“Can a faded fashion house reclaim its 1970s glory? Inside the effort to save Anne Klein“ – The Washington Post
Robin Givhan’s latest piece delves into the reinvention of the Anne Klein brand and its latest revival. Speaking with the current creative director, Sharon Lombardo, Givhan delivers an interesting and information-heavy profile of the brand and it’s current challenges. Lombardo took the helm of the brand two years ago and has spent her tenure trying to redefine the brand, asking “who is the Anne Klein woman today?”. Lombardo has made many subtle and strategic changes to the brand in an effort to recapture the brand’s former position in the marketplace as the go-to for working women. She has redesigned the logo, began using fit models who are older and larger than the standard, and has changed the materials used in their products (real leather instead of PVC, for one example).
I personally didn’t know a lot about the Anne Klein brand until reading Givhan’s book The Battle of Versailles which tells the story of the lead-up to and the events revolving around the Battle of Versailles, a fundraising fashion show held in 1970s France that was a “battle” between French and American designers. Anne Klein was one of the most commercially successful designers at the time who made sophisticated, wearable sportswear. Soon after the fashion show, Klein succumbed to cancer, leaving Donna Karan, her longtime assistant, as the co-creative leader of her brand. Reading the article about what the brand is doing now to try to recapture their former glory is interesting as the brand has always survived but it has not thrived. They are now taking measures to modernize. I’ll be interested to see how things turn out.
“The Most Influential Stylist of the ’90s on Building a Cult Brand” – The Business of Fashion
Continuing with the brand building theme, Business of Fashion conducted an interview with Melanie Ward who is the stylist responsible for creating some of the most iconic images of Kate Moss back in the 1990s. Ward still works as a stylist now, taking on other responsibilities like creative direction as well. The biggest takeaway from this interview for me was about branding. Ward emphasizes the importance of having your own personal brand but toning it down when working for a client, realizing that you need to suit their brand and speak to their customer when working for them.
The word ‘brand’ is a bit of a buzzword nowadays anyway, with everyone wanting to curate their own brand via Instagram. Something that Ward mentioned was hiring designers based on their following versus their talent, reiterating the (should-be) common sense fact that talent and technical skill is more important than following. I think this theory should apply for all professions, but especially creative jobs in fashion. Overall, I found the interview super interesting, especially the part where Ward lays out her 6 key points of advice for building a brand. I encourage you to read it!
Gucci versus Dapper Dan controversy – various sources
This past week Gucci showed their Resort 2018 collection. Similar to the previous seasons collections, I spotted quite a few pieces going down the runway that I know are either going to sell out in stores, be worn by celebrities, or be the buzziest pieces all over Instagram. It’s impossible not to fall for the Gucci hype nowadays. Even if you don’t care for the clothing, the strength of the shoes and accessories is undeniable.
For the resort season, the collection got slightly more attention on mainstream social media than it normally would, crossing over from the fashion community into the masses. The reason for this being that Alessandro Michele, the creative head of the brand, paraded a jacket down the runway that was a direct copy of a piece Dapper Dan had made in the 1980s for Olympic medalist Diane Dixon. The jacket in question featured puffy, logo-covered sleeves and a fur vest. Dapper Dan’s version has the Louis Vuitton monogram whereas Michele’s has the Gucci pattern. Rightly so, people are calling out for Dapper Dan to get the credit he deserves. Gucci responded, offering slight credit to Dapper Dan but not really acknowledging the issue at hand and only after countless memes were shared and articles published on various outlets.