BUZZWORTHY: Boucheron has named popular actor Xiao Zhan its global brand ambassador on Tuesday, as the jeweler seeks to bolster its China presence.
In a statement, Xiao expressed excitement at this development with a brand he described as “most stylish and cutting-edge French high jewelry maison.”
The jeweler’s chief executive officer Hélène Poulit-Duquesne lauded Xiao’s “fierce sense of style and his vibrant personality,” while noting the move aimed to “reassert [the brand’s] presence in China, which plays a crucial role in Boucheron’s strategy.”
A video announcement of his new role garnered some 5.42 million likes as well as millions of shares and comments within eight hours on Weibo, where Xiao has close to 32 million followers.
The face of Gucci and Tod’s in China, Xiao generated more than $9.3 million in earned media value on Weibo during March’s Fashion Month, according to data compiled by influencer marketing agency Lefty.
The 32-year-old is a member of the Chinese boy group X Nine and rose to prominence in 2019 with his performance in the TV drama “The Untamed,” later available globally on Netflix.
He found himself at the center of a cyberbullying scandal in 2019, when a fan fiction portrayal of one of his characters created fervent fan support but also backlash against him that cost the actor a number of his endorsement deals.
Xiao was subsequently forced to issue an apology for the actions of his fans and laid low for more than a year before regaining momentum among luxury brands in 2021. He is also the face of JD.com, Li-Ning, Tencent Video and Budweiser.
Among its China ambassadors, Boucheron counts Xiao and actress Zhou Dongyu, who appeared in the jeweler’s “Icons” campaign last year and is global face of Louis Vuitton. — LILY TEMPLETON
SPECIAL PRIZE: As it gets ready to kick off its 15th edition, it is annual fashion film festival A Shaded View on Fashion Film that gets the first gong: sponsorship from France’s ministry of culture.
Minister Rima Abdul Malak “gladly agreed to place [the festival] under sponsorship” given the cultural dimension at stake, the ministry said in a letter addressed to founder Diane Pernet and festival president Emmanuel Asmar shown to WWD.
For the third year running, ASVOFF will run from Thursday to Sunday at Dover Street Market Paris, which takes the place of the now-closed 3537 cultural center.
Swedish singer-songwriter Jay-Jay Johanson is the president of the edition’s jury. Judging films and curated selections this year are a broad group that includes the likes of Sara Sozzani Maino, GQ head of editorial content Pierre M’Pelé, Canadian actress Gabrielle Lazzure, designer José Levy and the still-anonymous creative behind Instagram meme account Couturfu.
Some 115 fashion films will compete for the year’s 16 prizes, which range from the grand prize and Black representation in film to the “Climate Warrior” curation introduced this year, focusing on children 6 to 12 years old who express themselves around climate change.
As is tradition, trophies will be made by New York-based artist and designer Miguel Villalobos, save for the one awarded for the “Responsible Actions” section, created by Paris-based upcycling artist William Amor with the support of the Ateliers de Paris fund for creative professionals.
Beyond the competition, highlights of the edition will include the opening projection of “Invisible Beauty,” codirected by Bethann Hardison and Frédéric Tcheng, that chronicles Hardison’s evolution from a runway model to an agent, activist, mentor, diversity aficionado and more; a three-film tribute to South African fashion designer Thebe Magugu; and a spotlight on the industry’s disastrous environmental impact with the “Junk” docu-series by Olmo Parenti and Matteo Keffer.
Kicking off the 20 thematic sections of the edition is a curation of AI-generated films, which will be followed by a talk between photographers and artistic directors Alexandre Sade and Marguerite Chaillou of MCAS Bureau, the agency behind the first AI billboard campaign in France for underwear label UndizDocumentaries will take the lion’s share of the four-day event, with Olivier Nicklaus’ “The Versace Saga,” an homage to Academy-award nominated costume designer Arianne Philipps; and “The Pusher,” where professional skateboarder Steve Olson looks at the following generation of his sport.
Talks and master classes will also be aplenty, including a session at 6 p.m. on Saturday where jury president Johanson will open up on his creative process and an exhibition by visual artist Anouk Kruithof will tap into the diversity of dance videos distributed online.
Closing the edition will be the Sunday projection of “Tilda Swinton: Le geste et le genre,” (or “gesture and gender” in English), a documentary by Pierre-Paul Puljiz that weaves together clips from the actress’ storied career with insights from those who have worked with her, including filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, Olivier Saillard and Haider Ackermann. — L.T.
SPECIAL K: Filippa K is looking back, and forging ahead, with a capsule collection marking the brand’s 30-year anniversary and a new coffee table book in collaboration with the Swedish photographer J.H. Engström.
Liisa Kessler, Filippa K’s new creative director who worked previously at Chloé under Clare Waight Keller and with Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent, has overseen both projects.
In an interview, Kessler said she’s eager to return Filippa K to its roots in sensual, practical, well-made clothes and offer up a fresh idea of what Scandinavian style can be.
“The brand pioneered the stripped-back, ’90s aesthetic” and helped to create the Scandinavian minimalist aesthetic in fashion, Kessler said.
“Now we’re asking ourselves what Scandinavian style means today, and the answer is effortless clothing that isn’t overdesigned. It’s also about intimacy, how the garments feel on the body, and timeless, sustainable, ‘real’ products for every day,” she added.
The company has been rebranding, repositioning and tweaking its prices to compete more effectively in an overcrowded market where raw material prices have been on the rise. Filippa K has also introduced a new, and very discreet, tone-on-tone monogram inspired by the year 1993, which will be featured on select garments.
The brand, which offers womenswear and menswear, has positioned itself alongside brands such as Toteme, A.P.C., Ami and By Malene Birger.
Prices range from 160 pounds for a double-face cashmere scarf, to 225 pounds for wool trousers and 830 pounds for the double-breasted, tailored check coat.
Kessler said she takes a “unified” approach to men’s and women’s design and puts a big emphasis on tailoring for both collections.
The 1993 Capsule Collection, which launched Tuesday, will sell exclusively at the brand’s stand-alone stores and on its website.
It comprises 19 “essential” pieces for men and women with languid, ’90s-inspired fits and denim styles with a vintage black wash. Fabrics, according to Kessler, are “sustainable, low-impact and long-lasting.”
The wider Filippa K clothing offer is sold at stores and platforms including Galeries Lafayette, 24S marketplace, Farfetch and Tmall. As of spring 2024, it will also sell at Selfridges online.
The book, which is called “It’s Been 30 Years,” will be released on Nov. 16. It mixes never-before-seen photography from Engström’s archive with fresh images of key garments from the brand’s history.
Kessler said the still life images in the book aim “to look beyond the polished mask” of Swedish culture and society and offer a glimpse of real life, nature and the outdoors. “It’s very arty, and personal,” she said. — SAMANTHA CONTI
TURNING HEADS: Three years ago, Sophia Webster was feeling a bit at odds with the industry, and the constant demand for newness.
“I’d been thinking about my archive and all those shoes boxed up. I loved looking at all the old shoes from the past. To me, they’re still special,” said the London-based designer, who is celebrating a decade in business. “And then I thought to myself: ‘I love drawing.’ I didn’t realize how much little time I would have to spend drawing with all the pressures of running the business.”
So in the waning days of 2020, she issued a challenge to herself: Every day of 2021, she would sketch a single shoe from her vast collection — before the clock struck midnight. Webster set up a private Instagram account for family and friends to keep herself accountable, and she got to work. Some nights, the then mother of three fell asleep beside her young girls when she put them to bed and would wake up just in time to finish that day’s drawing.
“So many memories were popping up — funny stories, different dramas with the factories, funny celebrity stories. It was a roller coaster, those early years,” she recalled. “I started writing down the memories, and we thought it would make a great coffee table book. It ended up as a coffee table book/memoir.”
Known for her colorful, playful details, Webster produces her collections in Brazil and Europe.
By the end of 2021, Webster — who oversees the brand with her husband, Bobby Stockley — had a book deal. Around the same time, she found out she was pregnant with her fourth child.
Almost two years later, the designer will release the colorful book — full of the artistic, playful details she is known for — in the U.S., after debuting it in the U.K. last month.
Called “Oh My Gosh, I Love Your Shoes: A Decade of Head-Turning Heels,” the book charts the designer’s journey through the 365 sketches she drew in 2021. (Webster said that “Oh my gosh, I love your shoes,” is the phrase she hears most frequently when she meets strangers.)
Webster — who last year reported $17.5 million in annual sales — doesn’t hold back when writing about her highs and lows, both professional and personal. (One of the most emotional moments in the book comes when Webster recounts the 2017 incident that left her dad with catastrophic brain injury after he was attacked in London.)
Through all the highs and lows, Webster has realized how unique it is to be part of the shoe industry.
“You’re a bit of an outsider and you can do your own thing — and stay in your own lane. I think we’ve done well to cultivate customers who have a real affinity for the brand, and who are loyal. It’s super important to have that kind of following. I’ve seen so many brands come and go.” — KATIE ABEL
PALM ANGELS COLLAB: Palm Angels has revisited the Tod’s tabs sneaker for fall.
Francesco Ragazzi, founder and creative director of the brand, has updated the classic style with his own vision, adding a ‘70s touch to the construction of the tongue. The toe cap has been revised for a more modern look, and on the tongue and on the back stands out the Palm Angels logo in gold Lurex. Tod’s T is embossed on the lace loop and on the back.
A black leather palm tree is stretched at the sides of the upper, and Tod’s signature Gommino pebble details are transformed into a decoration, placed in the back.
“Supporting Made in Italy is key to me, part of my own history and I have a passion for products that are well-made,” said Ragazzi, praising Tod’s chairman Diego Della Valle for his own belief in Italian craftsmanship. “To collaborate with Tod’s is a milestone and a pleasure and it teaches me so much.”
Last year, Palm Angels was part of a collaboration with Tod’s and Moncler, with a dedicated communication campaign fronted by Naomi Campbell.
Ragazzi grew up wearing Tod’s, he recalls, and said “the values it expresses are linked to our culture of beauty and recognized globally.”
The Palm Angels x Tod’s sneakers, available for both men and women, will be released on Thursday at Palm Angels boutiques worldwide, on Tod’s and Palm Angels online stores, and at selected international wholesalers. Ragazzi teased the launch during the Palm Angels show in Paris last March.
Separately, Palm Angels said it is opening a new boutique on Thursday within the Bangkok Central Embassy. The store walls are covered in raffia and bleached cedar wood stands out on the main display. Black Marquina and Calacatta red marbles are also key elements of the store, which carries the brand’s collaborations as well, including with Moncler Genius.
Palm Angels is expanding its retail network, following the opening of a store in New York last month.
The company currently has a unit at the Wynn in Las Vegas as well as in the Design District in Miami, where plans include doubling the store size. Following the SoHo store, which measures 2,300 square feet, Palm Angels will open a store at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., by the end of the year. There are a total of 13 Palm Angels stores in the world, including units in its hometown of Milan as well as Paris. — LUISA ZARGANI
LIMITED EDITION: Paul Smith on Wednesday unveiled the second iteration of the &PaulSmith collaboration series with the New York-based label Commission, founded by Dylan Cao and Jin Kay, following an inaugural capsule with the London-based designer Priya Ahluwalia.
The 22-piece capsule collection features a long wool-cashmere overcoat, a structured double-breasted brown worsted wool suit, and a yellow leather field jacket, as well as wardrobe staples with accentuated details like point collars, low peak lapels, on-seam pockets, slightly fatherly stripes and bold red touches.
As “an apparent synergy” was formed from the first meeting, both sides began to on a collection mostly inspired by “Father & Son,” a book of photographs taken by Smith and his father Harold Smith, published after the latter’s passing in 2000.
The idea of family resonated with Commission’s ethos. The brand offers modern outfits fit for the Big Apple lifestyle with their Eastern point of view. Cao and Kay are first-generation U.S. immigrants from Vietnam and South Korea, respectively. They launched the brand in 2018 with the goal to reframe and elevate how Asian culture is represented in Western fashion.
Very often, the brand’s collections are based on the wardrobes of their parents’ generation, bringing back elements of nostalgia and uniform dressing, often pulled from straight from family photo albums.
Paul Smith’s archive in Nottingham, collections from 1997 to 1998 and 2002 to 2003 to be precise, also served as a source of inspiration to the duo behind Commission.
“Tapping into new ideas is exactly why I wanted to start the &PaulSmith series,” Smith said. “Commission are brimming with them. I also have a huge sense of pride in our archive and I’m so glad that Cao and Kay have been inspired by pieces from past collections and put their own truly unique spin on them.”
The duo added: “There’s a richness to his archive during the late ’90s that resonates with us, where its masculinity seemed like a mash-up of preppy, sex and post-punk, yet highly functional and romantic. Our approach to products and storytelling was similar in that it’s an eclectic mismatch of various narratives and undercurrents.”
The CFDA acted as a broker in this collaboration, as it presented a shortlist of candidates for the collaboration by private referral.
As part of the collaboration, Paul Smith will also provide mentorship to Commission. — TIANWEI ZHANG
MEDIA PARTNER: The Running Event and Footwear News are teaming up. The two organizations have announced that FN will serve as the official media partner of the 2023 and 2024 TRE events. The partnership will include extensive editorial content, updates about TRE programming and deep dives into the annual show.
“FN’s platforms, industry knowledge and audience reach supports us in our mission to elevate and support the running and outdoor industry,” said event director Christina Henderson. “This collaboration will bring TRE coverage and access to more people, creating additional opportunities for business, connection and visibility into the event.”
The partnership will include extensive editorial content and updates about TRE programming throughout the year, as well as comprehensive pre-event, onsite and post-event coverage of the annual conference and trade show. Coverage will highlight key players, industry trends and TRE’s impact on the larger footwear industry.
“We are thrilled about this new collaboration with The Running Event,” said Michael Atmore, editorial director of FN and chief brand officer of Fairchild Media Group. “The TRE conference and trade show is home to some of the most important conversations around the running and outdoor industry today, and we look forward to leveraging FN’s access and platforms to grow awareness and continue to bring this vital community together in new ways.”
Amanda Smith, Fairchild Media Group president, echoed those sentiments: “Our brands are leading the conversation around running and outdoor with the specialty retail industry and its future, and I am looking forward to bringing more of FN’s authority to the TRE exhibitors and audience experience as a whole.” — FN STAFF