Milan Fashion Week | Commerce and creativity

While London is often the spark of new ideas and New York is confidently commercial, the Milan shows usually sit somewhere in between. They may not be the pushing the limits of fashion in terms of new ideas, but they specialise in striking the right balance between commerce and creativity. Many buyers and editors complained of an uncharacteristically inconsistent offering from Milan's usually focused designers last week. But we think there was a lot to be impressed by in Milan, especially from the some of the heavyweight brands who show there. Take Burberry, for example. Christopher Bailey is on a clear winning streak, softening his approach this season with the perfect autumnal mood for the urban birds who walked down…

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Everybody’s talking about | Men’s underwear

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="David Beckham billboard in Milan, courtesy of Emporio Armani"][/caption] MILAN, Italy - Every once in a while, we notice the media -- all kinds of media from blogs to arty fashion mags to the mainstream press -- talking about the same topic in a contemporaneous burst of discussion. In the past few days, the talk has been about men's underwear. Or rather, the advertising campaigns behind this burgeoning business segment. Not since the 1980's and Bruce Weber's campaigns for Calvin Klein have we seen so much media interest in men's underpants.  Tim Blanks explores the subject at length in VMAN's Fall/Winter 2007 issue in The History of the Male Supermodel. And, according to an article in today's…

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Made in Italy: Time for accountability

The Made in Italy label is a source of pride for every Italian. You see, Italians have fashion in their blood and style in their DNA. It's not surprising that more than 4 million of them tuned in to watch the RAI3 documentary Schiavi del Lusso, or Slaves of Luxury, on Sunday evening which revealed a slimy world of underpaid immigrant labour, huge price mark-ups, and what was portrayed to be undue influence from American heavyweights like Anna Wintour. This is not the first time that the industry has come under attack in recent months. The Dana Thomas book De-Luxe and the WWF Deeper Luxury  report have called into question the ethical and environmental practices of major luxury companies. While the…

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Paris Fashion Week: 6267 – That dress!

Ever since Roberto Rimondi and Tommaso Aquilano of 6267 sent their S/S 2008 collection down the runway in Milan last week, everyone has been talking about that dress. In her glowing review, Suzy Menkes said the big surprise of the show came "when the models turned to show a wide dress morph into a sinuous shape at the back. It sounds tricky, but the idea worked, offering one of the most intriguing contrasts of the season." Of the show's standout piece, Nicole Phelps of Style.com said that "Rimondi and Aquilano have an untapped avant-garde streak: Coming, the dress looked like a sculptural, full-blown trapeze; going, it revealed itself to be a body-skimming, provocative sheath." (Note: Unfortunately, no photo of that…

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Links of the week: Sexless Gucci, Gianni-less Versace, Thom and Brooks Brothers

The Times of London: G-ForceFrida Giannini, the last remaining designer of the trio that was selected to replace Tom Ford at Gucci, is an advocate for Gucci without the sex. According to The Times, the results speak for themselves with a 16% increase in sales to over £1.5b - the highest in the company's history. The New York Times: The Murder on Ocean DriveGianni Versace, who was feted at a glamorous ballet last weekend in Milan, was murdered 10 years ago this month. Cathy Horyn gives us a behind-the-scenes take on that shocking week in Miami in 1997, showing a different side of Gianni's replacement, his sister Donnatella.The Wall Street Journal: Brooks Brothers tries hip line: Will it suit?As a…

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Magnificent Milan

The semi-annual harvesting of the fruits of menswear designers from all over the world has just ended In Milan, and I have to say, it was a bumper crop. I never planned use this blog as an editorial on fashion trends or styling, but the menswear looks that have come out of Milan this season are really strong, and give strong direction for mens fashion. For the first time in awhile, things look fresh, and that's got to be good for business. I have selected a few of my favourite looks - these are the styles that I seriously dig - and I am no conceptualist. I think these are wearable commercial looks as well. Best looks From sharp tailoring …

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Koko Rosso

Diesel subsidiary Staff International announced today its investment in the emerging label of much-lauded London-based Greek designer Sophia Kokosalaki. With only £350k in annual revenue, Kokosalaki's business is not huge, but Renzo Rosso, CEO of Diesel, has clearly seen potential in her work and has stepped up to help take the brand to the next level. This is excellent news for Kokosalaki in what should be a banner year for the young designer whose debut collection for the House of Vionnet will bow in Paris this season. The much-vaunted comeback for Vionnet is expected to  be gracefully executed by Kokosalaki whose trademark draping dovetail's nicely with Vionnet's heritage and her famous bias-cut. More young designers should look for partnerships like…

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