Thursday, 6 February 2014

Fashion in Conversation

The savvy English creative director and producer Kinvara Balfour landed in Manhattan just in time to infuse NYFW with her highly enjoyable Fashion in Conversation series. Balfour teamed with Apple Soho to host an impressive list of industry visionaries including Anna Wintour, Scott Schuman, Natalie Massenet, Manolo Blahnik, and Zac Posen. Her talk with Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue and artistic director for Condé Nast, drew a record audience and covered bounds of fashionable territory ahead of the Fall 2014 shows.

Kinvara, in Mary Katrantzou, with Anna Wintour

The discussion opened with the clever digital short starring Lena Dunham and Hamish Bowles; a nod to Vogue.com and the palpable impact of Sally Singer. Wintour praised the film for "looking at what we do with a sense of humor," and noted Singer's ability to carve out an intelligent and sophisticated place for the storied publication's website in the ever-evolving digital universe. Wintour also revealed the universally lauded Vogue Archive took two years of dedicated scanning (in Thailand of all places) to complete. Whilst acknowledging the import of more immediate access to fashion online, Wintour noted her own preference for the "rigor of the printed page," and the responsibility involved with editing and selecting thoughtful content for the magazine each month.

A memorable cover that gave printers a pause

Now chronicled on Ovation TV with a hit series (The Fashion Fund), Wintour's work with the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund has gained considerable attention. The annual competition aims to move fashion and showcase a budding generation of talent slated as the future of American design. The 2013 winner, Public School (by Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne), would come through with a cutting edge NYFW presentation only days later.

In addition to her presence at Vogue and on the CFDA board, Wintour commits herself to admirable philanthropic work. She tirelessly supports the MET Costume Institute (soon the Anna Wintour Costume Center) and its celebrated Gala. Deeply touched by the museum's decision to name "such a remarkable resource for anyone in fashion" in her honor, Wintour likened the MET to its "own city" and affirmed her desire to support the names of the future whilst preserving the names of the past.

DVF, Wintour, Jenna Lyons, and Tory Burch launch BORNFREE

Wintour also spearheads BORNFREE, a campaign that seeks to eradicate the mother-to-child transmission of HIV by the end of 2015. Speaking at the launch of BORNFREE, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power urged, "We have the research, the tools, and the moral capacity, we just need to put them to use." Designers (and mothers) including Liya Kebede, Stella McCartney, and Carolina Herrera have created a special collection for Shopbop.com available for purchase this spring. The pieces will incorporate two prints by renowned Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu that were commissioned for BORNFREE, and the entirety of proceeds will go directly to the sub-Saharan countries most in need. Wintour announced Annie Liebovitz and Tonne Goodman will travel to Africa to produce a documentary and hopes the film will raise awareness and garner press for the cause.

Thank you, Kinvara, for a wonderful conversation!

Images via Vogue

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