Last Friday, Natalia Vodianova celebrated her new line of shoes for Centro and Net-a-Porter and the party was seemingly more exclusive and better-attended than most runway shows. Here are ten of the fifty guests who were in attendance: Natalie Massenet, Karlie Kloss, Christopher Kane, Carine Roitfeld, Mario Testino, Roland Mouret, Grace Coddington, Christian Louboutin, Veronika Chow. I guess those are just your friends if you're a highly-ranked international editorial model in a relationship with Antoine Arnault (below, right), who's essentially fashion's future boss.
The shoes are available now on Net-a-Porter*. All profits will benefit Natalia's charity, the Naked Heart Foundation.
Images courtesy of NET-A-PORTER
*Shoe collection currently available on NET-A-PORTER International site and will soon be available on The Americas site
Ever since trailblazing Cosmpolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown's Sex and the Single Girl encouraged 1960s women to be financially independant and maintain uncommited but fulfilling and shame-free sexual relationships while being firmly commited to femininity and man-worship, the publication has had a complicated relationship to feminism.
So it's not surprising to see a headline which reads, "The Latest Sexist Thing We're Not Pleased About," on the magazine's website home page, right beside a link for an article called "Sneaky Ways to Burn Calories," which urges women to shape up with squats while blow-drying their hair in the morning. "We live in a sexist culture, get mad about it!" / "Don't just stand there watching your hair dry, get your glutes in shape!" It's the perfect expression of a classic women's mag formula, which Cosmo itself helped perfect in the decades following the Women's Liberation Movement: make women feel bad about themselves under the guise of empowerment.
In this case, the dose of empowerment is set up as sheer entertainment. The headline trivializes itself and forestalls the possibility of the readers taking its contents seriously: "The Latest Sexist Thing We're Not Pleased About…" Things are terrible, LOL. The article details a new line of misogynist T-shirts that make light of violence against women. (Actually terrible. Depressingly not uncommon.) " Major fail," writes Cosmopolitan. LOL!
On the Internet, articles that get outraged about sexism or racism or whatever-ism attract readers. "The Latest Sexist Thing We're Not Pleased About…" is basically not even the title of one article, but a description of an entire section of the Internet. I'm picking on Cosmo, but this is an Internet-wide problem and one none of us are immune to: you clicked on this post; I wrote it. Outrage is a kind of web-based drug.
We should all care about how and why the game is rigged against certain people, but on the Internet, it all memefies into background noise. Internet feminism is a verbose, angry cat photo. Sexism, racism and other forms of structural oppression are real problems with deep consequences; they're not punchlines.
It's beginning to feel as though the swarm of stores invading Canada from the States will never end. J. Crew, Marshall's, Ann Taylor, Bloomingdales, Tory Burch, Kate Spade and Nordstrom are just a few of the Goliaths that have been spurred by the stronger Canadian dollar to set up shop next to your local Roots, whether we want them here or not.
Chico's is the latest to park its truck at the Canadian border in anticipation of entry as the clothing retailer announced today its highest fourth-quarter earnings since 2005 and plans to roll out more stores, both domestic and offshore. In a conference call with analysts, CEO David Dyer said that the retailer is expanding in Canada, which he says is a "natural expansion."
"We believe Canada is a great first foray into the international arena for Chico’s FAS, as it represents a natural extension of our brands," said Dyer. "In fact, from our robust customer information, we already know that there is significant number of Chico’s FAS customers in Canada. We expect those customers to welcome our White House Black Market and Chico’s stores into their neighbourhoods."
For those of you not familiar with Chico's (I can't say I've ever shopped there), it targets the 25 to 55, I guess, professional working woman. Kind of your Ann Taylor/Klein crowd. Dyer adds that three stores will open in Canada in late 2013 under its White House Black Market banner, and in 2014, more stores will be set up under the larger Chico’s banner. Maybe we should have expected this sooner since White House Black Market already has a popular Canadian face fronting its campaigns.
Interestingly, as Chico's prepares to move in, many Canadian stores targeting similar 25 to 55 demographics are moving out. Perhaps you'll remember the disappearance of Toronto-based women's chain Tabi in late 2011? Then there's also the Montreal-based Le Chateau who, in recent months, has been reporting dwindling sales and struggling to stay above water. And then there's Sears, not a Canadian chain per se, but a staple in any mall across the country that has been here for 60 years.
Sears is facing big competition from Target, who will be opening 24 stores in Ontario this month and 124 in total across Canada. Making a last ditch effort to save themselves from a bloodbath of red and white bullseyes, Sears recently responded by releasing all kinds of updated semi-hip ad campaigns. You can check one out below and then compare it with Target's almost four-minute ad, which aired in a primetime spot in the middle of last week's Oscars.
Is Sears' attempt to attract younger consumers a case of too little, too late? Maybe they deserve to be Target's primary, um, target given their rather inflated prices (yeah, I said it). But then again, Sears' shortcoming aside, is our rolling out the welcome mat for all American retailers a good thing for Canadian consumers? Sound off in the comments below.
Those wanting a glimpse into the future of Australian fashion need look no further than the list of finalists shortlisted for L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival’s National Designer Award 2013.
Each one of the five finalists is given a $2000 cash prize, but it’s the prestige of the award that helps each shortlisted designer swim to the top of a very crowded pool of talent. This year the ones to watch are From Britten (Victoria), Kathryn Baker (Victoria), Livia Arena (Victoria), Lui Hon (Victoria) and Michael Lo Sordo (New South Wales). The finalists will present their work to a judging panel including Harper’s Bazaar Fashion Features Editor Clare Maclean and last year’s winner Christopher Esber in the hopes of winning a $1000 cash prize and editorial support in Harper's Bazaar, amongst other business-friendly incentives.
Clearly, Victoria is blazing right now as a hotbed of young design talent, but Sydney has more than its share of rich creative talent in Lo Sordo. His show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia saw Susie Lau and Candice Lake pull up front row seats, and shortly after he jetted to Milan to tempt buyers and press at Italy’s international textile fair Milano Unica.
Those who have scored the top prize previously include Dion Lee, Josh Goot, Romance Was Born and Toni Maticevski. Winner-turned-judge Christopher Esber went on to deliver a MBFWA collection so strong he was invited by IMG to show in New York.
at an amazing photoshoot for Harper's Bazaar …. shooting the COVER and an inside spread! so so excited! #NoWords
Seventeen is a personality-driven lifestyle publication for teen girls and Kendall is appropriate-ish for the brand. But Bazaar is supposed to be a "serious" fashion glossy; Bazaar is supposed to be about clothes. Kendall's a cute girl, but there are a lot of cute girls with modeling contracts. This one's riding the coattails of sister Kim Kardashian's tabloid and reality TV fame, which was founded in large part on a sex tape.
#NoWords indeed, Harper's Bazaar. Well okay, maybe just this one: #classy.