Dior Taps Thai Duo, Loewe’s Ambassador, King Charles’ Birthday Honors – WWD


BROADER REACH: With K-pop stars securing several high-profile ambassadorships recently, Dior is looking farther afield in Asia for new faces to represent the brand’s menswear.

The luxury house has tapped Thai actors Nattawin Wattanagitiphat, better known as Apo, and Phakphum Romsaithong, nicknamed Mile, as its newest men’s ambassadors for the country.

“Apo and Mile are very cool guys. I really love their attitude and I think they are the perfect ambassadors to represent Dior,” menswear creative director Kim Jones told WWD.

Nattawin Wattanagitiphat aka Apo

“The duo has established a special friendship with the house, where both embody the Dior style and spirit locally and worldwide,” the company added.

“I am over the moon to join the Dior family as a house ambassador. Dior is such an iconic brand with rich history and timeless style, so I am excited to be a part of the family,” Mile said.

“Dior is a brand that I have always admired. I am honored to be a part of the Dior family,” added Apo.

Phakphum Romsaithong, aka Mile

The two costar in the mafia-set romantic drama “KinnPorsche.” The series has secured a global fan base for the young actors, and sparked a five-city Asia tour to Singapore; Seoul; Manila, Philippines; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Taipei, Taiwan, based on its popularity.

Each has more than 3.5 million followers on Instagram.

Thailand is a key emerging market for luxury brands, projected to be worth $4.6 billion in 2023. It is forecast to grow 5.6 percent annually through 2028.

Jones will show his latest collection for Dior on Friday. — RHONDA RICHFORD

SING IT BACK: Loewe has signed on K-pop sensation Taeyong, a member and leader of South Korean boy band NCT, as its newest global brand ambassador, WWD has learned.

The rapper is expected to attend Loewe’s spring 2024 menswear show in Paris, scheduled for noon on Saturday.

Taeyong

Taeyong

Stephane Feugere/WWD

Foreshadowing his relationship with Loewe, Taeyong often wears the brand’s runway styles, mixing them with more casual items. He wore a padded leather shirt and leather board shorts to Loewe’s fall 2023 women’s fashion show in Paris in March.

Partial to purple, silver, or fluorescent green hair, Taeyong counts 11 million followers on Instagram, where he shows off his many tattoos, eclectic fashion sensibility and mesmerizing dance moves.

“We love his idiosyncratic style,” commented Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson. “With Taeyong’s many talents spanning songwriting, performing and visual creation, I’m really excited to see what this collaboration will bring.”

“I’ve been a huge fan of Loewe, not only for the designs, but also for the brand’s philosophy and unique way of communicating,” Taeyong added, alluding to Loewe’s positioning as a cultural brand prizing craft and freewheeling expression.

The 27-year-old singer and songwriter has also been a member of South Korean supergroup SuperM, and earlier this month released his first solo album, titled “Shalala.”

Anderson has assembled a range of talents to represent Loewe, casting Sir Anthony Hopkins and “The White Lotus” actor Murray Bartlett in recent ad campaigns, for example.

Loewe’s other global brand ambassadors include Josh O’Connor, Tang Wei, Taylor Russell, Leo Wu, Stephane Bak and South Korean girl group Nmixx.

European fashion houses are racing to sign on K-pop stars as a way to engage Gen-Z and capitalize on the stars’ avid followers.

For example, Prada recently signed the seven members of South Korean music sensation Enhypen as its latest ambassadors.

Also on the men’s front, earlier this year Dior signed BTS member Jimin as a global ambassador; Louis Vuitton signed on BTS member J-Hope and cast him in a campaign for its Keepall bag; Valentino named BTS member Suga as a brand ambassador, and Givenchy unveiled Taeyang, a member of Big Bang and a solo artist, as its newest brand ambassador. — MILES SOCHA

CHARLES’ CHOICES: Anna Wintour and Roksanda Ilinčić have both received accolades in King Charles’ debut birthday honors list.

Roksanda Ilincic at the Erdem show in September, 2022 at the British Museum.

Roksanda Ilinčić at the Erdem show in September 2022 at the British Museum.

Dave Benett/Getty Images

Wintour, who already holds the title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, has become a Companion of Honour, a top accolade. She joins figures including Paul Smith, J.K. Rowling, Elton John and Paul McCartney as members of the select group.

The honor is reserved for those who have made “a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time,” according to the British Royal Household. There are only 65 members at any one time.

Wintour, global content officer at Condé Nast, has been recognized for services to fashion. She was made a Dame in 2017.

Anna Wintour and Bill Nighy at the 2023 Met Gala: Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2023 in New York, New York.

Anna Wintour and Bill Nighy at the 2023 Met Gala in May.

Lexie Moreland for WWD

Ilinčić has become a Member of the Order of the British Empire, or MBE, also for services to fashion.

The Serbian designer is a fixture at London Fashion Week and is known for her dramatic, color-drenched silhouettes that draw inspiration from the worlds of art, dance and theater.

Ilinčić, who is based in London, studied architecture and applied arts at college in Belgrade. She moved to London in the late ’90s to study for her MA at Central Saint Martins under Professor Louise Wilson.

There, she laid the foundations of her clothing and accessories business, which Ilinčić launched in 2005. The designer has a store on Mount Street in Mayfair and her collections sell at stores including Mytheresa, Selfridges and Harrods.

She has also taken part in the Great Britain campaign to promote British products and craftsmanship abroad. Last year, Ilinčić designed the costumes for Royal Ballet dancers performing in Valentino Zucchetti’s world premiere of “Prima,” at the Royal Opera House.

This year’s birthday honors list has a heavy literary and artistic skew. The novelist and screenwriter Ian McEwan became a Companion of Honour for services to literature.

Fellow novelist Martin Amis, who died last month, was given the honor of Knight Bachelor, also for services to literature.

The director and producer Stephen Frears and Ben Okri, the poet and novelist, were given the honor of Knight Bachelor for services to film and television and to literature, respectively.

The king’s birthday honors list was published on the eve of the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Saturday.

Trooping the Colour is a military parade and ceremony that marks the “official” birthday of the monarch, no matter when they were born. The tradition began in 1748, and the event takes place each year in the first half of June. — SAMANTHA CONTI

PLAY IT AGAIN: Dior is bringing its fall collection to China.

On July 12, the French luxury brand will stage a repeat show in Shenzhen of the ready-to-wear display held in Paris last February, featuring a monumental textile sculpture by artist Joana Vasconcelos, Dior said in a statement shared exclusively with WWD. It did not specify the location of the event.

The announcement comes after Chanel said it plans to stage a repeat showing of its cruise 2024 collection in Shenzhen on Nov. 2, marking its first major event in China since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Located on the Pearl River Delta bordering Hong Kong, Shenzhen has grown in the course of several decades from a fishing village into the capital of China’s Silicon Valley, with a population of 13 million.

It ranked at number eight worldwide in the list of cities with the most billionaires published by Forbes in April, just behind Mumbai and ahead of Singapore, making it a magnet for luxury brands seeking to expand their retail network.  

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collection for Dior was inspired by the ’50s — the heyday of founder Christian Dior that remains the bedrock of the luxury brand’s communications strategy.

The designer delved into the stories of three heroines who shaped the post-war years in Paris: Dior’s sister Catherine, a French Resistance fighter during World War II, and singers Édith Piaf and Juliette Gréco.

The show comes amid signs that China’s economy recovery is stalling, sending luxury stocks tumbling. 

In recent years, Dior kept up a steady pace of events in China despite restrictions designed to curb the spread of COVID-19, including the second edition of its “Art ’N Dior” exhibition in Shanghai, held in November. — JOELLE DIDERICH

MORE BEAUTY: KCD is beefing up its beauty services and clientele.

The fashion communications firm has created a new segment of its business meant to better serve beauty companies, and beauty divisions of fashion brands with media relations. The move is marked by key hires, as well as the addition of Tom Ford Beauty to its roster, effective immediately.

“Our insight into the interconnected fashion and lifestyle industries has proven invaluable to our clients,” said Rachna Shah, partner and managing director of KCD. “As we saw clients looking to fortify how their brand values translate within all segments of their business, we felt we could leverage our credibility to forge and fortify relationships across their fashion, beauty and cultural ecosystems. This dedicated beauty focus will combine our expertise in media relations, influencer strategy and guest experience with team members across these areas of the agency.”

Inside Tom Ford's Guangzhou store.

Inside Tom Ford Beauty’s new Guangzhou store.

To that end, KCD tapped LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton alumna Jamie Karp to oversee the beauty segment as vice president of media relations. Karp most recently led earned and paid media for Givenchy Beauty and Kenzo Parfums. She is one of three New York-based hires, and additional hires will also join the KCD Paris and London offices. The beauty team will work in lockstep with the preexisting digital teams on overarching strategy.

It also comes after the Estée Lauder Cos.’ acquisition of Tom Ford, the largest deal in Lauder’s history, last year. KCD has been the agency of record for Tom Ford’s fashion business since 2018. Current beauty clients include Paco Rabanne, Galenic, Lancôme and Victoria’s Secret. — JAMES MANSO

RUNNING IN: Vuori continues to expand its reach — this time into the footwear space.

When it was founded in 2015, Vuori focused on selling direct-to-consumer men’s activewear. Since then it has expanded into women’s performance apparel as well as lifestyle looks for both genders. It operates a fleet of its own stores in the U.S. and the brand is sold in seven European countries. Now it is partnering with Clae, a Los Angeles-based shoe brand, on its first men’s capsule.

Called the Malone Lite Vuori, the launch encompasses three retro-inspired fitness sneakers that work both in the gym and on the street.

The Malone Lite Vuori

The Malone Lite Vuori

Courtesy of Vuori

The shoes are offered in black, off-white with a green heel or white with a yellow heel and feature Vuori’s signature “V” logo on the side. The sneakers range in size from 4 to 13 and will retail for $160. They will be sold on the Vuori website.

The Encinitas, California-based Vuori was founded by Joe Kudla, an active yogi and surfer, to fill a void he saw in the men’s activewear market for workout shorts that could take a guy from the gym to lunch. He raised $300,000 from friends and family and created moisture-wicking, quick-drying shorts with a distinctly coastal California aesthetic. Since then, the brand has attracted some deep-pocketed investors — notably SoftBank Vision 2 and Norwest Venture Partners — it now has a valuation of $4 billion. — JEAN E. PALMIERI

PHYGITAL DEAL: Myami, a Sydney-based digital fashion brand, has launched a collaboration with students at Central Saint Martins, enabling them to explore the relationship between digital and physical fashion and the benefits it offers to luxury brands and consumers.

Brad Morris, founder of Myami, said more than 40 students from various pathways — brand, strategy, image, editorial and content — were given access to Myami’s pixel fabrics and technology roadmap to complete school projects that are linked to their respective fields.

Central Saint Martins x MYAMI collaboration

Central Saint Martins x Myami collaboration

“We hope to inspire and ready the next generation of fashion’s brightest talents in shaping a future where everyone can experience the transformative power of fashion in both its physical and digital form, wherever they choose to appear,” added Morris.

Roger Tredre, course leader of Fashion Communication MA at Central Saint Martins, believes that working with “a borderless fashion brand like Myami, with a foot in both the digital and physical worlds, is a real thrill for the students,” and “the sheer breadth of what they are tackling makes this quite unlike anything we have done before.”

Founded in 2021, Myami released a stingray water puffer and a pair of Ice Runner trainers and launched an 80-piece fungible collection called Abiogenesis last year during PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival. — TIANWEI ZHANG

SKATE BOY: Photographer Giampaolo Sgura can add fashion creative director to his resume, having launched a youth-centric fashion brand during Milan Fashion Week. 

Named Cultura, it’s the brainchild of Sgura together with friends Mauro Porzia and Edoardo Lo Izzo and is inspired by skater culture, with basics including oversized cargo pants, elongated graphics-bearing T-shirts, hoodies and tank tops.

The Cultura spring 2024 campaign.

The Cultura spring 2024 campaign.

Courtesy of Cultura

The three founders know how skaters consider their garments as Linus blankets that they wear over and over until they’re beaten up. Each of the 30 garments in the collection comes in two iterations — pristine and distressed, to mimic a worn-in effect. 

Vintage prints decking orange T-shirts and gray hoodies were AI-generated by inputting the phrase “1970s skateboarders in California.” The result includes credible vintage pictures of boys in, say, Venice Beach’s skate parks, their face and body parts often distorted. 

Cultura has dropped a see-now-buy-now capsule collection for Antonia but it is officially hitting retail for spring 2024. — MARTINO CARRERA

FIRST POP-UP: PH5 is looking to connect with its New York customer base with its first retail activation.

The knitwear brand designed by Zoe Champion and Wei Lin is opening its first New York City pop-up store at 168 Ludlow Street. The store will be open starting Wednesday through June 27 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

The pop-up is meant to celebrate the five-year anniversary of PH5’s bestselling “wavy dress” — a knitted, asymmetrical dress the brand offers in virtually every color. According to the designers, New York City is also their biggest direct-to-consumer market, so they wanted to host the pop-up to connect with their customers. 

“It’s the five-year anniversary of the wavy, so we’re really pushing the wavy,” Champion said. “[The pop-up] is our first selling activation that we’ve done in New York, so it’s going to be really nice to meet our customers and the people that have supported us in New York for so long.” 

PH5 Resort 2024

PH5 resort 2024

Courtesy of PH5

The New York pop-up follows similar retail activations PH5 hosted in Shanghai and Dubai in recent years. The store will highlight the brand’s wavy dress by offering the style in a large assortment of colors. Customers can also shop from the brand’s recently launched pre-fall collection, the first PH5 has produced in its nine years since launching. There will also be select summer pieces. 

PH5 is also offering two promotions at the pop-up. On Friday, the brand is hosting a “Show Us Your Love” initiative where it is offering customers who can show they own any PH5 item a one-time 20 percent off discount in store. 

Then on Saturday and Sunday, the brand is holding its first sample sale with styles from previous seasons that will be 50 percent or more off. — LAYLA ILCHI

BEACH-READY: As part of its rebranding efforts, Paul&Shark, the brand rooted in its love of the sea, has unveiled a resortwear capsule collection as part of its spring lineup.

After unveiling its main collection at Pitti Uomo earlier this week, the brand threw a midafternoon bash at its Milan store on Via Montenapoleone, taking over a portion of the street with a lemonade cart, beach chairs and striped umbrellas to evoke the mood of the capsule.

Channeling old-school Italian flair and inspired by the Matt Damon-led 1999 movie “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” the collection includes bathing suits in recycled polyester, some bearing a shark print; breezy linen shirts, and silk polos combining pastel tones and underwater colors, sometimes in gradient.

The move aligns with Paul&Shark’s retail strategy as the brand operates several stores in tony seaside destinations including Miami, Palma de Maillorca and Marbella in Spain, Nice in France and Forte dei Marmi and Ischia in Italy, among others.

Paul&Shark's Riviera collection.

Paul&Shark’s Riviera collection.

Giacomo Miglierina/Courtesy of Paul&Shark

Softening the core yachting ethos of years past, the brand’s sustainability credentials and link with the sea are being exalted via lifestyle-leaning activations.

This spring the brand tied in with Tigu Beach, a beach club located on the shores of eastern Liguria, in Riva Trigoso, a stone’s throw from Sestri Levante facing the biodiversity-rich Tigullio Gulf. — M.C.





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