It's August so you know what that means - fashion week is officially only a month away so all eyes are on the various schedules and Milan seems to be the one with the most changes. As we previously reported, Giorgio Armani has moved his shows from their usual spot and today WWD pointed out that that's not the only brand shaking things up.
Jil Sander is notably missing from the schedule. 'According to a published report in La Repubblicca, Jil Sander opted out of inclusion in the calendar and will hold two shows independently,' the title reports. But the changes don't end there. Several brands have pushed their shows forward leaving the last two days of shows pretty empty due to fears that editors will leave for Paris early. Maybe Sander had the same concern. Either way, her comeback womenswear collection will no doubt attract a full, and very excited, house.
Regular readers will know just how strongly I feel about the need to have models on the covers of magazines as opposed to celebrities. GwenStefani is an exception to the rule.
Aside from the fact that she's uber talented, she's one of the few celebrities, along with Sarah Jessica Parker and Lady Gaga, whose careers have been so extrinsically linked to fashion that having her on the cover of a September issue makes sense. After all, she is a designer in her own right too.
Today her Terry Richardson-shot US Harper's Bazaar cover dropped and it is everything we could have hoped for. The head piece she rocks on the cover works brilliantly and in the accompanying shoot Stefani sports that beautiful pink Jil Sander dress from Raf Simons' last collection at the house, along with that multi-tiered Alexander McQueen dress too.
Today's Jil Sander menswear show was always going to be a big one, as it marked the return of the label's founder after an eight year hiatus. Despite the fact that it was Sander who started the label and created the minimalist aesthetic that continues to hold the house in good stead, it wouldn't be too far-fetched to say that the pressure was on today. RafSimons did such a great job at the house so it was always going to be interesting to see how the brand would fair under her leadership again.
Not much has changed. The S/S13 collection featured pieces that epitomised Sander's paired back, fuss-free style. This season in particular tailoring was a focus and manifested itself on crisp white shirts teamed with black trousers and double breasted blazers or oversized waistcoats. Colour blocking came on cardigans in various combinations of yellow, green, cream and blue and colour blocking was also created by the way models appeared on the runway, as head-to-toe blue looks developed into yellow followed by burgundy.
While the collection was typically Sander and will undoubtedly do well, it didn't have the energy that we've become accustomed to from the brand under Simons' leadership.
Raf Simons' has always been under the microscope, especially during his time at Jil Sander, but that went to a completely new level when he was confirmed as the new creative director of Dior last month. With all eyes on him in the run up to his debut at Dior for the brand's Haute Couture show in Paris this July, it makes sense that i-D chose him to cover their 'Lights, Camera, Action' summer issue shot by Willy Vanderperre.
Will you buy the issue when it hits newsstands on May 10?
ELLE UK have been experimental when it comes to their cover stars recently. This month they gave us small clues over Twitter before announcing that David Beckham will be the first male solo cover star on the women's title. Before that, they used Twitter again to reveal that Kristen Stewart would be on their June cover.
Some criticised the move for removing the excitement and suspense about who the various cover stars would be but I don't think it detracts away from the issues at all. Far from taking something away, the news actually got me excited about what they would do with both stars and Kirsten's cover finally dropped. For the June issue cover, which hits newsstands on May 2nd, she appears wearing a white Jil Sander look on what is her second cover for the magazine. The actress definitely looks fresh and pretty but whether this is a cover that will stay in mind is another thing.
Last week we posed the question of what will happen to Bill Gaytten now that Raf Simons has been hired as the creative director at Dior. At the brand's couture show in Shanghai over the weekend, it was made clear that the collection was the last we will see of him at the French house.
This doesn't seem to be something that Sidney Toledano, president and CEO of Dior, seems to be worried about. Rather than focusing on praising Gaytten for the work he's done at the house during this difficult time, his attention centred around the future of the brand under Raf Simons' leadership. Talking to WWD he said that the appointment marks a 'very exciting time' for the brand. 'I always said that te right person would come along when all the strs aligned and that's exactly what happened last week,' he said. '[Simons] has already begun to lay out his vision for where he can take Dior in the future and I think we are all very excited by that vision.'
It's true. Raf Simons at Dior is exciting and there's no doubt that he will flourish there in the same way that he did at Jil Sander. That being said, Toledano's comments must be a hard pill for Gaytten to swallow. He's never disguised the fact that he wanted the big job so to have the attention at his last show pushed in another direction, especially after the fairly good job that he has done under the pressure, must have been difficult.
Aside from talking briefly to Cathy Horyn after the news of his appointment at Dior was announced, Raf Simons hasn't said much about his new role but today he spoke to WWD. Yesterday reports focused on questioning how Simons' penchant for minimalism would work with the decadence and extravagance of Dior but in the interview Simons confirmed that embracing all of those things won't be a problem.
'I don't think it's wrong to call me a minimalist. It's wrong to call me a minimalist only, he said. 'I am also a romantic person...when I'm married to a house, I will fully embrace its original intention, its heritage and meaning.' The Belgian designer arrives in Paris today to start work on the brand's couture collection, which will be unveiled in Paris in July and made it clear that he intends to work explore Dior's archive. 'I wouldn't go to that place if I only had minimalism in mind. I'm very aware of what the environment is about.'
With the news of Raf Simons' appointment at Dior well and true out and confirmed, the question as The Cut posed is how much Simons knew over these past few months.
It was only in March when the news of his departure (or being forced out as Cathy Horyn put it) from Jil Sander was confirmed that Simons' name was really thrown into the hat of potential candidates to take the reigns at the house so it begs the question; was it only at this stage that the negotiations with Dior began? That conclusion would seem to make sense when you look back at the sequence of events last month. Back in March reports claimed that Simons' had a clash with Dior CEO Sidney Toledano over money yet only a few weeks after the negotiations began the brand announced that the creative director had been secured with an announcement said to come soon. Clearly the negotiations were not as frosty then as the reports had us believe.
According to The Cut, LVMH bosses were concerned about having to compete against Yves Saint Laurent after it was confirmed that Hedi Slimane would replace Stefano Pilati so brought Simons on board to make sure they had a well-celebrated and modern designer on board too. The decision definitely makes sense. Along with Phoebe Philo's work at Celine, Simons is amongst the designers pushing the modern minimalist aesthetic forward, which is something that Slimane has always championed so with all three designers at the helm of such big brands, the competition truly begins.
The speculation and ongoing rumours about who will replace John Galliano as the creative director of Dior is the story that has kept on giving. Every time we thought a candidate was a dead cert to bag the big job, another name was thrown into the hat but thankfully that all came to an end yesterday. The New York Times confirmed that Raf Simons has been appointed as his successor.
'The first time I heard about the Dior position, I thought, 'This feels right,'' he told Cathy Horyn. 'It is one of the ultimate challenges, and a dream to go to a place like Dior, which stands for absolute elegance, incredible femininity and utter luxury.' Although the news about his appointment is everywhere, Horyn and Suzy Menkes have said that the official announcement will not come until at least Tuesday.
In the meantime, though, the response to the news has been good. As you'll recall, Simons departure from Jil Sander last month was emotionally charged as the fashion industry waved him farewell with a long standing ovation at his last show for the house. The news of his return and at a house as big as Dior is exciting with many calling his appointment the start of a new era.
Do you think Simons is the right man for the big job?
Earlier on this week Suzy Menkes criticised the digital sphere for jumping on her comments where she speculated whether Raf Simons would leave Jil Sander for Yves Saint Laurent. Ironically, her closing comments suggesting that Christopher Kane's name is in the hat for the Dior job had the exact same effect. People instantly began tipping Kane as the man to take the role.
Yesterday, however, the British designer confirmed that the reports are false. "While it is incredibly flattering that I could be considered for a role at a house such as Dior at this stage in my career, I can confirm that I have not been approached," he told Vogue.com. "I am focused on developing my own label and my ongoing collaboration with Donatella Versace for Versus.”