Vogue’s inaugural Forces of Fashion event: photos and videos

October 13, 2017

Forces of Fashion
Rihanna and Hamish Bowles at Vogue’s Forces of Fashion Conference at Milk Studios in New York City on October 12, 2017. (Photo by Corey Tenold/Vogue)

The following is a press release from Vogue:

Vogue has concluded its inaugural Forces of Fashion conference. The conference was the first event of its kind: for one day only in New York City (October 12, 2017), a series of intimate and informative dialogues between some of today’s most talented designers‍‍‍‍‍‍ and the editors of Vogue took place. These conversations were no holds barred conversations and nothing was off the table; everything about what it means to be designing and working in 2017 was up for discussion. The day was sponsored by American Airlines, HP, and Milk.

After a whirlwind day of fashion talk (both colloquial and cerebral), Vogue’s first ever conference Forces of Fashion ended with clinks of champagne flutes. Seven hours prior, however, it was Vogue editor-in-chief and Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour who delivered a toast of her own. “Forces of Fashion is a testament, I think, to our capacity for change,” she announced in her morning address. “This is our 125th anniversary year, which marks a long time for any magazine to stay relevant and interesting.”

In the spirit of embracing the now, the audience included both guests (360 including students) who took their seats at 15th Street’s Milk Studios and conference-goers who streamed the experience via Facebook live. Those IRL attendees received little red pamphlets which contained the day’s program-–a fashionable assortment with back-to-back conversations from the likes of (in chronological order) Stella McCartneyDries Van NotenMarc Jacobs, Kevin Systrom (Instagram), Michael Kors,Francesco Risso (Marni), Natacha-Ramsay Levi (Chloe)Joseph Altuzarra, Erdem Moralioglu, Simon Porte Jacquemus,Victoria BeckhamJohn GallianoVirgil Abloh, Heron PrestonDemna Gvaslia, and Rihanna.

Throughout the day, conversations ranged from social media, inheriting a fashion house, disruption, unpacking the concept of “cool” and (straight from the bad gal herself) the nature of being Rihanna. The ears’ of design students perked when John Galliano doled out technical tricks of the trade (hold a mirror to your croquis to see them in a new way) and nostalgic millennials delighted when Victoria Beckham spoke of her experience revisiting photos from her Posh days. “That was a hell of a PVC catsuit,” she quipped. Off-white’s Virgil Abloh pressed the importance of individuality, “Be yourself but be so specific so people can find you.” There was something for everyone.

Coming off of Rihanna, who proffered business tips like “If I can do your job better than you, then it’s a waste of my time to hire you,” everyone was inspired to be their bad self as they made their way down to the ground floor of Milk Studios for a cocktail hour. If there was a lack of things to look at (with the caliber of this crowd, there certainly wasn’t) guests could peruse a collection of landmark photography from the Vogue archives which lined the walls. Panel members and their onstage moderators—Vogue magazine’s best and brightest (Hamish Bowles, Chioma Nnadi, Sarah Mower, André Leon Talley, Sally Singer, Nicole Phelps, Virginia Smith, Luke Leitch, Mark Holgate, and Selby Drummond)—gathered, inspired by the day’s dialogue which continued on throughout the evening.

As the day wound down, one of John Galliano’s remarks from the afternoon seemed to reverberate: “glamour doesn’t exist without an audience.” At the time, he was speaking of fashion as a shared experience but with an audience like today’s, glamour seemed to be everywhere.

Facebook Lives:

Pop Goes the Fashion World: Rihanna and Hamish Bowles

Fashion in the Age of Instagram: Marc Jacobs, Kevin Systrom, and Sally Singer

Can You Keep Cool Cool: Virgil Abloh, Heron Preston, and Chioma Nnadi

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