Connect with us

Europe

Lights, camera, fashion: Chanel show goes ahead as Paris tightens lockdown

Published

on


Bruno Pavlovsky is in a good mood. It is Monday evening, and the president of Chanel’s fashion division has just received confirmation from the French government that the house’s catwalk show can go ahead the following morning.

The show, staged before 500 masked guests under the glass domes of the Grand Palais on the final day of Paris Fashion Week, had been running against the clock. Earlier on Monday, the French government ordered the closure of all bars and cafés in Paris for two weeks from Tuesday as new coronavirus infections rose to 11,500 daily.

Nevertheless, many fashion houses, including LVMH-owned Louis Vuitton and Dior, have gone ahead with live shows.

“The show is the best way to present the collection,” Pavlovsky insists. The company was forced to cancel its Cruise show in Capri in May, and instead debuted the collection online via video in June. Although it reached an audience of 264m, reviews were mixed and “the impact [was] not the same for customers”, he says.

2019 was a banner year for the privately held Chanel, a 110-year-old house owned by the reclusive Wertheimer brothers, Alain and Gérard. Sales reached $12.3bn, up 13 per cent from 2018, solidifying its status as the second-largest luxury brand behind Louis Vuitton and ahead of Gucci. Profits climbed 16.6 per cent to $3.5bn despite the passing of longtime artistic director Karl Lagerfeld.

Chanel SS21
Chanel SS21 © Corbis via Getty Images

And then coronavirus arrived. At one point, around late March or early April, 90 per cent of Chanel’s 205 boutiques and factories were closed. Today, about five of its locations, primarily in airports, remain shut.

While Pavlovsky is upbeat about the company’s performance this year, he says he doesn’t know when sales will return to 2019 levels. “It is a lot about when people will be able to travel again,” he says.

Asia is rebounding quickly, he adds. “In some countries — China, Taiwan, Korea — we are doing much better than 2019.”

Despite temporary store closures, the lockdowns have not changed Pavlovsky’s famously reticent views on online retail. Chanel did not begin selling online until 2015, and even now sells only beauty, fragrance and eyewear on Chanel.com.

“E-commerce is not to replace the boutique,” he says. “We want to continue to lead the luxury market, and to that end we have to be careful to always keep in mind what is best for our customers. Experience is part of that.”

Hence Tuesday’s show, where the Chanel name formed the backdrop, blown up and illuminated in lightbulbs in a nod to the famous Hollywood landmark.

Chanel SS21  © AFP via Getty Images

Chanel SS21 © WireImage

Chanel has never been particularly shy about using its logos and trademarks, but in a manner similar to Prada they were accentuated to an unusual degree in this collection. The Chanel letters were emblazoned across T-shirts, dresses and jacket sleeves, while interlocking double Cs flashed on earrings, belts and ropes of pearls — most of them waist-up placements that would be readily visible on Zoom.

These were accompanied by 1980s power-dressing jackets with moulded (though not padded) shoulders in black leather and tweed; narrow above-the-knee skirts and Bermuda shorts; and high-waisted, pleated jeans in bleached denim and fluorescent pink. The cuts were occasionally unflattering — not even the models could make an oversized bomber jacket and pedal pushers look good — but a trio of evening dresses were lovely, with their long, spare lines and black feathers.

Chanel SS21 © Corbis via Getty Images

“I was thinking about actresses at the photocall, on the red carpet, that moment when they’re being called to by the photographers: their faces a little distracted, their attitude a little out of sync with the outfits they’re wearing,” read the show notes by Virginie Viard, who succeeded Lagerfeld as artistic director 18 months ago. “Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld dressed so many actresses in films and in real life. I was thinking about them who make us dream so much.”

The collection might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Viard’s designs are selling. The house’s ready-to-wear sales were up 28 per cent last year, and Pavlovsky says they are continuing to perform, particularly in Asia.

“She’s a woman designing for women,” he says. “She has a very feminine take that we need.”

Lauren Indvik is the FT’s fashion editor

Follow @financialtimesfashion on Instagram to find out about our latest stories first





Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Europe

EU pledges aid to Lithuania to combat illegal migration from Belarus

Published

on

By


EU immigration updates

In the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the EU and Belarus, Brussels has promised extra financial aid and increased diplomatic heft to help Lithuania tackle a migrant crisis that it blames on neighbouring Belarus and its dictator Alexander Lukashenko.

Lithuania detained 287 illegal migrants on Sunday, more than it did in the entirety of 2018, 2019, and 2020 combined, the vast majority of them Iraqis who had flown to Belarus’s capital Minsk before heading north to cross into the EU state. Almost 4,000 migrants have been detained this year, compared with 81 for the whole of 2020. 

“What we are facing is an aggressive act from the Lukashenko regime designed to provoke,” Ylva Johansson, the EU commissioner for home affairs told reporters on Monday after talks with Lithuania’s prime minister Ingrida Simonyte. “The situation is getting worse and deteriorating . . . There is no free access to EU territory.”

The EU imposed sweeping sanctions against Lukashenko’s regime in June, after he fraudulently claimed victory in last year’s presidential election and then led a brutal campaign to violently suppress protesters and jail political opponents. Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994.

The rising concern over the migrant crossings, which EU officials say is a campaign co-ordinated by Lukashenko’s administration, comes as one of the country’s athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympic Games sought refuge in Poland after team management attempted to fly her home against her will after she publicly criticised their actions.

Johansson said the EU would provide €10m-€12m of immediate emergency funding and would send a team of officials to the country to assess the requirements for longer-term financial assistance, including for extra border security and facilities to process those attempting to enter.

Simonyte said that Vilnuis would require “tens of millions of euros” by the end of the year if the number of people attempting to cross the border continued at the current pace.

Lithuania’s foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told the Financial Times in June that Belarus was “weaponising” illegal immigration to put pressure on the Baltic country over its housing of several opposition leaders. Since then, the flow of illegal immigrants from Iraq, Syria, and several African countries has increased sharply.

Iraqi diplomats visited Vilnius at the end of last week after Lithuania’s foreign minister flew to Baghdad in mid-July. Johannson said on Monday that EU diplomats were engaged in “intensive contacts” with Iraqi officials, which she said were “more constructive than we had hoped”.

State carrier Iraqi Airways offers flights from four Iraqi airports to Minsk, according to its website. Former Estonian president Toomas Ilves suggested on Twitter that the EU could cut its aid to Iraq “immediately until they stop these flights”.

Speaking at the border with Belarus on Monday, Johansson added that the tents provided by Lithuania were unsuitable for families. Lithuania’s interior minister Agne Bilotaite said she hoped the number of illegal migrants would subside in the coming months but that Vilnius was planning to build some housing to accommodate them over the upcoming winter.



Source link

Continue Reading

Europe

Britain’s wrong-headed approach to refugees

Published

on

By


UK immigration updates

Thanks to the bravery of volunteers who run towards storms at sea to rescue ships’ crews, few British institutions command as much respect as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The charity, however, has recently had to negotiate a different kind of storm, over its efforts to help refugees who get into difficulties crossing the Channel from France. Nigel Farage, the former Brexit party leader, accused it of running a taxi service for illegal trafficking gangs. Last week, the RNLI said it had received hundreds of thousands of pounds of extra donations in response.

The RNLI has become embroiled in a now familiar story when the summer months allow more small boats to make the Channel crossing. Compared with the flows to other countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece, only a handful of migrants attempt the journey. That makes the UK’s inability to control the border in an effective and humane way — and shabby treatment of those who do make it across — no less of a scandal.

Britain’s strategy for stemming the flow has relied mostly on paying the French authorities to limit the number of boats crossing and return any that leave to France, while deterring would-be migrants through the unwelcoming environment that awaits them. Just as EU countries are dependent on their neighbours for keeping entrants down — whether Morocco for Spain or Belarus for Lithuania — the UK needs French co-operation to control the mutual border. Diplomatic spats, whether over Brexit or extra Covid quarantine restrictions on arrivals from France, have made that harder.

The UK approach manages to be simultaneously ineffective and cruel. Yvette Cooper, chair of the home affairs select committee, wrote last week to home secretary Priti Patel to complain of unacceptable conditions in the holding facility for migrants who make it to the Kent coast. A recent unannounced visit by MPs found most of those remaining in the overcrowded facility sitting on a thin mattress on the floor, with women and children in the same room as adult men.

Earlier this year, the High Court ruled that “squalid” conditions in the Napier Barracks, a temporary centre set up last year to house asylum seekers during the pandemic, were so bad as to be unlawful. While arrivals have declined since the peak seven years ago, cutbacks have led to a backlog in processing claims, leaving more in a legal limbo.

Since the start of the pandemic Britain has shut down other paths into the country, ending a resettlement scheme. This has ceded the ground to people traffickers. The “push factors” of the risk of violence and torture at home and “pull factors” of higher living standards mean many are still willing to resort to risky and illegal methods to try to reach the UK. Creating a harsh environment for those who make it has done little to dispel the widespread belief among migrants that Britain is a better destination than other European countries, and stem the flow.

That will not stop the government trying. Barristers have warned that a clause in draft border legislation could potentially make it a crime to help asylum seekers arrive in the UK, with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment; at present it is illegal to do so to earn a profit. The Home Office says the clause is aimed at criminal traffickers. But along with a suggestion to set up offshore processing centres, the provision has rightly earned criticism from human rights groups. If the government is unwilling to create safe and legal routes, its only option is to prevent people from coming in the first place. That, ultimately, will mean relying on France.



Source link

Continue Reading

Europe

Olympic organisers investigate after Belarusian runner seeks refuge

Published

on

By


Tokyo Olympics updates

A Belarusian runner due to compete at the Tokyo Olympics was taken to the airport against her wishes after making complaints about her coaches, according to media reports on Sunday night.

The International Olympic Committee, the Games organisers, said it had asked for clarification from the Belarus team about the status and whereabouts of Krystina Tsimanouskaya, who is due to compete in the women’s 200m sprint on Monday.

Belarus’ dictatorial leader Alexander Lukashenko and his regime are widely seen as international pariahs after he fraudulently claimed victory in last year’s presidential election and then embarked on a brutal campaign to suppress protesters and supporters of his rival, which has seen thousands beaten and jailed. 

Images and video circulated on social media sites by Belarusian opposition activists appear to show Tsimanouskaya at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, where she refused to board a plane and instead sought refuge with Japanese police.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya took part in the heats for the women’s 100 metres on Friday but narrowly missed qualifying for the semi-finals © Aleksandra Szmigiel/Reuters

The IOC said it “has seen the reports in the media, is looking into it and has asked the [Belarus] national Olympic committee for clarification”.

Japanese police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Belarusian Olympic Committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but a statement attributed to the body suggests she had been removed from competition by coaches on the advice of doctors advice about her “emotional, psychological state”.

Late on Sunday, Tsimanouskaya shared a screenshot of that statement on Instagram with the message: “This is a lie.”

“I am asking the International Olympic Committee for help, they are putting pressure on me and they are trying to take me out of the country without my consent,” Tsimanouskaya said in a video message reportedly recorded on Sunday evening from the airport and posted on social media.

A person close to Olympic officials said there remained “confusion” around the incident, adding they had been told that Tsimanouskaya had boarded a coach to the airport and had gone through the departures area to board a plane to Istanbul, where she then sought Japanese police to ask for asylum.

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya tweeted that she was grateful to the IOC for its quick reaction. “She has a right to international protection and to continue participation in the Olympics. It is also crucial to investigate Belarus’ NOC violations of athletes’ rights,” she said.

Tsimanouskaya on Friday appeared to criticise her coaches and team management in an Instagram post that said she had been “ignored” and that “people in higher ranks should respect us as athletes”.

The 24-year-old had taken part in the heats for the women’s 100 metres on Friday but narrowly missed on qualifying for the semi finals of the event. She is listed on official Olympics sites as due to compete in the first round of the 200 metres at the Olympic stadium on Monday morning.





Source link

Continue Reading

Trending