SYDNEY — The Donald has his apprentices and now so do Karl, Donatella, Francisco, Paul and Franca.
At Pitti Uomo in Florence, Australian Wool Innovation will today reveal The Protégé Project, an estimated 2.5 million Australian dollar, or $2.1 million at current exchange, marketing initiative that will see Karl Lagerfeld, Donatella Versace, Francisco Costa, Paul Smith and Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani each mentor their handpicked protégés to design an Australian merino wool-based collection.
To be featured in Vogue Italia's July edition, the protégés — Jean-Pierre Braganza (Lagerfeld), Kristian Aadnevik (Versace), Julian Louie (Costa), Ioannis Cholidis (Smith) and Sandra Backlund (Sozzani) — will unveil their sample collections during Pitti Uomo in January 2008. Later that month, the collections will travel to New York for Australia Week. At press time, it had yet to be determined whether the collections would be produced for wholesale.
Braganza and Aadnevik are regulars at London Fashion Week and Backlund's avant-garde knitwear won the Grand Prix at Hyère's 2007 Festival International de Mode et de Photographie — not to mention her recent collaboration with Louis Vuitton.
More under the radar are Louie and Cholidis. A California native with a degree in architecture, Louie interned at Imitation of Christ before joining Costa's design staff at Calvin Klein. Greek men's wear designer Cholidis, a Central Saint Martins graduate who showed in the London design school's group show at London Fashion Week in February, has worked on collaborations with Stella McCartney and Puma.
With numerous Italian textile companies and manufacturers also on board for the project, from Ermenegildo Zegna to Chiavazza, Australian Wool Innovation will be encouraging the protégés to pioneer new yarns — just as the research and development arm of the Australian wool industry has done in collaboration with several Australian fashion labels, including Josh Goot, Akira Isogawa, Easton Pearson and Jayson Brunsdon.
The protégé program is one of a series of initiatives launched to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Australian wool trade, which today is a 3 billion Australian dollar, or $2.53 billion, export industry. Sheep were transported to Australia with the First Fleet in 1788, but it took another 19 years before the first bale of Australian merino wool was exported back to London in 1807 by Rev. Samuel Marsden, the owner of the third largest Australian merino flock at the time.On Tuesday, a replica of a wool coat once worn by Marsden to meet King George III was presented to the Australian High Commissioner in London. Coinciding with Sydney Design Week on July 25, a major retrospective exhibition called "Fashion From Fleece" will open at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum. Among other exhibits, it will showcase merino garments from international brands such as Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Proenza Schouler, and Australians including Goot, Isogawa, Brunsdon, Collette Dinnigan and Martin Grant.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
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)