Paris, it’s where the wild things were this season.
Though haute couture tradition is often thought of as buttoned-up, many a collection for fall let out a roar, much like the animal sets Xavier Veilhan created at Chanel or the faux feline’s heads at Schiaparelli would have had they leaped off the runway and into the jungle.
At the latter show, WWD’s Miles Socha reported designer Daniel Roseberry sought to offer something more relatable. “This is not like a couturier dressing women up like dolls,” he said. “It’s more speaking about that feminine energy.”
It’s with that feminine energy in mind that WWD brought some of the best looks from the season out to roam freely in their natural habitats, capturing them in action on the streets of the city of lights.
Styled by style director Alex Badia, model Sokhna Niane strikes a power pose atop one of Paris’ landmark bridges in Viktor & Rolf’s diagonally slanted sweetheart dress with mille-feuille skirt before taking it to the Vendôme in Giambattista Valli’s crystal mesh jumpsuit.
Niane also struts her stuff, looking every bit the modern couture client in Alexandre Vauthier’s bejeweled hooded jacket and leggings. The look for his show, as told to WWD’s Rhonda Richford, was “future new wave.”
Vauthier may have been thinking about ‘80s power dressing, but Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri had the ‘20s on her mind, debuting a collection based on Josephine Baker’s influential style. Here, Niane takes a moment of pause on a sweeping staircase in her mushroom-colored pleated cape and dress in distressed satin.
WWD’s Joelle Diderich quoted Chiuri as saying her fashion shows “propose a territory where you can play with clothes and you work on your image and your personality and you change the rules.”
Beginning March 30, vintage collector/filmmaker/author and Hollywood royalty Liz Goldwyn is auctioning off a time capsule of 1990s-early 2000s anti-fashion history: pieces from New York designer Susan Ciancolo.
Made using deconstructed and reconstructed upcycled garments and textiles, Ciancolo’s 11 Run collections produced from 1995 to 2001 were one-of-a-kind, handcrafted alternatives to the prevailing Gap khaki and slick minimalist fashions of the time.
Part of New York’s downtown art scene, Ciancolo produced her collections with a collective of family and friends, and presented them in shows akin to happenings with films shown, aerialist models hanging from the ceiling, or in a temporary restaurant in a gallery, as examples. Goldwyn produced some of those shows and walked one, alongside model Frankie Rayder, artist Anh Duong and actress Julianne Nicholson.
Goldwyn met Ciancolo in 1996, when she was working in costume and conservation at Sotheby’s New York, and the two became muses for each other. Together they created garments such as a tiered denim skirt now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute permanent collection, as well as a 1998 custom dress that was on view as part of the “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” exhibition.
Goldwyn and Ciancolo, who works as a fine artist now, partnered for the auction with the Bridget Donahue gallery and Special Offer Inc., an up-and-coming media company that produced a video with archival footage of the shows and commentary about those bygone days.
“You feel like you are seeing a love letter to New York in the 1990s,” said Goldwyn, whose most recent book, “Sex, Health and Consciousness: How to Reclaim Your Pleasure Potential” (Sounds True) came out in October.
Over the years Goldwyn has amassed a fashion archive with thousands of garments and accessories, with a special focus on Yves Saint Laurent, Sonia Rykiel and Ciancolo.
“I liked the artistry of it and she had a whole world which was kind of cult-like. I definitely fell under the spell. She had all these women artists, models and musicians working and collaborating alongside her, it felt supportive and we had an artistic shorthand,” said Goldwyn. “It was fun also to be in the world of Sotheby’s and having access to archival treasures, and taking something to her to see what she’d do with it.”
There are 56 pieces being auctioned at liz.run, including a corset-like “I Love New York” T-shirt, deconstructed dresses, a multipiece burlesque costume, and a set of Barbie dolls with miniature Run collection clothing. The videos and commentary will live on online after the auction ends mid-April, like a museum show that lives digitally.
“I don’t think anyone would see her clothes and think corporate suit, but there are some things in the sale that were my corporate, uptown looks. I would go from Canal Street where we both lived to Sotheby’s auction house looking like my dress was caught in the escalator,” said Goldwyn.
“It’s so funny to me how Gen Z and Millennials have this obsession with that time period, I think they are wanting to recapture a time before social media,” she said. “In terms of fashion it was so different…you didn’t have the shows online…and there was a scrappiness…it was pre-designers being traded like chess pieces by big corporations.”
All bids will start at $111. “I want it to be accessible because when I started collecting, it was a dollar a pound,” said Goldwyn. “I think there is something cool to having an entry point accessible to more people.”
Earlier this year the TikTok star “Tami Elizabeth” was more than surprised to see what appeared to be her likeness on a Shein dress.
In response to that, she claimed to have emailed the company inquiring about the artist and sending two cease-and-desist letters after receiving guidance about that from an attorney. The stylist and designer, whose given name is Tamara Strzelecki, said she was startled again after receiving an invitation to collaborate with “Shein Curvee” as an influencer.
The TikTok standout first spoke with WWD in January about the situation. On Thursday, she shared with WWD an email exchange from a Shein Curvee address that was dated March 16. The email read in part, “We @SHEIN are launching our newest clothing brand and we noticed you have been a fan of our work and we have observed your profile and you’re qualified for a collaboration with us.” In exchange for tags, the email offered Strzelecki free monthly packages of eight items of her choice, and discount codes to share among other incentives.
Aside from being a popular TikTok personality with 7.9 million likes, Strzelecki has a profitable online business, Sugs’ Shoppe. Although it has been up-and-running for 15 years, it became successful last year after one of her getting-ready videos — for a visit to her therapist — went viral with more than 1 million views.
Regarding the offer of a Shein Curvee collaboration, she told WWD, “I am a size 2, not curve material. I replied with a photo of me in the dress and stated I had reached out multiple times to request more information about the design and I get sent a collaboration offer?” and shared her email response to that address.
Asked about the offer, Emily Workman, director of corporate communications for the Shein Group, said Thursday, “While we can confirm there was no outreach to this individual regarding a partnership with Shein, we have been made aware of recent email scams falsely claiming to come from our company. We encourage others to stay vigilant regarding emails claiming to be from Shein offering or soliciting services.”
As for whether Shein would comment regarding Tami’s claims that her likeness was used for a dress and cease-and-desist requests sent to the company earlier this year, Workman said, “We don’t have anything to share at this time.”
Asked about Shein’s explanation, Strzelecki said, “I can’t verify if the company was really Shein or not. I just received the email with Shein Curvee, the one forwarded to you. It’s the only correspondence I have received from anyone at Shein.”
Meanwhile, Shein is gearing up to host the first Shein x Design Summit in Los Angeles on April 1. The fast fashion retailer plans to host hundreds of designers and artists for showcases, panels and networking opportunities with such fashion insiders as LaQuan Smith, Maeve Reilly, Oscar de la Renta’s and Monse’s Laura Kim and Hilldun Corporation’s chief executive officer Gary Wassner. The event is also meant to introduce scores of independent designers to the company’s incubator program Shein X. George Chiao, U.S. president of Shein, noted that the aim is to onboard 1,000 designers this year to the program. “Thousands” of others have already cycled through, since the incubator’s 2021 debut, he said.
Hudson’s Bay, a retailer with deep roots in fur, has stopped selling animal fur products.
The Toronto-based Hudson’s Bay Company’s entire portfolio is now fur-free. Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Off 5th committed to do so in 2021.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals touted the news Thursday, claiming that emails from 100,000 PETA supporters to Hudson’s Bay businesses and anti-fur protests outside of stores helped make the change. In October 2020, there were demonstrations outside of nine Hudson’s Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue stores.
Executives at Hudson’s Bay were unavailable to comment Thursday about the company’s fur-free decision, according to a company spokeswoman. The only statement that would be made was issued by the retailer, “Hudson’s Bay does not sell fur.”
The decision is an about-face for North America’s oldest company, which dates back to two centuries before Canada was formed, when a few French traders discovered a bounty of fur that was accessible through the inland sea of Hudson Bay. The company highlights its fur trade heritage on its website. Eventually, the business shifted to retail to accommodate clients, who were increasingly keen to spend Gold Rush cash.
The company made the fur-free decision in 2021 and stopped selling the merchandise this month, according to the Hudson’s Bay spokeswoman.
Other Hudson’s Bay-owned entities, Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Off 5th, also followed through on their commitments, as confirmed by spokespeople for both entities Thursday. Saks Fifth Avenue’s fur-free policy is spelled out on its site. “Saks Fifth Avenue does not offer products from animals raised for the use of their fur, including but not limited to mink, fox, chinchilla and sable, as well as fur products derived from wild animals, such as coyote and beaver.”
The discount chain took a phased-out approach to stop selling those products from brands and within its private label merchandise online and in stores. That effort was wrapped up by the end of January. Saks Off 5th continues to sell items made of shearling, goatskin, cattle hide, down, feathers, leather and faux fur products online and in its stores.
The fact that the Hudson’s Bay Company is officially out of selling fur is another checkpoint for PETA, which has been making significant inroads in the fashion industry in recent years. Other major retailers like Macy’s and Nordstrom have gone fur-free, as well as designer brands like Diane von Furstenberg, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss and others. Select luxury houses have also stopped selling fur, including Chanel, Versace, Valentino and Gucci. However, there are exceptions, like LVMH and others. PETA continues to lobby the luxury conglomerate that owns Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Dior and other luxe labels, as it has for the past decade.
PETA plans to mark its milestone with Hudson’s Bay by sending the company a box of bunny-shaped vegan chocolates, according to a spokesperson for the animal rights group.
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