April 20 2014

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Franca Talk


Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani has been hard at work fulfilling her duties as the first-ever Goodwill Ambassador for Fashion 4 Development, producing the African issue for L’Uomo Vogue and initiating global commerce partnerships with retailers like Yesterday, she made her way to NYC for a roundtable discussion at the United Nations to talk about the organization’s progress and upcoming projects. She was joined by other fashion heavyweights committed to creating jobs in communities and sustainability around the world through fashion, including EDUN CEO Janice Sullivan, president of the Accessories Council Karen Giberson, and F4D founder Evie Evangelou.

Of the experience thus far, she told, “I learned that nothing is impossible. I already knew, but now I am sure.” She continued, “We met so many young people [while traveling around Africa], some of them are very talented and some are not—not all of us could be the editor in chief of a magazine, everyone has a different story. But I put this group of designers together and they made a good collection and it sold out in two weeks on Yoox.” Sozzani admitted she has identified several talented African designers who might some day land their collections on the runways in the major fashion cities and that she’s currently working on a partnership with Saks to showcase some of these designers. For now, however, the plan is still in its earlier stages. “We don’t have money to make a showroom for them yet. I am the showroom,” she said, laughing.

In the meantime, they are striving to establish fashion business partnerships in Africa like China and Brazil have set into place. Sozzani pointed out, however, that the situation in Africa is not like China. “No one ever told them the richness of their work is worth more than they are getting paid for their craft,” she said. She has started trying to change that by prompting major designers to create small collections and have them produced in Africa. “It doesn’t mean the clothes will look African, it just means they are being produced there and creates more jobs. Lots of designers are joining us on this,” she said. On the subject of major designers, it was announced that the organization has a big project lined up with the likes of Donatella Versace and Roberto Cavalli, with more details coming on that soon. When reminded that while she was talking about her latest do-good endeavors in Africa, the menswear shows are still in full swing, she responded, “I am not missing the men’s shows; I don’t like them at all. To see a beautiful woman walking down the runway is so different. Some men’s collection are really nice (Prada’s was amazing), but some are just ridiculous, you know?”

Photo: Courtesy Photo

Alasdhair Willis Thinks Inside The Box


We’ve always known as a great place to grab a sartorial bargain. Its design channel, which stocks the likes of Alessi, B&B Italia, and Kartell, has up till now been a pretty well-kept secret, but that’s about to change. Established & Sons, the design firm run by Alasdhair Willis, a.k.a. Mr. Stella McCartney, is launching its own Web site, and to celebrate, it’s partnering with Yoox to offer a limited-edition series of, well, boxes. Called Bits & Bobs, the line is created from objets trouvés and also includes cool little tchotchkes like clocks, lights, and wall units—just the things for that impossible-to-buy-for person on your Christmas list.

Come Thursday, Willis will host a very intimate Christmas party at Established & Son’s Mayfair gallery for the likes of his wife, his father-in-law Paul McCartney, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jake and Dinos Chapman. Apart from the pretty good people-watching, we’re promised mulled wine and choral singers—plus a sale on the Bits & Bobs line, which will see the boxes offered at greatly discounted prices in the early eve, only to get more and more expensive by the hour. The idea is to buy quickly. We’re guessing, though, that the big spenders in the crowd won’t be watching the clock.

It’s Getting Easier Dressing Green


As WWD pointed out yesterday, eco-chic hasn’t fallen prey to the recession. Yes, green fashion stays viable by being partly a marketing kick. (Last year one publicist told me point-blank that she had her client do a couple organic cotton tops just to get into every magazine’s now-inevitable Green Issue.) But keeping the trend alive surely has some merit, and considering that fabric manufacturing, especially cotton, can pollute heavily, it must make a difference that companies like Loomstate, Koi Suwannagate, and even Jil Sander and Yves Saint Laurent are offering stylish sustainable options. The article also mentioned that the French customer in particular is fed up with how quickly clothing falls apart, another reminder that the most eco-chic clothes are the ones you don’t toss in a season. As Earth Day looms and green press reaches critical mass, there are a few other things worth mentioning, like’s new initiative Yooxygen, which will, among other things, offset the carbon footprint of its courier services. Yooxygen’s main focus is, of course, shopping. Set to launch on Earth Day is an exclusively eco-friendly boutique (dubbed by Yoox CEO Federico Marchetti as ECO-mmerce) with product like Ilaria Venturini Fendi’s recycled material accessories line Carmina Campus, vegan Stella McCartney accessories, and organic tees from Katherine Hamnett, a.k.a. Henry Holland’s spiritual mother. Meanwhile, HBO asked Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin to do some “up-cycled” T-shirts—essentially reworking old T-shirts from shows like Flight of the Conchords and Sex and the City with Chanin’s homey-chic signature hand-stitching and appliqué. They’ll be sold at the HBO store in New York and at And finally, T-shirt line Alternative Apparel (which has some of the best colors I’ve seen lately) has created a magazine called Think Earth with contributions from eco-minded celebs like Adrian Grenier and Leonardo DiCaprio posse member Lukas Haas. You can download the magazine at starting April 14, and they’ll be celebrating the issue next week with a party at the Sunset Marquis. Hey, just because you’re green doesn’t mean you can’t be fabulous.

Party Like It’s 1959 (Or 1964, Or 1981)


Nothing to wear for the holiday season that’s fast approaching at what seems like the speed of light? If you plan to treat yourself a little (and it’s been a rough year, why shouldn’t you?), has cobbled together a lovely little selection of vintage dresses that will assure that you not only look appropriately festive, but also that you’ll be immune to the dreaded twin-dress syndrome. (Is there anything more awful than a live version of Who Wore It Better?). The dresses, purchased from Christie’s New York, include the sparkly eighties Zandra Rhodes tunic decked with glass beads pictured here, along with old-school Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Chloé, and Fendi. They go on sale December 19 at

Photo: Courtesy of

Yoox Opens Its Jewelry Box


Since I amortize all fashion purchases by number of wears over time, buying jewelry always seems like a good investment. Any fellow trinket-heads (yes, I just coined that term) should click on over to, which today launches an online bijoux boutique. The range includes some fantastically inexpensive pieces from names you love, like House of Waris, Karen Walker, Delphine-Charlotte Parmentier, and Maison Martin Margiela’s brand-spanking-new collection. But there’s also an impressive selection (also well priced, with many pieces under $100) of vintage stock, from Trifari to Chanel. But the shining jewel (NPI) for students and fans of costume jewelry is a video interview with collector and author Deanna Farneti Cera, who also parted with remarkable pieces from her own collection, including works from Miriam Haskell and Coppola e Toppo (pictured here), for the sale.