By Jessica Allen - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 0 Comments
Jessica Allen on the orgy of merchandising for a film based on the loneliest book ever written
Turn on a television, pass a shop window or a bus shelter these days, and you are engulfed by the opulence of the Roaring Twenties, the bold, clean angles of art deco design, and the jauntily attired figures of Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan—the stars of Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third novel. If The Great Gatsby ever went away, it’s unavoidably back. It’s now the fourth-bestselling book on Amazon, 88 years after it was first published. And the film’s partnerships with Tiffany & Co., Brooks Brothers and Moët & Chandon hope to resurrect other Jazz Age gestures: two-toned brogues, bow ties, a 5.25-carat flower-shaped diamond ring (price tag $875,000).
The film, which opens May 10, promises to be an over-the-top hyperactive kaleidoscope of colours, with a hip-hop-infused soundtrack produced by Jay-Z—all in 3D, and none more so than the merchandizing collaborations, which we’re told all make sense. “[Fitzgerald] went to Brooks Brothers and Tiffany, which was of course the jeweller of the Jazz Age, and drank Moët,” fashion editor Marion Hume told the Australian Financial Review. The Plaza Hotel in New York, the setting for a climactic scene in the novel, has also capitalized on Gatsby’s popularity. For about $2,800, guests can book a night in the Fitzgerald Suite, have the “Moët Imperial Gatsby” champagne cocktail in the hotel’s Rose Club, or enjoy “Caudalie Grape Gatsby Treatments” at the Plaza’s spa.
That’s a great deal of hoopla for what many consider to be one of the loneliest books ever written: it may be filled with revellers, but they’re all strangers. The aloneness is best exemplified by its protagonist, Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner who comes east and finds himself a secondary character in the drama of his own life, and of the figure of Jay Gatsby himself, who desires to create a moment of affection from his past while hiding his working-class origins. It’s also a lot of expensive stuff hitched to a story that is in part about what money can’t buy.
By Elio iannacci - Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 10:50 AM - 0 Comments
Off the runway and onto the road
On a breezy night during L.A.’s auto show in November, a group of mainly middle-aged execs were shuffling their feet inside Jim Henson’s Hollywood studio. Above them, a sparkly Smart car—conceived by Kansas-born fashion designer Jeremy Scott, and launching next month—sat dramatically unveiled on a stage. Faux laser beams hit the milk-hued vehicle’s wing-shaped taillights, and gun shots blasted through speakers as rapper M.I.A. performed Paper Planes, a song about globalization’s damaging effects. Then through the VIP doors, and into the uniformed mass of charcoal grey and navy jackets, came rapper A$AP Rocky, actress Liberty Ross and the rest of Scott’s guest list: 30 twentysomethings wearing a mix of punk, ska, skater and Goth-inspired drag. “My designs can make worlds collide,” said Scott, who was sporting PVC pants, a mesh top and a canary yellow coif for the occasion (“my version of business casual”).
Scott, named by Karl Lagerfeld as his possible successor at Chanel, is one of many style-focused eccentrics conscripted by an automaker. Mini asked Italian Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani, to work with them on developing a one-off Roadster, which was uncloaked and auctioned off at the big-ticket Life Ball event in Vienna last year. Emerging designers such as the U.K.’s Louise Gray, James Small and Fred Butler have produced versions of a new Vauxhall car called Adam, which launched during London Fashion Week last month. Victoria Beckham has designed a Range Rover, and even Chrysler entered the fray, producing a 2013 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition model with Varvatos, a Detroit designer. It’s a “brute in a suit,” as Chrysler put it, painted in phantom black—a trendy hue snatched right from the fall-winter runways. And in perhaps the biggest news, fashion house Courrèges—which began designing electric cars in the ’60s—is getting back into the game. According to the Financial Times, the label’s new owners, Jacques Bungert and Frédéric Torloting, plan to roll out electric cars this year in a soon-to-be announced partnership with a European carmaker.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 5:49 PM - 0 Comments
Wanna dress like a mailman? The U.S. Postal Service is betting on it. They…
Wanna dress like a mailman? The U.S. Postal Service is betting on it. They recently partnered with Cleveland clothing company, Wahconah Group, to make an all-weather, functional, technology enhanced apparel line for men—with plans for a female line to follow.
This venture comes on the heels of the the struggling government agency’s announcement that it is cutting Saturday delivery throughout the U.S.—to help combat last year’s $16 billion loss.
Throwing itself into the fashion world—with plans for a New York showroom—the postal service is hoping its iconic brand carries some sway. The line will be called Rain, Heat & Snow—taken from the motto: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
All joking aside, if the postie coats are priced cheaper than the Canada Goose jackets, and they’re warm enough for a letter carrier, maybe it’s worthy of being the next big thing.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 11:47 PM - 0 Comments
MONTREAL – Quebec designer Melissa Nepton has won the chance to design a line…
MONTREAL – Quebec designer Melissa Nepton has won the chance to design a line for Target stores opening in the province.
Nepton was crowned the winner of the Target Emerging Designer Award during the closing night show at Montreal Fashion Week late Thursday.
The winner now has the opportunity to create an exclusive collection that will be sold at Target stores across Quebec next year.
Award entrants were asked to provide a sample portfolio of three designs for men, women or both capturing the essence of a proposed fall-winter collection for Target.
The Target Emerging Designer Award recipient will also receive a $25,000 grant to produce a full-scale fashion show at Montreal Fashion Week and a full-page profile in Elle Quebec.
The award is also linked to the Designers Fund, a joint initiative of Sensation Mode, the firm which organizes Montreal Fashion Week, and the Montreal Fashion Foundation.
Target plans to open its first Canadian stores in March and April, with locations in Quebec slated to debut in the fall.
By Patricia Treble - Monday, January 21, 2013 at 7:24 AM - 0 Comments
The cast’s costumes are ever-evolving, on set and off
In an episode that screams “set up for future dramas,” I found myself drifting away from the plot–oh, why was Lady Sybil talking in code on the phone?–to look at the clothes worn by the characters. If Highclere Castle, the real Downton Abbey, is considered a leading character for its sheer beauty and imposing grandeur, then the clothes deserve equal billing.
They are sumptuous.
And ever-evolving. While Season 1 featured restrictive pre-First World War costumes–long dresses, elaborate designs and tightly bound construction–and Season 2 highlighted utilitarian wartime clothing, Season 3 is back to full-on luxury. Reflecting, but not mimicking the era, the fashion is that of fluid silks, sinuous satins and light wool crepes. Everything flows and gathers. Waistlines are loose and hemlines are inching up. (Check out this Pinterest page by Simone James featuring Downton characters.) Sure, some have been used on other period dramas. This isn’t a big budget Hollywood movie but a TV production. Yet no one can accuse them of skimping when it counts. Lady Mary’s wedding dress was exquisite, made by hand and carried a $6,000 price tag.
By Rosemary Counter - Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 1:40 AM - 0 Comments
The working man’s department store rebrands itself to chase a female demographic
Indifferent shoppers might not notice, but look up: Mark’s Work Wearhouse, the massive Calgary-based clothing retailer best known for it’s firm grasp on the working-male market, is now just Mark’s.
“Research showed that although the name grew us into an enormously successful business, it was limiting our growth,” says Wendy Bennison, vice-president of operations. After 35 years, 380 stores and counting, and a $166-million price tag when Canadian Tire bought it in 2001, Mark’s is rethinking its identity. “The words ‘work’ and ‘wearhouse’ over our door were creating misconceptions about the brand,” says Bennison.
The massive reinvention is now in “full rollout mode.” It began in a 26,000-sq.-foot flagship store in Edmonton, proved similarly successful in Winnipeg and Ottawa, and is moving further into Ontario this fall with 60 updated stores. One of the largest rebrands in the Canadian retail landscape in years, it includes store redesigns, new merchandise, a national marketing campaign and the name change.
By Aaron Hutchins - Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 5:40 AM - 0 Comments
Lululemon Athletica Inc., which took yoga pants from the studio to ubiquity, is preparing for the next generation of yogis.
Lululemon Athletica Inc., which took yoga pants from the studio to ubiquity, is preparing for the next generation of yogis. The Vancouver-based company has been a gold mine for early investors, but with its stock price faltering in recent months from a high of $76 to $63 last week, the company is now looking to grow an untapped market: selling more children’s clothes through its Ivivva Athletica chain.
With seven locations across Canada, including a brand new outlet in Winnipeg, Ivivva is now expanding to the U.S. This month, five opened locations south of the border, including one across from the Children’s Museum of Manhattan in New York. Along with yoga gear, Ivivva features dancewear inspired by the Disney Channel’s Shake It Up series. Currently the clothing is designed exclusively for girls, but as the chain’s website says, “we like boys too!”
By Anne Kingston - Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 11:42 AM - 0 Comments
Dentists are making a mint on fashionably crowded or child-like teeth
Japanese women are paying dentists to make their smiles more crowded, even canine, in a quest to appear more childlike, more fashionable and to appeal to men. The trend, known as yaeba (Japanese for double-toothed), is gushed about on blogs and television—and has become a revenue stream for dentists who, for $400, affix temporary plastic veneers on incisors to achieve the snaggle-toothed look.
Michelle Phan, a Vietnamese-American blogger, told the New York Times that in Japan, “crooked teeth are actually endearing,” and that imperfection makes a woman more approachable to men. Others denounce yaeba, which can also impart a fanged look in perfect sync with Twilight mania, as a ghoulish expression of a culture preoccupied with the sexualization of young girls.
Emilie Zaslow, an assistant professor at Pace University in New York City who studies beauty in consumer culture, notes that yaeba mimics the look of delayed baby teeth, or a mouth that’s too small: “It’s this kind of emphasis on youth and the sexualization of young girls.” Meanwhile, in Japan, the first snaggle-toothed pop group, TYB48, featuring three “yaeba girls,” has just released its first single: It’s Fine If I Bite You?
By Gabriela Perdomo - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 9:53 AM - 0 Comments
They’re tight, sexy, worn mostly by women—and some hipster men. Skinny jeans are the…
They’re tight, sexy, worn mostly by women—and some hipster men. Skinny jeans are the need-to-own garment of today. But they might be making us sick. The Wall Street Journal reports that skinny jeans could be to blame for “lower back pain, yeast infections in women and a rare condition called lipoatrophia semicircularis, in which horizontal lesions appear around the thighs.” If you are the optimistic type who wears jeans too tight for your waist line, you might also be suffering from indigestion caused by fashion.
Of course, none of this is to suggest we should all suddenly adopt this disturbing new trend of dropping pants all together in favour of pajamas.
By Patricia Treble - Friday, November 18, 2011 at 8:00 AM - 2 Comments
Filled with items that are less than $100 apiece, Pippa Middleton’s wardrobe is easy to emulate
Every day that Pippa Middleton goes to her office in London, she runs a gauntlet of photographers eager to snap her picture. Because her older sister Kate, a.k.a. HRH the duchess of Cambridge, is often secluded on a rainy Welsh island with her husband or behind palace walls getting a private introduction to royal life, it is Pippa who bears the brunt of tabloid fascination, something she does with the trademark Middleton silence and polite smile.
While the public is curious about her love life (the latest rumour has her breaking up with boyfriend Alex Loudon) and her work in the party planning sector (reports are swirling that a publisher wants to hand her $1.5 million for a book on the subject), those areas are dwarfed by interest in her clothes. That hasn’t diminished since she wore that plunging, form-fitting bridesmaid dress at her sister’s wedding to Prince William.
Interestingly, while big sister mixes the occasional inexpensive outfit—such as a $300 Reiss dress to chat with the Obamas at Buckingham Palace—into her increasingly high-end fashion rotation, Pippa eschews couture houses and instead buys the bulk of her daywear in the affordable retail stores that dot the main streets and malls of almost every country in the world, including Zara, French Connection and H&M.
By Leah Mclaren - Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 8:40 AM - 6 Comments
The acclaimed designer is expected to return to the fashion world—anti-semitic slurs be damned
Earlier this month, a Paris court found fashion designer John Galliano guilty of “public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity,” for his now-notorious anti-Semitic rant in a Paris café.
It was, of course, a crime for which the disgraced designer had months ago been sentenced in the court of public opinion, and rightly so. The diatribe in which he slurred “I love Hitler” in the faces of a couple of astonished women was caught on video and later posted online. After Galliano’s arrest in February, for which he was dropped both as head of the House of Dior as well as his own eponymous label, his career prospects seemed forever dashed. But now that the court case is over and the dust is beginning to settle, some fashion world observers are speculating that a comeback might be in the cards. “Given how superficial the fashion world can be—and how cynical—it could be that Galliano’s very notoriety makes him a short-term money-spinner,” Telegraph deputy fashion editor Luke Leitch wrote last week after the verdict came down.
The court found the designer guilty after hearing testimony from patrons who’d experienced Galliano’s abuse on several separate occasions over the past year. Plaintiff Geraldine Bloch testified that the designer remarked on her “dirty Jewish face” and called her a “ ‘dirty whore’ at least a thousand times” in a 45-minute rant as she shared a drink with a friend on the patio of La Perle, an establishment located in the Marais, the lively gay district and historic Jewish quarter of Paris. And another victim, Fatiha Oummedour, told the court of a separate occasion on which an inebriated Galliano taunted her as “ugly Jewish” at the same café a few months earlier.
By Cynthia Reynolds - Friday, September 9, 2011 at 10:15 AM - 1 Comment
Fabulous moms get a frosty reception on the first day of school
The British call it the Elle Effect, after ’80s supermodel-turned-celebrity-mom Elle Macpherson. All year the press has obsessed over the fabulous clothes the 47-year-old wears to drop her boys at school—shag jackets, meticulously ripped jeans, even skin-tight, red-leather pants. Now, as images of trendsetting matriarchs such as Victoria Beckham and Claudia Schiffer toting tots to class flash around the world, women are trading in their mom jeans for more fashionable apparel.
While first-day fashion dilemmas are usually limited to the kids, a lot of moms put extra effort into how they look—after all, first impressions are important, especially when meeting the teacher. There are far more choices as fashion becomes increasingly accessible at stores such as Zara, H&M and Joe Fresh. But as classes resume across the country, it’s the fashionistas who get noticed, and not always in a good way.
Arlene Worsley wears stilettos in the boardroom, so the 30-year-old Calgary mom figured the same would do for school. When she stepped into the schoolyard in a pair of yellow heels on her son Anthony’s first day of kindergarten last year, the senior communications adviser immediately felt shunned by the other moms. “They didn’t want to talk to me at all. I quickly learned that what I wore made a difference,” says Worsley, whose style muse is Jennifer Lopez. “So I went to Old Navy and bought khaki cargo pants, a hoodie and some flip-flops.” For a couple of weeks she led a double life, dressing down for drop-off and changing at work, but no matter what she wore, it didn’t seem to counteract that first impression. Eventually she gave up. “The schoolyard is definitely a battleground,” she declares.
By Zoran Milich - Monday, July 11, 2011 at 2:39 PM - 0 Comments
Zoran Milich takes in the sights at this year’s Honda Indy in Toronto
The Honda Indy celebrated its 25th anniversary this weekend in Toronto. It’s as good a place as any to see the unique fashions of the racing world. Click through the gallery below for a peek at the racing-inspired looks on display. (Photographs by Zoran Milich)
By Anne Kingston - Monday, July 11, 2011 at 12:20 PM - 7 Comments
Kate revealed a preference for ladies-who-lunch dresses
Catherine, duchess of Cambridge isn’t making any public addresses during her Canadian tour. Not that she needs to. Her clothes have been speaking volumes for her.
The tone was set with her travelling outfit—a navy blazer by Toronto-based label Smythe Les Vestes over a navy sheath dress by French designer Roland Mouret and Manolo Blahnik stilettos. It offered foreshadowing of the diplomatic, politically correct, safe choices to come, evident in her arrival outfit: a navy lace “Cecile” sheath by another Canadian—Erdem Moralioglu, the popular Montreal-born, U.K.-based designer.
Occasional nods to her Canadian hosts have been carefully inserted: a flag-red fascinator topped with a fabric maple leaf worn to Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill along with a diamond maple leaf brooch borrowed from Queen Elizabeth II. In Charlottetown, fittingly, there were natty nautical details on a cream knit Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen dress.
By Leah McLaren - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
When it comes to fashion, the duchess is already a kingmaker in her own right: whatever she wears turns to gold
When Prince William and Kate step off the Canadian Forces jet in Ottawa this week, the global fashion industry will be watching. Their laser-like scrutiny will not stem from any interest in relations between the royal family and its Commonwealth subjects, but from a far more practical concern: what is she wearing? And how can we capitalize on it?
Welcome to the incredible brand power of Kate: a young woman who can set a global trend on a whim, and a future queen who, in the world of fashion, is already an established kingmaker in her own right.
The industry-bending nature of Kate’s appeal has grown exponentially since plans for the royal nuptials were announced last fall. Back then, all eyes were on the ring, a priceless diamond-encircled sapphire, which once belonged to the late Princess Di. But while Kate flashed her new rock for the cameras, designers and retailers were rushing to knock off her outfit—a royal blue wrap dress by the then-little-known label Issa. The discount fashion retailer Peacocks produced a $22 copy, as did the grocery chain Tesco, which were reported to have sold out of their version in a matter of hours. The ring itself was replicated in every form, from gumball-machine plastic to a $50 “Princess” cocktail ring by Martine Wester.
By Leah McLaren - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Retailers everywhere are creating cheap knockoffs of the Duchess of Cambridge’s trendsetting fashion
Click on a thumbnail to enter the gallery. And don’t forget to read the accompanying article by Leah McLaren, Brand Catherine.
By macleans.ca - Friday, July 1, 2011 at 3:00 PM - 1 Comment
For the house of Windsor, uniforms are de rigeur. The look, it seems, has a fan.
Some of the personal accoutrements of royal life—consider the jewellery—invoke envious admiration in lesser mortals; others—those hats—tend more to incite sympathy or, to be honest, outright derision. Clearly royalty has more sartorial obligations than privileges. It’s impossible to say what Prince William might choose to don if he had a choice, but his look, it seems, is not without its fans. Consider John Galliano, once PM to two royal houses of haute couture, Givenchy and Christian Dior. Before his recent disgrace—the designer is defending himself against hate-speech charges after alleged drunken anti-Semitic rants—Galliano often wore outfits that could be labeled Xtreme Wales.
By Cigdem Iltan - Friday, June 17, 2011 at 11:10 AM - 0 Comments
The Canadian retailer takes the ultimate test: a flagship store in the heart of New York City
It’s been three years since Vancouver’s Aritzia LP took its repertoire of feminine, fashion-forward wares south, but next week’s opening of its flagship store in New York marks the boutique’s official coming out to the U.S. market. The successful execution of the clothing retailer’s 50th location is crucial, given its plans for a wider expansion in the U.S. Hot on the heels of the June 15 opening is another store launch in August in neighbouring New Jersey.
The two-storey New York store’s prominent corner location at Broadway and Spring Street in fashion haven SoHo has Aritzia rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in the industry, from J.Crew to Prada. It’s a move that puts the firm in a better position to attract attention from prospective landlords, fashion media and tastemakers, says retail analyst and DIG360 Consulting principal David Ian Gray. “There are lots of retailers seeking prime spots in prime locations, and because Aritzia is coming in as an unknown entity, they’re having to fight that fight much like they did when they started out in Canada.”
But the company has little reason to be intimidated: Aritzia boasts some of the highest average sales per square foot amongst retailers in North America. And while it doesn’t reveal specific sales numbers, the private company earns somewhere between $200 million to $300 million each year, says Aritzia’s vice-president of marketing Sally Parrott.