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Ostentatious symbols of wealth were far less frequently observed on the recent runways. Is it becoming a no-no to wear your money on your sleeve? Loewe SS16. Image: launchemtrics.com/spotlight. Attendees at the Versace Fall 2023 show held in Los Angeles earlier this year were hard-pressed to spot a Medusa head; the Italian house’s famous logo featured only subtly on buttons and earrings. The clean lines of the rooftop of West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood provided the backdrop for a collection that echoed the building’s minimalist form. Instead of Versace’s typical more-is-more offering, celebrity guests (including Elton John, Dua Lipa and Cher) saw sharply tailored suits, streamlined dresses, denim and eveningwear that was glamorous yet restrained. Although sculptural, even the sweeping, floor-length gowns featured a painterly polka-dot print that felt surprisingly demure when styled with satin gloves that hit just below the elbow. “I wanted to go back to the cut and shape of the clothes, to concentrate on the perfect little black dress, the perfect black suit,” said Donatella Versace of her offering — a stark contrast to what we’ve previously seen from the fashion house. Rewind to Pre-Fall 2022, for which Versace collaborated with Fendi’s Kim Jones and Silvia Venturini Fendi, each swapping sides to design 25 looks for a show dubbed Fendi by Versace in a sartorial game of musical chairs that resulted in an explosion of logomania. Varying iterations of logos featured on every one of the 50 looks, in all-over prints, chunky necklaces, shoulder straps, belt buckles, jacket trim, lace, diamantés and more. It was fashion that’s unapologetically flashy, not to mention instantly recognisable. The ‘logomania’ trend first gained traction in the Spring 2016 collections, with brands such as Louis Vuitton, Loewe, Lanvin and Gucci making their logos work overtime. Around this time, it was Gucci’s then creative director Alessandro Michele’s distinct brand of kaleidoscope romanticism that set the tone for fashion’s now-minimalist mood. Today, although logomania still lingers, recent versions are much more subtle. Case in point is the head-to-toe monogrammed Valentino look Zendaya wore to attend the label’s show in Paris late last year. The actor’s bodysuit, blazer and shortswere covered in twinkly Vs, yet somehow seemed low-key. Echoing Versace’s focus on cut and shape, the general mood of the Fall 2023 international runway circuit was one of restraint. Collections predominantly featured black, grey and more grey, silhouettes were dialled down to their essence, and the glitzy looks of yesteryear were nowhere to be seen. Gucci SS16. Image: launchemtrics.com/spotlight. The Miu Miu Fall 2023 collection felt distinctly tamer than seasons past, thanks to sensible silhouettes and a utilitarian palette consisting of khaki, olive and, you guessed it, grey. Just a year earlier, for Fall 2022, model Adut Akech sported a latticework diamanté two-piece layered over a powder-blue bra and bloomers, complete with satin ballet flats that became ‘It’ shoes, “the shoes to be seen in this autumn” according to British Vogue. It’s hard to imagine an item from the Fall 2023 show taking on such popularity, cult status having been rejected in favour of an anonymity of sorts. “A little serious,” was how Miuccia Prada described her show to Vogue Runway reporter Anders Christian Madsen. “I like to embrace that in this moment. Maybe I’m too careful about what’s happening around us, but I can’t leave fashion like some place of nonsense. There’s some excitement and sexiness there, but basically, I think we have to dress for thinking and for starting fresh.” As the cost of living and interest rates continue to rise, so too does the likelihood of a recession. Perhaps that’s what she meant by “serious”. Historically, with a recession comes a wave of minimalist fashion — during the Great Depression in the 1930s, the ritzy flapper dresses of the ’20s were swapped for two-piece suits with lengthened skirts. In the 1990s, clean tailoring and gritty ‘heroin chic’ replaced the razzle-dazzle and shoulder pads of the ’80s economic boom. The crash of 2008 made way for ‘normcore’ and ‘indie sleaze’. In April of this year, the headline of an i-D article by Megan O’Sullivan on the Fall 2023 season read: “The Return of Normie Fashion Marks a Cultural Reset”. It’s a common belief that fashion is a sign of the times, so why, in a climate of looming hardship, are phrases like ‘stealth wealth’ and ‘quiet luxury’ entering the cultural lexicon, stirring up debates around privilege one cashmere sweater at a time? Flashing your cash when people in the world are struggling could be seen as poor taste, but it’s hard to imagine the real-life equivalents of the Succession’s billionaire Roy siblings worrying about anyone but themselves. “She’s brought a ludicrously capacious bag,” said actor Matthew Macfadyen as the show’s Tom Wambsgans, critiquing a woman who had misread the room and brought the accessory to a birthday party at which the unspoken dress code was presumably ‘stealth wealth’. “What’s even in there? Flat shoes for the subway? Her lunch pail? Greg, it’s monstrous. It’s gargantuan. You can take it camping. You can slide it across the floor after a bank job.” The scene went viral, spurring countless memes and TikToks. Around the same time, Gwyneth Paltrow made headlines for the understated outfits she wore to court during her Utah skiing-accident trial. (The price tags were not so understated, including that of the unassuming cashmere sweater by Italian label Loro Piana that retails for around $2585.) “There’s always been something chic about dressing classic and understated; while the [term] might be a fad, it’s always been around,” says New York-based Kiwi stylist Madeleine Hocquard Jones of the ‘quiet luxury’ trend. “You could always buy a white Prada T-shirt for $500. I don’t know how big quiet luxury could ever become when it appears to be exclusive to the wealthiest 3% of the world. It’s hardly aspirational to save all your coins to spend $2000 on a grey cashmere sweater. The idea of being so wealthy that you’ve ascended above the need to display it isn’t new, but it’s more out of touch as a fashion concept today than ever.” Shop these ‘ludicrously-capacious’ bags: Louis Vuitton ‘Neverfull MM’ tote, $3300. Yu Mei ‘Teresa’ tote, $1259. Deadly Ponies ‘Crush’ tote, $999. Mansur Gavriel ‘Everyday Soft’ tote, $795, from Nordstrom. In Aotearoa, an IRD investigation released in April reported that “the data, based on full income information from 311 of our wealthiest citizens, shows that the average person in this group pays an effective tax rate of just 8.9% on their economic income — that is, income from all sources, including capital gains on investments”. In comparison, someone on a salary of $80,000 with no other income would pay more than double that amount of tax. Combine this with the increasing cost of living, and ‘quiet luxury’ and ‘stealth wealth’ feel redundant, concepts reserved for TV screens and the court appearances of the rich and famous. Meanwhile, the luxury resale market is on the rise, providing broader access to luxury goods while also being a barometer of where longevity truly lies when it comes to design. Head of fine jewels, watches and luxury accessories at Webb’s auction house, Christine Power, identifies some key styles in the leathergoods arena. “Quota bags by Hermès are highly sought after as they’re rare and difficult to acquire. We’re seeing a perpetual increase in interest across the New Zealand secondary marketfor [Hermès] ‘Birkin’, ‘Kelly’ and ‘Constance’ bags as purchasing them new often requires a lengthy wait. “We’re also seeing a major uptake in structured bags by Louis Vuitton, including the ‘Pochette Accessories’, the ‘Alma’ and tote styles,” she continues. “Classics from Louis Vuitton continue to hold steady as many people are gearing up to travel. The timeless look of monogrammed ‘Keepall’ and epi-leather options are popular as they’re durable, high-quality and designed to last a lifetime. Caviar-leather flap bags from Chanel are also trending as they’re quality pieces with low supply and high demand.” Maybe Tom Wambsgans was wrong after all. Madeleine Hocquard Jones also sources and collects vintage Chanel, selling a selection of pieces via Instagram account @order_no5. “Chanel is so much more than the clothes — it’s a story,” she says of the label’s unwavering appeal. “It has such a deep heritage and long legacy of being luxurious, meticulous, versatile and glamorous. Its designs endure through every generation, in part because icons of every generation have worn it, from pop stars to royalty. This gives Chanel that great sense of timeless transcendence. It’s never a fad, it’s Chanel, and when you buy Chanel from any era, you’re buying into a legacy we all want to be a part of.” Maybe, rather than getting caught up in a flurry of buzzwords and micro-trends, luxury is best viewed through a lens of longevity. Whether plastered in logos or discreetly tailored, the true value comes in knowing that a piece will stand the test of time, enduring not only in terms of quality but also one’s ever-changing tastes and whims.
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5 trends from Milan Fashion Week that you can wearing
As we say ‘ciao!’ to another Milan Fashion Week, it’s time to take a look at the trends that were dominating the catwalk. Cavalli SS24. Source: spotlight.launchmetrics.com As another week in the spring/summer ‘24 fashion circuit comes to a close, we’re once again turning our attention to the runways for insight into what’s new and trending for the coming seasons. Home to many of the industry’s most iconic houses (read: Prada, Max Mara, Fendi and Armani), Milan Fashion Week stands as one of the most anticipated weeks in the fashion calendar. While we’re continuing to see established trends such as double denim and leather reign supreme, this week gave us a fresh serving of sartorial trends that have us excited for warmer days. Below, we take you through five trends that have been seen everywhere this week that you can start wearing now. Ferretti SS24. Source: spotlight.launchmetrics.com Prada SS24. Source: spotlight.launchmetrics.com 1. Western front If we have one takeaway from Milano, it’s that fringe and tassels are most definitely here to stay. Many iterations of the Western-style trend were seen across the runways this week, including at Alberta Ferretti, Moschino, Cavalli and Prada – to name only a few. Featured on everything from bags to skirts to coat hems, this trend is perfectly suited for those with a penchant for the dramatic.  Tom Ford SS24. Source: spotlight.launchmetrics.com Blumarine SS24. Source: spotlight.launchmetrics.com 2. All talk, no trousers Last year it was all about the thigh-grazing micro-mini skirts (thanks to Miu Miu’s SS22 show), but this season we’re seeing designers take things a step further by sending models down the runway pantless. From Blumarine, who had multiple models donning butterfly-shaped underwear, to Tom Ford, who had a plethora of bodysuits and underwear on display, this week’s shows brought new meaning to the saying ‘less is more’.  Prada SS24. Source: spotlight.launchmetrics.com Blumarine SS24. Source: spotlight.launchmetrics.com 3. Peek-a-boo Say hello to all things sheer according to this week’s show roster. Leaving little to the imagination, designers debuted a variety of looks made of ultra-sheer materials, including PVC, silk organza and crochet. Ferretti SS24. Source: spotlight.launchmetrics.com Anteprima SS24. Source: spotlight.launchmetrics.com 4. White out Nothing says summer like a return to your trusty white wardrobe staples, and it seems that the fashion week runways agree. A medley of white hues stormed the catwalk, ranging from ivory to cream and everything in between.  Del Core SS24. Source: spotlight.launchmetrics.com Burani SS24. Source: spotlight.launchmetrics.com 5. All that glitters Much like New York Fashion Week, shimmery embellishments were having a major moment in Milan this week. There was Blumarine, who went heavy on the diamantés; Del Core, who opted for modest crystal beading; and Burani who showcased a spectacle of sequins.
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Why Olivia Cashmore’s new collection is her best one yet
In conversation with Olivia Cashmore on her confident new collection, Quality over Deadlines. Olivia Cashmore. Image: supplied. Good things take time, as the saying goes, and Olivia Cashmore’s latest collection serves as a compelling embodiment of this truth. Despite the apparent quietude on the brand’s Instagram page in recent months, the reality reveals a deliberate pause as Cashmore took the time to crystallise her label’s creative vision moving forward. Today, that vision materialised with the unveiling of her fifth eponymous collection, ‘Quality over Deadlines’. With more than a year having gone by since the release of her previous collection, this release serves as a much-needed dose of sartorial inspiration to those of us who had been feeling her absence.  Before launching her independent label in mid-2021, the designer spent years designing for fellow Kiwi brand Maggie Marilyn, and after two years solo it appears that Cashmore’s aesthetic is more confident and defined than ever. Quality over Deadlines serves as an homage to the busy modern woman, characterised by its crisp tailoring, luscious fabrics and timeless silhouettes – each crafted to be worn for years to come.  Prior to the collection’s launch online today, FQ had the privilege of sitting down with Cashmore. Below, she shares insight into her personal journey, the muses that fuel her creativity, and the positivity in taking a pause. Q&A with designer Olivia Cashmore Tell us a bit about you and your fashion background. For as long as I can remember, I have always loved clothes. My parents tell me that as a young girl I would lay their clothes out for them in the mornings and would even include their accessories and undergarments. Always detail oriented. I started sewing when I was 11 years old and from there my passion grew and grew. During my studies at university I worked for New Zealand label Taylor Boutique gaining knowledge in sales, customer service, production and sampling. After graduating, I worked at Maggie Marilyn, starting off in production and ending in design. I had always dreamed of having my own business one day (although I didn’t think it would be this soon), and so here I am today. It’s not without its fair share of challenges, but I am having lots of fun seeing it grow. Congratulations on your beautiful new collection! Could you please tell us a bit moreabout it and the inspiration behind it? Thank you so much. I stumbled upon these beautiful images of parachutes that were used in an art exhibition. They were light, whimsical and delicate, but enabled a person to fly. That inspired me to use sheer fabrics paired with strong tailored silhouettes. To my mind, reflecting the contrast between the lightness of a parachute yet its ability to hold a person. Delicate yet strong. How long has it been since you’ve launched a collection? Talk us through the process and what your challenges were. The last collection I launched was this time last year – Summer 22/23. This year I have been recutting my most popular styles only. At the end of 2022 when I sat down to design Winter for this year, I was already feeling the underlying pressure to produce a collection. I decided to allow myself the space and time to produce pieces that are worthy to be made. The result is this new collection, however all the pieces will continue to be available as the start of OC staples. On the topic of your collection’s title ‘Quality over Deadlines’ – what made you call it that and what significance does this name hold for you? It’s hard to avoid the sense of ‘trying to keep up’ because of course you need stock to sell but I was cautious of rushing styles through just for the sake of it. Hence the name Quality over Deadlines. This collection feels like such a homecoming for me, in the sense that OC has a clear design direction. I decided to take my time to ensure it is of quality and worth, not just to me but for the customer. Do you have a muse for this collection? Who’s someone you’d love to see wearing it? Is it bad if I say myself?! I wouldn’t offer my customers anything I wouldn’t be happy wearing. But Christine Centenera (Fashion Director of Vogue Australia) has always inspired me. I first startedfollowing her when I was in high school. I had never seen someone style outfits the way she did(does), such an epic combination of casual and formal. I used to try and recreate her outfits withpieces I had in my wardrobe! One day, I’d love to see her in some of my pieces. What’s your favourite piece from the collection? And why do you love it? The Willimena Dress hands down. Shout out to my brilliant pattern maker for bringing my sketch to life. This style for me encapsulates the brand’s aesthetic beautifully. An elegant, timeless piece with a twist. The drape is strategically placed to create an hourglass silhouette which is flattering and sexy. I can’t wait to wear this piece with a pair of flats and heels. How would you describe this collection in three words? Uncompromising, eternal, exquisite. In what ways has your brand identity or vision evolved since you began your label? This collection expresses confidence in the brand’s direction. It epitomises how I describe the brand ‘classic silhouettes combine the luxurious nonchalance of precise masculine tailoring with the comfort and wearability of feminine ease’.

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