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by Jenny
Gucci ©

Are you ready to say your goodbyes to long, luscious dark locks and plenty of mismatched and eclectic prints? Alessandro Michele has announced his departure as Creative Director of Gucci. 

Following seven beautifully designed and maximally genius years, what better time than now to recap all that Michele has done for the fashion industry – and our wardrobes. When he took the creative reins at Gucci, an air of Tom Ford still lingered in its decadent and hallowed halls. Following an androgyny-focused menswear show, the world waited for a new dawn at Gucci…  

Appearance was something always close to a young Alessandro’s heart – first bleaching his hair at the tender age of 10. Having been taught how to crochet by an aunt, clothesmaking soon became a passion for Michele (who still enjoys buying needlepoint kits at London’s Liberty). 

Gucci ©


While studying at Rome’s Academia de Costume e di Moda, we almost lost Michele to the world of costume design, until he decided to pursue a career in fashion. By 1994 he had begun working with Les Copains – an Italian knitwear brand based in Bologna. Michele would work here for three years until making a move to Fendi in the late 90s. Here, he worked under Silvia Venturini and Karl Lagerfeld – the perfect opportunity to finesse his style. Later appointed Senior Accessories designer and heading up Fendi’s leather goods, Michele was laying the foundations of his celebrated reputation.  

The early noughties may have brought the lowering of waistlines and the bedazzling of flip phones – but it also brought Michele to Gucci. In 2002, Creative Director Tom Ford hired Alessandro as a bag designer. It is safe to say Michele served his time – in 2006 he was made Senior Designer of Gucci’s leather goods, later moving to work as an Associate Designer to Frida Giannini in 2011. 

Gucci ©

Pressure makes diamonds – following Giannini’s abrupt departure from Gucci in 2014, Michele was given a make-or-break opportunity. Asked to design the brand’s Autumn/Winter 2015 collection to replace that already made by Giannini – Michele had the generous deadline of five days to imagine and finalise an entirely fresh show.

A first look at Michele’s opening Gucci collection saw the brand tip-toeing towards their now trademark androgynous aesthetics – with playful pussy bow blouses paired with black straight-leg trousers and Gucci branded belts. Male models walked with hands just as jewelled as Michele’s own – Gucci was a mirror of himself. History was made, while Michele was made Gucci’s Creative Director in January of 2015. The role was more than just a title for Michele. A new dawn of Gucci had begun – 2015 fashionistas braced themselves for an age of maximalism, gender fluidity and bohemian meets Hollywood chic. 

Gucci ©

In just two years, the visual language of the brand had been translated into Michele’s creative language – now considered as quintessentially Gucci. He stated: “I’m not interested in the future – it doesn’t exist yet – but I’m really interested in the past and the contemporary.” With an appreciation and passion for the house’s history, the new age of Gucci took its signature styles to meet a more modernised aesthetic – which in turn would attract a new host of younger buyers. 

The cult of couture fans were not the only ones infected with this Gucci buzz, as executives at Kering found themselves dealing with some much larger numbers. According to the Financial Times, during Michele’s tenure, Gucci’s revenue almost tripled – in 2015 the brand boasted $3.9 billion in sales, now mocked and laughed at by 2021’s takings of $9.7 billion.

Gucci ©

With Michele in the exquisitely tailored Gucci driving seat, we were reminded that fashion is art and what better way to do this than by having a campaign painted. Found intertwined within Gucci’s DNA, the influence of the Renaissance is recognisable in Michele’s brand vision and with that came the Spring/Summer 2018 collection. Presented as Guccified renderings of classic artworks, models were painted by artist Ignasi Monreal in the then-latest couture. Monreal reflected Michele’s impeccably styled reality and his beloved world of the imaginary.  

Michele’s dedication to the brand and its vision included an all-important step towards sustainability. Having eliminated the use of fur in 2017, Gucci set about reducing its impact on the environment. The autumn of 2019 also saw a dramatic fall in the brand’s effecting the environment – clear in their Spring/Summer 2020 runway show in Milan. From the event itself to its invitations, the show was carbon neutral – and while its carbon footprint shrunk significantly, its foot was most likely still irresistibly dressed in Gucci loafers. Launched only this summer, the brand announced its first eco-friendly collection, “Off The Grid”, which used only bio-based, organic and recycled materials. The collection was presented alongside a video campaign featuring the likes of Lil Nas X and Jane Fonda.

@culted

The Shining but make it chic ✨. @gucci’s casting director won fashion month 😩. #gucci #FashionForYou #fashion #fashiontok #fashiontiktok #fashiontok #mfw #fashionweek #twins #milan #alessandromichele

♬ original sound – CULTED

After eight years as a trendsetter, Michele’s genius persisted. Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2023 show had both fashion and Stephen King fans electrified with excitement – with identical twins sent down the runway draped in matching Gucci outfits. The show was a first, being applauded for its immense creativity and for its youth nostalgia.

Expanding Michele’s vision allowed the brand to become a way of life, an extension of the wardrobe onto the streets. Opening the brand’s arms and inviting the input and influence from collaborators and major campaign faces, certainly helped provoke a new era of Gucci – but there was more to it.  

Alessandro Michele served us a slice of his mind with every collection, collaboration and show, as after all “the values of Gucci are in his veins.” As the physical embodiment of the brand, Michele gave us 8 wonderfully floral and eccentric years – for each of which the fashion industry will be eternally grateful.

More on CULTED

See also: THE WHO’S WHO OF BREAKTHROUGH – WOOLMARK PRESENT THEIR 2023 FINALISTS

See also: RAF SIMONS IS NO MORE – CELEBRATING FIVE MOMENTS FROM THE BRANDS HISTORY

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Christmas season is around the corner, and it’s finally time to stray away from the way your parents used to decorate the house. I mean, we’re all fans of the classic decor like nutcrackers, lights, and a massive tree that your pet probably attacks all season. But it’s time to dig into your wallet and invest in future Christmas joy. 

Below is a list of Christmas decorations to ensure you’re space is truly yours, along with being holiday ready. High fashion brands and department stores have released a ton of dope ornaments this year. As well, we have a bunch of sick accessories for around the house.

SELFRIDGES YELLOW BAG ORNAMENT – £16 / US $16

GLITTERED GLASS SUSHI ORNAMENT – £20 / US $20

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS 400% + 100% BEARBRICK – £141 / US $70

SWAROVSKI POODLE AND BEAGLE – £130 / US $170

KAWS HOLIDAY CARDS – £22 / US $18.95

SUPREME CHRISTMAS TREE TOPPER – £198

MODERN ARTIST ORNAMENTS – £56 / US $50

VERSACE SNOW GLOBE – £201 / US $275

MAISON MARGIELA BY THE FIREPLACE CANDLE – £49 / US $65

BALENCIAGA ORNAMENT SET – £615 / US $790

SUPREME SANTA ORNAMENT £241 / US $290

BAPE A BATHING APE ORNAMENTS SET OF 2 – £100

PALACE P BAUBLE – US $48 / £39

MORE JOY GLASS BAUBLE – £46.50 / US $56

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CULTED ©

New week, new Friday briefing. This week was interesting…to say the least. The fashion industry faced many ups and downs with two prominent faces, Raf Simons and Alessandro Michele, resigning in their own ways. All the while we geared up for some new music drops including Azekel’s Dupé to soothe our souls and some of the best and most meaningful Black Friday deals we’ve seen yet, giving back to creators (shoutout to Everpress!). To stay up to date with all of this and more, keep on reading. 

TRAPSTAR’S BIGGEST DROP YET – ‘BLACKOUT’ FRIDAY

London streetwear brand Trapstar’s latest Black Friday drop is a love letter to their community. The “Blackout” collection which dropped before the pandemonium that is Black Friday, is a strong call-back to fan favourites. The drop, filled with holy grails, both upgraded and reimagined, and fresh styles with improved quality and enhanced materials, shows exactly how a brand should do Black Friday. Completely appeasing true fashion fans. With even Central Cee an admirer of the brand, Trapstars latest drop is one to tap into… these grails won’t be here forever. 

BLACK FRIDAY WITH “THE BOILER ROOM BLACK CARD

What if instead of buying everything in your SSENSE and Selfridges basket this Black Friday, you were in the running to win a prize! The Boiler Room are upping the game this Friday by launching a competition for their members. How to enter? Buy an item from their store before 30th November. Easy! With multiple tiers of prizes, the winner receives a physical 1 of 1 Boiler Room Black Card. Giving the champion flights for themselves +1 to a Boiler Room event of their choice, guestlist entry +1 to all Boiler Room events for 1 year and £250 full-price store credit. Not only this but also 50% off orders for life and a 1 of 1 piece of BR apparel. Now that’s how you do Black Friday. Truly a gift in the run-up to Christmas. The runner-up and 3rd place are of course awarded their own prizes and T&Cs of course apply! Good luck to you all, may the odds be in your favour.  

Boiler Room ©

SLAM JAM X NIKE AIR FORCE 1: CELEBRATING THE AIRFORCE

Sportswear giant Nike and Milan-based brand Slam Jam are partnering up to celebrate 40 years of the ever-iconic Air Force 1. The two brands are coming together to fuse their two contrasting streetwear aesthetics into one super Air Force 1. Milan and NYC are being blended to create a dichotomous and unexpected yet somehow apt show that showcases both cultures and brand heritages. A classic reinvented and celebrated. The Nike x Slam Jam AF1 in white will be available for purchase on January 10th at Slam Jam and the 13th SNKRS exclusive to Europe, while the black will be out next year. Keep your eyes peeled.

Slam Jam ©

EVERPRESS’ BLACK FRIDAY IS FOR THEIR CREATOR COMMUNITY 

Oftentimes the fashion industry forgoes the small creatives trying to make their way in the industry while predominantly celebrating bigger brands. Especially in recent times with the Covid-19 pandemic or the omnipresent cost of living crisis, creatives are finding it harder to survive in the midst of inflation and wage falls. Everpress, whose core message is to support and promote sustainable fashion and independent designers, have taken it upon themselves to give back this Black Friday. From the 25th until midnight GMT on Tuesday 29th, Everpress are topping their creatives up with an extra 25% on all of their original profits. What a deal! Shop until you drop with Everpress knowing you’re supporting those who really need it, rather than overconsuming with larger conglomerates. 

Truce Ribberting ©

THE AREA SNEAKER TAKES CENTRE COURT

For Sneakerheads, Area is the gift that keeps on giving. With the release of their new Area Sneaker for Axel Arigato’s AW22 season. With the fresh take on sneakers, focusing on the retro 90’s all-American minimalistic aesthetic, reminiscent of baseball shows (both high and low versions of course). 90’s nostalgia and Y2k have of course been prevalent, but instead of following the over-saturated colour take, the Area Sneaker speaks true to the hearts of true ’90s baby’s as the refined design yet modern and unisex design. Coming in five different colourways and made of recycled polyester from recycled PET bottles, these shoes should take centre court in all of our wardrobes. 

Axel Arigato ©

LET’S REPRESENT – AS THE BRAND LAUNCHES ITS BLACK FRIDAY COLLECTION

The Manchester-based brand launched their RE23 collection just on the eve of Black Friday. Quite fitting as their collection is entirely monochromatic, with everything from balaclavas to pyjama-esque sets, outerwear and even sneakers. The stagnancy of the monochromatic collection is offset by the dynamism of the design aesthetic and silhouettes. The young brand’s innovation and diversity is quite interesting and sure to become a staple in the London streetwear scene as they continue on their journey. Already stocked in Selfridges, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Browns and Flannels, there’s nothing stopping you from taking part in their Black Friday and Represent(ing).

Represent ©

THE END OF TWO ERAS – FASHION’S CREATIVE DIRECTOR MAYHEM 

The fashion industry beheld the end of not one but two eras this week. With two fashion heavyweights announcing their resignation from their parts in the fashion industry. Gucci’s former Creative Director Alessandro Michele stepped down from his seven-year post in a shock departure while Raf Simons announced the abrupt closure of his namesake label after 27 years. The fashion industry seems to be in retrograde and utter turmoil as they mourn the loss of both of these individuals in their much-loved posts. Although we doubt they have fully withdrawn from the industry, both designers have made considerable impacts in their positions, with Alessandro being synonymous with Gucci and their revival, while Raf Simons’ long heritage was a source of joy for many grailed collectors. They will be missed but of course, we’re all waiting with a bated breath for what comes next.

Raf Simons ©

THE LAST (BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST) MONCLER MAYA 70

The party never ends over at Moncler, with their 70th-anniversary celebrations at their peak. This time, musical genius and creative extraordinaire Pharell Williams joins the ranks of designers putting their print on the Moncler Maya Jacket. The seventh and final iteration of the jacket is reimagined by the legendary producer as a rubber moulded jacket. Completely flipping the Maya on its head, this edgier take sees the jacket with embossed logo branding with rapper and singer Tobe Nwigwe making the face of the campaign. What a way to end seven weeks of the Maya.  

Moncler ©

AZEKEL’S LOVE LETTER TO AFRICAN MASCULINITY FT. KWESI ARTHUR 

The World Cup’s kicking off this weekend, but not without Unknown London x Heaven Can Wait releasing a footy inspired collab to get us in the mood. Hosting a pop-up in Shoreditch, the collab featured a Home Jersey and Away Jersey in vibrant colourways as well as pint glasses, kit bags and more. 

BE THE FIRST TO CATCH FELIXTHE1ST

One of life’s many joys is catching an artist before they’ve made it big and watching them grow. Here’s your chance to have bragging rights over one of London’s soon to be biggest hits. West-London-born and raised artist FelixThe1st. The rapper gifted us with a double drop of his new single and music video ‘Chip Skylark’. Having accolades and collaborations with popular British artists such as Dreya Mac and performances with Ms Banks and Ivorian Doll, Felix is setting himself up to be first on our party playlists.

The music video, made completely with clay stop-motion was made in tandem with stop-motion artist Alistair Nichols, for a completely imaginative and quirky optic sight. Completely grasping the innovative and stylistic force that Felixthe1st is. If it’s anything like his bass-heavy but psychedelic sounds found in ‘Block & Delete’ then it’s sure to be a hit. 

More on CULTED 

See also: VIRALITY AND CONTROVERSY: MSCHF IS THE MOMEMONCLER TURNS 70 WITH THE EVENT OF THE CENTURYNT

See also: CULTED’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR CLOTHES (AND THE PLANET)

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Elon Musk ©

With Twitter plummeting further into chaos everyday, it’s becoming ever more difficult to envision the app returning to normal. Since Elon Musk bought Twitter at the start of the month, a series of unfortunate events have ensued, ultimately culminating in the now lawless land that stands in the place of what Twitter used to be. The question on people’s minds now is: should we just lay the app to rest or does someone need to step in to revive it?

Back in 2006, when the site was first created by founders Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams, few people realised how big Twitter was actually going to be. Since then it’s grown into an essential media platform utilised around the world as a tool to access our freedom of speech. Viral hashtags on Twitter have sparked protests, brought attention to global issues, and changed the mindsets of millions. In 2010, the first tweet was sent from the moon. Then Elon Musk bought it, and it hasn’t been the same since. 

A site that was previously used by genuine journalists as a verifiable source of news is now riddled with copycat accounts and hoaxes, after new owner Elon Musk brought in a policy which let users pay for a blue verification check. It became immediately clear that this was a mistake after fake accounts began using the newly purchased blue ticks to impersonate global companies, cause fluctuations in the stock market, and even ridicule Elon himself

Despite the chaos unfolding over on Twitter for the last few weeks, the app’s actually experienced an increase in users, with Elon Musk tweeting that the site had “hit all-time high of active users” at the start of November. One user, @RMac18, responded to Musk by simply tweeting: “*people gather in my yard to watch my house burn* me: wow, i’ve never had this many visitors before”.

Only a few days ago Elon Musk attempted to remedy his reputation by hosting a poll on whether to unban ex-President Donald Trump and rapper Ye, who’d been removed from the app for inciting violence and making antisemetic remarks. Unsurprisingly, all this did was raise more eyebrows. 

Twitter’s current state has been described as a plane with no pilot, hurtling towards the ground. But what we used to know as Twitter, was an incredible source of free information and a platform to communicate openly with others across the globe. From the app announced Whitney Houston’s death 45 minutes before officials confirmed it; that Barack Obama used to declare his victory at the 2012 US Presidential election; that propelled the #blacklivesmatter movement into global renown, surely this can’t be the end.

At this point we can only hope that Elon Musk manages to regain control of the steering wheel and turns this plane around. But what are the chances of that?

More on CULTED

See also: WHAT IN THE WORLD… CUP IS GOING ON?

See also: RAF SIMONS IS NO MORE – CELEBRATING FIVE MOMENTS FROM THE BRANDS HISTORY

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Lacoste ©

I know – it’s cold, it’s wet and the last thing you want to do is leave your house. But what’s the best way to motivate yourself to stay active? New gym shoes of course!  

Introducing the brand-new performance-inspired model from Lacoste, the Active 4851, built for everyday movement.

Lacoste ©

The shoe (like all the football fans that have sprouted during the World Cup) has sport at its heart, bringing all the technicality of performance to everyday life and is fit for those who want to exude style even when running around during daily errands. Although developed with ‘life on the go’ in mind, the silhouette and design features are by no means rushed – look closely and the product becomes complex in the details. 

Lacoste ©

The dual mesh upper completed with a fluid net revolves around the idea of movement, whilst the shoe’s fit-system is intuitively comfortable thanks to a double-layered tongue meaning the wearer does not feel the imprint of the laces. Not only is this product purposeful, meaning you can take it from work to sport to social events, but the shoe is suited to all genders and comes in an array of colours ranging from triple white to all black with hints of orange. All designs come with a dynamic triangular detail on the sole as a nod to the scales of the iconic Lacoste crocodile and the sleek and streamline design makes it perfect for any weekend wardrobe. Also rendered on the upper is “From the Court to the Streets since 1927” being Lacoste’s latest tagline.

Lacoste ©

The rich history of Lacoste is encapsulated into the branding on the upper which includes the geographic coordinates of the very first Lacoste product factory in France – yes, where the iconic polo shirt was first produced! Not only that, but the numbers in the shoe’s name, 4851, come from this same geographic information. As the sneaker community shifts, the pair suits the tastes of modern consumers who want to know that their garments and sneakers have a story.

If you’ve been looking for an everyday shoe that is designed with sophistication, innovation, authenticity and movement in mind, then buy yours today. Now available at Footlocker.co.uk for £120.

More on CULTED

See also: CULTED SOUNDS: WESLEY JOSEPH AND HIS GLOWING CREATIVE CAREER

See also: THE WHO’S WHO OF BREAKTHROUGH – WOOLMARK PRESENT THEIR 2023 FINALISTS

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Palace x ARC’TERYX ©

Gorpcore. Gorpcore. Gorpcore. You’ve all seen it. Techwear meets trail mix-loving environmental enthusiasts in a fashionable way. It’s a polarizing method of dressing that emphasizes the technology behind individual garments. 

The word Gorpcore is a colloquial term for trail mix (Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts). Presumably, the people wearing Gorpcore indulge in their raisins and peanuts while hiking through mountain ranges, treacherous forests, and hazardous conditions. 

Critical aspects of Gorpcore remain easy to comprehend and don’t require astute knowledge behind them. Matching palettes is an important variable within Gorpcore which often includes matching dark, monochromatic colors with vibrant hues. The latter is most commonly found in creps or jackets, with brands like Arc’teryx and Salomon producing eye-catching garms that pair well with dark bottoms. 

Volume and layering are the peanut butter and jelly of Gorpcore. Essentials within the style tend to be tailored with a boxy fit, with voluminous silhouettes more than welcome. To create the necessary volume, layered pieces beneath are critical as they add the necessary size to call your fit Gorpcore.

Below is a list of six items that you want/need to know about if you’re getting into Gorpcore. The beauty of this trend is the concept of each layer is offered at varying price points. But remember, logos are a prominent aspect of Gorpcore. Without them, you’re fit may lean more toward Normcore or techwear. 

SALOMON XT-6

The Salomon XT-6 is a terrific introduction to the trend of Gorpcore. Salomon markets the shoe as a running shoe tailored to elite ultra-distance runners who compete through unheard-of conditions. 

But for us fashion lovers, the sneaker represents an uber comfortable crep with a range for days. The black or white monochromatic pairs are lethal when it comes to putting together a jacket focussed fit. However, they also release some portentous colourways which can be the star of their own show. 

THE NORTH FACE PUFFER JACKET

The North Face and their puffer jacket refuse to go quietly into the night. We’ve seen it season after season. TNF dominates the field with its iconic ripstop fabric, relaxed yet boxy fit, and bizarrely easy foldability. 

This year, the 1996 Retro Nuptse puffer is at the top of their range. It features the classic colourblocking that we’ve all grown to love, mimicking the iconic designs from 1996. It’s rated under the brand’s heaviest and warmest coats while fitting into the Gorpcore category with above-average wind resistance and water protection. 

NIKE ACG CARGO PANTS

NIKE ACG ©

Nike’s ACG line was ahead of its time. The sportswear brands’ outdoor department has done many creative pieces that have competed with longtime outdoor royalty like Patagonia and Columbia. Their cargo pants from a multitude of seasons are a terrific option for bottoms. They feature enough pockets to keep fit within the realm of Gorpcore without exceeding into the lovely world of tech wear. 

ARC’TERYX ALPHA SV OR BETA SL SHELL JACKET

ARC’TERYX ©

If you were on fashion TikTok this summer, you definitely came across videos of people standing in the shower, letting water pummel their Gore-Tex jackets to the tune of Arc’teryx by YT. 

Their Alpha SV jacket is their top-of-the-line shell jacket, given more tech than a brand-new BMW straight off the lot. It’s rated for severe alpine conditions following a slew of tests. The tech on this coat is far too much to be summarized. You need to get over to an Arcy store and listen to an associate talk your ear off for ages. 

If spending two months of rent isn’t your thing, the Beta SL shell is a great option. It still has the pair of linear placed zippers found on the Alpha SV, although they’re a bit wider apart. Gore-Tex is used as well, although it doesn’t include the ridiculous amount of technology from the Alpha SV. 

NALGENE WATER BOTTLE

Nalgene has long dominated the space of outdoor hydration. Their wide-mouth bottles are created out of recycled resin. Their recycling transformers wasteland-bound plastic into high-performance, BPA-, BPS, and phthalate water bottles. Their inherent customizability is a leading factor in why they’re so popular. Fish out those Supreme stickers from your drawer and slap them on your new bottle!

C.P. COMPANY NYLON B LENS SIDEBAG

C.P COMPANY ©

Nylon B is C.P. Company’s durable and water-resistant weave which is fine-tuned for garment dyeing. Due to this, the depth and intensity within the colours of these bags are simply unmatched. The bag itself is the perfect size for your everyday carry, including a separate compartment just for your raisins and peanuts.

More on CULTED

See also: WHAT IN THE WORLD… CUP IS GOING ON?

See also: RAF SIMONS IS NO MORE – CELEBRATING FIVE MOMENTS FROM THE BRANDS HISTORY

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If you hear a track with an abundance of saxophone, it’s probably a Masego tune. The 29-year-old from Kingston, Jamaica, is an international sensation known for his unique music style. He describes it as trap, house, and jazz all jumbled up into one. And the result? An undisputedly one-of-a-kind sound that will simultaneously get you off your feet while chilling out.  

Continue down to catch a bunch of tracks by the artist that you need to check out. Whether it’s because you’re in dire need of a switch-up or you’re going through one of these moods right now. Enjoy!

WHEN THAT SUBSTANCE HITS

Veg Out is the first track that suits this category. It’s super chill, with an influx of piano mixed in with some classic RnB melodies. Masego does a great job of including a deep-hitting bass to subtly knock you back into your chair. 

Hate The Club from Kehlani’s It Was Good Until It Wasn’t is a terrific choice for when that substance hits you. It has a really solid amount of bells and slow treble which harmonizes with a symphonious saxophone. Masego’s special touch really comes to light in this tune. 

Finally, you have Bliss Abroad. This track utilizes a ton of soft drums alongside a waterfall-esque bass, making you feel as light as air. Shelea plays a critical role in this track with gentle vocals that add more of a relaxed feel to the beat.  

TROPICAL SHIRT? ON. STELLA? IN HAND. VIBES? IMMACULATE

Silver Tongue Devil, Say You Want Me, and Queen Tings will make you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation. The three of them use different types of shekere, which mimics the “Chicka-Chicka” sound behind beats. It‘ll send you right to the island of your choice, transporting a pina colada and Cuban cigar into each hand. 

Say You Want Me and Queen Tings might fall closer to the smooth RnB side; however, I will die on the grave that is this category. I found myself bobbing around while writing sections, while simultaneously listening to these tracks. They’re both psychedelic in their approach. You won’t understand why, but you’ll want to dance. 

FOR THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE

Tadow is the track that blew Masego up. The saxophone is ever so prominent in this track and is so catchy that you’ll somehow find yourself singing along as it projects. The lyrics are minimal but the vibes are iconic. It’ll make you feel like you’re dancing alongside that special someone as you sway back and forth. 

Navajo hits you right in the feels. The opening line of “I love you, I love you, I looove youuuu,” hits super hard before getting into the rhythmic track. The saxophone is prominent again, alongside a heavy dose of different drums. The same can be said about Good & Plenty, which sees Masego link up with Lucky Daye, Alex Isley, and Jack Dine. You get a romantic and wholesome vibe from the entire lineup, although Masego steals the show. 

STYLE GUIDE

Masego ©

Masego rocks a super slick, easy-to-replicate fashion sense from day to day. There are a lot of button-downs, flowy, tropical button-ups, and staple bottoms. Denim looks to be a favourite of his, although he tends to stick with plaid trousers that are tailored to be baggy. 

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Balenciaga ©

Balenciaga’s latest campaign imagery, featuring their newly released ‘Objects’ collection, used some questionable visuals for what was initially a controversial campaign and is now a full blown conspiracy. Removing the images from their site and IG, Balenciaga has since released a statement apologising for what they’re implying was a mix up. 

Featuring various children splayed out on a sofa and surrounded by the different ‘Objects’ from Balenciaga’s new drop, the campaign’s quite unassuming at first glance. However, people on Twitter and TikTok who have been analysing the set dressing of Balenciaga’s recent campaigns have reached some disturbing conclusions as part of a conspiracy theory.

IG: @Balenciaga ©

The ‘Objects’ campaign first raised eyebrows due to its use of child-models, particularly alongside their newly debuted ‘plush bear bags’ which are controversially outfitted in harnesses and leather straps. One TikTok user, @rachmcqueen1, responded to Balenciaga’s apology which wrote “Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign”, by saying that they should never have used children with or without the plush bears, given that Kering Group – which Balenciaga is a part of – announced they would no longer be using models under 18 in any campaigns from 2020.

@rachmcqueen1

Balenciaga has made a statement. This falls FAR SHORT of the mark Balenciaga and explains nothing about why these images came to exist in the first place and the marketing and placement of them in conjunction with your other website imagery. You shouldn’t be getting out of it this easily. #balenciaga #keringgroup #balenciagaphotoshoot #gabrielegalimberti #demna #childexploitationprevention #luxuryfashion #fashionhouse #wewantanswers

♬ original sound – Rach McQueen 👑

The presence of the plush bear bags, which are bags in the shape of toy bears but with piercings, implied bruising, and in fetishwear, is questionable as they’re definitely not for children. However, this isn’t even what’s got people particularly riled up. In fact, what the internet’s been so enraged by is the supposed context of the shoot – a conspiracy theory about Balenciaga’s true intentions.

The conspiracy was originally made by Twitter user @shoe0nhead, who linked the set dressing of a previous Balenciaga x adidas campaign to the ‘Objects’ visuals. A document featured in the background of the previous shoot is actually a US legal document which criminalised the advertisement, promotion, presentation or distribution of child p**********. The fact that Balenciaga, shortly after posting this, released a campaign featuring children is what’s caused people to make the connection.

IG: @Balenciaga ©

Whether it’s a crazy conspiracy that gotten wildly out of hand or an act of genuine self-sabotage on Balenciaga’s part, the whole ordeal is ultimately shocking. While we have to accept that the relationship between the ‘Objects’ campaign and the use of the legal document in Balenciaga x adidas isn’t backed by any real evidence, it’s an unfortunate  connection – neither should have been featured. It begs the question, how could this have happened?

Someone must be responsible. 

More on CULTED

See also: WHAT IN THE WORLD… CUP IS GOING ON?

See also: RAF SIMONS IS NO MORE – CELEBRATING FIVE MOMENTS FROM THE BRANDS HISTORY

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The fashion industry mourns an insurmountable loss as Raf Simons announced the closure of his visionary namesake label after 27 years. Adored and celebrated by celebrities and fashion lovers alike, Raf Simons’ unequivocal influence on the fashion industry was unparalleled. 

The news was issued via a standalone instagram grid post yesterday. “The Spring/Summer 2023 collection is the conclusion of an extraordinary 27-year journey and the final season of the Raf Simons fashion brand,”Simons stated. The post was entitled “Memory Wear 1995 Station to Station Alda & Jacques”, marking the date of his label’s launch and honouring his parents Alda & Jacques Simons. 

Fans of the designer were shocked to hear that his last Spring/Summer 2023 collection which was proposed to be shown during London Fashion Week, yet was rescheduled to due HRH Queen Elizabeth II’s death, was his last. The unexpected ending was, however, fitting and an adequate homage to the spirit of Raf Simons and his initial desires for the brand. A fruitful and buoyant homage to youth cultures. His closing show, a nonhierarchical rave,with a bar turned runway, featuring every creative that creates the zeitgeist. With students, artists, designers, musicians, DJs, and fashion lovers and more present and spirited. 

In honour of the beautiful and poignant legacy left by the label, we’re remembering the top five moments of Raf Simons the label. 

RAF SIMONS’ EPONYMOUS LABEL LAUNCHED IN 1995 

The Belgian designer born in Neerpelt, with an apparent proclivity for design began as an furniture designer for interiors and galleries after graduating from Industrial Design and Furniture Design from LUCA School of Arts in 1991. Being convinced to turn to fashion by former head of the fashion department at Antwerp Royal Academy Linda Loppa and Walter Van Beirendonck, Antwerp Six member, Simons was enamoured by the spirit and vigour of the fashion industry after his first show, Martin Margiela’s 1991 show. Thus his self-taught menswear label was born. 

RAF SIMONS ©

RAF SIMONS’ FIRST COLLECTION ON 8MM FILM 

Raf Simons’ first collection for AW95/96 presented at the Daniele Ghiselli showroom in Milan via an 8mm film. Rife with nothing but a novel genius and effective simplicity. The video itself was filled with rawness and creativity as his love for youthful tailoring was apparent. The approximately seven minute video featured two streetcast male models in a white room presenting his pieces. The 8mm film was simple yet effective and the industry was then privy to the genius that is Raf Simons. 

RAF SIMONS’ FIRST RUNWAY SHOW IN PARIS

Two years after the label’s impactful collection presentation, Simons took his menswear label to Paris. Raf Simons’ first menswear fashion show was staged at Impasse de Mont-Louis for AW 97/98. The collection did what Raf does best, relaxed and purposeful tailoring and the reintroduction of ideas in different formats. Featuring shirts, cropped knitwear, blazers and the Belgian minimalism but elevated, by this stage the designer had the fashion industry hooked.

THE LABEL’S FIRST TWO FLAGSHIP STORES

In 2008, the global success of Raf Simons was cemented with two physical flagship stores in Japan. The standalone stores in Aoyama, Tokyo and in Osaka were created in collaboration with Sterling Ruby and Roger Hiorns. The Tokyo store saw L.A. based artist Ruby covering the space with enhancing distorted wallpaper enacting a negative vs. positive take.  Treated fabric was photographed and then the negatives utilised to create the wallpaper with the artists using the discarded fabric to make boxes for Raf’s garments.  

The Osaka store however, was treated by Hiorns. This store utilised the staff as working models as  a 9 metre long ‘crying tears’ mirror cut the space in half as reflective film covered the store. Artistic genius was prevalent as the clothes were veiled in order for them to be perceived in a non-static way by the public. 

RAF SIMONS X COLLABORATIONS 

The brand’s undeniable genius and effects has been acknowledged worldwide and as such it has seen numerous collaborations. The label has created collections for and with varying notable individuals. From a partnership with British menswear brand Fred Perry in 2008 to creating sleek and illustrious sunglasses with Linda Farrow, Simons and his brand have experienced no shortage of partnerships and creative expeditions. Even taking over the sportswear domain and placing Simons’ print on contrasting and distinct aesthetics. From their Asics collab to the Adidas x Raf Simons Osweego shoes and more. 

Artistic aspirations and experiments continued with the brand as Sterling Ruby was once again present for another partnership in 2009 and then again in 2014. 2009 saw the pair utilising the artist’s unique bleached signature style to manufacture bleached denim for a capsule collection. Then again in 2014 the brand replaced its regular scheduled showing with a large-scale collection collaboration for AW14, entitled, “Raf Simons/Sterling Ruby”.

Brand fraternisation continued as 2014 presented ‘The Kvadrat/Raf Simons collection’, as Kvadrat the Danish textile and design company, aligned themselves with the label and were even featured in their AW 15 menswear show. 

RAF SIMONS ©

Raf Simons’ brand legacy will undoubtedly prevail for many years to come. From copious amounts of collaborations to inspiring generations of youth as the label defied the label of being a minimalist Belgian brand to successfully recontextualising things we associate with other subcultures. From taking bomber jackets, balaclavas, shirts and suit jackets. Taking them from their prescribed aesthetics to turn them into genreless items. Fawned over amply, with even a song dedicated to the designer and label by collective A$AP Mob – ‘RAF’, even including A$ap Rocky, the label defied classifications and will be yearned for by the fashion industry for years to come. 

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The time has come again – the International Woolmark Prize is back and is as ready as ever to recognise, and honour, some of fashion’s most outstanding talents. Through their use of Australian Merino wool, the finalists have the chance to compete creatively to be awarded, arguably, one of the world’s most prestigious awards for fashion stars on the rise. 

Once the final cut is made, the contenders will have eight months to curate and finalise their International Woolmark Prize collections. With help from the Innovation Academy, similarly oriented brands will collaborate to support these emerging talents. 

This year’s theme is ‘Dialogue’ – a sentiment encouraged by the Woolmark organisation. Aiming to connect and unite some of fashion’s breakthrough talents with major players in the industry – the prize offers the chance for those involved to cooperatively engage with more sustainable production practices. 

With the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren and Yves Saint Laurent, already crowned amongst the organisation’s impressive alumni –  it is finally time to meet this year’s finalists. 

A. ROEGE HOVE 

Get your knitting needles at the ready for a knitwear revolution – pioneered by A. ROEGE HOVE. Conceptualising knitted garments since the brand’s day one, it questions everything we thought we knew about the traditional craft. With each piece curated and created by founder and brand architect Amalie Roge Hove, this knitwear certainly knows no bounds. Founded in 2019, Hove has consistently articulated a desire to destroy any archaic knitwear knowledge – with pieces weaved with semi-transparent materials to blur the lines between the garment and its wearer’s skin. The brand manipulates lightweight materials to make pieces which stretch to fit. 

A. ROGE HOVE ©

LAGOS SPACE PROGRAMME  

Appropriately named, as they are reaching for the stars as they become one, Lagos Space Programme unites opulent design and African influence. Founded in 2014 by Adeju Thompson, the brand concentrates on craftsmanship and a commitment to slow fashion. As a non-binary individual, Thompson launched their first collection in 2018 which featured trans-seasonal, genderless garments. The brand has education in their focus – challenging outdated stereotypes about African design and masculinity. Showcasing a collection at Milan Fashion Week January 2021, the brand is only just beginning its journey of redefining design. 

LAGOS SPACE PROGRAMME ©

MARCO RAMBALDI   

Italian born designer Marco Rambaldi is a beacon of hope in an era of mass production. Established in 2017, the eponymous brand is a pinnacle of upcycling, inclusion and the renouncing of gender norms. Rejecting quantity over quality, the brand finds greatness in materials generated in Italian artisan workshops, which are then shared with an eagerly awaiting audience. Through Rambaldi’s lens, we see a fusion of seventies Italian bourgeoisie and a fresh, radical and gender bending aesthetic come to life – as made in Italy meets a whole new meaning.  

MARCO RAMBALDI ©

BLUEMARBLE 

A brand based in Paris, but who’s designs are to be universally appreciated – this is Bluemarble. Founded in 2019 by Anthony Alvarez, the menswear label aims to nurture individuality, and draw similarities between cultures through their youth. Drawing on the designer’s experiences while travelling, Alvarez neatly translates the importance of singularity and an appreciation for ulterior cultures within his garments. The brand’s name is a take on seeing the world as a whole – a collection of minds to be connected through art. With the brand’s clothes having a certain sense of accessibility, Alvarez speaks to the uniqueness in us all. 

BLUEMARBLE ©

MAXXIJ  

In the fall of 2017, MAXXIJ fell from the heavens and into our arms – bolstered by the desire to help us realise that the act of wearing fashion could itself be an act of art. With a soft spot for exploratory design and accompanied by boundary defying style – MAXXIJ is where it is at. The brand made its breakthrough at London Fashion Weeks SS21 season, with a lot to say about the future of fashion. Engaging with the anatomy and tailoring of menswear, MAXXIJ’s emboldens abstract design with innovative silhouettes and multi-fabric assembly. Unconventional couture – meet your maker. 

MAXXIJ ©

PAOLINA RUSSO  

Meet the Ontario-born, London-based designer whose finger is on the pulse of fashion’s future. Growing up with a thirst to create, a young Russo pursued materialising the concepts found only in her imagination. A desire soon fulfilled – the designer began filtering inspiration from her surroundings, found primarily in sports. Having now collaborated with the likes of Adidas, Russo is only at the beginning of what will surely be a stellar career. 

PAOLINA RUSSO ©

RHUDE  

Don’t be rude – but stay RHUDE. Launched in 2015, this LA born brand is a balancing act between high fashion tailoring and streetwear aesthetics. Both of which joined in an harmonious union while under RHUDE’s creative control. The brand was born with a vision concocted by founder Rhuigi Villasenor – reflective of both modern socioeconomics and the designer’s own experiences once he moved to the US. With his designs having been described as a visual commentary on life in LA and the city’s style – RHUDE couples American symbolism with nostalgia and timeless design references. 

RHUDE ©

ROBYN LYNCH 

Over the last four years, Irish-born designer Robyn Lynch has repurposed both her heritage and deadstock garments to inspire both her, and her brand. Calling upon traditional Irish wear, Lynch grabs hold of her roots when designing – with her clothes caputring a youthful silhouette and reinterpreting classic Irish cable knits. Making a move towards the past, present and future – Lynch’s SS/21 collection introduced her womenswear range for the first time and oversaw her signature expand to encompass a series of casual wear concepts. 

ROBYN LYNCH ©

See also: WHAT IN THE WORLD… CUP IS GOING ON?

See also: CULTED SOUNDS: WESLEY JOSEPH AND HIS GLOWING CREATIVE CAREER

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