It started with a forbidden trip to the cafeteria. The unwritten rule at Parsons, back when Anna Sui matriculated, held that design students should not hang out in the lunchroom. “It was considered a bad influence,” Sui recalls, “because you’d mix with everybody else. But guess who was always in the lunchroom?” Rebellious types? Yes. Wildly creative? Yes. Intriguing? You bet. “That’s where I met Steven [Meisel], in the lunchroom.“ Meisel was then a student of the apparently wayward discipline of illustration. After some mess-hall mingling, he invited Sui out dancing that night. She arrived with her then-boyfriend, and Meisel, with “his entourage.” At one point, he beckoned her over to his table and made a suggestion: lose the boyfriend and hang with us. Bye-bye beau, hello lifelong collaborator and friend. “We just started going out every night. My apartment became club central,” Sui says. The relationship became more than social — Sui would style shoots for Meisel; he encouraged her as she navigated the creation of her own label. That trajectory started with a hiccup: Sui was working for an apparel company called Lenora. Inspired by punk-rock friends who made jewelry that sold at “cool rock stores,” she aspired to the
The Big 2-5. With its September print issue, InStyle magazine celebrates its 25th anniversary. The magazine launched just as fashion was in the early throes of its passionate love affair with celebrities of the Hollywood sort, and well into the transition from supermodel to celebrity covers that would ultimately rule unchallenged until social media provided the classic model genre a platform for self-reinvention. InStyle’s maiden raison d’être was to cover and celebrate celebrity culture, and in homage to that heritage, celebrity is a key element of the anniversary tome. This print issue hits newsstands on Aug. 16, with stories posting throughout August. Now, at a fractured time in the culture and fashion, the issue, via its two major fashion features, provides a delightful reminder of fashion’s purpose at its most basic level — to bring joy while helping women realize their most beautiful selves. And if along the way glam celebrities offer some inspiration, all the better. The cover story features the divine Julianne Moore in a smart interview with Helena Christensen. Moore wears fashion from the decade of InStyle’s birth, the Nineties, in a shoot by Phil Poynter styled by Karla Welch. The other major piece, written by Eric Wilson,
In Washington, two morons have worked hard to delay or dilute via an amendment approving ongoing funding of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund for first responders. In New York, two entities are joining ranks to do something nice for people who dedicate their lives to the protection of others.
Global Goddess of Bridal Vera Wang is pairing with Brides Across America, an organization that gifts bridal gowns and underwrites weddings for U.S. troops and, more recently, first responders.
Wang got involved as part of the observance of a major brand milestone. “2019…celebrating our 30th year in business! Who’d of thunk it?!” she mused. The approaching anniversary led her to reflect on more than her own place in fashion. “Milestones also make us grateful for all the opportunities that have come our way,” she said. “Given the world we live in, with all of its complexities and challenges, it is so joyful for me to celebrate my anniversary by celebrating people who have given their lives for us. I look forward to dressing 10 couples on their happiest of days.”
Brides Across America has been gifting gowns and weddings to military personnel since it was founded in 2008 by chief executive officer Heidi Janson.
Dear ND Mom Maryann White,
I admire your guts. If, when my daughter was in college, I’d written and signed a letter along the lines of the one you wrote this week, “The Legging Problem,” only her pragmatic consideration of the next semester’s tuition would have prevented our permanent estrangement. I admire you setting the example for your sons of having the courage of your convictions, and being unafraid to publicly voice an opinion that you surely knew would result in a hashtag heyday of negative response and mockery.
I agree with you that clothing sends messages. After decades of working in fashion, I believe in the power of clothes as a conduit of self-expression in general and at a given moment. Look at the two women here. Each wears an outfit that sends a specific, non-accidental message. To pretend otherwise is ridiculous.
Yet to state that sometimes people, both women and men, choose a particular look because it’s sexy is a dicey enterprise in our modern world, particularly when talking about women’s fashion choices in the #MeToo era. Such acknowledgment is often twisted by critics to suggest that the person stating the obvious is trumpeting the old, warped viewpoint that inappropriate male
Bella Hadid grimaces in disbelief under her hair curlers. “I think there’s a lot of things that are more important than Instagram in the world,” she says.
She so proclaims from a makeup chair in a Pier 59 photo studio in Manhattan, in response to an anecdote that Michael Kors has just told. He recalled that for some project or other, he had asked Gigi Hadid what she considered the greatest invention of all time, and she answered, “Instagram.”
In deference to Bella’s incredulity, Kors quickly amends his recollection. “OK, it wasn’t the greatest invention of all time. It was the greatest [tech] gadget or something like that.”
Bella exhales with faux relief. “I almost lost a little faith in my sister,” she says. “I was like, out of all things?”
Such is how a chat with Kors typically swerves, even when the pre-set topic is a current project. He is a nonlinear conversationalist, likely to wend through topics as far-flung as his latest vacation, politics and a favorite “Bewitched” episode.
As booked, this interview was to focus on the spring Michael Michael Kors campaign and the related two-day immersive experience at the Dolby SoHo space in New York on Feb. 5 for an industry event, and on Feb. 6, when
It seems there’s barely a topic in American life that can’t wend in short order toward Donald Trump. But the presence of glass exhibitors at The Salon: Art + Design, which opened Thursday night at the Park Avenue Armory? Yes, even that.
Jill Bokor is the executive director of the show, which typically opens on the Thursday after Election Day. (Thursday’s opening benefited the Dia Art Foundation.) Over a recent coffee at the Americano, Bokor recounted what she calls “the misery of two years ago,” when the shock of Trump’s presidential win was still very new and, for many, very raw.
On that opening evening, attendees found their focus diverted from shopping. “They wanted to look, they wanted to see each other and they wanted to sob,” Bokor recalled, though she added a quick inclusivity caveat: “I mean, there were probably people there who’d voted for Trump.”
The following Saturday, typically the event’s biggest day, traffic woes generated by anti-Trump demonstrations caused a dip in show traffic, which caused a dip in sales, and crappy sales led some vendors to drop out. That left Bokor challenged “to make lemonade out of lemons.” Or at least to procure highfalutin vessels for lemonade, because at that
Hollywood can’t get out of its own way.
This week’s news that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will add a most popular movie Oscar not only sent civilian social media into conniptions, but also the Hollywood press and Oscar voters. Reaction was immediate and one-sided, mostly variations on, “what the heck were they thinking?”
Getting less attention, but as important, is the decision that, in the interest of keeping the broadcast to a viewer-friendly three hours, some awards will be presented during commercials, with winners getting their few seconds of fame via edited snippets as at the Tony Awards. That move speaks to an identity dilemma: Is the Oscars’ primary function the acknowledgment of achievement or entertainment? In a perfect world, the two would beautifully coexist, but the world is far from perfect, and Hollywood is hardly a nonprofit enterprise.
An Oscar statue.
Still, it takes a village to make a movie. It’s sad that the organizers of this mega event, supposedly creative thinkers, can’t conjure a better way to reverse the ratings bleed (down 19 percent last year), than to de-emphasize the essential contributions of off-the-radar types. Before the new Popular Oscar gets added, there are 24 awards, which sound
Ivanka Trump Inc., the merch brand, is over. Ivanka Trump, the woman, continues to command interest, at least as indicated by the press attention she’s garnered since Tuesday, when she announced the shuttering of her company.
Once upon a time, endless coverage and commentary were a good thing — a way of keeping various celebrities in the public eye, their foibles only making them seem more human, like the rest of us. Not any longer. Today, the omnipresence of social media, not only as used by extremists of all stripes, but by thoughtful people determined to function as unofficial watchdogs to those in the public eye, make it harder for bold-faced types to skirt accountability for actions perceived as problematic by significant segments of the population.
Trump is not a self-made person, but one born to having it all. It’s to her credit that from a young age she set out to achieve, and if she did so in part on the strength of the family name and access, so what? So have other accomplished people as diverse as Chelsea Clinton to a generation of the Kardashian-Jenners. Something of an anti-Kardashian (once her teen modeling aspirations passed), Trump didn’t aim for overt look-based
Remember the 40-hour work week? Even if you don’t, you’ve probably heard of it. Much of the employed world has left it far behind, and much of the world’s employed now take an approach somewhere between philosophical and pragmatic — whatever it takes to get the job done; constant connectivity has won; lucky to have a job.
All of the above duly considered and acknowledged as legitimate, fashion nevertheless seems extreme in its can-do/will-do gusto. Case in point: this Sunday’s official lineup of CFDA-sanctioned presentations and shows. The Fashion Calendar lists three: Lorod, from 2 to 3 p.m.; Victor Glemaud, from 4 to 6 p.m., and Alexander Wang, at 8 p.m.
In the big picture of a world in turmoil, a random working Sunday may seem a small matter, and as a societal class, show-going fashion employees make poor victims. But given the reality of this industry — the 24/7 relentlessness of the primary show schedule; the parameters of this endless, whatever-it-is-we’re-in-now season that began in early May and will carry on at least through July couture week, encompassing clothes characterized as fall, resort/cruise and spring — was it essential for the CFDA to add a summer Sunday to the schedule? A perusal
‘Leadership, social consciousness, corporate vision. One could spend eons pondering their components. What wouldn’t cross the frontal lobe: burying one’s head in the sand in the face of uncomfortable questions.
Yet that, it seems, is the retail way, at least across broad swaths of the industry. In preparing a piece on the current state of the fur industry, published last Thursday, WWD approached 22 retailers around the world for their points of view. Only nine were willing to address the subject. Subtracting out the fur-free contingent, that number fell to four.
Those out of the fur business: YNAP, David Jones and Myer, by choice, and Maxfield and Fred Segal, by West Hollywood municipal mandate. Chief executive officer Allison Samek noted that Fred Segal has expanded the fur-free ethos to its other outlets as well. Dropping fur, everything from handbag charms to trimmed parkas to major outerwear, is a huge move. Whatever each organization’s specific arrival process, it must have also been a tough one that involved some loss of business. Yet all made and are at peace with their decisions. For those who sell fur, the topic is more challenging to discuss. Holt Renfrew president Mario Grauso and Matchesfashion ceo Ulric Jerome
It seems forever ago, but it wasn’t. As it was happening and now, with hindsight of less than three weeks, fall 2018 resonates as a transitional season — a bellwether of changes essential to what has become an oversaturated and too-often underwhelming show circuit. Then again, one could say that about the past few years of runway seasons, and yet the changes don’t happen, and the shows go one. Happily, every season has its high points and its oddities.
Your Head in Your Hands — We’ve all heard the expression, but whoever expected to see it for real? Gucci’s show-opener, model Unia Pakhomova carrying her own head (for accuracy’s sake, it was a fake), proved the defining visual of the fall 2018 season. Presented within a brightly lit, antiseptic operating room installation, the show was compelling, confounding, weird and wonderful. In a post-show press conference, Alessandro Michele talked about being “post-human” and your own Dr. Frankenstein and parenting dragons — all whimsically heady stuff. Yet the best thing about what Michele is doing right now is that the clothes stand up to the shtick. To walk into a Gucci store is to come upon a retail derivation completely faithful to the promise of the
Ronan Farrow is grateful to David Remnick. He shouldn’t be alone. All who believe that traditional journalism must continue in its role as society’s guardian, holding the powerful accountable, should share Farrow’s gratitude to The New Yorker editor in chief.
This is not to downplay Farrow’s remarkable fortitude, guts and journalistic audacity in sticking to, and finding an outlet for, his brilliantly reported, real-life Harvey Weinstein horror story after it was passed on by NBC. (On Tuesday, Farrow got at least one write-in vote at the polls, for Manhattan district attorney, from yours truly, galled at the notion of Cyrus Vance Jr.’s unopposed candidacy. In his initial piece, Farrow reported that Vance could have charged Weinstein and didn’t, to the chagrin of some NYPD types.)
That Farrow jumped into the story and refused to let it die testifies to his belief in his profession and his own mettle. “To not run this story would be a dereliction of my ethical duties,” he told CNN in one of his many television appearances since his original story broke. That, in a series of tweets on Tuesday, he addressed the reality — that he couldn’t have done it alone — speaks to his professional character.
Oh, Donna, Donna, Donna, Donna, Donna. Your words were not taken out of context. You spoke them into the camera, the entire gist there for the viewing. People who know you and your career and your four-plus decades of dedication to women’s empowerment find it hard to believe that you meant what you said, but you said it: “You look at everything all over the world today, you know, and how women are dressing and, you know, what they’re asking by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble.”
Your comment implies solidarity with Harvey Weinstein’s “apologetic” view of his sleazebag activities: The culture made him do it. Yes, you released a clarifying statement, but that’s not enough. You’ve got to address this head-on, in conversation. I’d like it to be with WWD and me. But somewhere, with someone. Soon.
• • •
The greater issue, of course, is not about Donna Karan’s strange, out-of-character red-carpet comment. It is about vile behavior tolerated by various subcultures within the greater culture. The culture of power. The culture of sanctimony and hypocrisy that often emanates from Hollywood. The culture of sexual predation in certain circles of power, that
Before the presidential campaign and election, Ivanka Trump self-identified and was perceived as a businesswoman passionate about women’s empowerment. You’d have been hard-pressed to hear someone speak negatively about her, with words such as lovely, hard-working, self-directed and genuine typical descriptives.
And then, Dad ran for president and won.
Throughout and after the election, and especially since her role in the Trump administration shifted from merely “daughter,” as she said she initially intended, to G-20 Summit-attending formal adviser, Ivanka has taken her hits, critics questioning not only her qualifications but also her motives and her silence in light of various presidential outbursts. Following President Trump’s shocking equal assignation last weekend of “blame on both sides” when white supremacists, many brandishing swastikas, stormed Charlottesville, Va., to protest the planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the criticism escalated exponentially, with many wondering, how could Ivanka not speak out?
Whether or not she knew just what she was getting into in accepting her White House role, surely Ivanka knows her father, and she is accustomed to life in shared spotlights, his and her own. Though thrust into the former as a child when her parents’ public marital woes made for tabloid grist, she chose the latter early on. An adolescent flirtation with modeling crossed over to television; at 15,
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Titian and “Mona Lisa” herself — coming soon, to a handbag near you, if you happen by the Champs-Élysées, 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, or any of the 150 Louis Vuitton outposts where the brand’s new, flashy Jeff-Koons-has-his-way-with-the-Masters collaboration will be housed beginning April 28.
In a big, splashy, celebrity-laden party at the Louvre on April 11, under the gaze of Mona herself, Vuitton formally presented Koons’ collection of handbags and small leather goods, which had been on full view on the brand’s web site throughout the day. In pictures, at least, the bags look amazing. They’re a lot of fun, a little outrageous and beautiful — if your idea of beauty veers somewhere between bucolic romp and steely eyed Leonardo da Vinci diva, and whose doesn’t? They’re all marked with a little bunny charm indicating, “Koons worked here.” As for the rights to the paintings, just like “Happy Birthday” and “Hamlet,” these masterpieces fall under public domain, including the 500-year-old “most famous painting in the world,” whose legally co-opted image graces everything from refrigerator magnets and T-shirts to endless artists’ homages and satires. Still, the cost of this enterprise to Vuitton is unimaginable — and its anticipated returns,
What a year! This issue is WWD’s annual distillation and evaluation of the year’s news. Typically, we compile candidates for Newsmaker and the Top Ten stories, winnowing submissions down to the final edit, often the result of intense debate.
This year in fashion — and out — was dominated by the presidential election that soared to an unprecedented level of ugly, creating rare unanimity for news supremacy. No matter how any U.S. news organization frames its year-end assessment, it will be driven in some way by the election drama that led to the stunning current employment status of President-elect Trump. That reality blindsided the entire fashion community, leaving its deep and vocal pro-Hillary contingent devastated. Here at WWD, we’ve focused not on the industry reaction per se, but on the greater cultural phenomena that created the upcoming Trump presidency, represented by The Angry American.
Fair enough. No fashion theme could compete with the cataclysmic upending of the traditional American political structure, and the parallel movements across the West in Britain, Italy and France. That explains our Newsmaker of the Year. As for our Top Ten stories, most are more acutely industry-centric, beginning with Number One, instant fashion. Could it have generated more
Employment — it’s a changing world.
Two recent media stories suggest just how much it’s changing while a third indicates that a considerable portion of the potential workforce may be in for a rude awakening.
The cover feature of the July/August print issue of The Atlantic proclaims: “The End of Work” with the subhead, “Technology will soon erase millions of jobs. Could that be a good thing?”
Derek Thompson wrote a provocative “what if” based on what is — the ongoing replacement of human labor by technology. His analysis is a big-picture look at the greater societal ramifications of a trend certain to continue, focused on the United States: “Industriousness has served as America’s unofficial religion since its founding.…What might happen if work goes away?” Citing academic experts, he lays out and examines three schools of thought: an enlightened-leisure utopia dependent upon “the right government provisions”; a revival of the artisan spirit and, the most bleak, a “precariat” working class going from task to task.
The New York Times feature (Aug. 15) examining what it’s like to work at Amazon.com had the entire working world abuzz. According to the piece, “Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace,” by Jodi Kantor and David