Chanel announced on Monday (December 3) that it is going to stop using exotic skins in its future collections, as well as furs. This is mainly to do with an increased difficulty in sourcing these materials from ethical suppliers, as the French label continues to crack down on its supply chain.
“We are continually reviewing our supply chains to ensure they meet our expectations of integrity and traceability,” the brand said in a statement.
Exotic skins include crocodile, lizard, snake and stingray, which adorn many of its iconic handbags.
Animal rights organization PETA celebrated the brands announcement on social media as it had been lobbying for the label to ban exotic skins for decades, it said. Next on the non-profit’s agenda is urging consumers to encourage LVMH to do the same with its portfolio of brands.
Chanel is the first luxury brand to take the major step of official banning exotic skins, and it is joining the ranks of the Arcadia Group, ASOS, H&M, L Brands (which owns Victoria’s Secret), Nike and Puma.
The banning of fur however has been previously embraced by a wider range of luxury brands, including Armani, Versace, Gucci, Burberry, Diane von Furstenberg, Furla and many others. Chanel, however, had never used much of the material in its collections to begin with, making the ban relatively easier to implement.
This changing perception of luxury materials comes at a time when luxury brands and the wider fashion industry is embracing values of the circular economy and looking for alternative fabrics that are more sustainable, all while keeping the same level of quality found in more traditional luxury materials such as leathers and silks.
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Diane von Furstenberg has teamed up with wholesale marketplace Ordre.com to present its spring 2018 collection to buyers using virtual reality (VR).
Using the platform’s online showrooms, retailers will be able to review the new ready-to-wear and accessories line in this 360-degree virtual sense. All partners will be provided with Ordre headsets to also experience the show that took place during New York Fashion Week on September 10.
This technology will help to create an overall understanding of the fit, movement and fabrication of the collection, the press release explains.
Jonathan Saunders, creative director at DVF, said: “As a designer, I want to embrace the digital world as a way of presenting our collections and we are excited to introduce a number of new technologies to our business marketing, as well as enhancing our consumer experience.”
DVF will still be hosting physical showrooms in New York, London and Milan during fashion month, but this virtual showroom is designed to otherwise enhance and facilitate order taking in an efficient sense.
Melissa Sussberg, EVP of domestic sales and global merchandising at DVF, added: “It’s becoming increasingly difficult for our valued retail partners to constantly travel to showrooms. Our partnership with Ordre will allow them to understand the detail of the collections and place wholesale orders remotely.”
The digital assets created by the collaboration will also be trialled for consumers – both in-store on interactive touch screens and online.
A flurry of new fashion films launching for the autumn/winter 2017/18 season have seen us taken from New York to London, with the 1920s, a retro space age future and a tribute to Planned Parenthood thrown in. Here are seven to know about:
1/ Miu Miu
Taking us back to the 1920s is Miu Miu, featuring actress Naomie Harris and supermodel Kate Moss along others, heading to a film screening in New Orleans where they dance alongside the Preservation Hall Brass Band. Filmed with an old-school aesthetic, with fast-paced editing, representative of this jazz era, it was directed by Alasdair McLellan with creative direction from Giovanni Bianco.
To celebrate the opening of another store in London, Chloé created The Full English. Starring, Anna Brewster as the style vixen, Camille Charriere as the influencer, Christabel MacGreevy as the Firecracker and Izzy Bizu as the siren, it was directed by Sophie Edelstew, in collaboration with online magazine-meets-concept store Semaine. Capturing the zeitgeist of our time, the short tale mentions Instagram World Records, focuses in on the fussy eater and more.
The season really got going with Gucci and Beyond, a Star Trek-inspired campaign, directed by Glen Luchford under the creative direction of Alessandro Michele. It features everything from a full Trekkie teleportation moment to a huge flying UFO in a field full of cows, not to mention various alien figures, as already reported.
Following on with the retro-future theme, Moncler presented Moonray, directed by Golgotha, under the art direction of Régis Tosetti. Set on a mysterious planet with a mysterious alien, it sees a boy and girl fighting to protect their Moncler jackets.
5/ Proenza Schouler
Proenza Schouler has taken the focus away from itself and is instead supporting Planned Parenthood of New York City with its seasonal campaign work. Directed by Hayley Weir, it stars the likes of Amber Valletta, Grimes, Hanne Gabby Odiele, Hari Nefe, Stella Tennant and more, all discussing their various experiences around sex and gender. The film serves as a call to action to support the US-based non-profit for sexual healthcare surrounding the Trump administration’s threat to remove its funding.
6/ Diane Von Furstenberg
Diane Von Furstenberg’s first campaign under Jonathan Saunders takes to the streets of New York to celebrate where the brand was founded. Shot by Oliver Hadlee Pearch and directed by Jonny Lu Studio, it praises the optimism, energy and unique characters found in the city, all the while Brooklyn-based poet Rachel Kang shares an exclusive piece of work as a voiceover.
So is Amazon the big threat to retail, or do retailers really have themselves to blame? There’s a great piece from Recode exploring the longer-term demise of Macy’s. No surprise to also see Neiman Marcus’ IPO has been stalled given current market conditions. The Limited is another US store announcing its closure over the past week.
Meanwhile, other big news to know about include a bid to fight counterfeit goods on Alibaba, PETA aiming to disrupt LVMH from the inside (as well as a separate piece on how LVMH is making luxury more sustainable), and yet more advertising updates on both Instagram and Snapchat. If you haven’t seen it, don’t forget to also check out our list of the 8 top tech trends for fashion and luxury retail in 2017.
Memorable moments during fashion month used to surround incidents like Anna Wintour being splattered with paint by anti-fur protesters, or Naomi Campbell taking a tumble in those sky-high Vivienne Westwood shoes. There have been incredible sets – Fendi on the Great Wall of China, everything from an airplane to a supermarket at Chanel and a giant steam train when Marc Jacobs was at Louis Vuitton.
Today, however, technology is becoming the new differentiator and the main means of grabbing attention — not to mention press headlines — during the shows. Thus far this season, Ralph Lauren has streamed his runway show on billboards in London’s Piccadilly Circus via Periscope, Zac Posen partnered with Google to reveal a dress coded with moving LED lights and Intel introduced drones to fly overhead at numerous shows.
“Technology can be a point of differentiation and a source of competitive advantage in a crowded fashion marketplace,” says Karinna Nobbs, program director and senior lecturer of digital fashion strategy at the British School of Fashion. “If you do something well you can really get good PR coverage and be seen as a first mover/innovator, which should translate to sales and loyalty.”
Even if it doesn’t add to the user experience, nor directly impact a brand’s bottom line, technology integrated into a fashion show is often about a designer exercising his or her creative freedom, in a similar way to theatrical extravagances of the past. That said, some of the most elaborate tech ideas showcased during fashion weeks past actually took place well before you could Instagram them. Here’s our history of technology and the designers who have embraced it since 1999.
There might be hot debate in current times about where artificial intelligence is likely to lead us, but robots in some form or another have long appeared at fashion week. For spring/summer 1999, Alexander McQueen presented one of the most famous moments of his career when two robots spray-painted a dress worn by model Shalom Harlow in shades of black and yellow as she spun on a revolving platform.
In 2007, Hussein Chalayan showcased a vision of our future wardrobes based on garments that changed shape. A Victorian dress unfurled to reveal a flapper style and a tiered design shortened into a mini, all thanks to microchips and animatronics. This was wearable tech before wearable tech.
Jump to autumn/winter 2014, and drones hit the runway at Fendi, circling above the heads of show-goers to live stream content back to viewers at home. The resulting experience was terrible, but it grabbed headlines for Fendi all over the world.
Speaking of wearable technology, it goes without saying that designers today are increasingly experimenting with how to embed things like electronics and connected devices into their collections. To highlight that fact, Diane von Furstenberg provided a particularly noteworthy story when she sent Google Glass down her runway in September 2012. Models wore the augmented reality eyewear as they paraded the designer’s spring/summer 2013 looks, capturing the scene around them for a video released at a later date. The finale saw DVF herself dragging Google co-founder Sergey Brin, along with her then-Creative Director Yvan Mispelaere, down the runway to take a bow with her.
Last year we also saw the likes of Rebecca Minkoff and Diesel Black Gold featuring wearable tech accessories in their shows — and let’s not forget the work Dutch designer Iris van Herpen has been doing for a long time in 3D printing. Richard Nicoll, meanwhile, unveiled a slip dress made from a fiber-optic fabric activated by high intensity LED lights for spring/summer 2015 in partnership with Disney and Studio XO. The question remains, however, as to when the wearables trend will become more widespread.
If you’re into gaming, you’re probably all over virtual reality (VR). Maybe you’ve already got your own headset. Fashion brands have been experimenting with those, too. Topshop first offered up such an opportunity when it provided customers with a VR experience in its London flagship store for autumn 2014. Specially commissioned Oculus Rift-based headsets enabled shoppers to see its catwalk show in real-time through a 3D virtual world. The aim was to make them feel as though the models were walking in front of their eyes and the celebrities were sitting right beside them.
Dior captured in 3D a backstage view of its show earlier this year, and proceeded to offer up that experience in select stores through its own VR headset, called DiorEyes. Users were able to explore the full 360 degrees of the backstage space, seeing the models during their final prep for the show surrounded by makeup artists, photographers and designer Raf Simons.
Rebecca Minkoff filmed her February 2015 show for VR viewing, too. The process reportedly required two cameras with three dozen separate lenses to create footage that has just this week been released on a specially designed Google cardboard headset, into which you stick your smartphone. Democratising fashion week indeed.
If you weren’t already convinced Alexander McQueen was an innovator, then consider his autumn/winter 2006 collection, which featured a hologram of Kate Moss in the finale. The projection appeared within a glass pyramid surrounded by billows of white smoke. It was deemed fashion magic.
Holograms were also central to Polo Ralph Lauren’s spring/summer 2015 show. In what the brand referred to as a 4D holographic water projection, it showed models wearing the new collection against a 60-foot high fountain in Manhattan’s Central Park. The images were pretty blurry, making it hard to decipher much about the new collection, but like many other tech experiences, it grabbed headlines around the world.
With all these innovative ideas in mind, hearing that a brand is merely live streaming its show doesn’t really do it for us anymore. But once upon a time, this alone was big news. When Alexander McQueen streamed his spring/summer 2010 show — yes, it really is only that old — the event drew in so many fans, it crashed SHOWstudio’s website. While the fact that Lady Gaga was performing was arguably the biggest contributing factor there, it was also an early sign of just how much interest there was in fashion week happenings from fans around the world, especially when mixed with a little extra entertainment.
As the late designer said at the time: “I wanted to create a sense of inclusion for all those in the world who are interested in my work and the world of fashion. This is just the first step towards revolutionising the ‘show system’ as we know it.” While he personally never did do another live stream — that collection was to be the last before his death — the concept rapidly spread.
Designers providing ever-greater access through digital means has grown season after season. Burberry has been the pioneer in this sense. Its now iconic campaigns have included everything from a “Tweetwalk” that showcased images of the new line on Twitter before those sitting in the front row saw them, to its “Runway to Reality” (later “Runway Made to Order”) concept that offered consumers the ability to instantly purchase specific items from the new collection for delivery within seven weeks, instead of several months. There have also been personalised GIFs, digital kisses and the ability to buy nail polish via Twitter, but this season it’s been all about Snapchat.
The move, if you haven’t yet seen this filling your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feed, is part of a viral sensation that aims to raise money for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) research. All around the world, individuals, celebrities and companies alike have helped generate a reported $41.8m in donations for the ALS Association so far. (The suggestion is you do the challenge or donate $100, with most people opting to do both).
Now we’ve noticed a raft of fashion brands getting involved too. Over the past 48 hours, we’ve seen teams from Asos, Topshop, Net-a-Porter and Burberry joining in the challenge, with employees tipping ice water over themselves en masse and then sharing it with their social networks before nominating someone else to do the same.
Here are Asos, Topshop and Net-a-Porter:
Burberry’s meanwhile is typically creative, shot from above capturing multiple different team members individually thanks to stop motion (many wearing their trench coats of course), outside the company’s London HQ.
Next up from the fashion industry there are nominations currently out there for Mr Porter, Google Glass and Tom Ford. Diane von Furstenberg is another designer who’s done it recently, as has Victoria Beckham:
Let’s not forget why this is taking place mind you. This video is well worth the watch (skip to 1min59secs for the important bit) for some insight into what all the challenge actually means. Ever more reason to participate we’d say…
Better yet, the DVF Made for Glass collection will not only be sold on Google.com/glass but via Net-a-Porter as well. They’ll be available from June 23 and cost $1,700 for the package (Glass, a DVF optical frame, a sunglass style, a mono earbud and a case).
As Natalie Massenet, founder and executive chairman of Net-a-Porter, told WWD: ““When Google Glass walked the runway, I texted the number-two person at Google and said, ‘What’s happening?’ I think it’s fair to say that we were calling their head of marketing consistently to see what can be done.”
As WWD continues, these designs are aiming to appeal to two audiences: women and the fashion set (though Mr Porter will also carry Glass without the DVF branding). Importantly for the wearables market, this is one of the first ever times something has been designed specifically for women.
Fashionista reports: “Over the course of the last few months, Google Glass has been steadily getting more and more fashion-friendly, with the release of four new frames in January and a March announcement that it had partnered with Luxottica to produce Ray-Ban and Oakley-designed frames. Just last month, Google brought on board veteran fashion exec Ivy Ross, who has clocked time at Calvin Klein and Gap, to run the Glass team.”
Arguably focusing on aesthetics – even in a sea of additional complaints about functionality – is a smart move from Google. Doing so with a respected and aspirational brand, as well as such a leading luxury outlet, is better again.
What Glass needs is to reposition itself as an appealing wearable item and not a clunky piece of technology. It needs consumers to believe in it – but not just for the purpose of uptake, rather to help generate greater interest in the technology from a developer perspective. Like your smartphone, a wearable device such as Glass (to a degree) is only as good as the apps you have on it. I have a pair. They’re good, but they don’t do enough yet that I want to wear them constantly.
Proving there’s commercial viability for an item will mean more developers encouraged on board, further apps created, greater functionality enabled, and once again more people like to buy. A virtuous circle. In short, this move from DVF, even if the result isn’t a lasting commercial success, has the potential to be a great catalyst for the future of Glass full stop.
As Robert Scoble, author and start-up liaison for open-cloud computing company Rackspace, said at SXSW this year: “This is one of those products you know is the future, but it’s so unfinished at this point it’s frustrating. It’s three to five years away before it’s really useful.”