As we enter what feels like week 100 of quarantine in our respective homes around the world, there are a few things that keep us tightly bound to one another: namely, the ever so dependable 24 hour news cycle. Between Bernie burning out, Boris’ Chequers recovery and European countries (perhaps, too optimistically?) lifting lockdown restrictions, here’s what you missed this week in fashion.
Condé Nast made cuts
Condé Nast sent a memo to its 6,000 employees outlining pay cuts for high earners and reduced hours for other employees. The memo said the magazine publisher also planned to seek government assistance in Britain and the European Union. https://t.co/1E0H8COUqo
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 13, 2020
Condé Nast’s Roger J. Lynch sent out a memo on Monday outlining the new financial burden faced by the company which would result in the implementation of strict cost cutting measures—including pay cuts, furloughs and eventually layoffs. The media giant responsible for publishing the likes of Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair (to name but a few) has not made clear how many people will be dismissed, but the rumour mill claims Anna Wintour will take a 20% paycut and Lynch himself would be accepting only half of his salary. Those earning over $100,000 annually should be looking at a 10-20% cut. Although it comes as no surprise—the pandemic has left advertisers and investors spooked—the impact such measures will have will be more than palpable for the coming years.
LVMH got axed
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This year’s edition of the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers—originally scheduled for June 5th—has now been scrapped in direct response to the current health pandemic. Instead the €300,000 prize money will be evenly divided between the eight finalists who were selected in February. Its announcement goes on to state that LVMH Prize has set up a fund to help young designers who are currently facing major economic burdens due to the current crisis environment, that shall be supplemented by the 2020 Karl Lagerfeld prize collection.
Selena Gomez faced blackfish backlash
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On April 13th, Interview unveiled their new spring issue with none other than actor/singer Selena Gomez—and the internet was not pleased. Decked in an all black outfit, high braids (with combed baby hair) and a fake-tan that was inarguably too dark, fans took to the comment section to call out blackfishing. It’s the latest scandal in the trend of (primarily white women) appropriating a black aesthetic, through the manipulation of hair, make-up and sometimes physical features (hello plastic surgery!) Amongst repeat offenders are none other than Ariana Grande and Kim Kardashian West. Simply put, it is black culture without black people.
As per the usual, the internet was torn between defending their beloved and ripping her apart. One user commented, “Can we all just agree Selena is a….blackfish?” while others typed, “people accusing Selena of blackfishing as if she isn’t Latina??”
Hermès made millions
The single-day tally is believed to be the highest for a boutique in China. https://t.co/AFc8BKaXN2
— WWD (@wwd) April 13, 2020
As US retail sales witnessed their largest plunge on record, French luxury giant Hermès casually raked in over $2.7 million on one Saturday. Their flagship store in Guangzhou, the second biggest in China, reopened last Saturday after months of complete lockdown in the area. From diamond studded Himalayan Birkins to rare crocodile skin leather goods, the brand brought in a variety of rare collectibles to mark the occasion—and haul in that good, good money. WWD collated social media posts from users on the day, including an account from one woman who spent nearly $150,000 on everything from clothes to bags. It’s worth noting that Guangzhou is in one of the wealthier parts of China, where luxury markets thrive—as evidenced by the time and money being invested by luxury giants into the area. And, although Hermès isn’t a viable example for most retail companies, perhaps there is some good news down the road for larger luxury conglomerates.
Saks Fifth Ave set post-corona plans
Saks Fifth Avenue reveals plans for fashionably sanitized post-coronavirus opening https://t.co/2LuD972QIv pic.twitter.com/w4Mw5dB6Vf
— New York Post (@nypost) April 14, 2020
The slow and painful crumbling of traditional retail is not fresh news in and of itself, but the added pressure of a pandemic is a catalyst for disaster. Saks Fifth Avenue—among the most recognised luxury department stores—is preparing to face the crisis head on. Its ‘re-entry’ strategy focusses on implementing measures that help customers feel safe while also enticed to indulge their wallets. Plans involve sales associates passing out little bottles of hand sanitisers while all adorning fashionable safety masks. There is also talk of virtual shopping assistants, disposable make-up testers and contactless payment methods.
It is hard to predict how consumer behaviour will change in the aftermath of this crisis, but it is safe to assume that shoppers will be both apprehensive and extremely cautious for a long time to come—and Saks might be taking the lead in finding creative solutions to bring back their big spenders.
Claire Waight Keller said goodbye to Givenchy
After 3 years at the helm of Givenchy, Claire Waight Keller’s contract is up & she is leaving the Paris-based brand. https://t.co/Dp0ZVryZS8 pic.twitter.com/Pel4ctTD7n
— The Fashion Law (@TheFashionLaw) April 13, 2020
This week Claire Waight Keller bid adieu to the House of Givenchy after creating nearly thirty collections—no minor task. Having taken over as artistic director from Riccardo Tisci, Keller found herself at the helm of one of the few fashion houses that appoints the same designer to overlook haute couture, men’s and womenswear collections. Citing her proudest achievement as the amazing team she’s built and worked with, it is not an overstep to give her due credit for bringing Haute Couture back to the runway. From designing Meghan Markle’s wedding gown to dominating the red carpet, her legacy at Givenchy is not one that shall fade anytime soon. As for what we can expect next, she told Vogue Britian, “we will meet again.”