, were romantic and easy to wear, while others came fuller down one side where the seam opened to flash an inner lining of egg yolk yellow.

Eveningwear comprised sumptuous grosgrain and silk ballerina length dresses of mustard or burgundy, with heavy metallic necklaces that looked deliciously noisy. A finale of strapless full-length dresses, in lavender, purple or red, with gathered bodices and frothy chiffon skirts, set us up for a gorgeously feminine season.

"Creative collaboration inspires much of what we do at Bottega Veneta," says Maier. "This season we expanded on that fact, designing as if in collaboration with the woman wearing our clothes. In a sense, the clothes are 'blank' until she puts them on."

Gucci Gucci Gucci

Milan Fashion Week: Gucci

Hilary Alexander reviews the Gucci spring/summer 2010 collection from Milan Fashion Week.

26/09/2009

New Look TV

New Look to launch online TV show

Fast fashion retailer New Look is to launch a weekly online interactive TV show to be distributed by YouTube.

New Look will launch the site on September 18, using a format which allows viewers to upload their own content, comment and vote on features and visit New Look stores where filming will take place.


The channel has been created by digital agency Zone. Managing director of Zone Jon Davies said: “This is a first for a big brand high street retailer and demonstrates the importance of digital interactive content in bringing the in-store experience to life online. By inviting the audience to participate instead of treating them as consumers, we can help New Look develop a long-term relationship which goes far beyond just advertising.”

Melissa Loddo, online and CRM manager at New Look, said: “We know that our audience enjoy creating and sharing online content and that they love New Look fashion so we wanted to offer them a way of combining both.”

The show is executive produced by Hannah Springham, who has directed numerous fashion TV productions including Gok’s Fashion Fix, Britain’s Next Top Model and The Clothes Show.

Dolce & Gabbana You Tube Channel

Dolce & Gabbana start a You Tube channel

I had first found out about this when I logged in to YouTube.com and found it advertising Dolce & Gabbana's video promoting the behind the scenes look at their Spring Summer 2010 collection this year. I'd found it strange that a high end brand such as Dolce & Gabbana would promote themselves on YouTube while others such as LVMH were banning their name anywhere but on their site and products. It just shows how D&G is willing for their audience to spring from YouTube as well as their current customers.
When I visited their channel it was interesting to see how they had personalised it completely to suit the brand, and had made it official to them, so that no one else can boast about having Dolce & Gabbana videos. Although the channel began a year ago, it has been a little off the radar until they began advertising it on the home page. At the moment though it's perfect timing considering the popularity of Fashion week this year.
Videos include campaigns, behind the scenes and catwalk shows.

http://www.youtube.com/user/dolcegabbanachannel

25/09/2009

Prada Milan: new store now open in Corso Venezia

Prada Milan: new store now open in Corso Venezia
The new Prada store in Milan is opening at the perfect time. With all the press in the city at the moment celebrating Milan Fashion Week, it gives an easier chance for publicity for the brand new store. Hilary Alexander did an article (previous post) on the new D&G and other stores that have floated up in Corso Venezia. It's a great opportunity for Milan to move up to a greater shopping capital.

New Milan Shopping Experiences

Heat Seeking in Milan, By Day and Night

September 24, 2009



In concert with the influx of fashion-loving foreigners, September is Milan’s happening retail season. The biggest store news comes from the new D&G revamp in Corso Venezia 7 (pictured above), and Trussardi 1911’s new “concept” lifestyle store at Piazza della Scala 5, where comfortable chairs and reading material are part of the shopping experience. There’s also MaxMara’s sleek new mega-store at Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which carries all its various lines and some serious pieces for the home. The company teamed up with the Milanese design guru Rossana Orlandi to offer a very original collection that is both retro (there are things by Gio Ponti) as well as items from new up-and-comers like Maarten Baas. Just down the road is Rinascente which continues to transform under the eye of department store maestro Stefano Radice. The rehauled homewares department in the basement is now called the Design Supermarket. While there, be sure to venture beyond the subterranean to the topmost floor to take in some of the best views in Milan. There you’ll find a terrace bar that looks onto the Gothic spirals of Milan’s Duomo. If you’re there on the evening of September 25, you will find a coterie of bona fide supes. Eva, Naomi, and Claudia will be there to launch D&G’s new fragrance Anthology. Then, when the shopping day is done, the trendy set can join the spillover in front of the bars Blanco or Straf. And finally, for those who can last late into the notte, join DJ Natasha Slater’s crowd at the appropriately named Punks Wear Prada this Friday, at Tunnel. The party gets going around midnight.

24/09/2009

Milan Fashion Week Day 1

Milan Fashion Week: D&G

Hilary Alexander reviews the D&G summer 2010 collection inspired by the British woman, from Milan Fashion Week.



'Cowgirls in the Sand' was the theme at Dolce & Gabbana's young, diffusion line, D&G, shown at Milan Fashion Week today (Thursday). The designers took as their muse a hybrid of Kate Moss (as photographed by Juergen Teller) and Brigitte Bardot in the wacky western movie, 'Viva Maria'.

Cue tight denim cowboy-shirts, denim mini-dresses with saloon-girl flounces, denim bustiers, and the best take on Western boots since John Wayne saddled-up. The mood was fresh, youthful, saucy and full of fun. Bleached amnd distressed denim was mixed with enough frilled lace, tulle and broderie anglaise to cover Montana. Lace-cut and perforated beige suede fashioned corsets, frilled hot-pants and bra-tops worn with matching ra-ra skirts.

Skinny jeans were done in white, lacey pantaloons peeked out beneath Wyatt Earp-style trench-coats. Even Clint Eastwood got a look-in, via pin-striped, gambler's jackets, worn with matching cropped trousers. For evening, the D&G look was a multi-tiered skirt in beige tulle which came in every length from micro to maxi, worn with a studded, leather-patched western shirt.

The cowboy boots are sure to spark a major trend. They came stack-heeled, Cuban-heeled and flat, with lashings of fringes and studs. But forget the cowboy hats. That was one look the boys were happy to leave to the cowboys. Santa Fe and Tuscon, Arizona should brace themselves for a thousand and one fashion location shoots.

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Just two photographs, JUST two and I'm already in love. D&G always come up with something new but quirky and fit to their style. It does, however, almost look like Gucci's style, but the denim and lace with leather and tassels will easily trickle down to the high street and next year's festivals.

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Milan Fashion Week: Giorgio Armani

Hilary Alexander reviews the Giorgio Armani spring/summer 2010 collection from Milan Fashion Week.

British Barbour Buy

Barbour's first Heritage store opens in London

Barbour, famous for its iconic waxed cotton outerwear, and the one garment most associated with the British countryside, has opened its first Heritage store in London .

By Natasha Cowan, Senior Fashion Assistant
Published: 6:05PM BST 23 Sep 2009
The quintessence of British style, Helen Barbour (daughter of Dame Margaret Barbour) with Bill Nighy on a vintage Triumph motorbike at the London Barbour shop opening on Tuesday this week, during London fashion Week

Barbour, famous for its iconic waxed cotton outerwear, and the one garment most associated with the British countryside, has opened its first Heritage store in London .

The classic British brand, founded in 1894, has settled upon trendy Carnaby Street, W1, made famous in the 1960’s by The Beatles, for its store. The shop is set over two floors with a total selling area of 74 sqm. The store features memorabilia and images from Barbour’s archive. The men’s and ladies 'Heritage' clothing range is inspired by catalogues dating back to 1908.

Barbour has a history of producing the essential ‘capsule wardrobe’ for the countryside and the iconic waxed jacket is the item it is most recognised for. J Barbour & Sons Ltd, is a 4th generation, family-owned business based in South Shields, which sells to 40 countries worldwide.

Ian Beattie, UK Sales and Marketing Director, Barbour said “As an authentic heritage brand, we wanted to take the opportunity to showcase a focused collection to a fashion savvy consumer who is interested in wearing contemporary garments that have been developed from the brand’s history and heritage. Barbour has been producing quality clothing, fit for purpose, since 1894 and customers recognise that our craftsmanship and tradition make a Barbour jacket unique.”

The Barbour Heritage store is at 29 Fouberts Place, Off Carnaby Street, London, W1F 7QF. Tel 0207 434 3209; www.barbour.com

Opening times are Mon – Sat 10am – 7pm. Sun 12 – 6pm

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It seems Heritage is still on the cards for many brands during the current economical climate. Isn't anyone getting sick of it yet? All these brands and shops saying "I've been here for years, looking after you and your family, now look after me." The style of advertising is getting quite sick as well. Hovis did it well, so should anyone else bother? Start bringing me something new already, like a new Barbour clothing range for the trendy, still using that waxed, horrid when wet smelling fabric.


Designer Charity Cases

Trunk Show

ANNIE LEIBOVITZ and Damien Hirst, amongst others, are turning designer for Louis Vuitton this season. The label's Asnieres division - where master craftsmen create made-to-order luggage - turns 150 this year and, to celebrate, Louis Vuitton is holding an auction to benefit another 150-year-old institution; the Red Cross.

Leibovitz has plumped for practicality; ordering a black monogram canvas backpack - trimmed with black leather and lined with red, cushioned microfibre compartments - for her photo equipment. Hirst has ordered a tall black trunk, lined in blue microfibre and boasting multiple slim drawers, designed to hold surgical instruments.

Other artists and fashion figures have also been asked to contribute by designing a piece to be created by Louis Vuitton's artisans, WWD reports. The special order pieces will then be auctioned at Sotheby's in London on November 17 in aid of the Red Cross.

Without question the most covetable piece will be by Louis Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs, who has requested a trunk for his treasured bull terriers, Daisy and Alfred, to sleep in whilst in the hold of an aeroplane. The trunk has a wire door, large vents - and space for a photo of Jacobs and a sample of his clothing to reassure his pets during flights.

Jacobs' Graduates

LOUIS VUITTON has announced it is sponsoring a collaboration with prestigious US design school Parsons; a competition to create conceptual costumes based on historical silhouettes. Working in real time in the Parsons storefront gallery on Fifth Avenue, teams of students will deconstruct historical costumes from the Parsons Archive and signature Louis Vuitton pieces designed by artistic director - and Parsons graduate - Marc Jacobs.

"Since the founding of the company, Louis Vuitton has been a great supporter of creativity and innovation in the worlds of both fashion and art," said Daniel Lalonde, president and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton in the US. "It is a thrill for us to work with these talented fashion design students from Parsons; one of the premier schools of art and design in the world."

Parsons' list of graduates reads like a who's who of American fashion, with designers including Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Isaac Mizrahi, Narciso Rodriguez, Anna Sui, Doo-Ri Chung, Derek Lam, Thakoon Panichgul, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang and Jason Wu all having attended the college.

The winning looks will be selected by a panel of fashion experts, including Harold Koda, curator of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Basically, Parsons = Central Saint Martins, just the US version. Is it just me, or does education not matter anymore, it's only which university you pay for? Why is it all the great opportunities go to the one and only prestigious school in the country? What about the rest of us? You either have to set something up yourself or pretend you go to CSM.

Either way, at least Louis Vuitton are helping, not only the students but themselves with all the publicity around it. They're at least bringing their status back up after the whole suing fiasco.

Milano

Off To Milan

AS THE fashion pack braved the 6am flight to Milan this morning, those of us who haven't received our show invitations (probably the postal strike), are gearing up to see the first pictures later today on VOGUE.COM.

Milan is short and sweet this season, beginning today and ending on Monday - but with only DSquared set to show on Monday, most fashion editors have planned a four day trip; albeit one packed with the biggest names in fashion.

Today kicks off with Just Cavalli, followed by three Italian big guns; Giorgio Armani, Moschino Cheap And Chic and Prada. Albino rounds off the day as the hoards head home for some beauty sleep. Meanwhile, Friday's biggest ticket, Versace, has good company on the day's schedule in the form of Blumarine, D&G, Alberta Ferretti, Gianfranco Ferre, Gabrielle Colangelo, Luisa Beccaria and Jil Sander.

The weekend kicks off with Bottega Veneta on Saturday, followed by Max Mara, Roberto Cavalli and Emporio Armani, all before lunch. The afternoon starts with Iceberg and Moschino amongst others, with Gucci and Emilio Pucci Saturday's other key shows. Which brings us to Sunday and (almost), the conclusion of the Italian leg of the shows. Marni, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana and Etro open the day, followed by Missoni Salvatore Ferragamo and Aquilano.Rimondi.

Despite the huge names peppering the Milan schedule as always, all British fashion eyes will be trained on Sunday's final show, Christopher Kane's debut for Versus; the first time the label has appeared on the schedule since 2004. Kane's delicate prettiness, with a rock edge, meets Donatella's unashamed glamour. We could not be more excited.


23/09/2009

Tom Ford for Tom Ford

Tom Ford to launch womenswear

Tom Ford for Gucci, Ready to Wear Autumn Winter 2002/2003
Photo from vogue.co.uk

Tom Ford International is seeking funding to expand into womenswear.

The eponymous luxury label from the ex-Gucci creative director is looking for an investment of $50m (£30.5m) or more in a process managed by Credit Suisse, according to Reuters’ private equity website peHUB.

Tom Ford International currently sells menswear and men’s and women’s eyewear and fragrances through four standalone stores and several wholesale sites.

Ford launched his company in 2004 after leaving Gucci, where he had been widely credited with turning around the Italian luxury brand. Ford was also creative director at Yves Saint-Laurent after Gucci’s parent company PPR acquired the brand.