The 40th Anniversary celebrations for Range Rover, that stalwart of British motors, was a surprisingly fashionable affair. Held at a ritzy London location (The Orangery), attended by a start-studded guest-list, and hosted by Vogue magazine no less, it was an event slightly too chic to warrant simply the birthday of a conservative, though much loved, car brand. So perhaps it was less a surprise than it should have been when Range Rover dramatically unveiled their latest design partner….Victoria Beckham. The Spice Girl turned fashion designer will be in charge of creating the interior aesthetic of the brand’s new ‘Epoque’ range. Resplendent in a nude silk crepe dress of her own design, Beckham described her new role as ‘an incredible opportunity I’ve been given’, and deemed the cars ‘absolutely stunning’. In an even weirder twist, it turns out the collaboration was initiated by none other than British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, a fan of Beckham’s sartorial creations, who put her name forward to Range Rover. The question is, why would Beckham, whose self-named fashion line has won critically acclaimed reviews and celebrity fans, bother taking on more work with a completely unrelated brand?
The answer? Well, given brand Beckham’s enormous wealth it’s unlikely to be money. It could be publicity. Or maybe Posh just really, really likes Range Rovers. More likely, however, is the lure of the side-project. Fashion people tend to be creative, impatient types. They get bored quickly and they want to make the world a more visually appealing place. In any way possible. So they take a little break from their day job to collaborate with other companies and industries on projects that will surprise and delight us. Sometimes it’s as simple as a designer swapping their sewing machine for some decks and moonlighting as a DJ, whereas others border on the crazily, eccentrically genius and insane (ahem, Karl Lagerfeld, see below). So, on this long Summer day, we thought we’d share a few of our favourite recent fashion sidelines with you…Victoria Beckham out and about in one of her own designs, and the new Range Rover 'Evoque'American Vogue joins Gossip Girl
Maybe not such a surprise in terms of the mutually adoring relationship the fashion bible maintains with the stylish New York set drama, with the cast of the latter frequently gracing the pages of the former, but for the sheer scale of it, this collaboration is pretty impressive. What allegedly started as a bonding experience between Gossip Girl’s blonde bombshell Blake Lively and Vogue’s respected European editor Hamish Bowles on a cover-shoot interview, has somehow snowballed into the magazine forming the basis of a two-episode plotline. Focusing on Vogue’s annual ‘Big Night Out’ on 10th September, Bowles has already been snapped taking time out of his office job to film scenes for the show with actress Kelly Rutherford, outside Diane Von Furstenberg’s New York offices, and contributing editor Lauren Santo Domingo is also believed to have a cameo role. Unfortunately there is nothing to suggest Anna Wintour will be making her acting debut, but maybe with last year’s The September Issue
under its belt, this is merely the latest step in the magazine’s route to screen superstardom.Hamish Bowles with Kelly Rutherford, and Vogue's Lauren Santo Domingo
Stella McCartney for the Olympics
Ok, the pay off for this one is still far in the future, but this week Stella McCartney was announced as the designer behind the Olympic and Paralympic performance wear for Great Britain at the upcoming 2012 games in London. She will also be the creative force behind the (Olympic) village wear, and a retail range, which basically means that in two years or so, Stratford is going to be making a serious run for the UK capital’s chicest borough. The collaboration is in association with Adidas, for whom McCartney already designs a sports range (that shows at London Fashion Week no less), and recently kitted out tennis player Caroline Wozniaki in an athletic yet stylish wardrobe for her appearances at Wimbledon. As side-projects go this one ranks on the mammoth scale, but as a working mother, successful label head, and vegetarian activist, Stella has proven herself more than capable of multi-tasking, and to be honest, sounds fairly ecstactic about the whole thing, "As a British fashion designer it is an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be creative director of Team GB as the hosting nation of the London 2012 Olympic Games," she has been quoted as saying.Stella McCartney, and one of her athletic designs for AdidasStephen Jones – Milliner to Movie Star?
As a hat maker, Stephen Jones it has to be acknowledged, is among the best ever. The man who made the gloriously wacky tulip bulb hats and cellophane head-pieces at this year’s floral heaven Dior couture show, was also the man behind the chic and restrained straw boaters and pretty bonnets that Audrey Tatou’s Gabrielle Chanel crafted in the 2009 biopic Coco Avant Chanel
. Hardly surprising then, that Madonna herself asked him to design all of the hats in her upcoming film (her debut as a director) W.E
, a drama based on the relationship between England’s King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. So far so fashion. But in a left-field twist, it appears the milliner will now also be acting in the movie alongside established stars like Laurence Fox and Abbey Cornish, “Madonna is directing it and she asked me to do the hats for it," he told Vogue
magazine. "And somehow I've ended up starring in it, too. It's too early for me to really tell you anything in detail, but really I think I'm more alarmed than anything." The style web has been ignited with excitement about Jones’ reinvention as a screen star, but the real question, is who will he be playing? Our best guess would be Simpson’s dapper English friend and society photographer Cecil Beaton, or one of her favourite designers, maybe Christian Dior or Captain Mainbocher. Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII, and miliner Stephen Jones
Karl Lagerfeld – One Man Brand
The King of all side-projects is Chanel helmer Karl Lagerfeld. And in the tradition of great fashion eccentrics like Diana Vreeland and Andre Leon Talley, the German designer chooses ventures that no one would have ever expected. Yes he may enjoy the odd foray into photography, but his decision in 2008 to become the face of Road Safety in France was something completely unpredictable. The fact that as the creative director of two of the world’s most luxurious brands, Chanel and Fendi, Lagerfeld envelopes a world of unapologetic wealth and priviledge, makes it all the more bizarre yet amazing that he would choose to endorse low price French catalogue brand The 3 Suisses, modelling washing machines, of all things. Which we applaud him for, if only to hear his musings on the modest household appliance, “It is so chic and pretty,” he is quoted as saying. “I would like to have one — not to wash clothes but to put in my dressing room to hold my dirty laundry.” Which is missing the point somewhat, but as we mentioned earlier, the genius thing about fashion side-projects in non-fashion areas is the creative, if strange insights they give us to the most mundane areas of our lives.Karl Lagerfeld - the face of road safetyKarl Lagerfeld models a washing machine