We're not sure if there is an official name for Alexander Wang fans (Wang-heads? That seems wrong.) but, according to WWD, they should start getting excited about now because a collaboration with Adidas is reportedly in the works. The collaboration would presumably be announced right after the designer's Spring 2017 show on September 10. Details of the rumored line are not yet available, and the principals are remaining mum at the time, but it is said to be conceived along the lines of the athletic-wear company's long running collaborations like the ones it continues to produce with Stella McCartney, Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Pharrell Williams, Yohji Yamamoto and, of course, Kanye West, whose brand concept has just recently been fully fleshed out. Whether or not it will be under the main Alexander Wang, T by Alexander Wang or another newly created moniker remains to be seen, but it is guaranteed to leap to the top of the designer collaboration list whenever it materializes. Look for confirmation in the coming weeks, and think about what the designer who once created dresses that pay tribute to the iconic Stan Smith and Rod Laver tennis shoes (pictured at right) could do with a full collaboration line at Adidas.
It isn't to be shown to the press until this afternoon in Paris, but the folks at Vogue.com got their hands on a few publicity shots (above and below) from the first ongoing Uniqlo U collection that designer Christophe Lemaire has been cooking up for the Japanese mega-chain in his new dedicated design studio. Unlike the last two seasons' Uniqlo and Lemaire collaboration collections, this new label will be an ongoing label with its own design staff led by Lemaire himself. “As a designer interested in everyday life, in bringing solutions to feel good in your clothes, in trying to bring style and quality to the people, in making good clothes that could become like ‘good friends,’ I can only be excited to work for a brand that has this amazing capacity to make good quality affordable,” he tells Vogue.com. The few itms pictured, a sleek knit dress with a matching pullover around the neck, a dark melton coat and a down puffer jacket are simple basics elevated by Lemaire's sensibility —which is exactly what we were promised last month when the line was announced. Look for more images in the coming days isn the looks are revealed. It looks like the collections will be something worth looking forward to when they debut at retail this October.
It may not be the first musician/sneaker collaboration, or even the best, but Kanye West's Adidas x Yeezy team up is set to be the biggest. While the collection's Yeezy Boost shoes have been an unqualified hit, selling out almost instantaneously, the apparel and accessories have been a rockier road. First shown for Fall 2015, they were surprisingly well-received but the press and retailers, but upon delivery, the high prices for sweatshirts and stretch separates rattled even manufacturer Adidas, who stated that they would only be working on the shoes going forward. The Spring 2016 apparel line seems not to have materialized, and the coming Fall line boasted glittery collaborations with Balmain shown at a combination fashion presentation/album release party at Madison Square Garden that threatened to overshadow anything else that may have happened during Fashion Week. Now that the dust has settled, Adidas is back in the fold with plans for the future that include not only more Yeezy sportswear, but performance athletic wear and freestanding retail stores. A whole new division, Kanye West + Adidas has been created to produce Yeezy products for men and women based out of Adidas U.S. headquarters in Portland, Oregon.
Adidas group executive board member Eric Liedtke calls the West "a true creator who has the ability to see things others don’t". A timeline for the full flowering of the collaboration is unclear, but it seems likely that New York would be high on the list —if not at the top— of locations for one of the new stores. If there is one thing we have learned about West as a showman, it's that he doesn't like to come at these sorts of reveals in a normal way. A last minute addition to either the upcoming men's or later women's New York Fashion Weeks would not be out of the question, but then neither would a crashing of Paris Couture Week, so keep an eye out for Kanye's next sneak attack as his apparel ambitions seem, against all odds, to be taking shape in a big way.
There's good news today for those of us Uniqlo fans who were disappointed that the recent Uniqlo and Lemaire collaboration did not become an ongoing collaboration for the Japanese based mega-chain. Designer Christophe Lemaire has joined Uniqlo on a permanent basis and will spearhead a new label called Uniqlo U (see the logo below) as the design director of a new Paris-based research and development center for the retailer. The new line will have a debut during Paris Couture week next month in advance of hitting all Uniqlo stores this fall. Lemaire (pictured above with his new team) will also continue with his own collection of luxury apparel, but his co-designer and romantic partner, Sara-Linh Tran who had joined him the previous collaboration with will not be joining him at Uniqlo, and will focus solely on the Lemaire label.
When the Uniqlo and Lemaire collection collection sold out almost instantly at its launch last year, it was a good bet that collaboration would be a worthy replacement for the +J collection which was created by the designer Jil Sander for the chain to great success, but instead, we were told that it would end after the second installment, remnants of which are still available in Uniqlo stores. Rather than parting ways, it turned out that the designer and the chain had bigger things in mind. The new label will be more wide ranging than the limited collaboration line (hopefully with a fuller size range at the high end) and will have its own dedicated design staff. Comparing Uniqlo U to +J, Lemaire calls his new venture ". . . a little more democratic." He tells Business of Fashion, " The biggest issue was to design things that are essential enough to be timeless, and understood by everyone. Elevated basics, I call them. Our ambition is to fill the gap between what’s fashion and what’s ‘normal.’ I know the word ‘normcore’ is overused, but there’s something about normality I find very interesting — how do you make it super normal but refined and cool and desirable?"
While it turned out that +J was something for Sander to do between stints at the label that bore her own name, Uniqlo U is structured to exist as an integral part of the chain's assortment regardless of the status of Lemaire's increasingly popular eponymous collection. Instead of being doled out to select Uniqlo flagship stores, Uniqlo U is expected to be available in all of Uniqlo's stores —1,774 of them at last count. There will be between 500,000 and 1 million of each unit produced which will hopefully ensure that the best pieces won't sell out immediately as well as create some economy of scale that will help costs from spiraling too high. We will be keeping an eye out for the first collection's unveiling next month, but will also be relieved to know that when it hits stores in the fall, it is expected to stay there for a while.
Christophe Lemaire Joins Uniqlo (Business of Fashion)
Last week, we suggested that athletic giant Under Armour lacked the prestige to make a case for a major flagship store that might appear in the GM Building.
We may have spoken too soon.
This morning, Business of Fashion announced that Belgian born, New York based designer Tim Coppens would be adding to his duties at his own label and joining Under Armour as executive creative director of Under Armour Sportswear, a new, more upscale casual sub-brand for men and women to be known as UAS that will appear in stores this fall (see the logo at left). While Coppens has long incorporated athletic elements in collections for his own five-year old label, and designed for Adidas and Ralph Lauren's RLX performance athletic wear line, the UAS label will be Under Armour's first collection not designed specifically for sport, but for every day casual wear. The label will include apparel, shoes and accessories for men and women as a complete lifestyle statement, but aside from the brand's flagships in New York and Chicago, the line is expected to be found in department stores which do not typically carry the main Under Armour label, and have yet to be identified.
“It’s not activewear. It’s not athleisure,” Ben Pruess, Under Armour's senior vice president of sportswear tells BoF, “It’s very specific to this idea of young, ambitious, new generation of clothing.” Coppens calls the line “casual, lifestyle-directed” and promises that it will incorporate the technical innovations that the brand has pioneered in athletic wear into casual clothes for what he calls an "ambitious generation".
It's a natural brand extension for the athletic brand which is already worn as casual wear by many of its customers, but it is also the company's pitch to gain the kind of prestige that Nike and Adidas and even Puma have acquired over the years. Those brands have sub collections that are regularly found in influential fashion stores like Barneys, Opening Ceremony, Colette and Dover Street Market. They can boast of collaborations with celebrities and designers like Raf Simons, Rihanna, Pharrell Williams, Rick Owens, Undercover's Jun Takahashi, Riccardo Tisci and Olivier Rousteing, whose latest Nike collaboration happens to launch today. It remains to be seen if UAS will be able to scale those fashion heights, but including the CFDA darling Coppens will go along way toward ingratiating Under Armour to the kind of fashion insiders who are in a position to get the label in front of the customers it seeks. Under Armour has clearly been working to be counted among the likes of Nike and Adidas as a brand that goes beyond just providing quality athletic gear, and now, all we need to see is whether or not they can produce a product that will get them there.
Tim Coppens Designing New Line for Under Armour (Business of Fashion)
Olivier Rousteing's Nike Collaboration Just As Shiny As You Would Expect
Another hot designer has joined the ranks of sneaker behemoth NikeLab's collaborators. Over the weekend, Balmain's creative director Olivier Rousteing announced via his Instagram that he would be joining forces to launch a NikeLab x Olivier Rousteing: Football Nouveau collection by posting a a new logo featuring the famous swoosh and his own initials in a regal shield shaped crest. The gold-and-black color scheme reflects the increasingly baroque sensibility that he expresses in his fashion collections, but, like his fellow designer Roberto Tisci of Givenchy, Rousteing's team up will be under his own name, or initials, rather than under the auspices of the Parisian label that brought him fame. Whether this is a pattern that will follow through future designer collaborations remains to be seen, but it does seem that, like Tisci, whose initial items focused on a reimagining of Nike's iconic Air Force 1 sneaker, Rousteing's collection will center around a particular theme, soccer, in this case —and lots of gold trimmings. New product images released this morning show the designer himself as model in simple black t-shirts with gold logo decals, some gilt-trimmed sweatpants and lots of golden soccer balls. He even shares one image with star footballer Cristiano Ronaldo decked out in the collection (pictured above) shot by Nick Knight. Items, also photographed on pro-footballers, include jackets, tops and pants all in black touched with gold trimming and zippers, and four Nike soccer shoes, Footscape Magista, Free Mercurial Flyknit, Roshe Tiempo VI and Free Hypervenom 2 re-imagined by Rousteing. The collection will be available as soon as next week on June 2. we are expecting the collection to appear at the NikeLab store in SoHo and at Dover Street Market as well as select other sneaker outlets that focus on the brand's more fashion-y offerings —more likely at Barneys than at Foot Locker. Get ready for another hot collaboration rush sometime this summer, and have a look at the promo video of Rousteing at work below and more of the images including some spectacular shots by Knight for Dazed and Confused magazine after the jump.
Uniqlo's Liberty Of London Line Arrived In Stores Today With Few Crowds But Plenty Of Good Merch
If you were worried that Uniqlo's new collaboration collection with Liberty of London was going to create the kind of frenzy that the iconic Brtish textile brand whipped up when it teamed up with Target a few years ago, then you can rest easy. Things at the Japanese chain's Fifth Avenue flagship were reasonably calm at midday today when the Shophound stopped by to check out the collaboration in person. The shelves and racks seemed fully stocked with the brand's famous florals translated into fairly classic items that should ultimately sell easily, but nobody should be put off by the notion that there might be aggressive crowds flocking to the store. Apparently, Uniqlo is not yet at Target's level of promotional skill, but maybe one day it will be.
But back to the clothes on hand, though the collection is billed as being for men and women, the men's offerings consist of a single, classic style of linen shirt in five floral patterns of a suitably masculine shades of blue. The women's collection includes several printed tees, two styles of jersey dresses —one long and one short, loose drawstring shorts along and tote bags, slippers and other accessories all in various Liberty prints. It's also priced to move with nothing under $39.90, so if the intermittent balmy weather has made you ready for flowers that have yet to bloom on their own, a printed top may be a good temporary Spring fix.
GQ Announces An All-Star Edition Of The Best New Menswear Designers In America
Every year around this time we look to see who GQ Magazine has anointed as its Best New Menswear Designers In America. For its 10th Anniversary Edition, the publication has given the current crop of burgeoning men's designers a little more time to ripen before the spotlight shines on them, and picked a group of alumni to celebrate the program's success. This year's returning honorees include Michael Bastian, who was among the first year's picks and returned again in 2011. He is back for an unprecedented third time in the program. Also among this year's all-star group are designer/retailer Steven Alan first picked in 2008, John Elliott who was last seen in the group in 2014 and Morgan Collett, Colin Tunstall and Josh Rosen of Saturdays NYC from the class of 2012.
The designers have all evolved in ways since the last time GQ first picked them out of the crowd. Bastian has built his own brand and established popular multi-season collaborations with Gant and Uniqlo. His latest project is launching his own less expensive secondary collection. Steven Alan has expanded his retail empire since 2008 as well as branched out into eyewear and home collections. The Saturdays NYC team have also expanded their retail footprint, and John Elliott has exploded his offerings from a cult tee and sweatshirt label to a fully fledged collection.
The designers will be featured in the upcoming issue of GQ and will debut their capsule collections for The Gap this September for as long as they last in stores which, historically, hasn't been for more than a hot minute or two.
Things couldn't be going better for Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy, where he may be the only designer at a luxury brand besides Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel and Fendi who seems secure and happy in his current role, but he is cleverly keeping his own signature brand alive by way of a hot collaboration with NikeLab that promises to get even hotter this summer. After his personal redesigns of the classic Nike Air Force Ones and Dunks, Tisci will be diving into activewear with a two delivery collection called NikeLab x RT: Training Redefined.
While it is likely that most of the collection for men and women will be worn as streetwear, it is designed to be fully compatible with the most intense athletic training which is why the preview image above features track-and-field star Sanya Richards-Ross and decathlete Ashton Eaton modeling looks form the line (Well, OK, they are also featured because they are potential Olympians who look fantastic in even the most mundane athletic wear, but they look even more awesome here).
What we know so far is that the first delivery in July will consist of jackets, tops, tights, shorts and footwear for men and women in black and white graphic patterns. The second delivery in August is timed and themed to tie into the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and features lush floral prints featuring blossoms native to Portland Oregon where Nike is headquartered and was founded, Taranto, Italy where Tisci hals from, and Rio, home of this year's Olympics and a favorite travel destination of the designer. We are conservatively expecting this particular capsule collection to be huge, and it should be available at the NikeLab store in SoHo as well as other retailers that have previously offered the Nike x R.T. collaborations previously like Barneys, Dover Street Market and Kith, to name a few, though no official retailer list has been released.
It's the time of year, when designer collaboration fiends start looking to the big red bullseye to find out what collection they will be clamoring to this spring. Today, that question has been answered as Target announced its upcoming 200-piece collection created with iconic Finnish design and textile house Marimekko. "We’ve had our eye on Marimekko for quite some time, and can’t wait for guests to have a chance to shop this limited-edition collection in just a few short weeks," says Target's senior vice president, product design and development, Julie Guggemos. Inspired by the nearly 24-hours of sunshine during the height of Finland's summer days, the collection includes beach and swimwear for women and girls, outdoor décor, furniture and entertaining items ranging in price from $7.99 for sunscreen to a $499.99 paddle board. Most pieces are promised to be under $50, however. Look for the frenzy to begin in only about six weeks when the collection hits stores and Target.com on April 17th.
Target Announces New Design Partnership with Marimekko: It’s Finnish, Target Style (Target Corporate)
See some more images from the collection after the jump