TILDA TALKS FASHION: Tilda Swinton entered like the friendliest rock star in town, with her signature platinum locks shaved and sideswept, all while wearing a sequined silver bomber, and proceeded to hug and introduce herself to everyone in the front row. Chanel also brought together Marion Cotillard, Sadie Sink, Lucy Boynton, stylist Jenke Ahmed Tailly and Big Bang rapper G-Dragon.
Giant animals moved around the set, some with secret doors that models emerged from midshow, in sequined gowns, gold-flecked tweed and top hats, as if playing fashion magicians. Cotillard gamely stepped inside one of the giant animals to make a grand entrance for the camera.
Just your average Tuesday morning during haute couture week.
Swinton joked about her reputation for “taking risks” with fashion. “One person’s risk is a comfort zone for somebody else. I’m just always looking for the play I suppose, looking for some sort of feeling of delight.”
Swinton, who lives in the Scottish Highlands when she’s not on a film set or at fashion shows, swears she wears Chanel at home mucking about in the mud. “Occasionally there’s a big old jersey or a fantastic pair of boots that come out and I will tell you that they last as well. I have a pair that I’ve had for 15 years and they’re still going strong,” she said.
“Asteroid City,” another collaboration with director Wes Anderson that she wrapped two years ago, is finally set to come out this summer. “I’m looking forward to seeing it as I can barely remember it now,” she joked. Her schedule is always packed, with three shoots this year alone and some long-gestating projects finally coming to fruition.
“I always say it’s a bit like being a farmer or gardener, you know, you just plant the seeds in the ground. And sometimes some of them take a very long time to come up. Some of them pop up quite quite quickly and then you just have to sort of deal with the schedule,” she said. “Some are very, very, very long growing plants, then the garden is always full.”
Gardens, and nature, is something that has been on Cotillard’s mind lately. The actress recently wrapped an episode of the upcoming Apple TV anthology “Extrapolations” that explores the environmental damage caused by climate change in not-so-far future dystopia.
“We have a tendency to separate ourselves from nature, and that is creating a lot of trouble. I want to be connected. It’s not always easy because we live in this society where there’s a lot of distractions,” she said.
She’s recently taken up meditation to quiet her mind and reconnect with both nature and her inner self. It has given her a new perspective, she said.
“Extrapolation” debuts in March, and her episode has a bit of a lighter touch. “It’s a comedy, so you can laugh. But I think that sometimes by laughing, you can connect with something and ask yourself, ‘Wow, why am I laughing at this? But what if it was actually real?’ It’s another way to question yourself and what is going on around you. It’s a good vessel for understanding.”
Sadie Sink, who costars in the “The Whale,” was thrilled for lead actor Brendan Fraser’s Oscar nomination revealed Tuesday morning. “It’s good to see something like that happen to a very genuine, deserving person. And that’s Brendan. He’s been so supportive and helpful, just to have next to me throughout all of this,” she said of the press blitz. “We’re all incredibly proud of him. And he’s just a light, like, the most pure person in the world.”
The “Stranger Things” actress, who started her career on Broadway, said she has to “warm up the vocal chords” for her upcoming musical “O’Dessa.”
She’s also learning guitar for the role, a “rock opera.” The music is “folky and beautiful.”
But asked if an album could be in the works, she demurred: “Oh, no way. My brain doesn’t work like that. It’s nice to do it through a character, but that’s not in the cards for me.”
“Bohemian Rhapsody” star Boynton just wrapped a musical called “Greatest Hits,” as well as movie about the original queen of fashion, Marie Antoinette herself.
She plays the French queen in the upcoming “Chevalier,” and none too favorably, she admitted. While there are new revisions to her story, Antoinette has been widely villainized through history, Boynton noted. “I was hesitant to highlight only that, because she was so much more than all of these things; however, in the context of our story, I think she’s a useful mouthpiece to highlight some very, very dark aspects.”
But the costumes are bright — a powder blue and another pink number hold a special place in Boynton’s memories. “It’s just having a very different silhouette and space that you can take up when wearing it, very different than shorts on a January day,” she joked.
Up-and-coming German star Lilith Stangenberg, who’s “Seneca” costarring John Malkovich will premiere at Berlinale, said attending the show was an emotional moment due to the set depicting dancing animals and models with top hats.
It featured raw wood and cardboard animals that moved around playfully, created by artist Xavier Veilhan, to give the set a feeling of a village carnival. It was his third and final collaboration with the brand after a trilogy of fashion shows.
Going toe-to-toe with Malkovich was a masterclass. “I’ve never experienced such a certain profoundness and presence; he’s very instinctual and very much about being a mentor,” said Stangenberg.
The Chanel show was a moment of lightness after shooting the “very dark” film, she said. “People think acting is a glamorous profession, but it’s not. It’s actually so tough. It’s more like being in a circus. It’s very tough work and the little moments of glamour you experience they are just fun and hopefully full of joy,” she said.
British singer Olivia Dean is another up-and-comer who sat in the front row, though it wasn’t her first Chanel show. “It’s not my first rodeo,” she said. She’s been on tour around Europe and will be dropping her first single, the love song “UFO.” As a songwriter she says she focuses on the lyrics first, about an alien that lands in love. “I just sit at the piano and tinkle and see what comes out.”
It’s the first song from her debut album, though that title is still under wraps. “I definitely have nerves. I think a debut album is a scary thing. It’s like putting your mark in the sign like, ‘this is me. This is who I am.’ But I’ve really tried to make it just for me. And so that if people don’t like it, I love it. So I’m at peace with that.”
“House of the Dragon” star Sonoya Mizuno is just about to head back to set in March. She said unfortunately she doesn’t have any jousting or horseback riding scenes. Noting her white leather suit had a bit of an equestrian feel, she said: “Maybe I should ask them to put it in. I’m excited to go back into that world.” — RHONDA RICHFORD
A KOREAN, ITALIAN MATCH: K-pop, South Korean idols and the country’s cosmetics and beauty industry have been catching the attention of fans — and of the luxury industry — around the world.
Now a new fashion venture is launching, conceived and developed by South Korean company Hyaloid over the past two years, that is made in Italy and called Maison du Dodo.
The men’s and women’s fashion and accessories collections will be launched in early 2023 by the Italian company Fatrix Srl, marked by a logo depicting the extinct bird. But the brand has already unveiled its website, Maisondudodo.com, to introduce the concept behind the line and teasing a few looks.
Hyaloid was founded by Shin Sang Hyun and is led by chief executive officer Oh Sang Hyeon.
Maison du Dodo is spearheaded by general manager Jia Li Pirouni and is committed to sustainable objectives, from ethically sourced raw materials to low-carbon production processes.
On its website the company highlights Italian craftsmanship and expertise, aiming at building a community that sees sustainability as an essential asset. It has also uploaded videos fronted by two textile specialists: Claudio Testa, with a long experience at Loro Piana, and Bruno Landi, who has worked for years at Lanificio Ermenegildo Zegna and then at Vitale Barberis Canonico, both touting Made in Italy production, superior fabrics and attention to the environment. — LUISA ZARGANI
OCEAN VIEW: Marking the International Day of Education, on Tuesday the Prada Group and UNESCO launched the Kindergarten of the Lagoon, an innovative outdoor education experience for preschool children to better understand the ocean and held in Venice on the Torcello Island.
Kindergarten of the Lagoon is part of the Sea Beyond initiative, which dates back to 2019 and is led by the luxury fashion group and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, aiming to promote education for the preservation of the sea and its resources, in the context of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030.
The first program involved 40 students from six schools and the event was attended by Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group head of corporate social responsibility, and UNESCO representatives Vladimir Ryabinin, Ana Luiza M. Thompson-Flores and Francesca Santoro, among local institution representatives.
Venice and its lagoon are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“I am proud to attend this first day together with the children of Venice, wishing that the Kindergarten of the Lagoon will continue to grow and that a larger number of young explorers and families will have the pleasure to be part of it,” Bertelli said. “Our ambition is to see the program growing over time and to develop the project in other cities in the future.”
Its syllabus is based on the integration of indoor and outdoor education, with the ambition to help toddlers discover the lagoon, its flora and fauna, understand the factors contributing to sustainability and acquire an inter- and trans-disciplinary approach.
The first cycle of classes will end in June and the new program will start again in September, coinciding with the schools’ calendars.
Sea Beyond is indirectly financed via the sale of fashion pieces crafted from Prada’s Re-Nylon eco-minded fabric. — L.Z.
KITTLE’S KIT: George Kittle may be consumed by football right now as his San Francisco 49ers prepare to face off against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in their quest to make it to this year’s Super Bowl. But that isn’t stopping the tight end from working with a new team off the field.
Kittle, who is known for his fun and charismatic personality, is partnering with Chubbies, an Austin, Texas-based men’s brand, on a series of limited-edition styles based on his family, career and personal style. The George Kittle by Chubbies Collection will feature sport shorts, graphic tees, polos, swim trunks and other products in colorful prints and functional fabrics that are unique to the partnership and inspired by the athlete and his experiences. The first collection will drop this summer.
“I’ve been a fan of Chubbies since college. The ‘Mericas were the first shorts I put in rotation,” said Kittle. “Chubbies is known for their wild prints, and brings an element of fun to everything they do, which is something I try to do too. No matter what I’m doing, I want to have a good time and share that positivity with others.”
“We’re so excited to be partnering with George. With his unique style, charismatic personality, and ability to bring the fun with everything he does, he’s truly a ‘one of one.’ He’s the perfect fit for the Chubbies family,” said Rainer Castillo, co-founder and president of Chubbies.
The collection will retail for $35 to $85 in sizes from small to XXL. It will be sold on the brand’s website as well as its retail stores. The first drop will be four pieces but the collection will be expanded over the next several years.
Chubbies was founded in 2011 with casual shorts without a lot of bells and whistles. It has since expanded into swimwear, long pants, polos, hoodies, quarter-zips and other products targeted to the everyday man. — JEAN E. PALMIERI
LOOK, UP IN THE SKY: For the designer Peyman Umay, a touristy trip to the Empire State Building with his father led to a new peak in his career — designing the uniforms for staffers there. Those who trek to the top of the Art Deco building will see his four-piece creations on its Observatory hosts. The redesign is part of a $165 million overhaul of the Observatory Experience.
To mark the occasion, the Turkish-born designer, who is also an American citizen, attended a kickoff event Tuesday atop the 1,454-foot skyscraper. The celebration included hitting the switch atop the Empire State Building to “Empire steel Gray” and “City View Blue” (think royal blue). In total, he has suited up 140 employees including those who photograph tourists and gift shop workers.
Three years ago when his father was visiting New York City from his home in Turkey, they took a tour of the iconic building with a friend who worked there. The New York-based menswear designer felt the uniforms worn by staffers did not reflect the building’s “unalterable identity.” After voicing that opinion, he suggested alternatives, creating sketches and swatches for potential replacements. That plan was shelved during the pandemic. But when a new vice president of operations was installed at the Empire State Building, Umay’s design concept was refreshed.
The designer reached out to the building’s president to relay what he had in mind — an of-the-moment interpretation of the “true soul of the building” versus rehashing the past. All of the functional designs are handmade, the buttons are lasered and collars are detachable to simplify cleaning them. “Every single detail reflects the building inside and out [as in the uniforms’ red lining is reflective of the interior of the walls],” Umay said. Motifs of gold cogs and wheels in the jackets and vests are a wink at the Fifth Avenue lobby’s restored 23-carat gold ceiling,
Having run his signature business for 11 years, Umay also offers women’s designs from his penthouse showroom in the landmark Bryant Park Studios at 80 West 40th Street. He will appear as a judge on an upcoming makeover show on TV that he was not at liberty to discuss. Umay is also in-the-running to design uniforms for an international airline. For now, he is reveling in the Empire State Building feat. “This was a dreamy journey. It just feels right. It was a most organic alignment between two brands. It was like this was destined to happen,” Umay said. “After 15 years, they changed the uniforms. I don’t believe in coincidences. I moved to the United States 15 years ago.” — ROSEMARY FEITELBERG
RETAIL FIRST: The British brand Rixo, known for its bright, printed maxidresses, will open its first flagship in April on the King’s Road in London.
The store will be 5,000 square feet with a bar and coffee shop inside, said Orlagh McCloskey, who cofounded the business with Henrietta Rix in 2015.
She said they’d been planning the flagship from the very early days of Rixo, “before we even had a business plan,” but the ideal space only became available last September.
McCloskey said her twin sister Gemma, founder of the design firm Cupla Studio, is an interior designer and sketched out “the dream Rixo flagship in 2015. She is now designing our flagship, so everything has come full circle.”
She added that the new store “will also give us the opportunity to go back to our vintage roots with a ‘True Vintage’ edit.” The exclusive edit will consist of specially curated pieces of vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories, discovered by McCloskey and Rix.
“It’s just like in the first Rixo pop-up shop in 2016. The flagship will also have a dedicated showroom for our press and wholesale partners, plus more exciting initiatives yet to be announced,” McCloskey added.
Since launching in 2015, Rixo has made a name in the contemporary British fashion market. The two business partners started with ready-to-wear and later ventured into footwear, accessories, loungewear, outerwear and bridal, offering sizes ranging from a U.K. 6 to 24.
The brand has three stores in central London and employs 85 people.
As the business heads into its eighth year, McCloskey revealed it will be moving away from “twice-weekly drops,” and instead focus on monthly collections. The hope is to “encourage our community to buy less and wear more and allow them to see everything at the one time, so they can be sure of their favorite pieces.” — HIKMAT MOHAMMED