THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Giorgio Armani’s sketch for Lady Gaga’s Grammy dress, and the dress itself. Story by Anne Pringle.

Armani + Gaga
Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani gained iconic status in the Eighties with its perfectly tailored power suits that ended up defining corporate America (and Richard Gere in American Gigolo). With that in mind, the brand developed a somewhat conservative, traditional reputation… but not for long. A recent partnership with eccentric trendsetter Lady Gaga has put Armani in a new creative spotlight. Armani has created several outfits for the performer, including the cosmic hoop dress with orbiting rings she wore to the Grammy Awards, the bondage-style black leather costumes in her “Alejandro” video, and the black rubbery dress with spikes Gaga wore to the MTV Music Video Awards. Armani is also set to design the costumes for Lady Gaga’s upcoming concert in Italy this December. As Mr. Armani put it, “It wouldn’t be possible to give Gaga a look from the collection because she wears pieces of art. It’s theatrical.” (Wall Street Journal)

Intern inspiration
The 2008 CFDA winner Alexander Wang has a reputation for edgy designs. This is good news if you happen to be an Alexander Wang intern—Wang reportedly used one if his intern’s drawings as the print for some pieces in his Spring 2011 show. Apparently, he had his interns sit and doodle whatever they felt like for several minutes, and ended up using the scribbles in his show on pieces like a white jacket and free-flowing cropped pants. (Nylon)

Walker memorial
Catherine Walker, longtime friend and designer to Princess Diana, has sadly passed away after a long battle with breast cancer at the age of 65. Originally born in France, Walker moved to London as a young woman and began her career in fashion in 1976, a year after her husband passed away. She worked as a tailor and dressmaker for many high society women in London, and made over 1,000 dresses for Diana, including the black dress the Princess was laid to rest in. A memorial service has been scheduled for next month. (Catwalk Queen)

Clothing by Claudia
Claudia Schiffer is having a momentous year—after giving birth to her third child, Cosima, in May and turning 40 at the end of August, she has decided to get back to business. While sitting in the front row at the Salvatore Ferragamo show this past weekend, the supermodel spilled the beans that she will be launching her own fashion line at “an event” next month. (Fashionologie)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Mugler + Formichetti (who styled the above shoot) = elegant solution. Story by Anne Pringle.

Mugler’s amazing new hire
French fashion house Thierry Mugler has hired a new creative director of women’s and men’s wear, hoping to bring a new, young energy to the brand. They certainly didn’t go for bland when they chose Nicolas Formichetti, best known as stylist to Lady Gaga, fashion director of Vogue Hommes Japan and contributing editor to V Magazine. He has also styled other celebs, including include Chloë Sevigny, Scarlett Johansson and Eva Mendes. (WWD)

Kors heads East
Michael Kors has just released its latest financial summaries, revealing that the brand has broken the $1 billion threshold in annual sales. In light of their success, they are about to undergo a substantial expansion plan into the Asian market, with plans to open half a dozen free-standing stores and another 50 shops-within-shops in Japan over the next three years. Their plans in China are similar: Their first Chinese store will be Shanghai flagship, followed by dozens of other shops around the country. (WWD)

Wang + Deyn
Model Agyness Deyn claimed that she was not going to appear in any runway shows this season, yet she showed up in Alexander Wang’s spring 2011 show. The reason? Deyn owes Wang a favor after he reportedly killed a cockroach in her house at Coachella. So Deyn walked the runway on Saturday in a white, flowing, deep V-neck jumpsuit. Wang claimed he wanted to “turn it upside down this season”, which meant veering away from his usual dark and urban style, and featured models in light colours, with no makeup and bleached eyebrows. (NY Mag)

The Row cancellation
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s second New York Fashion Week presentation of The Row was scheduled to walk today, but had to be cancelled at the last minute due to sample delivery. The twins told the press that “production and delivery of our samples is delayed by a few days and thishas cast us our of the New York schedule.” But not to panic—you won’t miss the collection for long. The designers will present the show during Paris Fashion Week, which starts at the end of the month. (Fashionologie)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Coming soon to a computer screen near you: Abbey Lee Kershaw (seen here backstage at Alexander Wang Spring 2010). Story by Anne Pringle.

Alexander + Abbey

Alexander Wang will unveil his first-ever women’s campaign video tomorrow, starring Australian supermodel Abbey Lee Kershaw (who has starred in campaigns for Gucci, D&G, Chanel, Chloe, Fendi, Mulberry, and Calvin Klein… to name a few). Wang claimed he wanted a more global way to represent the line, and that the video is “[a] way to sum up the season in a different light other than the show.” Craig McDean did the video honours. Tune in tomorrow at noon on or WWD to watch the subtly Wall Street-inspired collection come to life. (WWD)

Loewe’s creative It bag

Famed designer Stuart Vevers (who has previously created for Givenchy, Marc Jacobs and Mulberry) is in charge of re-launching Loewe, the Spanish leather goods brand, which is owned by LVMH. Vevers has begun the line with an interesting concept, by designing a bag that is the opposite of an “It” bag: a lightweight leather version of an ordinary paper grocery bag. The price to be a paperbag princess? $1,045! (Wall Street Journal)

New shoes

Urban Outfitters Inc.—the company that brings you Free People, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie—is launching a new line of footwear as part of its Leifsdottir line. The collection will be available at high-end specialty boutiques and department stores between $225 and $295 this fall. The line of shoes will include a mix of architectural wedges, platform pumps, ballet flats and sandals made from classic and patent leathers with metallic accents. (WWD)

Jimmy Choo selling?

The owners of Jimmy Choo are reportedly seeking the help of investment bankers for “strategic options”… why? They are considering selling the label— for roughly $815 million. Apparently, we’ll know the brand’s fate by the end of the summer. We won’t panic as long as they keep making shoes. (Vogue UK)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Alexander Wang (tent not pictured). Story by Anne Pringle.

Tent style
If anyone knows how to travel in style, it’s sure to be Alexander Wang. This week the American designer visited us here in Toronto, holding a trunk show at Holt Renfrew’s flagship on Bloor Street. He came packing… in a tent! The tent has been deemed a “mini installation for [the] brand”, and currently houses fluorescent lights and a flat screen TV, with a plan to add things along the way. What’s next? Inflatable bar stools and benches that will resemble the leather ones in his TriBeCa offices (keeping in mind that everything needs to pack and collapse)?! (WWD)

Carré creations
Any change that takes place at Hermès usually feels subtle and organic, which is why it’s exciting to hear they are trying something (slightly) new. The high-end French retailer is launching an exclusive collaboration with Colette this fall, which will include an update of their famous carrés, their square silk scarves. Think bold contrast colours and mash-up pattern prints. Find them online later this summer at (Style File)

White House no-show
The elegant Michelle Obama hosted a lunch at the White House earlier this week to announce and present the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Fashion to the winning Mulleavy sisters of Rodarte. Unfortunately, the designers did not attend, due to a “family obligation”. Family should come first, but wouldn’t yours want you to meet the First Lady and accept an award? Just saying. (Vogue UK)

The “shopping diet”
We tweeted about this earlier in the week, but wanted to share more details about the internet challenge called Six Items or Less, which has been deemed a “shopping diet”—the premise of which is to wear only six items for a month. The items must already be in your wardrobe, and shoes, underwear and accessories are excluded. The idea is to cut back on spending, and raise awareness about the environmental impact of mass clothing production. We’ll admit the message is a good one, but only six items? The energy saved from mass production will be nothing compared to that wasted on all the laundry you’d have to do—that amount wouldn’t even last a week! But, if you had to, what would your six items be? (New York Times)