YEBOAH’S COS: When Reece Yeboah was young he traveled from his home in London to Accra and back again a few years later. The journey was the making of him as a man, and as a designer.
His debut collaboration with Cos is set to hit shop floors this week and he’s called it “Metamorphosis” after his coming-of-age experiences in Ghana.
In an interview, the designer said that when he was 11, his mother handed him a one-way ticket to Accra to “straighten me out” because he was messing around and underperforming at school.
She saved for months to purchase the ticket, he said, and was convinced that life in Africa with extended family would help him grow up.
She was right. The years he spent in Accra transformed him and he returned to London with renewed purpose.
Living in Africa, he said, “gave me a sense of how important family is” and a sense of perspective, too.
“I learned what it is to struggle — and not complain. I took freezing cold bucket baths, carried water on my head and walked miles to school. I missed the luxuries of London,” said the designer, who returned to the U.K. a few years later.
He studied fashion design, styling and founding the streetwear label Saint London Ltd., which had a pop-up at Selfridges in 2018. He worked as a stylist and later launched his signature collection, which blends streetwear with soft tailoring.
Yeboah said his collection for Cos, a division of H&M Group, is a tribute to his mother’s spirit and her ambitions for him.
He’s mixed dark hues with the bright yellow of Ghana’s flag and his jackets and shirts include butterfly and pinstripe designs. The collection features caps, beanies, knitted hoodies, a varsity jacket, and structured jackets in wool check fabrics.
Yeboah said that while he may have started by designing a men’s collection, the result is more gender fluid, with silhouettes based on the Cos signature shapes.
His favorite parts of the process, he said, were sample-making, concept building and “seeing that creation come alive from the sketch.”
His ambitions are big. “Nine figures in six years,” he said. “That’s what’s on my bedroom wall. It’s not about the money. I want to be about to say ‘I’ve done that,’” said Yeboah, and he’s certainly off to a good start.
Last week, Yeboah and Cos staged a fashion show in London with some of the new looks and sitting front row were three high-profile cheerleaders: Riccardo Tisci, Naomi Campbell and Edward Enninful.
Prices for the Cos collaboration range from 35 euros for the 100 percent organic cotton Rising Star T-shirt to 350 euros for the wool-blend check coat.
The limited-edition collection will be available exclusively at Cos stores internationally and on the website from Wednesday. — SAMANTHA CONTI
HERMES RARITIES: Joseph Lau, one of Hong Kong’s most prominent property developers, is selling his rare handbag collection through Sotheby’s via an online auction from Monday to Feb. 9. It will be followed by a second installment of bags in July.
The first batch of 77 rare bags, which Lau acquired over the past two decades, is valued at 16.3 million Hong Kong dollars, or $2 million. Part of the sale proceeds will go to charity, Sotheby’s revealed.
Touted as the largest single-owner handbag sale in Asia, the lot includes a shearling Teddy Kelly 35 and a So Black Kelly 35, both from the Jean-Paul Gaultier era at Hermès, circa 2004 to 2010.
There is also a rare bespoke multicolored Fringe Birkin 35 in red leather, as well as six diamond Birkins of various sizes in blue jean, matte, electric blue, red, violet and fuchsia.
The blue jean shiny croc Bikin 25 with 18-karat white gold and diamond hardware is valued between 1 million and 2 million Hong Kong dollars, or $127,000 to $254,800, and is the priciest item on offer. The rest of the diamond Birkins are valued between 400,000 and 700,000 Hong Kong dollars, or $50,960 to $89,180.
Other prized pieces in the auction include a Rose Bonbon mini Kelly 20, an Orange Kelly Doll and a Bronze Metallic Kelly 25, which according to Sotheby’s was only in production between 2004 to 2005. The color of the bag was inspired by the window displays designed by Leïla Menchari for the Hermès flagship store at Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris. The Metallic Kelly bag is valued between 400,000 to 600,000 Hong Kong dollars, or $50,960 to $76,440.
Morgane Halimi, global head of handbags and accessories, said, “The limited-edition pieces that have made and shaped the history of handbags in the past two decades can all be found in this collection.”
With a net worth of $13.6 billion, according to Forbes, Lau is the former chairman of property developer Chinese Estates. He is best known by the public in Hong Kong for love affairs with several high-profile actresses in the past two decades, which often involved gifting rare bags and high jewelry as proof of affection.
He has been married to former showbiz journalist Kimbee Chan since 2016. They have two children.
In 2017, Lau transferred 75 percent of his shares in Chinese Estates to Chan and their son, citing serious health issues. — TIANWEI ZHANG
KEYS’ COGNAC: Alicia Keys is the face of Hennessy Paradis in a new global campaign for the French cognac producer. The Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and classically trained pianist is Hennessy’s first female partner.
“Man, I honestly think that is no better time than now,” she said of hearing the news. “It is the age of women. It is the age and time of really uplifting and understanding the power of women — the power that we have to create, the power that we have to be the bosses of our businesses, the heads of our tables, the heads of boardrooms, the heads of companies, the heads of our families, the heads of the government and planning and changing the world as we know that it is best for the direction to go in a positive way. It is all about honoring women, and I feel like we will be able to balance out so much when we really honor the power of women.”
Keys doesn’t stand alone in the project, however; shot in the Utah desert, she’s joined by Chinese pianist Lang Lang.
“He’s already been a partner with Paradis for a little while,” explained Keys. “And so, I think he was the one who suggested there could be a beautiful partnership with both of us. I loved the idea, especially with both of us as classically trained pianists and artists, but from two different sides of the world and just really representing the diversity and beauty of music harmony, you know, excellence and in craft.”
Created in 1979, Paradis blends more than 200 different cognacs that have been aged for up to over a century. Today the brand is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Diageo.
Keys first tried the brandy about three years ago, she went on: “I was introduced to Paradis most likely by my husband, who always knows the best of the best. And he was like, ‘I think you’ll love this.’ I do love a smooth, classy, elegant drink.”
On the heels of her 42nd birthday — and releasing her ninth studio and first Christmas album, “Santa Baby,” independently on Apple Music — Keys is looking forward to the year ahead.
“I’m working on so many amazing things,” she said. “Oh my gosh, I mean, we just finished an incredible world tour. And we’re also going to continue to tour more in 2023. I’m super excited about some projects that I’ve been developing that are coming to life this year that I just think are the most exciting things I’ve ever done. And musically, I’m just in a better, more creative, more incredible place than ever before. There’s just no limits and no stopping.”
Any New Year’s resolutions?
“To continue to be open to abundance — abundance of health, abundance of kindness, abundance of love, abundance of creativity, abundance of growth, abundance of evolution, abundance of making things and creating things I’ve never even imagined before. My New Year’s resolution is to continue to be open to an abundant life with no fear in any way.” — RYMA CHIKHOUNE
NEW SIGNING: Spanish actress Ester Expósito has signed with IMG Models.
This marks the 23-year-old’s first modeling contract. Best known for her starring role in the Netflix teen drama series “Elite,” Expósito rose to popularity from the hit show, gaining more than 28 million followers on Instagram.
“Ever since I met the IMG team, I knew we’d get along,” Expósito told WWD in an exclusive statement. “We share a common vision and I believe we’ll do great things together.”
She has also been seen in the streaming service’s thriller “Someone Has to Die,” HBO drama “Veneno” and Jaume Balagueró’s Spanish horror film “Venus.” Notably, she collaborated on Lydia Cacho’s docuseries “Peace Peace Now Now,” which tells stories of women taking a stand against armed conflicts in Latin America.
Off screen, Expósito was on the September 2022 cover of Harper’s Bazaar Spain, and she has worked with brands that include Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana and Bulgari.
With IMG Models, the focus will be on expanding her global footprint “across the fashion, beauty, digital and editorial arenas,” according to the agency. Expósito joins a roster of clients that includes Gigi and Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber, Lori Harvey, Lori Harvey, Precious Lee, Paloma Elsesser, Alton Mason, Eileen Gu, Diana Silvers and Richie Shazam. — R.C.
TIE UP: Pinterest and Condé Nast Entertainment are forging a new content partnership, WWD has learned.
The deal, the latest step in a video and content strategy that Pinterest rolled out two years ago, will channel 160 exclusive videos produced by Vogue and Architectural Digest pegged to featured seasonal and cultural moments, including “Fashion Month,” “Wedding Season,” “Summer” and “Back to School.”
“Video’s ability to take users from inspiration to action is undeniable,” Nadine Zylstra, Pinterest’s global head of programming and originals, told WWD. “Across Pinterest, we have seen its power in helping people create the life they love, whether helping them reimagine a favorite fashion look or reinvent their backyard.”
The partnership kicks off with fashion week — first in New York, then moving on to the shows in London, Milan and Paris. Vogue programming will offer backstage access and runway trends in a series of original episodes available on its Pinterest profile.
In April, the company will launch a profile for Vogue Weddings with content curated by editors and wedding planners, from checklists to table settings, gowns, bridesmaid looks and more. They will also create unique boards for the biggest weddings of the year. Beauty will also get a spotlight, with content from Vogue’s celebrity video series, “Beauty Secrets,” in the works for the platform.
Architectural Digest will highlight its 2023 AD100 list of top designs and design talent, plus develop episodes with themes like small living and how to create the perfect backyard for summer.
According to Pinterest, Condé Nast has more than 40 account profiles that have garnered as many as tens of millions of views. Meanwhile, videos in general have become a growing priority, having extended to both advertisements and the organic Idea Pins that users save or share. The tech company’s internal data, which tracks worldwide viewing and other traffic, clocked a threefold jump in the number of Idea Pins featuring video between the third quarter of 2021 and 2022.
It’s not clear exactly how big a slice that is compared to its overall figures, but with more than 390 billion pins and more than 400 million monthly active users, even a modest proportion would amount to a chunk of business — which would help explain Pinterest’s ongoing investment in video.
For Zylstra, the Condé Nast partnership matters because it is “helping us meet [what users] need and showcasing Pinterest as a home for great video content.” — ADRIANA LEE