The music was pumping, the Champagne was flowing and the energy level at Tao Downtown was going up, up, up as the revelers chatted and laughed and mingled with one another. No matter that it was 10 a.m. on a frigid March morning and most of the people there had only just met: When you gather about 30 of beauty’s most innovative entrepreneurs into one room, their reason for being there—to be photographed for a WWD Beauty Inc cover story—quickly becomes superfluous, replaced by an unquenchable desire to meet each other and talk business.
This group of trailblazers—be they product marketers, digital technorati or pioneers in the services sector (or a combination of all three)—is bringing that same sense of vitality to the industry overall, ushering in a new era of talent and ideas that has the power to be as transformational as the original indie movement back in the Nineties. As Rachel Brown reports in “Electric Companies,” this is a group resolutely focused on what’s next. “Everything we do needs to be from the future,” said Carisa Janes, the founder of Hourglass Cosmetics, who will be speaking at our upcoming WWD Beauty CEO Summit in Palm Beach, Fla., along with six other rising stars.
While brands such as Hourglass are finding an avid audience in both consumers and retailers, their appeal is much wider. As you’ll read in “Let’s Make a Deal,” the mergers and acquisition scene is heating up again in beauty. Buyers, however, seem to outnumber attractive targets, with $50 million in wholesale sales the sweet spot for most deals. While most of the brands at Tao that morning aren’t there—yet—if their zeal is any indication, I’ve no doubt it will be sooner rather than later. Stay tuned.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast