Every season Vanessa Bruno creates short films to communicate the spirit of her collection. The Parisian designer recently released her Spring/Summer 2011 film entitled "Miracle". The film was directed by Stephanie Di Giusto and stars French muse Lou Doillon and Jessica Joffe. Beautiful! Watch the video here. View the entire collection at vanessabruno.com.
Net-a-porter demonstrates once again it is a e-commerce site of style and substance with the launch of Net-a-porter TV. Net-a-porter is already recognized as a pioneer in edvertorial - with engaging magazine-like editorial designed to inspire purchase decisions. I absolutely love the weekly Magazine which has fashion, trend, shopping, travel and lifestyle features. For me, it's up there as a must-read with my glossy fashion magazines. Net-a-porter TV was created as a new way for the retail site to inform, entertain and inspire viewers to shop. It is composed of four channels: Runway, which features runway footage with commentary from Net-a-porter editors; Who's Who, featuring fashion personalities; Trends 101, featuring trend news and how to wear them; and Flashback, a channel that features trends and moments in fashion history. Viewers can also share, like and embed video on Facebook and blogs. All of the shows are supposed to have a commerce element - like pre-ordering from new collections and shopping current season items - but I admit, that wasn't obvious to me. Perhaps it will launch later. Although the channel is very cool, I prefer the online magazine (for now) because of how seamlessly shopping is integrated into editorial. The same will hold true with video very soon and no doubt Net-a-porter will be early out of the gate.
Many question the relevancy of Haute Couture and the theatrics of Paris Couture Week. Does anyone spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a dress anymore? Apparently yes - although this audience is shrinking fast. In fact, Paris Couture Week has been shortened to three days in recent years. Regardless, the runways of Couture are pure theater and a delight to those of us who love fashion and design. Karl Lagerfeld, who's spring and fall runways are among the most dramatic, surprised this year with a subdued runway and a surprisingly wearable (relevantly speaking, of course) collection with denim as a foundation. In the collection the house's signature tweed jackets and skirts topped Lagerfeld's interpretation of the skinny jean - some with sequins and others with button detail at the ankle. Are wearability and "street" influenced clothes the evolution of couture? Karl Lagefeld seems to think so commenting, "Life is not a cocktail party," you know. Check out the full collection and a review on WWD.
I love Paris in the winter. Its chill is a novelty (I am a Californian) and you can enjoy the snow without driving in it. In any case, one doesn't visit Paris for the weather. The last time I was there with my daughter it was snowing like crazy and we ducked into a cozy cafe for chocolat chaud and she devoured a croissant as big as her head. It's a wonderful memory. This January, the silhouette of Chanel No.5’s iconic bottle — made from 1,200 hand-assembled sequins — will decorate the exterior of Paris’ Musée d’Orsay from Jan. 6 to 28 covering 2,890 square feet of the museum’s exterior. I'd love to see this! Mais non, Paris je vais vous voir au printemps. That's my wish for 2011. Wishing all your dreams come true in the new year! WWD
Digital stationary is big business and consumers will spend more than $450 million on photo cards this year alone. My favorite online stationary company is a small company (relative to Kodak, etc.) based here in the Bay Area. Everything about Tiny Prints relays quality, refinement and design. Tiny Prints offers photo cards, but also personal and business stationary with original designs. The packaging in which it comes is also exquisite. Above is an example of a holiday card created under the direction of designer Zac Posen.
Happy Holidays dear friends and readers - I think about you more than I write! xo Margaret
Women's Wear Daily asked numerous designers to submit sketches for Kate Middleton's wedding dress. If history is an indication it will be poufy and cover her shoulders. I loved the Gucci but I think Monique Lhuillier's dress is the winner. It is the perfect blend of modern and traditional.
All submissions were white with the exception of Chris Benz's design in yellow. He commented, "I think taking risks with a confident, colorful spirit is where it’s at with the royals.”
I applaud his creativity - but I don't think this is going to happen. I'm reminded of my own wedding dress shopping experience at Bergdorf Goodman (where my mom bought her wedding dress more than 50 years ago). Wanting to bunk convention I was ready to hand over my credit card for a gorgeous blue gown when the sales associate asked, "Honey is this your first wedding?" - yes - "Please, don't do this to your mother." ( I didn't - I went with a Vera Wang gown in ivory). My guess is Kate will go with something beautiful and "appropriate". We'll see. I hope she surprises us!
Images from WWD
Neiman Marcus was a bit late to the e-commerce party but the company is making up for lost time. The website has improved considerably in the last year and offers free shipping to boot. This week the department store took its legendary holiday gift guide into the 21st century with the launch of an iPhone gift app. Shoppers can view a daily featured gift from the homepage and use iPhone's sensory accelerometer technology to shake their phone and generate a new gift on the screen. Shoppers can also browse through the app's full selection of gifts or narrow their search by price, gender, age or category (home, for example) and then buy items using their existing Neiman Marcus account or by creating a new (free) log in. It's a fun application.
Incidentily, while searching for it in the App Store I stumbled upon Bergdorf Goodman's Today's Shoe app. As the name implies, this app allows you to view a designer shoe a day and also offers the ability to shop the entire shoe salon with free shipping and returns. Happy Shopping!
Pictures of Gucci's upcoming advertising campaign featuring Jennifer Lopez and her children were released this morning. Gucci is one of the latest design houses to offer children's apparel, a category the New York Times recently reported represents big growth in the industry. Gucci's children's line is set to debut in November, as is Stella McCartney's new collection for kids. Fendi is said to be rolling out a line of children's clothing soon. via Styleite
Luxury jewelry website Boucheron now has an Augmented Reality feature that allows you to try on pricy pieces, like watches and rings, through what the company describes as a "magical mirror". The fashion world has recently taken to Augmented Reality, which lets you take items for a spin without commitment by superimposing a computer image on top of a real image. Macy's Magic Mirror, eBay's fashion app and fits.me, a virtual fitting room for online clothing retailers, are all good examples.
Boucheron's application requires a computer, a webcam and a piece of paper. Once you download the paper wrist and ring bands and cut them out you can use the application to see how pieces will look on you. Nice. Will it bring a direct line to sales? Doubtful - or in any case it will be tough to measure. That said, the brand visibility it has generated counts for something. It's also nice to see luxury houses experimenting with this technology. We are only at the beginning of what it will do for web sales. Picture from Retail Jeweller
I recently discovered Alexander Wang's Daria bag which is made of the same sturdy pebbled leathers as the Rocco, but without the studding. When I went to the website to check out it out I saw that Wang has an impressive collection of handbags and unique clutches. I was surprised because the Rocco and Hobo have become so ubiquitous among the fashion flock I thought that was the extent of the collection. Wrong I am. I like the Daria because it is classic and cool and also subdued, like a designer handbag undercover. $850 at Alexander Wang.
After reading the glowing reviews for yesterday's Chanel show at the Grand Palais I had to see the video - images of the collection alone could not possibly do it justice. The set was inspired by Last Year at Marienbad, a hallucinatory avant-garde early sixties film, and featured a monochrome ornamental garden with fountains, which mirrored one of the film's most famous scenes (below). Interestingly Coco Chanel herself designed star Delphine Seyrig's clothes for the film. 80 models walked to the music of a full 80-piece orchestra wearing shades of pale pink, sky blue, peach, gold and silver tones and a lot of black because, as Lagerfeld told The New York Times, “I really don’t think women want to go around looking like a Saint Laurent shopping bag." Indeed! The show is beautiful - you can view it above or here.
What I love most about Stella McCartney designs is that last year's Stella is never a drastic departure from this year's Stella. This is a good thing because she remains true to her design aesthetic so her clothes feel fresh year after year. Of course, this doesn't mean I don't want to run out and buy a bunch of new Stella - I do! Each year she manipulates her signature suiting in a new and interesting way and throws in a suprise by way of color, print or silhouette, like the dresses above. I also liked this year's faux leather sandals which are at once super cool, yet wearbable just like her clothing designs. See a slideshow of the show at style.com or watch it here.
Isabel Marant's Spring 2011 collection was inspired by the designer's first trip to California, according to Style.com. An ode to surfing and skateborading, the collection had a seventies vibe woven throughout. Check out the collection at Style.com
In the 21st century, is the runway even necessary? International Herald Tribune's Suzy Menkes asks the question in an article about the 11-minute film that designer Gareth Pugh showed for his Spring 2011 collection on Wednesday, the opening day of the Paris collections. Pugh certainly sounds like he prefers it, commenting that it allows him to better communicate the emotion behind his clothes in a more controlled environment. More importantly, a video like Pugh's opens up runway shows from 300 to three millon people. Although the industry was notoriously late to the web world, the recent and rapid rise of luxury and fashion e-commerce, live streaming video and online fashion media make it clear: the customer wants a front row seat. At some point, designers are going to have to give it them if they want to sell their clothes.
Watch the video on Business of Fashion here.
Stella McCartney has announced the launch of her new children's line in November and is spreading the word through a multi-channel marketing campaign that includes print, Facebook, Twitter, and a soon to be realased iPhone app. Stella McCartney Kids, will range in size from 0 - 12 at a price point that ranges from $25 to $198. I love the teaser video currently circulating online. I eat doughnuts man!
Joseph Altuzarra was the breakout star of New York Fashion Week, this according to my trusted sources*. Born and educated in France, the former art history major sent his resume to Marc Jacobs on a whim (he earned a six-month internship) and later went on to do a freelance stint at Proenza Schouler, serve as design assistant at Givenchy and launch his eponymous line in Spring 2009. He is known for his body-conscious shapes, ruched seams, darts and draping. His Spring 2011 collection was fresh, beautiful and injected a dose of energy and optimisim to an otherwise subdued Spring Fashion Week in New York.
Stella McCartney's New York Store will host a special exhibit by Helena Christensen for Fashion's Night Out. Photography purchased at the event will benefit Chernobyl Children’s Project International (CCPI). The event is expected to draw a huge crowd, so if you don't make it in you can still view Helena's photography and purchase it to support CCPI at the store through the end of September.
In what feels like an overly saturated market for private sales Gilt Groupe keeps it fresh. This week the private sales site features an exclusive collaboration with Focus Features offering costumes and props used during filming of The American, the suspense thriller starring George Clooney, in theaters now. 100% of the purchase price of merchandise from each sales goes to The American Red Cross.
Global retailer H&M is an excellent case study in creative brand marketing and campaigns that engage fashion lovers (and the media) on the web. Case in point, earlier this week H&M posted a series of 23-second interviews on its YouTube channel teasing an uncomming designer collaboration. The video showed only a designer's body with his or her face hidden sparking speculation of who it might be among fashion lovers across the web. Today’s WWD reports that the mysterious partnership will be with Lanvin's creative director Alber Elbaz. The H&M X Lanvin collection will hit stores worldwide on November 23rd, with a preview on November 2nd. I may go fashion camping (my seven year old's term for waiting in line for a store to open) for this one.
Louis Vuitton's "core values" campaign is notable for its high profile subjects and the visibility it has given to the brand and its heritage. This ad, featuring Ali Hewson and her husband Bono set to debut this fall in newspapers and magazines, is perhaps the most interesting to date. For starters, its the first time Bono has appeared in an ad without his band. Instead of Vuitton, both wear Edun, the ethical clothing label they founded in 2005 to encourage trade with Africa. Rather than the requisite logo bag, Ali totes a handbag co-designed by Edun and Vuitton. Most importantly, Bono and Ali donated their fees to appear in the campaign to charitable causes including Chernobyl Children’s Project International (CCPI). I've written about CCPI before as my sister is the U.S. director. This organization helps children in Belarus and Ukraine who still suffer horrific consequences from the 1986 disaster. So long ago, but thanks to this organization the children who still live with the aftermath are not forgotten. You can learn more about CCPI here. (WWD)
Gucci relaunched its website today, branding it as a "digital flagship' because it will become the house's highest volume store in the world. The designer's have done an excellent job of capturing the feel of Gucci stores with products displayed against a clean palette of gold, light beige and brown (the company calls it Rosewood). The website is very easy to navigate and presents a number of different ways to shop Gucci products. Most notably, (for a luxury brand) social functionality is woven throughout. Users can rate items with a "love it' and share them on Twitter, Facebook and in Email. There is also a world of Gucci that both highlights the house's heritage and connects users to its present via a Facebook Page, Twitter, YouTube, Podcast and an updated, iPad compatible app. Beginning this Wednesday, people will be able to sign up to receive an e-ticket which will allows them to virtually attend Gucci's Spring 2010 show. (WWD)
Jennifer Aniston plays a convincing (and very cool) Barbara Streisand in a photo spread for Harper's Bazaar September issue. The photos feature Aniston recreating classic Streisand looks from the past with modern designs.
The September issues, hitting newsstands now, are pleasantly plump. This is excellent news in an industry lean with advertising pages in recent years. September is the most important month for glossy magazine advertising. Publisher Conde Nast reports that it expects a rebound for Vogue with 532 ad pages - a 24 percent increase over 2009. Glamour will have 241 pages of ads - a 57 percent increase from last September’s issue. Hachette Filipacchi’s Elle improved by 18 percent as did Harper’s Bazaar (12 percent) and Marie Claire (11 percent). (sources: All the Rage and Yahoo!)
Chanel's fall 2o1o collection is the most beautiful in memory with gorgeous gray - violet hues for eyelids and nails, pink for cheeks and a subtle blush for the lips. I especially love the "pink explosion" cheek color which looks shockingly pink in the compact but sheer on the cheeks. Chanel's Paradoxal Purple nail color is a subtle and beautiful update to last season's dark nails. I love this collection. At Chanel.com