Michelle Obama debuts London Fashion Week wardrobe makeover

 

Michelle Obama is well known for championing up-and-coming designers and on a trip to London this week she took the opportunity to fly the flag for some London Fashion Week favourites.

It goes without saying that being first lady comes with some serious benefits – not least in the wardrobe department.

Obama was in town this week to promote the initiative Let Girls Learn and chose the occasion to debut an impressive selection of dresses from British-based design houses.

She landed on Monday without a trace of travel weariness in a bright yellow and blue lace dress by Preen.

Michelle Obama in Mary KatrantzouNext on the schedule was a visit to the Mulberry School for girls for which Obama chose a black print dress from the pre-fall collection by Mary Katrantzou.

Finally for a visit to Number 10 to see the Prime Minister and Samantha Cameron, her most fashion forward choice yet – a black dress with floral patterns by Christopher Kane.

Michelle Obama in Christopher KaneThis isn’t Obama’s first foray with London designers; she hit headlines in 2011 when she attracted criticism for opting to wear a dress by Brit house Alexander McQueen for a White House State dinner, instead of championing a US brand.

But she hit back at the critics on Good Morning America:

“Look, women, wear what you love. That’s all I can say. That’s my motto.”

Fashion Is Unavoidable at Pitti Uomo

FLORENCE, Italy — During the Pitti Uomo trade show, men’s fashion is unavoidable. It spills into the streets, busy with the double-breasted jacket brigade. At the sacred aperitivo hour in the Piazza Ognissanti, the crowds sipping spritzers on the terrace of the St. Regis hotel were treated to an alfresco fashion show by Ports 1961. Guests on a balcony of the nearby Westin Excelsior watched, too, and there were faces pressed to the windows at office buildings and residences around the square.

They saw a collection whose streetish, sporty feel was highlighted by models carrying surf- and skateboards, as if ready to hop into the Arno and hope for a wave. (Extra credit if you spotted that one of the models wasNick Wooster, the bearded avatar of Pitti.)

“Some of them are pretty, and some of them are so weird,” a young girl at the St. Regis, who with her sister had hopped up to get iPhone photos, reported back to her parents at their table. “Some of their skin is so pale!”

It was an apt and sage assessment. The kid’s got a future if she wants it. But then, Pitti makes fashion critics of one and all.

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Massimo Giorgetti’s first creations for Emilio Pucci included a humorous design of Florentine landmarks and tourist scenes.

Nor is it only men’s wear that gets an airing at Pitti. On the other side of the river, Massimo Giorgetti presented for his first outing as creative director of Emilio Pucci a capsule of women’s looks (and a few men’s) that he called “The Pilot Episode.”

Why? “I love serial TV,” Mr. Giorgetti crowed. “ ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Transparent.’ I have a little problem in my life: I don’t go to the cinema anymore. I was a lover of cinema. I went to the cinema twice a week. Now, Sunday afternoon” — he mimed clicking on a computer keyboard — “streaming. It’s a drama.”

Actually, in his hands, more of a comedy. There are parallels between the candy-bright world of sitcoms and the world of fashion. (Alber Elbaz of Lanvin hit on the same idea when he staged what he called a sitcom for his resort presentation in New York this month.) Both depend on hitting your marks and nailing your punch lines with unforgiving regularity and at an antic pace; Laudomia Pucci, Emilio’s daughter and the company’s acting chief executive, noted the collection was put together in just six weeks.

It was jolly, Mr. Giorgetti’s bright, young Pucci, if also a little silly. He bypassed Emilio Pucci’s famous optical prints for even older ones borrowed from the archive, and for his own, designed a tribute to Pucci’s native Florence. It featured the unbeloved crowds of tourists and local attractions like the Duomo and the Piazza della Signoria printed onto silk or embroidered onto dresses. There were little jokes scattered throughout, like a man whose gelato cone conveniently covered the David’s unmentionables, or the woman taking a picture with a selfie stick. “I can’t stop laughing when I see it,” Ms. Pucci said.

There were also cute tweaks on house traditions, like the silk shirt that now twisted and tied around the body, and scarf prints done on crepe-thin leather. In substituting “cute” for “sexy,” the Pucci byword under its previous creative director, Peter Dundas, Mr. Giorgetti moved the needle, a change ratified by a new logo, designed in just two days. But when congratulated on this new Pucci, Ms. Pucci demurred.

“It’s not the new Pucci,” she said. “It’s Pucci.”

In any case, it’s just the pilot, and as any TV obsessive knows, between the pilot and the first episode — in this case, to be revealed during Milan Fashion Week in September — much can change.

“It’s a very smart way to start a new story,” Mr. Giorgetti said with due respect for TV executives. “You go out with a pilot and you observe what happens.”

If Mr. Giorgetti’s pace is brisk, Thomas Tait’s is slow.

Mr. Tait, the first winner of the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, was Pitti’s invited guest for women’s wear this season. Many such guests choose to show their latest wares, which for women’s designers means pre-collections styles. Not Mr. Tait.

“No way, man,” he said when asked if his small showing — just seven new pieces — represented a resort line. “I think you can build a business on two seasons. I did one pre-collection, and it was a disaster. No one’s selling out of the pieces, to be frank. I’ll make more stuff when it sells out.”

Instead, he used the Pitti opportunity in a wise and unusual way. He revisited past collections, reimagining or remaking pieces with new resources and improved production capabilities now at his disposal.

“You guys applauded this,” he said, “I wasn’t necessarily happy. You don’t have this luxury at the time, to redo.”

What obsessed him then obsesses him now. Mr. Tait is a perfectionist, as well as a technical whiz, who studied fashion technique and construction in Canada before studying design at Central Saint Martins in London.

So original pieces from as far back as his second collection, for fall 2011, were displayed alongside rich new versions, displayed museum-style, with clear identifications of the factories and companies that produced them. A biker jacket in white leather lined in pink silk from spring 2012 was pretty but spectral; a new version, in screaming-red, double-faced bonded patent leather lined in plongé, was spirit made lusty flesh.

“I want people to understand that you can always push it forward,” Mr. Tait said. “These are things that you have a longstanding interest in, whether it’s creative or technical.” The presentation, he added, was “a bit of a comment on the industry, how many collections are busted out in six weeks.”

“It’s horrifying, as a young designer,” he said.

The Pitti pieces, all of which were made using new factories whose doors were opened by Pitti’s power and sponsorship, won’t necessarily be produced for sale. Mr. Tait hopes that he’ll be able to take the lessons learned from their creation and apply them to his regular collections in the future. His presentation was less a showroom than a laboratory, which goes some way to explaining the white-canvas jumpsuit he’d selected for himself for the occasion. It looked like an astronaut’s suit but turned out to be a racecar mechanic’s, with a telltale Goodwood badge (from the British motor sport venue) on one arm.

“It’s not mine,” he told one wayward admirer who was goggling over the suit. “You can buy it online. A whole outfit, only 86 quid!”

Giuliana Rancic, Brad Goreski React to Melissa Rivers Joining Fashion Police as New Host Read more:

 

Giuliana Rancic, Brad Goreski React to Melissa Rivers Joining Fashion

The gang’s all here! News broke on Wednesday, June 17, that Melissa Rivers would be joining Fashion Police as an official co-host after years of serving as an executive producer on the show. The sole daughter of the late Joan Rivers was quickly welcomed with open arms by her co-hosts Giuliana Rancic and Brad Goreski.

PHOTOS: Joan Rivers’ legacy

“I adore Melissa,” Rancic, 40, gushed to Us Weekly at the Cooking For Two event at Samsung Studio in Los Angeles, shortly after the announcement was made. “I’ve known Melissa forever, we talk all the time, we text all the time. No one knows the show as well as Melissa. I think it’s an exciting time for Fashion Police. I like that there’s a familiarity there, and we all know each other so well, it’s a lot harder to welcome a new person in because you have to get to know them and their timing.”

PHOTOS: Joan Rivers remembered

Rancic also noted that the direction of the style critiquing show is currently up in the air as those involved discuss how the new season will look.

Melissa Rivers and Joan Rivers at the 2014 NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Upfront.

Melissa Rivers and Joan Rivers at the 2014 NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Upfront.
Credit: Stephen Lovekin/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank

“[Rivers is] really aligned with Brad and I in that we definitely want to celebrate people and talk about fashion and have fun with fashion and just make it as entertaining and fast-paced as possible,” she added. “I think it’ll be something different. She’s not trying to be someone else, so she’s just going to try to just bring her own unique personality to the table.”

PHOTOS: Joan Rivers rates her biggest fashion disasters

Stylist Goreski, 37, was equally enthused by the new addition to the on-screen Fashion Police family.

“I’m excited to come back in September, you know, with the new panel, and I think it’s going to be an incredible show,” he told Us at the Shutterfly by Design event in NYC. “You know, I think the audience has missed it while it’s been off the air, and you know, we’ll be back and full steam ahead talking about all things fashion and celebrity related.”

PHOTOS: Costars reunited

Rancic also revealed that Fashion Police will return in August to offer their thought on this year’s MTV VMAs.

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At Fashion East, a Mix of Club Kid and Indian Ruler References

There was a party at Fashion East this season. New kid on the block Charles Jeffrey had brought his club night and creative community, named Loverboy, to the Institute of Contemporary Arts, letting dressed-up girls and boys dance on the raised podium to Spice Girls and other pop gems. Scattered among them was his collection, with paint-splattered jeans, an electric blue cashmere coat, and a classic white shirt (only with a dropped pocket and T-shirt sleeves). Some of the pieces had been made in collaboration with Savile Row tailor Chittleborough & Morgan.

In the press release, Jeffrey described Loverboy—the name of the collection and ongoing party—as more about communicating a world than a seasonal project. “Fashion is bogged down by a focus on the product at the moment,” he told us. “Young brands often have to be so perfect, and this is a reaction to that.”

Taking his aesthetics to Savile Row, Jeffrey was interested in seeing his sensibilities interpreted by traditionalist tailors. “Kids get stuff from a charity shop and it doesn’t fit perfectly, but they still make it look chic,” he said, explaining his thinking. Jeffrey seemed to want to revive the old connection between British fashion and club life, and spoke of how he had been following clubs like Boombox over the Internet from his family home in Scotland. “Clubbing is a remedy, a remedy to what’s going on in fashion today,” he said.

The mood at Grace Wales Bonner’s presentation upstairs was much more serene. Bonner’s second presentation at Fashion East was equally, if not more, thrilling than the last one. Taking as its starting point the incredible journey of Malik Ambar, a 16th-century Ethiopian destitute who became a ruler in India, it was a collection that mixed both African and Indian male clothing.

“I went on a trip to Senegal and wanted to incorporate found objects,” said the designer. “At the same time, James Baldwin’s personal style was important, it was always so specific and sensual.” The collection featured terry cloth shirts, wide linen trousers, Nehru collars, and embroidery made with Swarovski crystals and pearl shells—offering lots of very wearable options for guys (and gals).

Jawbone again sues Fitbit, this time claiming patent infringement

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Jawbone has filed its second lawsuit against Fitbit in less than two weeks, claiming its activity tracking products infringe several of Jawbone’s patents.

The new suit, filed Wednesday in San Francisco by Jawbone parent company AliphCom, seeks unspecified damages and an injunction to block the sale of Fitbit devices such as the Flex, Charge and Surge bands.

Late last month, Jawbone filed another lawsuit, accusing Fitbit of poaching its employees and stealing trade secrets. Fitbit has said it has no knowledge of any such information in its possession.

In its latest complaint, Jawbone says it will also ask the U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate Fitbit, which could potentially lead to an import ban on Fitbit products.

Jawbone says it has hundreds of patents granted or pending, and claims that Fitbit infringes several of them. One patent describes a “general health and wellness management method and apparatus for a wellness application using data from a data-capable band.”

Another patent covers a “system for detecting, monitoring, and reporting an individual’s physiological or contextual status.”

Fitbit didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest suit.

The timing is bad for Fitbit, which is preparing to go public on the U.S. stock markets. It also faces intense competition from a number of rivals, which also include Garmin and Apple with its Apple Watch.

Both Jawbone and Fitbit make wearable bands and associated software that tracks people’s movement, exercise, sleep and heart rate.