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Men’s fashion week goes live in Milan, buoyed by upbeat sales

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The return of Gucci to the menswear catwalk calendar, robust sales of Italian fashion and a farewell to the pandemic-imposed trend of virtual shows — it s all systems go for men s fashion week in Milan opening Friday.

Promising spectacle and optimism after a year in which sales of Italian fashion showed the strongest growth of the last 20 years, presentations for Fall-Winter 2023/2024 men s collections run until Tuesday.

Of the 79 shows, only four are digital, a holdover from the debilitating pandemic period that sent sales plunging and brought a halt to live runway shows.

Nothing replaces “the live experience, the frenzy, the expectation, the applause, the top models parading on the catwalk and the powerful music,” fashion consultant Elisabetta Cavatorta told AFP.

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Most anticipated is fashion powerhouse Gucci which is putting on a menswear only show for the first time in three years.

It will also be the first since artistic director Alessandro Michele s surprise departure in November.

New direction at Gucci?
With bold, colourful collections seeped in the 1970s, Michele provided a new lease on life after being tapped in 2015 to revive sales at the storied brand with the world-famous stripe logo in green and red.

While sales exploded by 44 percent in 2018 for Kering s flagship brand, growth has lagged competitors in the last two years.

“It remains to be seen whether Alessandro Michele s departure initiates a change of direction for the fashion house,” Cavatorta said.

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Alessandro Michele left Gucci in November and a successor to the artistic director has not yet been named

As to who will take over the reins at Gucci, the fashion world awaits news of Michele s successor with bated breath.

Soaring revenues

Armani, Prada, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana and Zegna are among the big labels set to unveil men s collections in the Italian fashion capital.

But there have been defections including Versace, which plans to show its men s and women s collections together in Los Angeles on March 10.

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Despite the war in Ukraine and the impact of the energy crisis on an energy-intensive fashion supply chain, sales of Italian fashion last year rose 16 percent to 96.6 billion euros ($104.4 billion).

Big labels like Giorgio Armani have answered the call for live men s shows at Milan Fashion Week

“This is the highest revenue in the last 20 years,” said Carlo Capasa, president of the Italian Fashion Chamber, at a presentation ahead of the shows last month.

Inflation has had an impact, as Italian fashion prices rose by about nine percent in 2022, but their increase is “a positive sign that closes a year marked by dramatic events and difficult times,” Capasa added.

Exports of “Made in Italy” fashion climbed 18.7 percent in the first nine months of last year, driven by demand in the United States and the Gulf countries where exports both soared by more than 50 percent.

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Sales to China grew more moderately, at 18.8 percent, while exports to Russia fell by 26 percent, in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.

But one area in which the impact of the Covid-19 crisis will still be felt in Milan is the absence of Chinese buyers.

Despite the lifting of coronavirus-related health restrictions by authorities in Beijing, the number of buyers who will travel to the city for the shows will be “limited”, Capasa said.

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R.E.M. delivers surprise performance at songwriting gala

R.E.M. delivers surprise performance at songwriting gala

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R.E.M. delivers surprise performance at songwriting gala

 R.E.M. performed onstage together for the first time in well over a decade Thursday, reuniting to play their classic “Losing My Religion” as they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills broke up in 2011, and the last time all four members played onstage together — Bill Berry left in 1997 — was in 2007. But entrance into the who’s who of music that is the prestigious songwriting pantheon got the band back together.

“Songwriting is the very foundation of why we came together in the first place,” lead vocalist Michael Stipes told AFP. “We’re really proud.”

The band was inducted by Jason Isbell, who performed a cover of R.E.M’s “It’s The End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” at the event. “R.E.M. was greater than the sum of its parts. R.E.M. moved like a single instrument,” Isbell said.

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The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates its inductees with a festive dinner and intimate concert instead of a televised event.

Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael — the duo known as The Bacon Brothers — opened the show with a foot-stomping rendition of “Footloose,” the Oscar-nominated title track of the hit 1984 film of the same name.

Bacon starred in the movie — but Dean Pitchford wrote it and much of its music, and was among the elite group inducted Thursday.

The writer of many hit film and musical tracks, Pitchford thanked the adoring audience “for hearing all these years, and above all, thank you for listening to me.”

Trey Anastasio of Phish inducted Steely Dan, while chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame Nile Rodgers — the beloved co-founder of Chic — bestowed SZA with a special award for songwriters “at an apex in their careers.”

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It’s “just beyond all of my wildest dreams,” SZA said, before performing an acoustic rendition of “Snooze.”

Rodgers took his moment onstage to emphasize that “there would be no music industry if there were no songs,” specifically calling out streaming platform Spotify to “acknowledge and make a point of songwriters being your priority.”

Hip hop, country, and Oscar royalty

None other than Missy Elliott had the crowd on its feet as she inducted Timbaland into the coveted class.

“In hip hop, there was certain ways that hip hop music sounds — Timbaland… literally changed the cadence,” she said, adding that the producer, rapper and singer whose hits include “Give It To Me” was a master at marrying sensibilities of rap and R&B.

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“Thank you for giving me a seat at the table,” Timbaland said in a lengthy acceptance speech, before conducting a house band through a medley of his hits and those he produced for the likes of Elliott, Justin Timberlake and Beyonce.

Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban performed in honor of Hillary Lindsey, a Nashville songwriting star who’s written for artists including Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Shakira.

And Diane Warren — the songwriter who’s earned 15 Oscar nominations, including for “Because You Loved Me” performed by Celine Dion and Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” — received the night’s highest honor, the Johnny Mercer award.

She, like all of the inductees, said being honored by her peers was particularly special. “It’s songwriters — what’s cooler than that?” she said. 

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King Charles’ portrait defaced by animal rights protesters

King Charles’ portrait defaced by animal rights protesters

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King Charles' portrait defaced by animal rights protesters

King Charles’ first completed official portrait since his coronation in May 2023 has been defaced by animal rights activists in London.

On June 11, two supporters from the group Animal Rising approached the King’s dramatic portrait by Jonathan Yeo at the Philip Mould Gallery and affixed posters inspired by Wallace and Gromit to the image.

The protesters overlaid the King’s face with the character of Wallace, adding a speech bubble reading, “No Cheese Gromit. Look At All This Cruelty On RSPCA Farms!”

The stunt was meant to draw attention to the findings of a new report by Animal Rising, which describes itself as a nonviolent organization working towards a more sustainable future “where humanity shares a positive relationship with animals and nature.”

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The report, published on June 9, claimed that “cruelty and suffering” were found across 45 randomly sampled farms affiliated with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (RSPCA) Assured program, a statement said.

The RSPCA Assured is the organization’s non-profit farm animal welfare assurance initiative, upholding higher farm animal welfare standards from birth to slaughter.

King Charles, 75, is the royal patron of the RSPCA, following in the footsteps of his mother, Queen Elizabeth.

“The lighthearted action played on the King’s love of Wallace and Gromit and his status as Royal Patron of the RSPCA,” Animal Rising said in the statement.

“Animal Rising has called on the King to suspend his support for the charity until they drop the Assured Scheme.”

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The activists defaced an image significant as the King’s first portrait since his ceremonial crowning last spring.

The fiery red portrait by Yeo was revealed at Buckingham Palace on May 14, unveiling a commission in the works for four years.
The artwork was commissioned in 2020 to celebrate Charles marking 50 years as a member of The Draper’s Company in 2022.

Yeo is considered to be one of the world’s leading portrait artists and joked on social media that the image “sparked a million memes” after it was unveiled.

Queen Camilla reportedly had a thoughtful reaction when she saw it for the first time, telling Yeo, “Yes, you’ve got him,” according to the BBC.

The piece measures about 8 ½ by 6 ½ feet, framed to fit in with the architecture of Drapers’ Hall, the hub of the historic guild. It has been displayed to the public for free at the Philip Mould Gallery in London since May 16 and was scheduled to be on view until June 21.

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Behroze Sabzwari draws flak for his recent ‘controversial’ statements

Behroze Sabzwari draws flak for his recent ‘controversial’ statements

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Behroze Sabzwari draws flak for his recent 'controversial' statements

Eminent TV host and actor Nadia Khan appearing on her show has taken famous veteran actor Behroze Sabzwari to task for his controversial statements about women and PIT founder Imran Khan.

Nadia Khan called out Behroze Sabzwari for his recent disputed statements.

Nadia Khan said, “I think it is okay if he only talks about himself, I have a problem when he passes statements on women.

In a recent podcast, he talked about his ex-daughter-in-law. Some time, he talks against other women. He criticises women for their dress. He keeps an eye on how women dress up.

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Sometimes, he talks against me. It has become a pattern now.”

On a show, Marina Khan said, “Actors are ambassadors as they represent themselves. They represent media fraternity and they should not talk against anyone.”

Behroze Sabzwari once had said Nadia Khan used to degrade her guests on her morning show.

Nadia Khan is a super gorgeous, famous and talented Pakistani television host & actor.

She has so far appeared in many notable television dramas which include Des Pardes, Bandhan, Kaisi Aurat Hoon Main, Dolly Darling, Aisi Hai Tanhai and Kamzarf.

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The talented host is happily married and has adorable kids. Nadia Khan is also known for her YouTube channel Out Style With Nadia.

She is currently appearing in the show Kia Drama Hai as co-host and reviewer. Nadia Khan is a fearless celebrity who always speaks her heart out.

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