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The Versace family on Wednesday slammed a new television series on the murder of fashion giant Gianni Versace, saying it was based on nothing more than "work of fiction".

The show, filmed largely at Versace's Miami waterfront mansion where the stylist to the stars was gunned down in July 1997, is set to be released next week in the United States and Europe. "The Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series... which should only be considered as a work of fiction", it said in a statement. "The company producing the series claims it is relying on a book by Maureen Orth, but the Orth book itself is full of gossip and speculation," it said in reference to "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story".

"She has no basis to make claims about the intimate personal life of Gianni Versace or other family members. Instead, in her effort to create a sensational story, she presents second-hand hearsay that is full of contradictions," it said. The family challenges in particular Orth's claim that Versace was HIV-positive. "Not because it would be something shameful, given that Gianni was one of the first to deal with this problem, to organize charity events and to make personal donations" to this cause, his sister Donatella told Italy's La Repubblica daily.

But because "in making her lurid claims, she ignores contrary information provided by members of Versace's family, who lived and worked closely with him and were in the best position to know the facts of his life," the family said. Donatella, who took over the brand on her brother's death, said she was "amazed that after so many years we still lack respect for the dead, we want to create a scandal around someone who can no longer defend themselves".

The series stars Venezuelan heartthrob Edgar Ramirez as Versace, as well as Penelope Cruz and singer Ricky Martin. Versace's international fashion empire included clothes, fragrances and home furnishings. He was 50 when he was killed by Andrew Cunanan, whose motives remain a mystery. Cunanan -- portrayed by actor Darren Criss -- had killed at least four other people on a bloody journey before reaching Miami Beach. He committed suicide a few days after slaying Versace.

Although most filming took place in Versace's Florida mansion, part of it is being shot at the Fox Studio in Los Angeles, where the luxurious home was recreated to the last detail, including its Greco-Roman paintings. The first season of the "American Crime Story" mini-series, which focused on fallen American football star O.J. Simpson, got rave reviews and won several awards. (AFP)

Dior Paris fashion exhibition breaks 112-year record

More than 700,000 people flocked to a record-breaking Paris exhibition dedicated to the Christian Dior French fashion house, its organisers said Monday.

The six-month-long show which ended on Sunday was the most popular ever held at the city's Museum of Decorative Arts, with visitors queuing for an average of four hours to see some of the luxury brand's most iconic designs.

"Christian Dior, couturier du reve" (roughly translated as "Christian Dior, Designer of Dreams") was organised to mark the label's 70th anniversary, and told the story of the brand through some 300 of its haute couture dresses worn by stars from Marlene Dietrich to Rihanna.

The museum's director David Cameo told AFP that the turn-out was "an absolute record", the highest for a single show in its 112-year history. It also attracted a string of Hollywood stars and top models -- who were spared the queues -- including Jennifer Lawrence, Robert Pattinson and Bella Hadid, some of whom are ambassadors for the brand.

Dior Paris fashion exhibition breaks 112-year record

But not everyone was happy with the show. The French magazine Marianne lambasted the venerable institution, which is next to the Louvre museum, for selling out.

Museum as 'shop window'

Writer Agnes Poirier accused the museum of becoming a "shop window for commercial brands... under the cover of art", and also criticised its earlier link-up with toymaker Mattel for another hugely popular show on the Barbie doll.

However, Cameo told AFP that the huge attendance had been a financial boon for the museum, helping it to notch up a large sur that would "help us re-equip and pay for an overhaul of our restoration studios".

An retrospective of American fashion designer Marc Jacobs' work attracted more than 200,000 visitors to the museum in 2012, which was then a record for the publicly-funded institution.

It is hoping to follow up its success with Dior with another fashion-themed show in March, tracing the enigmatic and mysterious Belgian-born designer Martin Margiela's years at Hermes.

It will be one of two spring exhibitions in the French capital dedicated to the creator, with a retrospective of his work due to open at the Palais Galliera fashion museum also in March.

Despite breaking records, the Dior show was far from being the most popular Paris art show of 2017. That title is held by the "Icons of Modern Art" exhibition at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, which drew 1.2 million people.

It featured the cream of the staggering collection of 250 paintings put together by collector Sergei Shchukin before the Bolshevik Revolution, which had never before been seen outside Russia. (AFP)

Photos: Alain Jocard, AFP

Gronginger Museum to host David LaChapelle exhibition

London - The Groninger Museum, an art museum located in the city of Groningen in the Netherlands, is set to open a new exhibition dedicated to the work of renowned US photographer and director David LaChapelle.

Entitled ‘Good News for Modern Man’, the exhibition opening marks the photographer’s first major solo exhibition in the Netherlands. Running from April 21 to October 28, the exhibition is set to feature more than 70 pieces of work from the artist, ranging from still lines and landscapes to portraits and fashion editorials.

David LaChapelle, who made a name for himself in the industry in the 90s and early 00s by photographing celebrities in controversial light, first began his career taking photos for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine. His innovative approach to photography, which sees the artist play with light, colour and symbolism, have helped established his reputation as one of the world’s most influential photographers.

‘Good News for Modern Man’ will also introduce photographs from LaChapelle’s latest series, New World, in which he aims to photograph the unphotographable in his search for paradise.

Photo: David LaChapelle / LaChapelle Studio

Mumbai to get first textile museum

To document, archive and represent Mumbai’s textile legacy, the Indian megalopolis by the Arabian Sea, home to 20 million people, give or take a few, is all set to get its first textile museum. More than eight years after the initial proposal, the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation), Mumbai's governing civic body, will start with construction in February of this year.

Apart from a museum celebrating the city’s mill legacy, the proposed structure includes a live, functioning mini-textile mill and a representation of the past chawl life - the city's former housing units for the working class, designed to provide cheap accommodation for the stream of migrants coming to the city since the early 1900s, many of them to work in the city's textile mills. In addition, landscaping is planned around a lake inside the compound as well as an amphitheatre and a musical fountain.

The whole complex will be spread over 16.3 acres (61,000 square metres) of land at the defunct United Mill compound in the Kalachowki neighborhood in the city's eastern suburbs, of which 14 acres will be used for construction and the rest for beautification.“My note to the planning committee is to make the museum interactive for the public, accessible which is enjoyed by all the citizens of the city,” said municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta as quoted by Hindustan Times.

Mumbai to get first textile museum

Part of the United Mills compound are three ring and spinning structures, a chimney, a semi-automatic loom and a pond, all of which are protected by varying heritage status levels. Restoration work on some of the structures has already begun. “All the heritage structures will be restored to its past glory. I have asked the committee to restore the mills, the water body in the compound,”added Mehta. The BMC has appointed JJ School of Arts, Mumbai's premier art institute established in 1857, to prepare a vision document for the museum and to design its architecture.

The new museum will include fashion galleries that display traditional Indian textiles as well as the life and culture of the mill worker communities over the ages and education about India's and specifically Mumbai's once thriving textile industry.

Rather than catering to a small elite, Mumbai's new textile museum is meant for everyone - the descendants of the former mill workers and the average citizen. “The JJ School of Architecture, along with Fine Arts and Applied Arts, is working to give this museum to the citizens of Mumbai. Most museums tend to be elitist and are frequented only by the rich. We want this museum to be accessible to the public at large,” said Rajiv Mishra, principal of Sir JJ College of Architecture, director at the State Directorate of Art, Maharashtra and member of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC), according to the Indian Express. Mishra is currently leading a team of 15 experts from the school in planning the project.

Mumbai to get first textile museum

New graduate students will get a chance to showcase their art works as the new museum will also have a dedicated exhibition space for them. “The space will be allocated to new graduates, from painters to sculptors, who will be able to rent the space for six months to one year, showcase their art and also sell it. After a year, their place will be taken by new graduates. The space will not be given to boutique stores,” said Mehta. A separate exhibition area is also planned.

Given the heritage structure of the mill site, the project had to clear hurdles when getting the necessary clearances, initially facing non-approval of the plan by the MHCC and lack of funding. However, on 19th December 2017, the BMC held a pre-bid meeting for the first phase of the museum and the begin of construction is slated for February. The musical water fountain, as a technical project, is not included in the current tenders but an expression of interest will be invited during this month itself.

The first cotton mill was set up in Mumbai by The Bombay Spinning and Weaving Company in the Tardeo neighbourhood in 1856. Ten more mills followed until 1865, employing over 6,500 workers. By 1900, the city already boasted 136 mills and was soon known as the “Manchester of the East”, employing hundreds of thousands of workers at its peak. However, the recession of the 1920s did not leave Mumbai's textile mills unaffected and led to stagnation. In 1925, there were only 81 active mills in the city and the number further declined after World War II, leading to permanent closure after the Great Bombay Textile Strike of 1982.

In recent years, some of the mills have been redeveloped; the most popular being Phoenix Mills in Lower Parel, which is now a shopping mall. Under conservation efforts, more are planned to be turned into museums with one successful project completed, which is United Mills in Lalbaug.

Photos: United India Mills No. 1 by Rohidas Gaonkar; abandoned Madhusudhan Mill by Kunal Ghevaria; Phoenix Mills by Rakesh Krishna Kumar; all mills located in Lower Parel, all images via Wikipedia.

6 Style Films & Documentaries to Watch in 2018

London - The fashion industry has produced its own pearls of beauty and wonder within the field of cinematography over the years. Considering the fact that the two sectors are both visually driven, it seems only natural that film in fashion go hand in hand. Whether they be in the form of a documentary, a short movie or a fashion-focused comedy (The Devil Wears Prada ring any bells?) there is something about a film celebrating the best or worst of fashion that captures viewers hearts and minds like no other. 2018 is set to become the year of the Style Film, which is why Yankeemagazines has listed its top 6 fashion movies, documentaries and series set to launch next year.

‘Mc Queen’

The turbulent life and the tragic death of legendary designer Alexander McQueen remains a source of inspiration for film and documentary makers to this day. Which is why the rise and fall of the British designer, couturier and multiple winner of the British Designer of The Year Awards is set to be the focus of not one but two productions next year (and potentially a third). The first is a feature length film, directed by Andre Haigh which aims to explore the late designer’s creative process in the month leading up to his 2009 retrospective show. Still untitled, the film will stat Jack O’Connell as McQueen. The second is a full-length documentary entitled “McQueen” and directed by Ian Bonhote. The documentary will focus on the life of McQueen, looking at how he “rose from Savile Tailor’s apprentice to become one of the most celebrated and controversial fashion designers in the world.” Lastly, a another film entitled “The Ripper” is said to be works which aims to study the relationship between the late designer and the late Isabella Blow, a leading fashion editor and patron of McQueen. An exact release date for all three productions has yet to be confirmed.

’The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story’

The sudden murder of Gianni Versace, founder of Italian fashion house Versace, outside of his beach house in Miami in 1997 shook the entire fashion industry. The mystery and violence surrounding his tragic death has captured the attention of millions, which makes it a logical story for producers and writers to use as a source of inspiration. Following the success of the ten-part series “The People vs. O.J Simpson: American Crime Story” from FX comes the next part in the tv series “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.” This nine-part series aims to follow the series of events which led up to the murder of Gianni Versace as well as the aftermath, while trying to remain as close to the real life event as possible. However, as the true motive behind Andrew Cunanan reasons to murder Versace remain unknown, it is likely that American Crime Story creator Ryan Murphy is likely to take some artistic liberities when filling the blanks and creating more backstory. The series is set to star Édgar Ramírez as Gianni Versace, Ricky Martin as his partner Antonio D'Amico and Penelope Cruz as his sister and business partner Donatella Versace. The first episode of the series is set to air January 17, 2018.

‘The Gospel According to André’

"I do not live for fashion. I live for beauty and style,” is one of the first things André Leon Talley says in the opening of the documentary focusing on his life, inspiration, and career. Former editor-at-larger for American Vogue, his unique view on fashion and appreciation of beauty has ensured his front row seat at all the major fashion shows for the past 25 years. In the new documentary, which follows Talley’s remarkable rise in the fashion industry, as well as his mission to help diversify the industy, veteran fashion insiders such as Anna Wintour, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs and Valentino take turns discussing their relationship with Talley. The documentaty has already been screened at a number of international film festivals around the world but is set to be widely released to the public next year.

‘Phantom Thread’

Unlike the previous fashion films which are based on true stories, the film ‘Phantom Thread’ follows the fictional story of Reynolds Woodcock, a renowned British designer living in post-war London during the 1950s. Woodstock is part of the creme-de-la-crème of the British fashion industry: his creations are eagerly anticipated and worn by the upper classes of the population, such as members of the royal family and actresses. In addition to fashion, Woodcock has a taste for beautiful women, who tend to come and go in his life. Until he meets one lady, Alma, who turns his whole world upside down when she become both his muse and his lover. Starring Daniel Day Lewis and Vicky Krieps, the film has already been nominated for 2 Golden Globes and is slated for public wide release March 1, 2018.

‘Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist’

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The first feature-length documentary covering the life and career of iconic British designer and activist Vivienne Westwood is set to launch next spring. Entitled "Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist" and shot by Lorna Tucker, the feature-length documentary aims to celebrate the designer's achievements in the fashion industry as well as her cultural influence. Also known as the ‘Queen of Punk’, Westwood is seen as one of the leading founders of the punk sub-culture in the UK in the 1970s. The documentary also aims to highlight the turbulent life of the British designer and her relationship with Malcolm McLaren, designer and former manager of the popular band Sex Pistols. The upcoming documentary is set to be screen at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2018 under the 'World Cinema Documentary Competition' before the UK wide release on March 23, 2018.

‘The Times of Bill’

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‘The Times of Bill’ is a new feature-length documentary examining the life and career of legendary NYTimes street photographer Bill Cunningham. The new documentary aims to follow the rise of his street-style photography as well as his private life. A humble man, Cunningham carved out a name for himself in the fashion industry after cycling through New York in his instantly recognizable blue sweaters and jackets, in search of one of a kind outfits, paving the way for street-photography. The documentary includes interviews with the iconic man himself, as well as never before seen photographs and images of the late photographer, who passed away in 2016. Written and directed by Mark Bozek and narrated by actress Sarah Jessica Parker, it also includes animations by Ruben Toledo and song by supermodel Pat Cleveland, underlining the ongoing influence Cunningham has within the fashion industry. The documentary is set to launch sometime in 2018.

Photo: Courtesy of Dogwoof

First purely online school for fashion and design opens in Russia

Online education has come to Russia relatively recently, but not all sectors decided to go from offline training to online at once. Style and design was one of these industries, which went online just a couple of years ago.

Online courses for the tailoring and design of clothing and accessories have been around for a while but a fully-fledged academy that provides comprehensive education has not.

The program for the Academy of Style and Design on the education portal "SmotriUchis" (smotriuchis ru.) was developed with the support of its main partner - Style Consulting Group. The academy offers courses by industry experts including Anna Lebsak-Kleimans, co-founder of Style Consulting Group and Professor of the State University Higher School of Economics (HSE) and Marina Polkovnikova, owner of the agency VM - Consulting.

First purely online school for fashion and design opens in Russia

First full blown online academy for professionals

The courses were created for fashion industry professionals who want to improve their professional competence and to broaden their horizons, like start-up entrepreneurs in the field of fashion but are open to everyone interested in fashion.

The program consists of basic units, which are needed in order to work in the fashion and design industry: management, visual merchandising, fashion buying, style and colors, marketing, public relations and digital marketing, trend-forecasting and brand-management, history of fashion, law and e- commerce.

A student can buy the academy program as a whole, as well as separate units or courses. At the end of the Academy or unit, students receive a diploma.

First purely online school for fashion and design opens in Russia

“We have been engaged in education in the fashion industry for almost 20 years. And in fact, we were the first in Russia who offered business training programs in this area,” said Anna Lebsak-Kleimans. “We're noticing that the qualification requirements in the industry are increasing year by year. Today, all levels of professionals are living and working a busy schedule, while they continually need to update knowledge and technology.” Stylists require the knowledge of buyers, store managers need to know about visual merchandising or about the technology to assess the effectiveness of sales and so on. In order to save time and resources, many shift their work processes to the online space, said Lebsak-Kleimans. “Therefore, by offering them the possibility for professional development in a convenient way as online video lectures, we also try to optimize their working time.”

Story adapted into English by Weixin Zha.

Photos: Academy of Style and Design

Rick Owens debuts retrospective in Milan

Twenty years of blood, sweat, tears and unorthodoxy are on display at the Rick Owens retrospective exhibition at the Triennale in Milan. “The clothes I make are my autobiography. They are the calm elegance I want to get to and the damage I’ve done on the way. They are an expression of tenderness and raging ego. They are an adolescent idealization and its inevitable defeat.”

The Curve, the Triennale’s signature exhibition space, has been transformed by Rick Owens into an involving pathway covering two decades of endless creativity: a selection of more than 100 garments, objects, accessories, furniture and runway videos displayed and connected through a spectacular site-specific installation created by the designer for the occasion.

Rick Owens debuts retrospective in Milan

Visitors entering the exhibition are welcomed in a fog-like haze and will be rewarded by much more than Owens' conceptual fashion pieces. Decadent furniture sees wooden chairs covered with camel fur, menacing at first, but soft and comfortable when seated. A suspended organic sculpture that hangs like a hovering cloud covers the visitor's path. Then there are those genre-breaking collections that bring back the surreality of his catwalk presentation.

The first 1,000 visitors (and shoppers) can purchase a special limited edition box catalogue, published by Electa. The tomb is inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s boîte-en-valise, containing several books and photo publications, a reproduction of a head by late Italian artist Thayaht and a vial of Owens’ personal fragrance.

Titled Subhuman, Inhuman, Superhuman, the Rick Ownens retrospective will be on show in the Milan Triannale until 25 March 2018.

Photo credit: Courtesy of the Triannale di Milano

Gucci Places expands to creative interactive fashion community

Gucci just announced its expansion of Gucci Places in order to invite people to explore the brand's locations on a global scale. The initiative, which unveiled earlier this year, is meant to encourage customers to wander beyond their comfort zones and discover Gucci.

The first Gucci Place launched in Chatsworth in Derbyshire, England. Gucci supported the House Style exhibition at this location. The house has chosen several other places as part of its Gucci Places initiative including The Biblioteca Angelica, Rome, Italy; Castello Sonnino, Montespertoli, Italy; Maison Assouline, London, United Kingdom; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, California, USA; Bibo, Hong Kong; and Waltz, Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan. The idea is to help people discover and learn about these places to create their own Gucci community. The locations serve as a place to network and inspire creatives as well as bring exposure to the brand in a unique way.

The places can also be found through the Gucci App, which tells the story of each designated place. When someone is near one, the app will send a push notification inviting the user to the location. Once at the Gucci Place, users can check in and receive a badge that is associated with the location. Once these badges are collected, they can be shared through social media.

These places will also retail an exclusive selection of products, based in Gucci's Courrier collection. There will also be special patches that are inspired by each Gucci Place that will be available for purchase at the location as well as at select Gucci stores.

Photo: Gucci

London - The first feature-length documentary covering the life and career of iconic British designer and activist Vivienne Westwood is set to air next spring. Entitled "Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist" and shot by Lorna Tucker, the feature-length documentary aims to celebrate the designer's achievements in the fashion industry as well as her cultural influence.

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The documentary tracks Westwood's inspiration and designs alongside her activism through a series of interviews with the designer's closest inner circle, including her son Joseph Corré. It will also touch on some of the more personal aspects of Westwood's life, such as her relationship with Malcolm McLaren, the former manager of the Sex Pistols and her partner until 1983.

The new documentary is set to be screen at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2018 under the 'World Cinema Documentary Competition' before the UK wide release on March 23, 2018. Dogwoof, the distribution firm behind the documentary has established a firm reputation developing critically acclaimed fashion documentaries. It release Dries earlier this year and previously launched Bill Cunningham New York and Dior & I .

The 12 Must-See Style Exhibitions of 2018

STORY MAP London - The end of 2017 is just around the corner, signaling the start of a new year and the start of a new fashion calendar. Designers and brands are set to share their vision for the upcoming seasons from January onwards with the launch of the international fashion weeks. But what of the inspiration, the dedication and all the hard work that goes into creating a new collection? For those who crave to develop a better understanding of the fashion industry, museum exhibitions and retrospectives offer the unique opportunity to delve into some of the most established fashion houses archives, learn more about key movements in fashion and see the work of leading designers. Visually stunning as well as educational, they offer visitors a one of a kind learning opportunity.

The 12 Style Exhibitions you should see in 2018

To mark the start of the new year, Yankeemagazines has rounded up the top twelve international must-see fashion exhibitions and shares them with you in the interactive story map below.

Scroll down to navigate through the interactive map. Hit the button 'Start Exploring' and use the arrows to explore the map. Tip: for the full experience, click here to open the StoryMap in fullscreen in a new tab.

Photo credits from left to right: Orla Kiely, Style and Textile Museum, Azzedine Alaia, Peter Lindbergh and Mode Museum, Olivier Theyskens.