Armani Beauty’s Fortnite Expansion, Plus Raf Simons to Stage Spring Show During Frieze London

A NEW CODE: Armani Beauty is plunging into the metaverse for the first time, with a game in Fortnite, called “Rewrite the Code.” It is inspired by the brand’s new scent for men, Armani Code Parfum.

“Gaming is a new, very natural world to express the new Armani Code fragrance’s modern masculinity,” said Véronique Gautier, global president of Armani Beauty, at L’Oréal. “Fortnite is a perfect cultural match with our Armani Code [male] audiences — young, urban, modern — and [gives] the opportunity to tap into the Gen Z gamers, who spend three-times more time on Fortnite than on TikTok.

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“This is also a way to reshape the rules of engagement with gamers as a core target, enriching the narrative around our new fragrance with a unique and immersive experience,” she continued.

British actor Regé-Jean Page stars in the Armani Code campaign that broke in September, in which everything moves backward. People walk the wrong way around and clock hands circle counterclockwise. Yet Page moves forward walking, then running, through streets, until he meets a woman. They gaze intently at each other, there’s a glimpse of the Armani Code Parfum bottle, then the world is set on the right course again.

“The concept of the game inside Fortnite Creative is a natural extension of the Armani Code communication platform. Gamers are invited to ‘rewrite the code,’” said Gautier. “The codes of a new, forward-facing future, the codes of modern men and women in progress. Imagine a world where everything goes wrong, goes in reverse. What if you have the power to put the world back in order, to rewrite the codes? Players are taken on exciting speed runs through a backward urban world before using the Armani Code fragrance to unlock a forward-facing future.”

Players collect code numbers to do the unlocking. Each speed run is its own mini game, which features a different setting and olfactive ingredient found in the Armani Code Parfum, such as iris, cedarwood and sage.

The game launches on Monday and is to be backed by livestream activations with gamers on YouTube, TikTok and Twitch in the U.S., U.K., France, Spain and Germany. — JENNIFER WEIL

SIMONS RESCHEDULES: Raf Simons, a famous attendee of Frieze Masters, has locked down a new date to present his brand’s spring 2023 collection. He will now stage the show in London on Oct. 13, a day after Frieze London and Frieze Masters open their doors to the public at Regent’s Park.

The brand called off its supposed London debut on Sept. 18, in respect to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

“As the country enters a period of official mourning, we will pause during this time of great sadness. We will take this time to respect the legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her 70 years on the throne,” the brand said at the time in a statement sent to WWD.

It’s understood that a rave party was planned after the show, but due to the nation entering a 10-day mourning period, all non-core business events, such as parties and openings on the official London Fashion Week schedule, were advised to be canceled.

Burberry has also shifted its show date from the originally scheduled Sept. 19 to Monday. It will present its spring 2023 collection at a logistic center in Bermondsey, a neighborhood in South London.

Frieze London is expected not only to be a busy time for the global art community, but the British fashion industry is also looking to make a splash during this period.

Alexander McQueen is scheduled to show its spring 2023 collection on Oct. 11, a day before Frieze London, while Prada will resume its Prada Paradoxe fragrance global launch party on Oct. 13, the same day as its co-creative director Simons’ own show.

The British Fashion Council is planning a celebration in honor of London Fashion Week “with a focus on London as a creative capital” around this period, which will include citywide parties and store activations. — TIANWEI ZHANG

SCENT-SATIONAL: Chanel will host an exhibition, called “Le Grand Numéro de Chanel,” to celebrate its fragrances — many of which have numbers as names — at the Grand Palais Ephémère museum in Paris, from Dec. 15 to Jan. 9, 2023.

Chanel No.5
Chanel No.5

The French luxury house said that all senses will be awakened and imaginations set in motion by the exhibit, full of magic tricks and unexpected discoveries, which was created for experts as well as for novices of perfume.

Chanel in a statement called the exhibit “an immersive journey that invites you to follow your star, seize your luck or even enter into a legend. From classic to iconic, from pure to the greatest sophistication, from everyday object to work of art that has inspired some of the greatest artists — some of whose oeuvres will be brought together for the first time — it’s all the uniqueness of Chanel fragrances that are expressed through a visit rich in experiences, discoveries and emotions.”

People can sign up for tickets, free of charge, starting Nov. 17, at

In 2013, Chanel held an exhibit at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo museum that traced the origins of Chanel No.5, which celebrated its centennial last year. — J.W.

UKRAINIAN BRAVERY: In New York for the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska met with the U.N.’s Secretary-General António Guterres, Prime Minister of Great Britain Liz Truss, France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron and the U.N.’s Population Fund executive director Natalia Kanem.

Ukraine First Lady Olenz Zelenska
Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska wore a Gunia Project belt with an important message for a visit to the 9/11 Memorial Thursday.

Zelenska reportedly praised U.N. officials for including the situation in Ukraine in this year’s report on children in armed conflicts, “as it will ensure proper monitoring by the U.N. system of crimes against children committed daily by the Russian occupiers in our country.” As of last month, more than one-third of Ukrainian children, about 2.2 million, had been forced to leave their homes, with some having to relocate multiple times, according to humanitarian agencies.

As Zelenska has taken a more public role in denouncing the Russian invasion and championing Ukrainian designers and brands in recent months, she has been wearing Ukrainian designs for key public appearances. For Thursday’s visits to the 9/11 Memorial and the Ukrainian Museum, Zelenska appeared to be sending a message, wearing a Ukrainian-made belt from the Gunia Project. The brand draws upon its home country’s heritage and is committed to restoring and increasing awareness of the Ukrainian culture globally.

The handwoven belt was inspired by traditional elements of Ukrainian folkloric “Krayka” costume. It carried the message “Brave like Ukraine,” and required six hours of work by a craftswoman, according to a spokesperson for the Gunia Project.

At the Ukrainain Museum, Zelenska received a tour from its newly installed director Peter Doroshenko, who until recently had held that same post at the Dallas Contemporary for 11 years. Earlier in the week in New York Zelenska hosted a brunch with some of her female and male counterparts from Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Malta and other countries, during the Summit of First Ladies and First Gentlemen. She was also applauding with the U.N. delegates in New York when they gave her husband, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, a standing ovation for his “formula for peace” virtual speech. — ROSEMARY FEITELBERG

SUBTLE CELEBRATION: Aéropostale and Cotton Incorporated have teamed up to curate a collection of cotton looks, and are now in a mood to celebrate — quietly.

silent disco cotton aeropostale people partying
The scene at the silent disco.

The retailer launched the Aero x Cotton shop at its stores and on its website, featuring soft cotton pieces for everyone.

To mark the new collaboration, the pair sponsored the four-day Thicket Silent Disco at Firefly Music Festival, which started Thursday.

The festival, attended by Aéropostale ambassadors and friends of the brand, attracts roughly 50,000 music fans daily. Silent discos use headphones, creating a quieter experience that still brings the group together.

“Firefly felt like the perfect place to bring our partnership with Cotton Incorporated to life through an activation that celebrates friends, fashion, music and the natural fabric we all love: cotton,” said Natalie Apprendi-Levy, chief executive officer of Aéropostale.

Marissa Barlin, director of brand partnerships at Cotton Incorporated, added: “The first-time collaboration between Cotton Incorporated and Aéropostale just makes sense. With the brand’s wide range of cotton-rich offerings and their real appreciation for the fiber’s inherent benefits, it’s been a natural fit working together. The curated cotton collections for girls and guys offer a variety of key basics as well as fashion pieces that will allow customers to easily find styles that keep them on-trend and feeling comfortable.”

This is the second year that Aéropostale partnered with the silent disco, which is a highlight for the festival.

The retailer is owned by SPARC, a venture between brand specialist Authentic Brands Group and real estate giant Simon Property Group that also houses Brooks Brothers, Aéropostale, Lucky Brand, Forever 21 and more. — EVAN CLARK

FIBER ENTHUSIASTS GATHER: Mara Hoffman convened fashion’s fiber and climate enthusiasts for a lighthearted yet fired-up conversation in her Lafayette Street store.

Mara Hoffman panel from left to right:
Liz Alessi, a Coach brand and sustainability consultant; Stacie Chavez, president of Imperial Yarn; 
Chantelle Davis, a new designer and founder of label Boe Davis; Laura Sansone, creator of New York Textile Lab; and Dana Davis, Mara Hoffman's VP of sustainability.
A full house gathered in Mara Hoffman’s Lafayette Street store. From left: Liz Alessi, a Coach brand and sustainability consultant; Stacie Chavez, president of Imperial Yarn; Chantelle Davis, founder of label Boe Davis; Laura Sansone, creator of New York Textile Lab, and Dana Davis, Mara Hoffman’s vice president of sustainability.

It was the first time the contemporary designer hosted an industry conversation in her incense-scented and plant-filled retail storefront, which opened last year, as previous gatherings took on a more intimate feel for artist fireside chats. The certified-Climate Neutral brand has been a dedicated and vocal advocate in the sustainability community since several years ago when Hoffman decided to pivot her company’s mission.

Dana Davis, vice president of sustainability at Mara Hoffman moderated the session billed as a “Climate Beneficial” panel which included Chantelle Davis, a new designer and founder of label Boe Davis; Liz Alessi, a Coach brand and sustainability consultant; Stacie Chavez, president of Imperial Yarn, and Laura Sansone, creator of New York Textile Lab.

For many of the panelists, the chat was a chance to reflect on their careers and sustainability strides. “For the first time in my entire fashion career, I can say I feel good about my job,” said Alessi, describing how easy it is to float sustainability ideas — including the use of materials such as algae leather — straight to the top now that she’s somewhat of an outside sustainability consultant and not in the sourcing department at Coach anymore. In her case, she’s speaking directly to Coach creative director Stuart Vevers. (Though, the algae material isn’t announced in any Coach bags yet, it’s a look at things to come especially as Vevers takes circularity more central to the American brand.)

Though Coach isn’t perfect, the Tapestry-owned brand has committed to source 90 percent of its leather from gold- and silver-rated leather tanneries by 2025 as well as pursue regenerative leather.

Chantelle Davis, who founded the label Boe Davis, is also fueled by a similar fiber motivation. “I wanted to stop being so disinterested in clothes,” she said. “The polyester blended in every single thing was never really to our benefit.” She’s committed to natural fibers and domestic manufacturing.

During the discussion, New York Textile Lab’s founder Laura Sansone was intent on communicating the importance of bioregional ecosystems, or the fibershed systems happening in a 300-mile radius, that present unique growing limitations and capacities.

To her, fibers present a “growth logic” that lets new ideas percolate and creates value in the end product for the end user. But consumers need to know the special story behind it all. An example? “Tick leather,” as she noted, sounds questionable but is really the result of minor imperfections in hides (or farm life) affected by ticks. “Doesn’t that make it nuanced and special? Doesn’t that connect it to the land?” probed Sansone.

But being special comes at a price shock, for now, until the system gets behind such new projects as “C4,” a cotton sourcing initiative from Reformation, Fibershed and more, which Stacie Chavez, president of Imperial Yarn and partner to Fibershed made mention to as she talked about the reasons why Climate Beneficial products pay more in the livelihood of the industry.

For over five years, Climate Beneficial Wool has been verified in the U.S. by Fibershed and sourced from land stewards who are enhancing carbon drawdown through agricultural practices that regenerate soil health. Mara Hoffman, for one, uses the wool for her knitwear.

“Are we more expensive? We are, but we pay our ranchers more,” said Chavez. “Our ranchers earn a bonus for maintaining those carbon farm plants. We’re doing good work. The biggest compliment I’ve ever gotten is [when] one of my ranchers called me and said, ‘You know, wool is on our financial statement now. It’s making an impact. We actually made money on our wool this year.'” — KALEY ROSHITSH

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