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Fashion Runway

Famous Fashion Designer Alber Elbaz Dies At 59 From Covid-19

Alber Elbaz was known for dressing some of the most high profile celebrities in the industry including Michelle Obama, Kim Kardashian, and Sarah Jessica Parker. It was announced this week that Elbaz unfortunately passed away at the age of 59 due to the Covid-19 virus. 

Elbaz began drawing dresses and designs at seven-years-old, quickly discovering his passion for creativity and beauty. He worked with Guy Laroche and Yves Saint Laurent before he became the creative director of Lanvin in 2001. It was thought that under Elbaz’s leadership he was not only able to transform the Lanvin brand, but the overall fashion industry’s relationship with Hollywood stars. 

He famously discussed how “The red carpet has gone from elitist to popular. Everyone has access to it, even if only on the internet or through magazines. Since fashion is an integral part of celebrities’ lives, it’s become a kind of permanent red carpet despite itself.”

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Back in 2014 Elbaz shocked the entire industry when he decided to leave Lanvin. Besides having smaller collaborations with brands like Converse and Lancome, he for the most part was absent from the fashion industry for five years. Eventually he was interviewed by wallpaper Magazine about his hiatus in which he explained:

“I’ve had time to observe and live a life not as a fashion designer, but just as a human being.” 

After that, he announced the launch of his new label, AZ Factory, in January of this year. The label is size-inclusive and made “figure flattering dresses and trainers.” Size inclusivity has been an issue in the fashion industry since the dawn of its creation, and has always been something Elbaz fought for. 

“I am overweight, so I am very aware of what to show and what not to show and I am sure there is a huge link with being an overweight designer and the work I do.” 

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AZ Factory was financially backed by Richemont, in a statement Richemont’s chairman, Johann Rupert, said: “His inclusive vision of fashion made women feel beautiful and comfortable by blending traditional craftsmanship with technology – highly innovative projects which sought to redefine the industry.”

Many members of the fashion community have been mourning the loss of Elbaz online this week with touching and personal tributes to being dressed and styled by the icon. 

Kim Kardashian wrote: “Alber dressed me for my first Vogue cover and gifted me with the cover dress to hold on to that memory forever.” Sarah Jessica Parker posted a photo of the keepsakes she received from the designer, saying: “He always left little notes inside parcels … [he was] loved and brought joy to every occasion.”

Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri wrote that he was the “first person who made me feel at home in the fashion industry.”

Burberry To Celebrate The Iconic Stylings Of Stella Tennant In Newest Collection 

Stella Tennant will always be remembered as one of the most iconic British supermodels to grace the runway. Burberry and Tennant were very closely connected all throughout her 25-year-long career, and now, in their first womenswear collection since Tennant’s death, Burberry has announced that they would be using the collection as a means of celebrating her life and style. 

Riccardo Tisci is the designer who spoke to the media before the collections show, which was broadcasted on Burberry’s website this week. He claimed “Tennant was elegant and punk in a way that is very British, and completely authentic in a way that was her own.” 

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Beyond just being the highlight to numerous Burberry runway shows and advertising campaigns, Tennant also served as a consultant for the brand, and would often bring her country roots into the stylings she consulted on. Burberry’s tribute to the fashion icon follows Chanel, another house who Tennant had a long relationship with. 

This Burberry collection is full of pencil skirts, polo necks, sleeveless shift dresses, and high heels worn with bare legs and flat-ironed hair to really “channel Tennant’s minimalist 90s style.” 

“She invented an era. She looked incredible but it wasn’t about being outrageous. It might be about putting a beautiful diamond brooch on a man’s suit.” 

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The Burberry show was filmed during the last UK lockdown inside one of the brand’s flagship stores with no audience present. Initially the show was meant to premier last week, however, Prince Philip’s funeral caused them to postpone. 

Burberry is typically known for its gender fluidity in its fashion lines, so this pure focus on womenswear works to show just how loyal the brand was to Tennant. Tisci discussed on Wednesday that “fluidity and not being exclusive about gender is still part of who I am. My intention was not to resurrect barriers but rather to redress what I see as a gender imbalance at the house. When I arrived here, most of the business was about selling to women, but the icons of the brand – the trench, the car coat, the story of Thomas Burberry – were all male. So I want to make Burberry more feminine.”

“I like that now I can show a collection when it’s ready and when the consumer is ready to see it. There is more respect for creativity, instead of everything being run on a kind of industrial schedule. I actually really like working like this. And I love that everybody watches the show the same way, on the same level, with the same access – journalists, consumers, everybody.”

“My dream would be that when we go back to doing shows, we can be in an open space with everyone invited,” Tisci explained.

Striped Cat

UK Cat Owners May Be Forced To Microchip Their Pets Due To Increase In Thefts 

The millions of cat owners in the United Kingdom may soon be forced to microchip their furry friends, or face fines for refusal, due to new government policies that are working to prevent feline theft, which has been on the rise within the past year for the nation. 

Police data in the UK shows that the number of cats being stolen has tripled within the past five years; with a notable 12.3% increase last year alone. Owners are now being called upon to microchip their cats the same way dogs are so in the case of a petnapping, they’ll be easier to track down; and it will be easier to find the perpetrator. 

Local media reports wrote that  “a microchipping measure, which means animals can be tracked and identified if stolen and resold, is being introduced as part of a package of changes by a ministerial taskforce to combat the growing black market in stolen pets. Those who do not get their cats registered will face a fine of up to £500.”

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Robert Buckland is the UK’s justice secretary who’s running the taskforce for this initiative alongside Priti Patel and George Eustice, the home and environment secretaries. One government spokesperson spoke to the press this week about these new measures:

“Last month the home secretary, the lord chancellor and the environment secretary met to discuss a cross-government approach to combating this issue and we will announce next steps in due course. This builds upon the huge amounts of work already undertaken by junior ministers and officials to address this cruel and criminal practice.”

Stefan Blakiston Moore, an advocacy and government relations officer for Cats Protection, said: “It is a Conservative manifesto commitment [for cats to be legally microchipped] so we hope they will come forward with this. Cats Protection has been campaigning for it for a number of years. We are waiting for a response to that but we are hopeful a positive change will come and compulsory microchipping is brought in.”

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Moore explained that currently in the “UK there are 2.6 million cats that are not microchipped. It is usually a significant amount of cats and the risk is when they go missing or are stolen as has been reported. Without a microchip it is extremely difficult to reunite them with their owners.”

Ministers are also considering a ban on all cash purchases of pets as a means of stopping the black market for pet trading; one of the largest black markets in the world besides drugs. Some cat breeds can sell for over $2,000, and lockdown has led to a major surge in dog and cat sales, which has led to an increase in pet theft. 

“There is a thriving black market in cash sales of animals, no questions asked. A cash ban is appealing because we know it crippled the stolen scrap metal industry and microchipping is absolutely central to the way in which animals’ welfare is maintained,” a senior government source told the press.

The bill is currently being discussed among ministers in the UK, and a decision will likely be reached in the coming month.

Apple Watch and Iphone Activity

How Technology Is Helping People Live A Healthier Life

Thanks to a wide variety of technology, it’s never been easier for people to start making healthier choices in their day-to-day lives.

Drew Barrymore Announces Launch Of Lifestyle Magazine 

Drew Barrymore has become a lifestyle guru within the past decade of her career. Between her numerous acting jobs, role as talk show host, and overall social media presence, the mogul has become a major influencer in terms of how people lead their everyday lives. 

‘Drew’ will be a quarterly lifestyle magazine which will aim to continue the same legacy that Oprah Winfrey led with her O Magazine brand. Fashion and lifestyle magazines in general have been closing or reducing their output within the past year as a result of the pandemic, and a lack of interest in the subject matter that these publications pushed. 

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Barrymore, however, is hoping that her magazine will revitalize the lifestyle/fashion/wellness magazine brand, especially considering the pandemic is coming to an end. 

“Magazines are such a huge part of my life and they’re such a huge part of my inspiration for everything I do. I’ve lined my walls with magazine tear sheets since I was like 10 years old. I have a picture of myself in my bedroom and it’s like floor to ceiling and wall to wall. I’ve always loved magazines because of the paper and the experience,” Barrymore explained. 

According To Barrymore, Drew the magazine will emphasize her role as a celebrity, and feature her experiences with beauty, travel, and food. The magazine will first be made available at Walmart and then all US newsstands a week later, and it will retail for $10. She calls the project an “optimism magazine that is both very commercial and very personal.”

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Crystal Meers is expected to act as editor-in-chief for the magazine; Meers used to contribute to Gweneth Paltrow’s Goop website. Christy Doramus will serve as the magazine’s editor-at-large and Barrymore will be providing an “agony aunt” column along with acting as the founder of the publication. 

The magazine will be published by Bauer Media, and while both Bauer and Barrymore are aware of the risk of publishing a magazine in 2021, they have confidence people will be reaching for it. “A lot of the magazines that are struggling are very, very driven by advertising. Our focus is always on the consumer revenue stream. And we start with something that can make money just from engaging the consumer the right way. Our philosophy has always been if we do that, the advertisers will follow, versus trying to start someplace where we think there’s a really nice ad market and what can we create to satisfy that.”

“My goal with the magazine is to get to do a second one and to keep going from there,” Barrymore said.

“You just need chances so I hope to get the chance to do another one. That’s where my focus is – not being afraid and not planning too far ahead for what I don’t know is possible yet. I’ve never been good when people are like: ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ I’m like: ‘I have no idea.’”

How Growing Mushrooms At Home Became The Newest Pandemic Trend 

Michael Crowe has been growing mushrooms as a business since 2017. He fills his bags with coffee grounds and other organic matter to help keep his product fresh for his customers, who have now expressed interest in growing their own mushrooms from home thanks to a new internet trend that involves people creating their own personal mushroom gardens at home. 

Crowe claims that a lot of his customers have been sending him live updates of their process, which he loves. “It’s just so cool because it can bring together people of all ages, from all walks of life and people all over the place can grow food and have a really good time learning about it.”

Crowe claims that the pandemic gave people the perfect opportunity to explore the multitude of mushroom growing kits online. “It just blew up, it seemed like one day everybody was looking to grow mushrooms.” 

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This new trend makes sense considering that crafty hobbies in general have grown in popularity throughout the pandemic, especially hobbies that involve growing your own food. Many people have taken their newfound free time at home to better their skills as a chef and begin growing their own ingredients for healthier meal options and a more natural alternative to eating out. 

Growing mushrooms at home is also one of the easiest projects one could do, which is also why it’s become so popular among parents and guardians at home with their children who need constant entertainment. The process gives them something engaging and fun to do, while also providing an educational aspect of how plants grow from seed to table. 

Grocycle is a mushroom company that claims its home-grown kits saw a 320% increase in popularity during the last 12 months compared to the year prior. North Spore is another company based in the US that claims their mushroom growing supplies have been selling out at a rate 400% more when compared to the year prior. 

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Barclay Bram is a London resident who spoke with the media recently about the rise in this trends popularity and his own experience growing mushrooms at home to pass the time. “I picked up a grow kit at my local market last November. Oyster mushrooms are a popular beginner’s shroom, being hardy and low-maintenance. Plus, it turns out eating the fruits of your own labor is tastier, too so that’s what I went with initially. I love cooking, and they were honestly some of the best mushrooms I’ve ever eaten,” says Bram.

Mushrooms are also extremely easy to cook and work with a multitude of meals, which is also likely why they specifically have become so popular. Bram also says there’s a greater sense of community that comes with growing your own food because you begin to communicate with other gardeners and home-growers of all kinds. 

“Sharing them is such a nice thing, and I’ve been swapping the mushrooms with people for backyard eggs or sourdough bread. They’re like an alternative currency, which is pretty cool.”

Jenn Xu is another London resident who claims to have bought three different growing kits since the start of the pandemic. “People want something new to do, we’re stuck at home, and if we can’t move, we want to see something move. I buy them for the novelty and for observing the growth patterns because they’re so diverse and interesting – it piques this childlike wonder … If you look away for two hours and look back, it’s doubled in size.”

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Random Lockdown Purchases That Have Actually Improved People’s Lives 

Many have been turning to retail therapy to help cope with the past year in lockdown. Now that vaccines are being distributed throughout the world, many are ready to get back to their normal day-to-day lives, however, they also are realizing their lockdown purchases have proven to be quite useful, and will likely continue to be as the pandemic comes to a slow end. Here’s a list of some of the most unusually popular purchases of the past year in quarantine: 

Treadmill: Starting on a relatively basic level, many individuals have taken their time at home to finally focus on their physical health and get into a solid exercise routine. Treadmill’s have always been one of the most popular pieces of at-home exercise equipment because they’re easy to use and can provide one of the best cardio workouts, and the past year has proven that. Especially when the weather got colder and we all were really stuck indoors, many found purchasing a treadmill or other fitness equipment helped keep their minds occupied at home. 

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Electric Bike: Along those same lines many have been turning to electronic bikes to cope with colder weather. Pelaton’s have been rising in popularity due to the fact that they provide personal trainers and scheduled classes to help keep clients motivated and on a steady schedule. 

Furry Friends: For those living alone especially, adopting a new pet has been one of the most popular purchases within the past year. Something that’s important for all new pet owners to remember is that our furry friends have no idea what the past year has actually been like for us, so as we start to get back to normal and enter into the real world again, remember to transition your animal the same way you transition yourself back into normalcy. You are your pets whole world, and your absence does and will impact them emotionally, so be there for them. 

Bread maker: Many were obsessed with making bread in the beginning of the pandemic, and for some, they discovered a real talent for baking. Bread makers in general have risen in popularity immensely within the past year because they’re easy to use, and don’t take up a lot of space, so anyone can have fresh, ready-to-eat bread on any given day. 

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Motorhome: For those with the financial ability to do so, purchasing a motorhome has been the perfect way to continue to vacation in a world where you need to stay separated from everyone, not to mention one of the safest. With thousands of campsites and trailer parks throughout the nation, a motorhome has been the perfect addition for any traveler. 

Bed: Now that we’ve all been spending an obscene amount of time at home, many have realized that our furniture is not exactly up to our liking. Beds in general have risen immensely in popularity due to the fact that many are realizing they haven’t upgraded their sleeping set up in a while, and what better time to do so then when we all are forced to stay home in bed anyway? 

Projector: On Amazon projectors range from $200-$500 depending on the size, but many people have been buying them to do socially distanced movie nights in their backyard. For others, they’re realizing that buying a projector and displaying it on a blank wall is the perfect solution to buying a large entertainment system without completely breaking the bank. 

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How Everyday Activities Can Help Maintain A Healthy And Active Lifestyle At Home

Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis is an expert in physical activity working at the University of Sydney, who recently spoke with the media about how living an active and healthy lifestyle is much easier than the average person would think.

Male Cosmetics Has Been Rising In Popularity, But It’s Really Nothing New 

Male cosmetics were previously thought to be exclusively for rock stars and punk individuals looking to rebel against their parents. As we’ve grown into the 21st century more and more, however, the beauty space has grown immensely, and the lines between gender and who can acceptably wear make up began to dissipate. 

Men in makeup is also nothing new, according to Dr Alun Withey, who claims that men initially began wearing makeup products back in the 1750s!

“The 18th century is actually the beginning of the market for men’s cosmetics that we see today. Back then there was a new focus on refining the body, so personal grooming became extremely important for everyone.”

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Back in the 18th century, however, men and women alike didn’t have access to the information and ingredients that modern cosmetic products contain. In fact, Withey claims that musca fly, hog’s gall, and donkey genitals all were key ingredients in 18th century cosmetic treatments. For men, these ingredients were used as a means of soothing redness after shaving, or to thicken their hair. 

Within the last six months of 2020, a major cosmetic retailer claimed that they saw a 300% growth in men’s skincare when compared to the stats in 2019. Euromonitor projected that the male makeup industry alone could be a $49 billion industry based on how large the makeup and cosmetics sectors of our economy is currently. 

Today, it’s completely normal for men to be the faces of major makeup brands and movements. However, back in the 1700’s male makeup was less about artistry and more about economics, according to Withey.

“There wasn’t a ‘movement’ as such, so no celebrity advocated. It was more that men, and I think we’re talking about the middle class and elite men, had greater choice and opportunity to buy these things.”

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Withey continued to explain that “before this period, men’s use of cosmetics was frowned upon because of its associative use with women. Satires depicted ‘macaronis’ or ‘fops’ who were sometimes described as using perfume, and the practice carried suspicions of effeminacy.”

In fact, Withey claims that the introduction of shaving is what really brought male cosmetics to the mainstream back in the 18th century. “Shaving was an inherently masculine act, so shaving products were perhaps an acceptable outlet for men to use ‘product.’ It was after 1750 that men began to shave themselves instead of visiting a barber. For men, shaving became very important in meeting new ideals of the ‘polite’ male body.”

The ingredients from the 18th century cosmetics world, however, was anything but glamorous.  “Donkey genitals were burnt to a powder, mixed with other ingredients and applied to the [shaving] rash. Odd as that might seem to modern eyes, the use of animal products in remedies was completely normal at the time,” says Withey.

Historians and scientists are currently both looking into if there’s any actual scientific evidence that these old-school treatments actually worked for what they were intended for. Regardless, Whitley believes that with the introduction of these products brought on an era of men wanting to present themselves as clean, which indirectly led to what we see now in terms of male cosmetics.

Living Alone In Lockdown: How To Keep Yourself Healthy And Occupied At Home 

In November 2020, the Office for National Statistics released findings that showed levels of loneliness had climbed to record levels within the past year of the Covid-19 pandemic. The findings showed that 8% of adults were feeling “always or often lonely,” and 16-29-year-olds were twice as likely to experience those same feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression. 

Even individuals who were previously living by themselves have claimed that this pandemic has forced them to rethink their entire way of life. Some experts claim that long-term social isolation is as bad for your health as 15 cigarettes a day; obviously this is in reference to complete and total isolation, however, being trapped in your home with nothing but a smartphone to show you the outside world is anything but healthy.

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Many individuals living alone have also found themselves in the unlucky position of being unemployed due to the decline in economies throughout the world as well. The combination of complete solitude and lack of employment is leaving individuals to get trapped in their own heads, and being in the middle of a deadly global pandemic is causing those inner voices to become much louder. 

Brenda is a 71-year-old UK resident who lives by herself. She recently spoke with the media about how the pandemic and its isolation has given a lot of people the opportunity to self-reflect, which doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. 

“I’m not the sort of person who thinks about dying, but I suddenly found myself wanting to clear my papers and get rid of clutter, as it wouldn’t be fair on my daughters if I passed. All the things I’d ignored by surrounding myself with others came to the front of my mind,” she explained as she broke down how a lot of us have also lost the ability to interact with each other because of this pandemic.

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“What I found odd, having been very sociable before, was that you almost lose the art of it. A friend turned 70 last summer and her daughter threw a party; 15 people were allowed. I really looked forward to it but on the day I felt strange. I always liked living by myself, but total isolation from society is a different thing altogether. As the year wore on I missed people terribly and fell into some real slumps.”

Lonely people are much more likely to turn to negative vices, like drinking and smoking, when left in complete isolation. The addition of a deadly virus spreading around the world has many individuals caring less about their health when it should have the opposite effect. Experts claim the best way to combat this is creating a daily schedule for yourself that allows you time to explore your creative side and pick up some new hobbies. 

Many individuals have turned to things like baking bread, painting, knitting, puzzles, running, etc. to pass the time and better their lives while stuck inside. Doing activities that stimulate your body, mind, and spirit and keep you engaged are the best for combatting these negative feelings. 

One of the most important things to remember, however, is to really listen to yourself and your feelings. No one should ever feel alone, even if they’re living on the top of a hill thousands of miles away from everyone. Take care of your body and mind, and look into online therapy options if you think talking out your thoughts will help you move past them. Many of us have been focusing on keeping our bodies healthy throughout this pandemic due to the virus, but don’t forget that mental health is just as important as physical health, if not more important. Treat yourself kindly, and never be afraid to ask for help.