Gizmag met with the company at Baselworld to take a look at the luxury bracelet (Image: Ch...

Gizmag met with the company at Baselworld to take a look at the luxury bracelet (Image: Chris Wood/Gizmag)

Christophe & Co’s high-end Armills are luxury jewelry pieces that offer optional built-in technology, running for a year or more on a single charge. The highest-end model, the Apollo, retails for a US$149,000, making it just about the priciest wearable around. We got the chance to check out the bracelet at Baselworld 2015.

While describing the entry price for the bracelet as “steep” would be a vast understatement, Christophe & Co’s Aleksandr Bernhard was keen to point out that the bracelet should be viewed as a high-end jewelry piece first, wearable tech product second. Discussing the piece at Baselworld, where six-figure watches and jewelry items are comparatively commonplace, provided perhaps the best context for this.

However, while the company might not want us to view the product as a technology piece first and foremost, it’s difficult to get past the sky-high price tag when discussing the tech on board.

The box that the piece comes in is designed to mirror the product itself, constructed from...

Optional technology

The wearable tech side of the Armill is entirely optional, and takes the form of an upgradable module, allowing it to stay technologically relevant as time goes on. It makes use of NFC and Bluetooth LE, and features a kinetic energy generation system that recharges the battery using the motion of the user’s arm, allowing for a year or more between charges.

“We decided to take a watch movement similar to an auto quartz, but create a lot more electricity and actually charge the electronics.” said Bernhard. “This is something that, when I had the idea, I wasn’t sure we’d be able to do it, because nobody had done it with wearable tech before.”

What’s interesting about the technology side of the Christophe & Co Armills is that the company is willing to tailor its abilities to the specific requirements of the client. For example, if the customer wants the bracelet to, for example, unlock their car or work as a contactless payment method, then the company will work to develop the module to make those desires a reality, even if it takes months of development.

The wearable tech side of the Armill is entirely optional, and takes the form of an upgrad...

The company is in the process of creating a network of partners around the world, who hold prestigious events – such as Formula One races – where the Armill will act as a physical entry key using the built in NFC technology. Users can also set up the device to message a specific contact, such as a personal assistant, by tapping a combination on the built-in capacitive sensor.

A luxury construction

All three versions of the Armill – the Apollo, Orion and Virtus – have ceramic shields that the company claims exhibit a level of complexity and precision never before seen. The manufacturing process involves calculating the exact degree of shrinkage that will occur during the sinteringprocess – something that’s made extremely difficult due to the small-scale, precise dimensions of the product.

The Apollo Armill that we saw at Baselworld features more than 1,500 micropavé set GVS dia...

“From a manufacturing perspective, nobody has ever done a piece of ceramics like this.” Bernhard told Gizmag. “People in the ceramics industry have told us ‘you can’t do that, it’s impossible’, and we did it. The ceramics are more expensive than anything else on the piece.”

The Apollo Armill that we saw at Baselworld features more than 1,500 micro pavé set GVS diamonds. All the gems are fair trade, and each and every one is set by hand under a microscope. The engraving is carried out by UK artist Maryam Golubeva, with three different designs available, each tailored to different markets.

The bracelet features a kinetic energy generation system that recharges the battery using ...

Despite the delicate nature of its construction, the Apollo Armill feels solid and substantial in the hand. It has a reassuring weight to it and features a custom-made clasp that’s designed to ensure the pricey wearable won’t slip off your wrist.

Designed in conjunction with Pininfarina, the piece exhibits the same quality of finish you’d expect from a luxury sports car. The opulent design certainly won’t appeal to all tastes, but the construction feels every bit as high-end as its creators insists, with the engraving, hand-set gems and glossy ceramic finish giving it a luxurious feel. Given the price point, we wouldn’t expect anything less.

The Armills – and the Apollo in particular – are targeted at the same audience that would usually be interested in ultra high-end watches and jewelry pieces, with each bracelet selling for US$149,000. The majority of the smart features are similarly tailored towards ultra wealthy clientele, and would be of less value to your average consumer, not to mention that they could mostly be handled by wearables costing a tiny fraction of the Armill’s asking price.

Reiterating a jewelry-first perspective on the product, Bernhard stated, “This is built to a standard, and to an ideal, and the price is the price. It’s not for everybody, it’s very specific, very small volumes, it’s made in the UK so it’s extremely expensive to make, but it’s made at the very top level.”

Only 25 of the Apollo variant will be constructed, while the Orion and Virtus models will sell for $93,000 and $75,000, limited to 100 and 300 units worldwide.

Source: Christophe & Co


Apr. 15, 2015 | By Simon

Between the wild and crazy concepts that we’ve seen from Lady Gaga to the incredible linked-assembly dresses we’ve seen from Nervous System, the intersection of additive manufacturing and fashion is nothing short of one of the most futuristic applications for 3D printing technologies that we’ve seen.

More recently, New York City-based artist and designer Alexis Walsh – whose inspiration stems from developing wearable designs from more rigid structural forms – has been experimenting with using additive manufacturing technologies as a part of her fabrication process.

“The majority of Alexis’s work focuses on the notion of using the human body as canvas,” says the designer’s website.

“Through unconventional materials such as metal and plastic, and the exploration of technologies including 3D printing, Alexis transcends the traditional modes of fashion to push the boundaries of wearable art.”

For her most recent collection, the LYSIS COLLECTION, Walsh drew inspiration from virulent formations and deterioration to develop a body of work that consists of shapes that mimic the growth of viral structures while blending organic shapes with rigid structural silhouettes.  To make these geometrically-complex shapes real, Walsh combined both traditional garment manufacturing techniques as well as CAD modeling and additive manufacturing to bring her vision to life.

The 3D printed components were modeled using McNeel’s Rhino and were printed in white nylon through the 3D printing service Shapeways.  To add further details, a 3Doodler 3D printing pen was used before the the 3D printed parts were sanded, dyed and finished by hand to be added to the existing handsewn garment pieces.

In total, the LYSIS COLLECTION is made up of six full looks and ten individual garments.  Among other components within the collection that were created using additive manufacturing technologies include 3D printed neckpieces, 3D printed hems and sleeves, a 3D printed skirt shell and a 3D printed bra shell.  The collection was made possible in part thanks to the first-ever Shapeways Education Grant, which was advised by computational smart textiles and wearable technology expert Sabine Seymour of Moondial.

This isn’t the first time that Walsh has been creating 3D printed textiles, either.  Previously, the talented designer worked as a part of a collaboration with Francis Bitonti Studio in 2014 to create a 3D printed dress made from smaller hand-assembled parts and then handsewn with fur lining as a part of the New Skins 2014 Workshop.

It looks like Walsh might be one of the few designers these days who is embracing 3D printing as a medium in textile design and perhaps might be one to watch as we move into the future of 3D printing applications in wearables.  You can check out more of her work by heading to her website.


This season, the most successful fashion films attracted audiences with surreal storylines and unexpected plot twists. Sit back, relax and enjoy BoF’s Top 10 Fashion Films of the Season.


Sir New York is the brainchild of designer Auston Björkman, the first openly transgender designer to emerge on the high-end fashion scene. A crossover brand, Björkman’s designs have been seen across the spectrum, from big names in hip hop and rap to prominent drag queens emerging from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Read the interview below to learn more.

sir new york

The Huffington Post: What types of clothing does Sir New York tend to produce?
Auston Björkman: I was recently looking back at some planning I had done in the beginning and saw that I didn’t even know exactly what to call it — I was using the term Technical Tailored Sportswear. Complex Magazine aptly named us as the start of “athletic street goth,” which I love, but I would say both have something true, in capturing some of the essence of what is in the brand.

What is your focus for Sir New York? Do you specifically intend for your designs to be for the queer and trans community?
No, I never wanted Sir New York to be for any specific type of person. If anything my thinking was way too broad. I wanted all genders — everyone wears menswear. I wanted to appeal to the boy next door who likes clothes, to the club kids who are all about turning a look, to the fashion kids who pay attention to design. Whenever you study fashion they really try to make you hone in on “your customer.” But my vision is exactly what happened, with people wearing my designs like A$AP Ferg, Wiz Kalifa and Detox from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” — who has worn it in and out of drag.


You’re hailed as the first trans male designer to emerge in the high-end fashion scene. What have the reception and your experiences been like?
My experiences in the fashion world have been interesting. It is a very intense and tightly orchestrated industry with billions of dollars dedicated to making you want to look a certain way. It’s very hard for the majority of fashion designers ever to even get to this level and I am far from where I ultimately want to be… I’m still very much an “outsider.” I think most people don’t automatically assume I am trans. Most people only get as far as thinking I’m this odd little gay fashion designer.

The fashion industry has historically been open to all kinds of gender expression and misfits, so I don’t think I stand out in any kind of loud way — partly because that is my nature. I would rather let my work speak for me. I tend to talk about my work and not me, the person. So the positive reception I have gotten from both street wear and high-end fashion has been very much in response to the clothing, the brand and the aesthetic.

I think I have a unique perspective on the gender spectrum. I don’t believe in absolutes, nothing belongs solely to masculine or feminine. I like finding subtle balances.

Helen Pearson

Where have your designs appeared?
Usher came into our pop up shop with Liberty Fairs Concept Space in Los Angeles, copped a grip of the Seahole Future Surf gear and the next day it was on “The Voice.” French Montana has also worn it in videos and interviews and I saw my first stranger on the street rocking it, which is strangely a whole different amazing feeling of accomplishment than when someone high-profile is wearing it. Seeing it in print is also really exciting: Vogue Italia, Flaunt, GQ. I don’t know, I guess we’re getting around a little bit.

Do you have any showcases on the horizon?
Sir New York previewed our AW15 collection and hosted a mini pop-up shop last weekend at dapperQ’s “(un)Heeled: A Fashion Show for the Uncoventionally Masculine” at the Brooklyn Museum. “(un)Heeled” celebrated the style of masculine presenting women, gender nonconformists and trans* identified individuals, offering an alternative narrative to the museum’s current “Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe” exhibition.


Historically the fashion world has been extremely queer friendly — what role do you think the fashion world has played within mainstream acceptance of LGBT identity?
Fashion has accustomed people to gender bending. We are more open to human expression rather than binaries. People are starting to let go of being uncomfortable about other people being different. Gender is often best expressed in presentation, how you wear your clothes and the swag you have when you feel good about your look. Fashion communicates identity with options.

Want to see more from Björkman and Sir New York? Head here to check out the Sir New York website.

Mad Men Fashion
Fashion Mad Men

With the first of seven final episodes premiering Sunday, “Mad Men,” the most fashion-influential TV show since “Sex and the City,” is coming to an end.

AMC’s 1960s period drama about slick ad men and curvy women has been an aesthetic gold mine, influencing the slim silhouette of men’s suits, the beauty ideal for women’s bodies and more, particularly during the first five years of the show’s 2007 to 2015 run. It brought the worlds of fashion and costume design ever closer in the process.
From the very first season, I — like most viewers — was seduced by the show’s post-1950s innocence. I dreamed about living in an era before surgeon general warnings, when cigarettes and booze were a given at lunchtime and the polished glamour and propriety of opera gloves and pillbox hats were the norm.

“I don’t think you would have liked it,” said my baby boomer mother, shattering the spell. “It wasn’t much of a place for women.”

Of course she was right, as we’ve seen in episodes since, but they did dress fine.

The look of the show was envisioned by costume designer Janie Bryant, who was inspired by old catalogs, her Southern grandparents and the wares at L.A. area vintage stores — which she helped to make fashion destinations — including Playclothes in Burbank, the Way We Wore on La Brea Avenue and Shareen downtown.


A womanizing, hard-drinking man’s man who could almost be forgiven his sins because he looked so darn dashing in a suit, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) became an instant style icon. His character resonated because it was the antithesis of the business casual, cargo-panted, metrosexual ideal that existed in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Mad Men Fashion
Mad Men

The strength of Don’s uniform for success — the slim gray Brooks Brothers suit, crisp white shirt, neatly folded pocket square, occasional tie bar and fedora — inspired men of the 21st century to dress up in a new, trim-tailored silhouette. Surely it’s no coincidence that men’s retail sales began an upward climb in 2008, shortly after the series started to run on AMC. Although the lumbersexual’s beard oil, pocket whittling kit and made-in-the-U.S.A. workboots may be the accessories of choice now, the “Mad Men” martini shaker, cuff links and pocket squares kicked off the men’s shopping boom.

The women of “Mad Men” were equally influential, with fans of the series dissecting every look online, from pen necklaces down to power girdles.


Together with First Lady Michelle Obama’s similarly retro style, the series helped kick off five years of ladylike cardigans standing in for jackets over pencil skirts and bodycon dresses, worn with kitten heels and pearls. It also helped rekindle interest in matte red lipstick, cat eye makeup (thanks to Don’s second wife, Megan Draper) and more stylized hair.

Fans wrote impassioned columns in magazines, newspapers and online about how Joan’s (Christina Hendricks’) figure helped them learn to love their curves.

And fashion took notice. In 2010, several designers showed runway collections inspired by a more retro vision of the female form. They included Miuccia Prada, who used fuller-figured models on her runway, and Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton, who staged a Parisian love story around a shooting fountain, with clothes designed with voluptuousness in mind.
AMC capitalized on the throwback style of the show too, entering a marketing partnership with Banana Republic in 2009 that put “Mad Men” posters in the windows of stores and a “Mad About Style” guide in the hands of shoppers.

And Bryant became a household name, creating a new model for the costume-fashion designer with a steady stream of outside design gigs.

Over the years, Bryant collaborated with Brooks Brothers, Maidenform, QVC and Shoes of Prey. She wrote a book, “The Fashion File: Advice, Tips, and Inspiration From the Costume Designer of Mad Men.” And by 2011, she was designing an entire, 1960s-inspired “Mad Men” collection for Banana Republic.

On-screen, as the ’60s raged on, the show’s costumes reflected cultural shifts and the emergence of personal style — Peggy’s plaid pantsuit a symbol of women’s newfound power in the workplace, Stan Rizzo’s beard the mark of a generation determined to break with the conservative past, Sally Draper’s white go-go boots a sign of the rise of youth culture and Megan Draper’s tie-dye mini dress a hint at the sexual revolution.

Only Don has stayed the same.

When “Mad Men” starts its final run, we don’t know precisely what year we’ll be in — the series started in 1960 and we left off in the summer of ’69 with the Apollo moon landing.

But the new season promo, set to Diana Ross’ 1976 tune “Love Hangover,” features enough sideburns, loud plaid, belly chains and bell-bottoms to suggest a jump into the 1970s.

Looking at today’s ’70s-influenced fashion, that would be right on trend.




Cuban Fashion

When people talk about the resumption of relations between the United States and Cuba, as they did over the weekend as President Obama and President Raúl Castro sat down for the first meeting between leaders of their two countries in more than 50 years, they talk mostly about history and diplomacy and influence, and what it could mean for the future in terms of trade and travel, not to mention human rights.

What they do not generally talk about, however, is fashion.

Yet odds are, fashion is about to talk a lot about Cuba — and not just because the current diplomatic situation has given it a timely edge, and fashion is tasked with channeling the zeitgeist. Nor because more-relaxed State Department import regulations may affect the apparel flow from south to north, or even because the just-declared Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio is Cuban-American.

But because, for an island of approximately 11.2 million people, Cuba has always occupied an outsize space in the designer imagination.

I am not talking, you understand, about guayabera or Cuban-collared shirts, though they have become a men’s wear perennial; I am talking about something both more abstract and more visual: a sense of color and climate and mood that feeds a fantasy of the “forbidden island” and has been a source of endless inspiration for designers with actual ties to the country (Cuban-Americans like Adolfo, Narciso Rodriguez, Isabel Toledo and Alejandro Ingelmo), and without.


Narciso Rodriguez says that he  traces his love of a form-fitting dress and his color palette to his heritage as the child of Cuban immigrants.CreditNeilson Barnard/Getty Images

It spurred Donatella Versace’s spring/summer 2015 men’s collection, for example, with white jeans embroidered in gold palm leaves, sorbet shades of pink and sand and ocean blue, and lacelike inserts that made references to Havana architecture.

It gave shape to Tracy Reese’s spring/summer 2014 women’s wear collection of full-skirted, tropical-toned hibiscus-print styles.


Ms. Reese’s spring/summer 2014 women’s wear collection. CreditFrazer Harrison/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz

It was, Matthew Williamson told British Vogue, the inspiration for the saturated tones and intarsia foliage of his debut 2010 men’s wear collection.

It even lured Harper’s Bazaar south for an 18-page photo feature by Patrick Demarchelier with Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss in 1998, which resulted in the magazine being fined $31,000 by the United States Treasury Department for violations of the travel embargo then in effect.

To give you an idea of its influence.

As to why, well, in part this has to do with Cuba’s political history, and the romanticism of the taboo; in part it has to do with cultural references from Ernest Hemingway to Carmen Miranda’s “Weekend in Havana.”

Mostly, though, it has to do with the fact that — as Mr. Ingelmo, founder of a namesake footwear line, whose grandfather had one of the most famous shoe factories in Cuba but fled when Fidel Castro came to power, said during a phone call — it was so unconnected.

“There are almost no Game Boys or Internet or TV,” he said, and so Cuba was never part of the globalization wave that has created a level of cultural sameness from Tokyo to St.-Tropez.

Meanwhile, its image is “frozen in time around the 1950s,” Mr. Ingelmo said. “The images, the stories we all have in our mind:Everything is from that time.” And few things get fashion excited like decade-hopping to the past.


The model Jean Patchett wears a plaid Siam coat over a silk dress, both by Tina Leser, in a photograph taken in Havana in 1950.CreditClifford Coffin/Condé Nast Archive, via Corbis

But that was pre-policy shift, when Cuba was as much an abstraction as an actual place for many (thanks to the American embargo, Cuba’s global isolation served to set it apart even for those who could visit with impunity). Now that the situation has changed, will the clothes?

Will we see a flowering of Cuban influence even beyond what has hit runways and stores before, or will fantasy be trumped by reality?

As Mr. Ingelmo points out, Cuba is a country of real deprivation. The fact that “life is lived outside,” a part of its visual allure, is often a result of there being no other option because of overcrowding inside. It’s one thing to dream about a land isolated by law and practice; another to actually confront its reality.

Nevertheless, said Paul van Zyl, the chief executive of the socially conscious luxury brand Maiyet, “I think it will definitely have a disproportionate influence on fashion.” What that influence looks like is a different question.

Pointedly, the least obvious connections come courtesy of designers whose understanding of Cuba is less idea than reality: Mr. Ingelmo, Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. Toledo (the latter two are also favorite designers of Michelle Obama — make of that what you will, oh conspiracy theorists), and perhaps therein lies a clue.


Ruben Toledo and Isabel Toledo. Ms. Toledo was born in Cuba and came to the United States as a teenager. “I learned to see color and atmosphere in Cuba,” she wrote by email.CreditCindy Ord/Getty Images

Mr. Rodriguez, for example, traces his love of a form-fitting dress and his color palette to his heritage as the child of Cuban immigrants; Ms. Toledo, who was born in Cuba and came to the United States as a teenager, emailed: “I learned to see color and atmosphere in Cuba.”

“My home town was high in a mountain valley, in the middle of the country,” she wrote. “The light was particular there; it has absolutely influenced how I see color and texture. I feel that the romance and mystery in my work is related to Cuba, but the logic of my patterns are totally influenced by my American experience.”

As for Mr. Ingelmo, he said he believes the combination of “sexiness and elegance” in his shoes is something that is specifically Cuban, and sets it apart from other tropical styles. And he also agrees with Mr. Van Zyl that Cuba is about to have its fashion moment. “In this industry,” he said, “everything comes around.”

Mr. Rodriguez being a case in point. In the past, he said, “I never talked about Cuba.” It was too politically sensitive a subject. “Now, though, I think maybe it’s time.”