As we’ve reported before, the 1990s are back, along with one of its most distinct fashion trends: the thin sunglasses. This miniature-size eyewear fad was popularized by a series of powerful women in 90s movies like The Matrix and Clueless, and resonated with Europe’s rave scene as much as it did with North America’s neo-preppy college populations. But as hipster culture of the 00s rolled out, re-fetishizing authenticity and “the alternative”, the thin sunglasses went into a decade-long hiatus, demonized as the most ghastly of all. But now, thanks to fashion’s current 90s revivalism, and euro-fetish brands like Gosha Rubchinskiy and Balenciaga, the sunnies are back, channeling part dystopian youth culture (perfect for the Trump years!) and part high fashion ironique.
Between fashion weeks we like to spend some time in the design world – and the biggest event of the year (as we reported last week) is undoubtedly Salone del Mobile. The multi-location main fair, as well as the countless satellite fairs around the city, exhibits work by some of the most talented designers working today, many in partnership with heavyweight names from the worlds of luxury fashion and interior design. Should you have missed the cultural festivities, here are some of the strongest presentations from the week.
Really – Circular by Design
Europe’s leading contemporary textile producer Kvadrat was established in Denmark in 1968, and has deep roots in Scandinavia’s design tradition. For decades, they’ve worked with architects and designers across the world, cherished for their high-quality innovations. For the second year, Kvadrat has partnered with Really, a design studio founded in 2013 by Wickie Meier Engström, Klaus Samsøe and Ole Smedegaard that responding to the urgent global issue of waste by up-cycling end-of-life textiles and giving them a new life as design objects. Together, they have invented new materials and invited design thinkers and makers to interpret them in new, exciting ways. In Milan, Really showcased projects by Benjamin Hubert | LAYER, Christien Meindertsma, Claesson Koivisto Rune, Front, Jo Nagasaka, Jonathan Olivares and Raw-Edges Design Studio, all integrating textile boards and felts in furniture and interior objects. Collectively, these practices explore the changing narrative of textile resources, re-thinking them to exist in a circular economy of production.
COS x PKS3
Another returning player at Salone del Mobile is the Scandinavian high street chain COS, who each year team up with design thinkers and artists to produce immersive architectural installations. For 2018, they have invited the PKS3 to produce a new spatial installation in the gardens of the historic Palazzo Isimbardi. The glass and mirror work is alluring in that it changes its appearance throughout the day, reflecting its surrounding landscape in relation to the viewer’s position. A meditation on space, materiality, and place, PKS3 explores the modern-day monument through changing lights and colors.
Hermes @ Milan Furniture Fair
The French luxury house Hermès is not only a cherished name in fashion, but boasts an impressive design and interior range for the contemporary consumer très chic. Their pavilion at Milan Furniture Fair invites the audience into an opulent world of alluring commodities, from decorative bowls and textiles to refined wooden furniture, ceramics, and of course a whole range of ridiculously attractive leather goods. Keeping their presentation quintessentially atmosphereic, the brand simply framed their presentation through a series of sensoral prompters: burnt umber, acid lave, cobalt clue, ivory, grey cinnabar, red limestone…. Could we make just this the moodboard of our life more generally?
Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades
Not unlike Hermès, the French luxury house Louis Vuitton has its roots in design objects, specifically travel merchandise. Since 1854, bourgeois travelers have been drooling over their suitcases and bags, and since 2012, LV has extended this heritage into the world of furniture design through their line Objets Nomades. In Milan, they present 10 new additions to their series of “nomadic objects” which already includes hammocks, foldable stools, and exquisite bottle holders (yes, you need one). Working with creative designers from around the world like Atelier Oï, Maarten Baas, and Nendo, each project is an opportunity for designers and Louis Vuitton’s creative artisans to combine their savoir-faire to interpret the idea of travel in their own imaginative ways. For 2018, they’re adding two new names in the mix: India Mahdavi and Tokujin Yoshioka.
For more information, see Salone del Mobile
Alessandro Michele’s Gucci (2015-) has made its mark on the international fashion world for its playful visualization of appropriation that happens everywhere in society. From recouped “retro” silhouettes of the 70s, Chinese luxury counterfeit, sci-fi, art, cinema, cultural images and forms are in a constant state of borrowing and being borrowed—not always without its criticisms—but always producing new playful objects that defy notions of “authenticity” or “originality.” At Gucci, Michele has promoted a radical transparency to the design process, which functions as an aggregation of looks and feelings from his idiosyncratic aesthetic vision and research. All good fashion designers steal, the best one admit to it.
The century-old sportswear brand Fila has recently grown to occupy an almost heroic position in the landscape of contemporary fashion branding. Originally an alpine-wear producer in Northern Italy, Fila rose to fame through their sponsorship of Swedish tennis player Björn Borg in the late 1970s, but the model of high-profile athlete endorsement did not prove a sustainable model as the 80s unfolded. By the 90s, the Italian label was considered a clichéd, and heavily-counterfeited name of the past, but since being acquired by the Korean holding company Sports Brands International in 2007, it has enjoyed a resurgence, and today sits as the biggest sportswear brand in South Korea. In Europe and the US, the brand has attracted a new generation of cult following thanks to a seemingly endless number of high-profile collaborations. From bold menswear designers like Gosha Rubchinskiy and Liam Hodges, to streetwear names like A Bathing Ape, luxury brands like Fendi, as well as other lifestyle brands like Dickies, Fila is an omni-present figure of the contemporary fashion consumer landscape. And as of today, this applies to Scandinavia too: for SS18, the Swedish high street retailer Weekday has dropped a 20-piece collection in collaboration with Fila, mixing the former’s minimalist sensibilities with the latter’s functional sportswear aesthetic. Consisting of women’s and men’s joggers, leggings, shorts, windbreakers, sports tops, tees and sweatshirts; the collection is kept in a muted colour palette of light grey, pure white, and light pink, and cut in a way that gives the wearer flexibility in both athletic and every-day situations. We called up Louise Lasson, Weekday’s Creative Director, to learn more about the collaboration.
With Spring comes the Fair Season, and we personally cannot wait to join thousands of other design and art fanatics in roaming various convention centers across Europe for the coming months. The art/design fair is a strange and relatively recent phenomenon: a long-time stable for industry insiders of the fashion and design world, it became an increasing cultural destination in recent years, spawning a real explosion of them across the world, from Art Basel Hong Kong to SP-Arte in Brazil. The fair is a space of spectacle, amusement, and intense networking, and in the design world, there’s no more central than the Salone del Mobile in Milan.
One of the most enduring materials in the world of fashion manufacture is leather. The tanning of animal rawhides has served vestiary functions since the dawn of man, and has also become a degraded production technique in the age of mass-production. But luxury fashion has maintained an artisanal approach to this material and continue to prove its relevance in a sustainable fashion future. In this conversation, the French leather goods and fashion house Hermès is the ultimate ringleader, and yesterday, the family-owned business of a staggering 181 years announced a further commitment to artisanal leather production.
The internet almost broke in 2017 when Supreme, the mega-hyped New York streetwear brand, launched a collaboration with luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton. All of the sudden, the characteristic red/white logo, first appropriated by Supreme from the American artist Barbara Kruger and since applied to everything from skateboards to sweatshirts, was available in high-quality merchandise of French luxury fashion, most significantly with the offering of handbags for both men and women. Kim Kardashian flipped out, as did we. The collectormania that has surrounded Supreme since their earliest days was catapulted into extremity (spawning articles like this one). While the mastermind behind this crossing of worlds, LV Head of Menswear Kim Jones, have since gone to greener pastures, Ebay is still on fire with speculative trading a year later, with wallets and bags going for several thousand dollars. It would appear that the world never seems to tire from skate-infused merchandise.
In this day and age, of Netflix and PirateBay, you may be more familiar with The Art of Binge-Watching than The Art of Style. The first is what you do in bed every time you’ve had more than 3 glasses of wine the night before, as well as most evenings in the months spanning October-April—the other is that fleeting thing that all of fashion evolves around, that thing that few posses, and even fewer manage to maintain. “Fashion fades, style is eternal” Yves Saint Laurent famously once said. Had he been alive today, we’re pretty sure he would have cancelled every online streaming memberships in his near vicinity—with the exception of a new fashion documentary series, which manages to capture the essence of fashion through the rapidness of the moving image. Art of Style, distributed by our favorite fashion channel M2M, is directed by Lisa Vreeland, fashion film maker and relative of the infamous Diana Vreeland (whose documentary, The Eye Has to Travel, she directed in 2011), and explores the creative worlds that inspire the world’s leading designers. In 10-minute episodes, we follow the creative director from the atelier to the streets, from fashion week to the library, and back again. Perfect for your lunch break, or a time-out in the bathroom hiding from your better half! The best part is: there are more than a dozen episodes. See the Iris Van Herpen episode above, and see more here.
If you dare to peek outside of the Western centers of fashion, you’ll find a sprawling landscape of young, international brands and fashion projects that are keen on challenging the conventions of the industry—be they formal, ethical, or social. In the young fashion scene of Manila, Philippines, emerging brand Toqa very much holds the baton, following the footsteps of peers like Carl Jan Cruz, whose highly personal take on ready to wear has made its mark globally. Shared between Toqa and Cruz is an international training and orientation—Toqa founders Isabel Sicat and Aiala Rickard met at the US design college RISD, and sharpened their teeth at Alexander Wang and Telfar—as well as a firm belief in using their origin and locale as more than a cheap place to produce. Launching at this year’s Manila Biennale with a dazzling runway show in the historic Intramuros’ Puerta Real Garden, Toqa revels in images of island life, while committing to a radically sustainable production model. We caught up with Toqa to learn more.
It’s April and spring is just around the corner, which we embrace with pastels and quirky 50’s references hand in hand with this month’s stunning Muse – Cecilie Ingdal Editor-in-chief of Elle Denmark – and it couldn’t be a better match.
Most people know Cecilie as the Editor-in-Chief of Danish ELLE Magazine and ELLE interior, but Cecilie is much more than that. Besides from being a respected part of the industry and a friendly familiar face that you find on the front row to, among others, Valentino and Chanel’s shows, Cecilie is the beautiful, elegant and loving mother of 4-year-old Edit with a great sense of humor and weakness for pink. Cecilie is also the initiator of the Danish fashion prize ELLE Style Awards, which sets off the celebration in less than a month.
As fun facts Cecilie actually began her work in fashion as Kim’s assistant, but today she’s the one in charge of Kim’s monthly ELLE contributions.
Finally, Cecilie is known as a sophisticated ambassador in the Danish fashion scene, who for example got married in an outstanding dress made by Danish designer Ole Yde.