16 posts tagged "Versus"
The rumor mill is churning again today, with a choice bit of unconfirmed gossip: Wags are wondering if London designer Marios Schwab isn’t lending a hand to the famously anonymous Maison Martin Margiela. Margiela himself exited the company in 2009, and ever since there have been rumors and reports of other designers—most recently former Céline hand Ivana Omazic—guiding the design team. The Margiela team’s only comment was that it does not communicate on who its designers are, and, in the words of WWD, “characterizing its studio as a creative collective with members of long standing that it feeds regularly with new contributors.”
While the impetus to unmask single design geniuses is an understandable one, it may be a model that’s falling out of date. It begs the question: Should we always have one designer to point to, or is a more team-spirited approach the better way? Certainly Margiela has been on an upswing these last few seasons.
The Maison is not alone in adopting, happily, a revolving door mentality. When Christopher Kane left Versus, Donatella Versace opted not to hire a single designer in his place, but to invite a series of guests to try their hands. (First up, J.W. Anderson; second, M.I.A.) And in a recent editorial on the fate of Jil Sander after the departure (again) of Jil Sander, Cathy Horyn wondered aloud if the best practice wouldn’t be to build a strong design team. It’s not hard to imagine that being refreshed with new talent as talent arrives.
Something to think about, as several large houses—from Louis Vuitton to Sander—go, for the moment, without single stewards.
It’s official. Versace and M.I.A. have confirmed a nineteen-piece collaborative collection for the house’s Versus line. The musician follows in the footsteps of J.W. Anderson, who unveiled his collection for the brand back in May. In an attempt to “invert the circle” of copycat fashion, the singer drew inspiration from the concept of counterfeiting—and Donatella is on board. “I adore the energy of the street, so when M.I.A. proposed to expose the issue of counterfeit Versace pieces by creating a collaboration inspired by these items, I thought it was an incredible idea,” she told WWD. No word yet on where Paris fashion week’s Vaccarello for Versus rumors came from, but the M.I.A. x Versus collection will go on sale October 16.
While the Anthony Vaccarello for Versus rumors were just starting to sink in, the latest buzz about town is that M.I.A. is the next collaborator in line for Versace’s diffusion line, Versus. “I have a collaboration with Versace coming out in two weeks,” the English-Sri Lankan recording artist told WWD. Although the announcement feels a bit late, the timing might work in her favor—with her new album, Matangi, slated to drop on Nov. 5.
Though strictly musical, M.I.A.’s past collaborations have involved notable names such as Madonna (remember that Super Bowl half-time show?) and American deejay Diplo (who you can thank for the beat behind Beyoncé’s “Run the World”), so we’re not surprised that the singer would work with the Italian powerhouse. Nor does this seem an unlikely match for Donatella, who tapped rapper Angel Haze and singer Grimes to perform at her Versus relaunch earlier this year. Just a bona fide hustler making her name, M.I.A. seems fit to bring her street spirit to the Versus line—should the rumors be true, of course.
To say Jonathan Anderson, the London-based designer behind J.W. Anderson, has had a big year would be a ridiculous understatement. The past 12 months have seen the up-and-comer—best known for crisp, clean shapes and boldly blurring gender lines—win the 2012 British Fashion Award for Emerging Talent, receive a frenzy of media attention for putting his Fall ’13 boys in ruffled skirts and tunics, star in a slew of magazine features, and design a capsule for Versace’s Versus. “You have to take it step-by-step,” said Anderson of his meteoric rise. “The whole point of fashion for me is that I love what I do and it doesn’t seem like work. You just need to find a balance and do things organically when you feel like doing them.” Anderson’s next organic step is his first ad campaign, which, lensed by Jamie Hawkesworth, debuts exclusively above. Styled by Benjamin Bruno, the minimal images depict a pared-down boy and girl dressed in Anderson’s Fall ’13 designs. The pair gaze moodily into the camera, and, in one shot, the male model holds a red car door. According to Anderson, it represents the idea of extraction. “I wanted to show the relationship between a boy and a girl, a man and a woman, and the abstraction of that,” he explained. “There’s something disturbing between them, and it makes you question the idea of who in the image is more powerful, or who is more seductive.”
The ads’ rollout will be as organic as their inception. Anderson, who just debuted his androgynous Spring ’14 menswear collection in London, is still feeling it out, and plans to place the photographs in such magazines as Dazed & Confused and Another, as well as in online outlets and retail spaces. “I think advertising is always looked at as a corporate thing,” offered the designer. “But I kind of see it as more of an art form. Fashion is meant to sell a dream or idea. It’s not just about pushing a bag,” he said. “It’s about pushing a concept.”
At 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana held a press conference at which attendance had been all but mandated weeks in advance. The early, un-Italian hour was no doubt meant to indicate the seriousness of the occasion, as was a lineup of speakers that included Patrizio Bertelli, Diego Della Valle, and Gildo Zegna, all of whom have joined the organization’s new board. Essentially, these captains of one of Italy’s most important and cherished industries have banded together to reinvigorate Milan’s increasingly hidebound fashion weeks. “I’ve heard the word boring,” Zegna acknowledged, though he insisted that wasn’t the case. The speeches were heavy on sweeping statements and light on concrete details, which provoked the assembly of sleep-deprived journalists into a volley of probing questions. Bertelli had earlier compared his fellow board members to “senators of fashion,” and he might have been thinking, Et tu, Suzy? as the International New York Times‘ Suzy Menkes led a round of interrogation into everything from Milan’s inhospitality to young designers to its perceived shortcomings on the digital front. Bertelli is no pushover, and he gave as good as he got. When a French journalist asked why we were only hearing from old men (Angela Missoni was a mostly silent presence on the board today), the Prada CEO told him he’d be a dangerous old man himself if he didn’t change his attitude, and then unexpectedly pointed out that Italy was the first country to abolish slavery, in the 1300s. By the end, one attendee was muttering, “Business as usual,” but if the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, then today’s announcement should be welcomed as a positive development. Certainly there is enough firepower and entrepreneurial know-how on this new board to solve world peace, let alone bring new energy to a fashion week. Zegna stressed that the process would be a dialogue and said suggestions would be encouraged. In that spirit, here are seven modest proposals for improving Milan fashion week.
1. Lure young, international designers to Milan.
Menkes wondered how Milan would be replacing Burberry and Alexander McQueen, two brands that have recently decamped back to their native London. But the city’s relatively uncrowded schedule could be one of its biggest assets. Given how ridiculously packed the New York and, increasingly, London and Paris schedules have become, you would think any number of hot young brands could be persuaded to believe that they’d have a better chance of standing out in Milan. If access to Italy’s unparalleled production expertise were thrown in as part of the deal, who could resist?
2. Take the show on the road.
The British Fashion Council and, to some extent, the U.S.-based CFDA have done a good job of promoting their designers abroad. As part of the London Showrooms events, a dozen young U.K. talents have even careened around Hong Kong together on a bus. While there are barely enough young Milan-based designers to fill a Smart car let alone a minibus, and its more established designers are already well known internationally, it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with the right kind of touring exhibition. Picture a mix of up-and-comers such as Umit Benan, Andrea Pompilio, and Fausto Puglisi; some cult brands like MP Massimo Piombo and Aspesi; and a couple of designer offshoots like Versace’s Versus line and Lapo Elkann’s highly covetable new made-to-measure collaboration with Gucci—all introduced by a charming, high-profile figure (yes, we’re talking to you, Lapo). That would go some way to showing the rest of the world the extent of Italy’s ambitions. Continue Reading “Seven Suggestions For Improving Milan Fashion Week” »