GHANA CONNECTION: Bloomingdale’s Aqua private brand, extending its trace record of collaborations with designers, brands and celebrities, has teamed with Studio 189, founded by designer Abrima Erwiah and actress/activist Rosario Dawson, on a limited-edition collection.
The collection features colorful, summery, hand-dyed prints and styles produced by Studio 189 artisans in Ghana, Africa, including dresses, tops, skirts and swimwear — all designed to be mixed and matched. The Aqua x Studio 189 collection launched Friday at Bloomingdale’s stores nationwide and on Bloomingdales.com.
Bloomingdale’s is hosting celebrations at The Surf Lodge in Montauk, New York, through July 4, where the Aqua x Studio 189 collection will be displayed in the boutique.
“By partnering with Aqua on this collection, we’re able to celebrate the work of our artisans on a whole new level,” said Erwiah. “The special hand-batiked prints that were created exclusively for this collaboration resulted in Studio 189’s largest single fabric order to date, which grants us the opportunity to present the craftsmanship of our artisans to a broader audience. It’s an accessible collection that embraces joy with vibrant and tropical designs fitting for the summer season.”
Said Denise Magid, executive vice president and general merchandise manager for ready-to-wear, center core, concessions and Bloomingdale’s Outlets: “As a brand that works with artisanal communities that specialize in various traditional craftsmanship techniques, Studio 189 brings bold, inspired new looks to our beloved and bestselling Aqua portfolio this summer.”
The collection, called “Akua,” was born on a Wednesday during New York Fashion Week after Aqua’s creative director Erica Ruff Hatfield contacted Erwiah following Studio 189’s spring 2022 runway show. “I felt very moved by this idea of birthing a new project when I was contacted by Bloomingdale’s and Aqua.”
In Ghana, people can be named after the days of the week, so Akua is an Akan female name for a girl child born on Wednesday and is derived from deities. Akan people are from Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Akua also is said to refer to a champion for the cause of others.
“This was fitting because the goal of this collaboration was to allow Studio 189 to create more work for the communities we serve in Africa,” Erwiah added. “We were able to produce more than 20,000 yards of handmade fabric and activate rural communities that really need the work, especially considering the effects of the pandemic and rising prices. This was also our first time producing in Asia, which is where Aqua produces. We learned new ways of working.”
The Aqua x Studio 189 prints are produced by Studio 189 artisans using the art of hand-batiking. This art form starts with patterns carved into wood or sponge that are dipped into hot wax and stamped onto cloth. This cloth is dipped into hand-mixed dyes and then the wax is removed to unveil the finished design.
Eleven hand-batiked prints were created exclusively for the collection, including palm leaves and pineapple motifs. The summer styles can be worn on their own or mixed and matched, with rtw pieces including halter maxi dresses, ruffled tiered skirts and miniskirts.
The collection also marks the first Aqua swim collaboration with one- and two-piece swimsuits and that can be paired with the rtw styles for a “beach-to-bar” look. Aqua x Studio 189 has 17 apparel pieces and eight swim styles ranging in price from $48 to $198.
Aqua, a long-standing, contemporary private brand at Bloomingdale’s, each season features “of-the-moment ready-to-wear apparel and accessories for a stylish head-to-toe look at an approachable price point,” the retailer said. “The brand has previously partnered with cultural figures and top brands, including Pendleton, Scout the City, Mary Katrantzou, Zendaya, Helen Owen, Mary Lawless Lee, Yigal Azrouël, Maddie & Tae, Zadig & Voltaire and Madeleine Thompson.
Studio 189 produces African and African-inspired content and clothing, operates a store and a manufacturing facility in Accra, Ghana, an e-commerce site, and supports community-led projects in Africa and in the U.S. Studio 189 works with artisanal communities that specialize in various traditional craftsmanship techniques including natural plant-based dye indigo, hand-batik, kente weaving and more. Studio 189 focuses on empowerment, creating jobs and supporting education and skills training. — DAVID MOIN
LVMH’S NEW TEQUILA: Moët Hennessy continues to make moves.
Following news of acquiring Napa and Sonoma-based Joseph Phelps Vineyards, the wine and spirits division of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has launched Volcán X.A — a luxury tequila.
With a portfolio that includes Dom Pérignon, which dates back to 1668, and Ruinart, founded in 1729, and, of course, Moët & Chandon, 1743, and Hennessy, 1765, it was in 2017 that Moët Hennessy introduced its first venture into the world of tequila, unveiling Volcan De Mi Tierra (with a blanco, cristalino and reposado). A partnership with the Gallardo family — with 300-year-old roots in Jalisco, Mexico — Volcán X.A, too, is crafted in the volcanic region, using agave grown in soil fertilized by the eruption of a volcano (fittingly known as Volcano Tequila). While Volcan De Mi Tierra bottles are aged for over a year, the new blend is made with three levels of aging, for 36 months.
Tequila is a “booming” industry, continued Morel, and there’s clear business interest for Moët Hennessy to offer the spirit. Though the company declined to share sales figures, Morel noted sales of Volcán de Mi Tierra tripled in 2021 through retail partnerships amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as shoppers stocked up on liquor and make their own cocktails while home.
The rollout strategy of Volcán X.A differs in that bottles will only be found at select clubs and restaurants globally, with accounts at familiar hot spots in Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles and Florida. Internationally, destinations include St. Tropez, Cannes, Ibiza, Mykonos, Tulum and Bodrum.
“What we created will be scarce by definition,” said Morel. “We have a limited quantity available for the world.”
In an oversaturated market, Moët Hennessy aims to stand apart by using “the depth of tradition of tequila making but also by [adding] some level of innovation,” said Morel. “We created the distillery by looking at every step of the process of tequila making and see how we could improve each of the steps from the terroir, selecting the agave, the cooking, the milling, the fermentation, the distillation, aging and blending.”
After over 50 different trials in the making of Volcán X.A, the result created for a “smooth and aromatic” liquid, one that “broke the rules,” added Morel, by blending the ages: “It’s very elegant with a very nice level of complexity and finish that we loved.”
To mark the launch, Volcán X.A was introduced at a party in Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel on June 24. In the U.S., the company is hosting a bash in Las Vegas at Zouk Nightclub on July 16. — RYMA CHIKHOUNE
The board of the country’s fashion association on Thursday reelected Capasa as chairman for the 2022-24 period.
Capasa first joined the Milan-based Fashion Chamber in this role in April 2015.
A new board was also elected for the next two years. In addition to Capasa, the directors comprise: Prada’s CEO Patrizio Bertelli; Gucci president and CEO Marco Bizzarri; Fendi chairman and CEO Serge Brunschwig; Dolce & Gabbana’s CEO Alfonso Dolce; Etro CEO Fabrizio Cardinali; Salvatore Ferragamo’s CEO Marco Gobbetti; Aeffe’s executive chairman Massimo Ferretti; Angela Missoni, president of Missoni; OTB founder Renzo Rosso; Moncler chairman and CEO Remo Ruffini; Carla Sozzani, founder of 10 Corso Como; Valentino’s CEO Jacopo Venturini and Gildo Zegna, chairman and CEO of the Ermenegildo Zegna Group.
Honorary president Mario Boselli also joined the board.
“The past two years have been particularly challenging for our sector, and I am proud to say that I have never seen such a communion of intents, collaboration and synergy in our association,” said Capasa. “We have constantly tried with great determination to meet the challenges that we were faced with, finding effective solutions and responding with creativity and energy. The goal for the next two years is to continue being competitive and incisive, united and collaborative in reaching the association’s aims, which continue to be dictated by concrete demands which arise on the market and in the cultural context in which we work.” — LUISA ZARGANI
The stylist and fashion entrepreneur behind CR Runway is spearheading a mega show between the semifinal and final matches of the FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar, this December.
Dubbed Qatar Fashion United by CR Runway, the event will feature more than 100 brands — from acclaimed heritage houses to young, emerging designers from five continents — alongside a concert featuring top international musical artists.
Conceived by Her Excellency Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and curated by Roitfeld, the event at the 40,000-seat Stadium 974 will raise funds for Education Above All, a non-for-profit founded by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Al-Missned and Sheikha Mayassa that provides opportunities to underserved children and youth, and empowers women.
Sheikha Mayassa, Roitfeld, and Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, chief executive officer of CR Runway, are to host a press conference in Paris this fall to announce additional details about the fashion spectacle, held under the auspices of the Qatar Creates movement.
The inaugural CR Runway show took place in June 2019 outside Florence, Italy, to celebrate LuisaViaRoma’s 20th anniversary. About 4,000 people took in a 100-look fashion show that included couture wedding gowns from the House of Christian Lacroix, a performance by Lenny Kravitz and appearances by the industry’s biggest models of recent decades. — MILES SOCHA