When Adam Selman launches his collection Sept. 5 at a presentation at the Algus Greenspon Gallery during New York Fashion Week, it will be among one of the smaller venues in which his designs have made their debut. As Rihanna’s primary costume designer for the past two years, Selman’s work has not lacked for exposure, even if he has labored somewhat anonymously. Rihanna has 31.2 million followers on Twitter and 9.4 million on Instagram, where she regularly posts suggestive selfies that show off custom pieces by Selman, such as the barely there bikini — which featured a bejeweled cage for her breasts — she wore earlier this month during Carnival in her native Barbados. “The crazy thing is that every girl from 18 to 30 is wearing a costume like that,” said Selman, who accompanied Rihanna on the trip. “It wasn’t as scandalous as it looks in pictures, but after going and seeing Carnival, the bikini that I first made for her made a lot more sense.” He was referring to his first design for the singer, a Swarovski Elements bikini that looked like candy that he worked on with Tom Binns.
Not coincidentally, Selman is obsessed with swimwear because it can be “a little bit more ridiculous.” There’s a swim component to his spring collection, worked in a wearable way, along with soft lingerie and athletic references. There are boxy tops based on hockey jerseys, sweatshirts and pretty satin pastel robes and slip dresses. A kicky cotton twill skirt is paired with a matching jacket. Two of his main points of reference are the 1981 HBO special on supermodels called “Beautiful Baby, Beautiful” and the soft-focus sexpot glamour of Seventies Francesco Scavullo Cosmopolitan magazine covers. “It’s sexy. It’s that fantasy woman but it’s also sporty,” said Selman, surrounded by examples of vintage Cosmo covers, the models tan, toned and mostly clad in some form of spandex. “I really respond to that.” RELATED STORY: NYFW Newcomers — Nellie Partow >>
Selman grew up primarily in Texas, in a “superathletic household.” He and his sister were cheerleaders, his brother played baseball and basketball and his dad coached. He moved to New York 13 years ago to study at Pratt, and eventually took a freelance design job with Zaldy, working with him on L.A.M.B. and celebrity tours, which included Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball and Michael Jackson’s ill-fated This Is It tour. When Mel Ottenberg was called to style Rihanna’s 2011 Loud tour, he brought in Selman, his boyfriend of five years, to help. “I thought it was just a tour — ‘Great. So much fun,’” said Selman of working with Rihanna. “And then she just kept calling and calling, ‘Do you want to make me this?’” She’s kept him steadily busy for two years straight with the 777 Tour, promoting Unapologetic and the Rihanna for River Island collection, a two-season line for the high street retailer, for which Selman served as head designer. It was that project that got him thinking about officially doing his own thing.
Used to operating under 48-hour deadlines for celebrity requests, Selman worked quickly, putting his own line together in two months with New York factories with which he had established relationships. Ottenberg is styling and Jen Brill is working as creative consultant. Selman hasn’t determined pricing exactly; he wants it to be “accessible,” around $400 retail for a dress. He plans to start small with distribution: Opening Ceremony, Net-a-porter and Barneys New York are on his wish list. “I would hate to do something that I can’t manufacture,” he said. “That would be my worst nightmare.”
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.