TWO FOR THE ROAD: Dior will unveil its men’s pre-fall collection in Hong Kong next year, signaling parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s confidence in the growth outlook for the historic luxury hub.
After his spectacular show in front of the pyramids of Giza in December, globe-trotting designer Kim Jones will bring the traveling collection to Hong Kong in the first half of 2024, Dior said in a statement shared exclusively with WWD. It did not provide further details of the show date or location.
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“After Tokyo, Miami, London, Los Angeles and Cairo, this destination once again celebrates the artistic director’s passion for travel and world cultures — so dear to Monsieur Dior,” the house said.
The son of a hydrogeologist, Jones spent his childhood years on the African continent and continues to travel the globe to gather inspiration and see rare and exotic animals in their natural habitat. Founder Christian Dior was also known for his international outlook, establishing global subsidiaries shortly after launching his house in 1947.
The event will mark Dior’s return to Hong Kong after a women’s haute couture show in 2014 and a men’s display in 2016. Present in Hong Kong since 1980, the French fashion house has 11 boutiques there, of which six carry its menswear line.
Pharrell Williams, creative director of menswear at Vuitton, is set to unveil his collection on Thursday in a harborside venue belonging to K11 Musea, the luxury lifestyle complex founded by entrepreneur Adrian Cheng’s New World Development.
Speaking after LVMH reported a slowdown in growth in the third quarter, Rodolphe Ozun, the group’s director of financial communications, said Hong Kong and Macau bucked the trend with “a very strong increase in store traffic and sales.”
Hong Kong is emerging from a challenging period, with antigovernment protests in 2019 followed by protracted border closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, strangling tourism flows. As a result, many luxury brands closed stores in the special administrative region in favor of opening new outlets in mainland China.
Hong Kong’s retail sales in the first nine months of 2023 rose 18.6 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the latest figures released by the Census and Statistics Department. It quoted a government spokesman as saying that the retail sector should continue to benefit from the ongoing recovery of inbound tourism. — JOELLE DIDERICH
ADDY’S AWARD: Campbell Addy, the photographer, director and publisher, will receive the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at The Fashion Awards, which take place Dec. 4 at Royal Albert Hall in London.
Born and raised in South London, and a graduate of Central Saint Martins, Addy has worked for publications including Dazed, i-D, Rolling Stone and The Wall Street Journal. He has photographed figures including Beyoncé, Edward Enninful, FKA Twigs, Naomi Campbell and Tyler, the Creator.
He was named one of the New Wave: Creative talents at The Fashion Awards in 2018 and 2019, and his work has been exhibited in galleries worldwide.
In 2016, Addy launched two platforms, Nii Journal, an arts and culture publication, and Nii Agency, a modelling and casting agency. Addy has said that both aim to showcase “underrepresented faces.”
Most recently, Addy worked with 180 Studios to create his first solo exhibition, “I (Heart) Campbell,” which featured 36 original pieces, including images, paintings and a short film shot in Ghana.
Caroline Rush, chief executive officer of the British Fashion Council, described Addy as “a world-leading visionary who wholeheartedly dedicates himself to championing and spotlighting those from underrepresented and marginalized backgrounds. Through his progressive and fearless work, Addy has reshaped the perceptions of beauty and style in the industry and brought diversity and inclusion to the forefront.”
Addy said he believes “it’s imperative that our industry is forever changing and forever moving, and awarding someone like me is a symbol of a bright future for the fashion industry. I wouldn’t be here without my wonderful community and numerous incredible collaborators. I’ve strived to create work that allows people to be seen, and that celebrates the true beauty of diversity. I hope to be able to continue to change minds and create new worlds.”
The Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator is meant to recognize innovators and creatives in fashion who have helped to change the fashion landscape. Previous winners include Ib Kamara, Katie Grand, Amanda Harlech, Mert & Marcus, Nick Knight, Pat McGrath, Louise Wilson and Sam McKnight.
The British Fashion Council and Pandora said the new award is meant to celebrate a person “who leads with innovation to create positive change globally. They consistently challenge the status quo. Their work is empowering, progressive and forward-thinking.”
Both companies said that in alignment with those principles, the award will be presented by Anderson, a global ambassador for the Danish jewelry brand.
Anderson said she was proud to be handing out the award.
“Being a pioneer and being yourself is difficult to do in a world like today, which is constantly telling you to be something else. It is challenging to choose the path no one has walked before, and speak the words that aren’t the ones everybody else says. In times where trends take the entire globe within the blink of an eye, we desperately need these unique thinkers who dare to step out of the sameness we see across so many platforms today,” she said.
Anderson, who has evolved from actress to social and animal rights activist over the years, is also the face of Pandora Lab Grown Diamonds, a range offering diamonds that are grown, cut and polished with 100 percent renewable energy and set in recycled silver or gold. — SAMANTHA CONTI AND THOMAS WALLER
KNOLL REIMAGINED: Knoll is partnering with emerging artist Noel Mercado to reinvent three of its classic chairs. Mercado specializes in using repurposed materials to reinterpret classic forms and came to the attention of Knoll’s creative team last year when he reupholstered a vintage bentwood Knoll chair frame with the Kool Cigarette logo in vegan leather.
This time, Mercado has reimagined the Cesca, Spoleto and Wassily chairs with salvaged objects one might find at a car junkyard. For the Cesca chair, he used hundreds of Little Trees air fresheners, those brightly colored pine tree aromatics that have become a pop culture icons. Mercado says he always had one hanging from his car’s rearview mirror when he began driving while in high school in Chicago.
“I like the sculptural quality and the vibrant colors,” he says.
Mercado reinvented the Spoleto chair with old car speakers and swaddled the Wassily chair in salvaged car seat belts, so it holds “you up rather than holding you in.”
The Knoll pieces are in keeping with Mercado’s upcycled ethos and reverence for 20th and 21st century icons. Earlier this year, he collaborated with Swiss modular furniture maker USM on a collection of bespoke pieces, including handmade vests and hats in signature USM color-blocked configurations and a credenza with a built-in clothing hanger.
For the Knoll collaboration, Mercado had complete creative freedom.
“The relationship between art and design is essential to everything we do at Knoll,” Suzanne Michaels, Knoll’s senior director of global brand creative, said in a statement. “Noel’s work — which is positioned right at the intersection of these disciplines — challenges viewers to rethink everyday objects.”
The three artworks will be available for purchase on Mercado’s website (noel-mercado.com) starting Tuesday. — MARISA GUTHRIE
The tree is composed of 15 chrome, repurposed trunks of varying heights that have been stacked to create the silhouette of a traditional Christmas tree, and styled to reflect the hotel’s Art Deco architecture.
The sculpture has been set inside two huge trunks stacked on top of each other. Each one is adorned with vintage Claridge’s travel stickers and an oversize Louis Vuitton luggage tag.
At the top of the tree is a model of Asnières, the Louis Vuitton family home and atelier in a northern suburb of Paris. Scattered across the silvery trunks and amid the snowy landscape of the tree there are 21 figurines, including one of Father Christmas.
Claridge’s general manager Paul Jackson said “Christmas is the most magical time for us here at the hotel, and we look forward to welcoming guests and seeing visitors immerse themselves in Louis Vuitton’s world.”
The hotel and the brand have much in common. Both were founded in 1854, and had strong ties to Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III. Monsieur Louis Vuitton was the personal “layetier” to the Empress, the man responsible for creating her arsenal of luggage, and packing the bags.
The French royal made Claridge’s her winter residence, and she received so many visits from Queen Victoria that the hotel came to be known as the “annex” to Buckingham Palace.
This is the 13th year that Claridge’s has invited a top fashion house or designer to reinterpret the tree in its own distinctive style.
Last year, Jimmy Choo’s creative director Sandra Choi designed the festive tree, which she called The Diamond, a nod to the brand’s twinkling accessories.
In 2021, the hotel invited Dior’s Kim Jones to design the tree, and he paid tribute to craftsmanship and couture. — SAMANTHA CONTI
THE KING AND BLACKPINK: Lisa, Rose, Jisoo Kim and Jennie Kim from the K-pop band Blackpink now hold honorary MBEs from King Charles III.
The Member of the Order of the British Empire honor, or MBE, was awarded to the South Korean band at Buckingham Palace on Nov 22.
“I can only admire how they can prioritize these vital issues, as well as being global superstars,” said the king, referring to their environmental efforts.
Blackpink are ambassadors for the COP climate change summit.
To collect her award, Lisa wore a dress and cape by Thai brand Asava; Rose wore a gray Saint Laurent suit; Jennie wore a tweed number from Chanel and Jisoo wore a black Dior Bar jacket with a shin-length skirt and high heels, as well as a Cartier Crash watch in 18-karat yellow gold.
The king hosted the president and first lady of South Korea in London as part of a state visit.
On Nov. 21, Blackpink was among guests at the state banquet held at the palace attended by the Prince and Princess of Wales.
At the state dinner, the king referenced his 1992 trip to South Korea with the late Princess Diana.
“Sadly, when I was in Seoul all those years ago, I am not sure I developed much of what might be called the Gangnam style!” he said.
The purpose of the state visit was to strengthen trade links and military partnerships between the U.K. and South Korea with President Yoon Suk Yeol meeting with British prime minister Rishi Sunak and newly appointed foreign secretary Lord Cameron. — HIKMAT MOHAMMED
OPENING DAY: Gucci is finally reopening its Milan boutique located on Via Montenapoleone 5. The flagship was first closed in July 2022 and has been going through an extensive renovation.
The Italian luxury brand will reopen the doors of the store on Dec. 7. A celebratory evening event will be held on Dec. 13.
The storied Milan flagship was renovated in September 2015, becoming the first one designed by former creative director Alessandro Michele and reflecting his vision. Michele exited in November last year and was succeeded by Sabato De Sarno, who joined in January.
The first Gucci Milan store was opened on Via Montenapoleone in 1951 by Rodolfo Gucci, one of the three sons of founder Guccio Gucci.
Milan’s Via Montenapoleone together with Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue have been ranked as the world’s most expensive retail venues this year, at $2,000 per square foot and $1,766 per square foot, respectively. — ANDREA ONATE
CREATIVE-BORN: The International Talent Support contest, also known as ITS, has named its 2023 finalists, as it gears up for an IRL award ceremony on March 22 in Trieste, Italy, the city off of fashion’s radar that has been home to the talent search for 21 years.
ITS said Wednesday it selected 16 emerging designers across fashion, accessories and jewelry among 750 applications from up-and-coming talents hailing from 65 countries. Applicants were tasked to submit collections and projects that embodied the “Born to Create” concept, such as the inherent human ability to create.
The list of finalists includes Chelsea Jean Lamm and Marcel Sommer from Germany; Clementine Baldo, Shanon Poupard and Lilian Navarro from France; Ju Bao and Kexuan Liu from China; Mert Serbest from Turkey; Momoka Sato and Tomohiro Shibuki from Japan; Richard Farbey from the U.K.; Silvia Acien Parrilla from Spain; Tal Maslavi from Israel; Daniel Bosco from Canada; Eun Ji Oh from Belgium, and Ivan Delogu from Italy.
“We are at a generational shift of imagery, of reference points. A new generation of designers is taking hold, and young talents are…charting different trajectories,” said Barbara Franchin, president of the ITS Foundation, which manages the contest and is the mastermind behind it. “Right now, fashion is experiencing a moment of great confusion and readjustment, with an ongoing redefinition of the role of the creative director,” she added.
The Franchin-led jury includes Moncler designer Sergio Zambon; stylist and fashion consultant Tom Eerebout; as well as Matteo Ward, chief executive officer and cofounder of sustainability-minded brand and platform Wråd; Thierry-Maxime Loriot, curator, writer and creative director, and Carlo Giordanetti, CEO of the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, among others. More guest jurors will be added for the award ceremony next year.
Finalists will compete for a range of prizes including the 15,000-euro ITS Arcademy Award bestowed on the most creative, socially aware and innovative fashion collection, in addition to the ITS Media, Community, Fashion Film and Digital Fashion Awards, coming with a cash prize of 3,000 euros each.
Partners and sponsors of the ITS competition — which include Vogue Eyewear, EssilorLuxottica, the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, Lotto Sport, Wråd, Fondazione Ferragamo, Pitti Immagine and Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, among others — will also hand out their own awards. A special award recognized by the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of 10,000 euros will also be offered in this edition, in celebration of Gorizia, a city in the region named the European Capital of Culture for 2025.
In addition to competing for the awards, all finalists will receive the ITS Residency Award, a new prize which gives talents the opportunity to take part in a collective project at the ITS Arcademy, the organization’s sprawling headquarters, archives and multifunctional space, replete with a “Museum of Art in Fashion,” announced in 2020 and eventually unveiled last year with a seminal exhibition by Olivier Saillard.
The ITS competition, which marked its 20th anniversary last year, has been a launchpad for marquee contemporary designers in the past including Bottega Veneta’s Matthieu Blazy and Balenciaga’s Demna, as well as London darling Richard Quinn and Iceberg’s James Long, among others. — MARTINO CARRERA
FASHION AND CARS: Matches is collaborating with Aston Martin, the British maker of luxury sports cars.
The online retailer said it will gain access to a new luxury customer base, while Aston Martin clients will receive early access to collection drops, as well as a private shopper based at 5 Carlos Place, Matches’ London town house.
Meanwhile, Aston Martin plans to open its events and previews of new Aston Martin models to Matches customers.
“Partnering with Aston Martin, the synergies are seamless, and we come together to inspire our audiences in the excellence of service, exclusivity and emotion,” said Carl Tallents, chief commercial officer at Matches.
Oliver Turner, regional president for the U.K. and South Africa, hopes that the collaboration will provide “added value to our customers, as well as excite Matches’ strong luxury network.”
Matches chief executive officer Nick Beighton hinted at the collaboration to WWD earlier this month when the retailer announced results for the year ending Jan. 31, 2023.
The company said in the current fiscal year, it is focusing on its growth across the U.K. and U.S. markets; driving technology and operational improvements, as well as starting a discussion with its shareholders and lenders regarding a lending facility for the end of August 2024.
The brand reported its results for the year ending Jan. 31, 2023, with revenues declining 1.7 percent to 380.1 million pounds.
Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization losses widened to 33.7 million pounds from 25 million pounds.
The retailer revealed that customer orders totaled 758.2 million pounds, compared to 677.1 million pounds the previous year. — H.M.
PRINCESS FAVORITE: Rebecca Vallance makes dresses fit for princesses — literally.
“Zara’s worn quite a bit of Rebecca Vallance over the years, and she traveled in 90 minutes to come to the event. Then, she went to King Charles‘s birthday dinner that night in one of our dresses,” the designer said in an interview.
The relaunch spotlighted Vallance’s newly released holiday collection, which the designer said took inspiration from Italy’s “la bella vita” lifestyle.
The collection, titled Maria Amalia, ranges from 345 pounds for a rhinestone-embellished cropped bustier to 1,210 pounds for a full-length silk crepe evening gown featuring diamante appliqué flourishes.
“It was inspired by the Italian way of life. You can see the motifs in the designs of the evening gowns and everything is quite grand and extra,” she said.
The brand is launching its seventh boutique in Australia on Thursday with three more stores in the works to be opened in New York, Miami and London.
“We are planning to double the size of our store footprint across the next two years, including exploring the international locations,” said Vallance.
The brand’s rapid growth can be attributed to its robust business.
“The brand is a global multichannel retailer, which has experienced exponential growth of 120 percent over the last two years, with 60 percent of sales coming from international markets; 55 percent of revenue comes from our [direct-to-consumer] businesses, which is split equally between retail stores and our online channel,” said the designer.
“We are continuing to drive our growth through investment in our [direct-to-consumer] business. Retail stores are forecasted to grow at over 50 percent again this year, a rate exceeding pre-COVID[-19] growth,” she added.
Launched in 2011, the brand has grown from festive occasion wear to include the ready-to-wear, suiting, swim, resort, jewelry, bridal and children’s categories.
Earlier this year, the label partnered with Qantas airways to create a business class pajama and amenity kit on select flights. — VIOLET GOLDSTONE
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