THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Double-take: Pierre Hardy’s Gap collab really is that great. Story by Anne Pringle.

Gap + Hardy
The Gap’s latest collaboration with a high fashion designer is about to debut next week—Tuesday, October 19, to be precise. The merchandise is a pair of shoes created by famed French designer Pierre Hardy. The former Hermès creative director was reportedly supposed to create three additional fall 2010 styles for the Gap, but only the one pair being released ever made it to production. The one pair won’t disappoint, however: Think black suede wedges with leather detailing and laces, for under $200. (Fashionologie)

Burberry going strong
Burberry Group has reported a rise of over 21 percent in their first-half revenues (which translates to roughly $975 million), and it’s not even due their new technological ventures (like their new interactive website and 3-D runway shows). Burberry’s CEO Stacey Cartwright claims the increase is in thanks to “high-quality sales – from main line stores rather than outlets—and there were fewer markdowns than in the past.” In short, while the recession may seem to be doing a double-dip, the luxury market is still going strong. The most popular items sold from the British label this season? Aviator jackets, shearling boots and sling bags. (WWD)

Creative mishap at Chloé
The new ad campaign for French fashion house Chloé has just been released, and features Brazilian supermodel Raquel Zimmermann as the face of their newest fragrance, Love, Chloé. Zimmermann has starred in dozens of high-fashion campaigns (including Balenciaga, Chloé, Fendi and Lanvin, to name a few), and the ads were shot by Dutch photographer duo Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin (known for their work at labels like Jimmy Choo, Yves Saint Laurent and Narciso Rodriguez). Sound like a recipe for the perfect campaign? Well… Somewhere along the way, a mistake was made in creative, and Zimmermann appears wearing a head-to-toe Chloé outfit, save the belt, which is YSL. Oops! (WWD)

Wu for Shiseido
There’s no sign of Jason Wu slowing down—earlier this week, he continued his trip across the Orient to China, where he unveiled his new makeup collection in collaboration with high-end cosmetics company Shiseido. The line, Supreme Aupres, includes eyeshadows that come in a silky soufflé formula and are available in a variety of jewel tones. Wu gushed excitedly about his new project, “They’re like the icing on the cake. These are dessert cosmetics!” (Into the Gloss) via (NY Mag)

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)

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

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 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)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

A hint of what’s to come at Ungaro? Giles Deacon, Spring 2009. Story by Anne Pringle.

Giles for Ungaro
Giles Deacon was appointed the new position of creative director for Ungaro this May, and this Monday, he’ll show his hotly anticipated debut collection for the Parisian house. He claims that the brand has “a romance to it and that feeling of Parisian glamour that people are attracted to around the world.” We can expect a fresh, light pastel palette with lots of black lace—in cocktail dresses for daywear, along with some evening gowns. (Vogue UK)

A little something from Tommy?
Tommy Hilfiger just purchased a $31 million, 15,000 square foot estate in Greenwich, Connecticut. Presumably so he could cut back on moving van miles (and to clear space for new furniture), Hilfiger held an online auction for 500 of his decor items, including Austrian hand-painted hutches, upholstered French settees, an antique Victorian desk, signed Picassos, Louis XIV-style armchairs and a Ralph Lauren sideboard. Sound alright? Apparently, Hilfiger is planning another auction with “even better merchandise” in late November. (WWD)

Klum, Angel no more
After 13 years of modeling for Victoria’s Secret, Heidi Klum and the lingerie brand are parting ways. The 37-year old German American model is reportedly leaving the brand because she is busy with other things—like hosting Project Runway and designing clothing lines (not to mention being the mother to her four children)! Seeing as Klum held the position of “Head Angel” at Victoria’s Secret, the spot is now open. Will it be taken by Adriana Lima or Alessandro Ambrosio? Or perhaps it will be the next “It girl” Rosie Huntington-Whiteley? Stay tuned… (NY Mag)

Sander + Uniqlo
On Wednesday, we told you about Uniqlo’s new “Made for All” campaign, which promotes the retailer’s philosophy that clothing should transcend age, gender and nationality. Minimalist master Jil Sander is the perfect design house to collaborate on a universal clothing project, and has just released its third +J collection for Uniqlo. The line contains over 150 pieces, and boasts a palette of black, white, silver, grey, beige and, adding to the recent trend, all shades of blue—from “storm to sky.” There is a black wool and cashmere jacket, tight-fitted, high-waisted duffle coats in pewter wool, a silvery down jacket and leggings. (Fashionologie)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

60 years deserves a celebration! (Pierre Cardin, 1967.) Story by Anne Pringle,

Cardin’s 60th anniversary
Pierre Cardin’s namesake label celebrated its diamond anniversary this week—that’s right, 60 years in fashion design. Cardin is known as the pioneer of Space Age fashion, who invented the bubble dress in 1954, and produced cutting-edge designs for major names like the Beatles and Rolling Stones. Yesterday, he showed a Spring 2011 show in Paris, and admitted to a reporter that he was “ashamed” of the designs which have been churned out by licensees of his name for years. If 88 year-old Cardin was at all concerned about his clothing still appealing to today’s youth, he can take it as a pretty good sign that Lady Gaga sported one of his dresses for a recent video shoot. (WWD)

Abercrombie legal troubles
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. has been fined $1.05 million in a settlement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The company allegedly violated federal immigration laws by failing to check that some of its employees were eligible to work in the U.S. There was no evidence that any illegal workers had actually been hired, just that there was some kind of deficiency with their electronic I-9 verification system, but the ICE found that “employers are responsible not only for the people they hire, but also for the internal systems they choose to utilize to manage their employment process.” (WWD)

Prada: Made in India?
Prada’s garments have always traditionally sported a label reading “Made in Italy”, because the vast majority of their goods (85 percent) are in fact made in Italian factories. Miuccia Prada felt the need to “take away the hypocrisy” for the other 15 percent, and has thus introduced new “country of origin” labels on her designs, which will take pride in the brand’s use of international artisans. The newest collections sporting the labels will include a “PRADA Made in Scotland” collection of tartan wool knits; a “PRADA Made in India” collection of entirely handmade garments; “PRADA Made in Japan” line of jeans by Dova denim manufacturer; and a “PRADA Made in Peru” collection of artisanal alpaca wool knitwear. (Vogue UK)

Argyle re-Launch
Russell Simmons, the pioneer of hip-hop group Def Jam and creator of clothing line Phat Farm, decided to step away from hip-hop culture when he created ArgyleCulture three years ago. The men’s line is be aimed at the “urban graduate”, young men who have upgraded from the baggy-panted look to a more refined, sophisticated one. The brand hasn’t made much noise, so it is being re-launched today at Macy’s with a newly opened shop-in-shop. New fall ads will debut on October 11, featuring Tyson Beckford as the face of ArgyleCulture. (WWD)

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)