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Suzy Menkes: ‘The Fashion Industry is Broken’

Image: WENN.com

Image: WENN.com

Last February, in anticipation of Fashion Week, Suzy Menkes published an editorial takedown of street style culture titled, "The Circus of Fashion." With the next round of shows just a couple of weeks away, the legendary critic is back to decry another kind of circus: This time, Menkes is going after fashion's accelerated trend cycles, specifically, the growing importance of mid-season Resort and Pre-fall collections.

By her count, top brands are currently designing an unprecedented number of collections, around ten a year: two ready-to-wear shows, two Haute Couture shows, two mens shows, one Resort, one Pre-fall and maybe "a couple promotional shows in Asia, Brazil, Dubai or Moscow."

Menkes argues that fashion media and critics are out of sync with the new pace. Editors typically write about Fall and Spring collections extensively (and disseminate photos of runway looks) many months before the clothing appears in stores — and by then, it's already old news. Not only do fast fashion retailers (Menkes calls out H&M, Zara, Topshop, Target and J.Crew) replicate and produce imitation versions of designer pieces months ahead of the high-end brands, ready-to-wear is also forced to compete with the label's Pre-fall and Resort collections. As Menkes put it, "The Fall collection will be gone from the stores in approximately two months, with unsold pieces we had raved about hanging forlornly as markdowns."

In her sweeping assessment of the fashion industry, Menkes finds fault with e-tailers and limited-edition collections for creating a "phony current of desire and longing" in consumers. She suggests that ready-to-wear might be joining couture in its role as a "laboratory of ideas," valued more for its creative vision than its commercial viability. 

It's a passionate and perceptive editorial right up until the ending, when Menkes reveals her obliviousness to the true cost of this accelerated fashion cycle:

Does this nonstop parade of what’s new have an upside? With global warming upsetting traditional summer and winter climates, and with a global market expecting clothes at once suitable to a warm and humid Singapore, the deep freeze of Russia and the upside-down seasons in Australia, all these fresh fashion shows each month could be seen as logical for customers.

But whoever said that logic and fashion make a good fit?

Global warming is changing our seasons, but that's not a "logical" reason to ramp up production. Increased clothing manufacturing has a devastating impact on the environment (not to mention its impact on factory workers), one that's more likely to speed up, not reverse, global warming. If anything, climate change only makes it more illogical for fashion trends to keep on at an accelerated pace. Menkes is a powerful figure with a keen sense of how the industry operates on a structural level;  it's disturbing that she doesn't see how changes in fashion intersect with what's happening in the outside world. 

Sign of the Times | The New Speed of Fashion [T Magazine]

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Paris Has London Mania with Printemps’ Burberry Collaboration

If you’ve ever visited Paris, Printemps department stores are a must for anybody that loves shopping, stocking all of our favourites from Armani to Paul and Joe. At the moment, their store on Boulevard Hausmann has London fever, embarking on an exciting campaign called ‘London Mania.’

To kick off the initiative, they’ve teamed up with iconic British heritage brand Burberry and the store has been decorated with a plethora of Burberry displays throughout. As you can imagine, it’s mainly trench coats galore! Running through the end of October, they’ve got a few other treats up their sleeves too, such as a special Art of the Trench feature. Store-goers will be treated to a live projection of fifty French icons wearing that famous Burberry trench coat out and about around Paris.

To further fuel the furor, a special Burberry pop-up store has also opened up inside Printemps, which aims to transport shoppers right into the very heart of London. Plus, it’s selling exclusive rock-chic style products for both men and women, which are no doubt set to become collectors’ pieces.

burberry-exclusives1

Check out the cool Burberry Python jacket and studded leather bag that feature as part of the exclusive collection above. You can find about more about the campaign on the Printemps site

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Zara Home Gets Cozy in Yorkdale, Toronto

We love their clothing, but finally we can decorate our homes in on-trend Zara essentials. As of this week, Zara's homeware arm has set up, well, home in Yorkdale, Toronto, offering an endless bounty of beautiful candles, cushions, tsotchkes and sleepwear.

Zara Home

Like their clothing, Zara Home will offer two distinct collections per year, taking trendy details from runway shows and adapting them to the home. Currently available for Fall/Winter is the Multiculture, Graphic Studio, Diva, Ocean, Rock Couture, Orient Express and Hotel Collection. My personal favourite is the Multiculture range, with its touches of folk art and blue tones, patchwork and attractive pattern combinations. There's classic prints such as Oxford stripes, flowery designs and traditional folk patchwork, mixed with more modern looks like chambray and denim.

Zara Home

As is expected from Zara, prices swing widely between low-budget essentials (small Egyptian cotton towels can be picked up for $12) and talking point statement pieces, like large coral ornaments for $60. If you're looking for stocking fillers, their candles and home fragrances are around the $12 mark, while slippers, silk pyjamas and sleep masks have their own land of nod section in the middle of the store.

Zara Home

I should probably mention that the Zara Home now open at Yorkdale is the first of its kind on North America, but shipping is available from their website. Meanwhile, their second store will open in Laval, Quebec at Carrefour Laval later this month August 29. Now check out some of the photos I snapped during the store's opening and sound off about how you dress your home… 

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Before They Were Famous: Supermodels’ First Polaroids

Image: Modelinia.com

Image: Modelinia.com

With a whole new class of models set to descend on New York City for runway castings shortly, the website Modelinia thought it would be a good time to look back at today's top working models, before they made it. Yes: Karlie Kloss, Kate Upton, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Behati Prinsloo, Cara Delevingne and so on. Some of us (by the way, I'm not including myself in that "us") may be more familiar with these women's faces than the faces of our friends, our lovers, our dogs — but their unpolished, undone younger selves are in many ways surprising. Enjoy!

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Industrie Magazine Gets Up Close with Cara Delevingne

Image: industrie.nowmanifest.com

Image: industrie.nowmanifest.com

Industrie, the insidery London-based fashion publication, has just released its Issue 6 cover, which features Cara Delevingne. To say that the British model is having a moment is an understatement. 

This season alone, Delevingne appeared in campaigns for Fendi, YSL Beauty, Mulberry, DKNY and Saint Laurent; she was tapped for two high-profile September issues, W and Vogue Japan.

She's an especially fitting choice because this is Industrie's 'Influence'-themed issue. The model is currently riding a wave of success, but she also entered the fashion industry with a measure of notoriety due to her upper crust background and reputation for partying; later, she built her career by winning powerful industry friends*. In many ways, Delevingne's story is a case study of how influence works, demonstrating how certain kinds of privilege and connections dictate success. 

And on a purely visual level, it's a stunning cover. Photographed by Alasdair McLellan, the effect is very intentional and controlled, but it's still young and simple. 


*For example: one of Delevingne's first big jobs, for Burberry, was photographed by Mario Testino (working with the influential photographer puts a model on the fast track) and also featured Jourdan Dunn (Delevingne and Dunn's social media lovefest has benefitted both of their careers).

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