24 posts tagged "Natalie Massenet"
Vanity Fair’s annual International Best-Dressed List was released today and the 2014 version included a healthy dose of well-deserving contenders (Lupita Nyong’o, Pharrell, Cate Blanchett, and Benedict Cumberbatch among them), fashion professionals like Natalie Massenet of Net-a-Porter and Elie Top of Lanvin, plus a few names that left us scratching our heads.
Royalty was on trend for this year’s list, which includes the Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, and of course, Kate Middleton. With this year’s list, Middleton joins the Hall of Fame, along with Alice + Olivia’s Stacey Bendet and Karl Lagerfeld. (VF also compiled an accompanying roster of Lagerfeld’s muses over the years—check it out here).
But there’s another, lesser-known royal on the roster who caught our attention: the King of Bhutan. The ruler of the last Himalayan kingdom, along with musician St. Vincent and novelist Donna Tartt (a favorite of the fashion set these days), made up the most eccentric and interesting group of them all, the “Originals.” Style icons for this trio run the gamut, from Louise Brooks to Harold from Harold and Maude to Albert Einstein. The mysterious King of Bhutan lives in Samteling Palace, and his most notable ensemble of 2014 was a “traditional burgundy knee-length gho to celebrate the April opening of the Panbang Bridge.”
Click here to see the full list.
Titan luxury etailer, publisher of a modish new glossy, wearable tech pioneer, and soon, go-to for those who’d like to sweat chicly, Net-a-Porter has today announced the upcoming launch of a new division, Net-a-Sporter. Poised to bow July 9, it will offer 37 activewear brands, covering eleven pastimes, from tennis to surfing. Labels include big dogs such as Adidas by Stella McCartney and Nike, as well as more niche fare from the likes of MONREAL London and L’Etoile Sport. Customers can expect capsules exclusive to the site, too, from such favorites as Lisa Marie Fernandez and Zimmermann. Ms. Massenet, you may get us to that early Saturday morning Pilates class yet.
It’s happening. Fashion is fully embracing wearable tech. Today, Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter announced that, come June 23, they will be selling a range of DVF-designed Google Glasses on their websites for $1,700 a pop. If you’ll remember, von Furstenberg sent a gaggle of Google Glasses down her Spring ’13 runway, and at her Resort presentation today, she was sporting the latest style. (She’s pictured here with Style.com’s Nicole Phelps.)
Net-a-Porter’s luxury his-and-hers shopping platforms are the first third-party retailers to sell the high-fashion face computers. “We are thrilled to offer Glass to our tech-savvy customers who are true leaders and innovators in style and lifestyle,” said Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet. Will loyal customers actually add Google’s smart frames to their shopping carts along with their Kenzo frocks and Kirkwood heels? Only time will tell.
This week Christopher Bailey officially assumed his joint position as both chief creative and chief executive officer of Burberry. The move has been hailed as revolutionary in some quarters. It’s rare for someone from the design side of things to be given so much responsibility for business decisions. But in fact this turn of events speaks more to evolution than revolution. It’s a reflection of the way that the role of the creative director has changed in the last decade. The notion of the designer as an artistic genius who spins brilliant collections from his own turbulent emotions and who flourishes best with a fierce protector at his side (Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé being the obvious paradigm) exists only in the memory. Or on the screen—two new YSL biopics are being released this year.
Today, fashion is big business on such a global scale that creative directors are expected to have as much of a grasp of the bottom line as of a hemline. Bailey, a talented designer who also happens to be levelheaded and exceptionally well-organized, is more in the mold of a Ralph Lauren, less focused on inventing a new silhouette than in keeping a brand both consistent and constantly refreshed. It’s not that monumental a leap for him to take control of the balance sheets. In other words, there are no more ivory towers. Hedi Slimane, to my mind an artist, is also incredibly disciplined and clear-eyed about the strategic direction of Saint Laurent as a whole. Nicolas Ghesquière’s debut at Louis Vuitton, meanwhile, seemed to suggest he has an eye on reality as well as experimentation. One of the reasons the young New York designers who emerged in the last five years have stolen a march on their contemporaries in Europe is that they have a well-defined sense of where they fit in the commercial space. But even in London, once the bastion of wayward visionaries and even more wayward bank balances, the talk is of how fledgling labels are setting themselves up to succeed as real businesses. When Natalie Massenet took over as chairman of the British Fashion Council, one of her first acts, I’ve been told, was to limit the champagne intake at the London Showrooms event in Paris. At this seasonal showcase, which allows a group of emerging British designers to present their wares to visiting press and buyers, it used to be that the bubbly would start pouring at 10 a.m. and by noon the process of writing down orders had become somewhat hazy. These days they wait till 5 p.m. to pop the cork.
That represents progress of a sort, I suppose. And yet, as the Met gets ready to commemorate Charles James, a designer who had little interest in commercial obligations but made a couple of indelible contributions to fashion history, it’s hard not to be a little nostalgic for the mad, bad creators of yore. After all, can you really come up with the next big idea if you have one eye on how it will play from Dallas to Dubai? Much of the commentary around Bailey’s appointment has centered on whether he has the chops to handle the business complexities, but going forward, his bigger challenge may be deciding when to pursue a design impulse just because it feels right rather than appears to make immediate sense for shareholders. How he negotiates that balance will ultimately dictate the success or failure of his intriguing new role.