Colin’s Column | Ermenegildo Zegna Does Australia, Big-Time

Australian Sheep | Source: Zegna Facebook Page

Fresh from a trip down under, where he was schooled in the age-old process of wool production, Colin McDowell shares his experience of the over-the-top Australian extravaganza to celebrate the fiftieth edition of the Ermenegildo Zegna Wool Trophy.

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Colin’s Column | Does the Format of International Talent Competitions Give English Speakers an Unfair Advantage?

Diane von Furstenberg, Donatella Versace, Franca Sozzani and Victoria Beckham at the International Woolmark Prize | Photo: Dave Benett

On the occasion of the 2013 International Woolmark Prize, Colin McDowell says it’s time to evolve international talent searches to eliminate disadvantages for non-English speakers.

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Colin’s Column | Paris Couture Week, Continued

PARIS, France — The weather was vile, the taxi shortage extreme. The gutters ran with filthy water from melting snow. We slid and slithered in ankle deep slush. In short, Paris was not at its best. But this was Couture Week (well, three days, which is symptomatic of how fashion ‘weeks’ have shrunk, but old habits — and titles — die hard in fashion circles) and we felt privileged to be there. But is everything shown in Paris during

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Colin’s Column | Is Haute Couture Poised for Reinvention or Irrelevance?

Christian Dior Couture S/S 2013 | Photo: BoF

PARIS, France — Couture! This magic word was all but forgotten 30-odd years ago, except in the most exalted and privileged of social circles. Since its high point in the late 1940s and 1950s, couture clients had shrivelled away just as the lifestyles the couturiers once clothed had withered as well. Fashion had taken its lead from the arts, generally, and jumped on the democratic bus called youth and freedom. Even Yves Saint

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Colin’s Column | Are Fashion Exhibitions Measuring Up?

Valentino: Master of Couture | Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Europe

LONDON, United Kingdom — Did the world stop? Did it move? Were we changed? Did fashion leap into the public consciousness as a result of the 2010 Alexander McQueen exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which broke a number of records, not least in sales from the gift shop? I would answer in the negative. The Alexander McQueen exhibition was about tragedy, darkness, drama, fame, notoriety and even horror much

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Colin’s Column | Remembering Diana Vreeland

Remembering Diana Vreeland | Photo: Priscilla Rattazzi, dianavreeland.com

To coincide with the release of the documentary film “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel”, contributing editor Colin McDowell recalls the legendary editor of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. LONDON, United Kingdom — I first met Diana Vreeland at lunch in an Italian castle just outside Rome in the late 70s. It was a hot and sultry day and, although everyone there spoke English, albeit heavily accented in many cases, I think she was

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Colin’s Column | What Fashion Can Learn from Vidal, Hughes and Piaggi

Anna Piaggi Doppie Pagine | Source: happyvintage.glamour.it

LONDON, United Kingdom — To lose three people of great cultural value in a couple of weeks seems a cruel deprivation. First, Gore Vidal, then Robert Hughes and, finally, Anna Piaggi — belles lettres, art criticism and fashion knowledge lightly worn. They will be missed in their different ways. But each one of them had something to contribute to fashion, though I suspect that many, inside and outside the fashion industry, may not

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Colin’s Column | Does the Fashion Critic Matter Anymore?

Fashion Critics (L-R) Cathy Horyn, Godfrey Deeney, Suzy Menkes and Hilary Alexander

LONDON, United Kingdom — All creative endeavours require critical feedback if they are to develop and mature. Ancient storytellers honed their craft by observing the reaction of their audiences. Medieval strolling players were pelted with manure if they failed to perform well. Vaudeville artists in the American South were physically threatened and run out of town if they weren’t up to standard. Indeed, art, dance and literature all

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