Report From London: Diane von Furstenberg Designs this Year’s Claridge’s Christmas Tree

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Last year, we unabashedly swooned for Karl Lagerfeld’s provocative upside down Christmas tree for Claridge’s – which, no surprise, provoked some rather strong reactions.

Of course, the storied, celeb-magnet London hotel enlists a different towering style talent each year for what has come to be seen as one of the season’s most coveted honors. And 2018’s guest designer, the inimitable Diane von Furstenberg, has – as we might have guessed – conjured something decidedly more…ethereal. Titling it, quite unambiguously, “The Tree of Love,” it stands majestically, glitteringly beside the grand staircase of the hotel’s gorgeous Art Deco lobby.

“Claridge’s is my favorite hotel in the world, and my home in London,” DVF enthuses. “I was so excited to be invited to create its legendary Christmas Tree. My tree is ‘The Tree of Love,’ celebrating all aspects of love and life.”

 

 

Collaborating with artistic set designer Stefan Beckman, artist and illustrator Konstantin Kakanias, and astrologer Shelley von Strunckel, her inspiration for the fantastical tree came from a distinctly metaphysical place – as one might surely have imagined from the prominently spiritual fashion icon.

“Its’ roots come from the earth, its’ branches extend to the sky,” she explains, “The flowers become fruits, the color of the leaves reveal the seasons. Home to birds, shade for children, and shelter for lovers. It is the symbol of strength, enlightenment and life…every tree is the ‘Tree of Love.’ I wish everyone happy holidays.”

All are welcome to stop in and see the tree. But it’s also a great excuse to pop in for a holiday cocktail at the hotel’s glamorous Claridge’s Bar – which comes with some of the best people-watching in London.

 

Report From Art Basel: ‘Prada Mode Miami’ Takes Over the Freehand

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Art Basel is technically launching this Thursday, December 6th – but that never stops the party from starting a little early. And indeed, Prada kicked off Miami Art Week last night with the opening of their groovy pop-up, Prada Mode Miami – which is a complete take over of Freehand Miami. The lobby, pool area, garden, lounge, and restaurants were all refurnished and redecorated to reflect Prada’s long-standing appreciation of the overriding Miami aesthetic.

To put it in simpler terms, it’s as if you died and ended up somewhere between Milano and Miami Beach.

Imagined as a nightclub, Prada Mode engulfs visitors in a total experience that includes art, music, dining, conversations, late night festivities, and of course…fashion. While the Basel crowd will be dancing the night away to sounds from renowned DJs like Craig Richards, AJ Kwame, and Arman Nafeei, they will be returning by day for a totally different vibe. Within the brightly colored walls, a three day schedule includes events co-organized by the likes of Derek Blasberg, Honey Dijon, Document Journal, and the National YoungArts Foundation.

With discussions focusing on advancements and innovations within the art and fashion worlds, and site-specific “interventions” by artist Theaster Gates, Prada Mode will be keeping brains in motion just as much as bodies.

So, whether you’re showing up for a tasty meal, a party with live music acts, an exhilarating cultural  discussion…or just ducking in for a break from all that exhausting Art Basel schmoozing, Prada Mode is this year’s artistic sanctuary par excellence.

 

Firenze in NYC: Italian Fashion Purveyor Luisaviaroma Opens Holiday Pop-Up Shop in Soho

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It’s safe to say that we are still in the golden age of the fashionable “pop-up.” Indeed, pop-up shops are…the new black. We’ve already seen it all – from Fendi and KITH, to viral, short-lived merch shops from Kanye and Drake, to even gimmicky, limited-run “cultural” institutions like the Museum of Ice Cream and 29 Rooms.

But this one has us particularly excited: Florence-based luxury online retailer Luisaviaroma has teamed up with Spring Studios on an interactive holiday pop-up retail experience that will sustain a run at the industry hotspot through December 15th, 2018. Think: Dover Street Market meets Barney’s Co-Op, with a touch of Barbie’s Dream House. The highly-curated space is perfect for dropping stacks and/or upping your Instagram game, within its ornate, very Italianate interior (perhaps a mirror pic in that Emilio Pucci gown you’ve been longing to add to your wardrobe?)

 

 

Up-and-coming Milan-based designer and architect Cristina Celestino constructed the space as an extension of Luisaviaroma’s “Home for the Holidays” installation in Firenze. She describes it as “an experiential and visionary pop-up that plays with textures, materials and colors, bringing a tropical atmosphere with a touch of European flair to the city.”

Each week, a co-branded, limited edition capsule collection of handpicked items for the New York location will be released. The store itself will showcase about 300 curated pieces from some of the most renowned Italian designers, including Alberta Ferretti, Marni, Moschino and Versace. While that may not seem like much, don’t fret – because another 30,000 items will be available to purchase online through interactive digital screens, completing the experience.

The Luisaviaroma pop-up with be open until December 15th at Spring Studios (50 Varick Street, NYC).

 

 

Photographer Giampietro Favero’s Work is Enigmatic, Erotic and Hallucinatory

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If Helmut Newton explored sexuality in a singularly provocative way, photographer Giampietro Favero takes us to a much more mysterious place. Though like Newton, each of the Italian fashion photographer’s images seems to be telling one small part of a more elaborate story, thrillingly sparking the imagination with each glance.

Born in Venice, he moved to Rome at the age of just 6, eventually finding himself drawn to Italy’s storied film studio Cinecitta. Which, as history has it, is where cinematic masterpieces by the likes of Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Bernardo Bertolucci, Francis Ford Coppola and even Martin Scorsese were made. And, of course, those of “Il Mago” himself.

“I had friends there,” Favero recalls, “and on the sets of Fellini I felt magic everywhere. It was like walking into one of those dreams you never want to wake up from. It was there where I [first] thought I should work on a series of images, on a particular ‘subject.'”

 

 

He worked as a young photographer in Paris, before the excitement of the burgeoning punk scene drew him to London, and back to his first love: music.

He enthuses, “Punk, like London, was very electric. It was an overdose of adrenaline – which I still use up to this day in my photography.”

He would eventually wind up in New York, finding success in the fashion and advertising worlds. Indeed, his work has notably appeared in Interview magazine. By the ’90s, however, his interest had shifted to fine art photography – and for the past decade he has been cultivating his inimitable, thought-provoking style whilst living in Mexico.

 

 

Though he doesn’t like to discuss his work, specifically, there is an immediately noticeable quality of enigma about his images – each is like one mesmerizing moment captured from within a larger narrative. The captivating eroticism also feels hallucinatory, as if one had been given access to his strikingly hypnotic dreams. Aesthetically, one might easily think of David Lynch, or, for that matter Fellini at his most surreal.

“I just like to show it that way,” Favero explains. “Instead of hallucination, I prefer to describe it as an optic illusion.”

And when asked about future undertakings, he leaves us with a rather tantalizing answer.

“Currently, I’m working on a large project that involves a story about a voyage into the afterlife. That is hallucinating.”

 

See more of Giampietro Favero’s work at the BlackBook Presents opening on November 28 – through January 1, 2019 – at 20 John Street in Brooklyn.

 

 

 

Doggie Style! Moncler Brings the Canine Couture to Fashionably Warm Your Pup This Winter

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If you’ve ever taken your pup for a massage, or ordered off the room service menu for them, read on…

Indeed, man’s – and women’s – best friend is getting a wardrobe update, thanks to those keen arbiters of style over at Moncler. In other words, your dog can now dress to the same nines as you yourself.

The fashion brand known for its unfailingly chic outerwear, has just teamed up with Poldo Dog Couture to make the coolest – but also warmest – collection of cold-weather swag for your pooch. And as a project entirely dedicated to our four-legged friends, Moncler Poldo Dog Couture strives to bring the runway to the road, so that Fido/Fluffy can stay warm and fashionable throughout the winter…and isn’t that what really matters?

 

 

The mini collection draws inspirations from the brand’s classic down jackets and reversible waistcoats…and even uses the same iconic nylon laqué material for your furry beloved. On those less frigid days, Moncler still has it covered, with the cutest hoodies to keep your stylish woofer at the perfect temperature, while on those high-visibility walks through Central/Echo/Hyde Park…or wherever you choose to exercise your canine companion.

But wait…as if those wooftastic threads weren’t enough, the collection also includes an exceedingly chic collar and matching leash in Moncler’s quintessential tricolor French flag design. (Allons, chiens de la Patrie!)

With winter’s first snowfall behind us and temperatures at peak unpredictability, we all have to consider stylish ways to pack on those layers, tail-waggers included. This is a great start.

MONCLER POLDO DOG COUTURE is available now in Moncler boutiques and at moncler.com.

 

 

Victoria Beckham, Tom Ford Join the Berkeley London’s Prêt-à-Portea Collection

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Have you ever thought…I’d really love to have tea with Tom Ford and a stegosaurus?

Sure you have. And, as ever, there’s only one place in the world that could make it happen for you. Indeed, the ceaselessly glamorous Berkeley Hotel in London has just introduced the annual additions to its ongoing Prêt-à-Portea (get it?) series; and Mr. Ford, as well as said dinosaur, are both a part of it.

The program brings together the international style royalty (past participants have included Burberry, Louboutin, Miu Miu and Diane Furstenberg) to design signature items for the by-now-legendary fashion tea service. Leading the way this year is Posh herself, Victoria Beckham – whose namesake fashion line is celebrating its 10th anniversary – with a Victoria sponge shopping bag. As well, Tom Ford’s leopard print suit becomes a mint cake with chocolate bavarois; and Prada’s dinosaur canvas print is transformed into a chocolate walnut brownie, complete with aforementioned white chocolate stegosaurus.

Additional fashionable confections for 2018 were inspired by the designs of Fendi, Valentino, Ada Kokosar and Erdem Zelena.

The Prêt-à-Portea service is available from 1:30pm to 5:30pm every day, at £58 per person. Additional bonus? The plush Berkeley is a reliable celeb magnet – so you may spot Keira Knightley, Leo DiCaprio, Kate Moss or Penelope Cruz whilst nibbling your couture cakes and sipping your Jadesword green tea.

(N.B. an eponymous book was published in 2016)

 

 

 

The New UNIQLO x Alexander Wang HEATTECH Collection Wants to Keep You Warm This Autumn

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As it turns out, while we’ve been searching in vain for garments that can cool us down in the oppressive summer city heat, UNIQLO HEATTECH has been chicly warming those for whom winter presents a much bigger challenge.

Of course, in these collab-crazy days, it’s hardly a surprise that, ten years on, two fashion giants would reconvene for just that purpose. And so it is that the UNIQLO x Alexander Wang HEAATECH Collection arrives in stores this Thursday, November 8, a decade after their first alliance – and just as the chillier climes seem to be taking a decisive hold of our weather situation. This time, it’s all about achieving your inner” stylishness – as the women’s and men’s undergarments making up the collection are meant to peek chicly out from under all those on-trend upper layers you’ll be flaunting this autumn and winter.

 

 

“When I look into expanding into additional categories,” explains Wang, “I seek out partners that really can innovate the product we make, and how our fans can access it. UNIQLO are the ideal partners for this collection of innerwear, because we share an appreciation of functionality and utilitarianism.”

There are well-fitted, good-looking crewneck tees, ribbed bodysuits, bikini shorts and ribbed leggings for her, ribbed tank tops, boxer briefs and extra warm long johns for him.

Wang concludes, “I’m am thrilled our collaboration has resulted in developing a new HEATTECH line; the perfect place to pick up from where we left off ten years ago.”

Let it snow, let it snow…

 

Gorillaz and G-Shock Team Up for Limited-Edition Watch Collection

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We never really gave it much thought, to be honest – but despite living in a sort of parallel universe, cartoon characters still do seem to be subject to the rigors of scheduling. Though the fact that they never age does make one wonder as to the actual effects of time on their seemingly ambiguous reality.

Still, such existential concerns need not necessarily interfere with the desire to simply be in possession of this season’s surely most talked about timepiece. And one of the new GORILLAZ x G-SHOCK collection should absolutely be on the wrist of everyone who counts themselves amongst the disciples of the most enduring animated band in (sort of) existence.

 

 

The watches are styled in tribute to each of the four members: 2D, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle and Russel Hobbs – so you may finally have to decide which of them is your actual favorite…despite egalitarian impulses to love them all equally. Best of all, only 1000 of each are being produced – so bragging rights are included in the price. They’ll be available as of November 15…but insider tip: go to the Gorillaz web shop today, October 25, for a chance at early pre-order.

Don’t even consider buying one, though, until you’re in possession of a copy of their excellent new album The Now Now, which was released earlier this year to nearly universal acclaim.

 

 

 

Margherita Missoni Returns to the Missoni Group

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Generally shying away from the question often posed regarding her taking over the fashion empire her grandparents Ottavio and Rosita founded in 1953, Margherita Missoni actually left the company a few years ago to pursue her own projects. But in Italy, family still reigns above all – and she has at last returned to the fold, this time as Creative Director of M Missoni.

Launched in 1998, M has become a staple of the higher end of the ready-to-wear market, bringing the mothership’s bold, intrepid colors and fabrics to a more comprehensive audience. It’s currently sold in 60 countries, with annual sales of more than 50 million euros.

“Being identified as the person who can lead the future course of the new M Missoni fills me with pride,” she beams. “It’s exciting to have the opportunity to set new paradigms and forge new directions for this brand, all whilst using the Missoni aesthetic which lives within me.”

“In her professional trajectory within and outside the company, Margherita has demonstrated her considerable skills,” explains Angela Missoni, President / Creative Director of the Group (and mother to Margherita). “Together with her natural understanding of style and her forward thinking creative capacities, she also proved to be an authentic and successful communicator of the house codes.  I am confident that her talents will make M Missoni a relevant brand for the years to come.”

The M Missoni SS 2020 collection will be the first under Margherita’s creative leadership, though nothing has yet been revealed about future stylistic direction.