Gucci Drops Vegan Leather Sneakers, and Other News

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Gucci launches its first-ever range of vegan shoes made from Demetra, a leather alternative.

The new vegan shoe range—the first in the luxury Italian fashion brand’s history—is crafted out of an innovative new material, dubbed Demetra, which is made from 77 percent plant-based raw materials. The release marks Gucci’s 100th anniversary year with three styles: The Gucci Basket, Gucci New Ace, and Gucci Rhyton. The animal-free sneakers come with a high price, retailing between $702 and $940. 

The popular livestream shopping start-up Bambuser takes home LVMH’s Innovation Award.

Beating out 850 entrants and 28 finalists, Bambuser, whose clients include Parfums Christian Dior and Make Up For Ever, took home this year’s LVMH Innovation Award. Already a hugely popular form of shopping in China—two-thirds of Chinese consumers report making a live-stream purchase in the past year and it’s a big component of Alibaba’s Singles Day—the QVC–like form of shopping is growing in western markets. (Surface teamed up with the platform NTWRK recently to host a live-streaming design festival.)

Sou Fujimoto reveals a mind-boggling proposal for Qianhai’s New City Center Landmark.

Asking itself to envision what a skyscraper should look like in the 21st Century, the Japanese firm has unveiled a futuristic pendant-like structure that resembles a water fountain suspended in mid-air. Almost like an aerial city or a group of floating islands, the striking building, which has an illusionary vanishing effect, is made up of 99 individual tower elements that connect and unify as one. When completed, New City Center Landmark will contain a viewing platform that functions as a three-dimensional exhibition space, along with a restaurant and café.  

Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, believes the platform may soon replace traditional landlords.

Airbnb is well-poised to bounce back from its financial troubles during the pandemic with new features like flexible booking and streamlined onboarding processes for hosts. Brian Chesky, CEO of the platform, emphasizes that nearly one quarter of Airbnb bookings are for “long-term” stays of 28 days or longer, signifying a tidal shift from travel to living. “In the future, people will start paying for rent the way they pay for cable television, or for Netflix, you pay on a month-to-month basis,” he tells The Verge, noting that a shift to long-term rentals has the potential to disrupt the housing market. He also predicts that making renters prove income, submit credit scores, or leave security deposits—steps required by traditional landlords—are “anachronistic and going to eventually go away. That is stuff that was invented before technology allowed almost all this to be automated. It’s like using a rotary dial phone, and suddenly we have smartphones.”

Frances Stein, longtime fashion editor who helped revitalize Chanel in the 1970s, dies at 83.

The fashion editor Frances Stein, who recently passed away at age 83 in Paris, initially made her name working for magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and Vogue. Soon after those stints, she began designing accessories for Chanel, which had floundered after the death of its founder, Coco Chanel, in 1971. Her takes on Chanel classics—as well as those by couturier Karl Lagerfeld, with whom she had an icy relationship—helped turn the company’s fortunes around. “I try to design things that are irresistible visually, but they also have to work,” Stein told The Associated Press in 1989. “A bracelet is great if you can pull it on and off and it doesn’t get wound up in a typewriter or dribble in your plate when you’re making an elegant gesture.” 

Galleries and auction houses are continuing to open satellite locations in vacation enclaves.

Galleries opening satellite locations in tony vacation enclaves—an emerging trend that began last year out of necessity as they temporarily shuttered during the pandemic—is continuing apace. Lehmann Maupin is expanding its footprint in Palm Beach and Aspen, Colorado, where the gallery will open a joint space with the design-focused Carpenters Workshop Gallery. “Pop-ups allow for a lot of creativity, something you don’t get at an art fair where there’s too much at stake in too short of a time,” Lehmann Maupin director Sarah Calodney tells The Art Newspaper. Christie’s is following suit: the auction house recently announced it will “expand its geographical presence to include the art-centric enclaves of the Hamptons and Aspen.”

Today’s attractive distractions:

This four-legged robot is making major strides to traversing Mars’s brutal terrain.

A new group of artisans are upcycling vintage vases into smoking accessories.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art unveils its all-new chef-in-residence program.

Adidas’s latest capsule collection honors cult classic comedy Happy Gilmore.

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