It’s no secret that designers have been looking to the animal kingdom for inspiration these days. But Rupert Sanderson’s approach is more literal than anything we’ve seen thus far. The footwear designer and his team decided to try something a bit daring for his Spring ’14 campaign, and enlisted live snakes to star in the ads.
Debuting exclusively on Style.com, the snaps depict a rainbow of snakes gliding over models’ feet and slithering up their legs. Truth be told, our first reaction was simply…yikes. But rest assured, no models (or snakes) were harmed in the making of these ads. “In the first shot, there was a lot of screaming!” Sanderson said. “But as the day progressed, everyone became so used to having the snakes around. It was more about their silhouettes and the graphic shapes they were making than the snakes themselves.”
To provide a glimpse of the snakes in action, Sanderson also created a behind-the-scenes video of the campaign (below). “We wanted something dynamic and fascinating to watch,” he said. An especially alluring clip portrays a black-, white-, and red-striped snake coiled menacingly around a model’s foot. But you know the old saying: Red touches black, you’re OK, Jack.
Rupert Sanderson’s Spring ’14 collection and campaign will launch in February 2014. For more information, visit www.rupertsanderson.com.
Launched in June 2012, the London Collections: Men, which now kicks off the menswear season, has definitely made the fashion calendar a little tight (and consequently ruffled some old-establishment feathers along the way). However, it’s an important platform for the city’s wealth of menswear talent (both up-and-coming and established), who were previously made to present the day after the women’s shows—or simply in a different city. (Burberry, for instance, returned to its native London last season after a long history of showing in Milan.) But, according to WWD, the platform is getting some pushback from its Italian counterpart. This season, LC:M, which begins on January 6, overlaps two days with Florence’s Pitti Uomo, thus forcing buyers and editors to choose the shows, events, and presentations in one city over the other. “We haven’t reached any agreement [on dates],” said British GQ editor Dylan Jones, who serves as the chair of LC:M. “As far as I’m concerned, we’ve offered so many olive branches. [The Italian organizers] seem to be intransigent and don’t appear to be particularly interested in working with London, so we’re just going to go ahead.” Which metropolis will emerge victorious? Tune in this January to see how it all turns out.
Virgil Abloh’s career to date has conspired to put him in the periphery of the spotlight. As one of the creative directors who works with Kanye West, the Chicago-raised designer plays a key role in creating tour merchandise, pop-up stores, and West’s shows. He collaborates on graphics for the cult streetwear label Hood by Air. And last year, on 12/12/12, he launched Pyrex Vision, an ultra-limited line of logo-fied T-shirts and shorts that sold out nearly immediately at every store they arrived at, from Colette, in Paris, to VFiles, in New York. Abloh’s name is well-known to a few overlapping groups of hip-hop and streetwear obsessives—he is part of the Been Trill collective, with Matthew Williams and Heron Preston, as well as part of Donda, the creative arm of West’s entourage and enterprise—but he’s eluded wider recognition. That is, potentially, until now.
Abloh is preparing to launch Off-White, a streetwear-meets-fashion line that builds on, and expands upon, Pyrex Vision. Pyrex Vision was comprised of third-party merchandise, such as Champion T-shirts, screen-printed with Abloh-designed graphics; Off-White will be a full cut-and-sew line, made in Italy. “Streetwear has a one-trick-ponyness to it,” Abloh says. “I want to give my point of view and merge street sensibilities in a proper fashion context. I think that if I can merge the two, it’ll make something interesting.”
The first collection, for Spring, is largely based on Abloh’s graphics: a motif of parallel lines, crossing over a “WHITE 13″ logo. (On the name, he says only: “It’s just a bucket for me to put my thoughts into.” The graphic element was inspired by the geometric lines of Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House near Chicago, an inspiration point for the entire collection. Abloh trained as an engineer and an architect before coming to West and, by extension, to fashion.) There are jeans and chinos in unbleached canvas, cut wide through the thigh and skinny in the leg; inflated A-line flannels; and perforated mesh shorts. The clothes have a broken-in, occasionally pulverized look, a far cry from the pristine crispness that’s often prized in streetwear. “It’s not so much about brand-new. It’s about the washed nature of clothes, the relaxedness. That’s what I love, to bring a Ralph [Lauren] take back into streetwear. Streetwear is generally brand-new. It’s fresh out of the box, you wear it once, it becomes trendy, then you get rid of it.” The inspirations he rhapsodizes over are not necessarily predictable ones. “I have this deep infatuation with Montauk and Martha Stewart and Nantucket,” he says. “My parents are from Ghana, and I grew up in Chicago, but for some reason, this lifestyle, shabby chic—it’s grown [on me] since I got older.” The Off-White bag is an updated beach bag; the one shoe made to date is a mesh espadrille. “Outside of the sneaker conversation, I think, is much more interesting,” he says. “No one in the hood is wearing espadrilles.” Continue Reading “Exclusive: Kanye West’s Creative Consigliere Virgil Abloh Launches His Own Fashion Label, Off-White” »
Back in September, a rumor broke out that Anthony Vaccarello, the hot emerging Belgian talent known for his daring, slit-up-to-here wares, might be the next Versus Versace collaborator. And lo and behold, it’s turned out to be true. Versace announced today that the collection, which will no doubt be a slick, saucy offering, is set to debut in 2014. Vaccarello succeeds Christopher Kane, J.W. Anderson , and M.I.A., all of whom have collaborated with the brand.
Dior can smell a trend in the offing. The label’s artistic director for menswear, Kris Van Assche—as well as, presumably, his corporate bosses—sensed the growing importance of pre-collections for menswear and have begun to treat them with the pomp and circumstance formerly accorded to Fall and Spring. “At the start, a few seasons ago, these pre-collections were basically pre-deliveries of the main collections,” Van Assche told Style.com. “But now, with their strong commercial success, I understood the need for four independent, freestanding collections a year. We have now started calling these in-between collections Spring and Autumn, and the show collections Summer and Winter. These independent pre-collections tell a whole new story, away from the runway. I chose to present them to the press through catalogs, videos, and installations, like the one we had in Omotesando, Japan, in November, for the Spring collection.”
The story Van Assche set out to tell for Autumn—what other labels call Pre-Fall—is about an art student from Antwerp or Berlin. (Van Assche is Belgian himself and graduated, in his student days, from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts.) His wardrobe mixes the tailored pieces Dior Homme is famous for with more of the youth-inflected sportswear that’s a particular Van Assche fascination—sometimes in the same garment. (Blazer sleeves can be narrowed or expanded by zippers like those found on biker jackets, for example.) “His wardrobe is composed of various pieces bought on different occasions,” he says, “A blazer, a leather biker jacket, a bright red duffle coat, some knits, the typical ‘art student’ narrow black jeans, and, of course, black combat boots.”
There’s a new graphicism to some of the items, from printed suits to printed shirts, the latter of which owe a debt to the graphics of new wave (“which the art student would obviously be listening to”). But the main innovation of the collection is that, fittingly to its more commercial bent, it was conceived as separate, sales-friendly pieces. “The newest thing for me as a design concept,” Van Assche said, “was to think not in total looks but in strong separate pieces, and then make them work as an outfit.” The Autumn collection debuts exclusively on Style.com.