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17/03/2018

The CFDA shakes things up

The CFDA shakes things up

The CFDA Awards are fashion’s biggest night—as close as the industry gets to its own Oscars, they’re designed to celebrate the best in American design. Last night, the nominations for Menswear Designer of the Year were announced, and they include the usual suspects: Thom Browne, Tom Ford, Raf Simons for Calvin Klein, and, because even the CFDA can’t ignore streetwear’s ascendance, Virgil Abloh for his label Off-White. But the industry group didn’t stop there—one more, and more surprising, name scored a nomination, too: the New York-based hype factory Supreme and its founder James Jebbia.

The closest precedent to Supreme is Public School, the streetwear-meets-fashion label, which won in 2014. But Public School has put on runway shows (although it’s currently shifting to a direct-to-consumer model), was sold in Barneys, and at one point its designers were at the helm of DKNY. Supreme, meanwhile, is a world apart: the brand comes from the world of skateboarding, collaborates with groups like Public Enemy, and its most desirable items are almost all graphic hoodies and T-shirts. And, yes, Supreme occasionally puts out suits and collaborates with other brands on expensive leather jackets. But the brand’s most significant contribution to the world is still a logo tee. It’s not the kind of quote-unquote proper fashion that typically excites CFDA voters.

But where Supreme has previously thrown a middle finger to the powers at be in the fashion world—in the past ripping fashion houses off wholesale without permission—it’s shown a willingness to play nice (or at least nicer) over the past 12 months. In 2017, the brand took on a massive investment from the Carlyle Group, collaborated with Louis Vuitton, and even opened an extra store in New York City so more customers would be able to shop the famously hard-to-actually-buy brand. From this angle, then, it’s barely surprising that Supreme has drawn the CFDA’s attention. Streetwear brands like Off-White are huge sellers at department stores, and designer houses like Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, and Versace are elevating mainstays of streetwear culture, like sneakers, and tacking on $800 price tags. Why not throw Supreme into the mix?

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15/03/2018

Fashion Forecast: Stylist Zerina Akers Has Got Your Color

Fashion Forecast: Stylist Zerina Akers Has Got Your Color

Fashion is one of my favorite conversations—I say, the more the merrier. So when imaging expert Zerina Akers says, “Hey, come meet me and let’s talk spring trends,” I say it’s time to get your chat on, ladies.

Akers’ client list currently includes Ava DuVernay, Yara Shahidi and Niecy Nash, to name a few. But her regular gig is as curator of Beyoncé’s personal wardrobe, meaning that when Queen Bey slings Sir and Rumi on her hips and grabs Blue Ivy by the hand to board her private jet, Akers has a hand in dressing her.

 

Akers and I met for the first time for a styling session, sponsored by Dove and fashion forecaster Fashion Snoops. Akers has a sweet, unassuming manner; there’s a genuine warmth to her that instantly puts the entire room at ease, yet also makes you ask yourself the uneasy question, is my #ootd as on point as hers?

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13/03/2018

Has fashion lost its sex appeal?

Has fashion lost its sex appeal?

As is customary, the Louis Vuitton presentation was the last of the seasonal runway shows in Paris. The global brand presented its fall 2018 collection at the Louvre with guests entering through the I.M. Pei glass pyramid and proceeding through the museum's stone interior. Locations in the city do not get more rarefied and dramatic than that.

For this show, the models walked around an expansive open courtyard that was once a stable. A clear tent had been pitched overhead but the space was not fully enclosed, and just as the spotlights came up, it began to rain, which lent a certain urgency to the proceedings. The models walked down a wide ramp and onto what could have been the deck of a space ship. There were fun cropped jackets and spangly skirts but they were a significant distance from the nearest seat. The result was that one took in the spectacle, the showmanship, but not the construction of the clothes or the details in them.

When the show ended, designer Nicolas Ghesquiére trotted down the ramp to take his bows. The audience was dispatched into the night and into the pouring rain. The whole experience felt efficient and organised, but vaguely sterile. Which garment made one feel desire? Which frock sparked passion? Where was the heat?

In the pantheon of runway shows, Vuitton's was not over-the-top. But in the scope of the current season, it was the closest any brand came to setting off fireworks. While Paris is known for the creativity of designers and their delight in presenting their work in a dynamic environment, intimacy has been the byword in the fashion trade this season. Intimacy. Not sexy. Not hot. Not passionate.

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