Monthly Archives: April 2017

Boost your body confidence

Twice a year, New York Fashion Week turns media attention to runways, bright lights, style heavy-hitters and of course, to-die-for collections.

And twice a year, the underlying story of these events is how those models manage to stay so thin, and whether their size is a reasonable idea of beauty.

My philosophy around taking care of my own body is pretty simple: I believe in eating more vegetables than French fries overall, drinking lots of water and sweating for at least 30 minutes a day, whether it’s from running or scrubbing the bathroom floor. I do not believe in consuming hard drugs or munching on cotton balls to curb hunger, two tactics of many that were described to fashion reporters this week.

I recognize that my commitment to exclusively external use of cotton balls might mean I don’t look awesome in every trend, and that’s fine. It’s also fine that even though I accept my body for what it is and encourage everyone else to do the same, I still don’t want two enormous pouches of fabric on the sides of a pencil skirt making my hips look bigger than they actually are.

We all have body qualms, even people who are naturally very thin. And we all have that one fashion trend haunting our shopping trips, the thing that accentuates the body issue we’re trying to ignore. I’ve laid out a few common culprits below and some alternatives that you’ll be more confident wearing, because great style is not reserved for people with “ideal” bodies, whatever that means.

This week I read an article from Refinery 29 on Ikram Goldman, owner of the upscale Chicago boutique Ikram, who’s kind of a big deal in the fashion world. She had this to say about personal style: “Be comfortable in your own skin, and your style will come out. You’ll be fabulous in whatever you’re wearing.”

The body qualm: You’re not all that keen on calling attention to your hips and butt.

The problem trend: Peplum skirts

The fix: Peplum shirts

Naturally, I’m starting with one that I can relate to. In fact, I related to it two days ago when I tried on a sheath dress in Target that had ruffle around the waist of truly unfortunate placement and length. I actually thought to myself, “This IS a brand new Target…maybe there used to be an amusement park in here and this particular mirror is leftover from the funhouse?” The somewhat more likely explanation, though, is that a peplum skirt just doesn’t do what I want it to do for my body. Enter the peplum shirt, which appears to be overtaking the peplum skirt in popularity this season anyway. You can go with a structured choice in a thicker fabric, or a more laid-back, subtler peplum top like the lace one from Anthropologie. I love the boatneck and three-quarter sleeves, both of which are slimming and balance out the added volume on the bottom half.

The body qualm: Your thighs aren’t as toned as they could be.

The problem trend: Colored jeans

The fix: Colored trousers or printed jeans

Colored jeans are often made of a thinner, more stretchy denim, which makes some wearers’ legs look “lumpy,” even if the jeans fit. To add insult to injury, they tend to run small, and nobody’s fond of not being able to squeeze into her regular size in the dressing room. With colored, cropped trousers, the fabric is thicker and the fit slightly looser. If you’re set on denim, try darker printed jeans, perhaps navy with white polka dots or a fall floral.

Big bucks in fashion latest trend

Fuelling the bull market for young designers is executives’ conviction that demand for luxury goods is strengthening further in markets like China and the United States, especially for the kind of fresh looks that only new blood can create.

“People are taking comfort in the luxury goods sector’s track record and growth prospects, which is encouraging them even more to invest in young niche fashion brands,” a Paris-based banker said, declining to be named.

Take Damir Doma, a 31-year-old Croatia-born designer who worked with Belgian designer Raf Simons, now at LVMH’s Christian Dior. His brand’s parent recently sold a 5 percent stake to Bernd Beetz, former chief executive of Coty who is still the board of the perfume and cosmetics maker.

And the designer has attracted the attention of another big name – Concetta Lanciaux, former adviser to LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, who built her reputation on her ability to spot talent and who sits on Damir Doma’s board.

“I think designers are opening up their capital earlier now because they understand that it allows them to grow faster,” Lanciaux said, adding that Doma was for her a “modern Armani”.

Lemaire, the women’s ready-to-wear designer at Hermes who previously worked at Lacoste for a decade, is also hoping to find experienced partners for his own fashion brand, which targets salesof 2 million euros ($2.6 million) this year.

“We feel that there is money to invest in fashion and there has been a rise in interest in small brands,” said Lemaire, who is about start prospecting for new investors.

NICHE LABELS.

Retailers say appetite for niche labels has grown to the detriment of megabrands such as PPR’s Gucci and LVMH’s Louis Vuitton, which have seen their sales growth slow in recent quarters, even in vibrant markets such as China.

Competition for good designers is such that investments in fashion labels tend to be made at the early stage of a brand’s development, aiming to lock-in the talent and give the brand a strong start.

And there are other factors at work.

Arnault’s long and painful search for a replacement for disgraced designer John Galliano at his group’s flagship Dior brand goaded many groups into widening their talent pool, experts say, as it showed how difficult it could be to find the right person for a brand.

Both LVMH and PPR have recently invested in young designers, with the former last month buying around 30 percent of the brand of 28-year-old Maxime Simoens. PPR earlier this year took a 51 percent stake in seven-year-old British brand Christopher Kane, known for its original mixes of fabric.

PPR is also in talks to buy a stake in Italian jeweler Pomellato, famed for its colored stacking rings.

Other promising brands in play include China-born French designer Yiqing Yin and British brand Erdem, known for its imaginative prints, who have both recently received interest from investors, according to industry sources who declined to be named.

“At an early stage, what the investor is buying is the brand’s growth potential and its notoriety, as it will take several years before it makes a profit as start-up costs are huge,” a London-based investment banker said, adding that these costs usually ranged from 10 to 20 million euros.

UPCOMING TALENT

Yet these are small sums compared with the billions of euros in profits made by big luxury groups such as PPR and LVMH.

Valuations of young brands, most of them lossmaking, range between one and three times sales, depending on their maturity, compared with a ratio of two to three times at listed luxury groups such as LVMH.

“Big groups certainly have the means to afford investments in upcoming talents, also to get them ready for important future assignments and ambitious development plans,” said Renzo Rosso, founder and president of Only the Brave (OTB) which owns Diesel.