Women's Wear Daily has a story today about the trend for "extreme" lingerie, which seems to mainly mean "extremely expensive." (Hello Swarovski crystal bodysuits, gold star pasties, and $4,000 pricetags.) References to bondage in fashion are hardly new — Claude Montana, anyone? — but the ability to charge more money for crotchless panties is something brands welcome. Apparently, when Kirsty Hume became the face of Agent Provocateur in 2010, this bondage-inspired cut-out bra and panty outfit she wore in the campaign sold out "instantly," says the company, which led it to start pushing the trend. [WWD]
- KCD, which produces some of the biggest fashion shows in New York City (and around the world) is launching a new Web portal where people can watch all the fashion shows they couldn't quite make it to in person because of the overbooked fashion week schedule. Access will be restricted to those invited by KCD, like at an actual show. Sorry, fashion-loving public. [WWD]
- Harvard Law professor Jeannie Suk offers a concise summary of the issues involved in the Christian Louboutin/Yves Saint Laurent trademark lawsuit. Louboutin is suing YSL to protect its existing trademark on the use of red soles in footwear after the other luxury brand released a line of shoes that had (a slightly different shade of) red soles. Louboutin seems likely to lose the case and see its trademark invalidated. While the Supreme Court has previously held that colors can be trademarked (in cases where "the color served to identify the maker of the product — and had no other function"), the judge in the case seems to feel that color is always "functional" in fashion because it is an aesthetic choice. Writes Suk,
The red elephant in the room is that though it is the artistic and creative core of the fashion industry, design is not protected qua design, but only as a symbol of who created it. Fashion designers find no comfort in the federal copyright statute, which protects authors and creators, but does not extend to "useful articles," including apparel and shoes.
[...]That brings us to the fashion Catch-22 that the red sole throws into relief: Trademark law does not protect design features that are "functional," the meaning of which, it turns out, encompasses even aesthetic appeal. But in copyright law it is precisely the utilitarian and non-aesthetic aspect of apparel and shoes that leaves fashion design unprotected from copying. Fashion design is caught between opposing demands and exclusions, and snubbed from both ends.
- Victoria's Secret has now enjoyed 24 consecutive months of rising same-store sales. The average monthly same-store sales gain for 2011 was a whopping 15.7%. [WWD]
- One writer who found that waxing had thinned her eyebrows tried putting Rogaine on them, which you are not supposed to do, shhhhh, but it kinda worked. [The Gloss]
- With couture week beginning in Paris, couture houses are claiming that they're seeing huge growth. [WWD]
- Designer Malia Mills, known primarily for her swimsuits, says there's a secret to her creative process that ensures each new design is flattering and comfortable: she actually wears the samples.
Each sample suit is tried on by at least three different women in the office to be sure it doesn't gap or pull in awkward places. They often keep the garments on for a full day. "You will generally find any of us in some state of undress," Ms. Mills said. "Messengers love us. The exterminator came the other day, and I was in a bathing suit."
- Chanel threw a fancy party in Las Vegas to celebrate the opening of an exhibition about the company at the Wynn hotel. Except the exhibition is only open for eight days, and it's by invitation only. It apparently includes a room with quilted leather walls, a recreation of Coco Chanel's Paris apartment, and a room with "claw" arcade games stuffed with Chanel goods. Chanel chartered five private jets to fly celebrities, socialites, clients and press in from New York. [WWD]
- Designers including Michael Kors, Jason Wu, and Versus by Versace showed neoprene for spring. Which is awesome, because neoprene is so comfortable, breathable, and easy to wear. [WSJ]
- Shares in Talbots went up by 18%, or 50 cents, on speculation that the troubled chain may be attracting interest from buyers. [WWD]
- The Times says the new trends in bridal wear include non-white dresses — there are even these things called prints now! — and lace sleeves, à la Kate Middleton. [NYTimes]
- This June, Banana Republic will launch a limited-edition collaboration with Trina Turk. [WWD]
- Gilt Groupe reportedly laid off more than 100 of its approximately 900 employees on Friday. (The company disputes this number, but declined to comment on the actual number of layoffs.) One sign that trouble was brewing? The company — which touted a $1 billion valuation last year and is planning an IPO — stopped buying Perrier for the staff kitchen. [The Cut]
- The Canadian company that runs the Hudson's Bay Co. stores has completed its acquisition of Lord & Taylor. [WWD]
- Lucky's John Jannuzzi traces the arc of a successful fashion blogger, from "My Boyfriend is My Photog," to "Street Style Darling," to "Has-Been — it was fun while it lasted. Get a job." [Lucky]