Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Fashion Week Brings Another Layer of Chaos to Paris

Pharrell Williams returns a year after his lavish debut as Louis Vuitton creative director. JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP
Pharrell Williams returns a year after his lavish debut as Louis Vuitton creative director. JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP
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Fashion Week Brings Another Layer of Chaos to Paris

Pharrell Williams returns a year after his lavish debut as Louis Vuitton creative director. JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP
Pharrell Williams returns a year after his lavish debut as Louis Vuitton creative director. JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP

Paris Fashion Week returns on Tuesday, bringing some much-needed light relief to a country in the throes of political chaos.
Menswear week runs until next Sunday, followed immediately by the haute couture shows until June 27.
France has been in turmoil since President Emmanuel Macron called surprise legislative elections after a surge by the far-right in European polls, said AFP.
But for fashionistas, the biggest issue might be getting around Paris, which is also finalizing preparations to host next month's Olympic Games, with a tenfold increase in traffic congestion due to road and site closures.
The Olympics have brought the menswear and couture weeks forward from July (womenswear takes place in September).
With fashion already working at a punishing pace, that has forced some houses to abandon this season, including Olivier Rousteing's Balmain, which told AFP it had pulled out at the last minute.
Valentino and Givenchy are also skipping this week's shows.
As for the big names who are appearing, hip-hop mogul Pharrell Williams will continue his high-profile leadership at Louis Vuitton, marking a year since his ultra-lavish debut show when he took over the Pont Neuf bridge and painted its paving stones gold.
But the highlight will be a mega-party organized by Vogue on Sunday bringing together the doubly lucrative worlds of sports and fashion.
It is the third edition of Vogue World -- a sort of traveling Met Gala that has already seen events in New York and London -- and comes as the brand seeks new ways to stay relevant in a world of dwindling magazine sales.
Several top brands will display collections, including Dior, Jacquemus, Hermes and Balenciaga, each paired with an Olympic discipline from athletics to breakdancing.
Chanel shock
There have been some big movements at the heads of fashion houses.
The biggest shock was the announcement last week that Chanel has dropped Virginie Viard, who worked for 20 years alongside her predecessor Karl Lagerfeld and took over after his death in 2019.
It appears the split was less than amicable, since Viard will not be present for Chanel's couture show on June 25, despite overseeing record sales for the brand last year.
"It will be a studio collection and Virginie Viard will not be present," a Chanel spokesperson told AFP.
The end of the Lagerfeld era has set off fashionistas' favorite pastime: speculating on who comes next.
Among the names circulating: France's Marine Serre, Hedi Slimane of Celine, Pierpaolo Piccioli (who recently left Valentino) and Simon Porte Jacquemus, whose eponymous label has been one of the big independent success stories of recent years.
While Valentino awaits the debut of its high-profile new creative director Alessandro Michele (formerly of Gucci), Givenchy is still looking for a lead designer since the departure of Matthew Williams last year.
This week will also see the final show by Belgian designer Dries Van Noten on Saturday.
Though not a household name, the 66-year-old is retiring as a favorite among serious fashion fans for his avant-garde styles and expert tailoring.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Burberry Axes CEO and Dividend, Warns on Profit

A person walks past a Burberry store undergoing refurbishment on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
A person walks past a Burberry store undergoing refurbishment on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
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Burberry Axes CEO and Dividend, Warns on Profit

A person walks past a Burberry store undergoing refurbishment on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
A person walks past a Burberry store undergoing refurbishment on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

British luxury group Burberry named former Michael Kors boss Joshua Schulman as its new chief executive on Monday, axing Jonathan Akeroyd after two years as it warned on profit and scrapped its dividend.
A slow down in the luxury sector has hit Burberry harder than rival brands, derailing the 168 year-old British name at a time when it had been trying to move upmarket, and triggering the latest change at the top of the company, Reuters said.
For the 13 weeks to June 29, underlying sales slumped 21% as the company said weakness in its market deepened. It warned that on current trends it would miss forecasts for annual profit and it would scrap this year's dividend to invest in growth.
Burberry has been in turnaround mode for sometime, and under a number of different bosses. Designer Riccardo Tisci exited in 2022 after less than five years. Akeroyd's predecessor left after four years.
"This is a kitchen sink exercise par excellence, and underscores the enormity of the challenge facing Burberry in a world where Chinese sales can no longer be taken for granted," Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG said.
Schulman was CEO of US brand Michael Kors from 2021-2022 and before that brand president at Coach.
While some higher end luxury brands like Hermes and Prada have proved to be more resilient, Burberry has struggled.
Shoppers in the United States and Europe have grown more cautious as the cost of living has risen, while appetite in China has been deflated by a property crisis and record youth unemployment.
Burberry said on Monday it would switch its offer back to be "more familiar" to its "core customers", with a marketing campaign for outerwear to launch in October. Its last collection departed from its classic camel, red and black check print in favor of bold colors.
It said it expected to see an improvement in its second half, and would also find cost savings.
Shares in Burberry have lost 57% of their value over the last 12 months, underpeforming Britain's bluechip index which is up 13%.