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.”

© Cover Media

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.

© Cover Media

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.

© Cover Media

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.

© Cover Media

Edward Enninful: ‘I want Duchess Meghan on the front of Vogue’

Editor Edward Enninful is keen to get Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on the cover of Vogue.Prior to becoming a royal in May 2018, when she wed Britain’s Prince Harry, Meghan was a regular on the pages of glossy magazines thanks to her role in TV show Suit…

Editor Edward Enninful is keen to get Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on the cover of Vogue.

Prior to becoming a royal in May 2018, when she wed Britain’s Prince Harry, Meghan was a regular on the pages of glossy magazines thanks to her role in TV show Suits.

Since leaving her acting career behind, Meghan has kept to royal protocol and stepped away from the celebrity circuit, but British Vogue editor Edwards would “love” her to feature on the front of his magazine.

“I am so into the young royals,” he declared to the London Evening Standard. “Meghan is an example of how far we’ve all come.”

Asked who has better style, Meghan or her sister-in-law Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, he diplomatically answered: “They are different, it’s all fun and games. I’d love them both to be on the cover of Vogue.”

Catherine previously posed for the magazine in 2016, while Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana, was the cover star in 1991.

Edward has been at the helm of the British publication since long-serving editor Alexandra Shulman stepped down in 2017, with the Ghanaian’s appointment marking a new chapter for Vogue.

And he’s made it his mission to include more diversity in the pages of the fashion bible.

“I want to change the face of fashion to make it more inclusive. When we say diversity it’s not just race. We’re looking at religion, age, size,” he stated. “This year I’d like to continue to use my voice to normalise the marginalised.

“If you’re a child living in a village in Devon you might not know what a trans person or a black person looks like and so to see them in a magazine is so powerful and can give you empathy. Growing up and seeing images that looked like me and my friends made me think I could get into this industry.”

© Cover Media

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”.

© Cover Media

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.

© Cover Media

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.

© Cover Media

Duchess of Cambridge stuns in traditional jewellery pieces at state dinner

The Duchess of Cambridge paid tribute to Princess Diana and other British royals by wearing stunning family heirlooms for a banquet at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening (23Oct18). The Duchess stood out at the state event as she accompanied her husb…

The Duchess of Cambridge paid tribute to Princess Diana and other British royals by wearing stunning family heirlooms for a banquet at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening (23Oct18).

The Duchess stood out at the state event as she accompanied her husband Prince William, wearing a blue Alexander McQueen gown and a Lover’s Knot tiara.

Also referred to as the Cambridge Lover’s Knot, the item is one of the most cherished pieces in the British royal family’s collection.

The item was famously worn by her husband’s late mother, Princess Diana, who the Duchess also honoured by sporting her pearl drop earrings.

The Lover’s Knot is over a century old and has been worn by the Duchess at several notable events.

The royal completed the look with Queen Alexandra’s wedding necklace, which can be traced all the way back to 1863, when

Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, gave it to his bride Princess Alexandra of Denmark as a gift on their wedding day.

The Duchess of Cambridge also added the royal family order pin to her outfit – the jewellery item was a gift presented to the women in the family by The Queen. It features an image of the monarch and is made of glass.

The event, thrown by Queen Elizabeth, was held in support of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands’ official state visit and was attended by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and the head of the Dutch royal household, Jan Versteeg. Prince Charles was also among the guests.

The Duchess has had a busy start to the week – her youngest son, Prince Louis, turned six months old earlier in the day.

© Cover Media

Designers beloved by Duchess of Cambridge & Princess Diana launch first collection

The design team behind the stunning looks worn by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Diana is set to release its first collection. Catherine Walker & Co, which is run by the French born Catherine Walker and her husband Said Cyrus, has unveil…

The design team behind the stunning looks worn by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Diana is set to release its first collection.

Catherine Walker & Co, which is run by the French born Catherine Walker and her husband Said Cyrus, has unveiled a limited edition hat line to coincide with the label’s forthcoming autumn/winter offerings.

Founded in the 1970s, Walker’s brand was behind of some of Princess Diana’s best known looks and it has become a go-to style source for the Duchess, formerly known as Kate Middleton, for several high profile events – she chose to wear a royal blue pleated coat dress from the fashion house on a royal tour in Germany in 2017 and to friend Sophie Carter’s wedding in September.

“For clients, it’s a big sigh of relief,” Cyrus, who serves as creative director tells People Magazine. “Not only do they like the hats we do but it’s much more convenient for them to have their hat done here and of course we can make sure the hat and the garment match perfectly.”

Lady Sophie Windsor, also known as actress Sophie Winkleman, is also a fan of the brand and chose to wear a bespoke hat from the capsule to Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s wedding earlier this month (Oct18).

The hat line features both eye-catching and understated pieces, including a light blue look with feathers and simpler, more traditional items in grey, black and white.

Brand’s favoured by the British royals appear to be thriving at the moment – last week, Eugenia Kim, another favourite designer of the Duchess of Cambridge announced the release of a wedding day headpiece line.

The spring/summer collection features 16 items that include flower-adorned bucket hats and massive bows with floor-length trains.

© Cover Media