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.
All of us love animals, but designers seem to have a special place in their hearts for little critters. They were virtually impossible to miss on the runways this year. If Givenchy’s Bambi was the most memorable, 2013 found plenty of other designers channeling their inner spirit animals: Miuccia Prada reasserted her love for cats at Miu Miu, with playful kitten coats that echoed her Spring ’10 collection. Diane von Furstenberg took us on safari. And Milan newcomer Stella Jean perched owls on top of her African “wax and stripes” prints. Most recently, Phillip Lim featured poodles for Pre-Fall. Animals came in like a wrecking ball off the runway, too. Who can forget Miley Cyrus at the American Music Awards in her high-cut catsuit?
That’s right! According to WWD, the downtown girl’s favorite luxury UES retail experience is heading, well, downtown. In 2017, Barneys New York, whose current flagship is located at Madison Avenue and 61st Street, will open a 57,000-square-foot outpost on 16th Street and Seventh Avenue. What’s really sweet about this news is that the new shopping destination will actually occupy the same building in which Barney Pressman originally bowed his business ninety years ago. The department store only moved to its Madison location in 1993. Don’t worry, though, uptown girls and boys—you won’t need to hail a cab to shop the shoe sale or grab a Bloody Mary at Freds (yup, there’s going to be a downtown Freds!). As per Barneys’ CEO, Mark Lee, “We’re having two flagships in New York. Uptown is staying put.”
In 2013, we’ve witnessed an unprecedented convergence of hip-hop and art. First there was Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby” music-video shoot this summer; then came Kanye West’s experimental Yeezus tour de force; and last night the two communities came together yet again, at NeueHouse in Manhattan, for a panel talk in celebration of the Wu-Tang’s twentieth anniversary, with Clan architect Oliver “Power” Grant and sculptor Tom Sachs. The latter is a longtime Wu disciple, who recalled listening to their records as a kid after Hebrew school in the nineties. Although the two couldn’t possibly be more different—Power was raised in the projects of Staten Island, a.k.a. “Shaolin,” while Sachs grew up in wealthy Westport, Connecticut—they found surprising common ground in “bringing the ruckus.” For example, they were both mischievous as kids. Sachs keyed his father’s BMW to make one of his first statements about consumerism, while Power ultimately decided to assemble and launch Wu-Tang because group leader RZA was locked up in jail and needed bail money, and he was on probation himself. According to Power (it’s worth noting that he never rapped with the group, focusing on business instead), “it was a form of desperation and inspiration” that caused them to “get past the corner” and start creating. Sachs agreed, saying that fear is the only thing that stops people from “creating your own reality and writing your own rules.”
Later in the evening, the conversation turned to consumerism, which remains a particular source of fascination for Sachs and informs many of his most famous works, such as Chanel Guillotine and Prada Deathcamp. Power quickly related: “I think that consumerism dictates what rap is and what it’s going to be, because that’s what it’s been doing.” He continued to discuss the origins of the Wu-Tang phoenix logo (“RZA was like, ‘Yo, I want my shit like Batman.’”) and the brand expansions that he has helped bring about, including Wu Wear clothing, the Wu-Tang video game, and even Wu Nails on Victory Boulevard, in Staten Island, which closed a few years ago. “Wu-Tang is forever going to be culturally relevant,” he said. “Even if we don’t have a record out, our brand is for real. This shit is like Coca-Cola now.”
In addition to their forthcoming album and reunion tour, the Clan’s major news is their Wu-Tang Hybrid Arts initiative, a.k.a. Wu Ha, which features works inspired by the Wu-Tang’s history (during the talk, several artists were live-painting portraits of different members such as Raekwon, ODB, and RZA), including Sachs’ combination ode to Wu-Tang Ladurée macarons. It will be displayed in a larger exhibition that opens at the Japanese American National Museum, in September 2014.
After a slight hiccup following its announcement earlier this week, Rick Owens’ new Web site is up and running. Owens’ collections for men and women, including his lower-priced DRKSHDW and Lilies lines and a selection of furs, will be available through e-commerce, shipping globally. The site also has an archive of Owens’ show photos, links to the labels’ various Instagram feeds, and a selection of the eternally quotable Owens’ favorite interviews—excerpted or distilled down to their key questions and answers. (Isn’t that what the Internet is for—reading shorter?) In that spirit, Style.com put a mere two questions to Owens, which he was kind enough to respond to via e-mail, with his usual all-caps zeal.
Why was it important to you to launch an online store?
IT’S IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE TO LAUNCH AN ONLINE STORE. IT’S EVOLUTION.
Fair enough. Do you shop online?
I GET ALL MY BOOKS ON AMAZON. I LOVE BOOKSTORES BUT DON’T WANT TO CARRY A BAG OF BOOKS HOME.