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)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Cult fashion favourite Anna Dello Russo, the fashion director of Vogue Nippon, gets (even more) creative for Lane Crawford. Story by Anne Pringle.

Celebrate with fashion
Lane Crawford, Hong Kong’s high fashion retailer, will celebrate its upcoming 160th anniversary with several exciting events and special products, including the customization of two heritage pieces: the Burberry trenchcoat and the Ming dynasty chair. Among the fashion influences creating their own custom pieces are Vogue editor Anna Dello Russo and renowned stylist George Cortina. On top of all that, the resulting pieces will be auctioned off for a UNICEF building project, bringing education to 150 villages in China. (WWD)

M.A.C’s Rodarte controversy
Rodarte and M.A.C collaborated on a makeup line that is now the subject of serious criticism. The line was reportedly inspired by an impoverished factory town in Mexico, Juarez, which is sadly known for its high rape and murder rates. “We recognize that the violence against women taking place in Juarez needs to be met with proactive action. We never intended to make light of this serious issue and we are truly sorry,” the Mulleavey sisters of Rodarte recently said. The products, which come out this September, have since had their names changed. (WWD)

Bold brows
Do you want fuller, thicker eyebrows? Maybe you had an overplucking or waxing accident (we all know the hair never fully grows back properly), or maybe you just want to achieve a bold brow look. Well, this new invention is for you: It Cosemtics has just come out with the new Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil, which uses natural hair growth ingredients like nettle, horsetail and green tea extracts to actually help hairs grow back. (Style List)

Next-gen shopping
If window shopping seems like a bore, try the ultra-modern to pretend that you own clothing that you can’t afford—in a video game by Sugar Inc. The retail computer game’s object is to grow an empty store into a huge retailer, and offers merchandise from Diane von Furstenberg, TopShop, Lanvin and Christian Louboutin. Sounds like it could get addictive… (WWD)

THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Olympic glory for fashion all-star Stella McCartney. Story by Anne Pringle.

It Brit
British designer Stella McCartney is using her talents to support her country: She will be collaborating with Adidas on the sportswear for the British Olympic team at the London 2012 Olympics. McCartney, who described the job as “an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”, will design both a lifestyle collection inspired by the GB athletes (available to the public) and the uniforms for the team. (WWD)

All jazzed up
Last night, Prada launched their new line of jazz-inspired eyewear at New York City’s Joe’s Pub, one of the Big Apple’s best-known jazz clubs. Dubbed the Prada Swing Sunglasses by Luxottica, the shades combine a feminine retro vibe and ‘90s minimalism (think soft, almond-shaped cat-eyes in white, black and tortoise). The sunglasses will hit stores in October. (WWD)

Art meets tech meets the Mulleavys
Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy have teamed up with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on a project called “Cell Phone Stories.” The venture involves reinterpreting the museum’s existing pieces, and then using smart phones to spread the images. The sisters have created several pieces, including a blue-green tile patterned dress inspired by a turquoise-encrusted Mexican skull. Starting today, you can text “LACMA” to 67553 to have the rest of the designs sent to your phone. (NY Mag)

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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THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Rodarte’s designer sibs. Story by Anne Pringle.

And the winner is…
Congratulations to Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who have won the 2010 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Fashion Design. The tough competition included Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez from Proenza Schouler. Michelle Obama is the honorary patron of the awards gala, which will take place mid-October. (WWD)

Philanthropic fragrance
Hanae Mori is releasing its second “green” fragrance, No. 2, which was created using renewable energy sources. About 10 percent of the power used to produce the perfume came from hydroelectric and other renewable sources. Bonus: A portion of the sales will go to American Rivers, a nonprofit organization that works to restore and protect rivers in the U.S. The eau de toilette features woody notes of amber and cedar—an appropriately natural scent for a nature-supporting product. (WWD)

Contact design
You can buy designer anything these days, from $20 Chanel cotton makeup pads to Louis Vuitton iPad cases. The latest crazy designer creation? Christian Dior contact lenses. They are flecked with gold and even sport a tiny CD logo on the side. What will they think of next? (The Gloss)

Eco shoes
Moschino has collaborated with design company Kartell to create a new line of plastic ballet falts. The lightweight “BowWow” shoes are made entirely of interwoven plastic and are 100 percent recyclable. They come in a wide range of bright colours including bright yellow, peach, navy and green, and are all topped with the iconic Moschino bow. Find them in stores January 2011! (Vogue UK)