Star spot­ted: hot new brands


Grazia (UK) - - Contents -

THE LIFE OF THE A- LIS­TER is that of ac­cess all ar­eas – both lit­er­ally and metaphor­i­cally. But when vel­vet ropes are lifted wher­ever you go and su­pery­achts, mega man­sions and mort­gage­able di­a­monds are avail­able at the click of your fin­gers, how the hell do you avoid be­ing one big la­bel-clad cliché?

The an­swer is, of course, to keep your fin­ger firmly on the pulse of the zeit­geist, to tune into youth cul­ture and tap up the skills of younger, newer tal­ents. In fash­ion terms, that means swap­ping fairy-tale cou­ture and megabrand houses for emerg­ing de­sign­ers (even bet­ter, un­known ones).

Con­sider Bey­oncé, an icon who is at once ubiq­ui­tous and con­stantly sur­pris­ing. She has the ac­cess and bud­get to work with any de­signer in the world, and yet, for her On The Run II tour film the singer chose to col­lab­o­rate with hot young Lon­don stylist Ibrahim Ka­mara, to put to­gether avant-garde looks by some of the most ex­cit­ing new tal­ent in Bri­tish fash­ion, namely Cen­tral Saint Martin’s alumni Ed­win Mohney, Liam John­son and Richard Quinn.

She’s not the only one. Ri­hanna, al­ways a fear­less dresser, has fre­quently been a cham­pion of young de­sign­ers, in­clud­ing Molly God­dard and Matthew Adams Dolan. Lady Gaga – no stranger to out-of-the-box dress­ing – has worn Giuseppe di Mora­bito and Edda Gimnes re­cently. (‘An enor­mous com­pli­ment and such a dream come true,’ says Nor­we­gian Edda.) And then there’s Madonna, who has al­ways ex­celled at plug­ging into youth cul­ture, re­splen­dent in Di­lara Findikoglu, the Is­tan­bul-born Lon­don­based de­signer ( yep, an­other CSM grad­u­ate) mak­ing a name with her fan­tas­ti­cal Goth­icism, also seen on FKA twigs and Grimes.

And it’s not just the reign­ing pop queens at it. How re­fresh­ing did it feel to see Amal Clooney brush aside big-bud­get brands to wear that made-in-peck­ham Richard Quinn cape on the most im­por­tant red car­pet of all, the Met gala, this year (to host, no less!)? And wasn’t it such a mo­ment when Mar­ion Cotil­lard pro­pelled Halpern into the lime­light at last year’s Cannes Film Fes­ti­val, pitch­ing up in his Stu­dio 54 se­quins

be­fore everyone else cot­toned on to the young Amer­i­can?

For the de­sign­ers, such A-list en­dorse­ment is a money-can’t-buy op­por­tu­nity. ‘It’s al­ways ex­cit­ing and good ex­po­sure when a star wears young brands,’ says Lulu Kennedy MBE, founder and di­rec­tor of Fash­ion East, the non-profit ini­tia­tive that cham­pi­ons new tal­ent and is con­sid­ered a bell­wether of fu­ture names to know. ‘Ri­hanna wore Ash­ley Wil­liams when she was do­ing Fash­ion East and it def­i­nitely helped am­plify her name,’ says Lulu. From the cur­rent Fash­ion East sta­ble, Rita Ora has sup­ported Art School, the self-pro­claimed ‘non-bi­nary queer-lux­ury fash­ion la­bel’, while Amer­i­can singer Kelela is rep­ping ASAI.

Con­ner Ives, the Amer­i­can 22-year-old Lon­don-based de­signer who is still study­ing at Cen­tral St Martins, has al­ready seen his de­signs on Ri­hanna and Ad­woa Aboah, who wore a be­spoke dress to last year’s Met gala. ‘ To have some of the coolest girls wear your stuff in only the first two years of go­ing at this was so thrilling and made me want to do more. There is a huge plat­form of­fered; and it is great ex­po­sure for any small la­bel look­ing to get their name out there more,’ he says. ‘I re­ceived me­dia at­ten­tion from un­ex­pected places and got great recog­ni­tion from im­por­tant peo­ple in the fash­ion in­dus­try,’ says Edda of the Gaga ef­fect.

So, where’s the ap­peal for the A-lis­ter? Cer­tainly, sup­port­ing an un­known over a megabrand im­plies an in­nate con­fi­dence and ce­ments the wearer’s sta­tus as a tastemaker rather than a trend­fol­lower. Pre­dictabil­ity is just one pa­parazzi-flash away from ir­rel­e­vancy but, by em­brac­ing new brands and tal­ent, red car­pet reg­u­lars get to flex their woke cre­den­tials. ‘It shows that they are bang up to date on what’s com­ing through and keeps them look­ing su­per-rel­e­vant in fash­ion terms, which, nowa­days, is as much about the new as it is about a lux­ury power brand,’ says Lulu. ‘It shows that you know your fash­ion and care about young tal­ent – giv­ing back to the kids is im­por­tant.’

Im­por­tant it may be, but in the highly com­pet­i­tive, up­per ech­e­lons of A-list celebrity, be­ing first is ev­ery­thing.

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