Livia Firth taking green to the red carpet

Colin Firth might be our favourite eye candy (that accent is like buttered scone to our ears), but who we admire even more is his arm candy, his wife Livia Firth. She is stunning, she is Italian, and she promotes eco-fashion. One of the most high profile faces of sustainable style, she has made it her mission to make ethical fashion the most stylish fashion proposition around. She started out by commissioning “eco-fashion designers” to create garments for her while she accompanied her husband on the red carpet. And it does take a lot conviction to pass big fashion houses in favour of smaller eco-designers and sometimes even wearing pre-owned clothes! Yes, for the Paris premiere of The King’s Speech, starring her husband Colin Firth, she famously wore an outfit made from one of his old (moth eaten) suits. Redesigned by the edgy, London based recycling brand Junky Styling, she made green look cool.

At the Paris premiere of The King's Speech in an outfit recycled from Colin Firth's old suit

At the Paris premiere of The King’s Speech in an outfit recycled from Colin Firth’s old suit

Later she started to team up with big designers for her Green Carpet Challenge (GCC). When her husband hosted the Met Ball in New York in 2011 – one of US fashion’s biggest nights – she wore a Stella McCartney jumpsuit made with organic silk and covered in reclaimed vintage beads, with a detachable skirt made of hemp. From being an ambassador for eco-fashion to starting a consultancy called Eco Age that works with brands that have sustainable and ethical practices, she also owns a store of the same name in Chiswick, west London. Here she sells everything including candles, cashmere cardigans and Italian leather handbags ‘tanned using a traditional technique based on the bark of the native chestnut tree and the mimosa flower’.

Livia Firth at the Met ball 2011, in a Stella McCartney

Livia Firth at the Met ball 2011, in a Stella McCartney

As part of GCC she also recently teamed up with Net-a-Porter. For this collaboration, Christopher Bailey, Victoria Beckham, Erdem, Christopher Kane and Roland Mouret created special pieces that conform to the GCC’s sustainability criteria, which cover social justice implications and environmental impact throughout production. And for every piece sold, Net-a-Porter will donate a percentage to (RED), which aims to eradicate the transition of HIV from mother to child.

In a reworked wedding dress with a slim black belt, at the Golden Globes 2010

In a reworked wedding dress with a slim black belt, at the Golden Globes 2010

Shopping for clothes that she intends to wear again and again, and recycling pre-owned clothes while styling them reflect herself are some of her sustainability mantras. These is also the essence of Fuffabulous, which is why we love Livia Firth and are always looking forward to what she is up to in the world of sustainable style.

IN THE KNOW – WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST VOL. 3

The news in the fashion world seems to be following themes every week. This week besides the squabble between the two artists – Kidult & Marc Jacobs, all the news looks financial and top management related.

Marc Jacob and Kidult..the love story continues

Marc Jacobs faced a second act of vandalism by graffiti artist Kidult, this time covering his Paris store. French graffiti artist Kidult tagged the shop windows with “$686” in neon green paint. The numbers reference when the first run-in they had when Kidult tagged the brand’s SoHo store in May last year with the word “Art” in bright pink. Jacobs printed a photograph of the work onto a line of T-shirts and sold them for $686.

Marc Jacobs Paris store tagged by Kidult

Marc Jacobs Paris store tagged by Kidult

Kidult, who has previously tagged the storefronts of both Celine and Hermes, tweeted an image of his work writing, “680? 689?…686?! How much are you going to sell this for? #kidultarmyparis #thisisnotart.” 

Once again, Marc Jacobs responded to the graffiti artist’s attack with humor, tweeting to his followers: “Come by Paris Collection for the opening night installation of the new @therealkidult. We proudly support the arts.” Later that same day, Marc Jacobs tweeted images of new T-shirts screen printed with the above image, to be sold at the store for $686 “unsigned” and $430 “signed.”

Read more: http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/columns/bibby-sowray/TMG10143151/Marc-Jacobs-turns-graffiti-vandalism-into-a-tidy-profit.html

Hired: Coach appoints Stuart Vevers as creative director

Stuart Vevers has been announced to be taking over the reins from Reed Krakoff, who leaves the company after 18 years at its creative helm to focus on his namesake brand. The newly to be appointed creative director revealed his plans to revive the 72-year-old brand which includes highlighting Coach’s heritage, introducing more offerings of apparel, footwear, and watches, and elevating the label to luxury standards.

Stuart Vevers

Stuart Vevers

Vevers will adopt a similar approach to Coach as that while creative director at Loewe – fusing the label’s history with a contemporary aesthetic. “My passion is for brands with heritage. Throughout my career, every brand I’ve been drawn to has a strong heritage,” Vevers said. “I think Coach is that kind of brand. My style is to take that heritage and to play it against modern references, youth culture, references that take things to a different place and make them relevant now. That’s what I’ve always been known for in my work.”

Read more:  http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130624-908680.html

CEO of Ted Baker sells 1.2 million shares at peak price

Ray Kelvin, founder and CEO of British beloved fashion brand Ted Baker, sold 1.2 million shares (ie. 2.8 percent stake) after the company’s shares touched an all time high this week. Reportedly selling the shares for “personal reasons”, at £17 a share Kelvin made approximately £20m by off loading these shares. This reduces his stake in the business from 38.9 percent to 36 percent.

Ted BAker Store at Regent Street, London

Ted Baker Store at Regent Street, London

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/10144020/Ted-Baker-founder-sells-20m-of-shares.html

Sabyasachi to do Grand Finale

After all the critical attention garnered for dressing Vidya Balan at Cannes, this is good news for Sabyasachi fans. India’s favourite designer will showcase his collection at the show after a hiatus of five years. And there is no other way to do it except as the Grand Finale designer at Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2013.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Sabya, as people fondly call him is a LFW discovery. He debuted his first collection all the way back in 2002 at LFW and in the same year was reckoned as the future of Indian fashion by Women’s Wear Daily. He has indeed proved to be just that. Renowned both in India and abroad, Sabya’s work has earned both accolades and critical acclaim.

Read more: http://www.vogue.in/content/sabyasachi-returns-ramp-lfw-finale

When shopping is an addiction (Fuffabulous is rehab)

Interview with Radhika Dhawan, fashion entrepreneur and consultant

Founding one of India’s first fashion e-commerce portals was a gift and a curse for Radhika Dhawan. As an entrepreneur it was a dream come true, as a shopaholic it was a nightmare (OK maybe also a dream) to have so much great fashion so easily accessible to her. She eventually became one of her own best customers.

DSC_4541-1

Green crepe-silk shirt with neon and metal detailing by Rajat Tangri

“I think I have an actual shopping problem,” she acknowledges, laughing. Having sold off her company First Row a year ago, she doesn’t have as easy an access any more, but since she “almost lives” in Palladium, it isn’t too difficult either. As someone who first buys and then thinks about it, a conversation about her shopping habits is like Confessions of a Shopaholic. It doesn’t matter whether she needs it or not, if she will use it or not, if Radhika likes something it almost always ends up in her shopping bag.

SS'12 collection

SS’12 collection

“I used to be bad and then, I went to UK,” she says about her year away for a Masters where she bought clothes, accessories or shoes every day. Maintaining an exceptionally active social life only adds to her shopaholic ways. Today she owns 109 pairs of shoes, 13 plain white shirts and a wardrobe full of clothes and accessories that she may or may not have worn even once. It includes skirts and waistcoats passed on by her mum and nani, which she used to recycle in her college days.

Number of times worn: 0

Number of times worn: 0

A purging exercise that she undertakes every three months usually starts off well. But since she finds herself very emotionally attached to her things, “the next day when I re-asses the pile, I just end up keeping back most of the clothes”.

Metal and thread embroidery

Metal and thread embroidery around the collar and cuffs

A perfect candidate for the Fuffabulous project, Radhika detaches emotionally from a Rajat Tangri shirt that she bought off the runway last year while she attended the shows at Lakme Fashion Week. “If I don’t wear something I buy within a week, I don’t end up wearing it at all.” A year later, having gained a few inches it has become further impossible for her to use the shirt. The necklace is something she bought from her own merchandise at First Row. The Periwinkle neck piece, though gorgeous, has never been on any of her social outings. “Hopefully someone who loves fashion as much as me but will actually use these things will be able to buy the stuff.”

DSC_4674-1

Metal and bead necklace by Periwinkle

The fabric of the shirt is beautiful and colours striking. It is perfect for a UK size 8-10.

Model friend: Kadambari Sadekar; Location: Worli seaface; Styling: Rachana Nakra; Accessories: Radhika Dhawan and Rachana Nakra; Photographs: Karan Nevatia karan1981@outlook.com

It’s all in the past

What with The Great Gatsby being the movie of the moment and Nicole Kidman promoting her turn as Grace Kelly at Cannes 2013 for her upcoming big ticket film, period themes and vintage fashion are making a comeback once again. As is prone to happen every few years (Mad Men and Downton Abbey are still people’s most watched TV shows). From the fascinating stories of the 20s to the exciting fashion of the 60s, the themes are strong enough to never really get boring as often as they might be repeated.

The three bloggers who form the Vintage Mafia

The three bloggers who form the Vintage Mafia

Our fascination with the past continues to inspire our present. But there are people who prefer to actually live in the past, at least sartorially speaking. Heard of The Vintage Mafia? No, it’s not a posse dedicated to committing old-fashioned crime, these are women who prefer dresses to skinny denim and red lipstick to bronzer. Their nefarious activities include organising events and sales for other vintage aficionados and drinking lots of gin. If you like flip flops and studded totes, don’t sign up. Updos with back rolls, Lucile Ball lips and retro dresses, these women notch up the glamour quotient every time they step out. From 20s to the 60s their love of everything vintage has become the theme of their lives which they document on their individual blogs – Yesterday Girl and Diary of a Vintage Girl.

Fleur de Guerre of the Diary of a Vintage Girl

Fleur de Guerre of the Diary of a Vintage Girl

Besides shopping at vintage stores and going for afternoon teas, they have made a career out of their love for the past as stylists, writers, event organisers and even in fashion design. The Vintage Mafia group includes only three of the many vintage loving bloggers around the world, although not all of them go to the extreme of adopting the style of the past on a regular basis. Just a Google search for vintage blogs will lead you many, many more. So if you want inspiration for your vintage look (or just have fun), read these women who have dedicated their lives to it in an entirely creative way.

Yesterday Girl chanelling Joan Holloway of Mad Men

Yesterday Girl chanelling Joan Holloway of Mad Men

Shoppinguilt and wardrobe-karma

Interview with Manju Sara Rajan, magazine editor and mom

When is the one time that a brilliant writer, a confident editor and mother of two doubt her choices? When she casts a critical eye over her wardrobe and realises that many of the clothes she bought have not been used more than once. Back from work dressed in a beautiful silver grey tunic and chunky silver necklace, Manju is enjoying time with her kids while we chat sitting in front of her wardrobe. Her closet space is meticulously maintained and not wastefully vast, but “guilt” is a word dropped often. She “feels bad” about not wearing and also not being able to get rid of certain pieces in it.

Morphe by Amit Aggarwal grey dress; Number of times worn: 1

Morphe by Amit Aggarwal grey dress; Number of times worn: 1

Mostly a thoughtful shopper, she does most of her purchasing while travelling overseas. But  certain shopping choices of her own leave her baffled. “I don’t know why I bought this,” she says, picking out a Gucci jacket by the hanger. Some beautiful jackets and dresses were bought on impulse or just because they looked good, but don’t really fit into her style repertoire. Through the years her style has evolved into something that can best be described as ethnic-chic with a western touch, and clothes bought long ago don’t fit into her look any more. Also, pieces bought as occasion-wear can not be used more than a couple of times.

Burberry jacket; Number of times worn: 1

Burberry jacket; Number of times worn: 1

As someone who is not a hoarder, she gives away many of her clothes to friends and colleagues at least twice a year and keeps her wardrobe-karma light. But not surprisingly, it’s sometimes hard to give away certain things of high emotional or monetary value. For Fuffabulous, Manju takes the dry cleaning packaging off her beige Burberry jacket that she has worn only once. The gorgeous Morphe by Amit Aggarwal dress was worn for a party and never saw the front of her closet again. “The jacket is very easy to wear and the dress will look beautiful on someone taller,” she says.

photo (6)

Model friend: Kadambari Sadekar; Photos and styling: Rachana Nakra; Accessories: Stylist’s own

H&M, finally! But will it mean more young people dressed alike?

Hennes & Mauritz plans to spend around 100 million euros ($130 million) on an initial 50 stores in India.

Read the full story here: http://www.businessoffashion.com/2013/04/hm-prepares-130-million-drive-to-crack-indian-market.html

So what happened when Zara launched in India? Running into people wearing the same jackets, dresses etc became routine, you knew exactly the place everyone was shopping. Although fast fashion gives us access to cheaper and trendy clothes, it tends to take away individuality and uniqueness in dressing.

H&M flagship in New York, source NY Mag

H&M flagship in New York, source NY Mag

In countries like the UK you have a lot more brands on the high street, which is why even though people are shopping at the same places you can create an individual look with separates. Even so, last season when the camouflage print was popular, I often spotted at least five people on Oxford Street wearing the Zara camouflage studded shirt or the checkered studded shirts. Remember those?

But this is where vintage comes in. My friends in Europe, who don’t want to look like walking ads for Zara or H&M or River Island, scour vintage stores and markets for one-of-a-kind pieces (available at high street prices) and stand apart from the crowd. The most interestingly dressed folks were the ones mixing it up with vintage, high street and key luxury pieces. And like I keep talking about, vintage shopping is necessary to  help reduce wastage, an inevitable result of fast fashion.

PS: H&M has some really cool brands like Monki and Cos. Cannot wait for them to bring in Cos – with their impeccable tailoring and easy to wear, unique styles it is one of my favourite brands!

Cos collection

Cos collection

Cos collection

Cos collection

Pop, dots, and the secret to purging

Interview with Masoom Minawala, Founder Style Fiesta and Fashion Jobs India

“Have you read The Secret? It says till you don’t make space for the new, you will not get it,” 20-year-old Masoom Minawala tells me, in all sincerity and seriousness. We are not waxing philosophical about the world and our existence, we are clearing her wardrobe of things she hasn’t used. But then that’s the gravity with which many women relate to their life, loves, and wardrobes.

morvarid k_20

Brown and black pleated dress, London

It is not a surprise that her book shelf is as packed as her wardrobe. One of the youngest fashion entrepreneurs in the city, Masoom started as a blogger on Style Fiesta. Four months ago she converted the blog into an e-commerce platform and recently also founded a website that works as an online job directory for those looking to work in the fashion industry. Yes, the girl is only 20.

morvarid k_23

Neon pink sling bag, H&M, London

And like many her age, she loves pretty clothes and shopping for them. London is a favourite shopping destination, but as much as she buys Masoom also purges her wardrobe on a regular basis. The one thing, however, that she hasn’t been able to give away is the dotted dress she bought from her favourite boutique in Camden, London. “I love the dress, but it doesn’t fit me well,” she says. Every time she decides to give it away, she wonders if she might wear it some day. And back it goes into the wardrobe again. Until now, for Fuffabulous.

morvarid k_25

Dress and bag purchased in 2012; Number of times used – 0

The neon pink sling bag was an impulse purchase from H&M in London that just continues to live in her wardrobe with price tags still on. “I just never get around to using it,” she says. She hopes that someone who loves fashion as much as her, enjoys pretty dresses and likes to experiment with pop colours will eventually end up with these.

photo (5)

PHOTO CREDITS

Model friend: Kadambari Sadekar; Location courtesy: Le 15 Patisserie, Bandra; Styling: Rachana Nakra; Accessories: Stylist’s own; Photographs: Morvarid K.

Maheshwari silk Burberry trench anyone?

One of the highlights for me at Lakme Fashion Week this season were the designs from Vogue’s Project Renaissance that I got to see up, close and personal. A collaboration between Indian artisans and international fashion brands, the designs were revealed in January in celebration of the magazine’s fifth anniversary.

vogue1

Alberta Ferretti for Kanchipuram silk; Right: Burberry for Maheshwari silk; Photos: Business of Fashion

It was hard to pick a favourite!

You can read more about the collaboration in Bandana Tewari’s article here: http://www.businessoffashion.com/2013/01/india-inc-following-the-thread-of-indias-artisans.html

vogue2

Left: Peter Pilotto for Orissa ikat; Right: Gucci for Gujarati patola; Photos: Business of Fashion

Link

If you haven’t already, get hold of this week’s Mint Lounge for a brilliant issue about vintage edited by Shefalee Vasudev.

Here are links to my articles in this issue:

From jutti wedges by Abraham and Thakore to lehenga gowns by Gaurav Gupta — On timeless styles that are perpetually in fashion.

From a vintage bath-tub couch (re-purposed with Italian red leather and ergonomics) to vintage Chanel pearls from Paris now available in Mumbai — A buyer’s guide to vintage shopping.

In the meanwhile I am spending some time at Lakme Fashion Week. Did I mention I got to watch Naeem Khan‘s wonderful show yesterday?!

Naeem Khan at LFW

Naeem Khan at LFW

A closet under construction

Interview with Nishka Lulla, Fashion designer and stylist

Nude lace dress, Zara

Nude lace dress, Zara

As a young fashion designer, stylist and celebrity Nishka Lulla’s wardrobe cycle is like any of ours…. but on drugs. Occasion-wear is used no more than once or twice, clothes and accessories are purchased whenever there is a chance and then discarded ever so often – Nishka’s wardrobe is like under constant renovation. She is young enough to still be in the process of identifying her sense of style, and clothes are something to be played with than get attached to. “I used to like pink and girly styles earlier, but not any more,” she says.

As a stylist she is out scouring stores at least twice a week and so shopping for herself on the side is a temptation hard to resist. The advantage is that sometimes she can fish into her own wardrobe for her styling assignments. The extra clothes and accessories are, therefore, an occupational hazard. Nishka might be an impulsive buyer, but doesn’t  really regret her shopping decisions – when she gets bored or the outfits seem “out-of-style”, she gives them away to her friends or staff members.

Purchased in 2011; Number of times worn: 2

Purchased in 2011; Number of times worn: 2

For Nishka and her friends, there aren’t too many boundaries when it comes to their wardrobes and they swap clothes all the time. “I get bored really fast, so this works well for me,” she says. When I tell her about my project, without much thought, she “knows just the thing to give”. And it is love at first sight, the long nude lace dress she pulls out. She purchased the dress from Zara on a trip to Turkey. “I think it is extremely classy and feminine,” she says. Nishka wore the dress once for an evening out. It would have most likely never seen the light of day again, but for a friend who borrowed the dress before it went back into the darkness of her closet again. And now the gorgeous dress is with us to be fuffabulous!

photo (1)

The dress is in perfect condition and fits a size 8. It has a beautiful back and because of its neutral colour, is very easy to wear.   

PHOTO CREDITS

Model friend: Kadambari Sadekar; Photos and Styling: Rachana Nakra; Accessories: Stylist’s own