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“Milan Fashion Week will feature an array of new labels, established houses with new faces and lines new to the city. Here are a few to look for.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Milan Fashion Week
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“Primark is taking its own brand of high street chic to Milan, home to Versace, Prada and Armani and one of the world’s fashion capitals.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Primark

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Ralph Lauren Hybrid Flagship
Image source: Ralph Lauren’s VIP hybrid flagship, Milan

American luxury fashion brand Ralph Lauren is set to open an appointment-only concept store in Milan that will bring hospitality and retail under one roof – solidifying its stance as a full lifestyle brand. The store was conceived as a more immersive brand experience for its most premium shoppers.

Dubbed Milan Palazzo, the 11,840 sq ft flagship will open this September on high-end shopping street Via San Barnaba in the centre of the city, occupying a former private townhouse built in 1941. It will retain many of the building’s architectural features, including the original fireplaces, while the interiors will be decorated with soft furnishings and furniture from the brand’s own Home collection.

On arriving for a one-on-one consultation, guests will be invited to have lunch or drinks on the spacious terrace or in the salon area of the building. From there, staff will present a curated selection of items from the brand’s womenswear and high-end menswear Purple Label collections – and, on occasion, exclusive pieces debuted during New York Fashion Week, just days after the shows. The store will also offer a number of complimentary services including alterations, customised accessories, and made-to-measure suits for men and tailoring for women.

In a similar, albeit much less exclusive version of luxury-focused, mixed-purpose retailing, Burberry has unveiled a two-storey café in its recently extended store on London’s Regent Street. Dubbed Thomas’s in homage to the brand’s founder Thomas Burberry, the cafe operates seven days a week and focuses on British classics with an upmarket twist, such as Mersea rock oysters and lobster and chips. The space also houses a gifting area comprising the British brand’s travel, homeware and stationery lines, and a personalised monogramming service.

According to the brand’s chief creative officer Christopher Bailey, the space was conceived to let consumers “enjoy the world of Burberry in a more social environment”.

Ralph Lauren and Burberry are the latest in a growing number of luxury brands endeavouring to broaden their appeal by incorporating hospitality experiences, including British menswear brand Alfred Dunhill, Italian fashion label Roberto Cavalli and Ralph Lauren’s own café concept, Ralph’s Coffee.

Guest post Stylus.com by Samantha Fox

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Image source: The Guardian

There’s no doubt that menswear is booming at home and away: the UK men’s clothing market has seen sales rise by 22% in the past five years to reach £13.5bn in 2014, growing at a faster rate than womenswear, according to global marketing intelligence agency Mintel. As Mintel also revealed at the opening reception for London Collections: Men (LC:M), young men are equally as fashion conscious as young women, with 50% of both males and females in the UK aged 16-24 purchasing clothes in the last three months of 2014.

For the majority of young people with their eyes on the latest menswear trends, their first glimpse of the fashion shows in London or Milan this week will be via social media. Here’s our rundown of the biggest social media stories of menswear month so far – showing why the canniest brands are those that know their Instagram from their “insiders-only”.

Calvin Klein Gave Us Topless Models Off the Runway

As reported by Hannah Marriott at the Guardian, the crowd loitering outside Calvin Klein’s show at Milan Fashion Week on Sunday looked more like One Direction fans than high-fashion fans. The reason was the brand’s savviness in casting male models with huge Instagram followings (largely teenage girls), including Jesse James Duval, Filip Hrivnak and Andre Doyley. The brand also posted Abercrombie & Fitch-style, candid photos of the men in their Calvin Klein undies prior to the show – keen fans could even follow Jesse on Snapchat during his day of fittings.

Henry Holland Created a Hashtag to Remember

Henry Holland’s excitement about collaborating with legendary photographer Martin Parr for S/S 16 infused his brand’s social media presence in the build-up to LC:M, with the unforgettable hashtag #MartinFuckingParr.

After House of Holland’s hotly anticipated menswear collection got its first airing on Sunday in an Instagram-friendly presentation (no moving models = perfect posts), the collection was instantly available to buy on the brand’s newly redesigned website. It may have crashed at the time due to demand, but the collection was still a big digital win for Holland.

“Maybe we can monetise all the attention and traction you get around a show,” he told Style.com. After all, “three months later, they’ve totally forgotten and found something else”.

The New LC:M Ambassadors Waved a Flag – Or a Smartphone

Joining David Gandy, Dermot O’Leary, Nick Grimshaw and Tinie Tempah for S/S 16, British F1 champ Lewis Hamilton has been added to the current roster of ambassadors for London Collections: Men. Hamilton comes with 1.4 million followers on Instagram and 2.8 million on Twitter, giving a new degree of exposure to the exclusive events and front-row shots of fashion week.

The British Fashion Council also confirmed its first ever International Menswear Ambassador: Chinese model and actor Hu Bing. GQ editor Dylan Jones called him “a perfect choice” for the role, with a knowledge of the Chinese market and great fashion sense. The decision goes to show that menswear weeks are truly on the global stage in the digital era. Brands like Burberry – which has marketed itself heavily in the People’s Republic – will be hoping that Hu Bing’s appointment will help them translate the London look when he goes home to fashion’s biggest growth market.

Reported by Claire Healy

 2circle “Italy’s biggest shopping attraction is taking shape — with a marquee French retailer as an anchor.Galeries Lafayette is to open a 194,000-square-foot flagship store in Westfield Milan, a future mall billed as Italy’s largest.”

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