Adut Akech: ‘Pierpaolo Piccioli makes me feel accepted’

Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli is the one of the only designers who makes Adut Akech feel accepted.The 19-year-old model was born in South Sudan and lived in a Kenyan refugee camp before moving to Adelaide, Australia with her mother and five siblings w…

Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli is the one of the only designers who makes Adut Akech feel accepted.

The 19-year-old model was born in South Sudan and lived in a Kenyan refugee camp before moving to Adelaide, Australia with her mother and five siblings when she was eight.

In a joint interview with Piccioli, Akech admitted she struggled with her confidence when she was growing up and faced racism when she first started out modelling.

“I always had low self-esteem when I was growing up. Being in the Western world, everybody was different to me. Nobody was accepting of me because of where I was from, and when I was getting into this industry, I wondered who’s going to want to work with this little girl from South Sudan,” she told Business of Fashion.

However, she holds Valentino’s creative director close to her heart and sweetly revealed that the Italian fashion label’s base in Rome is where she feels at home.

“It’s one of the only places where I am accepted and befriended and welcomed for who I am. I can come here for a fitting and I could be having the worst day, but I just leave everything behind that door. Pierpaolo puts me in clothes where I can really be myself. I love that,” Akech shared.

The Italian designer, who has made the South Sudanese model the face of Valentino, is fully accepting of diversity and will keep including black models, and those from ethnic minorities, in his shows until it becomes the norm in fashion.

“You just keep doing it till people’s attitudes change,” Piccioli said. “These are values I believe in. If you stand up for rights, I believe you don’t just stand up for some rights. You stand up for them all.”

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Slick Woods unveils unisex jewellery brand

Slick Woods has launched a unisex jewellery brand named C1V1L.The model, born Simone Thompson, is instantly recognisable for her buzz cut, tattoos, and signature gapped teeth, and has previously walked the runways for brands such as Fendi, Marc Jacobs,…

Slick Woods has launched a unisex jewellery brand named C1V1L.

The model, born Simone Thompson, is instantly recognisable for her buzz cut, tattoos, and signature gapped teeth, and has previously walked the runways for brands such as Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu, and Savage X Fenty.

But for her latest venture, Woods has created her own jewellery company, with the line including gold signet rings, lariats, and bracelets.

Alongside a series of images from the debut C1V1L campaign on Instagram, a brand representative wrote, “C1V1L is a unisex jewellery brand pushing a clean, modern, architectural aesthetic using semi-precious metals,” and, “We’re going to be blunt… We want to steal market share and reinvest it elsewhere in people, in ideas, in the future.”

Woods, 23, has teamed with Blakely Thornton, the managing director of Jerry Media, on the company, while sisters Coco and Breezy Dotson, who launched Coco & Breezy Eyewear in 2009, are among the investors.

And while the group wants to offer fans beautiful jewellery pieces, they are also seeking to achieve a wider goal of investing some of the profits into minority and female-owned ventures.

“There is an issue of (our) culture being commoditised, but we are not the owners of that,” said Thornton of the company in an interview with Business of Fashion. “Having been behind the veil in advertising, we were seeing that the people actually making the money off of this culture are largely white, straight men. Even if you’re pushing it and it’s getting a positive media reception, it’s disheartening seeing that the actual financial capital is going back to the same place, back to the top of that pyramid.”

As part of the marketing strategy, Woods will be seeking to reach out to her celebrity friends and 900,000 followers on Instagram.

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Sonia Rykiel folds after failing to secure new buyer

Sonia Rykiel is to be liquidated after a judge rejected the sale of the French fashion house.Founded by the legendary designer, who was dubbed the Queen of Knits, in 1968, the brand was known for knitwear designs as well as clothing, accessories, and f…

Sonia Rykiel is to be liquidated after a judge rejected the sale of the French fashion house.

Founded by the legendary designer, who was dubbed the Queen of Knits, in 1968, the brand was known for knitwear designs as well as clothing, accessories, and fragrances.

However, the iconic label is to cease operations effective immediately, with 131 employees being let go, and all four boutiques and six stores across Monaco and France closing.

On Thursday, a Paris commercial court judge ended a four-month period of negotiations by rejecting a bid from Paris-based family firm Levy to buy the struggling fashion house, according to editors at Business of Fashion.

Uncertainty first loomed over the company when its owner, First Heritage Brands, unsuccessfully sought a buyer or investment for Sonia Rykiel back in January.

In March, the investment giant – helmed by French luxury executive Jean-Marc Loubier – let the house’s creative director Julie de Libran go, and in April, it entered receivership, and closed stores in New York and London.

Agnes Trouble, veteran French designer and founder of the Agnes b. brand, told reporters at AFP that news of the fashion house folding was like Sonia Rykiel herself had “died a second time”.

“It’s the end of an era. Dior and Saint Laurent are all about bling now – they no longer have the Parisian elegance they used to have” she added.

Rykiel, who died in 2016 at the age of 86 following complications from Parkinson’s disease, made her name in fashion with the creation of the “Poor Boy” sweater’ that Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn wore in the 1960s.

Investment group First Heritage Brands – backed by Hong Kong billionaires Victor and William Fung – bought her brand back in 2011 and relaunched the house with millions of dollars of new investment.

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Hermes to launch first foray into beauty with skincare and cosmetics line

Hermes has announced plans to launch its first skincare and cosmetics ranges in 2020, following the enduring success of the brand’s own line of signature fragrances.The collections are being developed in-house but will be manufactured by third-party su…

Hermes has announced plans to launch its first skincare and cosmetics ranges in 2020, following the enduring success of the brand’s own line of signature fragrances.

The collections are being developed in-house but will be manufactured by third-party suppliers, mainly in France and Italy, and will offer a new challenge for the fashion giant.

Hermes is already a major player in the fragrance sector, thanks to the success of Terre d’Hermes and Twilly d’Hermes, which are two of the market’s leading scents. And the move into cosmetics has become fairly common in recent years within the luxury sector, with the majority of top brands already offering skincare and makeup ranges.

However, while many of Hermes’ rivals outsource their beauty businesses to giants in that industry, the brand plans to keep the production in-house to ensure that the new line is wholly authentic.

Speaking to Business of Fashion on Wednesday (20Mar19), Hermes chief executive officer Axel Dumas detailed the brand’s ambitious new project, and opened up about where he sees the line fitting in within the current marketplace.

“Obviously, we hope to have the biggest scope possible,” he explained. “We are trying to do it humbly and cautiously, because it’s a big market that’s already full of strong players, and therefore we have to find our place in it.

“It’s quite exciting: It’s a new activity, with all the risks that involves, so we will deploy it progressively, initially in our own stores mainly, in a limited distribution so that we can learn.”

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Off-White collaborates with Mr Porter on capsule collection

Virgil Abloh has partnered with Mr Porter on an exclusive Off-White capsule collection.The new line from the designer and founder of streetwear label Off-White, one of Mr Porter’s most popular brands, will include 44 pieces and is an exploration of wor…

Virgil Abloh has partnered with Mr Porter on an exclusive Off-White capsule collection.

The new line from the designer and founder of streetwear label Off-White, one of Mr Porter’s most popular brands, will include 44 pieces and is an exploration of workwear entitled Modern Office.

It includes an embroidered trench coat, Class of 2013 T-shirts, and an iPhone X case, as well as other apparel and accessories. Pieces will go on sale on 21 January (19).

Speaking to editors at Business of Fashion, Mr Porter buying director Fiona Firth explained that executives at the e-commerce retailer wanted to collaborate with Abloh’s Off-White to tap into the younger market, which is hungry for new and exclusive streetwear.

“(We want to) put a stamp in Mr Porter and say, ‘Actually, we do sell this product and we sell it really well,'” she told the fashion publication. “It’s really important to tap into different segments of customers, so obviously the people who are buying Tom Ford… (Brunello) Cucinelli and Loro Piana probably aren’t Off-White customers, and that’s absolutely fine, they will be (Louis) Vuitton customers.”

Abloh is no stranger to collaboration, having previously teamed with Nike on a series of reimagined icon shoes and also designed cups and apparel for the New York cafe Cha Cha Matcha.

Accordingly, the fashion star insisted that he enjoys working on partnerships as they allow him to tell “smaller stories”.

“I dispel the sort of idea that there is a perfect amount (of collaborations) or restraint is the best way forward,” the 38-year-old said. “The amount of collaborations should near the amount of relationships that I have with either brands or people… I don’t understand how a peak could be reached.”

Abloh’s first collection for Louis Vuitton, where he acts as creative director of menswear, will hit stores at the end of the month. He will present both of his new Louis Vuitton and Off-White menswear lines as part of Paris Fashion Week: Men’s later this week (ends20Jan19).

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Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop unveils size-inclusive fashion collaboration

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop is partnering with Universal Standard on a size-inclusive collection.Since launching the lifestyle brand in 2008, the Iron Man actress has expanded the company to include beauty, fashion, fragrance and wellness lines. Now, Gwyne…

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop is partnering with Universal Standard on a size-inclusive collection.

Since launching the lifestyle brand in 2008, the Iron Man actress has expanded the company to include beauty, fashion, fragrance and wellness lines.

Now, Gwyneth has announced that she has teamed with designers at Universal Standard, the popular plus-size label founded by Polina Veksler and Alexandra Waldman in 2015, on a capsule range.

“At Goop, I always say internally something that we try to do is eliminate shame by talking about things, whether it’s sexual health or stress or post-natal depression. I want Goop to be a place where women who are feeling marginalised in any way can come and find content and product,” she said in an interview with Business of Fashion in regards to her latest venture. “This is an area where we haven’t been great and I believe inclusivity is really important.”

A preview of the Goop x Universal Standard collection shows the line includes a classic black tuxedo with satin lapels and several black dresses with pleated skirts. A jumpsuit and coat will be available to buy too, with the pieces available in sizes 00 to 40 – an offering that far exceeds the most common sizes stocked in boutiques – U.S. sizes 0 to 14 (U.K. 2 to 16).

Regarding the concept, Alexandra explained that working with Gwyneth and Goop seemed like a natural step.

“Goop has been a real disruptor by allowing women to really look at the whole idea of wellness in a new light, without any boundaries,” she shared. “That fits perfectly with what we’re trying to do with clothing.”

In February, Gwyneth pledged her support for Universal Standard when she joined a group of entrepreneurs who invested $7 million (£5 million) into the company.

Goop x Universal Standard goes on sale in stores and online on Tuesday (27Nov18).

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Donatella Versace: ‘Versace will remain a luxury brand’ 

Donatella Versace is determined for Versace to remain a luxury brand.The Italian fashion house, which the 63-year-old designer has run since the tragic death of her brother Gianni Versace in 1997, was snapped up by executives at Michael Kors Holdings L…

Donatella Versace is determined for Versace to remain a luxury brand.

The Italian fashion house, which the 63-year-old designer has run since the tragic death of her brother Gianni Versace in 1997, was snapped up by executives at Michael Kors Holdings Limited on Tuesday (25Sep18) for $2.12 billion (£1.6 billion).

While the move marks a major shift for the management of the business, Donatella has emphasised that the Versace image won’t change.

“Italians don’t compromise,” she told Business of Fashion of the deal. “Versace is a luxury brand, and it’s going to stay a luxury brand.”

Donatella will remain the company’s creative director, while her older brother Santo Versace and daughter Allegra Versace, 32, will become shareholders in Capri Holdings Limited – the new name for Michael Kors Holdings.

Though bosses at rival fashion conglomerates PVH and Tapestry were also reported to be interested in buying Versace, the designer ultimately decided to partner with Michael Kors due to the commitment of chairman and chief executive officer, John D. Idol.

“We share the same vision, the same passion; John loves luxury, and he really cares about keeping Versace a luxury brand,” explained Donatella.

Versace’s management team will continue to be led by chief executive officer Jonathan Akeroyd, who will oversee a new strategic plan for the long-term growth of the business, including a proposal to open 100 more stores and develop e-commerce platforms. And John insisted that he had no intention of turning the iconic house into a more accessible retailer.

“We’re going (in) the opposite direction, we’re going upmarket,” he added. “There will be no additional licenses, nothing like that. We’re going to be focusing on the Versace first line – which is a predominate amount of the business anyway – and you are going to see even more concentration on that.”

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Stella McCartney is on the cusp of breaking with Kering – report

Stella McCartney is reportedly on the verge of breaking with French luxury group Kering.The British fashion house has been aligned with the organisation for the past 17 years, but according to a source, Kering is selling its 50 per cent share of Stella…

Stella McCartney is reportedly on the verge of breaking with French luxury group Kering.

The British fashion house has been aligned with the organisation for the past 17 years, but according to a source, Kering is selling its 50 per cent share of Stella McCartney back to the brand.

According to the insider, who divulged all to Business of Fashion, the announcement was supposed to have been made in January (18) and the label is currently preparing a booklet outlining the details of the separation to answer outstanding questions and ease employee concerns.

The source also shared that Kering’s brands, which include Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, will be forbidden from hiring Stella McCartney employees during the transition process, which could take as long as two years.

Both parties have issued a joint statement assuring the public that nothing has been confirmed.

“Kering and Ms Stella McCartney have been operating and growing the Stella McCartney brand since 2001 as a 50/50 joint venture. As already stated, as it is customary between stakeholders, there are regular discussions about the future of the partnership,” the two brands said. “Any significant change to the current relationship would be made public at the appropriate time. Any piece of information circulating to this respect can only be considered as speculation.”

Designer McCartney has also been alleged to have sought the help of her feather, The Beatles legend Paul McCartney, who has apparently had a role in financing the buy-back from Kering, though a spokesperson for the 46-year-old has insisted that the singer had never been involved in her business.

While Kering and Stella McCartney acknowledge they have spoken about the possibility of separation on previous occasions, reasons for their reported decision to split have not yet been revealed.

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Tomas Maier collaborating with Uniqlo on collection

Tomas Maier is teaming up with Uniqlo on a new apparel collection.The German designer is the latest fashion star to partner with the Japanese brand, which has previously collaborated with big names such as Jonathan Anderson, Jil Sander, and Carine Roit…

Tomas Maier is teaming up with Uniqlo on a new apparel collection.

The German designer is the latest fashion star to partner with the Japanese brand, which has previously collaborated with big names such as Jonathan Anderson, Jil Sander, and Carine Roitfeld.

Maier, who is the creative director of Bottega Veneta as well as the founder of his own eponymous label, confirmed his latest project on Tuesday (20Feb18) and revealed that the line will feature womenswear and menswear pieces as well as a range of accessories.

“Uniqlo has always offered their customers affordability and a designer point of view. This is just about a moment in time of getting together,” he told Business of Fashion, adding that he believed the collection would appeal to “anyone who appreciates a casually thoughtful product.”

The line was designed within the framework of Uniqlo’s LifeWear concept, which champions the brand’s desire to design clothes that will enhance everyday life.

“LifeWear embodies our belief that individuality comes not from clothes, but the people wearing them. That’s why we devote our energies to creating clothes that people will enjoy and value for a long time,” shared Yuki Katsuta, group senior vice president of fast retailing and head of global research and design at Uniqlo.

Maier has achieved great success at Bottega Veneta since joining the company in 2001, with the Italian label the fastest growing business in the Kering luxury group, beating fashion houses including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, and Alexander McQueen.

However, the designer has acknowledged the difference between creating high-end garments and high street pieces, and “(stuck) to the rules of manufacturing to make the product affordable,” in his latest venture.

“You have to be even more thoughtful as you’re addressing such a huge audience,” he explained.

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Stella McCartney in talks to end Kering partnership – report

Stella McCartney is reportedly in talks to end her partnership with French luxury group Kering.The 46-year-old designer first teamed up with Kering in 2001 to launch her brand, and it has since gone from strength to strength, garnering many celebrity c…

Stella McCartney is reportedly in talks to end her partnership with French luxury group Kering.

The 46-year-old designer first teamed up with Kering in 2001 to launch her brand, and it has since gone from strength to strength, garnering many celebrity clients who are huge fans of McCartney’s commitment to animal-free fashion.

However, sources have told Business of Fashion that McCartney is under discussions with Kering for them to sell their 50 per cent share in her brand back to the namesake designer.

While over the 17 years of the partnership, discussions to call time on the joint venture agreement have occurred on more than a few occasions, insiders told the website that this time they have “a more serious tenor”.

And despite the fact that no final decisions have been made, an announcement about the future of the company could be expected within the next three or four months.

However, the actual unravelling of the joint venture agreement would take considerably longer.

A spokesperson for Kering told Business of Fashion in a statement that nothing has been agreed, adding: “Ms Stella McCartney and Kering have been operating and growing the Stella McCartney brand since 2001 as a 50/50 joint venture. As often between stakeholders there are regular discussions about the future of the partnership.

“Any significant change to the current relationship would naturally be made public at the appropriate time.”

A representative for McCartney said she had nothing further to add to Kering’s statement.

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