SECRET SANTA: If all you want for Christmas is an all-expenses-paid trip to Paris to see the upcoming Ami Paris show in January, you could be in luck.
It is one of the perks up for grabs in the digital mystery boxes the Parisian brand is releasing Friday.
This is the latest move in the label’s strategy of playful and innovative experiences straddling the physical and digital worlds, according to chief executive officer Nicolas Santi-Weil.
“We are willing to engage more toward digital natives, an increasingly strategic and loyal audience,” he told WWD, calling the project “a unique approach to the holiday spirit” and a “celebration of a new luxury vision [filled with] generosity.”
Recent initiatives have included a recreation of Montmartre on gaming platform Zepeto and treasure hunts in Paris and London that had players search for miniature 3D-printed “Paris-Paris” purses — and potentially win a real one.
In a nod to creative director Alexandre Mattiussi’s lucky number, 999 mystery boxes are available online until Dec. 24 on a dedicated section of the Ami Paris website. Priced at 250 euros, they can be purchased from any country except for China.
The package includes exclusive digital content and access to the brand’s online private sales in March and September, but on Dec. 25, each recipient will find out what else comes with their box.
Among the surprise items, all valued at 250 euros or more, are the “Paris-Paris” purse, a signature boxy blouson, and items from this year’s holiday capsule.
There are also experiences, including a meeting with Mattiussi; an in-store shopping spree, and two tickets to the fall 2024 show in Paris, with transport and accommodation picked up by the brand for those who live outside the city.
For those preferring a sure bet, the 26-piece seasonal capsule in tones of white and silver is also dropping on Friday. It includes gloves, a backpack, silver or white down puffer jackets, and knit alpaca Ami de Cœur garments with the brand’s logo zhuzhed up in silver thread.
Priced between 140 euros for a cap and up to 1,300 euros for a puffer, the holiday capsule is available from the brand’s website as well as its physical retail network. — LILY TEMPLETON
SPECIAL STOCKING: Heristoria, the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton platform of archival and historical pieces, has taken a suite at The Cadogan in London until Monday to showcase the art of gifting for the festive season.
Invites to shop at the suite are by appointment only to guests of the hotel and VIP clients of the LVMH-owned brands.
The London suite features an edit of 21 items with a helping hand from the archival departments of Givenchy, Fendi, Tag Heuer and Chaumet.
The pieces range from 150 pounds for a Patou silk square to 23,000 pounds for a Tag Heuer Monaco 1133B watch.
“We choose to work by appointment and to have this very one-to-one approach because we want to take time with a client to create an emotion and to have time to share the stories [of the pieces],” said Laurence Mayer, cofounder of Heristoria, in an interview.
All the items in the edit have been authenticated and then taken through a meticulous process to restore it back to its original condition with the help of vintage dry cleaners and craftsmanship.
The watches in the edit come with a two-year warranty from the respective brand that created it.
Heristoria also offers a bespoke sourcing service for any items that their customers are looking for.
“We’re really focusing on the quality of the selection rather than the frequency,” said Mayer.
“If we can’t contextualize the pieces and find from which fashion show they belonged to or when it was manufactured, then it cannot go into the catalog,” she added, reiterating the importance of each item’s history.
A black Givenchy jacket with patch pockets, gold embroidery and hardware has already been snapped up for 655 pounds by a customer for his wife. The jacket is a design by Hubert de Givenchy for Givenchy Boutique’s fall 1995 collection — the subsidiary line was aimed at appealing to a younger clientele.
Givenchy Boutique was worn by Jackie Kennedy in 1959 during John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign.
Other special items in the edit include a yellow gold and diamond heart pendant from Chaumet from the ‘80s; a yellow Fendi pasta bag designed by Karl Lagerfeld in the ‘90s, and a Zenith Sporto watch from the ‘50s.
Even though Heristoria only operates between France and the U.K., Mayer hinted that Italy is on her wishlist for expansion.
The platform has also partnered with The Cadogan’s restaurant The LaLee on two special cocktails available for the festive season, a cognac Hennessy and a French pear Champagne. — HIKMAT MOHAMMED
BETSEY GETS INTIMATE: Betsey Johnson has teamed up with Parade, which was acquired by Ariela & Associates International this summer, for an intimates capsule.
Launching Friday, the collection is inspired by Johnson’s fall 1999 show and the ’90s grunge renaissance. The capsule recognizes their shared passion for fun, self-expression and Y2K nostalgia.
The 22-piece collection mixes saturated bright colors with pops of metallics and neons seen throughout satin, mesh, naturals, animal prints, florals and plaids.
The Parade x Betsey Johnson collection is offered in silky mesh and glow satin sustainable fabrics using archival Betsey Johnson prints. Styles include the Luxe Lace Flyaway cami and Luxe Lace slipdress, as well as a gift set, the Days of the Week underwear pack featuring seven pairs with Johnson’s handwriting and icons. Sizes range from XS to 3XL.
The full collection retails from $12 to $72 and is only available on YourParade.com and BetseyJohnson.com.
The collaboration is a multidrop collection with a limited-edition holiday capsule as well as a Valentine’s Day capsule that will be available in January.
“I never imagined that the collections I designed in the ’90s would still be inspiring forward-thinking brands like Parade,” said Betsey Johnson. “When I look at my earlier pieces, they were so straightforward, so pure and established me right off the bat, filled with an uncompromising commitment to sexy skin-baring looks for women of all shapes and sizes to feel comfortable and true to themselves.” — LISA LOCKWOOD
MORE AWARDS: British Ghanaian actress Michaela Coel, who is known for works like “I May Destroy You” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” has been named the recipient of the Pandora Leader of Change Award at this year’s Fashion Awards, which is due to take place on Monday at the Royal Albert Hall.
The award will be presented to her by Pandora ambassador Pamela Anderson. Pandora is the headline sponsor of the annual fundraising fashion extravaganza this year.
The prize was created to celebrate those who lead with innovation to create positive change globally, and consistently challenge the status quo.
Coel said she is “thankful and surprised to be honored in such a way.”
Caroline Rush, chief executive officer at the British Fashion Council, called Coel “a true innovator who fearlessly delves into the reality of being a female while spotlighting those from oppressed and marginalized backgrounds.”
“Coel’s visionary storytelling and wholehearted dedication to authentic representation has empowered audiences globally and paved the way for a more diverse and inclusive entertainment industry,” Rush added.
Mary Carmen Gasco-Buisson, chief marketing officer at Pandora, noted that Coel is “the epitome of what the Pandora Leader of Change Award represents.”
“She has used her platform to give a voice to those who need it the most and to move the world through her creative expression. Her work has made a significant, enduring impact in support of women and underrepresented groups, driving a deep-seated commitment to authentically redefine representation. With this award, we are not only celebrating an artist but a visionary force,” Gasco-Buisson said.
The Fashion Awards is the primary fundraiser for the BFC Foundation. The event aims to spotlight creative talent, and examine the past year in fashion through the lens of “purpose, excellence and creativity.”
The BFC Foundation is a charity that supports, education, grant-giving and business mentoring. In fiscal 2022-23, the BFC said it remitted more than 1.2 million pounds in funds to designers and scholars. — TIANWEI ZHANG
SPECIAL SPEAKERS: In a creative push around sustainability, sneaker brand Axel Arigato has teamed with fellow Swedish sound device maker Transparent on a limited run of speakers with outer shells made from white rubber sole units left over from the manufacturing process.
Per Brickstad, creative director of Transparent, said the collaboration was the result of the two companies’ shared passion for innovation and circularity.
“The outcome is a truly unique loudspeaker. The team had to question a lot of ‘rules’ to make this happen, and we had to develop an entirely new production method to make it work,” added Brickstad, who cofounded the brand with Magnus Wiberg and Martin Willers in 2011.
Max Svärdh, creative director at Axel Arigato, said the project addressed some of the challenges surrounding footwear waste without compromising on sound quality, or the aesthetic of the sound device brand.
“We’ve long admired the work of Transparent, and it has been an eye-opening experience working with them to create a unique speaker made of upcycled sole waste. Both their brand and Axel Arigato believe that creative solutions can be executed to extend product lifecycle, using up-cycling techniques to create more sustainable, one-of-a-kind products,” said Svärdh.
Some 29 speakers costing 1,400 pounds each will be available online and in select Axel Arigato stores in London, Paris, Berlin and Stockholm beginning Monday.
Each set comes with a co-branded pair of gloves and a booklet that tracks the design process.
A hi-fi listening experience party will also be held at Axel Arigato’s London store on the evening of Dec. 6 to signal the brand’s deepening ties with music.
Earlier this month, the brand took its Nights series to Paris for two immersive club experiences in an abandoned office space in Montparnasse. A series of music talents, such as Ichon, Broodoo Ramses, Claude Emmanuelle, Nadia Keira, Pedro Winter, Niska, Andy 4000, Carla Genus, D33J and Sssoun performed for the guests well into the early hours.
The Nights series was introduced last year in Soho, London. At the time, the brand took over a mansion as part of a three-week-long series of parties to support established and emerging U.K. performers. In September, the brand took the franchise to Shanghai for one night of live DJs at System, a creative event space.
“Music and community are core pillars at Axel Arigato, and our Nights franchise champions this stance. We love bringing our global community together, from London to Shanghai. This time it was Paris’ turn. The French have always embraced us, from opening our store in the Marais, to our ongoing celebrations at Fête de la Musique. These nights celebrated culture and community and it was an honor to share this with the people of Paris,” added Svärdh. — T.Z.
NEW SIGNING: IMG Models has signed artist and designer Yinka Ilori.
Born in London, Ilori is known for his vivid color palette in the world of design, creating objects, furniture, as well as structures and murals in public spaces. Utilizing West African textiles, inspired by his Nigerian roots, his works are often playful, with a message of inclusivity.
“I have always believed in the transformative power of storytelling through art and design,” said Ilori in a statement. “I am excited about this next chapter with IMG Models and hope together, we’re able to tell more stories and with a broader audience, to help bring communities together and evoke feelings of joy and optimism worldwide.”
Ilori is a graduate of London Metropolitan University, where he studied furniture and product design. He began upcycling second-hand furnishings. Today, his work has been shown globally through solo and group exhibitions, public commissions and set and exhibition design.
He founded his own design studio in 2015, representing architects and designers, while taking on larger-scale architectural and interior design projects. Clients have included companies Nike, Adidas, Pepsi and Lego, as well as England’s National Health Service Foundation Trust, creating works for hospitals. In 2020, he launched his homeware brand Yinka Ilori Objects, manufacturing and distributing his own goods. Products range from T-shirts, socks, towels and umbrellas to water bottles, prints and dining dishes.
He’s received the Emerging Design Medal by the London Design Festival and has been described as “one of 12 talents shaping the design world” by The New York Times Style Magazine. — RYMA CHIKHOUNE
ALL ABOUT PANTS: Aerosoles, the global footwear brand, is stepping into work apparel.
It has signed a licensing agreement with Maze Collections Inc. for the distribution of work-appropriate career pants.
Aerosoles, which was acquired by American Exchange in 2022, has been expanding its offerings beyond women’s footwear, moving into sleepwear earlier this year.
The first pants collections are set to launch in spring 2024 and will be available at retailers ranging from department stores to off-price stores, retailing at accessible price points starting at $80.
The collection, which is in ponte, scuba and stretch, features slim, bootcut and wide-leg pants, as well as curvy fit options. They are designed to coordinate with Aerosoles’ diverse range of footwear from flats to heels, and will be appropriate to be worn to the office or during remote workdays. In addition to pants, there will be shorts, capris and some skirts. Sizes will range from small to 3x.
“Aerosoles has established a strong brand equity in stylish, functional and affordable shoes for all facets of a woman’s life,” said Eddie Zayat, chief executive officer of Maze Collections. “We’re excited to bring this brand into career bottoms, giving our consumer comfortable and stylish clothes in the workplace.”
“This collaboration marks a significant milestone for Aerosoles, enabling the continued expansion of our brand into a diverse range of product categories,” said Alen Mamrout, CEO of American Exchange Group.
As reported, Aerosoles signed a licensing agreement with United Intimate Group for the distribution of women’s sleepwear, robes and intimate apparel in February. — L.L.
IDEAS WANTED: Calzedonia Group president and founder Sandro Veronesi is lending a helpful hand to the ecclesiastical district of Verona, led by bishop Domenico Pompili.
Aiming to redevelop a 17-hectare space and buildings covering 42,000 square meters outside the city of Verona, where Calzedonia is based, Veronesi, his group and the nonprofit Fondazione San Zeno he founded in 1999 are supporting with Pompili “a contest of ideas” to revitalize the former seminary of San Massimo. Inaugurated in 1960, the religious school at one point was the residence of more than 700 people, including students aged 11 upward as well as teachers and service personnel. The area has been mostly abandoned since the 1980s, due to the demographic decline and reduced vocations, and now hosts a number of refugees.
The site is close to an airport and a train station and comprises a central building and three wings, once the residences of the students, but also housing a variety of services from the kitchens, the butcher’s and a carpentry to a printer and more, as well as a theater that seats 700 and the Church of San Giuseppe.
Veronesi touted his belief in the importance of ideas, “which help solve concrete problems. People think money can solve everything, but I think first you need ideas, then the money will come.” With this contest, the entrepreneur is aiming “to bring attention to this forgotten location,” urging to avoid the simplest and most obvious options, such as turning it into a logistics center or a huge shopping mall, while, on the other hand, “respecting its context and social and collective vocation.”
The contest, open to anyone, from individuals to public or private associations and universities, for example, kicks off on Friday and lasts until March 27, and a total of 50,000 euros will be bestowed to the first three winners who present the best ideas.
Italy’s Calzedonia Group controls the Calzedonia, Intimissimi and Tezenis labels as well as Antonio Marras, knitwear brand Falconeri, bridal line Atelier Emé and wine retailer Signorvino. In 2018, the group with Fondazione San Zeno inaugurated its first African manufacturing plant in Ethiopia.
Calzedonia at the time said it was creating a well for the town in front of the plant, and for all employees, an external clinic with a laboratory and 10 liters of drinkable water per person a week.
Fondazione San Zeno is active with more than 120 projects globally and has been present in Ethiopia for more than a decade, partnering with nongovernmental organization Right to Play in Oromia, promoting games and sports in schools. — LUISA ZARGANI