Prada Taps Enhypen, a Dior Documentary, Malone Souliers’ New Designers


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Aug 25, 2023

Prada Taps Enhypen, a Dior Documentary, Malone Souliers’ New Designers

PRADA NEW K-WAVE: It was only a matter of time before Prada’s endorsement of

PRADA NEW K-WAVE: It was only a matter of time before Prada's endorsement of K-pop would inch up a notch: The seven members of South Korean music sensation Enhypen have been named the luxury brand's latest ambassadors.

Jungwon, Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo and Ni-Ki attended their first Prada runway show together last January in Milan. Outside Fondazione Prada, the venue for the men's fall 2023 fashion show, crowds erupted as the seven members stepped out to greet fans, wearing head-to-toe Prada looks from the men's spring 2023 collection, which was heavy on denim sets and boxy blazers.

The group, which boasts more than 12.5 million fans on Instagram alone, helped the Italian label secure $40.4 million in media impact value, according to tallies of January fashion weeks compiled by data firm Launchmetrics.

Driven by their attendance, 61 percent of Prada's MIV last January was generated by celebrities and roughly half of it originated from the Asia Pacific region, with other Korean stars including Jaehyun, The Boyz and Twice also drawing attention.

"We’re delighted and honored to be a part of this partnership as new brand ambassadors of Prada. The synergy Prada and Enhypen will create is something we’re very excited to witness and greatly looking forward to," the boy band said in a statement.

Enhypen was formed in 2020 through the survival competition show "I-Land" and debuted their first extended play, titled "Border: Day One," on Nov. 30 that year, having already amassed more than 1 million followers on social media platforms TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and V Live.

The lead single, "Given-Taken," turned into a hit and propelled the EP's success, which became the highest-selling album by a K-pop group introduced in 2020. In 2021, the boy band released its first studio album, "Dimension: Dilemma," with preorders surpassing 600,000 copies in six days. Enhypen embarked on their first world tour, called "Manifesto," in September 2022, starting in Seoul and ending in the Philippines in February. It touched down in the U.S., Thailand and Japan. Their second studio album and first Japanese album, titled "Sadame," bowed last October.

The band's second world tour kicks off at the end of July in Seoul and is poised to stop by Tokyo and the U.S., with more dates to be announced.

The K-pop stars join other Prada ambassadors including Scarlett Johansson, Hunter Schafer, Letitia Wright, Amanda Gorman, Cai Xukun, Jaehyun and Louis Partridge, among other talents.

In recent years, the influence of K-pop has become more visible in the global luxury market.

On the men's front, earlier this year Dior signed BTS member Jimin as a global ambassador; 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.

After the pandemic, the local luxury market has registered upbeat growth. According to Euromonitor, luxury retail value sales in South Korea is projected to grow 8 percent year-on-year to 19.4 trillion South Korean won, or $15 billion, in 2022.

According to a Morgan Stanley report, with a vibrant middle-class and upper-middle-class demographic, South Korean nationals are now the world's biggest spenders per capita on personal luxury goods. At $325 per capita, it is higher than $280 in the U.S., $210 in Japan and $55 in China.

Morgan Stanley estimates that South Korean nationals now account for "10 percent or more" of the brand's total retail sales for Prada, Bottega Veneta, Burberry and Moncler. — MARTINO CARRERA

DIOR ON FILM: If the spectacular display of crafts and colors shown by Dior at the Gateway of India in Mumbai last March left you hankering for more, the behind-the-scenes documentary slated for release on Monday could slake your thirst.

French filmmaker Mélinda Triana, a regular Dior collaborator who has captured features around iconic house designs in recent years, chronicled the making of Maria Grazia Chiuri's pre-fall 2023 collection in a 32-minute documentary. It follows the Dior designer from India, where she worked with the artisans of the Chanakya ateliers on the rich embroidery and embellishment, to Paris’ Musée Guimet, dedicated to Asian arts, as she prepares for the collection.

Central to the unfolding exploration is Chiuri's three-decade-long collaboration and friendship with Karishma Swali, who heads the the Chanakya Ateliers and the Chanakya School of Craft, whose work appears in the collections but also the monumental art tapestries that have adorned Dior runways in recent years.

The film then takes viewers through the landscapes of India in pursuit of the textile traditions of weavers, printmakers and artisans that underpin the pre-fall 2023 collection. Archival designs from Christian Dior, Marc Bohan and Gianfranco Ferré are glimpsed in images, pointing to the long-standing importance of the country's sartorial traditions and techniques to the house.

Then comes the preparation for the show, including the creation and installation of the 46-foot "Toran" site-specific artwork displayed under the Gateway in a nod to the way women in India use embroidery and patchwork to decorate local fabric as a way to welcome guests into their homes.

The pre-fall 2023 behind-the-scenes documentary will make its debut on YouTube Premiere at 4 p.m. CET on Mondau, with a live chat option, and will be subsequently available through on Dior's account on the video platform. — LILY TEMPLETON

NEW CREATIVE DIRECTORS: Malone Souliers founder and owner Mary Alice Malone has named two long-standing team members, Coco Fong and Valerio Bava, co-creative directors of the brand.

She said Fong and Bava will build upon Malone Souliers’ "existing, distinctive aesthetic while also expressing their unique joint vision." The brand makes collections for men and women and has a shop on Mount Street in London.

The brand is known for its craftsmanship, designer runway collaborations, and whimsical collections inspired by Netflix shows such as "Emily in Paris" and "Bridgerton."

The design duo's first full collection will be for fall 2023, and launch at the end of July. In September, Malone Souliers plans to hold a London Fashion Week presentation under Fong's and Bava's artistic direction.

Fong and Bava are replacing Malone as creative director, and will report to her. Malone will assume the role of founder and chief brand director, and said her focus will span from strategic planning, to creative business growth, to new markets expansion.

"It is a joy to work with Coco and Valerio and, over the past few years of mentoring them, I have seen their incredible talents strengthen and grow," said Malone.

"They have long been my sounding boards. I am delighted to see them move into this newly created joint role — a promotion they have both truly earned. Together, I feel we can elevate Malone Souliers even further and fulfill our ambitions of becoming world leaders in luxury footwear," she added.

Fong, 29, was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and moved to London in 2012. She took up drawing and sewing at a young age, and later studied at Central Saint Martins and Cordwainers at London College of Fashion.

She joined Malone Souliers as an intern in 2014 and became a senior designer alongside Bava in 2020.

Bava, 32, was born in Naples, Italy, and hails from a family of skilled embroiderers, seamstresses and shoemakers. He studied at Milan's Istituto Europeo di Design, specializing in shoes and accessories.

He joined Malone Souliers in 2017 as design assistant, and was promoted to senior designer in 2020.

Malone Souliers said it takes a "zero-waste" approach to production, and is a certified member of the Leather Working Group, a not-for-profit membership organization that aims to create change across the global leather supply chain, and promotes responsible leather production and sourcing. — SAMANTHA CONTI

TAPPING THE AMERICAN DREAM: Ep Yaying, the Chinese high-end womenswear brand, has opened its first U.S. store at American Dream, the mega retail and entertainment complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Located in The Avenue, the mall's luxury wing, Ep Yaying's store occupies the same corridor as Saks Fifth Avenue, Hermès, Saint Laurent, Tiffany & Co., Dolce & Gabbana, Mulberry and Jonathan Adler, among other brands.

As the only Chinese brand in the section, Ep Yaying's debut will "bring a real sense of Chinese contemporary elegance to consumers in the U.S.," according to a statement from the brand.

The 3,200-square-foot store was designed by French architect Franklin Azzi, who also created Ep Yaying's concept store in Shanghai. Themed "Dialogue and Balance," the store design draws on traditional Chinese references and Western minimal forms. The long and narrow store space is divided into two sections, with slabs of precious natural jade and porcelain-textured rocks acting as dividers. Supported by black metal tubes, the rough stones create shelf space for Ep Yaying's ready-to-wear, accessories and made-to-order collections.

At the far end of the store, guests see a private chamber covered in wallpaper that emulates Chinese bird-and-flower painting. Shoppers can lounge on the section's imperial-yellow sofas while browsing the made-to-order dresses, which range from $1,800 to $7,000.

Last December, the label soft-launched the store with an opening party that drew the local Asian American community, including members from the China General Chamber of Commerce and Mulan Club.

Launched in 1988 as a small garment factory in Zhejiang province, the company launched a global expansion plan in 2019, focusing on South East Asia, Australia and the U.S. Ep Yaying's first global store was launched in March 2019 at Suria KLCC, a premium shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia.

With a stable of womenswear and kidswear brands, including Ep Yaying, Daya+, Doublelove, N.Paia and Ep Yaying Kids, the company operates around 800 stores in the mainland China market. — DENNI HU

ASSOULINE’S POP-UP: New Yorkers — and tourists to the city — will spot the first downtown locale for French luxury publisher Assouline on Saturday in the city's Meatpacking District.

A stone's throw from the Whitney Museum, the Gansevoort Street pop-up will feature an exterior old-style newsstand featuring souvenir newspapers. Inside, visitors can relax in a dedicated lounge space as they leaf through the brand's lush meticulously crafted titles including the Travel Series as well as Icons, Legends and Classics.

The boutique, which will be open until the end of the year, will also include Assouline's recently launched Travel From Home scented candle collection. An extension of the publisher's travel series, the candle collection is Assouline's entrée into the home fragrance market and includes six candles ($80, with brass candle lids available for $30): Marrakech Flair, Gstaad Glam, Mykonos Muse, Ibiza Bohemia, Moon Paradise and Tulum Gypset.

The can't-miss-it space features floor-to-ceiling windows, a red facade and neon Travel From Home signage.

Hours are Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. — MARISA GUTHRIE

POLITICIANS KEEP COOL: Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy knows how to support his constituents.

For the 10th year, the politician and physician — along with 12 other members of the Congress and over 130 staffers — donned their seersucker jackets and pants in Washington, D.C., to celebrate National Seersucker Day.

Joseph Haspel Sr., of New Orleans, is credited with creating the first seersucker suit for the U.S. market in 1909. His great-granddaughter, Laurie Haspel Aronson, runs the Haspel company today.

"Today, we celebrate National Seersucker Day. Seersucker is a New Orleans invention and fashionable warm weather staple," said Cassidy. "It's an honor to have carried on this tradition for the past 10 years alongside my colleague Sen. Dianne Feinstein. I look forward to many more."

Former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott brought Seersucker Thursday to Congress in 1996, but it eventually fizzled out. Cassidy revived it in 2014 when he was in the House of Representatives and then brought it to the Senate when he assumed that role in 2015.

On Wednesday, Cassidy and Feinstein passed a resolution in the Senate to establish Thursday, June 8, as National Seersucker Day.

In a video posted to Twitter on Thursday, Cassidy donned a seersucker jacket and invited people to visit his office in Washington to see the seersucker wallpaper he uses. "National Seersucker Day," he said in the video, "a day in which we bring a little bit of the culture of Louisiana to Washington, D.C. I hope you enjoy seersucker on a warm Louisiana day, which makes it feel like it is a cool Louisiana day." — JEAN E. PALMIERI

A LUXURY WORKOUT: "New York needs this, it needs it now," professed David Barton, just before cutting the ribbon on U by David Barton, his 35,000-square-foot new luxury gym concept in the former Chelsea YMCA space. "I’m a long-term Chelsea resident. I just love it here and I think she's still not only cool, but got a lot of heart, a lot of soul."

Barton has spent decades in the competitive luxury fitness game, opening his namesake gym 30 years ago and TMPL gyms in 2017, making waves with his marketing tag line: Look Better Naked. He eventually left his namesake gym, selling it off. "A few years later, people who are running it shut the business down in a way that was very upsetting to me," he said of the experience.

Now the fitness guru — whose gym/nightclub/destination concept drew in the downtown fashion set along with powerlifters with its thumping music, sexy lighting and premium equipment — is back and looking to disrupt the New York City luxury gym market again.

Set over three floors, U is an expansive new take on health and training through new technologies selected by Barton. The 23rd Street location introduces the latest science-backed technologies, including the Neubie, a direct current electro, muscular stimulation device that reprograms muscles for optimized performance and recovery times. "It's a phenomenal piece of technology that changed my life," Barton said.

U has also partnered with the Precision Health Alliance, delivering a complete epigenetic diagnostic profile with insights into members’ personal health via AI, taking a scientific approach that removes the guesswork out of users’ fitness journeys while providing a fitness blueprint that capitalizes on one's genetic potential.

The first floor houses a mix of traditional cardio machinery while the lower level serves as the space for weight and strength training complete with dumbbells, squat racks and benches. The gym offers a take on the future of exercise — housing ARX adaptive resistance equipment, which utilizes patented, motorized resistance and computer software to maximize every rep. The strength training equipment includes a U exclusive: Pannatta. Manufactured in Italy, Barton describes the it as "the next level of exercise equipment."

Hospitality comes from Mush Room — developed in collaboration with Bill Gilroy from Employees Only — a mushroom-focused cafe.

"This gym, well there are just a lot of things about it that a lot of New York gyms just don't have," Barton said, adding that the new concept is a gift to the city and neighborhood he holds dear. "What's great is the people I have around me," he said, explaining the gym's realization was a group exercise. "It's not just me, it's really these people who make it happen." — THOMAS WALLER

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