Gabriela Hearst’s First Chloé Collection

Personally speaking, it was THE show of Paris Fashion Week that I have been eagerly waiting for: Gabriela Hearst’s first collection for Chloé.

Hearst called her first collection for the French Maison the «Aphrodite» to her own brand’s «Athena». Chloé in Greek means «blooming». The question is if it is a new bloom for the Maison with Hearst at the helm. It definitely is in terms of sustainability and this key word was Hearst’s approach to Chloé’s F/W 2021 collection: sustainability was her inspiration, her technique, her fabrics and even her volumes.

The Uruguayan-American designer claimed in the press release that Chloé’s F/W 2021 collection could be considered «four times more sustainable compared to last year,» and she explained that she got there by «eliminating virgin synthetic fiber (polyester) or artificial cellulosic fiber (viscose) and sourcing recycled, reused and organic denim,» adding that «more than 50% of the silk comes from organic agriculture and more than 80% of cashmere yarn for knitwear is recycled

This earthy point of view is also something Hearst is known for at her own eponymous brand. For me, I had to look at the collection many times until it has started to warm up to me. You have to understand it to like it as there is not something really excitingly new for the eye, but for your consciousness. I can see the DNA of both brands. However, it is missing this romantic, bohemian playfulness I have always loved at Chloé, even that Hearst only sent dresses down the digital runway.

Gabriela Hearst presented the last look herself.

My favorite item was the coat Gabriela wore for the finale of the show, along with the eco-leather dresses and the printed puffer coats. Hearst created them by repurposing from Chloé overstock spanning designers and eras, with Sheltersuit, a nonprofit organization providing aid to the homeless, which also collaborated on a series of backpacks. The marble prints on blouses and dresses had been created by the artist Peter Miles using seaweed and eggs.

The show was presented digitally last week on March 3rd, one hundred years to the day of founder Gaby Aghion’s birth. Both Gaby and Gabi, as is Hearst’s nickname too, are two strong fashion designers that interpret femininity in their own independent way and respective generations. It is surely a very viable wardrobe with lots of investment pieces to last for a very long time. As Hearst noted to Gaby in a statement, «your House is in good hands» – I would sign that! At least she made me start to re-think the state of fashion today.

LoL, Sandra

The rebirth of Chloé’s Edith bag by Gabriela Hearst.

Photos: © Chloé

Gabriela Hearst Is Chloé’s New Designer

Today, the House of Chloé has already announced its new designer after Natacha Ramsay-Levi’s exit was announced last week. It is no other than Uruguay-born, New York–based designer Gabriela Hearst, whose eponymous extremely successful label turned five this year.

Gabriela Hearst’s famous It-bags have been successful from the beginning.

While Ramsay-Levi’s designs were much appreciated by industry insiders, the brand’s heat with consumers, especially in terms of It-bags, cooled under her reign. That might be one of the reasons why Gabriela Hearst has been chosen. She is bringing a track record of success with handbags. Her iconic «Nina» style has been a huge hit from the beginning, followed by models such as «Patsy», «Diana» and «Demi». These bags are all highly sought after and trying to get them is almost impossible with extremely high waiting lists.

A true rancher by heart: Gabriela Hearst  

Gabriela Hearst grew up on her family’s 17,000-acre ranch, Santa Isabel in Paysandu, Uruguay, surrounded by horses, cattle and sheep, where the notion of luxury meant things were beautifully crafted and made to last. Her approach to «slow and conscious luxury», which is defined in her craft-forward aesthetic and focus on sustainability might be the other reason for being Chloé’s lead candidate.

Chloé’s new CEO Riccardo Bellini

CEO Riccardo Bellini, who joined from Martin Margiela in late 2019, who welcomed Hearst in a statement this morning. had already indicated in an interview with WWD last month, that Chloé was seeking B Corporation certification for its social and environmental performance and was creating an advisory board to hold the company accountable.

Hearst’s first runway show for F/W 2017 was produced to have as low as an environmental impact as possible, and from there her commitment to the issue has only grown. Now, she opts for eco-friendly fabrics and chooses to use recycled yarns whenever she can.

Power couple: Gabriela and Austin Hearst

Hearst’s lead investor is her husband, publishing heir Austin Hearst, whom she married in 2013. She opened her first store in New York in 2018, followed by another in London the following year, and made her Paris Fashion Week debut in September. In 2019, LVMH Luxury Ventures, an investment arm of LVMH, took a minority stake in Gabriela Hearst, making it the only American brand other than Marc Jacobs in which the global luxury conglomerate is invested.

My two favorite looks from the Gabriela Hearst F/W 2020 runway.

I am loving her cashmere knitted pieces. Incredibly soft and each piece has a tag where you can explore its garment journey. Stay tuned for many outfit posts coming up! Honestly speaking, I am truly looking forward to seeing her at the helmet although I liked Natacha’s designs a lot.

TO SHOP GABRIELA HEARST ONLINE, CLICK HERE PLEASE.
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Gabriela’s first collection for Chloé will be presented next March. All the best, I am sure it will be different and fabulous!

LoL Sandra

Wearing Gabriela Hearst dress and Nina bag

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht and © Gabriela Hearst
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UBS Unique – Economy of Fashion

During the vibrant atmosphere of London Fashion Week, I had the pleasure to participate in a very interesting new project combining the world of finance and fashion: UBS Unique – Economy of Fashion.

Just as the world around us is changing, the face of wealth is evolving. The global income of women will grow from USD 13 trillion to USD 18 trillion by 2021* – more than China and India’s combined GDP growth and since 2015, women have held 30%** of global private wealth.

As women are looking for a response to their needs, UBS Unique has been created. The aim? To catalyze a long-term change in the financial industry to better serve women and to enable them to make the most of their wealth.

My lovely host, Kathrin Genovese Head Vice Chairmen Office, Global Ultra High Net Worth

Therefore a lovely group of female ultra high net worth individuals from all over the world was invited by UBS to London for two inspiring days. The event had it all: shows, talks and insights on how fashion can change the world for the better.

As I thought you might be interested in what I have taken home from UBS Unique, here’s a quick roundup of insights from the event’s speakers.

«The future of fashion will see creativity re-emerge as a key driver to take us from our current crisis state and into a new model for fashion. If we don’t push creativity at every step of the fashion supply chain to find new ways to design, produce, sell, wear and dispose of clothes, then we face a bleak future for fashion.”»Christina Dean

From left to right: Christina Dean, my humble self, Giorgia Caovilla and Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis.

The look of love – how will the fashion industry change?

Women should “fall in love with the fact that fashion is a force for good,” says Christina Dean, founder of Redressan organisation working to reduce waste in the fashion industry. Christina believes fashion’s ethical future is in the hands of young designers and consumers. Or as Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis describes it vividly, “it’s down to designers to rebel. There’s a lot of pressure on designers to become commercial so it stops creativity. I am anyway bored of all the fashion shows. There are too many.”

Online shopping is definitely an opportunity as emerging designers cannot always afford a retail space. They have a different pricing model. But in terms of sustainability it can cause also problems as people end up buying multiple sizes knowing they’re going to return it.

Dress with Sense – the practical guide to a conscious closet by Redress

How can you play your part in making fashion more ethical?

As I am always promoting, you can easily play your part in making fashion more ethical by buying the things you love and wear them for longer. When shopping, think about the value, not the price. And consider ways you can make sure your investments match your ethics.

You can also donate your quality, branded items with high value to charity Redress for resale.

Designer Mary Katrantzou and me framed by UBS key speakers, James Gifford, Senior Impact Investing Strategist, Chief Investment Office, UBS Wealth Management, to the left and Helen Brand, Head of Equity Research, European Luxury Goods, UBS Investment Bank

A short industry outlook

The top 3 words executives used to describe the fashion industry in 2016*** were: «Uncertain, Changing, Challenging.» But despite the wider economic slowdown last year, fashion has been a key value-creating industry for the world economy. In 2017, a slight recovery is expected to a point where the industry may see some growth next year.

Let’s take China for example. Chinese growth hit a soft patch: a stock market dip and real estate concerns have decelerated chinese growth, and shifted attention to India, Turkey, and other high-growth markets. China’s fundamentals, including growth of the middle and upper classes, remain strong and the government’s new fiscal policies are expected to improve conditions in 2017, but uncertainty remains.

A woman shops in a Louis Vuitton store in Shanghai. © SCMP Photos

London-based Helen BrandHead of Equity Research, European Luxury Goods, UBS Investment Bank, trusts in the mid market and expects “growth going forward to come from the Chines middle class consumer and therefore more at the entry level price points, with more chances for the handbag category compared to watches as many brands still have to strengthen the CHF 2000-5000 offer.

 When you think about China, factors such as pollution, a deteriorating environment, inhumane work conditions in factories, mass production come immediately to your mind. China and sustainability, connecting the dots between economy and ecology seems to be a complex problem. Therefore a valid question was raised during one of the panel discussions: how can we as consumers/potential investors contribute to overcome these issues?

Tailor-made investments – how can you invest ethically in fashion?

What’s impact investing? Put simply, it’s investing in ways that help make the world a better place. And it can make a big difference to the fashion industry, “especially when dealing with problems in supply chains,” says James Gifford, Senior Impact Investing Strategist at UBS. It’s good news for investors, too.

Impact investing is one of the tools that we can use to improve terrible situations such as exposure to slavery and trafficking – lots of brands don’t have full transparency throughout their entire supply chain.  Shareholders can take part in helping brands address that. Most critical is the intent – the willingness to change for the good. This impact must be measured with defined performance indexes to make it tangible to all stakeholders of the corporation.

Many investors assume that impact investment is a form of charity. In reality, quiet the opposite is the case. Gifford delivers the facts: two thirds of impact investment funds deliver comparable results to more traditional funds. Generating a financial return is indispensable and sustainable in itself; generated profits are more likely to be re-invested in impact projects and new investors may follow.

How to invest

  • Invest in best in class – some great companies that are trying really hard to improve.
  • Underweight / overweight the good guys and the bad guys.
  • You can engage your fund managers and advisors on this topic as most of them might not have thought about these issues. So having that dialogue can have an impact already.
  • Shareholder engagement is where shareholders use their voice to encourage companies to improve their behaviour. This can be done through fund managers or family offices.
  • Shareholder engagement can be very effective and you don’t even have to own that many shares to have a voice.

Great show: Mary Katrantzou’s F/W 2017 presentation took place at Tate Modern.

During those two amazing days, we had also the chance to talk to two outstanding designers who both have build up their brand in a breakneck pace. Cherry on the cake was the possibility to experience the excitement of fashion week as guests of Mary Katrantzou and Erdem at their shows.

With Erdem in his Mayfair store for a private shopping event during the «Economy of Fashion».

I don’t believe in fast fashion – I get a kick out of seeing real women wear my clothes on the street,” says Erdem Moralioglu, founder of the designer label ERDEM.

Shaping up – how Erdem Moralioglu built his brand

Since launching in 2005, the brand has become synonymous with versatile and powerful femininity. After studying at London’s Royal College of Art, Erdem started his own company and fashion line at the age of 27. The business took off when Barneys bought his first collection. In 2014, he put his collection online and opened his flagship store in Mayfair in 2015.

Today, ERDEM is sold in over 170 of the world’s most exclusive retailers, including Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Joyce, Colette, Dover Street Market, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.
In the beginning of November 2017 his collection for H&M will hit the stores as he is the next designer to collaborate with the Swedish clothing giant (for more info, click here please).

With Mary Katrantzou in the private shopping suite at the at the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair, wearing an amazing coat from her F/W 2017 collection.

Print can be as definitive as a cut or a drape and allows a woman to filter beauty found in design, in a subversive way. All my prints are constructed through digital technology. Digital print allows me to experiment with print in a way that fine art and other methods could not. It opens up a huge spectrum for possibility; I can create possibility out of impossibility, surrealism out of realism and both vice versa,” says Mary Katrantzou.

Pioneering digital prints – how Mary Katrantzou became the fashion world’s darling

Greek-born Mary Katrantzou had an appreciation of applied design from an early age. Having begun training as an architect at Rhode Island’s School of Design, she transferred to Central Saint Martin’s in London to study textiles and finished also with a fashion MA in 2005. Katrantzou shifted her direction from textile design to womenswear with a focus on print as she loved the way printed textiles can change the shape of a woman’s body.

Success from the first moment: Mary Katrantzou’s graduate collection in 2008.

Her graduate collection in 2008 of digital trompe l’oeil prints of oversized jewellery on simple shift dresses served as a counterpoint to the minimalist movement that was dominating the runways at the time. From there, Katrantzou picked up 15 prestigious stockists including Browns, Joyce and Colette. Today she boasts over 250 stockists worldwide. Among the many prestigious awards, she received in her career, she also won the Swiss Textiles Award in 201, which helped her grow her business further. And would she rule out ever taking on an investor? “In the future, who knows,” says Katrantzou. “But true global scale is our ambition.”

Best of both worlds… fashion and finance.

I hope that you enjoyed this little insight into the new interactive event Economy of Fashion under the roof of the UBS Unique platform that was a great success. For two days, we received an exclusive insight into the business of fashion of emerging and established designers, disruptive technologies and brands that are making their mark on the industry.

I met amazing ladies from all over the world and it was a pleasure exchanging knowledge while enjoying some fun shopping and great food.

I would love to conclude with a quote from shoe designer Giorgia Caovilla: “The future of fashion will shorten the distance to be able to convey more clearly its message: LET’S HAVE SOME FUN!’”

LoL, Sandra

*Harnessing the power of women investors in wealth management, Ernst & Young LLP, 2016
** Global Wealth 2016: Navigating the client landscape, Boston Consulting Group, 2016
*** Source BoF-McKinsey Global Fashion Survey, September 2016

Photos: © Sam Bowen for UBS, © Sandra Bauknecht, © Redress, © Mary Katrantzou