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YSL Beauté’s New Face, the ACE Awards Winners, Gucci Westman Pops Up in L.A.

WWD 3/24/2023 Jennifer Weil
© Provided by WWD

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FACE FORWARD: Yasmin Finney has been named YSL Beauté’s first U.K. local ambassador.

Finney is among the most influential actresses in the transgender community, and is known for her support of the LGBTQIA+ communities.

Finney’s breakout role was in Netflix’s rom-com hit series “Heartstopper,” and she was honored along with the rest of the show’s cast with the On-Screen Trailblazer Award at the Gay Times Honours 2022 event.

Finney will continue playing Elle Argent in the series’ second season and is to star in “Doctor Who,” for the show’s 60th anniversary this year.

In the U.K.’s House of Commons, Member of Parliament Luke Pollard said Finney’s visibility as a trans actor “has not only inspired me, it’s inspired young trans people across the world, and it has saved lives,” YSL Beauté recounted in a statement.

“To me, this partnership means hope,” said Finney in the statement. “It means all the younger Yasmins out there who’ve been told they don’t belong can finally see themselves represented by a monumental brand like YSL Beauté.

“It’s a real pinch-me moment,” she continued. “Not long ago, I was in Manchester, dreaming of better days. I’m so excited to be part of the YSL family because, to me, beauty comes from confidence. It all starts from within. You have to take that leap and tell yourself that you are beautiful, no matter what others think. Don’t try and fit in – stand out! That, to me, is true beauty.”

Finney will appear first as a YSL Beauté ambassador in the new Drop the Look campaign that is due out in April. — JENNIFER WEIL

ALL ACES: The Accessories Council will mark its 27th annual ACE Awards later this spring in New York City. The annual event, which marks excellence in accessories design, retail and influence, will take place on May 3 at Cipriani 42nd Street.

“The ACE Awards are a foundation event for the Accessories Council. The gala celebrates our industry stars, recognizes milestones and is an exceptional networking event. The AC is delighted to finally have the awards in the spring, a longtime goal that was a bit delayed due to the pandemic,” said Karen Giberson, president and chief executive officer of the Accessories Council.

Karen Giberson speaks onstage at the 26th annual ACE Awards on Aug. 1, 2022, at Cipriani 42nd Street. © Provided by WWD Karen Giberson speaks onstage at the 26th annual ACE Awards on Aug. 1, 2022, at Cipriani 42nd Street.

In preparation, the council has revealed this year’s honorees. The Visionary Award will go to Mickey Drexler; Style Ambassador award to Julianne Hough; Emerging Designer to Dee Ocleppo; Hall of Fame to Judith Leiber Couture; Brand Innovation to Alexis Bittar; Brand of the Year to Wolverine (marking its 140th anniversary); Retailer of the Year to Von Maur; Retail Innovation to Fashionphile; Sustainability to House of LR&C, and the Legacy Award to Echo New York. “This year’s honorees are a powerful group of brands and individuals all with foundation roots in the United States,” Giberson said.

The ACE Awards were created in 1997 to celebrate those who have made great strides in raising awareness of the accessories industry. Over the past 27 years, the Accessories Council has honored and recognized global brands and pioneers, positioning them as trailblazers of the industry. Awards are presented to designers, brands, retailers, celebrities and media who have helped to enhance sales and promote all accessories.

Sponsors of the ACE Awards include Marchon Eyewear, FashionGo, Brosway Italia, Hammitt, Caleres, Informa — MAGIC, Project, Coterie, EssilorLuxottica, Judith Leiber Couture, Safilo Group, Signal Brands, Steve Madden and The Jewelry Group.

Tickets and table buyouts are now on sale and sponsorship opportunities are still available. — THOMAS WALLER

NEW IN L.A.: Westman Atelier is hosting its first West Coast pop-up in Los Angeles.

The beauty brand held an event inside Nordstrom’s flagship in New York in September as part of the retailer’s “New New York” initiative, but the L.A. presence marks its first stand-alone space.   

Located at the Grove shopping center, it’s open Thursday through April 20.

Why L.A.?

Firstly, when it comes to buying behavior, it’s Westman Atelier’s second-grossing city after New York, according to the brand. But it’s also personal.

“I have a special relationship with Los Angeles since I lived outside the city as a child and started my makeup career there,” Gucci Westman told WWD in an exclusive statement. Westman, a professional makeup artist, launched the brand with husband David Neville in 2018.

“I grew up in an ashram outside of Los Angeles until I was 10, and I always appreciated the health and wellness movement that is so unique to L.A.,” she added. “It has inspired the way I live and the fundamentals of Westman Atelier….I’ve been dreaming of doing in-person events for so long, and now that we have this space, it allows us to host these exclusive activations that will bring our customers together as a community.”

Shoppers can expect weekly events with activities and product giveaways, including a meet and greet with Westman, a happy hour with complimentary mocktails, 15-minute makeup appointments, shade matching assistance and custom engraving sessions with purchase. The entire collection will be available, including bestsellers, which are currently the Skin Activator (the brand’s first skin care launch); Lit Up Highlight Stick; Face Trace Contour Stick; Vital Skincare Complexion Drops; Vital Skin Foundation Stick, and Baby Cheeks.

L.A. is the brand’s second-grossing city after New York. © Provided by WWD L.A. is the brand’s second-grossing city after New York.

The brand also looks to attract new customers, said Neville, adding, “Since we launched, we have been a digitally native brand, and we have been thinking of the best way to bring the world of Westman Atelier to life.”

The L.A. customer has aligned with the brand values, he went on: “They are beyond savvy when it comes to clean beauty, and they are always finding ways to incorporate wellness and clean skin care into their lifestyle. They are on top of trends, even before it becomes a trend. Their overall skin care and makeup approach is very much our aesthetic — effortless, glowing, natural beauty. They appreciate when there is still an element of discovery.”

The Grove — with its “visibility and traffic” — was a no-brainer as chosen location, said Neville, as one of the “top shopping destinations in the U.S.” — RYMA CHIKHOUNE

GETTING A MOVE ON: Will digital artist Sam Shea — prized for his disquieting, liquid-like figures sometimes comprised only of limbs — disrupt the, ahem, staid mannequin market?

“I’m basically going to start manufacturing all my 3D work in real life,” he said at an event Tuesday during Paris Blockchain Week, where he displayed a video clip of one of his human-like creatures, its flesh stretching out in the wind, riding a horse across a beach. “The cool thing is my dad worked his entire life at a natural history museum, and his best friend made the mannequins.”

“Rider” by Nude Robot. © Provided by WWD “Rider” by Nude Robot.

Shea, better known as Nude Robot, said his “surreal mannequins, like lucid dreamers” would offer a new way for fashion brands to animate their designs — and offer gallery-goers something to gawk at besides a screen. “That’s what I’m working towards.”

He was among about a dozen digital artists assembled for the launch of Itak, a new consultancy that helps brands navigate the new digital landscape and create immersive experiences with the help of cutting-edge technology.

Mado Scott, chief creative officer at Itak and one of three cofounders, said the firm helps fashion and luxury companies step into the Web 3.0 world “while staying on brand, and while having the level of craft they deserve as luxury brands.”

According to her, the “touch of the artist” is key, noting most employ video game and special-effects technology, along with AI, to create intricate, sometimes otherworldly visuals.

Indeed, artists like Shea, who studied fashion at Maryland Institute College of Art, is able to produce such compellingly lifelike digital effects thanks to his knowledge of cloth and costume design. “The way you drape in 3D is exactly the way a tailor would,” he explained.

Unexplored Fields, a creative collective that has already done work for Lacoste and Dr. Martens, displayed a mesmerizing video still of a ruddy-faced young man in a mullet hugging the nose of a giant yak, the camera panning slowly over his clothes: a leather jacket inspired by a 1982 design by Massimo Osti for C.P. Company, needle-felted trousers based on the motorcycle pants Swedish police officers wore in the 1950s, and sneakers inspired by a Balenciaga X Vibram collab.

The Roncier, a digital character created by creative collective Unexplored Fields. © Provided by WWD The Roncier, a digital character created by creative collective Unexplored Fields.

No surprise that one of the three cofounders of Unexplored Fields, Virgile Brosa, studied fashion also. He tweaked the original designs and experimented with various textures. “3D is a good opportunity to do that, because you can relatively quickly change the design and have the result instantly,” he said.

The other cofounders of Itak are Massimo Moretti, whose background is in crypto, and Mariem Farhat, a Web 3.0 expert and marketing guru. Mado Scott was a finalist for the 2021 Andam Innovation Prize with her firm Acid Rays, which creates virtual and digital identities for fashion labels. – MILES SOCHA

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