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Mila Unveils Motherhood Ring Design

Mila Kunis has marked the birth of her daughter, Wyatt Isabelle, by designing an emerald “motherhood ring” that will in turn benefit other mothers.

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The actress – who is also global ambassador for Gemfields, the world’s leading supplier of responsibly sourced coloured gemstones – has created an 18-carat yellow-gold emerald ring with jeweller Marina B, the profits from which will go to fund a maternity centre in Zambia, near the Gemfields mine.

“Carrying a child and bringing new life into the world marks the start of an incredible journey,” Kunis explained.

“Throughout history, every culture has its own way of recognising this extraordinary event, often with a gift for mother or child. Precious green emeralds are traditionally symbols of motherhood, wisdom, and long-lasting love. But they are also a symbol for hope in many cultures, and so the proceeds from this collection of Motherhood Rings will benefit the opening of Gemfields Nkana Health Centre, where four new wards have been built – a major undertaking that will have long-lasting benefits to the local community.”

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All profits from sales of the rings will go directly to the project, upgrading the health centre and adding a new maternity clinic. Click here to reserve a Mila ring, priced $4,800.

Our Legacy Opens in London

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Sweden’s beloved menswear brand is ready for world domination.

Silver Place is that rare thing, a small pedestrian Soho street in central London with a laid-back atmosphere devoid of honking cars. Though only a stone’s throw away from tourist-heavy Oxford Street and chaotic Carnaby Street, it attracts a healthy mix of destination shoppers and random passers-by.

Our Legacy, the Swedish fashion brand famed for its intellectual and contemporary menswear, could not have asked for a better spot for its fourth store, the first one outside Sweden. “We’re in a nice part of London—it’s smack in the middle of Soho but still a bit hidden,” explains Our Legacy cofounder Jockum Hallin.

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What began in 2005 with printed T-shirts made in a studio by friends Christopher Nying and Hallin has grown into a global brand. And it has done especially well in the U.K., hence the imminent store opening. “We had been looking for a space here for a while; we wanted something magical and with character,” says Hallin. They ended up with a small and cozy London home. “England has developed into a great market for us, especially in the past two years. We’ve thought a lot about that, and we’re not entirely sure why—it’s not like it’s been a conscious decision to focus on the U.K. I suppose there was just something that clicked between us,” he adds.

“Our cut is far from overdesigned—we spend more time on getting the fabrication, weight, and texture right. A lot probably has to do with our positioning as well; it’s hard to completely define what kind of brand we are, which means we have a broad customer base,” says Hallin. He’s referring to Our Legacy’s mode of communication. The label hasn’t always been that forthcoming. Adds Hallin: “Yes, we’ve been surrounded by a kind of romantic obscurity. We have to trust the customer to get it and to understand what we’re saying, but I think Our Legacy has a fairly educated customer.”

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An Our Legacy collection used to be defined by elevated basics, but today the label is in the business of fashion—but its own kind of fashion, featuring pieces that have been “taken for a ride.” “We used to be more of a ‘wardrobe brand,’ dedicated to refining classics, but today you can find statement pieces in our collections as well,” says Hallin. “Often we do quite formal garments, but you’ll never feel overdressed in them. We’ll clash two unexpected fabrics with each other to create something new. And it’s not just about fabrics but also how you can create new garments, like a suede shirt with a zip or suit trousers with a elasticized waist—they’re hybrid pieces.”

Visit the Silver Place shop and you’ll see that Our Legacy’s design DNA can also applied to bricks and mortar.

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Far from overdesigned, the stores use plain but elegant materials to create a sophisticated shopping experience. “With the store, the goal was to get heavy things floating. We used simple materials to look more than they are, a bit like with the clothes. There’s an industrial feel to it. Lots of stainless steel, glass, and concrete, plus a resin-covered floor that makes it look like you’re standing on glass,” says Hallin.

The shop is more than part of an expansion plan; it’s a statement of intent. “The ambition has always been to grow organically, even though that sounds like a cliché. Since it’s quite a small company, we have to expand slowly. It’s expensive to grow, whatever business you’re in. We want to continue this kind of growth, and going forward, I think opening up in New York or even Los Angeles would be a good fit and natural progression for us,” he adds. World domination isn’t a very Swedish ambition, but it seems Our Legacy is destined for it.

Abercrombie & Fitch Taken To Court

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The US Supreme Court has agreed to look at a case brought by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] that accuses Abercrombie & Fitch of refusing to hire a Muslim woman for wearing a headscarf.

The case backdates to 2008 when prospective employee, Samantha Elauf, interviewed for a position at a branch in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was given a “high-score” by the interviewer, Heather Cooke, reports The Guardian. This high score was then dropped after points were deducted in the “appearance and sense of style” category, when Cooke spoke to her district manager, who reportedly enquired specifically about Elauf’s headscarf.

In its defence, the company argue that wearing a headscarf would conflict with its “look policy” and, despite Cooke explaining that she assumed Elauf wore the headscarf for religious reasons, as Elauf didn’t request an official exemption from the policy, they didn’t need to facilitate it.

“It is undisputed that Samantha Elauf did not inform Abercrombie that her religious beliefs required her to wear a headscarf when she was at work,” the company’s legal representation argued. “It is axiomatic that an employer must have actual notice that an applicant’s mandatory religious practices conflict with an employment requirement.”

The EEOC has countered this defence, saying that it creates a loophole for religious discrimination. This is the second time that the EEOC have brought the case. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma originally found in favour of the EEOC, before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling in favour of Abercrombie & Fitch.

“By holding that an employer may discriminate against a job applicant or employee based on practices that the employer correctly believes to be religious, so long as the employer does not have ‘actual knowledge’ of the need for religious accommodation … opened a safe harbour for religious discrimination,” said lawyers for the EEOC, referring to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal ruling.

Winter fashion sales slump as shorts weather continues

John Lewis reports figures down 13% on last year, while ice-cream sales rise by 25% as winter coats fill stores.

The warm autumn weather is threatening to wreak havoc on the high street with fashion retailers complaining of dire sales as Britons put off buying winter jackets and jumpers.

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With some parts of the country enjoying temperatures of 26C this week it was still shorts-and-sandals weather at a time when stores are packed with heavy winter coats and cashmere jumpers. Such is the mismatch between the climate and clothing on sale that John Lewis revealed yesterday that takings in its fashion departments had tumbled more than 13% on last year’s levels.

The difficult trading conditions are reinforced by data from business advisory firm BDO. According to its fashion sales tracker, which monitors the performance of 40 clothing chains including Oasis, Karen Millen and White Stuff, like-for-like fashion store sales dropped 11.5% in the week to last Sunday. Some retailers including House of Fraser, M&S, Hobbs and Banana Republic are already running selective promotions in a bid to persuade shoppers to buy.

“With children now back at school thoughts would usually turn to winter essentials, however the unseasonably warmer days are delaying these purchases,” said John Lewis buying director, Johnathan Marsh. Shopper numbers were also down on the previous year, he said.

According to the Met Office the UK has so far enjoyed the driest September in over 50 years. “The first half of September has been exceptionally dry across much of the UK and temperatures for many areas have also been well above average,” said the Met Office’s Dan Williams. The warm spell continued this week with the temperature topping 26C in Wigginholt, West Sussex on Thursday, making it the hottest place in the country.

John Lewis’s sister chain Waitrose said sales of ice-creams had jumped 25% in the same week with barbecue and picnic foods also in unusually high demand.

The unpredictable British weather is one of the biggest challenges faced by the country’s fashion chains but the stakes are highest at this time of year as heavy-duty winter clothing brings higher profit margins. “A warm September never helps, but I’m not in the weather business I’m in the fashion business,” said Stephen Marks, chief executive and founder of French Connection. “We featured a blue coat in our advertising and it absolutely flew out of the stores when the weather was hot. You’ve got to have the right things.”

Espirito Santo analyst Tony Shiret said that store chiefs were probably ahead of their sales targets at the start of this month as the disappointing August weather initially boosted sales of their new collections. “They were probably a little bit ahead coming into September and now will be net down,” he said. “August is a much smaller [sales] month because it doesn’t have the marketing behind it.”

Sophie Bevan, head of retail at BDO, said retailers were in relatively good shape because summer collections had sold well. “This time last year there were more promotions of summer end-of-stock lines and more appropriate weather for the products in store.”

The poor fashion sales blunted John Lewis’s overall performance with sales down 3.5% in the week to last Saturday. There were bright spots, with the retailer reporting a 4% increase in sales of men’s accessories – buoyed by demand for Calvin Klein underwear – and a 3.6% uplift in its electricals departments, where tablets and Apple products were in demand.

Home furnishings also did well, with sales of carpets and curtains up 11%. “Although customers are not planning for the cold winter nights just yet, they are still looking to treat themselves to a little something new,” said Marsh.

Retailers will only be in real trouble if a warm September turns into an Indian summer, which the Met Office defines as “a warm, calm spell of weather occurring in autumn, especially in October and November”.

“Retail is a flow business,” Shiret added. “They’ve got product coming in in the next few weeks because of the planned phasing of new stock and it starts backing up unless you clear it. I think everyone will be hoping this weather stops soon.”

Everlane Teams Up With Langley Fox Hemingway to Create the Most Perfect Tank Top Ever

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Celebrity collaborations are a dime a dozen. So for one to catch our attention, it has to be pretty spot on: The product has to be great, and the partnership really has to make sense.

And this one, sustainable fashion line Everlane’s first-ever collab with model and illustrator (and Hemingway spawn) Langley Fox, checks all the boxes.

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Fox, one of Everlane’s first models, has created two simple tanks for the brand. That doesn’t sound like much of a feat, but each one is just about perfect.

The muscle tank is inspired by a top Fox stole from her big sis, model Dree Hemingway, and wore to death. The drape tank is a bit more feminine, and has a thoughtful backseam detail. Available starting today on Everlane.com, the drape tank is priced at £14, the muscle tank at £16. Both versions come in black, white, and navy. We may be scooping up all six…

Retaining Paris as fashion’s unrivalled capital

As haute couture week begins, the French fashion trade group selects a new leader.

In the fashion industry, the Paris couture shows, which begin on Sunday, still reign supreme.

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And no single person may wield more power over those shows than the president of the French trade group that determines which designers’ collections are shown, and when.

That is why a changing of the guard announced this week has created a stir not only in Paris but also throughout the fashion world.

After 16 years, Didier Grumbach has stepped down as president of that influential trade group, the Federation Francaise de la Couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, and of its couture division, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.

Grumbach, 77, will preside over next week’s Paris shows, and then Ralph Toledano will succeed him as federation president.

Toledano is president of the fashion division at Puig, a fashion and beauty house based in Barcelona, whose brands include Jean Paul Gaultier, Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne and Carolina Herrera.

Assistant

Toledano will retain his position while taking on the new responsibilities at the federation. Assisting him will be Stephane Wargnier, who was named to the new role of executive president of the federation.

Wargnier, a fashion consultant and former executive at Hermes, will be responsible for the federation’s day-to-day operations, while Toledano will focus on strategy and vision.

Grumbach will hold the honorary title of president of the federation. When asked if he had any advice for his successor, he replied, “It is very important not to be weak.”

Although most consumers probably would not know Grumbach’s name, he was a major behind-the-scenes power player for almost two decades. The Federation Francaise controls the designer choices and schedules for the Paris shows, which are twice-a-year events for both ready-to-wear and couture.

The federation also acts as an industry lobby and runs a professional training school for designers and artisans, the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne.

Ambitions

Toledano expressed his ambitions for the federation in an email exchange.

“We aim to keep Paris as the unrivalled capital of fashion, to contributing to the emergence of all the talented young designers based in France and to making of the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale — already a unique school in the world as it produces both designers and couture technicians — the No. 1 fashion school,” Toledano said.
“Paris has historically been the place where the biggest international talents gather spontaneously,” he wrote, “and we intend to continue welcoming them.”

During his tenure, Grumbach oversaw the internationalisation of French fashion. There are now 25 nationalities represented on the Paris fashion show calendar.

He helped to revitalise couture at a time when brands such as Balmain and Christian Lacroix chose to discontinue their couture operations and focus on ready-to-wear. He also worked with the French government to create a so-called fashion bank to guarantee loans to new designers.

Working in harmony

In 2012, he created the federation’s executive board, composed of representatives from what were then the five largest French fashion powers — Hermes, Chanel, Puig, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and PPR, which is now called Kering. The board helped the brands work together in harmony during the Paris shows.

That harmony, though, has not always extended to other cities’ fashion weeks during the women’s ready-to-wear seasons in New York, London, Milan and Paris. Those seasons are the longer, more modern sibling of the couture weeks.

The schedules for the ready-to-wear shows have grown crowded and unwieldy in the last few years, with feuds breaking out among the various cities over dates and durations.

Such squabbling might seem irrelevant to the outside world. But where on the calendar the designer shows take place has a direct bearing on when stores order clothes. That, in turn, affects the brand’s production time and deliveries, which determine when consumers can buy the end result.

In other words, it matters.

Heated tussle

In 2011, the tussling over dates for the following year’s spring shows became particularly heated. Fashion houses that show in New York and London were pushing for a later start to the season so that they would not have to produce their runway samples in August, when most factories are closed.

Paris, the last and the longest of the ready-to-wear conclaves — about nine days, compared with New York’s seven — announced it would not push back its shows, arguing that the effect on deliveries would be punitive.

At the time, Diane von Furstenberg, president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, was quoted in Women’s Wear Daily as saying: “I don’t understand why Paris completely and totally just ignored what all of us have worked so hard on. I am speechless.”

But the news of the transfer of power in the governing body of French fashion has been welcomed in other fashion capitals, whose leaders were quick to acknowledge Grumbach’s contributions while looking toward the next stage.

Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said: “It will be interesting to see what the new regime brings. Any opportunity to work more closely together is welcome.”

Reactions to change

Steven Kolb, chief executive of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, who said he had no issues with Grumbach, also noted that “whenever new people come in, they bring new ideas and it creates new opportunities.”

“We have seen it in Milan, with the new president of the Camera della Moda, Jane Reeve, whom I have been talking with quite a lot,” Kolb said, referring to Italy’s fashion industry association.

As it happens, Kolb said he had emailed a colleague at the Federation Francaise a few weeks ago to suggest a friendly meeting of representatives from all four fashion-week cities, though he was quick to note there was “no agenda” behind the idea.

Toledano will take up his new post on September 1. New York Fashion Week, which begins the women’s ready-to-wear spring 2015 collections, starts three days later.