Plus, Eugene offers a bold prediction for who will succeed Anna Wintour.
Amy, between you and Eugene, I feel like I have found my fashion "home." You both go beyond the hype and aim for truth. It's such a refreshing departure from the neutered, ad-driven stories in fashion magazines. My fashion media consumption is now essentially: Back Row, Eugene/Style Zeitgeist, and NYT Style section (and anything Cathy Horyn writes for The Cut, but that is few and far-between). If there's anything else I should be looking at, I'm all ears.
I am so thrilled you did this. I am still a bit confused about the Tiffany sunglasses debacle. I don’t understand why anyone is laying blame on Pharrell when Tiffany’s would be providing all the research materials and the designs themselves. Wouldn’t they also provide suggestions like making the lenses black and adding green details so as to not directly copy?
Finally listened to this and enjoyed it. I do think that quote from the woman from the FT lamenting about the students and Central Saint Martin... I mean, I don't know ... Even when you think about the good old days in the 90s when these luxury fashion houses hired "real" designers (when Dior hired Galliano and Givenchy hired McQueen), they hired designers who were already making waves and somewhat controversial and garnering headlines (though yeah it helped that Dior and McQueen were genuinely talented). You just can't compare someone like Martine Rose now to Alexander McQueen in the 1990s, who was already doing super epic performance art worthy shows and genuinely shocking and surprising the industry. (McQueen - like Lagerfeld - liked to give shocking soundbites to the press as well.)
I feel like what people should be upset about isn't that LV hired a celebrity but that these mega corporations control SO MUCH of the industry and so much of the money that supports this industry that it's nearly impossible for an independent designer to break through ... or maybe that they aren't investing enough in (or supporting/nurturing) eponymous brands (Stella McCartney is an exception). Honestly, who cares who designs for LV? It's all about the bags anyway! I don't know ... I mean, I guess that could give a designer freedom to do wacky stuff (like Marc Jacobs, but he also had his own brand where he could do his own thing), but if I were a clothing designer with my own POV, I'd much rather be somewhere where people were excited about and buying the clothes. I think if it were a brand that historically is about the clothes, like YSL, then I could see why people would be upset about a celebrity appointment. Also, as you and Eugene pointed out, of all the celebs LV could have gone with, Pharrell is probably the least offensive (he seems nice, has experience in fashion, has great sense of style, etc.)
Amy these convos are super! What a lovely addition to your articles. Thank you!
Is anyone talking about what if maybe a designer or two said no to LV before they selected Pharrell? What if his appointment was more about traditional designers not wanting the job, versus Pharrell being the chosen one? At first I was sad that Grace Wales Bonner or Martine Rose didn't get it, and then I thought what if they said no!? There have been more stories of creative directors getting burned out than stories about their success (although we see you Alessandro!). I wouldn't be surprised if we continued to see these smaller label designers staying put as a means of surviving the machine, versus taking a job at a megabrand and becoming the machine. Either way, thank you for creating the space for these conversations!
I am loving your conversations with Eugene - you're both so insightful and know your fashion history, and I love that you come armed with research! Putting LV in the context of mass market masquerading as luxury was spot on, and very true to point out their job is to market and sell more than it is to promote up-and-coming talent (despite all the LVMH talent fostering programs... :/ ). I hope there are many more of these to come!
Loved, loved this conversation. Such a shame for those at fashion colleges. I mean Pharrell will probs have his personal stylist do all the work for him, he'll simply sign off on it.
I've been thinking about Eugene's prediction for who will succeed Anna. Rihanna is a super interesting choice, but I'm not sure I can see it (she's pretty set with Fenty, Savage, music, etc.). Wondering your thoughts on Eva Chen? She already seems close to Anna in a mentor way, is involved in CFDA and supporting next gen talent, has a background in publishing, could push it even more digital/social or at least bring the tech perspective. Curious on your thoughts!