Colgate Couture: The Biggest Birthday in Fashion



Lisa Maschianti

When I was about 16 and in the nascent stage of my interest in fashion journalism, I worked for a trendy little clothing boutique writing cutesy garment descriptions for its website and folding more pairs of jeans than I would like to admit. I remember going into work one day to find the owner beaming with joy and everyone congratulating her because she was quoted in an article in Women’s Wear Daily (WWD). As a mere novice in the industry at the time, I was familiar with the publication and sure I was happy for my boss that she was mentioned in it, but the whole situation did not strike me as particularly groundbreaking. I was wrong. Let’s put it this way: a small business owner in the fashion industry being quoted in WWD is roughly analogous to an investment banker at a young firm getting a quote in the business section of The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal: super exciting.

Born on July 13, 1910 as an offshoot of the menswear journal Daily News Record, Women’s Wear Daily began as a little and unknown publication its reporters relegated to the back row at fashion shows. Yet, through the persistence and scrappiness of its founder Edmund Fairchild, the paper rose in the ranks and today is the premier trade journal for fashion, often referred to as fashion’s “bible.” As its name implies, it is a daily newspaper that reports on every angle of what is happening in the industry. Some of it looks and reads a bit like magazine content with trend reports, coverage of fashion shows and features on designers. Other parts are strictly business, discussing the state of various markets, the stocks and companies’ earnings and losses. It even has a classified section with listings for all sorts of jobs in the field, ranging from design to retail to publishing. A review of its archive reflects a chronicle of the social history of this country through the lens of fashion, elegantly weaving context with couture, and of course rendezvousing with quite possibly every major designer, fashion entrepreneur, artist, celebrity and public figure along the way.

So, it is no surprise that this past July 13, when the publication reached its hundreth anniversary, a major celebration was in order, complete with festivities that extended throughout this fall season. In September, WWD partnered with leading luxury online retailer Gilt Groupe to create a series of exclusive looks by 11 up-and-coming designers, among them the wonderful Jason Wu. Each designer chose an iconic American style and reinterpreted it according to his or her own aesthetic; the products were available for sale on Gilt Groupe’s site. In October, Women’s Wear released a beautiful hardcover book called WWD: 100 Years| 100 Designers which details the paper’s own history as well as that of the 100 most influential designers that graced its pages over the century, complete with stunning reprints of vintage issues. And ultimately, the centennial culminated in a huge birthday bash just this past week on Tuesday, November 2; the party took place at Cipriani 42nd Street in Manhattan and all of the “who’s who” of the fashion and celebrity world was in attendance. Notable guests included Marc Jacobs, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, Ralph Lauren, Iman, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Diane Von Furstenberg, Vera Wang and Jessica Szohr just to name a few. Most donned sleek black ensembles for this event (simply nothing is chicer).

Now, the anniversary that spanned a season has come to a close and the world of fashion must wait 100 years more for another of this caliber. After the tremendous amount of effort and attention funneled into this celebration, when asked about the 200th anniversary of WWD, editor-in-chief Bridget Foley quipped, “It won’t be my problem to cover it!”