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

CK One, responsible for some of the coolest ads of the ’90s, grows up. Story by Anne Pringle.

CK One clothing
Calvin Klein has announced they will launch a new global lifestyle brand inspired by its famous CK One fragrance. The hope is to both connect to a younger customer audience, and to make Calvin Klein clothing more affordable—about 15 to 20 percent more affordable than Calvin Klein Jeans and Underwear. The new collection will feature jeans, underwear and swimwear. Think slouchy, slim-fit denim, woven tops and knitwear and novelty printed undies. (Vogue UK)

End of minimalism?
The past couple of runway seasons (and Phoebe Philo’s mastery at Celine) have shown that minimalism is in—meaning lots of nude colours, scant accessories and prints, and classic, simple shapes. Miuccia Prada, for one, is “tired of minimalism”, and wanted to shake things up. Her Spring 2011 collection, recently shown at Milan Fashion Week, was termed “minimal Baroque” and received the highest praise from all corners of the fashion industry. The collection featured bright banana-printed skirts and blouses, neon fur shoes, and vivid stripes. After hearing the reviews (“what [Prada] has to say never seems useless or old”—WWD; “cheers rang out for this exceptional collection”—Suzy Menkes; “the almost confusing variety elicited audible pangs of desire in the front row”— Daily Front Row), it looks like minimalism may be on its way out… (NY Mag)

Comme des Garçons + Rabanne
Rei Kawakubo, the founder of Comme des Garçons, will lend her design talents to Paco Rabanne, the revered designer of the Sixties. Rabanne started his career in fashion by designing jewellery for Givenchy, Dior and Balenciaga, and soon opened his namesake fashion house in 1966. He gained a reputation for being cutting-edge through his use of (then) unusual design materials, like paper, metal and plastic. Rabanne has enlisted the fresh perspective of Comme des Garçons to reintroduce one of his iconic handbag from 1969, which will feature (what else?) novel materials and textiles. (WWD)

Beyoncé’s temp tattoos
Beyoncé and Tina Knowles have teamed up with the airbrush makeup company Temptu to create a limited edition line of temporary tattoos for their label, Deréon. Tina, the label’s founder and creative designer claims their theme is “Sixties pinup girl meets futuristic biker-chick.” The tattoos will be available on November 1. The basic package will go for $16, at Sephora with eight designs on offer (think everything from Deréon’s signature fleur icon, to lightning bolts and chains, to jewels and spider designs). (WWD)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Now that‘s a forever kind of love: Manolo’s Mary Janes. Story by Anne Pringle.

Manolo on marriage
If your relationship is struggling, perhaps you have been looking in the wrong place for advice. According to Manolo Blahnik, the key to a happy marriage could very well be as simple as owning a pair of his shoes. He goes so far as to claim that his designs have saved couples from marital trouble, and it’s all about making the woman look and feel sexy. As Blahnik put it, “The first thing men look at are a women’s legs. And there is nothing more flattering than high heels.” (Vogue UK)

Fashion Theft
US Airways lost the luggage belonging to Giorgio Gucci on a flight from Madrid to Philadelphia earlier this week—but this wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill suitcase. He is the grandson of Guccio, founder of the House of Gucci in 1905, and reportedly lost over $50,000 worth of vintage Gucci bags. The luggage contained everything from handmade bags (one by his grandfather) to custom-made clothing to hundreds of priceless family photos, all of which were to be part of a documentary being made about his life. The fashion heir was on his way to Capitol Hill to give a speech against counterfeit goods. Watch out: The “counterfeit” Guccis being sold on the street corners of Philly might not be replicas after all… (NY Post)

Disney’s Givenchy
Givenchy has announced that it will open its first-ever American store… in the faux “France” section of Disney World’s Epcot Centre. This has caught many people in the fashion world by surprise—that a high-end exclusive designer label would want to open any store (let alone their first in the country!) in such a public, kitschy place. Although it does give Disney’s French pavilion a certain amount of authenticity. Plus, who wouldn’t want to browse Givenchy’s perfume boutqiue after riding Space Mountain? (Bella Sugar)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Rosie Huntington-Whitely, the next It model. Story by Anne Pringle.

Ten Times Rosie
Model and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (who added the latter to her resume after her recent casting in the third Transformers film), is now the focus of a photography book by Dazed & Confused founder Rankin. The esteemed photographer, who has shot every big model from Heidi Klum to Kate Moss, claims, “Rosie is the new thing.” The glossy coffee table book called Ten Times Rosie features the model embodying 10 different characters while sporting the designs of Paula Thomas, founder and creative designer for luxury label Thomas Wylde. Find the book on Amazon.com on October 1. (Style.com)

Repetto shop-in-shop
We told you that French footwear designer Repetto—the one that gained authority for its ballet flats—was going to be doing some fashionable collaborations this fall (think Rodarte, Opening Ceremony, Colette and James Perse). Now, Opening Ceremony is taking the partnership a step further by opening a Repetto shop-in-shop to showcase the new line. The collection includes the classic ballet flats in animal-printed pony hair and kitten-heeled ankle boots that come in camel or black suede and patent leather. (Racked)

Evian + Miyake
Fashionable collaborations are not just for footwear and clothing lines: Evian has had their water bottles created by many famous designers over the years, and will soon add a new one by Issey Miyake to the line-up, which features a colourful, yet simple flower design. Previous designs have included multicoloured horizontal stripes from Paul Smith, a snowflake-frosted bottle with bold blue text by Jean Paul Gaultier, and a haute couture bottle by Christian Lacroix, which came in the shape of a woman wearing a ballgown, with mountains subtly engraved into the skirt. The price for designer water? The Miyake is going for almost $10 a bottle, and is available exclusively online or at Issey Miyake boutiques. (Styleite)

Westwood watches
Vivienne Westwood has had their hands in many projects this season: We told you about their shoe exhibition at Selfridges in August and their recent participation in the first-ever sustainable fashion show at London’s Fashion Week. The design house is now set to expand their accessories department by releasing a new collection of watches for both men and women. Look for them on sale in department stores as of Fall 2011. (WWD)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Oh, those faceless e-boutiques. (Martin Margiela, Spring 2009.) Story by Anne Pringle.

Margiela e-boutique
Maison Martin Margiela is doing more to expand than simply adding a collaborative eyewear line—the Belgian design house is launching an e-boutique soon. The website, powered by web giant Yoox Group, will become available worldwide on October 1. Yoox founder and CEO Frederico Marchetti said, “We are creating the most visible store in the world for the ‘most invisible designer’”. (WWD)

McCartney for men
Stella McCartney has just released her latest collection of lifestyle wear for Addidas, which includes a men’s line, the first time she has designed for the opposite sex. Gaining experience in menswear design is important to McCartney as she prepares for her upcoming gig designing the uniforms for the 2012 Olympic Games. The line features simple, sporty styles—think hooded sweatshirts, T-shirts, track pants for men and layered looks for women, such as gold capes over white studded tank tops. (Vogue UK)

McQueen memorial
On Monday, about 1,000 people gathered at London’s grand St. Paul’s Cathedral to celebrate the life of Alexander McQueen. The memorial was somber and heavily dotted with celebrities, from designers like Stella McCartney to actresses like Sarah Jessica Parker to models like Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss. Also in attendance were heiress Daphne Guiness (and owner of countless McQueen pieces) and Vogue editor Anna Wintour,  who spoke at the memorial, saying, “Mr. McQueen was a man of profound contradictions.” (NY Times)

Stiletto stumble
Do you ever have trouble walking in six-inch heels and wonder models pull them off so gracefully on the runway? The secret’s out—hey’re hard for everyone, even Burberry models. The British label’s finale model in their Spring 2011 show for London Fashion Week toppled over during her walk. Yikes! (NY Mag)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Daisy Lowe, the sexy new face of Biba. Story by Anne Pringle.

Biba’s back
The fashion brand Biba, which at its peak in the ’60s and ’70s catered to celebs like Princess Anne and Twiggy, is soon to be reborn. It has been purchased by House of Fraser, one of Britain’s largest department stores, whose aim for the brand is “fashion clothing at an affordable price… the ethos of luxury and glamour that Biba embodied, [brought] up to date.” The face of the brand will be Brit model Daisy Lowe, who will represent a collection featuring tailored jackets with pinched waists and puffed shoulders, drapey knitwear, embellished evening gowns and five different styles of jeans. (WWD)

Liquid fabric
Have you ever joked that a pair of jeans looked so tight they could be sprayed on? Well, thanks to Paul Luckham and Manel Torres, they actually could be. The particle engineer and designer duo combined cotton fibres, polymers and solvent to create Liquid Fabric, a material that is sprayed onto the skin. Don’t worry about the waste—once the fabric has dried, it can be removed and worn again. (Fashion Indie)

Model bookworms
Need some inspiration for fall reading? Take a page from the book of one of New York Fashion Week’s wonderfully well-read models. Last week, models backstage were shot reading everything from Lord of the Flies to The Great Gatsby. Model Nimue was reading Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh and Katharina from Supreme was reading a German translation of William Faulkner’s A Fable Model Polina. Nothing like a little light Faulkner while you have your hair and makeup done… (Racked)

New + Crew
New Balance has obviously been looking to branch out, beginning by boosting their fashionable collaborations. We told you about the line Heidi Klum will be designing for them, and it has now been announced that they will create an exclusive line of footwear for J.Crew. Think versatile, stylish sneakers that can be worn jogging, with jeans, or with something dressier. The line will debut at the beginning of November and will be available on jcrew.com. (WWD)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Step into Fall 2010 with Christian Louboutin and Selfridges. Story by Anne Pringle.

Shoe heaven
Last week, London’s upscale department store Selfridges opened what is now known as the biggest shoe department in the world. The 35,000 square foot “Shoe Galleries” will house over 4,000 shoes from over 120 brands including Gucci, Topshop, and Uggs. The department will also include 11 architecturally designed “apartments” to house select big name brands like Louboutin and Chanel.  (WWD)

The LOVE Machine
Having the biggest shoe department in the world isn’t the only innovation Selfridges can boast about—it has also recently teamed up with Katie Grand, LOVE magazine’s editor-in-chief, to create a fashion vending machine. The “LOVE machine” will be available in London’s St. Martins Lane hotel lobby for all of London Fashion Week. Thanks to Grand’s hand-picked selections, customers will be able to purchase items such as Rick Owens sneakers, an Alexander Wang dress, Diptyque candles, Comme des Garçons wallets, and one vintage Rolex watch—all at the push of a button. (Vogue UK)

Fashion show plus
The first-ever plus-size fashion show walked on Wednesday, during New York Fashion Week (but unfortunately not as an official part of it). The show was organized by the company OneStopPlus.com, an online mall that sells plus-size brands, and which had applied to be an official part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Their application was denied, but that didn’t stop them. The show walked off-site and was a great success, featuring models in pastel-draped dresses, cargo cropped jackets and bouquet ruffle blouses. (Wall Street Journal)

Butterfly comeback?
The latest celebrity to jump aboard the “celebrity slash designer” bandwagon will be Mariah Carey, who is set to launch a lifestyle collection in collaboration with shopping cable network HSN. The collection will include jewellery, footwear, and a limited edition of Carey’s Luscious Pink fragrance. The collections will be largely butterfly-inspired (you probably could have guessed), with the design showing up on everything from jewels to shoe prints to packaging. While it may seem that Carey has overused the girlish theme by now, it just might work after seeing all the ’70s-inspired designs during New York Fashion Week. (WWD)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Hang on to your luggage, ladies. Story by Anne Pringle.

Fashion Week Theft
If you’re attending a big name fashion show during New York Fashion Week amid a sea of well-dressed, designer handbag-carrying models and celebs, you’re probably more worried about what you’re going to wear than being pickpocketed. But think again—during this Wednesday’s Michael Kors show, a photographer and his assistant were robbed of their cash, credit and metro cards. Model Rumi Neely also tweeted that her fur Theory handbag was stolen at the Style.com party. Keep your friends close, and your Chanel bag closer. (Styleite.com)

D&G Multibrand Boutique
Dolce & Gabbana have announced that they will open a store under a new “multibrand” concept, intended to support the styles of emerging designers from around the world. The new Spiga2 store will open in Milan this weekend, and will feature pieces by up-and-coming designers that have been hand selected by Stefano and Domenico themselves. Among the talent showcased: Behnaz Sarafpour, Sophie Theallet and Yigal Azrouël. (WWD)

Hermès is Shang Xia
Hermès is tapping into one of the fastest growing luxury markets in the world: China. The upscale French brand has just unveiled a new brand created specifically for the country, called Shang Xia, which literally means “up down” in Chinese. The brand’s artistic director, Jiang Qiong Er, explained that their styling philosophy draws on the ancient Chinese philosophy of ying and yang—the concept that opposites can in fact create harmony (hence up/down, men’s/women’s, etc.). Think simple, balanced, and timeless pieces. (WWD)

Sexy Shoe Contest
Sometimes nothing can make a woman feel sexier than the perfect pair of leg-lengthening, ankle-flashing, stunning high heels. With that in mind, Footwear News has teamed up with Saks Fifth Avenue to bring you the “Sexy Shoes” contest, in which the public can vote on the sexiest designer shoes of 2010. Go online to footwearnews.com/sexyshoes within the next month to vote from a selection of shoes by Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Miu Miu, Chanel and Christian Louboutin… to name a few.  (WWD)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Rad Hourani: A Canadian gem hits the mainstream with an exciting new collab. Story by Anne Pringle.

Aldo + Hourani + Louie
The latest high-low collaboration falls in the footwear department: Aldo will soon add two diverse new collections by Rad Hourani and Julian Louie. Hourani’s line will be comprised of black leather pumps featuring his signature square heel, while Louie’s will feature colourful patchowork ikat wedges in bold patterns and textures with exaggerated stitching. (NY Mag)

Sustainable show
The first-ever sustainable fashion show is scheduled to walk tomorrow as part of this year’s London Fashion Week. Fashion editor and creative consultant Chloe Kerman is styling the show, which will include designs by Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney. Kerman wants the public to know it’s not that hard to be stylish and green, pointing out, “The range of creative talent showcased here just goes to show how stunning ethical clothing can be.” (Vogue UK)

The model union
And speaking of the British fashion world being progressive, it has just been announced that the first-ever employment contract for models will be introduced at London Fashion Week. The Trade Union Equity Model Programme outlines minimum rates of pay for models, sets a minimum age of 16 for participants, and includes terms for health and safety standards. Hard to believe this hasn’t come into existence earlier… then again, we doubt there is much concern about the treatment of high-fashion models (as if Burberry is going to skimp out on payment…). (Vogue UK)

The Sears Connection
Affordable collabs are not just for high-end brands: Mid-range labels are looking for opportunities to reach even more consumers, too. French Connection United Kingdom will be designing a collection for Sears that will go for about 25 percent less than their regular merchandise. UK Style by French Connection will be available on sears.com in March, and will include cropped floral leggings, animal prints, sequined tops and tuxedo jackets. (WWD)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Oh, Tom Ford. We’ve missed you. Story by Anne Pringle.

Ford for women
2011 will be the first in six years that former Gucci creative director Tom Ford will return to womenswear design. The designer (and A Single Man director) was adamant about keeping the highly anticipated Spring 2011 collection a secret for fear of overexposing the designs, but things this exciting are hard to contain. Photos were leaked before the show, revealing a diverse cast of models including Julianne Moore, Beyonce and Lauren Hutton. Says the designer, “I want to concentrate on real women and the real consumer. [The collection] is all about individuality, individual style, different body types, women who have their own style.” (Vogue UK)

Tell Her About Love
The name for John Galliano’s newest fragrance has just been revealed as Parlez-moi d’Amour (Tell Me About Love), starring seventeen-year-old Taylor Momsen as the face of the campaign. To those who wondered what a teenage girl might know about love, Galliano consented that while he is targeting a younger audience, he believes “there is no age limit for true love.” That, or maybe it’s a hint that any teen who sports stripper shoes and pantsless outfits needs someone to tell them about love (and the difference from lust). Just saying. (NY Mag)

Stella Jr.
Stella McCartney is about to launch her first capsule collection of childrenswear under her namesake brand. She reported that the line will reflect the company—which staffs many working parents—meaning affordable clothing that is both fun and wearable. The collection, which will include both boy’s and girl’s designs for up to age twelve, will feature practical designs in gentle fabrics, like organic cotton onesies, quilted field jackets and rubber boots. Have some kids to shop for this holiday season? The line will be available beginning November 3 on stellamcartneykids.com. (Vogue UK)

Rast + Target
Justin Timberlake’s clothing line, William Rast, may have been absent at New York Fashion Week, but it gave him and co-founder Trace Ayala a chance to relish Fashion’s Night Out with two events in Cali last week. The brand’s new eyewear and footwear lines were revealed, as well as plans for a collaboration with Target this winter, which won’t be hard to miss—he collab collection will be available for a limited time in December, backed by a TV, print and billboard campaign. (WWD)