Will also sell denim!

MY all time favourite jeans are Fioruccis!  And guess what?  The original need-to-know brand is back. Founded by Elio Fiorucci in 1965, it’s now reinvented, with its elegant intellectual property up for grabs!Fiorucci

I love it so much I needed to find out about blue denim. I knew it was everywhere and full of meaning.  Jeans began as work-wear in Europe; ‘bleu de Genes,’ the blue of Genoa in Italy and denim from de Nîmes in France, trousers worn by 17th and 18th century soldiers and workmen.

When Karl Marx, political economist and first human interest journalist, was formulating his theories about emerging groups in cities, Levi Strauss was making jeans for the Wild West workforce in America.

Denim is the most significant Fashion story of the last seven decades. Designers cannot make a move or invent a look without considering how to include the beautiful blue in their collections.

So important a trend is denim that there are an infinite number of blog posts on the topic. John Fiske’s the ‘The Jeaning of America’  should compete with the bible as a Desert Island Discs book choice!

There’s even a dedicated education site with a book by Thomas Stege Bojer ‘Blue Blooded,’  with ‘everything you need—and want—to know about jeans.’ His intention is to keep retailers on target, knowing the whole process and being in touch with teams of influencers and bloggers through  his sites.

When jeans are assigned to specific labels, manufacturers are able to compete with other makes in the market place. The social identities, the designers define, become the signature look of the clothes. Designer jeans speak to market segmentation and social difference; they move away from the shared values, away from nature, toward culture and its complexities.

No one can ignore the phenonomen and Georgio Armani is no exception. A significant change is happening  at the privately held multi-billion-dollar Italian firm still run by its 83-year-old founder, who launched the business 42 years ago.  Its restructuring aims to streamline Armani around three distinct labels.

Giorgio Armani Privé (ready-to-wear and couture) and Armani/Casa (home goods) now lives under the Giorgio Armani ombrello. Emporio Armani, more democratic ready-to-wear, will include Armani Collezioni and the pricier elements of Armani Jeans. A|X Armani Exchange, which competes with specialty retailers and fast-fashion purveyors alike in terms of price, will also sell denim. The dreams of Genoa continue!


The clue’s in the blog not the look!

FRIENDS Anita, Fran and Lynne have Fashion coursing through their veins. They may spot Dior DNA, in abundance, in Maria Chiuri’s Ready to Wear collection, shown in Rodin’s Paris museum, this week.

It wasn’t easy for me to find many clues. Maybe this black and white ensemble has a suggestion of his legacy in the darted waist, floaty skirt, peplum and tailored cuffs.



But here’s the rub: regardless of whether the critics like the clothes or see work as credibly linked to Dior’s back catalogue, sales are significantly up since Chiuri took over as artistic director.

Christian Dior Couture posted 2017 half-year sales revenue of just over €1 billion, up 17 percent from €893 million for the same period one year ago at constant exchange rates.

Already the avowed Feminist, Chiuri, has succeeded in attracting a much younger millennial audience — set to soon account for a large proportion of luxury spending — and her designs are reportedly selling far more briskly than the more critically-acclaimed conceptual work of her predecessor Raf Simons.


FemDiorCritics and consumers are held in the thrall of  a direct-to-consumer reality where longstanding media and retail channels are being increasingly disintermediated.*

Show reviews were once scrutinised by wholesale buyers who curated clothing for consumers. Now questions are being asked about whether opinions of critics or buyers matter, when brands can connect directly with consumers online and via their own stores.

Fashion marketeers know that what you deliver is not only the product but the story about the product.

*The direct connection between social media communicators/bloggers and consumers and Fashion followers.






Dior to dyno-rod, haute couture to home hygiene

TODAY Julia Walton and I listened to Malcolm McLaren’s Christian Dior radio piece by Susan Marling from 2007, to celebrate fifty years since the New Look. McLaren was such a Fashion buff.  It was why Vivienne Westwood loved him and he her. It was fascinating to hear his camp take on important moments in the history of Paris and Versailles, again!

In this week’s earlier blog I write of the wonder that Dior created a gown for Vivien Leigh after her drama of tiny waists and full skirts in Gone with the Wind , set the scene for his ‘flower women’ frocks across the western world in 1947 !



Imagine my delight, web-surfing, to find this actual pic of Leigh in the dress, plunging decolletage and all!

Vivien Leigh’s costume … Red wool and silk, made for the 1956 production of Jean Giraudoux’s play Duel of Angels, at the Apollo Theatre, in London, in which Leigh played Paola.

Julia and I had to stop listening to the wonders of the Fashion world when the men from Dyno-rod arrived.  They were however completely darling, themselves! So win/win, today!

Icons, idols, and icing on the cake!

Scarlett O’Hara and the post-bellum New Look

VIVIEN LEIGH’s own copy of Gone with the Wind sold at Sotheby’s, for £50,000, this week; ten times its estimate.  I spotted the movie’s iconic status when lip-reading technology, in 2008, revealed Hitler charming a loyal follower, saying, “I know you’d rather be watching Gone with the Wind!

Dressed by Christian Dior

When costume curator, Eleri Lynn, told me that Dior had designed a dress for Vivien Leigh, it was the icing on the cake at a V&A ‘Golden Age of Couture’ conference’ in 2007! My ‘New Look’ chapter was all about how millions of GWTW fans were waiting for a designer to turn them into ‘flower women’; Dior’s own description.  After the conference  Eleri sent me the image below.

Vivien Leigh’s costume … Red wool and silk, made for the 1956 production of Jean Giraudoux’s play Duel of Angels, at the Apollo Theatre, in London, in which Leigh played Paola. The character, as the suit, is more complex than it appears to the eye.   The very Dior underskirt made in five layers, used 78 metres of net, to “minimise volume around the waist”



Margaret Mitchell gave Vivien the book when the two women met in Atlanta, Georgia, before the world premiere of the film in the city, 15 December 1939. Vivien wrote to Mitchell on 14 December thanking her for the book and asking her to inscribe it for her. Mitchell replied on 10 January 1940 explaining that she had stopped inscribing copies of Gone With The Wind several years earlier: “there is no one for whom I’d rather do this favour than you who brought Scarlett to life in a way that left me shaken and almost speechless. But I just can’t do it. I hope you’ll understand.”  (The Scarlett Letters: The Making of the Film Gone With the Wind (2011).

By way of compromise, however, Mitchell enclosed with her letter a loose leaf with four lines of verse taken from Robert W. Service’s poem ‘The Revelation’.

To Vivien Leigh | ‘Life’s Pattern pricked with a scarlet thread | where once we worked with a gray, | to remind us all how we played our parts | in the shock of an epic day’ | Margaret Mitchell”)

Vivien replied to her on 8 February, informing her that she had placed the verses in the book. She also told Mitchell that her love for Gone With The Wind long pre-dated her involvement in the film (“…Even if I had not played ‘Scarlett’ I should owe you a great debt of gratitude…”).

There’s no computer program to estimate how much Dior was influenced by Walter Plunket’s designs for the movie. I leave you with the look he created for one of the film’s most significant moments and wonder what you think?




‘I’ve heard of worse things, Madame.’

FIRST ‘Workers’ Educational’ (WEA) presentation today! About Fashion and clothing and how we wouldn’t look the way we do without Audrey Hepburn!

Simon’s in Paris at a Beat conference. Bit of a waste in the world’s first Fashion city, I’d say! What’s the matter with Minnesota or Lyons?

I know about the theory of Fashion, but I’ve spent hours and hours with my friend Anita Damiano so I also know what to do if you’re not a natural at the game.

Anita’s fashion drawings distracted me from boring Maths lessons, all those years ago. She became a fashion tutor and among other splendid creations made an academic gown for the Dalai Lama!  I’ve learned from Anita that if the look is not necessarily, perfectly, enchanting then neat grooming is essential.

How could I present with slightly dodgy, but still intact gel nails?  To the rescue, ‘Nature’s Fairy’ a deep, pinky, purple Jessica custom nail colour. It was given as an added extra after the best pedi I’ve ever had at the St.Ives Harbour Spa hotel a couple of weeks ago.

The treatment reflected the ambience of the hotel as a whole. The service was civil friendly without being intrusive. Our shower seemed not to be warm enough. I spoke to reception.

Me: We don’t seem to be able to make the shower warm enough. Can you give me any tips?

Receptionist: Have you tried turning the handle completely over to the right?

Me: We may have done, but do you think we might need to have some help with working it?

Receptionist: We could send someone to your room but I think it should work if you try the technique again.

Me: Are you able to show us how to do it?

Receptionist: I could I think.

Me:  I’m a fraction away from asking you to come and shower with me!

Receptionist: I’ve heard of worse things, Madame!






I’m coming for you Tavi Gevinson!

‘Vogue’ and  ‘Vanity Fair’ spreads show the irrepressible magic and impact of CHANEL’s heritage, worn here by Cara Delevigne and Lily-Rose Depp.


We have to ask how do they do it?  How does Chanel continue to create links with the mistress of allure and couture?  How does it capture the dissolute deceptions of the little singing milliner who was their founder? It’s partly Coco’s ability to constantly reinvent herself so that the archive is rich and multi faceted. But it’s also because Chanel knew how to pose, to be en vogue, to socialise through the media, and to become society’s first working woman celebrity.


Top Tees

When the Chinese clothing manufacturer Tianyuan Garments Company opens its newest factory in 2018, it will be in Arkansas, not China, and instead of workers hunched over sewing machines, the factory will be filled with fully autonomous robots and their human supervisors.

Once the system is fully operational, each of the 21 production lines in the factory will be capable of making 1.2 million T-shirts a year, at a total cost of production that can compete in terms of cost with apparel companies that manufacture and ship clothing from the lowest-wage countries in the world. The factory will be one of the first to use a technology that could herald immense changes in how the apparel industry works.

To discover more about this fascinating world come along to the Orange Box, Halifax for the WEA course, The Fashion Revolution at 1pm on Thursday 21st September 2017.