Hello and happy World Cup!
Thank goodness there is another sporting event full of style moments to distract us. For a while I was wondering how we would top Serena Williams’s cat suit at the French Open and the Thom Browne shorts suits the Cleveland Cavaliers wore to the NBA finals. But then the Nigeria kit arrived.
I had a lot of fun debating the good, the bad and the nerdy with our soccer columnist, and am very curious as to what you think — write in and tell me! — but this has been a pretty crazy week in the world of dress, and there are other fashion-y fish to fry.
Like the fact that, on Wednesday, Kering somewhat abruptly announced the departure of its former star designer, Tomas Maier. And then, on Thursday, Dries Van Noten revealed that he had sold a majority stake in his business to the Spanish group Puig.
And then, on Friday, Kering announced they had a new designer for Bottega, a young British guy called Daniel Lee. And then Missoni announced it had accepted a substantial minority investment from a private equity group.
Sheesh. Let me catch my breath for a moment. And we thought things were supposed to go quiet in June.
The Dries news will put new focus on whether a designer known for his singular aesthetic and highly humanistic approach to business will be able to maintain his signatures under the aegis of a corporate parent. Or whether, like so many designers before him, including Ann Demeulemeester, Helmut Lang and Jil Sander, he will eventually chafe against the strictures of a boss (even if he is still chief creative officer and chairman of the board) and depart the brand that bears his name.
The Bottega news will bring some attention back to a brand that has become kind of predictable. It also raises the question of whether Kering can do it again after rocking the fashion world with its wholesale Gucci reinvention. And we’ll see if Missoni can make the financial investor equation work. The path of fashion and private equity rarely has been smooth.
Anyway, you know what all this means: Action! And that the next fashion month, in the fall, is going to be major.
For distraction, I recommend spending some time this weekend considering the rise of fugly men’s wear and the end of the dandy, mulling over a new thought-provoking combination of denim and #MeToo, and contemplating the truth behind Frida Kahlo’s image. When you are not watching soccer, that is.
Finally, cheers to all the dads out there, and best wishes for a wonderful Father’s Day. Thank you for giving so much to style.
Q: I am 26 and work in a noncorporate office job. A recent injury has forced me into sneakers — think proper running shoes for the time being — and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to dress for winter. I feel daggy wearing jeans and joggers. Any advice? — Victoria, Sydney, Australia
A: Winter? Ah, the Southern Hemisphere, right. This question is a good reminder that if you are a global fashion brand, with customers all over the world, you have to design collections that cater to pretty much every season. But it is also relevant no matter what the temperature outside.
One of the greatest unexplored areas in fashion is the disability space, whether we are talking about a long-term condition or a broken wrist. According to a 2015 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five adults in the United States has a disability. One in five!
And any injury or lasting condition affects our ability to get dressed, and some awareness on the part of fashion brands that a sideline in elegant “healthwear” is simply good business would be welcome. Recently Oscar de la Renta teamed up with one such company, Care & Wear, on a “chest access” hoodie for those with a central catheter, but more such thinking is needed.
Anyway, I have personal experience with all this, since I once tore my Achilles’ tendon and was in a cast, and then a boot, for months. That recovery period led to the discovery that I had only one pair of shoes with a heel height that matched my boot. They weren’t sneakers — they were black and white gladiator sandals — but I had to wear them every day for about half a year. Sometimes with socks, which is really not my thing. It became a challenge.
The good news for you is that since sneakers (or joggers) are pretty much the only shoes anyone seems to care about at the moment, the fact you are wearing yours to work is nothing less than a highly fashionable act. As for replacing your jeans, high-waisted, wide-leg or flare pants paired with a crisp shirt or cropped sweater would do a lot to both cover the shoes and extend the eye upward and away from your feet. (Topshop has a good selection.) Or try a boiler suit or jumpsuit in a bright color from Madewell or ASOS. Another option is a maxi skirt with a denim jacket and ribbed top.
The idea is to offset the casual nature of the shoes with a more jazzed-up top to create a high/low contrast that looks self-selected and cool, as opposed to a choice made from necessity.