Earlier on this week Collin McDowell told an audience at London's Royal College of Arts that London is the most exciting fashion capital at the moment and it's true. Through the support of the British Fashion Council, Topshop NewGen and of course, McDowell's Fashion Fringe, editors and buyers can no longer afford to skip London Fashion Week. In fact, our homegrown talent are getting some of the biggest traction in the world right now.
Take Peter Pilotto for this example. This week the London based design duo visited Saks Fifth Avenue in New York to view a series of windows that the department store has dedicated to their much-loved S/S12 collection as well as their new space on the shop floor. In a conversation with McDowell this week Erdem too said that things changed for him when former Barneys fashion director Julie Gilhart bought his first collection seven years ago and the department store has done so ever since. So the tides are really changing for British designers in the international sphere. Far from just being creative, their collections are actually proving to be commercially viable too.
“A while ago, it was like you had to start in London and try to get out of there as soon as possible and move to Paris or New York,” Pilotto said during an interview at Saks. “But London Fashion Week is becoming a stronger fashion week. It’s great. I guess London has realized it has to support its new talent since there aren’t too many of the big old houses.” When asked about the increasing popularity of London Fashion Week, he said: “People go because they really enjoy seeing it,” not because it’s an obligation or a big advertiser or anything. Everyone who goes there goes because they’re curious. They’re excited to see what’s coming."
Leandra Medine of the Man Repeller fame is doing well. Okay, so maybe that was an understatement considering that she's covered magazines and walked the runway during fashion week, but you get where I'm going with this. For her latest big project, Medine has collaborated with Christian Louboutin as part of their 20th anniversary celebrations.
Last week she appeared in the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue for an hour but unlike Daphne Guinness who did something similar before the Met Gala, Medine's appearance wasn't quite as serious. Instead she took requests from her fans on Twitter, did the chicken dance and pulled funny faces as well as trying on pieces from the brand's latest collection. “I’m a shoe hoarder. If I could only spend money on one thing, it would be shoes,' she told Footwear News. 'It’s every girl’s dream to work with brands like Louboutin and Saks. For [names] as big as these to want to partner with me — a regular girl who accidentally became a fashion blogger — is huge. I still have to pinch myself because I don’t believe it.”
This year has been a great one for Rachel Zoe. Back in March she gave birth to first child, Skyler and in January her debut collection went down a storm in New York despite the controversial aftermath.
Next month expect to see Zoe's collection sitting alongside the likes of Diane von Furstenberg, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang in leading department stores everywhere. As we reported, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's, Intermix, Selfridges, Nordstrom, Kirna Zabete and Shopbob.com have all bought the line. “It was this dream that I never thought would be reality because I was petrified — I was," she recently explained. "I feel so complete now becoming a designer and having my son. I’m that happiest that I’ve ever been in my life.”
It was only a matter of time before the drama circulating John Galliano would have an impact on the commercial viability of his namesake brand. Despite Christian Dior agreeing to continue its support for the brand, many are speculating that, that won't last long, especially considering that the brand has never been a big earner so the ongoing drama definitely isn't helping.
It doesn't end there. A spokesperson from Saks revealed that "John Galliano's men's collection, of which we had a small presentation, is no longer on the floor of our New York store." The move hardly came as a surprise especially since the general manager of their flagship store said: "We have values like I hope everyone else has. What happened was not right, and we would not want to carry his merchandise in honor of our customers and my employees that work in the store."
The past two months have been a good start to the year for Rachel Zoe. Aside from being heavily pregnant with her first child, last month the stylist showcased her first full collection in New York - which has since been picked up by Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Despite the good reviews of the collection, Zoe hit the headlines after Teen Vogue's fashion news director Jane Keltner de Valle drew attention to the uncanny resemblance between one of Zoe's black and white vintage-style dress and a very similar version that she styled in the magazine back in 2007. When asked about the controversy, Zoe was quick to downplay the issue, saying: "I've been subconsciously building this collection in my mind for a long time. There are a million vintage pieces that have inspired me, and every other designer in the world."
Alexander McQueen didn't exactly try to camouflage the fact that several of his pieces featuring a winged skull were inspired by the Hells Angels motorcycle group's symbol. The "death head" appears on pieces like the "Hells Angels Jacquard Box Dress" (for $1,565) and the "Hell's Four-Finger Ring" (for $495). However, the name reference alone didn't stop the bikers from suing McQueen, Saks Fifth Avenue and Zappos for selling items they thought veered into copyright-infringement territory.
"This isn't just about money, it's about membership," explained Fritz Clapp, a red-mowhawked biker who also serves as the Hells Angels' lawyer. "If you've got one of these rings on, a member might get really upset that you're an imposter."
And don't we all get confused when edgy types in heels with a copy of French Vogue sticking out of their handbags sport rough-looking rings when walking from boutique to boutique? According to a lawyer who spoke to Page Six, "the world is full of skulls," and though the bikers successfully sued Disney previously, it's not exactly a clear-cut case.
Back in May, Zac Posen managed to perhaps inadvertently upset his American fans (particularly those loyal New Yorkers) by declaring that he would like to show in Paris this following season, where he feels his clothes are better understood. So while this season will be the first for Posen to show in the French Capital - "I always thought this was the city I was meant to work in after graduating from Central St Martins," he tells British Vogue - the young designer will still be around at New York Fashion Week, with his lower-priced line, Z-Spoke.
The move makes sense, seeing as Z-Spoke is stocked in Saks Fifth Avenue, and so he will show on the Saturday evening at the Stage in Lincoln Centre. It doesn't seem like his show in New York is to soften the blow to his fans in the US, however, as he recently added, "Z Spoke is about creating a new American look which is effortlessly fun and playful. Collection is emotional - all about textures, construction and techniques which are true to the legacy of French fashion."
Designers are known for drawing inspiration from one and other from time to time, but once in awhile a label can go too far, with the end result resembling an almost exact copy of another designer's creation. That's Danner Footwear's current source of contention. The brand, established in 1932, has been producing combat-style boots since then.
Rag & Bone, whose designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville established the brand in 2002 with the aim of 'making clothes that they and their friends would love to wear everyday,' have seemed to have found their niche with clothes and accessories until now. The label has been accused of copying Danner Footwear's combat boot and are now facing a copyright infringement lawsuit as a result. The boots, which share a striking resemblance to those of Danner's, had previously been sold in stores and online at Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York, but have since been removed following the mention of the lawsuit.
Not long ago, the future of the luxury fashion house Celine looked far from bright, and it seemed as though the brand would fold. Fast forward a year and things are shaping up quite nicely. Since the label acquired the talented Phoebe Philo as its creative director, not only was her debut collection for the label at Paris Fashion Week last month met with much acclaim and is now available in stores worldwide, but also she has recently revealed her master plan for the company.
Phase one of the revamp has begun and has seen a number of Celine's standalone stores close down, as according to CEO Marco Gobetti, "There are certain stores that are not adapted to the way we see the brand today, the product today and the consumer who will aspire to it." Stores such as the Bruton Street branch in London and the Madison Avenue boutique in New York have already been shut down - but fear not, as the Celine team have already found a way around this.