This Milanese moment was three weeks into a month-long catwalk circuit, and it neatly tied up a few notions we’d been jotting down: Colour is key (whether bold or pastel), the ’80s won’t quit, and if you’re going to do power dressing in our current times, you don’t have to be all shoulders and stilettos—but the option is most definitely there.
While the majority of the big brands and luxury houses are content to display their wares in Milan and Paris, the New York iteration of men’s fashion week has become known for its emphasis on scrappy brands from all over the world.
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After announcing earlier that day his intention to defy a grand-jury subpoena he says he received in the Russia investigation (“Arrest me,” he’d dared prosecutors), the former Trump aide had spent the day conducting a manic media blitz—popping up on multiple cable-news programs, granting interviews to dozens of journalists, and hijacking the news cycle with a car-crash procession of blustery soundbites. Legal experts were warning that his failure to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation could put him in serious legal jeopardy—but at this moment, it seemed, Nunberg was in a celebratory mood.
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It helped that GQ and L’Uomo Vogue started putting players such as James on their covers. “They really put athletes on a pedestal,” Kalenderian says. “In the ’60s, the image of the perfect man was found at the movies. The archetypes of style were actors like Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, and Robert Redford. Now young men look to social media, to Tumblr and Instagram, where they see athletes like Russell Westbrook.”
The 10,000-square-foot Metairie location closed after Hurricane Katrina. But Bill and Melody regrouped in the French Quarter, their first store in a high-profile district, expanded to Nashville and are currently scouting other locations in South. (These days, Stephanie Cohen is the company’s creative director and, along with a team of executives, handles the day-to-day operations for Bill and Melody, who are semiretired. Their only son lives in Florida and is not part of the business.)
A doomed designer (his decline began soon after) is probably not the best lead-in to an article about the rise of designer children’s lines, though maybe it is. In the last year or two, Lanvin, Gucci, Stella McCartney and Marni have entered the market. A decade ago, Ralph Lauren’s template of a high-end lifestyle brand had few imitators. Dior had Baby Dior, founded in 1967 (before that, the house made outfits for some of its celebrated clients, like Elizabeth Taylor, who ordered matching tweed suits for herself and her young daughter Liza), but the luxury-goods business, with justification, tended to regard itself as an adults-only world. Can you imagine a child’s version of Tom Ford’s Gucci? Versace? It would have interrupted the sex fantasy. And in the late ’90s, these companies were focused on the huge profits reaped from handbags.
Ms. Riley said, “Children have big tummies and stand in funny ways.” Although she has made one or two concessions to popular tastes, like making her ballet flats in nail-varnish colors, she remains fixed in her view that children should be children and not little brand ambassadors or, in the current parlance, “prostitots.” She said: “I can’t bear advertising on children. And why would a child need to have anything remotely sexy? To me, it’s unethical.”
In the living room of their glass-walled, high-rise apartment in Nashville, where they moved from Louisiana nine years ago to open the U.A.L. flagship, Bill and Melody told their riches to rags back to riches story.
Nevertheless, the Trump White House—in particular, first lady Melania Trump, who rarely wears American designers—could learn something from this ill-begotten intersection of fashion and politics. The 1968 fashion show was the high-water mark of the expectation that Americans buy American-made fashions—especially the first lady, one of the most visible and, presumably, patriotic American women. The decline of the American apparel industry, and all other manufacturing sectors, in the years that followed prompted a similar decline of the Buy American campaign. But the first family still continued to support American garment-makers—until now. Which is why Melania’s America Last outfits make an economic statement as well as a fashion statement.
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And then there are certain spring items that not only act as the glue that holds all other, more transient trends together, but they are also investment pieces set to last a lifetime. Here are the more classic items that cropped up the most…
Although there is too much designer stuff to be qualified simply as grandma bait, a retail term for pricey baby things, young mothers are certainly not suckers. “Dreadful,” said someone on the UrbanBaby blog about Diane Von Furstenberg’s recent hookup with Gap Kids. Nor are they likely to be mollified by the news that sales of children’s apparel grew faster last year than women’s, the NPD Group said, with much traction from luxury labels.