As technological and scientific advances permeate virtually every aspect of our daily
lives, it was only a matter of time before some of these innovations found their way into the
fashion arena. Corpo Nove, the highly inventive label launched at the end of the
millennium, has been revolutionizing the future of our relationship with clothing.
With the backing of parent company Karada Italia, Corpo Nove strives to research and
advance new technologies and production methods while delivering exquisite, often
one of a kind, garments to an ever-growing legion of fans.
- ALL Fashion Features /
As technological and scientific advances permeate virtually every aspect of our daily
“Sneaker pimps, fashion whores, and people who want something new, fresh, and design driven — independent from the corporate rat maze,” are the people hankering for JB Classics trainers, according to the designer Jason Bass. Bass, inspired by a Run-DMC concert in 1981 where he asked DMC to sign his Air Jordans, is creating one of the most visionary and rugged sneaker lines out there with heat-stamped prints of dragons, bears, paw imprints, and geometric patterns and typography in color combinations from turquoise and yellow to camouflage palettes.
Back in the ’70s when punk was a social force and barriers were still meant to be broken down, Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren‘s design collaboration and their shop Sex were legendary feats of fashion provocation. Over the years their S&M pants have taken the high streets by storm, and now the pair’s sloganeering and x-rated t-shirts are influencing a much wider audience.
With so many emerging labels seeking to establish themselves as antidotes to more commercial fashion houses, we feel that it’s time to profile one of the original icons of the anti-establishment, currently undertaking a unique expansion. Based in Perugia, Italy, and founded by Maurizio Altieri in 1996 as an offshoot to Chrome Hearts, Carpe Diem has set itself on a path of innovation which has grown into various collections — each one exemplary with regard to experimentation and craftsmanship. Collectively known as Continues Collection, the line is divided into footwear and leather pieces (Carpe Diem) and a selection of knits (L’Maltieri).
No other country in the world is thought to have more emerging business opportunities than China. The easing of the rigid politics and the embrace of a free market economy, and the little fact of more than one billion inhabitants, provides the country with a sweet smell of seduction for many industries. Fashion’s foray into China is a delicate exercise in cultural integration and a redefining of what constitutes mass market. Three-year-old fashion forward WestEast Magazine, which has boasted covers featuring Kylie Minogue and Elizabeth Hurley and reports on the Asian region, has stepped forward as a leading voice of modern Chinese style. Editor-in-chief Kevin Lee spoke to JC Report about the big Chinese luxury explosion, how and where brands are penetrating the market, and his predictions for the next decade in China.
JCR: What’s happening in China in terms of fashion?
The olive crocodile jacket hanging in the window of the re-opened Revillon store is a reminder of the luxury Ave Montaigne address where it’s located. Step inside and the raw cement floor, rusty piping, and a generally distressed ambience signal the arrival of an uncharacteristic aesthetic to one of Paris’ toniest addresses.
While Riley Keogh, granddaughter of Elvis Presley (“The King”), is currently tearing
up the worlds of fashion and advertising, last year Suzy Menkes dubbed a much
quieter, but equally influential, individual ” King.” She was referring to
Azzedine Alaia, the King of Cling, and a man who, in his own discreet,
couture-infused way, has written and rewritten the rules of dressing to seduce.
Spurning show seasons for increasingly rare intimate showings (we’re still waiting
for the next one), his influence is felt repeatedly throughout the fashion world,as a
reference point for designers, and for the critics who chide those designers for
too-literal reworkings of his ideas. One of the areas where Alaia is increasingly drawing
Men are waging war on their small endowments, and the battle has spilled over into a big fashion trend. For growers who want to be showers, there are two new products on the market giving men confidence in their packages. 2xist, the long-running underwear choice for providing a subtle lift, is bracing for competition from new arrival C-in 2, billed as the “push-up for men.” The line comes from 2xist founder Greg Sovell whose innovation in package enhancement is the Sling Support, an adjustable microfiber loop engineered to increase trade. The brand’s racy Steven Klein-lensed campaign will have a splashy launch this fall giving a big rise to men’s profile.
The London based designer Kim Jones is only three years out of Central St. Martins and already has an impressive resumé under his belt. A two week sell-through on a 15 piece collection for Topman last year, a design project for Absolut that features his glasses in Swedish hotels, and a three season strong partnership with British sports brand Umbro places this commercially minded designer in the mogul-in-the-making category.
The treasures from Dior Homme and Gucci are the main choices in men’s jewelry, but look to brands including Lara Bohinc and Puerta del Sol for pieces of distinction.
The hot new stop in the heart of the Marais for a certain kind of label-loving man is Pressing Shop.
David Naouri, the boutique’s owner and buyer, opened the store in February for what he considers selfish reasons. “When I moved to Paris from London, there were no boutiques here that sold clothes like sportswear,” he explains. “I wanted things that correspond to me and to my friends’ lifestyles.”
Continuing the taste for new takes on old themes, ethnic is one of those familiar trends that is always a stitch away from a return to vogue. Stores love it because it sells, and consumers buy into it because it signals buying fashion, not just clothes. Ethnic is the other big menswear trend for spring.
When style-setting men started to wear polo shirts as frequently as T-shirts, it forecast the preppy collegiate trends to dominate the spring ’05 European menswear collections.
In February of this year, after the couture collections, Hermés staged a ball in
Paris to celebrate fantasy. Last year a chartered TGV transported
editors to Marseille to fête the year of the Mediterranean. And the
year before that it was a party at the Hermés factory on the outskirts of Paris,
where the brand chose to honor the year of the hand. Integrate these
events with advertising campaigns that seem to magically leap from one of
those orange boxes, the legend of the Kelly and Birkin bag waiting
lists, the collector scarves, and an equestrian pedigree, and you’ve
begun to see the genius of Hermés’ branding. Then consider their discreet
association with name designers (recently Martin Margiela, and now Jean-Paul
Two years ago when we forecast the arrival of all things Jamaican, the sounds and styles of the reggae capital were just beginning to percolate. One defining Puma campaign, dancehall music topping the charts, and unstoppable red, green, gold (and black) accessories have sealed the deal for the movement whose influence has spanned the globe from Sydney to Streatham. Everyone is sporting an allegiance to Jamaica, and we have a suggestion about how to keep up.
The idea of a cultural meeting place or bazaar has shifted from city center markets to online forums. The benefits of shopping large or small online retailers such as eBay, Yoox, Bluefly, and Fabric8 are numerous, and these sites bring design to a global audience, but the tactile sensation and personal interaction (absent from the online experience) of independent ateliers is leading to the rise of offline bazaars.
A century-old Vienna-based headwear company doesn’t particularly have a trendy ring to it, but reserve judgement until you’ve discovered Mühlbauer. Knobby tweeds, samtvelours, and feather- and tassel-accented caps may be the stereotypical image of Austrian hats — and all of them appear in Mühlbauer collections — but it’s brightly colored felts and rock star fur caps that are putting a modern face on the brand’s image and winning it a new following. Showing at hip tradeshow Premiere Classe, and generally adopting an updated strategy to garner a younger audience, Mühlbauer is clearly responding to the increasingly competitive headwear market that includes many brands without such a rarefied history.
With Sex and the City kaput, women will now have to look elsewhere for their weekly dose of style direction. The L Word is touted as SatC‘s successor — not only for provocative content but also for a heavy focus on designer clothes — and with the recent hire of store owner Ilaria Loren as the show’s stylist, television gears up for another glossary of style. This time the influence will be a West Coast one — don’t expect dull denim and pastel T-shirts or even Fendi bags and Christian Dior printed dresses. Like SatC‘s stylist Patricia Fields, who honed an eponymous style at her New York stores, 30-year-old Loren has built a tastemaker reputation as co-owner of the Los Angeles-based store Satine.
The casual fashion category (sportswear, streetwear, jeans) is showing a dynamic interplay between large brands and boutique labels. Both are jockeying for retail position, and retailers are in turn merchandising a unique mix that’s reaching a discerning consumer audience. Minya Quirk, co-owner of Brand Pimps and Media Whores, a New York brand consultancy and showroom, spoke to JC Report about just how relaxed the casual fashion market is.
JCR: Do you agree that the casual fashion market has experienced a significant shift in the last few years?
Mention the name Gozi in London or Paris and you’re met with uncertain corroboration: “Sure, yeah, I’ve heard about that designer.” Try to dig deeper and not much else can be extracted about the label except that it’s buzzing somewhere in the fashion sphere. Some confuse Gozi with another ace London designer (Noki), but only a few know the Nigerian-born Ngozi Ochonogor and her line from the Portobello Market days when she was the go-to gal for stylists and Japanese clients. The latest update on the former software engineer is that her fall/winter ’04 Bisous, Josephine collection (her second presentation) was very well received in Paris.