An Up-and-Coming Designer Sets Her Sights on New York Fashion Week

Sandra Sandor has been designing for Nanushka, her Budapest-based women’s wear label, for 13 years. But this is the first time she will be showing at New York Fashion Week, which starts Monday.

It was not an inexpensive decision to make.

“We are trying to keep the budget at $100,000,” said Peter Baldaszti, Nanushka’s chief executive officer and Ms. Sandor’s boyfriend.

That amount is a small fraction of what larger brands will spend on a fashion show; Nanushka is opting for a presentation, wherein the models are static and critics and potential buyers mill about, instead of a more expensive runway show. Still, it remains a significant investment for a brand that, for 2017, took in $3.1 million in revenue.

Nanushka was established in 2005 by Ms. Sandor, a recent graduate of the London College of Fashion-, but it traces its roots to 1972, when her mother founded a children’s wear business in Budapest. (In the days of the Iron Curtain, such small private enterprises were allowed to operate selectively.)


The 13-year-old label has become a favorite of trend-spotting boutiques like Bird Brooklyn and celebrities like Charlize Theron.CreditAkos Stiller for The New York Times

Over the years, and helped by financing from friends and family, Nanushka nurtured a large following in Hungary, where the label has a store in Budapest, and a growing global audience. It sells at influential boutiques like Bird Brooklyn and is worn by celebrities like Charlize Theron.

In 2012, Ms. Sandor took on an investor, who in turn was bought out by Mr. Baldaszti and the venture capital firm GB & Partners, which purchased a majority stake in November 2016 and injected $3 million into the business. Mr. Baldaszti orchestrated a change in Nanushka’s identity — everything from its logo to its shoe boxes — and Nanushka’s revenues have nearly tripled in the last two years.

Last year, Nanushka received its first orders from “the majors” — department stores like Browns and online retailers like Net-a-Porter. When the label noted a large uptick in orders of its pre-fall 2018 collection, the team decided the time was right for a show.

In previous seasons, Nanushka would spend $20,000 on a “look book,” a series of professional photographs of models wearing the collection. For the presentation, which will be held on Feb. 11, that’s just a drop in the bucket. Photos are still crucial, for press attention and marketing purposes, but now they need to be ready in time for the highly influential site to have them up by the morning after the show.


Mr. Baldaszti and Ms. Sandor in their Budapest studio late last month, getting ready for Nanushka’s first presentation at New York Fashion Week on Feb. 11. CreditAkos Stiller for The New York Times

“The cost of retouching photos is insane,” Ms. Sandor said. “The cost of retouching our photos”— $300 per image, $10,000 in total — “is our biggest expense next to models.”

The cost of those models? $20,000. Add $40,000 for art buying costs: $10,000 for two photographers, $7,000 for video editing, $5,000 for makeup, $3,000 for a stylist, $3,000 for the casting director, $5,000 for the set designer and $7,000 for props. The venue, a well-lit penthouse in the West Village, costs $10,000. Production — everything from the lights to the transportation of the clothes — is $15,000. Finally, there is public relations to handle invitations and press requests, which means an additional $5,000.

Over the past few years, a wave of designers from former Soviet republics — led by the Georgia-born Demna Gvasalia, now the creative head of Balenciaga — have caused upheaval in the industry and have garnered huge interest in their point of view. But most of those brands show in Paris.

“We chose New York because of its openness and curiosity,” Ms. Sandor said. “Most of the influencers we work with are from America. We feel like they really feel our vibe.”


A Nanushka employee at the Budapest studio. CreditAkos Stiller for The New York Times

And yet you won’t find Nanushka on the official calendar of New York Fashion Week, compiled and published by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the body that oversees it. With occasional exceptions, no new designer is allowed an official spot on the tightly controlled calendar its first year in New York. Instead, Nanushka will show what’s called “off-calendar.”

“Typically, if you haven’t shown before in a major market, we don’t put you on the official calendar,” said Mark Beckham, the council’s vice president of marketing. “We don’t want to get to a place where we’re rushing people to show.”

As it makes its big debut, Nanushka finds itself in an interesting place, where the traditional fashion power structures — department stores, editorial placement, New York Fashion Week — are at once both more and less important than ever.

Come presentation day, notable editors and buyers will certainly be in attendance, but the stars for Ms. Sandor are the online influencers who are occasionally given a free outfit or two. She is hoping to see Alyssa Coscarelli, the market editor of Refinery 29, whose @alyssainthecity Instagram account (and the name by which Ms. Sandor knows her) boasts 93,500 followers, and Reese Blutstein, a 21-year old Atlantan whose @double3xposure account is followed by 165,000.

Ms. Sandor is straightforward about the stakes, “It’s money,” she said. But she added that she was not too worried: “To be honest with you, I don’t think we’re risking anything. I’m quite confident it’s going to be great.”

She allowed for one exception: “If there’s a huge snowstorm, and nobody comes — that’s a risk.”

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Fashion industry sets new guidelines to fight sexual misconduct

Ahead of New York Fashion Week the industry is unveiling new professional guidelines to combat the kind of sexual harassment and assault allegations plaguing some of the world’s most renowned fashion photographers.

Designers, show producers and photographers are asked to provide spaces “where models can change in privacy” at runway shows, according to recommendations sent by Council of Fashion Designers of America president Diane von Furstenberg.

The text, released Thursday, referred those who have “in any way felt threatened or unsafe” to resources compiled by the Model Alliance, which combats sexual harassment.

“The current climate has been marked by brave women and men and their revelations about an unacceptable culture in politics, sports and entertainment, as well as in fashion,” von Furstenberg said in a message accompanying the guidelines.

The CFDA’s move ahead of Monday’s Fashion Week kick-off comes amid the #MeToo movement and the wave of sexual misconduct accusations that have accompanied it, targeting fashion figures including photographers Terry Richardson, Bruce Weber and Mario Testino.

All three once widely celebrated photographers are now barred from collaborating with Vogue and Vanity Fair publisher Conde Nast.

Conde Nast recently unveiled a “Code of Conduct” that seeks to “safeguard the dignity and well-being” of workers.

It has namely banned the use of unaccompanied models younger than 18, and all shoots involving nudity or sexually suggestive poses must be approved by the subject in advance. Alcohol and illegal drugs also have been barred.

The group extended the policy to its entire stable of publications around the world.

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How to wear this season’s silver trend

Whenever the state of the world we’re living in becomes dispiriting, designers often look to outer space for inspiration and who can blame them?

Space-inspired references have been scattered across the runways for several seasons now, but this time around flashes of metallic made it more tangible than ever before.

Cue a high-shine palette of iridescent space greys, silver and moon rock-inspired sparkling embellishment.

There’s no more exciting frontier than that of the future and when Karl Lagerfeld built a giant Chanel rocket in the middle of the Grand Palais in Paris, it became clear that the trend for all things intergalactic was unavoidable.

Aside from the rocket, which actually blasted off following a dramatic 10-second countdown, it was the models that really grabbed our attention.

Here, there was a real “Starman” vibe as Lagerfeld kitted out his girls in everything from astronaut print dresses to Mylar-style quilted space blankets and glitter boots that were made for walking on the moon.

The style was flaunted over the autumn/winter catwalks (AFP/Getty)

Elsewhere, Balenciaga showcased a silver version of its embossed leather skirt – which has been called out for looking remarkably like a rubber car carpet protector – while Paco Rabanne’s sci-fi looks intertwined with sports influences.

Transforming the house’s signature plastic chainmail “Disc-o-Rama” dress, there were slinky silver numbers, asymmetric skirts and thick-soled masculine flats.

The stylish garments are diverse and distinct such as the Satin Tuck Blouse by Boutique, £69, Topshop

Want to make like the stars? Then it’s time to inject your wardrobe with some high-shine metallics.

Without doubt the easiest way to embrace this trend is with a new handbag, so ditch your trusty black carryall in favour of something silver, but don’t go overboard on shine as this has the potential to look cheap.

If you balance the glitz you can perfect your look with items such as the Mini Cross-Body Bag, £15.99, Mango

Alternatively, shoes are another great entry point with everything from trainers and disco-ready flatforms to skyscraper stilettos available in space-inspired hues.

If you want to wear this trend by day, we suggest picking up a metallic blouse or opting for geometric jewels in out-of-this-world shapes.

The T-Bar Court Shoes are complimented by their shiny appeal, £25.99, Zara
Elyse Lace-Up Faux Leather Platform Shoes flaunt their original design, £630, Matches Fashion
Silver Batwing Midi Shift Dress is casual yet elegant, £95, Topshop
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Inspired by Biba: oil-pastel fashion – in pictures

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What do fashion insiders think of Phantom Thread?

The film paints a wistful picture of the rarified world inside Reynolds Woodcock’s 50s London townhouse atelier. Four industry experts give their verdicts on its authenticity, from the Belgian princesses to Daniel Day-Lewis’s pin-pricked fingers

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Kate Middleton Is Supporting a New Fashion Initiative That Will Help Unite the Commonwealth

This article originally appeared on People. For more stories like this, visit

Sustainable fashion is about to get the royal seal of approval!

An exciting fashion initiative, uniting all 52 countries of the Commonwealth and supported by Kate Middleton and Sophie, Countess of Wessex—launched with a press conference at London’s Marlborough House on Thursday.

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange will see designers and artisans from differing Commonwealth countries collaborating to create a one-of-a-kind sustainable outfit, which will be showcased at a reception at Buckingham Palace on February 19.

“We believe in the huge power of fashion,” Livia Firth, founder and creative director of Eco-Age consultancy, tells People.

Firth (wife to actor Colin Firth), who first came up with the project, adds: “The majority of the population of the Commonwealth is under the age of 30 so we needed to find something that spoke to the millennials, the young people.”

Kate Middleton Countess of Wessex

In an industry worth more than $170 billion, the project “has collaboration and partnership at its heart, forging new networks and making the Commonwealth Summit themes of prosperity, sustainability and fairness very real and tangible,” said the Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

With sponsorship from Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and, established designers such as Karen Walker (representing New Zealand) and Stella McCartney and Burberry (for the U.K.) will be among the 31 designers and 26 artisans showcasing their work at a VIP reception held at Buckingham Palace during London Fashion Week, at which both Kate and Sophie will be in attendance.

Fashion Commonwealth

David M. Benett/Getty Images

Up-and-coming fashion designer Euphemia Sydney Davies, who is representing Sierra Leone for the project, spoke at the launch event of the special bond that has formed between herself and her partner, a master weaver from Ghana. Not only is she thrilled to have found a creative collaborator for her eponymous line, Sydney Davies, but she’s made firm friends with the weaver and his partner. And it’s something she’s hoping to replicate when she meets her fashion idol and favorite royal, Princess Kate.

“I probably won’t sleep the night before the party, I’m beyond excited!” Davies told People, adding: “Everything Kate wears is just beautifully crafted and she’s got a great sense of style, it would be such an honor to meet her, I can’t wait!”

Once they have their royal debut at the palace, all the outfits will be displayed at a public exhibition at London’s Australia House on February 21 and other various London locations in the run up to Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit in April, before heading to New York in September. Online retailer (and a favorite of Kate’s) will also launch an edited collection in September.

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Lady Gaga cancels 10 concerts, suffering from ‘severe pain’

Lady Gaga has cancelled the last 10 dates of her world tour, including performances in London and Manchester, on the advice of her doctors after suffering from “severe pain”.

A day before she was due to appear at the O2 in London, the singer said on Twitter that she had made “the tough decision” to cancel the final 10 dates of her Joanne tour “with strong support from her medical team”.

“Lady Gaga is suffering from severe pain that has materially impacted her ability to perform live,” the statement said. She has fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that can cause widespread pain.

Gaga had been due to play the O2 in London on Sunday and the Manchester Arena on Tuesday, then return to the O2 on Thursday. In coming weeks she had been due to perform in Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.

Lady Gaga, 31, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, had already been forced to reschedule tour dates. She pulled out of a performance at Rock in Rio in Brazil in September after being taken to hospital while suffering from “severe physical pain”, before postponing her European tour dates.

In November, she resumed the tour in North America and in January played several dates in Europe.

She wrote on Twitter: “I’m so devastated I don’t know how to describe it. All I know is that if I don’t do this, I am not standing by the words or meaning of my music.

“My medical team is supporting the decision for me to recover at home. We’re cancelling the last 10 shows of my Joanne World Tour.

“I love this show more than anything, and I love you, but this is beyond my control. London, Manchester, Zurich, Koln, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Paris, Berlin. And Rio.

“I promise I will be back in your city, but for now I need to put myself and my wellbeing first. I love you, forever. CXX Gaga.”

Ticket holders have been advised they can obtain a refund at point of purchase from Tuesday.

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