So much for slow August news days. Today’s WWD is reporting that LVMH is said to be eyeing a minority stake in Proenza Schouler, the New York label founded by Parsons grads Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough in 2002. The Proenza show, scheduled this season for September 10, is always one of the buzziest on the New York schedule, but this announcement will keep people talking all week long. LVMH and its rival Kering have been zeroing in on hot young designers lately. Alexander Wang landed at Kering’s Balenciaga in late 2012, and the company made a minority investment in Joseph Altuzarra’s burgeoning business last year. Christopher Kane is also in the Kering fold. Should the LVMH deal happen, Hernandez and McCollough would join recent recruits J.W. Anderson, now at Loewe, and shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood in Bernard Arnault’s growing luxury empire.
Why should we care?
A minority stake in Proenza Schouler’s business would potentially secure Hernandez and McCollough for future posts at LVMH should any of its current star designers leave their posts. I could see Lazaro and Jack in Paris, but my first thought is I hope it doesn’t play out that way. In a four-collections-a-year system, managing two huge brands is more than a designer can handle successfully. Yes, there are two designers in this case, but with all the international travel now required of creative directors, not to mention the other duties required of the face of a brand, it just seems untenable to me. Sure, Karl Lagerfeld does it at Chanel and Fendi, but with Hermès nominating Nadège Vanhee to replace Christophe Lemaire, who had been dividing his time between Hermès and his own label, doing double duty doesn’t seem to be the way the industry is moving.
More likely, Arnault and co. see the value in building up the Proenza Schouler brand. And lucky for them. When Nicolas Ghesquière left Balenciaga, he seemed like an obvious candidate for investment. He had the talent and the name recognition. But at the time, it was said that launching a brand from the ground up was prohibitively expensive, as in eight-figures expensive. (Ghesquière, of course, landed firmly on his feet at Vuitton, Arnault’s crown jewel.) Hernandez and McCollough have been around for 12 years and have used the 40 percent stake Andrew Rosen and John Howard made in their business (acquired from the Valentino Group) to their advantage, opening two Manhattan stores in the last two years and really digging into their accessories business.
Timing, as they say, is everything.
With a family name like Burch, if you’re going to make a foray into fashion, it had better be a good one. And with their newly launched sportswear brand, Trademark, sisters Pookie and Louisa (daughters of J. Christopher and former stepdaughters of Tory) have done just that. Since early this year, they’ve been turning out quietly arty clothes (Donald Judd’s work is a major Trademark design touchstone) that wouldn’t look out of place alongside Jil Sander or Céline, but which all clock in around $100 to $500 a piece. And now they are placing the finishing touches on their first boutique, set to bow in Soho at 95 Grand Street during the start of New York fashion week.
A brick-and-mortar location was always in the cards since, as Pookie says, “We really wanted to be able to express the entire world around Trademark. And the location was what we’d been looking for: There was foot traffic, but it was still more interesting. The space has a lot of special details about it, and it just had the right energy.” Swedish stark-meister Andreas Bozarth Fornell’s firm, Bozarthfornell Architects, whose client list reads like an industry who’s-cool (Acne Studios, Opening Ceremony, Kenzo), was brought in to design the shop. “It was all about having this beautiful, minimal space with clean lines that felt very modern but still a little bit nostalgic and touching on the classic elements,” says Louisa.
Also on the duo’s docket for autumn? Their first official ad campaign, lensed by British youngblood Jamie Hawkesworth. His beautifully uneasy fine-art work has earned him a commercial résumé that includes the likes of Jil Sander, J.W. Anderson, and Loewe—as well as the longtime admiration of the Burch sisters. For Trademark’s Fall imagery (which debuts exclusively on Style.com), Hawkesworth, stylist Sara Moonves, and a bare-bones crew headed to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Models were street cast and shot in barns and against the rural backdrops of the prevalently Amish area. The end result is a dreamy tension between the pastoral and the decidedly present-day. “We thought the landscape was really special. And we also felt like we wanted to do something that Jamie was comfortable with and was excited about,” says Louisa. “And I think for Jamie, he loves to photograph real people.”
Trademark, 95 Grand Street, New York. For more information, visit trade-mark.com.
Since it launched in 2009, Made fashion week has increasingly been one of the highlights of the New York fashion week calendar. Its founders (pictured), Jenné Lombardo, Mazdack Rassi, and Keith Baptista, have continued to bring a slew of fresh talents (as well as more seasoned vets) into the fold, and this season is no different. They’ve just released their Spring 2015 lineup to Style.com, and they have 10 new additions—including Zana Bayne, Koonhor, Chris Gelinas’ CG, and Maison Kitsuné—to the Made programming this season.
“What really excites us is newness and visually stimulating shows or presentations,” Lombardo told Style.com. “With names like Zana Bayne, we’ve really enjoyed watching her trajectory—we’ve been fans from the sidelines. With others, like Maison Kitsuné, we have been friends with them for a long time and we’re just excited to have them joining us,” she said. They will be showing alongside returning labels like Public School, Tim Coppens, Jeremy Scott, and Sophie Theallet.
Here’s the full list of shows and dates, below:
Thursday, September 4
Lexus Design Disrupted: Gareth Pugh
Friday, September 5
Cushnie et Ochs
Saturday, September 6
Sunday, September 7
Devon Halfnight Leflufy
Monday, September 8
Olivier Saillard: “Models Never Talk”
Tuesday, September 9
Wednesday, September 10
Maria ke Fisherman
How many times have you found yourself saying, “Ugh, I just can’t find the right shirt to wear in this selfie?” Well, fret not, tech-savvy narcissists, because up-and-coming London-based designer Timur Kim has got you covered. Today, the Central Saint Martins-trained talent (who, having graduated in 2012 at the age of 22, was one of the late Louise Wilson’s star pupils) launches his selfie T-shirts, a unisex range of limited-edition tees whose prints are cleverly focused around the neck. “When you’re doing a selfie, you capture only the face and the area below the neck,” said the 25-year-old designer of Russian and Korean descent. “What makes these shirts perfect for taking selfies is that all the designs are concentrated around this area. Everything is in the right place for the photograph.”
Selfie-focused fashion—could this be the end of cerebral, well-designed clothing as we know it? Not at all, actually, because Kim’s cheeky, entirely handmade capsule is simultaneously a clever commentary on our self-absorbed, iPhone-obsessed generation and an ingenious marketing plan. “I don’t really do selfies,” Kim told me. “I like to keep to myself, and I don’t like to be photographed. But the selfie is a huge phenomenon, especially in fashion, because [fashion] is such a self-centric industry. We all want to be part of it. We all want to be exposed, often through the clothes we wear and the style we choose. So I thought why not get people to take a selfie in my work?”
Offered in three styles, the tops are priced at £100 and are available on Kim’s website. And because I know you were wondering, no. Kim’s T-shirts were not inspired by Kim Kardashian West’s recently announced book of selfies. In fact, he didn’t even know said tome was in the works. “I don’t really pay attention to Kim Kardashian. What she’s doing doesn’t in any way relate to my work, so she doesn’t really interest me.” We’re guessing she won’t be posing in Mr. Kim’s tops anytime soon.
What does interest Kim (and me, for that matter) is his forthcoming Spring ’15 collection, for which his T-shirts serve as a preview of sorts. With his event scheduled for September 15 at London’s Lyst Studios, Kim is confident that this London fashion week outing will be his best yet. A sneak peek at his mood board debuts exclusively here.
“I think this is going to be my breakthrough,” Kim said confidently. “The main theme is Back to the Future, so it kind of encompasses everything I’ve done from the [Central Saint Martins] MA to this point. I feel like I can finally integrate all that I’m capable of, and the result is what I’ve wanted to achieve for a long time. I’m getting there, and I’m liking it.” Expect color-blocking, stretch everything (including denim), silk looks, and “unexpected techniques,” as well as garments that are made entirely by hand. “Some designers don’t learn the craft, and then the craft gets lost,” said Kim of the importance of touching each garment he conceives. “It’s not just about styling and jewelry and sketching. You have to know how to work with the fabric, how to be an architect of clothing.” Like we said, good design isn’t going anywhere—in fact, it might just be getting started.
“It’s quite a long time we have been in the business,” Filip Arickx of A.F. Vandevorst tells Style.com. Sixteen years, to be exact—and at last, Arickx and his wife, An Vandevorst, have opened their very first stand-alone shop in their native Antwerp. “We think the time was right.”
While their previous guerilla store pop-up projects have always included the brand’s iconic codes, like hospital beds and uniforms (Arickx says he has been collecting Red Cross furniture since he was 12), the debut store has a more contemporary feel. “We played with the colors and materials that reference the hospital element, like shades of white, used chrome finishing, and the floor is vinyl,” Arickx tells Style.com of the new space, which they worked on with Antwerp-based scenographer Bob Verhelst (who has also teamed up with brands like Maison Martin Margiela and Cartier). “But that is not really the main concept of the design this time around.”
The 650-square-foot store, which neighbors Acne Studios and Dries Van Noten, houses the brand’s main line, plus footwear and accessories pieces. They’ve also created some custom items exclusively for the new shop. “For now, we have two pairs of boots that have diamonds on the cross [where the normal red cross would be],” says Arickx. Those retail for $7,000 a pop. Belts, bags, and other exclusives are reportedly in the works.
Will an A.F. Vandevorst shop be landing in any other big cities at some point soon? They don’t have any set plans, but “London, New York, or Paris would definitely be nice.” Until then, here’s a look inside the new shop.
A.F. Vandevorst, Lombardenvest 20, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium. For more information, visit afvandevorst.be.