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

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)