Like Jimmy Choo, Versace is not becoming Michael Kors — Here’s how

You’re probably not totally clear on this whole “Michael Kors now owns Versace” thing. Yes, the most successful all-American brand in the current market is now the proud owner of one of the most preeminent names in Italian fashion. It’s mind-bending, truly. But Versace is still Versace. Let me explain.

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After rumors of the acquisition, Michael Kors Holdings officially confirmed its purchase of Versace for $2.12 billion. In its acquisition of the brand, Michael Kors Holdings will now officially be named Capri Holdings. As BAZAAR.com reported earlier today, “The Versace family will become shareholders of Capri Holdings Limited, with Donatella keeping her role as creative director of the fashion house. Capri Holdings, formerly Michael Kors Holdings, now has three major fashion houses under its portfolio: Michael Kors Collection, Jimmy Choo, and Versace.

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Michael Kors Holdings acquired Jimmy Choo last year, setting itself apart from other fashion conglomerates that tend to grow in scale and revenue strictly via licenses, diffusion lines, and the acquisition of more mass-market labels. John D. Idol, CEO of Michael Kors Holdings Limited, said in a release: “The acquisition of Versace is an important milestone for our group…We believe that the strength of the Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo brands, and the acquisition of Versace, position us to deliver multiple years of revenue and earnings growth.”

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Here’s where the confusion lies. Fans of the iconic Italian brand, which became beloved stateside when Gianni Versace moved into the Versace Mansion and changed the face of American style in the late ’80s and ’90s, are terrified of what’s to come due to Kors’ influence on the brand. Michael Kors is known for easy, breezy, American style–not the sexy, risk-taking, ultra-luxe Italian allure upon which Versace is based. Furthermore, Kors’ success is based upon his licensing and diffusion brands, like Michael Michael Kors, as well as his fragrance, timepieces, and accessories partnerships. It seems fans are worried this kind of market saturation could be next for Versace, which currenly only has one sister line, Versus Versace, to its name.

But similar to Jimmy Choo’s agreement with Kors Holdings, Donatella Versace will continue to remain at the helm of her namesake brand, leading the brand’s creative vision. Said Versace of the news, “This is a very exciting moment for Versace. It has been more than 20 years since I took over the company along with my brother Santo and daughter Allegra. I am proud that Versace remains very strong in both fashion and modern culture. Versace is not only synonymous with its iconic and unmistakable style, but with being inclusive and embracing of diversity, as well as empowering people to express themselves. Santo, Allegra and I recognize that this next step will allow Versace to reach its full potential.”

Understandably, this means that scaling the Versace name into new avenues of revenue is a possibility–but that likely won’t include mass-retailers in the way Kors has expanded his ever-growing empire—at least not immediately. It seems that Kors, now Capri Holdings Limited, is eager to expand predominantly into the luxury space, and much will be revealed when details of the acquisition are finalized and released.

While Donatella’s loyal fanbase might not be as welcome to change, she certainly seems to be excited for what the future may bring under Idol and the Capri’s collaboration and leadership. “We believe that being part of this group is essential to Versace’s long-term success,” Donatella said. “My passion has never been stronger. This is the perfect time for our company, which puts creativity and innovation at the core of all of its actions, to grow.”

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Redefining beauty with new fashion inclusiveness

Beauty is being redefined — this is something on which most of us can agree. The era of the white, thin, Eurocentric model as the only embodiment of glamour is gone. The runways have embraced diversity of skin, shape and age. But for one group they still lag behind: people with disabilities.

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Mama Cax, on the runway at the spring 2019 Chromat show during New York Fashion Week. Photo: Casey Kelbaugh for The New York Times

Now a new book, “Portrait Positive,” featuring images of 16 women with facial disfigurements by the British photographer Rankin, is aiming to change that. The book’s creator, Stephen Bell, managing director of the events company Epitome Celebrations, describes himself as having a “visible difference”: When he was born, four fingers on his right hand were fused together. To increase independence and mobility, his index finger was surgically separated in childhood. Yet he reached adolescence without visible role models or an understanding of his disability, he said, feeling isolated, insecure and unsure of what he could be and do.

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Catrin’s photograph from “Portrait Positive.” Photo: Rankin

By chance, 10 years ago Mr. Bell, now 39, came across images online of people who looked just like him, and via the warrens of the internet discovered he had been born with a condition called syndactyly: joined digits that can result in webbing of the skin. It is the second most common congenital hand condition and occurs in around one in every 1,000 births, yet neither Mr. Bell’s parents nor his doctors provided him with the label or language to describe what had happened.

The idea for “Portrait Positive” was born two years ago when Mr. Bell approached the London-based designer Steven Tai with the idea of using fashion as a framework to raise questions about codes of appearance. Mr. Tai was keen to participate, because he had “always believed in the acceptance and celebration of one’s insecurities,” Mr. Tai said, and hoped that “this project not only opens up the standards of beauty, but also lets these women know that they are beautiful.”

The book will raise funds for Changing Faces, a British-based charity that supports and represents children, young people and adults who have a visible difference to the face, hands or body, whether present from birth or caused by accident, injury, illness or medical episode. The project will also exists outside of the book format; Brenda, Chloe and Raiché, three women who had their portraits taken by Rankin, walked in Mr. Tai’s London Fashion Week presentation.

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Brenda, in “Portrait Positive.” Photo: Rankin

The fashion industry has a difficult history with disability. It has rarely considered people with disabilities to be valuable consumers (despite the fact there are estimated one billion worldwide), while simultaneously exploiting the objects and devices associated with the disabled.

A Steven Klein cover of Interview magazine, for example, had Kylie Jenner photographed in a gold wheelchair. Helmut Newton famously photographed Nadja Auermann modeling stilettos, leg braces, canes and a prop wheelchair.

There have, however, been moments that suggested change. Aimee Mullins, a double-amputee model, appeared on the Alexander McQueen catwalk in the spring 1999 show; Mama Cax, an amputee, modeled on the runway for Chromat recently at New York Fashion Week (and was featured in Teen Vogue’s current disability-focused series); and Olay’s new #FaceAnything campaign features the model Jillian Mercado, who has a disability. “Portrait Positive” is part of this continuum.

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Raiché, one of the subjects of the book “Portrait Positive.” Photo: Rankin

But it goes only so far. The question now is whether this moment can gather enough momentum to become the norm. Carly Findlay, a writer, speaker and activist from Australia, challenges thinking about what it is like to have a visibly different appearance. Ms. Findlay has ichthyosisform erythroderma, a condition that affects the skin, leaving it red and sometimes scaly. Recently, she organized and ran Access to Fashion, a disability-focused event at Melbourne Fashion Week. “The community aspect was wondrous,” she said, “everyone coming together to celebrate disability pride.”

Yet she does not want the event to be held again next year, at least not in its current format. She wants access and inclusion to be embedded in fashion, as opposed to isolated as “other,” the way it is (even with the best intentions) in “Portrait Positive.”

“I hope that ‘Portrait Positive’ really does change the way beauty is perceived, but why aren’t women with facial differences included in a mainstream book?” Ms. Findlay asked. “Why can’t beauty just be — why does facial difference have to be radical?”

Other activists agree, saying that the next challenge is to ensure that those with disabilities are not just used to provoke empathy and inspiration in an image, but are also in the rooms where decisions are made, and changes can occur that will reach and impact millions.


Sinéad Burke, an activist, academic and contributing editor to British Vogue, was born with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism.

A version of this article appeared The New York Times website with thte title: The Limits of Fashion’s Inclusivity

Rihanna reveals her thoughts on Lingerie and her ‘battle’ with Social Media

The singer and designer wants to broaden the fashion community while also disorienting it.

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Rihanna, at her Savage x Fenty lingerie show, aims to broaden the fashion community.Photo: Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

Last year Hamish Bowles, a writer for Vogue, asked Rihanna in an interview about her big-picture plans for her fashion brand. “I know where I’m going next,” she said. “But I can’t tell you that. What’s the fun in that?”

After her Savage x Fenty lingerie show last night, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Rihanna’s strategy seemed clear: She plans to broaden the fashion community while also disorienting it.

She wants to entertain herself, too. “I get bored. I get very bored,” Rihanna said backstage after the show. “It’s like a pair of shoes, you know. They’re only good until tomorrow.”

Already, the singer and designer has shown that restless daring with her personal style, turning an ever-present wineglass into an accessory and wearing a dress by a young designer fresh out of Pratt Institute in a music video.

With Fenty Beauty, the makeup line she introduced last year, she created a truly diverse makeup brand, offering products in dozens of shades across the color spectrum.

Now, perhaps in a riposte to Victoria’s Secret, Rihanna is doing the same with lingerie. Yes, supermodels including Gigi and Bella Hadid made an appearance. But the collection was much more about presenting women of all sizes and ethnicities, including two visibly pregnant models.

Raisa Thomas, a 26-year-old makeup artist and plus-size model, said she “got hit up by a casting director in a DM” and wound up in the show. She appreciates how Rihanna is diversifying the fashion industry, she said.

“She’s putting it on the map for people to be inclusive,” Ms. Thomas said. “Plus size, white, black. It’s good for young women to see different types of people in a fashion show.”

The crowd, too, felt more diverse than the typical celebrities and fashion regulars, many of whom were on their way to the airport to catch flights to Europe for the shows there.

As for the disorientation, the presentation paid little attention to fashion show protocol. Models emerged unannounced in dim light until the milling crowd took notice that the show had actually started; cellphones were then whipped out.

The elevated stage was more built installation than runway, with a pond, a “growing station” and tropical-plant-filled botanical domes that blocked sightlines. Unless you moved around the room (there was no seating), you missed half the looks. The vibe was less lingerie-show gawkfest than performance art piece, with models moving in slow motion, crawling on all fours, executing fierce choreographed dance moves.

Backstage, Rihanna said the concept was about mixing the organic with the futuristic, “or what we hope to see in the future. Women being celebrated in all forms and all body types and all races and cultures.”

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Bralettes, undies and pajamas were shown amid tropical-plant-filled botanical domes at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Photo: Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

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The atmospherics were less lingerie-show gawkfest than 1970s performance art. Photo: Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

She added: “It’s a shame that women have to feel insecure or self-conscious about how their bodies look.”

Though her sportswear line with Puma was a success, the clothing brand didn’t show a collection this year. And her shows during New York Fashion Week have seemed more an outgrowth of convenient scheduling, coming during the same week as her Diamond Ball fund-raising gala. One wonders where she will go from here.

Asked about her move into lingerie, Rihanna said, “I wanted to do it, I wanted to get it right and I wanted it to be something that was respected. So I took my time.”

She was still “shocked,” she said, that the industry takes her seriously as a designer. “I know where I’m at. I’m brand new. I’m learning still and growing. I love to create. I love the process.”

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The crowd included the model Stella Duval (left) and the hip-hop artist Christian Combs (center). Photo: Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

Rihanna was less enthusiastic about the promotional part of brand building, especially through social media. She has called Instagram “the death of trends,” and her prolific use of Snapchat has cooled recently.

“I get that it helps the brand and it’s a way of communicating your events and your new products to your fans and to the world,” Rihanna said, before adding, “there’s a battle between what you genuinely want to share and what people care to know.”

She laughed. “I respect it. But, you know, I’m not going to put my every meal” on it.

Cover photo: Rihanna and a Savage x Fenty model backstage at the brand’s New York Fashion Week show on September 12, 2018. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Is it just a trend, or beauty is becoming more diverse than ever?

Influential stylists and makeup artists would most likely say: It’s only a start.

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In an era of makeup collections with 40 foundation colors and more spokesmodels of color than ever before, diversity at the beauty counter would seem to be accepted, even celebrated.

Yet if you ask influential makeup artists, hairstylists and photographers about it, the answer is more likely: It’s a start.

Compared with fashion, beauty has been quicker to act on matters of inclusivity. Driven by social media, beauty has, in the last five years, moved to welcome, and to represent, customers all along the spectrum of skin shades and gender identities.

Consider the smashing success of Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line, which has been credited for the new 40-foundation standard and which proved just how myopic many beauty brands had been.

Clearly women of color make up a market that is far from niche. The days when Iman, a supermodel of the 1970s and ’80s, had to blend her own foundation on photo shoots seem archaic. (She later started her own cosmetics line, ages before Rihanna, to address those very issues.)

“You don’t have the excuse anymore that the product isn’t available,” said Nick Barose, a makeup artist whose clients include Lupita Nyong’o, Priyanka Chopra and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. “Younger, older, darker, lighter, different undertones — you should be able to look at the face in front of you and match.”

Similarly, change is taking place in hair care. Led by influential stars like Yara Shahidi, Sasha Lane and Tracee Ellis Ross, who wear their hair unprocessed, “wild, kinky, frizzy texture” is redefining Hollywood glamour, said the hairstylist Nai’vasha Johnson, who styles Ms. Shahidi and Ms. Lane.

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Tracee Ellis Ross wears her hair unprocessed. Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images

This is “absolutely tied to race,” she said. “When you get into perms and relaxers and all of these things to alter what is naturally yours, let’s be honest, it’s embracing a race or nationality that is not your own.”

What we’re seeing now — a variety of hairstyles and textures on the red carpet — has not come without effort. In Ms. Johnson’s estimation, change has been five years in the making and an uphill battle.

“It takes brave women, like Wanda Sykes, who was my first celebrity who would wear her natural hair, to basically say, ‘I’m comfortable with who I am,’” she said. “I was able to take Wanda’s natural hair and make it look glorious — really pretty. After that, other women with curly hair jumped on board, because they saw how you could do beautiful things with their own texture.”

‘Let’s take it to a place that’s real’

Natural hair texture and diverse skin tones have been “in” before. (Recall the 1960s Diana Ross and the ’70s runway shows of Yves Saint Laurent.) So is this all something that passes, or is it more lasting?

Sam Fine, a makeup artist known for working with Naomi Campbell, Iman and Queen Latifah, is skeptical. He has been in the industry since 1991 and has seen cosmetics collections developed for women of color come and go.

“There was Revlon, when they released ColorStyle, and also Maybelline Shades of You — where are they now?” Mr. Fine said. “Makeup brands have had this relationship with women of color that is very trend based. If they signed on a Veronica Webb or Tyra Banks as a face, they’d suddenly release a collection for them.”

Mr. Fine saw more permanent change in the ’90s with the rise of makeup-artist brands — especially MAC, Nars and Bobbi Brown. “They really started to bridge the gap,” he said. “MAC, particularly, embraced people of color with its wide range.”

Still, he sees further need for improvement. “We’re stuck in a place that is politically correct,” he said. “Let’s take it to a place that’s real and lasting. For example, every brand is launching 40 foundation colors now because it’s the trendy thing to do. But is the brand actually doing the work — the initiatives and outreach? It’s not just about putting a black model next to Gigi Hadid. The stock needs to be there, and not only 40 shades at your Times Square store. The people at the counter need training.”

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Rihanna introducing Fenty Beauty at Sephora in Times Square in 2017. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Fenty Beauty

Indeed, education is often cited as an issue. Tym Buacharern, a makeup artist who has worked on “Black Panther,” “Dreamgirls” and the “Hunger Games” series, criticizes beauty schools for not doing enough. They teach predominantly how to work on Caucasians, he said. Moreover, he believes that younger makeup artists are relying too much on YouTube tutorials.

“YouTube is amazing for inspiration when you’re experienced, but it does the young makeup artist a major disservice because you’re learning from someone who’s great on doing makeup only on himself or herself,” Mr. Buacharern said. “You need to learn the fundamentals first.”

Those skills, he said, include shade matching, finding the right formulas for skin types and working with who is in front of you.

It isn’t surprising, then, that when a black actress, say, shows up on set, she may have hair and makeup issues. “When you have a woman of color coming in — Latino, Asian, black, whatever — she has likely had problems with hair and makeup,” Mr. Buacharern said. “There’s not a lot of trust there.”

With more women of color in lead roles, that dynamic has been slowly changing. “The bigger the actress, the more she has control of who works on her,” Mr. Buacharern said. “It has nothing to do with vanity. It’s about being comfortable and not having to worry about the hair and makeup part so they can focus on the work of acting.”

‘Photographers play a big, big role’

Even if a hair and makeup team nails a beauty look for a woman of color, she can still appear on camera with a gray, shiny complexion (or worse, overly lightened skin) and dull hair. That’s because a crucial part of the image-making machine relies on photography.

“Photographers play a big, big role, and many of them have no idea how to light a woman of color or how to retouch someone other than white,” said Vernon Francis, a hairstylist who worked with Lupita Nyong’o for her “12 Years a Slave” press and awards season run.

Alexi Lubomirski, who photographs magazine covers and beauty campaigns and recently shot the Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wedding portraits, has seen lighting issues turn into a battle of aesthetics. “Some creative directors are afraid of highlights on darker skins because they feel it is not representative of the natural color of the girl’s skin,” he said.

“I happen to like the highlights and the range of dark to light on skin,” said Mr. Lubomirski, who is also the author of “Diverse Beauty.” “For me, that is part of the beauty of darker skin, that it has this depth of color that naturally shows lighter and darker areas.”

Things can go awry after a shoot, too. “The first time I shot Lupita Nyong’o, she asked me not to lighten her skin in postproduction, as she had experienced this before,” Mr. Lubomirski said. “It made me look back at my archive of work and realize that several times my studio had given a magazine the final retouched images, yet the skin was made lighter before going to print.”

“Magazines and advertisers can be hesitant to champion anyone that strays too far from a perceived standard beauty spectrum,” he added.

Stylists point out that beauty ideals are created, or reinforced, over a celebrity’s press cycle, especially on the all-important red carpet.

“When Lupita is standing on the red carpet, she’s being shot by a white flash that’s meant for someone like Jennifer Aniston,” Mr. Francis said. “It’s disrespectful. Because this is what people are seeing at home, and this is maybe why somebody is thinking, ‘I want to look like Jennifer Aniston’ and why maybe they’re not thinking the same of Lupita and Viola Davis. This is where the vying for beauty campaigns, and whether so-and-so can sell beauty products, starts.”

Mr. Barose noted that lighting is an issue across the entire celebrity circuit. “If I have a client who is appearing on ‘The View,’ I know she’s going to look amazing because that crew knows how to light for a range of skin tones,” he said. “But there are some shows that light for maybe only the white hosts. That’s when issues with makeup can happen even if I did the look beautifully.”

‘Textured hair is not difficult’

Lacy Redway, a hairstylist who works with Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson, said that behind the scenes, at photo shoots and backstage on fashion runways, the prevailing opinion is that textured hair is difficult.

Ms. Redway pointed to an Instagram time-lapse video posted last fall by Londone Myers, an up-and-coming Cameroonian-Irish model, which documented her experience backstage as she waited and waited while stylists passed her by.

Ms. Myers wrote in the post: “I don’t need special treatment from anyone. What I need is for hairstylists to learn how to do black hair. I’m so tired of people avoiding doing my hair at shows. How dare you try to send me down the runway with a linty busted afro. We all know if you tried this on a white model, you’d be #canceled.”

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Londone Myers documented her backstage experience as stylists passed her by. Photo: Regis Colin Berthelier / NOWFASHION

Ms. Redway said there are models who show up for shoots already prepped because they’re afraid the stylist won’t know what to do with their hair. “So many stylists are intimidated by textured hair that they don’t even know what it’s supposed to look like, so they also don’t know when it looks wrong,” she said.

But Ms. Redway is generally upbeat that change is happening. She wants to make the discussion more open and less intimidating. (“It can be such a sensitive topic that people are scared to talk about it,” she said.) And part of supporting the movement requires adopting better vocabulary.

“You can do anything with ‘textured’ hair,” she said. “It can be bone straight. It can be in braids. It can hold up more styles. Textured hair is not difficult. I would call textured hair ‘versatile.’”

Similarly, Ms. Johnson is keen on reframing traditional stereotypes attributed to textured styles. “I don’t even like to call them dreadlocks — I just call them locs,” she said. “I want to show you don’t have to do a Rastafarian look.”

Ms. Johnson remembers doing them for Sasha Lane for the Met Gala this year, and last year as well, with Swarovski crystals. “It was very beautiful and glamorous,” she said.

And unlike past moments, when diverse beauty became popular in spurts and stops, Ms. Johnson is confident that what’s happening is more than just a trend.

“We have morphed into a world where people are very much in touch with who they are,” she said. “They are firm about it and unwilling to change or pacify themselves for anyone. It’s a world of ‘This is who I am.’”

 

Why Levi’s T-shirts were everywhere you looked this summer

Once seen as honest workwear, the brand also has rebel spirit. No wonder the T-shirt has been ubiquitous in 2018.

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When historians look back on the summer of 2018, they will talk about the record-breaking heatwave, the World Cup – and Levi’s T-shirts. On the train, in the park, at the art gallery; they are everywhere.

Levi’s says that revenues from online sales grew 19% in the second quarter of 2018. But why? Could it be that in these frighteningly uncertain times, a classic brand such as Levi’s feels reassuring? Historically, Levi’s was workwear. It stands for old-school tradition, but it also has ties with rebellion and counterculture; like Oreos and Oprah, it brings together both sides of the American political spectrum. It is cool without being pretentious, and widely available: John Lewis, Debenhams, Topman, Asos and Amazon all stock the classic Levi’s tee, as well as Levi’s shops themselves. It might also be that it serves as a substitute for the pricier/trendier Supreme box logo shirt, but at a pocket-patting £20.

Advertising has probably played a part in its recent popularity, even if it feels as if this trend started on the street. In August last year, the company released Circles, an ad showing people from different cultures dancing, from Bhangra to hora, dabke to dancehall, with the tagline: “Men, women, young, old, rich, poor, straight, gay: let’s live how we dance.” With 22m views, it was one of the top 10 most-watched ads on YouTube in 2017.

We asked Levi-wearing members of the public about their choice of purchase:

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From left: Rafay, Megan and Ryan. Photo: Malcolm Mackenzie

Ryan, 21 “I got mine a couple of months ago. I’d seen them before in a couple of places and I like the design and the brand because it’s classic.”

Meghan, 26 “I was given mine as a birthday present. Levi’s means good quality, I like that a white T-shirt is simple, goes with everything.”

Rafay, 32 “I bought the tee last year because I felt like the 90s/00s logo resurgence was a cute moment, but now I have started seeing them everywhere and it’s a bit much. It might have to become an ‘around the house’ tee instead.”

Chris, 39 “I bought it two weeks ago. I just liked the colour. Levi’s is the original: the first jeans brand, and it’s cool.”

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Valerie and Snoopy (left) and Chris. Photograph: Malcolm Mackenzie

Wesam, 22 “I was given the shirt as a gift three months ago. We saw this in the shop and liked it. It’s a classic.”

Valerie, 27 “Snoopy was the deciding factor for me. I’ve seen lots of people wearing the Levi’s T-shirts since I bought it, but I haven’t seen mine, so it doesn’t really bother me.”

 

Upgrade your wardrobe: how to dress like an architect

This autumn, looking as if you have a deep understanding of Bauhaus and brutalism is only a pair of heels away.

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There is a phrase popping up as frequently as oligarchs’ penthouses on the London skyline. The expression “dressing like an architect” has become the ultimate fashion compliment. People who wear Prada, or Marni, or Issey Miyake are often said to dress like architects. So, too, are those who wear structural shift dresses from Cos.

There are Mumsnet threads devoted to the art of architect dressing: “You need to decide on a ‘look’ and then rigidly stick to it, no matter what life throws at you. Lots of black, structure and red lipstick. Hair is either bobbed or short with a quiff,” advises one postNew York magazine suggests that the look is merely a Maison Margiela draped blouse away. For inspiration, visit the How to Dress Like an Architect board on Pinterest, which has almost 186,000 followers, and is a sea of black, white, camel and grey.

This autumn, the high street is embracing a trend for architect-appropriate shoes with structural heels. Zara has sleek, black mules with heels the shape of a protractor, while M&S will, from the end of September, have slingbacks with bulbous heels reminiscent of wooden pillars. Topshop has a range of shoes and boots with heels that look a bit like the Berlin television tower, while Asos has shoes and boots that balance on futurist silver spheres.

If these do not satisfy your urge to look as though you have a deep understanding of 3D modelling software, going full architect is easier than ever. According to the Guardian’s architecture and design critic, Oliver Wainwright, you don’t even have to wear neutral colours. “With the resurgence of postmodernism, there has also been a rise of very brightly coloured clothes among architects,” he says. “One young partnership, Space Popular, dress in amazing rainbow shades; their appearance has become a big part of their reputation.”

Although many brands favoured by architects are expensive (Wainwright mentions Margaret Howell and Studio Nicholson), no shop is more relevant than Cos, he says. While popular culture might suggest that all architects are super-rich, in reality, most are not very well paid. “Instead, there is a lot of ingenuity in the way they buy clothes,” says Wainwright. “These are often cleverly layered garments that you might not look at twice from a distance, then you realise have interesting textures. Materials are something architects obsess over in their jobs, and they dress the way they design.”

Dressing like an architect means dressing mindfully. The influential Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas keeps his phone in his sock, says Wainwright. He reaches down to his ankle every time he gets a call, such is his dedication to maintaining the line of his trousers.

Coco Chanel said: “Fashion is architecture – it is a matter of proportions.” Dressing like an architect, on the other hand, seems to be a matter of mastering all the small details at once.


Cover photo: Mules (top to bottom): £69.99, Zara; £69, Topshop; £65, M&S. Cos clothes: culottes, £59; top with rib sleeves, £55; poplin shirt, £59. Composite: Guardian design team

Inside Congo fashion week: Kingdom of the sapeurs – Photos

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Models on the runway at Congo fashion week, which celebrates Congolese and African fashion


By Olivia Acland


The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s misfortunes have often eclipsed its good news, with ongoing armed conflicts and most recently an Ebola outbreak.

Much of the world knows little of the country’s vibrant arts scene, and last weekend in the capital, Kinshasa, models showed off daring new looks dreamed up by local designers on the catwalk.

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The main organiser of Congo fashion week, Nancy Kondo, said: ‘We’re using fashion to change people’s mindsets. Congolese people are the frontrunners of African fashion. We have so much talent here. The event allows us to get people talking about something else, instead of focusing on the negative’ Photo: Olivia Acland

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Pride in appearance is a big part of the Congolese identity Photograph: Olivia Acland

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Models receive a pep talk from their coach ahead of the show Photograph: Olivia Acland

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Model Cynthia Ikapa says modelling is about more than clothes, it is an expression of the love the tailors put into their work Photograph: Olivia Acland

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Model Norha Ngandu Kazadi says: ‘Fashion for me is a way in which I can express everything – joy, sadness, shock, pain. It is my passion above everything else’ Photograph: Olivia Acland

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One tagline of fashion week was: ‘Congo: au royaume des sapeurs’ (‘the kingdom of the sapeurs’) Photograph: Olivia Acland

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Models take a selfie as they wait behind the catwalk Photograph: Olivia Acland

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Tailors make some last-minute adjustments Photograph: Olivia Acland

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Models relax in the make-up room about three hours before the show Photograph: Olivia Acland

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Action on the catwalk Photograph: Olivia Acland

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Designer Richie Maya after the models have shown off his work Photograph: Olivia Acland

 

Is this the most beautiful girl in the world?


A five-year-old-girl has been dubbed ‘the most beautiful in the world’ after a photographer shared her images on social media.

Most beautiful girl in Nigeria

Jare, was photographed by Mofe Bamuyiwa, who shared three stunning portraits of the girl on her Instagram account last week.

The images show the child posing in a simple setting showcasing her enormous eyes and perfectly smooth skin as well as her impressive head of hair.

The photographer captioned one of the pictures, “Oh yes she’s human! She’s also an angel!”

“I could have made her smile and make her laugh out loud but I put her in their natural moments for us to see through their eyes!” she added.

PLENTY OF PRAISE

Social media users were quick to praise Mofe’s portraits of the child with the first of the three images amassing 18,000 likes.

Most beautiful girl

JOMI of the @the_j3_sisters | The elder sister of JARE 

Commenting on the photo a user, who goes by the name serenaqueen22 wrote, “The most beautiful girl in the world.”

Agreeing, another added: “This beautiful child has broken the internet.”

Two more portraits of the girl also received plenty of praise from followers who were ‘enchanted’ by the child’s looks.

Little is known about Jare but Mofe has revealed that she is not a professional model.

The five-year-old lives with her two sisters – Jomi, 7, and Joba, 10, who also pose on their own Instagram account The J3 Sisters.

Juicy fruit: how the lemon won summer style

Forget florals or palm fronds, fruits are the print to wear in 2018, and, thanks to Beyoncé, lemons are the pick of the bunch.

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Added zing: Solange Knowles, Kris Jenner and the Duchess of Sussex. Photo: Guardian Design Team

She might not know it, but Hattie White, Jay-Z’s grandmother, was the instigator of this summer’s juiciest trend. Her 90th birthday speech is broadcast on Beyoncé’s Lemonade (you’ll know the bit even if you haven’t ever listened to the album). “I was served lemons,” she says, “but I made lemonade.”

Two years on from those immortal words #whenlifegivesyoulemons has been used more than 160,000 times on Instagram, and spawned a thousand memes. The lemon emoji, meanwhile, has almost three million hashtags. Beyoncé was – as ever – early on the trend. Keen to make her album a 360 experience, fans could buy a baseball cap with a lemon on it for her 2017 tour, and it’s still available online. The lemon has since blossomed. Forget florals or palm fronds, fruits are the print to wear in 2018, and lemons are the pick of the bunch.

You’ll find them on swimsuits at Matchesfashion and dresses at Asos. Lemon earrings are a thing at Accessorize, Jacquemus and boutique brands including Wolf & Moon. They add zing to any outfit (they will also start conversations, so be warned – don’t wear if you are not keen for a chat at the bus stop). Lemons on T-shirts work, too – Ganni’s Murphy, which features a lemon, was an influencer favourite. It is sold out but you can find similar versions at Topshop and Missguided (FYI early adopters: Ganni has moved on to the banana). Celebrities have also taken to impersonating the fruit – the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex have worn shift dresses the colour of limoncello over the past week, a confident hit of serotonin for public engagements.

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BA&SH lemon printed mini dress, £150, from Asos; Tie-back midi dress, £39, Warehouse; Lemon print bardot top, £16, Sainsburys. Photo: Guardian Design Team

If summer 2017 was tropical – pineapples and palms – this year has shifted. The alpha lemon to have printed on your dress – or artfully arranged on a bleached wood table on your social media post – is the Sorrento lemon, native to Italy. It hails from the Amalfi Coast, and comes unwaxed with organic-looking nobbles and bobbles and, ideally, a couple of leaves still attached (smooth GM-style fruits aren’t really reading the room).

There’s a sort of timeless, universal appeal to the lemon print in the summer, one that feels instant, friendly and inclusive rather than in-the-know like, say, slogan or band T-shirts. They have been an everyday motif in art for centuries – in paintings from 17th-century Dutch still lives, to Picasso’s abstractions in the 1930s, Roy Lichtenstein’s pop lemons and even the 1989 Stone Roses album, a John Squire take on a Jackson Pollock.

In a world where the visual gag is king, perhaps the thinking is that wearing nature’s bounty on your person provides almost as many vitamins as eating it. Citrus fruit seem to win, perhaps due to innate zestiness – they have been everywhere from Stella McCartney’s lemon, lime and orange prints in 2011 , to JW Anderson’s cult lemon polo shirt last year. A similar design is now at H&M for £8.99.

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Clockwise from top left: Lemonade hat,£27.35; Beyoncé; Swimsuit, £155, bySolid & Striped atMatchesfashion; Necklace, £10,Meri Meri at The Conran Shop; Earrings, £8, Accessorize; Earrings,£38, Wolf & Moon. Photo: Guardian Design Team

It makes sense, perhaps, that when it comes to designers, Dolce & Gabbana really own the lemon trend. They are geographically closest to the Amalfi Coast, after all. The Italian duo produced a collection based on the mercato ortofrutticolo – that’s Italian for farmer’s market, but you knew that – including tomatoes, courgette flowers and chillies in 2012. Lemons have emerged as a favourite though. A whole collection appeared in 2016. Last year, they released a jewellery campaign shot in a lemon orchard. As with most things with the Italian label, the vibes here are sex kitten off-duty – Sophia Loren cooking up spaghetti al limone, or Brigitte Bardot visiting Picasso at his studio in 1956.

Your wardrobe this summer, then, sits in the Venn diagram of the Beyoncé effect, Sophia and Brigitte’s looks and the classicism of those still lifes. Earrings have a pop impact that means they can carry the rest of your outfit. An off-the-shoulder blouse such as the one at Tu is an easy way to add a bit of the Amalfi Coast to the less picturesque environs of, say, a suburban BBQ. A lemon dress – as everyone from Solange Knowles to Kris Jenner knows – turns up the summer occasion just a notch. The other option, of course, is to turn it up to 11 by wearing full lemon yellow like a duchess. Kate’s is – of course – from Dolce & Gabbana. Find yours at Warehouse for £39 and say a little thank you to Hattie White when you wear it. After all, life gave her lemons, and she gave us the lemon trend


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