Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Today began with a sweet pot of fashion honey at the Alexander McQueen press day. Everything from jewellery to handbags to cute, little shorts straight out of the hive, constructed from wearable clever honeycomb and amber gem bees. It puts a whole new spin on the term "bee keeper". Oh, to be stung by a McQueen bee...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

When you hear news that a hurricane the likes of which your country has not seen for a long, long time is about to hit your shores with a very real possibility of widespread devastation, what do you do? Head to the supermarket to stock up on essentials and non-perishable foods, maybe? Or perhaps you make an escape plan and check in with your friends and family? It would probably be along those lines. Unless, of course, you're in charge of Gap's social media where it seems your thought process might go more like this, "Hmmm, everyone's going to be stuck at home today... Let's tell them to do loads of shopping with us to pass the time". 

Via @TheMediaTweets
Gap was one of the US retailers, along with Urban Outfitters and American Apparel which decided to use the "opportunity" of massive numbers of people being stuck indoors to incentivise them to make some purchases to pass the time. Never mind that power outages were expected and people were filling their baths with water in case the supply failed. American Apparel even included a very helpful map with their e-mail to show shoppers the red danger zone where the storm was expected to hit. What's perhaps worse is that these offers are hardly special- I get Free Shipping and % off e-mails through all the time and for the likes of AA they don't really cost them that much if it means they shift more stock. 

via @MirlahThornley
Via @nagoul1

There has been plenty of disgust directed at these ploys via Twitter last night and this morning. The comments on Urban Outfitters' Instagram post fall into two camps. There are the horrified ones...

"This is disgusting, talk about being morally corrupt"

"This isn't cool"

But there are some too who don't see what the problem is....

"OMG just embrace free shipping people"

"I am now just ignoring the hurricane outside! Time to shop" (maybe that one's ironic?)

I suppose the difference is that where Gap used Sandy as an awkward, inappropriately timed conversation starter, thinly veiled as a push to purchase, Urban Outfitters and American Apparel showed mild levels of humour and compassion by giving their customers something- though free shipping is quite hilarious given that those most-affected by the storm (and therefore, most deserving of the offer?) will probably not receive their orders for days.  

In times of crisis, should brands just steer clear of trying to tie in the trouble with their marketing strategy? Or do you appreciate these gestures?

Friday, October 26, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

I'm back from NYC, full of election obsession. Every TV channel and bill board stateside is plastered with promises, agendas and jibes but the race is so monumental that news stories have spilt beyond the political. In fact, the Obama/ Romney run-off has so many facets that I have managed to compile almost an entire news post with fashion-related election news. Of course, other stuff did happen this week so there's a round-up of the best of the rest at the end.


Image from
Michelle Obama has done a lot for "first lady fashion" with her championing of younger, non- establishment designers and often daring choices. That means, of course, that us fashion pundits have a keen eye on how Ann Romney- until recently her style could be summed up as "country club Mom"- deals with the situation. The wives have been most prominent at the TV debates, the last of which took place on Monday night. It looks like Ann has gone down a copy cat route. Mrs Obama wore a neat-waisted, full skirted knee length Thom Browne dress which she's been seen in previously, at the Democrat conference. Meanwhile, Ann Romney chose an identical silhouette which featured a cute, girlish floral print skirt which contrasted which MObama's dark flocked detail. The Cut have helpfully awarded points to the respective outfits chosen by the contender's wives.

Notably, Ann Romney's dress came from Oscar de la Renta who has a track record for dressing the political elite- Hilary Clinton is a big fan. De la Renta's political ties are in fact so strong that a retrospective of his work is set to go on show at William J Clinton library in Arkansas. There are plans for the exhibition to travel to the George W Bush library in Texas and the Reagan Library in California.  It's a sign that the designer, who hails from the Dominican Republic, has built huge cross party trust and respect.

Many observers have noted that while Thom Browne was excited to tell Twitter that the First Lady was wearing their dress, Oscar de la Renta's camp (@OscarPRgirl) remained tight lipped about Ann Romney's choice.

Honored to see First Lady Michelle Obama wearing our Spring 2013 dress at the final presidential debate 

Why? Rumour has it that Anna Wintour is yielding her considerable influence to ensure that Mrs Romney doesn't get any support from designers. Wintour is one of Obama's biggest fundraisers and supporters. American press have noted that while they receive plenty of information and cooperation from designers chosen by Michelle Obama, no brand has yet come forward to admit to dressing Romney. Furthermore, Diane Von Furstensberg went so far as to disclose that they did not know where the Republican candidate's wife had got hold of one of their dresses (the shop, maybe?).

What could next week bring in the first-lady fashion race? Will Michelle find a sartorial response to Ann's floral bathing suit?

Image from


Can you guess who Katy Perry plans to vote for? She wore her choice on a rubber dress when she performed at an Obama rally in Vegas. I'd love to see Anna Wintour or SJP- both big Obama fans- show their support in this number.
Katy Perry chooses Obama (via

One of my big NY finds was in mahoosive toy store F.A.O Schwartz. The perfect way to commemorate the 2012 Presidential race is , of course, Election Barbie. Get yours here.


Fashion favourites including Alexa Chung and Tavi Gevinson star in an anti-Romney version of Lesley Gore's 1964 classic "You Don't Own Me" aimed at condemning the Republican's views on women's issues. It's pretty awesome.


You knew Chanel was coming to Scotland for its upcoming metier d'arts show on December 4th but a little birdie tells us that the exact location will be Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary I, Queen of Scots. A very British, fabulously wintry alternative to Versailles, where the Resort collection was showcased. Speaking of Chanel, Business of Fashion's interview with Bruno Pavlovsky, the company's CEO is well worth a read for its insight into the mechanics of one of the world's recognisable brands.

Edinburgh's Linlithgow Palace, location of Chanel's upcoming show (image from flickr)
Grunge was a key trend at the SS13 shows, with Phillip Lim and Dries Van Noten both showing 90s influenced collection. So it's perhaps the perfect moment- if there ever was one- for Courtney Love to launch her fashion range. She posted several pictures of the pieces from a photo shoot on her twitter (@courtney) earlier this week. It's called "Never The Bride" and Love told Huffinton Post that "In the hem of all the dresses there’s a ruby and it says c***...This is the stuff that I would wear if I was young enough to not look like Bette Davis in 'Whatever Happened After Baby Jane?'." The clothes will land "soon" at Net-a-Porter.

Never The Bride by Courtney Love (via @courtney twitter)
Courtney says "poiret piece going going drooling i dont want to let this gooooo"
Following her somewhat controversial exit from T magazine in August, Sally Singer is heading back to American Vogue on Monday as Digital Creative Director. Despite praise from Jill Abramson, editor at NY Times of which T is a part, rumours abounded that that Singer had failed to pull in sufficient ad revenue. Whatever the truth, it looks like Singer has ladned herself a plum new role.

THIS WEEKEND, why not drop into London College of Fashion's pop up shop in Kingly Court, off Carnaby Street. Open until 1st November.

It's getting chilly outside, but never fear Michael van der Ham for Brora cashmere is here. The collection arrives at on October 30th, cards at the ready!

Michael van der Ham x Brora beanie £180 (image from

Michael van der Ham x Brora scarf £275 (image from
You thought handbags were safe as houses? Think again. Mulberry issued a profit warning this week, with forecasters expecting that profits would be £31m (£5m down on last year) rather than the £41m initially expected. Reduced orders from department stores and a decision to reduce the number of smaller stockists were reasons given for the disappointing news.
Grace Coddington by Norman Parkinson (
If you enjoyed The September Issue then you will love the news that American Vogue has made a new documentary to mark the magazine's 120th anniversary. The programme will be called The Editor's Eye and will look at how a big shoot comes together. There's a book of the same name being released this month. Grace Coddington will be among the stars of the show, which airs on December 6th. There's a great excerpt from her memoirs in this month's US Vogue, as well as a rather touching tribute from Anna Wintour in her editor's letter.

Finally, rumour has it that Saint Laurent designer Hedi Slimane will dress The Rolling Stones for their upcoming 50th anniversary tour. It makes perfect sense given Slimane is most famous for his super-skinny rock star aesthetic, doesn't get more Rolling Stones than that, does it?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

For a label which has previously shown in metro stations and simultaneously in boutiques across the world, a straightforward catwalk show would never have sufficed for the launch of their much anticipated collaboration with an international high-street giant. Nevertheless, the mammoth, dilapidated, 9 floor venue which the Margiela and H&M team had chosen in Manhattan's downtown business district was enough to elicit a wow or two from the assembled fashion press,  NY cool kids and smattering of on-brand celebs. It did feel a little like we might be walking onto the set of a horror film, a haunted, long abandoned department store or that Miss Havisham might emerge at any moment from one of the dusty, crumbling chambers which surrounded shabby-chic balconies- one of the night's most impressive feats was that these didn't buckle under the weight of partygoers. Instead of any unfolding horror, we were treated to performances in various art installations from Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker's Rosas dance troupe, all incorporating elements of the collection, of course. At the top was a pop up shop where partygoers could get their hands on the collection for the first time, cue frenzied buying and plenty of squabbles over the sweet wrapper clutch bags which look set to be the most-wanted pieces in the collection.

Here's my tumble of pictures from last night.  Enjoy...

Looking up

A silver ticker tape shower finished off proceedings

Pop-up shop buying madness


Helena Christensen waiting for the lift

Kanye West sweeps in

Sarah Jessica Parker's head

Julianne Moore watching the dancers with her husband

Event organiser Suzanne

Stunning Joan Smalls

Figures encased in plaster by Daniel Ashram

A halloween-y white shirt graveyard

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

"For those who value unidentifiable, elegant dressing, Margiela's the man" so wrote Sarah Mower in her review of the AW06 Maison Martin Margiela collection on Six years on, and the secret's out. I am in New York, as a guest of H&M, to preview the collection and attend tonight's launch which promises to be quite an incredible party. What is perhaps most striking about the collection is the way that the Maison Martin Margiela (MMM) team have picked through their archives to choose 100 pieces (60 women's and 40 men's) which do the job of making the unidentifiable, identifiable. Images of these pieces will be all over the internet, on TV, in shop windows and will likely end up being worn by the huge numbers of fashion fans who will flock to buy the collection when it launches on November 15th.  This is a whole new level of designer collaboration for H&M, who are bringing a much-loved but nevertheless niche fashion name to the masses.

Nothing in the collection is new, but is a "re-edition"of an original MMM design. A member of MMM- anyone who works for the brand remains anonymous- told me today that "we looked through the archives to see what would be the most iconic pieces. It was about what resonated with the team". The H&M collaboration pieces don't come with the signature four white, tack stitches which usually denote an MMM design, instead a giant white label is fastened to each one which explains a description of the garment and a reference to the season in which it was originally seen. The MMM team assured me that all the patterns are identical to those of the originals, all that changes for the H&M range are the fabrics and the production process. There is a leather jacket in the men's collection, for example, based on a design originally constructed by hand stitching together belts. It's become a hugely popular coat- "it gets requested all the time"- which has now been made democratic via the H&M collection.

SS05: Chloe Sevigny wears horizontal top and skirt of which there is a dress version
in the H&M collaboration
I put it to the MMM team that long time, insider fans could be a little put out that the world is now in on their secret. "We actually see it as beneficial for those who are collectors of Margiela, because there's nothing new it's kind of like a retrospective so anyone who is loyal to the brand but missed out the first time can own pieces right from the first 1989 collection now." They added that "the Maison's philosophy is about being collective and collaborative so this is very much in line with our spirit." An added component to MMM which I think could easily be forgotten in the hype of a new collection launch, is the focus on education- the team think of their creations as more than clothes. Their modus operandi to make us reevaluate the function or look of something. For instance, there is a very cool women's leather biker jacket in the collection which was originally made from disassembling a man's leather jacket and putting it back together with a tighter, more feminine silhouette whilst retaining the excess fabric to remind the wearer of its origins- "it's about re-translating" says MMM.

Reconstructed man to woman biker
The beauty of this collaboration is that we can buy into it because we love the shiny clutch bag/ great knee boots/ big knit etc. and that would be just fine. But what it also brings for the first time to a high street/ designer line is that sense of intellectual, highly creative fashion which is about experimenting and boundary pushing and exploring meaning in what we wear. Welcome to Margiela's world.


The Red Wedges

Backstage at SS07

Plexiglass heels in Margiela with H&M
The Duvet Coat

AW99-00 Maison Martin Margiela

Bill Cunningham's page in the New York Times devoted to the duvet coat

And now it's back for Margiela with H&M

The Circle Shirt

The Circle Shirt from SS02

.... now reprised for 2012
Trompe L'Oeil tattoo top

Tattoo print from Margiela's first collection for SS 1989
Revived in thicker fabric for today

All images by Fashion Junior at Large and from Maison Martin Margiela, the book.