As previously mentioned, Girl Power was the unofficial theme at this year’s Vogue Festival. Donatella Versace closed the weekend’s festivities, and Natalie Massenet and Victoria Beckham both encouraged the (mostly female) audience to work hard and reach for their dreams. But that’s not say the male designers who spoke at the festival weren’t incredibly inspiring too. They had lots to share…
Sir Paul Smith and Michael Kors both captivated the audience with their entertaining antidotes, on the first day of the festival. Paul Smith was partnered with Alexa Chung (“because we know that Paul likes a beautiful girl,” Alexandra Shulman teased), and quickly won everyone over with his down-to-earth attitude. He joked that designing for women was “tough” because “you’ve got lots of sticky-out bits”, and at one point started pulling down his trousers to show Alexa the waistband of his boxer shorts. “Keep it in your pants, Paul,” was her response.
It wasn’t all fun and games though, as Paul Smith reiterated how hard it is to make it as a designer in the fashion industry. His advice was simple: focus on creating something completely new. “You can find inspiration in everything. If you can’t then you’re not looking properly.” He also spoke about staying true to his vision, saying, “I can’t have anything that’s fickle. I have employees to pay.”
And, interestingly, despite his global success (there are 265 Paul Smith shops in Japan alone), the British designer revealed he doesn’t have a computer or an email account. “How do people get hold of you then?” Alexa asked. To which he jokingly responded, “I have 175 assistants.”
Once Paul and Alexa’s conversation came to an end there was a quick break to hear about Anna Dello Russo’s two apartments (“one is for my clothes” she explained, as if it was a perfectly normal set-up). Then we moved back into the main auditorium for Michael Kors’ Vogue Festival appearance. The iconic American designer flew in especially for the event, and was interviewed on stage by his good friend, Yasmin Le Bon.
Talking about the differences between American and British fashion, Michael joked that it took a while for the UK market to fully understand the concept of sportswear. To him sportswear is about “something easy” and luxurious, but for a long time the European reaction was, “what sport is she playing?!”
Shop the Edit: 1. Gold-plated watch // 2. Cloud print skirt // 3. Tiger print dress // 4. Textured leather tote // 5. Small leather wallet // 6. Straw trilby hat // 7. Floral silk T-Shirt // 8. Cropped navy trousers
And, like the rest of the weekend’s speakers, Michael Kors encouraged everyone to trust their gut instincts and work hard. “The world is smaller. The rules have disappeared,” he said. “I have no regrets. The journey continues…”
Did you also attend the Vogue Festival, last weekend? Which sessions inspired you the most? Let me know…