>> Last night, Stella McCartney celebrated her 40th birthday with a small flock of famous friends. Among those who gathered at the fete, held inside the London landmark Aspley House: Kate Hudson (in coral Elie Saab) and her fiance Matt Bellamy; Bono and Ali Hewson (in Edun); Tom Ford in a velvet suit; Kate Moss (in an Azzaro jumpsuit); and her father Paul McCartney and his fiancee Nancy Shevell. Gwyneth Paltrow, too, joined the festivities — which included an after-party at the Groucho Club in Soho — and was later spotted leaving with two mugs, printed with photographs of McCartney as a baby.
We went backstage at eco-friendly line Edun's Fall 2011 runway show to get the inside scoop from founder Ali Hewson, Bono's wife, and designer Sharon Wauchob on their newest collection. Watch it now and discover all there is to know about Edun's silky landscape-based prints, experimental use of color, and the designing duo's ongoing love of chunky knits.
>> When planning Edun's Spring 2011 fashion show, the label's co-founder Bono originally suggested an elaborate outdoor production with models that appeared to be emerging from the water. But he was reminded by Edun's new chief executive, Janice Sullivan, that they were supposed to be "having a fashion show. Show is the second word. Fashion is the first word." So they ended up staging Sharon Wauchob's first show for the brand in a semi-outdoor space, under the High Line, with gray sand and gravel beneath the models' feet.
Edun's mission statement was originally to manufacture in Africa, but logistics caused deliveries to be late — a no-no — and now most of the clothing is manufactured in China, with Africa currently alotted 15 percent of the total production; label co-founder Ali Hewson says she wants to see that number increase each season. Wauchob was brought in to make the clothes more fashionable, Hewson explained: "We focused too much on the mission in the beginning. It's the clothes, it's the product. It's a fashion company. That needs to be first and foremost."
As a front row populated by Dasha Zhukova, Gavin Rossdale and son Kingston, and Jeff Koons looked on, Wauchob sent out white cotton shirts (the fabric fair-trade and produced in Uganda), ecologically sound "by product" leather skirts, belts handmade in Kibera, Kenya, and long dresses trimmed with recycled metal.
>> Is Edun Being Melded into the "Stella McCartney of LVMH"? —Bono and Ali Hewson have been cast in the newest Louis Vuitton Core Values campaign — and they're wearing clothes from Edun, the ethical clothing label they founded (and of which LVMH owns nearly 50 percent), marking the first time Vuitton has credited another fashion label in its ads. Hewson is pictured carrying a bag co-designed by Edun and Vuitton, notable as the Core Values campaigns historically highlight monogrammed Vuitton bags and luggage. After Edun recently reported losses, it seems like LVMH is ready to push hard for profit — particularly because the conglomerate is rumored to be molding the brand into their counterpart of PPR's socially conscious Stella McCartney label. Antoine Arnault, Vuitton's director of communications, explained that Edun's presence in a Vuitton campaign would give the small brand major international exposure. [WWD, Fashionista]
>> Edun has finally ended their search for a creative director, annointing Sharon Wauchob with the task of infusing more fashion into their offerings. As brand cofounder Ali Hewson put it, "Sharon was the one that stuck with us more so than anybody else, due to her thoughtfulness, her obvious talent and just a feeling she is really growing into something. This is her time. She’s of the 21st century in a big way.”
Wauchob will continue to design her own line, and her first Edun collection — which LVMH took a 49 percent stake in last year — will be for the Spring 2011 season. In the meantime, she will be traveling extensively between New York and Paris, as well as Africa and Peru — the latter two to work with factory workers, as Edun was founded with the intension of creating trade opportunities for developing areas of the world.
>> Now that Edun, Ali Hewson and husband Bono's socially conscious label, has the support of LVMH — which took a 49 percent stake in the company earlier this year — they're hiring a creative director to take Edun to the next level.
“We were so keen on our mission that we made compromises that maybe we shouldn’t have made with respect to our customer and the fact that they should have great clothes,” Hewson told WWD. "Without great clothes, we don’t have a business, so it’s important to get that end right.”
Hewson wouldn't let loose any details of the creative director search, but WWD reports that Alexander Wang and Sharon Wauchob are among those who have been approached. Hewson anticipates the designer being named “within a season” — in time for the Spring 2011 season — and will be someone who can “grow with the brand.” In fact, she says, Edun will "most probabably have a runway show for Spring 2011, likely in New York.
Bono and his wife Ali Hewson are revamping their philanthropic fashion brand, Edun. "We were so keen on our mission [to develop regions in Africa] that we made compromises that maybe we shouldn’t have . . . Without great clothes, we don’t have a business, so it’s important to get that end right," Hewson said.
Thanks to this new goal, and with the help of its backer LVMH, Edun's Pre-Fall collection is already looking better. It will most likely hold a fashion show in New York to unveil the line. What's more, Edun plans to hire a creative director to take the brand to a higher level. Though nothing is for sure, there are rumors that Alexander Wang is among the designers approached for the job. Only time will tell, but no matter who fills the position, I'm confident the brand will soar.
As Edun founders Ali Hewson and her husband Bono realized their social messages were taking importance over the actual product, they looked to LVMH to help grow the brand and to put in place new creative and business teams.
“Without great clothes, we don’t have a business, so it’s important to get that end right," Hewson told WWD.
The new focus is evident in the brand's pre-fall collection, showing now in the company's TriBeCa headquarters, along with a capsule collection created for the FIFA World Cup championships next summer. A jeans and T-shirts collection will follow later in the year—made in Africa from organic cotton and including an initiative to support 1,200 families to grow the fibers.
>> Natalia Vodianova, Franca Sozzani Make Vanity Fair's 2009 International Best-Dressed List —Vanity Fair just released the contents of its annual International Best-Dressed List from its September issue, and there are fashion figures galore; a whole category was devoted to "Fashion Professionals," which Franca Sozzani, Georgina Chapman, Tory Burch, Style.com's Candy Pratts Price, Rachel Roy, Edun's Ali Hewson, Prada France's Mathilde Meyer-Agostinelli, David Lauren populate. Natalia Vodianova and Justin Portman are included in the "Couples" named; Bruce Weber and Peter Beard are listed under "Fashion Originals"; Matteo Marzotto, formerly of Valentino and currently of Vionnet, is on the Men's Best-Dressed List; and Lapo Elkann made the Hall of Fame. Anna Wintour wasn't included, but she did get a nod from Renee Zellweger, who listed her among her style icons. [Vanity Fair]