The following is a press release from Canada Goose:
Today, Canada Goose launches its first-ever capsule collection, created in partnership with guest designer, Angel Chen. With her experimental approach to design and color, coupled with a fusion of Eastern and Western aesthetics, Angel Chen is one of fashion’s brightest young talents. Through her design language, she brings Eastern elements and traditional techniques to life, creating a contemporary collection without boundaries between countries, age and gender. This capsule collection combines the traditional with the modern, highlighting functional expertise and unique style. With digital-first innovation at the forefront, Canada Goose and Angel Chen are bringing this campaign to life through both augmented reality (AR) and Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI).
“Over the years, we have worked with some of the world’s best. This season, we introduce a new type of partnership with Angel Chen, our first ever guest designer,” said Woody Blackford, EVP Product at Canada Goose. “In our approach, we look for unique and creative perspectives, drawing inspiration from distinct aesthetics that challenge us. Our brief is to reinterpret and reimagine our core design DNA through their eyes. Angel has done just that, putting her signature spin on our most iconic products.”
Initially revealed during Shanghai Fashion Week in October 2020, the exclusive 13-piece collection for women and men follows the transformational journey of the garments from winter in Canada to spring in China, showcasing the evolution of Canada Goose’s most iconic parka: the Snow Mantra. Putting her signature twist on the brand’s most comprehensive offering in outerwear, Angel Chen creates two distinctive pieces within the collection: the Women’s Cropped Snow Mantra Parka for Angel Chen ($1,595 CAD), which can be worn upside down for a discerning look and the Men’s Convertible Snow Mantra for Angel Chen ($1,795 CAD), which can be worn four ways by experimenting with the removable lower half, sleeves and hood. This collection leverages Canada Goose fabrics and technologies, which were developed for the harshest weather conditions and proven in the field for decades by scientists, arctic workers and explorers. Angel Chen interprets the brand through her unique perspective, not only through modern silhouettes but also with vibrant colours. Unique colourways, including a bold new red and two new shades of pink, are included to further honour Angel’s culture and heritage.
“Canada Goose is iconic, the reference for outerwear in the world, and it was so exciting to work with their heritage pieces, reinterpreting them through a new lens for this collection,” said designer Angel Chen. “Visiting the brand’s headquarters and touring their archival collections was so inspiring! This collection represents the transition from winter in Canada to spring in China. It is a dream watching it come to life through my eyes on the runway to seeing it uniquely styled in the city.”
This collection further extends into Lightweight Down, Windwear, Rainwear, Knitwear and Accessories categories. The women’s collection features the Chaka Vest ($795 CAD), the Mordaga Rain Jacket ($1,295 CAD), the HyBridge Knit Jacket ($895 CAD), the Logo Sweater ($595 CAD) and the Serdang Down Jacket ($895 CAD). It also includes the versatile Crossbody Bag ($595 CAD), which easily converts to a backpack and the Mini Crossbody Bag ($350 CAD). The men’s pieces feature the Arxan Bomber Jacket ($995 CAD), the Mogan Rain Jacket ($1,495 CAD), the HyBridge Knit Hoody ($950 CAD) and the Logo Sweater ($695 CAD). The garments are designed to be layered, mixed, matched and transformed for a truly distinctive style, as well as provides custom warmth and protection no matter the conditions.
The Angel Chen for Canada Goose in-store visual display includes design elements that bring HUMANATURE to life; Canada Goose’s purpose platform, which unites the brand’s sustainability and values-based initiatives. The majority of materials used in these displays are recycled, recyclable or biodegradable. The brand is also incorporating an augmented reality (AR) experience to its store windows globally. Starting at the end of January, guests can unlock natural elements, such as blooming flowers by pointing their camera at a QR code on the window. This AR experience will also unveil product features and buying options through hotspots available on the screen.
The Angel Chen for Canada Goose Spring 2021 collection is available starting January 15, 2021 at select Canada Goose retail stores and select wholesale partners, canadagoose.com, TMall and WeChat.
About Canada Goose Founded in 1957 in a small warehouse in Toronto, Canada, Canada Goose (NYSE:GOOS, TSX:GOOS) is a lifestyle brand and a leading manufacturer of performance luxury apparel. Every collection is informed by the rugged demands of the Arctic, ensuring a legacy of functionality is embedded in every product from parkas and rainwear to apparel and accessories. Canada Goose is inspired by relentless innovation and uncompromised craftsmanship, recognized as a leader for its Made in Canada commitment. In 2020, Canada Goose announced HUMANATURE, its purpose platform that unites its sustainability and values-based initiatives, reinforcing its commitment to keep the planet cold and the people on it warm. Canada Goose also owns Baffin, a Canadian designer and manufacturer of performance outdoor and industrial footwear. Visit www.canadagoose.com for more information.
About Angel Chen Angel Chen is a Chinese designer whose colourful approach to fashion coupled with the brand’s core-concept of fusion of Eastern and Western aesthetics, has made her one of the country’s brightest young talents, stocked internationally at 80+ retailors. Chen is part of a new wave of young Chinese designers making an impact locally and globally.
Pierre Cardin, a pioneering French fashion designer of the 20th century, died on December 29, 2020, at the age of 98. According to Associated Press: “The French Academy of Fine Arts announced Cardin’s death in a tweet. He had been among its illustrious members since 1992. The academy did not give a cause of death or say where the designer died.”
Born on July 7, 1922 as Pietro Costante Cardin in San Biagio di Callalta, Italy (near Venice), he moved to France with his family when he was a child. While living in France, he began going by the first name Pierre.
At the age of 14, he began is fashion career as a clothier apprentice. He moved to Paris in 1945 and worked for fashion house of Paquin, as well as for designer Elsa Schiaparelli. In 1947, he became head of Christian Dior’s tailleure atelier. And by 1950, Cardin began his own fashion house.
Cardin was best known pioneering “mod” fashion of the late 1960s and the 1970s. One of his best known creations was to combine the concepts of miniskirts and maxiskirts by having short dresses or skirts with cascading designs. He was also one of the first fashion designers to license his brands worldwide for not just clothes and accessories but also fragrances, luggage and other household items. At the time of his death, Cardin’s company (which remained privately owned) still held hundreds of licenses, although he had sold off many licenses over the years.
In his personal life, Cardin never married or had children. He reportedly had affairs mostly with men and sometimes with women. His most high-profile relationship was a four-year romance in the 1960s with French actress Jeanne Moreau.
Cardin was the subject of the documentary “House of Cardin” (directed by P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes), which made the rounds at several film festivals in 2019 and was released in several countries (including the U.S.) in 2020. It is unknown at this point who will inherit Cardin’s vast fortune and how this inheritance will affect the leadership of his company.
HBO Max debuted today the official trailer and key art for the new Max Original “Stylish with Jenna Lyons.” All eight episodes will be available to stream on Thursday, December 3, 2020 on HBO Max.
As president of J. Crew, Jenna Lyons became “the woman who dresses America”—a formidable business and style icon. Now, Jenna is experiencing a rebirth, and her reputation is on the line. Like many others in 2020, her lofty plans required some adapting and rethinking. From this emerged her very first beauty line, LoveSeen; a ground-up build of a boutique hotel in the Abaco Islands; and several soon-to-be-revealed creative surprises. In a refreshing mix of elevated documentary and formatted competition, “Stylish with Jenna Lyons” follows Jenna as she tackles design projects that will help define her future business. These include renovating her friend’s Brooklyn townhouse, hosting mobile fashion makeovers, designing her new office, and launching LoveSeen—her fresh take on false lashes. Along the way, she’ll test a diverse group of creative associates, all vying for a life-changing spot in Jenna’s growing team. Jenna’s staff, including her chief-of-staff Kyle DeFord and stylist Sarah Clary, join her in this ambitious new venture, delivering a masterclass in taste, design, and fashion with every episode.
To complement the series launch, Jenna is also creating a virtual pop-up shop featuring covetable, handpicked home, beauty, and fashion goods from local makers that highlight Jenna’s discerning point of view. The pop-up shop will be open from November 26 through December 18, 2020. More information can be found on @popupish’s Instagram.
“Stylish with Jenna Lyons” is produced by Our House Media with OHM’s Simon Lloyd and Matt Hanna serving as executive producers, along with Lyons, David Tibballs, Paul Storck, Hillary Olson, Jae Goodman, and Michael Bloom for Bongo Pictures.
Culture Representation: Taking place in New York City, the documentary “Calendar Girl” features a group of predominantly middle-aged and senior citizen white people (with a few Asians and African Americans) discussing Fashion Calendar founder Ruth Finley, who also participated into the documentary.
Culture Clash: Finley was very resistant to new technology and refused for years to sell Fashion Calendar.
Culture Audience: “Calendar Girl” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in the American fashion industry and New York Fashion Week.
Long before software spreadsheets and the Internet existed, the schedules of the U.S. fashion industry in New York City were and still are largely influenced by the subscription publication Fashion Calendar, which launched in 1941. Ruth Finley was the founder of Fashion Calendar, which is still considered the most influential scheduling “bible” for people in American fashion, especially those who attend New York Fashion Week. Finley’s name might not be as famous as longtime Vogue (U.S.) editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, but Finley holds a place in fashion media as an underrated pioneer. The engaging documentary “Calendar Girl” tells Finley’s story.
Directed by Christian D. Bruun, “Calendar Girl” (which had its world premiere at DOC NYC in 2020) was filmed over the course of several years in the 2010s. Finley passed away in 2018, at the age of 98, but she fully participated in the film, which includes interviews with numerous colleagues and family members of Finley. A few of the interviewees have also since passed away, such as photographer Bill Cunningham and former Bloomingdale’s executive Joseph “Joe” Siegel, who was Finley’s beau toward their end of their lives. Therefore, “Calendar Girl” looks dated in some ways, but the inspiring message of the movie is timeless.
Rather than giving a boring and predictable chronological telling of Finley’s story, “Calendar Girl” gives a non-chronological but insightful overview of Finley as a businessperson, mother and beloved influencer, as well as how she fits into the larger cultural context of the fashion industry. The movie begins with footage of her being honored at a 2014 Hall of Fame Tribute to celebrate Fashion Calendar, an event presented by Citymeals on Wheels. Later in the documentary, there’s footage of Finley getting the Board of Directors’ Tribute at the 2014 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Awards, as well as Finley receiving the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) President’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
Through Finley’s own words and the words of her colleagues and her three sons (Joe Green, Jim Green and Larry Lein), a story emerges of a dedicated and sassy woman who went against society norms to start Fashion Calendar during an era when women were expected to not have careers. She was a single, working mother for most of her career, long before it was common or even acceptable to be a mother who worked outside of the home. Finley also kept working well past the age when most people are expected to retire.
And her passion for fashion is almost unparalleled, as she kept up her rigorous work schedule for decades. She was tirelessly attending fashion shows well into her 90s. “Calendar Girl” includes footage of her attending some of these shows. In the documentary, Finley says, “Sometimes I do as many as 12 shows a day.” She also mentions that her personal career record for going to fashion shows was attending 150 shows in one week.
Fashion Calendar had a very simple concept that worked extremely well: Publish a calendar schedule of all the major fashion events happening in New York City. For years, before Fashion Calendar had office space, Finley worked out of her home. Fun fact: Before Emmy-winning actress Doris Roberts was famous, she worked as a teenage typist for Fashion Calendar in the publication’s early years.
The Fashion Calendar newsletter eventually grew into a booklet-styled publication years later. CFDA founder Eleanor Lambert, who started out as a fashion publicist, rose to prominence at around the same time that Finley did. Lambert, Finley and former Vogue (U.S.) editor Diana Vreeland are mentioned by several people as the three most influential women in fashion in the 1950s and 1960s.
Fashion Calendar, which was published weekly and then bi-weekly, was typewritten or mimeographed on pink paper for years, before computer technology existed. Finley and her small staff also kept files and Rolodexes that they still used until CFDA purchased Fashion Calendar in 2014 and Finley took on the role of consultant. At the time Fashion Calendar was sold to CFDA in 2014, the publication had only three full-time employees, including Finley and longtime Fashion Calendar editor Mary Hackle.
The idea of making Fashion Calendar pink ended up being one of the best ideas for the publication, not only because it made Fashion Calendar stand out from other fashion publications, but also, as Finley says, “The reason why we kept this color is so people would find it on a messy desk.” It’s why Fashion Calendar ended up being nicknamed “The Pink Bible.”
Finley (who was born in 1920, in Haverhill, Massachusetts) launched Fashion Calendar while she was still a student at Simmons College in Boston, where she majored in journalism and minored in nutrition. After graduating from college in 1941, she moved to New York City and devoted herself full-time to Fashion Calendar, which included listings for movie premieres and Broadway shows in the publication’s early years. Under her ownership, Fashion Calendar never had ads or took sponsorship money, which is unusual for any print-media publication.
Finley’s youngest son Larry Lein comments in the documentary: “She realized all along that she could’ve taken ads and she could’ve made more money, but she thought it would ruin the integrity of what she was doing and ruin her credibility. It never occurred to her that her business should be anything but an impartial listing service.” He also says that his mother’s business success could be attributed to her frugality, because she learned early on to keep overhead costs low.
While her Fashion Calendar business was thriving, Finley experienced major heartaches and tragedies. Her first marriage to businessman Hank Green ended in divorce in 1954, at a time when being divorced was considered somewhat scandalous, especially for women. Finley’s sons Joe and Jim Green were born from that marriage.
In the documentary, Finley says that her first marriage was a mistake that happened because she wanted to rebel against her domineering housewife mother, who didn’t approve of Hank Green and thought that women should not have careers. Finley and her mother didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of issues, but their relationship is described as close, despite any ongoing tensions.
Not long after her divorce from Hank Green, Finley married second husband Irving Lein, who owned a women’s designer sportswear company. Her third and youngest son Larry was born from that marriage. However, Irving tragically died of a heart attack at the age of 44 on January 14, 1959, which also happened to be Finley’s 39th birthday.
The widowed Finley told people at the funeral that she never wanted to get married again. And she never did. Finley says in the documentary that her way of dealing with tragedy and setbacks was to try to be as positive as possible: “I always believed in looking at the happy side. And too many people don’t know how to do that.”
That optimistic outlook on life served her well in an industry that tends to be very fickle and not well-suited for people who are sensitive to criticism. As the fashion industry grew in America (especially in New York City, the fashion capital of the United States), so too did Fashion Calendar’s influence. Finley found herself not just publishing the fashion schedules of the industry but also becoming a power broker who could decide who and what could be scheduled where and when. It was also a job that required a lot of negotiating skills to deal with the huge egos and histrionics in the fashion industry.
Her clout had a major effect not just with big-name designers but also with up-and-coming designers. Several people in the documentary, including fashion designers Betsey Johnson and Jeffrey Banks, have nice things to say about how Finley have them big breaks in their careers. And her Fashion Calendar work also affected the careers of countless other industry people besides designers, such as buyers, media, retailers and wholesalers. Ellin Saltzman, a former Saks Fifth Avenue buyer, says of Finley: “Without Ruth, I couldn’t do my job.”
Fashion designer Nicole Miller says in the documentary that for Miller’s first New York Fashion Week show in 1991, Finley was “tough” in insisting that then-newcomer Miller get a less-than-desirable time slot: 9 a.m. on a Tuesday. Miller says, through a lot of heated discussions with Finley, she was able to negotiate for a better time slot at 12 noon. Miller says that these negotiations weren’t easy because Finley was considered an industry powerhouse that a lot of upcoming designers did not want to alienate.
Fashion designer Nanette Lepore comments in the documentary that although Finley was no pushover, she still brought a sense of decorum and politeness to her job, in an industry where screaming tantrums and rudeness are very common: “She was constantly smoothing over egos, negotiating for someone … There was a gentlemanliness about how people approached fashion and Fashion Week, mostly because of how Ruth’s gentlewomanliness was managing it.”
Because she conducted most of her business over the phone, Fashion Calendar had a personal touch that many other fashion media executives lost as computer technology took over many businesses and people used email or social media to communicate with each other. In the documentary, Finley says that as long as she owned Fashion Calendar, she made sure that she and her small number of employees were always accessible through phone calls.
It was a very traditional mindset that people in the documentary say was both an asset and a detriment. Even though Crafting Beauty CEO François Damide says in the documentary of Finley, “I really think she’s the Steve Jobs of our industry,” that comment might be overstating her influence. Even Finley herself admits that she was far from a technology pioneer, and she didn’t really invent anything. She just provided a particular news service for the fashion industry before anyone else did.
Finley’s resistance to new technology would ultimately lead to her decision to sell Fashion Calendar. For decades, Finley turned down offers from other companies to buy Fashion Calendar. One of the reasons why Finley’s family convinced her to sell Fashion Calendar was that the American fashion industry and New York Fashion Week were just too big for Finley and her small staff to handle just by their old-fashioned methods of Rolodexes and hand-written drafts of schedules.
The Fashion Calendar staff eventually used computers, but former CFDA executive director Fern Mallis says, “Ruth was very late to get to the technology. People begged her to be online. She resisted.”
In 2014, CFDA president/CEO Steven Kolb and then-CFA chairperson Diane von Furstenberg approached Finley to sell Fashion Calendar to CFDA. Kolb says in the documentary that CFDA had been considering launching a rival fashion calendar business, but approached Finley to sell Fashion Calendar to CFDA, out of respect for Finley and with the promise that they would keep her core integrity for the business intact. The CFDA took over Fashion Calendar in October 2014. Fashion Calendar’s last print edition was published in December 2014.
Kolb comments in the documentary, “Technology, whether we like it or not, whether we accept it or not, it forces us to move forward in a way, because if we don’t, then we become irrelevant.” Kolb adds that Finley was also convinced to sell Fashion Calendar because he told her that stepping away from day-to-day managerial duties “frees her up … and lets her focus on the fun stuff.”
The documentary also gives a great overview of the priceless contributions that Finley made to the fashion industry, in terms of historical significance. She meticulously kept all of the Fashion Calendar issues, which she donated to the FIT Museum for posterity. These archives are incredible resources for research and for examining what was going on in fashion at the time. There are no other archives like it in the world.
Fashion Calendar wasn’t a flashy publication and there was “not a lot of production value,” comments independent archivist David Benjamin, who helped transfer Fashion Calendar archives to the FIT Museum. “But it’s important, in terms of the information it contains.”
Because “Calendar Girl” was filmed over several years, there are many other people who were interviewed for the documentary. Fashion designers who offer their glowing commentary on Finley include Carolina Herrera; Mark Badgley and James Mischka of Badgley Mischka; Tadashi Soji; Thom Browne; Ralph Rucci; Dennis Basso; and Steve Herman, a former CFDA president.
Other “Calendar Girl” interviewees include FIT Museum director/chief curator Valerie Steele; FIT Library head of special collections and college archives Karen Trivette; former Costume Institute/Metropolitan Museum of Art curator-in-charge Harold Koda; Costume Institute/Metropolitan Museum of Art communications officer Nancy Chilton; Fashion Group International creative director Marylou Luther; Cushnie et Ochs CEO Peter Arnold; Paper magazine editorial director Mickey Boardman; The Ground Crew CEO Audrey Smaltz; Victoria Royal president Alan Sealove; KCD co-chair Julie Mannion; and InStyle magazine editor-at-large Eric Wilson.
Even though all of these talking heads in the movie are very laudatory of Finley, “Calendar Girl” does an admirable job of not placing her too high on a pedestal, since it includes some constructive criticism of how Finley’s technophobia affected her business. “Calendar Girl” director Bruun was also the film’s cinematographer, and he brings an unpretentious intimacy to this fashion documentary, in contrast to so many other documentaries about fashion influencers that tend to lean into “larger than life” pomp and circumstance. Most of all, “Calendar Girl” is a noteworthy tribute to Finley, by showing that her name might not be well-known outside of the fashion industry because she remained humble and cared more about her work than she cared about being famous.
The following is a press release from Amazon Prime Video:
Amazon Prime Video presents the highly anticipated Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2, a unique fashion show celebrating the new Fall 2020 collection from music and fashion icon Rihanna. The extraordinary fashion experience features a combination of models, actors and dancers wearing the latest savage styles, with special performances from some of the hottest names in music. Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 will stream exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide beginning Friday, October 2.
As a follow up to last year’s ground-breaking event, this year’s Savage X Fenty Show is raising the bar. Debuting the bold and fearless Fall 2020 line, Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 will include performances from an all-star lineup including hip-hop icon Travis Scott and international superstars Bad Bunny, Ella Mai, Miguel, Mustard, Roddy Ricch, and Rosalia during the experience. Savage X Fenty Show veterans Bella Hadid, Big Sean, Cara Delevingne, Christian Combs, Normani, and Paloma Elsesser return, walking alongside newcomers Lizzo, Demi Moore, Erika Jayne, Gigi Goode, Irina Shayk, Laura Harrier, Paris Hilton, Rico Nasty, Shea Couleé, Willow Smith, Chika, Miss 5th Avenue, Jaida Essence Hall and many more, wearing the latest savage styles and debuting Savage X Fenty’s fierce and unapologetic Fall 2020 collection.
For the release of Vol. 2, the Savage X Fenty Fall 2020 Collection will be available to shop in Amazon Fashion’s store and at Savage X Fenty. All Savage. Zero Apologies. The high-voltage collection is packed with unexpected pairings and surprising new styles that push the boundaries of individuality. With sizes ranging from 30A-42H/46DDD and XS-3X, customers can shop the collection at Amazon.com/savagexfenty and Savagex.com.
Rihanna served as Executive Producer and Creative Director of Savage x Fenty Show Vol. 2.
Music and fashion icon Rihanna embarks on her newest venture: lingerie designer. Inspired to create a line of intimates that complements a variety of shades and shapes, Savage X Fenty celebrates fearlessness, confidence, and inclusivity. In partnership with a team assembled from the industry’s elite, the label has disrupted and redefined the marketplace with its accessible price point and extensive assortment. “We want to make people look good and feel good,” explains Rihanna, who approaches Savage X with the same mentality she does all her projects – to make something new and fresh that everyone can relate to and feel confident in. “We want you to feel sexy and have fun doing it.” With sizes from 32A – 42H in bras, and XS-3X in undies and sleepwear, Savage X Fenty is available for purchase at www.SavageX.com.
On August 2, 2020, two major retail companies filed for bankruptcy: Le Tote Inc. (the San Francisco-based parent company of department store Lord & Taylor) and Tailored Brands Inc. (the Fremont, California-based parent company of Men’s Wearhouse, Jos. A Bank, Moores Clothing for Men and K&G Fashion Superstore). Hundreds of stores will be shuttered and thousands of employees will be laid off as a result of these bankruptcies.
In 2019, Le Tote purchased Lord & Taylor from Saks Fifth Avenue owner Hudson’s Bay Co. for $71 million. Lord & Taylor was founded in New York City in 1826, reported $137.9 million of debt obligations in the bankruptcy. At the time of the bankruptcy filing, Lord & Taylor had 38 stores and 651 employees
According to Bloomberg: “Under the deal with Hudson’s Bay, the seller agreed to cover Lord & Taylor’s rent for three years, saving Le Tote $58 million annually. Le Tote said in a court filing Sunday that its companies reported revenue of about $253.5 million in 2019 … Executives at the company have planned to cut the number of Lord & Taylor stores and target younger women with luxury try-on studios, beauty subscriptions and rental drop-off points.”
Tailored Brands was founded in the Houston are in 1973 by George Zimmer, under the name Men’s Wearhouse. Zimmer famously appeared in TV ads for Men’s Wearhouse for several years in the 1980s and 1990s, with the slogan: “You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.” The company went public in 1992, and Zimmer was ousted from the company in 2013, reportedly because he had difficulty adjusting to the company being public instead of private.
At the time of the bankruptcy filing, Tailored Brands had about 1,274 retail and apparel rental stores in the U.S. and 125 in Canada, and employed approximately 18,000 people. As of this writing, it’s unknown how many of these store locations will be permanently closed, but analysts estimate that it will be hundreds.
According to Bloomberg: “The plan calls for a $500 million bankruptcy loan backed by the company’s existing revolving credit facility lenders. Tailored Brands will ask the court’s permission to access the loan combined with cash on hand, including $90 million of previously restricted cash made available to fund operations throughout the restructuring. The bankruptcy loan will then convert to a $400 million revolving credit facility upon emergence from Chapter 11 … The company’s term loan holders will receive their portion of an exit term loan of between $325 million to $425 million and 100% of the reorganized equity, according to court documents. Shareholders will be wiped out, with no recovery from the plan.”
Even before the coronavirus pandemic (when LeTote and Tailored Brands temporarily closed all of retail locations on mid-March 2020), the companies were already headed toward financial disaster, since they had been closing an increasing number of stores since 2018. Depending on the state, county or city in the United States, some clothing retail stores have re-opened since the pandemic, while others have not, as of this writing. The re-opening policies vary.
Le Tote and Tailored Brands are among the growing list of fashion retailers that have declared bankruptcy since 2018. Barney’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2019, while Nieman Marcus did the same in May 2020. J. Crew declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2020. Low-end clothing retailers that shuttered in 2019 included Gymboree and Payless ShoeSource.
Other fashion retailers that had a massive percentage of store closures in 2018 and 2019 included Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Kohl’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, Foot Locker, Children’s Place and David’s Bridal. A few fashion retailers (such as Charlotte Russe and Bebe) have emerged from bankruptcy and are slowly trying to build back their business under new ownership. Department stores that carry fashion (such as Macy’s, JC Penney, Kmart and Sears) have also been closing stores.
Culture Representation: This documentary about famed German fashion photographer Helmut Newton interviews a nearly all-white, predominantly European group of people who were his business associates or close confidants.
Culture Clash: People often debate if some of Newton’s photos are “edgy” or “offensive,” and he was frequently accused of being sexist and misogynistic.
Culture Audience: “Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful” will appeal primarily to people interested in fashion photography from the late 20th century.
Famed fashion photographer Helmut Newton, who died in 2004 at the age of 83, had the nickname King of Kink, so would his career have survived the #MeToo movement? And how would he have handled social media, where celebrities and models can create and show their own portfolio of photos to the world? These are interesting questions to think about when watching the fascinating and at times too-reverential documentary “Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful,” which chronicles the life of Newton, who had a reputation for being the German “bad boy” of fashion photography.
His death (he passed away in a car accident in Los Angeles) came years before the #MeToo movement and social media existed. And based on what’s presented in “Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful” (directed by Gero Von Boehm), an “old school” famous fashion photographer such as Newton might have had a difficult time adjusting to the #MeToo movement and social-media era, when sexually aggressive behavior in the workplace is less tolerated and celebrity selfies on Instagram have diluted the gatekeeper influence of A-list fashion photographers.
The greatest strength of the documentary is the access to archival video footage and photos from the Helmut Newton Foundation. They tell more about Newton in ways that no amount of interviews with “talking heads” would be able to tell. According to the documentary’s production notes, director Von Boehm met Helmut Newton in 1997, and stayed in touch with him and his wife June Newton (also known as photographer Alice Springs) over the years and filmed approved segments of Helmut’s life.
June (an Australian model/actress who married Helmut in 1948) is interviewed for the documentary. She does not appear on camera for these interviews, but is heard in voiceovers. June is seen in archival “home movie” type of footage and in photos. The couple did not have any children.
In the documentary’s production notes, Von Boehm says of the first time that he met Helmut: “We understood each other right away and discovered we had a very similar sense of humor, the same sense for bizarre situations.” But even if Von Boehm had not admitted this bias up front, it’s clear from watching the documentary that it was made by a director who has immense admiration for Helmut.
However, that worshipful attitude clouds this documentary’s perspective to the point where Helmut’s boorish ways are constantly excused in the documentary as Helmut just being Helmut, without giving any proper acknowledgement or context of the people he hurt along the way because he abused his power. For example, he had a reputation for pressuring female models to pose nude for him, but male models weren’t subjected to the same type of browbeating.
If it were really about “art” and celebrating the human body, and not sexism, then he wouldn’t have an obviously singular obsession with having so many naked women in his photos. And when his photos depicted degrading scenarios (such as bondage or being physically attacked), the targets of this degradation were women, not men.
Helmut had a reputation in the fashion industry for being a “dirty old man,” which is a reputation that he seemed to be proud of embracing, at a time when A-list fashion photographers (who are almost always men) could get away with a lot more in mistreating models than they can now. Some of the people interviewed in the film have a type of misguided snobbery that enables misogyny if it comes from someone famous or someone who can benefit them in some way.
Speaking of the people interviewed in the documentary, perhaps to offset the inevitable criticism of Helmut having a reputation for being sexist against women, director Von Boehm made the decision to have only women interviewed for the film. Not surprisingly, all of them praise Helmut. Do you really think that the filmmakers would want to include any women who were going to talk about their unpleasant experiences with Helmut? Of course not.
The interviewees include Vogue (U.S.) editor-in-chief/Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour, Vogue executive fashion editor Phyllis Posnick and gallerist Carla Sozzani, a close friend of Helmut and June Newton. The other women interviewed are mostly models or entertainers who were photographed by Helmut for fashion spreads, such as Isabella Rossellini, Charlotte Rampling, Claudia Schiffer, Marianne Faithfull, Grace Jones, Nadja Auermann, Sylvia Gobbel and Arja Toyryla.
Helmut’s family background and early career aren’t described until halfway through the movie. Born in Berlin in 1920, Helmut (whose birth surname was Neustädter) grew up Jewish in Germany under the Weimar Republic (which existed from 1918 to 1933), where he was surrounded by images and beliefs that white Aryans (light-skinned, non-Jewish Caucasians descended from most of Europe) are superior to all other people.
It’s not outrightly stated, but it’s pretty clear from interviews and how Helmut expressed himself in his work that this indoctrination of Aryan supremacy led to him having a lifelong inferiority complex about being Jewish in an Aryan world. Several people, including Helmut, say in that the documentary that this complex carried over into his fixation on what Helmut considered his ideal type of female model: tall, thin and Aryan-looking, preferably blonde.
Helmut’s mother Klara “Claire” (whom he describes as being “spoiled” with a strong personality) encouraged his interest in photography, while his father Max (who owned a button factory) disapproved because he didn’t think being a photographer was a “real” job. A recurring theme in Helmut’s life is that he was attracted to strong, beautiful women, but he also feared them. Given that Helmut’s mother is described as domineering, a Freudian psychiatrist would have a field day with giving an analysis of how Helmut’s complicated views of women affected his art.
In the documentary, Helmut says one of his earliest artistic influences was German director Leni Riefenstahl, who filmed a lot of Nazi propaganda under the Adolf Hitler regime. He describes Austrian American director Erich von Stroheim as “one of my heroes.” And it’s mentioned several times in the documentary that Helmut maintained a lifelong love of Berlin and the city’s artists.
Helmut’s first photography mentor was Yva, the alias of Else Ernestine Neuländer-Simon, a German Jewish photographer whom he worked with as an apprentice for two years. Helmut says of his apprenticeship with Yva: “It was wonderful. I worshipped the ground she walked on.” (Yva tragically died in a Nazi concentration camp around 1942.)
Even as a teenager, Helmut had a rebellious side. In one of the documentary interviews, he remembers going to a public swimming pool where Jews weren’t allowed, and he stripped a girl naked in the pool. (He says the girl allowed him to do it.) This brazen act got him banned from the pool, but Helmut still cackles with glee when he tells the story decades later. As for his controversial image as a photographer, Helmut once famously said that he considered “art” and “good taste” to be bad words in photography.
His wife June is described as his authoritative partner and constant companion who was in charge of a lot of Helmut’s business interests. June says of Helmut: “He was always a naughty boy, who grew up to be an anarchist.” There’s some archival footage of Helmut at a photo shoot in the 1980s where he jubilantly says to the camera that he just made $10,000 for the photo shoot, and it’ll be money that he’ll spend buying diamonds “for my Junie.”
The documentary includes rare footage of Helmut inside one of his and June’s homes, where he gives a brief tour for the people filming the footage. The interior décor can best be described as “kitschy” and “gaudy,” cluttered with a lot of trinkets and knickknacks. They also had several Barbie dolls on display. It’s in stark contrast to the sleek, sophisticated-looking and artsy photos that Helmut was known to take.
And what do some of Helmut’s former photo subjects have to say about him?
Italian-born actress Rossellini worked with Helmut for the first time in 1986, when Helmut did a photo shoot with Rossellini and director David Lynch to promote the movie “Blue Velvet.” She comments that Helmut “represents men who are attracted to women, but then resent [women] because they’re attracted to them, so they make [women] vulnerable.”
French actress Rampling, who posed for Helmut’s first major nude photo shoot in 1973, says of his often-controversial reputation: “It’s great to be a provocateur. That’s what the world needs. Who cares about the man himself? We’re looking at his art.” Rampling also says that art is not meant to be objective and looked at in the same way by all people: “There is no neutrality. Everything is tainted with a point of view.”
German model/actress Gobbel comments that being a tall, blonde woman in her modeling days often made her feel like “a hunted deer,” but she says that being photographed by Helmut made her feel “stronger.” Finnish model Toyryla echoes a similar thought, by saying of her experience working with Helmut: “I just looked into his eyes, and I knew what he wanted. It felt good. I felt safe.” German actress/singer Schygulla says, “I found him amusing, this mix of ease and humor, but also obsession.”
British singer/actress Faithfull worked with Helmut in the 1980s. One of her more well-known photo shoots with Helmut resulted in a famous set of 1981 Esquire magazine photos of her wearing a leather jacket, with nothing on underneath the jacket: “Helmut made me show my tits without [me] feeling any embarrassment or shame.” (The photos are actually very tame, since her nipples aren’t showing.)
German former supermodel Schiffer, who did several non-nude photo shoots with Newton, worked with him for the first time when she was 17. She describes the experience this way: “There was never a moment when I felt uncomfortable. It was an amazing experience, where I walked away saying, ‘This man is incredible.’ He had sort of a twinkle in his eyes.”
Schiffer also describes a Helmut Newton photo shoot where a very young and inexperienced female model showed up, not knowing that she would have to pose in a dominant/submissive scenario. In the photo shoot, the newbie model was dressed as a maid, while Schiffer portrayed the maid’s rich employer. In one of the photos (which is seen in the documentary), Schiffer is standing over the kneeling “maid” while forcing her head into an oven. According to Schiffer, the other model was very nervous at first, but they all ended up having a laugh over it.
Auermann, another German former supermodel, says that “Helmut actually really loved strong women.” However, she admits that because she didn’t give in to his constant pressure to pose nude for him, she didn’t work with him for two years. Auermann was a model for two of Helmut’s most controversial photo spreads.
In (U.S.) Vogue’s June 1994 issue, Aeurmann did a Helmut Newton photo shoot where they recreated the Greek myth “Leda and the Swan,” and it caused outrage because Auermann was posed with the swan (which was a taxidermy animal) in a sexually suggestive way. She says that people sent a lot of hate mail because of that photo shoot, which critics said looked like it was promoting bestiality and animal cruelty. Auermann believes that people would have been less offended if they knew that the swan used in the photo shoot was actually a stuffed animal.
The January 1995 issue of (U.S.) Vogue featured Helmut Newton photos of Auermann posed as a person with leg disabilities, such as being in a wheelchair, using crutches and wearing leg braces. In one photo, using visual effects, it looks like she has one leg, while her “missing” leg is detached and posed upright next to her. In the documentary, Auermann (who is able-bodied in real life) remembers the public reaction being a “shitstorm” because people thought that the photos were making a mockery of disabled people.
Jamaican singer/actress Jones is one of the few people of color who was asked to do a Helmut Newton photo shoot. Jones had her own controversial set of photos with him in the 1980s, when she usually posed completely nude for him. A semi-erotic 1985 photo shoot that Jones and Dolph Lundgren (her lover at the time) did for Playboy magazine caused a little bit of a stir with people who were uncomfortable with seeing a naked interracial couple in provocative poses.
But those photos weren’t as nearly as controversial as a Helmut Newton photo on the cover of Stern magazine (a German publication) that had Jones posed naked, with chains on her legs, conjuring up an image that made her look like a slave. Jones dismisses the “slave image” controversy in the documentary and says, “I really wasn’t aware that it made such a big scandal. I kind of heard around a bit of [accusations of] sexism and racism, but I never felt that at all. I mean, it’s like acting in films.”
Jones admits that she thought Helmut was like a “god” and she jumped at the chance to work with him. But she also says that Helmut had a weird habit of asking to do a photo shoot with her and then sending her away because he remembered that she was flat-chested and he wanted to shoot models with bigger breasts.
Jones says she didn’t take offense because she thought of him as an eccentric. “He was a little bit of a pervert, but so am I, so that’s okay,” Jones comments. “His pictures were erotic, but with dimensions … They told stories.”
Vogue’s Wintour (who worked with Helmut for many years) says in the documentary, “If you were to give an assignment to Helmut, you weren’t going to receive a pretty girl on a lovely beach. That’s not what he was about.” She adds that Vogue expected that photos from him would be “iconic, sometimes disturbing, certainly thought-provoking … You might consider it brave, but I would consider it necessary.” She says that his photos were needed as a counterpoint to the overly glamorous, fantasy-level type of photos that proliferate in fashion.
And his fashion photography wasn’t always about humans. Posnick remembers Helmut being ecstatic when Vogue gave him an assignment to do a photo shoot featuring his favorite animals: chickens. There was his famous 1994 “Roast Chicken and Bulgari Jewels” photo spread for Vogue, showing a roasted chicken being cut with a large knife by a woman’s hands wearing Bulgari jewelry.
He told the Vogue editors that he always wanted to photograph chickens wearing high heels. And so, in 1998, Vogue flew in some high heels from a doll museum in Monte Carlo so that Helmut could do a photo called “Chicken in Heels,” which showed a cooked chicken wearing the high-heeled doll shoes. When a photographer is indulged in this over-the-top way, is it any wonder that this person would be on an egotistical power trip?
There’s some archival footage in the documentary that looks like it was filmed sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s, where Helmut is doing a photo shoot with a female model in a skimpy swimsuit and a male model wearing scuba-fiving gear. He jokes to the male model, “If you get a hard-on, you’ll get more money.” Helmut then adds, presumably talking about Wintour: “I’m going to send this to Anna. She’ll have a fit.”
For all this talk about Helmut being a “provocateur” and “edgy,” apparently something that was too much out of his comfort zone was working with a racially diverse group of models. Jones, one of the few black women he photographed, was already a celebrity when she began working with him. But women of color, even if they were famous models, apparently had little to no chance of working with him. The documentary includes rare footage of a casting call that Newton did sometime in the 1980s, and all of the models are white—which probably means that modeling agencies already knew not to bother sending any non-white women to this casting call.
The documentary makes it clear that Helmut had a certain type of model that he preferred (tall, thin and Aryan-looking), but nowhere does the documentary address the race issue and why he didn’t seem very open to working with non-white models. It speaks to a larger culture of race exclusion in an industry where Vogue magazine, which launched in 1892, didn’t hire a black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover until Beyoncé was given unprecedented complete creative control for her 2018 (U.S.) Vogue cover shoot. (In June 2020, Wintour publicly admitted that Vogue has had racism problems for many years, and she made an apology, with a vague promise to improve Vogue’s race relations with people of color.)
Also noticeably omitted from the documentary is any discussion about drug use, which is rampant in the fashion industry. And as for infidelity, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Helmut, whose job was taking photos of a lot of beautiful women (many of them naked), wasn’t exactly a faithful husband, although he and June stayed married for about 56 years.
Family friend Sozzani explains Helmut and June Newton’s relationship, by saying that there was infidelity on both sides, but nothing that was serious enough to ruin their marriage: “I think they were everything together. This is the dream of every couple in life, to have met your perfect person that you respect, that you can build something together. It’s wonderful.” Sozzani adds, “They had difficult times, like every couple,” as she describes with a chuckle how furious Helmut was when he caught June in a hotel with another man.
Cameras and taking photos were such an obsession for June and Helmut that the documentary includes photos that they took of each other in hospitals after having surgery and showing their surgery scars. June comments, “The only thing that kept him going was the little camera by his side. Yes, it is a protection … He even took it into the operating room.”
And there’s a morbid photo included at the end of the film that June took of herself holding Helmut’s head in her arms, right after his fatal car accident. It’s unclear if he’s dead or unconscious in the photo, but it’s implied that June knew that it would be the last photo she would take of him.
Because so much of the documentary is a praise-fest of Helmut, the only voice of criticism comes from a 1970s clip from a TV talk show where he and feminist Susan Sontag were guests. Sontag tells him she’s not a fan of his work because his photos are often misogynistic, while Helmut objects to that opinion and says that he actually loves women.
An unflappable Sontag replies that misogynists often claim that they love women, but then still show women in a humiliating way. She then shuts down Helmut by saying, “The master loves his slave. The executioner loves his victim.”
The documentary also includes an audio clip from an interview Helmut did (it’s unclear if he made this comment for the documentary or if it’s from an outside interview) where he makes a very telling comment. Helmut comes right out and admits that he doesn’t really care about the models he works with, and that he just cares about how they photograph when he takes their pictures.
Although the documentary doesn’t offer any new interviews with any critics of Helmut, there’s no doubt that he made a lot of memorable art, whether people were fans of his or not. Most of his photos were not degrading to women, and there are many interesting visuals in the documentary that put into context why Helmut was attracted to making this kind of art. (However, people who have a problem with seeing a lot of naked people in photos will probably want to skip watching this film.)
Was he sexist? Was he racist? “Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful” doesn’t seem to want to answer those questions, but there’s enough of a compelling story here, so people can judge for themselves whether or not they want to separate the man from his art.
Kino Lorber released “Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful” in select U.S. virtual cinemas on July 24, 2020.
As many of you may know, we at CLD have the largest Alexander McQueen archive in North America (curated over a 10+ year period, with the vast majority of the pieces being designed by Lee Alexander McQueen himself prior to his untimely passing). After many years of being unwilling to part with any of it, we’ve decided to sell it! Many of these pieces are one-of-a-kinds, runway pieces, couture works of art, and rare or sentimental. This is an unprecedented chance to own a piece of fashion history.
The ENTIRE collection can now be found here on eBay. A tiny preview of our pieces is below.
We hope that whatever home each piece goes to appreciates & values the pieces for the treasures they are.
In February 2020, Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands (based in Columbus, Ohio) had announced that it sold a 55% stake in Victoria’s Secret to private equity firm Sycamore Partners, for a reported $525 million, but that deal has now been cancelled. According to fashion trade publication WWD, L Brands still plans to spin off Victoria’s Secret into a private company, while also doing the same for Bath & Body Works. As part of the restructuring, L Brands chairman/CEO Les Wexner stepped down from his position, after founding the company in 1963. In March 2020, it was announced that Sarah E. Nash is his replacement.
Victoria’s Secret and its Pink spinoff brand have been experiencing a sharp decline in sales in recent years. The coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in the temporary closures of numerous clothing retailers worldwide, worsened the fortunes of Victoria’s Secret. The $525 million price tag for Victoria’s Secret was far lower than the $7.6 billion that Victoria’s Secret was valued at in 2015. The brand’s sales peaked during the 2006-2016 CEO leadership of Sharen Jester Turney, who left the company in 2016. After the coronavirus pandemic, Victoria’s Secret value no doubt plummeted even lower than $525 million.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Victoria’s Secret was on a downward spiral. The year 2019 was turbulent for Victoria’s Secret and L Brands. In August 2019, more than 100 models and several of their allies (including Models Alliance and Times Up) signed an open letter to Victoria’s Secret CEO John Mehas to demand an end to the sexual abuse and sexual harassment that has allegedly been running rampant against Victoria’s Secret models.
The letter was published just two days after L Brands chief marketing officer Ed Razek publicly announced he was leaving the company. Wexner and Razek had close ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was arrested again in July 2019, for sex crimes, specifically, for sex trafficking of women and underage girls. Epstein was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City on August 10, 2019. According to the Associated Press, he died of an apparent suicide by hanging.
Razek came under fire in 2018, when he said in a Vogue interview that Victoria’s Secret was not interested in hiring plus-sized or transgender models. In August 2019, Victoria’s Secret hired its first transgender model: Valentina Sampaio, who posted the news on her Instagram account. But that milestone was apparently too little, too late.
Meanwhile, rival lingerie brands such as Aerie, ThirdLove, Adore Me and Lively have experienced an increase in sales in recent years. Many market analysts have noted that Victoria’s Secret alienated many customers by having only tall and thin models in its marketing, while newer brands embrace a more diverse variety of body sizes in their marketing and in their product selections. In addition, websites that track customer feedback for retailers have noted that there have been numerous complaints about the decreasing quality of Victoria’s Secret products and customer service.
J. Crew, the New York City-based fashion brand known for making the “preppy look” popular in the 1980s, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, while its stores remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic. According to Bloomberg: “Anchorage Capital Group, Blackstone Group Inc.’s GSO Capital Partners and Davidson Kempner Capital Management will be among J. Crew’s new owners and will shape the board of directors once it exits bankruptcy, according to court papers. Those firms are leading a $400 million bankruptcy loan to keep J. Crew operating.”
The company was founded in 1947 under the name Popular Merchandise, Inc., and then changed its named to J. Crew in 1983. J. Crew became known for selling upscale “preppy” clothes for the type of customers who wanted to project an image that they have the money to belong to a country club or to have their own boats.
J. Crew has approximately 500 stores, including the brands Madewell and the lower-priced J. Crew Factory. Even before the coronavirus pandemic (when J. Crew closed all of its factories and retail locations, as of March 17, 2020), the company was already headed toward financial disaster, since it had been closing an increasing number of stores since 2018.
J. Crew is among the growing list of fashion retailers that have declared bankruptcy since 2018. Barney’s filed for bankruptcy in 2019, and Nieman Marcus is reportedly close to bankruptcy as well. Casualties in the high-end fashion retail business that have completely shuttered in the past year have included Lord & Taylor and Henri Bendel.
Non-luxury fashion retailers have also been victims of the “retail apocalypse,” which has been largely blamed on the rise of online shopping. Low-end clothing retailers that shuttered in 2019 included Gymboree and Payless ShoeSource. Fashion retailers that had a massive percentage of store closures in 2018 and 2019 included Ann Taylor, Dressbarn, Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Kohl’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, Foot Locker, Children’s Place and David’s Bridal. A few fashion retailers (such as Charlotte Russe and Bebe) have emerged from bankruptcy and are slowly trying to build back their business under new ownership. Department stores that carry fashion (such as Macy’s, JC Penney, Kmart and Sears) have also been closing stores.