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Gucci hits runway as fashion world awaits new designer

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Gucci hits runway as fashion world awaits new designer
Photo: GlobalTimesPakistan

Gucci kicked off Milan fashion week on Friday with a lineup of slouchy, androgynous menswear styles, forging ahead with its latest collection while the industry waits for owner Kering (PRTP.PA) to name a new designer for the label.

French luxury group Kering faces pressure to quickly find a replacement following the abrupt departure in November of Alessandro Michele, the flamboyant designer who was a favourite of Harry Styles and Lady Gaga and reignite sales growth at its largest brand, which accounted for two-thirds of profits in 2021.

The question of who will steer Gucci’s creative direction loomed over the megabrand’s first men’s show in the Italian fashion capital in three years. Events run through Jan. 17, drawing an audience that includes major retail buyers sizing up which styles might be future top sellers.

There were echoes of Michele’s eccentric, gender-fluid styles at Gucci’s catwalk presentation on Friday.
Models circled a darkened room to the growling music of live band Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, parading oversize suit coats with wide lapels and ample, pleated trousers in pale beige and pastel tones, with new renditions of house classics, along with reminders of Michele’s tenure, including furry, horse-bit embellished slippers.

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“A palette cleanser from the collections we have seen across the past few seasons,” said Simon Longland, head of menswear and womenswear at London department store Harrods.

He said the show provided a “new approach” to house styles, with a range of fabrics and jacket shapes that would likely appeal to fans of its signature, looks as well as new customers.

Show notes, which buyers scrutinize for signs of the label’s next steps, referred to improvisation and collaboration.
“When the free impulses of individual minds interweave, collective expressions are conceived,” the brand’s notes said.
Shimmery silver pants and quilted motorcycle boots added touches of flamboyancy to the neutral-colored looks, which were taken in by celebrities in the audience including K-pop star Kai, American football player Jalen Ramsey and Italian rock band Maneskin.

UBS expects Kering’s Feb. 15 earnings release will show the label’s fourth-quarter sales declined by around 11%, likely one of the more pronounced slowdowns among the world’s top fashion labels, as strict COVID-19 restrictions weighed on business in China.
“The longer the wait for a new Gucci creative director, the worse the outlook for Kering,” said Luca Solca, an analyst with Bernstein, noting that “more of the same” would not help the label regain its relevance with shoppers.

TIMELESS FASHIONS, MARKETING INVESTMENT

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Analysts at HSBC, meanwhile, said efforts taken before Michele’s departure could ease the transition, predicting improvement this year regardless of who takes up creative direction.

They pointed to a recent emphasis on timeless fashions and higher-priced products as well as a ramp-up of marketing spend and an increase in the number of collections as likely serving to accelerate business.

Gucci held back on marketing investments during the pandemic, while larger rival LVMH’s two biggest labels Louis Vuitton and Dior pushed ahead, a move that analysts say helped them gain ground on rivals.

Kering’s other, smaller fashion houses Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga had been growing strongly heading into the end of last year, but Balenciaga got caught up in controversy after a holiday ad campaign drew accusations of inappropriate imagery with children.

Despite the current turbulence at Kering, however, expectations are high given the group’s strong track record nurturing brands, analysts say.
The group’s brands are known for “capturing the Zeitgeist” noted Solca, who said Gucci’s past success was “the most impressive turnaround story in luxury history.”

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The industry is also expecting big changes at other blockbuster labels.

Top management changes at Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior announced this week prompted talk that a design team reshuffle could follow, including at Louis Vuitton’s menswear division, which has leaned on the design studio team since the death of creative director Virgil Abloh in late 2021.

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Jailed Iran filmmaker Jafar Panahi says on hunger strike

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Jailed Iran filmmaker Jafar Panahi says on hunger strike

Acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who has been jailed for the last six months, said he has begun a hunger strike to protest his continued detention, according to a statement published by his wife Thursday.

Panahi, whose films have won prizes at all of Europe’s main film festivals, was arrested in July even before the current wave of protests that have shaken the regime started in September.

There were expectations last month that the judiciary could order his release, but he remains behind bars in Tehran’s Evin prison.

He started his dry hunger strike, refusing food and water, from Wednesday, he said in the statement.

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“Today, like many people trapped in Iran, I have no choice but to protest against this inhumane behaviour with my dearest possession — my life,” said Panahi.

“In protest against the illegal and inhumane behaviour of the judicial and security apparatus and this hostage-taking, I have started a dry hunger strike as of February 1. I will refuse to eat and drink any food and medicine until the time of my release.

“I will remain in this state until perhaps my lifeless body is freed from prison.”

Panahi, 62, was arrested on July 11 and had been due to serve a six-year sentence handed down in 2010 after his conviction for “propaganda against the system”.

But on October 15, the Supreme Court quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial, raising hopes among his legal team he could be released.

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Panahi won a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2000 for his film “The Circle”. In 2015, he won the Golden Bear at Berlin for “Taxi Tehran”, and in 2018, he won the best screenplay prize at Cannes for “Three Faces”.

Panahi’s July arrest came after he attended a court hearing for fellow film director Mohammad Rasoulof, who had been detained a few days earlier.

Rasoulof was released from prison on January 7 after being granted a two-week furlough for health reasons and is still believed to be outside of jail.

Cinema figures have been among the thousands of people arrested by Iran in its crackdown on the protests sparked by the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, 22, who had been arrested for allegedly violating its strict dress code for women.

Star actor Taraneh Alidoosti, who had published images of herself without wearing the Islamic headscarf, was among those detained although she was released in early January after being held for almost three weeks. 

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Shekhar Kapur all praise for Sajal Aly

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Shekhar Kapur all praise for Sajal Aly

Indian filmmaker Shekar Kapur sees Pakistan actor Sajal Aly “more than a petty face” as he praised the star for her acting skills.

The highly anticipated international debut film, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”, featuring Aly, is soon to be released globally. During promotions, the film’s director, Shekar Kapur, praised Sajal’s performance and shared that she was highly recommended to him by her peers.

Kapur stated that Sajal’s beauty on screen is accompanied by her depth and maturity as an actress. “She is obviously very beautiful. Whenever she comes on screen, she has that aura. During screenings, I always heard someone gasping,” he said mimicking a surprised emotion. “So there’s no doubt that she’s beautiful, but behind that beauty, her performances have a lot of pain and strength as well.”

He advised Sajal to not confuse her character’s shyness and gentleness with weakness, and expressed his pride in the strength she portrayed in the film.

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“When we spoke about her character initially, I told her that you do not have to be perceived as weak. You’re gentle, you are shy and you have to portray that but gentleness and shyness are not the same as weakness. What you have to portray is strength. And now when you watch the film, you’ll realise the kind of strength she portrays,” he said.

The film, a romantic comedy-drama, also stars a talented cast including Lily James, Shazad Latif, and Emma Thompson, among others, with a cameo appearance by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.

Sharing the news on Twitter, the producer Jemiama Khan wrote, “Our film opens today in Dubai and the Gulf Countries.”

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‘Besharam Rang’ wasn’t a hit due to controversy, says singer Shilpa Rao

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'Besharam Rang' wasn't a hit due to controversy, says singer Shilpa Rao

Shilpa Rao, who is also the singer of most controversial song of 2022-23, “Besharam Rang”, said the reason of the song’s success was not the controversy.

The singer said the song did not gain instant popularity because of all the controversy that raged after its release. Rather, she thinks that people actually understood the song especially after watching it along with the movie.

Rao stated, “I still believe that a song has to be great as it is. So, it is very important for it to have a good melody and lyrics that people can connect with. When it reaches that stage, only then will people pick it up and make it popular, so the promotion, reach, and reels will come after that.”

She further went on to say, “I think the only reason this song has done so well is because people have actually got the meaning of the song, which is to express yourself without apologies and to love yourself the way you are. People got that and so, they are expressing themselves and that’s why it’s getting popular.”

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When asked about her personal opinion about Pathaan, Shilpa remarked, “I’ve seen the film. It feels really great to be a part of such an enriching project. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and it was thrilling to see others’ reactions too. ‘Pathaan’ promised to be a great film and it kept that promise,” reported Indian media.

Shilpa Rao is widely-known for songs like; “Ghungroo”, “Malang”, “Khuda Jaane”, “Subhanallah”, “Bulleya” and many others.

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