Rosalía Rocks: There was music and mayhem at Louis Vuitton’s Thursday afternoon show.
The approach to the rear entrance of the courtyard of the Louvre was thronged by hundreds of K-pop fans, all angling to get a glimpse of star Jung Hoseok, better known as J-Hope from BTS. They lined the street carrying signs and screaming fan chants for the superstar.
Once inside, Rosalía performed an energetic three-song set atop a parked taxi while Usher, Tyga and Got7’s Jackson Wang head-bopped along.
It was an eclectic and energetic mix for the first show from the creative collective of designer Colm Dillane, stylist Ibrahim Kamara and film director Michel Gondry.
Sitting front row around a set that was decorated as an apartment, Usher said shows like this create connections, and that he loved the idea of the brand being designed by a collective.
“All of us need to be inspired — not only to be inspired but also see this incredible collective of people from many different mediums and the intersection of artists and creatives. It’s inspiring to be able to be here and see the next vision,” for Louis Vuitton, debuting its first guest designer following the death of former artistic director Virgil Abloh in November 2021.
“Maybe it inspires something in what we do or maybe there’s collaboration that happens as a result of the conversations that happen here, maybe you’re sitting next to someone you’ve never met before and something amazing happens,” Usher said.
It was a meeting of musical minds — almost — as the self-professed BTS fan found out J-Hope was in the building. “Oh I wanna go say ‘hi,’” he said. Sitting on the other side, Jackson Wang said he wanted to go meet Usher. “He’s one of my inspirations,” he said.
Wang, member of the K-pop group Got 7 and a solo artist, was on a bit of a shopping trip ahead of planning a world tour.
“Honest answer: I’m looking for something that I want to buy right now. It’s shopping time,” he said. Wang released his latest album “Magic Man” in September, and is working on new versions of songs while gearing up to play Coachella. After the summer festival, he is planning a world tour.
“I just did two shows here and two nights in London, then I’m getting ready for an American tour then South America and probably Europe after that. The European crowds are crazy. There’s a lot of prep, but I’m excited.”
Wang good naturedly posed for selfies with fans, and posed for pics with Tyga.
Tyga made sure to be early to Louis Vuitton after yesterday’s mishap caused him to miss much of the Givenchy show.
“My driver went to the wrong location, so I walked up right when it started like just one minute late,” he said. The rapper snuck in a side door and got to see some of the show, but couldn’t take his seat.
Tyga was excited to see Rosalía perform, he said, and heard that J-Hope was in the audience but admitted he doesn’t know much about K-pop. “I mean, Louis always makes the culture. So it’s good to bring all those genres together,” he said.
Seated just a few spots down, rapper Russ has been a longtime friend of Dillane. “I used to live in his basement,” he said, noting that the KidSuper designer was always destined for success. “Honestly, I’m not surprised. His mind was always just one of the craziest, most innovative people I’ve ever met. So I’m not surprised and I’m proud of what he’s accomplished.”
Russ is putting the finishing touches on an album that has been in the works for two years. “I did some deep diving and soul searching for this — my more vulnerable, introspective side. I really went through an excavation process.”
Model Karlie Kloss is in town to attend some shows during the upcoming couture week, and decided to make a day of the Louis Vuitton afternoon show and hitting up the NBA basketball game later in the night.
“I find really interesting styles, and I love just how nuanced it is. I really like men’s fashion — maybe it’s because I’m so tall that I actually love to wear it,” she said. She had already prepped her courtside look to watch the Chicago Bulls play the Detroit Pistons. “I have a very sporty, cool Adidas outfit but I’ve got to get a hat.”
The model said she is a fan of the Memphis Grizzlies, but would lend her cheers to the Chicago Bulls in Thursday night’s game. “Gotta represent the Midwest,” she said of her birth city. — Rhonda Richford
Reunited for NYFW: Marc Jacobs is returning to the Park Avenue Armory ahead of New York Fashion Week.
The designer plans to show his next collection on Feb. 2 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York at 6 p.m. He will present a spring-summer 2023 collection that will be delivered to Bergdorf Goodman in June.
Jacobs last showed in June 2022 at the New York Public Library, where his fall 2022 show reached out beyond the walls of the library onto big screens in Times Square that livestreamed the event. The show included six minutes of creatively fueled fashion power titled “Choice,” which was a fitting narrative given the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade just days earlier.
In September, Jacobs created a collection within the Fendi collection which was shown in New York, using his love of logomania to play with the Fendi moniker on Baguettes. He designed 10 looks in the spirit of his exploration of historical romance meets street.
The Park Avenue Armory has been a frequently used venue for Jacobs over his career. The last time he showed there was right before the COVID-19 lockdowns, in February 2020. More than 50 dancers ran around the vast space where small wooden bistro tables were arranged like the stage set for a Depression-era cabaret.
NYFW will take place from Feb. 10 through Feb. 15. The American collections kick off with a Rodarte show on Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. and will wrap up with a show by Luar at 8 p.m. on Feb. 15. More than 75 companies are participating. The NYFW women’s shows will take place all over New York City, although Spring Studios will continue to be the central hub for NYFW: The Shows. — Lisa Lockwood
BOOK CLUB: Montblanc hosted a breakfast on Thursday during men’s fashion week in Paris at La Réserve — no doubt chosen for its handsome, book-lined reception rooms.
Libraries are the focus of the German luxury brand’s latest ad campaign, which made its debut on Thursday on billboards around Paris, and also on digital channels, underscoring its brand narrative around handwriting, ink and the power of words.
British actor Callum Turner, one of the stars of the campaign, appears writing in a notebook and inspecting the shelves of a library in Milan. He noted there was also a $4 million Ferrari on set, which he got to drive.
“It was a lot of fun,” he enthused.
Turner confessed to having rather atrocious handwriting, but a voracious appetite for reading, having just devoured “Tenth of December,” a collection of short stories by American author George Saunders.
The actor recently wrapped filming George Clooney’s next film, “The Boys in the Boat,” based on Daniel James Brown’s 2013 novel about the University of Washington men’s rowing team that stunned the world by winning gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Callum Turner in the Montblanc campaign.
Shot by photographer Mariano Vivanco, the campaign also stars models Kit Butler, Justice Joslin and Mattia Narducci exploring a library, Montblanc pen in hand.
Montblanc plans to shoot the next chapter of its “Library Spirit” campaign next month in London, with those visuals launching in May.
According to Marco Tomasetta, artistic director of Montblanc, libraries are a place where “words are there to be discovered.…We want to invite others into this world to be inspired, to learn something new, to be challenged.”
In tandem with the theme, and fashion week, Montblanc also displayed highlights of its Sartorial collection at the breakfast. The smart-looking, structured leather goods are built as a modular system that allows small pouches to be attached to larger bags in multiples.
Library-goers will find out if they snap together silently enough. — Miles Socha
LEARNING TO DRESS THE PART: Given the reach of breakout streaming series and Oscar-nominated films, the once fusty field of costume design has a certain sheen as of late.
A Polimoda classroom.
Millions tuned into “Bridgerton,” “Inventing Anna,” “Cruella,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Queen’s Gambit” as much for the attire as for the narratives. Up-to-speed with that burgeoning interest, the Florence-based fashion school Polimoda will soon be offering a short course in costume design, under the guidance of Broadway choreographer and director Lorin Latarro. When the program gets rolling in July, Latarro will lead the introductory course with input from Broadway professionals and teachers at the school.
The New York-based Latarro is a graduate of both the Juilliard School and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Having performed as a dancer on Broadway and toured with world-class dance companies early in her career, Latarro’s knowledge is multilayered. Her portfolio includes choreographing “Into the Woods,” “Waitress,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Les Liasons Dangereuse,” “Waiting for Godot,” “Merrily We Roll Along” and ”Assassins,” among others. Her director credits included Candace Bushnell’s one-woman show “Is There Still Sex in the City?” at the Daryl Roth Theater.
During the monthlong costume design course, students will learn about the cultural and technical aspects of costume design and gain some intel about some of the iconic looks from famed New York musicals. Open to applicants from around the world, the continuing education course is geared toward those with previous experience in fashion design as evidenced by a diploma. Their training will include studying the step-by-step process of creating an outfit for a character in a musical — from visualizing a concept to prototyping and the final design.
The initiative also paves the way for more of a U.S.-Italy exchange. The leading talent in the program will walk away with an internship in New York’s theater district. The opportunity came to pass after Polimoda’s director Massimiliano Giornetti met Latarro during a business trip to New York last spring.
This marks the first time that Polimoda is offering a course in costume design, and the summer offering is already attracting “great interest,” according to a Polimoda spokesman. So much so that in an effort “to further cultivate aspiring designers in this field,” the Italian school is now working on setting up “an enriching undergraduate program for future generations,” he said. — Rosemary Feitelberg
FENDI’S SPHERE: As part of its link with the arts, Fendi said it will host a retrospective exhibition of Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro’s artworks at its Roman headquarters Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, often referred to as the Square Colosseum.
The exhibition titled “Arnaldo Pomodoro: The Great Theater of Civilization” is to run May 12 to Oct. 1 with free admission, but no details on the artworks on display were available.
The tie-up cements the ongoing relationship between the luxury house and the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation, which dates to 2013, when Fendi took over the spaces on Milan’s Via Solari formerly occupied by the foundation. That building displays the environmental artwork “Entrance to the Labyrinth,” among others, which Fendi has helped preserve and make available to the public over the past decade.
The Roman exhibit is part of the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation’s roster of events and activities scheduled for 2023 and centered on the preservation and promotion of the artist’s artworks, the support of cultural initiatives and contemporary creativity, and education.
Fendi said the partnership is geared toward “the celebration of art as a tool capable of uniting respect for historical heritage, attention to the diffusion and dissemination of artistic languages, and the search for new forms of collaboration in terms of sustainability and innovation.
Pomodoro, 96, has had a prolific career as a sculptor and is known for his life-size installation taking over the cityscape. Some pieces of his “Sphere Within Sphere” series can be seen in the Vatican Museums in Rome; at the Trinity College in Dublin; the United Nations Headquarters and the Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, as well as at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.
Fendi headquarters at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome.
Over the years, Fendi has shown its prowess in helping preserve storied landmarks, especially in Rome. These include, among others, the Trevi Fountain, the Temple of Venus and Rome, Villa Medici, where it helped refurbish six salons, and the complex of the “Four Fountains” including del Gianicolo, del Mosè, del Ninfeo del Pincio and del Peschiera. — Martino Carrera
Digital Aspirations: Jason Gowans is jumping from Nordstrom Inc. to Levi Strauss & Co., where he will be senior vice president and chief digital officer starting Feb. 6.
Gowans brings to the denim mainstay 10 years of experience with Nordstrom, where he rose to be senior vice president of digital commerce, leading the growth of the retailer’s e-commerce businesses.
At Levi’s, he will tie together the company’s engineering, data, artificial intelligence and digital product management to “spearhead digital efforts.”
He reports to president Michelle Gass, the Kohl’s and Starbucks veteran who joined Levi’s this month and is set to succeed Chip Bergh as chief executive officer.
Bergh said, “Jason’s deep knowledge of data science, combined with his strong digital expertise, will help us digitally transform all parts of our business — from supply chain to marketing to e-commerce — and accelerate our growth.”
Since 2011, Bergh has been steadily transforming Levi’s, organizing it to be a much more dynamic and publicly traded player focused more on its own direct-to-consumer businesses and, more recently, ramping up even more in digital.
A statement from Levi’s said having a chief digital officer is “key to managing the company’s primary growth drivers, including d-to-c revenue increases coming from productivity, service, loyalty and e-commerce acceleration.”
Gowans said, “There’s a clear opportunity to accelerate the profitable growth of the d-to-c business and focus on key areas of the company where data science can make an impact.”
Gass is expected to move into the corner office within about 18 months and while she learns the ins and outs of Levi’s, her work with Gowans will give her a direct hand in changes that seem likely to shape the business during her tenure. – Evan Clark
RISE AND SHEIN: While gargantuan tech companies like Meta, Amazon and Microsoft have been reducing their workforces, the e-commerce conglomerate Shein is ramping up its employee base.
Having invested more than $55 million to onboard nearly 3,000 designers and artists into its incubator program, the e-commerce giant Shein plans to hire 1,000 more this year as part of its Shein X incubator program.
Kicking off this month, Shein has partnered with the Graduate Fashion Foundation to support the Shein X fashion design competition, an event where on-the-rise European designers will duel to try to be featured in the Shein X fashion show in Paris in June. The competition will be conducted in English and applicants must be at least 18 years old, among other rules.
The winner of the Shein X competition will land 10,000 euros, while the second- and third-place finishers will each receive 8,000 euros and the other seven finalists in the top 10 will each take home 5,000 euros. After designs are mutually approved and produced, they will be sold on the Shein platform with designers receiving a commission from the sales of their respective collections.
Launched in 2021 with seven designers, Shein X has doled out $5.37 million in commissions to incubator designers, the company said. That tally was said to be “the vast majority of profits” from the sales of Shein X products through 2022. To date, nearly 2,000 collections featuring 25,000-plus original styles have been introduced. Shein X designers own the rights to their Shein X designs, according to the company.
Through Shein X, up-and-comers learn the ropes of product development, manufacturing, marketing and supply chain logistics. They have access to Shein’s real-time site analytics to respond to consumer demands in real time.
The company has been making inroads in the U.S. With plans to hire 850 workers for a new distribution center in Whitestown, Indiana, Shein partnered with the Center for Education and Research in Retail at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business last year. The company also plans to hire a few hundred more employees this year, and is actively expanding its operations in the Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. area. In addition, when Christian Siriano, who previously helped judge a Shein-supported design competition with Khloé Kardashian, was honored at the Fashion Group International’s “Night of Stars” last fall, two of his guests — models Daphne Velghe and Emily Kammeyer — donned looks from the MOTF x Christian Siriano work collection, from Shein’s premium brand.
With an estimated $24 billion in sales, Shein received a $100 billion valuation from General Atlantic, Tiger Global Management and Sequoia Capital China last spring. The Chinese fast-fashion conglomerate has come under fire alleged designer knockoffs, poor working conditions, unfair labor practices and environmental waste.
Last year’s debut of Shein Resale was greeted with criticism by some, given the company’s reach. Shein X alone has 30 drops per month. — R.F.