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Bring On the Broga! Lululemon to Open Standalone Menswear Stores

Lulu Banner

Guys do yoga (broga?), guys drink those green slime coloured health drinks and, heck, apparently guys even wear Lululemon. In fact, sporty dudes wear the stretchy active wear (originally founded in Vancouver) so much that the brand is planning on opening a chain of standalone men only stores.

In a bid to sustain the massive growth they've experienced in the past few years, the only thing left for Lulu is to reign in those XY chromosome dollars, or else face a plateau in sales. Of course, this plateau would have nothing to do with its recent see-through pants scandal, no siree, but still, the brand is attempting the impossible by reinventing itself for another audience.

Up until now, Lululemon has catered to its male customers with simple tees, kahuna shorts and caps, but while this merch has sold well, existing female-orientated brands have had problems reaching the other half. Think Uggs, Toms and even Forever 21.

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Men's apparel currently counts for 12 percent of Lululemon's business, which is a small slice of pie considering Lulu's Chief Executive Officer, Christine Day, revealed that the chain will start opening standalone men’s stores by 2016; a revelation that comes only days after she announced her retirement from the company.

In all fairness, the brand has wrangled its underwear onto the tushies of NHL players, but would your partner/husband/beer-swilling-crumb-maker ever don Lulu gear? Maybe they already do, in which case, do you think the menswear shops will be a success?

Images via Lululemon.com

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LIFEwithBIRD and Sophie ‘Hirschy’ Hirschfelder Pay a Neon 90s Homage for Spring 2013

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Fashion has a borderline-obsessive view towards Nineties nostalgia, and it’s not hard to see why. But the new LIFEwithBIRD campaign has no need for grainy retro filters and gives the decade a sharp modern spin.

Much of it is to their choice of model, Sophie ‘Hirschy’ Hirschfelder, the Melbourne stunner who could give Bambi a run for her money in terms of both eyebrows and catchy moniker. Her razor features and steely glare are the perfect match for LIFEwithBIRD’s loose, minimal silhouettes, and toughen up even the floatiest of printed chiffons.

LIFEwithBIRD celebrated its 10-year anniversary last year by opening Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia with a series of breezy tanks and silky pyjama jumpsuits swathed in all-Australian sea spray prints. This collection is a little more street and packs a more graphic punch, but there’s no loyal customer who’d be turned off. Particularly with Hirschy as sales girl.

The campaign photos were inspired by Corinne Day’s shoots for i-D magazine in the 1990s. We reckon she’s done them justice. 

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Images: Fashion Gone Rogue

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Erdem Pre-Spring 2014 Collection Review

If you haven’t yet laid your eyes upon Erdem’s Pre-Spring/Summer 2014 collection, you’re missing out. The inspiration behind the latest collection stems from the sense of escapism mixed with that feeling of excitement triggered when you venture somewhere new, which was initially instigated upon the designer seeing old photographs of his own mother on holiday.

The collection swings between dainty dark floral day dresses and light elegant lace separates, with the fabrics of choice being a mix of sheers, tweeds and leather pieces. There’s a clear battle between the perceptions of the female form too, as the collection opts for clearly feminine attire in the form of flowing dresses and flared skirts, versus a more androgynous vibe portrayed via sharp tailored suit numbers. The collection definitely caters to both kinds of style tribes.

Erdem first pic

Erdem Pre-Spring 2014

The floral detailing comes in the form of delicate prints or bead embellishment (below left), appearing on both sheer and leather pieces, which makes for the perfect summer trend. Check out the floral leather jacket (below right) for instance, it’s got the aesthetics of a cool biker jacket but then it’s beautifully decorated with a floral print.

Erdem second pic

The overriding colour palette of choice varies between black and white with the obvious addition of colourful floral detail. Perhaps, the choice of black and white for a Pre-Spring collection was somewhat influenced by the dreary British weather! Darker pieces are perfect for those gloomy weather days, whereas whites always fit in well when the sun decides to come out.

To sum up, it’s one collection that fits all, be it feminine or masculine styles for both sunny and not so sunny days.

Images: Erdem

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Is There an International Vogue Conspiracy to Ruin Bette Franke?

Bette Franke Miu Miu Spring 2013

Image: Facebook/MiuMiu

​Successful runway models often face a difficult transition into prestigious print work. Booking high profile campaigns and top magazine covers is probably the dream of nearly every unknown catwalker, but when opportunities finally begin to present themselves, models find that the already excessive scrutiny of their appearance heightens.

As Ashley Mears, a former model who's now a sociology professor at Boston University, detailed in her book Pricing Beauty, bookers and agents often prefer a challenging, unconventional look. With so many models competing for the top jobs, it's natural that uncommon beauty is so highly valued — but the problem with uncommon beauty is … well, not everyone agrees that it's beautiful. Cara Delevingne is an example of a model whose newfound print success has opened her to criticism most of us couldn't bear. As Paulina Porizkova put it in the HBO documentary About Face: Supermodels Then and Now, "What I didn't know [when I was getting into modeling as a teenager], is that when they tell you you're beautiful, they can also say you're ugly."

This is all to say, I don't know what happens in Bette Franke's private casting meetings, but at least on the Internet, the rising model's beauty is as uncontested as it gets. The 23-year-old Dutch model has a look that's both alien and classic — no surprise that her career's climbing steadily. After a couple outstanding runway seasons, Franke started booking more and more print jobs, recently appearing in Miu Miu's well-received Spring 2013 campaign. She's also covered Vogue Netherlands, Vogue Japan, a Vogue Japan beauty supplement — and now Vogue Turkey. 

Not all Vogues are created equal (the American, French, British and Italian editions are arguably the ones to lead the pack), but a Vogue is still a Vogue and models strive to appear on one of its covers or in editorials as it often leads to more high profile editorial gigs and lucrative commercial work. So there's something seriously disturbing about the raw deal Franke's getting from the Vogue family. 

(more…)

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Cara Delevingne Stars in Mulberry’s Fall 2013 Ad Campaign (Forum Buzz)

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Surprise, everyone! Cara Delevingne is fronting yet another fashion ad campaign – this time for Mulberry. Inspired by the English countryside (a recurring theme for this British brand) the ads are shot in photographer Tim Walker’s signature whimsical style. Somewhat reminiscent of the Fall 2012 campaign featuring Lindsey Wixson among Wild Things-esque creatures, this set of images was shot at the 18th century Shotover House in Oxfordshire, where set designer Shona Heath created a dark, moody, owl-filled indoor forest. This Brothers Grimm-like campaign was art directed by Ronnie Cooke Newhouse.

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Once the full campaign emerged in the forums, forum members were completely smitten. Elfinkova in particular had some high praise. “Wow Cara actually looks great here,” she shared. “Like Karlie [Kloss], I think she's at her best when she isn't doing over-the-top 'fierce' poses. She's stunning in print with soft, natural posing. I'm sure this will sell like hotcakes due to her presence, but regardless the sheer loveliness of this campaign would leave anyone reaching for their checkbook.”

Kanna was also pleasantly surprised. “This is unexpectedly great, because I am neither a fan of Cara's nor have I been impressed by Tim Walker for Mulberry yet, but this is going to be the first campaign to be my favorite. The owls are cute,” she laughed, “and Cara looks to be well-suited for this.”

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Like Greenway said, “Mulberry has beautiful campaigns time and time again and this doesn’t disappoint.”

Between the clothes, set, and talented team who put it all together, it almost doesn’t matter who the model is. Almost. We all know Cara’s having her moment. We might as well enjoy it with her.

Images via Mulberry.

Previously:

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Could Racial Diversity in Fashion Be Improving? (Forum Buzz)

With Men’s Fashion Week underway and models hitting the runways once again, discussion has flared back up in the forums regarding diversity (or the lack thereof) in the fashion industry. What most notably struck up the conversation was the casting of the female models at Prada’s Spring 2014 Menswear show. Casting Director Ashley Brokaw picked four women of color (out of the twelve who were cast) to walk the show: Leona “Binx” Walton, Marina Nery, Tamila Naser, and Malaika Firth. Considering Prada’s not-so-hot track record with racially diverse casting, the runway selections for this show were notable.

Could Racial Diversity in Fashion Be Improving? (Forum Buzz)

Clockwise from top left: Leona “Binx” Walton, Marina Nery, Tamila Naser, and Malaika Firth. Images via IMAXtree.

Forum members were pleased, but not fully convinced that this casting is a sign of consistent change for future collections.

“Cast at Prada was really top notch, four female models of color (!!!) pretty amazing if you ask me," teaars commented. "Would hope to see the same kind of casting for the womenswear RTW show.

Marc10 wrote, “Prada was indeed great… but I can’t help but wonder if it was only because of the collection’s mood or if they’re really embracing diversity.”

“Is Prada finally feeling the heat after all those articles sprung up about the lack of diversity on the runways?” HeatherAnne asked. “I'll save my praises for them and Brokaw until after I see their Spring 2014 show,” she added. 

Cold is also adopting a wait-and-see attitude. “I'm cautiously optimistic,” she shared. “I hope this isn't just one of those instances where they felt more daring since casting for menswear isn't as amplified as womenswear.”

Another concern with Prada was the racial ambiguity of the selected models. Since the women featured are so light-skinned, Seaj didn’t really find the casting to be cause for celebration. Intern22 disagreed, arguing that non-white models come in many shades, and that this is still something of a victory. 

What do you think? Are casting directors taking a step in the right direction? Or could this all just be a one-off to placate the recent outcries against fashion’s lack of diversity? The debate rages on in the forums: read more here.

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