(advertisement)
(advertisement)

France unveiled a spectacular near half-billion-euro (613-million-US-dollar) overhaul of one of its beloved buildings Monday, driving a new pedestrian boulevard through the Grand Palais in Paris to link the Champs Elysees with the River Seine.

Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen said the huge project will completely open up the enormous complex of galleries and exhibition spaces which also houses the city's Palace of Discoveries science museum. First built for the Exposition Universelle world fair in 1900, which helped cement the rise of the Art Nouveau movement, the giant glass vault of its main building has become a landmark of the city.

The new light-filled pedestrian street driven through the complex will allow visitors to enter it through a central concourse uniting the museum, the Grand Palais galleries which host blockbuster exhibitions and the main exhibition building, Nyssen said. She said the French state will fork out 288 million euros of the 466-million-euro budget.

The French fashion label Chanel, whose designer Karl Lagerfeld uses the Palais for his hugely theatrical shows, is donating 30 million euros towards the costs. In return, the original grand ornamental entrance to the Palais will be named after its founder Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel. The building will close completely for more than two years from the end of 2020 so that the work can be completed in time for the Paris Olympics in 2024, when it will host the fencing and Taekwondo events.

Nyssen said the complex is unwieldy, under-equipped and in need of serious renovation and in a "state which compromises its capacity to welcome the public and its long-term future." But that will all change thanks to the masterplan by Franco-Italian architects LAN (Local Architecture Network), which also envisages a new roof terrace with panoramic views over the French capital.

The new "street" through the complex -- baptised the "Rue des Palais" -- will be open to pedestrians and house ticket offices, cloakrooms and restaurants and end in a garden overlooking the Seine. The first parts of the remodelled complex will open in the early months of 2023, the architects said. (AFP)

A wardrobe staple, the t-shirt is being celebrated in a London exhibition as a master communication tool used to carry subversive and campaigning messages to the world.

"T-Shirt: Cult - Culture - Subversion" opens on Friday and runs to May 6 at London's Fashion and Textile Museum, where more than 100 t-shirts trace the impact it has had on popular culture and society in recent decades. "Since its earliest incarnation at the start of the 20th century, the t-shirt has served as a means to broadcast social, musical and political passions," the museum declared.

The humble t-shirt was introduced to the US Navy kit list in 1913, as a short-sleave white cotton undervest, but the term "t-shirt" didn't make it to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary until 1920. Gaining popularity through the decades, it hit the Hollywood big time in 1951 by clinging to the chest of actor Marlon Brandon in "A Streetcar Named Desire". But the t-shirt has also been harnessed for political and social campaigns, on everything from the environment to gay rights, as a simple tool able to be reproduced on a mass scale. "It's the kind of most democratic form of clothing, but also with the use of silkscreen you can reproduce messages over and over," said Dennis Nothdruft, head of exhibitions at the museum.

'God Save The Queen'

Punk fashion priestess Vivenne Westwood harnessed the t-shirt in 1977, printing an image created by artist Jamie Reid with "God Save The Queen" scrawled across a portrait of the British monarch. "The Queen is a sacred object in England, so just to do that was such a shock to the system," Nothdruft said. Westwood has continued to use t-shirts in her collections and catwalk shows, in 2012 printing her own portrait with "I am Julian Assange" written on it in reference to the WikiLeaks founder.

An image of cartoon Mickey Mouse in front of the cloud of an atom bomb was used in 1976 as a critique of US policies by artists John Dove and Molly White. The t-shirt was deemed "anti-American" by Disney, which according to the exhibition forced the designers to stop selling it. Other artists who have printed their views onto t-shirts include Keith Haring, the celebrated American street artist, who created the "Ignorance Fear, Silence = Death" image in 1990. It was designed for the organisation Act Up, as part of a campaign against homophobia and a lack of knowledge about AIDS.

Anti-Brexit

The t-shirt shows no sign of falling out of fashion, with politically-charged messages such as artist Jeremy Deller's 2017 approach to Britain's departure from the European Union. He wrote "Don't worry, fuck Brexit," around a smiley face in matching yellow, combining with the blue background to match the colours of the EU flag. The exhibition also explores how the clothing is used by luxury brands such as Dior, which last year created a "We Should All Be Feminists" t-shirt using the title of a book by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Another exhibit -- "No More Page Three" -- brought the protest against topless models in The Sun tabloid to the heart of Britain's political establishment. MP Caroline Lucas wore the t-shirt to parliament in 2013, only to be told her clothing was not in line with regulations, according to the exhibition. She held up an image of one of the page three models, and replied: "It strikes me as an irony that this t-shirt is seen as offensive." (AFP)

Paris show pays homage to 'eternal style' of late designer Alaia

Two months after legendary designer Azzedine Alaia's sudden death plunged the fashion world into mourning, an exhibition in homage to the "King of Cling" opens Monday in his studios in Paris. The Tunisian-born designer, renowned for the way his clothes hugged the body, died suddenly in November aged 82, reportedly of heart failure after falling down the stairs at his home. The diminutive maverick, who ignored fashion week convention by showing when and where he wanted, in July produced his first couture collection in six years to rapturous reviews.

Now some of his most iconic dresses are going on display in the glass-roofed gallery next to his studio and home in the Marais district where he used to show his creations. It includes the dress worn by supermodel Naomi Campbell, his longtime friend and muse, when she led his last collection down the catwalk. The pair were so close Campbell called the designer "Papa", and she was inconsolable at his funeral in Tunis.

Alaia studied to be a sculptor and used his fine art training to sculpt with needle and thread. Fashion historian Olivier Saillard, who has curated the show which runs until June, said Alaia's famously flattering cut was timeless. To hammer the point home, none of the dresses in "Azzedine Alaia: I am a Couturier" have a panel explaining when they were made. "I defy anyone to distinguish between a dress made in 1981, 1995 or 2017," he told AFP. Instead curious visitors must consult a catalogue at the door.

'Last of the couturiers'

Saillard described Alaia as the "last of the couturiers", capable of doing everything himself and making his mastery invisible. "Like Balenciaga and all those who knew how to cut and sew, he moved further and further away from making an obvious show of his brilliant technique." He said his clothes "didn't shout, there was nothing bling about them", instead he went for an eternal style that never went out of fashion. Almost all the dresses in the show -- including ones he made for pop star and actress Grace Jones -- are in black or white. "Alaia used to say that you can make an idea more precise in black and not dilute it," Saillard said.

The famous hooded dress he made for Jones and the fire brigade-red zip one he created for pop superstar Rihanna are among the 41 classic dresses on display. Although his private life was always a mystery, the designer kept an open house in Paris during fashion weeks as celebrities rubbed shoulders with students and waifs and strays at his large kitchen table where he cooked for all comers.

Alaia moved to Paris at the height of the Algerian war of independence, where he soon got a job with Christian Dior, only to be let go because he did not have the right immigration papers. Despite the setback, he moved on to work with Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler before going out on his own with his own wealthy clientele. A foundation has now been created to safeguard his work, and will also hold regular exhibitions from his vast personal collection of couture. A retrospective of his work, "Azzedine Alaia, The Couturier", will open at the Design Museum in London in May, when his brand will also open its first British boutique. (AFP)

Photo credit: 1 - Azzedine Alaia, Alaia.fr
Contested Versace murder drama hits US television

Dismissed as "fiction" by the Versace family and met with mixed reviews, a controversial new drama depicting the 1997 murder of Gianni Versace makes its US television debut Wednesday.

"The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" is the second edition of a crime story franchise whose first iteration won rave reviews and a bevy of awards for revisiting the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder trial.

The latest nine-episode series begins airing on television network FX late Wednesday, before being released on demand in Europe later this week. Like "The People vs. O.J. Simpson," which won two Golden Globes and nine Emmy Awards, "The Assassination of Gianni Versace" is a 1990s celebrity crime story, uniting fame and wealth with the darker underbelly of human nature.

Like "The People," which spun a larger narrative of racial tension between black and white Americans, "The Assassination" paints a wider portrait of gay life in America in the 1990s, prejudice, hostility and bigotry.

Versace is played by Venezuelan heartthrob Edgar Ramirez, Oscar-winner Penelope Cruz is Donatella -- the hard-headed sister who took over the label after her brother's death -- and singer Ricky Martin is Versace's long-term boyfriend, Antonio D'Amico.

But publicity in the run-up to its release has been dominated by the Versace family, who released an angry statement from their global fashion emporium in Milan on January 10.

They slammed the series as a "work of fiction," saying they had "neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series" and reacted with particular fury to claims that Versace was HIV-positive. "After so many years we still lack respect for the dead, we want to create a scandal around someone who can no longer defend themselves," said Donatella.

D'Amico, who found Versace on the steps of his beachfront Miami mansion just moments after the July 15, 1997 killing, has complained that images he had seen online of his reaction in the series are incorrect.

"The picture of Ricky Martin holding the body in his arms is ridiculous," he told the Observer newspaper last July. "Maybe it's the director's poetic license, but that is not how I reacted."

'Love and respect'

"Its responsibility may be to just be true enough. But there's something tragic and unfair about becoming a spectacle in death, especially in a spectacle that's more about a murderer than any of his victims," griped a New York Times review.

The series is based on the book "Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace and the Largest Failed Manhunt in US History," by Maureen Orth, which was published two years after the killing and retraces Cunanan's three-month murder spree.

As such, the drama is centered less on the Italian fashion genius and more on spree killer, social climber and compulsive liar Andrew Cunanan, who murdered four other gay men before killing Versace. His motives remain shrouded in mystery.

Murdering men from San Diego to Miami, Cunanan was on America's list of top 10 most wanted criminals for more than a month before the Versace murder. Cunanan -- portrayed by actor Darren Criss -- comes across as an enigma, at times brilliant and charming but also narcissistic and violent. He committed suicide, aged 27, a few days after assassinating 50-year-old Versace.

The 1990s were a time when living openly as a gay man was still met with prejudice and bigotry in the United States, 18 years before the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal right.

Orth suggests in her book that the lackluster investigation into Cunanan's murders stemmed at least in part from the fact that the victims were gay. At least some filming took place in Versace's Miami home, which is today a boutique hotel where rooms can cost in excess of 1,000 dollars a night.

Cruz, whose performance has excited critics -- and who has worn Versace on the red carpet -- said she won Donatella's tacit blessing before accepting the role. "If somebody was going to do it, she was really happy that it was me, because I think she knows what I feel for her," she told US chat show host Ellen DeGeneres.

"They're the most generous, kind people. It's important for me that when she sees what I've done, she can feel the love and respect that I have put there," she said. (AFP)

Photo: FX Promotional poster The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

The Versace family on Wednesday slammed a new television series on the murder of fashion giant Gianni Versace, saying it was based on nothing more than "work of fiction".

The show, filmed largely at Versace's Miami waterfront mansion where the stylist to the stars was gunned down in July 1997, is set to be released next week in the United States and Europe. "The Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series... which should only be considered as a work of fiction", it said in a statement. "The company producing the series claims it is relying on a book by Maureen Orth, but the Orth book itself is full of gossip and speculation," it said in reference to "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story".

"She has no basis to make claims about the intimate personal life of Gianni Versace or other family members. Instead, in her effort to create a sensational story, she presents second-hand hearsay that is full of contradictions," it said. The family challenges in particular Orth's claim that Versace was HIV-positive. "Not because it would be something shameful, given that Gianni was one of the first to deal with this problem, to organize charity events and to make personal donations" to this cause, his sister Donatella told Italy's La Repubblica daily.

But because "in making her lurid claims, she ignores contrary information provided by members of Versace's family, who lived and worked closely with him and were in the best position to know the facts of his life," the family said. Donatella, who took over the brand on her brother's death, said she was "amazed that after so many years we still lack respect for the dead, we want to create a scandal around someone who can no longer defend themselves".

The series stars Venezuelan heartthrob Edgar Ramirez as Versace, as well as Penelope Cruz and singer Ricky Martin. Versace's international fashion empire included clothes, fragrances and home furnishings. He was 50 when he was killed by Andrew Cunanan, whose motives remain a mystery. Cunanan -- portrayed by actor Darren Criss -- had killed at least four other people on a bloody journey before reaching Miami Beach. He committed suicide a few days after slaying Versace.

Although most filming took place in Versace's Florida mansion, part of it is being shot at the Fox Studio in Los Angeles, where the luxurious home was recreated to the last detail, including its Greco-Roman paintings. The first season of the "American Crime Story" mini-series, which focused on fallen American football star O.J. Simpson, got rave reviews and won several awards. (AFP)

Dior Paris fashion exhibition breaks 112-year record

More than 700,000 people flocked to a record-breaking Paris exhibition dedicated to the Christian Dior French fashion house, its organisers said Monday.

The six-month-long show which ended on Sunday was the most popular ever held at the city's Museum of Decorative Arts, with visitors queuing for an average of four hours to see some of the luxury brand's most iconic designs.

"Christian Dior, couturier du reve" (roughly translated as "Christian Dior, Designer of Dreams") was organised to mark the label's 70th anniversary, and told the story of the brand through some 300 of its haute couture dresses worn by stars from Marlene Dietrich to Rihanna.

The museum's director David Cameo told AFP that the turn-out was "an absolute record", the highest for a single show in its 112-year history. It also attracted a string of Hollywood stars and top models -- who were spared the queues -- including Jennifer Lawrence, Robert Pattinson and Bella Hadid, some of whom are ambassadors for the brand.

Dior Paris fashion exhibition breaks 112-year record

But not everyone was happy with the show. The French magazine Marianne lambasted the venerable institution, which is next to the Louvre museum, for selling out.

Museum as 'shop window'

Writer Agnes Poirier accused the museum of becoming a "shop window for commercial brands... under the cover of art", and also criticised its earlier link-up with toymaker Mattel for another hugely popular show on the Barbie doll.

However, Cameo told AFP that the huge attendance had been a financial boon for the museum, helping it to notch up a large surplus that would "help us re-equip and pay for an overhaul of our restoration studios".

An retrospective of American fashion designer Marc Jacobs' work attracted more than 200,000 visitors to the museum in 2012, which was then a record for the publicly-funded institution.

It is hoping to follow up its success with Dior with another fashion-themed show in March, tracing the enigmatic and mysterious Belgian-born designer Martin Margiela's years at Hermes.

It will be one of two spring exhibitions in the French capital dedicated to the creator, with a retrospective of his work due to open at the Palais Galliera fashion museum also in March.

Despite breaking records, the Dior show was far from being the most popular Paris art show of 2017. That title is held by the "Icons of Modern Art" exhibition at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, which drew 1.2 million people.

It featured the cream of the staggering collection of 250 paintings put together by collector Sergei Shchukin before the Bolshevik Revolution, which had never before been seen outside Russia. (AFP)

Photos: Alain Jocard, AFP

Mumbai to get first textile museum

To document, archive and represent Mumbai’s textile legacy, the Indian megalopolis by the Arabian Sea, home to 20 million people, give or take a few, is all set to get its first textile museum. More than eight years after the initial proposal, the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation), Mumbai's governing civic body, will start with construction in February of this year.

Apart from a museum celebrating the city’s mill legacy, the proposed structure includes a live, functioning mini-textile mill and a representation of the past chawl life - the city's former housing units for the working class, designed to provide cheap accommodation for the stream of migrants coming to the city since the early 1900s, many of them to work in the city's textile mills. In addition, landscaping is planned around a lake inside the compound as well as an amphitheatre and a musical fountain.

The whole complex will be spread over 16.3 acres (61,000 square metres) of land at the defunct United Mill compound in the Kalachowki neighborhood in the city's eastern suburbs, of which 14 acres will be used for construction and the rest for beautification.“My note to the planning committee is to make the museum interactive for the public, accessible which is enjoyed by all the citizens of the city,” said municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta as quoted by Hindustan Times.

Mumbai to get first textile museum

Part of the United Mills compound are three ring and spinning structures, a chimney, a semi-automatic loom and a pond, all of which are protected by varying heritage status levels. Restoration work on some of the structures has already begun. “All the heritage structures will be restored to its past glory. I have asked the committee to restore the mills, the water body in the compound,”added Mehta. The BMC has appointed JJ School of Arts, Mumbai's premier art institute established in 1857, to prepare a vision document for the museum and to design its architecture.

The new museum will include fashion galleries that display traditional Indian textiles as well as the life and culture of the mill worker communities over the ages and education about India's and specifically Mumbai's once thriving textile industry.

Rather than catering to a small elite, Mumbai's new textile museum is meant for everyone - the descendants of the former mill workers and the average citizen. “The JJ School of Architecture, along with Fine Arts and Applied Arts, is working to give this museum to the citizens of Mumbai. Most museums tend to be elitist and are frequented only by the rich. We want this museum to be accessible to the public at large,” said Rajiv Mishra, principal of Sir JJ College of Architecture, director at the State Directorate of Art, Maharashtra and member of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC), according to the Indian Express. Mishra is currently leading a team of 15 experts from the school in planning the project.

Mumbai to get first textile museum

New graduate students will get a chance to showcase their art works as the new museum will also have a dedicated exhibition space for them. “The space will be allocated to new graduates, from painters to sculptors, who will be able to rent the space for six months to one year, showcase their art and also sell it. After a year, their place will be taken by new graduates. The space will not be given to boutique stores,” said Mehta. A separate exhibition area is also planned.

Given the heritage structure of the mill site, the project had to clear hurdles when getting the necessary clearances, initially facing non-approval of the plan by the MHCC and lack of funding. However, on 19th December 2017, the BMC held a pre-bid meeting for the first phase of the museum and the begin of construction is slated for February. The musical water fountain, as a technical project, is not included in the current tenders but an expression of interest will be invited during this month itself.

The first cotton mill was set up in Mumbai by The Bombay Spinning and Weaving Company in the Tardeo neighbourhood in 1856. Ten more mills followed until 1865, employing over 6,500 workers. By 1900, the city already boasted 136 mills and was soon known as the “Manchester of the East”, employing hundreds of thousands of workers at its peak. However, the recession of the 1920s did not leave Mumbai's textile mills unaffected and led to stagnation. In 1925, there were only 81 active mills in the city and the number further declined after World War II, leading to permanent closure after the Great Bombay Textile Strike of 1982.

In recent years, some of the mills have been redeveloped; the most popular being Phoenix Mills in Lower Parel, which is now a shopping mall. Under conservation efforts, more are planned to be turned into museums with one successful project completed, which is United Mills in Lalbaug.

Photos: United India Mills No. 1 by Rohidas Gaonkar; abandoned Madhusudhan Mill by Kunal Ghevaria; Phoenix Mills by Rakesh Krishna Kumar; all mills located in Lower Parel, all images via Wikipedia.

6 Fashion Films & Documentaries to Watch in 2018

London - The fashion industry has produced its own pearls of beauty and wonder within the field of cinematography over the years. Considering the fact that the two sectors are both visually driven, it seems only natural that film in fashion go hand in hand. Whether they be in the form of a documentary, a short movie or a fashion-focused comedy (The Devil Wears Prada ring any bells?) there is something about a film celebrating the best or worst of fashion that captures viewers hearts and minds like no other. 2018 is set to become the year of the Fashion Film, which is why FashionUnited has listed its top 6 fashion movies, documentaries and series set to launch next year.

‘Mc Queen’

The turbulent life and the tragic death of legendary designer Alexander McQueen remains a source of inspiration for film and documentary makers to this day. Which is why the rise and fall of the British designer, couturier and multiple winner of the British Designer of The Year Awards is set to be the focus of not one but two productions next year (and potentially a third). The first is a feature length film, directed by Andre Haigh which aims to explore the late designer’s creative process in the month leading up to his 2009 retrospective show. Still untitled, the film will stat Jack O’Connell as McQueen. The second is a full-length documentary entitled “McQueen” and directed by Ian Bonhote. The documentary will focus on the life of McQueen, looking at how he “rose from Savile Tailor’s apprentice to become one of the most celebrated and controversial fashion designers in the world.” Lastly, a another film entitled “The Ripper” is said to be works which aims to study the relationship between the late designer and the late Isabella Blow, a leading fashion editor and patron of McQueen. An exact release date for all three productions has yet to be confirmed.

’The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story’

The sudden murder of Gianni Versace, founder of Italian fashion house Versace, outside of his beach house in Miami in 1997 shook the entire fashion industry. The mystery and violence surrounding his tragic death has captured the attention of millions, which makes it a logical story for producers and writers to use as a source of inspiration. Following the success of the ten-part series “The People vs. O.J Simpson: American Crime Story” from FX comes the next part in the tv series “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.” This nine-part series aims to follow the series of events which led up to the murder of Gianni Versace as well as the aftermath, while trying to remain as close to the real life event as possible. However, as the true motive behind Andrew Cunanan reasons to murder Versace remain unknown, it is likely that American Crime Story creator Ryan Murphy is likely to take some artistic liberities when filling the blanks and creating more backstory. The series is set to star Édgar Ramírez as Gianni Versace, Ricky Martin as his partner Antonio D'Amico and Penelope Cruz as his sister and business partner Donatella Versace. The first episode of the series is set to air January 17, 2018.

‘The Gospel According to André’

"I do not live for fashion. I live for beauty and style,” is one of the first things André Leon Talley says in the opening of the documentary focusing on his life, inspiration, and career. Former editor-at-larger for American Vogue, his unique view on fashion and appreciation of beauty has ensured his front row seat at all the major fashion shows for the past 25 years. In the new documentary, which follows Talley’s remarkable rise in the fashion industry, as well as his mission to help diversify the industy, veteran fashion insiders such as Anna Wintour, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs and Valentino take turns discussing their relationship with Talley. The documentaty has already been screened at a number of international film festivals around the world but is set to be widely released to the public next year.

‘Phantom Thread’

Unlike the previous fashion films which are based on true stories, the film ‘Phantom Thread’ follows the fictional story of Reynolds Woodcock, a renowned British designer living in post-war London during the 1950s. Woodstock is part of the creme-de-la-crème of the British fashion industry: his creations are eagerly anticipated and worn by the upper classes of the population, such as members of the royal family and actresses. In addition to fashion, Woodcock has a taste for beautiful women, who tend to come and go in his life. Until he meets one lady, Alma, who turns his whole world upside down when she become both his muse and his lover. Starring Daniel Day Lewis and Vicky Krieps, the film has already been nominated for 2 Golden Globes and is slated for public wide release March 1, 2018.

‘Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist’

The first feature-length documentary covering the life and career of iconic British designer and activist Vivienne Westwood is set to launch next spring. Entitled "Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist" and shot by Lorna Tucker, the feature-length documentary aims to celebrate the designer's achievements in the fashion industry as well as her cultural influence. Also known as the ‘Queen of Punk’, Westwood is seen as one of the leading founders of the punk sub-culture in the UK in the 1970s. The documentary also aims to highlight the turbulent life of the British designer and her relationship with Malcolm McLaren, designer and former manager of the popular band Sex Pistols. The upcoming documentary is set to be screen at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2018 under the 'World Cinema Documentary Competition' before the UK wide release on March 23, 2018.

‘The Times of Bill’

‘The Times of Bill’ is a new feature-length documentary examining the life and career of legendary NYTimes street photographer Bill Cunningham. The new documentary aims to follow the rise of his street-style photography as well as his private life. A humble man, Cunningham carved out a name for himself in the fashion industry after cycling through New York in his instantly recognizable blue sweaters and jackets, in search of one of a kind outfits, paving the way for street-photography. The documentary includes interviews with the iconic man himself, as well as never before seen photographs and images of the late photographer, who passed away in 2016. Written and directed by Mark Bozek and narrated by actress Sarah Jessica Parker, it also includes animations by Ruben Toledo and song by supermodel Pat Cleveland, underlining the ongoing influence Cunningham has within the fashion industry. The documentary is set to launch sometime in 2018.

Photo: Courtesy of Dogwoof

First purely online school for fashion and design opens in Russia

Online education has come to Russia relatively recently, but not all sectors decided to go from offline training to online at once. Fashion and design was one of these industries, which went online just a couple of years ago.

Online courses for the tailoring and design of clothing and accessories have been around for a while but a fully-fledged academy that provides comprehensive education has not.

The program for the Academy of Fashion and Design on the education portal "SmotriUchis" (smotriuchis ru.) was developed with the support of its main partner - Fashion Consulting Group. The academy offers courses by industry experts including Anna Lebsak-Kleimans, co-founder of Fashion Consulting Group and Professor of the State University Higher School of Economics (HSE) and Marina Polkovnikova, owner of the agency VM - Consulting.

First purely online school for fashion and design opens in Russia

First full blown online academy for professionals

The courses were created for fashion industry professionals who want to improve their professional competence and to broaden their horizons, like start-up entrepreneurs in the field of fashion but are open to everyone interested in fashion.

The program consists of basic units, which are needed in order to work in the fashion and design industry: management, visual merchandising, fashion buying, style and colors, marketing, public relations and digital marketing, trend-forecasting and brand-management, history of fashion, law and e- commerce.

A student can buy the academy program as a whole, as well as separate units or courses. At the end of the Academy or unit, students receive a diploma.

First purely online school for fashion and design opens in Russia

“We have been engaged in education in the fashion industry for almost 20 years. And in fact, we were the first in Russia who offered business training programs in this area,” said Anna Lebsak-Kleimans. “We're noticing that the qualification requirements in the industry are increasing year by year. Today, all levels of professionals are living and working a busy schedule, while they continually need to update knowledge and technology.” Stylists require the knowledge of buyers, store managers need to know about visual merchandising or about the technology to assess the effectiveness of sales and so on. In order to save time and resources, many shift their work processes to the online space, said Lebsak-Kleimans. “Therefore, by offering them the possibility for professional development in a convenient way as online video lectures, we also try to optimize their working time.”

Story adapted into English by Weixin Zha.

Photos: Academy of Fashion and Design

The 12 Must-See Fashion Exhibitions of 2018

STORY MAP London - The end of 2017 is just around the corner, signaling the start of a new year and the start of a new fashion calendar. Designers and brands are set to share their vision for the upcoming seasons from January onwards with the launch of the international fashion weeks. But what of the inspiration, the dedication and all the hard work that goes into creating a new collection? For those who crave to develop a better understanding of the fashion industry, museum exhibitions and retrospectives offer the unique opportunity to delve into some of the most established fashion houses archives, learn more about key movements in fashion and see the work of leading designers. Visually stunning as well as educational, they offer visitors a one of a kind learning opportunity.

The 12 Fashion Exhibitions you should see in 2018

To mark the start of the new year, FashionUnited has rounded up the top twelve international must-see fashion exhibitions and shares them with you in the interactive story map below.

Scroll down to navigate through the interactive map. Hit the button 'Start Exploring' and use the arrows to explore the map. Tip: for the full experience, click here to open the StoryMap in fullscreen in a new tab.

Photo credits from left to right: Orla Kiely, Fashion and Textile Museum, Azzedine Alaia, Peter Lindbergh and Mode Museum, Olivier Theyskens.