Campaigns, campaigns! What’s in fashion?
Your one-stop-shop for this week’s fashion news to know.
Photography Harley Weir. Images courtesy of Charlotte Knowles
“Campaigns! Campaigns for everyone!” is Bubbles Devere’s trademark shriek in mid-noughties sketch comedy Little Britain. Or wait, was it ‘champagne’… anyway, the former’s what you’re getting from us — though why not pour yourself a little coupe of the latter for while you read? It is fashion week, after all! From Loewe to Charlotte Knowles, we’re serving up a veritable feast of delicious fashion imagery in this week’s round-up, whetting your appetite for all the AW21 morsels we’ll be feeding you over the next few weeks. We hope you’re hungry! Here’s what’s in fashion.
London Fashion Week gets a VR makeover
Not quite satisfied with the livestreamed fashion shows? Fear not! To mark the start of London Fashion Week, Machine-A, the beloved independent London boutique, has partnered with the Institute of Digital Fashion to launch an immersive experience for you to truly step into the world of your favourite designers — without even having to leave your bed. The platform, which is called A New Future, is a virtual augmented store environment where you can interact with some of London’s most brilliant designers: Martine Rose, Richard Quinn, Goom Heo, A-Cold-Wall* and Eftychia Karamolegkou, to name a few. “In a time where the fashion calendar feels very flat and with the industry questioning what fashion means today, we wanted to elevate the voices of talents, dissecting just that,” says Leanne Elliott Young, co-founder of Institute of Digital Fashion. “An important part of our work and mission is to democratise the fashion landscape, evaluating how tech can be used to push past some of the archaic structures that the fashion industry as a whole is transfixed upon.” Think of it like a fashion week video game to while away the hours with. Besides, it might make a nice change from being asked by Netflix if you’re “still watching”. OA
Spring has sprung at East London’s go-to menswear destination
“Opening a store? In these unprecedented times?!” are questions it would be reasonable to ask someone with plans to, well, open a brick-and-mortar store right now. Someone who’s been on the receiving end of them, though, is Harry Fisher; he opened the doors to htown, East London’s chicest new menswear destination, back in September. The six months that have passed since, though, have proven that he was right in going with his gut instinct to bring a touch of haute to Hoxton. “We’re really happy with our first season went — it didn't come without its ups and downs” — the national lockdowns that forced them to shift operations entirely online and Brexit being two tiny bumps in the road — but we have adapted and found new ways to serve our customers that will benefit us and them in the long term.” And what lucky customers we are: after bringing us a bumper crop of clothes from some of the best independent menswear designers out there last season, Harry and the team have restocked for SS21 and launched a fresh campaign shot by Elliott James Kennedy and styled by Kate Iorga. Between Ahluwalia tees, Saul Nash vests, Y/Project windbreakers and much more, the choice is almost too much to bear! So spare yourself the stress and add them all to your basket — you’ve earned it. MS
Gucci’s latest collab is with an unsung fashion hero
Florals for spring? In the hands of Alessandro Michele, damn right they can be groundbreaking! This week, Gucci’s shaman-like creative director blessed us with a bright bouquet of flowers in the form of a new capsule collection, something to get us through yet another week of the seemingly endless doldrums. It even has a historical angle, too! Gucci Ken Scott is a collaboration with one of Milan’s unsung fashion heroes. An American designer who pioneered ‘the lifestyle brand’, Ken Scott revolutionised Italian fashion in the 60s and 70s with his vivid prints and easy-to-wear clothes. And now, his work is being brought to the fore for a whole new generation, just in time for spring’s first blooms. Bravo, Alessandro! Find out more here. OA
Charlotte Knowles puts a new spin on ‘florals for spring’
The AW21 digital shows may be well underway, but there are still a handful of SS21 presentations and fashion films that live rent-free in our minds. One of them is Charlotte Knowles’ “Petals”, a gorgeously gritty vignette directed by none other than Harley Weir. Now, the young London label has released the latest chapter in their collaboration with the photographer, its SS21 campaign. The film and the campaign were shot simultaneously,” explain Charlotte and Alexandre Arsenault. “Harley understood exactly what we were looking for in terms of the emotion and message,” one of “fantasy and nostalgia, power and energy, fragility and beauty.” Rich with floral collages and glitchy scratches, there’s a saturated, otherworldly timbre to the pictures, a result of the hand-printing techniques executed by Harley in the darkroom. “To us, the images are so handcrafted and textural they are almost more like artworks,” the pair say, giving “people a glimpse into how we imagine the Charlotte Knowles universe.” We just have one question. How the fuck do we get there? NOW?! MS
Off-White taps a living fashion legend
Another collab to get excited about? Off-White and Andre Walker! Virgil Abloh has tapped the elusive designer as the latest to participate in his label’s Foundations program, for which he invites guest creatives to co-develop new ideas and pieces. For some time now, Andre has followed his own rhythm, choosing to work on independent projects outside of fashion’s orthodox schedule and relentless pace of mass production. The pair collaborated on a small capsule, which features abstract watercolour prints of airplanes flying against a tangerine sky, emblazoned with the letters OOSOOM (‘Out of science, out of magic’). Considering that we’re all desperate to hop on a plane going, well, anywhere right now, this will just have to do in the meantime. OA
Tyler Mitchell has shot Loewe’s fragrance campaign
Next up on this week’s campaign trail is a delicious visual dispatch from everyone’s favourite Spanish house. The last time we waxed lyrical about Loewe, it was due to Jonathan Anderson’s spellbinding AW21 menswear collection, presented just last month. This time, though, it’s all about the house’s olfactory offerings — or rather the packages they come in. That’s right, the bottles for Loewe’s range of scents have been redesigned as “a single rainbow-shaded multisensorial repertoire” of block-shaped glass flasks, with each botanical hue alluding to the precious fragrance inside. If the mere prospect of a new, refined dressing table accessory wasn’t enough to convince you, then a new campaign lensed by i-D contributor Tyler Mitchell will. Across eight images, “different personalities are intimately portrayed” against earthen-hued backdrops “together with organic elements that represent the beauty of nature” and one of six Loewe scents. Enough said — spritz us up, J-Dubz! MS
A sneaker exhibition is coming to the Design Museum
Oh, how we miss museums! Paintings, less so, admittedly. But fashion exhibitions — we’ve been starved for them! Thankfully, there is some good news on the horizon: this week, the Design Museum announced that its next blockbuster exhibition will be devoted to the cult of the sneaker. Yes, hypebeasts, this is one for you! Sneakers Unboxed: From Studio to Street will open — or should we say ‘drop’? — in April, and chronicle the history and cultural phenomenon of the most popular form of footwear in the world. Featuring over 200 pairs of shoes, the exhibition will examine iconic styles — everything from the first Converse Chuck Taylors to the Yeezy 250 Zebra — the role sneakers have played in cultural movements including the West Coast Skaters, the Casuals and Grime, and how they won over even the most well-heeled of luxury fashion houses, such as Dior. We’ll practically be running there in our own. Just try stopping us. OA
Oliver Hadlee Pearch captures the borderless spirit of HUGO
In the wake of Brexit and a global embargo on travel due to the pandemic, the prospect of a world without borders is one that couldn’t be more appealing right now. If you, like us, are scratching at the walls to escape for wherever you’re reading this from, HUGO’s SS21 campaign, shot by i-D contributor Oliver Hadlee Pearch, is a welcome balm. “The idea was to create a borderless world,” HUGO’s Richard Pang says. “We wanted to push cultural boundaries in a way that speaks to our global community,” with Oliver achieving that by shooting an international cast of seven up-and-coming faces everywhere from sun-dappled forests to neon-lit, clubby sets. While a return to the club en masse may be a while off, at least we have pictures like these to keep the dream alive. MS
Willow Smith flexes for Onitsuka Tiger’s SS21 campaign
When Willow Smith and Onitsuka Tiger first paired up for the Japanese brand’s AW20 campaign, it was a match made in fashion heaven. A perfect foil to the label’s mission to “transmit innovative messages globally”, you could almost call the American starlet the embodiment of “The Onitsuka Tiger Attitude”. Someone who wholeheartedly agrees there is Andrea Pompilio, OT’s creative director, who tapped Willow as the star of its SS21 campaign. A testament to “the essential beauty that overflows from within Willow”, the images see the youngest member of the Smith clan sport a billowing marigold dress and a structured nylon coat from the label’s latest collection, all while demonstrating a degree of flexibility we haven’t seen since yoga studios were shuttered in lockdown 1.0. Consider this the motivation you need to pitch up to those online classes in the meantime. MS