Designer Fallout: The Fashion Industry’s Revolving Door

Riccardo Tisci, Donna Karan, and Francisco Costa images courtesy of BDBhphotos.com, bostoncommon-magazine.com, and vogue.com, respectively

Elbaz leaves Lanvin; Tisci exits Givenchy; Donna Karan bows out at her namesake fashion brand, and after 15 years Costa bids adieu to Calvin Klein. What’s going on here? Has the top creative position at legendary fashion houses/brands become a revolving door of sorts?Apparently so, if you look at the designer fallout at major brands in the last five years, not to also mention fashion designers who have been eased out of their eponymous brands. With all the Russian roulette on in the fashion industry, one would think there is lots of inside information that’s being shared. Well, it’s not that insidious!!

Not so long ago, fashion designers solidly ensconced themselves at major fashion houses for as long as they wanted to reign at these hallowed fashion institutions. Fashion visionaries created these iconic fashion houses, and it was an honor and privilege to helm the houses of Dior, YSL, Balmain, Lanvin, Chanel, Givenchy, Balenciaga, and others. And though tenure at these fashion posts was occasionally short-lived, most designers maintained their positions for several seasons. Tom Ford began working at Gucci in the early 90s and was creative director from 1994–1999. John Galliano was creative director at Christian Dior from 1996–2011. And Francisco Costa manned the helm at Calvin Klein for over fifteen years.

Raf Simons, Public School, and Hedi Slimane images courtesy of highsnobiety.com, Industry Magazine, hashtaglegend.com, clockwise respectively

Well, that is history and no longer the standard at many iconic fashion houses. Lately, it seems that designers are leaving fashion houses in rapid succession. Bouchra Jarrar, who was named artistic director of Lanvin last year, replacing Alber Elbaz, was quickly ousted after she failed to turn a fast upturn in profit. (It should be noted that Alber Elbaz was creative director at Lanvin from 2001–2015 and many credit Elbaz with restoring the Lanvin, the first fashion house in Paris, to its former glory.) Raf Simons was at Dior for only three years; Nicola Formichetti worked at MUGLER for only two years; Public School barely lasted a year at DKNY, and Hedi Slimane directed Saint Laurent from 2012–2016.In contrast to diminishing profits, there are designers who can turn fashion houses into mega million-dollar power players, and still find themselves out of a job. Phoebe Philo at Céline is one such example. Philo, who took the company’s revenue from $235 million to $800 million, is expected to exit Céline by the end of 2017.

Some industry professionals find it odd that Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH)—the holding company for many European fashion houses, including Celine—would discard a fashion designer who quadrupled sales and made Céline a more recognizable name in the US. The reason why these turn of events is happening so frequently is hard to answer. Are there outside influences forcing the hands of big holding companies like LVMH and Kering?

                   Images clockwise courtesy of V magazine and vogue.com, respectively

“In the fashion world loyalty used to account for much and was an integral part of doing business, but with changes in society at large (not only the fashion industry) from the consumer to the designer, loyalty has not withstood the test of time,” says Michael Londrigan, vice president of academic affairs at LIM College. “Whether it is loyalty to the designer or the designer to the company, this virtue has been greatly diminished, accounting for much of the musical chairs that we see. Add to that the notion that you are only as good as your last show, the tolerance for staying with the same designer has been greatly reduced with everyone chasing the consumer and their pocketbooks. No longer are designers at the top held to strict contracts with long term and non-compete clauses, designers are putting personal choice ahead of the customer and the company.”The turnaround at publicly traded companies is even more frequent because stockholders demand exponentially high sales increases from quarter to quarter which can be stifling to designers’ creativity. (In his last seasons at Lanvin, Elbaz couldn’t turn the profit Lanvin’s investors were hoping for, so he was out.)

For many shoppers who were loyal to the design aesthetic of these designers, the turnover has been unsettling. “Regarding Phoebe Philo at Céline, I don’t think she should go, because her bags are sublime,” says Frederick Frost, a stylist and blogger in Venezuela. “Her aesthetic is romantic and chic, but at the same time, it’s all about the business. Perhaps, the brand owners want a new direction; perhaps, [Philo] will start [an eponymous] brand. There are many factors that influence these situations.”

                         Images courtesy of vinylmag.com, and vogue.com, respectively

In the wake of Christopher Bailey leaving Burberry, the company is adopting an interesting strategy. As part of their new repositioning, Burberry plans on reinventing themselves as a super luxury brand in the mold of Gucci and Dior. While Burberry was a must-have brand some season ago, they have lost ground to similar brands looking to appeal to young consumers with deep pockets.Some designers at legendary fashion houses leave of their own accord, wanting to establish their own fashion labels. Unlike in previous decades in which designers would have their own eponymous lines while helming other fashion brands—case in point, Karl Lagerfeld having his own namesake brand while being creative director at Chanel and Chloe, and the same with Galliano while he was at Dior—the pressure to create 5 to 7 collections a year, as well as collaborations is too much of a creative drain. “A lot of these folks have built a name for themselves, and ready to branch out into something that would enhance their brand more,” says Ikponmwosa Edo, stylist and style editor at Fashion360Mag.

This was the case for Peter Dundas, the former creative director of Roberto Cavalli, who went on to launch his own brand to the fanfare of the entire fashion industry. For other designers, the never-ending fashion cycle ends up burning them out. After he was ousted from Lanvin, Elbaz made a notorious critique of the industry cycle, discussing how the over-extension is creatively exhausting.

“The reason most designers, I feel, leave their brands is the growth rate of the brand and not enough inspiration within the fashion design house,” explains Chris Lavish, artistic director of Fashion Week Online. “The acceleration in the pace of the fashion world has sky rocketed; propelling new designers into the spotlight faster, like Demna Gvasalia and Vetements, and well-seasoned designers, such as Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent out.”    

               Images courtesy of woolmarkprize.com and elle.co.uk, respectively

While Phoebe Philo, Christopher Bailey, and Alber Elbaz brought more market saturation to Celine, Burberry, and Lanvin, respectively, today’s consumer spending tastes have changed. In an era of social media, stagnant wages, and shifts in culture, building a brand’s value goes beyond the opinions of key fashion editors, celebrities, and advertising budgets. Still, one has to ask if this revolving door of fashion designers is the answer to an over-saturated market with ever-evolving consumer wants and needs. Only time will tell.— Kristopher Fraser and William S. Gooch

Fashion Reverie’s ‘Movember’ Giveaway

It’s Movember! November is when men across the globe stop shaving for the entire month in recognition of Men’s Health Awareness. That’s right; their beards and mustaches stay untrimmed for the full 30 days. (Mustache + November = Movember. Get it? Got it? Good.)

We know our Fashion Revelers are a busy bunch, and it’s sometimes difficult to keep those face follicles in line. So in support of our readers, and their beards, during their Movember marathon, Fashion Reverie is giving away one complete Beard Care Travel Kit by Mountaineer Brand. The kit comes with beard wash, beard balm, and beard oil, as well as a military-style beard brush, all in a handy dopp kit. Mountaineer Brand products are 100% natural and made in West Virginia—home of real mountain men.

                                 Image courtesy of Mountaineer Brand

To enter for your chance to win, simply post your best beard picture on your Instagram page and tag @FashionReverieMag and hashtag #FRBeard. On November 30th, we will award the travel kit to the guy with the most likes. And don’t forget to visit Fashion Reverie’s 2017 men’s fall grooming article.So guys, get to posting. Ladies, get to liking. Everyone, for more information on Movember, go to http://us.movember.com.

—Staff

 

New York International Bridal Week Fall 2018 Sketches


There is no doubt that New York Fashion Week: The Shows Spring 2018 was a lackluster excursion into an aimless ménage of fashion for the uninitiated. There were a few exceptions, namely Bibhu Mohapatra, Vivienne Tam, Marchesa, Anna Sui, and a few others.

That said; with New York International Bridal Week (NYIBW) fall 2018 only a few days away there is the expectation among fashion industry professionals that there will be more sophistication and fashion-forward beauty. As it should be; we are talking about visions in white, off-white, and pale pastels.

As a part of Fashion Reverie’s NYIBW fall 2018 pre-coverage, whetting our viewers’ fashion appetite, we present a few bridal fall 2018 sketches. Will the real-time collections live up the sketches? Stay tuned, and find out!!

                           Image courtesy of THEIA

THEIA is always a Fashion Reverie favorite. We have covered THEIA’s bridal collections for eight seasons and true to form, THEIA never disappoints. For fall 2018 the THEIA bride is becoming increasing more daring. The Theia bridal customer is moving away from boho with the look becoming sexier. There are lots of illusion bodices, plunging necklines, bare backs and nude linings, but paired with THEIA’s soft romantic Spanish tulle or silk satin flowing ball skirts. THEIA’s signature beading will continue in form fitting sexy silhouettes made new with 3-D floral embroideries that are light weight, yet sparkle with glass and crystal.

                              Image courtesy of Atelier PR

There are a couple of first-timers to Fashion Reverie’s bridal pre-coverage. Though we have covered Reem Acra’s women’s ready-to-wear collections, we have never been privileged to cover Reem Acras bridal collections.For fall 2018 Reem Acra was inspired by something pretty, something delicate, and something floral, all seen through the lens of saintly spirits.

                                               Images courtesy of Atelier PR

Lakum is completely new to Fashion Reverie. Known for their architectural creations, according to co-creative director Zaha Hadid, the brand’s fall 2018 collection was inspired by, ”form and space are woven within structure.”—William S. Gooch

 

 

Fashion Reverie NYFW: The Shows Spring 2018 Giveaway “Watch Ya Mouth”

Image courtesy of Watch Ya Mouth

Image courtesy of Watch Ya Mouth

Everyone loves a good laugh, and there is nothing funnier than all the crazy fashion you witness during New York Fashion Week. Every season Fashion Reverie reviews all the crazy street fashion with our “Dippity Don’t” posts. This season in addition to our “Dippity Don’t” posts, Fashion Reverie is offering a giveaway bundle prize from “Watch Ya Mouth” board games.

“Watch Ya Mouth” is the #1 mouthpiece board game.  Uh, yea you heard me right, the # 1 board game. Slap a mouthpiece in your pie hole, flip the timer, grab a card, and get ready to read some of the most dim-witted, moronic phrases you’ve ever laid eyes on. Your partner has to guess what you’re saying as many times as possible in 1-minute. Just try not to laugh too hard.

To enter, you must attend New York Fashion Week: The Shows (NYFWS) spring 2018 and take pictures of fashion folks in crazy garb. Send the images with your Instagram URL to giveaway@fashionreverie.com. Also, post the image on your Instagram page. We will also post the image in Fashion Reverie’s “Dippity Don’t” posts. The Instagram post with the most likes will receive a bundle giveaway from “Watch Ya Mouth.”

A couple of rules 1) the image must be from the current NYFWS spring 2018 season; 2) you must blur out the face of the person in the image 3), and you must submit and post by September 14.  This giveaway contest runs from September 7–14. Let’s bring the fun back to Fashion Week!!

—Staff

See links below of “Dippity Don’t’s” from previous seasons:

fashionreverie.com/?p=16902

fashionreverie.com/?p=16785

 

New York Fashion Week: The Shows Spring 2018 Sketches

No matter who your favorite designers/brands are; their impressive collections come from a very focused perspective and inspiration. And though the art of sketching may be a quickly evaporating facet of the fashion industry due to the expanding frontier of technology, there are still some designers that sit down with pen and paper—and in some cases stylo and Thinkpad—and begin the process of designing their collections season after season.

Leanne Marshall spring 2018

Leanne Marshall spring 2018

“Project Runway” is the not only place who will witness the sketches of great collections, at Fashion Reverie every season we also curate sketches for the upcoming season. And even though the retail market is constricting, the inspiration and the brilliant design acuity continues.

Since her stint and win on “Project Runway,” Leanne Marshall has been a constant presence during New York Fashion Week. This season Marshall’s theme was the “Green Diamond Wall.” And Marshall’s “transportation to the other side of the green diamond wall” will contain her signature aesthetic of eco-friendly, restrained volume expressed through diaphanous fabrics. Additionally, there will possibly be a nod to futuristic projections. Fashion Reverie cannot wait to report on Leanne Marshall’s spring 2018 collection.

Collages1412Dan Liu has presented at New Fashion Week: The Shows (NYFSW) for several seasons. And for the spring 2018 season, Liu looked to the solitude of the seaside for inspiration.

“People say, “Smell the Sea, Feel the Breeze, Hear the Ocean, Be at Ease”… which is true and I love the way how people feel about beaches and sea breeze, but to me, it’s a lot more than that.  To me, it is okay to be sad in life, it’s okay to be hurt in love, and it’s fine only the ocean is there to be with me … because to me, “feeling” is much more important than other senses that we have.  Yes, our eyes can see and ears can hear, but I’d rather “feel” because by feeling, even though I’m all alone and sad in the beach, I know the Sun will eventually warm me up, the sand will comfortably soap my feet, and certainly, see breeze will give me a hug thru inside out. No one wants to be sad and lonely… and no one loves failure … but this is the only way we can live our lives completely and feel alive when we search our feelings with our soul,” detailed Liu.

Collages1411“Beauty in the chaos” is the theme for Jarel Zhang’s spring 2018 collection. Launched in 2017, Jarel Zhang’s work has a minimalist approach rooted in an independent urban aesthetic. For spring 2018, Zhang drew inspiration from the chaos, construction, and movement of the New York Streets. He found beauty in the chaos and the structure. This Jarel Zhang’s debut at New York Fashion Week: The Shows.

Known primarily for their fashionable timepieces, Galitscopio’s brand also includes accessories and garments. In its debut season at NYFWS, Galitscopio’s theme is “a time to shine.”

All sketch images courtesy of the Riviera Agency

All sketch images courtesy of the Riviera Agency

Galitscopio brilliantly styles new apparel fusing elements of bezel design with fashion. Independence, conviction, gentility and sophistication are the main qualities among the myriads of different characters of city ladies. The new collection provides versatile choices for ladies of different characters in different lifestyle scenarios, whether work, play or otherwise. Femininity in GALTISCOPIO style always ensures mesmerizing elegant exquisiteness, adding more glamorous flair for the ladies this spring and summer, TIME TO SHINE!

—William S. Gooch

 

 

 

 

New York Fashion Week: The Shows Spring 2018 Pre-Coverage

 

Images courtesy of eonline.com

Images courtesy of eonline.com

New York Fashion Week: The Shows spring 2018 (NYFWS) season is only a week away, and many fashion pundits are asking the question if fashion weeks are still relevant. With so many designers opting out of NYFWS spring 2018 season this time around, the verdict is out on the need for fashion weeks. And with the retail market depressed globally, there is a lot of uncertainty in the fashion industry.

Technology has changed so much in the lives of most people, and in the fashion community technology, for some, has become more than a tool. For a significant amount of fashion industry professionals, technology is the order of the day. With some fashion showrooms proffering digital accessibility—which includes models—to their clients, the need for personnel is decreasing dramatically.

For NYFWS spring 2018 season this technology has facilitated many brands deciding to show collections online in real time. Though this new development is cost efficient, it does diminish the excitement and vibrancy of actual shows. Add to that the absence of Monique Lhuillier, Rodarte, Ralph Lauren, Nicholas K, Loris Diran, Charles Harbison and other from the NYFWS calendar, this season may not excite hearts and minds.

Images courtesy of fashionisers.com

Images courtesy of fashionisers.com

Still, the fashion community soldiers on with new names to the fashion week roster, as well as some interesting initiatives. The CFDA is partnering with LIFEWTR, showcasing three emerging designers from their CFDA + educational program. Rihanna is presenting her FENTY collection; there will be a showcase of Indonesian designers, and Skylight Clarkson and Pier 59 will present over 60 plus shows.

Fashion Reverie will be front and center bringing its viewers expansive coverage over the seven days of NYFW: The Shows. Let  creativity continue!!

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Reverie Interview: Jill Dodd’s “The Currency of Love”

Currency_Love_bookSome call it fickle finger of fate; others explain circumstances as acts of divine intervention; still, there are those who try to find the cause and effect of everything. Whatever the situation or outcome, one can discern from Jill Dodd’s memoir “The Currency of Love” that life’s journey has many paths and detours, and it’s all about how you adapt to change.

From a fashion model to the love interest to the richest man in the world to a fashion maven, Jill Dodd’s life has truly been an adventure. Through it all, Jill Dodd persevered the peaks and valleys with courage, humor and a lot of good fortune. In “The Currency of Love” Jill Dodd details the rocky road, but she also details the glamour, the glitz and the good times.

Fashion Reverie was fortunate to talk with Jill Dodd about the vicissitudes of her life.

Jill Dodd

Jill Dodd

Fashion Reverie: Why this book at this time?

Jill Dodd: I have known I was going to write this book since I was in my 20s in the 1980s. A lot of people tried to talk me out of writing this book. Many of them thought it was too dangerous to tell all these stories and talk candidly about my experiences in fashion and in life. In spite of the opposition, I knew one day I would write this book.

I have been through a lot in my life. I have been bad relationships and an abusive marriage. I now have three children. I have been so busy being a single parent and running these fashion companies that there was no time to tell my story.

When I turned 50 I asked myself what I wanted to do that I had not yet done. And I knew it was the book. So, I put my nose to the grindstone, so to speak, and started putting 100% of my energy into this book. I worked on it every moment I had.

I do think this book is appropriate for the time with so many young people being infatuated with fame and money because of the Kardashians and all the media attention on wealth. I wanted to show the behind scene of the modeling industry; what it is really like behind all of that, and that the wealth and fame alone doesn’t fulfill you.

FR: Were you aware that at around the time this book was published, on the same date in fact, Adnan Khashoggi died? Was that a planned consequence?

Jill Dodd: It was really an unplanned consequence. I was looking forward to celebrating my book publication date and that morning I found out he had passed away. I was in shock for a whole week and that same night of his death I had to speak at a bookstore in Northern California at my book launch.

Jill_Dodd_The_Currency_of_LoveFR: Now, you started out as a mostly commercial swimsuit and lingerie model in California and not soon after you signed with Wilhelmina Model Management you decided to go to Paris and expand your opportunities. Why Paris, and did your opportunities expand?

Jill Dodd: Well, I did every type of modeling you could do in California at that time. We are talking about the late 1970s. California in the late 70s was the center of active sportswear, denim, tee shirts, and casual clothing. I did all the things you could do in California at that time, from print ads to modeling on news shows, to small non-speaking parts on television. At that time there was no high fashion in California. The only high fashion thing I did at that time was modeling in a runway show for Perry Ellis.

When I signed with Wilhelmina Model Management in Los Angeles, I quickly learned that in order to model in New York City and work for brand name American designers and the big fashion magazines I had to work in Europe first. Without the European tear sheets from French Vogue or Elle, the New York modeling agencies are not really interested in developing you as model. That was the traditional route at that time.

FR: At first you hated Paris, but in a short amount of time you grew to love Paris. How did your relationship with Paris change over time?

Jill Dodd: When I got to Paris in 1980, I didn’t speak a word of French. And in the early 80s the French were closed off and not very friendly to tourists and outsiders. No one would help you or explain anything to people who couldn’t speak French properly. The creature comforts in Paris were well below what I was used to in the US. It was hard to find warm water to bathe in; there was no heat in my hotel. It was hard to get food that was healthy because I didn’t have a kitchen in my hotel room. When you are modeling, you can gain weight easily on bread and cheese; however, bread and cheese were the cheapest things to purchase when you had no cooking facilities.

Also, it took longer than I expected to establish myself in Europe. I thought I would be in all the big European magazines in a few months. Well, it didn’t turn out that way. Over time I did fall in love with Paris because I learned to speak French. I learned that the French people are wonderful; once they realize you are not going anywhere, they really open up to you!!

Jill_Dodd_OlympeFR: In the early 80s a lot of European brands and design houses were becoming more attracted to an All-American beauty that was not just blonde American models. You were a part of that new breed. Why this shift in European taste, and do you believe this shift added to your success?

Jill Dodd: Let’s not glamorize the European fashion market in the early 80s. When I arrived in Paris there were no Asian and Hispanic models working, and only a few African American models that worked steadily.

The Europeans wanted an American look, but what they thought of as an American look was very Nordic. You know, tall, willowy blondes with blue eyes and big white teeth. They really wanted a look that came out of Hollywood; you know Cheryl Tiegs or Cybill Shephard.

I always had the healthy, California lifestyle look. I was sporty and athletic and that look was gathering steam in the early 80s, a whole industry around health was developing at that time. Self magazine had just started. You know Jane Fonda’s workout tapes and Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” song. I believe that was my appeal. I landed the first cover of Paris’ version of Self entitled Olympe.

FR: What were some your favorite fashion brands you work with in Europe?

Jill Dodd: I worked with all the major European swimwear companies. I wore Kenzo, Jean-Claude Luca, Yves Saint Laurent, and Chanel in fashion editorials. I did a lot of runway shows, but mostly second-tier European designers. Many of the major fashion houses thought my hips were too wide for their design aesthetic. They wanted a size 0 and I was more a size 2 or 4.

Collages1408FR: Could you name one standout fashion moment in Paris for you?

Jill Dodd: The most memorable fashion moment was modeling on a scaffold in front of the Eiffel Tower with 12 other models, all in couture garments. Also, memorable was doing an editorial for Jardin de Mode.

FR: From the book we know how you got involved with Adnan Khashoggi. Now without giving so much away, what was the initial attraction?

Jill Dodd: I was attracted to his intellect and his spirit of fun. When I was dancing with him the first night I met him, I felt we had a spiritual connection that I hadn’t felt with anyone.

FR: You were always striving for independence; yet, you got into a dependent relationship with Adnan Khashoggi, why?

Jill Dodd: I was not in a dependent relationship with Adnan. I would not let him take care of me. I continued to model through the length of our relationship that was a little under two years. I refused any large gifts from him or him buying me a home. I insisted on living on my own through the entire relationship.

He did offer to pay my college tuition at FIDM and I accepted that. He wanted me to educated because he thought modeling was not a respectable profession. That is the only large gift I accepted from him.

Modeling, initially, was a way for me to earn money to go to fashion design school. I got so distracted by modeling that I forgot about my initial goals for a while. Adnan really helped put me back on track.

Collages1409FR: Even though Adnan, called you a pleasure wife, when did you realize you were really in a modern-day harem?

Jill Dodd: I was denial and didn’t realize until years later that I had been in a modern-day harem. I had trained myself to accept the things I could accept at the moment and keep moving toward financial independence. I put my own feeling aside because I was in love with him and I wanted to be with him at any cost. I needed him emotionally and I didn’t care what came with the relationship.

Remember, he was very, very kind to me. When he told me he wanted me to be his pleasure wife, I didn’t want to understand what that meant. I didn’t care about the details and I felt that way for a long time. However, over time reality started to set in that he had multiple wives and girlfriends. And, that started to bother me.

FR: Now your book ends in the early 1980s, why?

Jill Dodd: I wanted to book to have more focus and present an in-depth look at the time all these things were happening to me. If I had taken “The Currency of Love” into present day, I could not have delved deep into all the topics and culture of the 1980s. The book would have read like a Wikkipedia page.

After Adnan I had two abusive marriages; I was a single mother, and I ran several fashion companies. I thought this was too much to put into one book. So, I settled on my life before the marriages. I wanted the book to read like an adventure story instead of a bunch of facts.

FR: When and how did you start the women’s beach surfer brand, Roxy?

Jill Dodd: I started working at Jag swimwear in 1987. They had one designer there before I started working there. She left and I built that brand to 17 million dollar brand in my tenure there I wasn’t happy with my Jag salary and I was getting offers from other companies because of my success. I wrote to several men’s surf wear brands and told them a wanted to start a women’s division of their brand. I was contacted by Quicksilver and they hired me to start Quicksilver women’s division that over time evolved into Roxy. We had 20 different international licensees globally.

All images courtesy of Jill Dodd

All images courtesy of Jill Dodd

FR: What do you want readers to get from “The Currency of Love”?

Jill Dodd: I want to encourage people to follow their passion and live within their own integrity. I want to people to know that life can throw you some curves and knock you down; however, you have to soldier on because you never know what’s next. I hope women get from this book that they should live in their own truth and not be ashamed.

I also want people to think about an alternative source of strength. I know that I reach the end of myself all the time, and there are times we need to surrender to a higher power and ask for help. And that surrender has gotten me through some rough times.

FR: What’s next for you?

Jill Dodd: I am marketing “The Currency of Love” by doing interviews and speaking at book clubs. I have a piece coming out on 60 Minutes in Australia very soon. And I have speaking engagements in Great Britain, Germany, and France.

“The Currency of Love” is published by Enliven Books, a division of Simon and Schuster.
—William S. Gooch

Fall 2017 Campaign Feature: K-Swiss’ Generation-K

Collages1347

Elliot Tebele

In a very saturated market, how does a company give distinction and viability to their brand, particularly if it is a footwear brand? Well, K-Swiss has found a way to do just that; set itself apart from the Reeboks, the Nikes, and the Adidas.

Understanding that millenials and Generation X identify more with clothes that are comfortable, functional, reflect a lifestyle, and utilitarian in nature as opposed to clothes that connote wealth, prosperity, and luxury, K-Swiss has launched the Generation-K collection. The Generation K collection features three new hero sneaker styles for the season, combining signature K-Swiss design cues, with modern athletic styling. Described as ‘sophisticated athletic’, the Generation K collection blends athletic comfort with minimalist clean profiles, designed for K-Swiss’ modern muse, the young entrepreneur, to be worn from the boardroom to the street.

“The origin of this campaign came from a consumer insight, that today’s youth aspire to be CEO’s more than athletes or celebrities, said Barney Waters, President of K-Swiss in a recent press release.  “Entrepreneurs aren’t wearing suits, these days it’s t-shirts, jeans and sneakers.” … “Today’s youth don’t wake up dreaming of running a 6-minute mile, or dunking a basketball, they dream of having their own brand or their own company.  It’s a new aspiration of this generation, to be the CEO, to be the boss.”

Coco and Breezy

Coco and Breezy

With the assistance of Gary Vee, New York Times–bestselling author and CEO and co-founder of VaynerMedia, K-Swiss identified young entrepreneurs who are media influencers in their own right to spearhead the Generation-K campaign. These young entrepreneurs bridge the cultural gap between millienials and Generation X, speaking the political and cultural vernacular of K-Swiss’ target audience.

The most well known young entrepreneurs featured in the Generation-K campaign and video is Coco and Breezy. Coco and Breezy (Corinana and Brianna Dotson) launched their iconic eyewear collection in 2009, making each handmade piece personally. Within a short amount of time their eyewear was seen on major celebrities and entertainers. These twins have become of mainstay of New York fashion scene.

Anwar Carrots

Anwar Carrots

Street wear designer Anwar Carrots is fast becoming a legend in the street fashion scene. While balancing collaborations with major retailers and brands over the years, this street wear powerhouse launched two separate clothing lines, including the self-named Carrots. Today, Carrots’ store is the leading online destination for men’s street style with a global following.

Elliot Tebele

Elliot Tebele

Jerry Media founder, Elliot Tebele, starting his media empire at the young age of 24. His personal Instagram page boasts 12.4 million followers. Jerry Media is  a full service company that offers exceptional digital content and measurable audience growth for their clients.

Karen Civil. All images courtesy of The Brand Group

Karen Civil. All images courtesy of The Brand Group

Karen Civil as a preteen ran a fan site for Lil Wayne. Her drive and determination has made her one of the premier names in hip-hop journalism. Through her writing, she has championed several global causes and started a computer lab and orphanage in Haiti to promote education in underprivileged areas.

K-Swiss’ Generation-K collection will be available July 31, ranging in price from $65.00 – $100.00, at select retailers and nationwide at kswiss.com.

—Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Fashion Week: Men’s Spring 2018 Pre-Coverage

Image courtesy of menswearstyle.co.uk

Image courtesy of menswearstyle.co.uk

It is that time again!! Yes, in a little over a week, New York City will be blessed with some of the best collections from mostly American-based menswear designers with smattering of menswear designers from other countries.

That said; New York Fashion Week: Men’s (NYFWM) has been plagued with the defection of some its main designer attractions. For the spring 2018 collections absent from the roster are Tommy Hilfiger, Loris Diran, Gypsy Sport, Nautica, Brett Johnson, Malan Breton and many others. And word on the street is that several NYFWM regulars have defected to showing in London, Paris or Milan.

Image courtesy of stylefashiontrendy.com

Image courtesy of stylefashiontrendy.com

To add further fuel to the fire, NYFWM lost one its biggest sponsor, Amazon, in late February. All these developments puts NYFWM and the CFDA at odds with the original intention of separating the men’s collections from the women’s collections, instituting a separate fashion week, primarily for menswear. And its fifth season, NYFWM still fails to attract high-end European menswear brands to likes of Dior Homme, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Dsquared2, Burberry, Trussardi, and a host of other household names. (This lack of top European menswear brands keeps the European press away.)

Still, the CFDA soldiers on, giving emerging menswear designers much coveted opportunities. Menswear brands presenting for the first time for the spring 2018 season include Facto Miansai, Hecho, Sanchez-Kane, C2H4 Los Angeles, Life in Perfect Disorder, Descendant of Thieves, Maiden Noir, Hellot Emil, Daniel Hector Paris, Bristol, and Head of State.

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

NYFWM spring 2018 dates are July 10 through July 13.

—William S. Gooch

Fiona Lewis Reclaims her Life in “Mistakes Were Made (Some in French)”

Fiona_Lewis1“Writing the story of their own life allows the author to parse their story into examinable segments while continuing to engage in the act of communion and creation.” —Kilroy J. Oldster

Self-examination is supposed to be the motivation behind memoirs. However, in an age where self-examination sometimes renders reveal-all memoirs that titillate the senses but rarely illuminate or celebrate life’s journeys, Fiona Lewis’ “Mistakes Were Made (Some in French)” is a beautiful distillation of a life lived in full, cinematic color with all its fallacies and triumphs.

From her childhood in the proper, but repressive England of the 1940s and 50s to her life as a model and actress in the swinging 60s—many may remember her from her 1968 spread in Playboy parodying James Bond’s “Casino Royale” girls—to her married life to a top Hollywood director in the 80s, Fiona Lewis, while restoring a broken chateau in the south of France, reflects back on her life lived at full tilt.

Fashion Reverie was given the opportunity to speak with Fiona Lewis soon after the release of “Mistakes Were Made (Some in French).”

Fashion Reverie: Why this book at this time in your life?

Fiona Lewis: Ten years ago in my fifties, I had a kind of midlife crisis. I had bought a dilapidated chateau in the French countryside. While I was there, I started reflecting on what had happened to me in my life and getting older. I started to write about everything I had done and what happens to a woman who is getting older and everything seems to be in the past and not so much in the future. So, what do women do at that this critical time and reinvent themselves and their lives?

This topic is a universal topic that many women experience as they are aging and their children have become adults. Many women have to do something and create an adventure to change their life.

FR: How did you come up with the title of the book, “Mistakes Were Made (Some in French)”?

Fiona Lewis: The title just came to me. As I was writing about the affairs I had had and also going through a bad marriage, I was thinking about the mistakes that people make in life with bad relationships and missed opportunities.

FR: This book is set against the backdrop of you restoring this dilapidated grand chateau in the south of France. You go back and forth in the memoir from childhood to restoring this grand chateau. One chapter will be a reflection on your life while another chapter will be about this restoration project. Why this juxtaposition and all the back and forth?

Fiona Lewis:  When I started writing this memoir, I started reflecting on everything that had happened in my life and though I was happily married and I had a very privileged life, something was missing. I didn’t understand why I was unhappy and unsettled. At the same time I was restoring this chateau, working with very incompetent French handymen. So, while writing this memoir I decided to go back and forth between life reflection and restoring the chateau.

FR: Your husband was opposed to your restoring this French countryside chateau, yet, you continued on, why?

Fiona Lewis: I thought in the end that he would enjoy the process. If you live in Los Angeles, you are not used to ruins, and that is where we were living at the time. When my husband first saw the chateau it was a complete wreck and he couldn’t understand why I would take on such a project. Also, my husband didn’t speak French.  He loved living in LA and he couldn’t imagine why someone would want to live in the middle of the countryside in France.

Still, I thought it would be good for him and that he would relax in the countryside and grow to love it.  And of course, I am a bit stubborn and I wanted to provide to my husband that I could make a go of this wrecked chateau.

FR: You grew up in the swinging 1960s, yet, there was a lot of ambivalence about the sexual freedom of that time. You experienced some of that ambivalence. Could you talk about the burgeoning sexual freedom of the sixties and your lack of ease with this new freedom? 

Fiona Lewis:  The change from the 1950s to the 1960s was so radical. Everyone was running around and having affairs with a slew of people, but of course we were ill equipped to handle this new sexual liberation or deal with the consequences. Most of us were properly raised young ladies from the 1950s which carried with it lots of expectations. Though we were having a lot of sexual escapades, we still expected flowers the next day, which mostly didn’t happen. It was very odd. We really weren’t ready for this new freedom.

I don’t think much has changed. Women are still looking for romance. In the 60s, we are so busy being hip and groovy that all we were really doing was having sex. And women’s liberation is so much more than that. That came later.

We didn’t speak out at that time that this new freedom wasn’t working for most women because women didn’t speak out at that time. And in England, the British never say what they’re thinking, you just try to be the cool and carry on. Many girls were unhappy, and I was one of them. We really didn’t have skills to adapt. It was an interesting time and for our parents it was a horror. Our parents wanted us to get marry and have children, not run around in a miniskirt. Everything changed very, very quickly.

Fashion_Reverie16FR: You modeled in the 1960s with Jacqueline Bisset, and you talk about in the book that you and Jacqueline were roommates. And though both of your were slender, you both were busty and the look of models were beginning to change. Could you talk about that time?

Fiona Lewis:  Jacqueline and I were not really that successful as models in England because it was the Twiggy era in which models had long slender legs and were flat chested. We were on chronic diets to stay thin. We even took laxatives, I am afraid to admit. We would try to strap ourselves in and flatten our breast, but it didn’t really work because we didn’t have those types of bodies.

We did have a little success but our look was not the current trend. We both had curly hair, so we were constantly ironing our hair to make it straight. We were doing our best, but later we both kind of slipped into acting, which you could do in those days. It’s much more difficult now.

FR: You knew the iconic British photographer Terry Donovan when he was just starting out. Could you speak about your experience with him?

Fiona Lewis: Actually, Terry Donovan was Jacqueline Bisset’s boyfriend and that is how I met him. In the 1960s in England, the class barriers came down. Cockney boys were suddenly photographers and designers, and it was very cool to have a cockney accent, when before it wasn’t. Terry Donovan was one of those cockney photographers that were very good and he did fantastic black and white photographs. And the cockney boys were thrilled to be taking out nice middle class girls because they had never been able to take out middle class girls before.

Terry would arrive in in his Rolls Royce and honk on the horn for Jacqueline to come down and she would be in the process of ironing her hair. We lived in this horrible, tiny flat because we had no money. I would always be cooking something on the hot plate.

I remember one time when he came over, I was cooking bacon and eggs, which is all we could afford at the time. And Terry Donovan exclaimed, “Blimey, you’re going to stink up the Rolls.” He was larger than life and so was David Bailey.

Fiona_LewisFR: You acted in some of Roman Polanski’s early films and you were involved with him romantically. What was it like working with him in the late 1960s?

Fiona Lewis:  When I started acting his Polanski’s films our affair was over and he was already in love with Sharon Tate. I played the small part of the barmaid in Polanski’s “The Fearless Vampire Killers,” and Roman taught me that when acting on screen, you have to take everything way down. You have to say your line almost in a monotone, never giving anything away. He was very good with actors. At the time, he spoke with a very thick French accent because he didn’t speak English very well.

FR: What I gathered from the book that in spite of your romances and heady love affairs, you were very unsure of yourself, not able to enjoy the moment. Where to you think this insecurity came from?

Fiona Lewis:  The kind of English family that I grew up in where my father was a judge, was not a demonstrative or affectionate family. The English don’t express themselves very much and they don’t coddle their children, so it’s hard to grow with a lot of self-confidence. When you don’t have self-confidence, being attractive doesn’t help because being pretty doesn’t always build self-esteem. I knew a lot of English women who grew up the same way I did, and end up sort of adrift.

You are always searching to get that self-worth from a man, which is never a good thing. That can lead to bad romances and relationships. For me, that was a hard thing to learn.  Looking back now, I realize that the best way to have a good relationship is not to need the other person to make you feel good about yourself.

FR: Of all the careers you’ve had, which career paths have you enjoyed the most, and why?

Fiona Lewis:  I have enjoyed writing the most, because when you are an actor you are always waiting for that next job and waiting for casting directors to choose you, unless you are a big star. When you are a writer, you control what you do every day. It is a very solitary life, but that suited me fine. I can create things without trying to get someone’s approval until the very end.

Images courtesy of JRB Communications

Images courtesy of JRB Communications

FR: Did this memoir serve as a kind of catharsis, and if so, why?

Fiona Lewis:  It does because I changed what the book was going to be about several times. I realized what is important in life and not to regret things that happened or didn’t happen to me. You do have to go forward everyday. If you have a relationship, you have to reinvent that relationship and not let it grow stagnant.

It is important to have perspective and to look inward, instead of looking outward all the time. I learned from this memoir to be grateful for what I have. You cannot do anything about the past, but you do have a say in your future.

FR: What do you want readers to get from  “Mistakes Were Made (Some in French)”?

Fiona Lewis: I would like women to see the journey and if they see themselves in any way to identify with things that I have learned and not feel alone. And of course, enjoy the book. This book takes place with my current husband who I was having problems with at the time and through a process of self-examination, I was able to rebuild my marriage.

“Mistakes Were Made (Some in French)” is published by Regan Arts and is available were books are sold.

—William S. Gooch

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