Welcome to our biannual Style Special, which focuses on the S/S20 fashion collections, and celebrates fresh talent and standout looks that have sparked our imagination this season.
To kick things off, we’re turning the spotlight on three perennial favourites: Margaret Howell, Sportmax and Paul Smith. In a world of passing fads, hype and hysteria, it’s important to recognise these admirable brands, which, each in their own way, have subtly redefined fashion, championed design, and are now proudly celebrating their 50-year anniversaries. It’s hard to imagine a world without these brands – the people behind them have been pioneers for five decades and have built their own businesses by actually being in the shops, building relationships with their customers. They are endlessly curious, intelligent and insist they are fashion with a small ‘f ’. Their longevity serves to remind us that while fashion rightly demands an embrace of the new, success also means understanding who you are, what you got right, and continually modernising and moving forward.
Our main fashion shoots are varied and wonderful: Brigitte Niedermair and Isabelle Kountoure take us to the candy shop, Sofie Middernacht and Maarten Alexander put on a dazzling double act, Marili Andre and Jérôme André offer a flamboyant take on office attire, while Romain Duquesne and Jason Hughes find a spot of zen.
To follow, we have two contrasting stories on the future of fashion retail. We take a tour of Beijing’s SKP-S, a luxury department store masquerading as a Martian outpost, and proposing an experiential solution to the decline of bricks-and-mortar stores. Meanwhile, our delve into AI-aided design reveals that the success of fashion labels may equally hinge on designers’ ability to leverage data and lean on their machine counterparts.
We then discover Hermès’ first foray into beauty, with the launch of its Rouge Hermès lipstick collection, designed by Pierre Hardy. Our exclusive interview also marks the relaunch of beauty as one of Wallpaper’s core disciplines – join us here on Wallpaper.com and follow our beauty channel for the inside track on this exciting industry.
A study of the season’s most alluring textiles is the basis of a shoot by Patricia Schwoerer and Marie-Noëlle Perriau, who created sculptural forms out of exciting trends such as tie-dye, paisley, hand-painting, tropical print and illustrative pattern.
Outside the realm of fashion, we preview two exhibitions in our home bases of London and New York, as photographer Sohei Nishino mounts his composite homage to the people who actually work on Everest, and designer Misha Kahn conjures up brilliantly eccentric furniture pieces that combine digital and analogue processes. Over in Paris, we make a pilgrimage to Ogata, the exquisitely appointed concept store that brings together the best that Japan has to offer, be it culinary treats or fine homewares. Refreshingly, it labels itself not as being about ‘lifestyle’, more about sahō, the ‘art of being’. I was lucky enough to have a sneak peek this past Fashion Week, enjoying a welcome respite from the unrelenting show schedule, and am already planning a return visit to sample its idiosyncratic ‘anti-kaiseki’.
Finally, we have a deliciously gory entry in our Artist’s Palate series, not for the faint of heart – Robert Longo’s ‘blood and guts’.