Thanks to the financial support of Silas Chou, this spring the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund will launch a China Exchange program, with Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCullough and Lazaro Hernandez shipping out to Shanghai and Uma Wang visiting New York.
While details are still being ironed out, the initiative is expected to become an ongoing one, given the interest and potential for growth in each respective market, according to the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s executive director, Steven Kolb. “We never want to do anything as a one-off. We really like to connect and invest in things that have real meaning and depth,” he said.
China is a largely underdeveloped territory for many American designers. The country’s retail market in 2012 and 2013 is expected to grow at a rate of 14 percent, and luxury retail should strengthen by 20 percent during the same period, according to Isabel Cavill, a senior retail analyst with Planet Retail, who specializes in the global clothing and luxury retail markets.
The idea for such an exchange program surfaced when Chou and Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour were chatting at a dinner about a year ago, said Kolb, who declined to discuss Chou’s investment in the program. Fostering emerging talent between the two countries is of great personal interest to Chou, Kolb said. Chou, president and chief executive officer of his Hong Kong-based family business, Novel Enterprises Ltd., one of the world’s leading vertically integrated textile and apparel manufacturers, has more than 40 years of experience. He is co-chairman of Michael Kors Corp., having purchased a majority stake in the company in 2003 through Sportswear Holdings Ltd.
Kors, whom Wang will work with during part of her stay, said of Chou’s sponsorship of the new program, “Here is someone who knows the business in China and in the States. There aren’t a lot of people who have had that level of experience in both places. The whole thing seemed so natural for us to get involved.”
Kors added, “The world is tiny now. In 1981 when I was starting out, our idea of global was Canada. We thought Holt Renfrew was a foreign account.”
Having met Wang, talked about fashion and reviewed her portfolio from one season to the next, Kors said he found her to be “inquisitive and curious, both creatively and from a business perspective, which is important. The trick, particularly when you are starting out, is to know who your woman or your girl is, and Uma does,” Kors said. “She also has the greatest thing, which is the curiosity of youth and newness. But if you combine that with sophistication, which she does, that is the greatest combo.”
A number of alumni of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund have cited China as one of the opportunities they are most interested in learning more about. “We are always asking them what it is they want help with and where we can create opportunities. That’s really how the Americans in Paris program with Tommy [Hilfiger] came about,” Kolb said.
Chou could not be reached for comment Monday, nor could Proenza Schouler’s McCullough and Hernandez, who were on vacation.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye