I Have Wanderlust

I am loving this gorgeous book, American Fashion Travel, recently co-published by Assouline and the CFDA.  The book features wisdom from some of the world’s most inspiring fashion designers including Tory Burch, Keanan Duffty, Tina Lutz, Tommy Hilfiger and others.  Through a scrapbook style format, they share their favorite destinations, hotels, restaurants, markets and sources of inspiration and wanderlust.


*via Jetset Farryn


Discovered: Monique Péan

Monique Péan, a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs, started taking design classes in her free time before realizing her passion was really in jewelry.  In 2006, she launched her line and has since been recognized by everyone from Michelle Obama to Vogue and most recently, Fast Company.

While all of her pieces are exquisite and sustainable, I found this necklace to be particularly stunning.  The piece is constructed out of fossilized walrus ivory and woolly-mammoth bone that is carved by hand and then finished with 18-karat rose gold, white diamonds and smoky topaz.

Interview: Rei Kawakubo

I.T. Beijing Market, a 19,000-square-foot emporium blending various Comme des Garçons lines with other designer brands, opened just a week ago in the Sanlitun retail development in Beijing. In a rare interview with WWD, Rei Kawakubo, discusses the opening of her new Dover Street Market retail space.  The interview is brief but insightful and details some of the issues both she and the brand have faced.

WWD: What do you think of the way people dress here and their style?

R.K.: When I came here 10 years ago there were no people who would wear Comme des Garçons. I was just in the towns and didn’t go to the places where fashionable people gathered, but now it is much more casual. I used to enjoy seeing people wearing communist workers’ clothes and I don’t see that anymore.

WWD: How has the inspiration for your collections changed over the course of your career?

R.K.: Do you think it’s changed? For me it hasn’t changed at all. The way I approach each collection is exactly the same…the motivation has always been to create something new, something that didn’t exist before. The more experience I have and the more clothes I make, the more difficult it becomes to make something new. Once I’ve made something, I don’t want to do it again, so the breadth of possibility is becoming smaller.

WWD: Everyone is talking about how the Japanese market for retail and luxury goods is just terrible right now. Do you think that will change? Do you think there is a way to get consumers excited again?

R.K.: Now, with fast fashion, the value of creation is diminishing, and very expensive things are not interesting.

WWD: Is there any way out of that situation?

R.K.: I always think that I’d like to do something about the situation…it’s a very profound motivation…but I don’t think it’s something that can really be changed. I’m not powerful enough. There’s a closed-mindedness that prevents movement and change. I always think that I’d like to break that, and I’ve used it [this closed-mindedness] as a theme for collections, but I just can’t seem to break it. I want to wake people up, but I don’t think I succeed in doing this as much as I would like to.

WWD: You mentioned fast fashion. That’s been a huge story and obviously you had your collaboration with H&M. Would you consider doing something like that again?

R.K.: That was a special case. They were making a new store in Japan, so it was just a short, two-week relationship. It wasn’t a big thing, but I thought it was interesting because they asked me to do all the advertising and visuals as well. H&M has a very different way of thinking and a different business model, so it was interesting to see how much of a connection we could make. But in the end I realized that there wasn’t very much in common, so I don’t think I’ll do it again.

WWD: Would you consider selling it or listing it on the stock market?

R.K.: I don’t think there’s anyone who would want to buy it. I do everything on my own, so there are very few people who could do it. Do you think there’s anyone who would buy it? [Joffe interjected half-jokingly with a laugh: “We’re waiting for an offer.”]

WWD: How do you come up with a retail concept? Where do you start?

R.K.: Firstly, I want to make a shop that’s unlike any that already exists. And then, since it’s a business, we have to be able to get back the initial investment, whether it’s ours or whether it’s the partner’s, in as short a time as possible. So I don’t like to use expensive materials. I take care to make costs reasonable. It’s very similar to the way I make clothes. I give myself limits, not only financial limits but I also limit my method of expression, and from within those limits I try to come up with something new and interesting.

WWD: Are there any young designers coming up through the ranks you’re keeping your eye on?

R.K.: There are very few. There are few people who, like us, have the values and the way of thinking to really try hard. They lack discipline. And it’s not just fashion, I think…[young people] get satisfied too easily. They’re not strict enough with themselves. They’re too soft on themselves.

photos via Hypebeast and Racked

interview via Robert Cordero and WWD

Discovered: We Are Owls

I am in LOVE with these scarves by the ladies of  We Are Owls.  Dreamt up by three friends who found themselves awake at all hours of the night, We Are Owls has always put fashion and art in the same sentence and the result is this collection of 100% cashmere scarves that seem like the perfect accessory for any season.

You can see their list of stockists here.

An Interview: Anna Wintour

"It’s not about forcing how we choose to present our stories into the same mold. It’s about seeing how our readers interact with each medium, and what we feel each medium has to offer the reader." -Anna Wintour

Humberto Leon, one of the co-founders of Opening Ceremony, recently had the opportunity to speak with Anna Wintour.

There's something truly inspiring about discussing fashion with Anna Wintour that goes beyond her great influence. When Carol and I were invited to her office to discuss Fashion's Night Out, among other topics, we were struck by how passionate and curious she remains about the fashion world. We were surprised to find ourselves geeking out with Anna on 'Like a Prayer'-era Madonna, her iPad, lost Soho oculists, and what prompted her to put a pair of jeans on the cover of Vogue in 1988. Of course, the order of the day was Fashion's Night Out, the event she developed last year to jumpstart global retail. I think that one of the things we share with Anna is an excitement for shopping, and a belief that retail should be fun, which is why being part of the event comes second nature to Opening Ceremony. Humberto Leon: What's new for Fashion's Night Out (FNO) this year? Anna Wintour: This year we have a CBS documentary on the making of the event, and we’re staging the largest public fashion show in New York’s history with some of the world’s top models. It will be a carnival-style celebration like last year, only bigger and better, with more cities and retailers participating.

HL: We hear that Vogue is organizing a giant FNO fashion show at Lincoln Center, the new home of Fashion Week. What can we expect to see? AW: Traditionally, shows are industry events, so this is unique as we’re staging it for the consumer. Not only will shoppers preview the best trends for fall on many of the world’s most recognized models, but they will also have the opportunity to purchase those trends on Fashion’s Night Out. No matter their style or budget, anyone can translate the latest trends to suit their tastes and wardrobe.

HL: How can FNO achieve the same impact abroad as it has in NY? AW: Last year, many cities had very successful celebrations. The fact that 3 more countries have decided to join in is a testament to last year’s success. At its core, FNO is a celebration of fashion, and each city knows best how to tailor the event to suit the needs of its culture. But what’s interesting is the transactional element – stores are taking the creative initiative to draw consumers in. Each city is responsible for thinking outside the box to create that unique environment and connect shoppers with fashion on a whole different level.

HL: As a retailer, Opening Ceremony realizes that FNO is the best excuse to do something really fun, exciting, new, and fresh for our customers. Is this what you imagined for FNO? AW: Absolutely. Opening Ceremony is a great example of a retailer that knows its consumer and is responding to their interests, personalities, and shopping habits. The store is always current and exciting, so people are destined to return again and again. It is a wonderful microcosm of what we hope the world of FNO will be on Sept 10.

HL: Ignoring budget and logistics, can you describe your fantasy FNO? AW: Looking at the impressive lineup for this year, I think we are already seeing the fantasy being played out in reality.

HL: What is a change you've seen in the fashion industry since the first FNO? AW: I believe consumer confidence is being restored. People are out there shopping again without the level of guilt or concern of the previous year. Also, it’s built community amongst designers and retailers, both competitors and otherwise, and brought together all aspects of American culture and arts, which is an exciting aspect in and of itself. It’s a time of the year when fashion cities around the world are united in a cause, which is wonderful.

HL: What's your vision for FNO 10 years from now? AW: That retailers and consumers will be inventing bigger and better ideas to celebrate fashion.

HL: Do you read fashion blogs, and if so, which ones are your favorites? AW: Yes, of course. We’ve featured many bloggers in Vogue. Hanneli Mustaparta and Rachel Chandler are regular contributors to Vogue.com.

HL: How do you think fashion blogs have affected magazine content? AW: Like any evolution in the industry, they force you to become better at what you do. Vogue’s in-depth articles and beautiful fashion stories, along with coverage of the arts within a fashion context, is not something that exists in the same way on blogs. They force us to dig deeper for stories, but we’re not competitors; we serve different markets.

HL: Can photography and fashion editorials exist on the Internet? AW: Yes and they do. They are just presented in a different manner and provide more of a complementary voice to what lies in the pages of Vogue. Every medium serves a great purpose to reach our readers. It’s not about forcing how we choose to present our stories into the same mold. It’s about seeing how our readers interact with each medium, and what we feel each medium has to offer the reader.

HL: Your first Vogue cover featured jeans paired with a Christian Lacroix jacket. How did this idea, which was so revolutionary at the time, come about? Do you still take inspiration from youth culture? Is there anything happening in street style that you find interesting? AW: It was first and foremost a translation of a European aesthetic for the American consumer. It brought couture to the street and streetwear into Vogue during the era of Madonna’s Like A Prayer. It was also a recognition of the importance of personal style in fashion, which has played a role in Vogue ever since.

HL: Who do you think is New York's #1 shopper? AW: New York is a fashion-conscious city, and there are many anonymous shoppers who could claim that title.

HL: What influences your own sense of style? AW: I think style should always be an expression of an individual’s personality and tastes.

HL: What is your favorite store in New York that is no longer open? AW: There was an oculist on Prince Street that had great sunglasses and is sadly now a wine store.

HL: Do you own an iPad? AW: Yes, I do.

HL: Our FNO concept is patterned after great Parisian flea markets such as Clignancourt and Vanves. Have you ever been to any of them, and if so, what have you purchased? AW: I am usually in Paris on business and don’t make it out to the markets, but they are wonderful places with incredible history and serve an important role in the fashion industry.

HL: As you know, our country collaboration this year is with France. Would you mind sharing your favorite French spots? What are the best shopping neighborhoods/streets? AW: There are so many wonderful shopping areas in Paris. Different streets cater to different tastes, so it depends what I’m looking for.

HL: The place you most wish existed in NY? AW: I love the Place des Vosges and wish there was something like it in New York.

HL: The best hotel bar? AW: The bar at the Ritz.

HL: And finally, your favorite hidden spot? AW: If I told you it wouldn’t be hidden!

Teamwork: Gilt Groupe + Target

Beginning August 20th, Gilt Groupe, the fashion flash-sale retailer, will be partnering up with Target to offer an exclusive advance look at three designer capsule collections by Mulberry, the British lifestyle brand known for its luxury leather goods,  Tucker, the nostalgic collection of draped silk blouses and dresses and John Derian, the master of decoupage.

In many ways, Target and Gilt's consumers are cut from the same cloth - they both seek out deals and bargains.  It's a well thought out partnership and, if executed well, should expand Gilt's membership and increase Target's brand visibility.   I think the key to a successful partnership will be the product offerings as well as the overall quality of the goods.  The challenge is that in the past Target's partnerships have been hit and miss.  There are times where the collections are compelling but the quality or fit is lacking and vice versa.  I'm both curious and excited to see how this one plays out.  Let the countdown begin.

Discovered: Chance

This really is the. perfect. striped. shirt.  Created by Julia Leach, the former creative director of Kate Spade, Chance celebrates form and function.

Chance sees the nautical striped shirt as the personal fashion paper clip--"every drawer has one."  Honoring timeless style that can travel the world whether in a small fishing village on the coast of France or in your backyard picking blackberries, the striped shirt is a quintessential staple.  As seen in the time line on the Chance website, the striped shirt has history.  From the French Navy to Picasso, James Dean, Mick Jagger and Hunter S. Thompson, I think it's safe to say, stripes have always been, and will continue to be, "in."

Yes Please. Cole, Rood & Haan

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Ok.  This is kind of brilliant.  While there have been a number of brands that have launched heritage collections, I've found a lot of them uninspiring and pretty forced.  However, Cole Rood & Haan, a footwear collection inspired by Cole Haan's 1920's Chicago roots and taken directly from the historic archives, proves different. They have managed to update some vintage designs with modern touches and great leathers.   Not only do the shoes look great but I love the way they have chosen to market and brand the collection.

The marketing campaign highlights an entrepreneurial lifestyle.  They made the very wise decision to hire Todd Selby aka The Selby to shoot the campaign, which features entrepreneurs in NYC who run businesses that take old things and make them new again in a fresh and innovative way.  The shoot takes place at four places: The Smile- a Cafe and Mixed-Use Concept Store, Jack's Coffee-the inventor of the "stir brew technique," Maryam Nassir Zadeh, an amazing boutique carrying things that are both new and old and Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons, an edgy, beautifully crafted jewelry line.  By using real people in real life situations the whole line just feels more authentic.  These are shoes you want to wear on your way to the studio for a day of brainstorming and bags you want to cram full with a notebook, pens, magazines and bits of inspiration you find on the street.  You can see the full shoot here.

Where I've Been: New York Fashion Week


Things have been quiet on the Inclined to Create blog because the last two weeks I had the incredible opportunity to work on a great project with Nordstrom during New York Fashion Week. Nordstrom asked me to scour the city for the most exciting trends, after parties, people and places and then blog about it in their New York Street Scene Section. Pretty amazing project.

Fashion's Night out

On Septmeber 10th, 13 countries will celebrate Fashion's Night Out, a global initiative to promote retail and celebrate fashion.  This year, they created a great PSA which talks about all the benefits the fashion industry brings to New York City. "Next only to finance, fashion is the second-largest sector of industry in New York City—the headquarters of more than 800 fashion companies employing 175,000 people and generating $10 billion in total wages."

They have also decided that all proceeds from the sale of the official Fashion’s Night Out T-shirt will  be donated to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

They've planned some great events and some really exciting collaborations.

What I'm looking forward to:

Rag and Bone will turn their store into a full Irish pub complete with sawdust floors and an Irish band

Vera Wang is collaborating with StudioBooth!

BAND OF OUTSIDERS is partnering up with Opening Ceremony.  The THAI TIE TRUCK  will sell Band of Outsiders ties made exclusively for the evening, as well as a special thai-inspired dessert prepared by Christina Tosi of Momofuku that you can only get with your purchase of one of the ties

Kiki de Montparnasse will have champagne and an erotic photo booth.

Kirna Zabête will have Narciso Rodriguez, Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler, Thakoon Panichgul, Jason Wu, and Peter Som on hand to debut their exclusive items for Kirna Zabête:  Narciso Rodriguez photo collages, Proenza Schouler print tote bags, Thakoon one-of-a-kind dresses, Jason Wu fall 2009 fashion sketches and Peter Som's limited-edition aprons.