— How does the Internet change fashion?
— It took some of the power away from the old gatekeepers, who used to guard fashion, and made it accessible to anyone with an interest in fashion. With live streaming, attending shows isn't quite as important as it once was. The old way of presenting fashion to an exclusive few is over. Shows, with of course a few strong exceptions, are losing their power to make us dream. On the other hand, there are Rick Owens, Dries Van Noten, and a few others, who offer a magical quality that can only be fully appreciated when one is present at a show. But for the most part, walking up and down the catwalk just doesn't do it for us anymore. The real reason that most people need to attend shows now is to be seen themselves. To be seen is to be important enough to be in a good seat or to be seen outside a show to be photographed for their style to be documented and disseminated around the world. Either way, ultimately, it is more about self-promotion than about experiencing what is being presented by the designer.
— You also have a big experience in writing for magazines, right?
— Now I have a column in Shanghai, before I was a digital fashion reporter for Joyce, Elle France, and Vogue Paris. I fell into writing by accident, when a Japanese magazine called Composite asked me to do a story. This led to more writing gigs for elle. com and even Joyce magazine in Hong Kong, where I became the fashion editor. In 2005, I met this model in Milan and she asked me if I would be interested in trying out this new software called life-blogging. There were blogs at the time, but few covered fashion, so I decided to go for it. I liked the freedom of writing online. I am more image-driven — I don't think of myself as a great journalist — so blogging was perfect. I have never monetized it, nor do I plan to.
— We also heard that you have launched a perfume?
— Yes, in collaboration with Celso Fadelli, CEO of the perfume company Intertrade. It's a line of four fragrances: To Be Hon-est, Wanted, Shaded, and In Pursuit of Magic. To Be Honest is kind of a more spiritual side, and In Pursuit of Magic, is kind of hypnotic, Shaded is kind of a memory of salt on your skin, which is swept away, and Wanted is very sensual, with a bit of a leather note.
— Who, in your opinion, are the most innovative fashion designers and filmmakers today?
— My criteria for such a selection includes things like: do they express a personal vision through their designs; do they pay great attention to cut and fabrication; are they designing for a real client; do they take full advantage of the countless techniques and finishings available; have they researched the daily lifestyle of the client they are attempting to target and so on. Although fashion can be a fantasy on one level, they should never forget that designing fashion is about translating brilliant ideas into real products. Very few fashion designers thrive or even survive of seeing fashion purely as art.
Personally, I am always attracted to elegance, but these days there are so many interesting categories like luxury sportswear, innovative and modern collections that focus on the hidden de- tails, the quality of the textiles and, most importantly, the cut. And I think it is always important, when looking at a designer's proposal, to consider whether it is merely fashion, or whether it is something that can be relevant in terms of style. Fashion is something that has an expiration date, whereas style can go on forever and is personal — and has nothing to do with the price. Take for example, a designer like Dries Van Noten, whose work is timeless and although we call it fashion, it is really more about style. Christopher Kane, by contrast, changes his signature almost every season — that is definitely more about fashion. Other timeless designers for me are: Rick Owens, Bernhard Willhelm, Haider Ackermann, Boudicca, David Szeto.
For Fashion films, the criteria is much the same as I expressed above for fashion designers. Mike Figgis, always because he is a brilliant director and I still never can get enough of his work. Established fashion film directors like Bruce Weber and Ellen Von Unwerth always inspire in their very different styles. Newer on the fashion film scene are Mert and Marcus that work with elegance, humor and glamour, Marie Schuller got her training at SHOWstudio where she still works, but has managed to carve her own unique signature with fashion film, Stuart Blumberg has a very cinematic approach to fashion film, Jason Last is a favorite, Jessica Mitrani, I can keep going on and on, but I'll stop here. É