Guess toasts the next 40 years of denim

Fashion news of the week: Plus, Stone Island’s new manifesto (featuring Jason Statham), Swarovski’s Art of Performance, campaigns and collections from Burberry, Gucci, Prada and Vivienne Westwood, and loads more.

Here’s to the next 40 years of Guess Jeans

This week, we made a pit-stop at Pitti Uomo in Florence to check out Guess Jeans’ mammoth exhibition, The Next 40 Years of Denim. But before the denim aficionados flung us into the future, we were given a history lesson in the brand’s humble beginnings in Los Angeles, where it was started by brothers Georges, Maurice, Armand and Paul Marciano. Quickly gaining fans for its new, sexy cuts that couldn’t be found elsewhere on the market, Guess went on to produce some of the most provocative fashion ads of the 80s, 90s and 00s, featuring faces such as Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Anna Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton – all of which were plastered on the walls of one of the exhibition’s many rooms, alongside stacks of Guess’ greatest denim hits and displays showcasing the brand’s know-how in printing and design techniques.

But, as the exhibition’s title suggests, this wasn’t really about the past. To take its classic stonewash jeans, popularised in 1981, into the future, Guess Jeans has developed Guess Airwash™, a new eco-conscious technology that provides a more sustainable approach to getting that vintage look”. To produce this faded, worn appearance, Guess’ new approach uses light and air, eschewing the traditional technique of using coarse pumice stones and, in turn, significantly reducing water usage. We saw the process first-hand and, yeah, it’s pretty impressive.

Stone Island’s Question Time with Tricky, Dave and Jason Statham

Ever wondered what Jason Statham’s got on his bookshelf? You’re in luck. Stone Island is asking all the right questions in its latest campaign. Recruiting some of the brand’s most famous fans, including the hard-man actor, musicians Dave and Tricky and tennis player Henry Searle, Stone Island put them in the hot seat and launched 100 questions their way to launch the brand’s manifesto: The Compass Inside.

A declaration of Stoney’s values and beliefs, the Compass is a reassertion of its mission to put material research and innovation at the core of its products – an ethos the brand has championed since it was founded in 1982.

Our vision for Stone Island is expressed in The Compass Inside’, establishing our core values in a tangible way,” Robert Triefus, CEO of Stone Island, says. Relentless innovation, self-reliance, solidarity and material obsession are the cardinal directions of our compass. We design for the real world, and so our new creative narrative features notable figures from the global Stone Island family.”

Of course, they’re all wearing pieces from Stone Island’s SS24 collection, such as the 70723 Membrana 31 TC and 70933 Metallic Run-Proof Nylon jackets, in the new campaign shot by David Sims. And thanks to those questions, you’ll also get to find out what Dave can’t live without (rice), Tricky’s preferred temperature (27 degrees) and Statham’s favourite city in the world (London – of course).

Say ciao to Fila+

Last Friday, Fila announced the launch of its brand-new line, Fila+, that looks to its sartorial past for a new and updated remix on modern classics. And, excitingly, none other than Palace founder Lev Tanju has been appointed as its creative director. With Fila’s history so deeply rooted in youth style, subcultures and football terraces, who better than Tanju to take the job? Since 2009, his influence on skate style and culture has propelled Palace to cult status, lending itself to Fila’s massive archive. Fila has such a rich and amazing history spanning over a hundred years,” he says. ‘“I was blown away by how vast the archive was, and loved all of it.”

With the first Fila+ collection dropping this month, expect the pieces to play around with silhouettes with hot takes on contemporary design that challenge traditional sportswear. And with a new logo in the bag (green, red and white in homage to the Italian flag), this looks to be a bold new era for Fila. Benvenuto!

For now, we don’t have an exact date for the first drop. But it’ll be sometime this month – so keep your eyes, ears and wallets open.

Swarovski clears the stage

Just before Christmas, we were whisked away to Swarovski’s Kristallwelten museum in Innsbruck, Austria. Its snowy mountain surroundings looked straight out of a postcard, but it was inside the gallery that the real magic happened. First opened in 1995, the museum houses a collection of the crystal maker’s finest moments, from artist interpretations of the crystals by Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí to the biggest crystal in the world (it’s a whopper). But there’s one exhibition, The Art of Performance, that feels extra special, and camp, not least because it’s home to a pair of crystallised Hunter boots that were worn by Elton John for his Glastonbury performance last year. Not only that, but there’s also a suit worn by Lady Gaga, a dress worn by Marilyn Monroe and the chandelier Katy Perry donned for the Met Gala in 2019.

So, book yourself a weekend away and get up close and personal with the stars. And in the meantime, read our catch up with the exhibition’s curator, Michael Schmidt, to find out more.

With such a vast archive to select from, how did you select the pieces that are currently on show?
My goal was to tell the story of Swarovski’s legendary contributions to the worlds of film, television, music, dance and sports over the last century. There are so many cultural moments that we all share, like Dorothy’s Ruby slippers, the dress that Marilyn Monroe wore when she sang Happy Birthday to President Kennedy, Michael Jackson’s glove. These iconic moments have all been enhanced by Swarovski crystal. Fortunately I had access to many legendary artists’ archives, in addition to my own. It was important for me to tell the story of this singular company and these proud moments.

How would you describe the spirit of the exhibition?
The history of the company is one of great technological and artistic advancement. Swarovski’s innovations have allowed costume and fashion designers the world over to embellish their work in exciting ways. I find this all quite joyous and celebratory, and I hope the exhibition reflects that.

What’s your favourite piece in the show?
I can’t say I have any favourites, as they all represent indelible moments in time and heights of achievement, but I was personally elated to have Michael Jackson’s glove on display. Unfortunately, after two years, it’s no longer with us, but there are a great many other special pieces still on display.

How would you define a modern pop culture icon?
An icon of popular culture must be able to capture and hold the attention and imagination of a vast audience again and again, over many years, through the gifts of their singular talents and charisma. The title of icon” is one that we reserve only for the limited few who we can all agree have excelled.

What have been some of the most memorable moments of your career so far?
I’ve been delighted to work with some of the greatest performers of our time: Beyoncé, Madonna, Cher, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and so many others. They all hold special memories for me and we continue to create works of art together to this day. It would be impossible for me to claim to have a favourite! That said, my time spent with Tina Turner, dreaming up magical ensembles, was a boyhood dream come true for me.

Is there anyone who you haven’t worked with yet that you’d like to design for?
That’s easy. Far and away, the answer is Dolly Parton.

Campaigns worth a double take…

The fashion industry isn’t wasting any time this year, crash-landing into January with campaigns and capsule collections coming out of every orifice.

First up, Stone Island released its first-ever capsule collection honouring the Chinese Zodiac’s Year of the Dragon. Featuring a reversible bomber jacket, a crewneck sweatshirt and a T‑shirt, the collection’s mostly red palette is a nod to the colour’s association with good luck and prosperity in traditional Chinese culture. It even comes in a special tailor-made red box with a golden compass logo. Not a bad way to start the year, eh?

Following suit is Burberry, which headed to the storied streets of Chengdu, China, to bring in the Lunar New Year. The house’s friends, including actress Tang Wei, actor and singer Chen Kun and model Wang Xiangguo, can all be found in the campaign wearing near head-to-toe red, switching things up from Burbs’ newly anointed signature blue. But the house sticks to its British guns via the collection’s houndstooth check, rose prints, cosy scarves and, of course, trenches. A proper good culture clash.

Just in time for awards season, Prada hit up three of Hollywood’s big names for its SS24 men’s campaign, pulling Harris Dickinson, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Troye Sivan away from the red carpets and into a studio with Willy Vandeperre. Then, Vandeperre shot a further 37 faces for the house’s womenswear line, for a bumper campaign that riffs off themes of runway shows, togetherness and striking a killer pose.

Speaking of, Gucci’s crew have whipped up the latest instalment of the house’s new era under creative director Sabato de Sarno. Photographer David Sims, who shot last year’s poolside pre-collection teaser campaign featuring Daria Werbowy, has got behind the lens again for a sexy, minimal shoot featuring Gucci’s shiny new baggage, as stylist Alastair McKimm showcases, can just as easily be used as a top. Kind of.

Then, over to Vivienne Westwood, which showed off the brand’s SS24 collection with a campaign featuring new fashion faces Lux Gillespie and Vincent Rockins alongside veteran Naomi Campbell. It’s a personal one, with creative director Andreas Kronthaler poignantly finding inspiration in Westwood’s personal wardrobe, an extensive archive the grande dame left behind when she passed in December 2022. The crew, including photographer Juergen Teller, pitched up in one of England’s last remaining dummy manufacturers, for a campaign that riffs off the house’s signature corsets, clashing prints, monster platforms and androgynous tailoring. A fitting ode to the outlandish, non-conforming spirit of Vivienne Westwood.

Big office chat this week…
Covetable item…

Shut out the outside noise in style with Celine’s first headphones, made in collaboration with Master & Dynamic. First shown in the house’s SS24 show, they’re slick, clean and promise precise and expansive sound with clear highs and rich lows as well as sound isolation”. Sorry, what was that?

Worth a visit...

If you’re in the neighbourhood, go and check out Louis Vuitton Lovers at Selfridges’ Corner Shop, featuring the hotly-anticipated new Speedy, reinterpreted by creative director Pharrell, which is available in slick brown, red, yellow, green and blue calfskin leather. The space also features a reimagining of Paris’ oldest bridge, the Pont Neuf, where Pharrell’s debut show was held, plus some Dandy-style mannequins and a soundtrack that includes Joy by choir Voices of Fire, who performed at that very same show.

Louis Vuitton Lovers is open til 7th February in Selfridges, Oxford Street’s Corner Shop

New brand to check out...

We reckon suits will be huge this year. The next logical step, then, is a tie renaissance. Make way for Horti, the new brand from designer Holly Simpson, whose CV includes stints at Alexander McQueen, Celine and 1017 Alyx 9SM. With a debut collection of six ties and brooches inspired by old-school gentleman’s garb, the silk designs are a brilliantly British mash-up of a classic style, all mad hatter in candy pink, bright red, tartan and dogtooth check. Plus, its first campaign was shot by the very mega Rosie Marks, who takes the tie to new heights, worn by everyone from a rabbit to a waiter. And soon, you.


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