Thursday, February 21, 2013

Brit Awards 2013 Red Carpet Fashion: Taylor Swift, Alexa Chung & More

Missed last night's Brit Awards? Not to worry we've got all the red carpet looks right here. The red carpet was awash with black floor sweepers, led by Taylor Swift who continued to master revenge dressing in a black Elie Saab gown with sheer panels and a gold belt. We reckon she won the award for best dressed of the night. Right?

Jessie J also debuted a sleek new look, wearing a belted black Versace gown with simple courts, straight black hair and minimal make up rather than her usual rainbow bright eye shadow. Steering clear of the coloured hair extensions and loud prints, she kept the drama all in the dress, which had a statement plunging V.

On the subject of skin flashing black gowns, Jessie Ware flashed her tum in a cropped Miu Miu black top with gold embellished sleeves, while Delilah wore a sleeved, high neck Michael Kors frock with peek-a-boo slit at the cleavage. For the Roc Nation after party Rita Ora wore a black gown sequin with an Angelina-esque thigh high slit and gold collar detail.
But the stars didn't all stick to head to toe black, as Rita Ora wore a satin salmon Ulyana Sergeenko couture gown to the ceremony and Jourdan Dunn showed off those model pins in a teeny yellow Balmain dress. Alexa Chung continued to steer clear of all things glitz, opting for an ivory Valentino shorts and top. Not the usual red carpet get up, but we think she looked simply adorable.

The two looks we're not so sure about were Katherine Jenkins in a printed blue Stella McCartney dress with hot pink lips and Jaime Winstone's bright printed dress. 

Tod’s Names New Women’s Creative Director

Today, Tod’s announced the appointment of Alessandra Facchinetti as the new Creative Director of its women’s ready-to-wear and accessories collections. Facchinetti, who has previously designed for Miu Miu, Gucci, Valentino, and Moncler, as well as her own line with Pinko, Uniqueness, will take her post this March and present her debut collection during Milan fashion week in September 2013.

And Then There Was Astrid

Laila Azhar is known for her namesake line and its feminine draped dresses. For Fall 2013, however, the Moroccan-born designer is exploring new territory with the debut of a contemporary range called Astrid . The line will offer, as Azhar put it, “younger and happier” clothes at an “aggressively lower” price point (pieces will range between $185 and $595). A kicky leather skirt shown with a nubby cardigan exemplified the easy approach to separates Azhar took here, as did relaxed silk trousers (in either leopard or a novelty horse print). She didn’t forget about dresses, however. The designer showed a series of knit options, including a bonded lace mini that hugged all the right curves.

New Wave: Los Angeles Jewelry Line Spinelli Kilcollin Offers a Dose of Gothic Glamour

A visit to the sun-drenched hilltop abode of Los Angeles jewelry designers Yves Spinelli and Dwyer Kilcollin finds the couple enjoying a leisurely cup of tea while Joni Mitchell wafts from the stereo. Strewn across the breakfast table, their sculptural pieces gleam in the light, offering a dose of gothic glamour to an otherwise breezy Southern California tableau. “When we first started, people would ask, ‘Is that an Ann Demeulemeester?’” says Spinelli with a laugh.

Of course, such cases of mistaken designer identity are on the wane for Spinelli Kilcollin, as influential boutiques like If in New York City and Maxfield in L.A. (Spinelli was once a manager at sister store, Maxfield Bleu) discover the line. Ikram Goldman, owner of prominent Chicago store Ikram, has been a particularly ardent supporter, commissioning several custom orders. “She likes a lot of flash,” says Spinelli, who at Goldman’s request encrusted the popular Galaxy rings (interlocking gold and silver bands that can be stacked together or worn across several fingers) with chocolate, cognac, and white diamonds.

The Ikram order is a harbinger of a more luxe direction for the line, which launched in 2010. Leading the charge are designs like a diamond-studded, rhodium-plated silver Möbius band—which Kilcollin, an MFA student at the University of Southern California’s Roski School, designed on a computer-aided design program—and a set of South Sea–pearl pieces. “We still want to work with this edgy, architectural idea,”says Spinelli. “But we’re ready to incorporate it into a more fine-jewelry setting.”

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

BFC’s Caroline Rush: “London Has Incredible Talent”

CAROLINE RUSH described this season's London Fashion Week as "the perfect storm". The British Fashion Council chief executive believes that the autumn/winter 2013-14 schedule was one of the capital's strongest to date - thanks to the timing (following the London 2012 Olympics), its selection of "incredible" diverse talent, and the fresh bout of "energy and enthusiasm" brought by new BFC chairman, Natalie Massenet.
"We've been building on strengthening London Fashion Week over several seasons, but now it's almost the perfect storm," she told us. "It's post-London 2012, where there was a huge amount of attention on the UK. We have incredible designers - not just creatively, but which are now developing sustainable profitable businesses - and the internet now gives immediate access to a global audience."

Thanks to a partnership with Righster and YouTube, 21 of this season's shows were broadcast live online this season - not even taking into account the social efforts from the likes of Burberry and Topshop, labels which consistently push the bounds of public interactivity. And speaking of Topshop, Rush was delighted at the increase of British high street presence on this season's schedule.

"It's an opportunity for the general public to access fashion and trends that all start here at LFW, so it's no bad thing at all - [high street brands] are all building international businesses too, so it makes sense to show here when they've got the world's attention and international retailers and department stores in town," she said. "Of course Topshop have been part of London Fashion Week for many years supporting NEWGEN - they're an incredible global fashion brand in their own right now."

Other high street brands to join the schedule this year included Whistles and River Island, which unveiled the results of its fashion collaboration with Rihanna.

"It's fantastic, Rihanna's become this huge style icon with an incredible international audience, it's great to see," said Rush. "There's a really positive feeling not only in terms of the designer-end of the spectrum but also the high street. It's a great way to communicate British style to an audience that maybe can't afford designer fashion. It's fun."

With a record number of US buyers attending the London shows this season and catwalk debuts from the likes of fashion heavyweights L'Wren Scott and Tom Ford - not to mention the constant presence of Vogue March cover girl and model-of-the-moment Cara Delevingne and stars such as Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel gracing the front rows - Britain was firmly under the world's spotlight. And Rush believes that the ever-increasing emphasis on star-studded front rows and celebrity endorsements is no bad thing.

"It drives media coverage which in turn drives sales," she explained. "It's a good way for the public to identify with the brand and understand who their supporters are. It may well be that they aren't already a follower and a supporter of the designer, but then a celebrity will bring them to discover that designer. We've got great talent here and that's what makes it so exciting."

Watch: Gucci's Fall 2013 Show Live February 20 at 8AM EST

See for yourself what Frida Giannini has in store for Fall.

Fashion Dispatch from London: The Woolmark Prize

I was lucky enough to be invited to the International Woolmark Prize, which is one of the world's greatest supporters of young design. The winner of the Prize, one of six finalists, receives $100,000 and an order from supporting retail giants like Bergdorf Goodman, Harvey Nichols and 10 Corso Como. Basically, it's a big — and career making — deal. An even bigger deal: the judges. Diane Von Furstenberg, Carla Sozzani, Victoria Beckham and the ultimate in fashion fabulous, Donatella Versace, were all enlisted to vote on the winner. It was pretty fantastic to see these epic ladies all together, to support young designers who may, one day, be household names themselves. 

The six finalists each represented a different country — from Japan to Australia — and all had something individual to say. I won't lie and say I wasn't cheering for Australia's Dion Lee, whose sinuous dresses and coats are a feat of precision tailoring. But he was in great company: representing the United States was the charming Frenchie, Sophie Theallet, and, in a "where did he come from?" moment, appeared Belgian designer Christian Wijnants. Wignants, who works primarily with knits, presented a small collection of sculptural sweaters, dresses and coats in gradations of both color and knit that had Victoria Beckham asking him exactly how he did it.

In the end, it was unanimous. Wijnants was the winner - not just for his knits, but for his elegance and, yes, his wit. We will be hearing much more of him. Congratulations.

Three is a Trend: She's Come Undone

While the London runways have been rife with surprises —both Erdem and Mary Katrantzou took a step away from vibrant florals and prints toward darker dealings and Tom Ford turned full on maximalist — there are also some trends emerging. One that caught our eye was the prevalent, moody, semi-sheer way with lace that appeared almost as if it were gently falling apart, coming off the body in a way that's both beautiful and a bit sensual. See: the aforementioned Ford (left) and Erdem (right) as well as Chirstopher Kane (middle) for proof that falling apart at the seams can actually appear quite magical.

Game On at Anya Hindmarch

Everyone moved very, very carefully at Anya Hindmarch’s Fall ’13 accessory presentation today. Why? Because one wrong step, and they could have sent thousands of dominoes toppling over. In keeping with her Fall theme—anagrams and cascades—Hindmarch debuted her accessories collection on black-and-white striped platforms lined with rows and rows of the spotted game pieces. “Dominoes and games have been playing in my head for the past six months. I became obsessed with them, partly because of World Domino Day in the U.S. I know it sounds odd, but that is the nature of designers—we obsess,” said Hindmarch. 

That fixation came across loud and clear in her bags, which were hydraulically lifted up from a mechanical plinth every time a row of dominoes went down. (All of this was constructed by Dutch artist Robin Weijers—the World Record holder for domino toppling.) Dice, playing cards, and backgammon boards were all represented in the squishy soft handbags, clutches, and totes. The whole thing was playful and puerile, in a good way and, come Fall, Hindmarch’s die-hard fans (their devotion borders on groupie-dom, really) will be in for a good bit of fun. 

Behind the Scenes with Swarovski: Mary Katrantzou

The Swarovski Collective has helped over 150 fashion talents since its inception in 1999. This season, the crystal house’s initiative has given its support (and its stones) to fourteen cutting-edge talents. To celebrate and document the designers’ creative processes, Swarovski has produced behind-the-scenes films that follow every label on its journey down the Fall ’13 runway. will be giving you exclusive looks at two of Swarovski’s videos from each of the four fashion weeks. Next up is Mary Katrantzou, who showed her Fall collection on Saturday.