Balenciaga’s Beats, Tommy’s New Face, Dior Taps Quenard – WWD

LET THE MUSIC PLAY: Where there is new music, there is often merch — including chez Balenciaga.

Widening its Balenciaga Music project beyond playlists, the French brand has commissioned an exclusive track that’s only available via a near-field communication or NFC chip embedded into the tag of limited-edition T-shirts and hoodies. (The chip can be scanned with a smartphone to access the content.)

“Patterns,” a new 8.5-minute track from English band Archive commissioned by Balenciaga, launched Monday. The associated clothes bear a minimalist A graphic on the front and, on the back, a list of Archive’s full discography. The group has released 12 studio albums spanning a variety of genres, including electronic, trip-hop, post-rock and progressive rock.

According to Balenciaga, Archive has never collaborated with a fashion brand, and the Paris-based fashion house has never premiered music via a product.

A T-shirt from the Balenciaga Music | Archive line of merch.

Courtesy of Balenciaga

In tandem with the release comes a seven-hour playlist selected by Archive, and meant to be played on shuffle rather than a specific order. It can be found on Balenciaga’s website under a new music tab that links to multiple streaming services. There are tracks from the likes of Blur, Joy Division, Jane’s Addiction, Marvin Gaye, The Orb, Moderat and Missy Elliott.

According to Darius Keeler, a founding member of Archive, Balenciaga shares its yen for “individuality and innovation.”

Demna, Balenciaga’s artistic director, characterized music as a “big part of my life and an integral part of Balenciaga’s culture.”

He added that Balenciaga Music was created in 2020 to “share my favorite musical artists and their personal tastes and influences. We have now expanded this project to give a more personal and complete music experience with exclusive content and interactive technology.”

Balenciaga previously released playlists compiled by Demna, Rammstein, RuPaul, Aya Nakamura, Acid Arab, Pink Martini and Jay-Jay Johanson, usually in tandem with merch. — MILES SOCHA

A FORMULA 1 FACE: Tommy Hilfiger has a new brand ambassador.

The American fashion designer has named British actor Damson Idris as its new menswear brand ambassador. The actor was appointed to the role during this past weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix, where he attended alongside Hilfiger himself. 

Damson Idris

Damson Idris

Jocko Graves

“Tommy Hilfiger is a true gentleman and icon of American fashion,” Idris said. “Our passion for motorsport is mirrored in our attitude to style. I believe by working together in the space between fashion and entertainment we can set a new standard in contemporary partnerships, creating iconic moments on the track and beyond.” 

Idris is filming the upcoming untitled Formula 1 film, which is being directed by Joseph Kosinski and stars Brad Pitt. Hilfiger is sponsoring the film, with one of the cars in it said to feature the designer’s logo prominently.

“Formula 1 and a partnership with a rising star of Hollywood — we’ve been living in the fast lane this weekend,” Hilfiger said. “I’ve always been inspired by pop culture and driven by the boundless opportunities of merging fashion and entertainment. Damson Idris is an icon of today and tomorrow, and we are thrilled to hit the accelerator on this partnership.” 

With a long heritage in motorsports, the new brand ambassador is a fitting choice for Hilfiger. The designer and his brand were one of the first to partner with Formula 1, working closely with racer Lewis Hamilton over the years on collaborations, campaigns and other initiatives. 

Hilfiger furthered his partnership with F1 last year by signing on another brand ambassador from the space, driver George Russell. 

Idris joins a lengthy roster of Hilfiger brand ambassadors, which has included celebrities such as Gigi Hadid, Zendaya, Shawn Mendes and others. — LAYLA ILCHI

GOING FOR GOLD: French actor Raphaël Quenard has joined the ranks of Dior’s menswear brand ambassadors.

A rising star, Quenard is one of the 32 names shortlisted for the best newcomer award at the Césars, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, for his role in “Chien de la casse” (“Junkyard Dog”). International audiences can see him in the Netflix movie “Gold Brick,” the story of a disgruntled factory worker who runs a scam to get back at his incompetent bosses.

Raphaël Quenard

Raphaël Quenard

Thomas Chéné/Courtesy of Dior

Emma Benestan, who directed him in “Fragile,” has compared Quenard to Jim Carrey for his unbridled energy. Known for his unusual nasal diction, the 32-year-old actor tracked down directors at screenings and industry events to lobby for roles, after initially gaining a degree in chemistry and then briefly working as a parliamentary assistant.

“He will embody the spirit and singularity of the house’s allure — reinvented each season by artistic director Kim Jones — modernity with a timeless signature, more than ever placed under the sign of audacity and creativity,” Dior said in a statement.

Speaking on French radio France Inter recently, Quenard said his main motivation in life was “panache,” echoing a line he contributed to the script of “Gold Brick.”

“To me, panache is the most beautiful thing there is because we would give everything for a sliver of a dream, a sprinkling of stardust, and that small thing, that little moment of grace, suspended in time, that holds us in thrall — that’s really something I would be ready to pay a lot of money for,” he said.

Quenard joins a men’s roster at Dior that includes actor Robert Pattinson, K-pop star Jimin of boy band BTS, footballer Kilian Mbappé and Monaco businessman Pierre Casiraghi, the grandson of Grace Kelly. — JOELLE DIDERICH

SIX FROM MESSI: Sotheby’s is gearing up for its latest high-profile sports auction.

The auction house will be selling soccer champion Lionel Messi’s 2022 FIFA World Cup jerseys during a dedicated sale that runs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 14. Sotheby’s is auctioning six of Messi’s Argentina home jerseys, which are expected to sell for more than $10 million. 

“The 2022 FIFA World Cup stands as one of the greatest events in sports history, intrinsically connected to Messi’s valiant journey and firmly establishing his status as the greatest player of all time,” said Sotheby’s head of modern collectibles Brahm Wachter. “The sale of these six shirts stands as a monumental occasion in auction history, offering fans and collectors a connection to Messi’s crowning achievement. It is an honor for Sotheby’s to present and exhibit these invaluable collectables to the public, which encapsulate the sheer brilliance of a player who has redefined the boundaries of football excellence.” 

The six jerseys are from Argentina’s key group stage matches, round of 16 game, quarterfinal game, semi-final game and the final match, which Argentina won against France. 

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

Courtesy of Sam Robles

The expected auction price makes the collection Sotheby’s most valuable in the sports memorabilia category. Sotheby’s record for game-worn sports memorabilia is Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals jersey, which sold in 2022 for $10.1 million. 

Sotheby’s is working with U.S.-based tech start-up AC Momento for the auction. The company partners with high-profile athletes to manage their game-worn sports memorabilia collections.

A portion of the sale from Messi’s jerseys will benefit UNICAS Project, which is a program led by the Sant Joan de Déu Barcelona Children’s Hospital that provides aid to children battling rare diseases. The Leo Messi Foundation has previously worked with the program. 

The auction comes after Sotheby’s announced last week that the auction house is the official source for game-worn NBA sports memorabilia, kicking off the partnership with an auction of more than 60 NBA jerseys. 

Sotheby’s has long held a presence in the sports memorabilia category, regularly hosting auctions of rare game-worn items from top players like LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain, Diego Maradona and others across sports like basketball, soccer, hockey and more. 

Messi’s Argentina World Cup jerseys will also be on display for the public at Sotheby’s New York headquarters through the duration of the auction. – L.I.

TIME CAPSULE: Jeweler Fred is the first brand to get a dedicated capsule with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s platform for archival and historical pieces Heristoria.

The “A Touch of Fred” capsule will be on available at the jeweler’s Paris flagship store on Rue de la Paix starting Thursday, and on the Heristoria website from Friday.

Fred Heristoria Mouvementée Ring

Fred’s “Mouvementée” ring from 1998.

Florent Tanet/Courtesy of Heristoria

Choosing Fred for this first single-house capsule was a nod to the jeweler becoming the first house to link up with the archive platform and “enables us to illuminate moments of happiness past, present and future” by sharing items from its archives, said Heristoria chief executive officer Gérosine Henriot.

Highlights of the 15-piece selection are designs from the famed Force 10 line; a golf-themed silk scarf, nodding to the unique amateur competition initiated by Fred Samuel’s eldest son Henri Samuel in 1981, and two designs from 1998, a diamond-studded “Mouvementée” gold ring and a geometric pearl, sapphire and diamond “Inca” bracelet.

Prices will range from 170 euros for the scarf to 20,000 euros for the Inca bracelet.

Designs such as a 1970s necklace with a sculptural mouth from a collaboration with French artist Miroslav Brozek and a “Concorde” brooch nodding to the supersonic plane imagined by sculptor Roger Bezombes were included in previous Heristoria chapters.

Meanwhile, Fred is doubling down on its history with a second showing of its “Fred, Jeweler Creator since 1936” retrospective. After Paris in 2022, the exhibition is on at Seoul’s Alt.1 Hyundai art gallery until Dec. 25, with 300 jewels and objects, as well as more than 200 archival documents, including loans from private collections.

While the next brand-centric capsule is still under wraps, Heristoria’s fourth chapter, under the theme “The Art of Gifting,” will drop at London’s Cadogan Hotel from Nov. 29. — LILY TEMPLETON

ON THE SHOP FLOOR: For the holidays, Canada Goose‘s 15-member executive leadership team will take on new roles as retail brand ambassadors across its global fleet of stores in North America, Europe and Asia. The purpose of the initiative is twofold: To connect with customers and teams and to unlock opportunity in its growing retail network.

Starting on Black Friday, each leader will take on a specific role that aligns to the brand’s approach to guest experience, called Canadian Warmth. It’s an 11-step journey that Canada Goose describes as “warmth in every interaction, expertise behind every recommendation.”

Among the leadership team are Canada Goose chief executive officer, chief financial officer, president, chief marketing and experience officer, chief digital officer, chief human resources officer, general counsel, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development and regional presidents.

The team will greet guests, give store tours, consult on product and manage check out. They will staff the floor, work back-of-house, get an insider’s perspective into the daily functions of a retail store and engage in a friendly sales competition.

The leadership team will be going to stores in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia.

Canada Goose’s leadership team will be going to stores in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia.

Arash Moallemi, courtesy of Canada Goose.

Learnings and corresponding actions from the program will be shared and will focus on four areas of impact: Canadian Warmth, visual merchandising, retail operations and talent rewards and recognition.

“Canada Goose has never been a conventional brand, story, experience or place to work,” said Carrie Baker, the brand’s president. “This initiative is an example of that, as we continue to set the bar for improving the in-store retail experience and achieving growth.”

Canada Goose has had some challenges lately with forecasts for a warm winter and concerns over its business in China. The company expects direct-to-consumer to account for about 70 percent of its top line for the year overall, as reported this month

At present, Canada Goose has 62 stores. Executives will be working throughout this week, as well as the next two weeks, at stores in Canada; the U.S.; Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Asia. — LISA LOCKWOOD

NEW IN CHENGDU: Misbhv, the Warsaw- and Paris-based designer fashion brand, recently launched its first flagship in Chengdu, China’s southwestern hub known for its spicy cuisine and vibrant subculture scene.

The Misbhv flagship is operated by ENG, Misbhv’s Greater China exclusive retail partner since 2022 and a popular designer fashion retail concept with stores in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Beijing and, most recently, Chengdu.

The shop, which neighbors an ENG store, is located in the former Golden Autumn Tea House on Citang Street, an ancient street revitalized as a downtown commercial hub.

The 3,700-square-foot flagship includes an outdoor club and exhibition area, a café and a VIP room.

Designed by local design firm Atmosphere, the store offers a minimally futuristic atmosphere created by its steel grid system, or as the brand calls it, “a post-apocalyptic city space.” Dark walnut walls and wooden display units act as accents and echo the building’s storied past.

Inside Misbhv’s Chengdu flagship.

“Chengdu, just like Misbhv, likes to operate slightly off the radar,” Misbhv creative director Tomek Wirski told WWD. “It’s the third major Chinese city for retail, has a thriving music scene with one of our favorite clubs in the world, great architecture, and ties to Taoism, which for me is particularly important,” Wirski added.

Mulli Li, executive director for Misbhv in Greater China; Natalia Maczek, founder of Misbhv; ENG founder Sherry Huang, and Tomek Wirski, Misbhv creative director, at the Chengdu flagship opening.

“Our new Tmall store, which was just launched this year, has also achieved impressive results on Singles’ Day,” said Mulli Li, executive director for Misbhv in the Greater China area.

“The next step is to integrate the brand deeper into the Chinese community, trying to express Misbhv’s understanding of Chinese culture through targeted initiatives and creating ways for the brand to have a meaningful dialog between the European and Chinese communities,” Li added. — DENNI HU

A NEW CHAPTER: There will be novelty a-plenty in the next edition of A Magazine Curated By, the annual publication guest-edited by fashion designers.

Issue 26, slated to come out in December, will be curated by Vietnamese American designer Peter Do, who is currently designing his own brand as well as Helmut Lang.

Contributors to the 200-page volume exploring the idea of home — from Do’s childhood in Biên Hòa, Vietnam, to his life in New York City — will include poet and writer Ocean Vuong, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Viet Thanh Nguyen and Oscar nominee and cult director Trần Anh Hùng.

An image from

An image from “Home,” by Van Nhi Nguyen and Peter Do from the 26th issue of A Magazine Curated By.

Van Nhi Nguyen/Courtesy of A Magazine Curated By

It will also be the inaugural edition for editor in chief Blake Abbie, who was appointed to the role last summer after serving as the publication’s editor at large for a decade, taking over from Dan Thawley, who exited after a 14-year tenure.

In his new role, Abbie’s focus going forward is “being more present, a little bit more disruptive in a certain way, a little bit more surprising and exciting” as the magazine gears up for its 20th anniversary in 2024, the half-Chinese and half-Scottish New York-based Canadian editor told WWD.

“I don’t think of A Magazine Curated By as a fashion magazine [but as] a cultural magazine,” he said. “This is a place where we can really celebrate the industry and what drives [it] is creativity. We engage in the evolution of what fashion is.”

Among his main priorities are expanding the magazine’s social platforms and extending its partnerships to a more regular schedule. In particular, he intends for the publication’s sister projects, which include the “Curated For” subset dedicated to brand partnerships, to be “more agile and on the ground,” he said.

Broadening the publication’s geographical presence is also on the cards, with North America and Asia, in particular its strongly emerging Southeastern area, he said. Also in focus are China, where he spends a significant amount of time, and Japan, “an incredibly supportive market over the years.”

Abbie has worked for titles including Industrie, System and Document Journal, and was part of the ensemble cast of the reality show “Bling Empire: New York,” chronicling the lavish lives of the city’s wealthy Asian fashion set.

In addition to his duties at A Magazine Curated By, he is launching the Tong creative studio, whose first project is “168,” a youth-led zine project supported by the Chinatown Storytelling Center and re:Naissance Opera in Vancouver aiming at engaging young people back into the community. – L.T.

HATS OFF: A hat worn by Napoleon Bonaparte during his time as emperor of France sold on Sunday for a record 1.93 million euros, or $2.1 million, at an auction in Fontainebleau, just south of Paris.

The bicorne, or two-cornered hat, was initially estimated between 600,000 to 800,000 euros. It is one of the 20 authenticated hats worn by Napoleon out of the 120 he was estimated to own during his reign.

The sale surpassed the 1.88 million euros reached for another one of his hats worn during the Battle of Marengo in 1800. That hat had been put up for sale by the royal family of Monaco, and went to a South Korean buyer in 2014.

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 19: The bicorne black beaver hat belonging to Napoleon Bonaparte when he ruled the French empire in the 19th century, is seen during the auction sale in Paris, France on November 19, 2023. The hat has been sold for 1.9m at auction. (Photo by Mohamad Salaheldin Abdelg Alsayed/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The bicorne black beaver hat on auction belonging to Napoleon Bonaparte.

Anadolu via Getty Images

The hat was in traditional black felt, with a ribbon of the French flag’s bleu, blanc, rouge. The hat was created by the house of Poupard in Paris’ Palais-Royal, which became Poupard & Delaunay in 1811. Regulations at the time stipulated that 12 hats must be available to Napoleon at all times.

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 19: Belongings of the Napoleon Bonaparte when he ruled the French empire in the 19th century, is seen during the auction sale in Paris, France on November 19, 2023. (Photo by Mohamad Salaheldin Abdelg Alsayed/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Nightshirt belonging to Napoleon Bonaparte seen during the auction sale.

Anadolu via Getty Images

The hat was part of a lot that included a white chambray nightshirt embroidered with the initial “N” and topped with the imperial crown, a pair of cream-colored leather gloves embroidered with “N” and decoration of laurel branches, and a handkerchief, as well as a dinner plate used during the battle of Waterloo. A vanity case that included a silver toothbrush, razor and scissors went for 60,000 euros.

Napoleon’s unconventional placement of the hat became his signature style. He wore the hat sideways so that the two corners were aligned with his shoulders, making a more distinguishable silhouette on the battlefield, whereas officers wore the hat facing forward as intended.

The headgear was last owned by French businessman Jean-Louis Noisiez, founder of location management and logistics company GSF Groupe, who died last year. The auction house said the hat had been held by Col. Pierre Baillon, a quartermaster under Napoleon, and had been on display at the Musée de l’Empéri in Provence from 1967 to 2002 before it made its way to Noisiez’s collection.

The auction house Osenat declined to disclose information about the buyer.

Napoleonic style is getting screen time with Ridley Scott’s biopic “Napoleon” film starring Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby, which will be released in theaters Wednesday and then available on AppleTV+. — RHONDA RICHFORD

KNIT TYCOON: Kimbee Chan, a rare Hermès bag collector-turned-knitting enthusiast and wife of the billionaire property tycoon Joseph Lau, is taking a step further in her creative pursuit with Happy Yarn, a crochet workshop in Causeway Bay that has become a trendy hangout spot for Hong Kong’s who’s who and their kids this fall.

Kimbee Chan Hoi-wan, chief executive officer of Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd.

Kimbee Chan Hoi-wan, chief executive officer of Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd.

VCG via Getty Images

Known for her large collection of one-of-a-kind Hermès bags, Chan has been delving into knitting since she visited the knitwear store KnitterKnutter on Aberdeen Street in 2021.

Since then her social media feed has been filled with garments, toys, bags and scarves she knitted herself, alongside with selfies with Takashi Murakami, penguin-themed Hermès special orders, and her public appearances for philanthropy functions.

She has also launched a dedicated Instagram to document everything she has worked on, and more recently activities that have been happening at the workshop, which was founded in collaboration with KnitterKnutter.

A two-hour session at the worship, with themes varying from making keychains in the shape of an egg tart, pet collars, Christmas decorations, and beginner classes for crocheting, costs between 400 Hong Kong dollars and 500 Hong Kong dollars, or $50 and $65.

Prior to marrying Lau in 2016, Chan worked as a showbiz journalist. They have two children.

With a net worth of $13.6 billion, according to Forbes, Lau is the former chairman of property developer Chinese Estates. He is best known by the public in Hong Kong for love affairs with several high-profile actresses in the past two decades, which often involved gifting rare bags and high jewelry as proof of affection.

In 2017, Lau transferred 75 percent of his shares in Chinese Estates to Chan and their son, citing serious health issues. This made Chan the richest woman in Hong Kong at the time. — TIANWEI ZHANG

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