WINNING SET: Wheelchair tennis player Pauline Déroulède has become the fourth athlete sponsored by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton ahead of Paris 2024.
The 32-year-old athlete has also been tapped by Dior as its brand ambassador at the Paralympic Games in Paris next year, the French luxury house and its parent group said Thursday.
Number 13 in the IFT’s ranking, the French player reached the quarterfinals at this year’s 2023 Roland-Garros tournament, becoming the first French player to reach that stage in wheelchair tennis since 2010.
Dior, which counts a number of athletes among its ambassadors, said in a statement it shared “ambition and commitment” with Déroulède, who is “now focused on her dream [of] conquering Paralympic gold” in Paris next year.
Participating in the international competition in her home city was the challenge the wheelchair tennis champion set down for herself after she was hit by a car whose driver had lost control in 2018, a life-changing accident that saw her left leg amputated.
Already a keen tennis player before that, she began her professional career in 2019 and by 2021, was officially selected for the French national team. She won the French wheelchair tennis championship that year and again in 2022 and 2023.
In addition to her athletic track, Déroulède is a keen advocate for road safety and is lobbying lawmakers to update French laws to account for driving aptitude, as the country remains one of the few in Europe where a license is acquired for life without any medical checks.
With her Dior appointment, the French wheelchair tennis player joins Mélanie de Jesus dos Santos, who was also tapped by the French house and its parent group ahead of Paris 2024. Their compatriots, fencer Enzo Lefort and swimmer Léon Marchand, will also receive the group’s support and have become ambassadors for Louis Vuitton.
A premium partner of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, LVMH reiterated its commitment to supporting athletes “whose exemplary careers make them artisans of all victories” in the run-up to the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The group has also been reinforcing its sports connections, announcing its return as title partner of the America’s Cup, sailing’s biggest and most prestigious race, as well as creating the travel cases for the Webb Ellis Cup and the Ballon d’Or award for the best soccer player, awarded to Lionel Messi on Monday night in Paris. — LILY TEMPLETON
STAR POWER: Sir Paul Smith is doubling down on the knighthoods, taking home a second one courtesy of the Italian Republic. Earlier this week, the British designer accepted the Knighthood of the Order of the Star of Italy from the Italian ambassador to the U.K., Inigo Lambertini.
He received the honor during a ceremony at the Italian ambassador’s London residence. Lambertini presided over the event in the presence of Adolfo Urso, the Italian minister of enterprises and Made in Italy, guests from the worlds of fashion and culture, and friends of Smith.
Lambertini said, “Sir Paul has not only captured the heart of Italians with his distinctive style but has also drawn inspiration and knowledge from our rich tailoring tradition.”
The Order of the Star of Italy was first introduced in the aftermath of the Second World War and was meant to acknowledge Italians living abroad, or foreigners who had made a particular contribution to the reconstruction of Italy.
It has evolved over the years, and the president of the Italian Republic now gives the award to people who have acquired “particular merits in promoting friendship and collaboration between Italy and other countries, and in promoting economic, cultural and scientific ties with Italy.”
Smith certainly fit the bill. “I’ve been working with the country for the past 40 years and Italy is close to Pauline’s and my heart,” said Smith, referring to this wife. The couple live in London and have a holiday home in Tuscany.
Smith has also been manufacturing his collections in Italy and buying fabric there for decades. He has 110 stockists across the country, “some of whom I’ve been working with for 25 years,” the designer said.
Italy and France are his largest European markets after the U.K.
Smith’s accolades are piling up. Last year, he joined an elite group of accomplished Britons, becoming a Companion of Honor to the British Monarch. It is the highest ranking among the special honors handed out by the royal family.
Smith was recognized for his services to British fashion, and is the first fashion designer to have received the honor. He joined a group that is limited to 65 people and includes Dame Maggie Smith, Sir David Attenborough, Sir Elton John, Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Paul McCartney.
He received his knighthood 22 years before, in November 2000.
In 2016, the designer received the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest distinction, during a ceremony at the French residence in Kensington, London.
Sylvie Bermann, the French ambassador to the U.K., bestowed upon Smith the rank of Officier in the Order of the Légion d’honneur, in recognition of Smith’s career-long ties with France. The Légion d’honneur was established in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte. It is France’s highest distinction and is awarded in recognition of both military and civilian merit. — SAMANTHA CONTI
QUACK AND WOOF: Daniel Lee has brought out the ducks and dogs for his first holiday season campaign for Burberry.
In a series of whimsical photographs and short videos, the brand’s scarves, new Shield bag and the Burberry Knight bag take center stage juxtaposed against British motifs such as a silver smoking pipe and ashtray.
Three fluffy little ducklings take their position on a white and cobalt blue cushion; a beagle dog sits with one of Lee’s footwear creations and a gold cuff link, and a miniature schnauzer walks around a bright yellow hot water bottle pocket that’s decorated with forks and a wrench.
The duck is a recurring symbol of Lee’s since his debut fall 2023 show in February. In the collection, he added a bright yellow duck print.
“I find it very British. It makes me think of the park and Burberry is an outdoors brand associated with the rain and protection. And the brand is about functionality,” he said at the time.
The same ducks made a reappearance at Lee’s spring 2024 show staged at London’s Highbury Fields.
On Monday, Burberry revealed a collaboration with British shoemaker Tricker’s on a line of brogues, Chelsea boots and Derby shoes in shades ranging from black, vine and aubergine to camel in calf leather and camel suede.
All of the shoes are made with a leather welt to allow the sole and upper to be stitched to the insole, allowing for future refurbishment and repair. Each shoe is finished with a rubber sole as they’re designed to be worn anywhere.
Lee, a designer known for his Midas touch when it comes to accessories, is doubling down on Burberry’s offerings, a strategy that chief executive officer Jonathan Akeroyd laid out during a presentation last November. He said he wanted the brand to be “desirable and relatable,” with product sitting front and center, a renewed focus on “femininity” and an emphasis on underdeveloped categories such as footwear.
Akeroyd’s ambitions are to take Burberry’s revenue to 5 billion pounds in the long term, fueled by a much bigger accessories business.
The newly reopened Burberry flagship on New Bond Street is helping to shape that vision with the ground floor’s windows dedicated to accessories. — HIKMAT MOHAMMED
BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY: “It’s my love letter to the women, and to the city of New York,” said Emilia Wickstead of her resort 2024 campaign shoot, which channeled the power of the sisterhood.
In an interview, Wickstead said she was eager to return to the city where she’d worked briefly in magazines and fashion when she was 21 years old.
Over three days, she and photographer Edd Horder hopped around town, shooting professional women, some with their children, in neighborhoods such as Brooklyn, on the Staten Island Ferry or in Times Square. Others were photographed in their homes.
“We shot it documentary style and I love the background of every single image,” said the designer, who was born in New Zealand, grew up in Milan, and is now based in London. “I was really interested in the interplay between workwear, off-duty clothing, glamour and casual expression.”
The collection is see now, buy now, and Wickstead said she “wanted it shot on the customer. It’s all part of our ongoing narrative about real women.” Models included Rickie De Sole, Ivy Getty, Hannah Traore, Lynette Nylander, Jessica Willis, Isabella Massenet and Chai Vasarhelyi.
The collection was filled with sartorial fabrics and ’90s flair, and mixed tailoring with the designer’s lavish evening — and day — wear. There were party dresses and architectural gowns in gold metallic jacquard, some with hand-painted florals.
Other minidresses and skirts had hand-sewn embroidery. There was also tailoring done with Prince of Wales checked tartan, tweeds and bouclé.
Resort was decidedly more lavish than spring 2024, a collection that was also inspired by strong women — albeit from another century.
For spring, Wickstead looked to the freewheeling socialites who summered in the South of France in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Her clothes were coquettish and comfortable with a masculine edge. Linen evening dresses had low backs and little matching wraps knotted at the front — no bras required — while a short, sweet platinum dress held together with just a few ties at the side. — S.C.