Marques’Almeida awarded Cotton USA sponsorship at London Style Week AW18

London - Cotton USA is set to sponsor Marques’Almeida at London Style Week this February.

The design duo behind the London-based fashion label, Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida, received support from the programme while developing their AW18 collection, which will be shown during a catwalk show on Leake Street on Monday. Marques’Almeida used the highest quality materials and fibres available through the Cotton USA scheme to create their collection, which combines compelling technical designs with an ethos of freedom and empowerment.

“It is fantastic to be able to work with designers that are as innovative and talented as Marques'Almeida,” commented Stephanie Thiers-Ratcliffe, International Marketing Manager at Cotton USA. “The way their collections have evolved over the years is a testament to the kind of versatility you can only achieve by working with high-quality fibres like U.S. cotton. We’re so excited to be working with designers who truly embrace U.S. cotton and have the same values as ours.”

“Consumers are increasingly demanding garments that are made from materials and fibres they can trust. Just like Cotton USA Marques'Almeida are passionate about this process, which is why we are so thrilled to be partnering with them at this year’s London Style Week.”

Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida added: “We’re extremely excited to be working with Cotton USA at this season’s London Style Week. We know we can trust the quality of U.S. cotton, meaning we can focus completely on expressing the vision of our designs, safe in the knowledge that our pieces are made from only the best.” Cotton USA has offered a London Style Week sponsorship programme for more than a decade, providing a valuable platform for designers to elevate their profile and expand their individual brands. Previous recipients of the sponsorship include Richard Nicholl, Meadham Kirchhoff, PPQ, Preen and Louise Gray.

Photo: Courtesy of Marques'Almeida

Could Gucci become bigger than Louis Vuitton?

Does Gucci have the potential to become bigger than Louis Vuitton? Judging by its latest sales figures, which surpassed the six billion mark, LVMH may not hold the crown for long.

No wonder François-Henri Pinault of Gucci parent company Kering told the Financial Times: “We are only at the beginning”. Due to the spectacular growth Gucci achieved in 2017, led by chief operator Marco Bizzarri and designer Alessandro Michele, the company has already exceeded the turnover of Hermès, a brand regarded the as the pinnacle of success of all luxury companies. In the world of super brand rankings, Gucci remains only behind the monogram that is Louis Vuitton.

In the past twelve months, the Florentine fashion house "performed better than the market", rose from 4.3 billion in 2016 to 6.21 billion this year, up by 44.6 percent with operating profits of 2.12 billion.

Gucci's operating profits have doubled

Gucci's operating profits have quadrupled in the last 18 months, while revenues have more than tripled. This has led analysts and investors to wonder how long the brand can sustain these levels of growth, writes the Financial Times. According to Pinault, over time Gucci could surpass the sales of Vuitton.

The biggest "Gucci on record" (the Italian press has often compared its growth to that of Apple in the era Steve Jobs) has meanwhile overtook another leading name of luxury, the French Hermès, which ended 2017 with sales growing 7 percent 5.45 bn euros. The brand has seen its grown 'limited' to a single digit increase unlike its double digit growth in 2016.

One reason Gucci has seen its sales surge is due to its growing online presence. Gucci saw its web traffic increase from 1.8M site visits in January ‘17 to 4.2M visits in December ‘17 – a 130 percent increase in web traffic, notes Forbes.

Gucci has already surpassed Louis Vuitton in online traffic, even if site visits do not necessarily mean conversions. According to Forbes, in December 2017 SimilarWeb tracked 4.2 million US visitors to Gucci.com, as compared with 2.9 million for LouisVuitton.com.

Interestingly, Gucci was named one of the three 2017 Momentum Award winners by SimilarWeb in the retail category, the only luxury brand to be so recognized. Gucci joins Uniqlo.com and Stitchfix.com as leaders in the online world of retail, based on the company’s algorithm measuring online traffic and engagement metrics.

Photo credit: Gucci, source: Gucci website; article sources; Forbes, SimilarWeb

Bella Kidman Cruise launches T-shirt line

Bella Kidman Cruise, the daughter of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, has launched her own graphic T-shirt line called BKC.

The debut collection, available now on her website, features Kidman Cruise's hand-drawn characters on simple navy or white T-shirts.

"Bella has been an artist her entire life," reads a statement on her website. "Her go-to medium is marker on paper with her inspiration for her artwork drawn largely from friends, fashion, and music.

“It has been a life-long dream of Bella’s to put her art onto clothing; her brand new t-shirt collection is the first glimpse in the realisation of this dream, with many more to come in the near future."

The collection of T-shirts feature monochromatic designs include abstracted portraits of curly-haired ladies and a bug-eyed monster. The tees are all made in Los Angeles and are priced 85 dollars each.

Kidman Cruise, who was adopted by actors Cruise and Kidman in 1993, is reportedly estranged from her mother, so it is surprising that she chose to feature “Kidman” so prominently in the brand name, no doubt to peak interest in her new brand.

Images: Bella Kidman Cruise website

A-list gets in the popcorn at Calvin Klein during NYFW

A-list stars Nicole Kidman, Lupita Nyong'o and Margot Robbie flocked to Calvin Klein on Tuesday, wading through popcorn to watch Raf Simons's latest meditation on Americana, where firefighter meets prairie.

The Belgian's stewardship of the iconic US label, now into a second year, is one of the few bright spots in a New York Style Week suffering from an identity crisis, thinning schedule and a glut between the passing of one generation and the search for another. Ruby Sterling again designed the set. Barns evoked the pioneer spirit of the prairies, adorned with work by Andy Warhol -- also to be seen on Calvin Klein underwear -- and a room ankle deep in popcorn.

A-list gets in the popcorn at Calvin Klein during NYFW

Model of the moment Kaia Gerber, 16, walked the runway, dressed in waders, watched by proud parents Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber. Simons said the collection evolved his window-onto-America theme for his Calvin Klein, this time referencing the discovery of America, the 1960s space race and the 21st century information age.

He said it was about freedom, democracy and no cultural hierarchy, listing 50 words in place of 50 states that included pioneer, firefighter, prairie, industrial and, of course, popcorn. Clothes ticked the modesty trend for 2018 fall/winter, full skirts practically to the ground and boxy outerwear, with models kitted out in knitted balaclavas or hijab-inspired hats shielding hair and neck.

A-list gets in the popcorn at Calvin Klein during NYFW

There was an emergency responder vibe in orange outerwear and pants, fluorescent strips on jackets, giant wader-style boots over the knee in both shiny black and white and baggy sweaters. Giant silver gloves tapped the oven mitten look, a space-age version of the Ralph Lauren's tasselled beige numbers that divided opinion for the US Winter Olympics team in Pyeongchang.

There was a utilitarian, workman-like feel, and clear odes to America -- patchwork quilts and red checked fannel. Yet however striking and original, it did not shriek wearable. Simons's tenure at Calvin Klein has been applauded by critics and the label's recent underwear ad featuring the Kardashian sisters was YouTube's most-watched commercial last month with 15.4 million hits.

Considered one of the finest designers of his generation, the 50-year-old previously breathed new life into Dior after John Galliano was fired in 2012 for anti-Semitic insults in a Paris bar. Style Week closes Wednesday with shows by Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs, before the season flits to London, Milan and Paris. Here are the other standouts of the penultimate day in the Big Apple.

A-list gets in the popcorn at Calvin Klein during NYFW

Twisted romance

Selena Gomez, the current face of Coach, was guest of honor in the front row, wearing a black leather jacket and long floral dress, capturing something of the gothic, city meets nature, romance of the collection. But if "twisted, dark romance" was one of the themes, there was no sign of off-again-on-again squeeze Justin Bieber, with whom she has reportedly recently reunited to the chagrin of her family.

Models paraded up and down a darkened woodland set, a kind of spooky movie vibe with puffs of dry ice at the end, fall leaves crunching under foot and nude tree trunks with overhanging branches. It was a blend of goth, the preference for all black dressing beloved by non-conforming English teenagers in the 1990s, with the supernatural, a juxtaposition of America's Southwest with New York. Coach also released for immediate sale a Dreamer satchel bag, a name much in collective US discourse to denote children brought illegally as immigrants by their parents, now threatened with deportation.

The label, begun in 1941 as a family-run workshop, has thrived under British executive creative director, Stuart Vevers. "When I was growing up, I remember people would shout after me in the street 'freak!' And this was about celebrating that strength and confidence in being yourself," the 44-year-old said of the goth look.

A-list gets in the popcorn at Calvin Klein during NYFW

Auf wiedersehen

Canadian designer Jason Wu presented his last collection for Hugo Boss, where he as been artistic director of womenswear since June 2013. Wu is leaving to concentrate on his own label. His last presentation for the German house was inspired by the work of US minimalist artist Robert Morris and focused on bold tailoring. Hugo Boss is yet to name a successor for Wu. (AFP)

Photos: Calvin Klein, © 2018 Giovanni Giannoni

Elie Tahari has signed a worldwide fragrance licensing deal with TPR Holdings LLC, and the New York-based fashion house has plans to launch its debut scent in 2019.

“By adding a prestigious fragrance license like Elie Tahari to our beauty portfolio, we are able to further accelerate our penetration into the best worldwide distribution,” said Brian Robinson, TPR president. “Additionally, we believe this launch will be one of the premier fragrance launches in 2019. We are looking forward to working with the Tahari team and Bluestar Alliance to make this a fantastic reflection of the brand.”

Joey Gabbay, Bluestar Alliance LLC president, who is responsible for the licensing of Elie Tahari, added: “We are very impressed with TPR’s capabilities. We are working to expand the brand’s global presence and the TPR team has proven expertise and success in the fragrance category.”

No further details of the fragrance has been announced, other than that the partnership will launch will a debut fragrance in spring 2019.

Tahari said: “Scent has always been very important to me and I have always wanted to create a fragrance for the brand. I’m thrilled to be partnering with TPR to make this dream become a reality.”

This is the latest fashion house TPR Holdings has signed up, last month it announced a beauty license with Badgley Mischka. The first fragrance of this collaboration will launch spring 2018 with plans to unveil the Badgley Mischka colour line in summer 2018.

BFC/Vogue Designer Style Fund announces shortlist for 2018

The British Style Council (BFC) has announced its shortlist of designers for the BFC/Vogue Designer Style Fund 2018. In addition to announcing the shortlist of designers eligible for the Fund, the BFC revealed that it is set to receive support from one of China's largest online retailers, JD.com, for the first time.

The shortlist for the Fund includes David Koma, Huishan Zhang, Le Kilt, Marques’ Almeida, Molly Goddard and Rejina Pyo. Established in 2008, the BFC/Vogue Designer Style Fund aims to support new talent and accelerate their growth over a twelve-month period through extensive mentoring. In addition, the winning recipients of the Fund also receive a cash prize of 200,000 pounds to support their business. The shortlisted designers will be interviewed by the judging committee on March 15 at Mortimer House, before the winner is announced on May 8, 2018.

The 2018 BFC/Vogue Designer Style Fund received a number of applications across the UK, with many not shortlisted placed on the radar of the judging committee for the first time. This year’s judging committee is chaired by Edward Enninful OBE, Editor of British Vogue and comprises of a series of experts from across the industry such as Caroline Rush CBE, head of the British Style Council, Erdem Moralioglu, founder of fashion label Erdem, Gemma Metheringham from LABEL and Jourdan Dunn, leading UK model.

"The BFC Vogue Designer Style Fund is a hugely important initiative and I am thrilled to have Chaired this year’s committee," said Edward Enninful OBE, Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue and Chair of the Fund Committee, in a statement. "Our shortlist is a true representation of the diverse and inspirational design talent we foster in the UK, and I’m excited to see who will impress us as we move forward." The renewed application process for the Fund encouraged applicants to think strategically about its core objective of business growth.

All shortlisted designers are set to receive a full mentoring programme through the BFC's Business Support Team, with access to funders and industry experts including a roundtable hosted by Sir Paul Smith and a mentoring session from Rodial’s Maria Hatzistefanis. In addition, Xia Ding from JD.com will share expertise on how to best penetrate the Chinese market, the world’s second-largest consumer and luxury market, and expand their customer bases into the country. Furthermore, award-winning law firm Mishcon de Reya will offer pro-bono legal advice to the finalists and winner.

Although the Fund was shared between the two recipients, Mother of Pearl and palmer//harding, for the 10 year anniversary the Fund is set to return to its original format and award one winner. "It is a very exciting shortlist which shows the breadth of talent we have here in the UK," said Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive of the British Style Council. "All shortlisted designers are incredibly talented and have the potential to become the UK’s next global fashion house. We are very excited to work with Edward and welcome our new Judging Committee members and Funders who are joining Burberry, Topshop and Paul Smith who have supported the fund since its inception."

Former winners of the BFC/Vogue Designer Style Fund include Christopher Kane, Erdem, Mary Katrantzou, Nicholas Kirkwood, Peter Pilotto and Sophia Webster.

Foto: British Style Council website

PETA Eyeing Lawsuit Against Canada Goose

PETA’s Media Liaison Sofia Mobili says PETA is reaching out to consumers who believe that they were misled by Canada Goose's claims of using only "ethically sourced" products, as part of an investigation for a potential class-action lawsuit. It’s aim is to help hold the company accountable for profiting from animals' suffering while claiming that its fur-and-feather coats are “humane.”

Considering the sheer quantity of Canada Goose coats sold,, this could interest a large number of outerwear consumers. PETA has long conceived of ways to bring their message home, from protests outside Canada Goose retailers, to requesting that Canada Goose employees exercise their influence from within, to buying shares in the company so that they can push forward their animal cruelty-free agenda. In recent weeks, they have also purchased ads in the newspapers of top East Coast universities—such as Yale, Columbia, and New York University—as well as to viewers of Good Day New York, Modern Family, Page Six, and The Wendy Williams Show on WNYW. Their latest step is to appeal to consumers who have purchased from the company.

PETA urges Canada Goose consumers to them

“PETA is investigating potential claims related to certain representations made by Canada Goose,” says PETA’s Assistant Manager of Clothing Campaigns Christina Sewell, adding, “we encourage people who feel that they've been misled by the company's claims of "ethical" and "humane" sourcing to e-mail us." When asked by Yankeemagazines if customers who get in touch would be entitled to some sort of payout, she responds, “When individuals rely on and are financially affected by unlawful misrepresentations, they may have the right to seek compensation for their losses through a consumer protection lawsuit. The existence of compensation would depend on a positive outcome in any potential case, and the amount available would be contingent on many factors, including the premium paid for Canada Goose items and whether the lawsuit is brought by a single person or is a class action.”

Canada Goose maintains that its animals are not mistreated and its birds suffer no hunger, fear, distress, injury or physical discomfort in the manufacture of their best-selling down-filled, fur-trimmed parkas. However recent viral videos released by PETA taken inside a Canada Goose supplier appear to depict piles of geese crushing each other in giant crates before they are grabbed by the neck and hung upside down, their wings still flapping as their throats are slit. In another video, coyotes, left for days in steel traps are seen to be bludgeoned, stomped on and shot. We reached out to Canada Goose for their reaction to PETA’s threat of legal action but did not hear back by time of publication.

Style editor Jackie Mallon is an educator and author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.

Photos PETA.org and Yankeemagazines.com

In Pictures: River Island #LabelsAreforClothes campaign

London - In honor of its 30th anniversary, high street retailer River Island has unveiled a new campaign for Spring/Summer 2018 which aims to celebrate its history of empowering people through fashion.

In Pictures: River Island #LabelsAreforClothes campaign

The new campaign, entitled 'Labels are for Clothes', shines a light on social and political conversations surrounding cultural differences and labeling. The high street retailer aims to take an individual stance against intensified labeling by banishing all labels to clothing, rather than the people who wear them.

In Pictures: River Island #LabelsAreforClothes campaign

Shot by Richard Burbridge and styled by Ondine Azoulay, the campaign stars a core group of unique individuals, including curve model and body positive activist Sabina who appears in the campaign with the tongue in cheek line 'Do not Shrink.' All of the faces in the campaign have been subject to stereotyping and are poised to reclaim their labels in the most positive way. Flipping the idea of the label each campaign face has their own personalized clothing label.

In Pictures: River Island #LabelsAreforClothes campaign

Although River Island is aware that it is impossible to represent every member of society, through its campaign it hopes to diversify from the standard retail model formula. "I'm proud to be part of our most exciting ad campaign to date," said Josie Cartridge, Customer Director at River Island in a statement. "In recent years we have witnessed a shift in the market and the attitudes of our consumers - they want to express themselves and not be defined by convention. The 'Labels are for Clothes' campaign is our recognition of this welcome movement."

In Pictures: River Island #LabelsAreforClothes campaign

"We aim to continuously evolve as a brand and ensure that our campaigns are the truest possible representation of the modern River Island customer." To mark its new campaign, River Island has also launched a selection of t-shirts and sweatshirts which bear the slogans from the campaign. Proceeds from each sale of the line will be donated to Ditch the Label, a leading international anti-bullying charity.

In Pictures: River Island #LabelsAreforClothes campaign

Photos: Courtesy of River Island

In Pictures: L.K. Bennett x Jenny Packham

British fashion retailer L.K. Bennett has unveiled its first-ever bridal shoe and clutch collaboration with British designer Jenny Packham.

In Pictures: L.K. Bennett x Jenny Packham

Inspired by the leading ladies of the golden age of cinema including Old Hollywood icons Vivien Leigh and Bette Davis, and the vintage style of 1930’s Paris, the 16-piece footwear collection includes both high heel and flat options in various finishes including embellishments, satin and lace, as well as four styles of clutches.

In Pictures: L.K. Bennett x Jenny Packham

Highlights include the ethereal ‘Scarlet’ heel and ‘Cari’ flat shoe, adorned with organza peonies, the lace ‘Parris’ block heel with grosgrain bow, the Dahlia’ high sandal, with drop crystals and the ‘Felicity’ high sandal, with glittered star detail.

In Pictures: L.K. Bennett x Jenny Packham

For alternative brides, there is a bohemian leather ‘Dorothy’ heel, a ‘Deedee’ flat sandal, and the ‘Fern’ satin court, which has been embellished with delicate jewels and pearls, for a vintage touch.

In Pictures: L.K. Bennett x Jenny Packham

L.K. Bennett launches first-ever bridal shoe collection

Commenting on the collaboration, Packham said: “There is a strong synergy between the L.K.Bennett woman and the Jenny Packham Bride so it seemed natural and very exciting for me to collaborate with their design team.

In Pictures: L.K. Bennett x Jenny Packham

“A project of passion, the combination of the Jenny Packham aesthetic with the renowned design heritage and quality of L.K.Bennett has resulted in a beautiful collection of shoes and bags of which I am very proud.”

In Pictures: L.K. Bennett x Jenny Packham

The collaboration also offers matching bag styles, in an array of fabrics, including lace and shimmering box clutches, standout pieces are the ‘Brigitte’ vintage-inspired embellished satin pouch and the ‘Sissi’ grosgrain structured clutch with pearl edging.

In Pictures: L.K. Bennett x Jenny Packham

The 16 styles of footwear and 4 styles of clutches range from 195 pounds to 495 pounds and are available in selected L.K.Bennett stores globally and lkbennett.com.

In Pictures: L.K. Bennett x Jenny PackhamIn Pictures: L.K. Bennett x Jenny PackhamIn Pictures: L.K. Bennett x Jenny PackhamIn Pictures: L.K. Bennett x Jenny Packham

Images: courtesy of L.K. Bennett

Vogue Poland to launch as a multi-media brand

London - Vogue is set to launch its debut issue of Vogue Poland tomorrow, on February 14. Marking the 23rd global edition of the fashion bible from Conde Nast, the inaugural print issue of the magazine will launch simultaneously with its digital platform, vogue.pl as well as its corresponding social media channels.

Vogue Poland, which will be published under a licence agreement with media venture Visteria, first magazine issue will be available through country-wide distribution. "There is no questioning that Vogue Polska is the most eagerly awaited title of the last decade. It answers the needs of Polish women with an affinity for beauty and elegance," says Justyna Markiewicz, Managing Director of Visteria, the publisher of Vogue's Polish edition in a statement. "The launch of the magazine was a conscious business decision in response to the rapid growth of Poland's luxury goods market."

Vogue Poland to launch as a multi-media brand

The March issue launch cover, shot by Juergen Teller, features Polish models Anja Rubik and Małgosia Bela, who pose in front of the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw. The debut issue includes a photographic portfolio produced by Teller as well as an eclectic mix of fashion and portraits celebrating Polish icons in art, culture, and politics. The first edition also aims to highlight the work of numerous Polish fashion designers, as will each issue, together with Polish and international contributors.

"Whenever I tell people that we are about to launch Vogue Poland, I am asked the same question: ‘Is there no Polish Vogue already?’," adds Karina Dobrotvorskaya, President of Condé Nast International New Markets and Editorial Director of Brand Development. "Indeed, Poland, with its economic stability and great appetite for luxury goods, seems a very natural fit for Vogue. It is a long-anticipated brand there, the Polish audience is definitely ready for it. Vogue Poland is a big step forward for Condé Nast’s ongoing expansion into Eastern Europe."

Vogue Poland to launch as a multi-media brand

Members of the editorial team include Filip Niedenthal, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Poland and Małgosia Bela, Editor-at-Large, an internationally recognised model who also acts as the magazine’s ambassador and liaison. Joanna Lorynowicz has been appointed Deputy Editor, Łukasz Aksamit as the Art Director, and Daniela Agnelli as the Style Director, after having previously held the same role at Vogue Arabia and The Sunday Telegraph Magazine.

Eleven issues will be released during the year. In addition to the two-month summer issue (July-August), the magazine will be published monthly and retail for PLN 16,90. Vogue is currently published in 22 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Russia, Japan, China, Taiwan, Mexico & Latin America, the Middle East, Korea, Brazil, Australia, Portugal, India, Turkey, Thailand, the Netherlands, and the Ukraine.

Photos: Vogue Poland debut issues, credit Juergen Teller.