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4 posts tagged "Ozwald Boateng"

A Wild Night In London, When Fashion’s Finest Party At The Zoo

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While Americans were talking turkey over the weekend, the Brits had other animals in mind—like cheetahs, for example. They were among the guests (albeit caged) at a dinner and auction at one of the city’s more unusual party venues: the London Zoo. Proceeds from the evening, cohosted by sprinter Usain Bolt and PPR’s Jochen Zeitz, went to the Zoological Society of London and Zeitz’s own foundation.

In his off hours, Zeitz, the Swahili-speaking, monastery-dwelling CEO of PPR’s Sport & Lifestyle division, devotes his time—and funds—to conservation and community-building efforts, racking up accolades like the FT‘s Strategist of the Year and Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit along the way. If Bolt—the Zeitz Foundation’s ambassador for culture—is the world’s fastest man, Zeitz may be the greenest.

Friends from the office, so to speak—the likes of Stella McCartney, with husband Alasdhair Willis (above, with Zeitz and Bolt), Suzy Menkes, and Ozwald Boateng—came by to show their support, and several PPR brands had contributed auction items. Among them were a dress from Sarah Burton’s first McQueen collection, a pair of Bolt’s running shoes (he is sponsored by Puma), and a gown from a fellow environmentalist, Vivienne Westwood. A surprise lot from Sir Richard Branson was announced to the cheers of the crowd: a flight to Branson’s Necker Island to run 100 meters against Sir Richard himself. It went for £30,000 to an anonymous bidder. Racing Bolt, on the other hand, still requires passing Olympic trials.

Photo: Courtesy Photo

Is Africa Fashion’s Next Big Thing?

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What’s the next big thing in fashion? Lately, signs are pointing to Africa. For starters, Franca Sozzani dedicated the entire May issue of L’Uomo Vogue to celebrating the continent’s intrinsic allure and creativity. This year’s International Herald Tribune Luxury conference will examine the growing African middle class as an emerging consumer as well as the region’s potential for manufacturing. And last night, Essence editor in chief Constance White led a panel discussion entitled Design Africa, where she and political journalist Chika Oduah held forth with Rogan and Loomstate co-founder Scott Hahn, Suno head of production Nadiyah Bradshaw, and Bantu swimwear designer Yodit Eklund about the future of design on the continent.

The consensus: There’s plenty to be done, but the potential is great. “China did not become China overnight,” Bradshaw said, going on to explain how at Suno, she helps Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty find ethical workshops and factories and effectively create needed job opportunities in places like Kenya. Panelists mused on the potential of African manufacturing and hoped that one day, a “Made in Nigeria” tag would be as highly regarded as a “Made in Italy” or a “Made in France” one.

In the meantime, people like panelist Enyinne Owunwanne (the founder of online African fashion retailer Heritage 1960) are working to promote Africa’s rising design stars. Owunwanne works with promising up-and-coming designers including Jewel By Lisa and The Summit, as well as artisans in South Africa, Nigeria, and Rwanda, which she features on her site. “Until recently, Africa has largely been underserved within the global fashion and design scene, but the continent has always been chock-full of amazingly talented designers and artists,” Owunwanne told Style.com. “It was only a matter of time before the world stage started to give due recognition to the talent stemming from Africa. Diasporan trailblazers such as Duro Olowu and Ozwald Boateng set the stage for an appreciation of African designers. The fashion industry has barely tipped the iceberg with African designers and inspiration coming from the continent, though. There is so much more to discover—this is truly just the beginning!”

Photos: Courtesy of Passion Projects NYC

Loree Rodkin Designs For The Cause, Vacations With Cher

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Loree Rodkin’s client base includes names big and bigger, but for her latest piece, the jewelry designer committed herself to giving back. She flew into London last night for the launch of “Rocks, Stones, and Metals” at Joseph, where she—along with Stephen Webster, Delfina Delettrez, Katie Hillier, and Hannah Martin—collaborated with the retailer on a curated collection sold to benefit UNICEF.

She joined a crowd that included Daphne Guinness, Alexandra Shulman, Ozwald Boateng, and Charlotte Dellal, whose mom, Andrea, was on hosting duties with Michael Roberts. The guest list might’ve wowed a lesser designer, but Rodkin is used to keeping famous company—she counts Elton John, Courtney Love, and Cher among her friends and clients. (Here in the U.S., she’s best known for designing Michelle Obama’s inauguration gems, but her first client was no slouch, either: Elizabeth Taylor.)

At the cocktail party, Rodkin (left, with Andrea Dellal) revealed that she’s been experimenting with restaurant design (with Luau in Beverly Hills), eyeglasses (“Elton’s got hundreds!”), perfumes, and candles. While in London, she tells Style.com, she’ll be “shopping at Browns, Feathers, and of course Joseph, trying to manage a facial at Harrods, and finally trying to get some rest. Last, I’m meeting my friend Cher for her London premiere of Burlesque on Monday. Then we are going on to Hawaii to switch off from all our respective traveling!” Travels with a diva? We can only imagine what bedazzled inspiration will come out of that one.

Photo: Courtesy of Joseph

Design, Tailor, Walk

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It’s anyone’s guess whether Ozwald Boateng knew, when he booked the Odeon in Leicester Square for his London fashion week-closing 25th anniversary show and film extravaganza, that he’d be facing off with Julia Roberts. The London premiere of Eat, Pray, Love took place at the same time and at the same theater.

It was hard to say whether the celebs wandering around the square were there for Ozwald or Julia. In the tailor’s corner were 1,600 of us, celebrating the man who began as a journeyman 25 years ago and broke through barriers to become one of the world’s most respected outfitters (no small feat in the olden days, when race was a hotter issue than it is today). He now suits up Brad Pitt, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jamie Foxx, Jude Law, and Bryan Ferry, among others. In the film A Man’s Story, which screened after the catwalk show, a number of famous friends—Will Smith, Spike Lee, Paul Bettany, and Laurence Fishburne among them—sang his praises. So did billionaire Richard Branson: “If someone can get me into a suit, it must mean he is really good.”

Twenty-five years is long enough to see a new generation come in, and fittingly, Boateng called upon some of the new class to walk his show: Sam Branson (son of Richard) and Tyler Wood (son of Ronnie and Jo) hit the runway, with their proud parents beaming from the front row. Joining them there were Piers Morgan, heavyweight world champion David Haye, Nick Rhodes, and Michelle Williams—it seemed the only one missing, in fact, was Julia, though you could say she made her presence felt in the deafening roar that fell over the show when she hit the red carpet next door. It may have been a theater, but it was Boateng’s latest scent wafting in the air, rather than popcorn, and half bottles of Moët in the cupholders, rather than pop. And when the whole thing was done, the models formed a procession and walked back to the designer’s Savile Row HQ, with a few overeager fans joining in the fray.

Photo: Courtesy of Ozwald Boateng