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April 18, 2016

Fashion Cities Africa gives a snapshot of four cities on a varied, rich continent

Jack Yan/3.51

The second largest continent on the planet is, logically, home to a massive number of fashion designers and movements, although out of Africa, there hasn’t been as much recognition of them till recently. Fashion Cities Africa, the book, inspired by the exhibition of the same name at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery that opens at the end of April, is one high-profile development which seeks to shine a light on the variety present on the continent, while on a similar note, next month’s Africa Fashion Festival in Wellington will do the same for its designers.
   Hannah Azieb Pool, who edits the new book, is a Eritrean-born, London-based journalist, who, along with Helen Jennings, has co-writing duties, resulting in a cohesive, beautifully presented book that examines contemporary fashion in Nairobi, Casablanca, Lagos and Johannesburg. It doesn’t pretend to be a fully comprehensive guide, stating from the outset it is meant to provide mere glimpses on a continent that is incredibly diverse. The foreword by Binyavanga Wainaina, a flâneur, reminds us that there are clusters scattered throughout the land that have their own tendencies, and that her favourite designer is Nigerian, Chioma Chukwulozie.
   The reader is thrown in to the colour of Nairobi, where sibling bloggers Velma Rossa and Papa Petit (a.k.a. Oliver) take one half of the first spread with their über-stylish and proudly urban Kenyan clothes, and stylists, musicians, designers, bloggers and artists profiled on following pages give slices of their lives that shake occidental sensibilities with their own palettes and ensembles. Nairobi, for the most part, emphasizes comfort, and the clothing shot on these pages by Sarah Marie Waiswa demonstrate that the city’s fashion could easily translate to other places, spanning everything from casual to luxury. Adèle Dejak has shown in Milano, for instance, and appeared in Vogue Italia with her collaboration with Salvatore Ferragamo, while John Kaveke and Nick Ondu show the sort of sartorial elegance that could easily influence menswear in other fashion capitals.
   Profiles of some of the personalities from the city follow, reminding us that Nairobi is a crossroads: Ami Doshi Shah is of Indian descent, her family brought there by the British when both countries were under Crown rule, while Ann McCreath is a Scots émigrée who fell in love with the fashion there. There’s a dose of youthful energy, too, with Anthony Mulli, a jewellery designer who started when he was 16, pointing the way forward.
   The book follows a similar structure for subsequent cities, moving on to Casablanca next.
   Lucire readers will be familiar with Morocco thanks to travel editor Stanley Moss’s writings, and Jennings’ chapter, with photographs by Deborah Benzaquen, takes us on a similar journey through the country’s largest city. It was, of course, a home for Yves Saint Laurent at one point, as well as a drawcard for many western celebrities, when a first wave of Moroccan designers became known outside of the region. A second wave, Jennings explains, emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, with Zineb Joundy a graduate of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. A greater sense of artistic freedom and Casablanca’s position that blends Arabic, European and indigenous cultures has resulted in some looks that may seem familiar—perhaps thanks to the likes of Saint Laurent and his influence. Again the profiles are well selected, a cross-section of the highly varied cultures in the city: Amine Bendriouich, Amina Agueznay, Yassine Morabite, Saïd Mahrouf, and Zhor, Chadia and Aida Raïs each cover a very different parts of the fashion spectrum, from T-shirts to traditional caftans.
   Once the book gets to Lagos, it’s apparent that there’s a sense of “bubbling under”, with Lakin Ogunbanwo’s photographs, paired with Jennings’ words again, showing slightly more subdued looks for men, but prouder, more flamboyant looks for women. Jennings notes that civil war and Nigeria’s military juntas stalled its fashion scene for some years, before a revival when democracy returned in 1999. Foreign labels were seen as cool till recently, with the country discovering its confidence in its own æsthetic, to the point where one of her interviewees, stylist Bolaji Anumashaun, says that fashion can be one of Nigeria’s ‘greatest exports’. Anumashaun founded thestylehq.com with a pan-African fashion focus, and Arise magazine, founded in 2008, also stepped up the promotion for Nigerian designers. With Nigeria’s GDP now greater than South Africa’s, that confidence is bound to increase, and Jennings looks at Nike Davis Okundaye, who owns the biggest gallery in West Africa in Lagos, and happy to promote young talent. Others, such as Yegwa Ukpo and Amaka Osakwe, both were schooled in the UK before returning to Lagos to found their brands, while PR consultant Zara Okpara and luxury concept store owner Reni Folawiyo complete their city’s picture.
   Johannesburg completes Fashion Cities Africa, and it’s perhaps fair that Pool chose to put it last. Many mistakenly think of South African fashion when they refer to ‘African fashion’, spurred in part by the Republic’s sporting ties to many other countries in the Commonwealth. Victor Dlamini has the photographic duties here, and Pool pens the words, and she goes through the various Jo’burg neighbourhoods, noting that its fashion is more established than Nairobi’s but less self-conscious than Lagos’s. There is a western infusion here in some parts, she notes, but on closer examination there are accessories that reference Soweto streets or Zulu culture. The city even has two fashion weeks: South Africa Fashion Week and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg, making the city spoiled for choice when it comes to giving its designers a platform. David Tlale, whom Lucire readers will have heard of, and who has shown at New York Fashion Week, hails from here, and Jo’burg designs have a greater sense of familiarity thanks to western media exposure. It oozes colour and vibrancy, much like the photos chosen for Pool’s first chapter on Nairobi, and in similar fashion (pun unintended) there are profiles from across the spectrum: designer Thula Sindi, creative collective, the Sartists, accessories’ and shoe designer Maria McCloy, and womenswear designers Marianne Fassler and Anisa Mpungwe.
   It’s our hope that we can cease talking about ‘African’ fashion and instead replace the dialogue with specific cities or countries, just as we do for smaller continents such as Europe. Just as there is no such thing to fashion observers as ‘European’ fashion, there is equally no such thing as ‘African’ fashion: it is impossible to generalize at a continental level. Both as an informative volume and a coffee-table flick-through (as it is softcover), Fashion Cities Africa succeeds, and it’s exceptionally good value with full-colour photographs (needed for its story, over 196 pp.) at £20 (available via Amazon UK here, or Book Depository here) or US$28·50, (Amazon link here). It is published this month by Intellect Books, as part of its Street Styles series.—Jack Yan, Publisher

November 24, 2015

Video and photos: double win for J. W. Anderson at British Fashion Awards 2015; Gwendoline Christie wins Style Award

Lucire staff/3.01




Mike Marsland/British Fashion Council

Jonathan Anderson, the man behind the label J. W. Anderson, has scooped both the men’s and women’s Designer of the Year awards at the British Fashion Awards last night, held at the Coliseum in London.
   Anderson has previously won the men’s prize, in 2014, the New Establishment Designer award in 2013, and the Emerging Womenswear Designer award in 2012.
   As detailed earlier by the British Fashion Council, Karl Lagerfeld won the Outstanding Achievement Award for his contribution to the fashion industry.
   Other heavyweight names on the night included Tom Ford, who was recognized with the Red Carpet award, for creating global awareness of one’s designs in the media (Lady Gaga collected on his behalf); Burberry, with the Creative Campaign award for its editorial and advertising; and Alessandro Michele for Gucci as the International Designer.
   The much-acclaimed Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator was given to Nick Knight, for his contribution to the global fashion industry.
   Charlotte Olympia won the Accessory Designer award, and Stella McCartney was recognized as the best brand. Erdem won the Establishment Designer award for its retail and ecommerce presences, while Mary Katrantzou won the New Establishment Designer award.
   Jourdan Dunn won the award for Model of the Year. Game of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie was named the winner of the British Style Award, which was voted on by 6,000 people.
   Of the three emerging designer awards, the winners were Thomas Tait for womenswear, Grace Wales Bonner for menswear, and Jordan Askill for accessories.
   VIPs attending or presenting included British Fashion Council chair Natalie Massenet, Victoria and David Beckham, Tinie Tempah, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Sarah Burton, Naomi Campbell, Anna Wintour, Angela Scanlon, Liv Tyler, Nick Grimshaw, Lily Allen, Poppy Delevingne, Rita Ora, Robert Konjic, Mollie King, Alexa Chung, Yasmin Le Bon, Laura Bailey, Pierre Denis, Imran Amed, Markus Lupfer, Gareth Pugh, Elisa Sednaoui, Michael Polish, Sandra Choi, Alexandra Shulman, FKA Twigs, Sophie Dahl, Sam Rollinson, Jack Whitehall, Jim Chapman, Immy Waterhouse, Elisa Sednaoui, Georgia May Jagger, Olga Kurylenko, Olivier Rousteing, Faustine Steinmetz, Harold Tillman, Jefferson Hack, Marc Hare, Christopher Raeburn, Stephen Jones, Molly Goddard, Susanna Lau, Kate Beckinsale, Mario Testino, Malaika Firth, Jamie Bochert, Charlotte Simone, Edie Campbell, Lulu Kennedy, Salma Hayek and François-Henri Pinault, Roksanda Ilincić, Lilah Parsons, Katie Grand, Carson McColl, Giles Deacon, Lewis Hamilton, Nadja Swarovski, Daisy Lowe, David Burton, David Koma, Lara Stone, Lucky Blue Smith, Fernando Jorge, Sid Bryan, Jack Guinness, Sarah-Jane Crawford, Pixie Lott and Oliver Cheshire, Helen Wright, Emilia Wickstead, Erin O’Connor, Anya Hindmarch, Henry Holland, Noomi Rapace, Craig Green, Adrian Joffe, Astrid Andersen Mollie King, Jo Elvin, Patrick Grant, Peter Pilotto, Sophia Sanchez de Betak, Christopher de Vos, Christopher Kane, Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou, Joseph Altazurra, Richard Nicoll, Tanya Burr, Kate Bosworth, Karlie Kloss, Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders (as Patsy Stone and Eddy Monsoon), Orlando Bloom, Suzy Menkes, Alasdhair Willis, Alice Dellal, Chloë Green, Arizona Muse and Amy Cole.
   Sponsors for the evening included principal partner Swarovski, presenting partners MAC and Toni & Guy, and official sponsors Ciroc, Marks & Spencer, Mercedes-Benz and St Martins Lane. Other supporters included Diptyque Paris, Fashion & Beauty Monitor, Fiji Water, Nikki Tibbles, Warsteiner and Wild at Heart.

Red carpet

Gwendoline Christie interview

Lucky Blue Smith

Suzy Menkes

Jack Whitehall

Alessandro Michele

Rita Ora

Erdem

Jourdan Dunn

Lady Gaga
















































































Mike Marsland/British Fashion Council

Winners’ enclosure
Lady Gaga accepts on behalf of Tom Ford

Jourdan Dunn

Karl Lagerfeld

Burberry

Alessandro Michele for Gucci

Stella McCartney

J. W. Anderson, Menswear Designer of the Year

J. W. Anderson, Womenswear Designer of the Year














Mike Marsland/British Fashion Council

Highlight reel

October 23, 2015

News in brief: Kendall & Kylie launch; Plakinger makes sure daughters look stylish; Blue Can water packaged to last

Lucire staff/21.44




Top Kendall and Kylie Jenner with their new collection. Centre and above By using the same fabrics, mothers and daughters can have matching designs thanks to Plakinger.

The Kendall & Kylie Collection, designed by sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner, will hit Forever New stores in Australia on November 17. With 19 pieces, the limited-edition collection consists of ‘directional party looks’, with playsuits, skirts, crop tops and dresses featuring black, white and blush tones as well as an animal print. Details include lace work, exposed zips and sheer panelling. Prices range from A$79·99 to A$249·99 and the range is available from forevernew.com.au and selected stores nationally and internationally.
   Plakinger, the luxury label started by Russian mother–daughter duo Svetlana Ziggel and her mother Galina Plakinger, has released 10 looks for mothers and their little girls, so that they can have outfits with the same fabrics. Made in their atelier in Germany, the label is available through Maison Bo-M in Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and in the concept stores owned by the Chaumont luxury group in China.
   One might think that bottled water lasts forever, but it only has a six- to twelve-month shelf life, and less if stored in extreme temperatures. Los Angeles-based Blue Can (right) provides premium emergency drinking water for homes, businesses and vehicles, thanks to a filtration system and the use of pressurized aluminium cans. The company says the water can be stored for decades—50 years is regularly cited. It supports the Emergency Water Foundation, a California non-profit corporation, which assists public institutions, business organizations, and schools with their Disaster Awareness Plans.

Below Some of the looks from the limited-edition Kendall & Kylie Collection.





October 13, 2015

Specsavers shows spring–summer ’15–’16 styles from Karl Lagerfeld, Converse, Karen Millen, Collette Dinnigan, Alex Perry, Osiris

Lucire staff/23.29



Above Looking fashion-forward with Karen Millen (top) and Osiris.

Specsavers is getting ready for the southern summer with new designs from Karl Lagerfeld, Converse, Karen Millen, Collette Dinnigan, Alex Perry, and Osiris Eyewear.
   Karl Lagerfeld has a 13-piece collection at Specsavers with, among others, a retro look for women with the KL 09 design, and the KL 25 is a richer, more jewelled style. For men, Karl Lagerfeld has classic, more geometric styles.
   Converse has a more streetwise sensibility: the Converse Chuck Taylor Eyewear collection has modern colours in acetate and metal, while the Sun Rx 04 style has an unmistakeable, funky appearance.
   We love Karen Millen’s animal print (KM 34), a sleek design that’s lifted with its leopard spots, while the Collette Dinnigan eyewear line reflects the designer’s creativity, with metallic embellishments on four designs, and more neutral tones for the other eight for summer.
   Alex Perry has gone for an animal print, too, among the 13 in the Specsavers range, but it’s the distinctive temple designs that we believe will mark them out for the fashion-forward. Meanwhile, Jørgen Simonsen’s exclusive Osiris Eyewear sun collection for Specsavers showcase oversized frames and two-tone laminates.

Karl Lagerfeld


Karen Millen

Converse


Karen Millen

Collette Dinnigan


Alex Perry

Osiris

October 1, 2015

Ikea extends itself into fashion: you read it here first last year

Lucire staff/23.16


Ikea

September 29’s Ikea Fashion Show at Moda di Milano (hashtagged both #IKEAfashion and #IKEAtemporary) showcased work from two designers who collaborated with the Swedish-founded furniture conglomerate.
   ‘With a number of new collections that have been developed in collaboration with fashion designers, Ikea is stepping into new territory—one from which we can learn a lot,’ according to the company.
   Giltig by Katie Eary and Svärtan by Martin Bergström will see their collections retailed in 2016, but they received a boost in profile thanks to their appearance at one of the top fashion weeks in the world.
   For us, the first thing that came to mind when seeing Ikea fashion was Stefan Engeseth’s (below right) prediction, published in Lucire first last year, and later in Style.com, the Daily Mail, The Guardian and Flare, plus a number of newspapers and news websites: that fashion should be Ikea’s next industry.
   At the time, Ikea had no such plans officially, but it isn’t surprising to see another one of Engeseth’s predictions come true. He came up with the idea of Coca-Cola being served through taps at home before Coke itself actually trialled that idea, plus another, over 15 years ago, on how cellphones could connect two strangers, albeit not through an app.
   We wrote: ‘Engeseth says that Ikea’s expertise lends itself easily to the world of apparel …
   ‘He believes that fashion is in a repetitive cycle, stuck in history and needing renewal.
   ‘Ikea could offer both complete apparel items and composite parts that customers could assemble themselves, says Mr Engeseth. The parts could be “tailored” at home in inventive ways without the need for complex sewing.’
   Last year, Lucire publisher Jack Yan added, ‘This taps in to its existing fan base, and just as importantly, Ikea can make full use of its channels, outmanœuvring many existing fashion labels. Ikea has an international retail base and it has distribution down to a fine art.’
   When we asked him about the Ikea show in Milano yesterday, he had his reservations about some of the designs, but stated, ‘It’s good that Ikea takes its first step into fashion, and rewarding to see them developing the concept more now.’
   He was also buoyed by seeing that, after the show, Ikea’s official Twitter account went back to his blog post late last year about Ikea fashion, and “favourited” a Tweet about it. Engeseth even preempted the hashtag used back in 2014.
   There’s no sign that Ikea fashion will be in a composite format, ready for its customers to assemble, but Engeseth appears to have been right that the brand would extend itself into the new segment.

September 17, 2015

New York Fashion Week spring-summer 2016, Day 7 videos: Hugo Boss, Michael Kors, Anna Sui

Alex Barrow/12.24

With Jason Wu as the creative director of Hugo Boss womenswear, his creative flair was evident in this season’s New York Fashion Week. Using long sleek garments to accentuate and celebrate the female form, the collection was made up of fairly plain garments, each with its own sense of ambiance. These included feathered skirts, eye-catching prints, various necklines and an array of fabrics. Crisp colours allowed for the creative features to shine through, accentuating the beauty of subtlety in fashion.
   The packed audience at Michael Kors’s show indicates how celebrated and anticipated this collection was this season. A noticeable feature resonating throughout his pieces were red and blue poppies, featuring either on prints or as physical sewn-on features. Another common style was the box pleat, presented in flaps on both skirts and dresses. Kors’s inspiration drew from ‘earthly elegance’, clothes that have a down-to-earth appeal while still maintaining a classy presence.
   Anna Sui’s collection drew heavily from a tropical Hawaiian theme this year, captured in both the clothes and the elaborate set. However, she incorporated various undertones, most surprisingly a radical punk sub-theme with harsh black tones, tattoo-style sleeves, pin-up patches on bomber jackets and sequinned tassels. The collection altered dramatically and unpredictably throughout the show, yet it maintained the Hawaiian essence.
   Also on the official calendar for day seven were Suno, Thomas Wylde, Stella Nolasco, Naeem Khan, Bibhu Mohapatra, J. Crew, Greg Lauren and Demoo Parkchoonmoo.—Alex Barrow

Hugo Boss Women’s

Michael Kors

Anna Sui

Suno

Thomas Wylde

Naeem Khan

Bibhu Mohapatra

Greg Lauren

Filed under: Lucire
September 15, 2015

New York Fashion Week spring–summer 2016, Day 6 videos: Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang, Diesel Black Gold

Alex Barrow/22.22

Not one to shy away from obscure designs, Vera Wang experiments with lingerie paired with heavy overcoats to open her collection this year. Bandeau-style bras are a recurring feature, teamed with various high-waist garments. Wang uses mostly heavy black for each garment; however, in various outfits a burst of glitter features, breaking up the heaviness of the collection. As the show develops blush coral contrasts starkly with the previous pieces; these pieces are a welcome adjustment. Wang’s inspiration is drawn from the sensual Belle du Jour, which can be seen in the independent, strongly feminine styles of the garments
   The Diesel Black Gold collection was essentially inspired by the heavy rock–biker style with black-and-white cottons vamped up with various radical features. Heavy leathers, silver studs, cut-outs and crisp square cuts were refashioned time and time again throughout the show. Diesel used these iconic rocker staples and made them their own—an impressive feat considering the popularity these styles have had over the last few years.
   With the upcoming first anniversary of the passing of the label’s cherished namesake, the designers of Oscar de la Renta had a lot to prove with their first New York Fashion Week show without the founder’s expert oversight. However, they went over and above with the spring–summer 2016 collection. Drawing inspiration from classical Sicilian elegance, the floral and feminine collection radiates with an air of class and creative originality, a trait made the company’s own by de la Renta.
   Also showing on day six were Badgley Mischka, Angel Sanchez, Dennis Basso, Alice + Olivia by Stacey Bendet, Carmen Marc Valvo, and the Art Institutes, among others.—Alex Barrow

Vera Wang

Diesel Black Gold

Oscar de la Renta

Badgley Mischka

Angel Sanchez

Dennis Basso

Carmen Marc Valvo

The Art Institutes

September 14, 2015

New York Fashion Week spring–summer 2016, Day 5 videos: Tommy Hilfiger, Jeremy Scott, 3·1 Phillip Lim

Alex Barrow/23.15

Jeremy Scott’s collection was brilliantly designed to transport the audience to the fast-lane fashion lifestyles of ’60s mods. With puffy curled hair dos, bright radical colours and prints, popping make-up, shapeless mini-dresses, and Latex- and sequin-saturated dresses, Scott no doubt achieved the essence of the blast from the past. The collection is a colourful combination of pop art and the fun and flirty free love of the ’sixties, demonstrating the quirky creativity Jeremy Scott’s designs have become notorious for.
   Phillip Lim’s show grabbed attention with the stage layout. With a large square catwalk interrupted by mountainous dirt pyramids seemingly placed arbitrarily, Lim is clearly looking to portray a wholly æsthetic appeal. With both soft and deep khakis resonating throughout the 3·1 Phillip Lim spring–summer 2016 collection’s designs, the adventurous tone is further accentuated by his safari-style wide trousers and shorts, heavy coats and fluid leather jackets, paired with long head ribbons. The set and the designs are perfectly compatible, setting the scene for Lim’s inspiration.
   Tommy Hilfiger’s collection, based on beachy Carribean themes, became an all-encompassing event with the set design depicting a fiery sunset and a water expanse inset in the catwalk. This collection presented mostly colourful swimwear and garments boasting bold tropical prints. Long bohemian maxi dresses were common, as well as colourful stripes typical of Tommy Hilfiger womenswear.
   Also on the day five calendar were Lela Rose, Taoray Wang, Reem Acra, Libertine and Vivienne Tam. Lola Cristall will have her detailed wrap-up from New York Fashion Week later.—Alex Barrow

Jeremy Scott

3·1 Phillip Lim

Tommy Hilfiger

Lela Rose

Taoray Wang

Reem Acra

Libertine

Vivienne Tam

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