Refinery29, a Web site devoted to independent designers and retailers, on Wednesday will launch "The Countdown," a behind-the-scenes look at six young designers as they prepare their collections for New York Fashion Week. The series will air through Sept. 5, with a wrap-up episode to be presented at the end of fashion week.
"We had a really short list" of potential designers, said Philippe von Borries, creative director of Refinery29. "We wanted to work with designers who'd let us be a fly on the wall."
Alexander Wang, Jeremy Laing, Vena Cava, Rag & Bone, Karen Walker and Ruffian agreed to subject themselves to the camera's scrutiny during what is arguably one of the most stressful times in a designer's life. Episodes will focus on different aspects of the process, from casting models to scouting locations for runway shows.
"Because they're independent, they don't have the same resources" as more established designers, von Borries said. "They're producing the best show they can on a shoestring."
Viewers will see some of the designers using their ingenuity to overcome obstacles. Others will bemoan their bad timing. Rag & Bone, for example, moved into a new studio. "It was chaos," von Borries said.
The designers weren't chosen for having outsize personalities or a combative style for the purpose of entertainment. "We wanted to capture different components of fashion week," said Christine Barberich, Refinery29's editorial director. "If we capture someone stressed out," so be it, she said, explaining that the production team wasn't looking for that. Still, the tag line of an ad for "The Countdown" plays up the tension: "Six designers. Six studios. One feverish race to fashion week."
In addition to Refinery29's 120,000 visitors each month, "The Countdown" will get exposure on MySpace, which gets 60 million to 80 million impressions a month. "We have an exclusive arrangement with MySpace," von Borries said. "MySpace is trying to build up its fashion portal."
Von Borries and Barberich already have started thinking about designers for the February installment of "The Countdown." "It could become a regular channel that people tune into," von Borries said, adding, "'The Countdown' is one next step toward presenting these designers in their own voices."Refinery29, which generates all of its revenue through advertising, has a shopping component, Refinery29shops. "Our heart is really in the media side of things," von Borries admitted. "E-commerce is a form of media and information. It bears that curatorial essence. We're handpicking things and the taste level is there."
The 11 women's stores on Refinery29shops include Lyell, Steven Alan, Lisa Levine, Shelly Steffee, Mick Margo and Eskell. Four new stores are coming onboard: Inhabit, which sells luxury knitwear; All Purpose, a Los Angeles men's store; Stuart & Wright, a men's store in Brooklyn, and Honey in the Rough, a boutique in New York's Lower East Side. "There was a certain learning curve with e-commerce," Barberich said. "We're still figuring out what sells."
So far, Refinery29shops has learned that dresses sell better than everything else and the magic price point is $200.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)