Marc Jacobs president Robert Duffy says his life has changed drastically since he and his husband Alex Cespedes adopted their daughter Victoria. He was home on a Friday night just days before the Marc Jacobs show, for one thing. Victoria, who will have the option of knowing her birth mother in later life if she so chooses (the couple opted for an open, domestic adoption, which took a year to arrange), is now six months old. Marc is her godfather. "Our biggest fight was that she was getting really heavy," says Duffy. "I'd say, ‘She is being overfed.' He'd say, ‘No she's not, all babies are fat.' Then I took her to the park one day and had her on a swing, and this lady said to me, ‘Why don't you let your baby walk?' I said that she can't walk yet and she was like, ‘Oh, I am so sorry.' The lady thought she was two years old. I came home and was like, ‘Alex, she is eating too much.'" They consulted her pediatrician and stopped feeding Victoria milk at night. "I keep saying childhood obesity starts in infancy, and Alex says, ‘So does anorexia.'" [WWD]
DKNY showed a collection of neatly tailored basics, including a lot of black leather, faux fur, and some nice backless dresses. Nina Dobrev, Ashley Greene, and Coco Rocha sat front-row. There was also a suit in a fabric printed with little flowers, picking up on what might be an unexpected trend for fall (we spotted a similar style at Cynthia Rowley).
Christian Siriano's fall collection was stunning. The collection exhibited a quality for which the designer is not typically known: restraint. There was a lot of black, and a lot of skillfully cut dresses that made his models look like powerful, grown-up women. A couple dresses that incorporated black leather piping set in a matrix of mesh — reminiscent of Ralph Rucci's couture "spaghetti" fabric tubes — were particular standouts. There were a lot of ruffles, of course, including some perhaps ill-advised cascading flounces at the neck (which had a Pierrot kind of effect, and which were also seen at Prabal Gurung). Gabby Sidibe, sitting in the front row next to Siriano's boyfriend, the musician Brad Walsh, looked fairly delighted by what she saw. Also, the shoes — which will be sold in Siriano's Payless line — were amazing.
Canadian designer Calla showed a collection of feminine basics in digital prints that were based on things like blown-up wood grain and abstracted florals. We liked that the collection reflected how women actually dress: yes, there were dresses, but this isn't a designer who labors under the misimpression that her customer does nothing but attend cocktail functions. A slouchy suit in silk crepe was particularly nice. There were delightful almond-toed Mary Jane flats, and a couple of the models had splatter manicures. (Which we obviously love.) We talked to Calla Haynes briefly at the show — she reads Jezebel! — and found her to be as sweet as her clothes.
Young designer Dean Quinn is being talked up — Central St. Martins grad, spring collection already sold out at Barney's, prices all under $1000 — like whoa this fashion week. But his presentation mostly lived up to the hype. He showed well-cut dresses, some bisected by big, gold zippers, in eye-popping colors. One to watch.
The stand-outs at Tracy Reese were the three last looks — neutral silk slips thickly covered with beading and sequins. We also dug the baseball caps in felted wool.
Moncler Grenoble presented its collection via a live ice-skating show at the Central Park rink. There was a children's choir singing "New York, New York" and a light show and bands of synchronized skaters wearing color-coordinated outerwear. Was the whiz-bang of it all a little cheesy? Undoubtedly. But even jaded fashion editors and bloggers were oohing and aahing over the shmaltz. Seeing clothes in movement, on a range of human bodies, was worth standing out in the cold for half an hour on a night when the mercury sank to 21 degrees.
Adele is on the cover of Vogue, as promised. [Vogue.com]
Copyranter finds the new Gap ads boring, "and very white." [Copyranter]
Michelle Williams wore a bespoke H&M dress to the BAFTAs. "Bespoke" and "H&M" were two words we hadn't expected to ever see in the same sentence, but Michelle Williams made it happen, folks. [HuffPo]
Olivia Palermo is going to be the face of a Rochas perfume. [WWD]
Anna Wintour got confused during fashion week, and went to Milk Studios (a common venue for many shows that is situated in far west Chelsea) instead of Eyebeam Studios (a common venue for many shows that is situated in far west Chelsea) when trying to go to Billy Reid. She did not respond to the poor Milk door person who told her she had the wrong venue. In other news of Anna Wintour and fashion week, a security guard wouldn't let the Vogue editor backstage at the Band of Outsiders show. She didn't have the necessary wristband. [P6]
Suzy Menkes also went to the wrong venue for the Derek Lam show. The designer had the music cued and the models ready to start, but then brought the house lights back up for 10 minutes while the International Herald Tribune critic rushed over. [P6]
Women's Wear Daily has a fascinating story about the business of fashion, and the difficulties facing small entrepreneurs in the industry. Apparently, a brand needs to generate around $25 million in sales annually in order to begin making the leap from niche editorial darling to bags-and-sunglasses-and-perfumes corporation.
Gross margins — or the difference between the sales dollars brought in and the cost to produce and distribute goods — are generally good in the designer realm. Initial margins could be 70 percent and then fall to 50 percent, factoring in stores' chargebacks for shipping quirks and markdowns for slow-moving goods.
Yet the higher the margin the brand takes, the smaller its distribution.
Victor Wahba, partner at accounting and consulting firm WeiserMazars, said a designer business with $25 million in sales could have margins of 40 percent, leaving it with $10 million after the goods are made and shipped. Of that, $6.25 million might go to SG&A [Selling, General, and Administrative] expenses, and $3 million to hold two glitzy fashion shows, leaving the company a $750,000 profit.
On that note: editorial darling Rodarte is launching a shoe line. The shoes the brand designs for their runway shows, generally with Nicholas Kirkwood, are always impressive, so this news is pretty exciting. The licensee is Iris, which also holds footwear licenses for such brands as Chloé and Marc Jacobs. Unfortunately, the shoes will cost $900-$1500. [WWD]
Speaking of which, performance artist Marina Abramovic, famous for pushing her body to its limits (she has passed out in performances, cut herself in performances, and allowed gallery-goers to manhandle her naked body) has one thing she can't stand: uncomfortable designer shoes. "I hate uncomfortable shoes. I prefer three numbers bigger. Then I am comfortable," she says. Once she was given a pair of shoes to wear to a red carpet event by her friend Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy. "It was like minus 21 Celsius, and it was just sandals with one strap. I said, ‘I'm going to die.' And then he said, okay, I'm going to get you something else. It was like one hour before the red carpet. So he went to the shop and he brought me the Jil Sander men's shoes! I said, ‘This is the best!' I had the best day, because I really was comfortable all evening." [The Cut]
Michelle Obama wore a Jason Wu for Target dress. [The Cut]
Balenciaga stylist and American Vogue freelancer Marie-Amélie Sauvé is joining the masthead at W as senior fashion editor under Edward Enninful. [WWD]
Uniqlo is launching a line of tennis clothing with Ken Nishikori, the Japanese rising star player whom Uniqlo has sponsored since last year. [WWD]
And now, a moment with Penny Martin, the editor of The Gentlewoman. Martin's interview with the Daily was the most refreshing fucking breath of fresh air we've read all fashion week. She's studied old and defunct women's magazines going back to the Victorian era — she was the curator of the Women's Library at the University of the Arts while getting her Ph.D — and says that even as recently as the 70s, the genre featured more long-form writing and more current affairs journalism. "You can't say that about women's magazine's today," she says. "They are about journalism turning inside itself, where editors write about themselves. I can't think of anything more depressing than this bottoming-out of content. It's a kind of journalist's graveyard." YES.a Okay, so what makes The Gentlewoman different?
"I genuinely like other women, and I don't think that comes through in other publications. Yes, there's room for wit, taste, pleasure, and novelty in fashion, but there's also room for generosity. I like the idea that being fashionable and kind aren't mutually exclusive."
Moar plz. [DFR]