Welcome to Amanda Zips It Up and introducing The Dry Drinker

Welcome to mid-January. And well done for getting through the most miserable week of the year, including the loathed ‘Blue Monday’. 

Welcome to Amanda Zips It Up

January is all about new chapters, new starts, new resolutions. Some are trying Veganuary, Dry January and ‘No Spend January’. Good luck to you all!

As far as ‘Dry January’ is concerned, almost all of my friends started the month with this mindset, but many fell swiftly off the wagon. For those wanting to stay on board, here’s a fashionable “middle-ground” approach to cutting back on the booze during this depressing and cold month.

Handbag designer Anya Hindmarch has just opened a ‘no and low alcohol off licence’ in her retail ‘village’ in Belgravia.

Open from now until February 10, The Dry Drinker is modelled on an old fashioned offie, stocking over 40 brands of no and low alcohol alongside a selection of retro crisps and sweets. There are alcohol-free offerings from well-known brands alongside more boutique labels. The store’s design feels like a love letter to Britain’s old school off-licences, complete with hanging KP peanuts, baskets of Frazzles and neon card price tags. Look out for tasting notes, special offers and Anya’s picks dotted around too.

People want to wake up feeling good,” says Hindmarch, who no longer drinks in the week but enjoys weekend drinking. “I know that if I drink (during the week) it costs me the next day. I love it, it’s the most fun thing ever, but I don’t want to give away tomorrow” 

Hindmarch notes that there is often a lot of peer pressure to drink during the week in social situations, but the sober-curious DRY JANUARY movement is starting to change that, and the store has already received overwhelmingly positive feedback online. 

These things really can be beginnings of change for some.  Anyway – good luck sticking to your new year’s resolutions and let’s crack on with this week’s Amanda Zips It Up.

Exciting Food Trends & New Netflix Fixes for 2022

It’s a new year, and that means a whole new batch of food and drink crazes to get excited about. Plus, January is always the most miserable month of the year – the perfect time to hibernate and binge the latest NETFLIX offerings. I have assembled the 6 best shows you NEED to SEE.

Kicking off with food trends…

Umami paste

Pronounced “oo-maa-mee”, the ingredient is known as the fifth taste, after sweet, bitter, salty and sour, adding extra depth to broths, soups, stir-fries and any other everyday meal – plus it’s vegan.

Waitrose predicts umami to be one of the biggest food trends in 2022, reporting a 17 per cent increase in sales of their signature umami paste in comparison to 2019.

Adding a dash of umami is a simple way to add depth to a variety of dishes.One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that more people have started to cook from scratch at home, and the increased popularity of umami points to this. For years, it has been a well-kept secret in the restaurant trade.

Caribbean food

Caribbean and island food is set to be a big trend for 2022.

A recent popularity survey revealed that Caribbean food now ranks fifth behind the big four super-popular world foods (Chinese, Indian, Mexican and Thai food) in terms of how many UK people have tried it (nearly a third of respondents).

The company GRACE, for example, is Jamaica’s oldest food brand – celebrating its 100th birthday in 2022 – and is the world’s largest supplier of traditional Caribbean food and drink products.

Caribbean culture in general is having a moment right now, which is set to continue with Jamaica celebrating 60 years of independence this year – likely to be particularly well celebrated in the UK, US and Canada.

Gin-infused food

Yum, this sounds like my kind of foodie movement. It’s gin, but in your supper.

Hijingo, the multi-sensory bingo experience in London, have just added gin-infused food to their menu. Think Drunken Mushrooms, GinCured Duck Breast, Crab croquettes with a G&T blood orange gel.

CBD wine

Yep, it’s a thing! According to Ocado’s Trends of the Year report, wine infused with CBD is set to be one of 2022’s biggest food trends.

Researchers have predicted that the market for CBD could almost double over the next two years, as benefits for CBD infused foods and drinks ride the wave of popularity.

COVID-19 influenced the CBD uses that are currently trending – like stress relief and immunity-boosting.

Oat milk chocolate

As more and more shoppers search for plant-based products, this chocolate alternative has arrived on the scene.

We’re already seeing a rise in demand for oat milk chocolate, which combines an oat milk base with single-origin cocoa.

Look out for HiP vegan-friendly oat milk chocolate, Salted Caramel & Cookies No Cream and Salty Pretzel flavours which have been a real hit with shoppers and I expect this will be a growing trend moving into 2022.

 

Salad dressings are back

Classic salad dressings are officially fancy again!

Executive Chefs of acclaimed bars and restaurants say we should all be looking out for Caesar variations, green goddess, ranch, and more old favourites in 2022.

Bye-bye virgin olive oil, hello yummy old-school dressings

Chewable toothpaste

Great for cleaning teeth during the day when out and about, chewable toothpaste is the next big thing.

It has been hovering around over the last couple of years, Chewable Toothpaste is on the rise and we’ll see the first few options stocked on Ocado.com in 2022.

Allowing consumers to ‘ditch the tube’ and take care of the environment while providing the correct amount of toothpaste for every occasion, chewable toothpaste tablets are seen as a more convenient option than toothpaste, especially on-the-go.

The ‘Reduce’ trend

If you’re thinking of going plant-based but aren’t quite ready to give up meat, this is the food trend for you. In Whole Foods Market’s latest Trends report, ‘reducetarianism’ was dubbed a top trend to watch for 2022.

Between 2020 and 2021 sales of vegetarian food products increased by 156 per cent and vegan product sales jumped 150 per cent.

However, while plant-based meat alternatives are a growing market, there is a big demand for the highest quality meat, dairy and eggs because consumers are more aware of animal wellness and environmental concerns, so they’re focusing on quality over quantity.

Onto what to watch…

Some of the best Netflix shows are coming back with new seasons this year. Likewise, Netflix will also debut many interesting-looking new original series early in 2022.

Ozark season 4, part 1

As if anyone will pass up the opportunity to binge-watch the first seven episodes of Ozark season 4. If you’re not caught up on the Emmy-winning drama series, it’s time to get on board in time for the final season. Don’t skip what will be one of the biggest Netflix shows of the year when part 1 stars streaming on Jan 21.

The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window

Even though the title of Netflix’s new Kristen Bell series might be a little tedious, it’s all in good fun. Don’t let it steer you away from the eight-episode gripping dark comedy on Jan. 28. Bell stars in The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window as an avid wine drinker who believes she’s witnessed a murder.

After Life season 3

The final season of the Ricky Gervais’ dark comedy series After Life helps kick off January 2022 with some deep emotions. After Life season 3 leads a new ‘overall deal’ with Ricky Gervais and Netflix, which will see the actor and comedian developing various shows and specials. I binged Afterlife over the weekend and recommend plenty of Kleenex.

In from the Cold

This centres on a former Russian spy who gets exposed while also attempting to excel at being a single mother and taking on a major enemy. The thriller could be one of the next best new Netflix shows when it drops on Jan. 28.

All of Us are Dead

The end of the month is jam-packed with new Netflix shows, including this Korean drama series on Jan. 28. The teen drama series finds a group of high school students fighting their way through a zombie outbreak in their school. Korean dramas are so fashionable right now.

True Story

Stand-up comedian turned actor Kevin Hart shows his more dramatic side in this recently released mini-series, where he plays Philadelphia-born movie star Kid, a character not dissimilar from his real-world persona. At the start of the story, he’s on top of the world, performing a sell-out tour and celebrating the success of a billion-dollar blockbuster. However, things take a dark turn after a night out with his brother Carlton (Wesley Snipes), as a woman he goes home with dies in his hotel room from an overdose – a fact that both of them are keen to cover-up.

Genderless Fashion

It’s the fashion WOKE-walk! How Gen Z trendsetters are wearing oversized and shapeless clothes in a bid to look ‘genderless’ and are turning away from brands made specifically for one sex.

From Birkenstocks with tube socks to chunky trainers and baggy cargo pants, Gen Z trend-setters are opting for ‘deliberately genderless’ clothing to signpost their ‘woke’ ideals through fashion.

The latest A-list trend has seen celebs like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid embracing the world of baggy Hawaiian shirts, sleeveless knits, beanies and anoraks, to create a more relaxed, gender-fluid aesthetic.

The rise in oversized and shapeless garments is partially attributable to the younger generation not wanting to be associated with brands who make clothes specifically for ‘men or women’, voting with their wallets in the direction of non-binary fashion.

Little Mix singer Jade Thirlwall was seen embracing the aesthetic, strolling through London wearing a blue knitted sweater vest and blue baggy shirt in September. Right: Presenter Stacey Dooley’s favoured aesthetic is baggy jeans and oversized shirts or jumpers

We are seeing far more gender-fluid clothing in the stores, with many designers and brands producing collections that are deliberately genderless. This has filtered down onto the high street. We have seen the “Fugly Trainer”, oversized shirts and tailoring, sleeveless knits (or tank tops as we used to call them), beanies, raincoats and similar dad-inspired pieces worn by the savviest of fashionistas.

Kendall Jenner has proved a fan of the sweater vest, donning a monochrome sleeveless knit (left) and striped vintage inspired jumper (right) while strolling through New York in recent months

Following intermittent lockdowns throughout the past two years, during which loungewear or lycra was the order of the day and every day felt like Groundhog Day, fashion is enjoying a new lease of life. Micro trends are popping up all over the high street and gathering unparalleled momentum thanks to social media platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat.

The younger generation in particular, are keen to have their clothing cake and eat it. There’s a sense of ‘rules schmules’ in the air as consumers express their newfound freedom by wearing whatever they please. While similar fashion trends emerged in the 90s, this time around there feels to be more ‘substance’ and philosophy behind the aesthetic, with young shoppers keen to make a point with their look.

I’m loving it.

Welcome to 2022

Welcome to my first Zips It Up edition of 2022.  I hope you all had a wonderful festive spell.

Sat on the steps of Carrie’s House in the West Village – being the ultimate Sex & The City fan.

In the run-up to Christmas, I experienced problems with my Vlog being taken down by Facebook – perhaps something to do with FB incorrectly believing that I was doing ‘paid promotion’.  Nonetheless, I shall try again, but keep the videos brief to begin with – please bear with me. 

The plan is to move the Vlog to Insta and YouTube – watch this space. In the meantime, I would encourage you to subscribe, to receive my weekly updates via email. You can do it here:

The Brooklyn Bridge

Having had a few weeks off to recharge the batteries and enjoy a revitalising holiday in New York City, I’m ready to bring you all the latest fashion news and gossip over the coming weeks and months. As you can see, first stop was “Carrie’s apartment” building on Perry Street in the West Village. If you’re a Sex & The City fan like me, you’ll appreciate why this was an important NYC landmark to visit. I sat on Carrie’s infamous steps graced by many a pair of Monolo Blahniks and Patricia Field. Interestingly, Sarah Jessica Parker actually lives just one street further along – on Charles Street – so I was really sensing the SATC fashion vibe.

I know that some of you are doing Dry January, which for some continues thereafter for an extended further sober few months, or alternatively cuts-off by February 1st.  If you’re in the latter category, by that point you’ll be desperate for a big night out, and I’ve found the perfect hangover cure. ASPARAGUS.

Yes, the amino acids and minerals found in asparagus alleviate alcohol hangovers and protect the liver cells against toxins and any long-term damage. So, before you head out to the pub, rustle up a plate of Asparagus – I like to steam mine – and fingers crossed, you won’t be throwing them up later in the evening. Your pee may be radioactive yellow though.

This January, I am back to intermittent fasting, which I find to be the best diet for my lifestyle. I’m not eating anything before midday or after 6pm. That gives the body 18 hours to fast and renew. I’ve stocked up on black coffee, water and apple cider vinegar for those hungry tired moments. If you haven’t tried the fasting method, give it a go. If I’m really strict, I’ll cut out carbs, sugar and alcohol too but I do love a glass of Malbec now and again and life is too short to deny yourself all of the simple pleasures in life. 

As for NYC exercise, we walked 60,000 steps traversing Manhattan and Brooklyn – that’s 30 miles and that has definitely got the ball rolling for me. I’m back to walking around Hampstead Heath every day and having received new Air pods for Christmas, I have just updated my Spotify playlist with old school 90s Hip Hop, which really gets me going. As well as listening to Mi-Soul Radio, obviously. 

So, whatever you’re doing this month, I hope it kick starts a brand-new year with healthy gains, positivity and plenty of motivation. Let’s start as we mean to go on. 

New York Fashion

So, we landed in New York on New Year’s Day and although it was pouring with rain as we exited the airport, NYC was unseasonably warm. When we woke up the following day, it was close to 16 degrees, which was confusing as I had packed masses of layers to combat the usual East Coast bitter winter conditions We were literally sweating whilst traipsing the streets of the Big Apple.

Bizarrely, overnight that night, temperatures dropped by almost 20 degrees to minus 7 so we well and truly had to “bundle up” for the remainder of the trip. It was blue skies and sunshine with a piercing wind chill that felt more like –17. Beautiful, but soooo cold!

I love winter fashion, and walking many miles across the NYC was the perfect opportunity to check out what the native New Yorkers were wearing in this uber cool metropolis. It seemed like there was a standard unisex look worn by all, and these are the basic elements.

The Hoodie

Obviously, this is a must-have that everyone owns. In wintertime, you must wear the hood up over a beanie. Combined with sunglasses and the face mask, you can hide away from the world in this disguise. These are the best hoodie brands in NYC:

  • Off white
  • Supreme
  • Balenciaga
  • Stussy
  • Palace skateboards
  • Champion
  • Stone Island
  • Patagonia

The North Face Puffa coat

EVERYONE wore a North Face puffa, either in Jacket length or three-quarter length. And black was the colour, worn over the hoodie.

SJP in the staple NYC winter uniform

The Woollen Balaclava

Balaclavas are pretty sinister in general – think bank robber – but they were in every shop window, in multiple colours and frequently branded with the infamous NY logo. I was tempted, but a balaclava might look incongruous in the pleasant surroundings of leafy Hampstead. The brighter woolly patterned ones are quite stylish though.

The Neon Beanie

Everyone wore a beanie – even the NYPD. The cops looked super cool in their neon green beanies, but I also saw, yellow, pink and turquoise. They’re so cheap and sold on every street corner, along with hotdogs.

Nike Air Jordans

You couldn’t walk more than one block without seeing at least 10 people wearing Air Jordans. The more colourful the better. They are the staple uniform of all coastal Americans.

Golden Goose Sneakers

I saw these in the shop windows of Intermix, 7 for all of mankind and Rag & Bone – both famous NY boutiques and brands. Of course, you see these everywhere in Europe too, mostly on wealthier middle-aged mums checking in for their flights home from Ibiza or Mallorca. Super expensive, considering they are designed to ‘look battered and worn’. I like the star logo but I’m not keen on the shape.

Mittens

So cute and so warm. Quilted and patterned with traditional snow flake designs, they’re a big hit with fashion conscious New York girls. We bought Phoebe a pair.

When I looked them up, they were everywhere on the catwalk at A/W NY Fashion Week. The only problem is, you can’t use your phone. Or maybe that’s a good thing!

The Furry Bucket Hat

These are EVERYWHERE! From teens to middle aged native New Yorkers – EVERYONE. The best place to find them was at URBAN OUTFITTERS. They must be brightly colours, patterned and super fluffy.

Think I still have a pink Kangol fluffy bucket hat from the 90s somewhere.

2022 Upcoming Trends

Fashion

2022 is all about the “anything-goes mood of now.” In other words, you can be as wild and adventurous as you like. Or as basic as you want to be. Tik Tok will set the trends and only the coolest Depop sellers will provide the clobber.

2022 Colours to look out for: Bold brights are here to stay, as we continue to embrace fantasy fashion and experiment with eccentric colours and unique prints.

Platforms for All

From platform sandals to platform UGGS to stacked shoes for men.

Rubber Shoes

Cartoon style puddle boots are making a splash in the world of fashion. Brightly coloured and chunky, but ugly as hell.

Y2K

The year 2000 has come full circle, with diamanté bikinis, bras and knickers worn under blazers – think underwear as outerwear – remember Posh?

Micro minis are back – unfortunately. High wasted denim is out and low-slung denim is back. Tops are cropped to reveal that midriff. Nightmare.

Beauty & Fitness

Guys, you have to opt for the lockdown-inspired buzz cut, with a 2022 twist. Add neon colour – neon greens, pinks and yellows. Imagine your head being attacked by a highlighter pen.

Stick-on Makeup

This year’s make-up will be playful, with stickers, tattoo transfers and face gems. Press-on nails and nail stickers plus eyeliner stickers will be popular.

The ‘Wolf Cut’

As seen on Billie Eilish and Miley Cyrus, this hairstyle is a wild mash-up of shaggy waves and the classic mullet. Tik Tok have clocked up 108 million ‘Wolf Cut’ views. Ask for lots of volume up top that tapers towards the ends.

Food & Drink

Robots could be used to cook your eggs at the hotel or flip burgers at fast food joints, as we find a sci-fi solution to staff shortages.

Erotic Eating

With more of us cooking at home, supermarkets are focusing on touch, indulgence and boosting libido. US food company Pearl Butter is behind ORGASM – a cocoa butter spread offering the ultimate sensual experience, including the ingredient ‘horny goat weed. Also, Fude, an Instagram platform created by chef Charlie Max, combines cookery with Nudity. That’s got to be worth a watch.

Pizza Vending Machines

Alongside snacks and drinks, these US machines offer everything from mini bottles of champagne to butcher-cut raw meat. 

Pizza vending machines are already popular in the US. They can cook 10-inch pizzas in brick ovens. There is one such vending machine outside a pub called The Rebellion in West Sussex where you simply select your choice of toppings and voila – five minutes later, it’s ready – all for £8.95.

.. a word from Amanda & more Xmas gift ideas…

Welcome to December.

It’s freezing, everyone is panicking about another ‘new variant’ and an unsettled Christmas period is fast approaching. What’s new then…

But fear not, I’m here to keep you calm and collected with this week’s instalment of fashion and lifestyle, to reduce the stress of it all, for ten blissful minutes (depending on your reading speed!)

Here are two fantastic gift ideas for you…

Starting with this beautiful, magical gift for you, or that special spiritual person in your life, designed by the talented Hayley Marie Hoy.

This is the Rose Quartz Crystal Flower Moon, called Self-love Reflection.

It’s created to “soothe and cleanse the heart chakra, allowing vibrational love to flow without fear”. 

Crystals have been used in cultures all over the world for thousands of years. Their uses have included healing, meditation, protection, and creative inspiration.

The promotional material reads: “You’ll take on the soft, peaceful, soothing energies of the crystal as you sleep. This will result in your dream being calm, peaceful, and loving, emitting a positive vibration of love.”

The crystal is suitable for home, beauty salons, spa massage, office space or on a special altar or sacred space. A suggested place to keep the piece is above the bed, to encourage gentle dreams.

Bespoke, handmade crystal flower crescent moon mirrors.

Crystals, natural dried flowers, silver leaf.

Comes with incense to clear and cleanse the space before placing.

Contact Hayley Marie Hoy on FACEBOOK or myself and I’ll send you further details.

Lady of The House Book £35.00

Introducing the first ever coffee table-style book championing and celebrating the inspirational women in Dance music. I’m featured too, discussing my time as a vocalist with Angelic in the early 00s.

“Lady of the House” by Laila McKenzie and Ian ‘Snowy’ Snowball is a hardback coffee table style book containing beautiful images and interviews with women who have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the dance music scene. It’s the perfect Christmas present.

150+ inspirational women’s stories detail the part they have played in Dance music past, present and future, including:

Candi Staton, Barbara Tucker, Sam Divine, Nina Kraviz, Charlotte de Witte, Maya Jane Coles, DJ Maxinne, Lynn Cosgrave, Rowetta, Ellen Allien, Nicky Trax, Janet Bell, Julie McKnight, Kathy Brown, Anja Schneider, Black Girl/White Girl, Ultra Naté, Jocelyn Brown, Arielle Free, Rochelle Fleming, DJ Paulette, Gladys Pizarro, Abigail Adams, Anne Savage, DJ Rap, Kym Sims, Lisa Loud and Kym Mazelle.

The book is endorsed by Lakota Nightclub, Focusrite, Defected Records, Tank Nightclub, Switch Southampton, Orange Rooms, Halo Bournemouth, Bristol Beacon, Mas Vida, Resident Advisor & Insanity Group, so comes with heavyweight props.

www.ladyofthehouse.co.uk

The Fashion Awards 2021 (& ideas for your Xmas party)

It’s London’s answer to the Met Gala and attracts one of the best red carpet line-ups the UK sees all year: we’re talking about the British Fashion Council’s Fashion Awards 2021.

Iris Law
Winnie Harlow

This year presented by TikTok, guests arrived on the steps of the Royal Albert Hall and braced the two degree temperature in truly spectacular style. The VIPs were then seated for a ceremony full of speeches, performances and some unexpected surprises all hosted by Billy Porter who turned up on the red carpet flanked by a troupe of performative dancers.

Billy Porter
Maya Jama
Alexa Chung

Idris Elba opened proceedings with a tribute to the late designer Virgil Abloh who passed away on Sunday after a private two-year battle with cancer. The actor said that “the fashion industry lost an icon and the world lost a legend”.

Kylie
Demi Moore

Kylie Minogue performed wearing a Richard Quinn catsuit as did Charli XCX this time in Tommy Hilfiger.

Priyanka & Nick Jonas

On the carpet, momager extraordinaire Kris Jenner made an entrance wrapped in a Tommy Hilfiger logo cape alongside the designer himself, his wife Dee Ocleppo and Jenner’s boyfriend Korey Gamble. Dua Lipa looked sleek in a black, strapless gown by Maximilian Davis, while Priyanka Chopra Jonas posed up a storm with husband Nick Jonas in a Richard Quinn one-piece with a dramatic cape.

Kris Jenner & Tommy Hillfiger plus partners

Models Lila Moss and Stella Jones both wore Burberry and tennis player Maria Sharapova took recycling to the next level wearing an Iris van Herpen dress crafted from evian bottles.

Edward Enninful & Anna Wintour

Tommy Hilfiger took home the Outstanding Achievement Award for his contributions to the global fashion industry, while Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele was awarded the Trailblazer Award for his positioning of the brand at the intersection of culture, art, music and film

DJ Fat Tony
James McAvoy

The winner of the coveted Designer of the Year award was Kim Jones, creative director of Dior Men and Fendi.

As far as taking inspo from the red carpet for your Christmas party this year – it’s all about the velvet Tuxedo dinner jacket for men and full on ball gowns, maxi evening dresses, thigh length boots and long classic gloves.

Full Fashion Awards 2021 winners list:

Isabella Blow Award:

Ib Kamara

Trailblazer Award:

Alessandro Michele

BFC Foundation Award:

Nensi Dojaka

Leaders of Change, Creativity:

Virgil Abloh

Alessandro Michele

Demna Gvasalia

Kim Jones

Jonathan Anderson

Special Recognition Award:

Dylan Jones

Leaders of Change, Environment:

Bethany Williams

Gabriela Hearst

Phoebe English

Priya Ahluwalia

Stella McCartney

Designer of the Year:

Kim Jones

Leaders of Change, People:

Edward Enninful

Harris Reed

Kenya Hunt

Samuel Ross

Telfar Clemens

Outstanding Achievement Award:

Tommy Hilfiger

Marcus Rashford & Burberry Help UK Children To Read

A year on from his first youth charity partnership with Burberry, England international footballer Marcus Rashford MBE returns for a rematch, as he and the British luxury fashion house announce the second phase of their partnership, to provide support for organisations in the UK committed to helping disadvantaged children develop their literacy skills.

Burberry will provide funding in the UK, Asia and America to transform school libraries and donate books, ensuring underprivileged children have access to safe environments and resources to develop their potential. “Far too many children do not currently have access to books, typically because of financial restraints…These children need the escapism of reading more than most, and access to books should not be restricted by the area you grow up in,” Rashford said in a statement.

Research has found that one in four schools in England’s most disadvantaged communities do not have a library, compared to one in eight nationally. Burberry and Rashford have set out to change that, by funding a transformation of library spaces in 10 schools most in need across Manchester, Yorkshire and London, positively impacting the lives of over 3,500 children.

All 10 schools will take part in the Marcus Rashford Book Club, a programme created by Marcus Rashford MBE and Macmillan Children’s Books to encourage and nurture a love of reading in children. The schools will also receive a donation of 8,000 diverse books, curated by by the National Literacy Trust and provided by Macmillan Children’s Books, enabling children to benefit from further teaching materials, a variety of literature and activities.

“Coming out of the pandemic, there was a huge need for safe spaces – a space where children could come and just breathe; process their feelings,” continues Rashford. “I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved here, building upon the work of the Marcus Rashford Book Club and I hope children will feel the benefit of these spaces for years to come.”

Death Of Fashion Giant Virgil Abloh

Sad news this week, Fashion designer Virgil Abloh has died after suffering from cancer, it has been announced.

The 41-year-old, who was the creative director for Louis Vuitton and Off-White, had cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare, aggressive form of the disease, according to an announcement on his official Instagram page.

“We are devastated to announce the passing of our beloved Virgil Abloh,” it said. “He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture”.

Abloh redefined the image of the modern fashion designer, adding DJ, artist and furniture designer to his creative CV. After training as an architect, he started designing clothes in 2012. 

Collaborating with everyone from Nike to Ikea, Perrier and Mercedes-Benz, Abloh took fashion into arenas where it had not gone before, crossing over with other fields. The fashion purists were not amused he once said, “When I was showing in fashion week, people were saying, ‘That’s not fashion.’” In 2013 he founded his own label, Off-White, and was appointed head of menswear design at Louis Vuitton in 2018. He was the first black designer at Vuitton and the most visible black designer in fashion.

Abloh was also a hugely visible figure in rap, designing the album covers for Kanye West and Jay-Z’s joint album Watch the Throne, as well as Kayne’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ among others. He worked closely with West before becoming a fashion designer. In an interview, the rapper had said of Abloh: “I have all these ideas and Virgil is able to architect them because he is an actual architect.”

Gigi Hadid, Hailey Bieber and Justin Timberlake were among the stars paying tribute to the “once-in-a-generation creative mind”.

Supermodel Hadid shared a string of photos of them together and wrote: “I am heartbroken by the loss of my dear friend, and a friend to the world, Virgil Abloh. He was 1 of 1 … You will continue to inspire me every day, V. I feel blessed and honoured by every moment.”

Timberlake wrote: “What can you say when a force like Virgil Abloh is taken too soon?
You gave the world so much, in so little time. And created with intensity … knowing better than the rest of us that life is short, but anything is possible. I’m honoured to have known you. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.”

Hailey Bieber shared photos of herself with Abloh in the wedding dress he designed for her wedding to Justin Bieber. “He was someone who always brought life, charisma, love and fun to any situation, and every room he walked into. A once-in-a-generation creative mind that is so rare and I’ll never forget his impact. We love you, Virgil.”

British Vogue editor Edward Enninful called Abloh “a giant among men”.
He wrote: “Virgil Abloh changed the fashion industry. Famously prolific, he always worked for a greater cause than his own illustrious career: to open the door to art and fashion for future generations, so that they – unlike himself – would grow up in a creative world with people to mirror themselves in.”

Bernard Arnault, chief executive of LVMH, owner of both Off-White and Louis Vuitton, said “Virgil was not only a genius designer – a visionary – he was also a man with a beautiful soul and a great wisdom.”

He leaves behind wife Shannon and his children Lowe and Grey.