Louis Vuitton cruise collection seeks fashion's next size in Brazil

If challenged on his unconventional buildings, Oscar Niemeyer, architect of the Mac Niterói artwork gallery which hovers above Rio de Janeiro like a spaceship, could quote Charles Baudelaire: “Strangeness is a important aspect of beauty.” As a classy philosophy, this sums up the Louis Vuitton catwalk series staged on the snaking ramps of the gallery at sundown on Saturday.

Out of the unidentified flying object curves of the building got here fashions wearing parachute-silk cape-sponsored dresses with wetsuit zippers, or silk blouses stimulated through Brazilian artist Aldemir Martins’ paintings of Pelé. The famous Louis Vuitton box trunks were reincarnated as Copacabana seaside ghettoblasters, complete with gold hardware and the LV monogram. within the the front row, Catherine Deneuve watched imperious, while Brazilian supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio captured the instant for posterity with selfies.

there may be a strangeness to a style extravaganza on this scale being staged in a country that’s in the grip of recession, with an impeached president, endemic corruption, a chief fitness disaster looming over the Zika virus, and with the small be counted of an Olympic video games to host in two months’ time. Unsurprisingly, designer Nicolas Ghesquière took sufficient artistic licence within the image of Brazil he riffed on for this collection, specializing in a nostalgic Ipaneman glamour and Brazil’s carrying background.

the new phenomenon of “cruise” season, of which this show is part, is taking style to some other measurement. 4 megabrands – Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Christian Dior and Gucci – have created an elite magnificence of standalone fashion indicates, which take place out of the cheek-by way of-jowl hustle of geared up-to-put on style weeks. each emblem vies for the maximum exclusive locations and the maximum prestigious venues. 3 weeks ago, Chanel staged its cruise show in Cuba; within the next few days, cruise-fever will arrive inside the uk with Dior’s show at Blenheim Palace on Tuesday, closely followed with the aid of Gucci’s at Westminster Abbey on Thursday.

where normal style weeks are rooted in a alternate-show tradition, the cruise indicates promote the extra summary present day art of branding. Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel is cruise’s answer to pop art, all cool animated film Cocos and Warholian hues. Ghesquière’s Louis Vuitton, in the meantime, is some thing extra oblique. he’s by intuition an avant-garde fashion designer, and he brings an arthouse aesthetic to his blockbuster emblem. If a Louis Vuitton cruise display turned into an art installation, it might be a Carsten Höller slide, or a room of Martin Creed’s white balloons.

The history of Louis Vuitton is in travel, now not clothes, and Ghesquière has made the venues for his cruise collections an fundamental part of their photograph, taking LV on a world tour of elliptically curved space age structure. unidentified flying object-like homes have grow to be as tons part of Louis Vuitton’s visual emblem as those boxy brown-and-gold trunks had been fifty years ago. The venue for ultimate yr’s cruise show turned into Bob wish’s landmark Nineteen Seventies-meets-the-destiny Palm Springs domestic. by commandeering the world’s chicest spaceships as catwalks, Ghesquière maintains the fantasy element of the Vuitton lifestyle alive in an technology wherein air journey has lost its glamour.

This was a sexier, extra frame-aware Louis Vuitton. With their low-reduce necklines and facet cut-outs, the opening dresses had the appearance of very dressed-up swimming gear. in which skirts were lengthy they have been cut to ribbons, for lots of leg. The timelessly ethereal barren region-sand sunglasses of ultimate year’s Palm Springs series had been replaced via formidable, attention-grabbing colorings.

behind the scenes after the show, Ghesquière stated it became the mixing of sportswear into city fashion that he loved in Rio de Janeiro. “i’ve constantly loved the clothes that women wear on city streets, and i’m enthusiastic about sport and with movement. right here in Rio, beach existence is urban lifestyles.” The affect of Brazil’s carrying background – and of a metropolis about to host the Olympics – might be felt within the Pelé-print jerseys, in lightweight soccer shorts, and in scuba-material high-top shoes.

New LV muse Jaden Smith, teenage son of Hollywood actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, lavished reward on the ones scuba high-tops behind the scenes after the display, saying he was hoping to put on them himself. The 17-yr-vintage, whose appearance in a skirt in a Vuitton womenswear campaign induced a stir earlier this yr, drew by way of some distance the loudest screams of the nighttime while he became from talking to Ghesquière to wave to the Brazilian teens gathered out of doors the gallery. “I loved that show,” he stated. “To me, it simply looks as if the destiny.”

HOW BEING A FASHION OUTSIDER HAS WORKED TO STEVEN KOLB’S ADVANTAGE AT THE CFDA

Steven Kolb with First Lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray, in February. Photo: Mireya Acierto/Getty Images

Practically speaking, Steven Kolb is one of American fashion’s more unavoidable characters. The programs and projects he spearheads as chief executive officer of the Council of Fashion Designers of America are central to the industry — see the career-making CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, the CFDA Awards, the remodeled New York Fashion Week calendar. The list goes on.

But for someone who’s reached such an influential position in the fashion sphere, Kolb isn’t exactly what you’d call a fashion person. It’s not just his straightforward and businesslike manner, nor is it his remarkable degree of availability to reporters. Before joining the CFDA in 2006, he had a long run in health-focused non-profits, including the American Cancer Society and the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA). Fashion, for Kolb, was something that came along somewhat later in life.

This week I took a seat in his office — dark walls, a framed Arthur Elgort photograph of Maggie Rizer suspended against a clear blue sky — to hear how he made that career leap, what he finds frustrating about his job and what he still hopes to accomplish.

You spent the first part of your career at the American Cancer Society and DIFFA. How did you land at the CFDA and in fashion?

When I was younger, the idea of working in corporate America was not something I was really interested in. I would like to think it was because I was more interested in social change or being involved in something that mattered more than profits, but also the idea of corporate people scared me. That high pressure kind of office environment. I just didn’t want to work with people like that. That’s how I ended up working at the American Cancer Society.

I had no intention to come here or work in fashion, but [the CFDA] is a not-for-profit. My career was always in not-for-profit, so the structure of the organization is similar. The American Cancer Society is about creating awareness about cancer prevention and raising money for either treatment or educational programs. Same thing with DIFFA: awareness about HIV prevention, treatment and care. The work is the same, it’s just a different end result. Here it’s about raising awareness about American fashion, promoting American fashion, and helping people and brands that need help because we’re a trade organization. It’s still about helping other people and doing things for others; it’s just different.

The similarity, though, that I realized very early on — and I knew this even in the interview — is that the CFDA is actually two organizations. It’s a council, which is a trade organization, and that’s pretty much where most of our work is. But we’re also a foundation, so that was very appealing to me, that I would get to still be involved in issues that mattered, like HIV and cancer and now disaster relief, too. But on the council side it’s the same thing. When you help a young designer with business grants, mentoring, relationship building, you’re giving them something that actually will eventually come back, so you look at a lot of people who come through this organization or through our programs that now have big businesses in New York. I’d like to think that through my work at the CFDA I’ve contributed to that and that it has positive impact on the lives of all the people that work for them now.

Tell me about your work at DIFFA. I’m guessing you had some exposure to the fashion industry while you were there.

I was living in New Jersey, working for the American Cancer Society, a young gay guy. HIV and AIDS was pretty serious — it still is pretty serious — but I felt very removed from this issue and this crisis that was affecting this community. I didn’t really know anyone who was HIV positive. I felt… not guilty, but how am I not engaged in this in a way that I can add something? I was a fundraiser and a not-for-profit manager, so I had a skill set that I felt that I could bring to the cause. I didn’t go there because it was a design organization, I went there because it was an AIDS foundation and my skill set worked there.

It’s there, though, that I became aware of the CFDA. Lisa [Smilor, the CFDA’s executive director] was the person who suggested to the [CFDA] selection committee that they interview me. We had worked on some collaborative stuff. The CFDA used to do an event at DIFFA called Viva Glam Casino with MAC Cosmetics and Maggie Rizer, the model, who lost her father to HIV and AIDS. That’s how we got to know each other.

DIFFA, now the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, was originally called Design Interior Foundation Fighting Aids. It was interior designers. It was actually one of the first creative industries, even before fashion, to mobilize around the issue, which was having a great impact on the people that were working in interior design, so they quickly got traction and expanded into other design areas. One of the very first things the CFDA did [around HIV/AIDS] was 7th on Sale, which was a big shopping event where houses and designers donated brand new product and worked in the booths. So that’s how I became a little bit more familiar with design and fashion and people like Fern Mallis, who had my job back then and used to be on the DIFFA board.

So you knew people in fashion before moving over to the CFDA. How did you go about learning about the business of fashion and how the industry operates once you were there?

I think what got me hired is that I didn’t come from fashion. I was a not-for-profit person. I had 20-plus years working in not-for-profit, and I think that’s the skill set that the selection committee responded positively to, and that’s why they hired me. You come into an organization, and you know what you know and you apply that. The fashion stuff wasn’t really that hard because you learn very quickly, and you learn just by people telling you and being very aware and not being afraid to ask questions. I remember the first couple seasons going to fashion shows and Stan Herman, who used to be the president of the CFDA, would often be next to me and he’d just point out people, and that’s how I got to know people. Or if I didn’t know somebody but you could just tell from the flutter of attention [that they were important], then I would just ask. The business of fashion was stuff that I learned. I didn’t necessarily understand how a wholesale business worked in fashion, I didn’t really understand production, manufacturing, and that just was being around smart people, like Diane von Furstenberg, like Andrew Rosen, Anna Wintour. I just listened and when I didn’t know I just asked.

If you’d asked me in 2005, “Name five American designers,” I would have said Ralph, Donna, Calvin, Diane, maybe. I wouldn’t have said Proenza Schouler. I wouldn’t have said some of the designers that were younger or even contemporary brands that had been established. I wouldn’t have known who they were. But from the very beginning the industry was very open and receptive and made it very easy to learn that.

What do you like about the fashion industry?

I like a lot about it. I like that it’s creative. I think that’s the best part. Creative people I find fascinating. I’ve said that before and people are like, “Oh that’s not true,” but I’ll say it again: I’m creative in a certain way, but I’m not creative like a designer’s creative, so to be around that energy and around that process, that’s cool.

I can’t say I like that I get to go to [events]. I like it, but I don’t love it. I appreciate it and I never take it for granted, but I know it’s part of my job. My humble brag is that I don’t think I’m affected. I don’t think anyone would ever describe me as someone who’s just so affected by fashion. I see it as my work and as my job and what I do, and I also know that at some point at the end of the day when I’m not working, a lot of that’s just going to go away. I’m not going to fight it, and I’ll move on to the next thing. I don’t plan on going anywhere any time soon, but fashion is up and down and I think sometimes when people are no longer in a position of power or access it’s hard to disconnect — it’s hard when Billy Farrell doesn’t want to take your picture. But I don’t think it’s going to be hard for me.

What do you think your outsider perspective on the fashion industry has helped you accomplish at the CFDA, if anything?

I think it was looking at the CFDA as a business. That’s the irony. I didn’t want to be a business person, but I ended up actually being a business person. It’s looking at the CFDA as a business, which is being very conscious of finances, fundraising, budgets, committees, looking at our mission and always staying on mission, those are the kind of things that are very much part of what we’ve done, and also listening and adapting. [Diane and I] started something together called the Strategic Partner Group. That was because people were becoming members of the CFDA and it was prestigious, but what was the value beyond that? This program brought corporate partners in that brought value, whether that be discounts or work opportunities. What changed for me was how I was able to be more business focused and to run it like a business. That’s not to say that my predecessors didn’t — they did an incredible job. Each of us had our own impact and contribution, and I’m lucky that it was set up in a way that I could take it and be more businesslike with it.

Is that what you’d say your impact on the CDFA has been?

I think growing the organization. We’re 470 members now, and we used to be 280. [We spent time looking] at the criteria for membership and expanding that. And that was a change. The designers that became members were typically the designers that had their name on a label, and maybe we added 11 a year. But if you look back, how someone designed 30 years ago isn’t how someone designs now. You have creative directors at brands that are very significant contributors to fashion and maybe they wouldn’t have gotten in 20 years ago, but now it’s more inclusive, so we’re adding 30 or so members a year.

We’ve gone from seven staff people to 25 staff people. We’ve gone from a budget of $2.5 million to a $20 million budget. I mean, the one thing that didn’t work that we did fix was the scheduling of fashion week. It’s not fair to say that it didn’t work. It needed to work differently, and that took some time, but as you know we bought the Fashion Calendar last year and we made some significant changes there. The acquisition of the fashion calendar and the establishment of New York Fashion Week: Men’s, were two key things that have had great impact.

What’s the most frustrating part of your job?

There are little things that are frustrating. Shuffling show schedules, bureaucracy, there’s all that kind of stuff that can be frustrating on a day to day basis, but everything always works out if you just stay on it.

Look, I think fashion can sometimes be perceived as superficial or in a way that is fake, and that’s frustrating sometimes. I think of what we’ve done around the CFDA Health Initiative, which we’ve done a really good job on. Early on when we started it — from a very sincere place of caring — we got beat up a lot by eating disorder organizations [who said] that our work was not real or that it was insincere when it was in fact very sincere. And we stayed with it. I think we have changed the runway in New York. There aren’t many girls under the age of 16, if any, that walk on a runway anymore, and that’s one of our big recommendations. We monitor that.

It’s frustrating sometimes when people just see negativity and they don’t see the value of the industry. It’s a $350 billion industry, so you’ve got a lot of people employed in fashion. It is the second largest industry in New York after finance, and it’s not just the designers, but it’s pattern-makers, the people who work in factories, the people who work in retail, in publishing. It can be frustrating sometimes when people don’t see the total impact of fashion and can only focus on the superficial, or what they think is superficial and insincere.

I was going to ask about the Health Initiative. What’s the state of the union on that now?

We’re pretty consistent. We have a great relationship with Dig Inn, which helps us provide really healthy, delicious food backstage at the shows. We continue to share the guidelines and every season Diane and I do a letter, which has always had great impact, reminding people [of the guidelines].

There’s a group called the Model Alliance, and I give them a lot of credit for working with the council here on protecting working condition rights for underage models. There are certain laws that a child actor is protected under, and the Model Alliance worked with the legislative body here in New York andwere able to pass protection for underage models. Now, it’s a good law, but the challenge with the law is that it mirrors that of a child actor, and the way a child actor works is much different from the way an underage model works. You can’t just transfer that set of requirements to modeling. For example, the employer is often responsible for the on-set obligation to the actor/model/performer, and in the instance of film or television, they’re pretty much on the same set for three months. Whereas in modeling, and here during fashion week, you might be on six different sets in one day. We’ve been working now with New York State Senator Diane Savino. We met with her office recently and we convened a group of industry people — casting people, production people, Sara Ziff [the founder of the Model Alliance], designers — to help her understand the differences between a model and an actor to see if there’s room to make the law more effective based on what it stands for and also better for the industry to comply to.

What do you still want to accomplish at the CFDA?

In 2012, we were 50 years old and we did a great book and an exhibit at the Museum at FIT. Diane and I usually get together in Paris during fashion week and we go for a walk or get a tea, and we decided that year that we wanted to do a strategic initiative plan, a three to five year plan. We ended up working with the Boston Consulting Group. It’s an amazing organization, and they interviewed many members of the industry. We identified four pillars of focus: education, manufacturing, fashion week and corporate partnerships. So we continue to focus on all of those, and when I look at each column I see a lot of work that we’ve done.

It’s really just fine-tuning those, and maybe [taking] more of a global and broader lens. We recently did something during Singapore Fashion Week, and having more opportunity for members of the industry outside of the American market.

Fur is back on the catwalk and in Perth’s fashion boutiques

German fashion designer Karl Lagerfield is not afraid to use fur in his collections.

German fashion designer Karl Lagerfield is not afraid to use fur in his collections.

  • WHO WEARS IT? Inside the luxury issue of STM this weekend
  • POLL: Should fur be banned from fashion shows?
  • FUR OR AGAINST: Have your say in our comments below
FUR is back in fashion — but not everyone will admit it.

Next week it’s set to cause a sensation in Paris when designer Karl Lagerfeld shows a haute couture collection of furs he has designed for Fendi.

The show — which has been dubbed a haute horreur by animal rights groups — will mark the 50th anniversary of Lagerfeld’s work for the Roman label.

It also confirms fur’s return to the fashion limelight — and also the red carpet — after decades out in the cold.

In Perth, local boutiques are cautiously beginning to once again stock fur, but not everyone involved in the local fur scene is willing to talk about it.

At least one fur importer and designer declined to be interviewed.

“It’s such a controversial topic …. It’s like a love-hate thing in this world,” one stylist said.

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Meanwhile, Lagerfeld has defended his show.

“As long as people eat meat and wear leather, I don’t get the message,” he said, adding that “a butcher shop is worse”.

But animal rights groups say with a multitude of faux fur products to choose from, there’s no need to wear the real thing.

Will Perth designers face fashion fury?

Beyoncé’s Stylist on Diversity in Fashion, Kim Kardashian’s Body Proportions and More

Jenke Ahmed Tailly is on a mission to bring diversity to the fashion industry, and he’s working from the inside. The celebrity stylist and creative director, one of the most coveted in the industry, tells Ellemagazine, “I’m flabbergasted when I go to a fashion show and I don’t see a Black model or an Indian model or an Asian model or anyone of color in the front row.”

Continues the Senegalese and Cote D’Ivoirian artist, “It’s 2015, brands should take the memo. The buying power of those minorities is enormous — why are we still not represented enough?”

Tailly’s solution to the problem of whitewashing in the fashion world is hire behind-the-scenes influencers from a variety of backgrounds. “The more diverse people working behind the scenes in fashion who have the power to book models, the more diverse faces we’re likely to see in magazines,” says Tailly. “As a Black person, when I collaborate with a magazine, I’m more likely to want to book a Black model. It’s a delicate subject but I think it’s natural to gravitate towards a model that looks like you, that you can relate to.”

Indeed, when L’Officiel tapped Tailly to style their 90th anniversary cover, he advocated for Beyoncé to be the model. The resulting photo spread was African-influenced — and very controversial, thanks to an image featuring Bey in dark makeup that, to some, resembled blackface. Still, Bey was so impressed by Tailly’s work, she recruited him to be her creative director, a position he held for three years.

Following his work with Beyoncé, Tailly went on to style some of her famous friends, including Kanye Westand his wife, Kim Kardashian, whom he describes as an “internally beautiful [person], with great values and work ethic.” He also comments on Kim’s famous physique. “Being African, I particularly find her body proportions so beautiful.”

Donna Karan’s Next Grand Ambition Will Create a Positive Shift in Fashion

Any working woman who has ever donned a bodysuit — that sleek piece of garment that serves as a silhouette to layer upon — knows that Donna Karan is the powerhouse behind decades of pioneering trends.

Earlier this week, the self-made fashion icon announced her decision to step down as chief designer of Donna Karan International. The company went public in 1996, before its acquisition by French fashion conglomerate LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2000. “She will remain with the company in an advisory role,” read a company statement posted on Instagram.

While there’s been plenty of chatter about Karan’s exit, little has been discussed about the next chapter of her career. At 66, the designer will fully step into a new entrepreneurial realm that is much less glamorous, yet far more meaningful.

Founded in 2007, the Urban Zen Foundation is Karan’s philanthropic venture that aims to raise awareness and inspire change in issues surrounding health, empowering children and preserving cultures in developing countries. The idea was partly born from her frustrations about the lack of yoga and meditative therapies available when her husband, Stephan Weiss, was dying of cancer in 2001.

The foundation hasn’t received much attention from the general public, but that’s likely to change as Karan devotes more of her time to the project. The ever-increasing interest in yoga and Eastern spiritual philosophy won’t do harm, either.

Supporting the foundation is Karan’s retail business, Urban Zen, a line of artisan goods — including her own creations — that are all inspired by her travels and style philosophies. The brand expanded last month with the launch of its e-commerce site, where a portion of all sales goes to supporting the foundation.

The designer’s venture into philanthropy and commerce is governed by one simple concept: conscious retailing. Living in a free market can be a wonderful thing, but it also puts billions of independent designers and small businesses at a disadvantage. Each Urban Zen item purchased will make a difference to those who actually need it.

It’s also moves away from the fashion world’s typical notion of what’s “in” or “out” of trend. Instead, it roots back to Karan’s original style concept of a simple wardrobe for the practical woman and features carefully selected items that are truly timeless. “I think it’s a new paradigm in retail because it’s not about a season,” she explained in an interview with TIME.

For its latest project, the Urban Zen Foundation partnered with Haitian artisan and businesswoman Paula Coles and The New School’s Parsons School of Design to create The DOT Center (Design, Organization and Training). The project helps support the Clinton Global Initiative’s efforts in bringing vocational education to Haiti.

There are a handful of other celebrities following in similar footsteps as Karan. Blake Lively’s e-commerce venture, Preserve, launched in July 2014 and doubles as lifestyle blog and a marketplace for affordable artisan goods. Tory Burch has her own foundation that supports economic empowerment for female entrepreneurs. Diane von Furstenberg gives to Vital Voices, Nicola Bulgari to Save the Children, Angela Missoni to Orphan Aid Africa, and James Ferragamo to GlobalGiving.

In some ways, the boom in celebrity philanthropy is nothing and easy to ridicule by skeptics. But, for good or ill, there’s little to deny about the the effectiveness that a well-known name in fashion brings to a cause in need.

Is Zayn Malik Using Fashion to Pave the Road to a Solo Career?

Even the most hard-core One Direction fans were surprised to see Zayn Malik sitting front-row at shows like Louis Vuitton and Valentinoduring the Parisian menswear shows last week. Notoriously press-shy, even when in the band, Malik left the group in March with the reported purpose of focusing on his personal life.

Still, whispers of a solo career swirled thanks to Naughty Boy, a producer whose antics online certainly live up to his name. Solo demos from Malik slowly leaked to the public (courtesy of the producer, natch), with the promise that this is just the beginning. The only problem? Rumors persist that despite the fact that Sony has the option of managing Malik’s solo career in addition to One Direction, the label has placed a two-year ban on any such solo material. 

So is it possible that Malik is looking to the fashion industry to build a solo career before ever officially releasing any music? He would certainly be following in a long line of young stars who used fashion as a vehicle to adult acceptance. There’s Justin Bieber, who stripped down to his skivvies for Calvin Klein and attended the 2015 Met Gala with Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing. Malik’s front-row mate Joe Jonas has been a fashion week staple for several seasons, alongside brother Nick, well after their Jonas Brothers period ended. Miley Cyrus, now something of a fashion darling, built her adult phase on the backs of designer friends like Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs, and Jeremy Scott.

Even Malik’s former bandmate Harry Styles—easily One Direction’s most well-known member—has garnered plenty of attention outside the teen set for his fashion savvy. With a Saint Laurent-heavy wardrobe and a pack of stylish friends like Alexa Chung, Kate Moss, and Cara Delevingne, Styles has been spotted front-row at shows like Burberry and House of Holland, and he won the Style Award at the 2013 British Fashion Awards.

Of course, Malik’s official reason for leaving the band was because he wanted “to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.” But then, not many normal 22-year-olds are sitting front-row at Louis Vuitton next to Kanye West—a spotlight if there ever was one. It seems likely we’ll be seeing Malik as a frow fixture for the next couple of years.