NEW YORK — An eclectic group gathered in the penthouse of the NoMad Hotel on Thursday morning. Present in front of the room were Livia Firth, Narciso Rodriguez and Candice Swanepoel. The trio was joined by Cameron Saul and Oliver Wayman of The Bottletop Foundation and Brad Jakeman, president of PepsiCo Global Beverages Group, as Firth presented the official Green Carpet Challenge Brandmark to Rodriguez’s line of sustainable handbags for Bottletop x Pepsi.
The collection, now in its second season, uses Amazon Basin-friendly leather and recycled aluminum pull tabs in its designs, and is handcrafted by local women at the Bottletop atelier in Brazil. Swanepoel serves as the face of the collaboration, with Pepsi providing financial support to expand the Bottletop team, as well as contributing toward health insurance for women working in the atelier. The teaming of Rodriguez and Bottletop was initiated by an unlikely source — actress Jessica Alba. “She’s a mutual friend,” said Saul, whose father is Mulberry founder Roger Saul. “She said, ‘I think Narciso would be blown away by this and you guys would get along really well.’ It turned out that his home in Brazil was a few hours away from our atelier. It was kind of a no-brainer moment.”
Just less than two years later, the pairing is unveiling its fall offerings, which employ a braiding technique that blends upcycled metal with leather. The collection also includes several new styles, such as envelope clutches made to double as iPad cases. “We wanted to create something substantially different,” said Rodriguez. “I took ideas we were working on [at Narciso Rodriguez] and married it to what Bottletop already had.”
Carrying an all-black style from the spring collection, Firth had her sights set on a burnt orange design for fall. “I want it,” she said, eying the iPad case. “I saw the bags for the first time in December. I was like, ‘Can I have one?’ I’m used to the Bottletop design, but I’ve never seen it done covered in leather. It blew my mind.”
Firth, a fan of Bottletop since its inception in 2002, was pleased to recognize the collaboration’s dedication to ethical fashion. “It’s the future of fashion,” she said of the sustainable focus. “Look at what happened in Rana Plaza last year with the factory collapsing. What it shows beyond any doubt is how distant the brands and the consumer are from the people who actually produce the products. This project proves that that connection is so important, and also that you can achieve amazing products and be in a profitable business by valuing the lives of the people — in this case, women — who make the products for your brand. It’s so important.”
The fall collection is available exclusively at Isetan in Japan, Holt Renfrew in Canada, Harrods in London, Mares in Brazil and Jeffrey in the U.S. Prices range from $695 to $2,000.
For its next men’s wear collection, @roberto_cavalli will show as a special guest at #PittiUomo, running from June 12-15. The brand, which has Florence in its roots, will relaunch its men’s wear collection, which will be presented separately from women’s wear for the first time since Paul Surridge was appointed creative director in May. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech at the @sxsw conference for @createcultivate, the online platform and conference series for women. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.