White Noise

London Fashion: Louise Simmonds

All eyes are on London this season, as established and emerging designers present their creative vision for AW09|10 during London Fashion Week. Despite being forced to shorten its schedule to four days, the city is committed to nurturing emerging design talent. From renowned fashion historian, and Distill magazine editor-in-chief, Colin McDowell’s Fashion Fringe (to which Donatella Versace lends her support) to the celebrated SDC Award, the London fashion scene has never been so geared towards their young designers.

Louise Simmonds—designer, stylist and current darling of the London style press—is one of the new generation of British designers making significant progress in the global fashion arena. Despite only graduating last year, Simmonds has earned her fashion credentials working with Giles Deacon on his AW07 collection and styling shoots for some of the UK’s leading style magazines, before presenting her eponymous women’s wear debut at the UK’s Graduate Fashion Week last summer. The dramatic, renaissance inspired collection—which included a 200-year-old brocade vestment—was short listed for the SDC Colour and Textile award, but perhaps more significantly, was picked up by the global style press—including style bibles Vogue and V.

Simmonds is currently living and working in London, developing her forthcoming “Couture T-shirt” collection, while honing her skills by working with experimental avant-garde design house, Boudicca. Text Helen McDermott


Life doesn’t have to be a crystal stair. In fact, if it’s a store that is going to survive this recession, it better be made of steel. That is what is at the heart of Giorgio Armani’s newest concept store in New York. It is the first store in the U.S. to bring together all of the brand’s labels under one roof—one very large, glass roof. In a volatile retail market, it makes sense to consolidate.

“I was determined to send out a clear message of change, interpreting the current trend for mixing genres, juxtaposing items in different price brackets,” Giorgio Armani said in a statement to the press.

Internationally renowned husband and wife architect team, Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, designed the four-story, glass-clad structure, which houses cosmetics, shoes, eveningwear, home décor and sweets among other things. There are also private VIP fitting rooms available on the first and second floors. The Fuksas designed the store so that it could be one fluid, curvilinear space connected only by one central staircase, which lends access to three retail floors and a restaurant with views of Fifth Avenue and Central Park.

In honor of the store’s grand opening later this month, Armani will release a special line of accessories for Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani, available exclusively at the store. Among the offerings will be leather duffel bags, cashmere zip jackets and T-shirts, and a special keychain featuring the New York subway and Milan metro maps, in case anyone forgets how to get home. Text Mengly Taing