THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Margiela’s important message. Story by Anne Pringle.

Margiela for AIDS
Every Maison Martin Margiela collection since 1994 has included a variation of their celebrated AIDS T-shirt, the newest addition being the Japanese version. The text on the shirt is obscured intentionally, appearing on both the front and the inside back (so that the message is whole when the shirt is not being worn), which is meant to prompt discussion, and thus raise awareness, about HIV/AIDS. The shirts will be released on December 1, World AIDS Day, with a percentage of the sales being donated to AIDES, a French organization. The message, which will reportedly appear in different languages with every following year, says, “There is more action to be done to fight AIDS than to wear this t-shirt but it’s a good start”. (Hint Fashion Magazine) via (Style.com)

Klum + Taylor
We told you about Heidi Klum retiring as a Victoria’s Secret Angel, a tough decision made so that she could focus on other things, such as her newly appointed role as the face of Ann Taylor. Following in the footsteps of Milla Jovovich and Naomi Watts, Klum is the newest addition to the brand’s new look since pulling a total revamp a few seasons ago. Klum will reportedly make her debut for the label in Ann Taylor’s holiday 2010 campaign, which will be shot by famed British photographer Rankin. (NY Post)

Isla Moda
Karl Lagerfeld has his hands in a totally new kind of design project—designing his own island. The “Isla Moda” will reportedly be inspired by the floating palaces of India and cruise ships, and is being created in collaboration with Miami-based architecture firm Oppenheim and the KOR hotel group. The manmade island will be situated just 20km off the coast of Dubai, and will include a resort complex with three luxury hotels, 150 residential villas and several Karl-picked boutiques. The fashion-lover’s Eden is set to launch in 2014. (Vogue UK)

Muse by Matthew Williamson
British designer Matthew Williamson has been busy lately: We already told you about his jewel-toned handbag collection for Bulgari, set to launch in 2011, and now he is about to release his debut diffusion line. Muse by Matthew Williamson, the line’s working title, is meant to be the “younger sister” to the designer’s signature collection, and with a (slightly) more affordable price range. Prices will start from $474 for a day dress and $790 for eveningwear. (WWD)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

The Kaiser in denim. Whitewashed denim. Nous aimons. Story by Anne Pringle.

The age of jeans
In early September, we told you that Karl Lagerfeld had cancelled his signature runway collection from Paris Fashion Week, as he reportedly wanted to focus on his new “masstige” ready-to-wear collection (soon to be sold online). The legendary designer for both Chanel and Fendi believes in evolving as: “We live in the age of jeans. It’s funny for a person who has money to buy something inexpensive and it’s great for a person with not so much money to be able to get something by a designer… It’s the new snobbism.” According to Lagerfeld, masstige—making lower-priced designer items to be sold to the masses—is “the modern way to do it”. (WWD)

End of an era at Betsey Johnson
Chantal Bacon, Betsey Johnson’s chief executive officer and longtime friend to the designer, is leaving the company after 30 years. Bacon first joined forces with Johnson when the label was part of Andy Warhol’s underground scene in the Sixties. The former CEO has been slowly scaling back her day-to-day involvement in the company since April, finally terminating her position last week. Johnson said that she will miss having her friend by her side in business, but will go forward with the label doing what she does best—designing. (WWD)

Welcome home
Designer Jason Wu is going home to Taiwan for the first time in four years since launching his fashion business. What could call him away from the bustling fall fashion scene? His brother’s wedding, for which he designed the bride’s gown and bridesmaid dresses. He will be facing a new reality upon his return—apparently his star appeal is so big in his native land that he will need a private security team to follow him through the airport. Oh, the trials of being a fashion superstar. (WWD)

Flat-out comfort
Alber Elbaz, the artistic director of Lanvin, granted his models a boon at the fashion house’s runway show, allowing them to swap their stilt-like heels for flat sandals at the last minute. The gesture was in keeping with the attitude of the whole collection, to which he said, “The whole idea of fashion is to make women fly and make women beautiful, and to make women glamorous.” Or, maybe he just wanted to avoid a similar debacle to Burberry’s runway show at London’s Fashion Week…(Vogue UK)

SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At the Mexx opening

Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté, principal dancers at the National Ballet of Canada, at the launch of the Mexx flagship (2529 Yonge St.).

Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Last week, Mexx celebrated the launch of a fabulous new flagship near Yonge and Eglinton. The party took place over the store’s two levels, as media and celeb guests, including Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté, browsed the fall collection to the tunes of DJ Abeille Gélinas.

Click through for our favourite looks— both in the crowd and on the mannequins.

Continue reading

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Sofia and her Vuitton SC bag. Story by Anne Pringle.

Coppola + Vuitton
Sofia Coppola has had a busy year. She finished directing her newest film, Somewhere, which won top honours at Venice, and stars Stephen Dorff, Michelle Monaghan, and Elle Fanning (Dakota’s sister). Coppola added a new member to her family with the birth of her second child. And she’s also expanded her popular handbag collection in collaboration with Louis Vuitton. She’s added new colours and silhouettes to the line, including a luxe version of her signature SC bag in crocodile. (Fashionista)

The Gucci Masters
Gucci will sponsor the international horse-jumping show known as the European Equestrian Masters, or the Gucci Masters, set to take place during the Paris Horse Show in early December. Gucci creative director Frida Giannini said of the prestigious competition, “The Gucci Masters provides a perfect link to Gucci’s values, prestige and culture. As we approach the house’s 90th anniversary in 2011, it is an event that perfectly symbolizes the traditions we proudly carry forward.” The brand has always held ties with the world of horse riding through their use of equestrian symbols and prints such as the bit or the striped girth strap. (WWD)

Philo’s Céline
British Fashion Award nominee and minimalism master Phoebe Philo claims that she was drawn to the brand Céline because it was a little-known name on the runway scene. Philo became creative director of the French fashion house in 2008, and brought a strong vision with her. “It’s really not relevant to me what Céline has been or where it has been. It will be whatever I make it for the time I’m there,” the designer claimed. She added that the line was inspired by what she wanted to wear and how she wanted to live – clothes that were “quite simple and very real.” (Vogue UK)

McQ soon to be McQueen
Fashion house Alexander McQueen will take full control of diffusion line McQ, which is under a soon-to-expire contract with SINV SpA. After the final SpA collection for Spring 2011, the label will be handed over to an internal McQueen team fronted by creative director Pina Ferlisi (who has designed for Generra, Coach and Marc by Marc Jacobs). Jonathan Akeroyd, president and CEO of Alexander McQueen said, “Over the past five years, McQ has established itself internationally with its young, renegade but always signature McQueen style, and we are ready to take it to the next stage in its development.” Of course, Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton will oversee the whole operation. (Vogue UK)

THE IT: Miu Miu’s artful influence

Miu Miu’s standout Spring 2011 collection, which showed on Wednesday in Paris,  featured an array of influences, including American Idol (on the runway soundtrack) and the Walk of Fame (in the form of star prints and appliqués). Our favourite reference, intentional or non? The dress that looked like a detail from a Clyfford Still canvas. Beautiful.

THE IT: Wet Cement at Harry Rosen

Wet Cement’s limited-edition Harry Rosen T-shirt. Story and photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

An in-store appearance by L.A. screen-printing T-shirt upstarts Wet Cement at Harry Rosen: Stranger things have happened, but possibly not amid the windsor knots and Canali double-breasted blazers of the menswear legend’s Bloor Street flagship branch. Stef Zeh and Andrew Lee, the friendly duo—designer and president, respectively—behind the breakout T-shirt line, set up temporary shop last weekend to press limited-edition Harry Rosen designs on demand for customers and media alike.

Your correspondent, having been given the chance to personally man the printing machine, left with a smart blue-on-blue version (plus a blue-on-self bonus, despite close supervision) that gave Harry’s some Chelsea Hotel-style grit. It would land comfortably in the Wet Cement design concept of signs, official warnings, notices, and scrawlings which populate the brand’s shirts, sourced from photos taken by Lee and Zeh themselves and printed with heavy emphasis on textual detail. Flip through them on the rack and they’re like a hazy, turbulent travelogue from a lost weekend in New York or an intense European tour.

Their hands-on, personal approach to production is what made the Harry’s gig possible: the setup on the main floor was essentially a micro version of their actual production line, and the process itself hasn’t changed much.

“In the beginning we didn’t have any money; I had a job when I was sixteen silk-screening t-shirts, so I knew how to do it,” Zeh recalls, with the honest earnestness of someone who still can’t quite believe how far an idea has taken her. “So we literally went to Home Depot and bought a 500 watt halogen bulb for $15. My darkroom in my old apartment was about this big [roughly the size of a single bed] and we used to sit in there playing Yahtzee together while the screens would burn, then I would go and wash them out in my bathtub with a paintbrush and a hose. So when Harry Rosen was like ‘We’ve got this machine but it’s kinda rickety,’ and we had to shove cardboard in it to make it work – this so brings it back to the beginning!”

Kitchen-sink commerce has since given way to sales at Neiman Marcus and Saks and a growing celebrity following.

Continue reading

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Beauty from tragedy, courtesy of Mira Becker. Story by Anne Pringle.

Designers take on the oil spill
About five months after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the leak has finally been capped, but oil is still causing damage along a 965-kilometer stretch of coastline. Many fashion designers have turned their talents to supporting this environmental disaster, such as high-end Brooklyn footwear designer Bed Stü, who created a limited-edition line of faux-oil stained “Gulf Coast Cleanup Shoes.” Kenneth Cole released T-shirts reading “I clean up well. Support the Gulf”, and German designer Mira Becker recently debuted two silk, ribbon-strapped cocktail dresses patterned with digital prints of the actual spill. The proceeds from the frocks will go to the U.S. National Wildlife Federation. (Wall Street Journal)

H&M on the Champs-Elysées
This week H&M opened the doors to its newest flagship store on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris. The building holds address number 88 and was designed by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel. It all sounds very impressive, but success came only after a small battle for the third-largest retailer in the world: There was some debate as to whether the store would be in keeping with the posh feel of the avenue. In the end, the fact that the H&M will be carrying its collaborative line with French fashion house Lanvin as of November 23 (46 more sleeps!) probably helped its cause. (WWD)

Kanye’s model melody
You know high fashion has gone mainstream when… Kanye West raps about it. In case you haven’t heard it, his new song “Christian Dior Denim Flow” drops the names of 21 models in a single verse. Among those mentioned by the style-savvy musician are Lara Stone, Jessica Stam, Coco Rocha, Alessandra Ambrosia, Abbey Lee and Doutzen Kroes. (MTV)

The Fashion Show
Bravo had such success with the launch of Project Runway that they attempted to re-create the hit series with The Fashion Show. After just one season, the show failed to produce a lot of buzz, so they’ve stepped it up for season two. Former judge and host Kelly Rowland is being replaced by the more experienced Iman, and will be joined on the panel by designer Isaac Mizrahi and Laura Brown from Harper’s Bazaar. Sounds promising so far… (NY Mag)

THE BUY: Our favourite fall boots

Strutting into fall with Joe Fresh Style ($159, joe.ca). Story by Caitlin Agnew.

Full length, half length,
Fully fashion calf length,
Brown boots, black boots,
Patent leather jackboots,
Low boots, high boots,
Lovely lanky thigh boot,
We all dig those boots.

—Patrick Macnee and Honor Blackman, “Kinky Boots”

We’re digging these boots, an eclectic selection featuring fall’s hottest trends: shearling lining, military embellishments, and ’90s throw-backs (hello, Doc). This week on The Buy, we travel the world over, from Kathmandu to Munich, to bring you 12 of our favourite fall boots, all available in Toronto. In the words of Nancy Sinatra, “Start walking!”

Continue reading

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

The many faces of Kate. Story by Anne Pringle.

Moss + Green 2.0?
Kate Moss is reportedly teaming up with Chloe Green, daughter to Philip Green, British billionaire and owner of some of the UK’s largest retailers, including Topshop. The 19-year-old heiress claimed that she and Moss “talked about doing something together in the spring, collaborating on a collection.” Chloe said Moss has offered her good advice on the retail and design business, and thinks a collab would work because “[Kate] is really really into vintage and I love clothes that are a bit modern, so I think it will be an interesting mix.” (Vogue UK)

Oscar de la Renta’s new hires
Oscar de la Renta is in the process of revamping its footwear department, something the brand hopes will become a $50-million entity in under five years. They’ve started with two exceptional new hires: Annelie Hofstrom as executive vice president and Alexia Aubert as director of footwear design. Both have impressive resumes: Hofstrom spent over a decade at Manolo Blahnik and Aubert has designed for Pierre Hardy and Christian Louboutin. Can’t wait to see what those two minds come up with as the new and improved de la Renta footwear! (WWD)

Burberry lawsuit
On Friday, Burberry filed a lawsuit against cell phone case maker Body Glove, alleging that they ripped off their pink tartan design (which is copyrighted!). The “copied” cell phone case design is so popular that it has sold out in many AT&T stores. In their defense, Body Glove didn’t try to market it as a “Burberry” phone case, but the check pattern does look a little too familiar. If found guilty, the phone company will have to halt productions of the cases and cover the design house’s legal bills. (She Finds via NY Mag)

Understocked Vuitton
File it under problems most fashion companies dream of: Louis Vuitton is reportedly having trouble keeping up with customer’s demands, which is leading to concerns about whether they will have sufficient stock for the holiday season. According to financial analysis, the brand simply wasn’t prepared for an estimated 20 percent growth in sales this year alone. Chanel encountered a similar dilemma, which may explain why the price of its signature bag has gone up 20 percent. Vuitton’s answer to the under-stocked problem? Closing the doors to their Paris stores an hour earlier than usual in attempt to sell fewer products. The fashion house hopes to resume normal operating hours next month.  (Vogue UK)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

The muse and the master, in the ’80s. Story by Anne Pringle.

Chanel + de la Fressange
Many fashion brands have attempted to diversify their model cast this season. Take, for example, Chanel, which has just (re-)recruited Inès de la Fressange to walk in its October 5 runway show. Fifty-three year-old Fressange, the face of Chanel in the Eighties, will also appear in the brand’s Spring 2011 ad campaign, along with modelling stars from the two ensuing decades, Stella Tennant and Freja Beha Erichsen. The hotly anticipated campaign shoot will take place in the south of France. (WWD)

Think Pink!
In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness month, Ralph Lauren is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Ralph Lauren Pink Pony Foundation. The brand enlisted 100 fashion bloggers to photograph themselves in the latest Pink Pony polo in order to promote awareness of the disease among the online fashion community. If you’d like to donate to the cause, text PINKPONY to 501501 to instantly donate $10. (Style List)

Kenzo turns 40
After its Spring 2011 show this Wednesday, October 5, Kenzo will showcase a special performance of fashion, sculpture and art. The feature presentation is in celebration of the brand’s 40th anniversary. Other anniversary highlights include: lifelike sculptures made of famous Kenzo pieces, the release of a commemorative archive book, and a special edition patchwork bag. (Vogue UK)

Punk style
We’ve seen the reemergence of preppy with Tommy Hilfiger’s brand refresher, Ralph Lauren’s big anniversary, and lots of nautical and sportswear influence on the runways. Maybe good trends come in opposites, because many of the Spring 2011 fashion shows have featured a punk edge. The trend popped up all over the place, from ripped denim shorts with lace-up boots and studded leather jackets at Balmain to motorcycle jackets at Balenciaga to fake nose piercings at Alexander Wang and Hakaan. There’s something for everyone this season. (Style.com)