Here's Naomi Campbell on the cover of L'Officiel Netherlands' October/November 2013 issue, which marks the publication's fifth anniversary. This special occasion called for copious Photoshop, which is great. What a breath of fresh air, to see something airbrushed. No one ever uses enough Photoshop, have you noticed that?
The headline here is, admittedly, slightly inaccurate. Here's what actually happened: Anna Dello Russo accessorized a $68,000 Saint Laurent dress with a dog and paraded the look in front of street style photographers outside the Emporio Armani Spring 2014 runway show at Milan Fashion Week.
The embellished floral babydoll dress first gained notoriety when it was photographed on Cara Delevingne for the label's Fall 2013 campaign (above; it also appeared on the runway), but its true claim to fame is its $68,000 price tag, a detail which was buried in a Style.com post about the label's new Soho store. We reported on the item in June as part of our ongoing coverage about luxury pricing, a topic which we initially came to through another Saint Laurent garment: an 80% polyester jacket which was priced at $61,000 (pictured below).
H&M's collaboration* with Isabel Marant is the biggest thing right now. It's bigger than Breaking Bad, it's bigger than Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice lattes, it's bigger than apple picking. It's way bigger than the impending government shutdown. But not responsible for it, because fashion (particularly the fast kind) could never be anything but a force for good in the world BECAUSE clothes give people a way to reveal their true selves (and banging bods). That's precisely why we're so excited to shop Isabel Marant designs at H&M prices: Her clothes convey a certain je ne sais quoi we've always identified with, but have never been able to afford.
For example, check out this preview image, which was shared today with the New York Daily News. Daria Werbowy, who appeared in many campaigns for each brand individually, is now the face of the Isabel Marant x H&M joint venture. It's a transcendent moment. Transcendent in that it transcends fashion, transcends advertising, transcends my curiosity — even transcends the very meaning of the word "commercial." Sometimes the ultimate risk is playing it safe. (George Eliot said that.)
Based on some grainy magazine scans which have appeared in the tFS Forums, Malgosia Bela, Devon Aoki and Saskia de Brauw were also tapped for the campaign.
*The accepted term for a marketing initiative undertaken between a high-end designer and a mass market retailer.
The question doesn't so much seem to be if Blake Lively is ready to create a lifestyle brand, at the ripe old age of 26, but whether we, her public, are ready for it. So far, Blake is best known for her seminal role as Serena on Gossip Girl and for marrying Ryan Reynolds. Now, don't take this the wrong way, I know it's shocking, but there are people who have never seen Gossip Girl and who don't know who Ryan Reynolds is. (I don't know any of them, but I hear tell.)
Blake described this new company thusly for British Vogue: "It's something that will be launching in a few months and that I'm really, really thrilled about. The main element of it is that it's about storytelling and it's about living a very one-of-a-kind, curated life, and how to achieve that. There's nothing like it out there — it's without a genre."
Let me stop you right there. It sounds a lot like something out there, and everyone is saying it, Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP. And if GOOP didn't exist, there'd be comparisons to Martha Stewart or any actress-turned-designer-who-decided-to-also-sell-candles. I simply don't believe that Blake Lively is creating a whole new genre of company. And the word "curated" could not be more overused at this point. I curated my medicine cabinet this morning. But, please, continue.
"I have so many passions outside of acting and things that I grew up being good at and that I don't utilise when acting. Acting was something that my family did so I just kind of got into it by default, but there was so much that I cultivated, thinking that I wouldn't be an actor."
I'm just good at so much, you guys! Well, she's got the Gwyneth pretention down. Which is kind of a surprisingly bad way to position this, considering much of her appeal is based on her easy-going, non-pretentious personality. Like, genuinely easy-going in the way Gwyneth Paltrow always protests that she's easy-going. To be a genetically blessed, somewhat talented and successful actress and then go on about how many other talents you have is just tacky. Especially when they're yet to be displayed and so far only being referenced by you. You, young beauty, who will clearly be expecting us to eat up your advice/recipes/curation of goods any time now. And like GOOP, which started out as just editorial and now every newsletter comes with a sales pitch, we're sure she's going to be asking for more than our readership eventually.
Who knows, maybe Blake Lively will be the new, sexy Martha Stewart. Maybe I will be eating up her curated lifestyle suggestions with a spoon. But, I'm not counting on it. Lively has just done too little with her life so far to be doling out lifestyle advice on such a grand scale. She's no Gwyneth. And let's face it, you know who's lifestyle brand we'd be gagging for? Blair Waldorf's.
But the most exciting continent swap was Ellery’s. Last week, the Sydney-based brand was invited to show in Paris by the Fédération Français de la Couture du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, a covetous invitation that only two other local designers (Collette Dinnigan and Martin Grant) have ever been extended.
30-year-old Kym Ellery showed her new collection on Sunday at Paris’ Hôtel D'Évreux. Inspired by 70s interior architecture, collage and the mediating mind, the collection was a focused edit of luxurious textiles that celebrated the sculptural Ellery silhouette. Crop tops (it wouldn’t be Spring 2014 without them) featured long sleeves that flared out from the elbow. Billowing flared pants, worn so effectively by Hanne Gaby Odiele in Ellery’s Fall campaign, made a return, giving a sharp pinstripe suit the vague outline of a fishtail gown.
But back to those textiles. Weightless silk organza, metallic striped gauze, wood-grain lamé, satin foam and hand sewn netted sequins were all used to create an incandescent sense of decadence and depth. In addition, Contemporary Artist Ben Baretto was commissioned by the designer to recreate his works into bespoke panels, which have then been artfully inserted into garments.
That appreciation for couture detailing should work in Ellery’s favour when it comes to putting together the official schedule of future Paris Fashion Week seasons. At present, Ellery is part of the official off-schedule for newcomers, and will graduate to the official calendar depending on her level of success. We have faith.
Images courtesy of EVH PR