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July 23 2014

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6 posts tagged "Caroline Rush"

Twenty-Four Years Later, Amanda Wakeley Gets Her Mayfair Dream Store

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Elizabeth Hurley and Amanda WakeleyOne of the few who has dressed both Kate Middleton and Princess Diana, never mind a passel of stars including Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Florence Welch, and more, Brit designer Amanda Wakeley is a twenty-four-year veteran in the business. At her celeb-dense shop opening last night on London’s Albemarle Street, she described how she’s seen the fashion landscape in The Smoke change over the years.

“It is very competitive now, and there is a much greater choice of outstanding products at all levels of the market—plus the customer is far more discerning.” Wakeley also believes designers have stepped up their marketing game. “There is much more awareness of brand DNA—an integral part of building a successful business.”

Despite having a career and longevity most designers could only dream of, Wakeley insists that now is the most exciting time for her, especially with achieving a lifelong ambition of opening a Mayfair shop. This one is even Grade 2 listed, which means, in Brit speak, that it has historical significance. “It is such a privilege to be in a building with such heritage and structure…the staircase was put in by a couturier in the twenties, and I just knew this was the space for us.”

Tracey Emin, Liz Hurley, Elizabeth Saltzman, the BFC’s Caroline Rush, and more crushed into the shop that Wakeley says is representative of the “beginning of a new era for us.” Next on the docket is a return to the London fashion week schedule after a few seasons’ hiatus.

So after dressing the crème de la crème, who is left on her wish list? “Well, I do think Jennifer Lawrence has a wonderful look.” We have a sneaking suspicion the star will be wearing Dior to the Oscars, but who knows what the red carpet may bring.

Pitti Weighs In on the Overcrowded Menswear Calendar

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Pitti Uomo

“We’ve offered so many olive branches,” Dylan Jones, the editor in chief of British GQ, and chairman of the London Collections: Men, told WWD last week. “[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.” His statement was in response to an ongoing scheduling conflict that the newly established London menswear shows, which will run from January 6 through 8, have with Florence’s long-standing menswear fair, Pitti Immagine Uomo, whose eighty-fifth installment is set for January 7 through 10. In an interview with Style.com today, however, Pitti CEO Raffaello Napoleone and director of special events and projects Lapo Cianchi argue that they’ve been more than cooperative. “We have had very good conversations with [British Fashion Council chairman] Caroline Rush,” offered Napoleone. “And we are totally open to finding a balance and solution to this situation.”

The concern on both parties’ ends is that, due to the current two-day overlap, editors and buyers will have to choose one fair over the other, and will miss key events in either city. Burberry, for instance, will present its Fall ’14 menswear lineup at 2 p.m. in London on January 7. Meanwhile, Diesel Black Gold—Pitti 85′s guest brand—is meant to hold its Fall ’14 show in Florence later that evening. Pitti’s (rather opulent) answer this time around is to charter a plane and fly about fifty editors to Florence immediately following the Burberry show.

The problem ends up involving all four major menswear cities: If Pitti were pushed back to accommodate London, Milan and Paris would have to alter their calendars as well. According to Napoleone, the Pitti team proposed a fix, to which Milan and Paris are reportedly not opposed: London would always run from January 6 through 8, Pitti would begin on the 8th, Milan on the 12th, and so on. “We’d have to show on the weekend, which is not exactly what we feel would be best for our clients or exhibitors,” expressed Napoleone, noting that while there would still be a one-day overlap, it was at least an improvement. “But as the French say, faute de mieux—if there are no other solutions, you have to accept it. The last time I was in London with Dylan and Caroline, I left them this very fair proposal, and we didn’t receive any answer.” As for why Pitti didn’t just concede to start on January 8 this season, Napoleone said, “The seventh was decided with Milan and Paris two years ago, before the new London fashion week had started.”

Napoleone insists that he has “no idea” what inspired Jones’ comment. “Dylan Jones is a supporter of Pitti. He always attends,” said Cianchi. “The real olive branch in this story is that every city is open to renouncing something. We are completely open,” Napoleone added.

Courtesy of Pitti Uomo

Britain’s Boys Are Back in Town

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It’s been a big week for the London Collections: Men, with Rag & Bone and Pringle of Scotland announcing that they would join the likes of Tom Ford, Alexander McQueen, and Burberry in presenting during the city’s third menswear showcase this June. “I think London is pretty much the home of menswear. Look at Savile Row and the great heritage we have. We invented the suit!” said Dylan Jones—the editor in chief of British GQ and the chair of London’s men’s collections—at an event at the British Residence in New York last night. The occasion, which drew the likes of BFC chief executive Caroline Rush, Dominic Jones, Nasir Mazhar, Sibling’s Cozette McCreery, Lou Dalton, and more, marked the announcement of London’s Spring 2014 menswear schedule. The lineup includes the above-mentioned international brands, as well as talents like Christopher Kane, Richard Nicoll, and James Long. Long, fresh out of the London Showrooms, which visited New York this week, offered, “When I started menswear in London, we had to struggle to have a voice. It was very behind womenswear. Now, all these supportive people have made [London menswear] happen, and it’s so funny being in New York and having menswear be the focus.” Caroline Rush concurred. “The womenswear designers have great recognition, but to put that spotlight on these incredible menswear brands is really important,” she said.

One might wonder why the British Fashion Council chose to reveal the London menswear roster in Manhattan rather than on its home turf. “We’re here tonight…because so many New York designers have supported us since we launched 18 months ago,” said Jones in his speech, noting that Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, and more had all lent a hand. He added that Tommy Hilfiger, David Furnish, Tracey Emin, and Details magazine will all be throwing “amazing” parties during the upcoming shows, which will run from June 16 to 18. “When [everyone] goes over to Milan, they’re going to have one hell of a hangover,” he laughed. The complete Spring 2014 London Collections: Men schedule is available at www.londoncollections.co.uk.

Photo: Charles Moriarty

BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund Shortlist Announced

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Now in its fourth year, the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund announced its shortlist of nominees today. Roksanda Ilincic, Mary Katrantzou, Nicholas Kirkwood, Peter Pilotto, and Emillia Wickstead are all up for the £200,000 prize, which was won in previous years by Erdem, Christopher Kane, and Jonathan Saunders. The winner will be named on January 29 after the designers present their collections to a panel of industry professionals that includes British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, the BFC’s Caroline Rush, Lisa Armstrong, Browns’ Joan Burnstein, and more. An intimidating bunch? Sure. But with a career-boosting 200 grand on the line, we wouldn’t expect anything less.

Photo: Marcus Tondo / GoRunway.com

Putting On—And Taking Off—The Best Of British Fashion

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London calls, and the world answers. London fashion week is in full swing, and what better time for an English retailer to indulge in a little justified bragging? Matches tapped London’s best designers for a new installation at its Marylebone flagship, which it debuted over the weekend to a crowd that included Giles Deacon, Norton & Sons’ Patrick Grant, Elizabeth Saltzman Walker, Tallulah Harlech, and the British Fashion Council’s Caroline Rush. The store’s mannequins were ingeniously dressed in key looks by U.K. labels including Stella McCartney, Roksanda Ilincic, Alexander McQueen, Burberry, and Christopher Kane.

Matches’ stock is very English; its clientele, says CEO Tom Chapman, more a mix. “Fifty-five percent of our clientele is online, and half is international,” he said. “We send bucket loads to Australia and China—we’ve gotten used to tiny feet sizes. Then again, we get a lot of cool hunters after that very latest thing—and to be honest, much of that is created by our very own homegrown talent. They do us proud.”

The atmosphere last night on the South Bank, on the other hand, was a trifle more French—à la Moulin Rouge. The foxes were out for the launch of Marios Schwab’s new lingerie collection for Kallisti at the Crazy Horse. And not just the dancers who modeled the lingerie. A renegade (yet fashion-savvy) fox broke into one of the venue’s dressing rooms and chewed through dancers’ Louboutins right before show time.

For Schwab, lingerie has long been a part of life. “My dad worked in the lingerie industry for Triumph,” he said, “so I have always been surrounded by the stuff.” But it may be more topical just at present. “My seamstress is reading Fifty Shades of Grey during every break,” he laughed. “I think these days people are thinking, screw it—literally—we want to enjoy life, and our bodies.” A ten-minute show was enough to titillate the likes of Leigh Lezark, Harley Viera-Newton, Eliza Doolittle, and Pixie Geldof. And that, of course, was the point. “Being provocative is back on the menu in fashion,” Schwab said.

Photo: Courtesy Photo