for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant


Goths, ghouls and zombies, the dark side has most definitely returned – but this time it looks like it may well stick around a while longer than Halloween.  From the surprise UK TV hit Dead Set to the packed-out launch of fabulous new book Hell Bound: New Gothic Art by Francesca Gavin (visual arts editor at Dazed & Confused), our love for the macabre has re-emerged, and apparently it’s women who are growing a hunger for horror. A perfect time then to invest in a wickedly luxurious cashmere jumper from London Denim’s collaboration with Disney. The collection features three of the most evil Disney characters created: Cruella DeVille, Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent, and Snow White’s wicked stepmother, each recreated in Swarovski crystals to be “evilly alluring”. Because the dark side is the new black!

London Denim’s Disney Queens collection is available at Harrods and online

Filed under: brand extensions, worth buying, ,


With high-street retailers getting designer copies into stores within weeks, and transeasonal collections creating confusion on the catwalks, the newly relaunching fashion brand Halston have decided to shake up the traditional industry structure by offering a selection of their new range on fashion e-tailer Net-a-porter the day after the show.

Last season Net-a-porter scored a coup by offering the chance to order the new RM for Roland Mouret collection the day after the show, but whilst this still left a few months wait for delivery, the new deal with Halston will let shoppers buy – and receive – the new collection 24 hours after the catwalk show.

‘As the collection goes down the runway on 4 February and the press and buyers are seeing it for the first time, two of the key pieces will be sitting, wrapped, packed and ready to go in our distribution centres in Manhattan and London for worldwide delivery,’ Net-a-porter founder Natalie Massenet explains.

‘We are allowing a luxury brand to reclaim the right to sell to the customer first. We are only doing it with two looks, but hope that we are offering a glimpse to brands that we can change the fashion system and say, “We can get the product to the customer, because we can market and distribute in the world.”‘

WWD are calling it a groundbreaking move, saying ‘At a time when customers can see runway looks on fashion sites and blogs within hours of a designer’s final exit, and stores ask for earlier and earlier deliveries based on the strength of pre-collections, many industry executives are increasingly questioning the commercial validity of the much-hyped bi-annual runway extravaganzas’.

24 hours after the Halston show, Net-a-porter will present edited video footage of the runway show. Shoppers can then click and buy two looks, a $1,495 shirt dress for daytime, and a $1,795 silk evening dress. Due to launch today is a microsite on Net-a-porter featuring a retrospective of Halston curated by fashion writer and historian Colin McDowell, aiming to increase brand awareness in the run-up to the brand’s relaunch.

via WWD

Filed under: life online,

StyleShake brings bespoke fashion online

styleshakeNewly-launched online fashion site StyleShake aims to bring the art of bespoke fashion to the web, in what creator Iris Ben-David describes as a ‘UGC meets ecommerce’ fashion brand. The site enables UK users to create their own individually-designed dress from an online stable of shapes, colours and fabrics inspired by the latest catwalk trends, which is then tailor-made to their chosen size and delivered to their door in just 10 days.

For PSFK, I caught up with former new media and online advertising professional Iris, who highlighted the importance for her of building the StyleShake community which invites users to display and share their designs to be rated and critiqued by other wannabe fashion designers. Aimed at being a truly collaborative brand, Iris explained “The community has a major role. We would like our users to express themselves visually and verbally, share their ideas and thoughts. Since we see our visitors as designers we would like to hear from them what kind of ‘building blocks’ they would like to see on the next collection. They are more than welcome to email their ideas.”

Iris also emphasised that “We are making our best to make sure that our suppliers meet the ethical standard. We take great pride in the fact that we manufacture in London, not Far East sweat shops, and this also reduces our carbon footprint.”

All sounds pretty good, and for a site that sells itself on being “as close as it gets to haute couture in front of your computer” they have even created their own sizing guide, based on a calculated average from all the leading retailers and graded ‘in-house’.

Each budding designer has their own ‘designer’s page’, although with very limited information given (many are completely devoid of anything save a name), and a rather cheeky blog section which lists an array of blog titles that once clicked lead to a ‘coming soon’ page, we have to admit to feeling slightly dubious about StyleShake’s true community. However if you can believe what you read the site seems to already be successful among teen girls across the UK- though whether they go on to order their designs at £160 ($330) each is something we’d love to know. It would be great to see some real photos of the final outfits being worn, faceless mannequins just don’t do enough. And for something so pricey a decent idea of how each fabric will change the final fit and form would definitely help.

That said, the site is easy to navigate, fun to use, and with already over 1,000 unique dress designs uploaded to the gallery there is definitely a lot to inspire any budding fashionista who likes the idea of being able to declare ‘oh this thing… it’s just something I designed’!


Filed under: creative ideas, , ,

The Death of Trends

Two articles in UK newspapers yesterday caught my eye for their different explanations to what many of us noticed during the recent fashion circus; the sudden demise of catwalk trends.

Amol Rajan at The Independent highlights the loss of seasonal trends, as companies swap fashion trend consultants for climatologists, whilst in her summary of Paris fashion week Jess Cartner-Morley over at the Guardian talks of a season of only micro-trends and mini-trends, opting out of the impossible task of banding these collections into overarching themes.

To anyone who has been following the shows for the past month, neither of these statements is a great surprise, but they beg the question what will the high street retailers do now? This season’s abundance of celebrity-designed ranges may offer temporary sales success, but a much deeper re-think might be for the future.

Unpredictable weather ‘means seasonal fashion is now obsolete’- the Independent
Fashion for all- The Guardian

Filed under: creative ideas,

Vionnet loses Kokosalaki and gains ‘Artistic Advisor’


After less than a year at the helm of the newly relaunched brand, Sophia Kokosalaki has parted ways with the House of Vionnet. The announcement comes as no great surprise, infact it has been expected ever since Diesel’s purchase of the Greek designer’s brand in January this year. Interestingly though, Arnaud de Lummen, Vionnet’s chief executive officer has decided not just to replace Kokolasaki but to seemingly reinvent the creative role needed.

According to fashionwiredaily, rather than filling the Creative Director shoes, Marc Audibet (previously a designer at Hermes, Ferragamo and Prada) will take on the newly created title of Artistic Advisor. And after only two seasons on the catwalk, the fashion house is turning its back on Paris Fashion Week and returning to the traditional atelier model of appointment showcases which will be unveiled during the more exclusive Haute Couture Week.

What this all means is as yet unclear, but implies a shift by the brand to position itself away from fast fashion and plant its feet in the luxury prestige market. And with a namesake who is globally recognised for introducing bias cut to the fashion world, the company should find ample opportunity in emerging luxury markets- if they get the package right.

Filed under: industry news,

BHV Homme: Men-only shopping in Paris

men's shopping

Manchic has some pics of BHV Homme, an impressive newly-opened menswear emporium in Paris. The concept store stocks over 150 menswear labels, offering everything from shoes to shirts from both established names and up-and-coming designers. At 4 floors and 43,000sq ft, BHV Homme aims to be the one-stop shop for mens fashion- the question is, will this be attractive or intimidating to male shoppers?

BHV Homme
via Manchic

Filed under: stuff, ,

Weinstein buys All-American Brand Halston

Harvey Weinstein has bought the iconic American brand Halston, reports WWD. Making perfectly clear that the venture has nothing to do with the Marchesa brand designed by his girlfriend Georgina Chapman, Weinstein claims that he has been looking for a brand to invest in as the next move for his company for a while and “In Halston, we found that brand that relates to the kind of movies that we make”.

With Tamara Mellon on board to help turn the ailing company around, they aim to restore the brand to the success of its glory times when the namesake designer was at the helm. “We plan to really respect the DNA of the brand and bring it forward,” she said, adding “that’s really where everybody has gone wrong with Halston over the years”.

It was Mellon who brought the brand to Weinstein’s attention, explaining she felt attracted to Halston because “the history of the brand is so incredible. He was one of the greatest American designers of the last century. His clothes are still modern today. And everything that surrounded his life was so glamorous”. Weinstein apparently thinks so highly of the designer that he plans to turn the Halston story into a documentary- i’m sure timed perfectly to coincide with the big brand relaunch. “I find his life incredible. I don’t think people know the extent of how talented and way ahead of his time he was and there is great drama on the business of the story, too, and a lesson about how people lose things”. An interesting move for a movie mogul, I for one am expecting big things from this pairing and look forward to seeing what they can do for the future of the Halston label.

Filed under: creative ideas, industry news,

psfk at Premier Vision

I popped over to Paris the other week for fashion.psfk to check out the world’s biggest fabric show, Premier Vision, and see what exciting new developments were on offer from the European mills for S/S 2008.

The major directions for the season, shown in the garishly bright central forum, were accompanied by a pompously flowery, rather unintelligible explanation (see the first photo), the gist of which is that we can expect to see a futuristic mood in textiles with plenty of unexpected luxury mixes and performance treatments.



One thing’s for sure- next year is all about high sheen. Metallic yarns, plastic treated fabrics and waxy coatings dominated the trend forum in an array of silvered glistening grey tones. Lurex and cellophane yarns created light-weight plastic looks, and elegantly fluid liquid jerseys were juxtaposed by wax-stiffened sheers, whilst an abundance of rubberised and latex finishes showed that the S&M dominatrix look that started on the S/S 07 catwalks intends to be around for at least a year.


Interestingly, the use of performance treatments on fashion fabrics has led to the creation of lots of luxurious-looking fabrications with unexpected handles- what you expect to be soft and slinky has a harsh and cold texture thanks to waxed and rubberised treatments. Bonded mixes such as the lace and latex shown below, lightweight Chloe- inspired crochets, and small-scale geometric weaves are also key for 2008.


Overall, mills seem to be taking their lead from the luxe sportswear seen on the catwalks and are finally getting creative, with innovative finishes and effects producing sophisticated and sensual results. A luxurious, glistening future awaits.

Filed under: industry news,

London Loves a Dominatrix

With a goth revival apparent for A/W 07, a dark mood was in evidence at the London shows, where victoriana mixed with a heavy dose of S&M dominatrix. Collections entirely in black were shown by more than a few designers, with crushed velvets and silk fabrications mixed agressively with leather, rubber and PVC. A style favoured last season by Brit darlings Gareth Pugh and Giles, the dark vixen is making a welcome return this year.

Corpse brides floated down the runways at Gardem and Victim, whilst Nathan Jenden put an 80s pop twist on the victoriana shapes. Elsewhere latex bodysuits covered arms and legs- shown under even the brightest clothing collections (Manish Arora), and for those more demure designers, black tights added a sombre touch. With designers taking such an aggresive stance, it’s time to put away the girlie dresses and let women reclaim their power.Gareth_pughJens_laugesen


Nathan_jenden2images= Gareth Pugh, Jens Laugesen, Christopher Kane, Gardem, Nathen Jenden, Unconditional

Filed under: Luxury,

London Fashion Week: Gavin Douglas brings back the Glamour

A show that has received surprisingly little press yet was loved by fashion.psfk (ie me) brought glamour back to LFW on Friday, as last year’s Fashion Fringe winner Gavin Douglas took over the BFC tent. Entitled Queens of the Ocean, the collection referenced post-war luxury travel, showing beautifully cut 1940s-inspired shapes in sumptuous silks and satins, saturated with shimmering black and rich jewel tones.Gdouglas2Gdouglas

Douglas’ first solo catwalk showcased the designer’s clever fusion of historical interpretation and modern sensibility, with swathes of fabric wrapping elegantly around tailored silhouettes. Clearly referencing the era of Dior’s New Look with peaked shoulders, hourglass shaping and emphasis on nipped-in waists, the clothes were softened through the fluidity of the fabrics chosen, then given a subversive twist with aggressive rib-like gathered pleats and killer platform heels.Gdouglas6Gdouglas4

Sexy, sophisticated, and aspirational, the collection cleverly reinterprets and updates wearable glamour, a style which, considering the current proliferation of fur and hats both on and off the catwalks seems to be the direction of choice for many. Watch out for Gavin Douglas’ name in the future.

Filed under: Luxury,