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Capturing the Latest Trends for women
03.21.07 | No Comments

Pcn_madonna_hm_1 Pcn_madonna_hm_2 Madonna for Versace...or H&M?

"I wanted something casual but naughty, sensible but sexy. That's me. That's how I am. I wanted the collection to be for a working girl," Madonna recently told WWD about the launch of her new M by Madonna for Swedish mass fashion chain, H& M. "This is a combination of outfits I would love to wear. Bits and pieces have been inspired by the outfits in my own wardrobe, and also by what I love, like kimonos or my favorite Seventies vintage dress with the butterfly sleeves. I bought it in New York 10 years ago, and have worn it down to threads."

Unlike their other collaborations with A-list fashion talent – including Viktor & Rolf, Stella McCartney & and Karl Lagerfeld – once H&M launches the line on March 22, it won’t be limited to flagship stores but will be available in 26 countries. The capsule collection includes dresses with kimono styling, walking shorts, pencil skirts with a cummerbund waist detail, trenchcoats, cropped leather jackets & tailored jackets, white shirts – and an array of accessories: skinny belts, clutches, boots & sunglasses. Prices for the clothing will range from 15 euros or $20 (a bodysuit) to 250 euros/$330 (leather trenchcoat); accessories will start off at 10 euros/$13 (scarf with an M-print) to 100 euros/$130 (leather purse).

As always, the challenge for a chain like H&M is to balance high design with a mass pricepoint. "I think my biggest challenge was to make clothes that looked chic, sophisticated and expensive, but that weren't expensive. Going into this, I made a promise that I wouldn't design anything that I wouldn't wear myself." Such as Versace, apparently, given that the print ads shot by Steven Klein are extremely reminiscent of a previous Versace campaign Madonna shot with him.

While celebs like Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez & Beyonce have launched their own fashion lines to mixed commercial & critical success, Madonna will probably follow in the footsteps of Gwen Stefani; her L.A.M.B. line does extremely well, primarily because the songstress has so much credibility. When fans buy a celeb’s line, they are trying to buy their look; if it’s believable that the celeb would actually wear the line, then they create the necessary credibility that a celeb designer line needs to succeed commercially.

- Lesley Scott


11.03.06 | No Comments


Just when fashionistas everywhere were led to believe the byword of the moment was to de-clutter & get rid of all those clothes crammed into the closet, Carson Kressley - campy fashion maven from Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy - has decided women are missing some key fundamentals...and decided to do something about it. "It's all the great basics women should have in their wardrobe, but surprisingly don't," Kressley explained to WWD about his new line of womenswear. "We didn't invent anything crazy and different, but we revitalized the basics and made them perfect."

Perfect by Carson Kressley
" will debut on QVC on November 29 for two hours during prime time, and then show new items every few months thereafter. For the launch, two traditionally skinny models and two plus-sized models will demonstrate the casual wear, work gear, and outerwear which ranges in size from 2 to 24, along with accessories. His line of "perfected" basics will be priced between $30 to $200. The odd men’s bomber jacket and car coat will be available for shoppers to pick up for their (hopefully) non-fashion-challenged men, and many of the women’s pieces feature menswear inspiration: from silk neckwear trim (Kressley worked for seven years at Polo Ralph Lauren mens), to equestrian details such as zipper pulls shaped like horseshoes, and even a "C" in the shape of a horseshoe in the label (Kressley is an avid horseman).

Interestingly, it was after Kressley helped to host QVC's Fashion Footwear Association of New York Shoes on Sale charity event that the idea for his line was born. "I guess that is the power of celebrity: You say something will be fun, and soon you are in China making sweaters," Kressley apparently (jokingly) told QVC execs which oversee a $7 billion home-shopping empire which is beamed into 160+ million homes around the world. "QVC couldn't be a better fit — pun intended — because it combines television with retail." In addition to his eye, there’s the Kressley charisma which should move mountains of merch in minutes. Notes Annette Repasch, vice president of QVC merchandising, "I think women will appreciate the versatility of the line and respond to his unmistakable charm." (via WWD)

- Lesley Scott


11.02.06 | No Comments

  Pcn_roland_mouret_gap_1_1006 (Looks from the Roland Mouret capsule collection of dresses for Gap)

After the departure from Gap of creative director Pina Ferlisi – responsible for originally launching the phenomenally successful Marc by Marc Jacobs line – fashionistas mourned…and sales tanked. For the second quarter, which ended July 29, sales fell 6 percent (compared with 4 percent a year ago), and internationally, 11 percent (compared to a gain of 1 percent the year before).

In an effort to shore up sales and overhaul its flagging fashion cred, Gap is taking a page from the H&M playbook. The fellow fast-fashion retailer brought on designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, and Victor & Rolf to create limited edition collections, and, in the process, created a PR bonanza; Gap has recruited fashion insider Roland Mouret to work his design magic. "Fashionistas who usually just pass by the Gap may go into the store to purchase Mouret items, and while they are there, see other merchandise they like," Christine Chen, senior research analyst at Pacific Growth Equities, told WWD. "H&M got people to line up outside of their stores when they joined with Lagerfeld. The Gap needs to generate buzz and get people back into their stores. Gap needs to rejuvenate their customer, whom they have been disappointing for two years. Their problem has not been their merchandise, which I think has improved drastically, it's the stigma associated with the brand."

The capsule collection – which goes on sale from November 7 through the end of December in 160 stores in France, U.K., and Ireland, and six or seven select outlets in New York and retails between 45 GBP and 80 GBP ($85-$150) – is comprised of 10 dresses, shirtdresses, Courreges’esque numbers, V necks with ruffles and bib-front tunics. Fabrics include stretch jersey, flannel, gabardine, and crepe, and hues are basic fashion neutrals: charcoal, navy, black, red and gray; the collection bears the Mouret touch: folded cap sleeves, pockets, ruffles & epaulets. "It's definitely not a diffusion of what I've been doing, but I have revisited a lot of the details I've done in the past, like the folded sleeve," says Mouret. "They came to me because they felt they weren't strong in the dress category. They wanted a new project that would take Gap dresses to a new level. I have always been a fan of Gap — I like their laid-back attitude, and it was the right mix of people to work with." (via WWD)

- Lesley Scott


FASHIONTRIBES DAILY 5 MIN. PODCAST: It Pays to be a Fashion Bigwig…Big Bucks! Fashion Fat Cats Rake in the Ca$h. FASHIONTRIBES FASHION BLOG & PODCAST
09.08.06 | No Comments

Ralphlauren  It's good to be the king.

Instead of long term incentives, the must-have financial accessory of the well paid fashion exec is a decidedly non-svelte bonus. The winner? Ralph Lauren, who raked in a cool $15 million on top of a $1 million salary for his executive prowess - securing him the (uncontested) top spot on the rag trade earnings foodchain.


1. RALPH LAUREN, Chairman & CEO, Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.
2005 salary: $1 million
Bonus: $15 million
WHY: Profits at Polo Ralph Lauren rose a heady 62% last year, due mostly to licensing sales in shoes & bags. "Demand for our luxury products around the world is accelerating," Lauren told WWD earlier in the year. With more fragrances having been added to their portfolio this year, their financial future is rosy…or should we say green-green-green.

2. ROBERT MARGOLIS, Chairman & Ceo, Cherokee Inc.
2005 salary: $760,000
Bonus: $3.68 million
WHY: Strong license sales and distribution ties (Target alone is responsible for 50% of Cherokee sales).

3. PETER BONEPARTH, President & CEO, Jones Apparel Group
2005 salary: $2.5 million;
Bonus: $1.2 million
WHY: Believe it or not, this year is down from last year because of declining corporate profits.

4. REED KRAKOFF, President & Executive Creative Director, Coach Inc.
2005 salary: $1.21 million
Bonus: $2.26 million
WHY: His savvy rebranding of Coach as a viable fashion accessories house increased Coach profits by almost 50%.

5. ROGER FARAH, President & COO, Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.
2005 salary: $900,000
Bonus: $2.83 million
WHY: See #1.

6. BRUCE J. KLATSKY, Chairman, Phillips-Van Heusen Corp.
2005 salary: $1.2 million
Bonus: $2.5 million
WHY: Strong sales, and the acquisition of Calvin Klein Inc., which could potentially be responsible for $5 - $6 billion in revenues globally.

7. MARK WEBER, Former ceo, Phillips-Van Heusen Corp.
2005 salary: $1.06 million
Bonus: $1.92 million
WHY: This despite being ousted after less than a year for – rumor has it – a boss-from-hell managerial style. Apparently nasty guys finish first, especially when his golden parachute of $8 million kicks in.

8. PAUL CHARRON, Chairman of the Board & CEO, Liz Claiborne
2005 salary: $1.5 million
Bonus: $1.12 million
WHY: While retailers like his focus on merchandising and marketing, sales were down along with the size of his pay packet. Look for better results next year when the results are felt of his trimming of $60 million in costs and laying off of 500 employees.

9. JACKWYN NEMEROV, Executive VP, Ralph Lauren Corp.
2005 salary: $900,000
Bonus: $1.89 million
WHY: See #1 & #5.

10. ROBERT B. McKNIGHT, Jr., Chairman & CEO (and founder), Quiksilver Inc.
2005 salary: $880,000
Bonus: $1.66 million
WHY: Profits were up 30%.

via WWD.

  • To hear the Fashiontribes Podcast, visit the Fashiontribes Daily 5-Minute Podcast Show at

- Lesley Scott


09.06.06 | No Comments

Bling_uffie_ludovic_belmonte_1 Bling_ajuna_boutique_dominique_maitreBling_anjuna_four_finger_ring

(French rapper Uffie; Anjuna in Paris; a four-finger ring from Anjuna)

Bling is not a universal thing. While the notion translates, the execution can vary significantly across countries & cultures. "There's a different style of bling in Europe that's more sophisticated," British designer Shaun Leane – who includes the Sultan of Brunei as a customer - recently told WWD. "It's not about the size of the rock, it's about the style and design." While bling is still a strong trend in the UK, where heavy gold chains & pendants are flying off the shelves at mass fashion retailers like H&M and Topshop, designers are starting to trading in size for creativity. "[Alexander] McQueen's fall show will also be very bling," says Leane, who has collaborated with McQueen for over a decade. "We've reached a stage where we want to bring the jewelry up a level and give it a couture feel.”

The fact is, European designers take a more jeweler-like approach. "Whereas U.S. brands tend to use heavy Thai silver that's cheaper and has a darker finish, we produce hand-polished chains made from rhodium metal to give a Tiffany-like, preppy vibe," says twenty-something Georgi Philip Pecenikov of the under-the-radar label Toy Me which mixes high & low: American cowboy’esque Sheriff badges & dollar signs along with charms inspired by toys tucked into chocolate eggs, quality diamonds from Antwerp, and the influence of other cultures such as India, known for bright, bold gold jewelry. "Britain's bubbling street scene is notorious for borrowing from its immigrant cultures, such as Jamaican or Indian," explains A-list London stylist Chloe Beeney.

Additionally, the British way of rocking bling is to nix the stereotypical tracksuits in favor of more fashion’y looks from designers like Burberry & Lacoste. European performers like French rapper Uffie tends to opt for bling from the continent rather than stateside. "France is the land of couture, and we've always been about individual style," says Beatrice Philippeaux of Anjuna in Paris, known for tattoo-inspired, customized jewelry. With a less than enthusiastic opinion of American bling and its tendancy to recycle "machine-made logos" such as the symbol for Coca Cola, she notes, "It's about mixing street spirit with creativity."

  • To hear the Fashiontribes Podcast, visit the Fashiontribes Daily 5-Minute Podcast Show at

- Lesley Scott

(Photos: Uffie - Ludovic Belmonte; Anjuna Store & ring - Dominique Maitre; all via WWD)


FASHIONTRIBES DAILY 5 MIN. PODCAST: Pimp My Ride, Mr. Fashion Designer…Marc Ecko Decks Out One-Off SUVs for Nissan. FASHIONTRIBES FASHION BLOG & PODCAST
09.05.06 | No Comments

Ecko_nissan_pathfinder_906 Ecko Unltd. Nissan Pathfinder

What hasn’t escaped the clutches of fashion? Nissan North America has teamed up with streetwear designer Marc Ecko to pimp out a Pathfinder & an Armada with one-of-a-kind designs inspired by two of Ecko’s lines: Ecko Unltd. and Cut & Sew. "Side by side, these two vehicles share a design heritage, yet each has its own distinct character," Ecko recently told WWD about the SUVs which will make their debut in October, and then be displayed at various events throughout the US. "My goal is to take that character to the next level and to express the vehicles' individuality through bold, original design and superior execution."

A black-and-gray camouflage design adorns the Ecko Unltd. Pathfinder, with bright orange detailing, Sixties-influenced seats, black leather, and a wood steering wheel. Tunes can be enjoyed via a hand-molded fiberglass subwoofer. The pimp-my-ride-worthy Cut & Sew Armada boasts a cream colored Landau roof to match the calfskin interior, custom hubcaps & white-walls, and side panels in safety-orange. A glove box inspired by a briefcase with beefy straps & buckles contains a subwoofer. The gauges were designed like those typically found on a roadster, and other special details include a wireless communications system.

This collaboration reflects the extent to which fashion has become an essential part of mainstream lifestyle. That these vehicles are merely for display rather than available for purchase cleverly capitalizes on the fashion industry’s love of exclusivity. (Items like the Hermes Birkin bag – and its five figure price tag – are so coveted, the waiting list is actually years long.) However, proceeds from sale of co-branded Ecko-Nissan merchandise - jackets with hoods, buttondown shirts, tees, and keychains, all of which will be available at - are being donated to Sweat Equity Enterprises, an organization dedicated to helping train youngsters in the fields of professional design & technology. This is a testament to the growing strain of philanthropy that is chacteristic of many younger fashion consumers. (via WWD)

  • To hear the Fashiontribes Podcast, visit the Fashiontribes Daily 5-Minute Podcast Show at

- Lesley Scott


FASHIONTRIBES DAILY 5 MIN. PODCAST: Ellen Barkin’s Bling is Going Up for Auction & the Buzz is High. FASHIONTRIBES FASHION BLOG & PODCAST
08.30.06 | No Comments

Ellen_barkin_van_cleef_cuff_806 Ellen_barken_jar_pearl_necklace Ellen_barkin_jar_thread_ring_806_1  (From Ellen Barkin's stash for sale:  Cartier cuff, antique pearls, JAR thread ring)

We should all make such a lucrative clean break. In October, the future ex-Mrs. Ronald O. Perelman will auction off more than 100 of the baubles she acquired during her high profile marriage to the Revlon chairman. Ellen Barkin’s impressive collection of bling includes almost 20 pieces from cult label JAR, designed by native New Yorker turned chi chi Place Vendôme Parisian jeweler who is collected by the social A-list such as Lily Safra and Princess Firyal of Jordan. Other labels in the sale lineup include estate pieces from Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, and the collections of the Duchess of Windsor and Doris Duke. "It's not practical for me to keep it. I wouldn't wear it. It's just not who I am," remarked Barkin in a phone interview to WWD, where she is in Las Vegas with George Clooney, Brad Pitt & Al Pacino shooting "Ocean's 13."

Buzz over the upcoming Christie’s auction is high. Not only is it projected to rake in $15 million, but there is a special added draw for jewelry buffs & collectors with cash: a scant 70 or 80 JAR pieces are produced each year, featuring Golconda diamonds, Burmese rubies, sapphires from Kashmir sapphires and Indian emeralds. "Less than 50 JAR creations have appeared in the auction market and all of them fetched considerably more than their retail price," explains Christie's Europe chairman & head of jewelry, Francois Curiel. "They are considered museum pieces, so rare that there is virtually no limit to what collectors are willing to spend to own one. Our estimates appear to be always ridiculously low and I have even considered no longer publishing them when JAR pieces come up for sale. JAR defies all the rules of appraising jewelry."

While part of the draw of the auction is indeed the JAR mystique, part is without a doubt the irresistible lure of celebrity. "A diamond is a diamond, but a diamond owned by a star is a legacy," says Carol Brodie of Robb Report. "When we hear about Elizabeth Taylor or Doris Duke sales, you're also buying a piece of history. For collectors, it's a huge win." Some of the potential winnings include a diamond inspired by a Venetian gondola, some signature JAR pave-set "thread" rings, and a monster 16.94-carat diamond briolette pendant necklace (expected to fetch around a cool mil) which the actor apparently slept in. "I didn't treat it with preciousness," says Barkin, stating the obvious. "So much of the jewelry is big and bold, and I wasn't afraid to wear it. I didn't just take it out at night."

In terms of the market for her treasure trove, Barkin’s timing is flawless. There is growing interest in vintage and antique jewelry as fashionistas tire of seeing homogenous mass-produced accessories. Fall’s big fashion trend is layers – vests & knits worn over dresses or skirts over skinny pants and leggings – which creates more opportunities for expressing your fashion individuality. And a large part of looking different than everyone else is with accessories. At the same time, there is a renewed emphasis on quality and handmade. Vintage and antique jewelry meets both requirements handily: not only is it generally well made, but also one-of-a-kind. Which is probably what prompted Barkin to keep at least one piece: a diamond ring from Rosenthal. "He is the single greatest jeweler of our time. It's like looking at a Rothko; no one else could have made that painting." (via WWD)

  • To hear the Fashiontribes Podcast, visit the Fashiontribes Daily 5-Minute Podcast Show at

- Lesley Scott


FASHIONTRIBES DAILY 5 MIN. PODCAST: Jonathan Rhys Meyers Hired by P&G to Make Hugo Boss Fragrance Sexy. FASHIONTRIBES FASHION BLOG & PODCAST
08.29.06 | No Comments


Starting in December, sex god Jonathan Rhys Meyers - who most recently appeared opposite Scarlett Johansson in Woody Allen’s latest, Match Point - will be the face of the P&G-owned Hugo Boss. Rankin-shot print ads will appear in Men’s Health and Blender. Additionally, a Hugo by Hugo Boss Limited Art Edition flanker will be available in 2,000 department and specialty stores starting in February.  A gambit to make the label appeal to younger, cooler hipsters, Rhys Meyers marks the first time that Boss has used a celebrity…probably, in part, because of the hefty price tag: rumor has it the actor is pulling in a cool million – annually! - to shill for the brand.

Currently the fragrance appeals to older consumers, a steady - but not sexy - demographic for a brand that wants to wants to up its cutting-edge appeal. "We see a real opportunity with this brand," Don Loftus, president and chief executive officer of P&G Prestige's U.S. division recently told WWD. "Hugo Boss does very strong business on a global scale, but the U.S. fragrance business is underdeveloped. We haven't peaked with it yet…We're aiming for a top-10 ranking for the Hugo Boss franchise [as a whole]."

The fact that P&G is forking over millions for a hipster, indie celeb attests to the pull of celebrity on the proles. While fashion insiders scoff at whether Hollywood A-list’ers actually rise to the level of bonafide tastemakers, the fact is, the masses are obsessed with what celebs do, say, wear, eat – and are associated with. And having someone with the downtown cred of a Rhys Meyers will probably prove most lucrative for P& association. (via WWD)

  • To hear the Fashiontribes Podcast, visit the Fashiontribes Daily 5-Minute Podcast Show at

- Lesley Scott


08.25.06 | No Comments

Gay_market_levis_1  Gay_market_dkny_ad   Gay_market_prada_ad_1 (Gay-friendly ads from Levi's, DKNY & Prada)

Out of 1,500 companies, five were recently awarded a perfect score of 100 by the Human Rights Campaign, a heavy-hitting lobbying group for gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgendered people. Their HRC Corporate Equality Index measures "corporate inclusiveness and marketing outreach to the country's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population, based on criteria established and evaluated by HRC," explains a recent piece in WWD. This year’s tally of five represents an improvement over 2005’s four, and a scant two in 2004,

With an average score of 74.1, the fashion industry is slightly below the overall average of 75. Points were awarded for ads & other behaviors that respect and support GLBT people, causes, and events, as marketers attempt to appeal to the gay community. Comprised of 15 or so million men and women, this market wields a spending power estimated to exceed $640 billion, and projected to hit just under $675 by 2007, and top $700 billion the year after.

"The interest in gay marketing kind of waxes and wanes with the media cult," Lee Badgett, director of research at UCLA School of Law’s sexual orientation policy thinktank Williams Institute, told WWD. "They seem interested in the marriage issue, but not much else," pointing out (somewhat cynically?) that the number of same-sex partners purchasing homes & other big-ticket items together was on the rise. "There is potential to [better leverage] the economic force of the gay population." (via WWD)

The elite group of corporate do-gooders awarded 100 by the HRC:

NIKE Changed ad copy in a national print & online campaign targeted at women from "There's a man out there who will say to me…" to "There's someone out there who will say to me…" in order to make the ads bias-, sexual orientation-, and gender-blind. Donated $30,000 to the Human Rights Campaign, $5,000 to Basic Rights Oregon, and sponsored a National Coming Out Day event at their headquarters.

GAP, INC. Donated $50,000 to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, $15,000 to God’s Love We Deliver, and $15,000 to Health Initiatives for Youth – totaling more than $100,000 in donations to gay & lesbian community groups.

LIZ CLAIBORNE Their Mexx label placed a large ad in Instinct, a gay publication, and hosted the party to fete their fashion issue featuring Daniel Vosovic of Project Runway fame.

LEVI STRAUSS & CO. Starting in October, they will advertise for the first time on Viacom’s Logo, a 24/7 channel aimed at the gay market. They have also made donations of more than $100,000 to causes such the Lambda Legal Defense and Education fund, & the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.


How other fashion retailers fared:

  • Recreational Equipment Inc. 85
  • Federated Department Stores 80
  • L.L. Bean 73
  • Limited Brands 70
  • Reebok International 68
  • Lillian Vernon 55
  • Abercrombie & Fitch 50
  • J.C. Penney 50
  • Donna Karan 45
  • The Men's Wearhouse 35

To hear the Fashiontribes Podcast, visit the Fashiontribes Daily 5-Minute Podcast Show at

- Lesley Scott


08.24.06 | No Comments

Museum_hussein_chalayan_spring_2002 Museum_issey_miyake_1994_heat_set_pleat_ (Hussein Chalayan Spring 2002; Issey Miyake 1994 heat-set polyester pleats)

When Marc Jacobs speaks, everyone in the fashion world tends to listen. And the message for fall 2006 is big – literally. Jacobs showed a pumped-up silhouette comprised of layer upon layer of leggings, skirts, dresses, sweaters, vests, scarves, jackets, caps, hats & voluminous great coats.

Costume historians also heeded the call. This fall, from September 17th through January 7th, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will put up a new exhibit which looks at changes in the last 25 years in silhouette, fabric surface treatment, and the evolution of sewing & construction techniques. "Construction techniques and materials have changed quite a bit since the Eighties," Kaye D. Spilker, one of the curators of Breaking the Mode: Contemporary Fashion From the Permanent Collection told WWD. "Things that were radical back in 1980 are quite commonplace today, and many of the pieces in the exhibit show this."

130 pieces from 40 designers will showcase the evolution of construction techniques and fabric treatments. Vintage Christian Dior, Gilbert Adrian, and Charles James will be displayed next to modern A-listers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Martin Margiela, Yohji Yamamoto, Azzedine Alaïa, Hussein Chalayan, Christian Lacroix, Hervé Léger, Alexander McQueen, Burberry’s Christopher Bailey & Vivienne Westwood. Famed Fortuny pleated frocks will be positioned next to Issey Miyake's pleated plissé garments, while a jacket by deconstruction maestro Martin Margiela jacket is placed by a fully boned & padded 50s Christian Dior.

Advances in fabric technology have spurred innovations in construction, upending many traditional sewing techniques and guidelines. For example, stretch in fabric can eliminate the need for fitting darts, dramatically altering the look of a garment. And avant garde designers like Miyake (and his ubiquitious pleats) tend to push the envelope, sending statement pieces instead of mere clothes down the runway. "Designers are not just making pretty things," Sharon S. Takeda, Costume and Textiles Department senior curator explains. "They have ideas and have learned to create the very inventive forms."

  • To hear the Fashiontribes Podcast, visit the Fashiontribes Daily 5-Minute Podcast Show at

- Lesley Scott


(photos from WWD)

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