Believe it or not, the Spring ’15 shows are just around the corner, which means it’s time for us to reveal the trio of up-and-comers who have earned the support of Lulu Kennedy’s young designer initiative, Fashion East. This season, whimsical maximalist Edward Marler, a Central Saint Martins grad who already counts Katie Grand and M.I.A. as fans, will join returning talents Helen Lawrence and Louise Alsop. All three emerging designers will present their collections in the Fashion East group show during London fashion week. “Our lineup represents the ideas, energy, and boldness of the London scene right now,” Kennedy told Style.com. “Each designer feels totally relevant and on message.” Considering former Fashion Easters include Meadham Kirchhoff, Jonathan Saunders, and Simone Rocha, you can bet that, come 1 p.m. on September 16, our eyes will be glued to the Fashion East runway.
Zac Posen never fails to give a great quote (or three), so we were thrilled to discover his “Ask Me Anything” forum on Reddit yesterday. Fans were invited to ask “almost” anything and everything for 30 minutes, with topics ranging from Posen’s design aesthetic to the trends he hates (adult hipsters) to his favorite dessert (it’s pâte â choux). Learn the designer’s secrets to success, happiness, and more, below.
Banning trends is cultural castration, but adult hipsters have gotta go:
“Normally I don’t believe in banning any trends. Banning a trend is like neutering culture. But at the end of the day, we do have a choice not to be lemmings. Adult hipsters need to end. No flip-flops in an urban environment—they’re unhygienic. And generally, affluent or ‘rich kids’ dressing poor, dirty, and disheveled is reverse snobism and, quite frankly, really boring. What else? Shoes that a woman can’t walk in, atrocious—no, unforgivable. Too much public skin. If you’re going to wear that much skin, you might as well become a nudist. But make sure to wear sunscreen.”
Pre-Fall is to fashion as fresh fruit is to Whole Foods:
“Fashion [has] become so global that the seasons really don’t mean what they used to. The demand for more deliveries has accelerated. Essentially, think of [Pre-Fall as] that beautiful fresh-picked tomato sitting on the supermarket shelf. Who wants the tomato on sale?”
Fashion is a team sport:
“Teamwork. Teamwork. Anybody who says they create on their own and build a business off of it is telling big fibs…Karl Lagerfeld has referred to being a fashion designer in today’s world as being an Olympic athlete.”
Lilacs + Tibetan singing bowls + short films = happiness:
“The fruity-tooty answer [to the happiest thing I can think of] would be: surrounded in a garden where the walls were completely made of fresh lilacs, in a bathtub filled with very intense sea salt, harpsichord music or Tibetan singing bowls, maybe playing some saws. And the reality of the happiest thing would be to be able to entertain friends and family and people who are close to me for a weekend in which we did a creative project together. I love collaborating and making short films; maybe one day it will lead to a feature.”
Dresses have feelings, too:
“Each [dress] has its own iconic identity. I can’t pick favorites, because then they would get jealous of each other.
Shayne Oliver built a brand, and now he’s using the momentum (and resources) from his recent CFDA nomination and 100,000-euro LVMH Special Prize to expand his vision. “We’ve had the exposure,” Oliver told Style.com from his new, unfinished office/atelier/retail space on the Lower East Side, “so now we’re teaching the customer how to engage with the brand.”
For upcoming seasons, Hood by Air as we know it will be divided into three parts—Hood by Air (wardrobe pieces) and HBA (printed pieces), both to be shown in New York, and an artisanal collection to be shown in Paris, which Oliver isn’t ready to reveal too much about just yet. “It will be Hood by Air for sure. It’s just really special,” he said. “And it will be a presentation as opposed to being a show, definitely meant to be intimate and one-on-one. It’s going to push the direction of this whole season. It’ll be the fire starter.”
In addition, there’s a very real possibility that brick-and-mortar retail is on the horizon. “VFILES was acting like a retail space for us, in a sense,” Oliver says. “Now we have the space to do it on our own. Our energy as opposed to having it be embedded in a VFILES situation. They’re growing their own culture, and we’ll be growing our own as well.” He’s already got plans for how he will strategically distribute certain products. “This space here will also be used as a platform to teach the customer. For instance, there will be certain styles, like basics that we think might be too basic for us to sell on our own, so it’s not like you’re going to a department store and you see a T-shirt and it’s cool—you come here and you engage with the moment, the feeling, and you get to be in that space in order to grab that simple T-shirt.”
The Pre-Spring 2015 collection, seen exclusively here, is a precursor to what will be shown in New York during fashion week. Digital prints, block letters, and stripes prevail, and the wardrobe pieces—shirts and jeans—are elaborately constructed experiments in deconstructed basics. The footwear, done in collaboration with Forfex, borrows details from Oliver’s favorite Nikes, Timberlands, and GBX boots. If previous collections were perceived as unisex, this offering is decidedly more in line with menswear.
All brands evolve over time, but Oliver says he feels a responsibility—to his fans and to the fashion industry that has supported him. “It was a passion project before, and now it’s a business,” says Oliver. “I don’t want to let anyone down.”
If you’ve been missing Mandy Coon since she left the ready-to-wear scene in 2012, you’re in luck. “I think I got to a point where I was just running a business, which was not really what I wanted to do,” said the designer, who hasn’t presented a collection for the past three seasons. But Coon has not thrown in the towel, rather, she’s now focusing all her efforts on an accessories range.
“I wanted to be able to focus and get really obsessed with something, and I love, love, love working with leather.” The former model decamped from Manhattan to the Catskills full-time more than a year ago. There, Coon cut her teeth in leatherworking—a craft with a pretty daunting learning curve. “It definitely took a lot of mistakes,” she laughed. “I watched videos, read a lot of books, and tried to learn from people who do the really traditional stuff. Then from there, I’d just find something I really wanted to make, and then that would be my task: I would just learn how to make that, and I would screw it up a lot until I got it.”
From that perseverance—and with plenty of Italian leather—Coon began developing her latest range of bags, belts, necklaces, and harnesses. She credits her new upstate digs with bringing the contrasts that have long distinguished her work [see bunny bags in badass black leather] to the fore. Also on the horizon? An expanded color palette. “I’m starting to try and incorporate more color, so maybe that,” the noir-loving designer said. While inky hues are still the order of the day for Coon, they make the appearances of rich cobalt and brilliant emerald all the more impactful.
Coon is keen to shake off the less-than-cosmopolitan connotations that in many circles still dog the idea of ethically produced, handmade pieces. “I think there’s still kind of a stigma,” she says. “I’m trying really hard to make things fashion-forward.” And indeed, from her textured bucket bags and strappy harnesses to her bondage-tinged totes and the aforementioned lapins in leather, Coon’s pieces are more Dover Street Market than farmers’ market—a marriage of the hard-edged and the handcrafted. “Just like [with] what they’re eating, I think people are starting to think about who’s making it and where it’s being made, if care is put into it or if it’ll fall apart,” Coon mused. “I think that’s important.”
Mandy Coon accessories, priced between $125 and $1,125, are available at mandycoon.com.
Every spring, the Council of Fashion Designers of America admits a new crop of designer members. They apply to the program like any other job: résumé, portfolio, and letters of recommendation. This year, 30 new members have been chosen, including Jonathan Simkhai, Lemlem’s Liya Kebede, Tim Coppens, Veronica Beard’s Veronica Swanson Beard and Veronica Miele Beard, and Edun’s Danielle Sherman. The membership total is now 478.
“These designers are not just uniquely talented, but they also represent, through their businesses, an important contribution to American economy and job creation,” said Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA, in a statement. In addition to hosting the CFDA Fashion Awards in New York each year, the CFDA offers programs that support professional development and scholarships in fashion design, like the CFDA Fashion Incubator and the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, among several others.
In other CFDA news, the board voted for CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg to extend her stay through 2016. Von Furstenberg has been president since 2006. “The board’s unanimous decision to ask Diane to stay on as president is a testament to the great growth the CFDA has had under her leadership,” Kolb said. “An additional two years will make it a decade of Diane with the time spent on strengthening the board and organizational development.”
The full list of new members is below:
Linda Balti, AMOUR VERT
Raan Parton, APOLIS
Shea Parton, APOLIS
Arielle Shapiro, ARI DEIN
Ashley Pittman, ASHLEY PITTMAN
Ben Burkman, BURKMAN BROS
Doug Burkman, BURKMAN BROS
Carlos Campos, CARLOS CAMPOS
Clare Vivier, CLARE VIVIER
Danielle Sherman, EDUN
Ernest Sabine, ERNEST ALEXANDER
Eva Zuckerman, EVA FEHREN
Jonathan Simkhai, JONATHAN SIMKHAI
Jussara Lee, JUSSARA LEE
Barbara McReynolds, L.A. EYEWORKS
Gai Gherardi, L.A. EYEWORKS
Liya Kebede, LEMLEM
Kristy Caylor, MAIYET
Marc Alary, MARC ALARY
Paige Novick, PAIGE NOVICK
Ruthie Davis, RUTHIE DAVIS
Virginie Promeyrat, SELIMA DESIGN
Sharon Khazzam, SHARON KHAZZAM
Johnny Talbot, TALBOT RUNHOF
Tim Coppens, TIM COPPENS
Ulla Johnson, ULLA JOHNSON
Veronica Miele Beard, VERONICA BEARD
Veronica Swanson Beard, VERONICA BEARD
Cynthia Sakai, VITA FEDE
Whitney Pozgay, WHIT