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London Fashion Week AW14 – Under the Spotlight

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It’s the fashion event that you must pencil into your calendar – of course it’s London Fashion Week. From Somerset House to Kensington Gardens, the streets were filled with fashion bloggers, journalists, socialites and the press who were all fortunate enough to get the first peek at the latest collections – I happened to be one of those lucky few!

On Monday, I set off to the beautiful Somerset House and saw the latest line by M&S who are aiming to bring out the ‘Best of British’. The scene was a simple, minimalist background with a ladder, chair and desk – an unusual set, but it did bring out the best of its 60’s-esque bold coloured swing coats and shift dresses.

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I later went to a dim lit, carpeted car park behind Selfridges to see the latest line by Erdem, which was my favourite of the day. Erdem illustrated a mix of contrasting textures such as patent leather on crochet with subdued splashes of gold, grey and scarlet. To put it simply like The Fash Pack have quoted, it was ‘the type of collection that dreams are made of.’  With a revamped version of Heart of Glass by Blondie, the scene was buzzing with an edgy femininity. Simply amazing.

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With the spotlights shining on their scraped-back hair, David Koma was the final show of the day. His collection highlighted bold purples and dark greys, with the clothes structured in sharp cuts and finishes. Again, it was a very minimalist, bright lighted scene to emphasise what Koma had to display.

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There is nothing quite like being a part of the camera flashes and loud voices. David Koma and M&S both displayed lovely collections, but the aura was exactly how I imagined a fashion show to be, therefore I wasn’t taken aback. However, Erdem was the stand-out as its unpretentious setting was revamped into an electrifying setting – it was just a shame that it was over so quickly.

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When did Miley become more real than a Fashion Blogger?

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For the sake of our ecosystem we had to cry this out. Our darlings and colleagues from the fashion blogosphere have gone too far. We’re not talking about these buffoons roaming the sidewalks during Fashion Week, but really about those delicate creatures that made boys and girls just like us dream of an eternally and integrally beautiful street, populated with muses and characters.

But then Kristina Bazan just released her new version of KAYTURE. As the pinnacle of her later trajectory, it showcases the most surreal shots of a young talented blogger ever. We’re feeling the brands and all these “amazing projects” they’ve submitted to her have alienated the idea of what we used to love about K: a sophisticated spontaneity. She embodied how cool yet charming and level-headed one person could be when it came to fashion perception.

Kayture Collaboration with Louis Vuitton

Now she looks more plastic than any over-the-top luxury campaign. Fake glows and shopped auras have covered the homepage. Thank you Louis V.

And then we watched Miley Cyrus’ music videos again. And somehow it felt more real. Proof that posterizing an icon is a delicate art that even the greatest brands on Earth still have to master.

 

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Vietnamese celebrities embracing international brands

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For the past 6 months I’ve spent in Vietnam, I’ve been quite surprised at the level of integration of international brands in people’s minds. Research used to state that Vietnamese people were very brand sensitive – thank you Burberry and Gucci fakes. But as far as red carpets are concerned, only local designers are still proving to make an impact. Check these shots taken by Saigoneer at Am Muu Giay Got Nhon “How To Fight in Six Inches Heels” Premiere (latest local production that could be Vietnam’s Devil Wears Prada).

Their names are Anna Vo, Cong Tri, Do Manh Cuong, Phuong My… and they are showbiz favorites.

But change is coming. A few models and celebrities have been spotted sporting contemporary international designer brands, from Chloé to Balenciaga and Dior. Spearheading this trend are model Mai Phuong Thuy – seen at Chloé and Dior events, and celebrity Ly Nha Ky, seen at Paris Fashion Week and featured in street style shots by Vogue, making the pride of local media.

Supporting this broadened attention for international brands, concept stores Runway are keeping up with the sharpest selections worldwide, bringing in hot and confidential The Row, Proenza Schouler, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Acne as well as french darlings Tara Jarmon or Vanessa Bruno in the past months.

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Mademoiselle Privé Watch with Embroidered Camellia Decoration: when luxury brings sparks of magics

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It’s X-Mas time and everywhere, we see bears preparing their parties, fairies spreading the word, marketers trying to make us buy and buy again.

And then there is Chanel. And Chanel understood that instead of “pushing” us to buy, it might be time to take the time to dream. That’s the feeling I had when I first watched the new film for Mademoiselle Privé Watch with Embroidered Camellia Decoration. It’s a nice journey in the making of the watch. It shows us the deep passion and amazing work to build the piece of art.  The embroideries are created by House of Lesage and this is the first time the House’s know-how has been used in the creation of a watch dial.

The camellia is reproduced with colored silk threads using the needlepoint-painting technique.

On a deep-black silk background, the lines of embroidery threads form a camellia in a gradation of colors. Each embroidery is unique and reveals all the embroiderer’s gestural freedom while patiently creating this work. The sort of gift you’d like to offer to the ones you love.

Enjoy.

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Jehangir Mehta Head Shot by Rodney Bedsole
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Me & You, a private experience with Jehangir Mehta: the intersection of art and dining

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Restaurants and eating moments are experiencing a loud revolution. It seems like people want to go back to basics and understand WHY this fundamental human activity should be sacred, shared, preserved in an always faster world. Me and You, a private experience by Jehangir Mehta, is one of the last initiatives coming from NYC. An exciting project, a sort of creative hub between senses, sharing, discovery and exclusivity. We had a chance to interview Kate Gunning, one of the initiators of the  project. When  yummy meets exclusivity… MeAndYou_LogoTagline

 

You’ve decided to launch a very interesting restaurant…can you tell us more about that?

YES! Chef Mehta has dreamed of having a private kitchen so personal and intimate he can tailor menus to each who dine. Me and You is that dream coming to life. When you dine at Me and You, you dine in Chef Mehta’s private kitchen, and the whole evening is really about the experience as well as the food. Chef will present each course, telling stories about the ingredients, and on occasion, their connection to a memory from his childhood in India.
Chef’s kitchen is in a secret location in the East Village, because we want it to be special, and only seen by those who dine with him, almost like you’re entering the kitchen in his home. The space is really intimate, with 1 big communal table, and an open kitchen so you can really be with the Chef for the whole evening. The vibe is quite warm, dimly lit candle light, exposed brick, records playing, with the scent of fresh flowers from the season and the amazing flavors cooking up in the kitchen. It’s all about shared experiences in Chef’s kitchen, as he believes eating is for sharing and creating memories.
We have a few options for dining in Chef’s kitchen. First, you can book the space for a private experience for up to 14 people. When you do, you’ll be sent a survey to fill in for your group, with about 10 questions regarding your preferences for flavors, texture, wine, etc. Chef uses the survey responses to create a tailored menu just for your event.
Second, Chef will open his kitchen for dinners in which he creates the menu, and opens the table up to the first 14 guests who make a booking. For this menu, he’ll feature flavors of the season, the latest wines on his preferred list. It’s a nice chance for Chef to get creative, and open his kitchen to anyone who wants to join.
Finally, Chef is passionate about the intersection of art and dining and will host collaboration dinners every month featuring other chefs, artists, writers, designers, the like. This will be a fun forum for Chef to collaborate with another like minded talent, as well as to offer an opportunity for our guests to dine with the chef and artist of the night – to get to know them, view their art, or discuss their book, whatever it may be.
On this note, at launch we are featuring art from one of Warhol’s Academy of Art students, Gaetanne Lavoie. She’s amazingly talented, and we are glad to be able to feature her art on our walls, and share her story with our guests.
A lot of city boys and girls are looking for alternative experiences: do you see any difference between London & NYC?
It’s funny you mention, as one of the inspirations for this concept is actually the supper clubs that are so prevalent in Paris right now. We love the principle of the supper clubs in Paris that invite you into apartments for great food, an intimate vibe, new people and conversation, and that is much of what we want to create for Chef’s dinners which he opens to the public for booking.
The private dinner experiences we had in London were amazing, as well, the thing is, they were pop ups. What we love about this is that it’s an opportunity to really create a staple in the East Village for the long term, and to allow people to hopefully really connect with the Chef and the space.
How did you meet your chef?
We’ve known Chef for over 4 years. My husband Tim and I met him through a mutual friend in NYC before our move to London. We went to his other restaurant, Graffiti, and literally ordered one of everything on the menu. We were so impressed by the creativity of his food, and then, with his authenticity and passion for sharing his food and his culture and getting to know his guests. We visited Graffiti frequently before we moved to London, and while living in London, and kept in touch that way. A few months ago we joined Chef as guests at an underground dinner club, and then over wine one Sunday following discussed the idea. The rest is history!
What would be the perfect memory you want to create among your new customers?
An experience that taps into all your senses, that’s unique to anything else because it’s not just about the food, its about who you’re with, the space, the Chef, his stories, the music, the thought behind each carefully crafted course, because the menu has been created just for the night. An experience that lasts for hours, sometimes includes entertainment, and maybe even includes Chef baking scones for your breakfast the next day…. passing them to you on your way out into the night……
Where can we follow the project?
Jehangir  on Facebook
Website coming soon! (middle of December) www.dineatmeandyou.com
Kate Gunning will also be blogging: kategunning.tumblr.com or instagramming @kategunning or tweeting @kategunning
Book a table now at: concierge@dineatmeandyou.com

Credit photography: Rodney Bedsole

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South East Asian Luxury Conference INYT Report

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A week ago, we were in Singapore for the International New York Times SEA of Luxury Conference (#INYTLux). Gathered in a refined venue on Sentosa were top actors of the industry as well as a crowd of entrepreneurs with young luxury brands, investors looking for a coup, and of course the usual spin doctors accompanying their speaker (such as your author here) as well as the troop of perfect Italian men.

Highlights of the conference were a subtle speech peppered with french-esque punetry by Grégoire Blanche (Cartier SEA+Australia Director), a humbling story about Luxury Fashion marketing by Jedi Master Domenico De Sole (Tom Ford and former Gucci Marketing Director), an inspiring manifesto about Vogue China by its editor in chief Angelica Cheung, a top-notch market study by Andrew Keith from iconic Lane Crawford / Joyce stores, and some expert insight from digital gurus Federico Marchetti (Yoox Group founder and CEO) and Thomas Crampton (Ogilvy Social Media Director in SEA)…

VQ’s CEO and founder of Runway concept-stores in Vietnam also took the stage along with regional colleagues including Chandra Widjaja from Club 21 or Eman Pineda from Adora (Philippines). Talks about retailing strategies for multi-brand concept stores were led by journalist and consultant Robb Young who definitely hit our right buttons about cities, their spirits and their future developments.

With such a high level among speakers, we could not help but note and note and note down key trends. The whole conference was about South East Asia but here and there gloomed the shadow of China and its unavoidable media weight. A few speakers managed to avoid the elephant in the room altogether, but the shift of focus is only slowly coming to the rest of Asia. The region really offers very various market situations: Singapore is a crazy market for watches and jewelry while Hong Kong is the trendy and fashionable destination. Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines form a second tier while Vietnam seems ready to join the club although off-the-record discussions said it was the most difficult market to read. As a new pionneer to the market, we can’t do but agree.

While a few years ago the very euro-centered Luxury Industry would focus on patrimonial assets, it appears that conquering the Far-East has now pushed every company towards more efforts in catalyzing creativity and supporting cross-channel actions.

The cycle ended with a touching milestone moment celebrating our host Suzy Menkes’ 25 years in activity.

Catch up with the best quotes by following us @fashionistoblog as well as @INYTLuxury for the whole show.

Bonus: VQ posing with Phillip Lim / VQ posing with Bryanboy

Our selection of pics from INYT Luxury’s photo stream on Flickr.

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Chapman Brothers for Louis Vuitton: the Garden in Hell as new playground

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We know that Louis Vuitton is really struggling to reload its dream machine. After some years of wandering, there are many signals that demonstrate that the French iconic brand is back in business, trying to explore new amazing fields.

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Kim Jones, men’s style director of Louis Vuitton, who’s in charge only since 2011, recently declared that at the end, Louis Vuitton is a travel company. Behind this simple affirmation, billions of interesting ideas can rise.

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For the new winter collection, Kim Jones decided to create the first Vuitton menswear collaboration with contemporary art. Jake and Dinos Chapman.

The controversial duet is a pretty cool cast for Louis Vuitton: anti-system, no-limit, ready to talk about Nazism and grotesque. They’re highly anti Enlightenment artists and bourgeoisie and their work can be summarized like this by Johann Hari: it is when reason is wide awake that it produces monsters

This post modernist embracing by Louis Vuitton reminds us Sprouse collection. This time, The Garden in Hell is Louis Vuitton playground. Let’s see if fairies and knights are going to help its passengers.

 

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Why U.S. Hip Hop has become relevant (again)

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A few months ago, tracking down my mate Rudibell‘s music picks, I started picking up interest for U.S. Hip Hop after years apart – my last solid fond memories would go back to 2004′s N*E*R*D’s Fly or Die album. By that time, I used to listen repeatedly to the groove of Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams on CD, in my young expat room in Vietnam. 8 years later, here I am in the very same Saïgon thinking about how Hip Hop has been a contributing force in contemporary creative industries.

As a cruising fashion contributor, I must say these past few months have been a blast for the Hip Hop scene. After years of reconfiguration with basement work from heavyweights Timbaland (who’s to thank for JT’s unchallengeable Futuresex/Lovesounds), Jay-Z and Kanye West, the industry has found a second breath, if not a second life.

Kanye West tried his way in the fashion industry alone then with cult brand A.P.C., from which the very posh Givenchy brand has recently invited young gun Dominic Lord onto the row, while Jay-Z shared the scene with Marina Abramovic and Pusha-T mentioned Philip Lim and Derek Lam in Trust You lyrics. Not to mention the thing with Alexander Wang (New Slaves).

The reason why Hip Hop has become so… Hip – is simple: this bunch of artists are the only ones in the world with such an interest in their Lifestyle, and have a unique way of talking about it, creating around it.

A$ap Rocky’s Fashion Killa:

Her attitude Rihanna, she get it from her mama
She jiggy like Madonna, but she trippy like Nirvana
Cause everything designer, her jeans is Helmut Lang
Shoes is Alexander Wang and her shirt the newest Donna
Karan,
 wearing all the Cartier frames

Jean Paul Gaultiers cause they match with her persona

A$ap Rocky (c) Mark Pillai for L’Express Styles
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Balenciaga goes über-cool : Wild for the Night – A$AP Rocky

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A few weeks ago we spotted an incredible outfit in A$AP Rocky’s video “Wild for the Night”. Two guys strolling the favelas in what resembled a palm-tree print on white shirts and a bomber jacket. These guys:

A$AP Rocky - Wild for the Night - Balenciaga Outfits
A$AP Rocky – Wild for the Night – Balenciaga Outfits

A little research dropped the name of the designerwear boldly styled in this scene: Balenciaga (Spring Summer 13). Outgrowing the girly-frenchie fetish linked to the brand in the Nicolas Ghesquière era, Alexander Wang’s touch seems to have drawn the brand to other spheres. And we bold boys can’t refrain from feeling a chill down the spine. Finally guys can feel the hype too.

Full clip featuring Skrillex and Birdy Nam Nam here:

 

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