Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of DJ’ing at the opening of the new and biggest H&M in Europe. I carefully selected the tracks that I was going to play at the event for months in advance, changing a few of them in the way but overall I was so happy with the entire playlist. I will share the entire set with you guys later next week. I hope you like it and huge thanks again to H&M for having me and letting me share my passion for music with all the people who attended! (You can watch some previews of my set here).
I remember saying a few years ago; “If H&M ever did a Designer Collaboration with Alexander Wang, I would DIE”. Luckily I didn’t and I was obviously meaning I would be extremely freaking excited. You know me, you know that Alexander is my favourite designer, and he is one of the few ones I actually invest on -bags and shoes wise-. I have been so freaking excited about this collaboration with H&M, Sports luxe, EXACTLY my thing and here is a head to toe look to prove it.
What do you think about this collection? Do you already have favourite pieces?
Photos by Richard Nicholls
A quick post wearing this awesome Just Cavalli Vest-Dress in Paris. I really love dressing things down, especially with sneakers. And no, no I haven’t traded in my Superstars (rather I left them in my flat in Paris–whoops!), so I’m giving the Air Force One’s a go. Sorta obsessed with the chunkiness of these shoes! The rest of the pics after the jump
Wearing H&M Coat, Just Cavalli Dress, Nike Air Force Ones, Prada bag, THPSHOP Cuffs
Above is a preview from the collaboration between Alexander Wang and H&M. For this collaboration Wang wanted to design new pieces from scratch (unlike many of the previous designers who have collaborated with H&M), with only a couple of items inspired from his archive. The collection will hit stores November 6th, will you stand in line?
Blazer from Acne Studios, knitted turtleneck from H&M, jeans from Frame Denim, ballerina flats from Chloé, bag from Nina Ricci, sunglasses from Prada, bike from BikeID.
Love early fall, when you can still wear ballerina flats and ride your bike! Also, never used white denim that much but these ones from Frame Denim has definitely changed my mind.
“I love those pants! Where did you get them?”
I know! It’s Zara. – Garance
These? Ummm, H&M. – Alex
Oh that? Well, it’s from this random place in Chinatown. – Brie
Do you ever find yourself being complimented and hounded about something you wear and it’s always that thing you bought randomly/after work/while drunk at Zara/H&M/in Chinatown? It’s never that designer skirt, or those amazing wedges that cost you a month’s rent. The things you really really want to tell people all about.
We were talking about this at the Studio yesterday after I asked Garance where her pants were from and she told me they were…drumroll… Zara.
What does it all mean? Does this happen to you?
An old lost series of images from fashion week back in February shot by my lovely of loveliest friends Margaret Zhang. Looking back at these pictures gives me the shudders–how do you New Yorkers do it?! But I digress, yes, I’m back from my Moroccan trip and since we’re on the topic of images, I have to say that I am very excited to share my pictures of the last 10 days with you! Jump through for more news including an update on those THPSHOP pearls!
On the store update, yes we are launching the pearls this month. We have everything in stock now and will release the look book on Monday, June 16th (sorry about the delay!).
Wearing JNBY coat, H&M Trend Knit Sweater, THPSHOP.CO Anya Jeans (get wait listed here), Tibi Boots, Karen Walker Sunglasses
I’m not quite ready for a true Birkenstock.
I picked up these at H&M last week in hopes they would warm me up to the idea of Birks. Baby steps, ya know?
Anyway, I like the simplicity and the fact that if I wear them to the ground, I won’t break the bank replacing them. Now I need I just need a pedicure…
Sandals, H&M, $25.
The skate shoe epidemic has hit the Studio in full force. I wanted to show you some of our favorites…and a few little styling tips!
Click the arrows to see them all!
In the photos: Blue satin slip-on, Céline; Zara; White leather slip-on sneaker,Feit; Canvas slip-on,Vans; Perforated leather slip-on,Common Projects; Zebra print slip-on sneaker,Rachel Zoe; Black quilted slip-on, H&M; Hawaiian print slip-on,Aldo; Pony hair slip-on,Schutz; Glitter-covered slip-on, Saint Laurent.
Here is our interview with Ann-Sofie Johansson, the Head of Design at H&M. I met her on my trip to Stockholm and immediately liked her simplicity, taste, and dedication to her work – and that Scandinavian tact that’s hard to define – but you’ll see what I mean.
She’s been at H&M throughout her entire career – she started out as a saleswoman there…
And since the H&M show was on Wednesdaynight, I thought it was the right time to publish this interview!
What is your job title?
I am the head of design for the New Development Department of H&M.
When you were growing up what was your dream job?
I actually wanted to become a vet. I was a horse girl, you could say, so I spent all my time in the stables riding and taking care of horses.
From that, how did you find fashion in your life?
I blame Barbie a little bit. I played so much with Barbie and would always want to make new outfits for her and try new things on her. My mom was really good with sewing and knitting so she did a lot of my Barbie clothes. Also my mom for making the clothes for herself and for me, we were mini-me’s sometimes during my childhood.
What did your parents do?
My mother was actually a housewife and she did a lot of sewing from home for different customers as well. And my father worked in the forest with nature reservations.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the south part of Sweden, in a small town, so we didn’t have much fashion going on.
When I was a little bit older I would take the train to bigger cities and see and explore the H&M stores! I found that H&M was the most exciting store for me as a teenager because I thought they had everything I had always wanted to have and wished for. That was my first experience with H&M.
What was H&M like then?
It was the dream destination for fashion, of course. I always told my parents I wanted to go into town to visit the local store and see what was new.
When did H&M first open?
The first H&M store opened in 1947.
Did you go to university?
I went to university and I studied history of art and archaeology, I took a detour before getting to fashion. After my childhood dreams of becoming a vet, I realized that you had to study for a very long time and my grades weren’t good enough to be accepted at a school. And I had always been interested in art so I started to study History of Art at the university.
So what was your first job in fashion?
My first job was actually in H&M at one of the stores in Stockholm in 1987.
How did you move from working in a store to where you are today?
Well I had an idea that I wanted to work as a designer for H&M, and I thought it was a good idea to start working in one of the stores to get to know the company and to get to know the customers.
After a year I contacted Margareta van den Bosch (currently the Creative Advisor of H&M, previously the Head of Design), and I put a portfolio together and showed it to her. I started as a designer assistant for her part-time, so I still worked in the stores, and what we called The White Room, which was the design department at H&M. At that time we were around 12 designers so it was really small, today we are 160, so it has really grown a lot.
Why did you want to design for H&M as opposed to working for another brand?
I think it was because of when I was younger and would travel to bigger cities, and H&M had everything. For me, that was one of the reasons why I wanted to work for H&M. They had such great advertisements– they had illustrations from a very well known fashion illustrator. I felt the brand had so much passion.
As head of design now, what does your job sort of entail? What do you actually do as the head of design for your department?
The New Development Department is the department where we make a lot of the special collections, like the collections we show in Paris, and our Conscious Collections, where we can be a little bit more innovative and a little bit more daring than the rest of the collections that we make at H&M.
So I have a design team there, and we work closely together, and with the collections of course I oversee and see what we have missed and what we can develop for next time.
I also try to be a visionary of where we see H&M going in the future and what our customers might expect of us. It is a really fun job; it is very creative. There are also so many great people working at H&M, which is, I think, one of the reasons why I stayed on longer, not just because I love fashion, but because the people are great. Very skilled. We have a lot of fun together.
And out of the 160 designers working at H&M, how many are working specifically on your team?
Today we are around 20.
We get to work close together, they get to see how we can do things and many times it is a surprise for them that we can work with the same type of qualities and detailing, but to a much lower price for the customer.
How many different departments does H&M have?
We offer fashion for ladies, kids, men, youth and cosmetics, for some markets also home. But within these departments we have collections for many different occasions – everyday wear, sport, party etc.
Are you still on a day-to-day designing? Or is it more of a review process with your team?
More reviewing. I don’t do any of the design myself so to speak but more of the reviewing, and more about giving guidelines. We talk about teamwork, that is definitely one of the values of H&M. Everyone has their say, so to speak—it is a very democratic process.
Do you miss being more hands-on with design?
Sometimes I miss that. But there are so many other really good designers, so I don’t really have to.
Do you feel that in your role your creative dreams are being fulfilled? Do you feel like it is more a work of restraint because you are with a team designing for the mass market?
I think what I do now is so fun.
I worked as a designer during my years at H&M on the Divided department, which is the young department in trending fashion, and I loved that also. Then I worked for Ladies, and then I was head of design for everything. Now I am responsible for the team that’s so innovative and visionary.
I think that it is such a great way to move because I tried a little bit of everything. I made fashion for many people, and now we can do something a little bit more edgy. I really love what I’m doing now.
But I still believe I am curious, on the lookout for the next thing. Fashion moves forward, finding new ways – and so should we.
I usually love Chloe Sevigny. She is an old favorite of mine, I love her style.
H&M really launched the designer collaboration trend. How involved are you with these collaborations?
I haven’t done them before, but now that Margareta is 70 years old and retiring, I am doing that as well. So that is also a new experience and very exciting to do.
And it depends on whether we continue to do them. We have done them for a few years now so there is always “should we do that again?” Other companies are doing it, but at the same time there are so many designers that we would love to collaborate with. So I guess we will continue with them!
And how have those collaborations changed H&M and the perception, because it has become such a big thing.
I think it has built the brand and been very good for it. It is kind of a win-win situation I think because for H&M it builds the brand and gives us inspiration, and also design-wise to work with a designer, a high-end designer. We get to work close together, they get to see how we can do things and many times it is a surprise for them that we can work with the same type of qualities and detailing, but to a much lower price for the customer.
They reach out to so many more people when we do a collaboration than they usually do, so I think it is very mutual.
Speaking of inspiration, what inspires you as a designer?
A lot of things. I think as a designer you have to be really open-minded and you have to be really interested in what is going around in society and in culture overall. I think you have to have big ears and big eyes because you have to see and feel things and grasp a lot of things, and you can find inspiration today everywhere.
For me, I think the best is looking at people. Whether that is in Stockholm, here in our stocking and buying office, young people, just going down in our restaurant and looking around… but also traveling of course and exhibitions and movies.
We show on the runway ourselves at the same time at Paris Fashion Week. That says something: that everyone comes more or less to the same conclusions regarding trends
And how has the Internet changed the way that you work? Do you find more inspiration online than you did before?
Absolutely. A whole new world I would say. When I started in fashion 25 years ago, it wasn’t around; it was magazines more or less. Today a lot of the information and inspiration you get is on the Internet. All those street photographers, all those bloggers. It is a lot to keep track of also, but it is a great source of inspiration.
We’ve been using Pinterest a lot here at the office.
We do that as well, I love it.
How do you take inspiration from what you are seeing in fashion and interpret it in a way in which it pulls in from the trends and what you are seeing, but doesn’t cross that line of being too close to something?
I think we follow the same trends everyone does in a way; they are kind of universal. We have have to make them fit our customers. We always think about our customers and what they want from us.
And now we show on the runway ourselves at the same time at Paris Fashion Week. That says something: that everyone comes more or less to the same conclusions regarding trends. But then I also think there are certain designers that are more avant-garde that are kind of designers’ designers. I think Céline did that a few years back when Phoebe Philo started there.
Where did the decision to do a runway show come from?
Well we always do a collection that we show really early in the season, what we call a press collection, to show to you and to editors and so on. We did have shows before, but they were more like a bigger event and now we want to show as everyone else does and put more focus on our own design. There is a lot of focus when we do our collaborations, but we are so many skilled people working here. And then, why not in Paris!? It is the fashion capital, whether you want it or not. That is why we chose Paris.
But I still believe I am curious, on the lookout for the next thing. Fashion moves forward, finding new ways – and so should we.
What kind of press does that bring the brand?
I think it clearly shows that we are a global fashion brand, working well in advance with the seasons. We are very proud to be able to show our own design in this way.
Can you tell me about your involvement in the conscious collection and how H&M approaches sustainability?
I think to be sustainable means a lot today. And we have to be producing our products in a sustainable way. I think our customers expect that from us, and I think we have to take responsibility.
We want to be at the forefront, and I think we are as well. Today we are the biggest buyer of organic cotton for example. And you can always find garments of organic cotton in our stores, and then we have our special collections.
One collection is called Conscious Exclusive, and here we want to show that sustainable fashion can be high fashion. It doesn’t have to look unfashionable, it can be really fashionable and sustainable at the same time. So there we make really beautiful clothes that are made of organic cotton, organic silk, recycled fabrics.
Why is that something that is so important to you?
Well I think it is important for us as a company because we are big and I think that we can make an impact. This is becoming more and more important, and people are becoming more and more aware today. We should be the best alternative I think, and we should produce our products in a sustainable way, taking care of nature and the people working with the products as well. And I do think that doing things in a sustainable way is very economical also, and we are an economical company.
How does the fast pace of fashion affect all of the work that you are doing?
We always have had big collections, something new every week in our stores. That has always been one of the things with H&M, so for us, I think that hasn’t really changed.
I also think that fashion doesn’t move so quickly, it is everything around it. It is almost impossible to say that something is in fashion now. So there are a lot of trends going on at the same time and a lot of fashion going on at the same time, and I think fashion becomes more fun when it is like that. More liberating, and freer, it is more about dressing a personality rather than following a lot of different trends.
Fashion and the tendencies around me is my great interest, I feel my brain is always tuned in for inspiration.
It’s so interesting to hear you say that because I think a lot of people, especially lately, have expressed a very different point of view. That we need to slow down and take a step back.
But I think it is about refining things, you know. A lot of products are following from season to season and I feel like we are refining them.
Do you yourself have a style icon that you look to?
I am a little bit of a tomboy, and I love quirky style and looks. I usually love Chloe Sevigny. She is an old favorite of mine, I love her style.
What is an average day like for you?
A little bit different every day. Sometimes it is a lot of interviews with authors and journalists; telling them about how we work at H&M and so on, and then it’s also a lot of research.
Trying to keep up with what is going on, research to see what we are going to do next, and then also meeting with the design team, talking about the collections, a lot of traveling too. A little bit of this and that.
How do you find balance between your work and your family?
It is important to have a balance. I try to be disciplined, and leave work on time and focus when I am with my family and friends. But fashion and the tendencies around me is my great interest, I feel my brain is always tuned in for inspiration.
What do you do to relax?
I visit art exhibitions or go to a restaurant with friends. And I really do enjoy tea and cookies.
What do you find the most challenging about your job?
I think it is to be right on fashion. To make our customers happy. That is still the most challenging thing I think, and usually the timing. I don’t think it is so hard to foresee what is coming, but I think a crucial thing is timing: when are people ready for this new color or shape or whatever it is.
How would you describe your customer? Who is the H&M consumer?
I think anyone that is interested in fashion actually. Usually I would say a fashion-conscious woman.
You were saying that you do a lot of press interviews, how has it been being sort of the face of the brand and the division that you work with? Is that something that you enjoy doing?
I think it is really fun to do that. It is fun to explain how we work, and it is fun to talk about fashion and it’s good to get into a little bit of depth about the fashion business. It is not just about the daily outfit. It is something more, because I think that fashion is something more than all of that. It has an impact on us as human beings in a greater way than we actually think.
We need to dress every day, and we make choices when it comes to how we put our look together, even if we think about it or not. Also, looking back historically, you can always tell about a certain age by looking at what people were wearing.
What is the most rewarding thing for you about your job?
I think it is when we receive beautiful samples and you see a really good collection in our stores that customers appreciate. That is so rewarding. Or a good photo shoot, something like that, is super rewarding. A fashion show in Paris, of course, that was something really good. A lot of work went into that and then it was over in a couple of minutes.
How does H&M’s Swedish origins affect your work in the design process? Does it play a big role in the way that you work?
Maybe a little. I think Swedes are quite practical, so I think our clothes are quite practical in the sense that you can wash almost everything in the washing machine.
We are thirty different nationalities today in the design team so it is an international design team, so even though the biggest part is of Swedes we are still international. The Swedish things might have disappeared a little bit more since I started, we might have actually felt more Swedish then than now.
What is your relationship like now with the stores? Do you feel very responsible when you walk into an H&M?
Oh I go to our stores almost every day. On the way home, I always take a little tour of the store. We have the office on the top of one of our stores here so it is really easy to get there and have a look. And I think it is super important to talk to customers and maybe sneak behind a teenage girl, who are the harshest reviewers, it is always good to hear what they are saying.
Who would you consider to be your biggest competition in the market?
I think when we started there wasn’t much competition at all, and now today it is fierce and we have to keep track of them. For us it is really important to see what is H&M and what we stand for and also, not to look too much at others, keep the focus on our own work and our own collections.
But of course, we have to keep track of them as well. I don’t think there is one of them, I think there is a lot of competition.
We need to dress every day, and we make choices when it comes to how we put our look together, even if we think about it or not.
Do you have a mentor?
I think Margareta has been my mentor. She is a great mentor and has so much experience.
What’s the best piece of advice that she has given you?
I think to continue to be creative, to fight for creativity, and not to spend too much time on admin or office work. You have to be creative, and listen to people, but also believe in your own ideas.
So when you are hiring, what is it that you are looking for in a young designer?
I think that they have to be very creative, we are looking for creative people. But also they have to be able to make fashion for many people, because H&M is about fashion for many people.
We have to have that desire to dress a lot of people, and to be able to work in a team I think, which can be very hard for people straight out of design school when there is a lot of focus on you. Then you come to H&M and you work in a team in a big group that decides things together. That can be a tricky way to work but a lot of people also love to work in teams.
So it’s really creative young people that want to make fashion for a lot of people.
And what about working in a big team at a big company do you enjoy? Why do you like that kind of atmosphere?
I mean I enjoy it because I think it makes me better. It is really rewarding to have a team that has the same goal and is working towards the same goal. It is a lot of discussion and a lot of give and take, but it is really rewarding and really fun to work like this. To have a good team spirit, that is great.
And you are never alone with a decision, so there is a little bit of security there, which is nice.
What would be your advice for someone who is looking to break into the design world?
I think to be creative and to follow your heart. Don’t be too strategic. It can take some time to find your way and to know exactly what you want to do, but let it take time, you learn things during the way and you find your path and your goal.
For you, what is your dream for your career? What do you see being next for you?
I love what I am doing now, so I see myself doing this for many years hopefully. Maybe develop H&M for the future with new concepts and new lines. I am happy where I am right now, so no big dreams really. I feel very satisfied!
Check out other career posts:
Ever since I started this blog, I’ve tried every season to rethink the way I approach fashion weeks. Because of this, and because I was curious about how everything had changed over time, I decided to take a little tour through my archives and it’s kind of CRAZY. Come take a tour with me!
No Fashion Week for me – at that time, my blog was only illustrations, and frankly, all I knew of fashion weeks was what I had read in magazines and seen on Fashion TV, which I used to watch for hours. This drove my mother crazy because in her opinion, watching girls walking towards nowhere (“Where are they going?” she asked me one day) was pretty much like watching fish swimming around in a fish bowl.
“Pfff, you just don’t get it, mom.”
Oh, and what do I find in 2006?
A post where I talk about Scott and Face Hunter, the only bloggers/streetstyle photographers at the time. Actually, we didn’t even call them that yet: I call them “coolhunters”.
In 2006, I say:
(Yes, I’m quoting myself) (Oh, come on, it’s fine.) (It’s like a literary selfie, right?)(A Tweet!!!).
“And sometimes, with the most talented ones, we find what we’d forgotten to look for in the frantic race of appearances: style, grace. A sense of the moment.”
March. My first Fashion Week. Oooooomaaaaigaaaaaaad what’s happening. I’m over the moon excited. I’ve never seen so many people so well-dressed, so cool, so eeeeeeeeeeee!!!
I start taking photos of people, I’m sickeningly shy and all I can say in English is “hello”, “please” and “fuck” (the last one only whenever I messed up a photo, which was pretty often).
People invite me to a some shows because my blog is starting to get some attention, but all of that is just for fun, in my spare time. I don’t publish my photos on the blog ok, actually I do, but don’t look and I faint every time I see someone I recognize.
The fashion show scene is relaxed. The people I take photos of are nice, curious, flattered, and surprised all at once. They’re dressed normally.
I mean, they’re dressed very well, they’re very chic, but they look normal. That’s what I love. It’s the opposite of magazines, it’s real life! It’s just a concentrated group of very elegant, very cool people.
Even so, I still say:
“The Face Hunter came to take a photo of me. Which is almost an insult to my pants, given how opposite our tastes are, especially when I see the grins he makes when he looks at his photos, which – fortunately for me, will never be published. I tell myself that, from now on, Yvan has something to blackmail me with.”
This is still true today: days when I have my photo taken coming out of a show with 200 photographers pouncing on everyone, I always feel like there’s something wrong with my outfit, something too showy, too crazy, too ‘fashion weeeeeek look at meeeeeeeeee.’
Sometimes when you look at life in retrospect, it’s totally hilarious.
Street style is all over the place. I discover photography, I go to a lot of shows, I start putting names and smiles with the faces I was barely brave enough to ask to stop for a photo the previous season, and I even start doing some style stories about them.
It’s still relatively quiet outside of fashion shows – I don’t realize how lucky I am.
I start making contact with fashion editors and reporting things like:
“Let me make this brief. If you’ve followed me, if you go to a show, and someone touches your body and asks ‘Who is it?’ Don’t answer “It’s me, in fact it’s my right breast, do you want a Prozac or something?” Instead, say: “It’s Marc, or it’s Stefano. Or if you’re taken off guard and it’s just Massimo, say: “That’s vintage.”
It’s also my first New Yoooooooorkeeeeeeeee fashion wwweeeekkk omgomgomg!!!! Total hysteria, total excitement, total jet lag.
I write things like this:
“People come up to me and say I like your style, and I could fill up an entire post with how much I feel like a hobo next to the meticulous precision of American girls. I’ve got loads of new friends, and it worries me – Cole Mohr is trying to French kiss me, but I think it’s because he doesn’t have an apartment right now, whereas I do. This must explain that. Maybe, maybe not!”
And then, don’t forget, 2008 – the financial crisis:
“To celebrate that, you just escaped the super depressing post I was about to write about the economy that’s just crashed and how fashion people are just throwing their arms up in the air, they’re so petrified [as if they could be any more petrified, those fashion people. Booooootox!].”
Style.com asks me to desribe my day, I go from show to show. The photos are getting popular and since they don’t need any explanations, my blog actually goes international, and my English starts to get better.
“Hi, I’m Gowaaance, can I take your picture?”
I would love to have it translated, but for now, my blog is only in French.
That’s when I meet Tim, my beloved translator who will be with me for a long time (say hello to Andrea!), and the blog is translated into English. I’m in super mega fashion week mode, I follow the fashion bandwagon as if my life depended on it, and every day, I debrief you in detail about all the looks I love.
I have an insatiable appetite for fashion and that’s a good thing, because more and more doors are opening for me.
People start getting pushy in front of the shows. Everybody knows who Carine is, who Anna is, who Kate is. The type of people you see starts to change, and there are more and more of them, from young students who are just there to enjoy the view, to new bloggers making an appearance. Alexa Chung makes her debut and the outfits are more and more editorial.
I guess it made me question myself, because here is what I had to say about it:
“In fact, it was when I was taking a photo of one of those pretty people, who was totally thrilled to pose for as long as I wanted and as long as the hoard of 365,756 photographers next to me wanted, even is she was freezing in the icy wind in her summer dress, wearing Dior from head to toe at the Dior show, and who repeated to me three times “It’s all Dior”, that I said ok, ok.
Enough of the bullshit. It’s very pretty, but what am I doing here?”
And to think that in 2009, I thought there were too many photographers, hahahhahahah hoooo that’s a good one. lololololol. Lol.
What I’ve always loved doing is showing you all the things that I discover as they come to me.
I start taking photos at fashion shows, and my angle changes slightly.
There’s this one on the Chanel show and the amazing bags in the audience. A fantastic encounter with Sonia Rykiel. A visit to Anna Dello Russo’s room at the Ritz.
This is the start of the social media craze, and everyone has their own voice now. Fashion Week is everywhere, pictures of the shows are everywhere, anyone can share and comment, it’s the era of the photo of the photo of the photo…
Dolce & Gabbana definitely got the memo – they pull out all the stops for us (Scott, Bryan, Tommy, and I) and put us in the front row. The truth is it wasn’t my first time in the front row, but at the Dolce show, they really understood the power of the image. They put computers in front of our seats (“For live tweets!”)(which I never do) and they have photographers all over the place to immortalize the moment. We feel a bit used, but the message is loud and clear: times have changed.
Here is what I wrote the next day:
“Fashion is a small, and very organized world. There are rules, customs, kings, queens, jesters, princesses, etiquette, codes – you never stop learning, and it’s really fascinating.
The front row of a show is, above all, the place where you can see the clothes best. Beyond the third row, you can’t see the shoes, and past the fifth row, you can see the hair, if you’re lucky. Seats in the front row are in high demand. Because that’s also where you can be seen. You earn you seat on the front row through celebrity, experience, or power. All this gives way to a lot of drama and some lovely ego crises.
This season, the creators of Dolce & Gabbana had a revelation. When they spoke to their clients, they realized they spent all their time online. They were well-informed, they wanted things to move quickly, and were ready to buy right away. They figured out that it was a new age, and they needed to move ahead with the times.
They decided to open their doors wide to four bloggers.”
Voilà. I take photos inside, outside, everywhere I go, and frankly, I go everywhere – things have changed.
“Lately, I realize how much time has gone by, how much things have changed. At fashion weeks, I know a ton of people. When I arrive at a show, someone grabs my hand, smiles at me, and leads me to my seat. Someone calls me to make sure I’m not going to miss the show. They double check, triple check. People aren’t happy when I miss a show. Haha! Yep, things have changed!
It’s weird – the fashion world’s ability to take people in or reject them. In between moments of snobbery or being totally brown nosed, you learn quickly to only trust your heart. To reach out to people who do you good, to just be yourself, and to see fashion for what you love about it and leave the rest out.
I’m starting to understand (finally!) that since fashion is an industry, once the initial discovery is over, you may quickly find yourself going in circles. Photographing the same people, the same attitudes. It’s a really tiny world!”
Fortunately, photography itself has also changed a lot. It’s become super easy to make videos, so, kind of on a whim, we start making films with Chris, my assistant (oh yeah, in 2010 I had an assistant!) and this is what we came up with. Now that was fun…
I start fashion week by saying this:
“There are currently more streetstyle photographers than fashion editors (and sometimes they’re even better dressed, I’m talking Anna Dello Russo well dressed).”
It starts looking like a war zone outside of the shows, and I start getting bored there, because I never was very drawn to the bling bling and now it’s bling bling BIG TIME. People start changing clothes three times a day to go to the shows, and even if I appreciate the effort and the outfits, I wonder what exactly is the message? Let’s dress like crazy people? That’s never been my thing!”
I decide to laugh about it, and I write this: “How to get assaulted by a hoard of Streetstyle photographers (myself included).”
Yeah, I’m laughing about it, but the truth is, I’m starting to lose inspiration.
And what do I do when I’m tired of something? I change! This is the year when I get into videobsession – a new way to show you fashion week, that’s been show so much under any type of angle that it doesn’t have much more to show, the poor thing.
Front row, back row, backstage, everyone knows everything all the time, and instantly, we’re all saying the same things. Oh that’s when I write that. So I figure the best way to change things up a bit is to take you with me – literally.
We launch Pardon My French. Crazy amounts of work, exhaustion, giggle fits – I think this was the time in my life where I was the most generous with my time – and my physical and moral strength – for the blog. There are some really good videos, and some not so great, but one thing’s certain – it’s different. And we end up with moments like this…
I love this time in my life, even if it’s very difficult. It’s literally exhausting, but the team work, and learning so many new things is a lot of fun and very exciting!
There’s now a real system in place for bloggers, it girls, it Instagrammers, and streestyle – the outfits people wear to shows are extremely thought-out and calculated. It’s the craze of clashing looks, layering different pieces, and anything that attracts attention.
A system is in place for what’s now become a business. Each paper or online magazine has its own streetstyle photographer, each brand has someone in charge of digital media who lends clothes out to people who are likely to have their photo taken, and even if I do everything, everything, everything I can to stay fresh and enthusiastic, sometimes I have a hard time staying inspired.
I’m impressed with Scott’s detached attitude– we talk about it a lot, after all it’s a system we’ve helped create!– but I can’t help but be a little upset by it all.
Suzy Menkes writes her controversial article on the “The Circus of Fashion”. It’s a pretty harsh article denouncing the hysteria around fashion shows, and it kind of throws everyone and everything in the same category. I find this confusing.
Even though I don’t agree with what she writes because I think that deep down, opening up the fashion world is a good thing for everyone, from brands to journalists to stylists – I tell myself once again that it’s time to rethink how I approach fashion weeks.
I have a conversation with my team (I have a team!!!) and we decide it’s time to take an easier approach to fashion. We don’t get too extreme over fashion anymore at the Studio.
We have fun with it, we find inspiration in it, we still love it (of course), but we don’t feel like saying that a pair of shoes is “to die for” anymore, because that would sound almost a little too true.
And now we’re back to today!
I’ve just gotten back from the H&M show. I saw Dries Van Noten today, and I still feel the same emotion when I see his shows. I stayed for a few seconds outside of the venue, but I didn’t stick around – there were too many people, I almost got hit by a car while people where taking my picture. And at H&M, I got pushed really hard by a bodyguard when Solange Knowles was passing by – going to shows is getting dangerous! Alright.
This year, I’ve decided to do things thoughtfully, to go see the designers I want to support and who inspire me, to take photos of people who cross my path, and to stay cool.
I’ll only have time for a few videos this fashion week – but they’ll come back quickly!!! I love making them.
That reminds me of a conversation I had with Carine Roitfeld, when I had started to understand the repetitive nature of the fashion world. How did she do it, year after year, and manage to stay inspired?
She told me that as time goes by, things calm down. You start to seek out different things. A new model that inspires a fashion series, an attitude, a detail. Someone you meet, a gesture, a fabric, a piece of music, the way something is staged.
So that’s how I’m feeling lately. A lot more relaxed.
I really wonder how it will be eight years from now!!!
What about you? Since you follow me, and you follow fashion, whether you’ve grown with me or just arrived here – what’s changed from your point of view?
Tell me everything! Honestly, I can’t wait to see what you have to say and have a conversation.
Translation by Andrea Perdue
This illustration first appeared in Vogue Paris.
I’M WEARING >> Jumper: H&M | Bag: Alexander Wang | Skirt: & Other Stories
Ay Dios mio! Shooting these was a bit of torture and of course we did it in record time, probably under 5 minutes. I was wearing a bulky and massive coat but I really wanted to show you my new top and this view, my god, the view!!!
Photos by Oskar Spångberg
Here is a simple way to reinvent a “Summer” dress. I wore this in NYFW when it was like 30 degrees outside, probably too hot for it since its a sort of neoprene but since I LOVE the color, I wanted to wear it throughout the winter as well.
I am getting a little over stressed and over excited about leaving Europe in a little over a week. I am going to Mexico to spend the holidays with my family but have A TON of work to do before I leave.
(Would you mind pretending not to notice that I’m talking about it two weeks after it happened? Thank you so much!)
The day of the launch for the Isabel Marant for H&M collection I was in Stockholm, I was working and so I didn’t really think about it – even more so that competitive shopping makes me buy stupid things.
But. The day after I was still in Stockholm, the home of H&M, where H&Ms are everywhere, and I was with my agent, Delphine, who likes shopping as much as I do and so we told each other: each time we walk by an H&M, we stop and check.
That’s how I found myself with what you’re seeing in the pictures, plus a couple of sweaters.
What I think: A great collection (of great quality) and super well priced. It’s really great for fans of the brand that can’t afford the real Marant prices. The collection is a lot of the brands classics, from a simple sweater to the shoes to the coats, and the coats…
Well it made me cringe just a little.
See, I had bought that coat in the store last year, not exactly the same price. It’s not the same fabric, but the cut is exactly the same.
I don’t know what to think.
On one hand, i think it’s fantastic to be able to buy Isabel Marant at H&M prices.
On the other hand, it’s the second time that a brand reproduces an item that I owned (I had the same thing with these Margiela shoes, now if I wear them people say “Margiela for H&M?”) and it kind of wakes up the snob in me, even thought I don’t really understand why.
What do you think? Have you ever had that happen to you? Did you get something from Isabel x H&M?
It’s been so long since I’ve been to Stockholm that I almost forgot how much I love the city and its energy – which is pretty remarkable considering it gets dark at three in the afternoon (It’s almost like someone just turns off the lights. You’re walking through the streets in the middle of the day and you look down for something in your purse and the moment you raise you head back, hop, it’s pitch black!)
It’s a city where I love the shopping (Okay so I may have gone a little crazy in that area. I guess that’s what night shopping will do to you)(I’ll give you a rundown soon and yes, I was pretty naughty strolling through the aisles of Isabel Marant for H&M)(and there are A LOT of H&Ms there) and where I love the style, because it is so different than what you find in Paris or New York.
In Stockholm women don’t necessarily dress to show off their bodies – even if they’re super hot. They showcase something different, they like their style to be interesting, playing with volumes and materials and even sometimes, flirt with the bizarre.
I don’t know if it has something to do with the climate, or the importance design has in Swedish culture, or if maybe it’s the amazing gender equality here that makes the relationship between men and women a totally different story than what I’m used to…
[Gender equality interlude:
Don’t be offended if a man in Stockholm doesn’t hold the door for you. It’s not that he lacks social graces;
It’s that a woman in Stockholm would probably take some offense to it. “I can hold the door on my own, thank you!” She’d probably say.
Same thing for dinner… I was talking with some Swedish girlfriends and they said that they would take it as an insult if a man tries to pick up the check. You divide the check in two, and that’s that. End of story. The time will come when you can let the man pick up the check, but much later on.
It’s also a country where men get six months of “paternity leave” and where there are as many baby-changing stations in men’s bathrooms as there are in women’s. Cool, right?]
… But the fact is that the style in Stockholm is like nowhere else on earth. It’s so inspiring, interesting, captivating.
I can’t wait to get back, maybe during summer time when it’s light out for 14 hours every day…
In the photo, the beautiful Elinor Nystedt is wearing a men’s suit by Weekday Collection, checkered shirt by Ralph Lauren, dotted shirt by MTWTFSS Weekday, bustier by Nhu Duong, vest by Christophe Lemaire and Converse x MM6 sneakers.
Blazer: H&M Paris Collection | Denim Shirt: ZARA | Jeans: GUESS | Shoes: Rolando Santana | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff | Cap: H&M Paris Collection
I must confess I am not the most spontaneous person you will ever meet, although I would like to be. I tend to plan and over think, sometimes too much but that has kind of sort of been changing lately and it feels good!
For starters, I am on a train to Antwerp on my way to a party for my friend Tiany and Belmodo’s 5 year anniversary. I dont have a single clue of how the next few hours will be and I am pretty damn excited about it!
Lesson of the day; Be spontaneous more often.
After taking some quality time to reflect upon the Isabel Marant x H&M collaboration…
We’ve all decided that it is definitely worth a wait in line for (and a lot of our predictions came true!). Due to the pressure of only having a few minutes to scoop up as much as possible, I tend to leave with many things I will never wear (I still have tags on pieces from the Lanvin x H&M collab, but I won’t ever part with them. And I’ve never carried my Margiela candy bar clutch) when it comes to these designer collaborations.
So this time, I’m going with a one item rule. I’ve got to pick just one thing. Of course, there is always the dilemma of picking the same one thing as everyone else and then that one thing being gone by the time I get a chance to scour the racks. But in my fantasy shopping world, my one thing will be there, in my size, just waiting for me as a reward for not going collab crazy. And one expert tip for collaboration shopping: don’t neglect the menswear. It’s often really really good and there are usually far fewer men camped out…
I asked everyone in the studio to pick their one thing also, below are our choices!
Tamar: These red trousers! I tend to be boring with my trouser choice, so these are muted enough for me to feel comfortable while still standing apart!
Emily: With all of the other options is my pick boring? Nah. If I’m going to stand in line for hours to get my hands on this stuff, then I want to buy something that’s versatile and I can wear often and for a long time, like this blazer/jacket. I like that I could wear it with a t-shirt in the fall and then layer up a chunky sweater underneath come winter and wear it more as a coat.
Christiana: I want this sweater. It might be from the men’s section (okay it’s definitely from the men’s section), but that will only guarantee an even more perfect oversized fit, right?
Alex: Okay, pulling from the men’s section isn’t cheating! This turtleneck sweater is fringey Isabel perfection.
Garance: I would pick this jacket, and wear it with everything, all the time. Can I also have the lace blouse? It would be so perfect with it!
What will you be buying?
Pictures by Mattias Swenson
NYC. Here’s a bunch of pictures we snapped last week while strolling around the city. Seriously can’t believe how quickly the weather changes around here, last week we got to enjoy this beautiful, crisp fall weather for a day or two and now we’re back to bare legs again. Stop teasing NY, it is October after all!
Här är ett gäng bilder från förra veckan. Förstår mig inte på NY vädret för fem öre, förra veckan hade vi några dagar av underbart, friskt, höstväder och nu är vi tillbaka till +26 grader igen. Kom igen nu NY, det är trots allt oktober!
This jacket has become a true treasure in my closet, it really has. I first wore it in London while I was filming with Canon 2 weeks ago, but my agenda was so packed, I didn’t manage to shoot it. I spent a few days in Stockholm last week so I took it with me again.I love spending time in Sweden, its sort of therapeutic for me. I get to laugh A LOT, eat a lot, walk a lot and see friends that have been such a positive influence for me.
Photos by Oskar Spångberg
Spotted this morning at the H&M showroom (youh, fashion week is in da houssse!), a really cool collection and more precisely, a cool jean blouse with tassels. Oh, and a cool carré court (French lesson? A carré is a a bob, and court means short! So it’s a short bob).
Maybe it’s because I’m getting very close to a pretty major hair change (yes, I know, all I do is talk but this time it might really happen guys and you can’t say that I haven’t warned you!!!) but I’m pretty obsessed with any short hair I see.
That’s it for the moment !
Coat: Stylein | Boots: H&M (out September 5th) | Dress: ZARA | Jumper: H&M Trend | Bag: Neri Karra
I am going through a bit of a transition when it comes to styling lately. I know it wont be long until Autumn attacks and I always find myself going through a; “But what am I going to wear now!?” crisis -EVERY.SINGLE.AUTUMN-.
This year however, I decided to do a slow transition towards Fall styling, you know, light jackets, boots and all that jazz. Its definitely the perfect weather in Holland for that at the moment, so everything is going according to plan. Summer, I am really going to miss you. A lot.
Photos by Richard Nicholls
Total look by H&M Trend
I am super excited to share with you the images from the ELLE Mexico Diseña auditions in Mexico City. For those of you who have been following, you might have noticed that we did few stop overs around the country in search for the next big Mexican Designer. We auditioned hundreds of contestants and this was our very last stop.
This day was also incredibly special because I got a very special present from one of the super talented contestants. If you go back to photo 7 and 9, thats when Yesher so kindly gave me a cape he designed. It seriously looks like an origami piece and the way he constructed it was so detailed and complicated, yet beautiful in every way. I was so shocked and happy when he said he wanted me to have it, I couldn’t help but to make a small victory dance, but you will see that on the episode
The other day, I told you about my Woody Allen t-shirt, way better than a cigarette as a conversation starter.
I love t-shirts with writing on them. But I actually own very few, cause there aren’t too many things I want plastered across my chest, you know?
And so the other other day, I was strolling through the aisles of H&M (in order to buy that) when suddenly, this t-shirt pops right out in front of me. Yep. This one up there in the picture…
I thought it was pretty from afar, so I zoomed in a little closer… And… Mmmmmm…”LA N°8 Noire (with a stain)”
“What the hell does that mean?”
I thought to myself that I had to talk to you about it ASAP, then of course, I forgot.
And in the meantime, I wandered over to Urban Outfitters and I saw this:
“Va te faire voir” is kinda just like saying “Go to hell!” but sort of meaner, like “Go fuck yourself!”
And a little more worrisome :
(Don’t worry it’s been taken off the racks since then.)
So all this makes me wonder, how do you guys choose your t-shirts ?
Do you like t-shirts with a real message? Like “Obama Rules”? Do you like photos? Illustrations?
Or do you like stuff that doesn’t mean anything and is mostly graphic like the one in the photo? (What do you say when people ask you what it means?)
(I’m not asking if you’d wear a go to hell t-shirt as I forbid any of you to wear a go to hell t-shirt. ;)
Chunky knit sweaters, embroidered bomber jackets and varsity tees…
Bleached rompers, western shirts and cropped jeans…
Short skirts, oversize coats and stilettos…
Do you have any favorite Isabel pieces you hope to see in the collection? Oh, and three years after their debut, what do you think about the famous sneaker wedges?
PS: In case you missed it, here is Isabel in Pardon My French!
Looks like Garance has a new style icon…
JUST KIDDING. Kind of.
Garance has been asking me a looooot of questions lately about my wardrobe (Hey! Where did you get that skirt?!… Yo! What top is that?! — okay she doesn’t really say “Yo!”) and then yesterday it all came together and we matched! I mean, it was my dream come true to have G wanting to dress like me…I’m not really sure that she feels the same ;)
So, who wore it best?
WAIT, DON’T ANSWER THAT!!!!!!!!!!!
PS: Our skirts are from H&M (and we bought them in white and black…a little obsessed) and the tops are Forever21.
Back in Los Angeles! This is my favourite outfit combo for a day of meetings and shopping on Robertson Blvd: a total black look with my new Toywatch maya edition to spice it up a little.
Ed eccomi di nuovo a Los Angeles! Questo è uno di quei look che considero perfetti per una giornata di meeting e shopping su Robertson Blvd: un outfit total black con il nuovo orologio di Toywatch nell’edizione Maya per rendere il tutto più speciale.
I was wearing:
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ORANGE. Let me introduce you guys to my two latest obsessions; simple, stackable rings and this bright orange sweater from Dagmar. I have so many summery looks in mind for this thin, knitted masterpiece once mr winter finally lets us out of his cold grip, but until then, I give you this set of pictures we snapped during our weekend at Scandic Grand Central, love the futuristic feel!
Here is wrap video from Fashion Week !!!
I am presenting it monologue / flashback style, which I thought would be a funny new way to do a voice over.
Oh, yeah, and there’s Natalia Vodianova inside !! (so beautifuuuuuul)
Big kisses !
Click on the CC on the YouTube player for French subtitles.
Yesterday at the studio we received a lot of very interesting things – one them was a box of chocolate Ladurée Macarons chicer than chic and created by Reed Krakoff – even the name is cool: Strange Love.
We took a picture – and then downed them in two seconds, like you should do with macarons.
Three minutes later, the doorbell was ringing again. Guess what we got ?
A huge tablet of white chocolate with David Beckham, in the most simple apparel, printed on it – sent by H&M to let us know about the launch of his underwear collection.
A litttttlle bit less chic, let’s say. But we still took a bite!
Last week, we got news that H&M will be showing a fall collection on the runway in Paris and have to admit, we are pretty excited to see what looks will debut there!
It is pretty cool that another mass retailer will have a presence at fashion week (H&M joins Topshop and J.Crew), especially in Paris.
What do you think of H&M’s plans for a runway show? What kind of an impact will it have on fashion week in the future?
So H&M is launching a new brand.
It’s called & Other Stories and we love the way they are launching, with small and super creative videos that present you an aspect of the collection.
Don’t you just love the shoes one ?
So when I heard I couldn’t be there for the Maison Martin Margiela for H&M launch party, after crying a little bit, I decided I needed to take action. After going through the lookbook, I gave a mission to Alex who was on her way there, the mission was called :
(Bring back the clutch.)
She went, she fought, and she won !!! She brought back the clutch.
Thing is, in the lookbook, there was no scale. I had no notion of the SIZE of that thing. I mean, I know MMM is all about the irony of the product, but I am still wondering if I can rock this…
What do you think ?
We love the invite for the new H&M x Maison Martin Margiela collaboration…
We can’t wait to see the clothes!
Fast meeting with Anna Dello Russo, who was presenting her collection for H&M the other day.
It’s a jewelry and accessories line, and their is some seriously cool pieces… And I also found the quality pretty excellent.
I’ve been wearing her “zebra” bracelet since then and everybody asks me where I got it…