MELBOURNE — The white paint used on the walls of Calvin Klein International’s New York headquarters is faithful to the exact shade of white used by Klein when he first opened his business — and no, the company does not censor its comments on Facebook. So heard an Australian audience on Friday.
Calvin Klein Collection women’s creative director Francisco Costa and the company’s executive vice president of global communications, Malcolm Carfrae, a native Australian, appeared here in an informal question-and-answer session led by Vogue Australia editor Kirstie Clements as part of the L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival Business Seminar.
During the seminar, Costa confessed he sews “very badly…but I can drape” — and that he struggled to come to terms with criticism of his collections at the beginning of his tenure with the company.
When asked what the mixed early reviews did for his ego (he singled out WWD’s review as “devastating”), Costa replied, “I didn’t know how to deal with it. I felt like I was in space.”
Nowadays, said Costa, he deals with criticism by taking a proactive approach with his critics: he gets on the phone with them.
As for the possibility of launching his own label one day, Costa said that “it’s every designer’s dream. But I’m totally at home at Calvin and the support that I have is enormous, so perhaps it’s not the best time.”
Other topics covered included the power of celebrity, the new blogger guard (“We don’t know who is reading Tavi, but her opinion is almost as important as that of a regular critic,” said Carfrae) and the need to be mindful of extravagant party costs — which can look bad during the global economic crisis.
On the subject of criticism, Clements sent a frisson around the room when she asked Carfrae if the company censored negative comments on its Facebook fan page.
After he replied no, Clements confessed onstage that “we knock them off” on vogue.com.au. At a party that followed the seminar, Clements told WWD that Vogue Australia refused to publish any negative comments about its advertisers.
Now in its 13th year, the LMFF seminar also featured talks by Paul Bennett, managing partner and chief creative officer of Ideo; Christian Blanckaert, the former managing director of Hermès, now president of Petit Bateau; Fashionair.com co-founder Sojin Lee, and Sarah Curran, the chief executive officer of British e-tailer Mywardrobe.com.
“The ’Net has done for fashion what low-cost airlines did for travel,” said Lee, who described Fashionair as “the rock band…we’re on stage, but occasionally we’ll pick people out of the audience and bring them onstage with us.”
Curran revealed that her four-year-old Mywardrobe.com— “the online home of wearable fashion” — generates 5.5 million page views a month, with 80,000 e-mail subscribers and 178 percent year-over-year growth.
Blanckaert, whose new book “Les 100 mots du luxe” was published by the Presses Universitaires de France on the day of the seminar, said he felt optimistic about the future of the luxury business, in spite of the crisis, which had “deeply affected” the industry in 2009.
Blanckaert said he believes “sustainable luxury” is one key to the industry’s future, as are brands being mindful of their DNA.
“You have to stick to your address; you can’t do anything you like with your home,” he added.
One of the biggest mistakes made by luxury companies during the crisis, said Blanckaert, has been “to be afraid and to stop creation, I think they have a tendency to go too much to the bestseller.”
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)