Sarah Burton reflects on working for Alexander McQueen: ‘I was so lucky’

Sarah Burton has paid tribute to her late boss Lee Alexander McQueen, declaring she was “so lucky” to work with him before his death.The fashion world was left shocked in 2010 when news broke that McQueen had taken his own life at the age of 40. Burto…

Sarah Burton has paid tribute to her late boss Lee Alexander McQueen, declaring she was “so lucky” to work with him before his death.

The fashion world was left shocked in 2010 when news broke that McQueen had taken his own life at the age of 40.

Burton stepped up to take the reins at his namesake label as the creative director – a role she has held ever since.

“Well, really, I was so lucky to work for Lee,” she reflected in a chat with American Vogue. “I started to work with Lee in 1996, and I had this amazing time of my life. He was this incredible man, and I very much grew up with McQueen. I started when I was 21 and I continued there until he died. It was all-encompassing; it was this magical place focused on storytelling and creativity, and very, very personal and like a family.”

Burton’s status as a world-class designer was cemented in 2011 when she was chosen to design Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress.

Admitting her initial reservations about leading the McQueen brand when the job was thrust upon her, Burton explained how she quickly changed her mindset when she started in the gig.

“The initial thing that I thought (when I assumed the creative director role) was that Lee was this storyteller and I was kind of good at finishing his sentences, but I realised I had to begin the sentences and it had to be about my stories,” the designer shared. “Lee always said to me, ‘You have to make things your own, you have to believe in it, and it has to be an emotional thing, what we do.’ I think at the very beginning I was wondering, ‘OK, how do you make it yourself?’

“So much time has passed since the years Lee was here, but he will always be such a huge part of who I am and such a huge part of me creatively, because I grew up with all of his beliefs and creativity. We were finding how to be true to what McQueen is – which I didn’t ever find a problem with because I was a part of Lee’s world – but, yet, make it our own. That was the challenge.”

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Roksanda Ilincic concerned over ways Brexit will impact fabric suppliers

Roksanda Ilincic is very concerned about what Brexit will mean for her fabric suppliers.The London-based designer, known for her bold use of colour and signature take on shape, counts Hollywood stars Cate Blanchett, Emily Blunt, and Keira Knightley amo…

Roksanda Ilincic is very concerned about what Brexit will mean for her fabric suppliers.

The London-based designer, known for her bold use of colour and signature take on shape, counts Hollywood stars Cate Blanchett, Emily Blunt, and Keira Knightley among fans, not to mention former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

As U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May continues to battle on with negotiations for the nation to withdraw from the European Union (EU), Ilincic has now shared that she has real worries about the split will mean for her own business and that of other fashion retailers.

“It’s a big worry,” she said in an interview with Vogue.co.uk. “The majority of my fabrics and my workforce are from the EU, but I can’t change my systems or put new strategies in place because we don’t know what is going to happen.”

Ilincic went on to explain that she foresees issues with shipments in the future too, especially as Brexit may mean there are delays with getting fabric and merchandise to the U.K. and around the world.

“The big problem with fashion is timing, you’re constantly being robbed of it,” the 48-year-old, who was born in Serbia, stated. “To produce garments and deliver them at the right time is dependent on so many facets – Brexit is going to have consequences for us all.”

Elsewhere in the chat, Ilincic shared that she will be attending the 2019 Shanghai Fashion Week with the aim of making connections with major figures in the Chinese market. And the designer is seriously seeking to make a major investment in Asia, noting that the local consumers are open to pushing the envelope when it comes to style.

“The customer is very thirsty – they not only want to wear the latest collections, but to wear things that are perhaps considered a little too fashion-forward for the European market,” she added.

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Orla Kiely: ‘The end of my label felt like a bereavement’

Orla Kiely felt like she was going through a bereavement when her namesake label shut down overnight.The Orla Kiely brand, famous for its bold prints, suddenly shut up shop in September (18), with the Irish designer now speaking about the end of her la…

Orla Kiely felt like she was going through a bereavement when her namesake label shut down overnight.

The Orla Kiely brand, famous for its bold prints, suddenly shut up shop in September (18), with the Irish designer now speaking about the end of her label for the first time in an interview with The Telegraph.

“What happened was like a bereavement,” she stated. “To say I was upset is an understatement. And then when malicious reports came out about the way we’d allegedly treated our staff, that was horrible and hurtful.

“We did everything we could to save the business we’d set up 23 years previously and to watch it fail was devastating. It was such a tough time.”

Kiely officially launched the fashion and lifestyle brand with her husband Dermott Rowan in 1997, and quickly became known for her bold use of 1970s-inspired prints and colours, with celebrity fans including Kirsten Dunst, Alexa Chung, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

But after parent company Kiely Rowan PLC went into administration, the Orla Kiely label was forced to shut down operations, with reports surfacing that staff were marched off the premises, unpaid.

“That is not what happened at all,” the designer exclaimed. “It’s terrible that was the perception, but at the end, everything was taken out of our hands. Once you go into administration, you have no input. It is illegal even to pay your staff. I would have done so immediately if I could, but it was impossible.”

Kiely, who was previously dubbed the Queen of Prints and named as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2011, insisted that “nobody was marched anywhere”.

“Something my husband and I had built up from scratch, invested in emotionally and financially was destroyed. Our staff weren’t just employees, they were friends, and when we gathered everyone together, there were tears from all of us,” she recalled.

Kiely still has her own licensing business and recently put her name to a furniture line sold through interiors company Barker and Stonehouse.

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Sarah Burton: ‘My staff know not to hover by customers’

Sarah Burton has trained the staff in Alexander McQueen stores not to hover by customers.The designer has been at the helm of the British brand since Lee Alexander McQueen’s suicide in 2010, becoming a globally recognised fashion figure after she desig…

Sarah Burton has trained the staff in Alexander McQueen stores not to hover by customers.

The designer has been at the helm of the British brand since Lee Alexander McQueen’s suicide in 2010, becoming a globally recognised fashion figure after she designed Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress in 2011.

She has recently opened the doors to a new Alexander McQueen store in London’s Old Bond Street, the label’s flagship, which occupies three floors and is four times larger than their old space, and she has explained how she likes customers to be treated.

“Urggh, I hate it when you’re hovered over in a shop,” Burton exclaimed to The Telegraph, adding staff at the new shop have been trained not to do that.

“I like it when you feel you’re welcome to really examine something and see how it’s made. I don’t want people to feel they’re constantly being sold stuff.”

Taking the lease over from DKNY, Burton enlisted Chilean architect Smiljan Radic to design the space, who worked with the label head to create an experience that leads “customers off the concrete-pavement conveyor belt outside and into a woodland where Burton’s designs could breathe and work their magic”.

The English designer decided to have only one of each item on display, meaning the 10,800 sq ft shop never feels crammed full of clothes. This reflects her own ideals of owning less throwaway stuff, something she bears in mind when it comes to creating new collections.

“If I can make clothes that will still be worn 20 years from now, then I’m happy,” she said, explaining that she sets out to create “heirlooms” that can be kept.

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Fashion Nova and Louis Vuitton top Google’s 2018 fashion brand searches

Fashion Nova and Louis Vuitton have topped Google’s list of fashion brand searches for 2018. Executives at the Internet company released their 2018 Year in Search lists on Wednesday (12Dec18), with the data showing exactly which labels trended over th…

Fashion Nova and Louis Vuitton have topped Google’s list of fashion brand searches for 2018. 

Executives at the Internet company released their 2018 Year in Search lists on Wednesday (12Dec18), with the data showing exactly which labels trended over the past 12 months, though that does not necessarily mean that those were the companies that had the most searches overall.

Accordingly, it was found that Los Angeles-based retailer Fashion Nova, known for its fast-fashion pieces and collaborations with celebrities such as Cardi B and Iggy Azalea, was the top trending search.

French luxury brand Louis Vuitton came in second place, perhaps due to a wave in interest following the hiring of Off-White designer Virgil Abloh as the label’s creative director for menswear in March.

Unsurprisingly, other popular luxury brands featured in the list, including Versace, Givenchy, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Dior, and Moschino, as well as Dolce & Gabbana, even after the Italian label’s co-founders Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce were forced to cancel their runway show in Shanghai, China last month when they were accused of ridiculing Chinese culture in an Instagram campaign.

In addition, Fashionphile made the top 10 too, coming in at eighth place. Founded by Sarah Davis in 1999, the online fashion resale website, which has headquarters in California, is known for offering up luxury designer handbags, accessories, and jewellery.

Elsewhere in Google’s list was the top trending fashion searches. Nostalgia and royalty proved to be key trends, with “1980s fashion” placing first, “Grunge style” coming in second, and “1990s fashion” taking third. Hipster style, men’s fashion, and Harajuku fashion, a subset of Japanese street style, featured too, as did Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, who wed Britain’s Prince Harry in May in an elegant white Givenchy gown. Meghan’s new sister-in-law Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge came in at number nine, while the top 10 fashion searches were rounded out by “’80s men’s style”.

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Anna Sui scolds celebs that ruin her samples

Anna Sui has slammed celebrities who return sample clothes in poor condition.The American designer has been in the business since the early ’90s and had famous supermodels including Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista walk during her first ever show i…

Anna Sui has slammed celebrities who return sample clothes in poor condition.

The American designer has been in the business since the early ’90s and had famous supermodels including Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista walk during her first ever show in 1991. Today she is beloved by fashion royalty such as Gigi and Bella Hadid, while other famous clients include Shay Mitchell, Vanessa Hudgens and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

However, while a number of A-listers are queuing up to be dressed by her, Sui finds it annoying when her designs come back in an unacceptable condition – something that happens all too often.

“Oh yes, especially when it is your original sample,” she complained to Page Six at the Fashion Group International Night of Stars. “It just happened recently, and I did not handle it well. It is not settled yet. It is not legal or anything, but it has not been settled yet.”

Sui was honoured with the Fashion Star award at the ceremony last Thursday (25Oct18) and received the accolade from fellow designer and close friend Marc Jacobs. And though the 54-year-old has pioneered trends like boho, athleisure and ’70s folk, she believes that sometimes it’s the most simple outfits that prove to be the most effective.

“I love people with great style. It does not have to be my style — it can just be jeans and a white shirt,” she smiled. “I wish I could look good in a white shirt!”

Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing and Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, creative directors at Kenzo and founders of Opening Ceremony, also received Fashion Star awards on the night, while Vera Wang took home the prestigious Superstar award.

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge remains top royal style influencer

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge remains the top style influencer among the British royal family.Since Catherine married Prince William in 2011, every single one of her outfits has courted attention, with her impact on the fashion business often dubbed …

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge remains the top style influencer among the British royal family.

Since Catherine married Prince William in 2011, every single one of her outfits has courted attention, with her impact on the fashion business often dubbed in the media as the “Kate effect”.

Now, a survey conducted by analysts at Brand Finance, a branded business valuation and strategy consultancy, has found that Catherine is the most powerful royal influencer, while her new sister-in-law Meghan, Duchess of Sussex came in a close second place.

“The monarchy is one of the most defining features of Brand Britain and the royal impact on the desirability of British luxury brands cannot be overstated,” said Alex Haigh, director of Brand Finance, in a statement. “Interaction between a brand and any royal, but particularly the Duchesses, is like the mythical golden touch and can transform a brand’s performance overnight.”

Thanks to the sophisticated ensembles worn by Catherine and Meghan, a third of survey respondents commented that they now consider the U.K. a world leader in fashion.

Instances of Meghan’s impact on the fashion world in the time since she became engaged to Prince Harry in November 2017 include the Finlay & Co. sunglasses she wore to an event – which created a U.S. revenue increase of 2,700 per cent.

“A white coat by Line the Label sold out within minutes of her wearing it publicly, and the huge demand for the clothing caused their website to crash. Searches for the Strathberry bag Meghan took to her first official engagement with Prince Harry increased 2,044 per cent, causing the stock to sell out in just 11 minutes,” added Alex.

Of late, Catherine made a splash at a State Banquet held at Buckingham Palace in which she sported an ice-blue gown from Alexander McQueen. And Meghan, who is expecting with her first child, is currently taking part in her first royal tour of New Zealand and was seen wearing a Karen Walker trench coat and Sarah Flint pumps at an event in Wellington before changing into a black Gabriela Hearst dress for an evening reception.

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Princess Eugenie weds in elegant Peter Pilotto wedding gown

Princess Eugenie has chosen an elegant white off-the-shoulder gown from Peter Pilotto for her wedding to Jack Brooksbank.The British royal, who is the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, arrived at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, England on Frid…

Princess Eugenie has chosen an elegant white off-the-shoulder gown from Peter Pilotto for her wedding to Jack Brooksbank.

The British royal, who is the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, arrived at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, England on Friday (12Oct18) morning, where she stepped out in a dress designed by Pilotto and Christopher De Vos.

Eugenie worked closely with the design duo on the long-sleeved ballgown, which features a corseted bodice, a full pleated skirt as well as a number of meaningful motifs.

“The low back feature on the dress was at the specific request of Princess Eugenie who had surgery aged 12 to correct scoliosis,” a royal spokesperson explained in a statement. “The symbols are a Thistle for Scotland acknowledging the couple’s fondness for Balmoral, a Shamrock for Ireland as a nod to the Bride’s Ferguson family, the York Rose and ivy representing the couple’s home.”

Eugenie, 28, wore the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara, lent to her by The Queen, with the headpiece featuring brilliant and rose cut diamonds set in platinum, with six emeralds on either side, as well as diamond and emerald drop earrings which were gifted to her by Jack.

She completed her outfit with satin peep-toe heels by Charlotte Olympia and a bouquet comprised of Lily of the Valley, Stephanotis pips, hints of baby blue thistles, white spray roses and trailing ivy.

Eugenie’s sister and maid of honour, Princess Beatrice wore a blue outfit by Ralph and Russo and a hat by Sarah Cant, while their mother Sarah, Duchess of York chose an emerald green ensemble crafted by local Windsor company Emma Louise Design and carried a vintage Manolo Blahnik bag.

Jack, who was very emotional as his bride walked towards up the aisle, donned a traditional three-piece suit.

Other members of the royal family suitably dressed up to the nines, with The Queen choosing a pale blue suit and hat, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wowing in a fuchsia dress, and her sister-in-law, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex turning heads in a navy blue Givenchy coat dress.

Over 850 guests were in attendance at the wedding, including a number of A-listers. Naomi Campbell stepped out in a black and white dress with a feather trim along with matching fascinator, diamond jewellery and black gloves, while Kate Moss opted for a navy and white polka dot suit, which she complemented with a veiled headpiece.

Actress Liv Tyler looked lovely in a navy blue tailored suit, Pixie Geldof stood out in a bubblegum pink cape dress from Celine and Demi Moore was the epitome of elegance in a burgundy dress which she complemented with a coordinated fascinator and purse.

Robbie Williams suited up in a three-piece blue number and his wife Ayda Field dazzled in a light grey suit, with the couple’s six-year-old daughter Theodora acting as one of Eugenie’s bridesmaids in the ceremony. Other standout outfits included the tuxedo and top hat worn by Cara Delevingne, the floral print dress sported by Sofia Wellesley, the wife of singer James Blunt, and the baby pink ensemble donned by Holly Vallance.

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Orla Kiely closing retail and online businesses

Orla Kiely, the fashion and homeware brand, has closed down operations.The company was officially launched by Irish designer Orla Kiely in partnership with her husband Dermott Rowan in 1997 and is known for its bold 1970s-inspired prints and colours, w…

Orla Kiely, the fashion and homeware brand, has closed down operations.

The company was officially launched by Irish designer Orla Kiely in partnership with her husband Dermott Rowan in 1997 and is known for its bold 1970s-inspired prints and colours, with celebrity fans including Kirsten Dunst, Alexa Chung and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

However, executives confirmed on Wednesday (19Sep18) that the retail and wholesale business had ceased operations as of Monday after parent company Kiely Rowan PLC went into administration.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Orla Kiely’s Home and Design licensing business will not be impacted and its selection of its homeware and accessories will continue to be sold through its distribution partners,” a representative wrote in a statement posted on the official Orla Kiely website. “Thank you for embracing our brand and designs throughout the year and for ongoing support.”

Orla Kiely’s e-commerce site has now stopped trading, while the brand’s retail stores in London and in Kildare, Ireland have also been shuttered.

Sources have told Mail Online that employees were made redundant without pay. It has been alleged that some staff were seen crying as they were escorted out of buildings on Monday.

Paul Appleton, managing partner at David Rubin & Partners, has been appointed to oversee the winding down of the Kiely Rowan company.

“Having carefully considered the options, the Directors of Kiely Rowan PLC have concluded that the business should be placed into creditors’ voluntary liquidation following various challenges that have faced the company over the past few years, both in the U.K. and abroad,” a spokesperson added.

Ironically, Kiely’s work is currently the subject of an exhibition at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum. Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern runs until 23 September.

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Christian Louboutin not interested in celebrity partnerships

Christian Louboutin has no interest in entering into partnerships with celebrity ambassadors.The French footwear designer is no stranger to collaboration with major brands, having previously teamed with Disney to create a modern-day Cinderella-inspired…

Christian Louboutin has no interest in entering into partnerships with celebrity ambassadors.

The French footwear designer is no stranger to collaboration with major brands, having previously teamed with Disney to create a modern-day Cinderella-inspired pair of slippers in 2012 and a bespoke collection of high heels to mark the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi last year (17).

While Louboutin may have found success with some of his themed capsule lines, he is adamant that he has no desire to promote his business via ranges created with A-listers.

“I’m not the type of designer to put up an Instagram with my new BFF (best friend forever), who happens to be a big star,” he told British Vogue. “I never did, I never will.”

Louboutin noted that high-profile names such as U.S. First Lady Melania Trump and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge have worn his heels to events on occasion.

But he truly respects people like Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and actress Angelina Jolie who wear clothes in such a way that nobody is even thinking about who designed their outfits.

“If you think about her you never put her in a designer mentality, like Dolce (& Gabbana), Fendi whatever,” the designer said of Jolie. “She looks good, she looks weird, she looks amused, she looks bored, but you never think she looks ‘of a designer’. She’s such a strong character. Actors have such big personalities that to be associated with a brand is a bit of weakness, I would say.”

And while Louboutin is grateful to be considered as an icon within the fashion industry, he is also surprisingly uninterested in clothes and styling.

“I’d rather spend time with someone badly dressed but smart and funny and engaging than someone perfectly dressed and boring, who talks about clothes,” he smiled.

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