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.
We all remember the times we as children were placed at a table with magic markers and paper, play-doh, or any other material meant to trigger creativity. You actually just want to watch Totally Spies, but you sit through to please your caretakers. Many parents project their own repressed fantasies of becoming their generation’s Frida Kahlo onto their children – but while drawing has never hurt anyone, few of us go on to do anything substantial about that blooming art practice of pre-adolescence. Of course, even fewer of us have parents who creatively direct fashion empires, but this is the case for Tage Johansson, the blonde-haired off-spring of Acne Studios founder Jonny Johansson. The Swedish RTW brand today revealed their most recent campaign advertising their much-hyped sneaker line with a film that sees Tage interpret his Dad’s sneakers with an improvisatory bricolage of materials. The result is surprisingly chic; perhaps more of an artwork than accessory, prompting the young author to exclaim “my version is better than my Dad’s!” Jonny has long been heralded for taking unorthodox approaches to the branding of Acne Studios (the brand grew out of a creative collective that spanned fashion, advertising, and film production), having enrolled everything from artists to forgotten supermodels to promote his aesthetic vision. It’s also not Tage’s first time as face of Acne Studios; in 2015, he appeared in the freshest women’s robes for the fall collection. Jealous that your parents never came up with such career opportunities for you except a monthly gig washing the floors? Join the club. We’re bitter.
For more information, see Acne Studios
This morning, the news broke of Virgil Abloh’s appointment as the new Creative Director of Louis Vuitton Mens – marking the completion of yet another round of musical chairs within corporate fashion’s highest creative department. What felt like a natural choice for some came as a big shocker for others: despite Abloh’s rapid rise to global fame through social media, high-profile collaborations, and a firm grip of the upper street wear market, the hyped Chicago-born architect-cum-designer only technically launched his brand four years ago, with his first runway only taking place in 2016. Abloh’s precise capturing of the modern menswear silhouette, in the aftermath of the streetwear revolution and the deconstructed revival of classical suiting, has been widely criticized for its heavy “borrowing” from past work of established colleagues such as Dries Van Noten, Raf Simons, and, of course, Kim Jones himself – the British designer who he is set to replace at LV effect immediately. During his tenure, Jones developed a new aesthetic for the modern Louis Vuitton gentleman, a classic silhouette interjected by sportswear and street references – and most importantly, with travel references and merchandise in abundance. Could the young Abloh possibly further this legacy? A look through Abloh’s personal archive reveals a shared sensibility between the two designers, who also happen to share more than a couple of best friends. We did your homework and found the most Vuitton-esque looks from the Off-White archive, that proves that Abloh, despite an appropriating hand, seems like the perfect fit for the job at the seasoned French luxury house.
Corporate fashion’s game of musical chairs has once again completed a round of play, with the news of Kim Jones’ appointment as the new Artistic Director of Dior Homme. In a press release issued by LVMH, the French conglomerate that owns the historic house Cristian Dior Couture, Jones’ appointment was announced by CEO Pietro Beccari, who joined the brand from Fendi in November. “He will benefit from the support of the teams and from the ‘savoir-faire’ of the Ateliers to create an elegant men’s wardrobe both classic and anchored in contemporary culture,” he said. “I am confident that he will continue to further develop Dior Homme on a global scale.ˮ Jones, whose future was feverishly speculated after leaving Louis Vuitton two months ago, expressed his excitement about the new opportunity: “I am deeply honored to join the house of Dior, a symbol of the ultimate elegance. I am committed to create a modern and innovative male silhouette built upon the unique legacy of the House.ˮ He replaces designer Kris Van Assche, who for over a decade has ensured Dior’s position as the procurer of the most sublime luxury menswear, seamlessly merging traditional tailoring with contemporary silhouettes. Van Assche’s future is unclear, although NYT reports that he will stay within the LVMH group (he closed his namesake brand in 2015). As a cherished name within fashion’s inner circles (BFFs with Naomi Campbell as well as British Vogue editor Edward Enninful), the Central Saint Martins graduate is expected to breathe new energy into the seasoned house, and surely, put some fire under Maria Grazia Chiuri, his womenswear counterpoint whose work at Dior has received mixed reviews since her appointment in 2016. Have you completely lost track as to who works where? We don’t blame you. Just watch this space for further explanation.
Photograph: Freja Beha in Commes des Garçons archive, by Collier Schorr
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Without a doubt, Carcel is one of the most interesting concepts to have been launched in the Scandinavian fashion scene in recent years: with a strong social conscious and a goal to empower incarcerated women around the world, the Danish brand offers minimalist styles from a range of sustainably sourced materials manufactured in women’s prisons for a fair wage. Founded by Veronica D’Souza and Louise Van Hauen, the brand experienced a rapid Crowdfunding campaign before initiating collaboration with a governmental prison in Peru; and after successfully launching their brand in Europe, the small team has been looking for new production partnerships around the world. Working gives female prisoners a chance to support their families and prepare for a life after incarceration – and working with top-tier textile production gives them training that would otherwise be inaccessible. And finally, last week, after much bureaucratic negotiation, could Carcel announce their new partnership with Thailand’s Ministry of Justice and the NGO Kamlangjai Project that lobby for rights for incarcerated women. This new partnership will see the production of the highest quality silk merchandise in the prison, while ensuring a 100% transparent wage system and proper technical training for workers. An incredible achievement, the first for any fashion brand in Thailand, we got on the phone with the founders to get the full story.