Phillip Lim and Wen Zhou at the opening of the 3.1 Phillip Lim "A Dialogue in Bloom" exhibition in Shanghai.
SHANGHAI — American designer brands, and particularly Asian-American brands, were a visible addition to Shanghai Fashion Week, which ran Oct. 11 to 18.Phillip Lim and chief executive officer Wen Zhou of 3.1 Phillip Lim, as well as Derek Lam cofounder and ceo Jan-Hendrik Schlottmann and CFDA president and ceo Steven Kolb were all on hand to participate in events as part of the Shanghai International Fashion Showcase, a platform for international brands that runs alongside the main Shanghai Fashion Week schedule.According to Kolb, there is a huge opportunity for American brands in China, which is still largely dominated at the luxury end by traditional European names."It’s a big market, and it’s only going to get bigger. I think it’s more sophisticated than many American brands think it is. The largeness of it and the many components of the market can be confusing to American designers, so it’s navigating that and really understanding what is the best platform or approach," Kolb said."I think American fashion in general is somewhat overshadowed by some of these luxury European brands that tend to have the interest of Chinese consumers. You look at a Phillip Lim or Derek Lam and they are fairly well-known brands, but they’re still not at the level of a Gucci or a Prada. So that’s a challenge for brands is building that brand awareness."Though designers such as Lim, Lam, Jason Wu and Alexander Wang have roots in China, they all set out first to conquer the U.S. market before making significant moves into China, according to Schlottmann, in the case of Lam, this was a deliberate strategy."We started out by targeting the American market, even though Derek has this dual identity as American-born Chinese. We felt we had something to say in the realm of American sportswear, and thought once we had made a success there, then it would be the time to move internationally," he said.Likewise, all have taken a less-than-aggressive approach when it comes to the China market — though more from inherent caution than lack of interest."I feel like in the U.S. when I first started in 2005, it was about making some clothes and seeing what happens. While there is a strategy I think is right, I want to wait, talk to friends, see whether my feeling about this market is right. In the meantime, less is more. Less distribution, more authentic voice, to be able to tell our story or why we matter and why fashion matters so much to us. I think this market is so fascinating," Lim's ceo Wen Zhou said.According to Kolb, this interest is reciprocated by Chinese consumers for whom the youthfulness of American fashion is a plus."American culture in general is perceived in a certain way, there is a more pop, accessible, playful element to it, the culture of fashion is related to the culture of art and music…there’s a pure kind of excitement around that," he said."American fashion, we are a young market compared to European brands, so there is a youthfulness in terms of the ability to connect."
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast