Wonder Women: Warrior women were out in force — and in pretty dresses — for Dior’s fall show front row.
Maria Grazia Chiuri plays on feminist themes, and this season invited a handful of action heroines including Charlize Theron, Maisie Williams, Bella Ramsey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and “Wonder Woman” herself, Gal Gadot.
“The Woman King”‘s young fighter Thuso Mbedu, “Alice in Borderland”‘s Anyaka Miyoshi and Blackpink’s Jisoo — a K-pop girl group known for challenging stereotypes — filled out the front row.
Theron rocked combat boots with her flapper-style beaded gown, and reveled in the comfort and the contrast. “I’ve always been a fan of femininity and all its complexities and that it isn’t one thing. So anytime I can kind of play with that contradiction of what is soft and delicate and what is strong, to me that feels very authentically who I am,” she told WWD.
“I don’t know if it’s them or if it’s just truly that’s a part of who I am,” she said, about some of her tougher characters in films such as “F9,” “The Old Guard” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
“There’s a part of me that feels fit, physically capable and feels strong and I have never veered away from that side. I’ve never been just an ultra-feminine woman. I’ve always kind of wandered in between both worlds,” she added.
The mystery of Maisie Williams’ shaved head was finally solved, as she revealed it was for the role of Christian Dior’s sister Catherine in the upcoming Apple TV series “The New Look.” The 1940s-set role is a change from her “Game of Thrones” sword fights, but a different kind of battle — and not just mastering the French accent, she said.
“Playing her was honestly quite harrowing, but she’s an incredible woman,” Williams said of the French Resistance fighter. “I got to dive into Catherine’s life through the book by Justine Picardie and learn about what she meant to [Christian]. And then I had to shave off all my hair and lose lots of weight and undergo a physical transformation. It was tough, but what an incredible experience.”
Williams was also able to dig through the brand’s archives and learn about the Dior family, which is still connected to the work Chiuri does. “What I love most about Maria’s work is that she acknowledges the history and really kind of brings it to the forefront of what she does. It’s a history to be so unbelievably proud of, so I really feel the brand reaches its full potential when you dig back into all the archives.”
Gadot was entranced by the fantastical set by artist Joana Vasconcelos that resembled an otherworldly underwater kingdom or the Amazon rainforest, depending on your perspective. For her, it was a little more psychedelic. “It looks like a gorgeous installation in a museum that everyone had ‘shrooms in,” she joked. “When they started playing Edith Piaf I started singing along. It was a great, great show in every possible aspect.”
Mbedu took in all the influences of the art installation, which was inspired by textiles from the Dior archive. “I’m looking around and it’s literally a case of ‘What am I seeing?’ I understand the show is inspired by Catherine Dior, and having been a fighter in World War II, she was a strong woman and I’m good with that. I love seeing how all of these influences speak to each other,” she said.
She noted it was her first time in Paris, and she also hoped to catch up with fellow South African Theron, who was surrounded by photographers. “They don’t give her a second to breathe,” Mbedu said of the photo frenzy, which had guests being rudely shoved out of the way and almost knocked over by the swarming horde.
It was also the first time in Paris for seatmate Bella Ramsey, as well as the first fashion show for “The Last of Us” star. The creations are a world away from the wardrobe on the zombie show.
Ramsey said it’s been challenging to deal with the sudden intense fame, but that she’s glad people are connecting to the character. “It’s been a whirlwind for sure, but last year was the best year of my life.
“This is madness,” she declared of the collection and her outfit. “It’s completely different to what I wear in real life — I spend my whole time in jogging bottoms, hoodies and jeans. But I’m just taking it all in.”
Mbatha-Raw enjoyed her first fashion show back after attending when pandemic restrictions were still in place. She was wearing a miniskirt with knee-highs and a hiking-style boot. “It’s sort of gussied up safari school girl vibes. Look at the socks, I mean c’mon,” she said.
She’s stepping into the executive producer shoes for the second season of “Surface,” she said. “There are so many elements to it, and it’s kind of trial and error. I’m still learning.” That shoot will begin in May.
“Alice in Borderland” star Miyoshi sported a floor-length floral skirt and lace top, another departure from her warrior character. Speaking through an interpreter, she said that after she’s read the script she gets an idea of what the character calls for, and works with the costume designer to come up with looks that fit the fight scenes of the sci-fi heroine. — RHONDA RICHFORD
Talent Targets: United Talent Agency has launched a division dedicated to expanding client business in fashion and beauty. Anne Nelson has been tapped to oversee the department, called UTA Fashion.
Nelson’s “deep relationships will bolster UTA’s foray into the fashion landscape and help clients drive culture and inspire trends by tapping into the broad scope of UTA’s capabilities across entertainment, marketing and business,” according to the agency.
The veteran agent has more than three decades of experience. She comes from Creative Artists Agency, after joining its fashion sector in 2021. Previously, she was vice president of global business development for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the mixed martial arts company. She oversaw business development for consumer products, partner marketing, retail marketing, integration and activations. She’s also held positions at Marilyn Agency in Paris, Elite Model Management and IMG Models in New York, representing Gisele Bündchen.
“Anne is one of the most respected fashion executives with deep and established relationships across the industry,” said UTA board member-partner Blair Kohan and partner Darnell Strom in a joint statement. “She has a true passion for her clients and has been the architect behind many top career moments in the fashion world. For UTA, bringing her on board is a natural next step in the work we’ve been doing in this space, and we can’t wait to see what she will accomplish.”
Based in Beverly Hills, California, the global talent agency — established in 1991 — represents entertainers, actors, writers, directors, music artists and content creators. UTA’s roster includes Ben Stiller, Jessica Alba, Kevin Hart, Will Ferrell, Bad Bunny, Chance the Rapper, Demi Lovato, Emma Chamberlain, Bretman Rock and the D’Amelio family.
The news comes following UTA’s expansion in recent years, including the acquisitions of publishing agency Fletcher and Company; U.K. talent and literary agency Curtis Brown Group; entertainment and marketing advisory firm MediaLink; management company Digital Brand Architects (taking on clients with a social media following), as well as a strategic partnership with global private equity firm EQT secured in July 2022. — RYMA CHIKHOUNE
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Michael Kors, whose candor hasn’t been washed away over time, is sure to splash out the highs and lows of his fashion career during Tuesday’s question-and-answer with Fern Mallis at 92Y.
The Broadway and Hollywood-loving designer has no shortage of celebrity fans as well as lesser-known people. The troupe of celebrities who turned up for his most recent New York fashion show included Kate Hudson, Katie Holmes, Maddie and Rachel Ziegler, Lily Aldridge, KiKi Layne, Ellen Pompeo and Lea Michele. More recently, HBO Max’s “The White Lotus” star Aubrey Plaza attracted a lot of attention for the bronze body-baring custom Michael Kors Collection dress that she wore at the SAG Awards.
There will be a lot of ground to cover when the designer returns to the 92Y’s stage to chat with Mallis for the first time in 11 years. Mallis said Tuesday via email, “I’m anxious to hear him talk about how the industry and fashion have changed over this past decade, and how he stays so focused and optimistic.”
Later in the month — on March 23 — the interdisciplinary designer Todd Oldham will headline Mallis’ next talk. The New York-based talent rose to fame with the help of such supermodels as Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista and last fall he introduced Todd Oldham Maker Shop, a platform for repurposing archival material. With a design portfolio that includes books, fashion, photography, Kid Made Modern products, interior design and more — Oldham has many ventures.
This spring’s “Fashion Icons” lineup will also feature seasoned fashion journalist Marylou Luther and illustrator Ruben Toledo. They will be heading to the Upper East Side on April 10 to discuss their recently released Rizzoli book “Be-Spoke: Revelations From the World’s Most Important Fashion Designers.” After more than 70 years of chronicling designers, Luther has an extensive view of the industry but remains ever-curious about what’s next. If the pair’s SRO public chat Monday night at Rizzoli’s NoMad bookstore is any indication, the 92Y one could be a well-populated affair. Mallis will also welcome Naeem Khan for a 92Y Q&A on May 17. — ROSEMARY FEITELBERG
Casablanca Capsule: The fashion set’s favorite Paris eatery has a new tie-up in the works. Caviar Kaspia has teamed with buzzy brand Casablanca on a capsule collection of ready-to-wear, accessories and even a co-branded tin of caviar.
The 10 pieces in the lineup include Casablanca’s signature silk shirts featuring prints inspired by the decor of the famous restaurant. There are also sporty jersey pieces and a baseball cap with an embroidered Casa Kaspia logo.
Prices for the line, launching online only on both brands’ platforms on Thursday, range from 24 to 890 euros.
A little over two years ago, Casablanca’s creative director Charaf Tajer told WWD about his ambitions of turning Casablanca into a full-scale lifestyle label to rival France’s leading luxury brands. With tie-ups including luggage with Globe-Trotter and handbags with Bulgari over the past year, as well as a Coachella capsule, it seems he is on the way to meeting that ambition.
“I met Charaf some time ago at Caviar Kaspia, and we quickly realized we share a love of timeless luxury, something that both of our brands are built on,” stated Cavia Kaspia Group chief executive officer Ramon Mac-Crohon. “I love how Casablanca captures the essence of timeless sport-chic infused with a vintage aesthetic. This collaboration is a celebration of our friendship and lifestyles.”
“Caviar Kaspia is one of my favorite places to visit in Paris, the restaurant has great finesse in the way it unites fine dining with the fashion community,” said London-based Tajer. “This collaboration offered us an opportunity to reconnect with old mutual friends too, tapping into our community with great food, and an atmosphere that only our two worlds can manifest.” — ALEX WYNNE
Vintage Magic: Anna Sui, who is a close friend of Marc Jacobs’, has reimagined the fairy wing from her spring 1997 collection as a limited-edition reissue for Heaven by Marc Jacobs.
Handcrafted in her New York City studio, these wings with beaded necklace incorporate Heaven branding and are meant to be wearable art. The pieces launch on marcjacobs.com on Friday and retail for $570.
Jacobs launched Heaven in September 2020, drawing upon the multifaceted impulses of the characters who have made up the Marc Jacobs universe in the past 30 years. Its muses span icons, cult heroes and disruptors. The first retail concept for Heaven by Marc Jacobs opened on Fairfax in Los Angeles in 2021 and carries a full assortment of clothing and lifestyle products. The brand is also carried in Dover Street Market locations in New York, L.A. and London.
Heaven operates on a monthly drop schedule with special collaborations.
For spring 2023, Heaven by Marc Jacobs created a special capsule collection in collaboration with multiplatinum Grammy Award-winning brand, Deftones, and streetwear brand, Stray Rats. The campaign was shot in Los Angeles by Ari Versluis of Exactitudes and features Deftones fans.
Archival photos and original graphics from the band, which rose to prominence in the late 1990s/early 2000s and is popular with Gen Z, are used across an assortment of T-shirts, knits, denim and accessories.
An exhibition dedicated to the band will run from Friday through April 4 in the Gallery Space at The Heaven Fairfax Store. Original artwork and album memorabilia will be on display to the public. The partnership will also be celebrated in New York on Thursday. — LISA LOCKWOOD