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The last chapter of fashion week commenced in Paris (which is one day shorter on the schedule than previous seasons), with a plethora of new collections to provoke inspiration. Saint Laurent showed in an industrial-warehouse setting, with thigh-high slouchy glitter boots, patent midis and a clear inspiration of 80s from Vaccarello. There was John Galliano’s collection for Maison Margiela, which revolved around iconography and deconstructed ‘skeleton’ clothes (a more simplistic collection for the renownedly avant-garde designer), and Jacquemus’ surprisingly wearable showcase – inspired by a fusion of Lacroix’s spanish-inflected joy and pure Balenciaga stiffness – also won some well-deserved applause.

It was announced this week that Natalie Massenet has joined Farfetch as non-executive co-chairman. Her next move since her exit from Net-a-Porter (aka THE luxury e-commerce site that Massenet founded in 2000), she made the announcement via Instagram (what else?); “I have been a fan since he founded Farfetch in 2008, admiring how José and his team have forged their own path in luxury e-commerce. Farfetch aggregates the most beautiful fashion curated by the world’s best boutiques and designer stores with the widest selection of styles into one easy-to-shop and brilliantly conceived API-enabled platform. A simple idea that is staggeringly difficult to execute that Farfetch has cracked!! Farfetch is an example of the ‘collaborative economy’ when businesses historically seen as competitors work together to offer the best possible customer experience and support the world’s luxury fashion brands. It is a truly global business (over 750 designers and boutiques partners delivering to 190 countries, same day delivery in nine cities, translated into nine languages) and growing fast. Over the last year trading has grown by 70 per cent, with the most recent investment valuing the company at over $1 billion. In my new non-exec role, I look forward to further realising Farfetch’s potential, developing its global brand and strengthening its fashion industry partnerships.” Farfetch is about to get a whole lot more Massenet indeed, and that can only be a good thing for the brand.

Vogue Arabia selected Gigi Hadid as the cover star for its inaugural print edition, which will be available on newsstands from March 5 across the Middle East in both English and Arab. Showing Hadid – a uber-successful model with Arab roots through her Palestinian father – in a completely new light, the magazine selected her as they believe she is “a model who defines tomorrow’s entrepreneurial and dynamic generation”. Captured by Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, the black-and-white cover is truly stunning, with Hadid donning a bejewelled chiffon head cover with an eye cut-out.

Monday was the long-anticipated day the Céline joined Instagram – a move ahead of the brand launching e-commerce. A move into (profitable) ‘modernity’.

Calvin Klein’s first underwear campaign since Raf Simon’s appointment was revealed on Tuesday. Featuring an array of Moonlight cast members – such as Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes – Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali is the new ‘face’ of the advertisements – in which he appears fully clothed in plain black (Simon’s new take on underwear advertisement I presume?).

Vera Wang was presented with the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by Gérard Araud – the Ambassador of France to the United States. Wang said during the event: ‎”This is an unimaginable honor, both as an American and a Designer, to be presented with this most prestigious award from the French Republic.”

Model casting agent James Scully has decided to publicly name and shame brands/individuals accused of mistreating models. Supported by a multitude of models and industry figures – including Elsa Hosk, Julia Stegner, Hilary Rhoda, Joan Smalls and CEO Antoine Arnault – Scully made the pledge at a Business of Fashion Voices seminar late last year, has since been using Instagram to call out individuals hired to cast for shows including Balenciaga, Lanvin, Elie Saab and Hermés.  “I was very disturbed to hear from a number of girls this morning that yesterday at the Balenciaga casting, Madia and Ramy (serial abusers) held a casting in which they made over 150 girls wait in a stairwell told them they would have to stay over three hours to be seen and not to leave. In their usual fashion they shut the door went to lunch and turned off the lights, to the stairs leaving every girl with only the lights of their phones to see,” he wrote. “Not only was this sadistic and cruel it was dangerous and left more than a few of the girls I spoke with traumatised. Most of the girls have asked to have their options for Balenciaga cancelled, as well as Hermés and Elie Saab who they also cast for, because they refuse to be treated like animals.”  Scully closed his post – which also featured a cut at Lanvin for specifically asking ‘for no girls of colour’, pleading that any model suffering under brands or individuals with “no regard for human decency or the lives and feelings of these girls” should report the incident to him directly. “It seems to be the only way we can force change and give the power back to you models and agents where it rightfully belongs. Watch this space.” What a brave and brilliant initiative.

The following day on Thursday, the casting agents in question – Maida Gregori Boina and Rami Fernandes – refuted the mistreatment accusations via email, and thus the drama and much-needed revelation presumed. “It is important to stop the spread of rumours and set the record straight,” Boina wrote. “The pre-casting for Balenciaga took place on the mezzanine level of its Paris headquarters. Balenciaga provided us with the casting facility, and its senior staff was present and actively involved at all times. Over a period of 10 hours, we considered approximately 150 models to fill 57 slots, seeing eight models at a time to expedite the process. Because the reception area was unavailable, the staircase entrance into the mezzanine was provided to us to line up the models. Unfortunately, the building’s electricity went out for a period of time late Sunday evening, and the maintenance staff was unable to resolve the issue. We then relocated the models to the reception area to continue the casting. To directly address these accusations, the models did not wait for three hours in the dark, not even one hour. We personally ate our lunch in the casting facility and – without question – we did not lock the models in the stairwell and turn out the lights. That would be completely inhumane. Throughout the entire process, we provided the most comfortable accommodations allowable based on the facilities provided.”

Despite this, Scully was determined in telling BoF this was not an isolated incident: “What Maida and Rami did, they have been doing for a long time. They are the king and queen of abuse. I’ve heard stories from girls who were left waiting for so long without food or water that they ordered a pizza, and Maida came out and started shouting at them and calling them pigs.” Distressing revelations indeed.

By India Hunnikin

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