VOGUE RUNWAY: Overhauling Heritage (With an Edge of Clever Hype): A Conversation With Rimowa CEO Alexandre Arnault by Nick Remsen

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By the time Rimowa’s 26-year old CEO, Alexandre Arnault, sits down to an 8:00 a.m. breakfast meeting at The Beverly Hills Hotel, he has already had . . . well, two prior breakfast meetings. Before said appointments, he’d been at the gym. A productive jet lag cure, considering he’d flown in from Paris, nine hours ahead of Los Angeles, a day and a half ago? “No,” he says, “this is just how it always is.”

Arnault—the youngest scion of Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH (which announced in 2016 that it was acquiring 80 percent of Rimowa, reportedly at Alexandre’s urging)—cuts a long, lanky figure. Even sitting down at the Polo Lounge’s plush, banquette-surrounded table, he looms tall. Arnault is dressed in low-key manner, but stylishly; his sweater is from the Ralph Lauren and Palace Skateboards collaboration. The day earlier, at a preview for a collaborative suitcase that Rimowa will bring to market with the artist Alex Israel this summer, he was wearing a discreet, skinny khaki trench coat, standing next to a heat lamp in an atypical Los Angeleno downpour. This is the thing you quickly learn about Arnault: He’s clued-in, he knows fashion from the macro level (LVMH owns Louis VuittonDiorFendi, and many more) downward, but he is pretty understated. Rarely does he let slip any hints of the immense privilege and access of what it is to be an Arnault; he keeps much of himself inconspicuous—including in presentation—and is only here to talk business.

And business has been good. Before LVMH’s Rimowa buy-in, and Arnault’s appointment shortly thereafter (in January 2017), the luggage-maker, based in Cologne, Germany, was certainly known, albeit to a smaller circle of travelers. Its cachet landed more on pragmatism; the hard-sided grooved aluminum cases, Rimowa’s signature, were more utility-based, and far less pop-culturally relevant. They were not, really, fashion items.

Since Arnault rolled in, much has changed: Rimowa’s product line has undergone a redesign, as has the brand’s logo; the company has been partially moved to Paris (with production remaining in Germany); and a plethora of collaborations have propelled the label to a wider, younger, and hungrier audience. Those collaborative partners include: Off-White, Fendi, Supreme, and, now, the above-mentioned artist Israel. More are in the pipeline for 2019 (though these were not yet disclosable at the time of this interview). Arnault has also introduced new product categories—namely an especially good-looking iPhone case, which quickly sold out—and has made managerial alterations, too, like pulling out of wholesale. Another major adjustment? Rimowa has ceased all print advertising; it was the first of those in the LVMH portfolio that advertise in print to do so.

Here, Arnault provides insight into his vision for the future, the upswings and challenges of modernizing what is—for most intents and purposes—a legacy brand, and an out-of-this-world (but not impossible) pipe dream.

You’re well into your position as Rimowa’s CEO, after LVMH purchased a majority stake in the German luxury luggage-maker at the end of 2016. And you’re on a roll. What have been the highs—and the lows—of the job, so far?

I’ll start with the lows. The whole reorganization of the business, from the ground up, has been the biggest challenge. It’s not something I talk about too often because it’s not consumer-facing—it hasn’t been the launch of a new suitcase or a new promotion. The challenge has really been the rethinking of our operational strategy, from software to distribution, like cutting back with wholesale, to supply chain to production. All of it. We had to start that from the very beginning in order to scale to where we are now, and for where we aspire to be.

And a high note? A payoff?

There have been a few payoffs, one of which is seeing our initiatives work, particularly scaling back from wholesale and ramping up our own retail. The store in Tokyo is doing particularly well, as is the store in Paris. Part of our thinking was to place Rimowa alongside luxury brands, and that strategy has worked. This has built an association around the company. Then, on the product side, it has been great to see that we’ve made new and desirable suitcases. This was quite difficult to think about, because the existing suitcases were extremely functional and we had to answer: How do we make them both functional and desirable? This is where the collaborations came in, at first. First we did Fendi, then Supreme, then Virgil [Abloh] with Off-White. These sparked excitement around the cases, which was great to see. It was validating to read comments on Instagram, to see these products in airports, and to see people collect these suitcases as more than just objects of utility.

Absolutely. The collaboration streak has definitely put Rimowa in front of more eyes.

You know, though, these projects take a long time. For example, with the Alex Israel project we just launched, it took a year. It started here, in Los Angeles. We had breakfast at the Bel-Air Hotel, had the idea, and two days later he sent me some renderings. But it took us a year to find the suppliers, work the technology, and make sample after sample after sample. It’s a really, really tedious and industrious process.

That’s interesting. A lot of people may think that a collaboration is something that can be done quickly. Slap a logo on a suitcase, and you’re good to go.

If you look at timing, we launched the Supreme collaboration in April 2018. I took the job in January 2017. The idea of the Supreme collab came up just a month later, in February. So it took over a year for us to get those perfect. It doesn’t happen instantaneously. The development also justifies the prices in certain cases. The Alex Israel suitcase takes four times as long to build and will cost approximately three times as much. Usually, a suitcase takes around an hour and a half to be built, and this one takes six hours.

On the topic of collaborations, what will Rimowa do for people that have . . . let’s call it, collaboration fatigue?

We’re always going to have collaborations that are relevant, that make sense and that excite people. I mean, even I have collaboration fatigue, for sure, but for example I am wearing a sweater by Ralph Lauren and Palace Skateboards because I think it’s one of the coolest collabs ever done. It is probably the only collaboration piece I’ve bought, personally, in the past year. So outside of this arena, we are going to update our existing range with new shapes, new colors, travel accessories, and things that are part of our core offering that are not going to be as . . . big of a social media craze. Maybe we will do a pink suitcase. Maybe it won’t say Fendi, maybe it won’t involve an artist—it could just be that some people want a pink Rimowa suitcase.

Earlier, you mentioned Instagram and being able to see validation and feedback through the platform. Have you received any negative feedback?

One piece of negative feedback that we have been seeing is that we used to have this part on our suitcases called a “hanging hook.” It was a strap on the front of the case. We never explained its purpose, and we found in focus groups that nobody was using it. We decided to remove it and invest that money—$6 million a year—into perfecting our aluminum alloy to make it more resistant and more durable. We had, say, 15 diehards who decided to trash us on every single post and comment saying, “You’re killing the brand.” We still moved ahead, and so far it has proven to be the right decision. That’s the most visible negative feedback I can recall. Also, when we redesigned the identity, we received some pushback, but hey, Céline is getting trashed. Burberry is getting trashed. Balenciaga got trashed. People like to trash, but they get used to it. I don’t know for what reason, but negativity can help sell, I think.

So what’s next? What are the next steps?

The next step is to really get out of pure suitcases and move towards other kinds of products. That should come by this summer. You’ll see backpacks and weekend bags and things like this—kind of an extension of the travel experience. They’ll represent Rimowa, but they won’t be in polycarbonate or aluminum, so it’s stretching and going outside of our home turf, which is a big bet, but it is exciting.

The iPhone cases you introduced were very successful.

Super, super successful. We’re totally sold out. I can’t say how many units we made, but we made a lot more than I thought we would, and they’re all gone.

Will you reissue them?

Yes.

That’s likely another space where a collaboration would go over well.

Yes, though it may be difficult because it’s actually a very price sensitive market.

The Tokyo store is a statement for us because we opened it on the most renowned shopping street in Ginza, right in the mecca of luxury brands. We found a great, large space and we decided to overinvest in the design to make it in-line with our neighbors and in-line with local tastes. That’s kind of why I think it is the most thought-through and well-designed store. But the important thing is, it has been working like crazy. There are days when we sell almost 100 suitcases per day from that store. It’s also validating the strategy of developing our own retail and placing Rimowa [adjacent to, and within the pool of] top luxury houses.

What mistakes have you made as CEO, and what have you learned so far?

At the beginning, we went very fast on a lot of different topics and made some decisions that we had to come back on—especially with people. We wanted to hire as many people as we could, as fast as we could, and we needed talent everywhere. Obviously, you win some and you lose some. We’ve also had a few product launches that didn’t work, but that’s the life of every brand.

Can you say what those products were?

Yes, we used to have a small leather goods line that we were not able to make as distinctive as we’d hoped.

Calibrating rhythm and pace, especially in this chaotic day and age, must always be on your mind.

You know, sometimes not going [fast enough] is actually the problem. A decision can be on the table and you’ll say, “Hey, I’ll wait six months to finalize this,” but then six months in, you wish you’d done it earlier. This is the case with pulling out of specialty retailers in the U.S., for example. Luggage shops. It was my intuition from day one. We’re still not fully out, it’s about a year away, but I could have told you this idea in January 2017 and now we’re here, over two years later.

What are you doing to attract the next wave of consumers? Namely, those who cannot afford Rimowa yet, but, if they’re paying attention, will know of the brand and perhaps eventually be able to buy the suitcases.

Perhaps at this point, they can afford an iPhone case or a backpack. It’s all about awareness for us, especially in the U.S., and trying to better tell our story. This is the one major thing we have to focus on: to market to new generations, and always staying innovative in everything we do. I remember a while ago when people started advertising on Snapchat. I wasn’t at Rimowa then, but if I had been, we would have been the first to develop a special filter. I’m always trying to be the first one in a lot of different things. You know we’re the first LVMH brand that doesn’t do print [advertising] anymore? That hasn’t hurt as at all, so far.

What’s your wildest dream with Rimowa?

To send a suitcase to the moon. It’s not in the works. [Maybe] if NASA reads Vogue, it will be. I have this fantasy of the suitcase opening and everything starting to fly, no gravity. I’ll go to space myself to do it.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

To read on Vogue Runway, please click here.

VOGUE RUNWAY: Moschino Womenswear Resort 2020 and Menswear Spring/Summer 2020 Review by Nick Remsen

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Something wickedly clever this way comes.

Moschino’s Jeremy Scott is known for making his own rules, but, in rerouting the expected into the upside down—that is, by offering cinematic, scary movie–inspired clothing for the wrong season—he went further off-script than maybe ever before. Scott’s Los Angeles show was underpinned by a trip-down-memory-lane nostalgia, yet more importantly, it was literally screaming with humor and modernity. It all worked; the payoff was kind of brilliant.

Held at Universal Studios—along the same set that served as Wisteria Lane on Desperate Housewives—Scott sent forth his models as trick-or-treaters in a foggy twilight. There were references to horror-core galore: Redrum printed vertically on a dress (The Shining); neon green leather with trompe l’oeil stitches (Frankenstein); a model shrieking and banging on doors (an homage to Drew Barrymore’s character in Scream, which Scott mentioned was one of the night’s main inspirations). Yet even though there were a lot of silver-screen throwbacks, the takeaway was very Stranger Things (season three airs in three weeks). It felt like suburbia blanketed in sugary faux-creepiness, a polychromatic Edward Scissorhands-ian moment for the Instagram era. “I wanted to take the most mundane, beautiful, manicured, perfect setting because that’s where the darkest things always happen,” said Scott.

He suggested platform boots in pumpkin orange, extra-oversize sweatshirts sewn through with even more oversize ruffles, graphic trope-y tees and spider-web-studded moto jackets. A relatively subtle dress read “Trick or Chic.” At the finale, a “corpse bride” walked out, holes burned into the hem of her wedding gown. “Vera Wang can't have all the business!” Scott joked.

The show was a little tough to see in the shadows, and the styling was as maxed out as it could be. What really resonated—and thrilled—was the popcorn smack of disruptiveness that Scott brought to the block. We live in a time where it’s almost impossible to get noticed, or, somewhat counterintuitively, we don’t know what will get noticed. Moschino is one of those brands where the viewer is mostly aware of what to anticipate, and this is where Scott so smartly surprised. Nobody saw it coming, and it made for absurd theater, as well as candy-for-thought. Why did he do it? “I mean, it’s always Halloween with me,” he said.

To view on Vogue Runway, please click here.

VOGUE RUNWAY: Maisie Wilen Resort 2020 Review by Nick Remsen

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Maisie Wilen is a new ready-to-wear label from Chicago-born and Los Angeles–based Maisie Schloss. Its surname moniker—Schloss’s mother’s—is pronounced willenand not wylin, as one might phonetically lean. However, during her interview with Vogue Runway—held in advance of a friends-and-family preview at L.A.’s Night Gallery, before the pre-collection relocates to Paris for sales and press later this month—Schloss herself accidentally spoke it as wylin. She laughed, a little dismayed. She was nervous.

Those nerves can melt away for the time being—this designer is onto something. Schloss’s first effort is accessible yet wild-side eclectic, offering a deft mix of art-school flare with disciplined calibration. It either soapily shimmers with ’90s-era euphoria for evening, or stands fortified with strong, salable sportswear for day. It’s not so common to see ideas that are uncompromisingly singular in aesthetic yet broad in appeal. Boiled down: These clothes are going to be popular.

Schloss is a Parsons womenswear alum, and her expertise was furthered while working for Kanye West’s brand, Yeezy. In fact, West is Schloss’s investor. Her startup is reportedly his first venture in what will be a stable of labels—West approached Schloss at Yeezy about a year ago, and she began working independently, with his blessing and bank-rolling, last November. Through an email, West would only say “Maisie has always had a strong perspective and we’re truly pleased with her first collection.” He likely wanted to limit his commentary in order to let his protégé hold the spotlight (or let the designs speak for themselves; Schloss said West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, would be “receiving a box”). It’d be interesting to hear, though, what West specifically saw in Schloss—he’s well-known for his style instincts (and, frankly, his trend-creating). There must have been something he noticed early.

Back to the clothes: Polychrome jersey dresses with raw-cut necklines featured semi-animalistic prints, overlaid with biodynamic ovate blotting. “These are the backbone of the collection,” said Schloss. “The fabric can be printed beautifully. I was looking at gymnastics costumes, and the cut-outs that they have, which look so gestural on the body. And I was also looking at pictures of robotics.” Some tops had loops at the sleeve, which slipped over the middle finger, creating an extended and pointed arm. “I think gymnastics and robots mirror my work well, in that I am systematic and regimented in how I operate, but the outcome looks organic.” Elsewhere, there were paint-by-numbers tees, which will come with Sharpies so that buyers can customize the pieces at will. Additionally, Schloss layered in hyper-cropped and cinched synthetic-coated cotton jersey jackets, perforated knits, and python-patterned separates. At retail, the highest price garment “maxes out around $1,000.”

If there were shades of Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga, they weren’t problematic—Rihanna’s recent Fenty unveiling had those shades, too. Rather, this was Schloss’s distillation of the times at hand, and it’s not exactly an easily definable moment. Is fashion appropriate for political commentary? Is fashion too wasteful? Has fashion gotten too excessive? Does anyone even care about fashion anymore? Whatever one’s take, Maisie Wilen lands as a needed upper—it is serious design with a fun, tangy aftertaste. The outcome: clothes that one wants to wear and to see based solely on desire, detached from the weightiness of the bigger picture. Perhaps this is what West found in Schloss: a fresh start.

To view on Vogue Runway, please click here.

High Snobiety: Wellness via Weed: How dosist Is Becoming the Apple of Cannabis by Nick Remsen

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I’ve had anxiety since before I knew what it meant. As a small child, I bit my nails, and on my 21st birthday — the last time I smoked weed, 10 years ago — I experienced my first panic attack.

When you have anxiety, it grows with you: you age, you stress about health; your professional life evolves, you stress about finances; your family expands, you stress about everyone. It’s constant. I’ve gotten to a point where I’d like to be healthier in how I deal with it. Basically, less Xanax and procrastination and more exercise, meditation… and maybe cannabis. I live in Miami, where regulated cannabis use is now legal, so why not at least think about it?

Enter dosist, the California-based company that recently opened its first brick-and-mortar store-slash-“wellness experience” on Los Angeles’ Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice. Serendipitously, an invite to check out the new space came at exactly the moment I was mulling over alternative ways to tackle my tenseness.

dosist bills itself as a “health and happiness company founded on the premise that cannabis-based medicine can bring healing to the masses.” Since its launch in 2016, dosist’s cannabis compound-containing vaporizer pens have been a massive hit in the Golden State, offered in six formulations: Bliss, Sleep, Calm, Relief, Arouse, and Passion.

You must be 21 or older to buy the products, with dosist taking an ethical 360-degree approach to its business. Its staffers range from scientists to fitness experts and more, and the company practices pesticide-free cultivation, non-volatile extraction methods, and uses recyclable medical-grade plastic to make the pens.

dosist’s health-centric, therapeutic approach sets it apart from other brands producing prefilled cannabis oil cartridges for vapes. Its products aren’t meant to get the user high, but rather target health issues such as anxiety and insomnia through precise doses. With its combination of innovation and aesthetics, dosist could be considered the Apple or Nike of the green rush. In 2016, TIME named the dosist pen one of the top 25 inventions of the year.

“People who come to us are looking for solutions,” says dosist CEO Gunner Winston, standing at the entrance of the brand’s first boutique. Until the store’s opening, dosist products had only been sold through more than 100 external distributors. “Our clients are global citizens. They’re highly productive.” It’s all a world away from the typical stoner stereotype.

The store’s design has a clinical, pristine look but feels more safe than sterile. Ribs of wood add a retro-modern warmth. Each dosist formulation is identifiable via color-coding.

“We’re hoping to build a community, starting here,” says Winston. “Our clients range from super-creative 23-year-olds that know all about the new trends to their moms who live in Pasadena. We’ve created trust, but for people new to the idea of using cannabis for wellness, this place is foremost about education.

“There are so many people focused on the ‘green rush’ right now, and how much money they can make. We’re not about that. We’re here to create a forever company. I almost think it’s more powerful for us that if someone comes here, even if they don’t buy anything, they tell 10 of their friends about it.”

I tell Winston I want to try using cannabis to help curb anxiety, but have a fair amount of trepidation because of what happened last time.

“That’s completely okay,” he says. “You may try it a year from now. We’re not trying to convince, we’re just trying to inform.”

Bliss and Calm are dosist’s bestsellers. Bliss holds a 9:1 THC-to-CBD ratio; Calm clocks in with a reversed 10:1 CBD-to-THC ratio. The pens are sold in dose quantities of 50 or 200 (2.25mg per dose) and vibrate when you’re supposed to stop inhaling. I’m told Calm might be right for me; CBD is non-psychoactive, whereas THC is, meaning the formulation helps relax the user physically without setting their mind racing.

Winston says that as dosist grows, he wants to introduce products other than pens, including tinctures, lotions, edibles, and more.

Later, I text a friend who lives in Venice Beach, asking if she’s ever heard of dosist. “YES,” she replies. “I use Calm all the time.” I also tell my brother about it, and he mentions dosist to his co-workers, some of whom live in California. They unanimously swear by the pens. Celebrities from Adam Scott and Jane Fonda to Diplo and Haim are fans, too.

As for me, I’m still hesitant, but there’s no rush. “We’re breaking down decades of stereotypes and previous experiences that individuals might have had with cannabis,” Winston says. “People often put cannabis users in a box, but we say, ‘No, we’re here to educate you that it could be another solution or partial solution to an ailment.’”

He then adds something I wasn’t expecting: “I’ve heard of people replacing their glass of Chardonnay at night with our pens.” I’m closer to being sold.

To view on High Snobiety, click here.



Garage Magazine: Arty Sportswear Shines In London With These Two On-the-Rise Labels by Nick Remsen

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You know when you were a kid at the pool and someone would inevitably have one of those toy torpedos that you’d try to underwater-throw, at just the right angle, to glide rather than sink? Who’d have guessed the sartorial equivalent of said aquatic playthings would effectively work as the closures on a duffel coat or a raggedy cardigan? These exaggerated, XL-sized accents were one detail that propelled Pronounce—the ascendant label by Yushan Li and Jun Zhou—into London’s heady artful-sportswear zone this season. Their Fall 2019 collection was rife with the sort of sharp consideration one might expect of a duo with the combined educational background of Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion and Milan's Instituto Marangoni.

“The collection was about an abstract concept… a beam of light. We want to celebrate individual spirits,” said Yushan. That singularity and quirkiness was further evinced through muted colors paired with neon pops, oddball geometric faces on vests, and contrast taping along the edges of outerwear with tweaked proportions (including a pseudo-empire-waist parka), all of which gave the (arguably oversaturated) sportswear category an interesting new flex. And while the label, which the duo launched in 2015, is technically split between Shanghai and Milan, Yushan says that London is the pair’s preferred point of exhibition: “It is the best platform. It makes us push ourselves to present at the highest level, converting what we are thinking in the moment.”

Another relative newcomer to look for in this arena is C2H4, founded in 2014 by Shanghai-born Yixi Chen. Its moniker has an accidentally scientific origin story: “Yixi,” while a name, is also the sound of the word for the compound Ethylene, the chemical symbol for which is C2H4. Apparently Ethylene has a “sweet and musky” smell, but the label, if one were to define it as such, lets off a far more acrid and metallic odor. Fall’s smoky, icy, steely palette was paneled into ultra-technical parkas, anoraks, shorts and even a boiler-suit.

Yixi’s vision of sportswear was more expected—something, in a way, of a futuristic sailing uniform—but nonetheless intriguing. And that’s a big takeaway from London after this past weekend: tracksuits and sports-inflected gear are old hat, but designers are now finding ways to subvert the genre to procure something that’s a bit more compelling. It won’t always look “new”—there are some referential bits in both of these collections that will remind ardent viewers of collections past and elsewhere—but new in this sense might be near impossible to achieve at this point. Rather, it’s the subtle, edited differentiations that are still giving sportswear its kick… and these labels are two very much worth zooming in on.

To view on GARAGE, click here.

Vogue Runway: Martine Rose Spring/Summer 2019 Menswear Review by Nick Remsen

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There’s something to be said about the sense of joyful—and not trauma-catalyzed, like in the U.S.—communal vignettes coming out of the U.K. lately. Broadscale, we all know: The marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was the spectacle of all spectacles, but it was arguably more enjoyable given the ebullient public inclusion on display (watched, in the end, by nearly 2 billion people worldwide). Tonight, for Martine Rose’s Spring show, a tiny family street located in a neighborhood called Chalk Farm had a much smaller yet fundamentally similar feeling: Rose staged her runway on a cul-de-sac called St. Leonard’s Square, and its residents were invited to sit with fashion editors and VIPs. One man parked himself in the front row, his three granddaughters giddy at his side, clutching stuffed animals and sitting on the asphalt in an awestruck huddle. Another group drank red wine in their garden, happy to let the scene play out while enjoying the last rays of a warm summer Sunday. Virgil Abloh and Luka Sabbat were there, too. It was eclectic and pleasant to witness. The same can predominantly be said of the clothes. They were—the whole experience was—“a bit of a love letter, really, to London,” said Rose.

This designer is right up at the top of menswear’s most influential (note, she has worked with Demna Gvasalia as a consultant on Balenciaga’s men’s line). And her natural élan—she’s incredibly unpretentious—seems to deliver these unicorn items that you’ve never considered, and then, suddenly, consider obsessively. For Spring, this roster ran long: DIY-style jeans with metal O-rings looped down the outer seams; denim-track pant hybrids; really good oddball outerwear like Rose’s signature doctored jackets (leopard and denim, in a vintage-store-find kind of way); and a grossly good Hawaiian shirt series.

Rose’s latest may have also been a weather vane pointing toward a more psychedelic, speedier space. A space that’s a little dirtier, in a good way. The ’90s as a trend is not new, but there was a roughened richness, a sense of unboxed nostalgia, that recalled the designer’s musical youth in particular. “The rave scene, drum and bass, U.K. garage . . .” she listed. She also tapped into something slightly earlier: ’80s-era “Wide Boy” culture, with square-toed shoes and big old leather coats. And as “The Only One I Know” by The Charlatans and “Funky Punk” by Dillinger filled the annex, beers in hand and cigarettes swinging, Rose’s intent appeared accomplished. “We’re all going through a bit of a funny time at the minute, and I think we’re in need of a bit of love.”

To view on Vogue Runway, click here

Vogue Runway: Saint Laurent Spring/Summer 2019 Menswear Review by Nick Remsen

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In 1978, Yves Saint Laurent threw a party to fete the launch of his Opium fragrance. It was held on a ship docked at New York City’s South Street Seaport and featured a giant bronze Buddha and thousands of orchids flown in from Hawaii. Forty years later, on a chilly June night in 2018, Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello hosted an impressive, ultra-modernized pseudo-version of that event across the Hudson in New Jersey’s Liberty State Park to present his Spring 2019 men’s collection. In lieu of tropical lushness were thousands of square feet of shiny black gridded marble trussed 14 feet in the air (thanks to the engineering powers of Bureau Betak). In place of Nan Kempner, Truman Capote, and Cher sat Lauryn Hill and her daughter Selah Marley, Kate Moss, and Travis Scott. And while the house has adapted a certain element of super-slick provocation, at least in terms of presentation (Vaccarello’s recent Paris shows have afforded million-dollar views of a sparkling Eiffel Tower), the clothes on view tonight were what tied the generations together; they comprised a smartly pitched blend, full of references to the ’70s, but revelry-ready as ever for the late 2010s.

Vaccarello said he wanted to represent “the idea of New York, the idea of the icons of New York in the ’70s.” Parts of that were Studio 54 in verve: the diamanté shirt placket on Look 1, gold trim on a peaked double-breasted blazer a little later. But more so, it was the dive-ier Max’s Kansas City that sprung to mind—full of the sort of dirty glamour that has proven itself an immortal style, in Spring’s case with distressed denim hoodies, patchworked boots, and show-stealing high-waisted, boot-cut trousers with just a slightly amplified flare at the kick. Vaccarello noted that these were new. His accessories were also noteworthy and novel, and included boat hats (fitting given the scene, with ferries and Boston Whalers scuttling by) and tossed-on and tangled necklaces. So still indulgent and wild, but with just the right amount of polish (needed in an age where nearly nothing, even in the gloaming after-hours, goes unnoticed).

And then there was the finale—and it wasn’t just the standard lap. Far from it, actually. Every model came out artfully bathed in disco-ball silver body paint. Body glitter is usually associated nowadays with music festivals, but in the moment tonight, no such thought occurred. This was a “different interpretation of evening couture, for men, without having volume,” said Vaccarello, and indeed, the treatment lent a shine of ultra-glam masculinity that felt very on brand and also somehow . . . right. As in: sexy and now and liberated, but literally painted across the tenets of a fortified, fabulous legacy.

To view on Vogue Runway, click here

Vogue Runway: Dolce & Gabbana Take Over Rockefeller Center’s Rainbow Room for a Dazzling Alta Sartoria Show by Nick Remsen

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“We’re looking at New York with Italian eyes,” said Dolce & Gabbana’s Domenico Dolce at a preview of the company’s Spring 2018 Alta Sartoria collection early Saturday morning. What would follow about 12 hours later at Rockefeller Center (where, just a few floors away, Cardi B was getting ready to perform on Saturday Night Live—and finally confirm her pregnancy), was the middle wedge of Dolce & Gabbana’s takeover of Gotham this weekend; on Friday, the house unveiled its latest highest-end jewelry at the New York Public Library, and on Sunday evening, it reveals Alta Moda, its uppermost womenswear component. Of Sartoria, the duo said it was not difficult to show this far away from their Milanese headquarters—they compared getting everything and everyone here to getting the whole operation to Naples (the Italian, not Floridian, city). When you have their reach, dollars, and fandom, that claim makes obtuse sense.

Dolce, and brand partner Stefano Gabbana, count excellent marketing skills among their many talents, and their Alta Sartoria presentation (clocking in at 103 looks, all walked out to the crooning of the legendary Liza Minnelli) was primarily crafted to woo VIP clients—the international ultra-spenders who alighted at Rockefeller Center’s gloriously worn-in Rainbow Room decked to the nines in their Dolce sequins and their Gabbana florals. The couturiers know that the added spectacle of an intimate salon is the hook-line-and-sinker icing on the moneymaking cake. Editors and press also know this, and happily settled into second- and third-row seats, content to let the pageant do its duty: sell.

And sell so much of it will. Dolce & Gabbana’s appeal is that it does not produce head-scratching stuff—the inspirations are literal and novel, and ages young to old can appreciate their interpretations. In last night’s case, New York motifs like the Flatiron Building, the Art Deco lines and curves of the Chrysler Building and midtown’s Fuller Building, the skyline overall, baseball and basketball, the New York Times, and more found their forms as prints on silk shirts and robes or as exquisite beading and sequins on suits and street-ier elements like tees, crewnecks, and hoodies. There’s yet further magnetism in that Dolce & Gabbana straddles the hairline-thin line of fashion and costume—they thrive just fractions to the left, on the fashion side, while still allowing the performative to cascade like diamonds from a knocked-over jewelry box, or flowers from a tipped vase. There’s a reason those clients, and celebrities including Nick Jonas, Trevor Noah, and Steve Harvey, compulsively applaud when a Louisville Slugger–style baseball bat, weightily allover studded with crystals, entered the rotunda.

This being Alta Sartoria, the most extraordinary pieces of the evening fell in the eveningwear category. Soft alligator shawl-collar jackets, an Aurelian-flowered robe over matching trousers, and razor-sharp tailcoats and suits with further crystal embellishments, in all white, all black, or all apple red, all garnered praise. Dolce and Gabbana really know how to cut a sexy-as-hell suit, even if it’s throwing off light beams more in line with a Las Vegas magic show than a New York night on the town. Minnelli, nonambulatory due to an ankle injury, mentioned over and over again that the men looked fabulous. “Oh boy, wow. He wears that when he gets up. As he should,” she said of one, sounding like she was going to faint.

Back in their prep station earlier that day, Gabbana noted: “In Italy, when somebody says something about money, we say, ‘Do you think you’re a Rockefeller?’ ” (Cue the Alta Sartoria location.) Dolce clarified: “Tonight is the new Rockefeller guy. The new dream.” To that, Minnelli’s “Money,” her hit from Cabaret, was apropos; it’s an attainable fantasy for only a very few, but in the Dolce & Gabbana ecosystem—designers, supporters, makers (a great number of which were also over from Italy)—there’s no stealth-wealth factor. The shared pulse of this particular world is: If you’ve got it, flaunt it, and wear tube-beaded slippers and a fur sweater with intarsia stars, and—why not?—a dusty pink fur officer’s coat on top for good measure. There’s a kind of magic in that confidence, and, beyond it all and because of such, New York’s lights in the background seemed to twinkle with extra vim and vigor last night.

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Vogue Runway: Exclusive: Moschino and H&M Are Collaborating—And Out in Palm Springs, Jeremy Scott Might Be Having His Best Coachella Yet by Nick Remsen

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This past Thursday, Moschino’s Jeremy Scott posted an Instagram image of himself and Lindsay Lohan from the mid-2000s, stating that it was an “annual #tbt Coachella picture.”

To those who remember—daresay cherish, definitely miss—that era, it was a combined “aww” slash “sigh” moment. In the photo, Lohan is the peak-of-her-fame starlet, a striking beauty with a golden Californian élan; Scott is the popular party boy, nightlife long being a mainstay of his singular, surreal-Pop aesthetic. It garnered a higher than average amount of likes for the designer—and, in some ways, as Scott notes, the snap represents “the good old days.” But, over a late sun-soaked lunch at the perennially scene-y Parker Palm Springs on Friday, he also mentions that a new wave of good days is back: Vogue can exclusively reveal that Moschino, the Italian label headed by Scott, is the Swedish mega-brand H&M’s newest collaboration partner. The line, called Moschino [tv] H&M, will drop on November 8; the news was announced late Saturday night, with a little help from Gigi Hadid, at Scott’s 11th annual party held around the Coachella music festival. Might we have expected a Lohan cameo, then, to bring it all full circle? “If she was here, I would’ve heard from her,” he says with a laugh.

That’s true. Scott is a designer of celebrity status; he has millions of fans, many of whom are also friends. Before lunch, Pixie Geldof and the designer Ashley Williams stopped by his house (a John Lautner original that, after this weekend, is undergoing a six-month fix-up); during lunch, one of Scott’s “way back” pals, the DJ Pedro Winter, says hello; after lunch, after parting ways, this writer is taking notes and waiting for his Uber in the lobby as a group of early-twentysomethings enter. One says: “Wait, you guys, that was Jeremy Scott.”

Therein lies the smartness—and foreseeable power—of this collaboration; even though he designs and sells clothes in the luxury sector, Scott is at his core a creator that’s not so interested in exclusivity. Of getting back to a wider reach: “I no longer do my collaboration line with Adidas, and sadly, until now, I haven’t really had another way to service the fandom,” he says. “This collaboration makes me feel like I’m able to give something again. Lots of young people love my clothes . . . and we make phone cases and little things like that, but in order to have a lewk, I love that this is now something that will be affordable.”

It’s a point often made by high-end designers with these types of linkups, but Scott’s sentiment is extra palpable; he’s literally beaming in the desert. And with the prices in Moschino [tv] H&M ranging from approximately $25 to $300, the effect is, ostensibly, the opening of the door to the party; no guest list, no velvet rope, just merrymaking with Moschino panache. The collection includes womenswear and menswear, as well as a few other as-yet-to-be-divulged components. “There’s a silver sequined parka dress,” says Scott. “Denim pieces are all twisted into something else. Puffers and jackets are reconfigured into cropped things or double-long things. There’s a sportswear-with-evening kind of feeling, like a hockey jersey with a train.” He also flags a CD print, which is “archival from Franco [Moschino]. Sometimes I reconfigure something from the history, but sometimes it’s perfect as is.”

Also, admirers of Scott’s iconic and Insta-famous biker-jacket bag, which broke the fashion Internet when it was released a few years ago, are in for a pleasant surprise: “We’re doing the tiniest biker bag ever. I love it. It could be a necklace. It could just hold a lighter, or nothing. I tried it for Moschino, but we didn’t produce it, and I was like, ‘She’s the one that gets to come back.’ ” He then adds: “I do have to be thoughtful, though, of the differences. It’s a little puzzle. How do I give you the elements and the look and the feeling of Moschino, but how do I not wreck the mother ship while doing it?”

On Saturday morning, in the retro-plush lobby of the Riviera Palm Springs, H&Mcreative advisor Ann-Sofie Johansson is going over the details. “For womenswear, it’s around 45 pieces, plus accessories—in this case there are quite a lot of accessories, because he’s so good at them. Menswear is around 20 pieces, plus accessories as well.”

She then pauses. “You know, this collaboration in particular—it really is this twinkle in the eye, so to speak. The fun of fashion. There’s so much energy—it puts a smile on your face.” Scott got to that point at The Parker. “I think the biggest success I can have as a designer is for people to wear my clothes, have fun in them, take pictures and make memories in them, and to not be too precious.” If he didn’t have too much fun at Saturday night’s bash, he was planning to go see his friend Cardi B perform on Sunday—all no doubt adding up to another highlight reel in his storied Coachella history. Does he have a favorite? “Other than Lindsay being in my arms, there’s something . . . well, I’ve had so many Coachellas. This one, though, is especially exciting.”

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V MAGAZINE: V Is For Vail! by Nick Remsen

Vail

Approaching Eagle—the Coloradan city, with a regional airport that’s just a 30 minute drive from Vail—can at first confound. Especially so in a winter that has had less than optimal snow conditions. Where is the picturesque peppered-white valley landscape? Where are the surrounding majestic peaks? From an airplane window—my window, an American Airlines 757 from Miami to be exact (and yes, there’s a direct flight from Miami to Eagle during peak seasons, marginally surprisingly), it all looked a little… well, dull. 

But that changes as you drive east, ascending gradually into the Vail region. This geography is North America’s equivalent of South America’s Southern Andes or France’s Alps; big, bold, beautiful. And, here, Vail’s promise is one of the biggest, boldest, and most beautiful—especially its gigantic back bowls, of which there are seven. It is a massive complex, and its operation is impressive; I didn’t have excellent snow conditions, but the skiing was superb, all the same. 

Though the season is nearing its end, there is still time to book a last minute spring trip, if interested. Furthermore, there’s plenty to do in Vail during the summer, including biking, hiking, fly-fishing, zip-lining and more. But no matter your preference, let this miniature V Guide to Vail serve as a reference point for whenever you may go—and take it from this “intermediate-advanced” skier, someone who has hit the slopes from Stratton to Deer Valley to Bariloche, there’s something extra charismatic about this singular, gigantic place (which, in fact, stretches six skiable miles from end to end).

Where To Stay:

The Hotel Talisa, which reopened in late 2017 after an extensive renovation and rebrand, still has that new-property gloss, but, at the same time, it’s instantly comfortable. Like a big, finished den. It must be the bones of the old place, which was known as the Vail Cascade Resort. It’s not “lodge”-like, but rather, a contemporary homage to the history of its setting, which holds an ever-gurgling creek. (“Talisa” means “beautiful water.”) Dogs are welcome on the property; guests, fresh from the brand new spa, which literally just opened last week, pad across the lobby in their robes and slippers while après-ski cookies are handed out in the living room foyer. Hotel Talisa is set to be part of Starwood’s The Luxury Collection branch; it’s its own distinct entity, and it’s worth its per night price tag. Western inspired art, including a cooly graphic carpet scheme that geometrically evokes flowing river water, rounds out the aesthetic factor. But, the best part about Hotel Talisa is that it is "ski-in, ski-out"—with a lift at its side-door, and a ticket-office and rental podium on site. Also, finally, a tip: request room 177—it’s on the ground floor, and has a cozy, railroad layout, with a separate seating area for working or, simply, resting your feet after a long day of down-hilling. 

Where To Eat and Drink:

Almresi is a great new Bavarian-inspired restaurant in Vail Village. Ironically, it has a semi-tropical vibe; jolts of color can be seen throughout the room, the bar feels pseudo-beach-like, in a way, and polychrome flowers adorn its logo. I see nothing wrong with a dash of Hawaiian-ness to an otherwise German-Austrian atmosphere. The beer, naturally, is great, and the service is impeccable. A must have—seriously, go out of your way for it—the salmon filet, which arrives wrapped in a sheet of cedar wood. It is memorably delicious. 

As far as après-ski goes, Vail’s, while prominent, seems to be more of a beer and boots-off kind of thing (as opposed to European après, which is more rosé and Gucci loafers). There’s a bit of it all, though—but, for the classics, go to The Red Lion or Pepi’s Bar.

Where To Shop:

Vail is wealthy, no doubt, and it attracts a monied clientele. Branded shops abound, but with a lot of stuff you can purchase elsewhere. For something specific to the place, go to Axel’s. This family-owned trading post makes it own clothing—of some of the finest leathers and cashmeres around—for a look that can be described as Western-relaxed-luxe-lived-in-chic. Axel’s does also carry other top-tier labels, like Kiton and Massimo Alba, but go for something made by the family. Like, perhaps, Axel’s “Argentina” blouse or its “Modena” navy blazer. (I'm thinking about ordering the latter.)

Where To Ski or Board:

The Back Bowls, over and over and over again, without question. Sun Down Bowl is full, jaw-dropping even, with nice, wide black diamonds; China Bowl has a bit easier blues for those looking for trails that are a little less steep. Another favorite: Blue Sky Basin, Vail’s highest point at 11,460 feet. Here, we like the trails named “Champagne Glade” (black diamond) and “In The Wuides” (blue square). Remember: drink a ton of water before and during your time here. Altitude sickness is a thing, but it’s amenable with H20, Tylenol for the headache, and, if desperate, portable oxygen tanks back at the hotel. Enjoy! 

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Vogue Runway: Philipp Plein Fall/Winter 2018 Review by Nick Remsen

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Philipp Plein’s shtick is tired. And this is coming from a writer who generally gives the man the benefit of the doubt, and who often kind-of-sort-of likes what Plein does. Not today.

Plein’s shows (now combining women’s and men’s) start late, that’s a given, and it’s forgivable, as they turn into parties as soon as they’ve concluded. And, another given, the shows trump the clothes, always. So be it, such is his thing. But the way he executed tonight’s staging came across as so bloated and wasteful, it left more than the irritation caused by airborne flecks of plastic snow, which coated the entire floor. Here’s the general rundown: A bulldozer plowed through a gigantic wall of foil boulders, filling the room with weed smoke, whereby two snow-bikes revved around. Then Migos performed. Then a robot came out and asked people if they were wearing Philipp Plein. Then Irina Shayk emerged from a UFO. Then the robot and Irina Shayk walked around while “Fly Me to the Moon” thudded from the speakers. She didn’t look over the moon about it. Then, finally, the clothes surfaced—apocalyptic-futuristic mountain sportswear, including skis and snowboards—and everyone continued to walk around until they convened for a super awkward dance party while another musical performance ensued. It was formulaic, predicated on Plein’s own game that intends to splash but never quite does, and it was especially long. It’s time to switch it up.

However, entirely remove the performative and one was left with some savvy sections, like sneakers and bags that had moving LED banners. That was clever. Likewise, elements of the ski-and-snowboard part; bedazzled goggles, for example, fit with Plein’s more-is-more penchant. They’ll find buyers. And maybe the criticisms don’t matter, and maybe Plein is making as much money as he claims, enough to support yet another multimillion dollar production such as tonight’s. It just seems evermore dubious and cavalier and . . . it’s old.

To view on Vogue Runway, click here

Vogue Runway: Band of Outsiders Fall/Winter 2018 Review by Nick Remsen

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There was a happy dissonance at tonight’s unveiling of Band of Outsiders’s Fall collection, which marked creative lead Daniel Hettmann and designer Angelo van Mol’s third effort for the label.

Picture: the grand Neoclassical courtyard of Somerset House, filled with mulled cider–sipping attendees waiting under the thrum of “Jungle Boogie,” which played over the speakers. In the middle of that atrium was a skating rink (Somerset House keeps it open to the public throughout the season), which Band of Outsiders took over to host its unconventional . . . let’s say, skateway show. As more disco music kicked up, a mix of hockey players and figure skaters took to the arena in what was Hettmann and Van Mol’s best collection yet—full of idiosyncratic but wearable pieces, and well edited in terms of continuity and cohesiveness. It brought to mind all sorts of pleasant memories: skating on frozen ponds in New England as a kid; watching my dad play hockey; listening to “Brick House” on repeat in elementary school, Soul Train, the extraordinary I, Tonya. If anyone is worried about the dissonance outlined, don’t be—remember that Scott Sternberg’s BOO was recognized as having dorky East Coast prep and aspirational California surf vibes, in tandem.

Emboldened by colors self-named as Verbier Grey and Telluride Red, among others, the athletes flew by in long-john track pants, camouflage-pattern cords, shearling jackets with multi-tonal neck tabs, and what Hettman called “loosened up” suiting. Each did a little freestyle, and somehow, the clothes looked at home on the ice—adding credence to their direct winter sport (or simply wintry) inspiration (there were lots of prints of skiers and polar bears). One highlight was a collaboration with Stutterheim, the Swedish raincoat manufacturer. The piece—rubbery navy, with thin white lines banding its cuffs and angling across its hem—brought a few oohs and aahs from the crowd. And, one last point: Though the winter theme was about as direct and obvious as it could have been, Hettman and Van Mol were able to make it fun, especially so with the help of their staging. It might’ve even slightly warmed LaVona Fay Golden’s icy heart.

To view on Vogue Runway, click here

Vogue Runway: Palomo Spain Spring/Summer 2018 Review by Nick Remsen

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How to describe a Palomo Spain show? It is, altogether, highly intimate—akin to the largely lost practice of salon presentations—utterly mad, fearlessly proud, and, foremost, emotional. A young man who walked—wearing a periwinkle bouclé jacket with bunched Bermuda shorts and knee-high, heeled boots—evinced as much, as tears dappled his makeup during the finale.

Alejandro Gómez Palomo’s label caught the American market’s eye when the designer brought it to New York last February. Back then, he was an outlier that few had heard of locally. But soon, he started garnering attention: Who was this sensitive Spaniard who operates somewhere in the flowery ether between costume and camp, debutante and drag, and couture and cross-dressing? And, to that point about his material, questions arose: Does it even matter what the distinction is? Should a distinction be made? Putting it on the line—men in women’s clothing—sounds and reads outdated, but, such is what much of Palomo Spain does. The designer’s purpose and point, though—and this was further proven by his Spring 2018 show tonight in Madrid—is that gender binarism (or any form of self-identification therein) really doesn’t and shouldn’t matter when someone is enjoying themselves at the party. If a person who sees himself as a man wants to dress up in a Montana- or Mugler-esque suit with fuck-me boots and a red lip, let him and love it. Likewise, if a woman wants to wear this “menswear” brand—as Beyoncé did in her Instagram revelation of her new twins, now with over 10.2 million likes—she will do so fantastically.

Beyoncé’s publicity helped, but even without it, Palomo Spain was growing on its own—and Spring demonstrated that Palomo can move, not always perfectly but certainly with narrative clout, within the niche that he’s opened. The theme this season was "Hotel Palomo," which took over Madrid’s actual Hotel Wellington. Postcards accompanying the show notes featured lobby-art drawings by Jordi Labanda—the kind of fabulous cue that what was to follow was going to be decadent and delirious in the way that only a hotel can make you feel (the transience, the secrets, the potentially suggestive eye-contacts, and the resultant one-night stands). And definitely tawdry.

What resulted was a borderline Wes Andersonian, sometimes Prada-ish romp through a once-grand old inn, its ghosts still looking for sex and trouble, its devastatingly beautiful twin bellmen swinging their keys provocatively. There was a towel series; Jacob Bixenman wore a one-shouldered toga while another model yawned in a headpiece mimicking the terry swans that honeymooners sometimes find on their beds. Robes transitioned to twinsets, which then moved to long dresses—some with metallic patinas—to blazers, flamenco ruffles, and loads of illusion gowns. (Worth noting: Much of Palomo’s fabrics are vintage and the designer and his team know how to work them—everything looked very well made.) Rossy de Palma danced in a sultry wrap dress lined in thick, dusty feathers—a glorious vision of a more glorious time. Perhaps it was fitting that Lindsay Lohan sat front row. Though not of the same era, she was the queen of her zeitgeist, and that Palomo was able to communicate a kind of perverse nostalgia (or possibly even upbeat sadness) through all of this variety and vividness—and then surround it with yet more of it—was impressive.

The final outcome was something that also sparked thoughts of The Shining; Poconos’ love motels with martini-glass hot tubs; and the girls (or boys) who didn’t quite get to debut at the Crillon and had to settle for their own, less elite (but no less glam, in the end) rungs on the social ladder. With his storytelling capabilities—and his openness and bravery, really—Palomo stands pretty much in his own corner of fashion right now. Even if you write his work off as costume or kitsch, there are at least guts and struggle and heart stacked deep behind that surface. Watch him closely.

To view on Vogue Runway, click here

Vogue Runway: Brandon Maxwell Spring/Summer 2018 Review by Nick Remsen

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What Brandon Maxwell does well, he does very well. His heart—and it’s a big heart—is 100% invested in what he does, and he celebrates not only the beauty of the women he dresses, but also the camaraderie. He eats pizza with his models before his shows. He spends as much time with his mother and his sisters as he can. And, through that, he listens.

Spring was his best collection to date. Maxwell’s label is still young, and in the year and a half or so since he’s been in stores, his codes have been somewhat predictable—formal, evening, luxe-but-clean glam, the works. Spring shifted that. There was far more color, significantly more day or cocktail wear—the perfect crisp white button-down, fabulous with a capital F animal costume earrings made in collaboration with a jewelry line called Lunch at the Ritz by Zander Elliot, and even denim, which Maxwell originally swore to George Cortina, his stylist, that he’d never do (you can take the boy out of Texas…). But perhaps most importantly, there was a buoyancy that enlivened the low-lit chambers of New York’s famed Doubles Club beneath the Sherry-Netherland. The point: Maxwell is the happiest he’s ever been, he said backstage after the show. “In the past six months, I’ve enjoyed my life for the first time as an adult,” he added.

An emotional rollercoaster brought him to that place; after last season, his grandmother passed away unexpectedly, but two weeks later, he got engaged. The down-and-up of that dual experience catalyzed a kind of come-to-peace moment. “Maybe I am never going to be that ‘big thing,’ but I can be that big thing to myself,” Maxwell said.

And creatively, clear-headedly, he blossomed—formality remained to a degree, but variance emerged. Gigi Hadid opened the show in a belted pink blazer and cigarette jeans (cigarette and bootleg shapes are Maxwell’s best-selling trousers—it made sense to do them in denim)—it was Dallas-chic in the best way. The show progressed with a primary color-centric palette, mixed with pale pinks and signature noirs and whites, along pin-tucked and flirty dresses, or pleated gowns—sportive on top and flowing in the skirt. Maxwell offered embroidered suits, low-cut dresses, flared-sleeve jumpers, vaporous angora sweaters, and more. Basically, something for every woman, or at least every woman who likes to dress up, get her hair done and wear her lipstick bright (another source of inspiration—this was the image upon which Maxwell “was raised.”) “I wanted to give something that our customer could wear to work, or to her friend’s house on the weekend,” he said.

At show’s end, a platinum haired Karlie Kloss exited in a ball-skirt with an equine-motif brocade. I Instagrammed it, and within a few minutes, a friend messaged back saying “I want to re-do my wedding, and I want to wear what Karlie’s wearing.” Insta-validation, from the public itself, in near real time.

Optimism and improved mental health served Maxwell to great effect tonight, and the evening had an added bonus: to help contribute to Hurricane Harvey’s repair funds in his home state, the designer auctioned off two tickets for guests to attend his show, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Houston Food Bank. The warmth of that gesture, plus the strong lineup, amplified Spring into something fuller. “The most honest thing to say,” Maxwell said, “is that my life has become more colorful. I will go home tonight and I am going to be very happy.” Well-deserved, sir.

To view on Vogue Runway, click here

Condé Nast Traveler: What To Wear In Hawaii by Nick Remsen

Getting There.

Getting There.

On The Beach.

On The Beach.

A Night On The Town.

A Night On The Town.

Though they unfolded in London, Paris, Florence, and Milan, the menswear shows for Spring/Summer 2018 had a common place in mind: Hawaii. Ermanno Scervino had graphic intarsia palm trees on sweaters, and Craig Green had geometric palms, birds, and mountains on capes. At Louis Vuitton, Kim Jones gave us a techno-fied version of the typical floral Hawaiian shirt, while Demna Gvasalia gave us the same at Balenciaga, but in a most everyday way.

The thing is, there’s a big difference between Hawaii-inspired style and what to actually wear in, say, Honolulu. You don’t wear a Hawaiian shirt in Hawaii. Rather, the look is an off-hand beach-chic—an aesthetic that mirrors the cosmopolitan place Honolulu has evolved to be in recent years. (Yes, there’s much more than Cheesecake Factories and throngs of sunburned tourists on Waikiki Beach.)

With that in mind, we put together a mini-style guide for three newsy (or just plain nice) scenarios regarding Honolulu. Check out our tips, below.

To view on Condé Nast Traveler, click here

Vogue.com: Fiji’s Coral Coast Promises a Glimpse at Local Life—And Unspoiled, Breathtaking Nature by Nick Remsen

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There are reasons to visit Fiji, I’ve learned, beyond the postcard-ready beach vignettes and the sun-soaked appeal usually associated with the tropics (these aspects, as travelers know, can be found in locations much closer to the U.S. than the Fijian Islands, which are some 10-plus hours by plane from Los Angeles).

First and foremost, it’s the people. Fijians are disarmingly and memorably kind, which took me a bit by surprise, especially coming from New York and double especially coming from a country where frustration and exasperation seem to tick upward by the day if not hour. In Fiji, most everyone greets you with a whole-hearted “bula!,” which is a phrase that essentially means “hello!” but that can also be interchangeably used as “cheers” or to mark other moments of ebullient expression. Get used to saying “bula,” because you will say it a hundred or more times if and when you visit.

There’s also a palpable, emotional sense of pride one gets in talking with Fijians; driving through Sigatoka, a town on the southern side of Viti Levu, Fiji’s “main” island that holds both its capital, Suva, and its largest international point of entry, Nadi (pronounced “Nandi”), our driver remarked on the area’s high concentration of talented rugby players. He then went on to pause, before saying, reverently, that Fiji had won its first ever medal at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro—gold, in, of course, rugby. That day was declared a national holiday in Fiji.

But it boils down to more than that. I met a man named Solo, who works for the Nanuku Auberge Resort, located a couple of kilometers past Sigatoka en route to Suva, on Viti Levu’s southern Coral Coast. He spoke with excitement and gusto of what Fiji is becoming, of what its potential may be, after the country reinstated democratic practices in 2014 (eight years before that, a military coup had seized control of Fiji’s government). Begrudgingly but with a twinkle in his eye, he mentioned foreign investments, a growing global interest and presence on the island, and, I think, he secretly felt excited about it. Yet then again, as we drove to Suva one day, he spoke not of infrastructure and industry but of kava roots and tarot leaves and the red earth that you can see in cutaways in the distance, or the beautiful African tulip tree flowers that pepper the landscape. Once you learn these blooms are actually invasive, it’s a reminder of the perils that small island nations face. Solo, among others, was not happy about President Trump’s stance on climate change.

And all of the above isn’t to say that the people necessarily override the natural splendor of Fiji; rather, they enhance it. If you can find them, there are lagoons so thick with coconut palms and mangrove roots and climbing vines and wild orchids that you’d think you were in a time long extinct, the time when the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman first crashed upon Fiji’s teeming reefs. Starfish are the color of warm skies at midnight; sea snakes, banded in silver and shimmering black, wriggle towards the soft cyan sea. As Solo said, at the end of the day, “Fiji is, you know, the heart of the Pacific.”

Here, a photo guide, lensed by the Mexico City–based photographer Marco Bochicchio, of Viti Levu and its Coral Coast area.

To view on Vogue.com, click here

VOGUE RUNWAY: Gosha Rubchinskiy Spring/Summer 2018 Review by Nick Remsen

January in Kaliningrad this was not. Despite being, geographically, a mere 513 miles to the northeast, this was far, far from the westernmost Russian city where Moscow-born Gosha Rubchinskiy showed his Fall 2017 collection. St. Petersburg in summer’s ascent is sublime: Surging rivers ribbon their way through the old streets, the teal-and-gold livery of the Winter Palace gleams under a sun that scarcely sets, and lilacs pierce the open-air paths of Isaakievskaya Ploshchad. It is fantastical in scale, library thick in lore, and crisp despite the humidity from the nearby Gulf of Finland—enough to partially cure, say, the hangover of a red-eye haul from New York to Helsinki followed by a cramped puddle jump to Pulkovo Airport.

Of course, St. Petersburg is a city with much greater and grander a history than Kaliningrad. Rubchinskiy was particularly interested in its somewhat more recent legacies of two divergent categories: football and electronica. Regarding football, it is acknowledged that soccer first took hold in Russia via St. Petersburg. During the late 19th century, British merchants began to popularize the sport here. It was the Brits who founded Russia’s very first football association, the St. Petersburg Football Club, in 1879. The Russians followed in 1897 with their own official debut group: the Kruzhok Liubiteley Sporta, or, translated, the “Circle of Sport Lovers.” Fast-forward 121 years, and Russia will be hosting the 21st FIFA World Cup in 2018. The event has inspired Rubchinskiy to bring his collection home and ink a collaboration partnership with Adidas, which debuted in Kaliningrad and carried on this evening in St. Petersburg. Next season will also be shown in Russia, in a yet-to-be-decided city—though, the designer admits, it won’t be Moscow.

As for electronica, Rubchinskiy is an ardent fan of Timur Novikov, the artist and Warholian peterburzhec credited with creating the first Russian rave just before the USSR’s collapse. Tonight’s show venue—the Communication Workers’ House of Culture on Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa—reportedly hosted St. Petersburg’s first-ever such event in 1989. Rubchinskiy picked the spot to invoke the “ghosts” of revelers past—an especially freewheeling, experimental crowd partying deep into the fading (and post-) Soviet night. “Football, music, nightlife, fashion—all help to unite people,” said Rubchinskiy, borderline reverentially, of his broader thinking.

The clothes, self-described as a “mix of sportswear with a nightclub rave feeling,” managed to blend Rubchinskiy’s fountainheads effectively; this collection had significant range and guaranteed general appeal, despite its subtly (but specifically) anthemic notes to its host city. This is the designer’s most valuable strength: He has, more acutely of late but throughout his nine-year career (yes, he’s been in business that long), used Russia as source material but given it a salable, globally naïf lean. Just don’t call it the “Eastern Bloc look,” anymore (more on this in a moment).

Rubchinskiy unveiled yet another collaboration, this time with Burberry, to pay respects to the football “heritage” the British instituted so very long ago. (This aspect also further added to the more tailored and dressier elements that first surfaced last season.) Burberry’s Christopher Bailey sat smiling in the front row. The best in the series was a bichrome trench, half khaki and half black, with the house’s signature tawny plaid lining its collar; perfectly Burberry, perfectly Gosha. The Adidas linkup provided full kits, ready for the pitch, replete with shin guard socks as well as strappy new sneakers. And the clubbier pieces included acid-bright tops with sicko sicko ’90s iconography and motifs (including a great reworking of Rubchinskiy’s name in Cyrillic), hot pink track pants, barely there tanks, and even a flak vest with room for a water bottle—for when morning inevitably rolls around but the party is still going. There were also hats made by Stephen Jones for Burberry for Rubchinskiy, including a baseball cap, as well as a collaboration with Retrosuperfuture on throwback shades. (Sometimes one couldn’t tell the difference between the main line and a collaborative branch—not that that’s a bad thing, as all of it looked good together.) Laughing, Rubchinskiy said: “There’s a lot of collaborating, but it all tells the story.”

A story that was, at the end of the white night, pretty damn convincing. This was an energized Rubchinskiy—maybe even optimistic—and while it meandered from direct sportswear to mismatched striped or plaid suiting (sometimes with a smart double-belt styling trick), it felt confident and it felt current. Yes, the raving bits were based on a post-Soviet headspace, but generally, the Rubchinskiy look is now something a bit less nail-on-the-head and a bit more freewheeling: Kids will be kids, no matter where they are in the world, and if they want to wear neon track pants and a batwing hoodie, they’re going to say fuck off if you tell them otherwise. And that’s, essentially, the message: There was a lot of spunk and grit—pride, really—in this collection, and it was well earned.

To view on Vogue Runway, click here. 

VOGUE.COM: Sugar High–Moschino and Candy Crush Are Launching a Capsule Collection at Coachella by Nick Remsen

Even if you haven’t downloaded Candy Crush Saga, you’ve no doubt heard of it. The five-year-old game, played mainly via its app on smartphones and tablets, has had over 1 trillion rounds completed since its launch in 2012. 198 billion rounds of Candy Crush were played in 2016. Broken down, that figure is equal to just about everyone on the planet playing the game 28 times in one year alone. And if games were viewed in the same spheres as the Kylie Jenners and Selena Gomezes of the world, Candy Crush would be in good company: it has almost 80 million likes on social media.

Leave it to Jeremy Scott, then, to partner with the phenomenon on a capsule collection for Moschino that will be introduced this weekend at Coachella, the annual music festival in Indio, California. (Scott is the creative director of Moschino, as well as the founder of an eponymous line which, sidenote, turns 20 this September.) Scott has long proven his sixth sense for highly attuned pop culture divination, having partnered with Google and buddied up with megawatt stars like Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, and the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna, for various costumes and red carpet appearances. Scott’s aesthetic is unashamedly mainstream. He’s reimagined a Snickers logo on a dress, for example, and recreated a Transformers battle scene on a suit; he’s even channeled the arguably sinister undertones of ’60s and ’70s–era TV dinners— from a time when families were affixed to the boob tube, not individual iPhones. Say what you will, but there’s a molten kind of genius beneath the spotlit and sugar-bombed aesthetics of his work.

While there isn't really a notable subtext to the Moschino x Candy Crush collection—a capsule of his-and-hers swimwear, plus a backpack—there’s certainly a savviness to recognizing collaborative opportunities beyond the expected. “It’s a very cool thing,” says Yonna Ingolf, narrative designer for the Candy Crush program. “It’s the first time we’re partnering with high fashion. It felt like a natural step for us. Jeremy’s mind is very ‘candy.’” Scott agrees. “I think almost everyone plays, right? It’s kind of off the charts,” he says. “My mom and my nephew… they both play it. It’s for everyone.”

The designer was particularly smitten with the game's retro, puffy-loop font, which has been recreated to spell out “Moschino” and screened over a grid of confectionery characters, similar to how the matrix might appear in the program. And Scott wanted to keep it relatively straightforward: “We’ve got swimsuits, because, everyone’s going to be in a pool at one point or another at Coachella, or it’s going to be so hot you wish you were in a pool.” Pragmatic. We like it.

The designer—who is in the process of updating a recently-purchased John Lautner home in Palm Springs, near the Coachella site—adds that he “was a little heartbroken about Beyoncé” dropping out of the festival’s lineup. “I was actually halfway mesmerized, like, how is she going to pull this off with the twins all up in there?!” But even so, Coachella will be his vacation time before getting back on the road. Afterwards, he’ll head to Milan to get ready for Moschino’s next menswear show, and then back to New York for the Met Gala in early May. We're sure, given his track record, that he'll keep the sugar high going.

To view on Vogue.com, click here.

Vogue Runway: Palomo Spain: “The Most Amazing, Beautiful, Decadent, Evil Thing” at the New York Men’s Shows by Nick Remsen

Twenty-four hours before Alejandro Gómez Palomo’s Palomo Spain show, Nicola Formichetti—arguably one of the industry’s most clued-in, youth culture–glancing arbiters—told me, “You can’t miss it.”

Then, five minutes before the runway lights dimmed, the expectations compounded. Bryan Grey Yambao, my seatmate, leaned over and said, “This is so fashion,” referring to the crowd, which included singer Troye Sivan (wearing Palomo Spain’s pink velvet trousers), photographer Ryan McGinley, and model Hari Nef. (A “fashion” crowd isn’t usually the case at a New York menswear show.)

And as the first look walked out, a man to my right said out loud in pure exhilaration: “Gender! So last season!”

What would result lived up to and, in fact, beyond the hype—and it was a privilege to witness. Not a moment too soon, and somehow fitting for the final day of the menswear loop, Palomo sent out a lavish and over-the-top collection that, at its core, gave a bejeweled and feather-trimmed middle finger to the unaccepting and the regressive. How fabulously timely.

“It’s about the sexual self,” said the emotional designer backstage, cheeks streaked with lipstick smudges. “There are boys looking for other boys—seducing and being seduced. Some are virgins and you can only look at them.” Each of his models was male, but wearing clothes that might traditionally be categorized as female—though, in his book and increasingly so around the industry, clothes are clothes and can be worn by anyone.

Model Marc Sebastian Faiella opened the show, sauntering out in an electro-blue pseudo-blazer with the shoulders widely removed. Others would wear: a flamenco-inflected minidress with thigh-high laced boots; a tailored coatdress with queenly feather quill embroidery on the chest; and a possibly bridal look of white briefs, white corset, and white marabou-trimmed cape. McGinley’s boyfriend, Marc Domingo, sported what can only be classified as an Erdem-esque doll dress in flowery brocade.

At first glance, it might be easy to label Palomo’s clothes as couture-inspired costume—perhaps drag, or even post-drag, with a bit more design than dash. Yet however you see them, it’s tough to argue that they weren’t uplifting. More than one person remarked that he or she hadn’t left a show feeling so good in so long. Nef gushed to the designer: “That was the most amazing, beautiful, decadent, evilthing I’ve ever seen!” Palomo started his line for Spring 2015 after graduating from the London College of Fashion, but has remained, for the most part, under the radar. That has now changed, with a collection and a moment that put a glittering cherry atop New York Fashion Week: Men’s.

To view on Vogue Runway, click here

Vogue Runway: La Perla Fall/Winter 2017 REVIEW by Nick Remsen

For her second season as creative director of La Perla, Julia Haart envisaged the artistic interpretation of British gardens across six chambers of a British manor. So, expressionistic flora, by function of room. “It’s really this concept of nature redefined by people,” said Haart. “And I chose English gardens because they are more of a riot compared to, say, manicured French gardens. That’s what I am thinking about: I don’t like people telling me what to do or where to go. I want to wear what I want, when I want, how I want. It’s all about the freedom.”

That she used the word “riot” was telling: Haart’s La Perla is confident, often over-the-top, consciously indecorous and all the more noteworthy for it. She is presumably catering to those women that might tune into the Victoria’s Secret show (as it happens, a number of her Fall cast are also Angels), but would never actually buy Victoria’s Secret—all La Perla, all the way. Also notable, Haart says, “I am creating this specialized world where ready-to-wear and lingerie meld together—our clothes come in dress sizes, but also cup sizes.”

Naomi Campbell, bathed under ultraviolet ambient light, opened the show in a navy stretch silk slip dress patched with black lace parts, and a floral macramé-embroidered tweed overcoat. She was in the “Study”—the tweed, followed by tailored wool pieces, vaguely connoted academic practice. That set the tone for a sprawling lineup, which, as one behaves in one’s own abode, appeared in varying states of dress and undress. Haart’s “Terrace” section was her best, in which hothouse florals and leaves were worked onto little negligees and rompers. Model Lineisy Montero’s outfit—a fitted micro slip dress with a built-in bra and a panoply of Crayola-bright blooms—was the collection’s top look. (Her spider jewel-embellished mules were also cute, in a costume-y way). Haart’s exploration would conclude in the “Foyer,” with Kendall Jenner shutting down the installation in a metallic gold lace gown, replete with elaborate embroidery.

If Haart’s focus veered away from her core inspiration, it was forgivable in that she offered a lotto take in. And even though differing tastes will prefer different parts of this collection, the unifier among them—cleverly realized by the designer—is a penchant for that bold-willed freedom mentioned above.

To view on Vogue Runway, click here