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 BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Armani’s blue period, Spring 2011. Story by Anne Pringle.

Bleu de Armani
We took note when Chanel released their fragrance “Bleu de Chanel” and Tom Peucheux came out with the Blue Dhalia makeup collection for Estée Lauder. Blue has now shown up on the runway in the boldest statement yet: Giorgio Armani’s Milan show featured only the colour blue in different shades and textures, and was inspired by the Tuaregs—nomadic desert people of North Africa. Think long, draped skirts, bold ethnic jewellery, silky scarves wrapped around the model’s heads and flat sandals—all in deep shades of blue. To top it all off, the models wore smoky navy makeup around their eyes. This colour is definitely having a moment. (NY Times)

Formichetti for Uniqlo
The most recently released ads for Japanese label Uniqlo were styled by Nicola Formichetti (stylist to Lady Gaga and newly appointed director of Thierry Mugler) and feature Orlando Bloom. The expectant father stars in Uniqlo’s “Made for All” campaign, which advocates the philosophy that clothing design should not be confined by labels. The pieces are made to transcend age, gender and nationality—in other words, made for everyone, everywhere. Think straight-leg jeans, v-neck sweaters and crew neck T-shirts.  (Uniqlo) and (NY Mag)

Burton’s New McQueen
Sarah Burton is the new successor of Alexander McQueen, having taken the reigns as creative director in May. The pressure mounts as she prepares to debut her first independent womenswear collection on October 5. The designer said she hopes to maintain the McQueen “spirit and essence”, but that there might be a few changes. She claimed that being a woman, the collection would perhaps have more a woman’s point of view and be a littler softer. But she won’t lose the McQueen edginess completely. As she aptly put it, “There’s always got to be some darkness, because otherwise you don’t appreciate what’s light.” We can’t wait to see what she’s come up with. (Vogue UK)

Williamson + Bulgari
British designer Matthew Williamson collaborated with Bulgari on a new line of handbags for the Spring 2011 season. The capsule collection of bags features beautiful hexagonal clutches that come in jewel tones like ruby, sapphire and emerald and giant totes with bright, kaleidoscope style prints. The collection will likely be out of most of our price ranges, but if you are, say, Sienna Miller (a close friend of the designer), you can buy them at Bulgari stores as of January 2011. (In Style)

THE IT: Anthea Simms, runway photography star

Then and now: Carine Roitfeld, editor-in-chief of Paris Vogue, in the ’80s (left), and last season in New York.

Story by Sara Graham, a Toronto writer and girl-about-town, who recently spent a stylish sojourn in London. Photography courtesy of Anthea Simms.

For better or worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, Anthea Simms has been married to the business of runway photography for almost 30 years. Her images have appeared in countless publications, including ELLE UK and Flare, which was the first magazine to commission her work.

Anthea and I met on a blustery afternoon at the Metropolitan Hotel in London’s Mayfair district. After my delightful discovery that she too owned the Canon G11 camera (which made me feel much better about dropping the substantial sum to buy it), Anthea schooled me as we arranged a snap-happy mini-shoot of our gorgeous Afternoon De-Light tea.

Between bites, Anthea answered a few questions about her career, Carine, and her fascinating experiences as one of the few female runway photographers.

How did you get involved in runway photography?

“I first trained as an illustrator and ended up having a tough time making a living freelancing. So, needing to find a full-time job, I started working for a fashion company. One day a photographer dropped out of an assignment at the last minute and I was given the opportunity to do some shooting…really horrible looking back on it…but it was so fantastic [in that it was] instant, not instant by today’s standards, of course. For me, as an illustrator, by the time it takes to get things done, it was so quick! After that I just kept on going.

[In terms of runway photography] it helps if you love the clothes. When I started, there were some pretty revolutionary designers, and the ’80s was really the beginning of runway madness.”

What was your first experience as a runway photographer?

“The first show was in 1981, before I started doing the whole circuit. It was Betsey Johnson in New York and I shot that in black and white. I think it’s great that I can even remember that. Well, at least it’s a designer that’s still in business, which is quite an achievement.” [laughs]

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THE MOMENT: Schiaparelli’s Skeleton Dress

Introducing The Moment, a new column about fashion iconography. Every week, writer Mishal Cazmi will highlight an iconic piece and explore its influence on style and pop culture.

In 1938, Elsa Schiaparelli unveiled an unusual dress. Not unusual by her standards, of course. By then, the designer was already known for her avant-garde approach to fashion and her friendships with Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp, the A-list Dadaists and Surrealists of her time. The creation, an affront to many and loved by few, was named the Skeleton Dress.

It was a collaboration (the first of many) with surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, and appeared as part of Schiaparelli’s Circus Collection. Most likely inspired by the Surrealist preoccupation with the human body, the aptly named dress was made of black crepe, with trapunto quilting underneath to give it the anatomically appropriate effect of a spine, ribcage and leg bones.

Since then, the skeleton motif has been reincarnated in countless forms on the runway by designers such as Alexander McQueen, Christian Lacroix and the Mulleavy sisters at Rodarte, who featured it in their Spring 2009 collection and again in their diffusion line for Target. And then came Lady Gaga.

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