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Xuly Bët RTW Fall 2023

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There was no dancing in the street — or indeed on the runway — this season for Xuly Bët. Lamine Badian Kouyaté’s label welcomed guests into his new studio and headquarters on the notoriously gritty Rue Saint Denis.

The designer relocated from the suburb of Ivry a matter of weeks ago, and the collection — made almost entirely with deadstock fabrics from the brand’s own archives and repurposed pieces from neighborhood vintage outlets — was put together in just three weeks.

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“We wanted to regroup and regenerate,” said chief executive officer Rodrigo Martinez. The brand is in the midst of a fundraising round and is scaling back its wholesale activity, he said.

Badian Kouyaté’s signature red stitching was found on branded hoodies that were cut apart and spliced back together, while maxidresses were made from a multitude of NFL jerseys. Among statement pieces, a hat, scarf and mittens all-in-one was sewn together from hundreds of tiny pieces of fake fur in a range of colors. A fluffy fleece with glittering threads — the only fabric bought in for the collection — was used on a range of alternative basics from lounge pants and a pencil skirt to a sweatshirt with an elongated polo neck, a house signature in an eclectic yet distinctly identified lineup.

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Juxtaposed with the sporty silhouettes — including a broader range of basics for men — were others with a Japanese feel. These came by way of a samouraï print designed by artist and choreographer Smaïl Kanouté, found on a long, A-line skirt and cropped jean-style jacket, or vintage kimonos created for Japan’s Keshiki Gallery, which aims to make the kimono a part of Japan’s street-style culture once more.

These, like other pieces in the collection, were emblazoned with the logo “Funkin’ Fashion Factory, 100% recycled.”

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The collaborative effort did not stop there. Ever the fashion activist, Badian Kouyaté created a dress in support of Assa Traoré, whose brother Adama died in police custody in 2016 and who has become a voice for the fight against racial injustice in France.

She, as well as filmmaker Alice Diop and singer Flavia Coelho, posed for the look book images, shot in the streets outside the atelier, while campaign images feature Dutch model Marpessa Hennink, known in the ‘90s as the “Catwalk Contessa.”

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MSGM Supporting Miart Fair

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SUPPORTING ART: Fashion, technology and art are teaming up for a site-specific project. For the first time, MSGM is sponsoring Miart, Milan’s international modern and contemporary art fair, commissioning an installation by artists Eva & Franco Mattes.

It consists of digital channels that facilitate the passage of data, in this case of an invisible image, which will be sent casually to guests via AirDrop from the two artists’ personal phones — an idea stemming from the common practice among teenagers of exploiting crowds to AirDrop digital materials.

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The initiative aims to create human connections in a place, such as a fair, where everything is usually based on commercial transactions only. The idea, at the end, is that everyone, even if not a collector, can have the opportunity to have a unique artistic content. 

Over the years, Miart has developed a series of prizes and commissions to support the artists featured at the fair. MSGM founder and creative director Massimo Giorgetti will launch a prize in his name to support young artists at the beginning of their careers.  

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The winner will be an emerging artist who will pocket 5,000 euros for research and activities. 

Miart will run April 14 to 16 in Milan.

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Giorgetti has been supporting the arts and in 2019 decided to put the former headquarters of his label, located in Milan’s Porta Romana area, at the disposal of a group of art experts to inaugurate an innovative cultural hub called Ordet.

Ordet was conceived as an experimental art center that thanks to the support of prestigious institutions — including the Kunsthalle Basel; Frankfurt’s Städelschule; Singapore’s Centre for Contemporary Art; Basel’s FHNW Academy of Art and Design; London’s Tate Modern; the Walker Art Center of Minneapolis and Pivô in São Paulo — would promote the exchange of art and culture contents through exhibitions, talks and special events.

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Balmain Moves to London’s Mount Street, Near Simone Rocha and Marni

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MOUNT BALMAIN: Balmain has moved its London store, but it hasn’t gone far.

The brand, which opened a flagship on South Audley Street in 2015, has moved around the corner to 94 Mount Street, with neighbors including Simone Rocha and Marni. 

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Balmain’s new, 1,077-square-foot store houses the women’s, men’s and accessories collections, and there is also a private suite for VIP appointments.

The store soft launched earlier in March, with creative director Olivier Rousteing officially cutting the ribbon this week with a cocktail for customers and a small, private dinner for friends and collaborators.

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The interior of Balmain’s new store on London’s Mount Street.

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“Knowing that London is such an important destination for both British and international fashion lovers, it was very important for me and my team to create this special, one-of-a-kind environment, where we could welcome our guests into a distinctly Balmain universe,” said Balmain chief executive officer Jean-Jacques Guevel

Guevel said the interior of the new store was “directly inspired by the look and feel of Rousteing’s fitting rooms, where he and the house’s artisans oversee the final touches needed to perfect each new collections’ offerings. By channeling that unique house space, we not only have the opportunity to present our latest designs, we can also take advantage of that interior design to spotlight what truly sets today’s Balmain apart.”

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Balmain has moved to Mount Street from nearby South Audley Street.

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The Mount Street space has in the past housed Pringle as well as an art gallery. The new store sits across the street from Scott’s and is a few steps from the Connaught Hotel, Christian Louboutin and Creed Fragrances.

To mark the opening, Rousteing held a private dinner at Apollo’s Muse, Richard Caring’s new private members club, with guests including Jourdan Dunn, Maria-Olympia of Greece, Poppy Delevingne, Isamaya Ffrench and Sam McKnight.

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Chanel Kicks Off Villa Noailles Centenary With Opera Preview

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POWER COUPLE: To mark the centenary of the Villa Noailles, the modernist home built by art patrons Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles in the southern French town of Hyères, Chanel hosted a musical performance on Thursday at the 7L library in Paris, in the space that used to be Karl Lagerfeld’s photo studio.

Shelves lined with a staggering 33,000 books provided the backdrop for a preview of “Ressusciter la Rose,” the opera based on an original idea by Jean-Pierre Blanc, director of the Villa Noailles and founder of the annual Hyères International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Accessories.

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“The place where we are tonight is unique,” said Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion and president of Chanel SAS. “It reflects its creator’s immense culture and insatiable curiosity for all the arts, including music, song, architecture, design and dance.”

Performers including French singer Camélia Jordana sang excerpts of the work, composed by Raphaël Lucas, dressed in white costumes created by artist Jacques Merle and embroidered by Montex, one of a stable of workshops owned by Chanel.

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Members of the Wonsembe acrobatics troupe tumbled through the room as part of the spectacle, which will be performed in full on Sept. 16, 17 and 18 at the Villa Noailles.

It was part of a program of satellite events in Paris, Hyères and Marseille to mark the kick-off of the centenary celebrations, a multipronged affair that will also include a documentary film by Karim Zeriahen, and an exhibition dedicated to the wardrobe of Marie-Laure de Noailles.

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The poster for the centenary of the Villa Noailles

The poster for the centenary of the Villa Noailles.

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Courtesy of Chanel

“If people still talk about the Noailles today, it’s because they played a huge part in our country’s artistic activity in the early 20th century, and they had this extraordinary aura that few other art patrons enjoyed, at a time when the Culture Ministry did not exist,” Blanc told WWD.

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“They supported these artists not just for one-off events, but almost their whole lives, by providing for them financially and nurturing their artistic endeavors, and that is really exceptional,” he added.

Among the artists the couple hosted at the Bauhaus-inspired villa, designed by architect Robert Mallet-Stevens, were Man Ray, Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau.

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Lagerfeld was among those fascinated with the place. In 1995 he published a book of photographs of the Villa Noailles, which had fallen into abandon before its 2003 renovation, and in 2015, he was the artistic director of the Hyères Festival. “Karl Lagerfeld changed the course of my life,” said Blanc.

Chanel is a major sponsor of the centenary, and 7L will publish new editions of the poems and novels of Marie-Laure de Noailles, who traveled in the same circles as founder Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and regularly wore the designer’s haute couture creations.

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In Paris, several galleries and institutions launched teaser events on Thursday. The India Mahdavi gallery is hosting screenings of “Les Mystères du Château de Dé,” a 1929 film shot by Man Ray at the Villa Noailles, while the Galerie du Passage has photographs of Marie-Laure de Noailles by the likes of Willy Maywald and François-Marie Banier.

Purchased by the city of Hyères in 1973, the Villa Noailles is set to undergo another round of renovations starting next year.

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