a man sitting on a silk rug
a man sitting on a silk rug

NIGO will be leading the creative vision for Penfolds in a multi-year artistic collaboration

Fashion and wine meet with the collaboration of Japanese fashion designer NIGO and the iconic Penfolds wine brand

One of the world’s most iconic wines just got a little more special. For years, collectors have lusted after Penfolds Grange, Australia’s most celebrated wine and quite possibly the most revered luxury brand to come out of the country. The phenomenon of Grange, as it is known to connoisseurs the world over, from Shanghai to San Francisco, is largely due to its sheer quality – many consider it the world’s best wine made from Shiraz (otherwise known as Syrah) grapes, but also due to its originality.

a bottle and a bandana

This collaboration sees the influence of NIGO’s company, Human Made, which was founded in Tokyo and draws upon
graphic design, subculture and streetwear

Unlike every other iconic world wine, whether from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Napa or elsewhere, Grange is not made from a single vineyard, or even from the same designated vineyards in a small, geographically distinct area, every year. Rather, it is made from grapes from Penfolds own vineyards and grower partners’ vineyards across Australia, selected by the Penfolds winemaking team for their Grange-like character. It is an icon that is also an iconoclast.

Read more: Inside Penfolds, the global luxury wine brand

a man with lots of wine barrels

NIGO, visiting Penfolds’ Magill Barrel Room, ahead of his collaboration, ‘Grange by NIGO’

So, how suitable that Penfolds Grange has partnered with the wildly original – some might say iconoclastic – Japanese designer and cultural hero NIGO, who is also Artistic Director of the Kenzo fashion brand and founder of Human Made. Appointed as the wine brand’s first ever Creative Partner in 2023, NIGO is working on a series of collaborations with the brand, none more exciting and iconoclastic than the recently released Grange by NIGO, which has seen NIGO design a limited edition gift box for the 2019 vintage. With each gift box individually numbered and including a bandana and bottle neck tag also designed by NIGO in his signature style, it’s a bold step for a fine wine brand, as Penfolds Chief Marketing Officer, Kristy Keyte, explains:

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“This is a different direction for us, and the first time we have changed the distinctive gift box of our flagship Grange. Collaborating with NIGO has been inspired by Penfolds history of pushing boundaries in winemaking, and now we expand this to exploration of new creative ideas. As a collector, NIGO understands the reputation of Grange and its legacy. He was able to create a limited-edition approach that is both playful and fresh while remaining respectful to the history of the wine. We have never done this before, and the result is brave and refreshing.”

a guy sitting looking at a bottle of wine

‘Penfolds has always been one of my favourites’, says avid wine collector, NIGO

NIGO, a fine wine collector himself, commented : “I have been a collector of Grange for many years, but it wasn’t until I visit Penfolds Magill Estate that I truly understood the craftmanship and history behind the historic wine. It was an honour to be the first person to collaborate on a design for Grange, especially as the brand celebrates its 180th anniversary.”

a man holding a bottle of wine

According to Drinks International’s 2024 list of The World’s Most Admired Wine Brands, Penfolds is one of the top three wine brands globally

There are only 1500 standard-sized 750ml bottles and 150 magnums available globally and they are selling fast in this, Penfolds 180th anniversary year, following their initial release in Australia and Asia recently, and they are likely to become highly collectible. We suggest buying as many as you can: its a wine whose box (and nifty bandana) is as striking and delicious as the liquid inside.

Penfolds Grange by NIGO is available globally. Future projects between Penfolds and NIGO will be announced later this year, 2024.

penfolds.com

 

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restaurant with bar and bottles

Is it a club, an Italian restaurant or a sushi house? Actually, Sumosan Twiga on London’s Sloane Street is all three, and all the better for it

Top quality food with a fun vibe has taken off in the world’s cultural capitals over the past few years. For a showoff dining experience, you are no longer restricted Ito temples of gastronomy. Top-quality ingredients and cheffing can now combine to make the ultimate comfort food.

But there’s still a challenge. What if you want a vibe, but can’t work out whether to go for a perfect pasta with beef and herbs, or some top-quality sushi? Or what if your party has split opinions and nobody wants to compromise?

sashimi on a blue plate with flowers

Launched in November 2016, Sumosan Twiga is the combination of the Japanese restaurant, Sumosan, and the brand Twiga

What you do is secure a booking at Sumosan Twiga, on London’s Sloane Street. Past a couple of intimidating doormen – to ensure the maki rolls are not consumed by the wrong type of customer, presumably, to be greeted by a glamorous receptionist, you are then whisked up in an elevator and enter a world of DJs and a partying crowd all dressed in Cavalli and Etro.

Ponder the menu over a couple of Bellinis and you soon note, if you didn’t know already, that Sumosan Twiga is effectively a sushi restaurant and a high-end Italian wrapped into one place. Back in the day, that might have meant some compromise – a chef practiced in one cuisine trying to master the other, with limited success. But not here: whether you stick to Italian or focus on sushi or (as we would recommend) you sample both, this is top-quality cuisine which, a little like the clientele, is here in in generous and beautifully presented portions.

cocktail with a mint leaf and a man pouring sugar over it

The menu offers an array of classic Italian dishes and flavours paired with contemporary Japanese cuisine.

We started with burrata with datterino tomatoes, Kobe mini sliders (OK, more Meatpacking than Milan), and lobster with lollo blondo salad as a pre-starter; ingredients with beautiful and it was put together with care. From the Japanese menu we went on to seared salmon, lime soy and mustard miso, as delicate and umami as it sounds, and some rolls: buba, seabass with jalapeno and cucumber, wasabi tobiko and albemarle and salmon with orange tobiko: meatily fulsome and also featherlight.

food on a plate with a leaf

Sumusan Twiga is the brain child of Flavio Briatore, of Formula One fame & Janina Wolkow, pioneer of the luxury Sumosan brand.

Mains were veal milanese with rocket and cherry tomatoes, hugely satisfying, what might be London’s best tagliatelle bolognese with chunks of feelsome beef, and Alaskan black marinated miso cod.

The only discord in our party was over whether it’s better to keep things pure by having Japanese starters and Italian mains (or vice versa) or just order a huge selection; the general agreement was one cuisine per course (whether that’s two or five courses) was better, so your palate does not train itself for the slicing umami of the tuna sashimi and freshly grated wasabi only to have a piece of breaded Milanese and pasta pomodoro, from a different gastronomic planet, with the next mouthful. The general consensus was to split the cuisines by course. But then we ordered another caipirinha, got up and danced, and forgot all about it.

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The South Korean collector and founder of New York’s Shin Gallery on the flea markets, fashion and food hotspots of his native Seoul.

Hong Gyu Shin at his New York apartment

1. My ideal dinner guest and my ideal restaurant destination.

I would love to host Angelina Jolie at Keunkiwajip, a quaint restaurant in the 600 year old Bukchon Village. They specialize in Ganjang-gejang, raw marinated crab, which is made with their soy sauce that has been fermented for around ten years!

2. Where I go in Soul to escape.

Bongeunsa is a Buddhist temple in Gangnam which was founded in 794 CE. The experience of walking through the temple and smelling the incense burning throughout is calming, as I escape by absorbing my surroundings which allows my inner thoughts to subside.

Looking out over the rooftops of the historic Bukchon Hanok Village to modern Seoul beyond

3. The most unlikely thing I love doing in Seoul.

I have an affinity for antiquing and always visit the Seoul Folk Flea Market! I began my collecting journey there when purchasing World World II militaria and antiques, the vendors have the most unexpected and intriguing pieces which continuously spark my curiosity.

Follow LUX on instagram: @luxthemagazine

4. Where I would send a 20 year old party animal friend.

I would definitely send them to Itaewon in Seoul! It’s renowned for the nightlife and mix of International and Korean influences, and also abundant with bars, clubs, and rooftops. It is walking distance from the Leeum Museum of Art, the perfect first destination for a cultural yet lively night.

Bukchon Hanok Village

5. Where I would send a culture animal friend

Bukchon Hanok Village was built in the Joseon dynasty where officials and wealthy nobility lived. There are over 900 houses with traditional Hanok architecture which feature clay, stone floor, and ancient tile roofs.

6.Where I go to discover new art and trends

I discover new art and trends when visiting the multiple contemporary art galleries surrounding Bukchon. The artworks exhibited share the depth of skill obtained by Korean artists and their visionary practices. The MMCA (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) is also nearby and I always attend when in Seoul.

7. My favorite single dish in the city

I will always get Jajangmyeon, a Korean style Chinese noodle dish topped with a thick sauce made of chunjang, diced pork, and vegetables. It is the ultimate comfort food and an incredibly delicious meal I will forever cherish, especially in Korea for the most authentic and flavourful experience!

The sunset over the high rises in the city of Seoul

8. One development in Seoul I am sad about

Recently there has been an influx of Cafes throughout Seoul which is quite displeasing to see. Many of the traditional and historic restaurants have been replaced with Cafes which is shifting the culture and atmosphere.

9. The best living artists in the city

The best living artists are: the pioneer of avant garde mixed media Kim Kulim and abstract artist Youn Myeung Ro, particularly his 1960s tattoos series.

10. The most interesting place to go clothes shopping

Dongdaemun is one of the largest wholesale and retail shopping districts for Korean street fashion. There are also shops of young fashion designers breaking boundaries within Korean street style, and juxtaposing commercial designs.

Dongdaemun Market

11. One area to keep an eye on over the next couple of years

I am always fascinated by the transformation of the Yongsan District. Since the Korean War it has served as an American military base, and was only converted last year! The base continues to evolve with gardens, museums and nightlight attractions and is an upcoming
cultural destination in Seoul.

12.The best street market in Seoul

The best street market is in the back alley of Jongno 3-ga’s Nagwon Arcade. The street is full of “Pojangmacha” (outdoor food stalls) which sell a variety of freshly made Korean street foods such as Soondae (Korean Sausage), Dakbal (Chicken Feet), Dwaeji Ggupdaegi (Pork
Skin)

13. K drama or K pop

I love both and can not pick! My favorite K pop star is Kim Kwang seok who sadly died at the age of 32.

 

This article was first published in the Autumn / Winter 2023 issue of LUX

shin-gallery.com

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A white horse wearing a black cape with white flowers on it
A white horse wearing a black cape with white flowers on it

From the Durazzi Milano AW23 presentation

In the eighth part of our Italy art focus series, curated by Umberta Beretta, LUX speaks to Ilenia Durazzi who worked for major fashion brands including Margiela before establishing her luxury womenswear brand, Durazzi Milano, in Milan, championed by artist Maurizio Cattelan

LUX: What is your design philosophy?
Ilenia Durazzi: I design clothes with an architectural approach to the study of physical volumes in tailoring. I love minimal models with essential lines, made special by a detail, an accessory, in which I concentrate the most unconventional part of my creativity.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: What cultural figures influence your work?
ID: My latest collection is dedicated to inspirational women from artists to scientists. For aesthetic inspiration, I would cite 1930s architecture, Meret Oppenheimer, Laurie Spiegel’s music. The common factor is non-conformism.

A woman with brown hair wearing a black turtleneck top

Ilenia Durazzi

LUX: Has Parisian style influenced your work?
ID: Paris is where I was trained and taught to express myself. It gave me the chance to create unique experiences in maisons that have written the story of fashion. But I was born in Urbino, a city of Medieval and Renaissance buildings. And when you are born in a region like this, it shapes how you see things. I believe our DNA recognises its roots, but changes with the world it inhabits.

LUX: How do the masculine and feminine interact in your brand?
ID: The essentiality of my creations derives from my experience of creating menswear and my fascination for men’s uniforms. Another point is the attention to function and detail, materials and craftsmanship in menswear. In women’s fashion these elements stay in the background. In my collections, they play a key role.

A woman wearing a tweed pink an red cot with red boots and holding a white bag

From the AW23 collection, by Durazzi Milano

LUX: Has Maurizio Cattelan
’s style influenced Durazzi Milano?
ID: Maurizio’s faith in my talents and support for the company have been fundamental. I couldn’t say Maurizio’s poetic approach has influenced its style, but his way of seeing reality is a source of inspiration. From artists we learn to look further.

Read more: Italy Art Focus: Edoardo Monti

LUX: Has your vision influenced Maurizio’s work?
ID: Maurizio and I are at each other’s perimeter, we have shared experiences and supported each other in our creative journeys. It would be naive to assume that this hadn’t had an impact.

A black cape for a horses back

From the AW23 presentation by Durazzi Milano

LUX: What changes will we see in Italian art and fashion in the next few years?
ID: I imagine a future that is fluid and democratic and so will be art and fashion. They already are. We have to be able to handle evolving situations, social, political and environmental. To go forward, the world has to go back, to produce less but better. It is the core of Durazzi Milano’s identity.

durazzimilano.com

This article comes from a section of a wider feature originally published in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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Colourful boats on a beach

In August 2022, Parley for the Oceans and the Government of Andhra Pradesh celebrated the official launch of Parley India with one of the largest coastline cleanups in the world, spanning 28km of shoreline, 14 beaches and eight fishing villages

Cyrill Gutsch is the founder and driving force behind Parley for the Oceans, an organisation dedicated to protecting the oceans through underutilised avenues such as art, design, fashion and collaboration. He speaks to Trudy Ross about the material revolution, the pivotal role of artists in inspiring change, and the unique approach of partnering with big corporations for a sustainable future

LUX: What is the Parley for the Oceans movement?
Cyrill Gutsch: The core of what we are striving to do is to bring about a ‘material revolution’. We want exploitative and harmful materials and business practices to become a thing of the past. When you look at all of the environmental issues we face today, it always comes back to the way that we run businesses, which is based on an old belief that we can only survive if we are strong and even cruel. It is a very masculine, and outdated, idea of how to run society.

We must switch our model towards true collaboration, between humans and also with nature, instead of taking and taking, and then discarding what we no longer like.

LUX: Why are artists and art so central to your vision of sustainability?
CG: I believe that the artist, in every revolution, has a big role to play. Artists are in a unique position; people come to them, without any predefined expectation, ready to be provoked and to learn. They are also special people, in that they don’t have a hidden agenda, and they are extremely good communicators. Artwork can play an important role in supporting a movement like Parley’s for fundraising, communication, and to build doors to subject matters which can otherwise be difficult for people to understand.

Huge underwater scultpure

Sculplture from Underwater Pavilions, an installation by artist Doug Aitken, produced by Parley for the Oceans and presented in partnership with The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA)

A good artist can have the impact on people that schools, conferences, and news articles can’t have. They have a superpower – they get close to people’s hearts. They open people up to new values.

At Parley, artists have a convening role. When Julian Schnabel collaborated with Parley for the Oceans in 2019, a diverse audience of politicians, wealthy individuals, collectors, other artists, people from the entertainment industry and entrepreneurs showed up in New York to discuss a topic which was new and challenging for most of the people in the room. The art community is the home for the Parley movement.

LUX: Repositioning artists in the centre of the climate change cause is quite radical. What would you say to people who would argue that, to make real change, you have to look to science, facts and hard policy?
CG: Artists have the perfect vantage point: they cannot be bound by conventional limitations, and therefore they can redefine reality. Unlike other groups, they can do this in a way which does not put themselves in danger. It is so easy for an artist to call for a revolution. First, you create a space for the protection of revolutionary ideas. Science and policy come second. If you don’t begin by gaining support of the right people, then you cannot succeed – even with the right tools in hand.

At Parley, we cannot tell governments to implement new, sustainable economic models. Rather, we collaborate with them. Once we see true intention from them to do better, we can work with them on policy and incentive programmes for industries. Ultimately, however, it comes down to the people who own businesses. If company shareholders make the choice to ditch the use of fossil fuels, plastics, and exploitative and harmful business matter, then it will happen.

Young people waving flags on the beach

The Ocean Uprise Internship Program gives young people from around the world opportunity to learn from ocean experts, take part in skill-based workshops, and implement a local community project

Our audience is a mix of people. First, there are wealthy people who often do not know how unsustainable the companies they invest in are, or how they could invest better. Second, there are the corporations themselves, who are under pressure to deliver the numbers. They cannot take risks. Now they are finally being challenged by legislators to change their business model, but this is still not quick enough, and there is still not enough pressure from the government. The government could change climate change overnight. It is a complex riddle.

The way that we believe that you can create radical change is through a combination of new ideas, access to knowledge, and eco-innovation. This technological innovation is made up of two things – the first being natural, or bio-fabricated materials, the second being green chemistry. We can easily revolutionise our industries with a bit of willingness, understanding, strategy and investment into new technology. All of that is driven by imagination. The moment that we want to do something – and radically believe in it – then we have the skill to make it happen. That is the beauty and the danger of our species.

LUX: How do you approach forming relationships with bigger, for-profit organisations while standing by your values as an NGO committed to protecting the planet?
CG: The environmental issues we are facing today are caused by corporations. That is it. You can protest and not buy their products, but this is difficult. We depend on the products that they make – but we know that they are destroying our planet. But at Parley, we have a more innovative approach: if we come to one company, then we can make a much larger change.

Inside a dark tented structure

Parley for the Oceans is working with Christo and Jeanne-Claude to rework the fabric from their public artwork L’Arc de Triomphe

LUX: You have partnered with many iconic brands. Which collaboration are you most proud of?
CG: I want to speak about Dior. As part of the LVMH group, they are a representation of an old economy. Sustainable change is a big challenge for them. It is difficult for such established companies to innovate, to find alternatives to leather and fur, to plastic, to dyes and prints.

But Dior allowed us to help them. Making the yarn and fabric, and recycled materials, was a long but rewarding process. Eventually they saw that it was great. Now they’re saying “What can we do with leather? How can we replace plastic? How can we use 100% natural materials?” We must be willing to invest. It might take two years for material made from banana leaves in the Philippines to get to the level where it can become part of a collection.
We need commitment – like Dior had – from big brands.

LUX: Do you think that this time and economic investment is the future of the luxury industry?
CG: Yes. And Parley is giving the luxury industry the laboratory for that, changing material use and educating on innovative methods. And we must revamp the whole supply chain and lifecycle of a product. We must look at unsustainable agriculture. Fertilisers and pesticides destroy the nutrition value of the soil; pesticides run through waterways to the sea. There are huge dead zones in the ocean because fertilisers and pesticides have destroyed everything. Yet there are beautiful alternatives in farming. Every detail counts.

Children running into the sea

Parley Ocean School youth programs are made in collaboration with with local schools, NGOs and governments around the world

LUX: How do you imagine that our oceans will look in 10 years’ time?
CG: Ten years is long and short. On one hand, it is long: if we stalled human activity, I have no doubt that the oceans would be fully recovered in ten years. Extinct species would not return, but other species would evolve. Unfortunately, we are not doing that, and the speed of changing the market and the way we are working is much slower.

On the other hand, in transforming the economy, ten years is a blink of an eye. The only way to drive change in a ten year window is to aggressively address the issues we face. That means the intersection of carbon dioxide, methane gas, stopping plastic pollution, or at least cutting it down at scale. And then, 25 years down the road, we will have eradicated most of the toxic materials we are using.

Humans are very good under pressure. When humans understand that they are threatened, they will aggressively transform. And I believe that humans are ready for peace. There is a desire in us now to drive this revolution.

Find out more: parley.tv

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Women standing together wearing big pink and black puffy dresses with petty coats
Women standing together wearing big pink and black puffy dresses with petty coats

First looks, Giambattista Valli Haute Couture 25

Giambattista Valli moves as easily in the classical world of haute couture as in the contemporary world of social media and in the boardroom as CEO of his brand. Harriet Quick talks to the modern couturier as he prepares to take his maison to the next level

Environments have a way of seeping into the psyche of a designer and a brand. Rome-born designer Giambattista Valli is currently in the throes of bidding adieu to the wood-panelled, fresco-ceilinged lateral space in Paris that has been home to his brand since its inception in 2005. “It’s my historical space. When we first moved in, it seemed huge, a big undertaking and commitment. But now it feels small,” says Valli of the elegant, characterful HQ that lies on the rue Boissy d’Anglas in the 8th arrondissement, near Place de la Madeleine.

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The office has witnessed the brand move in ebbs and flows since its inception, which was funded by Valli himself. The mid noughties were a volatile period in fashion, with extremes of bling and the highest of heels usurped by post-Lehmann brothers stealth wealth, as luxury brands clipped their wings and aesthetics to suit sober times. Now we are amid a new wave of financial crunches and the impact of the environmental crisis, triggering a new wave of quiet luxury.

Yet Valli is a deft hand at riding the waves and telling his own story in chapters that evolve and twist over time rather than chase hot trends. It means his company has been able to evolve and adapt, to the point where it is now time to upgrade and move his company of around 50 colleagues under one roof. Groupe Artémis, the Pinault family-owned company, has a stake in the brand, which in 2022 turned over an estimated $6.4 million. Valli himself has had an influence on fashion proportionately far greater than mere turnover numbers may indicate.

A man wearing a white t-shirt an jeans with his hands in his pockets

Portrait of Giambattista Valli

The new Valli offices are just up the road from the old, near Opéra, but offer two floors of light-filled space to house everything from the showrooms, atelier, PR and communications office, the commercial team and a VIP haute couture suite. “It is almost a townhouse, as we have our own entrance. The structure is good and there is beautiful stuccowork and frescoes,” says Valli of the interior, which features clean white “boxes” he has designed himself. “We always have so many prints, volumes and textures – I needed it to be neutral,” he explains.

With his dark thick hair, big eyes, fashionably deep yet sharply sculpted beard, Valli appears like a Renaissance artist transported into our times wearing a black T-shirt and chain necklace, instead of a doublet and ruff. He reserves his treasured 17th-century Mughal “good luck” pearl necklace for special occasions. “It is very rare,” he says. The pursuit of beauty in people, objects, environments and in fashion has been Valli’s lifelong pursuit. Soon he will be receiving VIP clients into his new showroom to choose from his latest haute couture offering, which was shown in Paris in early July 2023.

“I love to have the level of excellence that comes from pushing the boundaries of the atelier and the research required to propose new ideas of beauty. I approach haute couture in a classical-modern way, and each collection is like a new chapter of the same story,” says Valli, who frames himself as a romantic poet but is also CEO and an astute brand director, with a vision that appeals to a collective sweet spot.

The tradition of creating one-off gowns for an elite clientele who might attend three fittings before a garment is finalised might seem an anachronism in a click-and-produce era that can see whole collections turned around in a matter of weeks. But the experience offers an unparalleled luxury for both creator and client alike, a transcendental experience that sees centuries-old savoir faire reimagined for today. “Haute couture is the extreme side of this fantasy. It is also a practice that nourishes ready to wear, so what we see in the shapes, volumes and techniques filters through from a couture dress to a T-shirt or a knit piece,” says Valli of the osmosis. “When creating haute couture, ‘real’ time seems to stop and you float into another time zone.”

A woman wearing a long green ball gown that is long at the back and short at the front with a black bow around her waist

Look 09, Giambattista Valli Haute Couture 25. The maison describes the collection as “celebrating the modernity of classics and the timeless art of Atelier”

The 57-year-old couturier intertwines the many threads of his upbringing into his metier. Valli attended secondary school at a strict Vatican liceo near the Vatican Museum, took a degree in art, studied fashion at the Instituto Europeo di Design in Rome and in 1987 did an illustration course at Central St Martins in London. In 1988 he entered high fashion as an assistant for Roberto Capucci, the designer known for his opulent colour and sculpted gowns, who became a magnet for Roman high society during the 1960s and enjoyed a renaissance in the 1980s.

“From Roberto Capucci, I can say that I learnt the philosophy of not being trendy; I learnt to step a little bit out of the spot of the moment and also to keep the human side intact,” says Valli. He went on to Fendi, which had Karl Lagerfeld at the helm, then Krizia in Milan. In 1997, he moved to Paris and the haute couture atelier of Emanuel Ungaro where, as first assistant, Valli learnt about the arts of flou and tailleur and the rituals including passing the pins in complete hush. Ungaro was so impressed by Valli’s light, fresh work that he made him Creative Director of ready to wear and the stores adored what he did.

Valli channelled that love of volume, of light, fresh romantic designs into his own label and started making a name for himself attracting socialites, creative types, young women and older women into his fan-club circle. Count in there Priyanka Chopra, Marina Ruy Barbosa, Eugenie Niarchos, Bianca Brandolini, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert (Valli made a macramé minidress with organza-chiffon cape for the party of her cliff- top Capri wedding in 2016), as well as more actors and royalty. They, in turn, became the best ambassadors for the brand and for its joyous, “go big or go home” dress-up daring.

“When I launched, all the houses had big stars, but we were independent and every cent counted. It’s almost like the Valli Girls chose us, We did not pay them to get dressed. They continue to be people who inspire me and they capture l’air du temps and I am nourished by that,” says Valli of his famously mercurial, nomadic, cultured muses and champions.

A man wearing a brown jacket, black top, necklace and sunglasses standing next to a woman with his arm round her wait who is wearing a green and black coord crop top and trousers

Giambattista Valli with muse Bianca Brandolini

In her 2013 book, Giambattista Valli, curator and fashion historian Pamela Golbin wrote of the designer, “Here is a story of duality, in which the exuberance of his Italian roots is artfully coupled with the formal rigour of the French.” She adds, “Complicity with women – through their body language and the gestures they adopt – is central to Valli’s practice because like a film director he directs his models as if they are actresses.”

In store and online that fantasy continues to seduce. “I have bought Giambattista Valli for most of my career. The brand consistently offers amazing and diverse occasionwear, from beautiful romantic floral gowns to tweed or bouclé suits and dress coats, which can be styled with a cute ballet pump or a sophisticated kitten heel depending on the occasion,” says Liane Wiggins, Head of Womenswear at Matches. “Giambattista Valli has a strong DNA and our customers continue to return for these well-cut, flattering pieces.” The store recently launched an exclusive capsule collection with the brand, which includes a floor-length silk fil coupé gown.

The current Giambattista Valli autumn/ winter 2023 line up finds raw-edge sleeveless tweed jumpsuits, semi-sheer tiered prairie dresses and a series of pieces including tunics and floral embroidered outsize jackets that were worn by men on the catwalk but are designed for every gender. “I do think there is fascination with beauty and how far one can push the fantasy,” says Valli of the zeitgeist. “The social-media message might be dreamy, critical or creative, but the platforms are a more democratic way to learn about this universe that was previously closed off and exclusive. It gives a chance for people to understand the work behind fashion.” He laughs as he adds, of his gowns that burst from the Instagram frame, “Image-wise, well, I have always loved big volumes, so that fits very well!”

Read more: Maryam Eisler’s photography series at legendary Parnham House 

From his new Paris HQ, Valli will lay the groundwork for the next chapter. “I would love the maison to sit alongside institutional houses like Dior and Chanel and to have that presence beyond my lifetime,” he says. “I want the brand to be coherent with a 100 per cent DNA that is about excellence and savoir faire. To do that, one has to move with consistency.”

With his 10-year-old son, Adam, Valli also has a young future to look after. “Right now, he is 100 per cent football! But he is very gentle, inquisitive, surprising, and I learn a lot from him,” says Valli. “How do I see myself age 70? Curious, still able to receive energy from beauty and wanting to share it. I hope I am going to surprise him, too.” This Roman in Paris knows his road.

Find out more: giambattistavalli.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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colourful orange, pink and green feathers
A woman's reflection by a feather sculptureKate MccGwire is a British artist whose childhood on the Norfolk Broads inspired her to create art around landscapes and wildlife. Often collaborating with fashion brands, MccGwire recently produced a limited edition scarf line with Co-Lab369. Here, Candice Tucker speaks with the artist about linking her nature focused art with the fashion world

LUX: How did you initially get involved with Co-Lab369 and what do you admire about them as a brand?
Kate MccGwire: I met Michelle Lindup, the cofounder of Co-Lab369, about 10-15 years ago in Paris. She was a collector and she bought some of my work at an exhibition. We have stayed in touch and every time I go to Paris, we have lunch together and this discussion about scarves happened during one of those lunches, and it evolved over a period of time.

A brown and dark purple feather print scarf

LUX: You’ve worked on many collaborative projects, from ESKMO, to Iris van Herpen to Helmut Lang. What do you enjoy about collaborative work, and how have you found your latest collaboration with Co-Lab369?
KM: It’s really interesting. It’s a very fine balance, trying to get that ethos straight and we’ve managed to do that. We have worked together for a quite a long time now putting it all together. It’s been a labour of love because Michelle has a really strong background in printed textiles and doing all the sampling, so that was her area of expertise, and my work translates really well into cloth and fabric. The quality of the silk is such a high standard that the lustra of the feathers really come out so it has been really exciting to see it come to life.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

I did a project with Ann Demeulemeester, and my work was on their catwalk show in Paris in 2015 and one of my proudest moments was to see all of these garments which I had worked on, walking down the catwalk in the Palais de Tokyo; it was just such a pinch yourself moment.

Two grey sculptures hung on a wall

LUX: Do you ever find it challenging making sure your vision aligns with the fashion house?
KM: It is always a discussion. There are things I am not prepared to do, I don’t want to change the colours of the feathers, for example. They are all the original colours of the feathers that I work with, and nothing is dyed. I wouldn’t die any feather on my work as I wouldn’t want the colours not to be original to the bird which I think is important.

Black and grey feather print scarf

LUX: You work in many mediums – from sculpture to film to drawing. How have you found incorporating fashion into your work?
KM: I love fashion. I am not a fashionista at all, but I really admire it. The thing I don’t like about fashion is it’s so seasonal. I like to buy something that lasts and is an iconic piece, like the dress I’m wearing now, an Issey Miyake dress. I know that it will be good for years, and I think that about the scarf. It’s not a seasonal thing, it’s not the seasons colour, it’s nature’s colour, it’s not going to go out of fashion, it is a limited edition beautiful aesthetic piece that will last for years.

A large feather print rug under a coffee table in a drawing room

There are a very small numbers of scarves. For some of them there are only 50 and for others, 200. It’s early days and at the moment, it’s a very small unique range. Someone who wants to buy one from me has already said “I want to frame it”. My work is very labour intensive and therefore quite expensive so it’s a way for people who love my work, to having something, enjoy the work, but not having to spend so much.

colourful orange, pink and green feathers

LUX: How do you feel about people wearing your art, and would you say that performance, or wearable, art is of particular importance now?
KM: I’m rather subversive in the fact that I love the idea of people wearing something they regard as ‘rats with wings’, pigeons, around their neck. It tickles my humour that that is a possibility, that you can transform someone’s opinion of something being disgusting to something beautiful.

white and grey flower petals zoomed in

LUX: The feather is something that features beautifully across your works. Why the feather?
KM: The feather is iconic. If you have a white feather, it is a symbol of defeat. Kids will pick up a feather and they will be Hiawatha, it’s a transformative object and they provide warmth and flight, and it also has a method of attraction and that all ties in with what we do to adorn ourselves, in fashion. The feathers do that to the bird; they attract a mate with their various colours.

A feather print scarf hung up around trees in a forest

LUX: In what ways does your art draw inspiration from, and connect, your current life and your childhood in Norfolk?
KM: My family had a boat, not a very smart boat, but every weekend we would go away on this boat and we would travel at reed height across very quiet waterways and I would be the one spotting the Bittern and the Marsh Harrier, like a tiny little vole or an otter if we were lucky and kingfishers if we were very lucky. Now, I live on the Thames, at Weybridge, and I see a kingfisher every single day and I feel like I could never leave that house because that’s such a special thing.

A brown, blue and amber feather print scarf

LUX: How do you incorporate sustainability into your work?
KM: My work is made with sustainable materials, they last a long time, although they are very delicate, provided they are looked after very well. We try and use recycled packaging; we are very conscious of that. We don’t use bubble wrap. We try and wrap as carefully as we can but it’s very difficult because the moment a piece leaves the studio it’s very difficult to insist things are done in the way you would do them in your studio, but we try.

A woman holding a black and grey feather print scarf around her back

LUX: Do you think contemporary art holds a political or fundamental duty to contribute to sustainable changes?
KM: I think so. Going to art shows and seeing them put down a carpet on a Monday and take it up on Sunday and put it in a bin is terrible. If they organised themselves properly they could find a homeless charity and they could use the carpet for 20-15 homes, but they don’t do that; they put it in the bin. Everyone has a duty. Art is a glamourous world, so some people aren’t interested in it.

Read more: Millie Jason Foster on supporting female artists

LUX: What next? Will you return to sculpture or continue in wearable mediums?
KM: Of course, this is very much a tiny fraction of my practice. I have an exhibition opening at the end of this month with Iris van Herpen and she has selected my work to go along with her grand retrospective. I also have work going to Miami at the Untitled Art Fair, with a two-person booth there with Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, I have loads of commissions and working very hard.

Find out more: katemccgwire.com

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Reading time: 6 min
clothes on a rack
clothes on a rack

Step into Autumn with an edit from personal shopping service luminaire.com. Compiled by Harriet Quick and Isabel Froemming

grey gloves

Elbow room
Opera gloves are the accessory for now, perfectly bringing a touch of haute couture elegance to casual looks. This above-the-elbow pair by stealth-luxury brand The Row are cut from the softest lamb leather and lend a soignée touch to the simple slip dress. Think Audrey Hepburn in breakfast at Tiffany’s and add a cocktail ring on top.

therow.com

A gold necklace with a black flower and diamonds in the centre

Adorn me
Emblematic costume jewellery from Virginie Viard‘s Métiers d’art collection for Chanel creates a strong statement with the Byzantine motifs that Coco Chanel adored. The collection was shown in Dakar, Senegal, celebrating the vibrant culture and craft of the region. Combine and layer chains for a custard décolleté or simply clasp over a plain T-shirt.

chanel.com

a woman wearing a black and white gingham short sleeve shirt and mid length matching skirt

Crinkle cut
Dior’s short-sleeve gingham skirt suit with its mid-calf hem and crunchy techno cotton fabric can be rolled in a suitcase and will solve many a style dilemma. Inspired by chanteuses such as Juliette Gréco and Edith Piaf, Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri‘s AW23 collection tactfully strikes the balance of combining elegance and everyday ease.

dior.com

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

A woman wearing a brown blazer, burgundy skirt and boots

A fine vintage
The tailored skirt suit with an echo of pure 1980s glamour comes back into its own this season. Bruno Sialelli delivers a powerful version for Lanvin with a strong-shouldered single-breasted jacket and button-through mid-thigh skirt in rich Bordeaux red. Dare to wear with tonal thigh-high boots to the boardroom and beyond.

lanvin.com

A hair tie with a green ball and blue cube on it

Blowing baubles
Boucheron Creative Director Claire Choisne channelled her love of the playful and unexpected in the new geometric High Jewellery collection, presented in Memphis-era boxing ring in the Boucheron private apartment in Paris. These sapphire and mother-of-pearl hair bubbles are set in lightweight titanium and are a spectacular way to decorate your ponytail.

boucheron.com

A blue lace maxi skirt

Reveal and conceal
Pieter Mulier, Alaïa’s Creative Director, excels in body-glorifying silhouettes and intelligent sexiness. This semi-sheer lace maxi skirt is juxtaposed with a silk-dupion hooded bodysuit for quietly powerful after-dark dressing. This season’s exposure is all about reclaiming the body and putting your physique directly on show.

maison-alaia.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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Model in a sparkly designer suit posing by a dark bacground
Model in a sparkly designer suit posing by a dark bacground

The Blaze Milano Gliss Bolero from the Fall ’23 Collection

Corrada Rodriguez d’Acri is a former fashion editor and stylist, and one of the founding members of Blazé Milano, the a hot Italian luxury brand on the womenswear scene. Here, she speaks to LUX in honour of the brand’s 10 year anniversary

LUX: Tell us about where your interest in fashion began.
Corrada Rodriguez d’Acri: Styling and design have been part of my life since my youngest years. I have drawings of the cartoon Jessica Rabbit in various outfits which I must have done in my first days at school, and photo albums of my youngest sister dressed up in my mom’s clothes, patiently posing for me and my imaginary fashion shoots (…I was around 14-15 years old by then). Later on my mother helped me prepare a design portfolio the year before applying for college. I went to NYC and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, and from there I never stopped.

LUX: Did your upbringing have an influence on your designs?
CR: Most definitely. I have had the incredible fortune to grow up in very colourful and creative homes; my mother is an incredible aesthete, along with being an architect. She has always brought new life to old family properties. Watching her absorbing each step of this process has made me confident with my sense of proportion, colour palettes and composition. Through my mother I had the chance to help restore and renovate – in particular I love retouching antique frescos – and this has become a hobby I cherish deeply.

Corrada Rodriguez d'Acri wearing a Blaze blazer and red shows against an orange wall

Corrada Rodriguez d’Acri

LUX: Can you tell us the story of how you met your co-founders, and when the concept for Blazé Milano was born?
CR: We met through mutual friends and immediately connected, but became close whilst working for Italian Elle, where we worked together as stylists. Blazé was born in those days, around 2012, when we were ready to start an adventure of our own. In 2013, we opened our doors to the world.

LUX: What were the biggest challenges you faced when creating the brand?
CR: At the beginning the hardest challenge was finding the perfect way to divide duties between the three of us and the best way to interact with each other. We were new at everything, so we basically reinvented ourselves as partners, entrepreneurs, and strategic thinkers.

The Serama Bomber from the Fall ’23 Collection

We started on our very own, with no financial help, and we could only count on each other. As the brand continues to grow, everyday is a surprising challenge. We have never taken anything for granted, since even our smallest successes have helped to consolidate this fulfilling present.

LUX: Do you think that fashion design is still a male-dominated space?
CR: Not really. In the past it has been, but now we have Victoria Beckham, Chanel’s Virginie Viard , the Olsen sisters with the amazing The Row, Gabriela Hearst with Chloe and her own brand, Phoebe Philo back soon, Isabel Marant, Dior by Maria Grazia, the Attico girls, Zimmermann, and many more.

Model wearing a brown blazer paired with a red button up

The Everyday Blazer from the Fall’23 Collection

LUX: Ten years on, what do you consider the brand’s greatest achievement?
CR: That our blazers, thanks to our style, aesthetics and trademark Smiley pocket, are recognized worldwide.

LUX: How would you describe the quintessential Blazé Milano aesthetic?
CR: Blazé is timeless, effortless, chic, and wearable anytime, anywhere. When you buy our pieces, you can mix them throughout the seasons.

LUX: What is your favourite piece in the Fall 2023 collection?
CR: The Serama bomber, an oversized jacket with maxi shoulders and an ‘80s vibe – one of my favourites in fashion history.

Sparkly yellow velvet jacket and blue trousers photographed by a digital camera

A shot from the Fall ’23 presentation featuring the brand’s iconic Smiley pockets

LUX: How does Blazé Milano engage with sustainability and the climate crisis?
CR: Since day one we have committed to using the most natural textiles and accessories in the industry. We produce only in Italy; every item is made by Italian artisans and companies, and we are very proud of it.

We committed back in early 2020 with the Green Future project, to reduce the impact of our activities on the planet. Green Future Project is an online platform giving companies and private citizens the opportunity to make a difference and reduce their carbon footprint. A tree is planted with every Blazé purchase.

It is difficult to be 100% sustainable in the fashion world, but by manufacturing long-lasting garments with high-end fabrics, that don’t follow trends in order to never be out of fashion, is already a small but important achievement.

Model in a black dress and heels wearing a grey bomber jacket

Another shot of the Serama bomber

LUX: Would you ever expand into menswear?
CR: We introduced the Daybreak blazer a couple of seasons ago in a style borrowed from menswear, with the addition of our Smiley pockets, a unisex look. We also have a collection of carryover knitwear, marinière and full colour, that can be worn by everyone. Our aesthetic has a masculine feel, but always with a practical feminine touch. Sometimes matched with ruffled shirts or flowy dresses, there is a ’when boy meets girl’ feeling in all the collections.

A complete menswear collection?

We’ll see, maybe one day!

LUX: How do you envision the brand will have changed and evolved by its 20th birthday?
CR: It is a very difficult answer to give, but we really hope to make Blazé a company with solid values and a great team, promoting true Italian elegance as sustainably as possible.

All images courtesy of Blazé Milano

Find out more: www.blaze-milano.com

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Model in padded silver jacket and matching silver boots walks the runway
Model in padded silver jacket and matching silver boots walks the runway

Lucrezia Grazioli’s design on the runway

Istituto Marangoni unveiled the collections of its ten most outstanding designers in their graduate showcase this month. Trudy Ross spoke to School Director Valérie Berdah Levy and Designer of the Year Hyun Jik Yoo on sustainability, creativity, and digital fashion

If you were anywhere near Pennington Street last Tuesday 11th of July, you would have caught sight of a number of impeccably dressed young people, formidable in dark glasses, loose bold cuts and striking accessories, walking the streets of East London. There would be no need to ask where they were going.

Unit 2, 110 Pennington Street, E1, was buzzing with the sexy and stylish milieu of London in anticipation of Istituto Marangoni’s graduate showcase. The large queue was slowly brought into the dark, industrial chic venue, lit by huge digital screens and pumping with music, to await the uniquely ‘phygital’ fashion show, also being streamed live in the Metaverse.

Natalie Kabelacova’s design on the ruway

Ten students from the renowned fashion school were chosen to have their collections debuted to the audience, with each creating six designs engaging with the theme DISTORT/DISRUPT. The chosen few, all with their own unique style, were Angelynne Viorenique Andersen, Anna Savchenko, Giju Kim, Hammotal Blair Hen, Hyun Jik Yoo, Jiaxi Zhuang, Lucrezia Grazioli, Natálie Kabeláčová, Rudraksh Singh, and Ummehani Kanchwala.

Follow LUX on Instagram: @luxthemagazine

As the models, prepped and preened by The London Academy of Freelance Makeup and Unite Haircare, walked the runway, the walls behind them projected digital interpretations of the designs they wore, featuring shots and videos of the models edited into colourful and dramatic landscapes. This, compounded by the sea of mobile phones snapping and streaming the event, marked a clear step into the realm of the digital experience, even in the physical space of the show.

Design from Anna Savchenko’s ‘Not Broken’ collection

When asked about the future of digital fashion, Director of the Istituto Marangoni London Valérie Berdah Levy told LUX: “…the Metaverse is the future. We started having fashion shows on the Metaverse just two years ago. We opened the school in Dubai last year and we had the first show on the Metaverse; it’s definitely the future for this. Even at school level, shortly we will have classes on the Metaverse and in the Metaverse.”

Angelynne Andersen walking the catwalk alongside a model wearing her design

The show also engaged with sustainability and responsible fashion, with Anna Savchenko from Russia using paper as the primary material in her designs, while Czech student Natálie Kabeláčová used only sustainable fabrics in her sherpa-inspired designs, and Angelynne Viorenique used scrap fabrics and yarns from the university to create her colourful and extravagant collection ‘Shedding’. The Istituto is introducing a new MA in Responsible Fashion this October; Valérie Berdah Levy noted the importance of teaching students to be both responsible and creative.

One of Designer of the Year, Hyun Jik Yoo’s designs

The winner of the Designer of the Year Award was announced as Hyun Jik Yoo, who completed a lap of the catwalk to roaring applause, accompanied by the model wearing his favourite design. His dramatic, brooding collection was inspired by Jack the Ripper, the East London murderer who Hyun Jik told us has lived near his home in Whitechapel, not far from the show’s venue. He explained that he was playing with ideas of concealing and revealing in his designs to speak to the murderer’s desire to be known and feared, while also hidden and anonymous. This translated into the use of sheer fabric and rips in his designs, working alongside thick layers and dark hoods.

Read more: Kering’s Marie-Claire Daveu on the Future of Sustainability

Hyun Jik Yoo walking the catwalk after being announced as Designer of the Year

Hyun Jik shyly told LUX that he was “really proud” of himself, and said his next steps were to rest up and then, “if I have a chance, if someone wants my brand name, I would like to set up my own brand.”

Find out more: www.istitutomarangoni.com

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People looking at fabrics on a table
materials hung up mannequins

Sustainable samples at Kering’s Material Innovation Lab, Milan

When Kering, the French luxury conglomerate that owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta, introduced a radical sustainability programme just over ten years ago, the rest of the industry was bemused. Now the group is seen as visionary. Marie-Claire Daveu, the group’s Chief Sustainability and Institutional Affairs Officer, who oversaw the programme and introduced the first EP&L in the luxury industry, speaks to Darius Sanai about what happens next
A blonde woman wearing a black turtle neck and a white coat

Marie-Claire Daveu

Darius Sanai: How has fashion progressed in sustainability in the past ten years?
Marie-Claire Daveu: I see a big difference. I joined Kering in September 2012 and I think [Kering CEO] François-Henri Pinault was really pioneering. We were a little bit alone when we spoke about this topic and about how we can measure what we do. For us, from the start, it was really key to have the same approach to sustainability that we have for financial commitments – to have KPI metrics and competitive targets. Now, if we look around, we can see more and more that there is better awareness from many companies. The data and the challenges linked with climate change and biodiversity are now well known and recognised by the majority of companies.

The outside window of a Gucci store

Gucci, one of Kering’s iconic brands

DS: Are words being backed up by action?
MCD: Yes, and we need to act operationally. Here are two examples. First, the Fashion Pact [a fashion-industry initiative created by French President Emmanuel Macron and François- Henri Pinault, presented at the G7 in 2019]. We now have more than 250 companies involved, and we have been able to put in place a Collective Virtual Power Purchase Agreement, to buy renewable energy together. Another example is the Regenerative Fund for Nature that we created with Conservation International, linked to regenerative agriculture.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

DS: Will regenerative agriculture become mainstream in fashion?
MCD: It is difficult to say what the future looks like, but I hope so. I think it’s reasonable because you have positive impact on the environmental side and you take the community into account. It’s different to conventional agriculture, and also to organic agriculture, which sometimes can be challenging for communities. You have to accept it takes time because the transformation takes at least three years. For companies like ours, that use cotton, silk and wool, you have to also create a sustainable supply chain.

People looking at fabrics on a table

The Kering Material Innovation Lab team at work in Milan

DS: How can companies with fewer resources match your idealism?
MCD: I don’t think I am idealistic. I’d say I am optimistic, not idealistic. I try to be pragmatic. I am conscious about the challenges, about the issues. My strong conviction is, if you are a company and you do not include this topic in your strategy, I think it is questionable whether the company will survive. Take energy, for example. Energy is crucial to a business model. If you don’t think about efficiency you will have a problem. So we link back – if more and more investors and analysts pay attention to this topic, it will be a challenge to have access to credit if you do not. You will be able to compare companies against each other with metrics.

DS: President Biden just overturned the recent Congress ban on using ESG metrics in investment. Is there still a danger that support will just be in the EU?
MCD: One of the key criteria is that all over the world, consumers are speaking about these things. We won’t have the choice. It is better to anticipate and be well prepared. It is very interesting to see that even in some countries where the regulation and the policies are different, private companies themselves are investing in what we call ESG criteria. Even in countries where the regulation is different, it is still in their interests.

A forest with a stream running through it

View of a Kering reforestation programme in Guyana

DS: So what is the biggest challenge?
MCD: The big challenge is the question of speed. How fast will we be able to transform the business model to make the ecological transition and to really integrate and scale the topic? I don’t have the answer today, because I think it will take us a few years to do this.

DS: Is there a governance issue in less developed economies?
MCD: We have to maximise our operational involvement on the ground for our projects. Each time, we identify an NGO that is global but also local to follow the project and to be really involved, so we can ensure that what we have planned is really implemented on the ground. That’s not a perfect answer, but we want to be sure that what we decide to do becomes a reality. It’s really key to identify the right partner to do this. If I am in Mongolia, I need to know I have the right partner on the ground and, if not, I will come in from Paris and check.

The outside of a Balenciaga store

Balenciaga, another of Kering’s most renowned brands

DS: Do luxury consumers make decisions based around sustainability?
MCD: I am convinced that, for the luxury customer, sustainability is part of the quality, part of the reason they buy a luxury product. For them, it is important that the raw materials are being produced in a way that pays attention to people and the planet.

Read more: Fausto Puglisi Interview: Refashioning Roberto Cavalli

DS: Do consumers understand, say, the link between biodiversity and climate change?
MCD: Do people always make those connections? No, but they are very aware of climate change – they see and live it. It is now something that has already happened. True, sometimes there can seem a distant connection between buying a product and the impact on the environment or biodiversity, and some people will say that their impact is nothing compared to that of a factory. But really, I see a change. The new generation are afraid of what is happening, and we speak more and more about what is happening. It was not the case before, but today, everyone has something to say about the topic.

Find out more: kering.com/en/sustainability

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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a man wearing a pink jacket standing by a pink wall with his arms folded
a man wearing a pink jacket standing by a pink wall with his arms folded

Nachson Mimran, co-founder and Creative Executive Officer of to.org, and Creative Director and Chairman of the Board of The Alpina Gstaad

Impact entrepreneur, tech investor, art collector and philanthropist: Nachson Mimran wants to change the way we invest. Here he shares with LUX what is exciting him now

To.org, a platform that Nachson Mimran co-founded in 2015 with his brother Arieh, might be the most influential collective you’ve never heard of. Using the collective descriptor Creative Activists, this motley crew of VC investors, philanthropists, activists, futurists, kids and creatives have orchestrated provocations with social and cultural purpose and to drive change.

Children dancing outside on the grass with clouds in the sky

Members of the community who will benefit from to.org’s Music and Arts Centre at the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, northern Uganda. Photo by Estevan Padilla, courtesy of to.org

These include 2022’s The Throne, a waste- plastic 3D-printed port-a-potty, installed next to a demountable Jean Prouvé house in the gardens of The Alpina Gstaad, which provokes visitors to consider waste plastic as a resource to solve global issues such as the lack of sanitation infrastructure. Then there’s 2019’s Naughty Barbie, whose creation provoked Mattel to confront its use of virgin plastics and its role in the global scourge of ocean-destined plastics. Alongside his work with to.org, Mimran is Creative Director and Chairman of the Board at The Alpina Gstaad, and Provocateur in Chief of several organisations, including Extreme E.

Every

a white dripping icing on a diamond shaped object

Courtesy of EVERY CO.

For me, a brand is changemaking if its product overlaps with the UN’s SDGs and delivers something people need. Every creates animal-free proteins, such as Every Egg White , which behaves exactly like animal-derived egg white.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Chef Patrick Lassaque used it in macaroons at Chantal Guillon, San Francisco. Every also launched , a vegan, zero-sugar beverage with a gentle alcoholic kick.

theeverycompany.com

SPAARKD

A woman wearing a white sleeveless hoodie

Sleeveless hooded sweater by Grounded Absurdity. Proceeds from sales will support creatives in northern Uganda’s Bidi Bidi refugee settlement. Courtesy of SPAARKD

SPAARKD is a new platform from the team behind Pangaia, which aims to democratise the $3T fashion industry and eliminate the harmful materials and production practices of the fashion world. SPAARKD gives anyone the opportunity to create their own products, based on SPAARKD’s designs and Pangaia’s eco-materials library, without the typical barriers such as minimum orders and complicated logistics. Using SPAARKD, we launched Grounded Absurdity. Proceeds from sales of our first drop supports creatives in a refugee settlement.

www.spaarkd.com

Mamou-Mani

A white cup on a straw mat

Courtesy of Mamou-Mani Ltd

Arthur Mamou-Mani is an eco-parametric architect who uses materials such as fermented sugar and wood as sustainable materials in digitally designed architecture and 3D print furniture.

Read more: Jean-Baptiste Jouffray on the future of the world’s oceans

I have huge admiration for his designs, his commitment to sustainability and innovation, and his belief in making cutting-edge fabrication available to us all, as seen at FabPub, the digital fabrication lab he founded in London’s Hackney.

mamou-mani.com

Care.e.on

green and brown mini skincare bottles on an orange background

My friend Madison Headrick launched this on-the-go luxury skincare range. It’s a game changer for people who travel a lot, and for those of us who pack light for the gym. Care.e.on is cruelty free, removes the hassle of decanting products and packaging is sustainable. The En Route Essentials 5pc Kit is my go-to for long flights.

careeon.com

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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A woman standing on a small white stage wearing a leopard print dress
A man wearing a navy t-shirt and black and white jacket

Fausto Puglisi, Creative Director of Roberto Cavalli

Fausto Puglisi, Creative Director of Roberto Cavalli, has revitalised the Italian fashion house, which found high-octane fame in the 2000s, turning it into a hot-ticket brand for Gen-Z. Puglisi talks to LUX about glamour, passion and reimagining Cavalli for a more inclusive age

LUX: You have always had strong links to the Roberto Cavalli brand. What made you join it fully in 2020?
Fausto Puglisi: Roberto Cavalli is a brand I am totally comfortable with. It has always been a brand linked to women’s freedom, to seduction. The seduction that Roberto Cavalli represents today for women is not to please anyone but herself. It is, above all, linked to freedom, empowerment and dynamism. The Cavalli woman is sexy and glamorous- she owns her own body. I love seeing my Cavalli far away from any ideas of misogyny, closure and armouring. These do not reflect my woman, who is free and always advocates for freedom.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: Roberto Cavalli has a particular place in fashion history in dressing music stars. Is this a legacy you with to continue?
FP: Everything began with music in my career. My biggest supporters have always been music stars and I will continue to support them with Roberto Cavalli. The brand represents a continuous bond with music and so it will remain in the future. It comes to me spontaneously and naturally.

A sketch of Jennifer Lopez wearing a zebra print dress with comments around it

Sketch for a custom-made pieces by Roberto Cavalli, with Puglisi’s comments for Jennifer Lopez in 2022

LUX: How is Cavalli best worn- as a prize piece or as a full outfit?
FP: Cavalli can be both a full outfit and a prize piece. I think of different women and aesthetics when I imagine the pieces I develop for my collections. I am thinking of women who could wear a Cavalli total look, but also of those who could be defined as “not for Cavalli”, but who would be able to wear a beautiful pair of Roberto Cavalli trousers – perhaps combined with vintage knitwear pieces for their parents, or even a Cavalli biker jacket with a splendid skirt by another famous brand.

LUX: What are your favourite pieces from the SS23 collection>?
FP: I love all of them. In particular, the slip dresses in the Wild Leda print, which I wanted to name in honour of Cavalli’s wild heritage. Also from the new collection I love all the flat folds on the clothes that recall old Hollywood, a sort of Babylon in Puglisi Sauce.

LUX: Any print you are particularly fond of?
FP: I love the Wild Leda print. Roberto Cavalli started out as a painter, and, as he transitioned into fashion, he continued to design his prints by looking at art and historical paintings, and interpreting them in his own way. Wild Leda is a celebration of beauty as a female superpower. It is a celebration of spontaneous sensuality, of pleasure in nature, à la Cavalli.

A woman standing on a small white stage wearing a leopard print dress

An image from the Roberto Cavalli SS23 campaign

LUX: Who are the ultimate Cavalli women to you today?
FP: For sure, I would say J.LO, Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift.

LUX: Do you feel that the Y2K trend has been good for the brand?
FP: Absolutely. The kids who grew up with Roberto Cavalli are now about 25 years old and experience the brand as a beautiful memory linked to Britney Spears, Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé of the early 2000s and Jennifer Lopez. There is certainly a very strong bond between the new generations and that of Roberto Cavalli in the early 2000s.

LUX: How do you feel about revisiting iconic eras, such as the 2000s, through clothes?
FP: I love it. I was living in the US in the early 2000s when Roberto Cavalli was the big superbrand. First I live in NY, then I moved to LA. Roberto Cavalli was Hollywood, the maximum glamour possible. It was blaring music, a supercar that races tirelessly.

A sketch of Taylor Siwft wearing a sparkly purple long sleeve crop top and maxi skirt with comments around it

Sketch for a custom-made pieces by Roberto Cavalli, with Puglisi’s comments for Taylor Swift in 2023

LUX: What are your thoughts on consumerism in fashion?
FP: I believe in everything that is done with the heart and with passion. Therefore, I do not believe in unbridled consumerism for its own sake.

Read more: Donatella Versace Interview: Doing It Her Way

LUX: Do you like the idea of passing clothes down from generation to generation?
FP: I believe in quality and emotion. Fashion must convey an emotion, so it is right that if a garment is beautiful, well made and able to excite and last over time, it can be worn through various generations. Our latest collection has an example of this in the kaftan, which recalls the famous ones worn by Marta Marzotto. The piece was reworked and adapted to modern times. It represents an ideal, inclusive piece that can be worn by one woman, and then reworn by her daughter or granddaughter who uses it to go dancing in Ibiza. The cuts and shapes of the dress change slightly with the times, but the attitude is the same.

Find out more: robertocavalli.com

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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orange suitcases and rucksack in front of a black sportscar
orange suitcases and rucksack in front of a black sportscar
Ava Doherty reports on Tumi and McLaren’s collaboration on a limited-edition luggage collection titled ‘Unpack Tomorrow’, appreciating the history of the British motorsport brand through motorcar themed designs

The quintessentially English motorsport brand, McLaren, has paired with the travel and business manufacturer Tumi to produce unique limited edition travel pieces to commemorate McLaren’s 60th anniversary.

The collection was unveiled at the final event of the brand’s Spring 2023 campaign, ‘ Unpack Tomorrow’ which championed the Tumi crew member and McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris.

Lando Norris holding an orange rucksack and standing next to an orange suitacase

Tumi and McLaren’s commemorative partnership aims to combine fashion, technology and lifestyle. The brands aimed to highlight their shared ethos of functionality, modern design dialogue and a forward-facing outlook.

Goran Ozbolt, Chief Designer art McLaren Automotive commented, “This edition of luxury travel pieces also celebrates our founder Bruce McLaren’s passion for looking to the future, pushing the boundaries, and matching effortless functionality with a modern design language that reflects the ethos of both companies.”

A black suicase next to an orange car

New technology incorporated into their design process includes ultra-durable Tegris composite material, flexible CFX carbon fibre accents, and the integrated USB charger of the Velocity Backpack.

Tumi aims to further globalise its partnership with McLaren with an international content series at key Grand Prix races featuring influencers, community engagement and exclusive prizes.

Black suitcase and luggage next to a car

Tumi’s Creative Director, Victor Sanz said, “We are thrilled to have collaborated on this collection with McLaren, utilising their famous papaya colour and combining modern, lightweight materials to create luggage, bags and accessories that celebrate their 60th anniversary.”

Find out more: tumi.com/McLarenCollection

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women in white ad red sparkly outfits and a man wearing a white suit with another in a black jacket and white t shirt

K11, the multidisciplinary art, culture, retail, fashion and design organisation created by Hong Kong mover and shaker Adrian Cheng, is staging a show in the city celebrating 200 years of couture, together with the V&A.

It’s an auspicious occasion: Cheng has just been given the responsibility to reestablish the territory’s reputation as an international cultural hub, after three years of isolation caused by COVID. During that time, the cultural and touristic pendulum has swung towards Seoul, with the opening of Frieze Seoul, Singapore, which has seen much incoming financial and cultural capital, and Bangkok. It’s a big ask, but if there’s anyone who can do it, it is Cheng, scion of one of Hong Kong’s biggest dynasties and also a cultural statesman and innovator with a visionary understanding of east, west and the future.

Meanwhile, The Love Of Couture: Artisanship In Fashion Beyond Time curated in collaboration with the V&A and production designer, William Chang Suk Ping, aims to to bring together Western European traditions with eastern innovation, highlighting the extraordinary creativity, history and craftsmanship of couture.

The opening of the exhibition was celebrated at K11 Night with some of the most influential people in Asia, particularly from the fashion industry.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

a man in a white shirt lifting his glass at a dinner
two women with their arms arund their waist and one is wearing diamond ear muffs
people standing for a photo at a party
two men and a woman at a dinner

K11 collaborated with with the V&A, assembling a team of revered industry veterans and emerging fashion designers, who, within the exhibition, explore the evolution of fashion across time and space and celebrate the next generation of designers.

Read more: Adrian Cheng On Brands To Watch In 2023

Cheng says, “Fashion throughout history is reflective of how traditions, craftsmanship, creativity and societies continue to evolve. I am thrilled to present this exhibition in collaboration with the V&A and work with our brilliant designers who have all in their own individual way, reinvented and modernised history with their unique perspective and talent. This collaboration truly reflects my mission to create a deeper cultural exchange between east and west by providing a platform for next generation talent.”

The Love of Couture: Artisanship in Fashion Beyond Time Exhibition is on until Sunday 29th January at the K11 Art & Cultural Centre

Find out more: www.k11experience.com/love-of-couture

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In the fourth part of our Driving Force series from the AW 2022/23 issue, LUX’s car reviewer gets behind the wheel of the Maserati Levante Granlusso

As the car industry moves into its new phase focused on electric and, in due course, autonomous motors, presumably there will be shifts in priority for consumers. Previously, you may have chosen a car for its exciting engine noise and performance advantage over rivals. In an autonomous, electric-car future, these factors will be uniform: all cars will go at the same speed and make the same (lack of) emotive sound.

So how will they be distinguished? Or will they not be distinguished at all? Will cars become like road-going versions of train carriages, the space inside them hired out by passengers?

It would be logical to presume that personal (as opposed to shared) automotive transportation will continue for the wealthier consumer and, with differentiation in the performance stakes no longer possible, design and luxury will come more to the forefront.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Designing a car’s interior to look striking is not as simple as creating a fashion collaboration for a sneaker, though. Like a plane’s, the interior of a car has to adhere to specific stipulations for safety, space, comfort and security. Materials also need to handle years of being sat on and scraped by (luxury) behinds. Which is why, we reflected, as we sat in the Maserati Levante Granlusso, it is rare to see an interior with this much style. The most luxury car interiors are fairly interchangeable. Not so this one.

It was designed by the Italian fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna – a special edition that is worth seeking out. There were swathes of what looked like men’s suit fabric along the seats and doors, and it had a delicious boudoir feel.

We subjected the Maserati to a longer test than usual, over a period of weeks rather than days, because this is a car designed as everyday luxury transportation, just as your Birkin is designed as an everyday luxury carrier of stuff. If you’re going to be using the car every day and will be seeing a lot of its interior, then it deserves serious consideration on this alone from anyone in the market for a mid-size luxury SUV. Everyone who experienced the car – friends, relatives and so on – commented on the interior. It’s a comfortable car under any circumstances, but the design touches give it a distinctiveness that is unique to this edition.

brown and leather and black car seats and a steering wheel

Embodying function and Italian flair, Maserati’s new mid-size luxury SUV is particularly distinctive for its fashion house-designed interior

Before we go further, let’s elaborate on the term “mid-size luxury SUV”. A few years back cars came in simple categories. Now there’s an infinite variety of what the industry calls “crossovers”: vehicles that are fluid in terms of categorisation, sometimes the better for it, too, and sometimes not, if you look at the more curious attempts at merging luxury, high-performance and bling. Fortunately, Maserati does not fall into this trap. It is a relatively simple, medium-sized (that is to say, pretty big by European standards and quite small by American standards), sporting off-road vehicle, the type seen on school runs and in luxury shopping streets globally.

Its shape is more quiet and harmonious than out-there and ostentatious, and all the better for it, unless your primary aim is to be noticed. It has a touch of Italian flair – more so than its Germanic rivals, like the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5 – but not so much that it shouts at you. Unusually for an SUV, it attracted many compliments from people we encountered, and no inner-city anti-car hostility.

To drive, it felt a bit bigger than it is. The flowing shape means that it is hard to judge where the ends of the car are (the 360-degree camera was an advantage here). In a car with a Maserati badge, we expected something focused on performance and agility (as much as possible for a large, tall car) but, actually, the Maserati is aimed more towards the comfort end of the spectrum. This was fine most of the time, except occasionally the ride did get more lumpy than in a true luxury car, such as a Mercedes E-Class, and it was a shame not to have a bit more excitement on a twisty road. That is the essential compromise of these sport- utility vehicles – they encompass engineering challenges for the way they drive and ride. Still, it hasn’t hurt their sales and it would be a very sensitive driver or passenger who noted this.

Read more: Driving Force: Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid

One thing you may notice, depending on how mechanically aware you are, is the engine. If you are part of a (now dwindling) demographic for whom an Italian car brand means a glorious, smooth and powerful engine, you will need to readjust for the diesel engine. It gets the car around effectively enough, but it’s not going to make you feel like a racing driver. It is functional, which is slightly out of kilter with the car’s flair.

And it is flair that we keep going back to. In a world of increasingly homogeneous cars notable for their efficiency, Maserati has succeeded in making a comfortable, functional, spacious everyday car with a splash of luxury. That is an attractive trait in itself, and a very nice place to be when you are sitting in everyday traffic surrounded by your Zegna-fabric interior.

Find out more: maserati.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX

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A ginger model with a wearing a white shirt with a camera next to her head
A ginger model wearing a brown and grey robe with her hand on her head

A portrait of the multitalented Lily Cole

The model and campaigner talks to Ella Johnson about environmental action, NFTs and how fashion can never be truly sustainable

1. What was your first piece of eco-activism?

Without it being intentionally connected to environmentalism, I guess it was campaigning against fur and turning vegetarian as a kid.

2. Why are you an “accidental entrepreneur”?

I’ve never resonated with the idea of business or entrepreneurship. I just have ideas and business has been a good vehicle for executing them, so it’s “accidental”. Perhaps “incidental entrepreneur” is a better way of saying it, as it’s an incidental by-product of following ideas.

3. What is the aim of your 2020 book and ongoing podcast, Who Cares Wins?

To draw attention to climate solutions and to foster a culture of diversity, dialogue and collaboration.

4. Who would be your ultimate guest for the podcast?

Thich Nhat Hanh. Aware it is too late for that.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

5. Why should we take an intersectional approach to environmentalism?

Because all our issues are interconnected and interwoven, both social and environmental. And because the key to embracing biodiversity involves embracing diversity on all levels, such as cultural diversity and diversity of thought.

6. The Queen asks you what to do. What do you tell her?

I ask her to listen to, support and champion indigenous voices. 

7. What was your greatest revelation while researching your book?

That we could halt global warming, draw down more than 15 years of carbon emissions, enhance global biodiversity and essentially stop the sixth mass extinction through a very simple, and technically possible, action: stopping most animal farming.

A child sitting on a sofa with tights on and a sign over her neck that says 'Don't Wer Fur'

Cole, aged around 10, with an early activist fashion statement

8. Can we really stop global heating?

As above, and through many other solutions I look at in Who Cares Wins. Although it might not be possible to stop global heating in the short-to-medium term, we can potentially stop it in the longer term. And we can lessen the extent at which it accelerates, so it’s not too late to do something.

 9. Fashion can never be sustainable. True or false? 

If Adam and Eve swapping out fig leaves for, say, maple-tree leaves, was fashion, then yes, it can be. If most fashion remains made up of petrochemicals – 70 per cent of new fabrics are composed from plastic – and using non-circular business models, then no, probably not.

10. Why did you move to Portugal?

My daughter’s father is Portuguese and it felt like a good move to be closer to his family during the pandemic. Then I fell in love with the country: good nature, weather and people.

11. Have you ever bought an NFT?

Interesting question. I nearly did, as one was originally attached to a tapestry artwork I bought by Éva Ostrowska.

12. What’s your favourite building?

Sant’Ivo in Rome. The floor plan has a weird shape, like a bee. When Borromini drew the plans, he had to put the centre of the compass outside the ecclesiastical space to make it, which some interpret as a nod to the new idea that Earth was not the centre of the universe.

13. Tate Modern or Pompidou?

Tate Modern.

14. Is success about talent or effort?

It takes both, I’d think.

15. Which fictional character would you most want to have dinner with, why, and where?

Ada, from the novel by Nabokov. To pick her brain and play her games. On a sun-kissed beach.

Read more: An Interview with KAWS

16. What next, creatively?

Writing, writing, writing more.

Season 2 of Lily Cole’s Who Cares Wins podcast is available to stream now: lilycole.com/podcast

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX

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A woman wearing a white dress standing next to a lit up tree in a desert
A woman wearing a white dress standing next to a lit up tree in a desert

Build your future-facing autumn wardrobe with these innovative eco pieces. Compiled by Ella Johnson

A pleated nude colour bag

Founded in 2019 in New York, vegan brand Alkeme Atelier combines the four elements (earth, water, fire, air) to make something new. This Water Moon Satchel is made from a scratch-resistant vegan leather, with a polyester lining made from 10 recycled plastic bottles.

A white shirt with a dark pattern on the sleeves and sides

This silk-twill Chloé shirt was designed with the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, the print inspired by an agate from its archives. It was made in partnership with Madagascan supplier Akanjo, certified by the World Trade Fair Organisation for prioritising employee pay.

chloe.com

Wide leg blue jeans

The New-York based, Uruguayan-born sustainable-luxury designer Gabriela Hearst has teamed up with E.L.V. Denim – a London brand that upcycles post-consumer waste denim – to create the chic 1970s-inspired Foster Jean, produced in East London.

gabrielahearst.com

off-white trainers with writing on the side

These genderless grape-leather sneakers by digital-native sustainable brand Pangaia are made with waste from the Italian wine industry. Responsibly produced in Portugal using water-based glue, their natural cotton laces come with 100 per cent recycled plastic tips.

pangaia.com

red cropped puffer coat

British label Stella McCartney – a mainstay of the ethical and sustainable fashion scene – has created this stylish puffer jacket, the fabrication of which majors on 100 per cent forest-friendly viscose. It looks as cool in the city as it does in high-performance environs.

stellamcccartney.com

red sunglasses with transparent lenses

Based between Byron Bay, LA and Paris, vegan eyewear label Velvet Canyon makes its frames from acetate, which is derived from cotton and wood pulp. These retro sunspecs come with recyclable lenses, a vegan-leather pouch and one per cent of profits go to charity.

velvetcanyon.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX

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purple and red background with a model with his finger to his lips in a leather outfit wearing glasses and a man wearing a suit in the background also wearing glasses
deck chairs and a pool on a roof terrace looking over the city of Hong Kong

Image courtesy of Rosewood Hong Kong

Adrian Cheng is a leading tastemaker, founder of cultural-retail destination K11 MUSEA, art collector and investor in innovative companies. Here he outlines brands catching his eye for 2023

Jewellery

A wooden jewellery store with products on display

Image courtesy of K11 MUSEA

Brands that bring creativity and self-expression to the mainstream always attract my attention. That is why I find L’ÉCOLE School of Jewelry Arts interesting. Starting in Paris and now expanding into Hong Kong (at K11 MUSEA, above) and Shanghai, their studios provide amazing courses for people wanting to learn and create jewellery in all forms.
lecolevancleefarpels.com

Fashion

A black and white photo of a model on a catwalk wearing a black vest and large angled trousers

Image courtesy of Keystone Press/Alamy

Like many others, I’m watching Schiaparelli (above, in 1978), to see what happens next. Having met creative director Daniel Roseberry and hearing about his love of savoir-faire and mixing old and new, I’m really excited to see how he continues to evolve the brand. I have a feeling there are many exciting things to come.
schiaparelli.com

A man wearing purple shorts, hat, vest and shirt on a dark runway

Image courtesy of Reuters/Alamy/Benoit Tessier

AMI Paris is a brand to keep an eye on as it rapidly expands. I love its mix of casual and chic – it’s so great for everyday wear. The brand has a mission to make luxury fashion accessible and that really resonates with me, too. I’ve also been very impressed with its collaborations with Moncler and Eastpak.
amiparis.com

Retail

Whiskey on a shelf by a window overlooking the sea

Image courtesy of Stephen Grant/Alamy Stock Photo

I’m a huge fan of Arbikie’s whisky (above), which is grown, distilled and bottled on a Scottish family farm with a 400-year history. The distillery is fairly new, and it is making waves because of its ‘field-to-bottle’ approach. Sustainability is very important to me. Plus, the flavour is second to none.
arbikie.com

purple and red background with a model with his finger to his lips in a leather outfit wearing glasses and a man wearing a suit in the background also wearing glasses

Image courtesy of Keystone Press/Alamy

I’m always on the lookout for what’s hot in the tech industry. I’ve been really impressed with the London start-up VITURE. The brand’s VITURE One are XR smart glasses with a virtual screen so you can discreetly stream and game while wearing. They are super lightweight (and look just like classic sunglasses, which I like). I am a sucker for anything that combines fashion with technology.
viture.com

An entrance with white stone and trees

Image courtesy of AJL Photography Ltd/Rosewood Phuket

Asaya Wellness is a concept by Rosewood Hotels that the group is expanding across its properties, including Hong Kong. It combines therapies, meals and experiences to support physical and mental wellbeing. I may be biased, as Rosewood is family-run, but its Chi Nei Tsang treatment in Phuket, Thailand is mind-blowing.
rosewoodhotels.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX

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dark bar with black chairs and white flowers
dark bar with black chairs and white flowers

The lobby in the new Castiglione addition to the Hotel Costes in Paris

In the third part of our luxury travel views column from the Spring 2022 issue, LUX’s Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai checks in at the Hotel Costes in Paris

My first encounter with the Hotel Costes was in the early 2000s, when I was meeting a Vogue photographer for a drink in the bar, on an evening a fashion house was also having a small gathering there. Despite being well turned out, and spending my working days at Vogue House, itself then a kind of office catwalk, I endured scrutiny by the beautiful boys on the door and by the beautiful girls inside before being let in, to a bar and lounge space, designed by Jacques Garcia, which gave the impression of sitting inside the bloodstream of a human being.

Jean-Louis Costes, the hotel’s owner, whom I interviewed in the last issue of LUX, is an iconoclast and an original. He created the velvet womb of the Costes and decorated its rooms with 19th-century oil paintings in the minimalist, contemporary-art obsessed 1990s.

A hallway and white marble staircase

A hallway and marble staircase

He has now opened a new wing to the hotel, or more precisely a new Hotel Costes adjoining the old one, making the second stroke of an L shape on the corner of Rue Saint-Honoré and Rue de Castiglione – without doubt the most desirable address in Paris. To check into the Costes, you now enter a grand, light, high-ceilinged lobby in the Rue de Castiglione.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

If you are staying in the old Costes, you can walk through the lobby and pull back a curtain, like passing through a looking glass, and voila. I, however, was sampling the new Costes: up on the second floor my suite was designed with the whimsical perfection of an obsessive and talented owner. A white carpet, like walking on a Persian cat, a bed with the black stained outline of a four-poster; a blood-red ottoman, a purple sofa and a lot of empty space. The bathroom had chandeliers and glass wardrobes: the message here is that your clothes had better be great, because they’re all on show. The walk-through shower and bath in light marble were immense: there is scale here that the original, boutique Costes, adjoining, never had. From the balcony you look out to Place Vendôme. From some of the suites, you have a view across Paris to Montmartre and Notre-Dame.

white bed

One of the new luxury suites

There will be a resort-style pool in the basement spa, currently being completed, and at the moment you still dine in the original and excellent courtyard restaurant of the original Costes. Another courtyard restaurant is being built at the Castiglione wing.

Read more: Paris Revisited: A Diary of Art and Culture

Every detail is both original and edgy: the Costes is the hotel that invented the hotel DJ and soundtrack, and bespoke hotel scent (both hard to believe now, as all the greatest and most pervasive inventions are). Twenty-seven years on, Jean-Louis hasn’t lost his touch.

Find out more: www.hotelcostes.com

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

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A man wearing a navy blue suit presenting an award
A bald man wearing a black t-shirt and blazer

Norbert Stumpfl, Executive Design Director at Brioni. Image courtesy of Brioni

Until recently, Brioni was a menswear brand in flux, a 20th-century Italian formalwear legend that hit a couple of bumps as it tried to swivel to appeal to sneaker-clad millennials and Gen-Z dudes. But everything is rosy again, as executive design director Norbert Stumpfl explains to Darius Sanai

Modern yet traditional, supremely relevant yet trend averse – Brioni’s understated, logo-free luxury is appealing to a new and established global audience, from twentysomethings to the over seventies. Under Norbert Stumpfl’s expert eye, the brand welcomes Jude Law and his son Raff as its spring/summer ambassadors and rises to the challenge of creating a comfortable, stylish and sustainable wardrobe for the modern man.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: How will recent times, with people staying at home, affect menswear in the long-term?
Norbert Stumpfl: This is something we ask ourselves in the studio all the time. I think that there will be some kind of change. People will change their habits a little bit. Or there might be pockets of people who are more interested in something more meaningful – this is where we can step in, with something not ‘throwaway’ but something a man can build on in his wardrobe, something not so trend-driven. I am very positive in my feelings for the future. Also, we are all watching a lot of sport, which involves T-shirts and sweatshirts, and many designers are working in this direction. But in the long run, people might find that they have too much of this in their wardrobes and that they want to change again. There’s always a pendulum in fashion: sometimes it goes more traditional, sometimes it goes sportier, and the two influence each other much more nowadays. We, for instance, in our fabric research, are being more influenced by sportswear and new technologies. Our fabrics are now crease-resistant, they have a natural stretch, a lightness. So, we are evolving as well.

Jude Law holding his jacket over his shirt

Jude Law, currently one of Brioni’s brand ambassadors. Image courtesy of Brioni

LUX: Will markets in Asia, where sport-influenced fashion dominates, become interested in tailoring?
NS: Brioni’s not very strong in the Asian market – we’re doing well in Japan, but not in China. Our Chinese clientele is the youngest; it’s 30- plus, whereas, worldwide, we are more in the 50-year-old bracket. But, recently, there has been an explosion of people wearing it there. A lot of actors wear Brioni tuxedos or suits to events, and if these people are wearing Brioni, people will be interested. Also, in the past few years, our Chinese clientele has been the one that picked up on our new directions the quickest; while in the US or Russia, we have a slow change – they like the collection, then it takes a season or two to pick up certain garments.

LUX: Brioni has been perceived as a sophisticated tailoring brand for wealthy gentlemen. Is that changing?
NS: When I was hired, François Pinault [CEO of Kering, which owns Brioni] asked me to give the brand a modern approach. Our clients are loyal, they enjoy the suits, the comfort, the lightness – and that nobody knows it’s Brioni, just those in the know. It’s a personal luxury. So, I approach modernisation very gently.

A boy with his hand over his face wearing a blazer

Raff Law, currently one of Brioni’s brand ambassadors. Image courtesy of Brioni

Of course, the high-ticket sales are coming from tailoring, and from bespoke clothing. However, recently, we’ve seen a change: with the collection picking up high-ticket sales, as well. This means that our traditional client is also really enjoying the new direction, because it’s not groundbreaking, but it is modernising just a little bit. In China, we’re showing the more modern man of Brioni; our imagery is going in this direction, because our typical client, who is maybe 50, 60, 70, is not looking at the images on Instagram or on the runway. So in the new imagery it’s always on younger models. There is a new Brioni, but it’s inspired by the old Brioni.

LUX: What’s your view on e-commerce?
NS: For me, the digital side is very important. It’s going to be challenging to sell our tailoring online. I prefer to go to the store, have the proper fitting and look around. Yes, it’s getting more important, but for our type of garments, which need to fit well, it’s much easier to be in a physical store. There’s always a tailor in our Brioni stores, who is trained in Italy, to give this kind of service. Nevertheless, I think e-commerce needs to be our shop window to the world.

LUX: How did you choose Jude and Raff Law as Brioni’s new ambassadors?
NS: Jude is a master of his craft and Raff is following the footsteps of his father. They are both fascinating characters. The most interesting aspect is the interaction between father and son – both equally at ease in Brioni. Their natural elegance comes through.

A man wearing a navy blue suit presenting an award

Brioni’s designs and tailoring have been favoured for decades by Hollywood royalty including Samuel L Jackson. Image courtesy of Eddy Chen

LUX: You’ve used the word ‘modern’ a lot – does that mean appealing to younger people?
NS: No – what I consider modern is just a way of cutting the pieces, maybe using a more modern colour palette, working on the fabric technology, making the garments lighter, water-repellent… It’s just for a modern man. I see my design as invisible, but it’s there to make the life of the Brioni man easier.

When you touch a Brioni garment I want you to say, “Wow!” It puts you in a good mood because you’re enveloped by this super-soft material, and I think this is where the modernity lies. In our lookbooks, we also show a lot of tonal dressing – the colours are more modern, they are inspired by the Roman palettes, they are inspired by the Roman streets. There’s a modernity in me, as a designer, staying in the background to allow Brioni men to shine.

LUX: Is it hard to balance your choice of materials with a drive for sustainability?
NS: Yes, sometimes it’s quite hard. Our clients expect the best materials. It’s been a long journey, even finding our sustainable partners and getting something that is what you would expect from Brioni. There have been a lot of steps forward, and the quality of the sustainable products are getting much better. It’s something that is, personally, very important for me. I’m on the same side as Mr Pinault, who really pushes us on this. I’m a designer who wants to make garments that have a use in the world and does not damage it. For sustainable fabric, I always go to auctions.

A man wearing white trousers and a cream jacket, standing by a stone wall

A look from the Brioni SS22 menswear collection. Image courtesy of Brioni

We made a big step forward by making almost all of our denim sustainable, which means using sustainable fabrics and sustainable metal pieces. What is not sustainable, at the moment, are the threads and the leather patches. But we will push this everywhere. For instance, the cotton for our T-shirts is sustainable, and we also have sustainable rules – it’s very important that there aren’t thousands of sheep that destroy the land then move on. We are trying to take more categories into sustainability now. It’s not easy. For instance, cotton can’t always be sustainable – you can see a lot of black dots, which is not acceptable for us. We’re working with the mills to really explain what we expect.

LUX: What do you personally take the most pleasure in designing?
NS: I really like the process. It all starts with an idea. I like creating the product together with our tailors, because they are truly talented people. I like challenging them. We did this jacket for Brad Pitt, for instance, which was a super- light, double-splittable cashmere sports jacket using a fabric that is really nice, but it has to be split in half with a scalpel and stitched back together. In the beginning they said it was too difficult, but they found a way. So, working with them and their 75 years’ worth of knowledge at Penne [where Brioni has a factory and a tailoring school], and with my modern approach, we can create something very impressive.

LUX: Is Dior Homme your main competitor?
NS: I wouldn’t consider Dior Homme as a competitor – I think of Dior as a brand that is much more fashion-oriented, which we are not. We’re a luxury brand that moves very slowly. Maybe, with our product, the art is more important, the way of making it. My viewpoint is also less important – I want to be in the background. With designers like Dior, it’s more about a strong style – if a person stands 50m away, you will still recognise it as Dior. I like to let the person shine, but with designer clothes, you’re showing that you can afford them.

A man getting his suit fit by a tailor

Clark Gable being fitted in a Brioni suit. Image courtesy of Chris Pizzello-Pool

LUX: You mentioned some Italian tailors, but you didn’t mention Savile Row.
NS: Savile Row is definitely on the same level, but Brioni tailoring is between Savile Row and southern Italian tailoring. We have the appearance of Savile Row, which is very constructed, very precise, with strong lines, but with constructed interfacing. Brioni has more of the flavour of southern Italy, with soft shoulders and almost no construction inside.

LUX: You originally planned to be an architect. Are we going to see any Brioni hotels?
NS: No. For now, we have to work on our boutiques. They’re very different, they’ve been through different periods. Together with our CEO we are trying to bring the same visuals to all our boutiques, and this takes time. We might have one store design in Milan, another one in New York, another one in London, which I think is one of the most beautiful. It has the feel of extreme luxury, but also feels very human inside. It doesn’t shine, it’s not all marble.

LUX: What do you think the well-dressed man will be wearing in 2022?
NS: There are so many possibilities in the collection. I know what I’m going to be wearing – a beautiful constructed coat, with a very soft cashmere sweater and some relaxed trousers from Brioni. It’s about just being able to put things on that feel almost weightless.

A man wearing a suit, shirt and tie holding an award

Denzel Washington accepting the Hollywood Legacy Award in 2017 wearing Brioni. Photo by Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez

LUX: And how will professional men dress in 30 years’ time? In T-shirts, chinos and jeans?
NS: It’s a really good question: will they be wearing tailoring? At the moment, they still do. When you go to the bank or to a lawyer’s office, they wear suits. There might be a trend for more separates, as well. I’m trying to move Brioni in a way that, as I said before, fits the modern man’s wardrobe. So we are working on innovation, so that we don’t find ourselves, in 20 or 50 years, disconnected from what’s happening with men.

Read more: Donatella Versace Interview: Doing It Her Way

This is really important – to always think of ourselves as innovators. I was asked if I think of Brioni as a heritage brand, and I said: absolutely not. Brioni was born as a super-innovative brand – our founders used new materials, they were thinking outside the box, they were putting men on the catwalk, they were the first to do trunk shows. I think we might have lost this spirit a bit, in the past 20 years or so, but we are moving forward again. Brioni will, or should, represent the modern man. This is my challenge.

Find out more: brioni.com

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

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Reading time: 10 min
Two cars
Art

Original digital art by Mercedes-Benz at Design Essentials IV: The Art of Creating Desire

LUX stops off at the Mercedes-Benz Design Centre in Nice to hear about its latest projects – from EVs to NFTs, and everything in between 

Few places can evoke desire like the Cote d’Azur. Home to the world’s superelite and their superyachts, it is where the most exclusive communities migrate in summertime – and where the aspirational go to see them.

All of which made it a fitting backdrop for Mercedes-Benz’s latest Design Essentials instalment, ‘The Art of Creating Desire’. Presented between their Design Centre in Nice – a cylindrical, spaceship-like structure hidden in the pine forest of France’s tech hub – and the newly-opened Maybourne Riviera, the showcase featured the marque’s latest projects and outlooks on the future of luxury.

Building

The Mercedes-Benz Design Centre in Nice

‘We aspire to design the most desirable cars in the world. With Design Essentials, we illustrate how we approach this privilege in concrete terms,’ explained Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener. ‘The venue – our Design Centre in Nice – plays a central role in this. I see it as a creative melting pot where we forge ideas for the luxury cars of the future.’

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

That future, according to Mercedes-Benz, is digital. The marque has joined as the fifth and final founding member of the Aura Blockchain Consortium – a non-profit association of luxury brands investing in blockchain solutions for the industry – alongside LVMH, Prada Group, OTB Group, and Cartier, part of Richemont.

Car interior

Mercedes-Benz is expanding into in-car digital art experiences

‘Every product going forward will have a digital twin,’ explained Daniela Ott, General Secretary of Aura. ‘This is for all the use cases you can imagine, from traceability and provenance to resale and second-hand, NFTs and using the physical products you own in the metaverse’. In Mercedes’ case – the first and only premium automotive manufacturer to have joined the consortium – this means providing new digital art experiences both in-car and beyond.

Elsewhere, the marque is strengthening its commitment to the global fashion scene with the concept Mercedes-Maybach Haute Voiture, an S-Class reimagined through an haute couture lens. The car, which is expected to appear in 2023 in a limited release of 150 units, features a two-tone midnight blue and champagne exterior, and a nappa leather interior with bouclé fabric and gold trim.

Car interior

The limited edition Mercedes-Maybach Haute Voiture

We also had a sneak peek of the new Limited Edition Mercedes-Maybach. Soon to be available in a 150-unit run, the model was borne out of Project MAYBACH, the off-road EV concept created in collaboration with the late artist and fashion designer Virgil Abloh, which was presented at the Rubell Museum during Miami Art Week. The limited edition model marks the third and final collaboration with Abloh, whose Project Geländewagen set a benchmark for fashion and automotive collaborations in 2020.

Two cars

The Mercedes-Maybach by Virgil Abloh (left) and Project MAYBACH (right)

The grand finale took place over aperitifs at the Maybourne, where we were introduced to the Vision AMG, Mercedes’ new, all-electric sports car concept, slated for release in 2025. The car offers a preview of the all-electric future of Mercedes’ performance brand, having embarked on an electrification plan which will see electrified alternatives in every segment by the end of 2022, and an all-electric fleet by 2030.

Read more: Octopus Energy Founder Greg Jackson On The Green Revolution

Car

The Mercedes-Benz Vision AMG

Speaking of the formal aspect of the Vision AMG, Wagener said, ‘it continues to write the history of the VISION EQXX and raises it to a completely new level’.

If the future really is electric, we want to do it in the Vision AMG.

Find out more: mercedes-benz.com

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A woman in an oversized black jumper and black jeans
A woman in an oversized black jumper and black jeans

From trash to treasure, these stylish, innovative pieces are crafted by designers with an eye on the environment

gold necklace with leaves

London jewellery designer Anabela Chan uses laboratory-grown gemstones to create durable, wearable pieces of art. The whimsical design of this 18k-gold vermeil ‘Diamond Galatea Collar’ necklace, from the Mermaid’s Tale collection, pays tribute to the delicate floral shapes of coral.

anabelachan.com

navy Prada dress with a belt

Prada’s  Re-Nylon project is the result of a partnership with Italian textile company Aquafil, which developed ECONYL®, a nylon yarn made from recycled plastic from landfill sites and oceans. This dress is one of our favourites, combining panels or Re-Nylon with fluid crêpe.

prada.com

green handbag

All of BEEN London’s products are handcrafted in East London by a team of women artisans, using recycled materials. This ‘Cecilia’ cross-body bag, in an eye-catching rainforest green, makes use of recycled tannery offcuts that would have otherwise been discarded.

been.london

brown blazer

Nanushka focuses not only on reducing its environmental impact, but also on educating its consumers. Each garment has a QR code on the label, via which you can learn about its journey. We love the rich shade of burnt red and retro-style collar of this ‘Alvah’ double-breasted jacket.

nanushka.com

black swimsuit

Swedish designer Agnes Fischer set up her sustainable swimwear brand, Fisch, after seeing the effect that waste was having on the island of St Barths, where she spent her childhood. The ‘Rajalin’ swimsuit, like all of her products, is crafted from regenerated ocean waste.

fischswim.com

Yellow wide leg trousers

These Stella McCartney trousers are made from responsibly sourced wool, which the brand selects for its biodegradability and durability. The sherbet-yellow shade and branded elastic waistband harks back to the experimental aesthetics of Y2K music subcultures.

stellamccartney.com

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue.

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Reading time: 4 min
woman wearing a pink skirt holding sandals on a beach
woman wearing a pink skirt holding sandals on a beach

This season, look to recycled, upcycled or handmade artisanal details to update your summer wardrobe

swimming trunks with blue and orange flowers on them

These playful swim shorts by British designer Paul Smith are cut from a recycled polyester that’s produced from the plastic waste retrieved from landfills across the globe. The bold print, featuring splashes of orange and turquoise, is guaranteed to turn heads on the beach.

paulsmith.com

 

A beige bamboo grass woven beach bag

New York-based designer Gabriela Hearst’s collections pay homage to her rural upbringing, on a ranch in Uruguay, with a strong focus on sustainable materials. This ‘Mcewan Raffia’ bag is hand-woven from 100 per cent bamboo grass, with a reinforced base for extra durability.

gabrielahearst.com

pale blue shirt with pattern on the breast area

Foday Dumbuya’s fashion label, Labrum London, aims to ‘bridge the gap between Western and West African cultures’. This blue bib shirt is part of a collaboration with Browns, featuring a print inspired by the Mende people of Sierra Leone, where Dumbuya was born.

labrumlondon.com

 

 

printed scarf earrings

Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi of Preen continue their punkish sensibility by upcycling materials to create innovative designs. These porcelain ‘Etsuko Earrings’ were made in collaboration with costume jeweller Vicki Sarge.

preenbythorntonbregazzi.com

a white dress with a colourful pattern

Bethany Williams champions both environmental and social activism through her bold designs that not only use upcycled materials, but also give back to local communities. This dress is made from deadstock tulle and screen-printed fabric using non-toxic inks.

bethany-williams.com

blue shirt with a white pattern

Niyi Okuboyejo’s fashion label, Post-Imperial, pays tribute to the African diaspora through fabrics hand-dyed by artisans in Nigeria. This ‘Ijebu’ shirt, cut from lightweight cotton, is a perfect summer addition.

post-imperial.com

 

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue.

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Donatella Versace standing on a runway

Donatella Versace at spring/summer 2022 Versace show, featuring a backdrop of the brand’s iconic foulards. Image courtesy of Versace

Identifiable by her first name alone, Donatella Versace is unique among designers. The creative director gives LUX the lowdown on what it’s really like being a woman at the top, how she is dipping into the metaverse and why the future of her super-sexy Italian fashion house is all about breaking new ground – and those safety pins. Interview by Fara Bashorun

LUX: How important was it for you to make your own mark on Versace, considering the lack of women designers at the top of the fashion industry?
Donatella Versace: It’s crucial, and I feel responsible – but not just because I am a woman. But because I care. I care that Versace is successful, that my teams are happy. At the beginning it was harder. No one really believed in me. They have always seen me behind the scenes and I was happy to keep doing what I was doing. But then, you know, I didn’t really have a choice – and to give up has never been an option. Because I was a woman – and my surname didn’t matter – I had to work harder than anyone to prove that I was capable. That’s why I think that the change must start from us.

In fact, today, within Versace, women represent 64 per cent of the employees; and 48 per cent of those are executives. Regardless of all the progress that’s been made, women still have to prove themselves more than men have to; women have to fight harder to have their voices heard. I think there is still a problem of credibility when it comes to women in positions of authority: it is still hard for them to have their opinions and actions validated by others. I say this from my own experience. As said, I was the only woman at the helm of the company. It took me a long time to really be heard, trusted and recognised as being capable within my own company.

A catwalk with all the models walking down in black dresses

Image Courtesy of Versace

LUX: “If you want to be comfortable, stay at home in your pyjamas.” You made this statement in 2011: do you still stand by it, despite the shift towards casual luxury?
DV: I think that the most important thing is to be, and express, yourself by wearing whatever you want to. In particular, nowadays, after two years of the pandemic, with social distancing and working from home, the way we dress has changed a lot. And fashion can only adapt to this change. Think of street style and how impactful that was on fashion.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Glamour, like style, just has different characteristics according to the times. For example, I have been wearing heels every day to go to the office since the day the total lockdown in Italy was lifted. It feels good. High heels are the quintessential symbol of femininity, a tool for women to feel stronger. The minute we wear them we walk in a different manner, we feel taller, we feel different, we can be whoever we want to be. That is the meaning of fashion anyway. It’s not just about covering ourselves in something warm, but wearing an armour that allows us to express ourselves without fear.

A woman holding a lime green bag wearing purple tights, a green skirt and orange top standing in front of a Versace print scarf

Image courtesy of Versace

LUX: The spring/summer 2022 collection is a confluence of legacy and futurity – iconic foulards, the return of those safety pins… Does this signal a new vision for the brand?
DV: The main inspiration behind the spring/ summer 2022 collection is the iconic Versace silk foulard. It is a fundamental component of Versace’s heritage and DNA. The foulard has been with us since the very beginning of the brand, but for SS22 it turns everything on its head – it is no longer fluid or dreamy, the scarf is provocative, sexy, wound tight for both men and women.

I’ve noticed that there is a fascination for the fashion of the past in the younger generations. They are discovering older treasures, since for them a lot of the fashion from the 1980s and ’90s is new. That’s why I keep bringing the codes of Versace into the world of today, remaining authentic to what they are, but never in an obvious way. There is a story to tell, and I see that people are interested in that story. Versace is always true to its DNA, but at the same time not a slave to it. It keeps on changing and evolving, because I listen to what people want and desire.

LUX: How have you adjusted to working under the ownership of Capri Holdings? Do you still feel that you are in charge?
DV: What has changed is the fact that, being part of a group with larger resources, Versace can tap into them and invest in technology, manufacturing, a larger base of employees. We’re opening new stores. Ultimately, Versace is growing to the next level. Thanks to Capri, I see big opportunities in accessories for sure, but every part of the business is growing.

Dua Lipa wearing a pink coord sticking her tongue out

Image courtesy of Versace

LUX: How important are brand collaborations, such as Fendace (Fendi x Versace)?
DV: As a designer, it gave me the opportunity to use my creativity on something new. It was also a way to create unity, and a sense that fashion houses can work together to offer people something unexpected. It doesn’t matter how designers decide to achieve this goal, but that the creative conversation goes above and beyond one’s own four walls, so to speak. There have been a lot of collaborations, but never a complete swap of designers.

Read more: Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation: Bridging Global South And North

I became the designer of Fendi and they [creative leads Kim Jones and Silvia Venturini-Fendi] became the designers of Versace. I did Fendi how I see Fendi. We saw it like a game, and that allowed us to be free to express ourselves. It’s never happened before. I’d like to underline that a collaboration is one thing, but swapping designers is a totally different thing. They trusted me enough to give Fendi to me and to translate it into my vision. I trusted them enough to hand over Versace.

Donatella Versace with Gigi and Bella Hadid

The new Versace women’s SS22 campaign, featuring Donatella flanked by supermodel sisters Bella and Gigi Hadid

LUX: You once described London as being the heart of new design, rather than Paris or Milan. Why do you think that is?
DV: Because of its energy, its ability to reinvent itself and to be unconventional! It is always new, always fresh. London is one of my favourite cities in the world!

LUX: As fashion brands begin to explore the metaverse, what’s Versace’s take on it? How important is it to you?
DV: I think the metaverse must be explored. My team and I are still learning about this universal virtual world, but I’m happy to embrace new ideas if they fit Versace. I’m fascinated by technology and I love to get to know all the newest and coolest experiences. For example, in 2020, we joined ComplexLand, a digital interactive experience, a first-of-its-kind immersive virtual destination featuring fashion, art, musical performances and cultural conversations. It was my first time as a virtual identity and I found it super modern, and absolutely in line with the brand’s aesthetic and current approach. It was fun to develop my virtual alter ego!

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

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Reading time: 6 min
blue vases and orange trinkets on the floor
blue vases and orange trinkets on the floor

Shio Kusaka at David Zwirner, New York

In our ongoing online monthly series, LUX’s editors, contributors, and friends pick their must-see exhibitions from around the globe

Bettina Korek, CEO of the Serpentine Galleries in London

This month I’m excited to see my friend Shio Kusaka’s exhibition at David Zwirner in New York. Her ceramics are influenced by her daily life: vessels with designs that highlight their imperfections as if gleaned from lived wisdom, or dinosaur and animal pieces that her kids love. There is a complicated formal world locked away in each of her seemingly playful creations, with sophisticated difference and repetition techniques as well as nuanced tactility that can only existed in a medium such as this.

A woman in a dark room with red lights

Dominique Gonzalez Foerster, Opera QM.15

I’m also looking forward to OPERA (QM.15), an artwork by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster presented at Bourse de Commerce in Paris inspired by the legendary Maria Callas from 6th April. The artist describes the ‘apparitions’ as “an attempt to communicate with certain spirits”—very intriguing proposition. Similarly, Gonzalez-Foerster’s Serpentine takeover this spring considers the questions: what would happen if aliens fell in love with us. She so masterfully creates multifaceted worlds that oscillate between finite and infinite, the empirical and the dramaturgical.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Lastly, I always recommend visiting a Mayfair hidden gem: the Louis Vuitton flagship on New Bond Street which includes fascinating immersive works by eminent artists such as James Turrell, Alex Katz, Sarah Crowner and furniture by the Campana Brothers. I’ve always admired LV’s innovation in producing collaborations with artists and dedication to bringing art to the public in a way that exceeds expectations for a luxury brand.

Helaine Blumenfeld OBE, sculptor

Given the current state of uncertainty in the world, I recommend two powerful and moving exhibitions (in addition to my own solo show Intimacy and Isolation at the Hignell Gallery, Mayfair, London) to help us remember the sense of healing that Art can provide.

Two pieces of marble on a stand outside

Helaine Bleumnfeld’s Intimacy and Isolation at the Hignell Gallery, Mayfair, London

Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland offers a deep look at Georgia O’Keeffe’s work including rarely seen paintings from public and private collections from 23 January until 22 May. The show explores O’Keeffe’s unique way of looking at her surroundings and translating them into new and hitherto unseen images of reality. Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings of flowers have deeply affected and profoundly influenced me from my childhood. Her work suggests transcendence into a realm that lies beyond substance; it is poetic and elusive; it is often joyful. Ultimately, her work is mysterious and visionary. The abstract images reflect O’Keeffe’s desire to capture the ‘essence’ and to reveal a multitude of figurative references that she disguises with transparent layers. She takes serious risks with colour and challenges visual harmony in order to stimulate the viewer to look beyond the parameters, to question what they see. I often find myself revisiting her images in my mind, both on dark days when I feel the need for intense light and renewal and, in celebratory moments when I want to share my optimism and sense of possibility.

a painting of a red black and orange poppy

Georgia O’Keeffe, Oriental Poppies, 1927

Also not to be missed is By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500–1800 at the Detroit Institute of Arts from 6 February until 29 May which highlights the largely unexplored role of women artists in Italy from the Renaissance until the Enlightenment. Although many will know the powerful and difficult story of Artemisia Gentileschi and her daring and dynamic work, this show goes further, highlighting the works of a diverse group of Italian women artists, all of whom challenged the conventions and expectations of a male-dominated art world. The variety in their work reveals to the viewer not only their technical skills but their vision, ingenuity and courage as artists.

Phil America, artist and designer

When you travel the world a lot or frequent art fairs, you start to see a lot of the same artists and trends over and over again. It takes something special, something unique to make me feel like I have to go see a particular show if I don’t know the artist personally at this point.

One gallery I am never disappointed by is François Ghebaly gallery in Los Angeles. The current shows, Victoria Gitman‘s Everything Is Surface: Twenty Years of Painting and Em Kettner‘s The Understudies are not to be missed.

A drawing of a man taking off his face on a dark wooden cavas

Em Kettner, Two Guides, 2022

I had a moment to talk about the show itself as well as the artists with the gallery’s director Belen Piñeiro and she told me, “the shows by Victoria Gitman and Em Kettner deal with intimacy but from very different perspectives. Where Victoria’s work is about surface and challenging our idea of representation, Em’s works on tile develop storytelling and character construction. On both shows however, the small scale of the formats brings the viewer to get up close to the works, observe their minute detail which creates a form of introspection. They require physical presence to fully understand them.”

Read more: Philanthropy: Anita Choudhrie on supporting women in parasports and art

A beaded bag hung on a canvas

Victoria Gitman, On Display, 2006. Photograph by Paul Salveson

If you find yourself in Los Angeles before the shows close on May 7th, your physical presence is required at Francois Ghebaly’s gallery.

Emilia Yin, founder, Make Room Gallery, LA

I will have to say my must-visit exhibition is our booth at Art Brussels, where we present the work of Jacopo Pagin and Guimi You in conversation. The practices of Pagin and You are concerned with the crosscultural history of painting as a medium, as well as the investigation of modern existence and mysticism through such historical lenses.

green painting of a a tree and the sky

Guimi You painting. Photo by Josh Schaedel

Guimi You’s practice is informed by her training in both San-su hwa (traditional Korean painting) and Western oil painting. Her works combine the influence of feminists surrealists like Leonora Carrington with the vast plein air landscapes of Korean silk painters like Jeong Seon. Jacopo Pagin’s limpid canvases are rife with nods to Venetian colorito and Mannerist figuration, inspirations gleaned from his training at the Accademia in Venice. His compositions are shot through with a delicate surrealism evocative of Leonor Fini’s dream-like sketched figures or Cocteau’s sensuous line drawings. While You’s female figures comment upon the Sublime vastness of landscapes– often dwarfed by their colorful expanses– Pagin’s characters become part of the landscape, their heads melded into the surf and the rock faces, bringing to mind pagan goddesses of nature. As Guimi’s own technique finds itself at an intersection of Easten and Western technique, so too does Pagin’s leitmotifs evoke a cross cultural dimension: his works often contain within them decorated fans or Chinese patterns, which, combined with his deeply learned techniques, simultaneously evoke and subvert the craze of Orientalism in 18th-century European art.

illusion painting of faces and swans

Jacopo Pagin, ‘We Kiss’

Though deeply indebted to established styles and practices, You and Pagin both confront their subjects from a wholly contemporary perspective. You’s intense color palettes are drawn from the digital, her initial designs taking shape on iPad software. Her practice is intensely intuitive and personal, drawn from real life, which makes her dreamlike interventions– a maw of pitch blackness enveloping a canvas; a colorless figure pasted into a lush landscape like a glitch on the canvas; a curl of steam morphing into a toy snake– all the more surreal; Pagin’s interventions of abstraction into his paintings is accompanied by his use of a mise-en-scéne, composed of sonic art and installation. These installations are approached in a dense, philosophical manner, by which the paintings function as a “time machine” through which the artist can– in his own words– “reuse and reinterpret the gestures and techniques of the past to continually re-identify myself through diverse means.”

They both previously had sold out exhibitions at Make Room, and this is both of their first time participating at Art Brussels.

The fair will be open from April 28- May 2.

LUX Editorial Team

This month we’re looking forward to seeing Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear at the V&A in London. Fashioning Masculinities is an exhibition which celebrates the diversity of men’s fashion throughout history. Designs from contemporary fashion designers such as Harris Reed and Raf Simons are featured alongside historical artefacts which include sculptures, painting and photographs.

A blue suit shown at an exhibition through a hole in a blue wall

Alessandro Michele for Gucci look worn by Harry Styles

The exhibition displays the wide range of ideas that surround masculinities, particularly beyond the binary, and how this idea has evolved and changed throughout history from the Renaissance to the modern day.

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Reading time: 7 min
a woman in a gold dress
A woman wearing a black top and gold sparkly skirt with a slit in it

Edeline Lee embraces femininity and female empowerment through her clothes. Photo by Nick Thompson.

As Fashion Weeks comes to a close, we’re celebrating designers who are paving the way for a more sustainable and ethical fashion industry. Here, Edeline Lee tells us why sustainability makes such a difference to the quality of her brand,

LUX: You’ve mentioned before that you design with the “Future Lady” in mind. What does that mean exactly?
Edeline Lee: The Future Lady is an idea that I made up to encompass the woman that I am designing for.  Female identity is in flux in our generation.  Modern women live hectic, collaged lives.  We can’t automatically subscribe to the identities that have been laid out for us historically.  Women now are more beautiful, more powerful, more free, stronger, more aware, more capable than any other time in history.  Yet, we still have a way to go before we fulfil our true potential.  How does the Future Lady dress?  What is it to dress with true power, grace, beauty and dignity in today’s world?

My overarching concept has always been a conversation about this journey as a woman with the women who wear my clothes.  It’s easy to be fooled into thinking that fashion is all about more and more: younger, thinner, cheaper, taller, louder, sexier.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

I’ve spent a lot of time dressing with women in changing rooms.  My experience is that women are well aware; they are not blind fools.  They can feel the difference when something is made with quality and meaning, fits well, and is designed with a soul, to lift the best out of you.  Once they experience what it feels like to put it on, they don’t need to be convinced to buy.

LUX: How did your time at Central Saint Martins impact your approach to design?
Edeline Lee: My time at Central Saint Martins taught me that you can design a collection from anything. At the beginning of every season, I try to connect back to the source.  What do I find interesting, meaningful and beautiful around me?  What makes me smile or makes me curious?  It’s important that the source is pure, because then others will respond to it too.

A woman standing in a black dress underneath the skull of a bull

Edeline Lee. Photo by Mars Washington

LUX: Was there a particular turning point when you felt you’d discovered your distinct design language?
Edeline Lee: Femininity is a huge part of my design language. The problem I’m always trying to solve is: how does a woman dress with power and authority, whilst still being feminine? The two should not be mutually exclusive.

I design to help women express their higher purpose, but I also make clothes that resist wrinkling so that women can actually function at a high level in the clothes.  The tricky thing is to strike the perfect balance between something that is flattering and appropriate, but just special enough to draw out what is individual and special in the woman wearing it. Thinking women deserve clothes that think.

LUX: Are there any designers or perhaps, design movements that have influenced your practice?
Edeline Lee: I’ve been very much influenced by the practice of the Weiner Werkstatte with their philosophy of the Gesamtkunstwerk or “total work of art”.  I love the idea that every element in an environment can be harmonised and unified whether it be art, decorative arts or design.  They believed that it was better to work 10 days on one product than to manufacture 10 products in one day.

A woman wearing a gold sparkly dress with a white collar

Edeline Lee Autumn Winter 2022. Photo by Nick Thompson.

LUX: How do you think the brand has evolved since its inception?
Edeline Lee: The label really became a “brand” when I learned how to define and project my purpose out into the world. If you know what your purpose is, the rest becomes so much easier.

LUX: Edeline Lee has been celebrated for its sustainable approach to luxury fashion. What’s your personal approach to sustainability? And do you think attitudes are changing in the fashion industry?
Edeline Lee: It startled and worried me when we were named in the top 4 sustainable brands at London Fashion Week by Good On You. It takes a lot of research and commitment to try to source and work sustainably and ethically, and we’ve been doing our best. Yet, I know that we still have such a long way to go.

My personal approach is that we must all take responsibility for our actions. Just as we producers need to take responsibility for the choices that we make, it’s important for customers to be empowered by their choices, and realise their power to purchase sustainably as well.

LUX: There has been much discussion around the unsustainability of fashion week. What are your thoughts?
Edeline Lee: I don’t think that it is necessary for everyone to relentlessly travel around the world, all the time. In that sense, the relentless churn of global fashion weeks isn’t sustainable. If anything, Covid 19 has taught us that we could all probably take a breather and be more selective in our choices.

a clothing stand with chairs and a table

Edeline Lee retail space at Harrods, opened in 2022

LUX: You’re also an advocate of community-made fashion. How does that work in practice? And why is it important?
Edeline Lee: We dye our fabrics in Yorkshire, and design, cut, sew and finish all of our pieces in London – not because good craftsman don’t exist elsewhere in the world, but because of quality control. It means that I’m always the final eye cast over each piece before it ships. It means that I know personally each hand that touches the clothes, I truly believe that the love and care that is put into the making of a garment lends it a soul.  It is visible to me when I look at a dress.

Read more: All-access rundown of Ozwald Boateng’s return to London Fashion Week

When your mother gives you a dress that she wore in her youth, aren’t you able to see or feel the soul in that garment?  It is something like that.  A dress is more beautiful when it is made with love, and that humanity in it becomes more powerful if every part of the dress is made within a community, by a team.

LUX: What are your goals for your company this year, and in the longer term?
Edeline Lee: We’ve just opened our first branded retail space inside of Harrods – so I am enjoying the process of developing and improving that. Please visit and take a look!

Find out more: edelinelee.com

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Reading time: 5 min
clothes on a rack
clothes on a rackJane Shepherdson is the woman behind the early success of Topshop, the fast fashion behemoth where she served as Chief Brand Officer in the 2000s. After this and her subsequent role as CEO of retailer Whistles, however, Shepherdson found that her complicity in one of the world’s biggest polluting industries was overriding the joy she once found in fashion. Here, the Director of the London Fashion Fund talks to Ella Johnson about her pivot to luxury rental start-up My Wardrobe HQ, and why rental is key to bringing the fun back to fashion

LUX: You are often associated with Topshop’s success as one of the early pioneers of fast fashion.
Jane Shepherdson: I always wanted to be a buyer – to structure and create ranges without actually designing them, and to work closely with designers. I got into Topshop at the very bottom, starting in the accessories department, and moved up to the jersey department, which was the biggest. It was where you could make the biggest impact, because you had responsibility for tens of millions of pounds worth of the company’s money. We travelled an awful lot in those days, and we did not worry about the environmental aspect. It was hard to beat as a lifestyle.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: When did you start to think about the environmental and social side?
Jane Shepherdson: We started our drive to better understand the supply chain at Topshop in the 1990s. We brought in a team of experts to do it, but Topshop had thousands of suppliers: it was very difficult to start establishing exactly what the supply chain was from the beginning like that.

It wasn’t until I moved to Whistles in 2008 that we really started to address the environmental side of things. We were a small business and we got to know each of our suppliers as well as we could, working with them to improve their practises. But it is still difficult to be completely sure that the factory you’re using is doing everything you expect them to be doing.

Two girls jumping in a field in white dresses

LUX: You are now Chair of fashion rental platform My Wardrobe HQ. What prompted your move to the rental fashion sector?
Jane Shepherdson: I left Whistles in 2016 because I was unsure that running a fashion business was something I could continue to do. I started looking at the possibility of creating a platform to display sustainable fashion, but I realised that I couldn’t find enough credible fashion brands that were sustainable. There is no point in endorsing fashion brands that I don’t think are any good: their practises may be perfect, but if the garment that comes out of the other end comes out as a hair shirt, there is no point doing it.

I had also just come back from a year travelling around America in Airbnb virtually every night. Fifteen years ago, you would never have considered sleeping in a stranger’s bed for the night. Now people are far more relaxed about renting apartments, cars, scooters. Why not fashion?

LUX: How have luxury brands responded to the rental proposition?
Jane Shepherdson: In the beginning, they were slow. They couldn’t see how rental worked within the luxury world, with the feeling of exclusivity. But in the last year we have started to have conversations directly with the luxury players – including Burberry, Liberty London and Harrods – because they are starting to realise that rental is not going away.

Think about it from the designer’s point of view. Most of their catwalk pieces end up just being that – catwalk pieces. The wholesalers don’t buy the avant-garde or brightly coloured pieces because they are too risky. Conversely, it has been proven that people are much more experimental when it comes to what they rent: consumers are much more likely to rent something that is covered in feathers or bright yellow than they are a black dress.

A blonde wearing a pink blazer with green leaves on it

Jane Shepherdson, Chair, My Wardrobe HQ and Director, London Fashion Fund

LUX: Has that been true of your own experience of renting clothes?
Jane Shepherdson: I have spent a lifetime trying to dress myself for events, typically spending £1000 on something that was quite discreet, in navy or black, and assuming that was my sense of style. When I was first introduced to rental, however, the first thing I wore was this floor-length lilac Sharon Wauchob dress that was covered in feathers, with a matching tailored coat. Lisa Armstrong then called me one of the best dressed women of the year – the first time that has ever happened to me! It was completely different to what I had ever worn before, but it felt completely me – because I was allowed to experiment. Rental brings fun back to fashion.

LUX: Can second-hand ever be incorporated into ‘mainstream’ luxury?
Jane Shepherdson: The stigma associated with second-hand clothing is becoming less every single day. Most of our marketing and social media is really based on showing the beautiful, over the top creations that don’t look like they have come from a charity shop and are a bit more glamorous. I hope people will get that feeling and then prefer to rent a few pieces that were beautifully made that made me feel amazing, rather than have a wardrobe of cheap clothing that cost the same and they aren’t going to wear again.

LUX: Some say that rental perpetuates the appetite for newness which drives overconsumption in the first place.
Jane Shepherdson: I think telling people that they can’t do or have something is tantamount to saying to them ‘go on, do it again’. You have to find ways of allowing people to have fun, but in a different way.

Rental isn’t perfect, and I know that. There are plenty of environmental factors that I am still trying to overcome, like ozone cleaning and having to dry clean clothes all the time. But I hope it changes people’s mindset and relationship with fashion. Rental slows you down: you have to plan ahead.

LUX: How important is diversity to My Wardrobe HQ’s offering?
Jane Shepherdson: We want to be accessible to as wide of an audience as possible. That is difficult, though, because the individuals who lend us their wardrobes tend to be in small sizes. It is easier with the clothes we get from brands, because they give us a full size range. But we are continually trying to get a broader selection of clothes on the site.

two girls in yellow and pink dresses lying on the grass

LUX: Is there scope for designers to bring out collections for rental alone?
Jane Shepherdson: We have to think of different ways of doing things. I have had many conversations with [sustainable fashion designer] Patrick McDowell about how designers might do that with deadstock. If rental takes off and we get to some kind of scale, then it would certainly be a business model that designers would be happy to adopt. Think about the difference: designers selling their product to a wholesaler get back about 30% of retail price; if they rent it, they have only got to rent it out two or three times to have made more money than they are going to get from the wholesaler.

Read more: All-access rundown of Ozwald Boateng’s return to London Fashion Week

LUX: In what other ways are you seeing fashion innovate itself?
Jane Shepherdson: I am Director of the London Fashion Fund, which is funded by the Mayor’s office to find environmentally and socially responsible businesses who will be the future of fashion. We are currently looking at one business that is growing cotton hydroponically, which uses 90% less water. There is another which is looking at creating garments that photosynthesise when you wear them. They are alive, since they have these microbes, so instead of putting your jacket in a dark wardrobe, you hang it on the back of the chair in front of the window. They claim that one square metre of the cotton jersey they produce absorbs as much CO2 as a 100-year-old oak tree, and are talking to a high-street retailer about putting a collection together.

It is early days for a lot of these things, but there is so much that is happening that makes me feel optimistic. At least we can mitigate some of the damage. I am so desperate that someone doesn’t come along and say, ‘you can’t have fashion anymore: it is too trivial’. We have got to find ways.

Find out more:

mywardrobehq.com

fashion-district.co.uk

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Reading time: 7 min
woman lying on sofa in red dress
As fashion week kicks off in London, we’re celebrating designers who are paving the way for a more sustainable and ethical industry. Here, Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi, the founders and creative directors of cult fashion label Preen, discuss their collaborative design process and instinctive approach to sustainability
man and woman

Justin Thorton & Thea Bregazzi

Justin Thorton and Thea Bregazzi have been upcycling and recycling materials since well before ‘sustainability’ became a fashion world buzzword. The couple first met as teenagers on an art foundation course on the Isle of Man, where they both grew up. They moved to London in 1990s after university to launch their label Preen in a small shop in Portobello, the creative hub of the time.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

One of their first design hits was drainpipe trousers, made famous by Kate Moss, and over the years, they have continued to draw a celebrity cult following. Their pieces have been worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Alexa Chung, Scarlett Johansson and Michelle Obama.

Today, the brand maintains its punkish sensibility, but with a grown-up edge of sophistication. With a focus on longevity and practicality as well as beauty, many of their pieces are made to be worn in different ways. A mac coat from their Pre-Fall 2022 collection, for example, comes apart into a cropped jacket and a gilet dress while a double-layer dress of red stretch tulle and acid green floral print can be worn together or as two separate pieces. Here, the duo talk through some of their recent inspirations.

two models in dresses

LUX: How would you describe Preen’s design ethos? And has that changed at all since the brand’s inception in 1996?
Justin Thornton & Thea Bregazzi: We have a very organic approach to designing. There is a certain irregularity to all that we do. We have developed and grown throughout the years but “darkly romantic” has all ways been our style.

Read more: Patrick McDowell on the social impact of sustainable fashion 

LUX: What’s your typical process for designing a new collection? Do you each play specific roles or do you work collaboratively throughout?
Justin Thornton & Thea Bregazzi: Every time we design a new collection, we try to open ourselves up to experience as many things as possible. We talk a lot about what we are loving and what’s inspiring us, and then we start to edit our inspirations and draw from those. We work very collaboratively throughout the designing and creating processes.

LUX: How do you think your experiences of living and working in London and then, New York have shaped your design thinking?
Justin Thornton & Thea Bregazzi:
Showing our collections in New York really made us focus on being an international brand. However, living and working in London is so inspiring to us, it’s such a multicultural, creative city.

LUX: You’ve said before that you pay some consideration to how your clothes will photograph. How do you think image-based social media platforms have impacted the fashion industry?
Justin Thornton & Thea Bregazzi: When we design it’s important to consider [how the garments will appear] on all platforms, but at the heart of it, what we’re trying to create is an emotional reaction whether that’s in person or through a screen.

Read more: Olivia Muniak’s Guide to the Best Restaurants in Los Angeles

LUX: You’ve been upcycling fabrics more or less since the beginning and are now on a mission to become a 100% sustainable brand. What does that mean exactly?
Justin Thornton & Thea Bregazzi: We’ve never considered ourselves to be “a sustainable brand“, but we try our best to offer as many sustainable, recycled and organic options within our collections as possible. It’s important that all designers make an effort to produce a product that doesn’t destroy our planet.

Two models wearing dresses

LUX: What was on your mood-board for the Summer & Resort 2022 collections?
Justin Thornton & Thea Bregazzi: We were greatly inspired by the work of [French artist and photographer] Guy Bourdin: his bold colours and strong graphic lines. We also looked at dance – in particular [Scottish dancer and choreographer] Michael Clark’s work.

View the collections: preenbythorntonbregazzi.com

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Reading time: 3 min
Fashion campaign for menswear
Fashion campaign for menswear

With recycled materials and artisanal craft, being at home never felt so stylish or so responsible

gold earrings

Inspired by natural forms and imperfections, Carolina de Barros employs traditional craft methods, lending each piece of her jewellery unique characteristics. The Lia earrings are handmade from recycled sterling silver plated in gold with reclaimed freshwater pearls.

carolinadebarros.com

black and white tartan shirt

Mother of Pearl is one of the most sustainable and wearable luxury brands out there. This voluminous Tegan shirt is crafted from responsibly sourced fabric that’s made from natural fibres, with the addition of eye-catching gold knot poppers on the cuffs.

motherofpearl.co.uk

pearl necklace

Ethical jewellery designer Pippa Small works with artisans in Myanmar, Afghanistan, India and Bolivia to create unique, handcrafted pieces. This golden torque necklace is set with rainbow moonstones that were hand-cut by Jaipur-based maker Om Prakash.

pippasmall.com

jumpsuit

Brunello Cucinelli’s tailored jumpsuit is a flattering all-seasons piece, made from camel-coloured twill with a contrasting canvas belt to define the waist. Designed exclusively for Net-a-Porter, all of the sale profits go to wildlife habitat conservation charity Space for Giants.

net-a-porter.com

flared jeans

Pioneer of sustainable fashion Gabriela Hearst recently took over as Creative Director of Chloé and these chic high-rise flared jeans are from her first collection. Cut from recycled denim with a braided waistband, they look great with a tucked-in blouse or cropped jumper.

net-a-porter.com

black watch

Ulysse Nardin shows its commitment to ocean conservation by recycling fishing nets into watch straps and supporting marine conservation. The sleek, functional design of the new limited edition Diver Lemon Shark pays homage to the vulnerable shark species.

ulysse-nardin.com

This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2021 issue.

Featured image: Looks from Brunello Cucinelli’s AW21 Menswear Collection. Courtesy Brunello Cucinelli

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Reading time: 3 min
fashion shoot
fashion shoot

Get into the seasonal hues and get out into nature with a clear conscience with these sustainably made treasures

gemstone earrings

De Beers has been increasing its efforts to support responsible practices that are sensitive to both the environment and local communities. These earrings from their Swan Lake collection pay tribute to Tchaikovsky’s ballet with a variety of ethically sourced diamonds.

debeers.co.uk

lemon jacket

London-based brand Rejina Pyo carefully selects materials based on aesthetic, durability and sustainable attributes. This eye-catching, lemon-coloured oversized Tate jacket is made from organic cotton and has a wide collar, cuff straps and horn-effect buttons.

rejinapyo.com

pink handbag

Mashu not only uses innovative, sustainable materials for its vegan bags and accessories, but the brand also plants five trees for every item purchased. This elegant Cassiopeia bag is made from Piñatex, a natural leather alternative produced from fibres in pineapple leaves.

mashu.co.uk

leather cowboy boots

Brother Vellies was founded in 2013 with the aim of preserving traditional African design practices, and supporting artisan makers across the globe. These striking Eve Doodle boots are handmade and hand-painted by artisans in Mexico.

brothervellies.com

watch with green canvas strap

IWC Schaffhausen’s timepieces are made in a state-of-the-art manufacture in Switzerland, designed to minimise its environmental impact. This watch, featuring a sporty textile strap and sturdy black ceramic case, comes from the Top Gun range of their Pilot collection.

iwc.com

wool jumper

Made from responsibly sourced Shetland wool, this chocolate-brown crew-neck jumper from Acne Studios makes a cosy winter wardrobe staple. Designed for a relaxed fit with ribbed cuffs and a wide hem, it can be worn with pretty much anything.

acnestudios.com

This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2021 issue.

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Reading time: 3 min
shoe campaign with red heels and trainers
man sitting in chair

Legendary shoe designer Christian Louboutin. Copyright and courtesy Christian Louboutin

Superstar shoe designer Christian Louboutin, whose signature red-soled pumps with vertiginous stiletto heels are the de facto shows for glamourwear, has dominated luxury footwear since the nineties. Harriet Quick speaks to him about his long career, his charity work with actor Idris Elba, Kate Moss and sailing down the Nile

Good ideas take time to mature and, when entwined with hope and empathy, they can flourish. Such was the situation when Christian Louboutin picked up the phone to his friend, the actor Idris Elba, after the tragic murder of George Floyd in May 2020. Both were in deep shock, amplified by the isolation of lockdown, and wanted to do something, to take action. Louboutin, remembering his friend enjoyed sketching designs for shoes, proposed a philanthropic venture: Walk a Mile in My Shoes. In essence, a capsule collection of shoes with 100 per cent of the profits going to benefit charities fighting oppression and advancing racial justice, equal rights and access.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Elba immediately said yes and proposed the idea to his wife Sabrina on her birthday. She was over the moon. “Not to act, to remain silent was not an option – I knew this in my heart,” says Louboutin. “We decided that if there is a message – it has to be optimistic. I don’t want to emphasise the toughness of reality and we picked organisations that are proactive. We want to show that we can all do better and drive optimism,” says Louboutin.

model wearing black trainers

The 1988SL high-top sneaker designed by Idris Elba from the Walk a Mile in My Shoes collection. Copyright and courtesy Christian Louboutin. Image by Julien Vallon

The friends got to work choosing designs for the collection, which was launched in June 2021. It includes the 1988SL sneaker designed by Idris, a suede calfskin pump with the Walk a Mile message embroidered in signature Louboutin red on the upper, and a birds-of-paradise print skate shoe and stiletto. The phrase was chosen by Elba and references Kim Abeles’s 2014 public artwork dedicated to Martin Luther King in Los Angeles. “I wanted to make sure the styles were already in my collection, as this is about giving money to people and not using funds for design and research. Sabrina really drove the charity side, choosing organisations that have a positive impact,” says Louboutin of the beneficiaries, including the Somali Hope Foundation, Purposeful in Sierra Leone, which supports marginalised young women, Gathering for Justice in the US founded by Harry Belafonte, the Be Rose International Foundation’s work in Sierra Leone, and Immediate Theatre in east London.

Read more: Emilie Pastor & Sybille Rochat on Nurturing Artistic Talent

The scale and scope of the initiative is impressive and inspiring. While charitable products often fall short on desirability, here is a collection that one would be proud to wear, as it is infused with the wit, optimism and elegance that is part of Louboutin’s DNA. The French Egyptian designer, now 58, has always been driven by passion coupled with a deep knowledge and expertise in his craft. Louboutin became fascinated with shoes in the mid-seventies. A visit to the Musée national des Arts d’Afrique et d’Oceanie on the Avenue Daumesnil in Paris was a turning point. It was there that he saw a sign from Africa forbidding women wearing stilettoes from entering a building for fear of damage to the wood flooring. Louboutin was enraptured by the poster image of a stiletto and set out to create designs that made women feel empowered and not embarrassed or compromised. “I could not believe the elegance of these shoes and became obsessed with them,” he remembers.

tote bag

Small tote bag from the Walk a Mile in My Shoes collection. Copyright and courtesy Christian Louboutin.

With no formal training, Louboutin learned by sketching and by studying the craft until he was hired by Charles Jourdan and, later, the highly inventive shoe maestro, Roger Vivier. By 1991, Louboutin had opened his first store in the Galerie Véro-Dodat and went on to sell internationally, building fame and fortune around his bestselling black patent, red-soled stilettoes that rose to 120mm and showed off ‘toe cleavage’. Indeed, it was Louboutin who became one of the first superstar shoe designers building a brand that became associated with fetish and fantasy. He has been to court on numerous occasions to protect the trademark red sole that over the decades has been widely copied. To balance and dance gracefully on these leg-lengthening, needle-thin points was, and still is, considered the quintessence of chic, a triumph of style over the quotidian. Like Manolo Blahnik, Guiseppe Zanotti and Vivier, Louboutin excelled in making the shoe an object of wonder. “My wardrobe is brimming with Louboutins,” Kate Moss told Vogue in 2014. “The classic Pigalle stiletto in patent or matt-black leather is my go-to shoe. I have so many pairs that Christian designed a style with a sharper point and nail-thin heel which he named the So Kate.”

extravagant shoe design

Louboutin’s reworked Double L sandal for the Oiseaux du Paradis capsule collection, launched in September 2021

As we all adopted Birkenstocks and trainers during 2020, it might not have been a great year for heels but it was a significant year for Louboutin. He spent much of it in his home in Portugal, blessed by the fact he could enjoy his garden and the company of his children. “There was a form of solidarity as everyone was in deep shit. Businesses were drowning and it was happening across the board. I understand that I could not get too pissed or angry if I had no control over the situation. Why beat your own head? I was not locked in a small apartment, and I took measure of the levels of comfort and privilege that surrounded me. I took the upside: there was no way to complain about my situation,” says Louboutin, who talks energetically and whose conversation is constantly punctuated with smiles and those inimitable French hand gestures and raised eyebrows. “It slowed my pace and that’s a good thing. I had more time to think and concentrate. I took it as a message, an opportunity to reformulate, and go into ideas, develop creativity. You realise nature is constantly replenishing – after three months the air was cleaner, the waters were clearer in Venice and Paris, and animals returned to the city. If we give nature a chance, it will recover much more quickly. We all experienced that reality,” he says of the learning.

Read more: Prince Robert de Luxembourg on Art & Fine Wine

Out of adversity, there come opportunities. Louboutin also had the chance to weigh up and analyse the future of his business, which encompasses sales through approximately 150 department stores in more than 35 countries, a beauty line that he launched with nail lacquer in 2014 (it is now licensed to Puig), men’s and women’s collections as well as accessories. A promising suitor came in the shape of Exor NV, the luxury group owned by the Agnelli family in Italy. In March, Louboutin sold 25 per cent of the business for €541m, a figure which gives a clear indication of the value and promise of the brand which has seen remarkable success in Greater China where there are six stores. Exor, which is chaired by chief executive John Elkann, also has investments in Ferrari, PartnerRe, Shang Xia and Juventus FC.

shoe campaign with red heels and trainers

The Hot Chick pump and Fun Louis sneaker from the AW21 collection. Copyright and courtesy Christian Louboutin

“The best business partner is one that enhances your way of thinking. We will remain the same and no one wants to interfere with how we do things – we have the same team and now we have solid partners who are great thinkers. The Agnellis are a family of entrepreneurs and I respect that,” says Louboutin, who works alongside his business partner, Bruno Chambelland.

“In the next five years, we will ‘muscle’ digital. We already have a successful e-commerce [side of our business] but digital is a bigger world encompassing operations and logistics. And we will also be looking at sustainability but not as a trend. In these matters, because sustainability is a complex science, you need to practice precaution and responsibility and have the time to take the right measures. It’s not about jumping on the first idea – this is a serious issue, and you have to be accurate,” says Louboutin, taking a balanced approach to fashion’s hot topic.

designer trainers

The Loubishark Flat trainer from the AW20 collection. Copyright and courtesy Christian Louboutin

Louboutin has a fresh outlook. He also sees great potential in the gaming world and has created a dematerialised Loubishark sneaker with a Pop Art graphic shark-tooth-style sole for sites. “Gaming has an interesting aesthetic and there is a distinct visual language which I find so fascinating. Since I was a teenager, I have liked calligraphy and optics and this is like learning a new code,” he says. Take a tour of the brand’s Instagram feed and its website and you can see playful virtual and augmented realities in the LoubiFuture world. The retro-futuristic vibe is playful and dynamic, just like the vibrantly coloured collection. There was also the chance to immerse yourself in Louboutin’s imagination at ‘L’Exhibition(niste)’, a monograph show at the Palais de la Porte Dorée in Paris in 2020 where the designer’s sense of showmanship and theatre were celebrated.

Read more: Molori Designs Founder Kirk Lazarus on Ultra Bespoke Luxury

His own sense of luxury is more shaped by the real world. He owns a 13th-century château in the Vendée and a beautifully restored 100-year-old sailing boat which is moored on the river Nile. When visiting the boat, he says, “by the second night, the stress of the city has evaporated. I’m looking at this beautiful panorama at a pace that is caressed by the wind. There is no motor, so if there is no wind, you stop. I love to sketch on the river with the landscape passing by. Everyone is affected by stress – even if you adore your working life, it’s important to extract yourself,” says Louboutin.

man on camel

Christian Louboutin in Egypt, 1999. Copyright and courtesy Christian Louboutin

“Luxury – it has to create a form of reverie. Yet, it’s a huge word and belongs to so many territories. My luxury is not to buy expensive things – I see luxury as a door, an exit that allows for the freedom of mind and identity. And to have that escape is necessary for wellbeing,” says Louboutin. Being able to realise his own dreams has also made him something of a role model for a younger generation. If his twenty-year-old self could see his fifty-something self now, what would he see? “I would see a man living through his dreams. I would look at that person and see someone who tried not to live through preconceived ideas and who has a voice and that means someone who also listens,” says Louboutin. “Success is an added value.”

Christian Louboutin on how male/female fluidity is affecting his design thinking

“Something that has affected my design in recent years is the shifting of identities and the fact that I was compartmentalised between men and women before. That has dissolved for me into another way of thinking about male and female identity. Now, I have a freer way of designing. Outside of the traditional stereotypes, there is a bit of the showman in every man, and this is a new discovery.”

Find out more: christianlouboutin.com

This article was originally published in the Autumn/Winter 2021 issue.

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Reading time: 9 min
jewels hidden in flowers
jewels hidden in flowers

This is the season for classic style with just a touch of whimsy and gold to brighten the days

romantic style shirt

This 70s-inspired shirt by Gucci is made from lightweight organic silk with an oversized collar and romantic, billowing sleeves. The pale pastel yellow tone adds to the vintage aesthetic, while the sheer fabric adds an appealing sense of allure.

gucci.com

pendant necklace

All of House of Benney’s creations are sustainably handmade to order in the UK, using traditional craft techniques. This elegant necklace from the brand’s Constellation collection features three textured gold pendants that evoke the celestial light of the night sky.

houseofbenney.com

grey woollen coat

Founded by Hungarian designer Sandra Sandor, Nanushka creates luxurious wardrobe staples with a focus on conscious materials. The Soa reinvents the practicality and elegance of a classic trench coat with double wool construction for extra warmth and structure.

nanushka.com

woollen trousers

Stella McCartney’s autumn 2021 collection is said to be the brand’s most sustainable to date. Inspired by ‘J is for Joy’ from the designer’s A to Z Manifesto, the pieces embrace soft, sensual, silhouettes. Versatile and timeless, these Kaiya Wool Trousers are our top pick.

stellamccartney.com

earrings

Anabela Chan uses laboratory-grown gemstones to create ethical, unique pieces of fine jewellery. These earrings are set with a vibrant array of emeralds, tourmalines, sapphires and diamonds, with delicately carved mother-of-pearl flowers and hand-painted detailing.
anabelachan.com

anabelachan.com

gold wristwatch

Since 2018, Chopard has used entirely ethically produced and responsibly mined gold across all of its collections. We love the simple elegance of this men’s L.U.C XPS self-winding timepiece with 65 hours power reserve, a chain-link strap and hand-crafted finishes.

chopard.com

This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2021 issue.

Top image: Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery photographed by Japanese photographer Mika Ninagawa as part of the brand’s ‘Florae’ exhibition. 

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Reading time: 3 min
tropical villa doorway
house with green door by the sea

Inspired by the vibrant colours and laid-back lifestyle of the island of Capri, fashion designer Catherine Prevost’s latest collection was celebrated with an in-store exhibition of artworks by Maryam Eisler, Karolina Woolf and Pandemonia. While the show has now ended and most of us remain confined within the borders of our countries, we can still escape to sunnier shores through powerful imagery. Below, we share a curated selection from Maryam Eisler’s latest photographic series

All images copyright and courtesy of Maryam Eisler.  maryameisler.com @maryameisler

For more information on Catherine Prevost’s Capri-inspired collection, visit: catherineprevost.com

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Reading time: 2 min
What happens when you combine a brutal lockdown, a prima ballerina from the Matthew Bourne company, an alternative fashion designer, and a creative photographer? You get Michela Meazza dancing on Mayfair’s empty streets in looks created by Meihui Lui, photographed in the February freeze by LUX Chief Contributing Editor Maryam Eisler. At least you do until the fashion/fun police arrive and tell our team to go home, despite their social distancing and, arguably, essential work. But what we do have is magic

“Edgy upcycled fashion designer Meihui Liu magically concocted three beautiful and unique outfits styled by acclaimed international stylist Ann Shore, all of which loosely referenced ballet performances which Michela has regularly performed in with her dance company, New Adventures, which is run and choreographed by the one and only Matthew Bourne. The idea behind the three looks were universal themes of love and passion, obsession and possession, a perfect combined ode to Valentine’s day!” – Maryam Eisler

“In the first instance, Michela wore a bright red design referencing Red Shoes, and I photographed this graceful, present and majestic ballerina smack in the heart of an eerily empty Piccadilly Circus. Michela continued her euphoric dance, wearing a second design by Meihui, in the form of a ribbon-adorned Victorian Punk, black and white design referencing Swan Lake. This session I shot underneath the arches of The Ritz and on the side street of the hotel under drizzling skies” – Maryam Eisler

“The third shoot, an interpretation of Cinderella, was going to take place on the Mall with Buckingham Palace as our backdrop. By the time we had reached Lower Regent Street behind the ICA, looking up towards St James, three police officers abruptly stopped us, asking us to stop and put down our equipment and questioning whether what we were doing was considered essential!” – Maryam Eisler

“It’s such a relief whenever I have the chance to do something like a film or this photoshoot, where I can channel my creativity into the language that I use for my life. It is literally a language that we use daily, and it’s really sad, in a way, because when it’s taken away, you realise how much you love and need it. I also hope that we have sort of learnt from this situation in recognising how important arts and entertainment are to humanity” – Michela Meazza

“I was really inspired [by the shoot]. It was a memorable moment, even though it wasn’t planned and the whole thing came together really last minute, without much anticipation or prior preparation; we all did this as a “love project”. I think magic always happens when you have no expectations and you create spontaneously. These days the ability to be spontaneous has been taken away from us and there is danger in that. For me, the shoot was also about the power of five women coming together and creating something beautiful. To me, that is powerful” – Meihui Liu

“Our common goal was simple: friendship and connectivity through creativity – essential attributes which makes us human in my mind. It was also about the creation of something ultimately beautiful and hopeful to be enjoyed and shared with the wider public at an unprecedented moment in history where such matters have clearly and most unfortunately taken a second row positioning. And what about daily exercise and mobility, as recommended by the government? The only difference was that we chose to do it at night” – Maryam Eisler

“I think people forget that dancers use their bodies and movement to express themselves; the moment you can’t do that, it’s like someone is shutting you down” – Michela Meazza

“The lockdown has affected people in different ways, but for me, what’s most frustrating is the lack of opportunities to show my work. Eventually, I started thinking about all of the empty space in the city, and how people are continuing with their lives but there’s nothing for them to see. And so I approached Spitalfields Market and said, “If you have any space, perhaps it would be nice to sponsor me as an artist-in-residence.” They gave me the best corner shop window, and just allowed me to create there and display my work in the windows. It’s not about selling clothes, it’s about people enjoying the experience, taking their time and reflecting on the beauty of the moment” – Meihui Lui

“Of course, this was not essential work if they were comparing our creative work to that of the medical field, but it certainly felt (very) essential for each and every one of us, as far as our mental well-being was and is concerned, not to mention the pleasure in regaining spontaneous creative freedom, if only for a short moment in time. We were all wearing our masks. We were all socially-distanced” – Maryam Eisler

Photography: Maryam Eisler
@maryameisler
maryameisler.com

Clothes: Victim Fashion Street by Meihui Liu
@victimfashionst
@meihuiliu8
You can visit Meihui Liu’s Victim Fashion Street windows at ​75 Brushfield Street E16AA at the Old Spitalfileds Market

Ballerina: Michela Meazza
@michelameazza

Make-up: Melissa Victoria Lee
@_melissavictorialee_

Stylist: Ann Shore
@ann.shore

Shoes: Natacha Marro
@natachamarro

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Reading time: 7 min
women at charity
women at charity

Wendy Yu on her trip to Rwanda with Women For Women International charity

Fashion entrepreneur Wendy Yu is the founder and CEO of Yu Holdings, an international ambassador for the French Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, and a supporter of The Metropolitan Museum of Arts, BAFTA and numerous other charitable foundations. As part of our ongoing philanthropy series, LUX speaks to Yu about her long-standing commitment to the arts, female empowerment and children’s education

LUX: As well as supporting the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, when did you first have the idea to set up a China program and why?
Wendy Yu: Having spent many years residing in London, travelling for business and working with international organisations, upon returning to Shanghai to live a few years ago, I felt an immediate sense of responsibility to my country in terms of helping to shape the creative and cultural space and provide a bridge between East and West.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

This is why conversations about China with The Met were initiated. Having been fortunate enough to spend some time with Andrew Bolton, I wanted to give the design community in China the opportunity to meet him and understand more about his work at The Costume Institute. The Met has such a big following in China, but mostly because of the Met Gala, and yet there is so much more to know and learn.

I invited Andrew to China in 2017, where he and Angelica Cheung co-hosted an event to meet emerging Chinese designers. I’m passionate about providing a platform for creative and cultural exchange.

woman wearing a ballgown

Wendy Yu at The Met Gala

LUX: Have you always been passionate about costume?
Wendy Yu: I’ve always been passionate about fashion as part of the wider creative industry. Fashion and costume are so intrinsically linked to a sense of identity, emotion, stories, a moment in time and culture. It’s also provides us with an opportunity to dream, and further nowadays, share our voice as our wardrobe is beginning to say something about our values.

LUX: Is there anyone the philanthropy world who particularly inspires you?
Wendy Yu: Amal Clooney, and Queen Rania.

LUX: What exactly does the Women For Women International charity do, and how do you ensure your support is optimal?
Wendy Yu: Supporting women is one of my priorities and I have loved to support Women For Women International as they are a wonderful charity dedicated to helping women, who are living in areas of conflict and are often marginalised. I travelled with Women For Women to Rwanda a few years ago to meet some of these women, and it was one of the most enlightening and heartfelt experiences of my life. It was incredible to see how these women had benefited from Women For Women’s training program, which provides them with the necessary skills to become financially independent and support their families.

woman sitting amongst children

Wendy with some of the women helped by the Women For Women International charity in Rwanda

LUX: Do you think that the role of private philanthropy is becoming more important, with increasing limitations on government funding?
Wendy Yu: Absolutely, particularly for the creative industry and especially at the moment, where much of government funding is having to be redirected due towards the pandemic. With philanthropy comes a true personal passion and commitment, often deriving from a special relationship that goes beyond financial support and can be truly game-changing for the people and organisations on the receiving end.

Read more: Why The Alpina Gstaad is top of our travel wish list

LUX: In terms of your support for the educational prospects of China’s children, is there anything that concerns you about the path ahead for Teach for China, and what made you decide to launch an art fund?
Wendy Yu: I believe in the importance of creativity in enhancing our lives and particularly that of children. Teach For China does an incredible job at providing education and facilities for children living in rural areas of China. What I felt I could bring to the table as one of their committee members was to provide the means for them to integrate art in their program, a subject that can often get sidelined when there is a lack of funding. Together we established an art fund, which would see the funding of art teachers and the necessary materials for schools in rural areas.

woman in classroom

Wendy working in one of Teach For China’s classrooms

LUX: Do you enjoy collaborating with Teach for China?
Wendy Yu: Very much so. Working with Teach For China has given me the opportunity to meet and spend time with the children who are benefiting from the art fund, as well as integrate their artwork in some of my own projects, including a clutch for a collaboration I did with Olympia Le-Tan where we used an artwork created by one of the students.

LUX: How will COVID-19 affect what do you do?
Wendy Yu: Covid hasn’t impacted my interests and what kind of initiatives I am directing my energy to; the causes I am committed to continue to be the arts, female empowerment and children’s education. That said not being able to travel means that at the moment any activity is by default mostly China centric.

Read more: Montegrappa’s CEO Giuseppe Aquila on personalised luxury

We have just launched the Yu Prize, which is an annual award and incubator program to support promising emerging fashion designers from China. The CFDA, the BFC, Camera Moda and FHCM are so good at championing creativity and providing a support system for their rising stars; this is something that is lacking in China and yet we have a burgeoning fashion community of very talented designers. I’m excited and want to nurture this generation of designers, who compared with their predecessors, have mostly studied abroad (CSM, LCF, Parsons) and so are more globally minded. They marry this with a sense of pride of their cultural roots, and from this a new wave of creativity and confidence is born, which serves to reposition “Made in China”. Huishan Zhang, Guo Pei and Caroline Hu craft many, if not all, of their demi-couture pieces locally in China to an international standard.

fashion event

Wendy Yu (middle) with Anna Wintour and Andrew Bolton

LUX: Do you often get to personally experience the difference you have made to a foundation or group?
Wendy Yu: My philanthropy has always stemmed from a personal relationship and a special connection that I have felt with a cause and therefore my involvement tends to be hands-on. It’s incredibly grounding and rewarding to be close to the people whose lives and/or careers are being transformed. Equally working with organisations that are specialised, and have the power and platform to make a difference is very inspiring. In today’s world and coming from a position of privilege, I believe in the importance of doing good as part of a wider definition of success.

LUX: Any other advice for our readers who might be considering going into the sector?
Wendy Yu: Follow your passion. Have in mind a wider sense of impact that you would like to make to a particular sector or area of interest, and then cultivate specific objectives and tangible projects that can be brought to fruition. Work closely with professional organisations that align with your vision and from whom you can learn more and gain access, however don’t be afraid also to champion people on a more personal level.

Find out more about Wendy Yu’s work: wendy-yu.com

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Reading time: 6 min
fashion shoot image

The Circular Fairisle Sweater from Connolly’s Autumn/Winter collection. Photograph by Robbie Lawrence 

Practical design does not have to mean dull looks. What about these subtle and elegant yet useful must-haves?

Originally a saddler and shoesmith, Connolly now enjoys cult status for its minimalist designs and luxury tailoring. Crafted from soft blue denim with a relaxed fit, the 4 Pocket Safari Jacket is the result of a collaboration with Neapolitan tailoring brand Finamore.

connollyengland.com

The Natural Dior short-sleeved dress is a hallmark piece of the French maison. Cut from beige and black tussah silk in a houndstooth pattern, it makes for an elegant and timeless addition to a workwear wardrobe. Accentuate the waistline with a simple black leather belt.

dior.com

The Sweet Alhambra timepiece is one of the latest additions to the Van Cleef & Arpels signature Alhambra collection, featuring the maison’s emblematic icon of luck in yellow gold with an interchangeable glossy-blue alligator strap.

vancleefarpels.com

 

Brother Vellies was founded to support traditional African design. The brand’s luxury handbags and shoes, including these chic Lauryn boots, are handcrafted in South Africa, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Italy, Haiti and at home in New York City.

brothervellies.com

Moynat’s new collection of ‘across straps’ were designed by artistic director Ramesh Nair to transform the brand’s handbags into stylish hands-free versions using a special jacquard weave. We love this bright herringbone graphic variation paired with the green Réjane model.

moynat.com/en

Celine has long embodied Parisian chic with its contemporary minimalist aesthetic. This camel Chesterfield revives a classic design with an elongated cut and subtle detailing. Wear it over a sharply tailored suit to achieve a look of nonchalant formality.

celine.com

This article originally appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2020/2021 Issue. 

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fashion shoot

Build your autumn wardrobe from the collections of ethically and environmentally minded designers

Mara Hoffman’s Catalina jacket evokes a tropical mood in a vivid red hue with lightly padded shoulders and a flattering plunging V neckline. The jacket is crafted from a blend of linen and a sustainable rayon fibre, and it features a tie at the front for a customisable fit.

net-a-porter.com

In 2020, Rosh Mahtani of Alighieri became the first jewellery designer to win the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design for her poetic, ethically produced, handmade pieces. These Infinite Song earrings in gold-plated bronze are inspired by Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’.

alighieri.co.uk

Stella McCartney has long championed sustainable design through the use of innovative processes and materials. This stylish saddle-shaped bag is made from the brand’s signature vegetarian leather with a woven canvas strap that sits cross-body or on your shoulder.

net-a-porter.com

French brand Veja has a strong focus on social and environmental responsibility. All of the brand’s trainers are made from organic or recycled cotton, wild rubber and recycled plastic bottles. We especially love this pair’s striking navy blue and white colour palette.

veja-store.com

Crafted from a recycled wool mix with a slim-fit cut, these gender-neutral tailored trousers by sustainable brand Riley Studio make an elegant and versatile wardrobe staple. As with all of the brand’s products, they are designed to last years of wear.

riley.studio

These Kallio sunglasses by London-based brand MONC are crafted in a workshop in Italy using bio-acetate frames and mineral-glass lenses, both of which are highly durable as well as bio-degradable. The design for this pair is inspired by an artistic district of Helsinki.

monclondon.com

This article originally appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2020/2021 Issue. 

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woman wearing black dress and diamonds
woman wearing black dress and diamonds

Penélope Cruz at the 2018 Cannes festival wearing Atelier Swarovski jewellery. Courtesy Swarovski. 

Penélope Cruz brings her renowned energy to philanthropic and charitable work – and now she is designing jewellery for Swarovski. LUX speaks with the Spanish-born Hollywood superstar

LUX: Where do you call home?
Penélope Cruz: Madrid. I grew up in a place called Alcobendas, a suburb of Madrid, with my sister Mónica and our parents and after with my brother Eduardo. My earliest memories are of being in my home every Sunday, everybody cleaning the house. There was always music, and everybody was dancing. My mother ran a hair salon, and between the ages of five and 12, I would go to the salon and listen to the women. I don’t know why but women in a hair salon share their deepest secrets. They would share everything with everybody. That was the first acting school for me.

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LUX: Tell us how your collaboration with Swarovski came about?
Penélope Cruz: The whole process evolved very naturally. I had worn some beautiful Atelier Swarovski pieces at various events. But it was when I met Nadja Swarovski and she spoke in depth about Swarovski’s work with sustainability that I became inspired to work on a collection with her. I really care about having a positive impact on the planet, and Swarovski has a rich history of putting sustainability at the heart of what it does.

LUX: What interested you in working with Swarovski Created Diamonds in particular?
Penélope Cruz: Before speaking with Nadja, I didn’t realise that it was possible to create stones in a lab with a low impact on the environment. As soon as I became aware of Swarovski Created Diamonds and other lab-grown precious stones, I wanted to start designing pieces and use them.

woman in diamond necklace

Courtesy Swarovski.

LUX: Your jewellery designs seem to have a vintage Hollywood feel. Have you always been drawn to the aesthetics of the era?
Penélope Cruz: My fine jewellery collection has a classic red-carpet aesthetic and I always go back to that – they are timeless pieces that I would always choose to wear. I think there is something for every woman in what we have created.

Read more: How we created the Ruinart Frieze lounge experience at home

LUX: What is the most important thing you learned from this collaboration about how to bring a design concept to life?
Penélope Cruz: It has been an amazing learning experience. I’m very lucky that Nadja and the team have given me such creative freedom. I begin the design process by pulling together images and references of things I love, and then spend hours with the designers to distil the clippings from movies, novels, paintings, ballet dancers and vintage markets into a jewellery collection that tells the story.

party picture

Cruz with Vogue editor Edward Enninful and Nadja Swarovski, 2019. Photograph by Nicholas Harvey

LUX: Would you encourage a young person to pursue a career in acting?
Penélope Cruz: It has been an incredible honour and pleasure to build a career as an actor, and to be surrounded by so many brilliant artists in theatre, film and television. Sometimes it can be a huge challenge, but I would encourage any young person to follow their dreams, listen to their heart, work hard and stay away from drugs – whether that is in the creative industries or beyond.

LUX: When you aren’t working on a film, what personal or creative projects do you focus on?
Penélope Cruz: From the age of seven I loved redesigning the clothing and jewellery from the pages of my favourite fashion magazines. So, working on jewellery design projects is a big passion for me and I have been honoured to have the chance to fulfil my childhood dream with Atelier Swarovski, season after season.

Read more: American artist Rashid Johnson on searching for autonomy

LUX: How does your family help you to stay grounded?
Penélope Cruz: I have always kept my personal and professional lives separate. Being with my family gives me so much happiness and it is my priority.

LUX: What inspired your activism, such as your involvement with the Time’s Up movement?
Penélope Cruz: I feel very strongly about the causes I support, and I have noticed a difference in Hollywood since the Time’s Up movement created a sweeping dialogue about the treatment of women. It is already having an impact on the kind of questions we get asked in interviews. Previously, you would be in a press conference and the women would mainly be asked very rude or superficial questions. People are more careful now. It’s symbolic, but hopefully we are understanding how to treat each other with more respect. And these are issues which affect women in all industries and everywhere in the world. If we don’t all do this together, it’s useless.

Red carpet photograph

Cruz with Antonio Banderas, 2019. Photograph by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Somerset House

LUX: Do you have a dream film or television project you would like to direct yourself?
Penélope Cruz: I’ve always wanted to direct. I have directed commercials and a documentary before but hopefully I will be able to do a full-length feature film someday.

LUX: What is it like working with a director such as Pedro Almodóvar, someone you’ve worked with for years?
Penélope Cruz: Pedro is like family; he is very important to me and holds a special place in my heart because he was the reason why I became an actress. I’m excited that we are making a new movie next year.

LUX: What type of music do you enjoy? Is there a track that makes you want to dance?
Penélope Cruz: I’m a big fan of everything that Pharrell Williams does. He’s an amazing producer and songwriter. I also love Eduardo Cruz’s work. He is my brother and we are very close, but I admire his work as a composer and producer so much. He just did the soundtrack for the film Wasp Network.

LUX: Has the past year changed your outlook on life?
Penélope Cruz: We are experiencing a huge moment of social change and I am still processing the transformations that are occurring around us. However, I believe that the values I hold closest – truth, justice and equality, respect for the planet and kindness towards others – will grow in strength. We truly are all one and we have to commit to creating a better tomorrow.

View Penélope Cruz’s designs for Swarovski: atelierswarovski.com

This article features in the Autumn Issue, which will be published later this month.

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Reading time: 5 min
crystal star installation
crystal fashion

A look from Area’s AW16 collection, incorporating an official collaboration with Swarovski. © Swarovski Corporate Archive

Austrian crystal-maker Swarovski celebrates its 125th anniversary this year with a new creative director in charge. Operating in sectors from infrastructure to telescopes, it is most famous for its crystal figures and collaborations with the entertainment and fashion industries. Ahead of a landmark book being published about the company, Harriet Quick explores a family-owned firm getting ready for the next 125 years

For a brand bringing sparkle to the world’s performance stage and symbolising the dazzle of fashion to be celebrating its 125th anniversary is some achievement in itself, given the changes in the world of entertainment and style since 1895. To be doing so as a family-owned company, run in part by descendants of the original founder, is even more so. But for Swarovski, provider of crystals and sparkle around the world, there is yet another dazzling fact: the company has done so not based on the rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré or Milan’s Golden Triangle, but from a small village in the Austrian Alps.

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The journey has been epic. Today, the company is managed by the fifth generation of its family members. This year, marking its 125th anniversary, has witnessed big changes. On the visual front, Italian-born fashion director and consultant, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert has joined the company as worldwide creative director. The stores, a feature of cities and airports around the world, are scheduled for a sweeping revamp.

crystal dome

The Crystal Dome at Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Wattens, Austria. © Swarovski Corporate Archive

The brand’s history is as varied as the topography of the Austrian Tyrol where Daniel Swarovski set up his manufacturing plant in the town of Wattens to benefit from the abundant water source that powered the hydroelectric cutting machines. The mountains and valleys of the region are symbolic of the struggles and triumphs of a business that has been driven by the continuous merging of technology, nature and innovative design. There is a generous sprinkling of magic, too. It is embedded in the multifaceted crystals that never fail to arouse awe and around which there has been ample myth-making.

archival family portrait

Daniel Swarovski with his family, c. 1890. © Swarovski Corporate Archive

Before the global pandemic, Swarovski’s annual turnover was recorded at 2.7 billion euros and that comprises revenues from its high-end fine jewellery creations, the crystal stones deployed by a whole array of creative minds, including costume designers, chandelier makers and architects, and optics. The lion’s share (75 per cent of the revenue) is generated by fashion jewellery, sunglasses, watches, perfume and the much-adored crystal figurines. The quality of the crystals that are prototyped at Manufaktur, the striking in-house laboratory in Wattens designed by architectural firm Snøhetta, is unparalleled.

Read more: How Andermatt Swiss Alps is drawing a new generation of visitors

The company’s extraordinary creative output has also been bolstered by a roster of collaborators from the fields or architecture, design, fashion, film and stage who have continually brought ideas and seemingly impossible challenges to the company, from the mesmerising Aurora Borealis crystal that was developed by Manfred Swarovski for Christian Dior to the spectacular costumes made for performers including Maria Callas’s gowns, Liberace’s capes and Lady Gaga’s bespangled Ralph Lauren gown featuring 50,000 stones and worn at her Las Vegas residency in 2019. People come to Swarovski for the spectacular and the sublime, like scenic designer Derek McLane, who used 45 million Swarovski crystals for the 2018 Oscars ceremony, and who commented, “I always want to go beyond the clichés”.

crystal jewellery

Swarovski crystals in jewellery featuring in 16 Arlington’s AW20 collection. © Dan and Corina Lecca.

From the fields of design, Daniel Libeskind, Tord Boontje, Jaime Hayon and John Pawson are amongst the greats who have transformed crystal into products, architectural features and lighting. Hayon recently designed a full-scale carousel for the Swarovski Crystal Worlds culture park in Wattens. The monochrome attraction rotates in striking juxtaposition with the lush greenery of the garden and shimmers with 15 million Swarovski crystals across 12 ceiling panels and 16 wall panels illuminated by a warm light. “For me, a carousel can be seen as a moving museum,” explains Hayon.

lake art installation

old fashion carousel

Swarovski Crystal Worlds, with (top) Crystal Cloud by Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot, and (here) the carousel designed by Jaime Hayon © Swarovski Kristallwelten/Mark Cocksedge

Setting a precedent that would inspire future generations, Daniel Swarovski first made his inroads into the worlds of high fashion in Paris. Equipped with suitcases of stones, the founder would take his goods on the road, visiting couturiers including Charles Frederick Worth, Jeanne Lanvin and Jeanne Paquin, as well as the specialist artisan ateliers that supplied Chanel and Schiaparelli with exceptional embroideries, buttons and jewelled adornments. Relationships were forged that outlived the founder and expanded exponentially during the hey-day of couture in the 1950s, attracting Dior, Balmain and Givenchy. “The samples are often the springboard to the creation itself,” remarked Hubert de Givenchy.

Read more: British artist Hugo Wilson on creating art from chaos

crystal star installation

The Swarovski Star by Daniel Libeskind in 2018 for the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, New York. Image by HappyMonday

Swarovski crystal became a desired material in fashion, adding glamour and value to evening gowns, heels, handbags and costume jewels. It has been endlessly interpreted through the changing waves of minimalism, maximalism, sportswear, theatrical and romantic moods and proved itself a classic. At Versace, Donatella has made crystal chain mail a signature, Miuccia Prada has made sparkle an integral part of her chandelier earrings and party dresses, while at Chanel, crystal is woven into the tweeds and classic costume jewellery.

fashion shoot

Mary Katrantzou’s SS20 show at the Temple of Poseidon in Greece.

The brand continues to look to the future by investing in new talent and ideas. Sponsorship through the Swarovski Collective programme and graduate award schemes means that emerging creatives are exposed to the potential of the material. Mary Katrantzou, Grace Wales Bonner, Rodarte and Jason Wu are amongst the many who have grown up through the collective. The most famous collaborator is Alexander McQueen, who conjured up brilliant designs fused with narrative richness and theatrical impact. Fittingly, Swarovski was the key sponsor of the record-breaking exhibition ‘Savage Beauty’ (2011) that celebrated his life’s work.

singer on stage

Lady Gaga during her ‘Jazz & Piano’ residency in Las Vegas, 2019. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Park MGM Las Vegas.

crystal stage design

Derek McLane’s design for the Academy Awards stage in 2018, using millions of Swarovski crystals. Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

The relationships are best when they are symbiotic. In 2019, Katrantzou designed her Temple of Poseidon couture collection that was staged as a charitable fundraising event in her native Athens with £40k worth of crystal. “Nadja Swarovski has changed the perception of how crystal is perceived, and I have challenged my own preconceptions of it. With something so visually present, it has to be part of the process from the beginning. We never want it to look like an afterthought,” says Katrantzou.

In turn, creative directors have been invited to Swarovski and been given carte blanche to design jewellery collections and components. The results have given crystal new dimensions. Consider Jean-Paul Gaultier’s Kaputt shiny/matte faceted stones, and the one million giant pearls and stones that embellished Olivier Rousteing’s first couture collection for Balmain in 2019. Challenging perceptions, groundbreaking Dutch couturier Iris van Herpen designed a ‘growing crystal’ that features raw and faceted surfaces.

‘Growing’ Swarovski into a new era is the mission for the family now. An era that is challenging for any consumer-facing business: but any company that has lived through two World Wars and a Great Depression has long-term survival in its genes. Sparkle is guaranteed, but who can say what poignant shapes it might find in the future?

For more information visit: swarovski.com

This article features in the Autumn 2020 Issue, hitting newsstands in October.

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Reading time: 6 min
fashion portrait
portrait

Sunset, a limited edition photograph by Cathleen Naundorf. Courtesy of Cathleen Naundorf studio

colour portrait of Maryam Eisler photographer and contributing LUX editor

Maryam Eisler

Following in the footsteps of Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Peter Beard, Cathleen Naundorf is a world renowned photographer who works with large format analogue cameras to create a unique painterly aesthetic. Photographer and LUX Contributing Editor Maryam Eisler speaks to the Paris-based artist about photographing the Dalai Lama, creative influences and developing her own style

portrait of a woman

Cathleen Naundorf. Courtesy of the artist

Maryam Eisler: Cathleen, you have been working with analogue and large format cameras for some years now. I am interested in your visual aesthetics, especially in what you call your ‘Fresco’ imagery, which sits somewhere between photography and painting, in my opinion.
Cathleen Naundorf: Yes, that is correct indeed. The technique achieves painterly photographs. As a kid, at the age of four, I already had a pencil in my hand; I drew all my life. I was sponsored very early on, and had my first painting atelier at the age of twelve. It was only later that I decided to become a photographer, because I was looking for something that would allow me to both travel and remain close to painting, at the same time. I was young and didn’t want to be isolated in a studio, I wanted to go out and explore the world.

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I was raised in East Germany, and moved out before the wall was taken down; it was very difficult to get out. At the time, I was desperate to travel, and so, I applied for jobs with book editors and printed media. I landed my first job very early on, at the age of 23, for which I had to do a reportage on the Dalai Lama. By luck, I became a travel photographer, and I fell in love with this medium.

corset on a woman

Corset by Cathleen Naundorf. Courtesy of Cathleen Naundorf studio

studio photographer

Cathleen on a studio shoot. Courtesy of the artist

To go back to your ‘Fresco’ question and achieving that painterly look, I decided to work with polaroid because you see the result immediately. Many 70s photographers also used polaroids as it was a great way to check up on lighting during the photo sessions. Helmut Newton used the XS – 70 polaroids, for example. I used small format polaroids during my travels, and took polaroid portraits of the people I photographed, in order to retain an immediate memory of them. From 2003, I started working in studios and so I chose the professional 8 x 10 inch and the 4 x 5 inch polaroid sheets. There were two reasons behind my choice of this particular material. Firstly, it allows for the development of unique pieces, and secondly,  it captures the light in a painterly way. In 2006, I started with the ‘Fresco’ technique, a complicated process, but well worth the complication as it produces stunning results!

Read more: ‘Confined Artists Free Spirits’ – Maryam Eisler’s lockdown portrait series

collage storyboard

One of Cathleen’s storyboards for Anastasia, Vogue Thailand. Courtesy of Cathleen Naundorf studio

Maryam Eisler: I imagine this technique requires everything to be pre–planned?
Cathleen Naundorf: If you work with large format cameras and settings, you have to prepare the photo production well in advance. I draw everything first, each shot, just like you would if you were producing a movie. My storyboards explain the narrative which I have in mind. Each sitter (client or model) receives the story board several days before the shoot so as to get “in the mood”. My team also gets briefed in advance, and as such, all is well prepared. So, once you’re on set, the atmosphere is relaxed, giving time and space to concentrate on the subject, whilst allowing me to pull the trigger at the right moment … the extra ‘wow’ factor!

Read more: British-Iranian artist darvish Fakhr on the alchemy of art

Maryam Eisler: So storytelling is a significant part of your process?
Cathleen Naundorf: It’s always about storytelling. As mentioned, I started as a reportage photographer. When I worked with big agencies, they would always tell me ‘one picture needs to say it all’. I first put this theory to the test when I photographed the Dalai Lama, once when I was 24 and the second time at the age of 26. I think a photograph should always tell a story – this also applies to fashion photography, at least in my case.

vintage style photograph

Magic Garden, III ,Valentino Garavani, Wideville by Cathleen Naundorf. Courtesy of Cathleen Naundorf studio

Maryam Eisler: Would you say that your collaboration with your sitter equally becomes an integral part of the process?
Cathleen Naundorf: I always ask the person if he or she has agreed to be photographed. It’s a question of respect. Some situations are also very intimate, and the sitter needs to feel more comfortable than usual. With culturally diverse ethnic groups, especially, you need to take time, explain, share with them the process and the purpose of your work. It is a question of trust and communication. With models, they may find themselves nude in front of you. As such, you need to develop trust, respect and comfort, in the rapport which you establish with them. As a photographer, you have to have the ability to open the sitter’s soul, and in turn, they need to be made aware of that. That’s when you bring the best out of people.

fashion portrait

Pose enchantée by Cathleen Naundorf. Courtesy of Cathleen Naundorf studio

Maryam Eisler: Do you have a secret formula or recipe in your photography? A signature of some sort?
Cathleen Naundorf: Not really. I am very critical of myself and try to improve the quality of my work with every shoot. It’s a daily task, step by step.

Read more: A new retrospective of photography by Terry O’Neill opens in Gstaad

Maryam Eisler: Most artists are doubters. They never know when the painting is finished. It is quite wonderful to have that certitude and to be able to say, ‘This is done! This is it!’
Cathleen Naundorf: Yes. When I shoot, I say to the team, ‘Guys that is it; we have it!’ It’s also fantastic to have the polaroid result in 60 seconds. Once I had to shoot the cover for a US magazine and I was photographing Laetitia Casta. I only shot seven polaroids and sent just ‘the one’ to the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine. They complained and asked to see more options, but I knew that that was the one. The magazines sold out, and there was the proof in the pudding! When you have it, you have it!

fashion photography

The enchanted forest I by Cathleen Naundorf. Courtesy of Cathleen Naundorf studio

fashion portrait

The doubt by Cathleen Naundorf. Courtesy of Cathleen Naundorf studio

Maryam Eisler: How old were you when you left East Germany? And how much of an influence did your country of origin have on your career?
Cathleen Naundorf: I was 17 when I left East Germany. When I was 6 years old, people around me used to say ‘Oh she is an artist, she is so sensitive’. I knew then that I was different. Being raised under that regime made me very strong over the years. Freedom and human rights took top priority in my life as a result. To be physically and mentally free are essential to me. You need to make choices in life and stand for what you believe in. I had to pack my suitcase in 24 hours and take what I could. That teaches you a lot in life!

Maryam Eisler: The choice of photojournalism could be considered activism in itself.
Cathleen Naundorf: Yes, I wanted to give something back to society. At 18, I became an active member of Amnesty International. I worked on cases in Yugoslavia during the war and also in Turkey. In 1993, I met the Dalai Lama. I was very fortunate. As mentioned before, I did a reportage twice on him. I was the youngest photo reporter and I was also the only woman. It was, and still is hard for a woman to be in photojournalism. In East Germany where I grew up, women and men were really equal. So, when I came to the West, I was disappointed. I felt like I had to battle even more in order to gain respect. Even today, I sometimes feel like I have to battle in order to protect my rights and justify my job.

Read more: SKIN co-founder Lauren Lozano Ziol on creating inspiring homes

Maryam Eisler: How do you marry your two worlds together: activism and fashion? It seems like they would normally be at polar opposites of each other?
Cathleen Naundorf: Honestly, I never saw myself as a fashion photographer. Horst [P.Horst] became my mentor and influenced me in the direction of fashion photography at the beginning of my career, alongside the influences of work by Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. I was eventually taken under Tim Jefferies’ wing (Director of Hamiltons Gallery, Mayfair), and the rest is history! When I moved to Paris in 1998, fashion was a kind of ethnic voodoo, with a touch of glamour, especially during the times of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. It was great and I saw eye to eye with that kind of fashion. But those times are over, there is no Diana Vreeland or Francesca Sozzani anymore. People think I belong to the fashion bunch, but I don’t really. I am considered an artist, even by the fashion industry, and I always want to keep it that way.

black and white fashion photography

In the clouds, II by Cathleen Naundorf. Courtesy of Cathleen Naundorf studio

Maryam Eisler: Talk to me about the influence Horst had on you.
Cathleen Naundorf: When I discovered Horst’s photography, I called him in New York. I realised, that if this is and can be called fashion photography, then I must try and learn it. His work was magnificent. Later we found out, that my family and his family knew each other, because they each had big shops in the town of Weissenfels, in East Germany, on the same street! Can you believe that? He saw my travel pictures and he said ‘ Why don’t you try fashion?’ He influenced me at the beginning, and, of course, later on in my career, I developed my own personal style.

Maryam Eisler: Where do you find your inspiration?
Cathleen Naundorf: Everywhere. I always have pictures in my head! My fantasies drive me. And, I like to realise my dreams. It is these dreams and fantasies that empower me and make me feel alive!

View Cathleen Naundorf’s portfolio: cathleennaundorf.com
Instagram: @cathleennaundorf

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Reading time: 9 min
Two men in conversation
Black and white portrait of a man

Giorgio Armani. Courtesy Giorgio Armani

The designs of fashion superstar Giorgio Armani have become synonymous with the relaxed yet restrained and sophisticated style that has, over the nearly half century he has been in the business, transformed Italian tailoring. Harriet Quick talks to the legend about his global empire, which spans womenswear, menswear, interiors, hotels and more

Even with increased life expectancy and delayed retirement age, there is only a tiny percentage of us who, at the age of 85, will wake up every morning motivated by the prospect of a full days’ work. That Giorgio Armani is in charge of a multibillion-euro company, more than 7,000 employees and owns a personal property portfolio of nine houses (plus a 65m superyacht named after his mother’s nickname, Maín), a personal fortune estimated at 6 billion euros and a whip-sharp brain makes him that rarity.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Who does he see in the mirror each morning? “I see a man who, through sheer hard work, has achieved a lot, turning a vision of style into an all-encompassing business. This assumption might sound like an overstatement, but it is a matter of fact,” says Mr Armani (Mr is his preferred address), dressed in his ‘fashion-worker uniform’ of blue sweater, cotton trousers and white sneakers. “And yet, in spite of all my achievements, I still feel the fire. I am never content – I am always challenging myself. That’s how I keep young and aware, by always raising the bar a little higher,” he says.

In January 2020, Armani will have presented Giorgio Armani menswear during Milan fashion week, the Armani Privé collection during the Paris haute couture collections and overseen looks designed for celebrities attending the Golden Globes, the Oscars and the Baftas. He also picked up the GQ Italia Award in January in swift succession to the Outstanding Achievement Award that was presented to him by Julia Roberts and Cate Blanchett at the British Fashion Awards in December 2019. By way of acceptance, he simply gave a big thank you while Blanchett added, “Mr Armani is a man who prefers to let his clothes do the talking”.

Antique photograph

Two men in conversation

Armani with his mother Maria in 1939 (top), and with his partner Sergio Galeotti. Both images courtesy of Giorgio Armani

The new decade marks forty-five years in the business during which the Armani brand has grown from a seedling collection of subtle, relaxed men’s suiting into a global powerhouse that encompasses 11 collections a year (including Privé and Emporio Armani) fine perfume and cosmetics, underwear, eyewear, denim, interiors, furnishings and hotels. Armani, who is the CEO and creative director, remains the sole shareholder making him, alongside the Wertheimer family that owns Chanel, Sir Paul Smith and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, one of the last remaining fashion industry founder/owner titans. Ralph Lauren stepped down from his role as CEO in 2015.

“A vision like this takes a long time to be fully developed. The slow growth made it organic and all encompassing,” says Armani. “I had the first glimpses that style could turn into lifestyle back in the eighties, sensing that my philosophy could be applied to many different fields. Across the nineties, as the business grew, I started adding new elements, be it furniture, restaurants or hotels. My intention today is to offer a complete Armani lifestyle. New things can be added all the time. The vision has not changed over the years, it has grown, evolved and expanded,” he says as if observing the horizon line. But the roots were set firm and fast. In the first year of trading (1976) the turnover was $2 million. With Italian producer GFT and American know-how, Giorgio Armani and his right-hand Sergio Galeotti learnt how to manufacture and distribute at scale. In 1981, Emporio Armani was launched offering denims and sportswear at accessible prices and emblazoned with the graphic triumph that is the EA eagle.

Read more: How Hublot’s collaborations are changing the face of luxury

Armani’s lifestyle vision of pared-down elegance (in shades of aqua and greige) has proven as enduring as the bewitching romance of Pantelleria, the tiny island that lies off the coast of Sicily. The myth of Armani seems to predate the man himself, reaching back through the 20th century into some misty pre-industrial past and lurching forward into a tonally harmonised borderless utopia. In Armani’s universe, shapes, moods and memes may change, but not excessively so and one would be hard pushed to date one collection versus another. In this age of responsible luxury and sustainability, that interchangeability is now again being considered a virtue rather than a freakish anomaly. The brand, which Armani describes as a ‘physiological entity’, speaks of constancy, grace, strength and good health seemingly impervious (or very well sheltered from) the rude chaos of real life, just like the founder himself. The allure of Armani’s serene aesthetic harbour (in jackets and the best-selling Luminous Silk Foundation alike) seems to grow in inverse proportions to the spiking rates of anxiety and turbulence in the world.

Celebrities

Armani at the 2019 British Fashion Awards with, from left, Cate Blanchett, Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise and Roberta Armani. Photo by Stefano Guindani

Yet upheaval, tragedy and human destruction is part and parcel of the Armani story. Young Giorgio (one of three siblings) grew up in poverty-stricken postwar Italy, in the town of Piacenza, near Milan. Food, healthcare, building materials, fuel and clothing were in short supply. Bombing raids were imprinted on his childhood memories as were the visits to the local fascist HQ where his father worked as an office clerk. Armani distanced himself from the ideology and the relationship (his father died when he was 25) decades ago. “We had little, very little, so we treasured what we owned. My mother was wonderful in that sense: we were always impeccable, even if we did not have anything to show off. It was all about being clean, being proper. I’d call it dignity,” he reflects. The autumn/winter 2020 menswear collection, with its distressed-leather donkey jacket, soft shouldered tweed suits and shearling mountain coats and combat boots, had strong echoes of wartime civvy and military garb, albeit in luxury and technical materials.

“As industrialisation grew, we came into contact with new stuff. I remember my first incredibly stiff pair of blue jeans and I immediately felt like James Dean. As the economy boomed we all became eager for more. The social fabric disintegrated a bit and being modern became a must. That’s when I really understood the power of clothing – it’s the first projection of the self into society,” he continues. To note, Giorgio Armani SpA was one of the first brands to enter the Chinese market – he has an innate understanding of aspiration.

Read more: Van Cleef & Arpels CEO Nicolas Bos on the poetry of jewellery

Like Ralph Lauren, Armani received his fashion training on the shop floor at the swish Milanese department store, La Rinascente. “I was dressing windows and working as a buyer. I got to observe people, and that was an invaluable lesson. Milano at that time was a bursting, innovative city and people were constantly on the lookout for something new. I developed a passion for fabrics and shapes. Then I had the privilege of working as an apprentice with Nino Cerruti, where my career truly took off. I quickly started to develop strong, personal ideas. It was Cerruti himself – to whose foresight I owe a great deal – who asked me for new solutions to make the suit less rigid, more comfortable, less industrial and more tailored,” says Armani.

It’s hard to imagine in our century of casual how modern and desirable the deconstructed jacket and roomy fluid trousers on which Armani made his name would have appeared. But his work to soften the silhouette was as impactful as Coco Chanel’s cardigan jacket on women’s fashion. The silhouette was not only ‘comfortable’, it also projected a certain sense of cosmopolitan ease and adaptability, qualities that were in keeping with a flourishing economy (cars, furniture, fashion, fabric, lighting) and the birth of the ‘Made In Italy’ pedigree.

“By deconstructing the jacket, I allowed it to live on the body, using far from traditional fabrics. That principle is the one I used to build my own brand. Suiting at the time was very stiff. Women, in the meantime, were making progress in the work place and needed a new dress code: ‘ladylike’ was not suitable for the board meeting. I made the suit suitable for men on the lookout for something more natural and for career women. I sensed a need and offered a solution. The rest, as they say, is history,” says Armani, who is wont to gently shrug his shoulders.

Fashion model wearing dress

A look from the Armani AW14 advertising campaign. Image by Solve Sundsbo

“I think Armani’s success is due to his fashion and the images that went with it,” says Gianluca Longo, style editor at British Vogue. “He personally art directed the advertising campaigns and created the Armani style. He hit the American and the Japanese markets in the booming 80s and the Armani suit became a symbol of success at work. For men, it was a relaxed style and for women, a structured jacket that was still elegant and feminine in the cut.”

Armani’s success is rooted in a close group of loyal collaborators that were particularly effective in navigating the closed-shop Italian fashion business. “Sergio Galeotti has been the pivotal figure for me. He was the one who pushed me to go on my own and who was also by my side to manage it all. When he passed away [in 1985] I had to take my destiny into my own hands. Finally, that was his biggest push. I would not be where I am now without Sergio. I owe a lot to many people I have met across the years, especially Leo Dell’Orco, but I am a truly self-made individual,” he says. He also cites his mother Maria as a mentor: “She taught us the importance of taking care of yourself as an ethical choice. The idea of achieving so much with so little left a lasting impression on me.” Even at 85, he exercises for 90 minutes daily.

Restaurant pool terrace

The Amal restaurant at the Armani Hotel Dubai.

In his professional life, he cites John Fairchild (founder and editor of WWD) and Karl Lagerfeld as mentors. He admits he is not easy to get on with in terms of journalistic portrayal (he is succinct to the point of being terse) but does remember Jay Cocks’s 1982 Time profile. The cover bore the headline “Giorgio’s Gorgeous Style” and featured the leather-jacketed designer in his own incarnation of James Dean. This was also when Armani took on American retail (Barneys was one of the first stores) and then Hollywood. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Kevin Costner (The Untouchables) and Richard Gere (American Gigolo) are among the early pin-ups in a line-up of celebrities looked after by a highly active VIP and Entertainment division overseen by his niece, Roberta Armani.

Read more: Discovering Deutsche Bank’s legendary art collection

In the leagues of big business, a beige Armani suit (in fluid crepe wool) became the uniform of choice for a generation of female leaders, president of Bergdorf Goodman, Dawn Mello, and first ladies included. Today’s soft-power designers, including The Row and Gabriela Hearst, share a surprising amount in common with Armani’s aesthetic. Where peer-group brands built billion-dollar businesses on accessories, Armani’s strength has always been clothing. The cohesive brand architecture works from top to bottom with a bespoke velvet tuxedo on Brad Pitt boosting everyday entry-level purchases of underwear and scent. For the best part of the 1980s, Gianni Versace, Giorgio Armani, Gianfranco Ferré and Valentino Garavani ruled the Italian fashion business before Gucci was resurrected and Miuccia Prada launched into ready-to-wear.

Working at Giorgio Armani SpA is not for slouches. Team Armani work with military precision, expertly choreographing Armani’s interactions with press and dignitaries while exuding brand values 24/7. The notion of a team is always emphasised over individual stars and the same is true of the catwalk presentations and campaigns. The models are rarely supermodels or names but appear as a lithe army, with naturalistic make-up, hair and gestures and clothes that blend in with the wearer. “The founding principles of my company are based upon autonomy and independence,” says Armani. “Jobs might be short lived today, but not in my case. My first employee, Irene, still works for the company.” The Armani Group’s reach has been impacted by a flood of street-credible brands, including Balenciaga, Off White, Burberry and Kim Jones at Dior. In 2016, revenues dropped by five per cent (estimated at 2.51 billion euros) and various strands of the business were given a sharp nip and tuck to refocus on core values.

artistic design display

Furniture in the Armani/Casa 2019–20 collection at the Salone del Mobile in Milan. Image by Fabrizio Nannini

As a private company, rumblings and frissons behind the scenes are hard to detect. The Armani world is elegantly orchestrated, from the polished-concrete Armani HQ in Milan designed by Tadao Ando to the flagships, many designed by architect Claudio Silvestrin, and the low-rise converted dammuso on the island of Pantelleria where Armani has a holiday home. “Clothing is about the space between cloth and body, architecture is about the space in which the body moves. I do not see many differences, and I think soulful simplicity always wins,” says Armani. And tactility. “The virtual is cold. We need to touch things, we need to make bonds.”

Read more: Inside Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar’s Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat studio

“Mr Armani is a very loyal person, he relies on his close friends and has an acute sense of humour,” says Longo who last year was invited onto the superyacht, Maín. “That always helps. And he still loves to be involved in everything that he sees around him. From a button on a jacket, to the cutlery on a table.”

The spring/summer 2020 collection of misty fog and aqua cadet suits and cloud-like organza-topped shimmering gowns was dedicated to Earth, echoing this era’s concern over climate change. The company has been a supporter of Acqua for Life for more than ten years alongside other charities supported by the Giorgio Armani Foundation, set up in 2016. As fashion goes through epochal changes in purchasing behaviours and attitudes, the business will be remarkably different in ten years’ time.

Antique film still photograph

vintage film photograph

Richard Gere in American Gigolo (1980), and Andy Garcia and Kevin Costner in The Untouchables (1987), for both of which Armani designed the costumes

“The outlook for the fashion business and the outlook for fashion are two separate issues,” Armani says. “Fashion, I feel, has a great future, as people are becoming more and more confident in making decisions about what to wear based on what suits them, and are also becoming better educated in matters of style. The fashion business, on the other hand, must adapt to this new situation, and the fact that consumers are able to access new ideas from their digital devices at any hour of the day, anywhere in the world. How to best respond to the new landscape hasn’t changed – make clothing and accessories that help people fulfil their potential and look their best and bring out their characters.” The focus should be on style, not trends, he argues. “And you should have your own vision and viewpoint as a designer. If you do these things, you will be successful. Consumer behaviour may change, but why people buy fashion in the first place will not.”

On the matter of succession plans, Mr Armani remains a closed book. The internal leaders are likely to be in place. “Freedom gives me pleasure. I experience it in my business, as I am still my own boss. I experience it in my boat, suspended between the sky and the sea.” One intuits that this sense of inner peace has been hard won yet the reaching for it is what drives the Giorgio Armani brand.

Discover the collections: armani.com

This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 Issue.

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Reading time: 13 min
Man wearing glasses
Man wearing glasses

Erdem Moralioglu by Tom Mannion

Erdem Moralıoğlu’s flagship store is in Mayfair, but the heart of this designer to the stars is in hip east London, where he lives and has his studio. He gives LUX a pre-lockdown tour of his home patch

My favourite view…

The view from the restaurant at the top of the National Portrait Gallery

The most romantic spot for dinner…

St John on Commercial Street

The best spot to read a book…

The London Library

The best place to take a selfie…

No selfies!

Where you’ll hear the coolest music…

The Glory in Dalston

The only coffee I’ll queue for…

Violet on Wilton Way (they also do the best cinnamon bun in the world)

The perfect spot not in a travel guide…

The stacks at The London Library – I could spend hours getting lost in all the books

A tourist destination that’s worth the hype…

The Turbine Hall at Tate Modern

The best spot for some people-watching…

Broadway Market on a Saturday

The taste that reminds me of my childhood…

Mangal 2 on Stoke Newington Road, which is my favourite Turkish restaurant in London

My favourite museum/gallery…

The Enlightenment Gallery at the British Museum or anything at Maureen Paley

The shop I never want to leave…

My shop in Mayfair. I spend a lot of time there and many of my clients say it feels like home

The best place to soak up some nature…

In the pool at London Fields Lido in winter

The perfect weekend brunch…

Allpress Espresso on Dalston Lane

I’m prepared to make a detour for…

The National Portrait Gallery

I’m at home in….

Hackney

View the designer’s collections: erdem.com

This story was originally published in the Summer 2020 Issue, out now.

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Reading time: 1 min
Pastel coloured timepieces
Pastel coloured timepieces

Set with 50 diamonds, the new limited editions of Spirit of Big Bang are uplifting evolutions of the Swiss brand’s iconic collection

The colourful collection of new limited edition Hublot timepieces features an uplifting pastel palette, alongside some bolder takes on Spring shades. Chloe Frost-Smith selects her favourites

Big Bang Sang Bleu

Continuing the Swiss brand’s collaboration with Maxime Plescia-Büchi, visionary tattoo artist and founder of Sang Bleu studio, the intricate geometrical centrepiece of the Big Bang Sang Bleu is softened by a dusky pink face and matching strap. The option of a gold bezel adds warmth to the design whilst the stainless steel version provides a more classic look.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Watch with gold face and pink strap

Big Bang Sang Bleu with a King Gold bezel

Spirit of Big Bang

For a brighter pop of pink, the Pink Ceramic Diamonds Spirit of Big Bang is as fresh as it is traditionally feminine. Set with 50 diamonds, the delicate design details of this piece include a satin-finished case, and a white rubber and pale pink alligator strap. Also available in light blue, the colour options for this model are both cheerful and calming.

Pastel coloured watches

Spirit of Big Bang with two pastel variations and a king gold bezel

Spirit of Big Bang King Gold Rainbow

A sparkling showcase of the full colour spectrum, this vibrant edition features over 400 multi-coloured baguette-cut gemstones which make up the colours of the rainbow, a symbol of joy and optimism. The entire dial of the 39-mm model is covered with sapphires, rubies, topazes, tsavorites and amethysts to achieve the striking display. To complete this uniquely chromatic piece, the seven recognisable colours are also blended on the strap to bring the design full circle.

Read more: Isolation relaxation with Monterey Bay Aquarium’s live jelly cam

Rainbow watch with colourful strap and watch face

Spirit of Big Bang King Gold Rainbow

For more information visit: hublot.com

Watch this space: our upcoming Summer Issue features interviews with Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe alongside Maxime Plescia-Büchi.

 

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Reading time: 1 min
Man wearing slouchy outfit
Two models sitting on a step

Two Point Two AW20 collection

Monochrome portrait of a woman

Anvita Sharma

Anvita Sharma founded her Delhi-based fashion label Two Point Two to celebrate individuality through genderless collections that reject all forms of stereotyping and categorisation. Following the launch of the brand’s latest collection at London Fashion Week, Abigail Hodges speaks to the designer about the concept of beauty, self-expression and acceptance

1. Can you tell us about the historical events that inspired your AW20 collection?

Every collection that we have done so far has had a multicultural reference to it. Maybe it’s because I have lived in such different countries as well as among such different nationalities that amalgamation of these different/opposing or similar things comes very naturally to me. As a creative person, I try to challenge myself with every season. To do something that Two Point Two has not done before, may it be in relation to colours, silhouettes or embroideries.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

With this collection we wanted to take a step forward, and mix art and comfort. ‘The Self’ embodies a reconceptualisation of genderless clothing, aspiring to refashion a world that breaks down the boundaries of gender and illuminating the very fluidity of it. It speaks about self-confidence despite flaws and quirks. It is about finding perfection in the imperfections; about embracing one’s uniqueness and weirdness because that is what sets you apart from the rest. It is a synthesis of the masculine and feminine energies of the universe in one body which are depicted in our inspiration of the embroideries – “Ardhanareshwara”, an androgynous form of Lord Shiva and Parvati. We made our artwork using the tantric symbols of these deities mixing it with the Japanese character Enso as well as some genderless faces.

Male model on the runway

A look from ‘The Self’ collection by Two Point Two, which launched at London Fashion Week 2020. Photo by Gio Staiano

2. How is your brand philosophy reflected in the models that are chosen to showcase the pieces?

We celebrate individuality, confidence and diversity. [Our philosophy] aims to create an “agender” identity, which has characters from maybe both the binaries or maybe neither. It strongly stands against stereotyping and categorisation of anything. Two Point Two believes that beauty exists in every soul and it’s all about accepting and endorsing it as your own. We focus on the individual and not their gender, culture, race or size and support them to express their individuality through clothing even if it’s something unusual. Being ‘Typically Atypical’ is our motto. We chose models who we thought have very strong personalities and character to them. We were very pleased to have all of them in our show as each and every one of them represented Two Point Two’s brand philosophy of inclusivity and individuality to the core. As we did not have any particular category or guidelines as to what type of faces we need, we saw so many interesting people at the casting and instantly fell in love with so many of them that it became difficult to choose.

Two Point Two AW20 collection

3. Do you face any institutional obstructions when working to showcase a genderless collection?

The world has started going in a direction of all-inclusivity. It’s becoming very welcoming and embracing everyone’s individuality day by day. Self-expression is easier now than 10-20 years ago. And it’s only getting better. However, since the norms/criteria or categories still exist, there will always be stereotyping among things. Whether a particular look is too feminine or too masculine. Beauty is connected to a particular idea that the society creates. Sexiness is connected to a particular image or type of looks. Idolising that concept of beauty sometimes feels like an obstacle to who we, you and I are. The constant justification required as to why genderless fashion and people adorning it are also sexy/beautiful is something which we face and have no problem reminding everyone about it multiple times.

Read more: Founder of Nila House Lady Carole Bamford’s guide to Jaipur

I was very self-conscious about my looks while growing up. Still sometimes, very rarely, I fall in that vicious cycle of idolising the perfect beauty. So, for me, the concept of Two Point Two and the celebration of individuality and self-confidence it stands for, as well as rebelling against giving any sort of justifications for who you are, is the main goal while working on genderless collections. Also, the gender disparity and the problems the LGBTQIA community faces in India is something I strongly stand against and this is a way to support their community as well as any individual who feels that they don’t “belong”.

4. Which are your favourite pieces from this latest collection?

Oh, it’s very difficult to choose. They are so different yet so similar to each other. I poured my heart and soul to each garment and each detail. But if I have to choose I’ll have to say the monochrome olive-green look. It was very unexpected as the decision of changing its combination happened moments before the runway, so I was very pleasantly surprised by it myself. This is what fashion is to me. Fast paced, maddening and yet very satisfying.

Model wearing green outfit on runway

Anvita Sharma’s favourite look from ‘The Self’ collection by Two Point Two. Image by Gio Staiano

5. How has your design process evolved over the recent years?

I think there is a massive growth in terms of design aesthetic as well as the process that we follow. With every season, I learn from my mistakes and evolve and grow making sure that those mistakes are not repeated again. We are of course more organised and clear now as compared to our first collection. Although, our brand ethos, philosophy and belief remains as strong as when we started the brand. And, we still work on a ‘go with the flow’ basis and let the inspiration take over when it has to instead of actively looking for one. Like mentioned earlier, my favourite look was very last minute and unexpected, so these things happen very spontaneously and I strongly believe that the energies of the universe guide you and take you where you are meant to go.

6. What’s your five year vision for the brand?

I want Two Point Two to have a global audience and impact in the coming years as the brand is non-demographic and all-inclusive and can be appropriate for any market and any customer in the world. We also like to be working with more handloom and handwoven fabrics which we are already exploring and used in some collections at the moment and planning to get more involved in it. Also, we would like to support the local artisans and their dying crafts from different regions of India, so we are exploring certain tribes and clusters of various parts in India and getting to know their stories, their histories and cultures as well as helping them economically and incorporating their crafts in Two Point Two and give them an international audience in the coming season.

View the collections: twopointtwostudio.com

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Reading time: 6 min
Models on catwalk at fashion week
Models on catwalk at fashion week

Atelier Zuhra’s latest collection “The Immaculate Flight of the Phoenix” showcased at London Fashion Week over the weekend. Image by Daniel John Cotton @cottonphotographer

Rayan Al Sulaimani is the female entrepreneur behind the growing couture fashion house Atelier Zuhra. Since its launch in 2015, Atelier Zuhra has had a growing presence on Hollywood’s red carpet. Following the launch of her latest collection at London Fashion Week, Emma Marnell speaks to the designer about fairytale dresses, timeless couture and her cultural heritage

Middle Eastern woman wearing headscarf

Rayan Al Sulaimani

1. The brand is named after your grandmother – has she always been a style inspiration for you?

My grandmother Zuhra is a strong Omani woman with a great passion for living life to the fullest. Yes indeed, she has always been a style inspiration, but eventually through the years I have also developed my own unique sense of style.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

2. What led you to focus on evening wear and specifically, show-stopping dresses?

From a young age, it has always been my dream to dress celebrities for big red-carpet events in a fairytale like Cinderella gown or to dress a bride at her wedding and help her dreams come true. Hence, from the very beginning we have always focused on creating show-stopping dresses.

Model on catwalk wearing black feathered dress

Atelier Zuhra’s LFW 2020 collection. Image by Garry Carbon @becauseimgarry

3. Can you talk us through the inspiration behind your LFW collection?

The collection is called “The Immaculate Flight of the Phoenix”.

In mythology the phoenix is a powerful bird which cyclically regenerates and is continually reborn over and over again in human legend and imagination. In the same way, this symbolises the beauty of ethereal everlasting couture as this immaculate bird represents the idea that the end is only ever the beginning.

Read more: Vik Muniz’s photography series for Ruinart

The LFW collection entwines beautiful tailoring with modern innovation and couture. The collection is brilliantly coloured in black and grey to represent the ashes of the phoenix. Contrastingly, its eyes are blue and shine like sapphires. Whereas the lilac and other ethereal playful colours are associated with the rising sun and fire, illuminating in the sky. Everything we have created in this collection is emphatically elegant and impeccably designed so that it looks like it would feel delightful to wear and to walk in.

backstage at a fashion show

Backstage at Atelier Zuhra’s LFW 2020 show. Image by Daniel John Cotton @cottonphotographer

4. How are your designs influenced by your cultural heritage?

Middle Eastern culture has definitely been a source of inspiration for all of our creations. Being born and brought up here [in Oman], I have grown up as a part of this beautiful culture, and knowingly or unknowingly it is somehow reflected in my designs. I would say the Middle Eastern influences are most recognisable in the silhouettes that we work with.

Model wearing maximalist dress on catwalk

Atelier Zuhra LFW 2020. Image by Image by Daniel John Cotton @cottonphotographer

5. When you’re dressing down, what’s your go to outfit?

My personal style is very classic and chic.

6. Who would be your dream to dress for the red carpet?

Angelina Jolie, Blake Lively, the Kardashians and Scarlett Johansson.

Discover the collections: atelier-zuhra.com

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Reading time: 2 min
Cara Delevinge in jewellery campagin
Model wearing jewellery pieces

Cara Delevinge stars the ‘Oui’ collection campaign for Dior Joaillerie

Dior Jewellery’s Creative Director Victoire de Castellane continues to take inspiration from the language of love for the brand’s latest additions to the Oui collection. Chloe Frost Smith reports

Simple in sentiment and design, the latest additions to the iconic Dior Oui collection continue Victoire de Castellane’s tribute to the maison’s couture with two new romantic French phrases – Je t’aime and Toi moi – adorning a series of rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

elegant french earrings with gold writing

The Toi moi earrings

Available in white, pink, and yellow gold, the letters ‘i’ and ‘j’ are dotted with solitaire diamonds in a whimsical handwritten font reminiscent of the signature Christian Dior stitching. The Je t’aime ring stretches across two adjacent fingers, whilst the Toi moi ring comprises two separate bands for each word. For an asymmetrical look, the Je t’aime and Toi moi earrings are made up of one word per piercing, allowing the wearer to mix and match.

 

 

Gold ring with diamond

The Je t’aime ring from Dior Jewellery’s Oui collection

The delicate necklaces and bracelets lend well to layering, alongside the finely threaded rings which can be stacked together with multiple messages on each finger. Whether combined or worn separately, the pieces make for an elegant statement accessory.

View the collection: dior.com

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Reading time: 1 min
Rooftop garden in a city landscape
Rooftop garden in a city landscape

The K11 MUSEA features a roof garden where clients can grow their own herbs and vegetables

Adrian Cheng has high hopes for the new K11 MUSEA in Hong Kong: to change the way retail, art and culture collide, says Darius Sanai
Portrait of an Asian man wearing a suit and glasses

Entrepreneur Adrian Cheng

When billionaire Hong Kong entrepreneur Adrian Cheng opened his K11 MUSEA development on Hong Kong’s Victoria Dockside late last year, he heralded it as “The Silicon Valley of culture”. It was a concept that some found hard to get their heads around, but a visit to the development is enlightening and points to ways K11’s innovations could have influence across the world in future.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

At the heart of K11 MUSEA is a funkily designed luxury and fashion retail mall, housing the usual roster of names found elsewhere in China, from Alexander McQueen to Supreme. It’s the architecture and design, headed by New York-based James Corner, and the depth of concept in the detail, that is so innovative. K11’s roof is a kind of kitchen garden-cum-safari park, with spaces where clients can grow their own herbs and vegetables, a natural butterfly park (open for visits by any passing butterfly), a giant aquarium mimicking Victoria Harbour directly below, and rangers working to show local school groups the rooftop flora and fauna Inside, alongside the living walls and slides connecting different floors, is a constantly rotating roster of curated public art, chosen by Cheng (a significant collector) and his team. An e-sports zone allows you to indulge in the sports of your choice, there are public art and performance spaces, and nattily attired concierges sit at desks made of recovered logs.

Inside a futuristic mall setting

The interiors of the luxury and fashion retail mall

Cheng’s aim in the development, which sits on prime waterfront land in Kowloon directly facing Central Hong Kong across the water of Victoria Harbour, is to bring retail, culture and technology together. Cheng is himself a complex and multifaceted entrepreneur: third generation heir to a multi-billion-dollar property and services empire, he is reinventing the family company, which also includes
brands like Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, for the future. He has as many friends in art and fashion as he does in the traditional family industry, and you feel Cheng is never happier than when reinventing something – and yet he has also invested time and money into a foundation to restore traditional Chinese crafts, and is something of a craftsman himself – it is his own hand that forms the calligraphic decorations around K11 MUSEA.

Read more: Plaza Premium Group’s Founder Song Hoi-see on airport luxury

The development has innovative platforms being planned using AI and facial recognition, as well as tie-ins with AI retail companies Cheng’s group has invested in, across the water in Shenzhen’s technology zone and across the globe: these are the spaces developers and retailers around the world will be watching.

Cubic sculpture on a broadwalk

The Kube kiosk designed by Rem Koolhaas’ studio OMA

As Cheng tells LUX: “When you purchase or sign up for something at K11 MUSEA, our loyalty programme allows us to understand your preference, basically what excites you the most. With enough samples, we can sufficiently draw correlations that will shape how we curate our brick-and-mortar spaces in the future. This is the advantage of running vast spaces like K11 MUSEA because it offers flexibility and a lot of possible curations. It’s about growing with our customers, predicting their needs and also working with brands and partners to create an inspiring customer journey. In fact, one of the companies I invested in, Moda Operandi, which we brought into K11 MUSEA, has a similar model. Online preferences will shape the store display, styling services and the various events that they host. Both K11 and Moda believe in creating a journey of wonder, for customers to learn and discover.”

There is also, importantly for Hong Kong’s current climate and from a scion of one of its most important families, a significant public/ community aspect to K11 MUSEA and the surrounding Victoria Dockside area which Cheng and his family company, New World Developments, has revitalised.

K11 MUSEA may be ground-breaking, but it’s unlikely to be the last creation of its kind from the peripatetic multi-business, multicultural Hong Kong dynamo.

‘Musea: A Book of Modern Muses’, published by Condé Nast, is available at boutiquemags.com

For more information visit: K11musea.com

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 Issue.

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Reading time: 3 min
Man and women wearing gym kit outside a building
Female model sitting on bench in studio

Polina Kitsenko promotes fitness in the Running Hearts marathon, which she cofounded with Natalia Vodianova

Close up portrait of a woman with black hair and a black top

Gauhar Kapparova

Russian style and fitness guru Polina Kitsenko wants it all. Co-founder of the biggest charity marathon in her home country and of a new sports club, she is obsessed with making health and fitness the heart of the luxury lifestyle. She takes time out to speak to LUX Editor-at-Large Gauhar Kapparova

LUX: Which aspect of your life inspires your half-million Instagram followers the most: the fitness inspiration, your style choices, your charity work, travel?
Polina Kitsenko: Instagram has changed so much in the past few years, especially its purpose and influence. It used to be enough just to upload a picture of yourself in a nice outfit, or to put up a pink sunset and get your share of likes. Today Instagram has turned into a powerful way to educate and communicate with people. People want content, something that inspires them, teaches them. But the most important thing isn’t the actual image – it’s what can be found underneath. Engagement comes more from the comments, where an article, post, or call to action is arguably more important than the visual content. Captions used to be short, but now you get whole essays that can barely even fit on one post. As a rule, the longer the text and the more current the issue, then the more the audience will engage.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: How do you feel about the term ‘influencer’? Does it describe what you do?
Polina Kitsenko: I’m against any type of branding, like calling someone a blogger, influencer or philanthropist. Everybody has a multidimensional personality and can’t be put in a box like that. Anyone with a social media account is an influencer, whether they have 100 followers or 100 million. They are still influencers for their followers. Instagram now is a vital means of communication and information. We once got the news in newspapers or on TV, but nowadays news is when someone we follow goes somewhere, does or says something, or writes something interesting. Everyone is an influencer – we just have differently sized audiences.

LUX: What advice do you give your clients about building a social media presence?
Polina Kitsenko: I can only give one piece of advice – content. It’s the key word. Instagram is a form of mass media from which we can learn a great deal. If the content that you’re creating is unique, then you have a competitive advantage over others in the same field. If it’s properly curated content, it will help you grow and gain interest.

LUX: You have many commitments, with motherhood, charity work, fitness, travel, your communications agency and #SlimFitClub sports studio, and motivational speaking. How do you balance all of these?
Polina Kitsenko: Obviously I can’t balance all of my interests. During the week, all my focus is on my work putting my services out to the public and promoting my projects and myself. My family really suffers during the week, but I try to make up for it at the weekends. It’s practically impossible for 21st-century working mums to find a balance. But I’m not sure that spending more time with your children improves your life or theirs. It’s important to do what makes you happy, because if you are happy and living your best life, then you can only make your family feel better. Trying to find a balance is like trying to walk to the horizon – you’ll never reach it.

Two women in running gear holding green watering cans

Polina with Natalia Vodianova

LUX: How did you attract support from Olympic champions and top actors and musicians for Running Hearts, the marathon charity you created with Natalia Vodianova?
Polina Kitsenko: That was the easy bit. First of all, most of these people are my close friends and secondly, as they’re already famous, they’re well used to helping public projects. And since we felt that we’d come up with a really good project, asking them to support something really beautiful and meaningful wasn’t hard at all.

LUX: What do fitness, running and exercise bring to your life?
Polina Kitsenko: Mainly the pleasure that it brings and how it widens my social circle. Sport in the fresh air allows the body to develop a more effective immune system and to unload the nervous system. Exercising in all weathers makes you tougher and less susceptible to infection. Training indoors can improve your fitness and muscles, but will hardly impact your health. You need to experience contrasting temperatures.

Read more: LUX interviews Instagram legend Gstaad Guy’s two alter egos

LUX: What advice would you give someone about developing a healthy lifestyle?
Polina Kitsenko: They say that 21 days are enough to change and form new habits, and this is what I believe. So, I think that it is necessary to go on a kind of journey similar to what we’ve set up at #SlimFitClub, such as #SlimCamp, where you can spend eight unforgettable days and you
won’t go hungry in the slightest. The first step is to establish healthy and tasty eating habits, but it’s not a diet. The second step is getting into the habit of exercising in the right way. And if you spend the first eight days doing this, it’s easier to continue once you’ve left. However, if you’re the only one in your social group who maintains healthy habits, it’s going to be extremely hard to change your lifestyle. It makes it easier if you find like-minded people like at a studio or a club, or a trainer with whom you enjoy spending time.

Hikers in the mountains

Polina trekking in the mountains

LUX: Your Instagram feed shows that you have an eye for fashion. Describe your style.
Polina Kitsenko: I have an eclectic taste. When looking for something to wear, I always think about
whether it’s appropriate for the weather, the surroundings and the occasion. It also has to be something I look good in. I love mixing up different styles. Some things I really love and my wardrobe is built around them. I like school dresses with little flowers and collars, biker boots, straw hats, denim, striped shirts, pumps, and I like trouser suits – they can be worn with plimsolls or dress shoes, or crop tops, so they’re not just for meetings or conferences.

LUX: Do you have any go-to designers?
Polina Kitsenko: I like to mix Dior with H&M or fast fashion, but I depend on brands less nowadays. What matters to me is that something suits me and that I like it. It shouldn’t be expensive or in my wardrobe already. Almost everything is in there.

Read more: Plaza Premium Group’s Founder Song Hoi-see on airport luxury

LUX: What changes over the years have you seen in the way modern women dress?
Polina Kitsenko: Modern women are more comfortable in the way they dress. People don’t dress up as much. There have been various economic crises, and over-consumption in society, and this is has led to the trend for eco-friendly fashion and ethical consumption. In Silicon Valley, the new IT-magnates are rebranding fashion. Steve Jobs started this trend of a limited wardrobe with his seven identical turtlenecks and seven identical pairs of trousers. Technically his clothes changed every day, but in essence, they stayed the same. Many people simply do not want to spend time thinking about what they’re going to wear. They find their own style, choose some key items, and just replicate them.

Man and women wearing gym kit outside a building

Polina at #SlimFitClub, her new gym in Moscow

LUX: Does being Russian inform your look?
Polina Kitsenko: I think that the world is so cosmopolitan today that no-one dresses in a way that reveals what country they’re from. We are all citizens of the world and my Russian heritage manifests
itself as more of an attitude. We used to really dress up because for decades we were deprived of everything. Thankfully today things have changed and we’ve levelled out.

LUX: What are made you the most proud of?
Polina Kitsenko: There have been many milestones in my life but the most significant ones recently have been the creation of our charity marathon and seeing it grow from a small race into an event with
thousands of people and raising a huge amount of money. It has given me great satisfaction to establish other socially significant projects that have been built on the knowledge that I have gained on this one. And there is my new project, #SlimFitClub, a studio of personal trainers and unique sporting adventures.

LUX: Describe your perfect day.
Polina Kitsenko: My perfect day happens very rarely. It’s a day when I achieve a balance and manage to do some exercise, work productively and spend time with my children, then go home, drink some champagne in the candlelight and go to bed at a reasonable time.

Follow Polina on Instagram: @polinakitsenko

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 Issue.

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Reading time: 7 min
Child playing the piano
Child playing the piano

ArtSocial launches art therapy programmes to help disadvantaged children and young people. Image by Justyna Fedec

Alina Uspenskaya is the Founder and Director of ArtSocial, a foundation that supports and establishes arts therapy programmes to help disadvantaged and vulnerable children. Here, Alina tells about the foundation’s vision, annual fundraising gala and plans for the future

Headshot of blonde woman

Alina Uspenskaya

1. How was the ArtSocial Foundation born?

I started ArtSocial more than 5 years ago because I wanted to combine my passion for art, my love of bringing people together and desire to work for a cause that I care about. During my childhood in an industrial city in the North-West of Russia, arts unlocked a different world for me – a world in which I could dream, and aspire to a full and diverse life. I always wanted to find a way of helping other young people, especially those who are the most vulnerable and to help overcome social, economic or health challenges, using the power of art.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

In the art and fashion worlds of London I met many people and luxury brands who have joined me on this mission. With all of this endorsement, I was able to set up ArtSocial Foundation in 2016 alongside the ArtSocial Patrons Club, which is a philanthropic community supporting the foundation’s work.

2. Have you always been interested in the arts?

Art, music and drama were a huge part of my life. When I was a teenager, music gave me a refuge from the feelings and emotions of a turbulent adolescence. When I moved to London over 10 years ago, I discovered this city through its art and met many like-minded people thanks to the vibrant art world.

I should say, though, that the love of art is not enough to run a charity, even if it is an art-related one. That is why recently, in addition to an Art History degree, I graduated with a Masters in Charity Management from Cass Business School.

Children painting and drawing

3. Which of ArtSocial’s programmes are you most proud of so far?

It has to be the most recent program of art psychotherapy in children’s hospitals that started at St Mary’s Hospital in November and will soon expand into The Royal Brompton Hospital paediatrics department.

Doctors and psychologists agree that art psychotherapy can be very effective in providing an emotional support during hospitalisation, especially for children who cannot always express their feelings with words. I’m excited that this year almost 1000 children and young people who are seriously or chronically ill, or hospitalised will receive much needed emotional support from art therapists funded by ArtSocial.

Circle of people inside artist studio

ArtSocial Patrons Club visit to the studio of artist Hassan Hajjaj

4. How do you become a patron and what does it involve?

ArtSocial Patrons Club is made up of like-minded and diverse people from many backgrounds who share a passion for arts and philanthropy. Throughout the year our patrons enjoy a curated programme of events, including artists’ studios and private collection visits, gallery and art fair tours and bespoke behind-the-scenes visits. In the past, we have visited the studios of artists such as Mary McCartney, Paula Rego and Hassan Hajjaj. This season’s highlights include a backstage tour of The Royal Opera House and a visit to the couture atelier of Ralph & Russo.

An annual patron’s contribution is £1200 and thanks to this support, we can sustainably fund some of our long-term commitments and start new projects. To keep up the community spirit of our Patrons Club, we open up just a few spaces to new members every season. Myself or my team meet with every applicant to ensure he or she receives the best welcome and feels properly involved in what we do.

actress giving a speech with a microphone

Actress Sally Phillips was a special guest at the ArtSocial gala and auction 2019

5. Can you tell us about the annual gala event?

In addition to the contributions we receive from patrons, we raise funds at our annual Christmas Gala and Auction. The recent gala brought together 90 people from the worlds of art, fashion and business. Our special guest was Sally Phillips (an actress and a champion for Down’s Syndrome awareness) who gave a touching speech in which she shared how music helps her son Olly (who has Down’s Syndrome) to gain confidence and essential social skills.

Christie’s auctioneer Charlie Foley auctioned a stay at Joali (the Maldives’ first immersive art resort), a luxury experience with Chanel in Paris, a stay at Amanzoe resort in Greece and other luxury experiences.

The atmosphere was very warm and supportive. Thanks to our guests, auction partners and our main partner Faidee jewellery, we raised funds to run all of our projects in 2020.

6. What do you hope to achieve in 2020?

This year, we are celebrating ArtSocial’s 5th anniversary, and the thousands of children and young people who we have reached through the projects we fund and run. Our 2020 focus is on the new hospitals programme, to get it well established and expand to other children’s hospitals in London and in Russia.

We have some exciting events lined up for our patrons in the next few months, and are looking to grow our community and welcome new patrons who would like to join us on our mission. Although, the Christmas season has just passed, I have already started planning for the next Christmas Gala, which will be our biggest yet.

For more information visit: artsocial.uk

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Reading time: 4 min
Fashionable kitchen with modern appliances
Fashionable kitchen with modern appliances

Family-owned Italian brand Smeg transforms kitchen appliances into objets d’ art

Originally established as an enamelling plant in 1948 by the Bertazzoni family, Smeg is now globally renowned for making stylish kitchen appliances. Here, the brand’s third generation family m