ARMANI GOLD: Although soccer players are usually de rigueur in Giorgio Armani’s front row, the Italian designer played host to Italian gymnast Igor Cassina at Monday’s Emporio Armani show instead. The 27-year-old made history this summer at the Athens games when he became the first Italian ever to win gold on the horizontal bars. Originally from Milan, Cassina took a quick break from training for the European finals to attend his first fashion show. “I’m working on a new element for my next competition,” Cassina said. Knowing Armani’s penchant for sports, it may not be long before Cassina is doing a double twist in an Armani T-shirt. Rounding out the front row were British actors Ioan Gruffudd and Alice Evans.
COLD FRONT: Milan fashion week got off to a sluggish — and grumpy — start on Monday. Strikes by Alitalia workers delayed the arrival of top editors from Elle, l’Officiel and other French magazines and otherwise wreaked havoc with a city already prone to gridlock. Adding to the woes was a steady snowfall slowing the advance of Town Cars and staining new suede shoes. Tempers flared outside of Prada Monday night as editors arriving for the second show were asked to wait outside under a damp snowfall. “Just let us in,” pleaded Vanity Fair’s fashion director Anne McNally.
CLICKS AND BRICKS: Louis Vuitton, which will open its biggest store in the world on the Champs-Elysées in Paris in October, also has big plans online. WWD has learned that Vuitton is preparing a new version of its Web site which will be equipped for e-commerce. Initially the site will focus on selling leather goods, and only in France for starters, a Vuitton spokeswoman confirmed Monday. The forthcoming launch explains the French firm’s recent spurt of lawsuits aimed to stamp out sales of counterfeits online. Last month, Vuitton won a case in Paris district court in which Google was asked to pay Vuitton 200,000 euros, or $262,000 at current rates, for misleading advertising, unfair competition and trademark counterfeiting. Vuitton took issue with Google’s ability to link the Vuitton name to ads sold to third parties.YOUNG AT HEART: Celine, the fashion house owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, is flirting with affordable chic — with handbags priced in the juicy ranges of “accessible luxury,” à la Coach. A new, younger line of clothes and accessories, dubbed Miss Celine, arrives in stores later this month. Described as more “girly” than the main line, it targets twentysomethings with prices ranging from 360 euros, or $471.60 at current rates, for a handbag to 650 euros, or $851.50, for a trenchcoat.
GUIDING GUCCI: Gucci is continuing its tradition of promoting from within in the post-Domenico De Sole and Tom Ford era. A company spokeswoman confirmed that Gucci has promoted Monica Ulmi to fill the worldwide merchandising director slot left vacant by Tom Mendenhall last year. Ulmi has worked at Gucci since 1996, most recently in the position of leather goods merchandising director.
H&M’S IRISH DEBUT: Ireland is lucking out this week with its first H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB store. On Thursday, the popular Swedish fast-fashion retailer will unveil a 17,492-square-foot store at the Rushmere shopping center in Craigavon, Northern Ireland. H&M has agreed to a 15-year lease at Rushmere’s new $44 million extension. Other retailers within the new complex include Topshop, HMV and Dorothy Perkins.
CASHMERE CHARM: Since the Milan-based investment fund Charme bought Ballantyne last year, the group has been examining ways to revamp and modernize the venerable cashmere company. Now it’s focusing on retail. Charme executives said during the Milan shows that Ballantyne’s first “contemporary” flagship will open on London’s Bond Street in July. “We chose London because we are a Scottish label, and we don’t want to seem like we are Italianizing the brand,” said Matteo di Montezemolo, the son of Charme founder Luca Cordero di Montezemolo.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion