Gucci channels Elton John for its Milan fashion week show
Heidegger’s thoughts on authenticity, Camus’ writings on the nature of rebellion, 17th-century cartography and the stage wear of Elton John – the catwalk show that opened Milan fashion week did not follow a formula smacking of obvious commercial success. But this is Gucci, where the designer Alessandro Michele’s avant-garde approach to luxury has confounded the industry.
The fashion house’s financial results, released this summer, showed a phenomenal 43.4% sales growth. Even more striking is that Gucci, whose catwalk set mapped the Roman site of Horace’s Villa and whose show notes touched on post-structuralism, is adored by a younger generation most fellow heritage brands struggle to connect with: half of all Gucci customers were born after 1980.
Michele is the most successful fashion designer of this decade despite – or perhaps because of – not seeming particularly interested in clothes. In a 25-minute pre-show briefing for editors, held in the grandly modernist Milan palazzo Gucci built for its golden boy, Michele did not mention a single garment.
“Sometimes I think, it would be easier if I could just make some beautiful shoes for the shop. But no, I want to change the aesthetic of this whole company and that way I can change what fashion is. I want to make things that create possibility, that make an opportunity for the world to change and to grow,” he said.
Diversity and authenticity are recurrent themes. “I am trying to push the idea of fashion, and to destroy the old codes of fashion,” said Michele, who was wearing a heavily embroidered jacket that an hour later featured on the catwalk worn by a female model.
“Fashion is trying to keep alive codes which are from the age of the New Look, of Mr Dior. The old way of thinking that goes, ‘the new season is blue’ or ‘the new ballerina look’, I am not interested in that. And when the casting people say to me about a model, ‘she is beautiful, she is a new face, she has beautiful legs’ – I don’t care about that at all. I care about the way the girl is romantic, the way she sees the world, not that she looks a certain way. I want to tell stories so I think in a cinematic way.”
Michele’s Gucci, steeped in Medici symbolism and Renaissance silhouettes when it burst on to the catwalk at the beginning of 2015, last year shifted toward disco and from there toward hip-hop, with many an eye-catching red herring – such as a fur-lined loafer – along the way.
This season the aesthetic took a turn toward glam rock, with clothes inspired by Elton John’s stage outfits. Tour jackets, high-waisted jumpsuits and power-shouldered blazers were worn by male models dripping in jewellery and female models whose crispy fringes resembled Renate Blauel, whom Elton John married on Valentine’s Day 1984.
But for all its progressive talk, Gucci’s success is built on an identity that remains largely stable from season to season. Its fans will pay elevated prices because by rejecting the trend cycle, Michele sells pieces with a longer shelf life, remaining recognisably Gucci for more than one season.
All the key elements of the Gucci aesthetic – slick 1970s sportswear, drugstore barrettes, shrunken trousersuits, rainbow stripes, geek-chic glasses, obtuse slogans, backless shoes, a certain old lady-ish silhouette of a fur coat over a long dress, Disney references, pearls – were in full effect.
How Gucci turns this arthouse script into box office gold was hinted at with
the invitation to the show. Each guest received an ornate pharmacy tin inscribed
“GUCCY” containing candles, matches, scented paper and silk thread. “The show is
a spell I cast on you,” explained the designer. “Like a wizard.”
Read more at: queeniebridesmaid | plus size bridesmaid dresses
London fashion week: Erdem's collection has wow factor in spades
The make-or-break date of the autumn for Erdem Moralioğlu does not fall during fashion week. That is set for 2 November when his collaboration with H&M goes on sale. A hit on the high street will boost the profile and brand awareness of Erdem, as his label is known, more than any catwalk show ever could.
But Monday’s catwalk show was nonetheless significant for the young London-based designer. It offered a moment for the industry to assess Erdem’s form as Moralioğlu approaches the biggest hurdle of his career so far, and it was a test he passed with flying colours.
H&M collaborations are hugely popular for the opportunity they offer to buy the kind of recognisably special clothes that usually come with prohibitive price tags.
Almost every piece in this collection had wow factor in spades.
Erdem’s aesthetic is grown up and decidedly formal, which makes his high street hookup intriguing. His signature party dresses are gowns, rather than frocks. His clothes tend to have below-the-knee hemlines and, often, long slim sleeves, for an elegant line. He favours deep colours and fabrics stiffened with rich embellishment. He has a poetic, cinematic approach to fashion, fleshing every collection with a fully imagined backstory.
Having the mass consumer in his sights has not prompted Erdem to dumb down his modus operandi. This collection suggested he intends to use the H&M spotlight as Matthew Williamson, in 2009, and Isabel Marant, in 2013, did before him, to showcase an offbeat aesthetic to a wider audience.
The creation myth of this collection was a meeting between the Queen and Duke Ellington, which took place in Leeds in 1958. The encounter really happened – a photograph of the white-gloved young queen and tailcoated musician was reproduced on a board backstage at this show – and for Erdem it provided a jumping-off point for a collection that gave a late-night, jazz club twist to formal, decorous clothes.
So enamoured was Duke Ellington on meeting the Queen he announced on the spot that he intended to write a piece of music for her. “Isn’t that just a beautiful gesture? And apparently her words to him on parting were: ‘I’ll be listening,’” recounted the designer after the show. “I love the idea that they made that connection between their worlds.”
This collection showed a sexier side to the Erdem look, thanks to portrait necklines that bared models’ necks and shoulders, a contrast to the high-necked Victoriana he has become associated with. Images on the backstage moodboard drew parallels between the sweetheart necklines of couture gowns worn by the Queen in formal 50s portraits and the elegant strapless dresses worn by Billie Holiday on stage and by Dorothy Dandridge, the first black woman to be nominated for a best actress Oscar. “I started thinking, what if the Queen had gone to New York? Or, what if Dorothy Dandridge had come to Buckingham Palace? I mean, what might she have worn?” said the designer after his show.
The ballroom-sized ghost floor that languishes behind closed doors on the top floor of Selfridges was reinvented for the show as a jazz club, after hours. The catwalk meandered between salt-licked martini glasses discarded under fringed lamps, a grand piano half hidden under a dust sheet and chairs stacked in readiness for the floor sweeper. The models were dressed for their society portraits, with long gloves and heirloom jewels, ringlets ponytailed with grosgrain ribbon bows. There were grand opera coats in emerald brocade and shapely tailored pieces in heritage tweeds.
But the heart of the collection was in showstopper dresses that looked to have walked out of a Cecil Beaton photograph: shimmering pastel yellow and lush rose pinks, carefully ornamented with ribbon epaulettes and pearl edging.
Festival fashion is stuck in the era of Kate Moss v Sienna Miller – with one exception
There was once a myth, Charlotte, that festivals were Britain’s fashion crucibles. They were almost holy places where the edgiest new fashions were birthed and unveiled, and freelance photographers risked life and limb, throwing themselves in front of packs of young women in Reading and Somerset in the hope of catching an early glimpse of a nascent new style – half undone boilersuits, perhaps? Glitter on lips? Oh, what new style would emerge, like the Christ child, on this site of Sodom that might then merit that holiest of holiest of celebrations, a photo spread in Grazia?
But then, a strange thing happened. It turned out festival fashion is, in fact, a lot like summer fashion, in that once people find something that works, it never, ever changes. And it turned out that festival fashion peaked in that seismic era we shall call the Boho Sienna/Kate’n’Pete era, and never altered a jot since. Oh, what was this magical era, you ask? Come closer children, Ol’ Granny Time here has tales to tell you from a long ago age.
Once upon a time, back in ye olde 2004, a young fairy princess called Sienna Miller went to Glastonbury wearing a black, tiered mini dress, a studded belt, neon-framed sunglasses and a pair of Uggs, and even though it makes no sense to wear Uggs at a British festival, the world shook with excitement, and festival fashion was deemed to have been altered for ever. The following year, Kate Moss turned up with a strange feral pet, who was later discovered to answer to the name of Pete Doherty, and, having seen Miller’s audacious grab at fashion queen status the summer before, Moss upped her game, and stomped around Glastonbury in, alternately, a pair of hot pants teamed with a waistcoat, and a shimmery Lurex dress paired with wellies. The world applauded. Never mind Mayweather v McGregor: this was the era of real rivalries, the kind not seen since the legendary Country House v Roll With It battle that Britain has never really recovered from.
And that, to be honest, is kinda where festival fashion has stayed ever since. Oh, sure, the addition of Alexa Chung and her denim hot pants sparked some interest, but really, Mossy was doing that years ago. As a result, all festival fashion has amounted to ever since is hot pants with wellies, vintage-esque dresses (bought from Asos) with wellies – and that’s about the size of it. You can throw in a playsuit, here, a jumpsuit there, but, let’s be honest, they just look a bit try-hard, given everyone knows what a nightmare they will be when you have to undo them in the portable toilets. And, fine, celebrities can wear jazzy heels, or cropped tops, or prom dresses, but they don’t really count, given that festivals are now so luxe that celebrities don’t actually go to festivals: they stay in five-star Airstreams and occasionally step out to a VIP terrace to watch Ed Sheeran entertaining some peasants. What really counts is what “the civilians” are wearing, and the wisest of civilians have stuck pretty much to the 2004 and 2005 formula, if they can be bothered to make an effort at all.
There is, however, one exception to this “festival fashion is nonsense” rule, and that is Bestival, which is happening this weekend. Now, I really take my hat off to this plucky little festival, which has somehow risen up to become Britain’s most delightful music festival, second only to the mighty G. I’ve been to Bestival three times and it really is the only one where dressing up doesn’t make people look like misguided attention-seekers. In fact, last time I went I didn’t dress up at all and I felt about as ridiculous as a person wearing a tutu and fairy wings in the middle of a thunderstorm at T in the Park. This, I think, is because the festival somehow manages to be quirky, but not in an annoying way, which is an incredibly difficult trick to pull off, given that “quirky” is usually Latin for “unbelievably effing annoying, confuses stupid hair colour and oversized glasses for a personality”. This means that if you don’t get into the spirit, you don’t look too-cool-to-try – you just look a bit rubbish.
This year’s fancy dress theme (like I said, it’s quirky) is “colour”, which is definitely easier than last year’s “future”, although it does have fewer pleasingly camp possibilities than 2012’s “HMS Bestival” (I have a very strong memory of a young man in a tight Breton shirt, eyebrow-pencil moustache and chaps from that year, which is really quite a look to pull of on the Isle of Wight, in September, in the drizzle).
So what I’m saying, Charlotte, is, frankly, forget festival fashion themes. It’s as absurd as saying “rainy-day fashion”: you’ll wear whatever gets you through unscathed and gangrene free. But the exception to this is actual fancy dress, and only Bestival manages to do this well, so we’ll have to wait until the end of this coming weekend for this year’s highlights. But I’ll leave you with words of wisdom from the goddess of festival dressing, Kate Moss, when I once asked her at Glastonbury what she was wearing: “Who cares?” Words to live by, my friends. Post your questions to Hadley Freeman, Ask Hadley, The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU.
His claim to have been responsible for the return of gold jewellery to the hip-hop community notwithstanding, A$AP always wears it well; an aficionado of Raf Simons and Jeremy Scott, a collaborator with JW Anderson and a dapper dresser who never disappoints.
If 56.3m fangirls are living for your every outfit post on Instagram, you may as well bottle it — and she has, with 10 perfumes to her name. But Ri is also a major fashion force, thanks to her Fenty x Puma range, as well as collaborations with Dior (sunglasses), Manolo Blahnik (shoes) and Chopard (fine jewellery). But her newest, and possibly most lucrative venutre is Fenty Beauty: watch it fly.
Her heart will go on: thankfully for all of us, her devotion to designer labels will go on, too. Dion’s celebration of Dior, Prada, Valentino and (obvs) Céline is a joyous thing to behold, and the fun she has wearing it is a welcome antidote to all the po-faced seriousness out there, both in the fashion industry and in the world at large.
No longer just Gigi’s little sister, Hadid’s chameleon-like looks ensure she’s always in demand, whether on Tom Ford’s catwalk or Victoria’s Secret’s.
For someone with the heft and majesty of Queen Bey, Knowles entered fairly cautiously into the fashion market, eschewing collaborations for the creation of an activewear range, Ivy Park. Its launch last April marked what is no doubt only the beginning of Bey’s fashion ambitions.
‘The clothes don’t make the man, the man makes the clothes,’ Joseph Junior ‘Skepta’ Adenuga told the Evening Standard back in June at the launch of his menswear range. Grime’s golden boy rarely wears his beloved Gucci, Vuitton and Chanel these days: he usually dons his own Mains creations instead. He says you can do great things in a tracksuit, and has a Mercury and an Ivor Novello to prove it.
With a personal fortune estimated at £14m, Cara can afford to be picky about the fashion brands she works with, such as Burberry, Rimmel and Chanel. Since her successful move into the film world (Valerian and Kids in Love) a Cara catwalk appearance is as rare as a hen’s tooth.
Kim Kardashian West
Whatever you think of this unapologetic figure, Kim shifts units, whether of husband Kanye’s Yeezy range or any other label she gets in front of the eyeballs of her 103m Instagram followers. Balmain, Givenchy and Valentino are just some of the beneficiaries of her patronage — seeing her as anything other than an astute businesswoman is a grave misjudgement.
Gucci to collaborate with bootlegger Dapper Dan
What a difference 25 years make. Throughout the eighties and nineties, Dapper Dan, sometimes known as the Hip Hop tailor of Harlem, clothed rappers, drug dealers, boxers and anyone else who could afford it, in designs that bootlegged high fashion brands, including Gucci, Fendi and Louis Vuitton. As might be expected, these brands were less than thrilled. In 1992, his business was effectively shut down by lawyers acting on behalf of Fendi. Fastforward to 2017, however, and things have changed. It was announced this week that Gucci would be collaborating with Dan to reopen his store and atelier, using Gucci’s fabrics with the Italian brand’s approval. A collaboration between Gucci and Dan will follow in the spring. Dan himself will star in the ad campaign.There’s a backstory to this news. In May, Gucci were slammed for a jacket included in the cruise collection which had an uncanny resemblance to one that Dan had created for Olympic runner Diane Dixon in 1989. Dixon took to social media to showcase the comparison, posting a picture of the jacket on the catwalk with one of her in the eighties with the caption “‘Bish’ stole my look! Give credit to @dapperdanharlem He did it FIRST in 1989!” The bootlegger has, it seemed, become the bootlegged.
Chatter online afterwards was angry about the lack of credit for Dan, with Teen Vogue seeing it as an example of how the industry fails black people, and many more suggesting this was cultural appropriation. Gucci’s decision to help Dan re-open his store could, cynically, be seen as a way to avoid bad press but it would be a very expensive one. Instead, it’s a shrewd move of a brand on the up, through a kind of anything-goes inclusivity.
Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele sees the influence of Dan on his work as part of his intertextual way of working – one of his collections might just as easily reference Donald Duck, Walter Benjamin, Voltaire and Botticelli in the same breath. This partnership with Dan acknowledges the place that the Harlem designer has in fashion history though – and takes Michele’s Guccinaissance on to the next level of branding, logomania with the creative freedom of a counterfeiter. “It is the time to say that fashion is not just the windows of a Fifth Avenue store,” Michele said to the New York Times. “It’s more. It’s about culture. It’s about self-expression. It’s about expression of a point of view.”
JW Anderson: ‘We have to democratise fashion’
There is an unnerving busy-ness to Jonathan Anderson: his daily schedule planned six months in advance, the small mountain of iPhones beside his coffee and the way his conversation slips from business ethics to the history of Japanese ceramics in the same sentence. But this is how the 32-year-old fashion designer, who oversees his own label as well as the Spanish luxury brand Loewe, thrives: leaping from one idea to the next – from Paris to London to Madrid, to his country retreat near Norfolk. He spends a lot of time mid-air. You get the sense he would really, really like a cigarette.
He is at Tate Modern today, caffeinated and well-lit in this small room up near the roof. Earlier, as a Uniqlo exec presented Anderson’s first collection for the brand, the designer stood slightly hidden in a crowd, and blushed to be described as “an artist”.
Anderson, who last year put on an exhibition of fashion, art and sculpture at the Hepworth Wakefield, doesn’t even call himself a designer. What is he then? A rare pause. “What I think I ultimately do,” he says, taking a huge sip from his tiny coffee, “is curate. I’m curating people, curating campaigns, curating stores, curating collaborations. It is about taking all these components and arranging them in a way that makes sense. It’s like doing brain zen: you have to arrange objects into a certain configuration that feels… right.”
He’s as notorious for his near-obsessional collecting of art and craft as he is for the “challenging” (he called them “ugly”) gender-unspecific clothes he first showed in 2008, including the 2013 bustiers for men, worn with ruffle-topped riding boots on hairy legs. But listening to him talk, even in this PR-ed environment, even about things as mundane as sock design, it becomes clear that both are part of some larger vision, some grand project of living, created through careful juxtaposition of teapot, or sleeve, or antique nutcracker. “I do have a compulsion about owning certain things,” he says, “because I have to look at it to actually work out why, or how.”
Like what? What things?
“I’m obsessed by damask napkins at the moment from the 14th, 15th, and 16th century in Great Britain and Ireland.” His grandfather worked for a textile company in Northern Ireland that specialised in camouflage and at home his grandmother would turn the camouflage scraps into ornate bedspreads. “So I think there’s always been this obsession with fabric. There is something that is so magical about it because it lasts for ever.”
His 33-piece collection for Uniqlo is made up of cable knits and Highland tartans, with a few rugby stripes, too (a nod, perhaps, to his brother and dad, both former professional players). There are no feathers, there’s no chainmail, in fact none of the kinky details he made his name with. Instead there are clothes that will remain wearable long after the autumn ends.
“If you design something, it is the person who wears it who will make the clothing,” says Anderson, who claims to own 100 Uniqlo T-shirts. “That’s what I get from Uniqlo: when you wear their clothing, you make it.” One of the simpler pieces he’s designed for them is the white T-shirt he wears today, printed with a sketch of a man’s profile, in a jaunty hat. “It’s a drawing by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, a French immigrant who came to Britain.” A Brexit-heavy moment of eye contact. “I remember seeing it and thinking that what was incredible was the singularity of the line, and the humour. When we started the collaboration I thought we needed something from the past to bring it to the future.” He thinks for a second. “Whether or not a customer knows it’s a 100-year-old drawing by Gaudier-Brzeska, it’s emotional, it’s personal to me. It adds a layer of mystery.”
It was his Hepworth show, he says, that changed the way he worked for ever. “It was a real discovery to look at, say, a William Turnbull [sculpture] beside some knitwear.” Both, he says, teach you about how bodies move. “And as much as it was an emotional roller-coaster doing that show, it has really helped me on everything I have done going forward.” It made him realise that, in designing clothes, whether a man’s bustier or this white T-shirt, the exercise is the same. “What we put out is an artform no matter what it is – there are fundamentals. You are changing the body, and you have a responsibility.”
Which is a fairly big idea for a £14.99 T-shirt. But, he says: “I believe luxury does not exist.” He utters these grand statements as throwaway comments. “I believe that we have a cultural responsibility in terms of our stores, in terms of how we communicate, because ultimately we’ve got to help each other to try to ‘democratise’ fashion in such a way that it can be accessible on any level.” Hence his hop from the £1,000 JW Anderson handbag to the £35 Uniqlo jumper.
He carefully unwraps a Tate-branded chocolate on his saucer, and savours it with nostalgia. “Growing up in Ireland, I remember going to Dublin to visit a Vuitton store and I came out with a brochure. Then I went to Prada and I came out with a magazine, and I felt like I was part of the brand. All those things matter. And, of course, I can’t afford a Rembrandt, but I can still come to the Tate or Hepworth, and I can still enjoy it.”
Kim Kardashian West is no stranger to a naked shoot, having infamously 'broken the internet' with her Paper magazine cover. Now, the reality star has shared another risqué shoot, this time posing for Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott's new photography book.
Kardashian shared the below image with her 102 million Instagram followers, telling them that she was "so honoured" to be a part of the new book that is "20 years in the making".
The reality star is completely naked except for a pair of chunky, lace-up ankle boots. She has stars covering her nipples in the photo, but that's presumably only to comply with Instagram's nudity rules and therefore won't be in the print edition.
Mert and Marcus have both also shared teasers of the book, as have a number of other supermodels who appear in it, including Doutzen Kroes, Natalia Vodianova and Joan Smalls.
The book will be released tomorrow to coincide with the start of New York Fashion Week.
Fans just can’t get enough as pop is star of Dior show
For its most recent advertising campaign, Dior Homme put the male models in the background. Centre-stage was a more unlikely figure – 55-year-old Dave Gahan, frontman of Depeche Mode. Flanked by Lucas Hedges, star of Manchester by the Sea, a statement described the duo as plotting “an evolution of style that subverts the classicism of Dior Homme today”. For Saturday afternoon’s spring/summer 2018 show, Rami Malek and Christian Slater, stars of the Netflix hacker show Mr. Robot, were on hand to continue the theme. Long-term fan Karl Lagerfeld sat in the front row too.
Kris Van Assche, the artistic director of Dior Homme, is the man responsible for this subversion from the inside. This year marks his 10th year at Dior Homme – so the show was a kind of anniversary. It took place at the Grand Palais in Paris. The space familiar to the fashion crowd was transformed with a grass floor and strings of black plastic, like that found inside cassette tapes, hanging from the ceiling.
The collection was a kind of retrospective of Van Assche’s work for Dior. It focused around his signature tailoring, with sharp suiting and outerwear given a more summer-friendly twist with shorts and sleeveless jackets.
Some of the jackets were based on the Bar shape invented for women by Christian Dior in 1947. Trends were addressed too. Explicit Dior branding will be popular. Taking his cue from Maria Grazia Chiuri, who designs womenswear for Dior, T-shirts featured the logos and the Dior branded ribbons cleverly made up from the pinstripes of suits. Sportswear details were also included – the stripes on tracksuit trousers featured on tailored trousers and bomber jackets.
Gahan wasn’t there, but the influence of his era – the Eighties – was. The loose trousers had the feel of David Bowie. The music was memorable – an electronic mix of Radiohead’s Creep, R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion and Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence.
Backstage was a scrum of well-wishers, with Van Assche flanked by a security detail worthy of a rock star. The designer said the collection, which was called Late Night Summer, “was very much about this feelgood moment, also with the music, when young men realise their clothes will make a difference A kind of post-innocence.”.
Dior Homme is a brand associated with music. During Hedi Slimane’s six-year reign, that meant rock’n’roll. He featured musicians including Pete Doherty and the band Cazals in his shows, and dressed the Kills and Daft Punk onstage. He has also been credited with bringing the skinny jean, a staple of the Ramones, back into fashion. Van Assche, however, has resisted the dive bars and grubby Converse of Slimane. Instead he focuses on a more angular, electronic take on music, with the Eighties a golden era.
Van Assche sees parallels between then and now. “Now everybody is talking about androgyny and genderless fashion shows, but 20, 25 years ago he was this figure when I was a kid,” he said of Boy George, also in a Dior campaign, during an interview with the Hypebeast website. Van Assche is savvy enough, however, to know that mere nostalgia, or “theatre” won’t do.
“I always look for strong contrasts because it takes things out of their too literal context,” he said.
Van Assche is a well-liked designer but has never quite created the buzz of his predecessor. Van Assche closed his own brand in 2015, suggesting he will stay with Dior for the long haul.
Slimane remains an influential figure in fashion. After his departure from Dior Homme, he produced photography of the rock scene, before becoming the creative director of Saint Laurent for four years. The rock’n’roll take continued there, with collections based on grunge, mods and rock. He left in March 2016 and, in an interview with the New York Times in January, said he would return to photography full time.
On 31 August 1876, the Manchester Guardian published a letter from ‘Miserable Woman’ about the subject of women’s rights and fashion:
Sir, – Next week the British Association meets in Glasgow and I suppose women’s rights ladies will be having a grand field day. Do you think they could possibly be persuaded to give up this “franchise,” or something of that sort they are for ever talking about, and devote their able minds to the re-modelling of female dress? Talk of slavery! when we are going about like “hobbled” donkeys because it is the fashion.
The following day, the letters column carried a reply from correspondent ‘Women’s Rights’:
A real woman’s wrong
To the Editor of the Manchester Guardian
Sir, – Your correspondent “Miserable Woman” has struck the keynote of one of our greatest grievances when she complains of the slavery women endure from the shackles of dress. I can assure her that women who ask for the franchise do so in the hope and belief that this is the readiest and only effectual way to remove all injurious restrictions under which women suffer. We deem it a much more hopeful enterprise to persuade men to give women votes in the election of members of Parliament, and thereby recognise them as human beings, with personal rights equal to their own, than before women are so recognised to induce men to acquiesce in the removal of the shackles of drapery which bind their limbs as befits beings in a condition of social and political servitude.
Your own remarks in the letter seem to imply that men would willingly help women to dress in a rational way. If such is their object they take a singularly ill-judged method of accomplishing it. When women walk out in cumbrous lengthy skirts which sweep the ground and gather a mass of mud or dirt round the unhappy wearer, they rail at women for being so weak-minded as to be slaves to custom, and fashion. If women venture to walk out in short skirts they hoot at them for being so strong-minded as to disregard custom and fashion. If men really desire to see women adopt a rational, becoming and economical style of dress, they must hold the tongue of hostile criticism while the process of evolution is going on, and they must be prepared to tolerate the appearance of few deviations from the orthodox mode.
The long-trained skirt is perfectly appropriate for a fashionable promenade and for ladies who can ride in carriage, but is inexcusably absurd for women to wear as an ordinary walking dress when pursuing avocations which require them to carry parcel.
The progress of fashion since the extinction of of the bell crinoline - itself a merciful device to relieve the burden of huge skirts with which women were formerly laden - has been the gradual evolution of the human form from the mass of folds in which it lay hidden; the successive curtailments of superfluous “breadths” and the constant pushing back the remainder, till at present the sole excrescence of drapery remains the form of the fish tail prolongation of the lower skirt which now exercises the minds of those who love convention and cleanliness. But doubtless this is destined to disappear under the same influences that have been beneficially at work hitherto, and the superfluous excrescence may be found to have vanished next season, like the tails of tadpoles in the process of development.
Burberry To Put On A Major Photographic Exhibition
Burberry has announced the location of its upcoming September show and has also revealed plans to host a 'major photographic exhibition' within the space.
Moving away from Maker's House in Soho – which they have called home for two seasons – the British brand will now be showing at Old Session's House in Clerkenwell.
The photographic exhibition, entitled 'Here We Are' has been co-curated by president and chief creative officer of Burberry, Christopher Bailey, alongside Lucy Kumara Moore and Alasdair McLellan.
It is a collection of the work of over 30 of the most celebrated social and documentary photographers of the 20th century, including Dafyyd Jones, Martin Parr, Ken Russell and McLellan, who – it was also announced today – is embarking on a new creative collaboration with the house.
'When we started thinking about curating 'Here We Are', I knew I wanted it to celebrate a certain strand of British photography that I have always loved, one which documents the many and varied tribes and clans and classes that make up this island of ours,' Bailey said on Instagram today. 'It has been an extraordinary privilege to gather together this collection of photographs, that have influenced me so much over the years. They provide a portrait of British life, in all its nuances, both exceptional and mundane, beautiful and harsh.'
In conjunction with the exhibition, Burberry's September collection will be inspired by 'the spirit captured in British social portraiture' and will be unveiled on Saturday 16 September.
The exhibition is free for entry to the general public and opens two days after the show on Monday 18 September.
WE MAY be experiencing something of a late summer heat wave but a fabric previously described by Britain's fashion gurus as "a great palate-cleanser for autumn" is undergoing a remarkable renaissance.
On Thursday The Cords & Co - a new Stockholm-based retailer dedicated solely to premium corduroy fashions for men and women - will open a London branch in a bid to bring the functional counter-culture material to a new and fashion-aware audience.The British outlet is one of six shops it plans to open around the world dedicated to a fabric the company describes as "the desirable alternative to denim". And in embracing the material once considered the world's least sexy fabric, it joins big-hitters such as Gucci and Prada.
First spotted on the Prada catwalk in January, the durable vintage material that until recently was most closely associated with geography teachers and fashion-blind Lefties such as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also been rediscovered by upmarket clothing brands such as Mulberry, Marc Jacobs and Alexa Chung.
Meanwhile Gucci has produced a £1,610 floral jacket made of the hard-wearing fabric and you can pick up a more modest bottle-green equivalent from Mango for £90. Mulberry's offering is a £450 dusty-pink skirt, Marc Jacobs has cord flares for £275 and Alexa Chung has a £325 pinafore dress in her latest collection.
"It's practical, nonintimidating and easy to wear," says insightful Selfridges buying manager Heather Gramston
It has to be said that Corbyn was not alone in embracing corduroy in the 1980s. Diana, Princess of Wales - then the world's ultimate clotheshorse - was spotted wearing a chic pair of corduroy trousers in that period and earlier still even The Beatles went through a corduroy phase.
But these were aberrations. Corduroy hasn't been in fashion outside of a charmed circle of rural landowners and the country sports brigade since the mid-19th century.
"The hunting and fishing communities have always loved our corduroy," says Malcolm Helliwell of Lancashire-based Brisbane Moss, the UK's biggest corduroy factory. "Our fabrics and styles remain the same as they have for the 100 years we've been producing it."
But in recent decades, apart from a 1970s revival, corduroy has hardly been considered the height of sophistication. Perhaps most damaging of all for a long period was its association with children thanks to the corduroy-wearing kids who starred in the The Brady Bunch, a US sitcom about a blended family of six children. But no less an authority than fashion bible Vogue recently decreed that the fabric was on-trend once again.
"The Brady Bunch lived their lives in a wholesomeness that was dotted with mustard-hued flares and burnt sienna blazers all made from corduroy," declared a recent Vogue editorial. "But corduroy is still a cool, daytime staple."
No one knows this better than the supermodel Kate Moss. Despite its uncool reputation she has been wearing the fabric doggedly for more than two decades.
It's also been a favourite of actress Jane Birkin, famous for recording the controversially sexy chart hit Je t'aime in the 1960s, who chose to slope around Paris in a white T-shirt and a pair of pale cord jeans - fine-ridged needlecord, naturally.
And that's significant. Fine cord is acceptable, the wide geography-teacher stuff less so. The width of the cord is known as the "wale" and it's measured in ridges per inch. The lower the wale number, the thicker the ridge of the wale - 4-wale is much thicker than 11-wale, for example.
But although corduroy is believed by many to be a 20th-century fashion phenomenon, corduroy existed for more than 2,000 years before it acquired its modern name.
The Oxford English Dictionary cites 1774 as the earliest use of the word corduroy but its ancestor was a cotton weave known as "fustian", which was developed in the Egyptian city of Fustat in 200BC.
Brushed fabrics remained an Egyptian speciality until the medieval period when Italian merchants introduced the fabric to western Europe.
The growth in the cotton trade between the 12th and 14th centuries saw corduroy become popular in England and France where it gained an elite reputation. Henry VIII clamoured for the warmth of fustian in the 16th century during the chilly days before central heating
Until recently it was believed that the word corduroy came from a 17th-century English derivation of the French "corde du roi" or "cloth of the king" but it is now understood that the term is a compound of the word "cord", referring to its tufted, row-by-row pattern and "duroy" which was a coarse woollen fabric made in England in the early 18th century.
By then, the cloth had become a popular hard-wearing choice for workwear and military uniforms, while white fustian was often used for ladies' dresses. In the late 18th century, corduroy was being manufactured in Manchester as factory wear for townspeople in industrial areas and in parts of Europe corduroy is still known as "Manchester".
Now in a remarkable renaissance "poor man's velvet" is discovering a brand new audience and there is not a bellbottom in sight
In celebration of the National Gallery of Victoria’s The House of Dior: Seventy Years years of Haute Couture exhibition, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins has announced the launch of four couture cocktails set to coincide with the opening of the showcase.
Inspired directly by the French fashion house, the ‘Code of Conduct’ cocktails will be made available from Thursday September 1 – which just so happens to line up with Vogue American Express Fashion’s Night Out, taking place across the CBD – to Saturday November 4.
Curated by mixologist Marc Dasan, the first cocktail was inspired by the original Miss Dior perfume and combines Remy Martin VSOP, Tanqueray gin and earl grey syrup with a hint of Pernod and grapefruit bitters, served in a glass perfume bottle. The second cocktail references Dior’s love of 18th century French history with its incorporation of Kettle One vodka, Crème de Cassis, Crème de Mure with lime juice, white chocolate and Persian saffron fairy floss.
“The deep red colouring with gold accents resembles the opulence of the 18th century, whilst the fairy floss pays homage to Marie Antoinette’s most famous hairstyle – the pouf,” explains Dasan.
Playing on the fashion house’s iconic silhouettes, the third cocktail will consist of spiced rum, Pedro Ximenez and Mozart Dark which will be garnished with fresh fig and served in a structured martini glass. Finally, the fourth cocktail incorporates elements of the flower – a symbol which inspired the structure of Dior’s garments – with its use of Grey Goose Le Citron, Lillet Blanc, Crème de Violette and rosewater-infused ice spheres and frozen pink roses.
Also as part of the exhibition, as NGV’s official accommodation partner Sofitel will be offering two tickets to the exhibition, overnight accommodation and breakfast for two at No.35 Restaurant via it’s ‘So Cultural’ package.
Plymouth's very own fashion week will take place in the city next month.
The event will be held at various venues across the city from September 9 to 17, kicking off with a glamorous launch night which includes a mini catwalk show, canapes and champagne.
In addition to seeing models parade this year's new Autumn and winter collections from top high street retailers, designed outlets and local fashion houses, the shows will also offer stylist advice, hair and beauty demos.
Meanwhile, students from Plymouth College of art will also be getting on the catwalk to showcase collections of their latest work.
The aim of the week - organised jointly by the Plymouth City Centre Company and the event’s main sponsor Drake Circus - is to highlight the city’s growing reputation as a brilliant shopping venue, as well as a great holiday destination.
It will end with a weekend of catwalk shows in the Drake Circus Shopping Centre, which last year attracted a staggering 25,000 people and saw 45,000 people taking to social media to tweet about the event.
Other attractions include special fashion brunches in local cafes, bars and restaurants, colourful and eye-catching student window displays and a fashion photography exhibition – Fashion in Focus - at venues around the city.
There will also be Beauty Spots dotted around the city centre offering mini makeovers and free pampering sessions for the weary shopper.